Fight for your life

Congratulations to the Santa Cruz couple who fought for their lives to stop home invaders from possibly killing them. The Sentinel reported that Cuactemoc Xilonzochilt-Zamora, who was apprehended, was arrested on suspicion of robbery, false imprisonment, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of methamphetamine. Should not the charge of home invasion be applied in this crime? Is this man a United States citizen? If not, he should be deported to his own country and let them proceed with charges. The Santa Cruz Sentinel also stated that the police do not advise fighting back during a crime. If I am invaded in any manner, I will fight back with all my power even if it includes using a weapon to protect myself or my family. Just think what could have happened if the invaded couple did not fight back.

Beverley Pearce, Santa Cruz

Learn the facts on desal


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In his Feb. 16 letter, Rick Longinotti mistakenly characterizes Santa Cruz Water Department chief Bill Kocher's failure to develop a Plan B to having a desalination plant as a "failure to consider alternatives. Longinotti is wrong. Kocher, our department engineers, our city Water Commission and our City Council have considered, and continue to consider, alternatives to desalination, in hopes there might be an alternative, or combination of alternatives, that would provide a safe, sufficient and reliable water supply without building a desalination plant. Unfortunately, no combination has been found sufficient and reliable enough to meet our supply needs during severe droughts. Kocher is just being honest about it. The draft EIR, which will be published in upcoming months, will again evaluate alternatives. Longinotti echoes former Water Department employee Jim Bentley's question, "Do you expect the public to accept that there are no other options and this [desal] is their only choice?" Personally, I expect our citizens, who will decide yes or no on desal, to take the time to educate themselves about this critical decision. If they do, I believe they will go through a process similar to my own -- initially ignorant and skeptical about the need for desal, but as I became educated, reluctantly recognizing that if we want a sufficient and reliable water supply, desalination is a necessary part of our water supply portfolio. I hope our citizens will pay less attention to the opinions stated in letters to the editor, and start learning the facts. The Desalination Task Force website, www.scwd2desal.org is the place to start.

David Green Baskin, vice chair, Santa Cruz City Water Commission

Fight for the rights of Santa Cruz's victims

Does it bother you that innocent members of our community are being gunned down on our streets? Are you outraged that young women are being raped and beaten in broad daylight in this town, that the end of Pacific Street is now a drive-through for drugs, that meth-crazed thugs are conducting violent home invasions in our neighborhoods, that thousands of young people on the UC Santa Cruz campus are now afraid to walk home from their classes in the dark, that the sound of gang shootings and sirens is nearly omnipresent from beach to shiny beach? How many more innocent victims must suffer before something happens? I know the well-intentioned people of this town like to mobilize, to petition their oppressors, and to seek redress for their grievances. When will you choose to do so to fight for freedom from fear and safety from physical harm?

Jeffrey Bury, Santa Cruz

Needle-exchange program is good policy

At the World AIDS Conference this past summer, the importance of needle-exchange programs as a key strategy to prevent HIV infection was highlighted. Numerous scientific organizations confirm that syringe exchange programs are highly effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. In Santa Cruz County the availability of needle-exchange services helps keep injection drug users risk for HIV at 12 percent, lower than the national average of 20 percent. Needle exchange is an important harm-reduction strategy to ensure safe disposal of syringes, prevent costly medical treatment, and help provide a linkage to drug, mental health and primary care services. We need to come together and find common ground and positive solutions to this critical public health need. Everyone can do something to fight HIV/AIDS! Join us for the Santa Cruz AIDS Walk at 10 a.m. March 9, Santa Cruz Wharf to Natural Bridges and back. Visit www.scapsite.org for details.

Patricia Castagnola, Santa Cruz AIDS Project