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February 11-18, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Pirie Sets Record Straight

METRO SANTA CRUZ'S recent article about the brouhaha on the Board of Supervisors over appointments to various boards and commissions ("Balancing Act," News&Views, Feb. 4) was mostly fair and accurate, and I appreciate that. There was, however, one statement that points to a misconception about me that is flat out wrong and needs correction.

The article said that "Pirie's stance has been characterized as anti-low income housing and pro-growth ..." Characterized by whom? Certainly not by anyone with knowledge of my votes and history on these issues.

Affordable housing and growth control issues are very important to my constituents and me. While I have been in office I have supported the development of five new affordable housing developments in the Second District. By contrast, during that same time period, the county was involved in only two new affordable housing projects in the rest of the unincorporated county. And in the heart of Aptos we have 11 acres of new affordable housing recently built or under development.

For the first time in decades the county has a certified Housing Element, the contents of which demonstrates the Board of Supervisors' commitment to affordable housing. I am pleased to have a good working relationship with affordable housing groups such as COPA, South County Housing and Mid-Peninsula Housing.

For 25 years, prior to joining the Board of Supervisors, my career as a legal services lawyer involved providing free legal representation to low income clients, often on housing related legal problems. In fact, no current Board member has a longer, more direct history of supporting residents of low-income housing.

The characterization that I am "pro-growth" is equally ridiculous. My "slow growth" beliefs have helped limit new market rate housing and commercial development in the unincorporated area of the county. I have been a strong and consistent supporter of the county's Urban Services Line and I have zealously protected ag land from rezoning and development. In fact, while I have been in office, not one acre of agriculture-zoned land in my district has been lost to development. I have opposed efforts to weaken our growth control policies repeatedly. The size of our population is one of the best things about our community.

 Ellen Pirie,
District 2 County Supervisor


Over So Soon?

I WISH there was a second part to this story ("Field Trippin,'" Feature, Jan. 28). What must have played out between Mr. Moss and Max and the rest of his students and faculty in the wake of this incident--even if most of them remained unawares--is so much more interesting than another run-of-the-mill acid trip chronicle. The fact that "Max" has thrived when in the hands of the vast majority of teachers (including all of the teachers at my drug-addled high-school in south Florida) he would have been counted out immediately says that theirs is a unique and successful student-mentor relationship. Now that is something worth reading about.

Tony Mosher,
Los Angeles

Had A Nice Trip

I JUST read John Moss's story about being blindsided by a student with acid, coming to it through another website. Thank you for publishing something that's both (a) so unusual and has a viewpoint well outside what one can normally find in a newspaper, and (b) so reasonably, coherently and unapologetically representative of that viewpoint.

Nick Short,
by email

Lingering Questions

BOY, would I like to time-warp back to my U.S. government class at Soquel High School. When the topic of the Middle East came up I'd raise my hand and ask, "Mrs. Takula, why exactly does the U.S. send a disproportionate amount of our tax dollars to Israel? When did we assume a debt to this nation?"

Weird, that was 1965 and I still am walking around with that question. Why do we continue to feed this ulcer in our appropriations budget?

Theodore Meyer,
Santa Cruz

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