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May 9-16, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Nūz Missed The Mark

METRO SANTA CRUZ'S recent Nūz ("Train, Train, Train," April 11) ranting against passenger train service in Santa Cruz County was off track in many ways. The two most egregious errors in reporting were (1) lumping the rail trail together with passenger train service and (2) attributing improved train service costs to the rail trail. The proposed walking and biking rail trail is a separate project from the concept of running passenger trains on the 32-mile railroad from Watsonville to Davenport.

The proposed rail trail for pedestrians and cyclists would allow for a scenic, car-free and flat path through densely populated neighborhoods, schools and commercial centers. The path would provide families, kids, adults and seniors a place to walk and bike away from our congested roads.

The cost of purchasing the rail corridor from Union Pacific for public ownership is an estimated $19 million. However, $11 million of the funds have already been secured through a state proposition and can only be used to purchase a rail corridor in Santa Cruz County. If we don't buy the corridor in the next couple of years, our county will lose the $11 million to another county. In addition to the cost of acquiring the rail corridor, the estimated cost of building a trail alongside the rail line is $32 million.

The rail trail might be viewed by some as an expensive project, but in the context of transportation, the cost is reasonable. The current Highway 1/17 interchange project is running at $53 million for 2.5 miles of work, the Metro bus service annual budget is $34 million, and a downtown parking garage costs approximately $9 million to build. So money spent for a 32-mile path that provides residents a way to walk or bike to work and to school, for exercise and family time is a worthwhile investment. The rail trail with views of the Monterey Bay would also serve as an eco-tourist attraction bringing in millions of dollars to the local economy.

It is time the leaders of Santa Cruz County invested in green transportation options by providing more travel choices along the underutilized rail corridor.

Piet Canin, Santa Cruz

Skeleton Watch

RE Feinstein resigns from MILCON subcommittee (News&Views, March 21): What in the world is going on inside the beltway?

Does everyone on both sides of the aisle, who were elected to do the people's work, have so many skeletons in the closet that no one but no one can stand up and say, "What the hell is going on!"

What a pitiful, disgusting, crooked, bunch of self-appointed watch dogs.

Harold R. Grant, Yardley, Pa.

No Excuses!

IN REGARD to the public's demand that the Jehovah's Witness land next to Frederick Street Park be purchased by the city and added to the park: Councilman Ryan Coonerty answers this with "I just don't see the funds available for it." Well, hell, I just don't see myself having any respect for that kind of do-nothing, cop-out response.

My, what a gutsy champion of the citizens--Coonerty and the city are just going to let the land slip out of their limp fingers and be wasted by massive houses. Oh, because "we just don't have millions of dollars sitting around." Coonerty's kind of new to the council--you would think he'd have a little more moxie and punch then to sing that tired old "no money" saw. How about "Yes, this land is very important to our East Side residents, I'm going to see what I can do, I'll juggle some funds around, I'll contact Sacramento, I'll initiate a parks trust. We'll get that land, by golly--serving the citizens as best I can is my duty as Councilman."

Anyone with a few marbles rolling in their skulls can say, "There's no money." Let Coonerty go back to his office and take a nap. We citizens will go to a more exertive official for help on this matter.

Theodore F. Meyer, Santa Cruz

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