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June 13-20, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Support Rail Solution

THANKS for the excellent article on transportation options ("Train, Train, Train," Nuz, April 11). One aspect of the discussion that is often overlooked: Do we plan for what is? Don't plan for what might just happen? Or, plan for what we'd like to see?

If the rail corridor were activated, other communities' experience suggests that rail stops would become the focus for more densely populated housing and commercial development. Such land-use would in turn increase the number of riders. This is an expected nexus of transportation and land use planning utilized in many communities in the USA and around the world. This approach reduces congestion, cuts reliance on the automobile, decreases pollution, diversifies the population mix throughout an area, and makes housing more affordable and jobs and businesses sustainable.

Rail would help shape the future of development in the county and three of the county's four cities. The resulting changes would in turn support public use of the rail corridor. Rapid changes in technology will determine best use of that corridor—whether light rail, buses or some combination of the two.

Planning for what we'd like to see has never been Santa Cruz's strength. The county appears committed to continued sprawl and car-based economic and transportation systems. Use of rail corridor would require midcounty supervisors to actually commit themselves to planning for a different future than the future they will get by default.

Proactive public use of the rail corridor would demonstrate better stewardship of the land, transportation, and other resources in Santa Cruz County than letting things follow their present course.

Scott Kennedy, Santa Cruz

Pride and Joy

IT'S BEEN a well-kept secret for many weeks now: someone in Santa Cruz is going to Washington, D.C., in June to accept a national award. She and one other woman from Boston were chosen out of all the activists and advocates for the homeless in the entire nation to receive the first annual Elaine Daley Morgan Award. The award is given for outstanding service to the homeless community, all over the country, both present and past.

The recipient's name is Joy Bright McCorkle. She is a well-known local poet and employee at the Mental Health Client Action Network for the last six years. Joy claims to be "retired" but never turns down a chance to actively help. She is "Mama Joy" to hundreds of people in Santa Cruz County and at 66 (who's counting)? Holds the confidences and problems of more people than a room full of social workers.

There will be more said about Joy's award, her activities, her trip to Washington, the people she meets there and the pride all of us in the system have for her. But this is just a leak of the barest information, aimed at getting Joy's name and her award into the public consciousness. It is exciting to be part of the consumer—or prosumer, as the culture of "chronic mentally ill" prefer to call themselves, no matter what stage of Recovery they are in—movement when people such as Joy are recognized for their selfless service.

Mael Dinnell, Santa Cruz

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