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October 24-31, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Don't Fantasize, Unionize!

IT WAS CONCERNING that, although asked several times by Metro Santa Cruz, new economic development manager Jeremy Neuner really had no response to the problem of Santa Cruz's lack of "good, normal, middle-class jobs" ("Young and Rich," News & Views, Oct. 10). His analysis—"your mid- to late-20th-century manufacturing jobs, I just don't think we're going to get those. What we're going to get instead are the kind of design jobs and those will have maybe steps along the way that start out as a technician"—leaves little hope for blue-collar workers.

But there is hope, when we look back just a bit. Those good manufacturing jobs were poverty-level sweatshop jobs at the beginning of the 20th century in the United States. Over several decades, workers organized unions and pushed to create the great American middle-class in auto, mining, steel and other manufacturing industries. We face a similar situation now at the beginning of the 21st century with low-income service sector jobs, especially in the tourism/hospitality industry here. Those jobs are here to stay, as companies cannot ship the work of housekeepers overseas. If we are to rebuild the middle class, we must make this new largest sector of jobs—service jobs—into middle-class jobs.

Organizing, joining, and supporting unions is history worth repeating. It is our best hope for bringing back the good, normal, middle-class jobs Santa Cruz has lost.

Mark Weller, Seaside
The author is a researcher with UNITEHERE! Local 483.

Save the Trees

THANK YOU for your informative article about the state parks ("The State of the Parks," cover story, Oct. 17). While everyone is concerned about global warming in the future, people need to remember it's just as important to preserve the natural areas we have managed to save. There is a very beautiful park in downtown Santa Cruz that was just damaged by the city. The trees on the riverbank of San Lorenzo Park were just cut back to prevent the homeless from sleeping under them. The area looks ravaged, with sawdust and logs still left on the ground. I sent a letter a week ago to the City Council members. No response as yet.

Joyce Keller, Santa Cruz

Um, Missed A Few

I WAS THRILLED to see your coverage of the plight of our state parks system. I was also disappointed to see some major omissions. The first of these was the lack of any mention of the California State Parks Foundation, which is "the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent State Parks." Your readers can learn more about the Foundation and how to join and support the parks by visiting  

Secondly, while your "parks guide" included Pogonip and the UCSC trail system, neither of which is maintained by the State Parks, you neglected to list the several beautiful state beaches in our area, which ARE run under the protection of the state parks. Some of these were mentioned in your article, but they deserve a listing in your guide for their camping and picnicking sites, their unrivaled natural beauty and surf, and the unique natural wonders featured by each: the historical cement ship at Seacliff, the Monterey Bay cliff views at New Brighton's campground, the monarch butterflies at Natural Bridges, the elephant seals at Año Nuevo.

   I urge your readers to get involved with the State Parks Foundation and to continue to enjoy our local state beaches and parks, including for special events and parties. My husband and I were just married at New Brighton, and our memories of that cliff view and natural setting will forever be a part of our lives together ...

especially as we celebrate our future anniversaries camping there.

Diane Putnam, Santa Cruz

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