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Opinion: July 8, 2020

Plus letters to the editor

Beaches were packed locally over the Fourth of July holiday. But some health experts say that’s not Santa Cruz’s biggest worry when it comes to the coronavirus. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

It’s probably no surprise that our Green Issue this year focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s easy to say, “Well, there’s already a lot of information out there.” But the thing is, so much of that “information” is misleading, flat-out wrong and even dangerous. The lies being spread—from the social media pages of everyday people all the way up to the president of the United States—are not just morally wrong, they are deadly. You would not believe some of the letters I’ve received from people right here in our county scolding me for promoting mask-wearing in the paper. It’s painful to read these letters and realize how many of their writers have been duped by toxic trash like Plandemic, the anti-science video that some very gullible people continue to believe despite the fact that a 30-second google search reveals how completely and thoroughly it has been debunked. You many think this is fringe stuff, but like the virus itself, people continue to pass it around.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a broader approach to this Green Issue, addressing not only how the coronavirus is affecting our ecosystem (in a piece by Andrew Steingrube that has some eye-opening information about the pandemic’s effect on the Earth), but also the latest and best information we have about how we can all help create an environment that keeps each other safe. Wallace Baine’s story also addresses the question of why so much misinformation and disinformation has gotten traction in this pandemic. Rest assured we’ll keep doing everything we can to counter it. 

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Commending Cummings

Re: “The Reformer” (GT, 7/1): I commend Mayor Cummings for his desire to move carefully and deliberately with the Santa Cruz city budget: “We need to have all the pieces in place before we start cutting.” The mayor also deserves praise for condemning vandalism during protests. Residents of neighborhoods in and around downtown do not need predictive policing to tell us that we will continue to endure vandalism, discarded hypodermic needles, theft, and other sorts of antisocial behavior. Neighborhood residents will continue to resist bad ideas, such as last year’s effort by the city to establish a campground next to the Calvary Preschool, the Boys & Girls Club, apartments, and other private homes. The wellbeing of residential neighborhoods must not be sacrificed for half-baked notions such as placing campgrounds adjacent to our homes. Finally, as a deterrent, why not increase foot patrols by Community Service Officers and Rangers?

Robert deFreitas | Santa Cruz

Hate is Pandemic

Re: “The Reformer”: Hate is pandemic! Police are representatives of the people. They consist of the people. The world observed, in person, the murder of a Black man on their TV or computer. Now we get it! George Floyd was a person. A human being. His murder by a cop captured all of us. Hit us between the eyes. No written words. We felt his slow agonizing murder personally. We heard him speak to his mother. His begging for air. Individually we were sickened. Incomprehensibly affected because he was a person. He was handcuffed. His legs held down. We watched him being murdered! 

Enough! The human race can only become humane when we value each other. When we look the other way so as not being involved, we diminish all of us. Silence is tantamount to complicity, to allowing hate and murder of our fellow person. 

As a former Washington D.C. police officer I suggest:

  1. Before hiring a cop, research their background thoroughly.
  2. Educate cops in the police academy concerning the value of all fellow humans.
  3. Make it clear that their job is to arrest felons and present them to the prosecutor only. Prosecution and penalties are strictly the job of others.
  4. Instruct police officers to never shoot anyone under any circumstances if they are trying to get away, be it running away on foot or by fleeing in a vehicle.
  5. Make chokeholds illegal as they can cause death.

Police serve their community. They are only as good and effective as their community allows. Their community is the majority. Police that are effective win over their community by treating everyone with dignity. Hence the community assists their police officers in solving crime. 

To defund the police is to devalue the justice system. Respect is earned. Police earn respect by giving respect. I would not be alive if I did not treat each person I arrested with respect. (I also had luck.) Still, I was injured many times in the performance of my chosen career field. Finally disabled and retired. 

Our nation was established by people that knew prejudice. Knew hate and dictatorships. They intellectually worked diligently to establish laws based on English Common law. They gave great thought concerning individual rights and a Constitution guaranteeing justice and individual freedom.

What we give to our children matters. What they learn from our modeling, they model to their children. (“It doesn’t fall far from the tree.”) Our planet keeps getting smaller as our technology advances. It is not a coincidence that the world looks to us for human rights. Our founding mothers/fathers wrote of those basic humane rights. Shockingly, we continue to strive without attainment! Together, and only together, will we get there. The world looks longingly and awaits.   

 Al Atlansky | Soquel

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