Letters

Opinion pieces submitted by our readers and our community of citizen-journalists. Views and opinions expressed on BenitoLink.com are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of BenitoLink, its sponsors, partners, staff, donors, affiliates or other contributors to this site.

4H Enrollments

4H is a hands on learning program for kids from kindergarten all the way through high school. Boys and girls in 4H get to be involved in a variety of projects. Each 4-H club has projects that kids can sign up for annually. This 4-H program is great for kids of many ages! Enroll today! The process is simple! Just go to 4-H Online or San Benito County 4-H website. For more information email the 4-H office at jkatawicz@ucanr.edu. Enrollments start July 1st! Sign up today!

"It is the policy of the University of California (UC) and the UC Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person in any of its programs or activities (Complete nondiscrimination policy statement can be found at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/215244.pdf ) Inquiries regarding ANR’s nondiscrimination policies may be directed to John I. Sims, Affirmative Action Compliance Officer/Title IX Officer, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2801 Second Street, Davis, CA 95618, (530) 750- 1397"

May 6, 2018

Hello Board President McAlister,

I am writing this email urging you to reconsider the reassignment of Charlene McKowen.

My name is Dr. Marty Krovetz. I have been a friend to Aromas-San Juan Unified School District since its inception and a friend to Anzar High School since before its inception. I am Professor Emeritus, Educational Leadership, San Jose State University, where I served for 15 years. I was a high school principal in Santa Cruz for 14 years before that.

Rationale for you to reconsider your position:
• On your Board agenda for this week is the Strategic Plan. Three of the five focus areas are relevant to this conversation. (1) Provide excellent 21st Century Instruction, (3) Recruit and retain excellent staff, (5) Enable greater engagement for students and family. Anzar is an exceptional school. This is demonstrated by the passionate voices of past and current students, parents and Board members. Anzar is recognized nationally through the Coalition of Essential School for its commitment to equity, exhibitions, advisory, shared decision-making, community service, and community engagement. No one is saying that Anzar could not improve in the three areas above, but lots of people are saying that Anzar is doing a much better job than the vast majority of high schools in this region and nationally.
• When a leader is as exceptional as Charlene McKowen, one should celebrate her contributions and upcoming retirement. As you know, she is one of the original teachers at Anzar. She has served as principal since the principalship was established. Anzar characterizes all three of the focus areas for your strategic plan, not meaning it cannot do better, but it is an exceptional school. Charlene is a primary reason for this excellence.
• Strong leaders work with and develop relationships with other strong leaders. They do not allow themselves to be intimidated by strong leaders. Clearly the superintendent does not like Charlene. Instead of championing Charlene’s leadership strengths, she has asked the Board to dismiss Charlene. The Board should be questioning the leadership quality of your superintendent, who has no background in public schools as a teacher or administrator. This email is not about the superintendent, but her leadership ability must be questioned. Hiring and evaluating a superintendent is one of the most important responsibilities the Board has.
• Can the school district really afford two principals? As I understand it from the meeting at Anzar last Tuesday night, the intent is to have two principals in the Fall and reassign Charlene in the Spring. Given the amount of effort many Anzar parents give to raising money for the school, and given the increasing larger class sizes, opposition to this reassignment can be justified simply on financial grounds. School Boards were initially designed to assure financial stability of schools. Your duty is still primarily, above all else, to do that well.
• Many of the school administrators in the four counties that San Jose State University serves received their administrative credential in the program I chaired for many years. I cannot imagine a high quality, current school leader applying for the principalship as the Board has currently defined it. This is not about the revised job description which is on the agenda this week. It is about the treatment of a recognized outstanding and long serving principal. A current principal or assistant principal should do her/his homework and will not see this as a healthy career choice.
• When Anzar was founded, the staff and parents developed a list of “Givens”, essential practices to guide the school. They were known by the Board and reviewed annually. They have been the guiding principles for Anzar for 24 years. Whatever you do, please assure that the Board knows these and that Anzar continues using them as the guiding principles.
• I have an option for you to consider, and perhaps to bring to the Board. Allow Charlene to serve as principal for 2018-19. In the Fall advertise for the principalship. Hire someone to serve as the assistant principal/principal designee for Spring semester, working along side Charlene. Honor and celebrate Charlene and allow her to truly mentor the new principal. Several strong school leaders whom I know and could recommend for this position might consider applying under these circumstances.

Drew, I have heard only good things about you. I hope you will consider what I write here. I cannot attend the Board meeting on Wednesday night, or I would attend and say all of this. I would be honored if you would call me to talk about this – 831-239-9612.

I want to remind you that public education is a public good, one of the most important public goods.

I am also sending a similar email to Board member Flores.

Sincerely,
ML Krovetz
Dr. Martin L. Krovetz

May 6, 2018

Hello Board President McAlister,

I am writing this email urging you to reconsider the reassignment of Charlene McKowen.

My name is Dr. Marty Krovetz. I have been a friend to Aromas-San Juan Unified School District since its inception and a friend to Anzar High School since before its inception. I am Professor Emeritus, Educational Leadership, San Jose State University, where I served for 15 years. I was a high school principal in Santa Cruz for 14 years before that.

Rationale for you to reconsider your position:
• On your Board agenda for this week is the Strategic Plan. Three of the five focus areas are relevant to this conversation. (1) Provide excellent 21st Century Instruction, (3) Recruit and retain excellent staff, (5) Enable greater engagement for students and family. Anzar is an exceptional school. This is demonstrated by the passionate voices of past and current students, parents and Board members. Anzar is recognized nationally through the Coalition of Essential School for its commitment to equity, exhibitions, advisory, shared decision-making, community service, and community engagement. No one is saying that Anzar could not improve in the three areas above, but lots of people are saying that Anzar is doing a much better job than the vast majority of high schools in this region and nationally.
• When a leader is as exceptional as Charlene McKowen, one should celebrate her contributions and upcoming retirement. As you know, she is one of the original teachers at Anzar. She has served as principal since the principalship was established. Anzar characterizes all three of the focus areas for your strategic plan, not meaning it cannot do better, but it is an exceptional school. Charlene is a primary reason for this excellence.
• Strong leaders work with and develop relationships with other strong leaders. They do not allow themselves to be intimidated by strong leaders. Clearly the superintendent does not like Charlene. Instead of championing Charlene’s leadership strengths, she has asked the Board to dismiss Charlene. The Board should be questioning the leadership quality of your superintendent, who has no background in public schools as a teacher or administrator. This email is not about the superintendent, but her leadership ability must be questioned. Hiring and evaluating a superintendent is one of the most important responsibilities the Board has.
• Can the school district really afford two principals? As I understand it from the meeting at Anzar last Tuesday night, the intent is to have two principals in the Fall and reassign Charlene in the Spring. Given the amount of effort many Anzar parents give to raising money for the school, and given the increasing larger class sizes, opposition to this reassignment can be justified simply on financial grounds. School Boards were initially designed to assure financial stability of schools. Your duty is still primarily, above all else, to do that well.
• Many of the school administrators in the four counties that San Jose State University serves received their administrative credential in the program I chaired for many years. I cannot imagine a high quality, current school leader applying for the principalship as the Board has currently defined it. This is not about the revised job description which is on the agenda this week. It is about the treatment of a recognized outstanding and long serving principal. A current principal or assistant principal should do her/his homework and will not see this as a healthy career choice.
• When Anzar was founded, the staff and parents developed a list of “Givens”, essential practices to guide the school. They were known by the Board and reviewed annually. They have been the guiding principles for Anzar for 24 years. Whatever you do, please assure that the Board knows these and that Anzar continues using them as the guiding principles.
• I have an option for you to consider, and perhaps to bring to the Board. Allow Charlene to serve as principal for 2018-19. In the Fall advertise for the principalship. Hire someone to serve as the assistant principal/principal designee for Spring semester, working along side Charlene. Honor and celebrate Charlene and allow her to truly mentor the new principal. Several strong school leaders whom I know and could recommend for this position might consider applying under these circumstances.

Drew, I have heard only good things about you. I hope you will consider what I write here. I cannot attend the Board meeting on Wednesday night, or I would attend and say all of this. I would be honored if you would call me to talk about this – 831-239-9612.

I want to remind you that public education is a public good, one of the most important public goods.

I am also sending a similar email to Board member Flores.

Sincerely,
ML Krovetz
Dr. Martin L. Krovetz

I am still in shock after reading the comment by Neil Kitchens at the candidate forum held last week, He said that "the state of california releases rapists and arrests people who give you a plastic straw". These are dog whistle messages in my opinion, that remind us of Trump's remarks about refugees coming from the south who are mainly rapists, murderers and drug dealers. The plastic straw remark was a dig at the brave scientists and ordinary citizens who are doing their best to educate us about the present dangers of plastic in the ocean(a gyre the size of Texas) and the air (where recent studies show 90% of the world population are affected by air pollution) and a study citing the presence of billions of minute plastic particles in the air that are poisoning us now. He is obviously in agreement with Trump that our global climate crises is a hoax Even more dismaying to me was the response of the public listening to the forum. The newspaper reported that Neil Kitchens' remarks were met with boisterous laughter and approval from many of our residents at the forum. When the biggest challenges to human life on earth are made the butt of sarcastic, "jokes" and met with public approval, we are finished folks and maybe deserve what's coming!

natasha wist

hollister

Editor:

It’s no surprise some politicians fudge their credentials during a campaign, but I was still surprised to see one candidate for the open Assembly District 30 seat hide behind a badge, as though he’s some crime fighter.  For the past few weeks, I have been noticing signs for Mr. Leroe pop up around the region, with a symbol intended to portray an official law enforcement badge.   

Peter Leroe did serve a short stint as a rookie assistant district attorney in San Benito County, but that role apparently didn’t suit him. Instead, he spent the bulk of his career as a corporate attorney in Silicon Valley, promoting the interests of large corporations outside of our community and out of the district he claims to represent.  In fact, that is his current job – he is a corporate attorney based in San Jose.  

After doing some research online, I learned that his ballot designation for the 2018 June Primary Election is that of “Legal Officer.”  Why is this important?  A candidate’s ballot designation is used to describe their current profession. It is what voters will see when making their final decision.  The correct and honest description for Mr. Leroe would be “corporate Lawyer,” but I assume that term did not test well in polling, so Mr. Leroe decided to try to make himself a cop – or an officer of some sort.  

What he is trying to do is mislead the public and that’s the last thing we want in an elected official. 

A badge is earned and represents the hard work, the time, and the commitment to protecting and serving our community. It shouldn’t be a prop used to fool voters. The hardworking men and women who have earned the right to wear the badge deserve to be represented by elected officials who are committed to public service and will fight for adequate resources so they can do their jobs and keep our streets safe. 

This is what turns people off to politics.  

I encourage voters to do their research, and vote for the candidate who is honest and displays integrity. 

Sincerely,
Jon Wizard

Retired Deputy Sheriff
San Benito County Sheriff’s Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monterey Bay Aging and Disability Resource Coalition (MBADRC) to host Assembly District 30 Forum in May

Salinas, CA – Are you concerned with issues facing older adults or persons with disabilities? Come, listen, and participate in this special Assembly District 30 Candidate Forum to hear the candidates share their vision for meeting the needs of California’s fastest growing age group, including issues of housing, long-term care, transportation, and services needed as we age and/or are disabled. The Forum, sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aging and Disability Resource Coalition (MBADRC) is Thursday, May 10th from 9:00 -11:30 A.M. at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. The event is open to the public, and will feature District 30 candidates Bill Lipe, Neil G. Kitchens, Robert Rivas, Peter Leroe-Munoz and Trina Coffman-Gomez. The community will have the opportunity to have questions answered and concerns addressed related to the disability and older adult population. We need elected officials who will be leaders and champions for disability and aging issues.

Lead MBADRC leaders are the Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCCIL), Seniors Council of Santa Cruz/San Benito counties, and the Monterey County Area Agency on Aging. Some members of the MBADRC include the Alliance on Aging, Health Projects, Central California Alliance for Health to name a few.

This Candidate Forum follows the nonpartisan, unbiased and impartial format established by the MBADRC. For this reason, we ask that no campaign material is disseminated before, during or after the forum.
• Thursday, May 10, 2018
• Time: 9:00 am to 11:30 am
• Location: National Steinbeck Center – 1 Main Street, Salinas, CA 93901
• Limited Space: 100 Seats Available

For more information about upcoming events and/or to submit your questions contact Maria Magaña at mmagana@cccil.org , visit CCCIL’s Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/CCCILPAGE/ or call (831) 757-2968 Ext. 25. To RSVP, please register at https://senior-disabled-district30assemblycandidateforum.eventbrite.com.

Just yesterday I watched a documentary on the playwright Arthur Miller. The same Arthur Miller that was accused by the House Unamerican Activities Committee of being a communist. He wrote a play called “The Crucible” about the Salem witch trials that showed the harmful effects of infective and accusations destroying women without cause, just like the HUAC did to many back in the fifties.

This Benito Link article reminded me of that documentary and what happened in Salem those many years ago.  You attacked a family man and father on basically the word of a parent who disliked him.  There were never any charges brought against Mr. Schatz and the district did not do anything about it until eight years later when Mr. Schatz became the lead negotiator for the teachers’ union.  Then they basically paid him to resign.  Why?  If he did something  that would cause him to be fired, why not fire him.  They obviously knew they did not have a case against him.

I am extremely disappointed in Benito Link for this article and will not in any way donate money in the future to support this type of character assassination. 

Prom and Graduation plans can easily derail if dangerous choices are made.

In 1992, I was 16 and an athlete at Tracy High School. My eventful life as a Junior ended when a drunken driver hit me.

My teenage life was then filled with surgeries and therapy. With my condition, I was unable to study at any college, like Gavilan College, independently.

My hearing, talking and walking are damaged, and I cannot drive. I never imagined living like this.

I am thankful people are slowly learning to not drive drunk. Please, continue that.

We are in the age of technology. A new driving threat comes: cellphones.

As a teenager, I only saw them in science fiction films. I see them everywhere now!

Driving drunk and cellphones both cause distraction and impair driving. Each can cause drivers to follow too closely, not brake on time or weave into traffic.

Texting is common. You could be driving in a neighborhood checking your e-mail and run into a car or even a pedestrian.

If your phone rings when driving, do not check the message. The speed and location does not matter. Taking one look could be your last.

People kill people, phones do not. Drivers must police themselves and avoid the cellphone and drinking when driving.

Lori Martin
Tracy, California

The new year is a popular time to re-examine our current habits and make healthy lifestyle changes. An estimated 44% of Americans set personal goals this month, nearly half are health related. I am a registered dietitian and health coach in Hollister and help people make healthy lifestyle changes. While goal setting can be exciting, there are a few SMART steps you can take to improve your chances of success. I have used this proven method with my clients, and recommend it to anyone who wants to create change in their lives.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the key points to remember when setting goals. This system provides structure and guidance throughout the process.
Specific: “I will eat a healthy diet” is too vague. Make it more specific like “I will eat more fruits and vegetables” or “I will eat less sugar”. Focus on no more than 3 goals at a time. Print your goals and post them in places you will see them and be reminded of your intentions.
Measurable: Your goals should include details that you can measure, like “I will eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day” or “I will exercise 5 times this week”.
Attainable: Don’t pressure yourself into making extreme goals that are hard to reach. Start small and enjoy your success.
Realistic: You want to make sure your goal is something you can actually achieve, or you will only be disappointed and quit. For example, if you have 50 pounds to lose, start with a 10-pound goal. Also have a plan for what you’ll do when obstacles arise (and they likely will).
Time-Bound: Your goal should have a deadline, so that you can track your progress. I recommend you set monthly goals and track weekly. That way you have enough time to break the old habit and create new one. It helps to share your goals with a supportive friend or relative who will agree to follow up with you weekly on your progress.
Lastly, be sure to celebrate your success with a healthy reward. You’ve earned it!
HEALTHY LOCAL TIPS
Our county is brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. Some that are in season now include: winter squash, apples, arugula, beans, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, kale, lettuce, zucchini, and much more. Visit http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/CAmontereyfarmmarkets.php and https://www.localharvest.org/hollister-ca/farms for fresh local options. You can also have fresh, local organic foods delivered to you through CSA’s (community supported agriculture programs). Visit http://eatwiththeseasons.com/ for more information.
Signing up for an active event is a great motivator to stick with an exercise plan. Plus, it connects you with other health minded people. You can find local active events year-round with a variety of activities and levels. The Rotary Mission 10 in San Juan Bautista is coming up on January 27th and the proceeds go to charity. You can find information about what’s coming up by checking the calendar on BenitoLink, as well as other local sources, such as SBC Chamber of Commerce, Mission Village Voice, Hollister Downtown Assoc., and San Juan Committee. If you prefer exercise to be a solitary experience, there are plenty of places to enjoy a nice hike, walk, or jog right here in San Bento County. Check out the "Walking San Benito" series by Jim Ostdick on BenitoLink, which features many walking opportunities. Here’s to the new year and to creating healthy habits!

A ‘bittersweet’ departure- 11/03/17

It is with mixed feelings and a heavy heart that I say farewell. I first joined the Clerk, Auditor, Recorder, and Elections Departments in January 2012, fresh out of college. I have enjoyed my tenure here and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work with great people. Thank you for the support, guidance, and encouragement you have provided me during my time at San Benito County.

Of course, I also want to recognize the amazing work and commitment of volunteers that give their time to help the Elections Department by volunteering each election – especially for sticking with me for the last 6 years. I hope that you will continue to support the Elections Department.

I will miss you.

Sincerely,

Francisco Diaz
Staff Analyst, 2017
Bilingual Sr. Deputy Clerk, 2012-2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Congratulations Council Member Roy Sims II. I wish you well and look forward to seeing your good works.
I would like to thank those who endorsed my candidacy: the incumbent Mr. Victor Gomez, the Hollister Police Officers” Association and the Hollister Firefighters’ Union. I would like to thank my wife Denise and my two sons Jeremy and Tayler for their support. Thanks to the residents in my neighborhood for signing the petition which allowed for me to run for office and for tolerating my campaign signage.
A special thanks to the 1,396 individuals (a respectable 44.21%) of those who voted for me. I truly appreciate your support! In the future I intend to review Council agendas and comment during the “Public Comment” sessions of Council meetings on items of interest. If you would like to contact me in the future I can be reached through my e mail address or new Face book and Twitter accounts.
Until Mr. Gomes announced that he did not intend to seek re election I had no intention of running for public office. Now that I have experienced the process I would strongly encourage others to consider running for public office in the future. It was eye opening and an incredible experience! The experience reinforced for me what I already knew; Hollister has its’ challenges but is still a great place to live. I met some incredible people in the 8 weeks leading up to the election. Interests and concerns shared with me ranged from concern about the lack of adequate public safety and school resources to traffic congestion and environmental concerns.
This election results clearly demonstrated the commitment of Hollister residents by their overwhelming approval of Measures U, V and W.
In the near future the City Council will be dealing with several high profile, difficult and complicated matters such as; the regulation of medicinal and recreational cannabis, to have or not have the motorcycle rally, to have or not have the air show and future residential development.
The Council’s decisions will have a lasting impact. Whether you run for public office or not it is important that we as the residents of Hollister remain aware and informed of what is happening in our neighborhoods, our community and our city. Not only is it our right, but it is our responsibility and duty to stay engaged.
Step up, be engaged, volunteer, and get involved. It’s our city! Thanks again.
Best Regards,
Tim Burns
Resident District 4, tobrienburns@gmail.com

Anyone who has experience with code enforcement in San Benito County will not be surprised by the tragic warehouse fire in Oakland on December 2, 2016.

Most people would like to see improvements to our area roadways, especially the "mangled" streets in Hollister, and solutions to our intra-county transit issues. However, the way Measure P is written can be viewed upon as a rush to solutions that are based on emotion rather than proper considerations given.  The expenditure plan for this measure, as it is written, does not make sense!  Consider the following:

  • 50 percent would be used for Hwy 25 improvements? The proposed Hwy. 152/Shore Road/Hwy 25/Hwy. 101 connection has yet to begin.  Besides, we don't even own Hwy. 25 so why make a 30 year commitment to do something the State should do on its own? 
  • Hwy. 156 West to San Juan Bautista is already planned for a four-lane improvement by the state. This will be their responsibility to maintain.

Measure P needs to be postponed and better thought out. 100 percent of any 30-year "special tax" revenue must be earmarked to benefit locally-owned county and city roads and streets, not state-owned highways, and to improve county transit issues. At this time, vote NO on Measure P.

John Ucovich, Hollister

An Opportunity to say “Thank You”

 

On Thursday, Nov. 12, on the occasion of our Community Foundation for San Benito County sponsored National Philanthropy Day, and whose venue was San Juan Oaks, I sat at the head of a beautifully appointed table.

It was positioned in a panoramic way as to allow me to view my lovely Women’s Club of Hollister attendees, who are so much a part of my extended family. I use the word panoramic, reflecting upon the word “panorama" and learning that it is a photograph - especially one that is unrolled gradually in front of the spectator.

And, gradually the unrolling occurred . . .

To my direct right, was my husband, Murray, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to the Women’s Club, at any significant level.  He was the extra shoulder when mine was dislocated and had to be replaced at Stanford.  He was my right leg when the surgery and subsequent healing process, left me with the inability to walk steadily. Murray, co-creator of so many projects – “load the car…unload the car …set-up…take down.”  “No, Joan, the Flamingo egg needs another coat of paint!” Murray, who knows so many of our members by their first names and their cell numbers . . .

The chair at the head of the table would have been empty if it had not been for Dr. Daniel Wang who two-and-a-half weeks before was watching the pulse rate: “47-45-40-35-30 . . .” Enter, the front door of Hazel Hawkins Hospital, ICU, the temporary pace maker without a significant amount of anesthetic – too dangerous! 10:30 p.m. – looking over the sheets, watching Dr. Wang’s face, listening to Roger Hewes, from Respiratory Therapy describing what he was doing…looking for Murray, seeing Heather Shepherd my ICU Nurse (who provided that Oh! so important continuity of care, by extending her 12-hour shift) . . . Hearing that I was to be air flighted to Stanford. “No! Dr. Wang won’t be there.” “Father Heibar won’t be there.”   “My friends won’t be there.”  Then, hearing Dr. Wang say to Dr. Moheyuddin “Joan’s staying here.”…Hearing the Nurses discuss putting a special sling on my right arm so there can’t be the slightest movement. …Hearing my husband say, after the sling moved and showed a number that was cause for considerable concern:  “I’ll sit next to Joan and hold her arm”. And, so he did…Throughout the night, and until all was in readiness for surgery the following day.

The panorama – the ultimate setting – the ultimate sense of being embraced by those I love so much: Cindy Biesemeyer, Martha Blaser, Glenda Goldstone, Kathy Kessler, Irene Hurtado, Laura Lee, Suzanne Stalder, Bonnie Wilkinson–watching their smiles-watching their eyes…

…Looking into the room and seeing this exquisite love affair being replicated in the world of dozens of non-profits.

The iconic photo appeared on the screen (thanks to Cindy Biesemeyer and Kathy Kessler) - I, as the mother Flamingo with Cindy’s granddaughter, Tyler, as my Baby. There was laughter throughout the room and at our table.  I laughed too.  Perhaps, no one saw my tears as I thanked God, my Physician, Dr. Wang, my surgeon, Dr. Moheyuddin, my pastor, Father Heibar, my husband, Murray, and each of the members of the Women’s Club of Hollister for allowing me to sit at the table that night . . .

What kind of person digs up three lovely, tall thriving Hibiscus plants from a church's landscaping area, out front? That really happened just a week ago. Well, all I can say is God bless you! You needed them more than God! Where will it end? Will we let a neighbor who has toiled for seasons producing prize winning specimens of gorgeous varieties labor all for nothing? Someone may say, "Well, I'll let you smell them, but after that they are mine to claim!

As a community I hope we will watch out for these signs that are trivial but alarming! I mean, come on, who steals flowers from church property? Is this the New Low? How low can you go? Lower than that? Really?

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