Reader responses to Needle Exchange, the city’s LED street lights and how a former San Lorenzo Valley resident and frequent attendant at county supervisorial meetings would have reacted to a recent change to the LAFCO panel.

Absence of Alice

I dearly wish Alice Wilder was still with us. She was the fiery lady from San Lorenzo Valley who attended any and all county supervisorial meetings and hearings to assure matters were given due attention. If only Alice could have witnessed the recent move by Supervisor Neal Coonerty to oust Supervisor John Leopold from a LAFCO panel because Mr. Leopold called for more water-consumption and land-impact research before proceeding further on the UCSC expansion application. I can see Mrs. Wilder bolting up and shaking her finger at him.

Granted, Mr. Coonerty is an educated person, and inclined to favor any projects which will enhance higher learning (and require truckloads of books), but he’s missing the big, greed-motivated picture. Has he ever heard of the Academic Senate Committee tucked away in the backroom of UCSC? This is a front which claims housing and facilities for junior faculty and students is necessary, when it fact it is an investment machine of Regents and financial affiliates who really got a boner over getting that Northwest campus development approved. “Higher learning” is the sacred chalice waved so it makes it OK to bulldoze redwoods, construct massive sprawl, exhaust city water supplies and gridlock the Westside in traffic. So our District One supervisor gets fired because he wants more LAFCO scrunity on this? What’s the deal, Neal?

Reinstate Leopold, he deserves a seat on the panel. Because as far as I know, all meetings and committees in the country are based on fair play, not one person who puts his special interests about the interests of the city residents.

Theodore F. Meyer III

Santa Cruz


Exchange Rates

Re: “Clean Sweep” (Currents, Feb. 13): Syringe exchange saves lives. End of sentence. Full stop. 

Due in part to the controversy in the United States, they have been studied and studied.  The scientific consensus is that they reduce the rate of HIV and hepatitis transmission in the community, and do not contribute in any way to increased drug use, unsafe discard of syringes, or increased crime. 

Syringe recovery and disposal is complicated, and goes far beyond drug users who are responsible for the minority of syringes in the environment. Syringe exchange is one way to get used syringes out of circulation, and properly disposed of through medical waste disposal. 

A program like this, run by volunteers, serving the least among us, deserves praise and support.

Glenn Backes


Now, On the Lighter Side

Re: “Glowing Pains” (Currents, Jan. 16): For being a so-called progressive and environmentally sensitive city, Santa Cruz has completely missed the boat here. Blue white LED are terrible for both wildlife and people's sleep, besides the issue of light pollution. Here is hoping any additional installations or bulb replacements use a somewhat redder and dimmer LED, and as always, full cut off fixtures.

Dr. Al Smith