Letters to the Editor: Great Greenbelt Alliance workshop for a healthier future

These letters to the editor of the Gilroy Dispatch are from three Greenbelt Alliance members including a board member of Gilroy Demonstration Garden and two residents of San Jose and Watsonville. All three critiques differ, but all express the feelings that something needs to done about the awareness of healthy living, to the management and priority of tax payer money with more focus on education.

Dear Editor,

 I attended Greenbelt Alliance’s Wildlands, Food & Your Health workshop on June 16 and thought it was a challenging, but overall positive event.

Greenbelt Alliance has worked for many years with Santa Clara County residents to protect our natural resources, promote economically viable local farming and create more opportunities for residents to enjoy our beautiful open spaces.

It was disappointing to see that a few attendees came with their own agenda and “rights” that they felt superseded everyone else’s right to listen. Misspeaking, rudely interrupting, and misinterpreting speakers content – they almost managed to take hostage the agenda.

Despite this, a group vote by the majority of attendees put us back on track. I appreciated the opportunity to think creatively and critically about my community; and have a hand in giving early input into the health-related portions of Santa Clara County’s General Plan.

In South County we can often feel like the forgotten bunch, and it was refreshing to think that someone cared about our voice and our views.

Hosted in our beautiful new library, a panel of local, knowledgeable speakers presented on three key topics.

Susan Stuart from Santa Clara County Department of Public Health spoke about health issues in the county and how the Health Element hopes to improve everyone’s ability to make healthy choices and to lead a healthier life.

Matt Freeman from the Open Space Authority connected health with South County’s open spaces and natural resources, as well as the challenges of creating-maintaining open space.

Miriam Volat from California Food System Alliance Network spoke about agriculture land availability and its nexus with health and access to local, fresh food.

All of these speakers created a strong foundation and a nice beginning point of conversation that culminated with a lovely lunch hosted in our very own Gilroy Demonstration Garden – a jewel in our community.

I noticed from earlier letters to the editor that there seems to be some misinformation about the event, and wanted to share a different viewpoint.

I look forward to continuing to participate in planning for a healthier community, and to promoting healthy choices and lifestyles. Given our demographics and high rates of obesity and diabetes, we have much to benefit from this type of conversation. I do believe in positive change, and love the fact that, increasingly, I see our community walking and riding their bikes around town.

I appreciate the partnership of local organizations like Greenbelt Alliance and the Gilroy Demonstration Garden  in helping to organize conversations such as these.

Kudos to the Greenbelt Alliance for staying the course despite some challenges. For local access to healthy gardening and lifestyles throughout the year, contact the Demonstration Garden at friendsofthegarden@yahoo.com. You can also visit us on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 7360 Eigleberry. Just look for the beautiful sunflowers!

Everything we grow is also sold at our local farmers market, corner of 7th/Monterey, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a healthy movement afoot, bring your friends and come be a part of it!

Dale Thielges, Board member Gilroy Demonstration Garden


 

State in the hole $16 billion and we’re going to build a

’high-speed train to Coalinga’

Dear Editor,

The state is underwater $16 billion. Three cities are bankrupt.

The University of California will raise tuition fees if new taxes are not passed by voters in November.

Meanwhile, there is no mention of cutting the salaries of the executives and staff at UC Berkeley. No mention of cutting the huge bureaucracy at the university and whole state.

At the same time we are building a high-speed train to Coalinga.

Is there anyone in our government that is capable of simple arithmetic?

Keith C. De Filippis, San Jose


 

Striking incongruity in articles on education … America, a third-world force?

Dear Editor,

Alternate reality alert! Recently there were two articles that fit together like an open bar at a temperance meeting.

A task force, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein, former chancellor of the NYC school system concluded that, “The nation’s security and economic prosperity is at risk if America’s schools don’t improve.”

While understanding that this is more than obvious, I flipped to another page to find that the Cal State University system is turning thousands of students away for the spring term. Not only that, but it could get worse next year and beyond.

So, let’s see, education is vital to our nation’s security and prosperity, yet, if one wants an education, sorry, no openings. Rice and Klein were primarily addressing public schools, but what good is a decent high school education if you can’t take it to the next level?  We all know that there are no “real” jobs that only require a high school degree.

I guess the very rich can send their kids to private schools and a private university, but this is a small percentage of the population, not nearly enough to sustain this country’s standard of living, production and prosperity. I don’t know if it’s the politicians on one hand, afraid to confront the people who don’t want to pay taxes or the educational status quo on the other, or perhaps the public who want a million dollar education for pocket change.

Whatever the reasons, we are headed down the road toward being a third world country.

Meade Fischer, Watsonville

 

These letters to the editor originally appeared in the Gilroy Dispatch.

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