Massive slaughterhouse closures are driving U.S. consumers to plant-based meat products, as sick workers pay the price.

     Tyson Foods, JBS USA, and Smithfield Foods, the largest meat processors, have closed 17 plants, devastating rural communities and threatening the nation’s meat supply. Production is already down by 25 percent.

    In reaction, U.S. sales of plant-based meats surged by 265 percent. Shares of Beyond Meat, a prominent plant-based meat brand, rallied by 60 percent.

     A Washington Post investigation found that coronavirus outbreaks in 48 U.S. meat packing plants have sickened at least 3,300 workers and killed 17.

     In addition to the generally accepted consumer health argument for avoiding animal food products, the pandemic has now added the worker health element. Production of plant-based meats requires much less labor and allows for physical distancing.

   We can all support the switch to healthy food on our next visit to our supermarket.

Preston Daniels, Santa Cruz

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I wish to offer my sincere appreciation to Mr Gelblum of Felton for interacting with our columns in the opinion section of the April 24th issue. I am genuinely thankful that he has taken the time to read them and respond, even if that response is to disagree. It is in the frank and civil exchange of different beliefs that we are all sharpened. All to the good. True tolerance is the acceptance that there are other ideas and beliefs besides your own. It is not the resignation that there is no ultimate difference between those beliefs. I do believe that what I believe is right, to the exclusion of other beliefs. To say otherwise would be to contradict myself. I dare say Mr. Gelblum too believes what he believes to be right, to the exclusion of, at the very least, what I profess. But is that intolerance? I would not call it so. 

To demonstrate my point, we actually agree that non-Christians can experience and know “the world to be a beautiful place, full of hope, joy, and reasons to pursue kindness…” as he elegantly said. I am grateful to count as friends honest and upright folks who do not name the name of Jesus. My argument is not that they do not exist, nor that they cannot experience in some measure the virtues mentioned. It is that at the root, apart from the reality of Jesus, not the belief in Jesus, but the reality of Jesus as presented in the Bible, these higher virtues experienced among all nations and cultures would not, and could not exist. Thus our constant call, as Christians, to turn to Christ and submit to Him. But that is the nub of our disagreement; and our discussion, for which I am grateful.

Joe Carlson

Trinity Bible Church

My name is Natalie, I am an Aptos resident. I am deeply concerned about the state of US election system and the threat to people's ability to vote posed by the pandemic. Experts estimate we need at least 4 billion dollars to make sure states can prepare for elections in the time of the coronavirus. Otherwise millions of voters might be disenfranchised. Congress passed 400 million which gets the process started but more options are needed: expanded vote by mail, early voting, online registration, etc. Congress must pass additional funding to make sure our November elections are safe and fair. Congress must provide additional funding for elections in the next stimulus package.

Natalie Beebe , Aptos

Hunkering in Place

Dear Editor,

Last week I drove to Nob Hill to pick up my e-groceries, the only outing I do.  Sitting in the parking lot I watched people coming and going  and noticed something that made me feel really good.  Everyone, I mean everyone, going into and out of the store or in the vicinity, had a mask on.  There were plain masks, Hawaiian prints, flower prints, painters masks, paper masks, and bandanas, people are creative.

Three young men were taking in used carts, stacking them together, and spraying them with disinfectant. They were laughing behind their masks and welcoming shoppers. People in the cars waiting for their Pickup put their masks on when the store shoppers came to deliver food into the trunks.

It ran smoothly, people were respectful, and everyone was doing their part. I’ve always felt great about the people of Santa Cruz, but this brought those feelings to a higher level.  So, thank you for hunkering, sheltering, staying home, and wearing masks. I’m proud of our community. What a great place to live.

Chris Moran, Ben Lomond

At the most recent meeting of the Board of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Director Lois Henry listed the actions the Board has taken in the last two years to save ratepayers money and improve reliability of water service.

Although the complete list is too long to fit here, it is worth reflecting on the importance of each item.

Established an Engineering Department with an in-house licensed Engineer

Eliminated lawsuits, saving attorneys’ fees

Contracted with a Fire Management Plan Consultant, who will apply for grants

Negotiated for FEMA to share the cost of the Lyon Tank access road repairs

Negotiated revision of the Fall Creek Fish Ladder specifications to save money

Completed the Upper Zayante Stream Wood Project with grant money

Purchasing a new property for the Swim Tank, increasing capacity and saving $500,000

Negotiating the sale of unused excess property

Replaced main lines

Completed the Probation Tank expansion

Scheduled the Lompico Tank replacement

Obtained a loan for $14,500,000 to be used for infrastructure improvements

Purchased 9 generators to be used during PG&E planned power outages at a cost of about $500,000.

Prohibited the use of glyphosate on District properties

Updated the website

Although some of these actions required increased expenditures of District funds, they will save money, protect the environment, and contribute to the health and safety of our community.

We applaud the Board’s decision to let the scheduled rate increase be implemented so that necessary improvements can continue.

In addition, the District has suspended shutoffs during the Corona Virus pandemic and is studying the possibility of establishing a Low Income Ratepayer Assistance program.

If you have suggestions or questions, please visit the website for the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, and attend a Board meeting, held monthly, on Zoom.

Cynthia Dzendzel, Felton

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              Many thanks to the Board of Directors of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District for their vote to consider providing rate assistance to low income customers. Our water bills will soon show a modest increase and the Board of Directors is concerned about those whose resources are already stretched to the breaking point.

              It is clear that there is an urgent and long-standing need to repair our aging and eroding infrastructure. Additionally, there are increasing costly regulations meant to keep our water supply safe.

             The upcoming rate increase is essential to maintain a safe and sustainable water supply. A portion of our low income population, often on fixed incomes, may struggle to pay these increased charges. It is only right that we help those who do not have the resources to pay their basic water charge. I applaud the Board of Directors for addressing this need

Elaine Fresco, Felton

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