Letter to the editor: We need a real bridge over the Pajaro River at Murphy Crossing Road

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To the editor:

I often walked on the levee along the Pajaro River from the Pajaro’s mouth toward the bridge on Murphy Crossing Road between December 2019 and January 2020.

I noticed the bridge on Murphy Crossing Road was not only very low, but also some of the concrete barriers were cracked. I also noticed that both sides of the bridge were used as trash dumping sites.

I advocated to replace the bridge during the public comments period for the Pajaro River Flood Risk Management Project in early 2020. I was told by a staff member of Santa Cruz County that it would cost $1 million and that it was impossible.

Then, when I learned that the breach of the levee occurred near the Murphy crossing on March 11, I started to advocate for a real bridge.

I then learned that the bridge was a significant historical place for Filipino Americans by reading the poem “I Remember Tobera 1930“ by Filipino American poet Jeff Tagami. The bridge was the place where Fermin Tobera and his Filipino coworkers must have taken a rest and played after their hard work in the lettuce fields of the Murphy Ranch. They were shot by eight white people while they were sleeping in the midst of the Watsonville race riots in January 1930.

I have been talking about the bridge ever since. What I started to advocate for — a real bridge — about three years ago now has a group of 30 supporters behind it.

Takashi Mizuno