Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: There was no way contractors could confuse our seedlings with rodent holes

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To the editor:

As a paddler with Outrigger Santa Cruz, I joined some of our members for a morning volunteering with Coastal Watershed planting native grasses along the levee between Laurel Street bridge and Water Street bridge. We had a very instructional and educational experience with CWC staff and the areas we planted were well marked and flagged.

There was no way one could miss where to plant or clear around our little seedlings.

To read that a contracted public works company, Pacifico, poured grout in what appeared to be rodent holes along our levee is so disheartening. I realize that our city must accept the lowest bid on projects, but “… skill, experience in terms of ability to perform …. has applicable license and permits, etc etc…” must be considered in accepting that low bid.

My experience is that many contractors, particularly in our labor market, are struggling to find workers. Low wages or not, many of our workers in a broad section of industries no longer are trained or educated in the tasks or areas of expertise they are hired to work in.

I do not know any of the circumstances surrounding the acceptance of this contractor to do this work, except that it was the lowest bid. The contractor must be accountable, and they must give the appropriate guidance, education, tools etc. to their employees.

Sounds to me like the employee did not know how to distinguish between a rodent hole and a seedling? I hope the public works department will have CWC staff at the table whenever they are looking at our levee work moving forward. Especially now that most of our high-end development along the levee is speculating that folks with money will want a vibrant, environmentally robust ecosystem along Santa Cruz’s future River Walk.

Elizabeth Johnson
Santa Cruz