Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Metro harassment story ‘sensationalized’

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To the editor:

I am writing in regard to the article “I’m 16 and got sexually harassed on the Santa Cruz Metro — why aren’t there safeguards to protect me?” by Izabella Leon.

Please fact-check her inaccurate article, as the SC Metro DOES have “safeguards” in place, including training for EVERY Metro driver, security on site and the main locations, a customer-service phone number and video cameras.

Ms. Leon failed to do any fact-checking before writing the sensationalized article. Her own Instagram photo shows a young girl posing with her tongue out, instead of the traumatized young lady I visualized based on her writing. She failed to mention ANY facts based on statistics for Santa Cruz County, and mixed her data with Santa Clara County, which is operated by a completely different company. The information is scattered and vague at best, first stating she was attacked on a bus, then at a bus stop. Which is correct and WHY didn’t she speak out, IF SHE DOESN’T WANT TO CARRY PEPPER SPRAY?

She mentioned the San Francisco system as well and the safeguards it has in place, again, not fact checking WHY. The city received extra money for that specific program BECAUSE San Francisco has a high rate of issues.

Santa Cruz County is a much smaller area and a smaller budget, however, it DOES track complaints, keeps photos of persons banned from the Metro, and HAD she spoken up when the incident occurred, the Metro would have aided her in dealing with her “harasser.”

She spun a tale of repeated offenses, no desire to protect herself, no mention of ASKING for help, no video of the offender and NO PROOF! Yet you published her story as facts, and set an atmosphere of fear for the young riders on the SC Metro. While all minors can ride for free, perhaps they should be accompanied by a responsible adult, as the Metro employees are not required to ASK EVERY PASSENGER if they need assistance or IF someone is making them feel uncomfortable!

Her simple failure to take the step of asking for assistance, walking away, carrying her pepper spray, and standing UP FOR HERSELF, created a situation that I find difficult to believe in this case. Her “alternative facts” and creative writing skills are extremely evident in this article. The fact that she decided to hold a GOOD COMMUNITY SERVICE at fault for this situation is truly sad.

Perhaps you should teach your intern how to write a FACT-BASED and ACCURATE article.

As a woman and a Metro rider all my life, I am saddened to see this article presented as facts. DO BETTER!

Tisha J Vogt