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April 23, 2021

Letters to the Editor, April 2

Fine line was crossed

Trust in the media is in decline. It’s one of the reasons our country finds itself more divided today than we have been in recent memory. One of the reasons for this erosion of trust is the softening of the traditional lines that separate the newsroom from the editorial page.

In an earlier news era, reporters would never be allowed to offer opinions on the subjects of their coverage. You might occasionally find a crime reporter offering an opinion piece on an unrelated issue. But that reporter would never be allowed to publish opinions about the local police department while actively covering its activities.

Shrinking news budgets mean fewer staffers. But this shouldn’t result in the final elimination of the line between an unbiased reporter and an opinion columnist. The first responsibility of journalism is to inform not to opine.

Recently, the Press Banner allowed a reporter to cross this line. I’m hopeful that in the future the editorial team will instead look to local agencies, elected officials, organizations and community experts to provide guest commentary as many other outlets have done for decades.

The Press Banner is a valuable institution. To remain so, it must continue to earn the public’s trust.

Jayme Ackemann, Ben Lomond

Climate change must be taken seriously

The Scotts Valley City Council should not be surprised at the scope of Senate Bill 1383, the Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Act. This has been a major conversation for public works organizations since 2016, and especially since the regulations were finalized in December of 2020. These state regulations are not slowing down. The city needs to create or assign a position as a central point of responsibility for all things environmental and sustainability, preferably in the City Manager’s office. This person could coordinate among the various silos of government and really create public value—primarily by turning these environmental challenges into opportunities for Scotts Valley to be more ambitious. 

The Active Transportation Plan is one example of a community-led effort demonstrating sustainability and planning in practice—it will set us up to capture grant funds, improve quality of life and create resiliency for our infrastructure. In the same way, collecting green waste is not a burden to be avoided, it is a baseline that our community should have been prepared for long ago. SB 1383 is a climate change law. The burden of state rules pales in comparison with the potential for catastrophic climate impacts to our infrastructure. It is unknown exactly what risks climate change will present to our community. It is prudent to be more conservative in our assumptions about future risk and, at the same time, more ambitious to be leaders in sustainability.

Andre Duurvoort, Ben Lomond


Commentaries and letters to the editor on our Opinion pages reflect the opinions of the authors. We welcome letters to the editor and commentaries on all topics of local interest. Email your submissions to [email protected] Letters must include the writer’s name and hometown (for publication) and phone number (for verification). Submissions may be edited, and will be published as space permits. Letters are limited to 250 words, commentaries to 500 words.

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