Thursday, August 2, 2001
In Stilwell's Defense
Andrew Scutro's article on Moss Landing ("Harbor of Resentment," July 12) and harbormaster Jim Stilwell has had everyone in a fluff around here and for all sorts of reasons. As I read the article, I went from mild dislike of Scutro's writing (too many references to Garcia) to enjoying it. He's got a little bit of Steinbeck in him.
Moss Landing is a lot like Princeton/Pillar Point Harbor [in Half Moon Bay] was when I was growing up there: drunks and geniuses, flakes and keenly capable business people, wild women with warm hearts and outlaws with sawed-off shotguns, often in the same packaging. It was a place where one had a sense of place because of landmarks. As Westinghouse came in and bought out the land and ran out the characters, I lost a good chunk of my past and I didn't like it.
So what about Jim Stilwell? With a lot of years under my keel, here I am in Moss Landing, partner in, and senior captain of, the "hugely bright catamaran...the whale-watching boat called the Princess of Whales" that "towers over everything in this corner of the harbor." When my husband Steph and I went to Jim and said we were looking to add a spectacular vessel to our cruise company, turning what was our one-boat operation into a fleet, he listened attentively. He asked smart questions because he's a mariner. When we explained the difficulties we had in proposing our grand vision to the city of Monterey, Jim said, "Doing business shouldn't be hard." On that, a handshake and the approval of the harbor district, we bought a million dollar boat.
Jim and I both sit on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. While we do not agree on everything, he has done good things for Moss Landing. Steph and I have drawn our line in the sand here. Sure, things change. Fishing is in trouble and it's hard to say how much or how to fix it. We champion fishers like Dempsey and Vicky on Beticia, who catch their fish in sustainable ways and cut out a middle person by selling direct off the boat. I like to think that we are good neighbors; we try very hard to be.
Yes, there are a lot of conflicts in Moss Landing, but there is also a sense of place that doesn't have to be uprooted wholesale, and some neat people are digging in. I think Andrew's article tried to say this, but the message was a little murky.
--CAPTAIN HEIDI TIURA, SANCTUARY CRUISES
Cypress Grove Will Open
I am certain Mario Ferrito, who described himself as an educator and former co-creator of a local charter school proposal (Letters, July 26), appreciates the benefits of a new charter high school on the Peninsula. As a member of the Formation Council, the founding group trying to locate a site for Cypress Grove Charter High School for the Arts and Sciences, I too hope to facilitate more choices for high quality public education locally. One of the most challenging issues for all of us living here is the scarcity of available space that is affordable; either for housing, schools, or business. A long-term solution is, of course, to develop more of the space of the former Ft. Ord. That process has proven very lengthy in spite of the goodwill of many.
However, two of the points Mr. Ferrito made in his letter bear examination: the "recent difficulties" experienced by MPUSD and the curriculum offerings of Cypress Grove Charter High School. The school district's decision to hold onto the Stilwell School is certainly their right; no one disputes that. However, if it does sit idle, they will have missed out on an opportunity to make some income from the rental as well as keep it in good operating shape.
Secondly, nowhere in the MPUSD system is there anything remotely like the curriculum and course offering of Cypress Grove. Dr. Infelise has been enthusiastic about the concept of charter schools and has publicly stated how much he admires Cypress Grove's curriculum, scope and the caliber of our faculty. Incidentally, the MPUSD board approved the business plan and enrollment statistics at their July 16th meeting. Neither they nor Cypress Grove were ever "negligent." Parents and students, stay tuned! We anticipate an August 27th opening.
--TIMMI SELLERS, CARMEL