Letters to the Editor: Feb. 7, 2021

Peninsula Premier Admin

Honoring Judge Villarreal

In my nearly 50 years of the practice of law, I have appeared before hundreds of judges, none finer than Lydia Villarreal of the Monterey County Superior Court bench.  All judges want their rulings to be correct and issued promptly but not all are willing to go the extra mile – effectively donating a substantial measure of their free time on nights and weekends — to try to make that happen.  Judge Villarreal worked tirelessly toward that end, even while carrying a heavy load of community service activities.

Judge Villarreal presided over her courtroom with great dignity and grace.  She showed unfailing respect for those who appeared before her, and in so doing garnered their respect in response.  One can hardly ask for more.

Reading about her retirement was bittersweet.  Our court is losing one of its shining stars and she will be difficult to replace.  At the same time, she has given a great deal to our legal community and our community at large and has earned her right to retire from the Court and pursue her other community service interests.

— Neil Shapiro, Carmel

Grocery bag purgatory

Since the pandemic quarantine began, grocery stores have been exploiting the unproven myth that coronavirus can be spread in shopping bags. We’ve been asked to pay big fees to buy them and some stores still refuse to allow customers to bring their own bags. Any stores that allow it still discourages reusable sacks.  What a far changeover from the legislation supported by Save Our Shores that required people to bring reusable bags just a couple of years ago.

If any supermarket manager would care to write the letters column, I’d like him to explain what I’m supposed to do with some 50 grocery bags sitting in my garage because I can’t bring them to the store or will attract rude remarks if I use them where we’re allowed to if we pack them ourselves.

— Bill Graham, Salinas    

Let the military help

Monterey seniors are anxious to get any COVID vaccine pumped into their arms. Every time they call or go online they either find all allotments are full or they can’t even get through.

Fortunately, for veterans who are in the VA system there’s a great solution. Call  650-496-2535 and make an appointment for both shots at the same time. The downside is you’ll have to go to the Palo Alto VA hospital to get the shots.

The VA has done a remarkable job in vaccinating those who served their nation. Perhaps it’s time to invite the military to assist in inoculating American civilians as well.

— Dan Presser, Carmel 

Don’t change the vaccine priority list

As the supply of vaccines continues to ramp up, there is now confusion on my part and probably many others as to what are the priorities for the distribution of the vaccine. From my understanding as a member of the elderly group, which has been defined as individuals 65 and over, we are currently first on Phase 1B, Tier 1 priority to receive the vaccine. This grouping and priority has been clearly defined by the federal government, state government and Monterey County. However, because of supply issues, the elderly priority group was redefined by Monterey County into two separate subgroupings with age 75 and over first ( currently receiving the vaccine) and with the 65 -74 years to be next in priority.

Recently there has been a lot of “jockeying” by various groups represented by associations, unions, hired lobbyists, etc. to redefine and change the order of priority groups to receive the vaccine. In some counties in California, other interested groups have been receiving the vaccines before part 2 of the elderly year group. Political decisions concerning the prioritization of the vaccine are not a substitute for scientific/health decisions made concerning the prioritization of the vaccine. So now there is uncertainty within our community as to what the priorities are.

The elderly group does not have a political platform, association, union or lobby group to represent our interest. The Board of Supervisors as our elected representatives, should not change the current priorities, established for use by higher nonpolitical health authorities. The elderly group (people 65 years of age and older) has the highest death rate, they are 90 to 630 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than 18 to 29 year-olds. Priorities should remain unchanged with the group of persons 65 to 74 years of age next to receive the vaccine. Other priorities should follow in sequential order as shown on the Monterey County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine schedule at co.monterey.ca.us.

— Bob Meyer, Salinas

Contributed by local news sources

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