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Letters to the Editor: Preisker Park event demanded more planning; Collective community health a necessity; Cunningham has impressive track record

Letters to the Editor: Preisker Park event demanded more planning; Collective community health a necessity; Cunningham has impressive track record

Preisker Park event demanded more planning

I'm left wondering who decided that it was a good idea to hold some event at Preisker Park on a Thursday afternoon/evening during rush hour. Did they think about the impact on traffic? I sat through several complete traffic light cycles, without moving one car length.

Judging by the number of people stuck in the traffic, which stretched onto north- and south-bound Hwy. 101, down Broadway well past the shopping center, all the way around Preisker Lane, and behind the park, Hidden Pines way, N. Railroad Avenue and Blosser Road, it seems as if it was advertised, but I didn't hear anything about it until I was sitting in gridlock.

Did the police or city officials know about it? I didn't see any official presence, other than the motor officer pulling people over for going into oncoming lanes trying to get through.

This was ridiculous, dangerous (stopped cars on the freeway and blocked intersections), and showed a complete lack of planning and consideration for the thousands of people that live around there.

I'm sure there are other places that this event could have been held that would not have created gridlock and several cases of road rage, or even a more considerate time to do it, Saturday morning, maybe Sunday morning. And the impact of hundreds of cars sitting and idling for an hour plus.

The city can show a little more thought than this.

Robert Jones

Santa Maria

Collective community health a necessity

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the necessity of inclusive and accessible communication about health. For many members of our community, language barriers decrease the quality of and access to healthcare. Important efforts have been made to offer resources and services accessible to Spanish-speaking community members, however, language access must expand beyond bilingual services and translation.

High quality, multilingual interpretation services are needed to communicate with Indigenous community members, like Mixteco, and those from diverse non-Spanish-speaking backgrounds to ensure access to healthcare. Although these may appear to be problems that only affect minority groups, the pandemic has highlighted that the health and security of the community as a whole relies on the availability of quality healthcare for every individual.

In a research project called, “La Gente Unida: Immigrant Health and Advocacy on California’s Central Coast,” we interviewed over 30 community members and advocates about the issues facing Latinx immigrants, their families, and the broader community in the Central Coast.

A key theme emerged relating to language barriers and the lack of high-quality, accessible, and affordable interpretation services. Individual staff members or community advocates often step in to do unpaid or underpaid interpretation work.

For instance, one healthcare provider shared, “We don’t really have anyone that speaks Mixteco, but we do have someone at the clinic. When we do encounter someone, we do tell them that they could call the clinic and that, usually, I believe the receptionist or the medical assistant, they speak Mixteco.” In these situations, access is available, but only for those who have the courage to reach out and risk being misunderstood.

Leaders in healthcare have an opportunity to invest in multilingual interpretation services that operate within the local community, empowering and supporting those individuals who have already been doing this work. This could have a ripple effect for other industries including social service providers, education, and cultural institutions, all of which face their own struggles with language barriers.

During a pandemic which continues to demonstrate the importance of collective community health, it is imperative that healthcare is accessible for everyone, regardless of the language they speak.

Mario Alberto Espinoza-Kulick

Santa Maria

Cunningham has impressive track record

I am encouraging all my friends and neighbors to ignore Dawn Addis' misleading advertisements and to vote for Jordan Cunningham for Assembly.

Jordan has an impressive track record as our Assemblyman. As a political moderate, I know that Jordan will continue to work across the aisle to continue to pass good and effective public policy. As a community-centric representative, he will continue to deliver for the district and work to make sure our state government works for us.

I am excited to cast my vote for Cunningham, and encourage all your readers to do the same.

Deb Robinson

Lompoc

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