Plus Letters to Good Times
People Taking Up Space
Politics, politics, politics. It’s somewhat of the theme of this week’s News section, where News Editor Elizabeth Limbach interviews Mayor Luis Alejo, Watsonville mayor and now a contender for the 28th State Assembly District. Alejo has some intriguing things to say and it’s interesting to note that about 45 percent of Watsonville’s population is under the age of 25. Let that stat sink in a bit. Elsewhere in News, Assemblyman Bill Monning talks with GT about education, another big issue in these shifting financial times. Learn more about all this on page 8.
It was interesting to hear some comments on the recent article that revolved around the alleged hate crime that took place a few weekends ago in front of The Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz. Somebody mentioned that the alleged attacker should have shown “more tolerance” to the gay man that was later beaten. I’m not a big fan of using the word tolerance when it comes to that kind of situation, particularly when it’s used in LGBT discussions. Have we looked it up? I found two definitions in the Merriam Webster Dictionary. 1. the capacity to endure pain or hardship: endurance, fortitude, stamina. (Is it just me, or isn’t this what those being attacked feel?) 2. sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own. It’s alarming to receive news of such a hate crime in what is perceived as a bastion of liberalness. Coming from a familly that was persecuted during World War II, I think I am, by nature, sensitive to this sort of issue. Perhaps some maturity and grace could have been exhibited from the alleged attacker. That, and some anger management.
Until next week ...
Greg Archer | Editor
Letters to Good Times Editor
People Taking Up Space
At first glance Anna Merlan's article and interview of Gage Dayton about the restoration of Younger Lagoon (GT 1/7) would seem to be a generally positive story about a dedicated young person trying to improve the environment. In many ways this is probably a correct assessment but at the root it is really about land use, conflict, competition for resources and, most importantly, over population.
You don't have to be too old to remember a time when there was no UCSC presence on the bluffs at the end of town. There were no buildings, no parking lot, no Marine Lab, no grad students or highly paid and retirement-eligible professors. There was no one to run off the occasional surfer or break up the family picnics that were popular on the beach there long before surfing was even known in Santa Cruz. Now we are expected to believe that because a group of public employees are locking out the public and making a living off of this resource that we all used to share it is somehow an improvement to our quality of life. The tone of the article suggests that these people should be admired for their efforts and for the evenhanded “mild” manner in which they exclude or control our access to what used to be a shared community resource. Blah, blah blah ...
And so another rant is written. It includes a taste of longtime localist elitism and a shot at the University and public employees in general. It is now set up like a bowling pin for the next angry letter writer to self righteously knock down like a nine pin. The cycle begins again. But that is not the point. When nearly every acre of farm land from 41st Avenue to Swift Street is gone to development and we are desalinating sea water and talking about growing algae in garbage bags in the ocean we have a bigger problem than saving a pond on the West side of Santa Cruz. When are we going to own up to the fact that over population is at the root of almost every single environmental crisis in the world today? We need to begin to laud the pro-creatively responsible way we do the "environmental mitigators." We can endlessly debate land use issues, fairness issues, economic issues, all to some greater good but unless we acknowledge this overriding issue and begin to act the rest is all just beating around the bush.
If hard pressed I think that even Al Gore would admit that there is no such thing as a real environmentalist with four kids. Please! Can someone just mention overpopulation once in a while? It's a big issue, maybe the big issue. We need to start talking about it or at least talk about why we don't talk about it.
Regarding a recent story, a year ago, if we had read in the paper that employers were hiring again, that health care legislation was proceeding without a bump, that Afghanistan suddenly became a nice place to take your kids, we would’ve known we were being lied to. Back then, we recognized that the problems Obama inherited as president wouldn’t go away overnight.
During his campaign, Obama clearly said that an economy that took eight years to break couldn’t be fixed in a year, that Afghanistan was a graveyard of empires and would not be an easy venture for us. Candidate Obama didn’t feed us happy-talk, which is why we elected him. He never said America could solve our health care, economic and security problems without raising the deficit. Instead, he talked of hard choices, of government taking painful and contentious first steps toward fixing problems that can’t be left for another day.
Right after Obama’s election, we seemed to grasp this. We understood that companies would be happy to squeeze more work out of frightened employees, and would be slow to hire more. We understood that the banks that had extorted billions of dollars out of us, were lying when they said they would share their recovery. We understood that a national consensus on health care would not come easily. Candidate Obama never claimed that his proposed solutions would work flawlessly right out of the box, and we respected him for that.
But today, the president is being attacked as if he were a salesman who promised us that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never made such a promise. It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything.