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Aug 21st
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From the Editor

greg_archerS2sPlus Letters to Good Times...
Aftermath of May Day Riots Linger
What About The Other Side?

What are you proud of? Maybe it’s time to take stock, look within and find out. Face it—our lives can get hectic. Sometimes we need to schedule time to just sit and reflect. (Trust me, it won’t hurt—much.) This week we get a “pride” reminder in the form of, fittingly, all of the Gay Pride events set to unfold, thanks, in big part, to the Diversity Center.

The annual outing brings out the masses for a number of events that aim to celebrate diversity in the LGBT community, and the community in general. Find out more about all that—and come out to celebrate at Sunday’s Downtown Santa Cruz Gay Pride Parade—on our Events Page.

While we’re on the subject of the LGBT community, take note of this week’s guest column by community advocate Jeffrey Kongslie. The subject: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Here Kongslie shares insights and updates on the much publicized repeal of DADT after his recent trip to Washington D.C., where he and others who served in the military, met with Pentagon officials. As you read the column, you can’t help but walk away sensing the tremendous sea change taking place. Read on. And send us your thoughts on the issue at letterstogtweekly.com.

In the meantime, don’t forget to sift through our extensive Election Guide this week. News Editor Elizabeth Limbach and writer Melinda Clark have compiled all the information you need to know before heading to the polls on Tuesday, June 8. (Yes. That’s a reminder:  Don’t forget to vote.)

In the meantime, embrace all that’s diverse and amazing around here.

Thanks for reading. Until next week ...
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


Letters to Good Times Editor

Aftermath of May Day Riots Linger
What does it mean when a city's police department tells you that your community is no longer the one you once knew? In a GT guest column last week, Santa Cruz Police Deptartment mouthpiece Zach Friend tells us repeatedly that gang violence is forcing us to change our view of our “historically peaceful community.” In the article titled “May Day Riots,” Friend doesn't discuss the riots at all, instead he revisits themes of violence, drugs and gangs over and over to set the stage that our old way of looking at things has passed and the new Santa Cruz is one where there is “an overall degradation of quality of life.” He tells us that “hard choices  and tradeoffs will be necessary.” I find this fear-mongering very problematic and it doesn't at all reflect my current personal experience of Santa Cruz.
I live in the Beach Flats where the city yanked funding of the Community Center (which has proven to keep kids out of gangs) while police funding has increased massively. I walk along the San Lorenzo River Levee at all times of day and night, and I am downtown often. I see the peaceful old Santa Cruz every day in a community that still believes it. Nearly every interaction I have is friendly and safe. The only danger I see is a police department that doesn't enforce laws but uses fear tactics and worse to hassle those less fortunate.  I see a town brimming with hope and beauty every day and I still believe in it. There are news spikes from time to time and it seems that violence is escalating. We have a local newspaper that will stitch any random violence into a trend and call it “gang violence.” This in a town that refused to form a gang task force a short time ago and now they want us to believe there is a huge trend. I once saw a shooting near my house and I called to report it to the police but a year had passed before they called me back for the investigation. I say that the police department is the problem— even now as they try to get us to reduce our freedoms with “tradeoffs” and “hard choices.” Limiting our freedoms is what law enforcement has always done because it is in their interest, not ours, to do so.
In the ‘80s it was discovered that the police department had been beating sleeping homeless people. In the ‘90s they targeted a gay bar and were found guilty of running a campaign of harassment of its customers and owners. For decades the police department looked the other way while the local surfing community terrorized anyone they didn't recognize, and this "locals only" mentality facilitated a pattern of violence against students, new residents and tourists but the police department's mouthpiece never wrote a column about that, nor did the local paper.
But now we're supposed to feel very afraid and change our view of what Santa Cruz is. 
I notice that for the surprising number of times Friend mentions violence that he never mentions what those values that we're expected to give up actually are. Because it is not his job to remind us of why we love this town, it is evidently very much his job to highlight why we we should be afraid. 
I don't look to the police department to inform me of the spiritual, creative, communal and environmental values of Santa Cruz. And I ask you, what does it mean when your police department wants you to forget them?
Brent Adams
Caregiver/Street Musician
Santa Cruz

What About The Other Side?
You've interviewed the city council and two downtown businesses about the May Day Riots. When will you interview local anarchists to get their opinion? There are many kinds of anarchy - most of which do not support violent behavior. Remember, there are violent christians, violent republicans, etc.
Whoever did this hurt all segments of our community and it has ruined the reputation of anyone who believes in our community and peaceful change without need of government involvement. It has hurt the DIY community whose core is based on sharing information or skills and non-violent communication.
Lifetime Pacifist and Anarchist

Editor’s Note: An interview with a local anarchist can be found online at goodtimessantacruz.com.

Comments (2)Add Comment
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Anarchism is Here To Stay
written by Wes Modes, June 03, 2010
Elizabeth Limbach has a good interview with Alex Barangan, but only in the on-line edition. This article is still very topical and should appear in the print edition. The anarchist witch hunt is still on with more news to come.

So far, GT has printed an op ed from Council members and Zach Friend, lots of writing about the riot, letters from a few individuals, but so far has offered no substantive writing from alternate perspective.

While simultaneously acknowledging that they had nothing to do with the events of May Day, some members of the council, the DA, and SCPD are using this opportunity to tar individuals and projects in the DIY and anarchist community. This is the usual conviction by public opinion. If it weren't for the fallacious reporting and downright libelous accusations, the civil rights implications of elected officials joining the red baiting would be disturbing enough. I would hope that Good Times as an "alternative" paper would take another angle on the clamor to string up a few anarchists.

There are amazing creative and DIY efforts that have been doing community work and thriving in this town longer than many people have lived here (Guerilla Drive-In: 9 years, Free Skool: 6 years).

So again, please consider running this in the print edition next week. Anarchism isn't an entertaining sideshow of interest for a few brief weeks, but a legitimate movement that has deep roots in our town and is here to stay.

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