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Aug 30th
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From the Editor

greg_archerS2s

Plus Letters to Good Times

The view from above is good. I had another chance to experience just that, as did many Cruzans, last weekend at a successful bash celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association—tossed atop the Rittenhouse Building. Strolling the balcony there while filming coverage of the event for GTv, it was hard not to marvel at how unique our Downtown actually is. It’s also a reminder of how much it’s endured and how the city has proven itself to be filled with inventive, determined souls committed to making some good happen here—especially after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. A good event, all around, with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers on hand. Plus: Stellar food and cocktails. Before heading to a fundraiser for the Derby Girls, I secretly—maybe not so secretly—wished for a Banana Republic to materialize in the vacant quarters of the Ritt. Some day, perhaps.

Speaking of the Derby Girls, comedian Kathy Griffin, who hit the Civic earlier this week in a festive show, commented that she never shared marquee space with the likes of Bill Cosby and our dear Derby gals. She also teased that the Civic wasn’t a traditional performing arts center. Well, she didn’t need to convince me of that. I still scratch my head wondering why, in all our inventiveness, we can’t manage to produce a more suitable performing arts theater in Downtown Santa Cruz. That, and a nice hotel—as in rethinking the use of the El Palomar. But don’t get me started. A prominent local was discussing that topic with me recently and it mirrored my own thoughts. And that’s a good thing. Because if the thoughts are out there, there must be a way to explore if they can be manifested into something grand that would benefit all.

Good stuff to ponder in the week ahead. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s issue. Onward ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

 


Letters to the editor

High on Measure H
Chief Justice Marshall is known for his famous quote, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." In Econ 101, students learn about "dead weight loss," the premise which reveals that increasing taxes does not necessarily increase tax revenues. Why the opposition to another tax hike with Measure H?  Looking at the numbers helps.
The city of Santa Cruz is reportedly comprised of 56,124 people, as of 2008.  General revenues and transfers (mostly taxes) for the city in 2009 amounted to $62 million dollars. For every resident in Santa Cruz, that means about $1,105 per year. In other words, out of each wallet and each purse, on average, city residents hand over 11 crisp $100 bills.
Have city policies helped local businesses? Unfortunately, private business has all but left the top 10 employers' list in the city, even if you include the Boardwalk, the Crow's Nest and UPS. 

According to the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city was the third largest employer in 2009 with 1,108 people or about $56,000 in taxes and transfers per employee. According to the same report, nonprofits and municipal entities comprised nearly 84 percent of the employees working for the top 10 employers in the city. Private business amounted to only 16 percent, and most of those employees came from lower wage entertainment and restaurant business sectors.
Rather than raise taxes, perhaps a better alternative is to look at how they are spent. Naturally, everyone wants a safer city. Has the city looked at closed-circuit TV cameras for downtown? Many other cities have found CCTV systems to be a significant and cost-effective deterrent to crime.  Perhaps it's time for the city to take advantage of its intellectual capital.
Peter Verbica
Santa Cruz

WASP World
Yesterday, I leafed through Santa Cruz Magazine in the library; this slick sheet offering might best be called White Bread, W A S P, as I suggested above, or Caucasion Digest.
You must be aware of the diversity in just the city's professionals' profile alone. There are Asians, Latinos, Afro-Americans serving this community as doctors, dentists, teachers, lawyers, hospital workers, retailers, greengrocers, etc., and I have yet to see them featured in this magazine. The most recent omission of minorities in Santa Cruz is the mural down near the Boardwalk serving as a directional into the city. That was approved through the Community Foundation as well, wasn't it? What's with the whitewash?

Kathy Cheer
Caucasian

 

 


Best of The Online Comments

On Measure H
Huh? Tario outlines a thoughtful, rational explanation of the position against Measure H, and Cynthia Mathews dismisses it as anti-government, anti-tax? She's outlived her political usefulness if it was ever there in the first place.
And to top it off, Tario—a Nexter, is comfortable pulling away from the tax-and-spend liberal crowd? Looks like I might have to re-think the possibilities of Next.
Dyann Lauter

On ‘Unplugged’
Gary Patton has made his life off the backs of locals while playing to the politically correct and students from elsewhere. And, like Gary says, he's always been compensated, while the community as a whole has not been compensated. That's because Gary's ilk are always coming back to those same P.C.'s and students to take more tax dollars ... and more tax dollars. So, in effect, Gary was getting paid not so much for advocacy as his own spewed propoganda.
Now, if KUSP, in its loss (of Patton’s radio show), decided to get non-compensated advocates for both sides of specific arguments, they might, in fact, grab a new audience and increased listenership.
So to KUSP, I'd add: thanks for doing disconnected locals a favor.
Steve Hartman

Land-use is the most misunderstood environmental issue influencing every aspect of our community, and nobody understands the complex implications more than Gary Patton. What a loss if KUSP withdraws its support of Gary's radio spots.
Barbara G
Comments (1)Add Comment
Clever omissions
written by Don Lane, October 22, 2010
Peter Verbica's clever selection and omission of details about Santa Cruz's largest employers painted an interesting but incomplete picture. He made it appear that local economic development efforts were insufficient by omitting the fact that UCSC dominates the local employment market. UCSC employs almost as many people as all the other members of the local top 10 employers list. Of course, leaving out that minor detail that makes it look like the proportion of private sector employment is low. Do we want UCSC to leave our community and lay off 4600 people just so our private sector employment ratio can go up?

His further dismissal (by omission) of Plantronics, Costco, and Santa Cruz Biotechnology as top employers -- all in the private sector--also helped him make his political point but did so at the expense of a full picture of the local economy.

The Santa Cruz City Council in the past several years has an excellent record on economic development, responsiveness to business concerns, and budget management. A complete description of this work can be found here on the City's website:
http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=15247

I invite readers to fully inform themselves on these issues before assuming that clever letter writers are presenting good information.

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The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual