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Jan 25th
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From the Editor

greg_archerS2sPlus Letters to the Editor

What are you going through? What are you trying to get over? Is the only way out through? I can go on about all this but it’s best to steer you toward this week’s cover story in which writer Kim Luke takes a look at Santa Cruz, its people and the penchant to dig deep and, hopefully, not only “know thyself,” but heal thyself as well. All this is explored in classic Ms. Luke fashion—with humor and insight. Enjoy the ride. (Personally, I cannot stomach picking any more emotional lint out of my navel. I need a reprieve, a vacation from always “looking within” lest I implode with self-awareness overload.

Don’t worry. This could be my swing mooding—yes, I like to call it that, because I believe mood should be used as a verb as often as possible; it’s action oriented, after all. Just saying. Anyway ... what is it they say, “this, too shall pass.”

Elsewhere, see what happens to your mood when you read about how the Stimulus Package has affected Santa Cruz. Here, our writer dives into the pros and cons of how the 98 grants and seven contracts awarded locally—for a total of $120 million—actually stimulated the area economically. Learn more about we didn’t know beforehand. Also in News, Congressman Sam Farr tries to make sense of the tragedy that hit Arizona last weekend, when a gunman critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed others. Take a moment and read this. And continue sending us your thoughts and comments on the matter to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or online at goodtimessantacruz.com.

Not that there’s much more levity in this week’s new film offerings, the good news is, the movies are exceptional. Film critic Lisa Jensen and I sound off on two movies opening at The Nick, Blue Valentine and Rabbit Hole. Both films stand out for different reasons and they’re definitely worthy of your attention. Read on ...

More soon. Have a good, safe week and ... enjoy this week’s issue.

 

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


Letters to the Editor

Child Abuse and Neglect Comes in Many Forms
Thanks for the article last week on child abuse and neglect. We, as a community, need to keep these dialogues going. The article mentioned that child abuse was in decline but that wasn’t the case necessarily in terms of neglect. This is very true. I urge parents and neighbors to open their minds and eyes to what could be happening around them.
Judy Littlefied
Felton

Vacation Rental Showdowns
I can't help wondering if the comments supporting Vacation Rentals from friendly neighbors are real! I live in a condo with vacation rentals. The problem seems pretty straightforward:
(1) One person writes: Citizens who save and risk to own a home have every right to live in their home or rent it as they alone decide. That's true up to a point. You can't grow marijuana or start a prostitution ring even in your own home. You can't stand on your porch and blow noxious gas all over the neighborhood. In some places, you are limited to three or four pets, even in your own home. Secondly, if you could keep your guests from interaction with the neighbors, you would have a stronger case.
Anyway, when you have a VR, you no longer have a home. You have a business. If you use an agency, it's a turnkey business.
(2) Numbers are deceptive because vacation rentals pack people in tightly. A 10 percent increase in units means a 20-40 percent increase in population, with implications for safety as well as quality of life.
(3) It's nearly impossible to enforce noise, occupancy and parking codes with vacation renters. Even if you take a photo of a renter engaging in criminal behavior, it's unlikely anyone will identify the person— and he'll be gone by the time you do. (4) There are always costs to neighbors in any vacation rental, whether it's the intangible cost of losing a potential neighbor, stress of dealing with a parade of strangers, loud noise or actual criminal action: you're turning hundreds of people loose in a private area, with no background checks. (5) Vacation rentals are a nearly perfect example of what economists call a negative externality. The property owner gains revenue. The renters get a deal. The neighbors bear the costs. That is, they subsidize the VRs by tolerating noise and giving up a potential community member. I can't think of any other industry where the legal system supports a negative externality. Conceptually, it's the same as dumping toxic waste into a river or spewing nasty fumes into the environment.
The real mystery is, why are these rentals so protected? When cigarette smoking was banned in taverns and bars, some had to close. Nobody felt sorry for the owners. Nobody talked about private property or the right to conduct business your own way. Nobody said, "If you don't like smoke you can just leave." What's so special about vacation rentals?
Cathy G.
Santa Cruz

Best of The Online Comments

On ‘Child Abuse’ on Decline
“We all know that drugs cause child abuse and neglect, and foreign organized crime sell drugs to pay for their business's and living arrangments . So let’s use the zero-tolerance laws and take the businesses and homes of foreign oganized crime members and pay for meds and housing and support for their victims (abused children).
Jeffrey

What a bunch of liars—[CPS]. The entire system is disgusting and corrupt and these sanctimonious self-righteous uneducated people have made a business of taking children away from their families, putting them in (abusive) foster homes, making up lies about their parents, slandering them, and take great pleasure in humiliating them in family court, where they are completely untouchable and their actions have no checks and balances. They are wrong most of the time and the lies they write up in their reports are just outrageous. Believe me, I know. I have had my daughter removed from me because my (bitter) ex says he "suspected drug use" in my home. It didn't matter how many negative tests I gave them, or that I complied with their “safety plan” having supervised visitation once a week for three hours (at a cost of $50/hr), for six months, that I am a full-time registered Nurse in a busy Labor and Delivery hospital ... no ... none of that matters. and guess what CPS says when you want to get a copy of whatever it is in their file? They say you can't see it if you don't have custody. That is illigal and a lie. I lost custody because of them, so how convenient their little rule is. It's absolutely heartless. Meanwhile the stress this has caused my baby girl is incomprehensible. It's not right.
Mommy Time Gone

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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.