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Dec 25th
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From the Editor

greg_archerPlus Letters to the Editor &
American Idol: The Durb Watch

The events in Libya and earthquake/tsunami-ravaged Japan continue to occupy the headlines. So, this week, take note of some special online content (goodtimessantacruz.com), where we direct readers to learn more about how they can help.  (Thousands have died in the aftermath in Japan and tens of thousands are still missing.)  The Santa Cruz chapter of the United Way has launched a special website for donatations. The money raised there is offered to the Central Community Chest of Japan.  Learn more at liveunited.org/japan. Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is taking donations at redcross.org. Local greats, such as Bonny Doon Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard and Silver Mountain Vineyards, have all stepped up and will donate tasting fees collected over the weekend.

And UC Santa Cruz gets into the mix—students can support the Japanese Student Association, which will be selling T-shirts at the beginning of next quarter as part of its fundraising effort. Keep the discussion going. If you come across other ways to help, send your thoughts to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

All of this makes the idea of home all the more cherished. Let’s face it, you can’t help but appreciate the roof over your head when you’re watching people being displaced. So, this week, take stock of all that you have in your own homes as you peruse our spring Home & Garden issue. In the spotlight once again is solar energy, and, more specifically, the local business, Solar Technologies. Writer Ezra Koch has all the news on that entity in our cover story, but be sure to take notice of the H&G program inside the paper, which highlights the events at the upcoming Home & Garden Expo at the Cocoanut Grove this weekend. You may be surprised at what you find there.

Elsewhere, local boy James Durbin remains an unstoppable force on TV’s American Idol. (See this page.) Keep the faith, James. We’re rooting for you.

More next time. Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


Letters to the editor

La Bahia Fallout

With regard to Kevin Hunson's letter on La Bahia: Not even the most ardent opponent of the new hotel has ever said the existing building "is the most significant landmark in Santa Cruz ...." This assertion is laughable. The property owner has wanted to replace the current structure for many years, thus Hunson's use of the word "malice" is ridiculous. The disastrous city council election of 1998 set back the renewal of Beach Street for at least a decade. Mr. Hunson either wasn't around or doesn't remember his local history. The new La Bahia will be used by middle-income people for special occasions, by eco-tourists visiting the Marine Sanctuary, and by many others who will spend money in local businesses and contribute millions of dollars in the coming years to our cash-strapped city. The new hotel was approved overwhelmingly (more than 80 percent) by the city council two years ago and is supported by neighbors, firefighters, police officers, local small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and many others who agree that the time has come to revitalize Beach Street and our local economy—at no cost to taxpayers.

Robert deFreitas

Santa Cruz


A Second Look at Leopold

Regarding Supervisor John Leopold’s column, I have to say that while I voted for John Leopold, I've been disappointed by three of his initiatives.

First is the idea of protecting "free money" from the Redevelopment Agency. There is no free money left at any level of government. Sadly, California can only afford essential services (schools, fire, etc.) and these need to become more efficient. Things like The Tannery, new clubs for children, and the like, simply need to wait until we get our economy back on track and create new revenues. And, that's best done by intelligent decision-making at every single level—local, state, and federal. John—I'd like to see you work on making our local government more effective and responsive; not adding new regulations or marginal development projects. As for balancing our local and state budgets, I believe that Gov. Jerry Brown is largely on the right track.

Somewhat along the lines of fiddling while our local economy is in ashes, the initiatives to halt Smart Meter installations and to create new rental regulations through the county strike me as more grandstanding than useful.

The principle of SmartMeters is a good one—they will allow time-of-day metering for such things as electric vehicle recharging. In addition they will make meter reading more productive. Our county officials have neither the jurisdiction nor technical or biomedical credentials to evaluate this issue. Indeed, on most issues (inherent accuracy, "radiation") they are likely wrong. It would have been fine to note issues on behalf of residents, but obstructing the program is a bit like making Santa Cruz a nuclear free zone while we still haven't filled the potholes in our streets. Focus.

The third issue is the creation of new regulations, and procedures for rentals. The essential problem here is that we aren't enforcing the laws already on the books (see: no money for law enforcement) to protect the quiet enjoyment of our neighborhoods. I'd have preferred to see the County start with the simplest and most direct ways of using current law to satisfy the real needs of some neighborhoods; without adding more regulations to our books.

The hard work of local government is making it both more responsive and more efficient. I voted for John Leopold knowing he wanted to be responsive. I hope to see him make it more intelligent, more focused, more efficient.

Pete Marks

Santa Cruz


durb_watch durb_pic

 

Oh, James Durbin—how you’ve captured our attention. Now that the 22-year-old local singing phenom is in the top ranks on American Idol, Santa Cruz isn’t just proud, it’s in awe. The Durb can sing! (Although anybody that’s caught him in local gigs already knows that.) But, more importantly, the guy has proven himself to be one of the most enigmatic, unforgettable performers to hit Idol’s stage this side of Adam Lambert. He recently wowed with “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Was it a bit of foreshadowing of his fate for the May finale? Stay tuned. In the meantime, James—you go boy! (Dive into our Durb updates online.)

 

Comments (1)Add Comment
JAMES DURBIN T-SHIRTS
written by LINDA VAZQUEZ, April 07, 2011
Anyone know where t-shirts with photos of James Durbin can be purchased in Santa Cruz County?




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Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Pinned Down

Actors shine in true-crime wrestling drama ‘Foxcatcher’
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Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

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