Plus Letters to the Editor &
American Idol: The Durb Watch
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.
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.
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.)
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