Santa Cruz Good Times

Dec 01st
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From the Editor

greg_archerPlus Letters to the Editor &

American Idol: The Durb Watch

Sometimes, it seems as if so much is happening—and all at once—that it’s a bit stressful to keep track and integrate all the details. On one end of the world, there’s the tragedy in Japan (see Letters this week.) And on the other, take your pick: Libya? Syria? Egypt? How do you stay balanced when the world around is in turmoil. Well, that’s a good question. For today—for this week—maybe it’s best to focus on the good happening in our backyard. Writer Sven Davis does just that in his intriguing cover story (page 14) in which he explores the inner workings of a nonprofit that we may know about but may not really know  much about—the California Grey Bears. Learn why this organization caught his attention and what the Greys are doing on the Green front.

In other wild news, have you been following James Durbin’s wild ride on American Idol? (See below.) It’s hard to imagine not watching this amazing singer make it to the Top Three, so, thanks for keeping us glued to the screen, James. (Readers: send us your thoughts on what happens this week on the show at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

Speaking of music, it is with sadness I report that GT’s longtime Music and Events Editor, Linda Koffman, is moving on. Linda has been a vital force at GT for three years and has often covered more than just the music scene. Her compelling cover stories spanned many genres—from the surf community to her own personal quests uncovering everything from how to best explore our state parks or a tale about the importance of embracing family lineage. When I met Linda, by chance, really, I had a feeling she belonged at GT. Her contributions here—to the community—have been greatly appreciated. (But keep a look out for her work in upcoming issues of GT; she’ll still be a contributor.) So, for now, please  join us in wishing Linda well as she dives into a new phase of her life up in The City. Thank you, Linda, for all you have done—and continue to do.

Onward ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-ChiefLetters to the Editor

Oh, That Jake ...

I'm still digesting your delicious "Food and Wine" issue (GT 3/10). While savoring the great content, I wanted to give a special shout out to one of your featured chefs, Jake Gandolfo. In addition to his top cooking talent, he is incredibly generous with his time in our community. On behalf of the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group, I'd like to say what a tasty treat it was to have him at our annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green last year. We have our fingers crossed he may rejoin us there again on Sept. 17 in Aptos Village Park. Till then, I'll be eating my way through the restaurants in the Menu Guide.

Karen Kefauver

Santa Cruz

Taxation Talk

I learned that much of the famous 1776 “Tea Party” story is mythical. That dumped tea shipment had no tax at all.  It did, however, threaten the small tea merchants being forced to compete with the huge England-favored East India Company. Those small business pro-revolutionaries thought a slogan of "No Taxation Without Representation" would attract more attention and support. They were right, and we still live with that skewed version. What is not mythical or skewed in 2011 is corporate tax evasion. Bank of America, for instance, which received a bailout in the billions, of taxpayers' money, pays zero taxes. On March 25, (a Friday of  forced library and local government furloughs),  indignant citizens confronted the Ocean and Water streets’ Bank of America mortgage bank. Picketeers asked B of A to pay its share of county taxes.

This “Party” is part of the English started, and now a U.S. nationwide “Uncut'”movement organized to spread a message of "No Representation Without Taxation!"

Joyce McLean

Los Gatos

La Bahia: I Was There

My family owned and operated La Bahia from October 1976 to October 1979. We rented 10 to 15 units year round to retired people, and monthly to mostly UCSC students in the off season. In the summer we went to daily motel rentals. The building is infested with termites. It was held up by the stucco even in those days. The glass all needed to be replaced. The kitchens and baths in all the units needed to be redone. La Bahia was built with electric heat when new. The U.S. Navy used the Bahia for housing during WWII and while they were there they tore out the electric heat and installed steam heat, converting an apartment to a boiler room. They laid steam pipes on the ground under the building. We patched the rotten pipes to keep the heat on. After 35 years I'd be surprised if the heat still works. We talked to Hilton Hotels about redeveloping the property, but were shut down by the City of Santa Cruz. This is a project that will get done sooner or later. Do it now.

Gary Stutz

Santa Cruz

Helping Hands for Japan

As tragedy continues to unfold in Japan following the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, different ways for Santa Cruz to help have been sprouting up. The United Way has set up a website,, where people can donate. Funds will be given to the Central Community Chest of Japan, which is helping to address the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster. The American Red Cross is also accepting donations for the victims of the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami at For more ideas on how to help, or to suggest your own, visit

durb_watch durb_pic Last week, the Santa Cruzan fell to his knees when wrestling icon Hulk Hogan walked onstage to surprise our dear local singer James Durbin. That, coupled with the news that our home boy is in the Top 11 to make Idol’s singing tour after this season, continues to fuel his stunning meteoric rise. This Thursday’s show should prove enlightening—two Idol contestants get the boot after the judges saved Casey Abrams last week. Thoughts on what The Durb should croon next? Send them our way at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . In the meantime, we dig James’ favorite line: “You can’t change the wind but you can set your sails any direction you want.” Indeed, buddy.


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