Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 28th
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From the Editor

greg_archerPlus Letters to the Editor &

American Idol: The Durb Watch

The best. What is that exactly? What does doing your best in 2011 really mean? How many people really do that? Still? True, some would argue that in our current culture, where everything from actually reading (thanks for doing so here by the way) to going the distance—really going above and beyond what you’re asked to do—seems to have drowned in the cold soup of mediocrity and inane reality TV, I propose that Santa Cruz is actually a unique beast. The level of creativity and inventiveness here continues to evolve at remarkable levels.

(Now, if somebody could just really get smart and create even more ways for people to make a good living here, we’d be all set.) So, it’s with great pleasure that I deliver to you this year’s fascinating crop of winners from the Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. The number of votes this year surpassed even our expectations and there were plenty of surprise wins as well. All this to say ... should you ever find yourself debating the quality of good work and integrity of service and style, just keep this issue handy as a reminder of what all of you do out there, every day. You, along with this year’s winners, continue to make Santa Cruz the curious and creative haven it is. Keep it up.

In the meantime, dive into the issue this week and take note of all the shops, professionals, health and fitness titans, foodies and artistic types that made the top of the list. And check out our very own Critics’ Picks. There’s plenty more in between. Thanks for all your time and attention—and for voting. Onward ...

At 152 pages, you’ll have quite a bit to sift through this week. Be sure to read Kim Luke’s brilliantly written guest column on page 6. In A&E, writer John Malkin interviews Noah Levine—never boring, to say the least. You’ll find a few music features, too, one that delves into the mystique of Hauschka, who hits town this week. And then ... there’s the 10th annual Santa Cruz Film Festival, which opens May 5. We have an advance preview of the fest, with more coverage next week.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. And thanks for making Santa Cruz the “best.”

Greg Archer | Editor-in-ChiefLetters to the Editor

Desal: Don’t Bite

With regard to the GT April 12 “Drops from the Bucket” article, the city’s proposed ocean desalination plant on the Westside is not about saving endangered and threatened fish.

Using the “desal fish hook” is a cynical ploy for justifying a fossil-fueled powered desal plant is both unconscionable and absurd. The push to build this sizeable manufactured water plant is all about promoting unsustainable UC Santa Cruz expansion and real estate development at the expense of citizens and ratepayers for generations to come. Can cash-strapped Santa Cruz afford to build this kind of experimental $120-$140 million facility? Moreover, how much doesn’t the city actually spend on promoting year-end, year-out water storage, ongoing conservation strategies, and well-funded demand reduction incentives and rebates?

Now that the statewide water emergency has been rescinded, we don’t deserve a leadership drought among our elected city council members. Smells fishy, sounds like a steamroller, and looks like an expensive boondoggle. It’s time for an up or down vote on the desal plant and the alternatives.

Paul Gratz

Santa Cruz

Rotkin is Off Base on Desal

Thanks for your excellent article on the League of Women Voters’ Desalination Debate. Mike Rotkin’s claim that city studies show curtailing water use more than 15 percent would result in “business failures and health and sanitation problems in individual homes” is way off base. He simply needs to review the city’s 2009 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which details allocation for different levels of water shortage.

At 25 percent shortage, residences would need to meet a goal of 73 perent of normal year water use. The goal for businesses would be 92 percent of normal use, the goal for the two golf courses would be 51 percent of normal use, and the goal for coast agriculture would be 90% of normal use.

If we were to have a 50 percent water shortage, residences would need to meet a goal of 48 percent of normal year water use. The goal for businesses would be 70 percent of normal use, the goal for the two golf courses would be 20 percent of normal use, and the goal for coast agriculture would be 67 perecent of normal use. The goals would be met through rationing, signage in commercial buildings, and reduction of landscape/golf course/agriculture account water budgets.

The 2009 Water Shortage Contingency Plan also substantiates Rick Longinotti’s claim that a worst-case drought actually has occurred only once in the last 90 years. The Plan’s graph of annual stream discharges from the San Lorenzo River for the years 1921-2007 shows that the drought of 1977-78 was the most extreme water shortage in the 90 years for which there is data.

City representatives should show respect for the public by engaging in fact-based discussions on this issue.

Karin Grobe

Santa Cruz

Get A Clue

Regarding the Planned Parenthood article (GT 4/14) writer Amy Coombs really knows her stuff. Obviously, aborting only 48 million babies since 1973 (that is one child every 26 seconds) wasn't nearly enough to solve all our problems. And those darn kids that actually survived and grew up, like Amy, well ... what are we to do with them? Clearly, the panacea we have all been looking for is here and needs our tax dollars. How are they to survive making only one billion dollars a year? How cruel of us, how inhumane.

Lynn Wesson

Santa Cruz

durb_watch durb_pic

Nothing like crooning Muse’s “Uprising” to grab everybody’s attention. James Durbin did just that last week, once again showing how vast his range as a performer can be. (But really Idol, Carole King songs this week? Whatever.) In the meantime, Stefano Langone was sent packing—something that really shook up Durbin, who was visibly upset by the news. (The kid’s got a big heart.) In the meantime, kudos to Watsonville fans. There’s a spirited Idol viewing night (7:30 p.m. Wednesdays) at Carmona’s Barbecue and Deli (1040 East Lake Avenue) and at Green Valley Grill (40 Penny Lane). Be sure to read our updates online every Thursday and Friday at


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