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Feb 28th
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From the Editor

greg_archerPlus Letters to the Editor

Well ... what is there to say in nine words? (That was nine words by the way.) The winners of our Nine-Word Novel Contest have plenty to say, in fact. Back in August, as part of our ongoing “Contest Mania,” we put out a call to readers to submit their nine-word creations and the response was massive. This week, the winners of the contest bask in the spotlight. How many winners are there? Nine—naturally. Take a peek and let us know your thoughts. (You can use more than nine words.)
Onward ... This week also marks the unveiling of our annual Fall Home & Garden Issue. We illuminate the things that will enhance both your home and garden this fall. Take note of what some locals are doing to spruce up their lawns—and, really, reinvent them altogether. There are also some real estate tips for home owners and home buyers. Speaking of ... be sure to turn to our Real Estate section.
Home. What does it mean to you? When I was growing up on Altgeld Street in Chicago, I remember home equating to comfort. My Polish mother told me stories that mirrored that. Apparently, I was so comfortable with my surroundings that, at the age of 5 or 6, I would sit on the front steps of our porch and inform everybody that passed by what was happening in our house. “Hello ... my mother is making Polish dumplings inside;”  “Hi, my name is Greg and there’s freshly washed underwear hanging on the clothes line in our backyard;” “Did you know that my mother is giving up smoking but my father can’t stop?” I suppose, even back then, I liked reporting the “news.” Either that, or I was really into babbling on. (There’s a good indication I’m doing that now.)
But back to the idea of “home.” Ponder it this week. Where are you most “at home.”
Until next time ...


Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

Letters to the Editor

More On That Land Issue ...
While I’m glad to hear KB Homes has declined to build directly on an apparent burial ground, what strikes me the most about this issue is the reminder that our entire society is built on stolen land that was once sacred to those who lived here before us, just as all land was sacred in every corner of the world to people who lived on it as hunter-gatherers or primitive agriculturalists. In effect we are just setting aside a tiny patch of grass amidst a huge area long-ago stolen, razed, and built over.
My hope is that the discovery of Native people’s remains will inspire us to think about not only the dysfunctional relationship our society has with the Earth that supports us, but also the persistence of racism from our history into the present day. Once enslaved and conquered, black and brown people today are still the poorest, most-polluted, and most highly imprisoned populations in our society. I hope the movement to stop a house from going up over the bones of indigenous people will spill over into solidarity with the living indigenous populations in our county struggling against anti-immigrant programs like “Secure Communities,” and to protect themselves from dangerous pesticides like methyl iodide.
Steve Schnaar
Santa Cruz

Transformational?
Having lived as a trans person for 14 years now, I can't help but feel collectively "used" when members of the cis-community promote themselves as the "voice of the transgender community.” (See GT 9/22, “Transfiguraitons.”)
Artists such as Jana Marcus must be aware that those of us who struggle daily with job, housing, and accommodations discrimination, not to mention violent attacks, will find her work patronizing, arrogant, and commercially opportunistic.
When I spoke with Marcus at a recent event at Camouflage and she explained she was the "voice" for people who have no voice, I made a point to assure her that we have a voice, many voices: Jan Morris, Leslie Feinberg, Kate Bornstein, Jennifer Finney Boylan, and Julia Serano to name just a few.
Imagine how members of any marginalized community must feel when others who are not so oppressed presume to speak for them—and capitalize on their identities. I'll tell you how it feels: it's insulting and it hurts.
Incidentally, you used the term transgenders (sic) in your editorial. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) media guide points out that this term is considered problematic. Transgender is not a noun but an adjective.  The correct term is transgender people. Yours in the struggle for equality ...
Alyson Bloom
Santa Cruz

Best Online Comments

On ‘Bonfire Stories’ ...
What a brave and compassionate person Heidi Boynton is, and what an inspiration. Thank you for sharing her remarkable story.
—Jean Walter

On ‘Looking At What’s Sacred’ ...
You can contact Indian Canyon and Ms. Sayers at indiancanyon.org [for more information.), but to naysayers, the real story here is the myth building, from dehumanizing Indians to Weapons of Mass Destruction lies, mainstream society has in its DNA. This concerns all of us one way or another: we all live here on this planet right now. California Indians know this particularly well. After all, slavery, genocide and ethnic cleansing happened "right here in River City." No: son.
—Russ

I hope more of us will listen to what she and our mother are telling us. I believe we are all endowed with one half million or more years of hard-won intelligence, buried in our cells. Most of us have just forgotten to listen.
—Dan Bjerk
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