Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
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From the Editor

greg archerPlus Letters to the Editor 

A woman once asked me if I could spare “change.” When I gave her a quarter, she laughed at me and said: “I meant ‘transformation’ honey!” That about sums up what could be unfolding for many of us during this busy holiday season. Change—are we ever really ready for it? All those things we always wish and hope for ... those dreams we can’t wait to fulfill ... suddenly when it arrives, sometimes it’s not quite in the form we imagined. And so it goes. We plan our lives ... and the cosmos chuckles.

All this came to mind as I read writer Kim Luke’s cover story this week. In it, she boldly chronicles her own journey through the holidays and explores some of the finer—make that humorous—aspects of embracing “tradition.” Dipping as far back as her family’s orange-colored Christmas tree would take her, Luke’s insights on what becomes most valuable in our lives is rich with detail and wit. Dive in.

In the meantime, take note of News this week, where Elizabeth Limbach’s ongoing coverage of the PG&E SmartMeter debate should pique your interest. There’s also a touching tribute to the late Scott Kennedy, whose passionate work with the Resource Center for NonViolence left an indelible imprint.

Over in film, there’s critic Lisa Jensen’s take on the big buzz movie The Artist. Could it be the best picture of the year? What’s left? Celebrating, of course. Fortunately, I found proof that ... maybe ... the economy is turning around. A recent report noted that the cost for a set of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” jumped 3.5 percent from last year, making the grand total—all those birds, maids a milking and more—$24,263.18.
Happy Holidays ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

Letters To The EDITOR

Good To The Last Drop?
Regarding “Water in the Hood” (GT 12/15), I am happy to see attention being paid to the key water policy issues confronting our community. The need for the City to reduce its current surface water diversions, to comply with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, is also an important factor. That was not really highlighted in the article. Also not highlighted was the fact that the City is proposing to extend water service OUTSIDE its current water service area to facilitate the construction of 3 million square feet of new buildings at UCSC (at a time of great uncertainty about the city's water supply capabilities). Making a commitment of 152 million gallons per year to support UCSC growth (and that's the official request of the University) can have the result of providing advantages to UCSC at the expense of the City's current water customers, and at the expense of the endangered fish species that are already on the borderlines of extinction.

Desal Alternatives, Habitat and Watershed Caretakers (HAWC), and the Community Water Coalition (CWC) are all community groups that have been trying to be heard on these intertwined and difficult problems. Unfortunately, the City Council isn't listening to the community—only to the top administration of UCSC and to the City Water Director and Water Department staff. The Water Department says, by the way, that things are just fine when it comes to providing water for University growth; no problem there with our water supply capabilities. But it's a different story when the City talks about the need for the proposed $100 million desal plant.

Again, I am delighted with the fact that you are helping (I hope) to get the ordinary public engaged in what's going on in water. Keep up and increase your coverage!

Finally, I don't think Rick Longinotti is a shape-shifter. He's the guy with the beard (in the first of the photos taken by the River). The clean shaven person in the other photo, though identified as Rick Longinotti in the caption, is in fact Jan Bentley. They are both terrific, in my estimation, and are right on target in their policy recommendations.
Gary A. Patton
Santa Cruz

Best Online Comments

On the SmartMeter Debate ...
I had my SmartMeter removed and replaced by a licensed electrician in October and now Mark Torres and Phil Balistrieri of PG&E are threatening to turn off my electricity because of "public safety issues"... just laughable. Does PG&E have nothing better to do but harass and try to intimidate disabled grandmothers?
—West Point Grandma

The paranoia exhibited by PG&E is laughable. Respectful customers waiting their turn in line, necessitating police intervention. PG&E had no reason to call in for a police emergency assistance over their mental malfunctioning of a non-emergency/threatening situation.

I am sure that there are closed circuit cameras that will confirm they had no justification to make the call. The employees had not even had any interaction with the customers to even provide a modicum of evidence that they were fearful for their lives. Is this the new version of 'racial' profiling? A customer with a meter in their hand?
—Nevada Anti Smart Meter Supporter.

I would compare these courageous citizens to Rosa Parks. Well done! We need to replicate this all over California, and the rest of the nation, and in other countries like Australia, the UK, and France, where smart meters are also making people sick.
—Susan Brinchman

Holiday Deadlines
GT offices will be closed Thursday, Dec. 22 through Friday, Dec. 30 in observance of Christmas and New Year’s. That Downtown Window Decorating Contest And the winner is ...? This year’s Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday Window Decorating Contest was a smash. But which local merchant won? Visit for the big news.
Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Response to Gary Patton..., December 29, 2011
written by Douglas Deitch/ED Monterey Bay Conservancy, December 23, 2011
Dear Gary Patton, Esq.,
150 million gallons or around 450 acre feet of water is around the amount used by 150 acres of berries annually..
...Let's instead please talk about our real water problem and now permanent actual Monterey Bay Area wide ground water catastrophe caused principally by your poor management, ignorance(?), poor due diligence, negligence, lawlessness, and lack of any previous "water oversight" for decades?
Why don't you ever mention your 1987 law...the Well Ordinance (
...and please just once explain and justify to us why you now, and all our other supervisors past and present, ignore both it and our Local Coastal Plan for decades?
Thanks, Doug

(fyi, btw...

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