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From the Editor

greg archerPlus letters to the editor 
 
As we move into 2012, a number of issues continue to spark interest with readers. One is the SmartMeter issue—PG&E’s installation of them still has some locals reeling. The other issue is water—supply and, of course, desalination. This week, one letter writer outlines a few pros for desalination. Meanwhile, online, other voices raise concerns. And so it goes. In the coming months, GT will continue to cover these issues, but we want you to keep sending us your thoughts on the matter. Over the last few months, your letters and online comments have paved the way for the creation of an interesting dialogue—and one that no doubt will go on. Your opinions are being heard. Keep them coming. Stay tuned ...

In the meantime, the first week of the year ushers in a vivid First Friday romp. Artists whose work caught my eye and will be on display this week: Photographer Steven Laufer’s “Big: Black & White” hits the walls of Motiv in Downtown Santa Cruz. Something interesting: another photographer, Beau Saunders’ work is featured at Motion at the Mill, but look for performances there, too, by Motion Pacific staff. And don’t forget Capitola, where self-taught jewelry artist Cierra Ryczek has her work displayed at the Capitola Mercantile. Peruse this week’s insert to learn more, or visit firstfridaysantacruz.com.

What’s left? Therapy. No, really. (Try it.) Music Editor Jenna Brogan investigates how music can be used therapeutically. Take note of the locals affected by all this.

In other news ... are you one to make New Year’s resolutions? One resolution I heard recently: become a better steward for humanity. That sounds noble, and is surely a huge feat, but if we’ve learned anything about Santa Cruzans, we don’t seem to mind embracing big issues. Bring it on, I say. Here’s to a promising 2012. Thanks for reading. More next time ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief 

Letters to the Editor

Happy About ‘Hood’ Coverage
Thanks for the “Water in the Hood” cover story, which was a pretty good factual discussion of a complex and controversial topic. Gary Patton’s letter in your Dec. 22, 2011 issue adds to the controversy, but plays fast and loose with the facts.

Desal opponents like Mr. Patton treat UC Santa Cruz as though it was a cadre of alien invaders who have come to rape our city of its water resources, instead of being part of the Santa Cruz community to whom we are obliged to provide city services along with the rest of us. Have we collectively forgotten that Santa Cruz—us—not only invited but fought to get UC to locate a campus here, and promised to provide for its needs as part of our community? Wasn’t UCSC’s growth always part of the deal we made?

Our water department lays out a different factual picture to explain the need for desal than that portrayed by Mr. Patton. We need the desal plant so we will have enough water in drought years. Even if we didn’t have UCSC here, we would still need the desal plant in drought years. In non-drought years, we should have enough water for our community (including UCSC) and anticipated growth without desal. But drought years do happen, and we have to be prepared to survive them.

Mr. Patton claims that the City Council isn’t listening to the community. He is wrong. The city council listens to all the different points of view, including not only those who oppose desal, but those who recognize that we need desal, as much as we might prefer that we did not. Mr. Patton makes the mistake of thinking that because the City Council does not agree with desal opponents, it must not be listening.

The City Council knows it is responsible for making sure we have an adequate water supply for our population. In a city (and county) where we are leaders in water conservation already, we can’t rely upon conservation alone to keep the water flowing in drought years. Those of us who plan to live here with our families, children and grandchildren over the generations are well served by a council that recognizes the essential need for increased water supply, and plans carefully and conservatively to make sure that we have enough of this precious resource. I, for one, applaud the Council and the direction it is taking on this important issue.

David Green Baskin
Santa Cruz

Best Online Comments

On ‘Glass Half Full’ ...
Hi Santa Cruz, I am alive and here in La Paz, where we really know what it is to live without water. Good Grief—$12 million dollars and jajaja, and you have not even built the thing! Sheesh, you all are muy loco up there. By now we would have probably built four desalination plants here. We already have several of them. And our pristine, blue waters are still pristine. So much for EPR sillyness. And that slug, I remember him, when I lived up there in Felton. We have been conserving water here since I was a little girl in the 1960s. Maybe you all could learn a thing or two from us Paseños. What really amazes me is that I live here in a desert, and you all live in a rain forest!!! Incredible! What’s wrong with the picture here. Anyhow, really nice article.

—Ramona Katherine Meng

On ‘Gulch Goes Forward’ ...
While I support access, my guess is that more bikes and skateboards will be using those paved paths than wheelchairs. I love the logic—someone in a wheelchair points out that they could use the current upper trails of Arana Gulch, but they can't get through the gate. So we spend $5 million to tear out the gate and pave the heck out of the nature area, and add two bridges so it is a thoroughfare and not a nature area. Uh, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I'm disappointed the Coastal Commission did not see the value in keeping this area green. I will miss feeling that I have stepped back in time when I'm walking in Arana Gulch.

—Wilde Gurl

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