Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 28th
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From the Editor

greg archerPlus Letters to the Editor 
I’ve said it before: Santa Cruz is full of inspiring locals. Bill Veltrop is one of them. In this week’s cover story, Veltrop says that he sees the next age to be “a conscious evolution of our social systems.” Those are but a few of the compelling words from the 82-year-old, considered to be the leading architect of organizational design. Writer April Short had an opportunity to meet with Veltrop and get a glimpse into his interesting life—and lifestyle. So, learn more about Veltrop’s journey and how his own personal transformations helped spur him to be a catalyst for others to create significant changes in their own lives. 

You may find inspiration in the upcoming Third Friday event at the Museum of Art & History. It’s dubbed “Love Fest” and it unfolds April 20. That may still be far off on the horizon, but with Valentine’s Day suddenly in front of us, love is, as they say, all around. Speaking of that ... no doubt our local restaurants will be unveiling unique offerings for couples on Tuesday. So what about those who are not “coupled?” Don’t fret. Coupledom is lovely and often necessary, but few would argue that mass media wants us to believe that true happiness only arrives if and when we are coupled. (Mass media does the same thing in regard to what size our body should be.) But there are alternatives. This week ... take yourself out on a “date.” Really get into it (and yourself) in a healthy way—you’re hot (sometimes a hot mess, but let’s not go there now.) Face it: we live in an era where a great deal of disconnectedness and distraction happens in the guide or real “connection.” When we can’t put down our smartphones long enough to watch a movie, look each other in the eye for a “normal” amount of time during a conversation, or pay attention when we’re driving a car, something is obviously a bit off. That said, why not STOP ... and just sit with yourself for an evening. Take yourself out to dinner, order something special and have the courage to ask yourself: “How are you?” Make a ritual out of it. (Send yourself a thank you note the following day.)

Relax ... this is Santa Cruz. Perfectly acceptable behavior.

Happy loving ...
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

Letters to the Editor

Dumb About SmartMeters
I am not a great fan of PG&E. Their so-called "baseline" rates, for example, are sufficient only to power a few light bulbs, resulting in the average user's power consumption always being well above the baseline. The whole baseline concept is distorted and disingenuous in my opinion.

But I am incredulous at the controversy that has arisen around SmartMeters [reported in GT]. Most of us learned in high school that electromagnetic waves travel in spherical wavefronts from the point of radiation and therefore radiated power received at a remote point reduces as the square of the distance from the point of radiation. This means that if you are 10 feet away from a radiating source then you experience 100 times less radiated power than if you are 1 foot from that source, and this even disregards attenuation because of absorbent material, such as walls, between you and the source of radiation.

Most SmartMeters are mounted outside homes. It is therefore likely that people are at least 10 feet from the SmartMeter the vast majority of the time. Its transmission power and frequency band is similar to that of a cell phone's, which usually resides somewhere on your body and transmits electromagnetic radiation at least as frequently as a smart meter. In fact when you are talking on your cell phone, the transmitter is approximately one inch from your brain, the most vital organ in humans, while your smart meter is likely 10 feet, or 120 inches, or more, away from your brain. This means that the radiated power your brain is experiencing from your cell phone is at least 10,000 times higher than that from your smart meter under these conditions. 

Your local WiFi-enabled coffee shop, or the average WiFi-enabled office complex, very likely expose you to substantially higher electromagnetic radiation than a smart meter, because the wireless access points in these locations transmit at two or more times the power of your SmartMeter and may be in the ceiling right above you. If people are claiming illness from exposure to electromagnetic radiation, the SmartMeter is the least likely culprit.

The picture gets even more dissonant when you consider that the longer term objective for installing smart meters is that they will enable the utility company to smooth out power demands and thereby control and even reduce power generation requirements. It is common knowledge that coal-and oil-fired power stations, which are the largest source of electric power in California, are the world's largest contributors to greenhouse gases. 

So here we have the incongruous spectacle that, for reasons that defy the most basic scientific analysis, the Santa Cruz city council is blocking a utility that is attempting to apply widely—almost ubiquitously—used wireless technology to enable intelligent power demand management which can ultimately lead to greenhouse gases being better controlled and even reduced. Our city councillor could not have been paying attention in their high school science classes.

Paul Vroomen
Santa Cruz

Best Online Comments

On ‘Hanging in the Balance’ ...
Brett McFadden is right. We must mobilize our communities and save school bus transportation. I know that the Latino Community was kept well informed—I have seen them in action: WORK HARD—TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW - WE MUST KEEP OUR FLEET GOING. I transport 300 kids a day, and I am just one of 79 drivers. We cannot make parents drive thousands of kids to school. We cannot let kids walk long distances, in the dark, with no sidewalks. We have a whole new fleet that emits 50 times less emissions than the old stinkers. Talk it up. Write about it. And get out there and vote.
—Kate, PVUSD School Bus Driver

GT strives for excellence every week, but there are those rare occasions when we’re reminded we’re human too. That said, last week, we were blessed with not one, but two errors. In an A&E story, Greenspace was incorrectly mentioned as being “defunct.” It is, of course, still thriving at 1122 Soquel Ave., in Santa Cruz (423-7200,
In the same article, the name of Anastasia Keriotis was misspelled. GT regrets the errors. Also, a clarification about an upcoming event: author Pam Houston will present her new book, "Contents May Have Shifted," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Capitola Book Cafe.
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