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Jan 26th
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From the Editor

 

altPLUS Letters to the Editor 

Sometimes, life can feel like a juggling act. (How do we do it all—really?) But imagine some of the challenges facing local students with families. It’s one of the topics explored in our News section this week, where writer April Short uncovers some of the changes happening with Family Student Housing (FSH) at UC Santa Cruz. FSH is designed to assist those with families reach their educational goals. 
From its childcare services and lowered rent, it has served as a major benefit for students with families for more than 47 years. But costs continue to rise. There’s a reported 62 percent price increase in rent over the last nine years. 
 
Meanwhile, turn to page 12 and experience writer John Malkin’s report on some of the events that took place during the local Occupy Movement last fall. Culling from interviews with Occupiers and other eyewitnesses, the story targets the three days in late November and early December when an empty, former bank building was occupied in Downtown Santa Cruz. Read on ...
 
Over in Film, critic Lisa Jensen tackles one of the season’s most talked-about documentaries—Bully, which opens this week at Nickelodeon Theatres. The film offers a candid look at the bullying that took place at several schools. There was some controversy, too. The MPPA wouldn’t budge to give the documentary a PG-13 rating rather than an NC-17-rating—mostly due to the film’s strong language. An NC-17 rating—even an R rating—would have limited the amount of theaters it could run in and how many younger people could possibly experience it. But last week, after enduring a monstrous amount of protest nationwide, the MPPA gave the green light for a PG-13 rating. Learn more about the film at thebullyproject.com and turn to page 44 for the full review.
Thanks for reading.

Have a terrific week.
 
 
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

 Letters to the Editor


The article on Watsonville land use was well-researched and informative. However, it is always surprising to hear well-intentioned politicians and city officials show such ignorance about the economic potential of prime farmland, which can continue producing food and jobs into the future, no matter what box store comes and goes out of business when unforeseen economic conditions occur. Watsonville is known nationally and internationally for its high quality produce, and its farmland is an irreplaceable natural resource.
 
The Sakata-Kett farmland ranks among the most fertile and prime farmland in the world because of its deep rich soils, its flat terrain, and its location in our mild coastal climate. California agriculture employs close to 2.5 million individuals. With more than 800 job titles within the agriculture value chain, these are not just important farmworker jobs, but others directly related to agriculture (companies that sell tractors, irrigation, packaging, pest control, fertilizer) and indirectly (food and clothing stores, etc.) supporting people working in agriculture. 
 
Economic Development Director Kurt Overmeyer’s statement that “……we don’t have space to build retail and fill the gap between farm work and [future jobs]” implies that retail jobs are what we want Watsonville’s young to aspire to. Education and training for quality jobs would be more appropriate. Mayor Daniel Dodge incorrectly says his plan would “not violate Measure U”—it would simply undo it. Measure U passed in 2002 not 2003, and the limit line is until 2022 to the south and north and 2027 to the east. The building the article refers to as being too costly for demolition is not on the Manabe-Ow property, but is already within city limits. Does it sound wise to eliminate farmland instead of demolishing an existing building? 
 
Other cities without a rich supply of farmland to exploit are faced with similar issues, and Watsonville officials should show more intelligence instead of destroying a resource. Do we really believe that 99 percent of Watsonville industrial space is filled? 
 
Does urban sprawl, which is what this would be, ever make sense as a planning strategy? Has building on farmland ever worked to solve problems?
Sam Earnshaw
Watsonville

Best Online Comments

Excellent article. The speculation then subsequent crashing of our system has hurt America's most valued assets—home and family. We must take back our children's future from the 1 percent. For those who have not woken up or do not understand, think of a home being crashed in value by the same men who told the American people they could re-finance their most valued asset. Instead, so many saw their home value fall so far below the bank-estimated value that they ended up losing it. "Underwater" would be more accurately described as purposefully flooded. The banks even sometimes "give away" the foreclosed homes for further government rewards after they have stolen them—for PR! Wake up. Let’s work so we can have them again.
—Denica De Foy

 
The California Homemade Food Act, AB1616, is now scheduled to be heard before the Assembly Health Committee on April 17 rather than April 10.
—Mark Stambler

 
Thank you for introducing us to these inspiring women. I am going to share your powerful story (GT 3/15) with a group of middle school girls. They need to hear about these women to give themselves a positive vision of where they might go in their lives.
—Susie Shane

 

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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

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