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Apr 17th
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From the Editor

Greg 12Well, that was interesting—2012 that is. So ... how did the year unravel for you? Looking back, I would have to say that, personally, it was one of the most interesting years I have ever had. Maybe “interesting” isn’t the right word. “Curious?” That’s closer. “Challenging?” Even warmer. “Full of growth.” (God, I hope so.) Not often comfortable—perhaps that is the best way to sum up 2012. Perhaps you feel the same. With that in mind, we put our best steps forward and look toward the future with one of our more adventurous issues to date.

Dubbed the If We Had Our Way ... issue, it is filled with 25 suggestions that could make Santa Cruz County a better place. I use the word “could,” because, well, Santa Cruzans, although über creative, can be oh-so “sensitive.” These are simply “bright ideas”—from local leaders and visionaries, and some of our editorial staff. We’ll continue this tradition weekly beginning in mid-January, so be sure to keep reading for other suggestions. And feel free to send us some of your own thoughts, too, to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The intent is to offer up ideas and generate a discussion within the community.

Elsewhere, be sure to turn to our Music and Events page this week for a rundown of some of the activities unfolding on New Year’s Eve. (What kind of year do you want to create for yourself?)

And don’t miss out on the new exhibit from artist/cartoonist Futzie Nutzle. Over in Film, film critic Lisa Jensen reports on some of the best films of the year. (What was your favorite?)

In the meantime, if you’re a soul-searcher and thinking about the transformations that could lie ahead, I am often reminded that some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten in life can often be found in three-word sentences: “Don’t freak out,””Let it go” and, my favorite, “Get over it!”

Onward we go ...

Thank you for reading. Here’s to a fun, graceful and stellar 2013.
    
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


Letters t the Editor
Debating Desal

After reading your cover article on the "Desal Dialogue" (GT 12/13), and having watched billions of gallons of fresh water rushing to the sea during past storms straining the levies as they passed, I couldn't help wonder why the city doesn't want to look at other options to  desalination. All this excess wasted water could be diverted into the underground aquifer and solve the problem of seawater intrusion and balance the water use/storage equation. We could also replace those flush urinals in the county which use 40,000 gallons of water (each) per year with waterless ones.

These two actions would make better use of our natural resource and provide much-needed jobs. Of course it would not  put cash in the pockets of corporations that build desalination plants  and their supporters, which may be the real source of the "controversy," after all.
Drew Lewis
Santa Cruz

Nice ‘Ebb & Flow’
Regarding “Ebb & Flow: The Desal Debate Evolves” (GT 12/13), it was an outstanding example of journalism. Although CalDesal membership was briefly mentioned, voters and water ratepayers deserve to know more about this less-than-transparent relationship.

CalDesal is a registered lobbyist firm that advocates for desal development and environmental deregulation. CalDesal’s activities and membership are kept secret, however, cash-strapped Santa Cruz pays a $5,000 annual membership fee. Furthermore, Water Department Director Bill Kocher serves on the executive committee.

CalDesal’s website states, “There has never been a more important time to commit to locally produced desalinated water. Opponents of desalination are better funded and better organized than the water industry. But not for long! Help us engage, level the playing field and make desalination a reality.”

At the behest of the CalDesal president, Kocher wrote John Laird, Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, discouraging specific environmental protection measures to limit hazardous seawater desal practices. See opc.ca.gov/webmaster/ftp/pdf/public_comment/20110907_City_of_Santa_Cruz_Water_Dept.pdf)

Interestingly, Kocher presented at both CalDesal Conference sessions in Sacramento (Oct. 25-26) and Irvine (Oct. 29-30) costing the city $1,100 in travel expenses. Closed to the public and news media, the conference came only a week before Measure P passed and at a time when many communities are reassessing, shelving, or cancelling their desal plans due to escalating costs, environmental risks, and public opposition. (http://news.yahoo.com/desalination-no-panacea-calif-water-woes-174531736.html)

This political relationship is of particular concern in environmentally vigilant Santa Cruz, where citizens are increasingly skeptical about the efficacy of building a publically funded desal plant.
Paul Gratz
Co-author of Measure P

Online Comments

On ‘Ebb & FLow’ ...
The “low hanging fruit” as Don Lane calls it is still mostly out of reach, greywater to toilet, laundry and topical landscape watering. These alone can provide a near 60 percent reduction in household use from the meter and is about all that be done to achieve next spring's mandatory reduction by Soquel Creek Water District
—Arlos Anderson

When traveling throughout the world I often see rain catchment barrels on the roofs of homes to catch their washing and gardening water. Why don't we do that here?
—Traveler

Holiday Deadlines
GT offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 24 through Tuesday, Jan. 1 in observance of Christmas and New Year’s. The office will reopen Wednesday, Jan. 2.

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.