Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

From The Editor

Greg 12Plus Letters to the Editor

This is not the original Editor's Note I wrote for publication this week, which went to press early Tuesday afternoon. That note found me pondering the state of our culture after watching a frenzied Academy Awards telecast that, to me, was void of class. Except for when the women appeared, many of which—Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Hudson, Adele, Norah Jones—reminded us, that in an attention-hungry culture, less is more, grace is good and dignity still exists. (It's interesting to note that we rarely get reminded of that whenever we see a Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Even the cast of The Avengers didn't evoke that, try as they might, when they hit the Oscar stage Sunday.)

Which brings us to the issue at hand: Once again Santa Cruz has been riddled if not rattled by violence. This week the city mourns the deaths of Detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker—a 28-year-veteran on the force—and Detective Elizabeth Butler, who has been on the force for 10 years. They are the first officers in the history of the city to be killed in the line of duty. Late Tuesday evening, during a press conference, police Chief Kevin Vogel said, "Our department is in mourning. This is a horrific day."

If you are reading this then, chances are, you already know what unfolded on the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 26. A deadly confrontation took place at 3 p.m. at a house on the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue in Santa Cruz. Baker and Butler were investigating (in plain clothes) a possible domestic violence. The suspect—I will go by way of Anderson Cooper and, for now, refrain from mentioning his name here—shot the officers. They were later found dead outside of the house. What happened next smacks of something you might find in the movies. Santa Cruz police set up a perimeter and, working with other agencies, secured the North Branciforte Avenue area, which is highly residential with a middle school down the block. They found the suspect nearby on Doyle Street (near Whole Foods) about a half-hour later. Gunshots ensued—many of them. The suspect was shot dead.

I have a friend and a colleague that lives on Doyle Street. She was at the police station until 12:30 a.m. that night giving a report. Apparently, she and several others with her in her apartment heard gunshots outside. She called 911. Not long after, my friend opened the door and began to carefully investigate. She encountered police who immediately told her to get back inside and lock the doors. She did. A moment later, she spotted a man running down the walkway. His dead body was still covered with a tarp on the driveway when she returned from the police station late that night.

Many citizens were affected deeply by the murder of Shannon Collins in May of 2012. Since I have been in Santa Cruz, I would say that that one incident profoundly affected the community. Santa Cruz rallied together, hoping to raise the level of awareness about local violence; hoping to heal. Just this last month, an odd string of increased crime once again found Santa Cruz, including a recent break-in where the homeowners actually fought back with the thief.

In the coming days and weeks, many of us will hear: "We must do something about violence and crime in Santa Cruz. Enough!"

I am not a lawmaker. I am not on the city council. And many readers aren't either. But I can use what is in front of me today to make some positive difference. Today, writing this is what I can do. Tomorrow, perhaps something else. We do not live in a bubble. If we are to be a real community, if we are to stand together and explore options and solutions (and even healing) we must use what we have in front of us today to do just that so that, collectively, we galvanize our broader vision of Santa Cruz … and not just settle for what we have, but to push for what we need.  

I found it absolutely mesmerizing to hear the acceptance speech of Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio, who took home an Oscar for his work on the film. He dedicated the award to Tony Mendez, the CIA agent who was the inspiration behind the film. In his acceptance speech, Terrio said that "Tony, using nothing but his creativity and his intelligence, got six people out of a very bad situation … I want to dedicate this him, and the people all over the world who use creativity and intelligence to solve problems non-violently."

Santa Cruz is a creative community. No doubt it strives for something similar. In the coming weeks, as city leaders connect more with locals within the community, we may see how some of that unfolds. In the meantime, rather than blindly saying, "the police aren't doing enough"—if this week doesn't change your opinion even slightly, then … it may be best to a) honor those who serve the community and b) work together with them. For now—for today—many good thoughts are being sent to the families of Baker and Butler.

Continue to send us your letters and we will keep this conversation in motion.

Be well. Be safe. Onward …


editor letters

A Meatless Earth Day?

Again, I demand that all meat-cooking, meat-eating and meat consumption at the annual Earth Day Festival in Santa Cruz, California be immediately terminated. Meat-eating is not an appropriate venue for an Earth Day Festival.

Vegan/vegetarianism is a central core pillar of Earth Day or any other green/environmental festival celebrated anywhere in the U.S. or throughout the world. Earth Day represents the traditional promotion of alternative, green, sustainable and ecologically appropriate values and means of living. The promulgation and consumption of a meat-based diet (however "natural") is completely antithetical to this theme. In fact, nearly 20 percent of all greenhouse gases responsible for global warming come from livestock. Read “Diet for a Hot Planet” by Anna Lappe. It’s time to feed people, not livestock! Over half of the people on our planet are malnourished because of our overconsumptive meat-based diet here in America.    

Allowing so-called "natural food" establishments and others to cook, sell and consume meat at our annual Earth Day Festival makes a complete hypocritical mockery of what an Earth Day celebration traditionally represents in our society. Willingly, or per force, this rich, arrogant, decadent, overconsumptive meat-eating and SUV, gas-guzzling lifestyle will be decisively terminated in the very near future—of this fact there is absolutely no question. Best to make the transition softly and voluntarily and learn to build an ecologically based green community here locally first so as to ease the transition.

I personally have identified "meat-eating" as the central/core problem and impediment in our culture that is preventing us from evolving into a truly environmentally sustainable and survivable green society. In fact, I have written a chapter on the issue in my online book, “Saving The Planet.”

So, let’s end the meat-eating at our annual Earth Day Festival, it does not belong here. Because this has been an ongoing conflict with this city and its organizers over the years, I again publically call for your firing and dismissal as coordinators of our annual Earth Day Festival here in Santa Cruz. It’s time the City of Santa Cruz hire a team that is both competent and in tune with the real green/eco-values of our beautiful community.

Steve Jones
Santa Cruz

editor notePhoto Contest

Bold Boardwalk Fun  There is no shortage of inventive photo ops in and around the area’s iconic amusement park. photo/Amber Rose Stoddard. Submit photos to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Include information about the photo (location, etc.) and your name within the body of the email. Photos may be cropped to fit. Winners will be notified via email.

editor goodwork

Foundation Makes an Impact
The Santa Cruz Education Foundation, which works to ensure that each of the 7,000 students at its 10 campuses—from kindergarten through high school— receive outstanding educational experiences, recently reminded us of its longstanding collaboration with Shadowbrook Restaurant. Save the date:  When you dine at the Shadowbook on Tuesday, March 12 (5-10 p.m.), the SCEFoundation will receive 30 percent from the bill. Mention SCEF. Learn more at

editor goodidea

Behold: The Santa Cruz Music Festival
Local groovers and otherwise hip cats have merged their talents to create the first-ever Santa Cruz Music Festival (SCMF 2013). The undertaking takes place, in part with GT, on July 20, 2013. The one-day fun-filled festival is expected to feature a variety of music acts, comedy, spoken word performances, and other fodder at various venues in Downtown Santa Cruz. For more information and tickets, visit Have a “Good Idea?” Send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

editor quoteeditor qow

“I don't find thin girls attractive; be happy and healthy. I've never had a problem with the way I look. I'd rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym.”

Online Comments
On ‘Abbott Sqaure’ ...
By definition a public space belongs to everyone, not just business-friendly shoppers. Local leaders seem to want a sanitized version of the American public square. However, public spaces are meant for the community, everyone, to gather in and to utilize.
Public spaces germinated the antiwar, free speech, civil rights, women's rights, disability rights, and now poverty rights movements. It seems like civic leader wants to privatize all the public commons, making them subservient to business interests.
—John Colby

We are interested in creating a thriving space for everyone in Abbott Square. We are talking with the Homeless Services Center, the Community Counseling Center, and many others to develop a plan that makes the square a source of creativity, activity, and inspiration for diverse members of our community. I wish this article had focused on the incredible creative ideas for Abbott Square—from children, police, activists, artists—and the potential they speak to for all of us.
We are working hard to make this process as open as possible. If you or anyone wants to participate, please call me.
—Nina Simon,
Executive Director, MAH

editor policy

Comments (3)Add Comment
Vigorous debate on public safety needed
written by John Colby, March 02, 2013
Vigorous debate of public issues is fundamental to democracy dating back to our Athenian roots. We must not abdicate problem solving to civic leaders. Consensus must come after lively public debate. The tragedy of 9/11 inhibited public debate about Iraq, leading to a disastrous war. These tragic deaths should not be misused by politicians nor cause critics to abdicate their civic duties.
written by Andrea Kroninger, February 28, 2013
Thanks for your eloquent words. In the past few years, maybe more, working in and living in the Santa Cruz community I've gone through a myriad of feelings and reactions with the increase in violence and criminal activity in our area. I'm alternately, horrified, fearful, empowered and apathetic.

Let's make this a town that makes news for supporting our community, comes up with solutions for battling the heinous activities we've been besieged with and rises above the adversity

Together we are stronger and can make a change. Let's urge the powers that be to do the same.
written by Jessica Wolf, February 28, 2013
Thank you Greg Archer for the thoughtfulness of your response here to the recent violence in Santa Cruz. We are indeed a creative community, and your suggestion that we move forward toward building collective solutions (and toward healing) with a focus on non-violence is important and appreciated.

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.


Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.


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

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.


Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.


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