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Sep 18th
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From The Editor

Greg 1editNotePlus Letters To the Editor


The rain arrived, but is the drought over? For that matter, have the area’s other water issues waned? Hardly. This week, ponder our News story beginning on page 6, which reports on the arrival of Rosemary Menard, the new water director for the City of Santa Cruz. Among other things, Menard will most likely have to address a number of issues that have captured attention—from desalination to what the area will need to keep its watershed in a healthy zone. Read on, and send us your thoughts about water issues to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
In case you’ve been thirsty for something lively and robust, look no further than former American Idol contender/local icon James Durbin, who hits The Catalyst this week. Durbin’s new album has been generating some buzz so no doubt locals will support that new endeavor. Learn more about Durbin and what’s been unfolding in his life lately in our feature story.

 

What’s left? Well, there is Valentine’s Day. And for that, I invite you to consider having some chocolate. (Do you really need that invite?) Santa Cruz has a bounty of inventive chocolatiers, actually, but in case you’re craving to find one that stands out, then consider this week’s dining story where Jenna Brogan spotlights the marvel behind Ashby Confections. Chocolate lover I, there never seems to be enough for me, so I am more than happy to—for the sake of journalism, after all— devour as many of those chocolate treats as I can. A chocolate coma may await me, but what the heck—it’s worth it, right?
See you sober and clean on the other side of Valentine’s Day.

Thanks for reading. Having a terrific week—and remember to vote in our annual Best of Santa Cruz Readers Poll online at gtweekly.com.
Onward ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


letters

 

‘Surveillance City’
Sparks Discussion
First of all, thanks so much for John Malkin’s excellent cover story, “Surveillance City” (GT 1/30)  We want to add our voices to the call to all  Santa Cruz area citizens, including all our city and county officials, to say no to all the technological and other infringements of our civil liberties that are happening right now.
Do we who are fortunate enough to live in Santa Cruz county want the level of surveillance we are going to be subjected to with the new Automatic License Plate Readers that the Santa Cruz Police Department wants to install? Whether the answer is a yes or a no, we must present this important issue to our community and hear from our citizens before any such surveillance system is purchased and installed.
According to the article, only one viewpoint was heard by the Santa Cruz City Council before it voted unanimously to approve the police department’s request: that of the police department. We citizens were not informed or asked for our opinions. Now that we have been made aware of this issue, we need time to present our opinions to the City Council and have a dialogue about the pros and cons of installing more paraphernalia that monitors our citizens than we already have. We can work this out together in the proud tradition of an intelligent and caring Santa Cruz, a city and county known around the world for its decency, justice, liberty, and GT.
Rico Baker and Claire Joy | Watsonville


Online Comments
On ‘ALPRs ...’     
I question whether a police department which—from testimony taken for my U.S. Department of Justice ADA/Section 504 civil rights complaint against the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD)—has a pattern and practice of abusing, mistreating, denying services to and otherwise discriminating against disabled (homeless) people.
My research and interactions with SCPD staff indicate the SCPD has a cruelly callous—downright dishonest—culture of disdain toward
disabled people.
I submitted several public records requests—all ignored—about the secret surveillance programs the SCPD operates: the SCPD is opaque, evasive
and unaccountable. No—they can't be trusted.
—Dr. John Colby

On ‘Neighbors Resist Planned Hotel ...’     
It is always a great thing to have the people in the area of a proposed hotel, or any other new business, take part in the proceedings and to have them on board. The bigger and more complex the business is, the more of an impact it will have on the community. This will be an interesting story to follow, as the need for jobs is probably an issue as well.
—GrahamD

On ‘Coming Up Short ...’     
The problem is the growers' business model. It requires extremely low wages for physically challenging (and damaging) work. It has been subsidized by illegal workers from Mexico who were desperate enough to take the work. And now the Mexicans are less desperate, and so aren't showing up.
Farmers: you should be ashamed to offer work that mainly only desperate people, or people with no options, would be willing to take. I think that if you offered $20/hour, however, you'd have more than enough pickers. Your fields would not lie fallow. In the end, how much would the higher wages add to the cost of a basket of strawberries? A quarter? Even that?
—Robert Dobbs


Letters Policy
Letters should not exceed 300 words and may be edited for length, clarity, grammar and spelling. They should include city of residence to be considered for publication. Please direct letters to the editor, query letters and employment queries to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ." All classified and display advertising queries should be directed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ."  All website-related queries, including corrections, should be directed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ."


photo contest

POW

When it rains ... The recent downpours did more than deliver much-needed water. They managed to create some provocative “art” near Downtown Santa Cruz. photo//R. Leagh Vigurs.
Submit This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Include information (location, etc.) and your name. Photos may be cropped. Preferably, photos should be 4 inches by 4 inches and minimum 250 dpi.

good work



Cabrillo’s Students Hit the Cooking Channel
Nice work to the folks behind Cabrillo College's student-run Pino Alto restaurant at the historic Sesnon House. Seems their valiant culinary efforts were more than enough to attract the attention of the Cooking Channel. The cable network has been filming here for The Freshman Class: Santa Cruz, an eight-part series that debuts next month. The show follows Cabrillo culinary students and hopes to offer some delicious fodder. Take note: Airtimes are 5 p.m. Tuesdays beginning March 11 on the Cooking Channel (Channel 182 on Comcast).

good idea



The Opportunity Fund
Since last year, the inventive San Jose-based Opportunity Fund has offered $744,000 in small-business loans—most of them between $2,500 to $100,000. That the funds have gone to 44 entrepreneurs living in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties is even better news and clearly one of the finest ideas to hit the Central Coast in some time. The funds allow for the local entrepreneurs to launch new endeavors while offering less expensive capital to actual business owners who have relied on costly cash advances. Learn more at opportunityfund.org.


quote



“We don't want a shirtless man on a horse leading us."
—Former Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova on Vladimir Putin


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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

 

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