Plus Letters To the Editor
There are moments in Santa Cruz history where certain events forever affect the emotional landscape of the area. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake certainly comes to mind. The medical marijuana raids last decade stand out, too. In 2012, the death of local business owner Shannon Collins sent a powerful ripple effect throughout the community and suddenly, all attention veered toward safety issues in the community.
The week ahead may conjure up more discussion about safety, in general, but it may also remind Santa Cruz just how resilient it really is. On Feb. 26 of 2013, Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler lost their lives in the line of duty. One year later, as heightened awareness around local crime and safety continues to generate debate, the Santa Cruz community may also be reminded of the collective healing process that has, and, to some extent, still is taking place. To that end, GT’s Joel Hersch, who first reported on the officers’ deaths last year and later delivered another in-depth piece about local crime issues and “safety” perceptions, once again explores the matter in this week’s cover story. Using a careful mix of reporting and reflection, and culling from illuminating interviews with local leaders and citizens, Hersch looks back on the fateful day Butler and Baker lost their lives and gleans insight into how far the community has come—in terms of public safety and recovery on a number of levels. What’s changed? What can be changed? How did that one event begin reshaping the Santa Cruz of the future? Share your thoughts and weigh in on the topic of safety, and much more, by commenting online or sending a letter to
In the meantime, as the week unfolds, perhaps it’s best to keep Butler and Baker in the most positive light.
Onward we go. Until next time.
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Regarding ALPRs (GT 2/6), if you think red light cameras are bad, this is way worse. I started this page to get a solid count in Santa Cruz of those who are opposed to installing the infrastructure for enabling surveillance.
Here is the Facebook page. Share it if you agree. Thank you GT for for excellent reporting. (See facebook.com/ surveillancefreeSC
Logan Halliwell | Santa Cruz
Shift The Focus, Please
As a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served for two years in Peru, reading your lead article on Feb. 6, “Tales of the Vine,” left me wishing that Rak Razam had never bothered to visit Peru, that he had refrained from telling the rest of the world about it, that Damon Orion had not bothered to write his puff piece about Mr. Razam, and that Good Times had not wasted ink and pulp to publish it. Aside from using Peru as the locale for his drug experimentation, Mr. Razam apparently found nothing of interest to tell the world about the country, the shamans with whom he took these substances, or any of the social context within which they live and work.
This is a shame, since Peru encompasses a bewildering variety of geographic and environmental zones, home to stunning biodiversity, and to a kaleidoscope of cultures that stretches thousands of years before the Inca, and which continues to flourish today. Mr. Razam might have noted this in his journey, but he apparently only came for the Ayahuasca, and for an interesting setting in which to take pharmaceutical hallucinogens.
Shamanic ritual, often involving plants and other organic substances that we might think of as drugs, and which locals might think of as medicines, exists throughout much of Peru, with roots in the pre-Hispanic past, and with variation according to the locality. Unfortunately, the meeting of shamans willing to share their ritual with outsiders, and people mostly interested in the hallucinogenic experience, has allowed an industry of drug tourism to develop. Mr. Razam typifies those hallucinogenic tourists that I have had contact with. In the midst of the splendor of Peru, they remain blinkered to anything but the drugs.
I would encourage anyone who wants to experience the wonder of the Andean and Amazon world to visit Peru. If you are so lucky as to be able to talk to Peruvians about their world, to learn about those hundreds of plants available in any market in any town, or about their daily struggle to make a living and improve their country, or about the depths of their history, take advantage of the opportunity. But if you just want to get high, please stay home.
Dan King| Santa Cruz
On ‘ALPRs ...’
Where is the national ACLU on this one? They like to file lawsuits on many frivolous things, but seem to be silent on issues like massive big government spying and collecting data on people.
On ‘Fleahab ...’
What a joke. The Eastside, like every other community in Santa Cruz County, has been devastated by drug and alcohol addiction. Either you're part of the solution or part of the problem. Go back to the 1990s Disgusted Pointster. It's not about waves anymore.
—One Santa Cruz
Flea is doing something positive, you kook. There are drug addicts all around, some people just choose to pretend they don't exist. Give the guy some props for helping your community.
—Don't Be a Hater
Honoring the Officers
The deaths of Santa Cruz police officers Loran “Butch” Baker and Elizabeth Butler last February shook the community and also triggered a tremendous outpouring of support. As the anniversary of the officers deaths approaches, take note of a public gathering from 6-7 p.m. at Santa Cruz City Hall (809 Center St., Santa Cruz). The following day, on Feb. 26, a fountain, stone wall and garden at the Santa Cruz Police Department will be dedicated to commemorate Baker and Butler. Turn to page 14 for more in-depth coverage.
Marijuana-infused Beef Jerky
The buzz—no pun intended—continues to grow around medical marijuana. This week, Food World News reports that Santa Cruz Labs, a medical marijuana product testing lab, has posted Instagram photos of a curious new creation: marijuana-infused beef jerky. Santa Cruz’s own Badfish Extracts has produced the product. Tests are now being conducted to determine the jerky’s potency. But this wouldn’t be the first time a unique product came into being. Two others that stand out: Medicated Nutella and marijuana-infused peanut butter.
“Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor more precious dear than life.”
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