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Aug 22nd
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From the Editor

greg_archerS2sPlus Letters to Good Times
Passion for the Protest
Ad Raises Issues

When I was 11 or so, I invited a bunch of friends to my house. We gathered in the kitchen, where I set up my little stereo system—some speakers with long, long cords and a turntable. (Am I one of the few who misses those things?) Well, there we all sat to listen to my very first “radio show.” With a portable cassette tape recorder handy—I really am dating myself—I grabbed the microphone and away we went. I took in “caller requests” from the three friends at the table. David Cassidy’s “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat” was requested. No problem. Next up: Dickie Goodman’s “Mr. Jaws” (remember that one?), followed by “Rubberband Man” and a Barry Manilow commercial medley from his double-album extravaganza. In between, I chatted with my guests about things that really mattered—that Ovaltine was better than Tang. Ah ... good times.

Here in Santa Cruz, this “radio” thing is taken more seriously, as is quite evident in this week’s cover story by John S. Malkin. Here, our writer takes a revealing look at Free Radio Santa Cruz. And what a curious beast this is. Dubbed “Renegade Radio” by many, the local prominent broadcast force had reached a 15-year milestone. Dive into an intriguing journey that takes us back in time to the group’s early days and then travels through some of the challenges it has faced to remain vibrant, even today. (Those FCC raids certainly garnered attention.) All of it unfolds on page 16. Send us your comments at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

In the meantime, I’m still taking requests.

Greg Archer | Editor


Letters to Good Times Editor

Passion for the Protest
Kudos to GT for covering the March 4 protests in Santa Cruz (although apparently they weren't as important as “Food and Wine,” and the demonstrations at Cabrillo and in Watsonville didn't even seem to get mentioned). I have to ask, though, why you went with Tom Honig's op-ed—who is he exactly?—rather than soliciting one from an affected student or education worker.
Honig takes a paternalistic and dismissive tone towards the March 4 strike at UCSC, admonishing students and workers that our task is to "win hearts and minds" through strictly legal activity and the kind of activism that boils down to nothing but a song-and-dance for the media. A quick look at history shows us that social movements never win anything without rocking the boat. At UCSC, the occupation of Kerr Hall demanded (among other things) the rollback of a 15 percent cut to janitorial staff hours, which was quietly implemented several weeks later. At a statewide level, a spokesperson for the governor acknowledged that his proposal to guarantee increased funding for education was a direct response to November's rowdy protests across the state.
Like the governor, Honig offers the false double-bind between funding education and other social services. Many voices from the education movement have pointed to a number of possible alternatives like increasing taxes for the wealthiest segments of society or releasing some of the "criminals" Hong would like to keep off the streets. California's prison system is disastrously overcrowded and many of its inmates are in on nonviolent drug offenses; the ethnic and economic backgrounds represented disproportionately in their demographics continue to institutionalize the grave inequities in our culture; and as we all hopefully know by now, it’s both cheaper and more socially effective to educate someone than to incarcerate him or her.
Perhaps most tellingly, he mentions empowerment as a kind of fringe benefit of organizing. My response is that this is not a peripheral issue. It is precisely because we have so little power over our lives, labor and education that students and workers in California are going on strike, occupying campuses, and, yes, even breaking a few windows when that's what it takes. Many of the messages from the movement (which were plentifully available in flier and pamphlet format at the base of campus on March 4; shame Honig didn't stop by) have addressed themselves to the general social and economic crisis. It is not by begging politely for token reforms but by taking ourselves seriously as an organized social force that we are going to be able to make an impact on such a big mess from the grassroots level.
Alex Gregory
Santa Cruz

Ad Raises Issues
The full page Resource for Non Violence ad in the Feb. 25 edition of GT once again shows the anti-Israel and the hidden anti-Semitic leaning by the non-violence management. With all the major issues in our world, the civil wars and genocide in parts of Africa such as the Congo and the killings by the government in Sudan, it would seem the fixation on Israel by this group is more anti-Jewish than anti-violence. Why do they never address the treatment of foreign workers or the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia? How about the oppressive regimes in the rest of the Middle East where Israel is the only democracy? I do not know where their finances come from but I can guess. Being for non-violence is a great cause but being so one-sided damages the credibility of this organization.
Michael Simms
Santa Cruz

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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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