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Oct 22nd
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Area Opinions

Columns - Opinion

Spring is Sprung

Spring is Sprung

Spring break. Here it comes. And whether you’re imagining Paula Prentiss in Where the Boys Are, or Tom Cruise in Losin’ It, there seems to be an overwhelming focus on the essential rites of the birds and the bees during this season. I hear you pagans, “Duh, it’s Beltane! Time to celebrate fertility!” Chicks and bunnies duly noted, thank you.

Here in Santa Cruz the phrase “Spring Break” is a double-edged sword. Maybe even triple-edged. Kids get a break from school: good edge. Visitors descend on our quiet burg: bad edge. Visitors stuff money in our local economy: good edge. They date our daughters and leave juice boxes on the beach: bad edge. They date our needy friends and leave large tips: good edge.

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Columns - Opinion

The Great Battle of Self-interest

The Great Battle of Self-interest

CNBC has been showing a promo video lately featuring the late Milton Friedman, the free-market, laissez-faire economist. Friedman was hardly your Santa Cruz kind of guy as he argued bookishly against government regulation and what he saw as unreasonable intrusion into free enterprise.

In the video, circa 1980, Friedman asks a question of host Phil Donahue that resonates today, while governments at all levels face grinding debt and the likelihood of cutbacks.

His question: “Is it true that political self-interest is somehow nobler than economic self-interest?”

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Columns - Opinion

The Birthday Industrial Complex

The Birthday Industrial Complex

Happy birthday to you..." You know the song, it's one of the most widely known songs in the English language, translated and widely used in 18 more.

"Happy birthday to youuu..."

At a typical party, everybody starts singing the song at the same time, but in 12 different keys. By the second line, dominant voices have begun to define a common melody, and other voices are shifting to match it. It's still too early to say whether everybody will be on the same note by the end. Third line:

"Happy birthday dear Richard..."

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Columns - Opinion

Newspapers Fight For Survival in the Digital World

Newspapers Fight For Survival in the Digital World

As poor old newspapers struggle to keep their relevance in an increasingly digital world, I’m reminded of author Jon Katz and his description of online newspapers: they’re like watching Lawrence Welk breakdancing.”

Which reminds of a debate I once saw at a meeting of California editors. On one side was Tom Selleck, who was trying to convince editors to adopt a written code of ethics. On the other side was a team of fat, bald editors who might have won the debate—but they didn’t, because they looked tired, old and far less convincing than the tanned movie star sitting with them on the stage.

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Columns - Opinion

The Worst Thing on Earth

The Worst Thing on Earth

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in the world? It might be hard to judge. Pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, click on Google news and there’s plenty of hard evidence that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Is it worst in Haiti? North Korea? Sudan?

Or, choose out of the history books: the Holocaust? Mao’s extermination of enemies in China? Stalin?

One could easily make a case that the worst thing that ever happened was in Hiroshima, site of the first atomic bomb in 1945. That’s why on a recent trip to Japan, I made sure to include a visit to Hiroshima.

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Columns - Opinion

Have A Nice Day

Have A Nice Day

Perhaps This Rock Will Help
I was just a kid when the smiley face fad broke out. It was plastered on everything, along with its slogan “Have A Nice Day,” and it was the first time I remember being irritated by a well-intentioned sentiment. From the back of mom’s car, I spotted yet another ponytailed fat man sporting the T-shirt.

“Who are all these people to tell me how to feel?” I said. Nine is a little young to start rolling your eyes at things, and my mother tried to straighten me out before it was too late. “They’re just trying to be nice,” she said.

“I don’t want to think about it.”

“About what, honey?”

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Columns - Opinion

For a Sustainable Water Future

For a Sustainable Water Future

Experience from other places should give us pause as we consider building a desalination plant. On Jan. 23, 2010, The Australian reported, “Rusting in sea water, the $1.2 billion Gold Coast desalination plant required repairs soon after it opened. The showpiece of a Queensland government strategy to drought-proof the state’s booming southeast, the project has been plagued by so many construction flaws and unscheduled shut-downs that the government is still refusing to take possession from the contractors who built it.”

The St. Petersburg Times reports on the only large-scale desalination plant operating in the United States, “Tampa Bay Water’s long-troubled desalination plant is having more problems. The $158 million plant, which opened five years late and cost $40 million more than expected, remains unable to supply the full 25 million gallons a day that was originally promised.” Closer to home, a Santa Barbara desalination plant sits idle, never used since its completion in 1992. Meanwhile Santa Barbara residents are still paying off the bonds for the plant.

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Columns - Opinion

Desal: It Deserves an Informed Evaluation

Desal: It Deserves an Informed Evaluation

Our community has a complex water supply problem. It includes the overdraft of freshwater aquifers. It includes the likelihood of severe droughts brought about by global climate change. It includes the likelihood that regulators will reduce our water supply from surface streams to protect endangered fish species. We must continue to evaluate the threats and risks to our environment, our households and our local economy—and evaluate potential remedies to our water supply problems.

Critics question whether or not our community should build a desalination plant to meet our water needs. These critics typically identify a number of important issues we need to examine as desalination is considered … and then jump to the conclusion that desalination should be rejected. Yet by arguing for rejection of desal they are essentially saying that we should “shelve” or cancel the project before allowing the community to learn and consider the latest information on desalination.

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Columns - Opinion

Where Have All the Bad Boys Gone?

Where Have All the Bad Boys Gone?

I spend an inordinate amount of time in Downtown Santa Cruz. I enjoy the shops, restaurants and outdoor markets, but what really keeps me coming back are the people. As a child I was tutored in people-watching by my parents, mostly in and around the old Cooper House. I also learned the craft of categorizing—not with malice but with a sense of appreciation and enjoyment. “Salty Sea Captain!” my dad would nudge toward the pedestrian passing by. “Jesus!” I would add, nodding at the young shirtless, bearded man passing by. (It was the ’70s. Everyone looked like Jesus.) This playful genus and species game is still fun, though not always politically correct. “Yoga enthusiast!” and “Prius driver!” are well-worn, as are “Self-Employed Tech Guru!” and “Non-Contributor!” There is one declaration that seems absent these days—“Bad Boy!” Where have they gone?

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Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
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Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher