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Jul 23rd
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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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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.