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Apr 18th
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Area Opinions

Columns - Opinion

That’s a Crazy Idea. Sign Me Up.

That’s a Crazy Idea. Sign Me Up.

A little over a year ago, I played the role of narrator in a show called “Jugtown U.S.A.” The show concept was simple: Play a retrospective of the hits of early Motown on jug band instruments. Musical parts were reorganized to accommodate instruments from the hillbilly wedding party scene in the movie Deliverance, were there actually such a scene. Drummer Olaf Shiappacasse played a finely arranged pile of debris, including a washboard, cardboard suitcases, hubcaps, and pie tins. Matt Bohn built and performed on a more playable interpretation of the washtub bass, substituting a galvanized washtub for the usual curvy body.  Along the front of the stage, ready to play the parts of strings and brass, stood an array of jugs, partially filled beer bottles, kazoos, and megaphones.

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Columns - Opinion

Cutting Redevelopment: A Bad Business Decision

Cutting Redevelopment: A Bad Business Decision

Editor’s Note: This guest column is compiled by Patrice Edwards, Chair, board of directors, and Bill Tysseling, executive director at the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce, for the Board of Directors.

As business people, we understand the challenge of controlling costs and staying on budget. We understand, too, the challenge facing California and Gov. Jerry Brown as he struggles to plug a $25 billion budget hole.

But we also understand the relationship between costs and benefits. That’s why the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce opposes the governor’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies in California.

As California emerges from what has been termed the Great Recession, the need for redevelopment agencies has never been greater. And that’s especially true for Santa Cruz County.

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Columns - Opinion

What's In a Word?

What's In a Word?

So, there I was, loping through the San Francisco Chronicle last week. (We may surf the web, but a more laid-back and contemplative verb is required for perusing a newspaper in print) and there I found the article, "Book lovers turn the page on a new year," about Bay Area calligrapher Georgianna Greenwood. Early in January every year, she hosts a ceremony at the Center for the Book in San Francisco; eschewing the whole notion of New Year's resolutions, she invites participants to choose a single word to express their attitude toward the coming year—hopes, dreams,  strategies, goals, coping mechanisms, whatever—and then draws or collages together a "talisman" to celebrate that idea. But the core is that word, one single word to express one's personal Zeitgeist for the new year.

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Columns - Opinion

The Lesson of WikiLeaks

The Lesson of WikiLeaks

There’s a big lesson stemming from Wikileaks—and it’s not really a political one. Actually, there’s a lesson for us all.

Some are outraged over the documents that have now become public; others are overjoyed that “the truth” has come out.

But the overriding lesson goes far beyond that. We are now living in a Wikileaks world.

It’s hard to gauge what damage, if any, will be done by the Wikileaks revelations. Has the release of classified information been damaging—or is it just embarrassing?

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Columns - Opinion

Leaky Bucket List, 2011

Leaky Bucket List, 2011

2011 is a prime number, so this year I came up with an extra special resolution: Overcome my disdain for trends and my shyness around new groups by getting involved in something new. Something exciting. Something Santa Cruzy.

For research, I leafed through the giant pile of local newspapers I’m hoarding for the day when we all go paperless and bird owners will have to come to me, desperate, for something to line their cages. I’ll be rich I tell you, rich!

A few things considered but rejected: Becoming a lesbian (unacceptable reduction of the dating pool), panhandling (my doctor insists I have good back support if I sit for prolonged periods), vegetarianism (pigs are very smart; if we don’t keep their numbers in check they’ll take over), and coffee shop philosopher. (I’ve already worked it all out: “The grass is greener, but then you eat all the grass.”)

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Columns - Opinion

Spirit of Christmas Presence

Spirit of Christmas Presence

The most important person at our Thanksgiving feast this year wasn't even at the table. Before the first morsel of turkey was gobbled, my cousin Megan proposed that we raise our glasses to my mom, who passed away in February, one month shy of her 89th birthday.

Art Boy and I had spent the day in the car, driving from Santa Cruz all the way down to Hermosa Beach. We much prefer to stay firmly rooted to hearth and home—our home—for the holidays, if at all possible. But this was going to be the first big holiday without Mumsie, and I thought it was important to be there to share it with my brothers, Mike and Steve, who lived with Mom in the house we all grew up in at the end of her life. It was a bittersweet time for us; we felt my mom's fun-loving spirit everywhere in the house she lived in for 56 years, but we were so sorry we hadn't organized one last, big family feast like this a couple of years earlier, before my mom's last series of strokes, when she could have still been with us in person, alert and mobile, to enjoy it.

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Columns - Opinion

If It’s Midnight,This Must Be A Manger

If It’s Midnight,This Must Be A Manger

It’s here again, that special time of year, which at this point in my life doesn’t feel all that special anymore. It feels like shopping. Shopping and lists of things to do, buy, wrap, ship, light, hang on a tree, cook in a casserole, write in a card, dress in a Santa suit, steal while the villagers hold hands and sing “Fah who for-aze! Fah who for-aze!” (And adding to my anxiety, due to the marketing schedule of major corporations, is my craving for a Shamrock Shake right about now. Color me confused.)

Regardless of your winter celebration of choice, there is bound to be some amount of obligation and stress attached. If not, you’re doing it wrong, and nobody’s had the nerve to tell you. Now try harder, fail bigger and get in the spirit of things.

My extended family celebrates Christmas. Personally, I belong to that special group of individuals who celebrates the social aspect of just about any celebration you throw our way, as long as there’s dip and music. You may recognize us: the Lazy Catholics, the Lazy Jews, the Lazy Pagans. We light trees, eat latkes and burn Yule logs only to retire to our normally scheduled program without so much as a spiritual hiccup. Things were probably different when we were young.

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Columns - Opinion

What Does Sustainable Actually Mean?

What Does Sustainable Actually Mean?

Sustainable. Wikipedia describes it as “the capacity to endure.” While the definition is convenient, clean and nice, how it translates into reality is highly subjective. What you think of sustainable living might be quite different from what I think. Furthermore, I find it a common capitalistic affliction to know what sustainable living is and consciously not live that way.

All the submarine and terrestrial volcanoes in the world produce roughly 200 million tons of CO2 annually and humans, through the burning of fossil fuels, production of cement and gas flaring produce 30 billion tons annually. According to the United States Geological Survey, it's equivalent to adding 8,000 medium-sized active volcanoes like Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii, to the planet. As a marine and environmental scientist, I see daily how the natural world is viewed and used as an infinitely forgiving resource or a place where you can dump or trash. I have to work in my own life to develop myself out of old habits and into more ‘sustainable’ ones. From a global perspective, I have a very high carbon footprint and from a national perspective, it’s low. It’s easy to get lost in the computations of carbon footprints and to justify consuming with responses like, “I try to be a locavore,” “I buy organic,” or “I conserve,” but we are still left with the questions: is it sustainable? And, am I doing enough?

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Columns - Opinion

Lost in a Sea of Information

Lost in a Sea of Information

Oscar Wilde once averred, “I am not young enough to know everything.” Imagine if he tried living in this modern era of too much information. It’s impossible to keep up.

I think it’s my iPad that finally made me hit the wall. It’s an incredible device—offering more information at one sitting than anyone could have ever imagined in those days of yore where we’d sit with maybe a newspaper, a magazine or even a book.

Years ago, I went to a journalism seminar and the media expert there asked the crowd of reporters and editors whether their business was news or information. More than half said they wanted to give information to their readers—go well beyond the news and really inform the public.

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.