Back in March, when the wildflowers were popping out to dazzling effect all over Highway 46, Art Boy and I drove down to Hermosa Beach to help my brothers excavate the house Mom lived in for over 50 years. I've always joked that my mom was a packrat who never threw anything away, but even I never realized how literally true that was.
A community at a crossroads
Recent violence and attacks on downtown have done more than torn through the fabric of our historically peaceful community; it has left many residents simply asking, “What happened to the Santa Cruz I know?” In search of easy answers we often look toward short-term policy changes (more police overtime) or easy scapegoats (elected officials). But a micro approach, while satiating the initial visceral need to do something, really does little to address the underlying issue. That issue, simply stated, is that our community is no longer the community we knew.
A call for increased strength and a new commitment
In less than a year, on March 1, 2011 in Washington, D. C., there will be vibrant speeches and sustained applause for the United States Peace Corps. The agency will be 50 years old. More than 200,000 volunteers will have served in 139 countries around the world. The Peace Corps volunteer contributions deserve both commendation and recognition.
A community at a crossroads
Recent violence and attacks on downtown have done more than torn through the fabric of our historically peaceful community; it has left many residents simply asking, “What happened to Santa Cruz I know?” In search of easy answers we often look toward short-term policy changes (more police overtime) or easy scapegoats (elected officials). But a micro approach, while satiating the initial visceral need to do something, really does little to address the underlying issue. That issue, simply stated, is that our community is no longer the community we knew.
I was looking in the mirror one day last week when I realized that when it comes to the public dialogue, I’m part of the problem. Chances are that you are too.
I had been watching one of the endless congressional hearings going on these days. It might have been about Goldman Sachs or maybe Fannie Mae or maybe even the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Then came on the analysis. Who was at fault? Who is to blame? What did he know and when did he know it?
We are just as outraged and frustrated as you are about the recent violence that has descended upon our town. Between the shocking damage done in Downtown last weekend and the horrible news that another young person had his life cut short by senseless criminal activity, we have been inundated with requests by community members about what they can do to help and what the City Council is doing as well.
It is time that we all roll up our sleeves and get to work. The reality is that neither the City Council nor the police alone can solve the enormous challenges facing our city. We need to remember how this incredible place we all call home has risen to challenges before and know that we can do so again. But it will take unprecedented commitment and cooperation from people across this community.
Here are 10 ways that you can help to make our community safer:
Came to your party/ drank all your beer/ we’re a bad trip. —Camper Van Beethoven
By now, we are well familiar with the splendid machinations of the Tea Party. This well-publicized movement of fear and hatred that has co-opted their attention-grabbing demonstration theater straight out of a UC Santa Cruz protest manual, has managed to strike the fear of Darwin into every good-hearted believer of freedom and democracy.
Obama is finally striking back against these purveyors of insanity, and so should we. Which is why it’s time for a wholly different protest party. Tea and coffee are already spoken for. Herbal tea is nice, but maybe too nice. Wine would be good, but liberals have already been accused of elitism which is Republican speak for smart. Water, though entirely necessary to our survival, is simply no fun unless you’re naked and splashing in it. So we’re left with little choice but beer. Oh well …
While the headlines often focus on the negative, what is less apparent is that this global recession has once again proven that Santa Cruz is both resilient and innovative. All-too-real economic challenges remain, but thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the people in this community, we will emerge from the recession with a vibrant and sustainable local economy.
Here is just some of good economic news of late: Cruzio and Ecology Action are redesigning the Sentinel Building into a hub for sustainability and data processing. Cruzio also helped the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, a collection of local governments, submit a $46 million Federal Stimulus grant to bring 310 miles of fiber to Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties. Simultaneously, the tech community is partnering with the City to lobby for Google Fiber (visit networksantacruz.org to help).