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Oct 25th
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Area Opinions

Columns - Opinion

Time to Forget the Past?

Time to Forget the Past?

My grandmother had so little interest in the past that it used to frustrate me beyond belief. Here was a woman who was born in the era of horse-drawn carriages and she lived long enough to witness man’s landing on the moon.

I longed to hear her stories about horses delivering ice in San Francisco, or even what it was like to prevent her son—my father—from an early death in the influenza epidemic of 1919. Or anything at all from her rich background

But she had no interest in the “good old days.” Instead, she preferred to talk about how she didn’t trust Richard Nixon, or even more—why I wasn’t getting better grades in college.

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Columns - Opinion

A Deeper Look at La Bahia

A Deeper Look at La Bahia

The Mayor and City Council, in my view, have demonstrated that a progressive, pro-environment City of Santa Cruz can also have a strong, serious economic development policy, and that it can all come together in a project such as the La Bahia proposal that was in front of the California Coastal Commission in mid-August.

The project was a decade in the making—which means negotiations with the city, various segments of the community, and lengthy discussions with the Coastal Commission staff—and resulted in a 6-0 vote at the City Council, and a recommendation for approval from the Coastal Commission staff.  Typically, it was not a walk in the park at either venue.

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Columns - Opinion

The Strange Journey of La Bahia

The Strange Journey of La Bahia

If you want to understand the politics of coastal California, look no further than the proposed La Bahia Hotel project in Santa Cruz.

You’ll be hearing a lot about the proposal as it heads to the state Coastal Commission for approval next month during the commission’s August meeting in Watsonville on Aug. 11, 12 and 13.

The La Bahia project has been much debated, and it’s a big deal in Santa Cruz. But beyond that, it’s an instructive tale about how awkward California’s political institutions really are.

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Columns - Opinion

Lost in the Past

Lost in the Past

Nostalgia is denial!" proclaims the smug pedant played by Michael Sheen in Woody Allen's terrific new movie, Midnight In Paris. He's poo-poohing the craving of protagonist Owen Wilson for the bygone era of Paris in the 1920s, a Mecca of creativity and artistic ferment idealized by Wilson's character, Gil, a Hollywood scriptwriter with a Pinocchio-like urge to become a "real" writer.

Does it count as "nostalgia" to crave something you've never actually experienced? Lots of people (especially those of us who write historical fiction, and the majority of those who read it) do feel sometimes like we were born in the wrong era. Who doesn't occasionally have a pang of yearning for some simpler past time when communication wasn't so instant, media wasn't quite so mass (or massive), and a person had time to, you know, sit and think once in a while?

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Columns - Opinion

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

I finally got around to sorting through a box of old electronics in my garage. Maybe you have one too, a purgatory for devices that have been replaced by the latest and greatest but seem too valuable to throw away. There they wait, unloved and trussed up in their own cords, like a geek’s version of Toy Story 3.

“I should probably keep this as a backup,” we think, blowing dust off a chirpy phone cradle modem. The box is full of sounds going extinct. Aren’t you going to miss that Windows 95 startup sound? Or dialing that rotary phone?: Zzzzik! Cla cla cla cla cla cla. Wait, is that a dot matrix printer? Those things sounded like bees trying to sting a live microphone to death.

My box had about fifty pounds of recording hardware that has since been replaced by cheap computer software that weighs nothing. Beneath that was a jumble of obsolete cables, and then, at the bottom, encased in a patterned plastic designed to vaguely remind a mostly blind person of wood, was my first answering machine. From the ’80s.

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Columns - Opinion

Gay Santa Cruz: Then and Now

Gay Santa Cruz: Then and Now

As we prepare to celebrate this year’s Gay Pride, now the largest annual political gathering in Santa Cruz County, it’s hard to believe that the first marches in the mid-1970s required security to protect the gutsy few out Santa Cruzans who walked down Pacific Avenue.

It was a different time locally and nationally.  Locally in the late 1970s, the University enrollment was at just over 5,000, Downtown Santa Cruz was dead after six, the Miss California Pageant would still call Santa Cruz home for another few years, and the Board of Supervisors and City Council had conservative majorities.

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Columns - Opinion

Gay Santa Cruz: Then and Now

Gay Santa Cruz: Then and Now

As we prepare to celebrate this year’s Gay Pride, now the largest annual political gathering in Santa Cruz County, it’s hard to believe that the first marches in the mid-1970s required security to protect the gutsy few out Santa Cruzans who walked down Pacific Avenue.

It was a different time locally and nationally.  Locally in the late 1970s, the university enrollment was at just over 5,000, Downtown Santa Cruz was dead after six, the Miss California Pageant would still call Santa Cruz home for another few years, and the board of supervisors and city council had conservative majorities.

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Columns - Opinion

A Town With No Pity

A Town With No Pity

This past winter was a big one for the flu; lots of people seemed to get hit who are usually resistant, including me. Fever, aching, fatigue, a cough ... it sucked, and I went through two rounds of it. Then a co-worker said she was starting to feel kind of sick, I started telling her what she should expect, and how much she should rest, and what she should take for it, and ... and then I recognized the look on her face, because it was one I’d been sporting myself.

What she wanted, and what I wanted when I was sick, was a little sympathy. But you don’t get that in this town, you get advice. In much of the world, it's accepted that bad things just happen sometimes, and we should give comfort to one another through the hard times and hope for better. But we're a problem-solving people. And in Santa Cruz, we’ve got more solutions to choose from than anywhere else.

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Columns - Opinion

A Thriving Downtown Santa Cruz

A Thriving Downtown Santa Cruz

When I was in grade school, my classmates came up with a game that we turned into a writing assigment: “The good news is ... (fill in the blank) and the bad news is .... (fill in the blank).” And it would go on like that for, oh, 500 words or so.

That seems a good model to follow when writing about Downtown Santa Cruz. Because the bad news is that a number of stores are closing or have closed on Pacific Avenue: the Vault, Borders, Velvet Underground, Bugaboo.

But the good news is that times are changing. Changing times mean new opportunities, and already there are a few new faces showing up along the avenue: Betty Burgers’ sit-down restaurant, Legs, Verve and Stripe.

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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

 

Light Humor

College comedy questions a post-racial America in ‘Dear White People’
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Back Porch

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

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Wine Lust

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

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