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Aug 23rd
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Area Opinions

Columns - Opinion

‘Unfriending’ in an increasingly social world

‘Unfriending’ in an increasingly social world

Maybe it doesn’t get noticed as much as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” but for my money, the best yearly honor comes out in November from the New Oxford American Dictionary. It’s the lexicographers’ “word of the year.”

Of course 2009 is the year of social media, so it stands to reason that it would come from there. And it does. The word? “Unfriend.”

How beautiful. An antisocial term in a world of social media. Here’s the explanation  from the dictionary’s blog: “UNFRIEND – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social site such as Facebook. As in – “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

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Columns - Opinion

The Creative Carter`

The Creative Carter`If memory serves, this country’s political process was the result of an impersonation of Jimmy Carter. A civic-minded seventh-grade teacher asked for three students to prepare a speech that reflected the views and politics of three presidential candidates—Jon Anderson, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. After the speeches, we were told we would debate each other and the students would vote for the candidate of their choosing. This had to be 1980; I must have been 12 years old.
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Columns - Opinion

Politician, Heal Thyself

Politician, Heal Thyself

Isn’t it funny how elected officials are quick to regulate others but slow to regulate themselves?

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mark Stone wants to extend a ban on plastic bags by clamping down on paper bags at local grocery stores. Under his plan retailers would be forced to offer discounts to shoppers who bring in their own reusable shopping bags. Or, perhaps, they’d charge shoppers more to use what he calls “single-use bags.”

Perhaps his idea is a good one, although I’d love to hear from retailers to find out whether the plan would lead to higher prices. But a bigger issue is something more basic: if you want to make change, start with yourself.

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Columns - Opinion

Finding Self-Confidence

Occasionally a friend will tell me he (or she) admires my confidence, and ask if he can “run some small problem by me.” "Of course," I say. I like to listen because I believe that often we can arrive at our own answers just by sharing our thoughts with another. Sometimes I am tempted to confess that I am not as confident as I seem, but I like that I appear confident and so I never do. I like that people come to me; it is my way of making friends. I didn’t have friends growing up and have been shy and lonely much of my life.

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Columns - Opinion

In Defense of Tesla and Fisker

In Defense of Tesla and Fisker

The two most prominent green car startups are Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors, but a recent BusinessWeek article quotes longtime analyst Maryann Keller as saying, “We’re pouring $1 billion into two companies without a future. The economics of the industry favors large companies.” Is Obama wasting our hard-earned money? I don’t think so.

Of $8.5 billion in Department of Energy loans to automakers so far to build new green-themed plants, $465 million went to Tesla for work on its Model S sedan and, more recently, $528 million to Fisker Automotive for final design work on its $89,000 Karma luxury plug-in hybrid and for its more affordable Project Nina car. The total Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan fund is $25 billion, so much of the money remains to be spent.

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Columns - Opinion

Taking Action in Downtown Santa Cruz

Taking Action in Downtown Santa Cruz This October has been extraordinary for Downtown Santa Cruz. As the executive director for the Downtown Association, I have had the privilege to host a series of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. The occasion was certainly a somber remembrance of the community’s losses; lost buildings, many lost businesses, lost jobs and, most tragically, loss of life. It was also, however, an undeniable time for celebration.

As I have been reliving downtown’s devastation of ’89, I have heard hundreds of stories of near misses and irony, stories of awe and adrenaline. Perhaps my favorite recount is of the 4-year- old girl watching Sesame Street, looking up for just a moment to respond to the frightened beckoning of her mother through the falling books and shaking furniture “But mom, I didn’t do it!” And while everyone has their own memory to share, the theme that continues to be retold is the one we all remember of the selfless service that the whole town seemed to gravitate toward. As people assessed the damages to buildings, the displaced businesses, with the very future of downtown in question, a remarkable community united around the idea of helping. Soon the question everyone was asking themselves, and each other, was, “What can I do?”

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Columns - Opinion

Politics on the Stairmaster?

Politics on the Stairmaster?A workout gym is one of those “third places” that sociologists talk about—not work, not home, a kind of familiar refuge from daily realities. But it’s different from, say, a favorite coffee shop or bar— mostly because you perspire a lot and, when the workout’s over, you get naked and shower in front of strangers.

It also differs from the neighborhood tavern in that discussion is not the main activity. It’s a refuge from all that talking that we have to do in other gathering spots.

Especially politics. Nothing is worse than listening to a political harangue while gasping for air on the Stairmaster.  Just put in your ear buds, stare straight ahead and you’re blessedly in your own world.

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Columns - Opinion

Universal Health (S)care

Universal Health (S)care

Have you heard? President Obama wants to hand over your paycheck to illegal immigrants, indoctrinate your kids, and pull the plug on Granny. Most heinous of all (and you might want to cover the eyes of impressionable children for this one): he wants to guarantee you lifetime health care you can afford.

Oh, the humanity!

Can anything be more loony than the current “debate” over health care reform? Health should not be held hostage to politics. Basic health care  should be a right of every American, not a bargaining chip in political maneuvering. So, along comes Obama with a plan (not even a plan, just the radical idea that a plan needs to be made), and all he gets is grief from the very citizens—working class, non-rich—he’s trying to help.

 

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Columns - Opinion

Mardi Wormhoudt Faces Her Most Serious Battle

Mardi Wormhoudt Faces Her Most Serious Battle

They say that journalists should not reveal their sources. But as is so often true, Santa Cruz does things differently. Sources and journalists here can be metaphorically in bed together for years at a time, and the relations between the newsmakers and news reporters sometimes run deep. Once in a while, people even become friends.

Such is my relationship with Mardi Wormhoudt, former Santa Cruz mayor, former dominating presence on the county Board of Supervisors and one of my most indispensible friends.

Mardi now is battling melanoma, and those close to her say the long-term prognosis is not good. She remains an active presence in Santa Cruz, but her medical situation gives us pause to consider what she has meant to the community.

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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Locavores Only

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.