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Apr 19th
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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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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

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

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.
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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

 

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.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?