Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

May Day Riots

riot-policeA 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.

The community is at a crossroads, socially, economically and even politically. Santa Cruz is not, and really will not, be the town so many remembered. New generations of residents are challenging historically held notions about communal priorities and recent incidents have forced us into a dialogue that was a long-time coming. But this is not simply generational.  Long-term community leaders are seeing years of hard work collapse from the influx of gangs, increases in violent crime and an overall degradation of quality-of-life.

Law enforcement agencies and elected officials are reflections of community priorities. The department’s aim is not to espouse a specific opinion on these issues but rather to encourage the community to work toward a consensus on what the priorities should be moving forward. We need to realize that hard choices and tradeoffs will be necessary to accommodate the changing priorities being asked for by many in our community. Ultimately, as a community, we need to take responsibility for our decisions and priorities and how they are reflected in a number of outcomes.

We need to come together with the understanding that law enforcement can mitigate but not eliminate many of the problems that we face. Additionally, we need to accept that many of the problems (including gang violence) are a new permanent reality for our city and not just something that faces larger municipalities.

As a community we need to start asking difficult questions that do not allow for simple solutions. What historic policies are incongruent with the changing needs of our residents? What tradeoffs, if any, are we willing to make in regards to new ordinances or policies that many believe could have an impact on liberties? Do changing community priorities need to be reflected in changing police allocation efforts?

All of these questions are value-based with inherent risks and rewards. Are we willing to accept that externalities (positive and negative) are a reality of priority and value-based policy making? It is unsustainable to use traditional models and approaches to our modern problems. This includes an historic tolerance of “low-priority” law enforcement issues (drug use and quality-of-life issues), resistance toward sustainable economic development and even some antipathy toward law enforcement in general.

If we want to preserve these historic models are we willing to also accept that tolerance of some issues can lead toward the spiraling of larger issues? Ultimately, are we as a community willing to accept shared responsibility for decisions we make about priorities? Will we be willing to look at how these priorities, some of which actually provide the uniqueness that so many appreciate about our community, impact quality-of-life? Our department will continue to work to reflect the priorities of the community. But we ask that we all look at how priorities impact outcomes and that we as a community share responsibility in those outcomes. That we share in successes from those priorities and share responsibility in the shortcomings as well.

In the last 12 months, our department and our elected officials have responded to growing concerns by taking significant measures to address gang violence, drug issues, women’s safety and illicit behavior downtown. Community organizations have formed to mobilize people for positive change. Yet we all recognize that more can be done to stem the tide of problems we face. But more importantly, we all have a role in establishing the groundwork for a new community that may look different from one that many of us were accustomed to.

Without question, everyone in our community needs to feel that our city is a place where personal safety is of paramount importance.  We commit every day to this vision and ask that the community at-large join us in this endeavor.

It is our goal to maintain our high level of accountability and accessibility to you, the community that we serve. The true measurement of an agency is on the impact we leave for those who come after us.  With your continued partnership we will always strive to ensure that the outcomes of our work provide a better community for all.


Zach Friend is Principal Management Analyst and Spokesman for the Santa Cruz Police Department.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual