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Apr 24th
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Local News

Race for the Third

Race for the Third

Inside the budding campaigns for the Third District seat

Bob Lamonica, a local tech marketer and, so far, politico Ryan Coonerty’s only active contender for Santa Cruz County’s Third District Supervisor seat, is running an almost gleeful campaign against what he calls “Santa Cruz’s progressive establishment.”

His campaign plan, while covering issues like public safety, the economy, and water security, is predominately about making a point. That point? That he views Coonerty’s well-backed campaign for the same seat that his father, Neal Coonerty, who is retiring, holds as an “unethical” and “insincere” lockdown on local government power.

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Environment

High Voltage

High Voltage

Proposed power line revitalization irks South County residents

A draft environmental impact report is under way for a proposed power line project that initially was determined as not needing one. 

Neighbors worry the plan by Pacific Gas & Electric to replace its aging infrastructure between Watsonville and Aptos with more reliable power lines will mar the rural nature of the area and blight the view.

PG&E has proposed an additional circuit connecting the Green Valley Substation outside Watsonville to the Rob Roy Station. Doing so involves converting more than seven miles of single-circuit high voltage power line into a double-circuit by replacing existing wood transmission poles with new tubular steel poles. It also includes constructing a new 1.7-mile-long single circuit power line along Cox Road and Freedom Boulevard, including the installation of four new seek poles and the replacement of existing wood poles of about 39 feet with new ones that are 89 feet in height. From Green Valley Road to Cox Road, 100-foot steel poles will be installed, and a new 1.7-mile segment will be added down Cox, Day Valley and McDonald roads and Freedom Boulevard.

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Town Hall

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Legislation you recently introduced would change the way mobile home owners can sell their homes. What is the purpose of this bill?

In the Monterey Bay Area and throughout our state, mobile homes offer an affordable avenue to home ownership for many buyers, especially for seniors and fixed-income families. In fact, more than 700,000 people live in California’s 4,734 mobile home parks. However, a mobile home owner whose home is located in a mobile home park does not own the land the unit sits on, and he or she must pay rent and fees for the land and any community spaces. In order to sell a mobile home located in a park, potential buyers must be approved by park management. Home owners trying to sell their home are therefore reliant on park management to approve the buyer so that the sale can be completed. Park management are not limited in the number of potential buyers they can reject, which places pressure on home owners to find a buyer that qualifies under the standards set in place by park management. Most standards are not set or regulated by the state and can vary widely from park to park. As a result, responsible and trustworthy potential buyers can be unfairly turned away.

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Business

The Last Page

The Last Page

Reflections on the closure of Capitola Book Café

Walking into the Capitola Book Café one recent afternoon, the clamor of patrons is close to overwhelming. Children pick through art prints as their parents study the selection of hardcover books that are neatly placed on displays at the front of the store. A group of women peruse a shelf of antiques, and a young couple smiles at each other over cups of espresso.

In the rear of the building, empty shelves sit like skeletons, lacking the body of books that once filled them. Save for ubiquitous signs marking clearance items, those sparse shelves provide the only hint that Capitola Book Café (CBC) will close its doors for the last time at the end of February.

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Local News

Busted Buskers

Busted Buskers

The Great Morgani targeted by controversial 14-foot ordinance

Play an accordion, go to jail.

The recent controversy surrounding Frank Lima, aka The Great Morgani, appears to support Freud’s assertion that a grain of truth resides at the core of every joke. Fortunately, the irony is not lost on the iconic Santa Cruz street performer.

“I might have to develop a sacrificial lamb costume if this continues,” Lima, 71, says with a laugh. “But seriously, the key is to remain calm and respect all sides. There is no bad guy here.”

For the past 17 years, the stockbroker-turned-street busker has beguiled weekend visitors to Pacific Avenue with his virtuoso accordion playing and outrageously flamboyant costumes. When a Santa Cruz police officer approached Lima to issue him a citation last week, Lima simply refused to sign it.

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Town Hall

Supervisor Greg Caput

Supervisor Greg Caput

What should locals know about the water supply situation in the Pájaro Valley, and what are your ideas for how to address the problems? 

We have a major, underreported problem in the Pájaro Valley. Years of drought are worsening our already depleted aquifer and the less rain we receive the more water we have to pump from it.

Whereas Santa Cruz captures surface water, the Pájaro Valley has had the historic luxury of a humongous aquifer below our feet. This has allowed our area to be one of the most productive agricultural producers in the world. Residing in a specialized climate, we can grow valuable crops like strawberries and raspberries, making us formidable international players on the world market.

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Environment

The Fukushima Fallout

The Fukushima Fallout

Has the truth about radiation arriving on the California coast been muddled amidst mounting concern?

When the Japanese coastline where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant sits was pummeled with a massive tsunami and earthquake in March 2011, three of the site’s nuclear reactors melted down. Unprecedented quantities of radioactive materials—coolant, mostly—began seeping into the Pacific Ocean.

Almost three years later, that radioactive contamination is the source of widespread concern around the world, including in Santa Cruz County.

“The Fukushima disaster was just horrendous,” says Daniel Hirsch, a lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz. “We’ve never had a nuclear accident before that released this amount [of radiation] into the sea.”

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Environment

The Final Compromise

The Final Compromise

Local experts and organizations react to the recently passed, and long overdue, federal Farm Bill

Although no one involved in the shaping of the latest Farm Bill was entirely sated with the finished product, it seems that most are pleased with the fact that after nearly three years of delays and debate, a new bill has been agreed upon and passed into law.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

In anticipation of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s forthcoming plan on how to proceed on net neutrality, where do you stand on the matter? What would you like to see happen?

I am a strong supporter of a free and open Internet. That is why I am a co-sponsor of the Open Internet Preservation Act. Broadband Internet access has transformed our society. It created new avenues for pursuing higher education, allowed startup businesses to thrive, and created increased access to news and a freer exchange of ideas. This has all been possible because of net neutrality or the idea that Internet service providers treat each website fairly and maintain an even playing field for everyone.

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Environment

Taking the Reins

Taking the Reins

Santa Cruz’s new water director steps in at critical point

Rosemary Menard has her work cut out for her as she steps into the role of water director for the City of Santa Cruz.

Menard fills the vacancy left by Bill Kocher, a vocal proponent of desalination who had served as the city’s water director since 1986. Kocher retired in September, passing the torch to deputy director Linette Almond to serve as interim director until her own retirement in January.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

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 24

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

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