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Nov 28th
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Environment

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch

Twenty-year plan for Ocean Street in jeopardy

The corner of Ocean and Barson streets in Santa Cruz is flooded with tourist traffic in the summer, and drowned by average rainfall most winters (although this year has been dry). But the state's decision to close the more than 400 redevelopment agencies across California, including Santa Cruz’s, could mean that residents of the Lower Ocean neighborhood have to wait more than a generation for much-needed improvements around their homes.

The city's redevelopment agency has 37 projects listed as “under way,” meaning they are already funded. However, their ambitious 20-year plan for the Ocean Street area is an example of how unclear the road forward is, even for those items pegged as under way. The city currently has $2.5 million in bonds to spend on this project over the next five years. But City Councilmember David Terrazas says that's a small fraction of the money needed to complete the many ideas in the Ocean Street Area Concept, which was developed by Berkeley consulting group Design, Community and Environment.

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Local News

Oral Health Without Fluoride

Oral Health Without Fluoride

A look at the future of dental health in the wake of the Watsonville fluoridation debate

Ten years of debate over whether or not to add fluoride to Watsonville’s public water supply came to an end on Wednesday, Feb. 1 when the California Dental Association Foundation (CDAF) withdrew its promise to fund the fluoridation project.

“The CDA Foundation notified the City of Watsonville that its planned fluoridation facilities were too costly to be accomplished within the required time frame,” Alicia Malaby, director of communications for CDA, writes in an email to GT. She goes on to say that the foundation would have had the funding necessary if the bids came in at $1.6 million, the estimated cost determined by the original design firm. “Unfortunately, construction bids were significantly higher and additional funding could not be secured within the time frame of the contract,” she adds.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

What was your reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January? What do you think the take-away message was?

President Obama delivered a State of the Union address with a blueprint for the future of our country that is not Republican or Democrat, but a common sense plan that is simply American. The time for partisan agendas has long ago come and gone, and now these uncertain times call on us all to rise above partisan politics to face the dire issues facing our nation.

As the president delivered his speech in the U.S. Capitol, the unemployment rate continues to hover around double digits in some areas, the housing market continues to operate in disarray and reckless Wall Street investments continue to haunt our financial system and consumer confidence. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. We are also failing to prepare a future workforce that is ready to enter the 21st century economy; our transportation corridors are in desperate need of improvements; and an out of balance tax code is disproportionately benefiting the most fortunate at the expense of those less well off.  

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Local News

Crowded and Strapped

Crowded and Strapped

Schools dig through sloppy budget for solutions

Back To School nights aren’t just a way for parents to learn how their child is performing anymore. At local schools, they have also become a chance for teachers to post wish lists of essential supplies, including paper and printer ink that the school can't afford to buy.

Teachers wish the situation were different. But because state contributions to the k-12 system have plummeted 18 percent in the last three years, and because more bad news is expected in Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012-13 budget, they say they have no choice but to seek out donated supplies.  

Many teachers even resort to paying out of pocket to keep their lesson plans rolling forward.

“I have always liked to supplement textbooks with handouts, but there have been times over the last few years when the administration has said 'We're out of paper,’” says Mark McConnell, a math teacher at Soquel High School.

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Local News

Predictive Policing in Practice

Predictive Policing in Practice

GT rides along with the SCPD to test acclaimed new policing program

Is it realistic to predict crime and stop it before it happens, or just a science fiction-esque impersonation of Minority Report? This was one of the questions I pondered on a recent ride-along with Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark. Little did I know I was about to witness a poignant first-hand example of how the “predictive policing” method can be successful.

The department’s adoption of the technology-based predictive policing program has received national and international attention in recent months, with a reporter from Popular Science jetting to Santa Cruz to see it in action and a nod from TIME magazine, which named the fledgling program one of the Top 50 Innovations of 2011. GT set out with these accolades in mind to see for ourselves the result of the department’s six-month evaluation of the predictive policing program, which wrapped up in January.

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Local News

Captivated

Captivated

A conversation with queer author, activist and filmmaker Eric Stanley

There is a rather unsettling folder on Eric Stanley’s computer.

For about six years now, he has filed away “hundreds and hundreds” of cases of violence against trans and queer people in that folder. Many are instances of extremely gruesome murders involving what he calls “overkill”—dismemberment, decapitation, elaborate staging and other malicious actions that go beyond simply killing.

For Stanley, who is a 33-year-old post doctorate candidate in UC Santa Cruz’s history of consciousness program, this trend shows that crimes against LGBT people are more than random.

“It’s possibly about killing that person, but it’s also about killing a certain history or possibility or threat,” Stanley explains. “It’s bound up. … If you’re going to kill, and then do many other things to a person—all of the overkill, the pageantry, the setting the stage—it makes us understand these kinds of violence as something different.”

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Environment

Our World, Under Water?

Our World, Under Water?

New and improved Climate Action Plan gets community and city support, but still has some critics

A bicycle-drawn rowboat glided down Pacific Avenue on Tuesday, Jan. 24, with a school of human jellyfish, anemones and a sea turtle dancing along behind. The aquatic parade, which snaked along the canals of Downtown Santa Cruz, was an “Underwater Tour” that depicted what the city may look like someday if the city does not take all possible actions to mitigate climate change and its impacts.  

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Environment

Meter Moratorium Continues

Meter Moratorium Continues

Board of Supervisors votes to continue opposition of SmartMeter installations

Late last year, the already loud local outcry over SmartMeters rang out even louder, as some residents took matters into their own hands and removed meters from their homes. The action led to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shutting off several of these residents’ power. Following a flood of public concern at its Dec. 13 meeting, the County Board of Supervisors directed the county’s public health officer, Poki Stewart Namkung, to return on Jan. 24 with an analysis of one month’s research on the health effects of the wireless meters.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

The state is planning to close Twin Lakes, Seabright and Blacks state beaches this summer. What will this mean for Santa Cruz?  

State Parks plans to close these beaches as of July 1 of this year.  

I am gravely concerned about [this]. This sandy shoreline attracts approximately half a million visitors every year. Locals and tourists enjoy swimming, picnicking, and having family gatherings and bonfires at these beaches.

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Local News

Hanging in the Balance

Hanging in the Balance

K-12 financial security hinges on governor's tax initiative

The financial future of K-12 education in California is murky, to say the least.  

The best-case scenario hinges on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, which would temporarily raise sales tax by a half-cent and income taxes for those making more than $250,000, passing at the ballot boxes in November. If approved by voters, these temporary increases, which would expire after five years, could generate an estimated $7 billion, and go on to fund local schools, community colleges, and public safety realignment.

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Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control