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Jul 31st
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Town Hall

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

Following the debt ceiling increase debacle, how do you feel about the ability of the congress to conduct business effectively?

There is one reality that is certain—our divided government must compromise to move our nation forward. With the economy in such a fragile state and millions of Americans still looking for work, the stakes of not reaching sound compromise have never been higher.

I want to reaffirm that Democrats continue united on the need to get our economy moving. But unfortunately despite the story told by high unemployment rates and depressed economic indicators, Republicans continue to prioritize political gamesmanship over real legislation that gets people back to work.

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Local News

Diverging Numbers

Diverging NumbersIs private funding an answer for fiscally-challenged services?

The economy has taken a toll on the Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center (HSC) in recent years.

Over the past three years, they have seen their funding from the City and County of Santa Cruz drop nearly 30 percent, while the 2011 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey compiled by Applied Survey Research says the number of homeless people in the county has jumped 22 percent since 2009. Fifty-two percent of the survey’s respondents reported that this was their first time experiencing homelessness, citing joblessness as the main cause—indicators, says ASR, of the recession’s influence on homelessness.

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Local News

La Bahia: Over Before it Started

La Bahia: Over Before it Started

The Coastal Commission’s ruling against the La Bahia Hotel project spawns a collective ‘Now What?’
After hours of public comment and deliberation, the California Coastal Commission voted 6-4 against the plan to build La Bahia Hotel, a 125-room hotel and conference center, at their Thursday, Aug. 11 meeting.

The hotel, a project of Barry Swenson Builder, would have gone in the Beach Flats neighborhood where the iconic—but currently dilapidated—La Bahia apartments have stood since 1926. The hang-up that led to the commission’s ruling was the height of the proposed hotel: 15 percent of the planned building would be 14 feet above the Local Coastal Program (LCP) limit.

Plans for the hotel were in the works for more than a decade, with Barry Swenson Builder spending about 10 years and $2.2 million working on it. The city council approved the plan in 2009.

“We’re extremely disappointed,” Mayor Ryan Coonerty tells Good Times. “This was a very good project that would’ve created jobs and was consistent with the values of Santa Cruz.”

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Local News

What We Lost With La Bahia

What We Lost With La Bahia

A guest column from the city’s mayor: For 20 years, the City of Santa Cruz has worked on a plan to transform the beach area into a year-round destination that showcases our incredible community, creates jobs and ensures a stable tax base.  Millions of dollars, thousands of pages of reports and studies, and hundreds of hours of public testimony were invested.

Sadly, last Thursday afternoon, Aug. 11, after a one-day hearing at which the Santa Cruz community overwhelmingly showed up in support, the Coastal Commission rejected the necessary amendment to our coastal plan to develop La Bahia on Beach Street from a shabby residence to a beautiful 125-room conference hotel. 

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

How will the newly adopted California voting districts affect your bid for the state senate in 2012?
As this response goes to print, I am encouraged by the California Redistricting Commission’s proposed lines for a coastal Senate district which will be numbered as Senate District 17 and which will include all of Santa Cruz County, portions of southern Santa Clara County, western Monterey County, and all of San Luis Obispo County. The proposed Senate district incorporates virtually all of the communities in my current Assembly District while adding the cities of Morgan Hill, Watsonville, and all of San Luis Obispo County. Based upon my review of the final lines, an assessment of any legal challenges, and my continuing discernment process, I will make a formal announcement regarding my candidacy soon. [Editor’s Note: Monning officially announced his bid for the state senate on Monday, Aug. 15.]

how will California be affected financially in the short and long run by the debt ceiling agreement?

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Business

History in the Un-making

History in the Un-making

‘Gay textbook bill’ faces public veto as communities react to looming history curriculm

Less than two weeks after Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s “gay textbook bill” into law, opponents of the FAIR Education Act (SB 48) proposed a veto referendum.

Approved by Secretary of State Debra Bowen at the end of July, the referendum must now receive 505,000 supporting signatures before it can be placed on the June 2012 ballot. If approved by voters, the referendum will overturn the first law in the nation requiring teachers to discuss the role of gay citizens in history.

The controversy has left people on all sides of the debate wondering what curriculum changes the law might spur.

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Local News

Homeless on the Home Front

Homeless on the Home Front

Homeless veteran numbers are down, and a veterans housing assistance program picks up steam
Half of the 274 homeless veterans counted in Santa Cruz County earlier this year fought in the Vietnam War. The same proportion has no more than a car or sidewalk as their bed at any given time.

Forty years after returning from combat in the United States' second longest war, these veterans are being joined on the streets by soldiers returning from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers coming home from tours in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom account for 30 percent of the homeless veterans in the county, according to the 2011 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Mark Stone

Town Hall with Supervisor Mark Stone

The results from the 2011 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey were released recently. What did you learn about homelessness in your district?
The report was just released and is very comprehensive. There’s a lot to digest, and I’m still reviewing it to better understand the full gravity of our homeless situation as it exists today.

If you looked at this issue on a district-by-district basis, the picture’s incomplete. For instance, the data for the San Lorenzo Valley shows that homelessness has actually decreased significantly from previous years, though the number of homeless for the county as a whole has risen. This tells me that we need to keep working on a countywide basis with local governments and nonprofits to reduce homelessness.

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Environment

The Science of SmartMeters

The Science of SmartMeters

Exactly what is known about the safety of SmartMeters?
Penelope Joaquin has been a kindergarten teacher in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District for 15 years, and, this past year, she thought the stress was finally getting to her.

“I started to get this noise in my ears,” she says. “You know, that noise you get right before you go to sleep or like champagne bubbles? It’s hard to explain. It’s not even that loud, but it’s all the time.” The sensation Joaquin noticed turned out to be tinnitus, which is usually described as a ringing noise, high-pitched whining, electric buzzing, hissing, humming, tingling or a number of other continuous or intermittent noises in the ear.

“It was the end of the school year and I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep and so forth so I thought, ‘Oh it’s probably just because I’m overworked, tired and stressed,’” Joaquin recalls. “I figured as soon as the school year ends and I start getting some sleep I’ll be fine and it’ll go away.” The school year ended and Joaquin’s tinnitus persists. Having eliminated stress as the cause of her fairly mild symptom, she started looking elsewhere. 

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Environment

End of an Era

End of an Era

We have entered the last year on the Mayan solar calendar. Now what?

Super volcanoes erupt as earthquakes tear the Earth’s crust apart, and meteor showers rain down on cities around the world. These are the visions of Dec. 21, 2012 promoted in the media, with the History Channel and 2012forum.com leading the way.

The prophecy, according to doomsday believers, comes from an inscription on a structure known as Monument Six at Tortuguero, an archaeological site in Tabasco, Mexico. The last eight words of the epitaph translate roughly in English to, “The deity of the end of this cycle will oversee ceremonies on the last day of this cycle.” It is considered the only known inscription referencing the end of an era in 2012.

Most Santa Cruzans, however, aren't preparing for the end of times, even as humanity moved into the last complete year of the Mayan solar calendar on July 25. The calendar is called the Haab, and has 13, 28-day months. The 365th day, a day belonging to none of the 13 months, is left as a day to reflect on hopes for the future, which the Maya called “a day out of time.”

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Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.