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Oct 22nd
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Local News

Anatomy of a Budget

Anatomy of a Budget

GT sits down with the city manager to check the city’s fiscal pulse
City Manager Martin Bernal inherited a less than favorable budget situation when he took over the position in 2010.

In 2009, then-City Manager Richard Wilson told Good Times that, in his three decades at our fiscal helm, he had seen “nothing even close” to the financial crisis the city was facing. The last time the city even hoped to break even was in 2001, he added, and budgeting should be tough for some time to come. Having served as assistant city manager under Wilson for 13 years, Bernal knew what he was in for when he succeeded him—but that hasn’t made it any less hectic.

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Local News

Marking History

Marking History

The Blue Plaque Program piques fresh curiosity about Santa Cruz County’s ever-present past
On Saturday, May 7, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) will be holding the 38th Annual Blue Plaque Program (BPP) awards to honor local sites of architectural and historical significance. The plaques themselves, though, are just a hint—a tip-of-the-iceberg insinuation—of the surprising, entertaining, and sometimes shocking stories about these sites that would otherwise stay obscured by the opacity of time.

“It’s really meant to highlight historical structures in town both for architectural and historic reasons,” says Amy Dunning, archivist at the MAH, as she walks slowly between the graves and mausoleums of the Old Holy Cross Cemetery. “It’s the story of our community, it’s beginnings, [and] an understanding of our own neighborhoods and downtown areas throughout the county.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte has chosen to honor you as one of their 2011 “Voices for Change”—dubbing you the “Voice for Freedom.” What are the biggest obstacles facing Panned Parenthood today, and how are you working to address them?

I am honored and humbled to be recognized by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and I am equally proud of the work we have done to protect issues of women’s health. But as the last few weeks have shown us, there is still much work to do.

Hidden behind straw man arguments, Republicans have launched a full-on assault on Planned Parenthood and women’s health. They have armed themselves with misguided rhetoric and false information—citing the opposition to the use of federal funds for abortions as the base for cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. But in reality, not one penny of federal funding is used for abortions. For that reason, I voiced strong opposition to Republican attempts to drag Planned Parenthood and women’s health into a debate about fiscal responsibility.

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Environment

Bus System Blues

Bus System Blues

Metro faces widespread changes to close budget gap
Rubi Cuevas rides Metro buses almost every day. She works the late shift at the Capitola McDonald’s, and, until last year, she took the 68N home every night just five minutes after finishing her shift. However, after Metro cut 10 percent of their service last year, Cuevas was forced to take another less convenient bus home.

“Sometimes I have to wait 40 minutes for a bus,” she says. And while she occasionally can leave work before her shift is over and catch an earlier bus, she often has to stay until the end of her shift, which means a long wait. “I don’t have a car because gas is expensive, but there are no buses either,” she says.

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Local News

21st Century Slugs

21st Century Slugs

A look at UCSC’s new robotics major and how it came to be
The past several years have been full of bad budget news for UC Santa Cruz. Thanks to a Golden State that isn’t so golden these days, the school has had to make more than $50 million in permanent budget reductions since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, resulting in the elimination of 300 staff and 110 teaching assistant positions, a 16 percent reduction in faculty positions, and a 15 percent decrease in academic funding. UCSC officials are currently grappling with $19 million in cuts as part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011 budget, which included $500 in cuts to the UCs (even worse news: this amount could deepen later this year depending on how the state’s budget pans out).

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Town Hall

Assemblyman Bill Monning

Assemblyman Bill Monning

What options does the legislature have in terms of the state’s budget now that the June ballot measure has faded as a possibility?
In January, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a budget to address the estimated $25.8 billion deficit with $12.5 billion in extremely difficult cuts and a five year revenue package that would require voter approval in a special election this June. In order to place this revenue extension on the June ballot, a two-third vote of the legislature was required by the end of March.

My Democratic colleagues and I have been supporting the governor’s efforts to let the voters decide if revenues should be part of a budget deficit solution. Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues were unwilling to work with the governor to place this issue before the voters. 

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Environment

From Trash to Fuel

From Trash to Fuel

New technology provides leap forward for local organization focused on ocean cleanup
The ocean is littered with plastic.

In the Pacific Ocean, it floats near the surface of the water and swirls around in a massive vortex of currents, creating a sort of polluted soup commonly referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Because of the dynamic nature of the currents, the size and scope of the pollution has proved difficult to measure. Some say the garbage patch is approximately the size of Texas while others claim it covers an area larger than the continental United States. As hard as it is to measure the garbage patch, it is equally as challenging to fit it with a solution.

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Environment

The Secret Life of Plastic

The Secret Life of Plastic

One GT reporter tracks the journey of plastic bottles through the recycling system
Forty-one Earth Days after the recycling movement of 1970 birthed the three R’s—“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”—Good Times set out to trace the journey of a metaphorical bottle as it makes its way through the modern recycling process.

The pursuit of this symbolic plastic bottle uncovers the challenges and goals of the recycling system, and what role the City of Santa Cruz’s roughly 60,000 residents, and their 949 pounds of waster per person, per year (according to the 2010 Community Assessment Project Report), play in the process.

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Environment

Desal Deliberations

Desal Deliberations

With desalination on the horizon, the debate deepens
When it comes to the debate over desalination, there isn’t much of a middle ground.


While opponents to the plan for a 2.5 million gallon per day desalination plant stand by the idea of increasing conservation and cutbacks and exploring other alternatives (like maximizing use of existing water sources), city and water department officials unfailingly revert back to their matter-of-fact claim that “conservation and curtailment simply isn’t enough,” and that desalination has proven to be the only feasible route to augment the water supply. Representatives from scwd2, the joint agency formed by the Santa Cruz Water Department and the Soquel Creek Water District to pursue the project, claim there are no significant marine impacts. Opponents say there are. Scwd2 says the resulting water won’t be any different than normal drinking water; critics agreee it will be safe, but point out inherent differences.

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Local News

Planned Parenthood Revisited

Planned Parenthood Revisited

A look at the environmental consequences of family planning budget cuts
This year the Earth’s population will hit seven billion, and this number will climb to nine billion by 2050, according to United Nations (UN) reports.

Even though the United States will produce fewer children than developing nations, our growth will have disproportionately detrimental environmental impacts. By the time Americans hit age 16, it’s not unusual for iPods, camera phones and personal cars to be added to the list of needs that includes food and shelter. In fact, according to the Sierra Club, the average American child uses as many resources as 35 youth in India.

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Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
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Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher