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Apr 19th
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

What About Art?

What About Art?

Downtown’s sit/lie ordinance continues to stir discussion about sidewalk performers and vendors

Changes made in 2009 to loitering rules on Pacific Avenue—commonly known as Santa Cruz's “sit/lie ordinance”—have some locals asking whether panhandlers and loiterers should be treated differently than artists and merchants.

The rules aim to keep sidewalks clear for walking and entrances to businesses accessible, according to Mayor Ryan Coonerty. However, there is no nuance written in to distinguish between performers and people who choose to hang out with no apparent purpose.

Before 2009, Chapter 5.43 of Santa Cruz Municipal Code made it illegal for anyone to perform or sit within 10 feet of public art, business entrances or kiosks. The new version extended that distance to 14 feet from any business, sculpture or kiosk, and 50 feet from automated teller machines. Without a special events permit from the Parks and Recreation Department, the law also requires people to move 100 feet down the street after one hour. The permits are given for non-commercial events, which puts artists looking to sell their work in a sort of legal limbo. There is not currently a system set up for permitted sales of work except on the basis that it is by donation.

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News - Local News

Undoing Racism

Undoing Racism

Local coalition works to overcome racism in Santa Cruz County

For nearly two decades, community organizer Mireya Gomez-Contreras sat in meeting rooms, attempting to help alleviate problems of poverty and social inequality in Santa Cruz County, only to find herself debilitated by the racial dynamics of the spaces she worked in.

“I’d often think about how I was the only person of color in the room,” she says of her Hispanic heritage, “and would have a hard time relating to white people on any level.”

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News - Local News

For the Love of Capitola

For the Love of Capitola

Pam Greeninger looks back on her career as the Capitola city clerk

“My husband and I will always joke about these things,” says Capitola City Clerk Pam Greeninger. “I’ll kid around that my second home is City Hall, and he’ll say ‘No it’s not, it’s your first home—you’re there more than you are home!’ It’s probably true, but I suppose now I’ll be home more than I am at City Hall.”

Greeninger has been in Capitola’s service for 32 years, and served as the city’s clerk since 1984. With a “great deal of thought and mixed emotions,” she recently decided to retire at the end of this year.

“How will the city survive in your absence?” exclaimed Anthony J. “Bud” Carney, AICP of California Land Planning in an email response to Greeninger’s retirement announcement. And it’s a fair question to ask.

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News - Local News

Saving The Knoll

Saving The Knoll

Effort to protect sacred site heats up

Some 50 demonstrators marched on City Hall on Thursday, Aug. 25 to protest the development of an Ohlone sacred site and burial ground in north Santa Cruz, in what was the latest action in a seemingly growing movement to respect indigenous rights.

The site, known commonly as “the knoll,” sits on a 32-unit housing development currently under construction near Market Street and Branciforte Creek. Indigenous and environmental activists alike have opposed plans to develop the knoll since the inception of the idea, but opposition has ramped up in recent weeks after the bones of what is believed to be a Native American child were discovered.

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News - Local News

Music without the Label

Music without the Label

How the Internet has changed the way local musicians do business
“I’ve never even considered realistically trying to go look for a label to support what we do,” says Joshua Lowe of local acoustic American roots band, the Juncos. “If you asked me this 10 years ago I may have had a different answer, but ...  almost all the bands that I know have their own labels. They do it themselves and they make the most money out of it.”

Local musicians seeking audiences outside of the Santa Cruz bubble cite live shows, community support, and grassroots outreach as the most successful means of promotion available. With the availability of online sale venues, musicians across the genres are taking on a more do-it-yourself attitude when it comes to promotion.

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News - 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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News - 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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News - 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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News - 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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News - Local News

Homeless Census Unveiled

Homeless Census Unveiled

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE
Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey reports growing numbers

Every two years, early on a cold and dark January morning, a small army of volunteers and trained homeless guides canvas Santa Cruz County to take a headcount (or point-in-time count) of the area’s homeless population. This year, on Jan. 25, a grand total of 2,771 homeless persons were counted.

 

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Smells Like Team Spirit

The organizers of TEDx Santa Cruz don’t just talk about this year’s theme, ‘radical collaboration’—they live it

 

Pluto Retrograde, Aries New Moon, Lyrid Meteor Showers

As the Lyrid meteors, radiating from the star Vega in the Harp constellation, begin showering heaven and earth with light, Pluto, planet of transformation (or die) turns stationary retrograde (Thursday, April 16), 15 degrees Capricorn. Retrogrades have purpose, allowing humanity time to review, reassess, research and reinvent while returning to previous situations. Retrogrades are times of inner activity, seeds sown in bio-dynamically prepared soil. Pluto retrograde is the most serious and resolute of retrogrades—a pure tincture, or, as in homeopathy, a “constitutional” touching the essences of all that matters. Pluto offers deep insight into confusion or puzzlement and areas where transformation is still incomplete. It’s valuable to have one’s astrology chart to follow what area of life the major planets— especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—are influencing. These outer planets have long-term and lasting effects on our psyche, inner/outer life events, how people see us and how we see and process our world. Pluto, retrograde for five months (until Sept. 24) offers deep earthquakes of change, awakens humanity to the task of building (Capricorn) the new culture and civilization, flailing our inner world about, deepening us until we transform and do things differently. Pluto is an unrelenting teacher. New moon (29 Aries) is Saturday, April 18. With the personality-building keynote, “Let form again be sought.” Mars anchors the new creative fires of Aries into our world. The New Group of World Servers participates together in the new moon festival, while also preparing for the Taurus Wesak, Buddha Full Moon Festival (May 3). Join us everyone.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Mighty Leaf

Radicchio from Dirty Girl Produce, wine etiquette fail, and a treat from Gayle’s

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

37th Parallel Wines

I visited the Capitola Mall recently to check out the newly launched Third Fridays Walking Art Tour, and was surprised to find an impressive assortment of artwork from local artists.

 

New Bohemian Brewery

New Santa Cruz brewery focuses on European style lagers