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Jan 27th
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Briefs: Carded by the Feds, Community Focus

Carded by the Feds

Immigration reform has taken a beating this year, and with the defeat of Eric Cantor in the Virginia GOP Senate primary, prognostications have turned even worse. In California, however, the biggest immigration battle right now isn’t even over policy—it’s purely cosmetic. Last month, federal officials rejected the design for licenses made possible by AB60—the California state assembly bill passed last year that grants special driver’s identification cards to undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security ruled that California’s design has the required language on the back of the card instead of the front—therefore, not in accordance with national standards—and that it looks too similar to the licenses of legal residents.

Assemblyman and former Watsonville mayor Luis Alejo presented AB60 to the State Assembly in 2013, and says that the initial language of AB60 did comply with the pre-existing federal requirements. But he tells GT he’s not surprised by the gridlock, since this is the first time Homeland Security has weighed in on a bill of this nature.

“We still disagree with [Homeland Security],” says Alejo.In looking at other states that have enacted similar legislation, Alejo maintains that AB60 was very clear on how to keep DP licenses distinct, while still avoiding problems feared by immigrant rights activists. Law enforcement officials would know the differences, he says, but they wouldn’t be so extreme that immigrants would be afraid of being discriminated against. Alejo is still optimistic; “I believe everything is still on track to start this program no later than January 1.”Anne-Marie Harrison

Community Focus

The colorful tiles that make up the new public mosaic at the Homeless Services Center (HSC) in Santa Cruz depict an array of fanciful and poignant images: smiley faces, a high-rise apartment building, birds and butterflies. Step back a few feet, and the 624 tiles that adorn the exterior wall of the Center’s Hygiene Bay lose their individuality, and are transformed into a glittering sunrise. Each of the tiles were made by local students, HSC staff and clients, while the sunrise design, symbolizing the promise of a new day, was submitted by a Center employee, said Kathleen Crocetti, county artist and middle school art teacher.

The 22 ft. x 7 ft. mosaic, along with a second smaller mosaic at the opposite end of the wall, is Crocetti’s 10th public art installation. You can find her mosaics locally at the Laurel Street and Water Street bridges, the Barson Stairs at Laurel Street Bridge and at Soquel Bridge over the San Lorenzo River. A large-scale mosaic with an agricultural motif is at the Corralitos Cultural Center. Since HSC funds can be used only for client services, Crocetti took to the online crowd-funding website Donors Choose, where 28 individuals gave $2,000 toward the project. Home Depot, Mission Tile, and Rinaldi Tile & Marble donated supplies. For her next public art project, Watsonville resident Crocetti is mulling something a bit more pedestrian: painting a traffic intersection with local students for National Night Out. “They do it in Portland!” she says. Roseann Hernandez

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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.