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Dec 28th
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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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Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
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Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her