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Opinion: June 27, 2019

Plus letters to the editor

This week's cover story traces Santa Cruz expat Janet Blaser's path to Mazatlán, Mexico.

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

It doesn’t always register at first when someone you’ve been seeing around Santa Cruz for years seems to vanish, especially if they were more of an acquaintance you’d run into on Pacific Avenue every so often—maybe shared a mutual friend or two with, or worked together at one point—but didn’t know all that well. Eventually, however, something clicks in your head: “Whatever happened to so-and-so?”

I certainly had that moment about Janet Blaser, especially since she was part of the same local media landscape that I was back in the early 2000s, and I was used to reading her stuff and seeing her at various things around town. But I wasn’t expecting her name to come up when Wallace Baine told me about a book by a former Santa Cruz resident about finding a new life in Mexico.

“Do you remember Janet Blaser?” he asked me. “Of course,” I said. “So that’s what she’s doing now.” When I saw the pictures of her living it up in Mazatlán—a city I’ve visited myself and really enjoyed—I definitely had a momentary pang of longing for the expat life.

In a time when there’s a hugely politicized attempt to frame Mexico as a scary, suspicious place, Blaser’s book Why We Left, which features stories from 27 women who have moved there from the U.S., is especially timely. As Wallace writes in his cover story this week, these contributors are not trying to sell readers on emigrating to Mexico, but their stories about the hardships and benefits of making that leap—one that, let’s face it, a lot of people here talk about in one form or another when someone they really don’t like gets elected in the U.S.—provide a window into the real issues with living on both sides of the border.

Letters to the Editor

Understand the History

Thank you for the reporting on El Salvador by J. Pierce. We in S.C. are fortunate to have some El Salvadorans among us, and as an educator who’s worked with them, I know them to be especially loving, caring, hard working people. Most of them have been through trauma and still experience worry and grief because of the instability, poverty and violence which continues to affect their families. It’s good to understand more history and know about Les Gardner and others who are supporting positive changes. It would be good to include information about ongoing efforts that we all might contribute to. It is so obvious, as pointed out, that if we share our resources for education and positive solutions, we all benefit.

Also, I appreciate the concise, readable articles in GT concerning important issues like Credit Union/banking that I’d otherwise be uninformed about.   

Nanda Wilson
Felton

Re: El Salvador (GT, 6/19): I am so thrilled to see both the editorial and interview of Les Gardner.  I have known and worked alongside Les for a number of years and what the article missed is that Les’ heart is what drives him. He sometimes hurts for people, and then digs in to correct what he considers wrong. He is extremely generous with his time, has a ferocious spirit and does not stop until the task he has set forth in front of him is complete.  He works both quietly and effectively. Thank you to the Good Times for highlighting Les Gardner, who is on the top of the list of those in our community who make a difference.

 Leslie Steiner
Felton

Re: Public Banking

Thanks to Jennifer Wadsworth for the article on public banks. Just a heads up, Santa Cruz has its own active group lobbying for public banking called People for Public Banking. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, the City of Santa Cruz, and the City of Watsonville have all signed on to support AB 857, a bill which when passed will allow for licensing of public banks. Right now, the Department of Business Oversight grants licensing for commercial banks, but there is no method to apply to be a public bank. This bill will allow cities, counties, regions and combinations of the same to apply to become a public banking institution.

—   Lynda Francis

Re: Disc Golf

A few corrections: Walter Morrison invented the Frisbee in 1948 and sold the rights to Wham-o, Ed Hedricks improved the design by adding the concentric rings on the top, called the rings of Headricks. It was Dan Roddick, not Riddick.

In Santa Cruz, we started playing Frisbee golf at UCSC with object golf, such as fire hydrants and poles. The course ran through the campus and the quarry was the hardest hole. The next course was at Cabrillo. The suburban courses had the undesirable buildings and crowds during class time.

Tom Schott found DeLa and we would work a job during most of the day and then go clean and build the course after work. It wasn’t until after the course was built (4×4 posts) that it became popular and Tom started World Disc that it needed permission from the City.

—    Gene Lytle (original winner of the Santa Cruz Masters Cup)

It doesn’t always register at first when someone you’ve been seeing around Santa Cruz for years seems to vanish, especially if they were more of an acquaintance you’d run into on Pacific Avenue every so often—maybe shared a mutual friend or two with, or worked together at one point—but didn’t know all that well. Eventually, however, something clicks in your head: “Whatever happened to so-and-so?”

I certainly had that moment about Janet Blaser, especially since she was part of the same local media landscape that I was back in the early 2000s, and I was used to reading her stuff and seeing her at various things around town. But I wasn’t expecting her name to come up when Wallace Baine told me about a book by a former Santa Cruz resident about finding a new life in Mexico.

“Do you remember Janet Blaser?” he asked me. “Of course,” I said. “So that’s what she’s doing now.” When I saw the pictures of her living it up in Mazatlán—a city I’ve visited myself and really enjoyed—I definitely had a momentary pang of longing for the expat life.

In a time when there’s a hugely politicized attempt to frame Mexico as a scary, suspicious place, Blaser’s book Why We Left, which features stories from 27 women who have moved there from the U.S., is especially timely. As Wallace writes in his cover story this week, these contributors are not trying to sell readers on emigrating to Mexico, but their stories about the hardships and benefits of making that leap—one that, let’s face it, a lot of people here talk about in one form or another when someone they really don’t like gets elected in the U.S.—provide a window into the real issues with living on both sides of the border.

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