NAACP President Brenda Griffin and Allison Garcia "Black Lives in Santa Cruz" Black in santa cruz
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Opinion January 10, 2018

Plus Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

I think we all know Santa Cruz isn’t entirely as liberal as its reputation. Which isn’t to say it’s not generally progressive, but rather that we deal with the same problems as any other city around most issues. And racism is certainly one of them.

Too often, our problems around racial issues are obscured by a certain amount of denial, which the city’s overwhelming whiteness has fostered for decades. Those demographics are shifting somewhat, but even more importantly, people of color in our community are calling out Santa Cruz and making their voices heard. Georgia Johnson’s cover story this week takes a look at what they’re saying about race and racism here, and it’s full of insights that we haven’t gotten in the mainstream media. With a big MLK Day celebration coming up this week, I hope we can all read this week’s story and ask what we can do to further his dream.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

March for Justice

As civil rights marchers crossed the bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, they were met by police in riot gear. This Jan. 15, at 11 a.m., Santa Cruz Police and the Santa Cruz chapter of the NAACP will march shoulder-to-shoulder as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King—the man who inspired that Selma march and ignited a transformation of American society.

Our officers are proud to co-host this year’s march with the NAACP, welcoming all who strive to move us closer to realizing our American ideal of equal rights, opportunity and even-handed justice. We gather not to celebrate the end of injustice, but as a sign of hope that we can unite around common goals of fair treatment and universal human dignity.

Those who want more than sentimental affection will lock arm-in-arm and walk to push Dr. King’s dream forward, even if in a small way. I invite you to join the SCPD and the NAACP in a march that demonstrates how a city can push beyond its comfort zone and support Dr. King’s principle of actionable love.

I believe our city is ready for this push. Santa Cruz understands that standing for justice on behalf of the most vulnerable uplifts us all. There is not a white or black, poor or wealthy, religious or secular Santa Cruz, but a dynamic community where social justice is embedded in our very DNA. Santa Cruz is a city that stands for those whose voices are minimized, whose posture is bent by the weight of status quo.       

Let this march be a place to surpass sentimental affection and make justice the goal in how we police, create law, hold court, provide education, and house the homeless. Let us live our ideals, treating even our most troubled brethren as unique and deserving individuals.

While in jail, Dr. King wrote to his fellow Christian pastors. They were concerned that his protest was “untimely.” The protest, they believed, would make some community members feel uncomfortable. Dr. King wrote, “Our destiny is tied up … with the destiny of America.”

During this time of national turmoil where discussions rage about race, immigration and religion, I cannot think of a better time for Santa Cruz to show the country how one community can unify in love that satisfies justice without hope of political agenda or personal gain. Come. Join us.

Chief Andy Mills | SCPD

Transparency for UCSC

Kudos to the City and County of Santa Cruz for being recognized for their efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the budgeting process (GT, 1/3). It would be great if UCSC would follow and make its budget documents more accessible in an online budget tool. The community of UCSC comprises about one-third of the population of the City of Santa Cruz. Some benefits that accrue to an organization from budget transparency are public trust, a more engaged and informed community, improved labor negotiations and lower borrowing costs from lenders for openness to real-time financial information.

The recent state audit report of UC’s finances found that it did not disclose $175 million in reserves. UCSC’s chancellor George Blumenthal revised his survey sent to the auditor after the UC Office of the President pressed him to cleanse it of critical comments. This type of behavior creates distrust and an unengaged community. Some of my past requests for public records from both UCSC and the Metro have been met with resistance and obstruction, but looking forward, the City and County have raised the bar to improved transparency in this new year. With the informed readership of GT holding them accountable to budget transparency, maybe UCSC and the Metro can earn an award as well.

Kevin Parks | UCSC Alumnus ’06

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