The first time I really noticed the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band popping up in one of Aaron Carnes’ stories was back in March when he wrote about the instrumental duo Hermano—which was one of my favorite GT music stories of the year because of how it started with an anecdote about how the group once had their entire audience lying on the floor to better absorb its cosmic, meditative soundscapes. By sheer coincidence, I was guest-hosting KPIG’s live music show Please Stand By that week, and Hermano was one of the bands that performed. Not only did I get to ask (and tease them a little bit) about lulling their audience into a horizontal state, but the show’s engineer Geoff Childers actually did get down and lie on the floor during their set.
I was pretty blown away by their music, and so was Carnes. Not long after, he told me that not only had one of Hermano’s members, Dillon Baiocchi, gone through the Kuumbwa Honor Band program, but that Baiocchi was also only one of several interesting musicians he’d been tracking who had been in the Honor Band. That’s when he first pitched the idea for the cover story in this issue.
Since we had already run the story about Hermano, we agreed that he wouldn’t profile Baiocchi again—but as you’ll see, there turned out to be no shortage of intriguing Honor Band alumni to write about. I’m excited that we get to give this small, mostly under-the-radar program the credit it deserves for its impact on music culture, and on the lives of young local musicians.
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
A recent letter to the editor (GT, 8/29) attacked Greenway by falsely smearing those who support it. Greenway is supported by over 10,000 county residents and scores of individual donors and community volunteers, and is growing by the day because it advocates for a doable, commonsense plan with equitable and effective public transit value. This type of attack is a classic act of desperation, resorting to name-calling rather than facts.
The bizarre conspiracy theory proposed by the letter writer could have been easily dismissed if she had done a simple Google search to understand who supports Greenway. The specific supporters she attempts to smear have a long track record of community service in the arts, education, the environment, public policy, increased access for the underserved, sustainable economic development, and affordable housing.
Greenway encourages opponents to put validated facts forward and engage in a constructive civic discussion about what is best for our community.
Will Mayall | Board Member, Santa Cruz County Greenway
Good job on the library/parking structure idea in your Aug. 29 issue (GT, “Levels in the Details”). Have discussed with other merchants in the neighborhood, including Patrice Boyle of Soif. There are three structures now on the north end of downtown, and even though the city has allowed our prosperous new tech workers to fill them up at the ridiculously low price of $35 a month (we pay $90 per month for spaces in our lot), parking is rarely an issue mentioned by our customers. Uber and rental bikes are also reducing parking, as would an attractive electric shuttle like other coast towns have.
A smaller-footprint library/community center with space left for much needed plaza-type events would be my recommendation. As noted local architect Matthew Thompson told me, it would be immoral to tear down the old library, and I am sure the city could find a good use for it. A friend teaches at Hartnell College, which is built under a parking structure and he says you can hear the cars moving through. Librarians are known to dislike noise.
PAUL COCKING | GABRIELLA CAFE
Re: “Trestle Mania/Rent Seeking” (GT, 8/22):
Common arguments against rent control say it will lower “turnover.” Turnover is when one tenant moves out of a rental and another tenant moves in. Opponents say turnover is good because it means newcomers can find a place to live. What they don’t mention is that it is very bad for the tenants who are forced to move out! Rent control can limit turnover by preventing unjustified evictions or unpayable rent increases. That’s not a bad thing—that means tenants aren’t forced into leaving their homes.
That we should encourage turnover implies that renters should not stay put. We should not grow roots, we should not establish ourselves as long-term community members, we should not develop close relationships with our neighbors. This approach is not good for the community. It’s not good for students who should have the stability of attending the same school until they graduate. It’s not good for workers who should have the choice of staying in jobs that are familiar to them and where they have relationships with their co-workers. It’s not good for community members who cannot get comfortable in a home, who must always prepare themselves for the next time we’ll be moved along out of our homes.
Our community should be encouraging working people and families to stay in the homes they currently occupy unless they choose to leave and providing the ability to actually make that choice. The proposed rent-control ballot initiative can do that for us.
Zav Hershfield | Santa Cruz