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Opinion July 6, 2016

Plus Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

Santa Cruz is known for its history of progressive politics, but I’d venture to guess that most people who live here now don’t actually know a lot about that history. When exactly did this city become a bastion of liberal ideals? What were the events that shaped its current political landscape?

Kara Guzman’s cover story this week on the sorry state of Lighthouse Field offers some insight into those questions. If it surprises you to read that, then you’re likely to learn something from her recounting of the fight to save Lighthouse Field in the early 1970s, and how it kick-started a political movement and an entire generation of Santa Cruz politicians. I certainly learned a lot about the cultural significance of Lighthouse Field—and I thought I already knew the story.

Guzman unpacks not just the historical context of Lighthouse Field, but also the current political one. Are the problems there going to be solved without some progress made on Santa Cruz’s homeless issues? Her story is very clear on the answer.

In the end, it’s the complex tale of a Santa Cruz landmark most of us don’t think twice about when we pass it. The next time you see it after reading this story, you will.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

River Safety Revisited

In response/rebuttal to Ms. Sheridan and Ms. Mio’s letter “River Safety”  (GT, 6/22): I am a 30-plus year canoeist on western U.S. rivers, lakes, ocean and particularly the San Lorenzo from Glen Arbor to the sea. Having reviewed the more than 200 pages of the City’s paddling committee minutes, one may readily conclude your true agenda has little to do with boater safety and everything to do with a narrow waterfowl “protection” agenda that excludes any paddling activities whatsoever.  Your histrionic dispatch is a transparent attempt to prop up the city’s unconstitutional no boating ordinance (9.66.090 MC) by “fowl” intent.

Additionally obvious:

  1.     Neither of you have knowledgeable river-paddling experience, as all hazards you raise are known to experienced river-craft paddlers.
  2.     The pilot program bird survey strategy proposed cannot possibly produce accurate before and after (paddling event) bird counts with only one biologist trying to cover the multi-channeled vegetated San Lorenzo riparian corridor. Kindly tell us how one knows if a bird was missed or already counted!
  3.     Every paddler I know can swim, right their craft and remount it.
  4. Crafts under 16 ft. do not require registration.

Finally, paddler access to navigable waters is strongly protected by Article X Sect. 4 of the California Constitution, as well as Sect. 3 of the 1850 California Admission Act into the Union. When ducks are granted voting rights and our state Constitution is amended to take away our  “always attainable” and  “forever free” access to navigable waters, I will hang up my paddle.

Until then, I’ll continue boating the San Lorenzo, inviting a City citation for violation of 9.66.090 MC and a court test to put this unconstitutional obstructing ordinance to rest.

J. Golder  

Active Recreation Coalition | Santa Cruz  

Online Comments

Re: Mark Mesiti-Miller

Thank you for this thoughtful and forward-looking article.

The era of auto-centric suburban planning is ending, and for good reason. We’ve discovered that more and more people, and especially young people, reject the passé “American Dream” of large front and rear yards, a car for every driver, and utter dependency on driving to accomplish the simplest daily tasks. Some of us have lived in transit-friendly cities and loved it. More and more are loving—or looking for—a simpler life with smaller homes and yards and, dare I suggest, no need for an automobile at all. Transit-oriented development and pedestrian and bike-friendly communities attract economic investment, and our civic leaders know this. Both the Santa Cruz Business Council and the Chamber of Commerce support the current vision of building a trail while preserving the corridor for future rail transit, and the kind of sustainable development that will come with it.

Some of our major employers, Dominican [Hospital] and Plantronics, support the transportation improvement plan with its investment in the rail with trail vision, possibly taking a cue from Panasonic North America and others that are taking an active role in supporting the renaissance of smart transit and the shift away from highway commuting.

— Barry Scott

Re: Cat & Cloud Coffee

My wife and I chipped in to their kickstarter, and we get a monthly shipment from them. We totally look forward to that package in the mail—amazing beans make amazing coffee. I’m not a morning person, so they give me something to look forward to.

— Daniel Liston

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