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Opinion: October 3, 2018

Plus letters to the editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

Looking over the program for the Santa Cruz Film Festival, I was shocked at how many films this year are about subjects that have also been GT cover stories over the last few years, including Santa Cruz’s housing crisis and homeless encampments (At Capacity), the history of Mt. Umunhum (Umunhum), major shifts in cannabis culture (The End of Weed) and Ursula K. Le Guin (Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin).

But what surprised me the most was one that wasn’t ever on our cover: the story of Santa Cruz native William McCarthy, frontman for the Brooklyn indie rock band Augustines and the subject of Todd Howe’s film Rise, which gets its U.S. premiere at SCFF this week. The story of McCarthy’s life—growing up in a heartbreaking situation in Santa Cruz and eventually finding some catharsis for his family tragedies in his songwriting—is so compelling, and I can’t recommend the film highly enough. I also got the chance to put McCarthy on the cover this week, after speaking to him and Howe about the film and the story behind it.

The thing is, there are two big festivals in Santa Cruz this week, so Wallace Baine and I tag-teamed them, with Wallace writing about the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival. I particularly like his “must see” picks for SCCF, and the story of how a very big development may be in store for the local comedy scene. Check it all out and see you at this week’s festivals!

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Corporate Arrogance

Your story last week (GT, 9/26) regarding “Blowback” should alarm anyone who ventures forth where crops are being sprayed. Of course there is the right to farm. That is settled law, long ago. I support our ag business for the great, healthy products it produces, and the huge tax receipts it provides for Santa Cruz County. Our county depends on them.

But how you control mites and other insects that eat or destroy these crops is just as important.

Is every company to blame? No. But I wish to point out one offender: E Berry of Hollister. They farm the raspberries behind Bronte Avenue where I live. They give notice to just one of our neighbors, and expect her to warn all of us. She does not work for E Berry. She warns us because she believes in the philosophy of Fred Rogers: will you be my neighbor? My carcinogen-free neighbor?  

Sadly, E Berry does not. They don’t answer the phone. They don’t list a CEO for their company. Just a P.O. box in Hollister.

They use Acramite 50WS, which contains four proven carcinogens: bifenazate, kaolin, silica gel and sodium 2 sulfonate. These ingredients are toxic to bees, birds, fish, pets and people. It can’t be used within 25 feet of a fresh water source. You must wear hazmat gear to apply the spray. The neighbors don’t get hazmat gear to live in their yards or patios. And the dust goes everywhere.

E Berry gives us less than 72 hours to prepare. They say they will spray on a Sunday, and then spray Monday, after we have let our pets out and opened our windows or doors for “fresh” air.

This issue is more important than my candidacy for city council. And I am proud to have the Sierra Club endorsement.

This corporate arrogance must stop!

Steve Trujillo
Watsonville  

Short-Term Limits

Like many longtime Santa Cruz residents, I’ve been following the discussion about Measure M and lack of long-term rentals in Santa Cruz County; it’s an important discussion for our community to have. I find it troubling, however, that nowhere do I see a conversation which includes any mention of the impact of short-term vacation rentals on the availability of our long-term rentals. Have I somehow missed this? Short-term rentals such as Airbnb are a huge reason rents have gone up in our community. There is nothing mysterious here. It’s supply and demand. Conversely, if our community puts more limits on vacation rentals, then long-term rental availability will go up. In turn, rental costs should go down or at least stabilize.

Of course there are other reasons for lack of housing, but this particular reason seems to be conspicuously absent from the discussion. Why is that? I have read that the city of Santa Cruz is going to limit vacation rental units to 450, but why even allow that? And what about the rest of the county?

Airbnb and the like are forever changing resort communities all over the world. Just ask my good friend who has lived for the past 25 years on the island of Santorini, Greece. She and most of her friends (all working service jobs) are being kicked out of their apartments because the local owners want to rent to the tourists. Sound familiar? Difficult to see a favorable outcome for locals. Will this be us, too?

Marty Mueller
Santa Cruz

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