For the last couple of years, we’ve been tracking the increased risk of fire danger facing Santa Cruz County. Our award-winning 2016 story about why wildfires are getting worse has, unfortunately, proven to be prescient. Since then, we’ve seen fires in Santa Barbara and Santa Rosa that have in many ways defied even the most dire warnings about California wildfires, and we’ve written, too, about what lessons we might learn from those.
The news about wildfires only seems to get worse, and tracking this beat, I’ve gotten used to a rather bleak outlook from the firefighters and other experts whose job is to help all of us manage fire risk. Still, I find this week’s cover story by Malcolm Terence particularly unsettling. First, because it clearly explains how easily the Bear Fire in the San Lorenzo uplands could have been far more devastating, and how canyons around the county could be hit by the same confluence of factors. And second, because it lays out how the intersection of weather and flames in the Santa Barbara and Santa Rosa fires have Cal Fire experts imagining the kind of wildfire that can sweep from the mountains into the city of Santa Cruz. I’d certainly never imagined such a possibility, but in the new reality of California wildfires it’s gone from a worst-case scenario firehouse joke to something state and local officials genuinely have to think about.
The good news that the story delivers is there are things that can be done to reduce the fire risk in our neighborhoods, and I hope it inspires action, because one thing that’s abundantly clear is that there’s no time to waste.
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
The Draft EIR for the proposed (so-called) Student Housing West (GT, “Fielding Inquiry,” 3/28) is in, and logic is out the window. An EIR is supposed to base its conclusions and recommendations on the data. We want to live in an evidence-based culture, right? Well, someone forgot to tell whoever wrote the conclusions of the EIR that they need to follow all the data, not just the one single part of it that seems to support what the developer wants. Of the 24 environmental factors studied, only one favors the proposal over their Alternative #3. Eleven favor the alternative. That alternative, however, fails to destroy the meadow that we all see when we look up at the campus, that we all pass as we go up there. Wouldn’t it be a pity, they think, if the meadow is allowed to remain untouched, like the Long Range Development Plan requires?
If you want to believe I’m exaggerating, don’t look at the Draft EIR at ucsc.edu. If you want to get involved, check out the East Meadow Action Committee at eastmeadowaction.org.
Don Weiss | Santa Cruz
On hearing that Mountain Community Theater would present Julius Caesar as part of their 36th season, I couldn’t help but scratch my head (OK, perhaps scoff just a little). My hometown, Ben Lomond, was going to present one of the most difficult tragedies ever written? I was excited, but also hesitant, wondering how a local community theater was going to pull off one of the most challenging tragedies.
Learning that Bill Peters, a renowned professor at San Francisco State known for his Shakespearean genius was going to be directing, my interest grew. I had studied theater arts at SF State, and though Bill had been my academic advisor, I had never had the privilege of working with him on a production. As luck would have it, I was moving back to the area; I knew I simply had to be a part of this production. I ended up landing a spot as Lucia, initially Lucias, servant to Brutus, and since then the process has been nothing short of thrilling.
All in all I can say the cast and crew of Julius Caesar are killing it (at some points quite literally). I am so proud of my community and what we can and do achieve, for though we be but little we are fierce.
Thank you Bill Peters for having the vision and confidence in Mountain Community Theater to pursue this artistic endeavor, and thank you to our stage manager Susann Suprenant who had the resolve to get us through it. The experience and the education this production has brought me is one I’ll keep in my pocket for a long time. And although I was initially hesitant, I was wrong to underestimate the determination of artists and what we can achieve. The moral of the story? “Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer. Fare thee well.”
Jocelyn McMahon | Ben Lomond