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Opinion August 24, 2016

Plus Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

People talked for years about drug-sentencing reform—especially here in Santa Cruz—before someone actually did something about it. Just how ready Californians were to embrace the idea by 2014 was evident in Proposition 47’s easy victory at the polls that year. A lot of promises came along with it—in particular, the promise of $100 million annually for local jurisdictions to fund alternatives to incarceration like drug treatment and support for mental health issues.

Has Prop. 47 delivered? As Mat Weir writes in this week’s cover story, it has launched the sentencing reform that supporters were seeking. But not all of the promises have been kept, and his story looks at whether—as its critics claim—Prop. 47 is truly broken. Is it contributing to a rising crime rate, as many people believe? And if it is broken, can it be fixed? There aren’t a lot of easy answers, but Weir’s story reveals what we actually know, and how different groups like law enforcement, those who have had their sentences reduced because of Prop. 47, and local residents who feel it has made Santa Cruz less safe, are all experiencing the post-47 landscape differently.

Also, a reminder that we are now accepting applications from local nonprofits for the second year of Santa Cruz Gives, our holiday fundraising program. We’re excited to be working with the Volunteer Center again on this project! Deadline is Sept. 7, go to SantaCruzGives.org/rfp.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Stand-Up Job

Re: “Official Election” (GT, Aug. 17): As a longtime resident of downtown Santa Cruz, I applaud city councilmember Richelle Noroyan’s courage in standing up to the Coastal Commission’s juggernaut, which too often overrides the decisions of local residents to protect their neighborhoods. Without our Camping Ordinance, our small town would be overrun with vacationers and other transients dumping their garbage on our streets and their needles in our yards. Yes, the Commission needs to come up with a policy that both protects us from illegal camping and establishes rules for short-term parking away from residential neighborhoods. The solution must respect our right to keep our neighborhoods safe and clean. Thanks Richelle and the other council members who help us protect our community.

Gigo deSilvas

Santa Cruz

Who’s on Board?

Re: “Can Lighthouse Field Be Saved” (GT, 7/6): Thank you for the interesting and informative article on Lighthouse Field and Santa Cruz’s 1970s political history. There was a line that jumped out at me: “nobody except the city council, developers and business leaders wanted construction [at Lighthouse Field].” With all the talk lately about development along high-density corridors and the “inevitability” of massive growth for our town, I wonder how many of our citizens are on board? Do those of us whose pockets won’t be lined by it want massive growth? I’m all for smart, well-planned changes, but do we have to accept Peter Kennedy, Santa Cruz planning commissioner’s premise that “the city is bound to grow no matter what”? (GT, 4/14) Maybe we need our own ballot measure before deciding to transform into an urban metropolis?

Veronica Garrett

Santa Cruz

Joy of Biodiesel

Thanks for the excellent, informative article on the Green Station (“The State of Renewable Fuel,” GT, 7/13). That’s where I fill up. I also work here, because I believe in the fuel and the movement. I drive an early ’80s Mercedes that runs like a dream on biodiesel. There are so many of these cars in Santa Cruz, they must be the best cars ever built. If even half of them ran biodiesel, Green Station would survive. Add in the behemoth diesel trucks contractors, boat haulers and other drivers, and we would thrive.

I’d like to clarify two things from the article. First, we are on the corner of Ocean Street and Soquel Avenue, not Water Street. Next, while the article was right that our price has averaged around $4.59/gallon, we’ve been at $3.79/gallon for the past six months, our lowest price ever. If drivers actually saw that $8/gallon petrol subsidy at the pump, they’d know we are actually dirt cheap. I’ll bet everyone would go green in a heartbeat then!

Raymond R.

Santa Cruz

Re: “Clean Slate” (GT, 8/10): Thank you for your raw look into the brave souls that make up our cast. We have received some amazing feedback since the article was published. The goal of Cleaner Daze is to bring addiction and recovery out of the shadows and normalize it so that others may benefit from and connect with people who have lived through it. The “Clean Slate” article has become proof of concept for Cleaner Daze. We are grateful and humbled by the stories readers have shared with us, some of which had never been told before.

A heartfelt thanks to Good Times and Anne-Marie Harrison for giving a voice to our mission!

Daniel Gambelin

Co-writer | ‘Cleaner Daze’

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