In one of our news stories this week, by Kara Guzman, Soquel Creek Water District board member Bruce Daniels talks about a study that suggests that California has a greater than 80 percent chance of facing a multi-decade megadrought by the end of the century. “What will happen if we get 30-year droughts?” he asks. “We’re going to have to make changes if we’re going to survive this thing.”
Not all of those changes will come by choice. I thought of that while reading Lily Stoicheff’s cover story about the devastation of the local olallieberry crop. It took a perfect storm of complications to take one of Santa Cruz’s most iconic berry crops down, to be sure, including a fungus whose origin and even identity no one has yet figured out. But a key factor has been our last two abnormally warm winters, which led to sharply shortened seasons for the normally robust berry. That’s just one small example of the extreme weather fluctuations we’re in for if even a fraction of what Daniels is talking about comes to pass. Now, consider that berries make up 65 percent of the ag economy in Santa Cruz. We could be in for some huge shake-ups in our landscape, and we need to be paying more attention to stories like this that seem at first like small shifts—one type of berry out, another one there to take its place—but have much larger implications for our future.
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
Repeal Prop. 47
Re: “Is Prop. 47 Broken?” (GT, 8/25): Many people with experience working in the criminal justice system thought Prop. 47 was a poor idea with the potential for negative unintended consequences. No one should be surprised that Prop. 47 has resulted in an increase in property crime. Decriminalizing drug offenses leading to lesser legal consequences without requiring mental health and substance abuse treatment = continued drug addiction and resultant increased property crime. People have to pay for their drugs, and they primarily do that by dealing and stealing. You only have to look on the Next Door app for your neighborhood to see multiple complaints about increased property crime and break-ins. Because of the nature of addiction, most addicts will not seek treatment voluntarily. The only way to encourage addicts to seek treatment is to make the alternative to treatment less desirable than the treatment itself. If we don’t hold people accountable for their actions, we are basically permitting the drug addicts to continue their addictions. We don’t need another expensive study to determine that this flawed law was a bad idea from the start. Let’s repeal Proposition 47 and let’s hold criminals accountable when they victimize our neighbors and our neighborhoods.
I’d like to suggest that you diversify the printed opinions in Local Talk. Over the years, I’ve noticed how more often than not, each week’s Local Talk showcases the opinions of only white folks, though the ages generally have a wider range, from college age to retiree. There is a lack of visibility for people of color.
I recently read up on the platform of Drew Glover, who will be running for city council. As an African-American man and Santa Cruz native, he recounted feeling alienated and wants Santa Cruz’s culture and politics to reflect the histories and realities of the multicultural and multiracial communities here. It resonated with me as I’ve noticed the overwhelming whiteness of the local opinions printed in GT, even in such a casual “chatter” section. I’d like for our local publications to also reflect our racially diverse community.
I enjoy your publication, especially the features of Geoffrey Dunn, who often writes about the forgotten communities of color who lived in this area and also the often forgotten racism that has occurred on this land. After reading one of Mr. Dunn’s illuminating features about Santa Cruz’s old Chinatown or the work of Filipino migrant workers who’ve helped build Santa Cruz, I’ve felt slighted by the lack of visibility of people of color in Good Times. We are here and we are contemporary.
In recent years, I’ve been pleased by GT tackling more newsworthy and perhaps “controversial” topics in its features, such as transgender visibility. For some publications, these may be controversial topics, but in my opinion, these stories are our community stories. I imagine I’m not alone in wanting change. Recent shifts in local culture also include the MAH’s hosting of a meeting for Stand Up For Racial Justice (SURJ).
Please consider diversifying the Local Talk section to reflect the racial diversity of Santa Cruz and examine other sections. We’re out here, too, and we are a part of the local community.