Back when I was editor of Metro Santa Cruz in the early-to-mid 2000s, we had a columnist called Nuz. No one outside of the office knew the real identity of Nuz—not even Nuz’s gender. (Which, weirdly enough, people used to ask me about fairly often. I’ll use the “they” pronoun here to avoid giving anything away.) No one was even totally sure how to pronounce Nuz’s name—when it started out, it was supposed to be pronounced “Nooz” (to rhyme with “Cruz,” obviously), and there was even a helpful little line over the “u” to make that clear. But popular opinion that it was actually pronounced like “Nuhz” eventually won out. Nuz was known for sometimes sharp, sometimes extremely blunt insights into local politics, and they sunk their teeth into that watchdog role.
Nuz quit writing sometime after I left the paper, and I never did hear what happened. But recently our news editor Jacob Pierce heard through the grapevine that Nuz had had it up to here with the state of local politics and was chomping at the bit to come out of retirement. I thought it was probably like all those other rumors we’ve heard about Nuz—Nuz lurks in the shadows (what a drama queen), Nuz eats dirt for breakfast (no), Nuz has no friends (okay, probably true)—but what do you know? It was true. After a few phone calls, it was all arranged, and those oh-so Nuz emails I remember from back in the day started coming in again. So, ladies and gentlemen, I direct you to page 14 for the return of Nuz.
In other news, it’s our Health and Fitness issue this week, and we welcome back our former managing editor Maria Grusauskas—who is still living it up in the sunny Baja California climes she ditched us for—with an article on the healing frontiers of biodynamic farming. Meanwhile, Hugh McCormick slips and slides into the world of hot fitness, with entertaining results.
Finally, this is the last week to vote for your favorites in the Best of Santa Cruz 2019 Awards. So go to bestofsantacruz2019.com and do it today!
Letters to the Editor
I appreciated and celebrate your article on MAPS projects to use MDMA to treat PTSD via MDMA-assisted therapy (GT, Jan. 9). It seems an easy leap to imagine MDMA could be used for so many of what are now labeled as disorders or mental illnesses by the DSM.
Many years back, I wrote an article (“Club Meds”) that described the experience of one older gentleman who had been depressed for years. But then he took LSD with therapeutic assistance as part of a program at Stanford. His depression lifted as he saw from a “higher” perspective the unjustified weight in thought he was giving to the past and to his domineering father.
I wrote that article for Metro and Metro Santa Cruz because of my own experience with depression in my 20s, and the tremendous amount of compassion it generated in me for those who cling to life on a day-by-day basis because of anxiety and depression. Their internal realities are almost completely negative and past-fear or ego-based. In fact, writing the article changed my life, and I went quickly from journalism to studying and then teaching and sharing a spiritually based psychology in order to be of help.
What the MDMA article does not mention—no fault of Mr. Baine’s—is the tremendous psychiatric and spiritual/psychological benefit of what I would describe as the most mild of psychedelics, marijuana.
Through speaking with Valerie Corral and a caring doctor at the Wo/Mens Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM—now with a new home at 815 Almar St., Ste. 2), I learned that since recreational legalization, the tremendous stampede to commodify pot has rushed blithely past the most important uses for THC—mental and physical health and well-being. While dispensaries are becoming increasingly well stocked, employees are not qualified to provide advice concerning marijuana for medical or psychiatric use.
This is also an area that begs for increased exploration, research and funding. Socrates Rosenfeld, founder of the local pot company IHeartJane, has described his experience in treating his own anxiety from PTSD with cannabis and the outcome, his company, which dispenses widely to veterans.
With suicide on the rise in the U.S., and considering its continued epidemic proportions amongst veterans, the urgency of these matters cannot be overstated. Many will die by their own hands—shattering families and friend groups—as we wait for federal regulators to loosen up, and for the medical community to take a serious look the benefits of MDMA, other plant-based psychedelics and marijuana.
Interestingly enough, I am now compelled to put my journalistic hat back on to write about what may be one of the greatest and most beneficial psychiatric developments in centuries.
Ami Chen Mills
Highway 1 History
I enjoyed the article “Ever Green” (GT, 1/16). I have been to the original part of Purissima Cemetery numerous times. It is so nice to hear that it is being restored. My great-great uncle Henry Dobbel founded the town of Purissima. He also farmed potatoes on land he owned on the ocean side of Highway 1, later selling the land to Henry Cowell. My great-great grandfather John Dobbel (Henry’s brother) and his wife Gaschen Bruns owned a market in San Francisco after arriving in the U.S. They later settled in Hayward.
Nancy Dobbel Kaping