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Opinion

Opinion July 5, 2017

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

As much as I love doing the Green Issue every year, I always dread it a little, too. We cover the local environmental movement a lot throughout the year, and I always feel like the cover story for the Green Issue should be something epic—or at least something that provides a larger perspective beyond a single green effort, problem or product.

But when you start digging into the science of eco-friendliness, it’s hard to present the technical findings in a way that doesn’t make people’s eyes glaze over. This is especially true with stories about alternative energy. Some people keep up on the latest photovoltaic cells, it’s true, but what’s really at the heart of the push for renewable energy is people, not panels.

So when our writer Andrea Patton started telling me about Joe Jordan, I was thrilled. He’s one of those people whose enthusiasm for ecology is infectious, and his history with the local alternative-energy movement is fascinating. Suddenly he was introducing her to other, equally interesting fixtures of the local environmental movement, like Don Harris, Bob Stayton and Chris Bley. With their various efforts in the full range of “sky power” options, their perspectives on decades of challenges and changes, and their endearing quirkiness (seriously, check out that Area 51 anecdote), these are the kind of personalities that the Green Issue needs.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Locals First, Always

Re: “Zone Defense” (GT, 5/31): I’m a born-and-raised Santa Cruz resident, 27 years old, and intend to stay in Santa Cruz until my grandchildren can’t stand me any longer! I’ve visited a number of desirable, unique, modest-sized towns across the U.S., and can say that the “housing density/population growth” debate is a shared topic of discussion. I can also tell you that in my experience, whether you’re speaking with locals in Missoula, Bend or Santa Barbara, the large majority of people already living in town do not desire further urbanization. I count myself in that camp.

People want to move to Santa Cruz because it is not overpopulated, doesn’t succumb to urban sprawl and preserves its landscapes and seascapes. Ironically, it is exactly those attributes that will be erased by increased housing—building up and building out. Continued development will eventually leave the Santa Cruz that people are chasing nowhere to be found. I absolutely agree with Brian Mayer, quoted in the article. The 65,000 or so people already living here should and must come first—always.

I understand my position is frustrating for those people who’d like to move here, but that logic can be applied ad infinitum. For instance, I wish I’d been born in 1965—I could have afforded an amazing house on the Westside for next to nothing. And so on … timing is a cruel master.

My point is this: There is nothing that morally or practically compels the City of Santa Cruz to build more housing because tech workers over the hill and people visiting on the weekends say “the price isn’t right” or “the inventory isn’t there.” Let’s make the priority optimizing life for people already living here—of all backgrounds and walks of life—as opposed to increasing the net new number of residents.

B. Cope

Santa Cruz

 

ONLINE COMMENTS

Re: Leash patrols

While I’m glad there are off-leash dog parks … most are very small enclosures that are smaller than my own backyard, and they’re often so crowded that my dog still can’t run unencumbered. It also increases the possibility that the dogs will share disease, and with so many animals in such a confined area there’s a greater chance of conflict with other dogs. Most of them seem more akin to prison exercise yards than playgrounds.

— Margie Kelley

Re: Cannabis Rules

Another area of regulation that I have not seen addressed is the dirty word: insurance. California regulators want all marijuana businesses to carry liability insurance to be eligible for a license to operate when they start issuing them Jan. 1. Because very few carriers are on board to write cannabis insurance, they are already seeing a huge influx of new applications. And, processing cannabis policies already takes longer than other policies, so owners should not wait for the mandates to kick in.

— Matt Suess

Re: YIMBYs

YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) practices class warfare and division. Their entire movement was founded by developers and real estate billionaires a couple of years ago to brainwash entitled upper middle-class white men in the Bay Area. All well-documented facts.

— CM Berger

Great article! The reasoning of the YIMBY movement is really clear: In the midst of the worst housing shortage we’ve ever seen, we must build more housing. That means housing of all types: affordable housing, homeless shelters, ADUs and yes, market rate housing, too!

— Evan Siroky

As much as I love doing the Green Issue every year, I always dread it a little, too. We cover the local environmental movement a lot throughout the year, and I always feel like the cover story for the Green Issue should be something epic—or at least something that provides a larger perspective beyond a single green effort, problem or product.

But when you start digging into the science of eco-friendliness, it’s hard to present the technical findings in a way that doesn’t make people’s eyes glaze over. This is especially true with stories about alternative energy. Some people keep up on the latest photovoltaic cells, it’s true, but what’s really at the heart of the push for renewable energy is people, not panels.

So when our writer Andrea Patton started telling me about Joe Jordan, I was thrilled. He’s one of those people whose enthusiasm for ecology is infectious, and his history with the local alternative-energy movement is fascinating. Suddenly he was introducing her to other, equally interesting fixtures of the local environmental movement, like Don Harris, Bob Stayton and Chris Bley. With their various efforts in the full range of “sky power” options, their perspectives on decades of challenges and changes, and their endearing quirkiness (seriously, check out that Area 51 anecdote), these are the kind of personalities that the Green Issue needs.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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