Opinion: March 20, 2019

Plus letters to the editor


Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

For this week’s cover story, Hugh McCormick leapt into the Santa Cruz Flea Market experience headfirst. I mean, it would have been easy enough for him to write a policy-type story on the weird fate of the local institution that didn’t involve getting up at ungodly hours to actually go and experience what selling at the flea market is like, not to mention spending countless hours hanging out with the regulars who make up the market’s community.

But because he did, a different kind of portrait of the flea market emerges in his piece, one that I think gets at the heart of a story that is easy to overlook in those rows of antiques, crafts and crazy junk: the people who make it a fascinating local subculture. Most of us have had fun crashing the flea market on at least a few afternoons over the years, but for some people in our community—both buyers and sellers—it’s a way of life.

Also, in this issue, we profile one of the winners of this year’s NEXTie Awards, Mira Goto. The Santa Cruz musician is not only receiving an award, she’s also performing at the NEXTies ceremony on Friday. And she’s one of the musicians who will play the John Prine tribute show on Saturday that is a benefit for William Strickland, who was hit hard by the NorCal wildfires. You may not think you know who Strickland is, but most locals would recognize him as the voice of the KPIG “Hog Call” and a number of other themes and jingles at the station over the years. He’s kind of a Santa Cruz legend, and if you’ve ever wondered what a guy with a voice that awesome looks like—well, he’ll be performing at the show as well. Check out the story on Goto for details on both events.

And just a reminder that DNA’s Comedy Lab and Experimental Theatre, which I wrote about last week, opens this Friday with Joe Sib!

Letters to the Editor

Re: “Requiem for Passivism” (GT, 3/12):

The stunning Blue Wave that took back the House last November represented an unprecedented level of progressive resolve and political organizing.  

Carson Kelly and Indivisible certainly deserve credit for the new political energy they’ve activated here in Santa Cruz County, but Kelly’s dismissive comments about the Democratic Party were unfortunate and off the mark.

The Santa Cruz County Democratic Party, representing 87,000 registered Democrats countywide, joined with thousands of new and longtime activists from groups like Swing Left, Sister District, Women’s March, Labor, and Indivisible (among others), working tirelessly to turn previously red districts blue, in California and beyond.

The result speaks for itself.  Democratic candidates won 46 of the state’s 53 congressional districts, and seven of California’s congressional seats flipped from red to blue. A Blue Wave nationwide took back the House, and with everyone’s help will continue to roll on through to 2020 and beyond.

Coco Raner-Walter | Chair, Santa Cruz County Democratic Party

Transportation’s Future

Every day, the Earth reminds us that the natural environment is changing. The recent count of Monarch butterflies at Natural Bridges shows their numbers to be greatly diminished, our Monterey Bay is at risk from ocean acidification, and there is talk of managed retreat from the Santa Cruz coastline.

How does one cope with this news today, and how do we think about our the future? What is the role of our government? What is our personal role?

Both the Santa Cruz City Council and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors have passed climate emergency resolutions. The hard work now will be to implement policies to drawdown carbon emissions. We must change the way we live on the earth in order to survive.

As fossil fuels are burned, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are emitted. CO2 lasts in our atmosphere for hundreds of years, meaning all CO2 produced today will contribute to the warming blanket surrounding the Earth for a lifetime. Business-as-usual emissions will raise the earth’s temperature 3-4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The high temperatures will lead to severe food insecurity, migration, sea level rise, loss of potable water, and government breakdown. Our youth will be severely impacted by all our current decisions and actions regarding the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

Transportation is the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Cruz County. Unfortunately, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) voted to widen Highway 1 by constructing auxiliary lanes from Santa Cruz to Aptos. However, vehicle travel, which has been a cornerstone of American life, needs to be scrutinized in light of its increasingly catastrophic threat to our collective future and contribution to the business-as-usual scenario.

Citizens of Santa Cruz County need to take a hard look at alternatives to highway widening. There are solutions for mitigating congestion and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Bus-on-shoulder, used in other cities, allows buses to travel unimpeded in a separate lane. Providing bus-on-shoulder on Highway 1 doesn’t require auxiliary lanes. In addition, as zero-emissions electric buses become part of the METRO fleet, no greenhouse gases will be discharged with bus on shoulder transit.

Seven electric buses have been ordered by Santa Cruz METRO, and delivery is expected in 2020. Other innovative solar-powered transportation systems, such as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), are being developed and could also be used along Highway 1 and the Coastal Rail Trail.

The Campaign for Sustainable Transportation currently has filed a lawsuit to stop construction of the proposed auxiliary lanes. Information about transportation issues and the lawsuit is available at the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation website. With only about 10 years remaining to drastically limit the extraction and use of fossil fuels, there is no other choice but to change our outdated transportation system. It is an exciting time to listen to new ideas and discuss how we should boldly change the way we live on the earth.

Susan Cavalieri | Santa Cruz Climate Action Network

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Janice Emerzian

    March 20, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Steve I love your section of the paper and share it with many. You are not fearful to enter areas that many avoid and I admire you for that!
    On another note, I do have a question in that I submitted a photo for the contest a couple of times last year and did not hear from anyone. Who can I contact to see who the winners have been and how I can submit again. Thanks
    Dr. Janice

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