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Opinion: October 23, 2019

Plus letters to the editor

The cover of new book 'Bitten,' featured in this week's cover story.

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

It’s funny, just this week I was speaking to a graduate writing class up at UCSC, and the subject of alt-weekly news coverage came up. I was saying how the whole business of news has changed for us; how alt-weeklies used to be on the fringe, but now have had to pick up some of the slack of mainstream news coverage as dailies have declined, and how I sometimes worry there’s not as much room anymore for the totally out-there, bleeding-edge kind of stories that would flat-out scare conventional media outlets.

And the same week, ironically, we run a cover story about a book on Lyme disease so controversial that the word “controversial” barely seems to cover it. Did the spread of Lyme disease start as a Cold War weapons program? You’ll have to draw your own conclusions after reading Chuck Carroll’s cover story on Kris Newby’s book Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons. But I’ll tell you one thing for sure: this is exactly the kind of “classic” alt-weekly story I’ve been missing. 

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Re: Nuz, Oct. 2: After a lengthy phone interview, I was disappointed to see Nuz only took two small quotes from all I said, and quoted them out of context in both cases.

To set the record straight, I got involved in the recall effort after the proposal to allow RV camping on Delaware and Swift.  Allowing RV parking in an environmentally sensitive area is a bad idea, particularly without any kind of sanitation services, dumping station, garbage cans, etc.  But what I told you was that our environmental education high school program performed seven years of community service projects at Natural Bridges and Antonelli Pond, clearing non-native plants, planting native ones, creating kiosks explaining the local flora, building pathways and rest spots, and that I was sad to see that all that hard work was “trashed.”  

As to Nuz’s comment that we are “recalling city council members over a rabid aversion to homelessness,” that is completely untrue. We want to assist people in need, but not in the way it was done at the Ross camp, and not in the way it is being proposed by Krohn and Glover. People experiencing homelessness are not all the same, and they need different services. We want people’s needs to be addressed with mental health services, drug/alcohol rehabilitation services, etc., in collaboration with the county, and not allow people to live in the mud with rats and needles with no actual shelter.  Permitting that does not help either the homeless or our community. Proposing transitional homeless encampments in city neighborhoods and parks is a bad idea. State studies show that transitional homeless encampments are not the solution for getting people out of homelessness. We are not anti-homeless; we are anti-bad decision. We need leaders who are collaborative, who can listen to all kinds of community concerns and ideas openly and respectfully, who consider the whole community, without bullying, demeaning behavior or grandstanding. Those Glover/Krohn supporters who think it’s ok to yell insults from their cars or bicycles as opposed to actually having a discussion about our city’s significant issues, or who accuse people they don’t even know of being racist or fascist as their frontline offense, or who harass and follow volunteers, just validate our reasons for doing this. That type of behavior is unproductive and unacceptable. 

To learn more about the reasons for recall, as well as how you can help, go to santacruzunited.com.

Carol Polhamus
Santa Cruz

Re: “Commission Granted,” (GT, 10/2): Good Times did a disservice to its readers with this article, which neglects to summarize the allegations of misconduct against Councilmembers Glover and Krohn. Those who have not followed the story closely would be justified in imagining the councilmembers must be accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment, given the vagueness of the alleged misconduct and the commission’s fervor in condemning the two men. Some backstory is useful here.

Last year, Glover was elected on a progressive platform, which included aggressive steps to address our city’s problem with homelessness, and to help those struggling to survive on the streets. Glover was stymied by Mayor Watkins, who refused to place his policy suggestions on the official agenda. Frustrated, Glover posted an essay called “The Fierce Urgency of Now” on social media, in which he criticized the lackadaisical pace with which our local government addresses this issue.

At the next council meeting, Mayor Watkins said that Glover and Krohn, another member of the council’s unofficial progressive wing, “are intentionally bullying me because I’m a woman,” displaying remarkably thin skin for a politician, especially for a mayor. What followed was an expensive, independent investigation of Krohn and Glover’s conduct. This report did not substantiate Watkins’s claim of sexist bullying, although it did detail an incident in which Councilmember Meyer held a meeting in a conference room that went over schedule, and ate into a meeting Glover had slated in the same room afterwards. As Meyer’s meeting concluded, Glover stood in the doorway and chewed Meyer out, forcing those leaving to awkwardly squeeze by him. Unprofessional? Sure. Scandalous? Hardly.  

As for Chris Krohn, the only substantiated misconduct found was an incident in which he laughed in a sarcastic manner. All of this was reported by Good Times, but you can’t just assume that every reader reads every issue. Casual readers should know just how petty this tempest in a teapot really is.

Patrick Rooney
Santa Cruz

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