West Side Story
Opinion

Opinion: October 24, 2018

Plus letters to the editor

A snapshot of a Cabrillo Stage production of 'West Side Story' directed by Lile O. Cruse

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

For this week’s cover story, I interviewed Lile O. Cruse’s wife Michele Rivard while she was driving to a family wedding. She had her GPS directions on, and every once in a while the voice of Google Maps would startle us both, suddenly filling my phone speaker.

“So what do you think Lile’s legacy should be?” I asked her at one point about her husband, who defined a generation of music and theater at Cabrillo College before passing away on Aug. 23.

“FINDING A NEW ROUTE,” came the loud, monotone answer.

“That wasn’t me,” said Rivard. “That was the car.”

“‘Finding a new route is a pretty good answer though,” I said, as we both chuckled.

“Yeah,” she said thoughtfully. “It actually is.”

Rivard’s real answer was much more moving, and you’ll find it in the story. But for some reason, I keep thinking about the wisdom of the GPS. Cruse certainly did forge a new path for Cabrillo College, both in music and theater. And the bottom line is that he changed many lives, launched many careers and just made people feel lucky that he was in their lives. That so many of those people have come together to produce and perform in the show celebrating his life this weekend is perhaps the ultimate testament to that. His legacy will live on.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Re: “Up in Smoke” (GT, Oct. 3):

I was just reading the e-cigarette article in the latest issue, and I had to come write immediately to ask how it’s possible that GT could publish such a biased piece? How could Hugh McCormick not even touch on the great numbers of teens who are addicted to e-cigs, and the egregious fruity-flavor marketing campaigns of the manufacturers? Well, he did touch on “scary stories about … grade schoolers getting hooked,” but in a brushing-off way. If Hugh wants to enlighten the public on their smoking cessation benefits, he needs to tell the whole story about e-cigs. Hugh just gave an endorsement of e-cigs, and now people can feel good about their vaping choices since they read about their safety and benefits in the Wellness section of the local free paper.

EHF
Santa Cruz

Bicycle-Friendly Vision

In last week’s Good Times, Greenway took issue with Bike Santa Cruz County’s vision statement: “Bicycling in Santa Cruz County is a safe, respected, convenient, and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation for people of all ages and abilities.”

Bike Santa Cruz County stands firmly behind that vision, working every day for the past 27 years toward that future through advocacy, education, and community-building. We do this because we strongly believe that our county can become a top-tier bicycling environment that is safe and comfortable for all.

We certainly don’t believe that we have achieved this vision, as Greenway seems to suggest. However, we do take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish as a community working toward a common goal. We are proud to have had a significant role in a long list of infrastructure improvements for cyclists: the Arana Gulch bicycle/pedestrian trail; the UCSC bicycle trail; bike racks on Metro buses; bike lanes and green lanes on Beach, High, Front and Bay Streets, as well as Soquel Avenue; green lanes at highway overcrossings; the Highway 1 bike and pedestrian bridge at High Street; the Pacific Avenue contraflow bike lane; and $86 million in Measure D funding for the Coastal Rail Trail.

We further recognize the need to invest in people and programs, not just in paint and asphalt. We take great pride in our programmatic work which includes our Earn-a-Bike program that delivers bikes to Watsonville, Live Oak, and Santa Cruz youth-in-need; Open Streets events in Watsonville and Santa Cruz; support for Vision Zero across Santa Cruz County; and more than 200 community events and bike rides in the past 10 years.

Building support for bike infrastructure is challenging. To build that support, we work closely with other organizations, bike advocates, pedestrians, motorists, and community leaders. To be effective, we find that we must listen to these stakeholders, respect their work and opinions, and find ways to support each other to achieve common goals. In that spirit, we remain open to working with Greenway in order to advance the vision of better cycling for everyone in Santa Cruz County.

Janneke Strause
Executive Director, Bike Santa Cruz County

Value Voiced

Congratulations to the real community servants who vocalized the value of the Second Story Respite House and financially gifted the continuity of its operation. The community spoke with one voice and acted at all levels to maintain this gem of behavioral health care. The community now should come forward with oversight support to polish and multiply this respite house gem. Do not let its fate fall back into the abyss of uninformed senior county and Encompass management decisions that occur in the darkness of secrecy.

John P. Dietz
Scotts Valley

For this week’s cover story, I interviewed Lile O. Cruse’s wife Michele Rivard while she was driving to a family wedding. She had her GPS directions on, and every once in a while the voice of Google Maps would startle us both, suddenly filling my phone speaker.

“So what do you think Lile’s legacy should be?” I asked her at one point about her husband, who defined a generation of music and theater at Cabrillo College before passing away on Aug. 23.

“FINDING A NEW ROUTE,” came the loud, monotone answer.

“That wasn’t me,” said Rivard. “That was the car.”

“‘Finding a new route is a pretty good answer though,” I said, as we both chuckled.

“Yeah,” she said thoughtfully. “It actually is.”

Rivard’s real answer was much more moving, and you’ll find it in the story. But for some reason, I keep thinking about the wisdom of the GPS. Cruse certainly did forge a new path for Cabrillo College, both in music and theater. And the bottom line is that he changed many lives, launched many careers and just made people feel lucky that he was in their lives. That so many of those people have come together to produce and perform in the show celebrating his life this weekend is perhaps the ultimate testament to that. His legacy will live on.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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