There’s no doubt that 2011 will go down in history as the year two locals generated the most buzz for Santa Cruz on a national level and helped raise awareness of the town’s creative verve and musical inspirations. Those locals are, of course, James Durbin and Chris Rene. In fact, this week, Rene, who turned heads recently on The X Factor, is our cover boy. In a story written by music editor Jenna Brogan, we discover more about Rene’s past and what inspired him over the years. He also offers this observation: “People have been asking me …‘Why don’t you go on American Idol?’ They’ve been asking me, ‘Why aren’t you famous yet?’ ‘Why aren’t you on the radio?’ And I would just be like, ‘I don’t know.’ I was like, I don’t want to go on American Idol, because I haven’t seen one that I actually like. I thought they were all too cheesy. You know? It just wasn’t for me. So eventually, I said, you know what? I’m 28, it’s time for me to do this. And I saw James Durbin in the newspaper, and I saw that another person from Santa Cruz had stepped up and gave it a shot, and actually made it to the top four.” Rene opens up even more about past influences and what life is like now after The X Factor.
Rene and Durbin are but two inspiring locals out there—there are so many others. Felton’s John Golder, who is spotlighted in News this week, comes to mind. Golder’s recent proposal, dubbed “Proposal for City of Santa Cruz West Side Recreational Facilities,” seeks to improve issues surrounding local sports fields in Santa Cruz. “I’m not a guy to just gripe,” Golder notes. “I suggest solutions.” That’s a good thing to hear, especially at a time, at least economically, when real solutions can often seem scarce. But, just as Golder is proving, solutions do exist. We just have to be ready to receive them—then implement them.
Let’s all have fun with that.
More soon …
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to the Editor
I can’t believe it! After several decades, a recent piece written by Tom Honig that I agree with (“A Righteous Display of Anger,” regarding the Occupy Protests). Am I getting old? Well maybe … but, no that can’t be the explanation. Has Honig gone pinko? Impossible. Maybe it’s that he is no longer employed by a Wall Street Company? Perhaps. But likely it is just that the abuses by the richest 1 percent of that people (who own nearly 40 percent of the wealth) suffered by the other 99 percent of us have gotten so blatant that it is not possible to be blind to the situation any longer. There is something very wrong with our system when corporate felons keep the spoils of their criminal actions and face no prosecution while their corps pay “settlements” to the Feds. Settlements that come from the shareholders who are ordinary folks or from worker’s pension funds. In any case welcome to the real world, Tom, and I sincerely hope you will stick around.
Fred J. Geiger
Can’t ‘Force’ Anything …
I read your column “Local Talk,” and I was appalled at the authoritarian and coercive tone of the question: “What New Year’s Resolution would you like to force on others?” I was also appalled that nobody who was queried challenged the authoritarian assumptions of the question, but simply went along with it. Excuse me, but love, honesty and happiness can’t be forced on others. Forcing someone to have sex is rape, not lovemaking. And the same goes for happiness, smiling or anything else. I believe human beings are meant to experience a wide range of emotions and honesty and unconditional acceptance is the basis of love, not forcing other people to be what you want them to be, I personally would hate to live in a “Brave New World” where I was required to be happy. Because I have a dark sense of humor, I’m easily amused, but my smile is voluntary. If I show affection for others it is because I want to. Like a cat, my love cannot be commanded.
Erich J. Holden
Quicker Picker Upper
I stroll Manresa Beach almost daily, and I regularly see from one to three plastic bags of dog feces lying in the sand. Today I plucked one from the surf. Manresa is heavily used by dogs and their guardians, and I would like to tell the 99 percent who pick up after their pets and carry their waste to the trash how much I appreciate their thoughtfulness. People who bag their dogs’ waste and leave it lying on the sand are also considerate to the extent that they have made an effort to save other users of the beach from stepping in their pets’ excrement. However, these folks have apparently forgotten about the impact of the plastic bags and the feces within them on the coastal and ocean ecology, as well as the physical beauty of the shoreline. The Pacific Ocean is plagued by a vortex of plastic debris that has been estimated to be anywhere from the size of Texas to twice that size. The Atlantic and Indian oceans have their own huge concentrations of plastic trash. The adverse impacts of this plastic to the marine ecosystem, and even to humans, are far too complex to discuss here, but they are sobering. My assumption is that some of the bags I see are retrieved by dog owners on their return trip down the beach and then taken to the trash; however, I know that not all of them are. To those of you who leave the bags behind, please take the next important step: deposit them in the trash. Thank you.
La Selva Beach
In last week’s article on a new art sculpture, GT incorrectly spelled artist Moto Ohtake’s name. We regret the error.