Plus Letters to Good Times
Look At This Way…
On Jan. 12, a 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti leaving it in ruins. Three months later, residents and relief workers in the island’s capital, Port-au-Prince, are still picking up the pieces, emotionally and otherwise. Our country poured out massive support, and so did a creative entity here, known as Shelter Systems, created by local Bob Gillis—the man sold his first patent for a small tent design back in 1975. Gillis, and his unique 14-foot dome tents are the subject of this week’s compelling cover story, penned by Linda Koffman.
Here, we learn more about Gillis’ inspirations and how his creative concepts are suddenly providing tent refuge for thousands of Haitians, struggling to get their lives back in order. Learn more about this fascinating, uplifting tale on page 14. In the meantime, if you need some guidance on how and where to donate, take note of several local portals in which you can do so. There’s Action Santa Cruz at actionsantacruz.com—PayPal donations go through Bank of America and Bay Federal. Of course, there are always fundraisers. So, maybe this is the perfect ivitation to consider taking one on. So, don’t be shy—create a relief fundraiser of your own. I noticed The Last Resort Salon recently held a “cut-a-thon.” Brilliant. Be sure to continue alerting us here at GT about your fundraising endeavors for Haiti ([email protected]).
Meanwhile, that Desal plant is creating a stir (see letters.)
And don’t forget: the unveiling of Three Princes Plaque is 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 9 at Lighthouse Point.
What’s left? Good times. Try to have some this week.
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to Good Times Editor
Look At This Way…
Is Tom Honig channeling Karl Rove? (GT 3/31). His recent column on Arana Gulch is either a bad attempt at framing the story into something provocative (environmentalist vs. environmentalist) or else he’s woefully misinformed. Where to start?
It’s the NIMBYs: No. If Mr. Honig had done his homework, he’d learn that people opposing the project come from all over the city and county. In addition, one of the most vocal opponents is the California Native Plant Society, a statewide organization whose mission is to protect California’s native plant heritage and preserve it for future generations. Hardly NIMBYs.
All bicyclists support the Broadway-Brommer bikepath: No. Read the comments from the public. Many cyclists have spoken out, aghast that cycling access is being used to undercut the Endangered Species Act. The Santa Cruz tarplant is a federally threatened and California-endangered species.
The Broadway-Brommer Bikepath project can protect the tarplant: No. In the EIR the city admits that the bikepath will create damage that cannot be mitigated. They have no solution. Instead, if the city is allowed to build this bikepath, they promise to manage the remaining tarplant habitat better than they have to date. For years residents have been asking the city to manage this critical habitat. Now the city is offering to play catch-up on their existing responsibility and considers this some type of “mitigation.” It’s not.
The Broadway-Brommer Bikepath is the only option: No. When I first heard about this project in 1999, cyclists complained that there were no bikelanes on nearby Soquel Avenue. Now there are. (There’s also an expensive, right-turn-lane from Soquel onto Capitola Avenue.) For years the California Coastal Commission staff has asked the city to look at alternative bikepaths that don’t bisect the tarplant habitat. They have many specific suggestions: First, improve bikelanes on the Murray Street Bridge (this will soon be a reality, when that bridge undergoes an earthquake retrofit). Second, they recommend the Rail Trail, another path that’s coming closer to fruition. Third, they recommend a bikepath from Frederick Street Park. When Ed Porter was on the city council, he investigated this option and showed it was better for the environment, significantly cheaper to build and maintain, and added only one to two minutes to a cyclist’s commute.
The Broadway-Brommer Bikepath is good for the economy. No. This project will cost about $4 million to build. To help finance it, the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission will allocate 100 percent of its funding for two straight years, just to pay a portion of the construction costs. Huh? Our municipalities are broke. There are many problems that have higher priority than this one expensive project. During these cash-strapped times, we need to focus on transportation projects that will deliver more bang for the buck and benefit more residents throughout the county.
All conscientious environmentalists must agree that it’s a bad idea to pave over the habitat of an endangered species. A smart choice for all concerned would be to plan the bikepath from Frederick Street Park. It’s time for bicyclists, environmentalists, and the city to be united on a smart route, one we can all support. We can improve cycling access without destroying the environment.
Regarding the recent articles on the Desal Plant, I think it’s totatlly a bad idea. This would really suck. The energy it would take to generate this project just would not be worth it in the end. Think about it—why can’t we just conserve water more? We already waste so much of it, anyway. We live in Santa Cruz, for crying out loud. Why aren’t more people up in arms about this?