From the Editor

greg_archerS2sPlus Letters to Good Times…
Sour Notes
About That Meat …
A therapist—yes, it was mine—recently asked me: “When you think of “the best” things about Santa Cruz, what comes to mind?” I laughed. Well, the answer was simple: My therapist. The last one I had always fell asleep on me. This guy—not so much. So, life has improved. But seriously … I sat there for a moment and, in a deliciously vulnerable state of being, responded with this: “People can be who they want to be here … but what makes it best for me is that I have the freedom to be myself and create whatever the hell I want.” The depth of that openhearted, genuine admission moved us both to tears. (Actually, I may be projecting that last part onto my therapist, but you get the picture.) Needless to say, there was “movement.” But there always seems to be, creative or otherwise, in this great place we call Santa Cruz County.

All that to say … Welcome to this year’s publication of the Best of Santa Cruz County Readers Poll, a massive tome—our biggest yet—spotlighting all of the locals you voted “Best.” This year’s voting attracted more than 4,000 voters online and features more than 150 little-known facts about the winners. The journey begins on hereGT writers reveal their Best and Worst picks.

This issue stands out for another reason. It also commemorates GT’s 35th Anniversary. That’s right, folks, we’re approaching middle-age.

But now that 35 is the new 25, and with all the modern technological advances in media, we’re committed as ever to a mission of inspiring and offering readers the best bundle of information weekly—here on these pages and at goodtimessantacruz.com.

Truthfully, it’s you, the readers, that comprise the best Santa Cruz County has to offer. Without you, we would not have existed for 35 years. So thanks for being the “best.” Enjoy the issue …
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

Letters to Good Times Editor
Sour Notes
Regarding last week’s news story on street musicians, Robert Norse lives in his own echo chamber, wherein the relevant issue of the day is always … Robert Norse. It’s funny, because on his floundering radio show he comes across as engaging, intelligent and quite witty. And, of course, endlessly self-referential. But the fun stops there. If you don’t agree with his “criminalization of the poor” world view he’ll steamroll over your arguments while castigating the police for their heavy-handed treatment of the downtrodden, which is hogwash, of course. But Norse, having already driven this vehicle into a ditch, refuses to let up on the accelerator.
And one does detect a bit of hypocrisy in Norse and company’s latest go-round in the courts. After all, it was Mr. Norse who formulated his oft-repeated mantra concerning the sleeping ban. The homeless, he is fond of saying, should be afforded a place to sleep “not anywhere and everywhere, but somewhere.” I actually agree with this well-reasoned sentiment. The sleeping ban, in which the homeless are forbidden to sleep while the rest of us are snug in our beds, is straight out of “Alice In Wonderland.” And yet, wasn’t the day-sleeper on Pacific Avenue who complained about Norse’s boisterous singing also engaged in trying to (unsuccessfully) sleep “not anywhere or everywhere, but somewhere?”
Look, give Mr. Norse credit for doggedly putting himself out there among some of the more unsavory characters who grace this town. Most of us choose to do otherwise. Problem is, he takes every tale from the street at face value and stockpiles these often fabricated and embellished stories to use as ammunition against an already understaffed police department. But methinks he’s shooting blanks. Methinks he should go on a police ride-along to see what the cops are really up against. Mr. Norse, I’m afraid your fifteen minutes are up. Way up.
Tim Rudolph
Santa Cruz

About That Meat …
On the topic of meat, the environment, and all that jazz (GT 4/15), it seems that arguments on issues such as these are what usually strike up the battle of “green vs. green.” The question, that some of us may very well be asking ourselves right now, is, “where in my life do I want to cut back?” More to the point, “where in my life can I afford to cut back?”
I know that a lot of us right now are on a fixed income and as good as it may sound to go out and plant a bunch of trees, or eat locally 100 percent of the time, it can be hard on the budget. There is also the matter of “am I really helping? “Is this biodegradable chip bag really saving the environment?” This is really a matter of where in your life do you want to conserve? You could put your lunch in a reusable container instead of a bag. But most reusable containers are made of plastic, which is bad for the environment. Another dilemma is that usually when these containers break, we end up throwing them out … so much for that idea. Well, you say to yourself, “I could trade in my Hummer for a hybrid …”
“Maybe I could eat less meat,” you say to yourself. Cows eat grass, then deposit manure which we use to fertilize our gardens, to keep our plants healthy, happy and tasting good. Meat isn’t bad if you know where to get it. My family eats and sells local foods from Panoche Valley and Santa Cruz County which means that the meat we eat doesn’t come from more than 100 miles away. I have been to the farms where my meat comes from and have seen how well the people there take care of the animals and the land they are grazed on. It is nice to know that the animals are always killed in the most humane ways. I know it sounds pretty brutal but the reality is that when you’re eating meat you are in fact eating a dead animal. I think it is important to know how the animal was killed to ensure that there was no suffering.
Another thing is, if you become a vegetarian or even a vegan, to get more variety, you will start buying products from out of the state or even the country. In the end, if you were to simply shop local, you would be doing the environment a much bigger favor, and at the same time, would be helping to create a healthier planet.
Danielle Kissinger
Ocean Grove Charter School,
9th Grade

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