Plus Letters to Good Times
My Polish mother always used to say that if you make a mess, you have to clean it up. “What—were you born in a barn or something?” she’d crack. All this comes to mind as many of us are reflecting more about cleaning up the trail of environmental messes human beings are leaving behind now. The issue has been especially heightened after the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
But this week, an intriguing bit of environmental hope comes via some locals right here in Santa Cruz who have launched The Clean Oceans Project (TCOP) in an effort to be more pro-active. All this after years of watching plenty of research come in but very little action taken on another significant environmental mess: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre, an area estimated to encompass an estimated seven to nine million square miles. You may have heard of this disaster in the Pacific Ocean, also known as “plastic soup.” Over the years, trash—a significant amount of plastic—has collected in the gyre. The locals behind TCOP want to clean it up and have devised an interesting way to go about doing that. News Editor Elizabeth Limbach sat down with the TCOP team to learn more about what their plans are.
I love hearing about locals doing amazing things here and I am continually impressed by the passions some individuals have and what those strong desires can produce in the world. Look around. I’m sure you know somebody in your community or group of friends doing something downright inspiring. So … I want to hear more. I am inviting all readers to write in and tell me about imaginative locals that are making a positive difference here in Santa Cruz County. Send your “cool people” stories to [email protected], and look for our “Doing Good” issue this fall, in which we will be spotlighting a handful of unique visionaries who inspire us. Find one. Be one.
More next time …
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to Good Times Editor
Been There, Read That?
Tom Honig’s column, “A New Economy for Santa Cruz” really should have been headlined, “Same Old Sentinel Editorial Board Anti-Environmentalist Diatribe.”
Without regard to any facts or data (even the Sentinel throws in a few, although it often still gets them wrong) Tom dismisses those opposing the giveaway of a large percentage of Santa Cruz’s slim remaining water surplus to UCSC as: “aging Santa Cruz figures who bought their homes for $50,000 some 30 years ago and really don’t have to worry about things like a mortgage. In fact, some of these folks bought two or three of these houses, and make a good living by doing nothing more than renting them out.” I am one of those people who are worried about the impact of UCSC growth. And yes, I am aging, but I do have a mortgage and I only own the one house, the one I live in. Not that any of this has any relevance to whether or not UCSC growth is a good thing for Santa Cruz.
Rather than reporting or commenting on the content of what speakers said at the recent City Council hearing to certify the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion of Santa Cruz’s water district, Honig uses sarcasm and pejoratives to dismiss those who pointed out the EIR’s inadequacy. He calls them “comfortable old-timers” and “impressionable student-age voters.” Claiming that activists sought to cap growth by limiting the water supply, he goes on to compare them to the (overused) simile of parent-killers pleading for leniency because they are orphans.
The facts are that our water supply is limited by many real-world factors. Various attempts to increase that supply over the years were rejected because they were either prohibitively expensive and/or came with intolerable environmental damage. The proposed desalination plant will likely fit into both of those categories.
Honig goes on to claim that UCSC growth opponents are against economic growth. But no data has ever been collected comparing UCSC’s economic contributions to our community vs. the cost of its growth in added infrastructure construction, government services (remember, UCSC pays no taxes), higher rents, time and gas lost to traffic gridlock? Shouldn’t we know that before pronouncing UCSC growth a positive economic agent?
Ironically, Honig goes on to write, “A better economy could mean that younger families can afford Santa Cruz and not have to commute over the hill.” I say ironic, because one of, if not the main driver of high rental and housing prices in Santa Cruz, is housing competition from UCSC students, staff and faculty.
One of the reasons that people oppose the supply of additional water to UCSC is that it will leave very little for other entrepreneurs who want to start
or expand their own businesses. Do we really want to become like Davis,
completely dependent on the university for our economic well-being?
Take it to the Mat
Regarding the Editor’s Note last week, right/write on … I applaud you for your practice and for taking it off the mat! I have just returned to live in Santa Cruz again after 10 years living in co-housing in Boulder, Colo. I originally moved to Santa Cruz in 1980 to go to UCSC and stayed for 20 years, before leaving the velvet rut for
my complicated mid-life process. Maybe it was my need to reclaim my community here, or riding the wave of my partner’s voracious appetite for printed material, or the “boundaries in yoga” issue that caught my attention in a recent edition. I am curious if there is some unspoken boundary around naming names and why yoga teachers who have been named for inappropriate behavior are still teaching here. I myself don’t want to pre-alienate myself, but I am also committed to the practice of truth telling. Is Satya being practiced here? Or did I just miss something? Returning and curious …
Ruselle Revenaugh Rubine
Best of The Online Comments
On ‘STS9’ ...
As someone who’s enjoyed STS9’s rise through the years, it’s been a little hard to see the band evolve from accessible artists to arena rock stars, so I enjoyed this profile of the band in Santa Cruz. If that city gives the band a comfortable environment to produce art (and now, social change), props to SC for making STS9 the band they are today, even though they appear to be a lot more popular in other parts of the country. That may be a bit of a paradox, but if I was in Santa Cruz I’d take [it] as a piece of pride. I’ve read a lot of STS9 press over the years, but this is one of the most illuminating profiles I’ve ever come across. Bravo.
Great story, thanks! It surprised me. Been listening to STS9 since the album Artifact for years and didn’t know about this film or a lot of their other work that probably affects their music. It’s inspiring that people living so low-key in town are doing amazing things that can reach the world. Nice. If only more bands did the same. Looking forward to the movie and hope to see them play in Santa Cruz again.