Plus Letters to the Editor
This time of year we often hear about the great efforts locals are doing to galvanize the community, strengthen bonds and raise the level of awareness about those in need, and those who are also doing great work. We had that in mind when we were crafting the idea behind this week’s cover story. Beyond spotlighting on locals who do good, we wanted to focus on one group in particular: teenagers. Were there local teens doing noteworthy work? There sure were. Beginning on page 16, take note of the five Koffman discovered. But there are plenty more. Just the other day, in fact, I came across more news of Lightfoot Industries, which is dubbed a “social enterprise” solution in that if offers entrepreneurial training for teens. Some of the teens involved in that network are making strides in impressive curriculums. Learn more at lightfootind.com. In the meantime, note those featured in this issue and keep us apprised of others doing great work by emailing [email protected]
If you’re looking for positive change elsewhere, check out News this week, where our reporter takes note of a new initiative that Ecology Action is now involved with; one that hopes to get some buzz about being more ecologically friendly. Also in News, Congressman Sam Farr shares his thoughts about extended medicare rates for physicians. A good thing? Learn more on page 10.
Be sure to note Cabrillo Stage’s festive “Scrooge,” which officially unfolds this week. See page 34 for the full report.
And … if you’re looking for hot holiday events, find some listed on our Events.
In between, enjoy the spirited times as the year draws to a close. What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2010?
More soon …
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to the Editor
Tom Honig, as an embedded reporter with the police department in his cover article “SCPD Blue” (GT 12/9) reminds us of embedded reporters in Iraq. They didn’t really get a dynamic view of things outside of the PR interests of the military. Honig’s report reads like a glowing puff piece. Anyone who has been paying attention to our boys in blue understands things are more complex than this article articulates but I agree that riding shotgun in a cop car would be a good vantage point.
The SCPD seems to welcome ride-alongs. Their website encourages citizens to sign-up to see a cop’s beat from the passenger seat of a police car. Several months ago, I answered that call and was scheduled for an evening shift. I arrived expecting an eye-opening experience, but instead I was denied. Later, then Interim Chief of Police, Kevin Vogel, called me himself, to tell me it was because of prior “contact” with the department. What that meant I do not know. I was convicted on a misdemeanor charge many years ago, maybe that is the reason. I’m an upstanding and active member of the community and I was hoping to have an inside view to better understand things instead of my normal view that is usually colored by police who selectively enforce the laws and often act outside of the law.
The color “blue” is an interesting choice of theme here as it reminds us of news stories of the department’s past. The SCPD was once charged with harassing the Blue Lagoon. For years they would park their squad cars across the street with the headlights flooding into the entrance effectively scaring off the gay patrons of that establishment. They were ordered to pay “the Blue” a quarter of a million dollars. Also, a secret SCPD program called Code Blue had officers beating sleeping homeless people with baseball bats. The department avoided prosecution by firing the Chief of Police. While not mentioning anything “blue,” Honig’s puff piece does give a glimpse of how our local boys work when he tells us that they ran off some men who had done nothing wrong. I don’t have to sit in a police car to see blue. Outside of my own kitchen window I’ve seen the police harassing the gardeners of the Beach Flats Community Garden. An officer who is in the so-called “Gang Task Force” demonstrated which side of the conflict he is on when he upended crates of personal belongings of the peaceful gardeners. This Latino officer is obviously not impartial when it comes to the battles between the colors red and blue, which to me seems quite blue. While the police department profits from the May Day “riot” and saturates downtown as they harass anyone who doesn’t look like they’re shopping, our town has been draped in the color blue. I, too, am blue because this type of journalism is also color-coded. It is yellow.
Thank you for your story on the Santa Cruz Police Department. While I feel there is probably more to the story, it was nice to get a look inside and get to learn a little more about what our local cops do go through. Although, I think its hard to really know.
GT offices will be closed Thursday, Dec. 23 through Friday, Dec. 31 in observance of Christmas and New Year’s.
Deadlines for Dec. 29 issue: 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17 for Display, Class Display, Bulletin Board and Classified ads. Noon Wednesday, Dec. 15 for Calendar.
Deadlines for Jan 6 issue: 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 for Display, Class Display, Bulletin Board and Classified ads. Noon Thursday, Dec. 16 for Calendar.
Best of The Online Comments
On Neal Coonerty and ‘Town Hall’
I have been traveling up to Bonny Doon on Empire Grade for the past couple of years and have gotten to know some of the volunteer fire fighters. They are a great bunch of people who really have banded together as a community to be responsive and provide emergency care for people in areas that are sometime hard to find.
Lately the mood has changed. Negative politics by people who have no respect for the hard work on the part of volunteers. Cal Fire’s power posturing has left a bad feeling in the community.
There were road closed signs on Empire Grade for a week after a small tree broke and closed the road for a couple of hours. Usually community volunteers would have had this cleared, but now the attitude seems to be, “watch and observe the dysfunction.” The tree still is in the bike lane waiting to be hit.
Why can’t Cal Fire embrace, encourage and work with the volunteer base? These are people working for nothing, who know the area roads are vested in
zthe community, and they are being
slowly shut out and disrespected by … politics? politicians?