Plus Letters to the Editor
I couldn’t help but rub it in—a little—last week when the big, bold blizzard hit my hometown of Chicago—Elmhurst, to be specific. “There’s nothing like driving with your top down in sunny 70-degree weather,” I joked to my Polish mother on the phone. She groaned and I immediately feared I’d never receive a homemade pierogi ever again. In truth, I missed being there. Actually, there’s nothing like a blizzard. It forces everything and everyone to stop. (Hell, I secretly wanted to take a Snow Day of my own!)
But as I was talking to my mother, she was looking out of the front room window describing the scene— 4-6 feet snow drifts from the nearly two-foot of snow dumped on the area, and, of course, nothing but pure white. There wasn’t a soul around. Stillness. I thought about all that as I visited one of my favorite portals along the coast last weekend: Esalen. There was stillness there, too—in the the ocean, the Eden-like knoll, the cloudless vista, the stunning array of stars brightening up the sky at night. It was all around me. And yet, while there may have been stillness on the outside, inside—imagine this!—a restless sea of wandering thoughts and emotions urged me to finally stop and pay attention to them. And I did just that. Have you ever taken moments to stop and watch/look/listen to what your mind is actually doing/saying? Powerful. Insightful. At times, comical.
So, here’s my invitation to the community, should you choose to take it: Invent your own “Snow Day.” Find some moments in the next week to do absolutely nothing. (Trust me, I know how “California” this sounds, but there’s a method to my madness.) I propose that a little bit of “nothing” somehow creates a better “something” to follow. Let me know what happens.
In other news, I was inspired to learn more about the ever-changing lives of the area’s homeless this week after reading Elizabeth Limbach’s compelling cover story about the Homeless Census. If you’ve ever wondered how the county actually tracks homeless individuals here, you will no doubt discover some new insights and, perhaps, take a few moments to discover some stillness around you and give thanks; even better, give back.
Thanks for reading. Until … next time.
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to the Editor
Bad Bag, Good Story
Thank you, Terry McCormac, for your photo and heart-wrenching account of the baby otter caught in the plastic bag—its cries, and the cries of its mother (“Bag Lag” GT Feb. 3). As a longtime environmentalist, this image is etched in my mind as saliently as “The Crying Indian” from 1971, plastic six-pack rings wrapped around deformed turtles, and plastic-debris-stuffed albatrosses.
Ironically, plastic lasts “forever” yet is used for disposable items. Let’s get our priorities straight. What we do to the environment we do to ourselves. Rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle.
What an iconic and effective photo, and accompanying story by Gretchen Wegrich. I support the single-use plastic bag ban.
Regarding last week’s column on budget cuts within the Redevelopment Agency, as a taxpayer, do I exist to pay taxes to support the Chamber of Commerce indirectly through my property taxes?
Who wouldn’t like more tax breaks like commerce gets from redevelopment projects and the money from the bonds to start-up commercial enterprises.
I am trying to figure out how redevelopment agencies function and are funded. I know that they raise money through property taxes and bond sales. It’s very complicated and I have learned enough to know that I do not know the answer.
I know that I value and benefit from much of the work from the redevelopment agencies in our cities and county. A great deal has been accomplished—the list is long and amazing.
However, the governor’s plan is not just to eliminate redevelopment agencies. The governor’s plan would redistribute the money to our local government’s general funds and that would have fewer strings attached on what to fund and to determine priorities for a very difficult economic and social reality.
Also our local schools would benefit, and, maybe, we could stop those parcel taxes to pay for our schools’ shortfall. And, maybe, the City of Santa Cruz could stop the utility tax to cover city safety issues. Who knows?
Between the folks in Project for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Santa Cruz and all our other bright citizens, it is clear that it is time to be creative! Let’s turn on our collective solar light bulb.
Shaking It Up
I know this paper is called the good times but you all should have a page dedicated to the not so good times of Santa Cruz. You could really help bring awareness to some of the crap going on in this town. Maybe shake things up a bit; make people a little angry at the truth and what is going on; open some eyes.
By the way I liked the article about a year ago that talked about the possible legalization of marijuana. It was well rounded. I liked the interview with the police chief that said, “Now that it isn’t a big deal, we can move on to the real crimes—hard drugs, rape, murder.”
Best of The Online Comments
On ‘Bag Lag‘
Sentimentalism and anthropomorphism to sell this dubious concept is just to make us caring white liberals feel good. “Single Use” plastic bag ban is not attacking the real problem of over-packaging and use of plastics in nearly all our products. Banning these multi-used “single-use” bags will cause heavier and larger plastic bags to be used, which will send the wrong message to the industry of providing more product and add significantly more to this dilemma. I’m still waiting to be convinced why using CFLs (which contain mercury, and are not easily recycled) are much better for our environment.
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