There’s so much going on in this issue, I don’t even know where to start. How about with the most delicious part, which is Burger Week. It runs Feb. 19-25, which means it starts today, which means you may already be sinking your teeth into one while you read this. Try not to drip ketchup on this next part, where I tell you that there is a complete pullout guide to Burger Week inside, featuring Christina Waters’ look at the history of the entire burger phenomenon, as well as where to get one over the next week, and more.
Not nearly as delicious but way more important for helping you do your civic duty on March 3 (aka voting) is our Election Guide in this week’s news section, which makes this the perfect spot to announce how proud we are that GT’s own news editor Jacob Pierce has just been named the winner of the Writer of the Year award for the 2020 NEXTies. The awards will be handed out March 20 at the annual ceremony. Congratulations Jake!
With all that going on, it might be easy to miss Susan Landry’s cover story this week about how rapid growth is changing Santa Cruz’s mountain towns. But you shouldn’t, because it’s an excellent story about a major shift in our community that we’ve all probably had an inkling about, without really understanding the true scope of it. The perspectives on the San Lorenzo Valley from many of its movers and shakers are revealing, and the questions the story raises about identity and transformation are fascinating and important.
Letters to the Editor
IN BERNIE’S NAME
Thank you GT and Patrick Dwire (“Berner Accounts,” Jan. 29) for letting readers know that “Brand New County Democrats” is made up of the same people behind the Glover-Krohn Santa Cruz City Council faction. Voters should know that the proposed “take over” of SCCDCC by this clique will likely result in a “scorched-earth approach to policy-making,” according to Tony Russomanno. Voters should also know that Senator Sanders does not take sides in issues unique to local communities. For the last four years, a faction within SC for Bernie has deceitfully exploited Bernie’s good name, trying to fool voters into thinking that he’s endorsing local candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth. County residents who are familiar with the divisiveness and disruption of the Glover-Krohn City Council should carefully examine all candidates before elevating them to public office.
Gigo deSilvas | Santa Cruz
OUT OF TOUCH
Re: “Berner Accounts”: It’s great to see lots of people running for the Democratic Central Committee, trying to make the local Democratic Party more responsive to the needs of the majority of community members, rather than just maintaining the status quo.
The response of some established committee members just proves how out of touch the current Democratic Party is. Case in point is Les Gardner, part of a faction which has excluded more progressive voices and interests for years, now claiming that these people running for an elected position and appealing for votes to the public—the essence of democracy—is a bad thing, an underhanded scheme to silence others. Imagine the audacity, trying to win an election, thereby excluding other people who don’t get as many votes!
In a development that should surprise no one, it turns out that Gardner is a wealthy, privileged person whose combination of wealth and entitlement to political power encapsulates why so many people are disgusted by the current state of the Democratic Party. A 2019 GT story about Gardner and his political involvement in Central America explains that he made his fortune in real estate, has enough wealth to donate tens of thousands of dollars to political campaigns each cycle, stays at five-star hotels, owns a beach house in El Salvador, and—wait for it—barely speaks Spanish.
It’s high time that ordinary people take over the political left from these kind of wealthy insiders. Please look up Brand New County Dems and find out who is running in your district.
Steve Schnaar | Santa Cruz
Regarding the upcoming battery-electric streetcar demonstration mentioned by Ms. Thorne (Letters, GT, 2/5), the money spent for upgrades is being spent regardless of the streetcar demonstration; that work is part of Measure D expenditure plans to improve and maintain the rail line.
This short-term service on the line is not a “tourist train”; it’s a demonstration of a new type of non-diesel transit vehicle that might be implemented for passengers as an alternative to driving.
Not all local traffic is tourist traffic, and not all users of a daily streetcar service would be tourists. In fact, if a system went all the way to Watsonville and was integrated with local Metro routes, we can expect that hundreds of students and shoppers and workers would use the system daily, as well as visitors, non-drivers, youth, elderly, and disabled.
— Barry Scott