Letters to the Editor
Plus Letters To the Editor
When I wrote about the Santa Cruz Film Festival last year, I was struck by how open and honest the organizers were about the troubled state it was in. Especially Elizabeth Grummere, who laid out a very clear and concise history of what had gone right and what had gone wrong with the way the SCFF had been run since the beginning. She didn’t burn anyone, she didn’t point fingers, she just flat-out said their model had become unsustainable, and explained how the festival was going to have to reinvent itself to survive. In this age where there’s often a tendency to try to put a happy public face on even the most dysfunctional systems, the honesty that SCFF was willing to share outwardly with the community was refreshing. And the honesty they shared inwardly as an organization is probably the reason they are back for another year.
I was also impressed by the changes that Festival Director Jeff Ross oversaw last year, making the SCFF both tighter in execution and looser in definition, creating a smaller festival that nonetheless had a cooler vibe. Bringing in Chris McGilvray as the new artistic director this year is a smart move that allows the festival to build on all that hard transitional work last year. He brings exactly the kind of passion for cinematic art that the SCFF needs to broaden its vision, at the same time that organizers continue to evolve what it means to have a film festival in Santa Cruz. They are “rethinking the visual experience,” just as they are asking audiences to do via their theme this year. Here’s to their continued success, and see you at the festival!
Steve Palopoli | Editor-in-Chief
Thank you Good Times and Anne-Marie Harrison for the thoughtful article on “What Happened to Feminism?’ (GT, 11/15)
I would like to correct the record. SCPD Deputy Chief Steve Clark said I am inaccurately attributing the high numbers of rapes to stranger rape. I have never attributed the high rate of rape to any one variable, although a history of low arrests could be a factor. What I have said and presented to the SCPD and the city council since 2006 is that Santa Cruz has a high rate of reported rape, including a higher than average rate of rapes committed by strangers, with stranger defined as someone you have never met.
According to the National Institute of Justice, the proportion of reported rapes committed by strangers is on average 17 percent. In 2008, in the city of Santa Cruz, the proportion of rapes by strangers (out of total rapes reported) was 70 percent (28 out of 40). The following year was similar. More recent years are around 40 percent and occasionally lower. All are well above the national norm of 17 percent. Clark is correct that the department has been working to reduce the rate of rape, and has done so by excluding from the totals as many as 27 percent of reported rapes by labeling them as “unfounded.” Prior to 2008, the percentage of unfounded rapes was zero or 1 percent. After many efforts to have this issue addressed, and being met with blank stares, I notice this trend to unfound has dwindled.
Stranger rape is usually viewed as “real rape,” in contrast to acquaintance rape, which can always be minimized with statements such as Clark’s message to women, “Don’t place yourself in a situation that’s vulnerable.” Instead, there should be a strong message to men that includes a zero tolerance for the sexual exploitation of women, and an encouragement for men to get involved in educating other males. This doesn’t mean you can’t alert girls and women that getting drunk can be exploited by men on the lookout for vulnerability, but when it’s the only message, then women are more likely to be held responsible.
It’s disturbing to me that the recent focus on public safety in Santa Cruz has omitted any reference to the high rate of rapes in this city. I tried to make it an issue, went to the meetings and the message was ignored. Of course, a high rate of rape and especially rapes by strangers is bad for the tourist industry, and the city council for whom it serves. The fact that the SCPD, the tourist industry and the city council have successfully buried this issue suggests to me that there is a lot more feminist work to be done in Santa Cruz.
Gillian Greensite, Santa Cruz
The Glow Show this year, although wonderful, was lacking something important and juicy. This town is a hub of neon creativity. Catarina Hoslers is one of our most talented neon artists, and has been invited to the Venice Bienalle, and also does fantastic illuminated fashion. Maybe she could be part of next year’s show?
Stuart Presley, Davenport
In last week’s issue (GT, 11/5), we erroneously described Mark Stone as a state senator. He is a state assemblymember. We regret the error.
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UNDER A PINK SKY The Santa Cruz Harbor after the rain on Saturday, Nov. 1, around sunset. Photograph by Joanne Clark.
SING IT PROUD
Camille Sobalvarro writes a Christmas song every year. But the 2014 holiday season marks the first time the new Soquel resident is putting his own personal public relations machine in motion to get the word out about his new song “Santa Cruz Christmas,” on which he played all the instruments, including three ukuleles. “I just wanted to have fun,” Sobalvarro says. For more information, visit santacruzchristmas.com.
New trash and recycling trucks for Santa Cruz bring the city a few blocks closer to the goals in its Climate Action Plan. These new vehicles roll from house to house using hydraulic energy—reducing both air pollution and noise. Everyone knows a quieter morning makes for a happier morning. But of course, the new trucks can’t do anything about people rummaging through your recycling bins, searching for cans and bottles at 4:30 a.m.
“Ooh, floor popcorn!” — Homer Simpson