From The Editor

Editor's Note

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Letters to the Editor

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Sometimes it has felt to me like almost every drought story we’ve run over the last couple of years could have ended with “… and there’s no solution.” The closer we’ve examined the scope and impact of the drought over that time, the more discouraging the news seems to be.

This week’s cover story by Jacob Pierce is different. Not that it’s all watery rainbows and moist unicorns—there are definitely huge question marks facing conjunctive use, the drought-busting strategy that the Water Supply Advisory Committee is bringing to the Santa Cruz City Council. But after the bruising negativity that has surrounded the flirtations with desal and recycled water locally, the conversation about conjunctive use has restored at least one vital element to the ongoing debate over water: hope. If you don’t know much about it yet, this story lays it out for you in the clearest terms—both pros and cons.

One thing about the advisory committee is that, as we’ve written about before, it’s made up of people who came into the process with wildly different perspectives on Santa Cruz’s water crisis. I remember meeting with a couple of the members early on, and how idealistic they were about what they were doing. It was refreshing to see, but the cynic in me also wondered if they knew what they were in for.

Reading this week’s story, it’s clear the process did put them through the wringer as they chased down every possibility they could reasonably think of. But here’s to them for grinding through it and coming out the other side with their optimism intact—and some reasons for the rest of us to be hopeful, too.






Re: “Family Matter” (GT, 9/30): Thank you for a great article. Yes, Kasese is a very low economic area, with many problems, but this is also a great opportunity for us to partner in ways, as we are already doing, where we can see big changes with small efforts on our part.

But Sister Cities is not meant to be a one-way charity relationship. Our city needs to have benefit back, or the relationship won’t last. On our trip we experienced warm and wonderful welcomes, with locals dancing their hearts out to welcome us. They don’t have the money and technology we do yet, but they shared what they have, which are their riches of spirit, their traditional culture, their way of thinking—and in those they are rich indeed. We have a lot to gain from them. I’m looking forward to future visits in both directions.  

Also, note that our Sister City Committee vote will be postponed until at least the Jan. 11 meeting. The committee wants and needs input from community people who have or want to support the relationship. Please send any input to Parks & Rec staffmember Josh Clevenger at [email protected] You can also sign up for the Friends of Kasese Newsletter at Wasingya!

Peggy A Pollard, Chair, Santa Cruz Sister Cities


Re: “Activists Get the Nod” (GT, 9/2): What does happen behind closed doors at Page Smith [House] and Homeless Services Center on their policies of solving the homelessness problem in Santa Cruz? There seems to be a drastic and devastating change in the policy for helping the homeless acquire housing through Page Smith and HSC. The solution now is demoralizing eviction of residents to comply with the regulations set up by the funding guidelines, also by the director’s inability to recognize the real problem at this facility. What is their final objective in this endeavor? What is more important to the leaders at this facility: to acquire funding, to protect their jobs or to really supply the true services that are helpful to the ever-growing problem of homelessness in Santa Cruz County? And how is evicting homeless people back on the streets a solution to the homeless problem in Santa Cruz? What happens at Page Smith and HSC stays in Page Smith and HSC—the outside public is kept in the dark.

Paul G. Steffen, Santa Cruz

Online Comments

Re: ‘Fair B and B

SF has plenty of top-notch hotels and this has not stopped the severe housing abuse of AirBnB and constant evictions that are currently turning that city upside-down. I have been gone from my beloved Santa Cruz for four years, and as a teacher trying to break back in to any housing at all is seeming impossible. Truly impossible. Santa Cruz better wake up fast if it has any chance to hold fast to its roots. AirBnb is not a friend.

— SC Resident Trying to Come Home

I believe all legit AirBnB hosts pay lodging tax to the city that goes into the General Fund. Why not use those funds to develop more affordable housing?

— Win Win

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photo contest


WINGING IT Monarchs at Natural Bridges State Park last week. Photograph by Tom Skeele.


good work


Dominican Hospital is being recognized as one of the nation’s best hospitals for heart conditions. The rankings from Healthgrades put Dominican in the top 5 percent in the nation for cardiac interventional procedures, and among the top 10 percent in the nation for cardiac general surgery. The Santa Cruz County hospital received a total of 12 awards from the Denver-based company.

good idea



Lovers of communal space in downtown Santa Cruz can now immortalize themselves in Abbott Square by making a $1,000 donation to get a brick with their name on it. OK, it isn’t a brick, exactly, but a triangular tile on an art piece that doubles as a musical instrument called a “rhythm fence.” Tiles are selling quickly, so, after you’re finished googling “rhythm fence,” check it out at


“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” — W.H. Auden

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