When GT put out its Home & Garden magazine earlier this year, in the middle of storms that were dumping buckets on Santa Cruz County, it felt like some kind of illicit thrill to be able to run stories about things like rainwater collection. Last year’s Home & Garden cover featured an assortment of arid cacti; this year’s cover captured rain drops bursting on the sidewalk next to a pair of rubber boots and a watering can. Lord almighty, people, we were wet at last!
The last couple of months, though, have been like waking from a rain-drenched dream. Did we really get as much rainfall as it felt like we did? And, most importantly, was it enough to end the drought that’s been hanging over our heads for years now?
Kara Guzman has some eye-opening answers in this week’s cover story. It’s a must-read not only because it resolves the immediate questions about the state of our water supply that we’ve all been thinking about as summer looms, but also because it digs into our water issues to explain why we’re going to keep getting the same answers—no matter how much rainfall we get, or how many glistening rubber boots we put on our covers—without some fundamental changes.
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
Statements in your recent cover story about future development in Santa Cruz (“Expansion Pack,” GT, 4/13) have raised some questions. In the editor’s note, Steve Palopoli states that, “we are an urban center, and one that’s only going to get bigger.” And just why exactly is that? Did I miss some proclamation from a higher authority that decreed this to be an undisputable fact? Is it because the residents here are clamoring to jam even more people into our already overcrowded city, or could it be that local merchants and developers are hungry for more profits, and refuse to acknowledge the decline in quality of life that will result from over-building?
In the main article, Peter Kennedy is quoted as saying, “the city is bound to grow no matter what.” Again, why? Could it be because Santa Cruz is determined to issue permits for more and more high-density housing projects, despite protests from neighborhoods that’ll be negatively affected by these developments? Kennedy goes on to say, “We need more businesses for economic growth, and more housing so that younger people can afford to live in this town.” Mr. Kennedy needs to get out more. Whenever I’m out and about, I see plenty of young adults who are going about their business around town. It seems that they were all able to find a place to live here somehow. And with the relative scarcity of good-paying jobs in Santa Cruz, how will these new arrivals be able to afford all this new market-priced housing anyway?
It looks like the city planner’s pipe-dream of everyone riding their bike or taking public transit to work will quickly be replaced by the reality of even more cars on our roads as these new residents commute to their better-paying jobs over the hill.
One partial solution to Santa Cruz’s housing shortage always seems to be overlooked in these discussions. That would be to encourage UCSC to build more student housing on their sprawling campus. And as long as the city is willing to grant the additional water hook-ups anyway, why not provide some to the college for new dormitories? Removing a substantial number of students from the local rental market would free up existing housing units without having to impact established neighborhoods with new high-density developments. It might also reduce traffic congestion to have more students living right where they need to be.
Yes, it’s very true that Santa Cruz is no longer the cozy beach town that many would like it to be, but there’s also no reason for city planners to turn it into a San Jose-by-the-Sea either.
Re: ‘Sunset Clause’
Finally, some actual common sense legislation. Let’s end this madness of changing our clocks twice a year.
Contact’s conference has been one of the best-kept secrets for years. I had the privilege of attending two years back. Kudos to Jim Funaro on his insight to create this fantastic event that brings brilliant minds together, under one roof, for a great weekend of talks and shared ideas.
— Cindy Martino