Opinion July 20, 2016

Plus Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

Looking over 25 years worth of photos of Marin Alsop for this week’s issue got me thinking about why she’s been such a revolutionary figure at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. As Stacey Vreeken documents Alsop’s legacy in advance of the longtime conductor and music director’s final season here, the images say so much about the personality and philosophical approach that have transformed Cabrillo into a world-class festival for contemporary composers.

Her portraits are always classy, but they’re playful, too. She always looks like she has no patience for the pomp and pretension of a typical “classical music” type photo. And sometimes, she gets flat out crazy—I mean, just look at our cover this week. There’s always a twinkle in her eye, like she’s up to something. There’s also a softness to her expressions that stands in sharp contrast to her snappy, perfectly structured sense of style, which makes it not at all surprising to read in the cover story that perhaps the most important part of her legacy is the way she’s brought the music to the people with a defiantly democratic aesthetic.

Stacey and I worked together through much of the ’90s, including her accomplished time as editor of this paper. We’ve looked at a lot of photos of Marin Alsop together over the years, and I get the feeling from her story that she, like I, will miss seeing them.


Letters to the Editor

Trees Tops

Re: “Stumped” (GT, 7/13): It’s uncanny how often I’ve been thinking about a particular subject, and—voila!—there it is in Good Times. I had just copied these words from Jeff Speck’s excellent book, The Walkable City, in which he sings the praises of trees, saying, “Urban trees, located close to roadways, are 10 times more effective than more distant vegetation at hijacking car exhaust before it hits the stratosphere.” He adds that a study in Leicester, England (where I happened to live for 18 years) found that “above-ground vegetation stores more than 200,000 tons of the city’s carbon, of which 97 percent is stored by trees … even counting those ample British gardens.”

Trees that shade us in the summer, turn colors in the fall and bare their branches in the winter to let the sunshine in make welcome companions for walking or biking. Your article mentioned Catalpa Street, with its tunnel of catalpa trees. Never heard of the street or the tree, but now I’m anxious to find it and walk it. Walnut Avenue is so appealing because of its roadside trees. But what happened to the trees along Maple, Elm, Locust, Laurel, and Chestnut? There’s lovely shade this summer on the east side of Pacific Avenue, where you’ll see more people walking, but please let the cherry trees on the west side branch out more, and don’t replace them with crepe myrtles.

Dana Bagshaw

Santa Cruz

Don’t Release The Hounds

I was disturbed by the lack of compassion for homeless people in Kara Guzman’s “Saving Lighthouse Field” (GT, 7/6), as well as the absence of any concrete proposals to actually solve the problem by finding homes for the homeless (real homes, not a mat on the floor of a shelter).

Even worse was last week’s letter to the editor on the topic, which seemed to propose off-leash dog harassment of the homeless. I don’t know if that person has been watching too much Game of Thrones, but the fact is that any decent human being (especially anyone proud of Santa Cruz’s traditions of peace, love, human rights, and compassion for all) should be ashamed of themselves for being so selfish and cold-hearted as to deny essential human rights and dignity to the most vulnerable among us.

Everyone deserves respect, and everyone deserves a home and a livelihood. To debase people who are already suffering debases our society as a whole. The solution to homelessness is housing, along with social services and funding for substance abuse and mental health counseling. It’s wrong to use the police to harass the homeless to simply chase people from one spot to another. I assume no one is yet supporting a “final solution” to homelessness (will have to check with the Trump campaign on that), but the increasing hatred for the homeless is indeed disturbing. We will have these problems with us for a long time until we get serious about finding people the homes and services they need.

Michael Donnelly

Santa Cruz


Friends of WomenCARE – LUNAFEST would like to give a huge shout out to the community and our sponsors for supporting the LUNAFEST, a traveling festival of films by, for, and about Women. Thanks to local wineries, New Leaf and The Buttery for donating food and wine for our pre-party. This year, thanks to our paid sponsors and those attending the festival, we raised over $10,000 for WomenCARE and the Breast Cancer Fund. Special thanks to the staff at the Del Mar and to Good Times, and the Sentinel for getting the word out about this amazing event.

Kathy Ferraro, Laura Gleason-Fernandez, Lore James, Eva Brunner, Lesley Harris | Friends of WomenCARE – LUNAFEST

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