I admit it, this stupid anti-mask trend among some people who can’t be bothered to think about the safety of themselves or others is driving me crazy. The “It’s all B.S.” copout is the worst kind of conspiracy theory—the kind that willfully and pointlessly ignores the robust and easily accessible scientific evidence. (The latest of which suggests wearing a mask reduces one’s chances of contracting Covid-19 by 65%, by the way.)
And yet, this week’s cover stories reminded me not to get too self-righteous about the whole thing. Because even when I think I’m doing my best, I’m screwing up plenty. In particular, there’s a sentence in Wallace Baine’s story about what our local waitstaffs are facing in the pandemic where a server reveals that only three customers out of all of those he’s encountered in the last several weeks have put their mask back on to talk to him after removing them at their table. Seems like a basic courtesy, right? But how many of us remember to do it? Not me—a mistake I will no longer make from now on.
There are a lot of interesting insights like that one to discover in the piece; meanwhile, Christina Waters reminds us of the great things we can still enjoy in the outdoor-only state of our dining scene. I think this is a great Food & Drink issue for a strange time, and I hope you enjoy it!
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
The great debate over the library and parking is about to be over with two very different visions of our downtown. On one side are groups like Downtown Forward with lots of real estate development money that see a version of pre-Amazon Santana Row with massive parking structures feeding bustling boutiques, bars and, yes, restaurants. The other side led by groups like Downtown Commons see models like Davis or Healdsburg with a central square with shops and restaurants around it and also a place for events like our Farmers Market and events we don’t have much of like music and art and public theater.
Then there is the question of urban design. Imagine Santa Barbara allowing a building like Cinema 9 to be built with its hideous out-of-scale architecture, or the Cooper House, which Bruce Bratton aptly calls a series of temporary buildings.
Then there is the question of money. We have the departments of Public Works, Transportation, Parking, Economic Development, Building, Planning and who knows what else, all with layers of six-figure managers, all of whom want to build things and see this library bond money (passed by voters who had no vision of a parking structure) as a free pot with no need for tedious budget negotiations—and never mind the pension bomb descending on the city with six-figure payouts and health benefits for life.
Then there is the question of need. In nearly 32 downtown I have had a handful of people complain they had to walk two blocks! What we do need is public housing (an affordable housing lipstick has been added to this pig of a project—who can say no to affordable housing? Who knows what that even means?) and we need mental health services now done by our police and fire agencies. And we need mental health and drug treatment facilities. And we need events (I once asked a council member why we no longer have events like art festivals or First Night, like other coastal towns, and he said that our highly paid folks at Economic Development or Parks and Recreation think they are too much trouble).
Do we need a 60,000-foot library in the age of the internet? Did we not spend a lot of money on an attractive plan at the current site?
PAUL COCKING | SANTA CRUZ
I’ve been the victim of racism so many times in Santa Cruz. Someone at Trader Joe’s in Capitola yelled at me “Look at her! She’s sick! She has it!!!” is the latest example because I’m Asian. I’ve heard many times the word “Mulatto” used by locals here, as well as “Are you even from here?” “Go back over the hill!” I was born here.
Racism is everywhere.
We need to bind together. We are one race. The Human Race!
Ah yes, “liberal” Santa Cruz, unless someone with money causes trouble, then the person they attack is the problem. Management at Alderwood is as mealy mouthed as trump talking about “blame on both sides”. The manager should have called the cops and had the unruly group escorted out before it got to this stage.
— Robyn Marks
Hey, please don’t drag the manager down. It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but she actually lived through this traumatic event and as you can see from her statement, she is still beating herself up. Hindsight is 20/20 and in my opinion, it is indecent to double down on her when she is already punishing herself. The staff, including on-duty management, was obviously slimmer than normal due to the pandemic and lower customer count. Let’s keep our focus on the root cause: the malevolence of the customers who started the brawl.
— Stephen Foster