This area isn’t known for producing a lot of YouTube stars, which makes Louie Castro’s story rather remarkable. Actually, there are a lot of remarkable things about Castro’s story, not the least of which is that he has found his online fame in Watsonville, without the similarly lifestyle-tech-obsessed community around him that one would find in Silicon Valley or L.A. That’s one of the challenges that he talks about in this week’s cover story by Denize Gallardo. I don’t want to spoil too much, but he does also do his makeup on a Boardwalk ride—he probably merits a cover story for that alone. But his views on YouTube as a career (or at least a launching pad), being gay in Watsonville, his cultural identity and personal style make this a fun and fascinating profile that offers some local insight into the phenomenon of online celebrity.
One other thing to mention this week: I’ll be judging moles at the Mole and Mariachi Festival on Saturday at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park; come say hi in between sampling the deliciousness. I promise not to dance!
Letters to the Editor
Tempest in a Teapot
An $18,000 outside investigation ordered by city manager Martín Bernal against Santa Cruz City Council members Chris Krohn and Drew Glover has ended in practically nil findings of gender discrimination or other harassment by the accused public servants. The independent investigator in fact recommended that the city council should have sought mediation and conflict resolution services before hiring him or any further investigation like his. But for the second time, Good Times writer Jacob Pierce has successfully blown up trivial—almost non-existent—incidents into semblances of major violations of some vague code of civil conduct possibly located in City Manager Bernal’s back pocket. The real issues at this point aren’t whether some councilmembers are arguing too vigorously for their point of view, which is to consider real reforms. It is that under the city manager form of government as practiced in Santa Cruz, city manager Bernal and his loyal department heads have pretty well taken over all major policy decisions; e.g., whether market-rate housing will be built on our precious remaining land for the well-to-do from over the hill, or whether we as a city try to remedy our severe shortage of affordable housing for middle-income, low-income, and very-low-income residents. City Manager Bernal and department heads regularly plop into the council agenda for rubber-stamp approval and zero time for serious consideration: plays for luxury developments, plus countless other city projects that should have serious consideration time but have no place for extensive review by our elected representatives. That’s how the actual business of the city council is never adequately considered by council itself, because the council minority has complete control over setting agenda items, and that minority has been elected by big real estate money to fast-track our city into a profit-making machine for big developers and businesses.
Hence the witch hunt initiated by Mayor Watkins and allies, and seized upon by city manager Bernal to generate sound and fury over imagined ethics violations by the most ethical councilmembers. Glover and Krohn, along with Sandy Brown, are trying to build a city that has a healthy, greenhouse-gas-free environment with room for firefighters and police, teachers, nurses and doctors, as well as health care aides, restaurant workers, hospitality, construction and maintenance workers, craftspeople, artists and musicians, poor people and marginalized communities like immigrants and people of color, and the disabled and elderly, all currently being swiftly shut out by city’s staff and the conservative council minority’s sellout of our common heritage to wealthy developers.
Their flaks in print media like Good Times and the Sentinel don’t see the water rising around them, as they ignore humane social policies and avoid effective action against the storms—physical, social and economic—arising from climate change now full-flowing all around us.
Nonetheless, a perfect storm is rising. Your focus on a tempest in a teapot is helping to build that storm. Take heed of it.
Name Withheld By Request
Re: The Doors
Drunk or sober, old or young, I feel Jim would have stayed true to that core essence of creative integrity. Truth and authenticity are a frequency, not an ideal or philosophy. It’s what you “are,” not something you’re trying to be. The great artists have very little shades of gray. It makes them great. It makes them dangerous. It makes them burnout, often too soon.
— Eric Sander Kingston