From The Editor

Editor's Note

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Letters to the Editor

ednote stevePlus Letters To the Editor

Living in the Santa Cruz Mountains isn’t for everyone. I’ve done it—well, Happy Valley at least, which is sort of the starter-kit version. The further you get into the San Lorenzo Valley, though, the more you see real differences between “city living” and what you have to be ready for when you move to Felton, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Lompico, etc.

What impresses me about Georgia Perry’s cover story this week is that it starts out as a story about hitchhiking, and ends up an examination of those differences—a peek through the trees for those who’ve never considered the unique challenges and rewards of life in our mountain communities. Isolation, in this case, can be the mother of invention, and Perry reveals not only how hitchhiking has hung on in SLV, but also how it’s evolved into an interesting hybrid of neighborly carpooling and thumbing a ride. She also considers the irony of how rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are trying (and failing?) to artificially create the same feeling of community that has grown up organically along Highway 9.

If you’ve got your own examples of the highs and lows of life among the redwoods, send them to us. And look for our annual Best of Santa Cruz County issue next week!





Rethink Drones

Your article “Drone On” (GT, 3/4) starts with a question in its subtitle: will we be the center of this new technology?

The writer clearly hopes so, offering inspiring visions of drones making everyone’s life better. From public safety to viewing nature to having your own personal drone avatar, the drone sounds like something everyone simply must have.

Now imagine the success of this vision: drones filling the sky (of course only below the 400-foot-level allowed by the FAA). At present, it’s perfectly legal for someone to fly a buzzing drone above and around you as you walk along the beach or West Cliff Drive, surf at 4-mile or hike in Wilder, taking video of you and disturbing your visual and auditory landscapes. Do we want this?

Last week, I was kayaking with a friend at Elkhorn Slough, which is normally as serene as can be. Yet out amid the migrating flocks of birds we heard an odd buzz, only to look overhead at a drone hovering over us. Similar experiences at Yosemite and other national parks has the NPS moving forward to ban drones in national parks.

The article never mentions any of these issues: privacy, noise and visual nuisance. And there doesn’t appear to be anything on the agenda of the upcoming drone conference that offers an open forum for discussing these issues.

At present, we have no policy whatsoever regarding drones, whether in use by public safety agencies or private citizens or businesses. Before we fly off with this technology, the Board of Supervisors and city councils of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley, and Capitola should initiate open public processes that allow us as a community to establish clear policies on the use of drones over the entire county.

One approach, already adopted by several municipalities across the country, simply frees communities from any flying devices below 400 feet, above which it’s up to the FAA. We should consider such policies here.

Mark Stephens, Santa Cruz

No on Drones

Who’s leading up this drone destination propaganda? People in Santa Cruz already have their night sky peppered and polluted with drones twinkling—doing who knows what. I see these drone companies flying drones around during tourist season, making Santa Cruz a virtual drone-buzzed Boardwalk. Let’s preserve some semblance of peace and beauty. Take the drone business to scenic Campbell or Kingman. Who wants drones flying down Highway 17? No on drone business development in Santa Cruz.

Gretchen Gudenkauf, FeltonLetters Policy

Letters should not exceed 300 words and may be edited for length, clarity, grammar and spelling. They should include city of residence to be considered for publication. Please direct letters to the editor, query letters and employment queries to [email protected] All website-related queries, including corrections, should be directed to [email protected]


photo contest

PhotoContest 1511

TAKING THE ‘I’ OUT OF WISDOM Students at Tara Redwood School photograph in a double exposure taken with a pinhole camera. Photograph by Tim Geurkink.


good work


The Santa Cruz Warriors were riding a franchise record 11-game winning streak until Friday the 13th. Also, James Michael McAdoo, who has been on assignment in Santa Cruz after getting signed to the Golden State Warriors, has gotten some playing time in the NBA. The Warriors called him up for a game against the Denver Nuggets when coach Steve Kerr rested three stars. Golden State lost, but McAdoo made 16 points on 60 percent shooting and grabbed five rebounds in 28 minutes.


good idea



A man has started an Indiegogo campaign to bring the Statue of Liberty to the Homeless Garden Project. OK, not the Statue of Liberty, but a spiffy-looking replica. Matt McCabe, who’s leading the campaign, says that, to him, the statue has always represented hope—the guiding virtue of the Homeless Garden Project. The first $100 of the campaign will go to McCabe for his replica; all the proceeds after that will go the HGP on the Westside.




“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” — Jeffrey Rasley


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