Opinion April 4, 2016

April 27, 2016

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

There’s so much happening in Santa Cruz County every week that it’s pretty much impossible to give everything its due. Even an event that’s proven itself year in and year out as an important contributor to the cultural scene can get overlooked, and that’s often how I’ve felt about the Reel Work Film Festival. It’s gotten some ink here and there, but certainly not what it deserves, considering it’s now in its 15th year.

This week’s cover story by John Malkin will hopefully go a long way toward correcting that, and it’s an ideal time to do so, as this year’s festival features a very timely documentary and discussion on drones. Malkin spoke to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who’ll speak on the topic at the screening of director Tonje Hessen Schei’s Drone, and his insights into the state of our country’s intelligence gathering are sobering.

Also in this issue is a tribute by Lisa Jensen to Nancy Raney, the founding co-owner with her husband Bill Raney of the Nickelodeon Theatres, and the undisputed grande dame of the local film scene. I was saddened to hear of the passing of a woman who—with her humor, smarts and passion for indie culture—to me represented everything that makes this community great, and Jensen’s testament is truly moving.


Letters to the Editor

Drought and Diet

Last week’s cover story “Is The Drought Over?” (GT, 4/20) brings to light a huge misunderstanding by the general public about our water supply. This problem affects our welfare and even life itself. After this winter’s rains, many people thought, “Thank God the drought is over, let’s get back to building more homes and using water in our many (wasteful) ways.”

Kara Guzman’s article concludes, “We can’t solve this problem through conservation,” which is only partially true. It will take a paradigm shift in what we consume water for before we will be safe from the coming disaster. The article correctly states that 85 percent of our water is used for agriculture. What it doesn’t mention is that, in California, 48 percent of that water is used to raise and slaughter cattle (mostly for irrigating feed crops).

Californians use about 1,500 gallons of water per day, per person. Close to half of that is associated with meat and dairy production. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, 477 gallons to produce 1 pound of eggs, 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk, and even the hamburger you had for lunch required 660 gallons of water to produce!

Home water use requires only 5 percent of the total water we consume. In the U.S., 55 percent of our total water is used for animal agriculture. Consider that 1.5 acres of land can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food, while the same 1.5 acres will only produce 375 pounds of meat. A person eating a vegetarian diet saves 1,000 gallons of water per day!

There is a long-term, permanent solution to our looming water crisis; reducing our meat consumption—or, better yet, becoming a vegetarian. Will people do this? Most will not until they turn on their faucet one day and there is no water.

Bill Meade


While it’s not the central point of Mr. Meade’s letter, I should point out that the line about conservation to which he refers was not a conclusion made by the article’s author, but rather a snippet of a quote from Ron Duncan, the manager of Soquel Creek Water District. When read in its original context, it referenced the need for action by administrative agencies, not a dismissal of conservation efforts. — Editor

Online Comments

Re: Spiritual Awakening

“… a few well-thought-out custom cocktails congruent with the gastronomic culture of the restaurant. Probably a superior and judicious selection of classic aged spirits …”

A classic John Lockism. This is actually how John Locke speaks. All the time. A Santa Cruz classic, this gentleman!

— Dave Chambers

Re: “Cuts Loom For Metro

Buses should work like public transit works in many other countries. The bus station replaces most big buses with 8-16-seat mini-buses. People sign up for a bus to their zone and are alerted five minutes before the bus leaves via cell phone. The mini-bus takes them all the way home. The charge is by the mile, with any special discounts like senior citizen already factored. The buses run 24 hours a day based on capacity loads, not on schedules. At unpopular hours, a driver’s range for drop off expands. I suggest piloting this with the five least popular bus routes: No. 34 (South Felton), No. 8 (Emeline in Santa Cruz), No. 33 (Lompico in Felton), No. 54 (Capitola, Aptos and La Selva) and No. 42 (Davenport and Bonny Doon), according to 2013 data. Dedicated routes are like land lines: antiquated and expensive.

— Uber Driver

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