Opinion: April 1, 2020

Plus letters to the editor

Domonic Valcarcel of Treehouse Dispensary with some of the products available with their current curbside service. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

There’s so much in the paper to talk about this week. Hugh McCormick has been exhaustively following all the wild twists and turns in the local cannabis industry since the pandemic began, and he writes about it all in this week’s cover story—which also includes a guide to buying from every dispensary under the most current rules. You’ll also find stories about how the coronavirus has affected every aspect of Santa Cruz life, from Jacob Pierce’s story on the preparedness of health care services to Mat Weir’s profile of grocery store employees on the front lines of the crisis to Todd Guild’s article on how UCSC students’ lives have been turned upside down to Aaron Carnes’ look at how musicians are taking their performances online. There’s even more to read at, where we have a constantly updated live blog of coronavirus-related stories, and you can read online-only pieces such as my look at the first news on the effectiveness of social distancing and Wallace Baine’s Q&A with the owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz about how local businesses can get through this pandemic. We’re covering so much right now, and I strongly encourage you to read it all.

But with that said, I want to take a minute to tell you about a local nurse, Tawnya Gilbert, who’s doing something I think all of us should try to help with. Seeing the anxiety that has taken hold throughout local hospitals, she is asking locals to donate art pieces to her “Surviving COVID” art project. She hopes GT readers and the whole community will contribute art that is inspiring, escapist, funny—any kind, really—that she can put up around local hospitals to make our local health care workers feel a little better about going to work right now. Check out an example of the art she’s already collected on this page (much of it has a beating-coronavirus theme, which she encourages) and read more about her and her crusade at To contribute artwork—both digital or hard copy—or frames, email her at [email protected]. It’s healing for all of us to see the creative ways that people like Tawnya come up with to do good in times like these.


Letters to the Editor


Re: “Cancel Culture” (GT, 3/18): This is a word of support and encouragement to all those folks who run the music venues that mean so much to so many people here in Santa Cruz. Kuumbwa, Moe’s Alley, the Rio, Catalyst, Michael’s on Main, Felton Music Hall, Crepe Place, Crow’s Nest, Pulse Productions, Snazzy Productions, and others—please don’t lose heart!  We will get through this, and will need live music more than ever.  

Judi Grunstra | Santa Cruz



Re: “The Bigger Picture” (GT, 3/25): Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to appreciate the tremendous service nonprofit workers provide to our community. Right now, across Community Bridges’ 10 programs, hundreds of childcare workers, social workers, Meals on Wheels drivers and kitchen staff, Lift Line drivers, advocates, receptionists, and WIC eligibility workers are still working to deliver and enroll people in essential services. Their commitment ensures our most vulnerable community members are fed, clothed and sheltered during this crisis. I want to thank my coworkers for their courage, their compassion, their dedication to others, and most importantly, for their willingness to offer support when their own lives are impacted. I hope that local government recognizes the contributions that nonprofit providers have made to support the health of our county during this emergency, and responds with real investment in our sustainability so we can continue to be a safety net in times of future crisis.  

Ray Cancino | CEO, Community Bridges | Watsonville



Re: “Killion’s Journey” (GT, 3/11): Thank you Richard Von Busack for the feature article on local printing master Tom Killion and his upcoming documentary Journey to Hokusai.

Nearly 40 years ago, Tom lived in a converted garage behind our house off 26th Avenue, just blocks from the surf. While there, he sacrificed the only bedroom to his printing press, slumbering instead in a tiny attic loft with no standing room. Talk about artistic devotion!

The multi-color panoramic sunset over Monterey Bay rendering on the cover of this week’s paper, as seen from Pogonip, through the eyes of an elder oak tree and clump of California poppies, is truly a testimony to Tom’s affection for things local depicted in a form that reaches deep to the heart of place. I recognized his work as soon as I laid eyes on it.

Though I’ve only run into Tom a couple of times in all this time, after he moved on to greener pastures, I was lucky enough to move into his old pad as a late teenager, and felt privileged to occupy that space, continuing to feel the presence of his artistic genius for a long time.

Thank you Mr. Killion for your brilliant work, and thank you Good Times for recognizing one of our local treasures.

Gabriel Wolff | Santa Cruz


Re: Lost Restaurants

I would love to see what Liz Pollock might have uncovered about L’Oustalou and the Ice Cream Bank. They were downtown on Locust Street, between Cedar and Pacific Garden Mall. And what about that high-end place on the second floor of what is now mostly an office building, in between the Galleria and the Trader Joe’s parking lot? Castanola’s! That is what is what it was called. Run by a member of the Santa Cruz City Council. I guess I am going to have to track down the book!

— Gary Patton

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