Opinion: April 10, 2019

Plus letters to the editor

This week's cover subject, Santa Cruz native and music expert Jennifer Otter Bickerdike

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

Reading over the playlists that Jennifer Otter Bickerdike created for locals in Wallace Baine’s cover story this week, I loved that she included “I Still Believe” by Tim Capello. If you didn’t waste countless hours listening to the Lost Boys soundtrack in 1987 like my friends and I did, you might think you don’t know it, but of course you do! It’s the sexy shirtless sax guy song from the movie! Oh Tim Capello, where art thou?

The point is, Bickerdike’s Santa Cruz cred is legit. Like her, I also got a lot of my music education scouring the shelves of Santa Cruz record stores, and when I could sense the tone of awe in her mention of Cymbaline Records, I could tell she is a kindred spirit. It’s no wonder that the incredible music culture of Santa Cruz in the ’80s and ’90s would produce the woman who would write a book called Why Vinyl Matters.

To go along with the Record Store Day theme (Bickerdike was the official host of RSD in the U.K.), I’ve also written a short guide for those who will be celebrating at local record stores this Saturday—hopefully it will help you get your hands on the rare release you’re looking for. Happy hunting!

Letters to the Editor

From Storming to Performing

Jacob Pierce’s GT article Cringe Movement (GT, 3/6) about the local council skirmish makes for painful reading, but once again, I am grateful to Pierce for shedding light on local controversies. I think there are kernels of truth in every quotation from the various sources he included.

In a previous life, I trained cross-functional corporate teams in process improvement. One of our key slides showed the stages any new team goes through:  Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Looks like our new council team has jumped right into Storming.

We are all sick of the blame game, and come to think of it, even “forgiveness” can be another way of saying who is right and who is wrong.  It’s more important for everybody to look at their own part in the situation, asking: what did I do to cause problems, and how can I make amends by doing it differently? This is how to transition to the Norming stage.

Before the January election, the Climate Action Network drafted and encouraged the previous council to pass a Climate Emergency Mobilization Resolution. We are now hoping to work with the council—and the city staff—to re-prioritize its policies, budget, and projects to bring about the necessary reduction in carbon emissions. The new “norm” needs to include everyone focusing on the emergency facing us. If we don’t take care of our runaway climate (with its storms, floods, fires, and sea-level risings) many, many more of us are going to be homeless.

I’m glad the article ended with council members saying they are willing to move forward. Let’s move on to Performing. We have important work to get done.

Dana Bagshaw
Santa Cruz


The local homeless debacle reflects a lack of vision and leadership on the part or our elected leaders.

This is not the society we want our grandkids to grow up in. Calcutta in Central Coast California? We can do better.

It won’t disappear if you ignore it. One idea: locate a homeless center at the former location of ToysRUs.

  • Good Central location. Near hospitals. Easy access to downtown via Soquel or freeway, car/bus/bicycle. Maybe provide free shuttle service to public services.
  • Plenty of parking for RVs. If we provide a place where people can sleep in their RVs, they won’t need to conflict with the needs of residential neighborhoods.
  • Plenty of room for tents on asphalt instead of in rat-infested mud (Camp Ross? This is not Burma!).
  • Easily fenced for security.
  • Existing commercial buildings can be converted to provide both support services and housing.

If we as a society can provide a reasonable and safe place for people to sleep (Wake up, “Camp Ross” is neither), we will be doing a service to all residents of Santa Cruz.

Expensive? Of course. But, lacking a bold vision, we continue to kick the can down the road while conditions continue to deteriorate for all residents of Santa Cruz County.

The U.S. Census Bureau says there are 105,586 housing units in Santa Cruz County.

A property tax of one dollar a day on each of those units would generate $38 million a year, plus whatever commercial property tax might add.

Focus on the goal; addressing the problem of homelessness, a problem that increasingly negatively affects all of us. Like it or not, we are all in this together.

Paul Lawton

Ben Lomond

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