Opinion July 11, 2018

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

I’m old enough to have gone to some of Danny Scheie’s productions for Shakespeare Santa Cruz (for newbies, that’s what Santa Cruz Shakespeare was called back when it was affiliated with UCSC). There was some pretty radical stuff being put on stage at the Festival Glen back then. But each SSC play seemed self-contained—some were traditional, some were totally out-there—and it never seemed like a movement toward a different vision for Shakespeare as much as it did a series of experiments.

But I remember reading Christina Waters’ glowing review of SCS’ Hamlet a couple of years ago, in which the title character was played by Kate Eastwood Norris. It made me rush out to see it the first chance I got, and I too was impressed at how the gender flip had been given deeper resonance in the production—it wasn’t just a gimmick. Last year, I marveled at the gender switching in SCS’ fantastic Measure for Measure. But I never put together exactly what SCS was building here.

Wallace Baine’s cover story this week on the group’s new season makes it clear: this is a different vision for Shakespeare, and it’s being handled in such a brilliant, thoughtful way that it makes what is actually pretty radical seem obvious—even necessary. It’s great to see that that the long local tradition of exploring Shakespeare has been turned into something truly progressive that will continue to develop with each new season. Santa Cruz Shakespeare is truly more Santa Cruz than ever.


Letters to the Editor

Next to Nothing

I found Virgina Blake’s letter (GT, 6/27) asserting that Greenway’s trail proposal doesn’t add up curious. Why would so many private individuals put their money, time, and energy into promoting a wide, multi-use trail in the rail corridor? Is it because after talking about a train and a narrow, segmented trail adjacent to the railroad tracks since the ’80s, next to nothing’s been done? (Oh right, they’re getting ready to start construction on 1.2 miles of trailway at double the originally projected cost.)

Contrary to Virginia’s assertion regarding studies, oversight, etc., yes, there’s a county study  (the Uniform Corridor Investment Study–UCIS) as well as other professional feasibility studies, the construction funding is already voter-approved by Measure D (and estimated to be a fraction of the cost proposed for the narrow trackside trail with the on-street detours), and the oversight? Our own Regional Transportation Commission, who are responsible for where we are today–hundreds of thousands of dollars in studies and conversation over 30 years, and I see neither a train, nor any trail (although I hear one tree was cut down by mistake).

The “pitch,” as Virginia calls it? Maybe county citizens decided it was time to make something happen. As for “elite cyclists,” seems like a lot of those riding as well as complaining about the new fluorescent e-bikes around town would be grateful for a wide, safe, multi-lane, off-street corridor in which to ride. In short, I’m not sure what Virginia saw as the “bait,” but switching to the Greenway proposal only seems like good sense to me.

Ira Davis

Re: E-bikes

Great article which perfectly summarizes all the advantages and issues. I personally think that electric bikes and electric skateboards are part of the future and the cities need to adapt to this fact. Thanks for sharing!

— Tim

Re: Libraries

According to the consulting architect’s own cost estimates, the only option studied by the Downtown Library Advisory Committee that came in under the $23 million budget for the Downtown Branch Library building was the Partial Renovation (Option A in the DLAC Report to the City Council). (See Noll & Tam Project Cost Model, 10/25/17.) The other three options studied by the DLAC were estimated to cost 3.7 to 26.3 million dollars over budget.

— Michael Lewis

Re: Progressive Rail

The RTC has not given up any rights to run commuter service, and freight service does not preclude commuter service. If and when the RTC decides to implement commuter service, freight will be run when commuter service is not running. That is how SMART in Sonoma County combines commuter service and freight service on the same single track. I rode SMART in Sonoma County recently with the Mayor of Watsonville, a Capitola Councilman and the Executive Director of the RTC, and saw first hand how freight and commuter service can coexist on a single track and maintain a 100-percent on-time record.

I spoke with many passengers on the train, and what I found the most striking was how much SMART passengers loved riding the train and the positive impact it has had on their lives.

What the RTC gains from the agreement with Progressive Rail is the ability to maintain the freight easement, service the freight customers and comply with Prop 116 funding for passenger rail.

— Howard Cohen

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