Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Santa Cruz County (CASA)

Opinion November 23, 2016

Plus Letters to the Editor

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Santa Cruz County (CASA) recently launched a 'Birth to 5' program to address the most vulnerable children in the child welfare and dependency court system. PHOTO: CASA

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

I swear, I read through the summaries in this week’s issue of what the local nonprofits involved in Santa Cruz Gives are doing in our community, and what they want to do with donations they receive from GT readers, and I think: Oh my god, I so want to work with these people. And then I think: Oh my god, I AM working with these people. I can’t even express how lucky that makes me feel.

I mean, even in the most progressive of political times, there are so many things that fall through the cracks—things that seem small to the world at large, but make a huge difference to the people they affect in our community. And then times like now, as we’re about to face possibly the most repressive and backward-thinking regime in the history of modern American politics? All, and I mean all of the good work is going to be done at the local level. Who does the burden fall on to protect the vulnerable members of our community, to do the good work that needs to be done to make us the best community we can be? The people who dedicate themselves to the groups we’re asking you to give to this year through the Santa Cruz Gives website, These are the people who are working to build the county’s first playground that’s accessible to children with disabilities (Shane’s Inspiration). The health providers who are bracing for a full-scale attack on women’s reproductive rights (Planned Parenthood Mar Monte). The compassionate souls who are struggling to provide a safety net for the neediest in our community (Warming Center Program).

And that’s only the smallest sampling of the people you’ll find in this issue who are working to keep anything and everything from falling through the cracks in our community. I can’t urge you strongly enough to read about them, and about how Santa Cruz Gives works, and also to check out Maria Grusauskasarticle this week on the science of giving to understand even better why embracing the holiday spirit of giving strengthens and enriches all of us. In the first year of Santa Cruz Gives, we raised $92,688, far more than anyone imagined GT’s holiday giving campaign ever could—and this year our goal is $140,000. We at GT want to thank our partners at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, without whom this project would not be possible, and our first two corporate sponsors, Wynn Capital Management and Santa Cruz County Bank, who leaped on board to support Santa Cruz Gives. We also want to give a shout out to all of the donors who provided Challenge Grants to kick-start some of the individual nonprofits’ campaigns—you’ll see those on the profile pages for each nonprofit. I personally want to say thanks to GT’s publisher, Jeanne Howard, for having the vision to dream this up in the first place. And, of course, thanks to all of our readers for everything they do to help those who help our community.


Letters to the Editor

Four-Year Plan

To all who voted: If your candidate did not win, you can leave, sit and pout, scream for four years or, perhaps, stick around, get involved, and help make the best of things for the term.

If your candidate won, don’t relax. Politicians need to be encouraged to do their job right and discouraged from taking themselves too seriously.

John Pilge | Santa Cruz

American Electoral

Re: Letters, 11/16: The Electoral College is not at all obsolete! Capturing the most electoral votes requires 21st-century candidates to travel all over the United States learning the particular and peculiar pertinent local issues. If the presidential candidate merely had to win the most popular votes, s/he would never have to leave the TV studio or computer screen. We voters would only hear very generic general pablum while our important problems would be unrecognized and ignored. That our Founding Fathers figured this out 227 years ago is astounding!

Steve Edwards | Soquel

Tribute to Lowery

Robert Lowery was his name. Blues was his game. He talked the the talk and he walked the walk. A bluesman for life. Authentic and sincere. His gut-level guitar playing wrenched new life from traditional blues classics.

He was an accomplished artist of the first degree. A blues artist. The guitar fingerboard was his palette. Six steel strings and a metal slide would serve as brushes. The notes, mostly blue, were his choice of colors. He’d start to play and sing and instantly proceed to paint a true portrait of what the blues can feel like.

His music will live on through a rich repertoire of recordings. Man had the blues in the beginning, and he still has the blues today. Listen to the blues.

Rick Messina | Santa Cruz

Skip the Turkey

President Obama is taking a break from Trump transition to pardon two turkeys. Every one of us can exercise that presidential pardon power on Thanksgiving by giving thanks for health and happiness while skipping gratuitous violence.

The 235 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year have nothing to be thankful for. They are raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. At 16 weeks, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dump them in boiling water to remove their feathers.

Consumers pay a heavy price, too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. Package labels warn of food poisoning potential.

But, there is good news. Annual per capita consumption of turkeys is down by a whopping 35 percent from a 1996 high. A third of our population is reducing meat consumption. Food manufacturers are developing a great variety of healthful, delicious plant-based meat products.

My Thanksgiving dinner will include a “tofurky” (soy-based roast), mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and carrot cake. An internet search on vegan Thanksgiving and a visit to my local grocery store will provide me heaps of recipes and delightful plant-based turkey alternatives.

Preston Daniels | Santa Cruz

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