A lot of our job in these pages this year has been finding out who in our community has been affected by which disaster, and how people can help. (And anytime we have to specify which disaster, you know it’s been a crazy year.) Christina Waters’ cover story this week is an important part of that mission, because while our wineries are an essential part of this area’s identity, I don’t think most people in Santa Cruz realize just how hard hit they’ve been—especially by the fires. Once you read about “smoke taint,” however, I guarantee you’ll understand. And like almost all of the stories we’ve covered around the fires this year, there’s also an inspiring side to the story that involves people looking out for each other, and even putting their lives on the line. It’s a great read that provides a lot of insight into how wineries work and how they’re doing their best to salvage this vintage.
In other news, we have a big announcement this week: Good Times has purchased the Press-Banner, the weekly which this year celebrates 60 years of covering Scotts Valley, San Lorenzo Valley and Boulder Creek. The Press-Banner was first published on December 2, 1960 as the Valley Press. In 1974, its owners began publishing the Scotts Valley Banner, and the two papers merged in 2006 to become the Press-Banner. It’s been owned since 2012 by Tank Town Media, and by bringing it into the locally based Weeklys publishing family anchored by Good Times, we extend our mission of bringing you hyperlocal coverage from all corners of the county. Check out our the announcement here for more about this exciting addition!
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
Teachers Don’t Like It Either
In response to your article “Will We Ever Learn?” (GT, 9/23) I wish to offer my gratitude to Dr. Sabbah at the COE and to Dr. Rodriguez, the superintendent of PVUSD. These two school leaders, and many others in our county, have been working tirelessly to prepare for a safe, sane, science-based, return to school. They have made the health and safety of our communities a priority, and understand that our genuine desire to have kids return to school should not be at the expense of anyone’s life.
As an educator with 25+ years in PVUSD, I believe that I speak for many colleagues when I say that no one wants a return to school more than teachers! We understand the many challenges and frustrations that come with distance learning. We face them all day. Every day. Distance learning is no substitute for in-person instruction. There are many subjects and effective teaching strategies that simply cannot translate effectively to a screen. In addition, many of our students and their families are suffering on multiple levels: economically, socially, emotionally, and more. And yet despite these obstacles, teachers continue to work diligently to teach, and children continue to learn (to answer the question posed in the title of the piece). I resent the implication that they are not.
The fact is this: California has been near the bottom of per pupil funding for public education for decades. Our systems are facing an unprecedented challenge (the pandemic) from a place of severe and cumulative deficit: facilities, transportation, staffing, supplies, are all suffering from years of neglect, making preparations for the return to school even more daunting.
As for the parent of a 6-year-old who asks: “Businesses through the county are open, so why are schools still shuttered?” I would answer this: Have you ever been in a room full of 25 six-year-olds? Or even half that number? Children that age cannot stay away from each other. They are not developmentally capable of consistently following the safety protocols. Add to that that the classroom they are in may not have operable windows, nor a functioning air filter system, nor sufficient staff to deep clean daily, nor have a functioning sink for hand-washing, nor a school nurse, and I believe you have the answer to your question.
To this parent, and all others, I suggest that you begin to look at public school funding and what you can do to support your schools now and in the future. An important first step would be to vote Yes on Proposition 15, the Schools and Communities First ballot measure, this November.
Caitlin Johnston | Felton
Thanks for Normalcy
I just wanted to thank you for continuing to publish such wonderful editions of Good Times during the pandemic/fires/racial injustices/political insanity/apocalyptic skies. It has given me a much-needed respite of normalcy each week.
Lizanne Reynolds | Aptos