Opinion: An Enlightening Look at Pandemic Lessons

We’ve been through a lot, but we’ve learned a lot, too

The pandemic has brought a huge humanitarian response from the community, as when Second Harvest Food Bank hosted a drive-thru community food distribution event supported by numerous volunteers and members of the California National Guard. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

Anniversaries usually come and go in a day, or at most a commemorative week, but the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic might take another year to fully process. It doesn’t help that the first news of it came in January, and then worsened over several months—it’s far easier to commemorate the first anniversary of, say, March’s lockdown than it is the pandemic as a whole. Add to that the fact that it feels like we’ve been slogging through this for many, many years, and suddenly a one-year retrospective maybe doesn’t seem so important.

But it is. We’ve been through a lot, but we’ve learned a lot, too. And Tony Nuñez’s cover story this week gives people from many different sectors of our community a chance to talk about those lessons, and about what they hope for going forward. I found it both comprehensive and enlightening.

It’s also important to celebrate the signs of our improving situations, and here at GT we have one this week: Our longtime film reviewer Lisa Jensen is back! As with so many things, we’re going to be figuring out how to cover film as we go, but I’m so glad we can cover films again, and that Lisa has returned to contributing reviews. 



Letters to the Editor


Re: Hen Harbor

Yes cockfighting is cruel and terrible, but so is creating animals and then not allowing them to live anywhere. Roosters crow at the same decibel range as a dog, and they can be just as sweet and cuddly. The biggest problem here is the breeders that carelessly breed these animals without considering that they will most likely be killed either by being left for a predator or euthanized at a shelter. It’s unethical to bring these animals into existence without a safe place for them to live. By all means, go after the cockfighters, but we also need to place restrictions on breeders, they’re just as responsible. And we should not be punishing people like Ariana who just want to give these sweet boys the life that they deserve. The city should be ashamed of themselves for going after her.

— Alyson


The proposed ordinance is absurd. Either it should be wholeheartedly defeated or modified to specifically target perpetrators of cockfighting. Heroes such as Ms. Heumer should be exempt from this ordinance, as should poultry enthusiasts. Chickens are brilliant companions, and make great guardians for flocks. They are as, if not more, intelligent and sentient than dogs. They can pick up cues from their pet-parents. People should really consider keeping them as pets, and ordinances should be passed allowing people to do this.

Moreover, lobbyists should fight for legislation that would impose a tax on chicks sold at hatcheries to generate revenues to fund the operation of facilities such as Hen Harbor. Hen Harbor is an asset to the community. It keeps chickens out of municipal parks, streets, and actually lowers the city’s cost and burden on animal control. The city’s tax dollars should not be wasted on euthanizing chickens that can be nurtured by volunteer operations [like] Ms. Heumer’s. Please support Hen Harbor for the service it provides to the County of Santa Cruz.

— Nazma Sultan


This ordinance is totally misguided, extremely ignorant and harmful. If the proposer of this law really cared about the roosters that have fallen victim to cockfighting, he would work with Ariana to strengthen her aims and objectives since she is one of the only ones to care about the welfare and ethical treatment of roosters as well as other oppressed and exploited beings. She truly gives them a second chance at life. This ordinance would inflict another injustice on one of the most mistreated and abused groups of beings: roosters. I am very grateful to Ariana and Hen Harbor for every act of their compassion for the most vulnerable living beings in our society. Thank you so much.



[Editor’s note: Hen Harbor shared this update following our coverage of the proposed limits on roosters: “Thanks to public input, the proposed ordinance has been modified to target only gamecocks and no other breed of roosters. Pet roosters are safe for now!”]

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