How do we confront hate, without perpetuating it ourselves? It’s a question people have been asking themselves since the rise of social consciousness, but it’s taken on a whole new sense of urgency in our current political climate, where protestors and counter-protestors regularly clash, and an 11-year-old girl’s grandfather can give her a loaded AR-15 to carry to a public meeting as a “nonviolent” pro-gun demonstration. Meanwhile, the FBI reports that hate crime violence hit a 16-year-high in 2019.
In other words, things have only gotten worse since a gay, 21-year-old student named Matthew Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in Wyoming in 1998. And yet the crime still shocks today, both because of the grisly details of the murder and the cruel homophobia that played such a big part in it.
Composer Craig Hella Johnson asked himself one question about Shepard’s murder: “In the face of such hatred, is love anywhere to be found?” And then he answered his own question by creating the musical theater piece Considering Matthew Shepard. The story of how that show got to its current incarnation at Cabrillo, and how Cabrillo Choral Director Cheryl Anderson has taken it to another level, is the subject of Christina Waters’ cover story this week. It’s powerful to read a story about so many people coming together to craft a response to hate that is so loving. We need it more than ever right now.
Letters to the Editor
Reject the Recall
Gary Patton has been an unflinching environmental attorney in Santa Cruz since the early seventies, serving as a Santa Cruz County Supervisor from 1975-1995. Many of us old-timers are grateful to him for his brilliant battle to save Lighthouse Field from a massive development project, gifting us the calm open space of what is now Lighthouse Field State Park. His experience fighting to protect our environment over these many years—having faced recalls and mudslinging in the process—lends credence when he strongly voices his clear opposition to the present real estate backed recall effort in our City.
A Santa Cruz resident still active in the field of environmental law and advocacy, Gary recently wrote extensively on his blog about the current effort to recall two city council members: “In my opinion, voters should vote no, and reject the recalls. Despite the claims of recall proponents, I do not actually see this recall as a response to the personal failings of the two members of the Council now facing a recall election. Personal failings there may be, of course, but this recall is not about malfeasance in office. No claims of dishonesty or illegal behavior have ever been advanced as a reason for the recalls. The recalls are not about a city version of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ The charges of misconduct made against the two Council Members now facing recall were found to be without significant substance, after an outside (and very costly) investigation.The way I see it, this recall is about political power, and nothing else.”
Join Gary Patton and reject this politically motivated recall!
Sheila Carrillo | Santa Cruz
Vote for Leopold
I’m a proud supporter of John Leopold. What separates Leopold from others is his sensible, well-informed approach along with his personal involvement. From the beach to the mountains, with full equity and partnership for all, Supervisor Leopold is a hard-working champion of our diverse district who uses his seat to make your voice heard. Leopold’s proven track record can’t be beat.
Supervisor Leopold genuinely cares about our input and championed Cradle to Careers to raise the voices of our community. Cradle to Careers puts parents in the driver’s seat with collaboration from Live Oak Schools and the East Cliff Health Center to support their family’s potential. Supervisor Leopold also advocated for LEO’s Haven, an all-inclusive park; more than 500 people attended the opening.
Xaloc Cabanes | Educator and counselor, County Office of Education’s Alternative Education Programs
From the very beginning when I saw petitions to recall our local election votes for Drew and Chris, I was appalled. And when I found out recently who was behind this action, I was and still am very upset. This has divided our community in a big way! On my Nextdoor neighborhood feed there have been endless and oftentimes heated arguments occurring. I say to all them you are a bunch of sore losers who should be ashamed of yourselves!
So what do these angry people do? They solicit the support of monied interests—realtors, property management companies and disgruntled homeowners to mount a smear campaign. Shame on all of you!
We should not allow our town’s governance to mimic the deception, greed and priorities of special interests over the people’s as is evidenced in the current national nightmare.
Anna Maletta | Santa Cruz
Don’t Excuse Bad Behavior
UCSC’s College Democrats voted to endorse the recall of Councilman Drew Glover (GT, Feb. 5). They had backed his candidacy in 2018, but were so turned off by his lack of respect toward members of their group (especially women), that they now favor his removal from office. Mr. Glover accuses his female colleagues of “playing the woman card” whenever he’s caught acting like a misogynist, and claims that the students are “misguided” whenever they ask a question he doesn’t want to answer. The UCSC Democrats deserve the respect of the entire Santa Cruz community for refusing to defend Glover’s documented hostile behavior toward several women at City Hall and female UCSC students.
Gigo deSilvas | Santa Cruz
— The growing homeless situation is a product of excessive growing wage disparity
— The growing frequency of being able to jog faster than freeway traffic is a product of improper transportation
The world is a complex system of interacting factors that may not provide equity. Why is a sports figure making $40 million in a year when they cannot even play for their value? Compensating for those millions will put thousands on a path to homelessness. Even worse is when loopholes allowed our present “leader” multiple bankruptcies to directly shortchange many others to maintain just his excessive lifestyle. (No wonder so many don’t want him now representing our America with his proven incompetence and unethical behavior!)
We need better leadership to stop this growing negative impact on quality-of-life. We can start locally by electing Manu Koenig to first district supervisor. Manu has a better vision for all.
Bob Fifield | Aptos
Misuse of Process
Two facts about the recall election are incontrovertibly true: first, the recall effort began the night of the last election with seed money and ongoing contributions by landlords and developers, many of them not even local. It could not have been motivated by any of Glover or Krohn’s subsequent alleged rudeness or harassment, but rather by their policies on tenant’s rights, affordable housing, and suitable development; second, if this effort is successful, monied interests throughout the state and nation will be encouraged to further misuse the recall process to overturn election results inimitable to their financial interests. If Glover and Krohn’s behavior is out of line, then don’t reelect them. Certainly, none of the allegations rise to the level of the criminal or outrageous misbehavior that the recall process is intended to address. I urge Santa Cruz voters to not let outside money subvert our local democracy.
Mordecai Shapiro | Santa Cruz
A Personal View on the Recall of Drew Glover
By Leonie Sherman
City Councilmember Chris Krohn responded to Supervisor Ryan Coonerty’s guest editorial endorsing the recall in the Santa Cruz Sentinel by reaching out to his email list. Krohn asked us what we thought of the opinion piece and encouraged us “speak from your heart” and “speak your own truth.”
That’s why I’m going public about the verbal abuse and physical intimidation I experienced from Councilmember Drew Glover. I’ve been silent out of political alliance with the local progressive community, and out of fear that people would minimize my experience or attack me for sharing it. I’m writing because I love Santa Cruz, and I want residents to make an informed decision about who we want representing us when we vote in the March 3 election.
After I ran for City Council in 2014, a lot of people wanted me to run again, which I was unwilling to do. As an olive branch to the progressive community, I let Drew Glover rent a room in the 700-square foot trailer I call home, during his first bid for a City Council seat in 2016.
I keep a tidy home. Drew didn’t share my aesthetic, or pitch in much with chores. After he’d been living with me less than a month, I came home from a weekend away to find seven milk crates full of political flyers in the living room. He wasn’t home, so I called and asked when he would have it cleared out. When he got back to my place, he yelled at me for 45 minutes, telling me I was a controlling nag, my requests were ridiculous and his important political work should excuse him from cleaning up after himself. The next day, I told him I never wanted to experience anything like that again and gave him 30 days’ notice. Over the following two weeks, he started doing more chores. When I checked in, he apologized and asked if he could stay. I agreed.
After a few weeks, he stopped helping out as much, but I didn’t want to kick him out while he was campaigning. When the election was over, I asked him to go, and we agreed on a date.
He was supposed to move out on a Monday. By Friday, he hadn’t packed a single box, and I checked in to make sure he was still going to be able to move out on the date we agreed to. He said he was. Sunday night at 10pm, he still hadn’t mobilized. I asked him if he was going to be able to have all his stuff out the next day, and he told me he was planning to stay an extra 10 days. I told him I needed him to move out on the date we agreed to. He already had a new place to live, he hadn’t asked for an extension, and I didn’t want to live with him anymore.
Drew started yelling about my white privilege, how I was part of the landlord class, how selfish and inconsiderate I am, my low standing in the community, how he’d heard how awful I was from people I considered friends and now he understood what they meant. I’m trained in conflict resolution, so I stayed calm and non-reactive. I insisted he honor our agreement, as I didn’t want to live with him any longer than necessary. I offered the alternative of him taking a week to move his stuff out while he stayed at his new place. He continued to yell at me, but the next day he packed up all his stuff and moved out.
A few days later, he came by to get some things he’d left in the yard. He asked for his security deposit. I told him I had 30 days from his move-out date to return the deposit, and I needed some time to figure out how much the minor damage he caused would cost me to repair. He started yelling again. This time he got up in my face, towering over me as he yelled at me to return his deposit immediately.
Even though Drew outweighs me by at least 50 pounds, I wasn’t scared. I have more than two decades of self-defense training and knew I could handle things if they got physical. I remember standing on my porch while he loomed over me, gesticulating wildly, demanding money and thinking, “Where did Drew learn that yelling and using his size to intimidate people is an appropriate way to get what you want?”
The truth is it’s from interactions like ours that Drew learned verbal abuse and physical intimidation are effective. Because when he was done yelling at me, I went into my house and wrote him a check. I calculated that no amount of money was worth the risk and unpleasantness of repeating a similar incident.
Drew behaves like this because it works; he gets his way. If we allow him to remain in office, we, as a town, are encouraging him to continue this behavior. Some insist this recall isn’t about conduct, but Drew has shown us a pattern of verbal abuse and harassment. He’s demonstrated that he has no intention of changing that behavior.
I don’t agree with how the recall came about. I don’t want wealthy landlords pouring money into political campaigns. But on March 3, residents of Santa Cruz will have the opportunity to vote on whether we made a good decision when we elected Drew Glover. I’m glad to have this choice. If, like me, you have progressive values but want to see an end to divisive politics and abusive behavior, you’re lucky. You can vote to recall Drew Glover, and vote for Tim Fitzmaurice.