June 14-21, 2006

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Neal did what?

It's a Hit: Chris Krohn's campaign mailer upped the ante for last-minute hit pieces.

Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Chris Did What?

There was something oddly compelling about seeing the lanky silhouette of Chris Krohn at 6am last Monday morning--just one day before he would lose the election for District 3 County Supervisor--walking down the street hauling an oversized wooden billboard on his back.

No, Krohn wasn't re-enacting Christ's stations of the cross, although his expression and comments once the election results started coming in may have suggested otherwise. Instead, he was taking down the campaign billboard that had greeted commuters from the corner at Mission and Chestnut for weeks, at the request of a resident who'd had a pre-election change of heart. (A Neal Coonerty billboard would replace it later that day.)

It was just one more way in which the weekend hadn't gone as planned for Krohn. In a move that appears to have alienated some voters, Krohn mailed out two 11th-hour hit pieces, one of which was a campaign flier bearing the image of a shocked child exclaiming, 'Neal Did What?' The flier also included a Sentinel 'quote' which, as it turns out, was actually fabricated by Krohn and his campaign manager Bill Malone.

Ironically, some unlikely public figures took Krohn's smear tactics to task: Fellow candidate Jonathan Boutelle called it a "pitiful attack." Outgoing supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt dismissed it as negative campaigning (and, hey, she would know), while her predecessor, Gary Patton, unexpectedly came to Coonerty's defense.

Krohn's supporters, meanwhile, have remained quiet in the wake of Krohn's negative campaigning, outright fabrication and apparent use of an out-of-town, nonunion printer. (At the time of this writing, Krohn had yet to file printing expenditure information with the election board.)

Never mind the fact that the environmental candidate managed to misspell the word "environment" in his brochure headline; it's Krohn and Malone's willful reshaping of reality that's the real problem. Or as an amazed Coonerty told Nüz in the election's aftermath, "I don't think I've ever seen the Dream Inn described as pristine Monterey coastline before!"

All of which might seem a moot point now, were it not for the fact that history has a way of repeating itself around these parts. Malone is already talking about running for Santa Cruz city council and looking for like-minded candidates to run with him. Ignoring or excusing Team Krohn's transgressions fails to send Malone and his cronies a necessary message: that this kind of neocontemptible behavior has no place in a progressive political landscape.

So just what did Neal do--after the hit piece, that is? "Actually, I took the flier down to the Buttery, and they have a way of taking images and putting them on top of cakes," say Coonerty. "So for election night, I had the image of the little girl holding her face going, 'Neal did what?' And then underneath it we wrote: 'He won.'"

LGBT Pride March, Rally Turn Green And Smoke-free

Pride came to town on Sunday, June 4, for its 32nd year in Santa Cruz. But this was its first year as a nonsmoking event Santa Cruz's Pride festival is characteristically booze free, but this was the first Pride in California to ban cigarettes completely.

According to Lulu Manus, the Santa Cruz Diversity center Event Coordinator, "The LGBT youth population has a 50 percent higher smoking rate than the youth of the general population."

In 2005 the Santa Cruz Diversity Center received a grant from the State Department of Health to address tobacco control needs in Santa Cruz county specifically targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This year, the Diversity Center advertised the Pride march and rally as smoke-free in accordance with its Tobacco Program.

"I've been out for 20 years and this is the best pride I've ever been to," said Leigh Hessel, a participant in the Santa Cruz Pride this year. Hessel and her partner, Candace Krueger, residents of San Leandro, were impressed by "the friendly people and the smoke-free environment."

A new policy, adopted by Santa Cruz in April, also deemed San Lorenzo Park smoke-free. The parked served as the destination for Sunday's march, and as the location for the rally as well as a variety of bands performing in the island of the duck pond.

"There's a lot of greenery here at the Santa Cruz Pride," said Krueger." A lot of other Prides have concrete all around. We're city girls, we need some greenery!"

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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