December 6-13, 2006

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Letters to the Editor


I USUALLY flip through Metro Santa Cruz pretty fast, because DeCinzo and other parts subscribe more than I have taste for to the popular style I call "Rude, Crude, Vulgar, and Hostile." I do pick it up each week, though, because occasionally I find an article I really like.

Recently, I appreciated the article "Fit to Print: Top Censored News Stories of 2005-2006" (Cover Story, Nov. 8). Then this week, I liked the information and the calm and rational presentation by James Ridgeway in "Joy of Subpoenas: Nine Tough Questions for Congress" (News&Views, Nov. 22). These all happen to be political, but sometimes I find good stories about what someone is doing that I find interesting and informative. I think I remember one some time ago about llamas, or something like that. Last week I enjoyed the folksy article by Tim Fitzmaurice ("On Leaving Office," News&Views, Nov. 8) that helped me have more of a sense of him. I respected the lack of negativity, when it might have been understandable had it been there. Thank you for these articles and for your work of putting out the magazine.

LeAnn Meyer, Santa Cruz


THANK YOU for the great review of sound designer Norman Kern's The Woman in Black (Arts, Sept. 20). I wish you would have credited Norman Kern's sound design for the world premiere Sleeping Beauty (Arts, Nov. 29). Last year SSC's sound system went down on the opening night; Metro Santa Cruz gave Norman a terrible review for Cinderella (Arts, Nov. 23, 2005) even though he could not do anything about the miking with a dead sound system. What he designed was not heard.

The great music and singing for Sleeping Beauty will not happen without Norman's work and expertise. This year, he not only made everyone sound terrific, but he created a beauty sound design for Sleeping Beauty. The top of show Sigmund intro, Belladona's astonishing entrance, the suitor prince's hip-hop techno music, the sharp spindle pricking sound at the end of Act 1, the sound of vine growing, the hundred people sleeping/snoring sound, etc., are all Norman's work. Basically, he was responsible for everything audible. Microphone feedback or overmiking happens in musicals at typical regional theaters because sound is ignored. No one knows what a good sound designer does. Unlike set/costume/lighting designers, sound designers can't obtain projects by visual portfolio. I wonder why sound designers don't get help for good credits.

Aifen, Contra Costa


THANKS FOR COVERING Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) in the Nūz column recently ("Porter Poddy," Nov. 22). I regret, however, that I didn't read about the Santa Cruz ATRA conference before it happened, rather than afterward. I would have liked to attend, especially as the subject of the conference was how to make PRT happen in towns like ours. I hope that Metro Santa Cruz will be able to provide more information on that angle in subsequent coverage of the PRT idea, which I think has not yet received the fair hearing that it deserves from the community. As well-funded PRT projects are now under way in Britain, Korea and Sweden, PRT is long past the "gee whiz, Jetsons' Flying Car" stage. A serious examination of potential routes, not to mention reasonably expectable performance and benefits vs. realistic costs, would help Santa Cruz residents to decide whether PRT is right for us, and if so, how best to proceed.

My family has two cars, and I personally love to drive. But parking is an often expensive hassle, wherever we go. These days, I frequently find myself wishing to spend my time en route doing something other than driving: having an animated conversation with friends or family; watching a video; putting "something extra" into work assignments; playing a game; reading a book or even Metro Santa Cruz. Instead, I pay attention to the road, only to notice that other drivers have given in to some of those same temptations. What I need is a driver who knows how to take special shortcuts that aren't clogged with other cars, and who will get me where I want to go, quickly and conveniently, in safety and relative comfort. Cabs and buses are too expensive (buses, especially when you take tax subsidies into account); they also get stuck in traffic. PRT would seem to fill the bill, as well as to provide beneficial, direct linkage between various parts of the city, especially UCSC, downtown, the Boardwalk area and points in-between. If PRT's promise is at all realistic, perhaps we should pursue it. If not, then let's know as soon as we can, so that we can move on to some other, more potentially worthwhile approach to transit. The media can be very helpful in getting and disseminating those answers, and I hope that the community can count on Metro Santa Cruz to help sort out our PRT issues and options.

James Anderson Merritt, Santa Cruz

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