Plus Letters To the Editor
Santa Cruz prides itself on being healthy. Organic produce from the famers market? Check! A sunset walk on West Cliff, or a run through Nicene Marks? Check! Fakin’ bacon and vegan cheese at Saturn Café? Check! So we’re not even necessarily surprised when this area gets ranked as one of the healthiest places in the state, or the nation or the world. Certainly, these rankings do say something about health-consciousness in Santa Cruz County, but what don’t they say? In this week’s Health and Fitness issue, Maria Grusauskas takes a look at both the positive factors that our recent placing as 11th healthiest county in the state acknowledges, and the local health issues it may be obscuring.
She also profiles Santa Cruz native Max Strom, who has a different message about our health, one that might be summed up as “put down your damn iPhone!” Or something like that. His examination of how social media is actually making us less social, and why we need to unplug, is food for thought. Delicious, local, seasonal, organic food for thought.
Steve Palopoli | Editor-in-Chief
Nopal-grower Manfred Warmuth (GT 7/23) makes an astute observation: “Everything is beautiful if you look at it from a distance. If you know a little bit, it’s a mess.” He’s speaking about the U.S. organics standards, but his comment also applies to the California organic produce, which can be irrigated with treated municipal wastewater.
California’s Title 22 regulations regarding use of recycled municipal wastewater for irrigation considers only pathogen levels, not endocrine disruptors or other “contaminants of emerging concern.” Consequently, both secondary- and tertiary-treated wastewater can be used to irrigate organic (as well as conventional) crops, even though that water carries man-made chemical contaminants that can be absorbed by plants all the way to their leaves and fruits.
Tertiary-treated wastewater—which also contains small amounts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, as well as antibiotic-resistant genes and other contaminants—can be aerially sprayed onto crops, including lettuce, artichokes, and strawberries. Yet some people in Santa Cruz are enthusiastic about the possibility of piping treated wastewater up to north-coast farms. I worry that they are only looking at that prospect “from a distance.”
I’d initially thought that using recycled wastewater for all sorts of purposes was a “beautiful” idea—until I looked closer. I encourage anyone concerned about quality of food crops—whether organic or conventional—to look closely at the constituents of recycled wastewater (chemicals, nanoparticles, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic-resistant genes). The closer you look, the bigger the “mess” you’re likely to find.
—Jude Todd | Santa Cruz
Thank you so much for your insightful article about messaging from the City of Santa Cruz. Why is the city spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to spin information to residents? Do we really need four communication managers to slant messaging that the city wishes to send out to our community? I can think of hundreds of other areas in our community this money could be spent in. Shame on the City Council for letting this waste happen, and shame on the City Manager for suggesting it!
—James Granger | Santa Cruz
The Public Works Department appreciates your concern regarding Santa Cruz beach water quality.
First of all, we’d like to point out that there is no sewage pipe that drains into Cowell Beach. The contamination there is difficult to pinpoint, and we are working to solve the problem.
The outfall pipe from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility carries treated wastewater and does not run under Cowell Beach, but rather it crosses under the Westside near Almar Beach. The ocean outfall point for this treated effluent is one mile off shore of Natural Bridges State Park, and over 100 feet below the surface of the ocean.
—Janice Bisgaard | Community Relations Specialist, City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department
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PIPING HOT Bagpipers performing at the Wharf to Wharf race last Sunday. Photograph by Betty Dodge.
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Yoko Ono is bringing the artwork of John Lennon to Pacific Avenue August 15-17, as a benefit fundraiser for Second Harvest Food Bank. They’re calling it “Imagine There’s No Hunger,” referencing Lennon’s biggest hit from his solo career. johnlennonartwork.com.
Gardnering at Night
The basketball gods have smiled on you, young Kiwi Gardner. You may be only 21 years old, but all your hard work and enthusiasm for the game paid off in the summer league when you scored seven points in less than 50 seconds for the Santa Cruz Warriors.