.From The Editor

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“What is the big deal?” one longtime Santa Cruz activist asks about feminism in Anne-Marie Harrison’s cover story this week. And yet, the story recalls a time in Santa Cruz when feminism was indeed a big deal—not only a radical movement, but the height of political theater, played out against the very public backdrop of the Miss California pageants.

Some readers will remember the circus that sprung up around those legendary protests (for one thing, activist Ann Simonton invented the meat dress, which she’s wearing in the “Miss Behavin’” photo from that time on our cover this week, some 25 years before Lady Gaga wore one to the MTV Video Music Awards). I missed out on that, but I did come to UCSC just as Angela Davis was joining the faculty in the early ’90s, where she taught in the History of Consciousness department, and served as director of Feminist Studies. That was a big deal, too, I can assure you, as her hiring sparked controversy on a national level, but was largely embraced here like a political homecoming.

Those are just two of the high-profile moments in Santa Cruz’s storied history of feminist activism. But what does it all mean today, when the movement is debated even among some who support gender equality? Harrison’s story looks at how attitudes about feminism here have evolved and shifted in the time since those radical days, and how their legacy has affected women’s rights today. Give it a look, and let us know what you think about the state of feminism in Santa Cruz, too.

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Common Good?

What could possibly go wrong at Walnut Commons (GT, 10/9)?  Self-absorption, stupidity, neurosis, borderline psychosis, psychological delusion, free-floating relationship with reality, religious fanatics, all living together in bliss. Isn’t that special. Does any rational person really think this crowd will act like adults and all for the common good? No way. Their lifelong baggage once again will screw it up, and all those dumb enough to get near them. They will blame the others, of course.

Jim Poshard, Capitola

Bigger Problem

U.S., state, and municipal health authorities are working overtime and spending millions of dollars to stem the spread of Ebola, which has killed just one person here.

Where is the comparable effort to stem the spread of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill 1.4 million Americans annually and are linked conclusively to excessive consumption of animal products? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that’s 23 times the number killed by all infectious diseases combined, including AIDS, hepatitis, blood poisoning and intestinal infections!

Apparently, our society tolerates this massive assault on our public health, because meat, dairy, and egg products have powerful champions in Congress. Bacteria and viruses have none.

Yet each of us can take personal responsibility for our own and our family’s health by reducing, then dropping animal products from our menu. Fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains contain all the nutrients our body requires, and are touted by leading health authorities.

Solomon Levine, Santa Cruz

Online Comments

Re: PG&E

PG&E must be held accountable for putting the corporation and its stockholders above we ratepayers. All the corruption is coming to light now. This “upgrade” is yet another boondoggle that will benefit PG&E much more than the people they are supposed to serve.

— Gary Niblock

Re: Walnut Commons

Walnut Commons is not a success story. It highlights the failure of local government to address a severe shortage of local affordable housing. Because of failed policies by local politicians, students, the elderly, the disabled, the poor and homeless people have been left in the cold. When will local government provide solutions for them?

— John Colby


In last week’s election coverage (GT, 10/29), we erroneously reported that Santa Cruz City Council candidate Bruce Van Allen was an advocate of the city’s desalination proposal. Van Allen is in fact a leader of the opposition to desalination. We regret the error.


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Lighter Notes

Young at Heart, a program that provides live professional music to people in convalescent homes, is celebrating 30 years this fall. Last year, Young at Heart performed 500 shows in the area. For more information, including how to donate, visit www.young-at-heart.org.

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Charity Biz

There are over 425 people in Santa Cruz County living with AIDS, and BizAid, a fundraiser for the Santa Cruz Aids Project (SCAP), celebrates its 24th year this upcoming holiday season. Under the direction of new SCAP director Danielle Jennings, BizAid allows participating businesses to donate a portion of their sales for the 10 days following Thanksgiving. For more information, visit http://www.encompasscs.org.


“I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will.” — Amy Schumer


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