Plus Letters To the Editor
Every year, the Best of Santa Cruz County issue makes me think about that question that I sometimes hear—or sense—from people who don’t live here: why Santa Cruz? Sometimes it’s just a look I get when I say I went to UCSC, or that I moved back here after leaving. I can tell there’s some stereotype or another they’ve heard that’s flashing through their mind.
I try to tell them about what my friends call the “curse of Santa Cruz”—once you’ve lived here, no matter where you move, you will eventually return. But really, it only puzzles them more—if they don’t understand what’s great about this place, they certainly won’t understand why anyone would move back.
What I’d really like to do is just give them this issue. Can you look at the photos of the culinary creations by this year’s award-winning chefs in the Food & Drink section and not get hungry? Or read about AJ’s Market in the Editors’ Picks and not want to go there? Just like Santa Cruz County itself, there is so much to discover in these pages, and they add up to a definitive answer to the question “Why Santa Cruz?”
From collecting votes in our Best of Santa Cruz County readers’ survey to the day it hits the streets, it takes months to put this issue together, and there are hundreds of local favorites to discover inside. Keep it handy the next time someone gives you that look.
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Call a Crime A Crime
I was shocked by the UCSC Police Department’s response to what was in their own words a hate crime (GT, 3/18). I am a 47-year-old UCSC alumni, who, at the time of my attendance was questioning my sexual orientation. I was also at a point in my life where I could have either gotten into serious trouble or learned how to grow up. The UCSC queer community helped me do the latter. I was very shocked to hear that the UCSC PD called the Feb. 7 campus battering of a gay student a “fight,” when, in the department’s own words, the beating met the legal criteria for a hate crime. The people of Santa Cruz County want hate crimes to be taken seriously. The majority, by far, want a hate crime called a hate crime. I am committed to calling the UCSC PD on this kind of gross error. I thank all of you who are committed to peace. Thank you Cantu Queer Center, and GT for this article.
Dawn Ramirez, Watsonville
Crisis in Our Backyards
Re: the article on housing in Santa Cruz (GT, 3/18). We have landlords that are greedy; they see dollar signs instead of people. So we have a housing problem. And the college didn’t help, either. The children that are raised here can’t even afford the high rents, and the job pay here is not so good, either. Our children are suffering, and so are seniors. Cruel landlords, cruel world.
Colleen Del Corlo, Soquel
More than half of the UCSC student body live off-campus. Even at $1,000-1,500 and up per bedroom for a house rental, the local housing market is a better deal than on-campus housing for singles and what you get. The sad truth, however, is that three bedrooms and three families paying the rent for three students is way easier to pay for than one family in need of a three bedroom with only one or two breadwinners.
— Steven D. Hartman
I had to leave my hometown of Santa Cruz years ago in order to live in a decent and affordable state. My 50-year-old brother lives in his van in Santa Cruz because he only has disability income and Section 8 is a disaster with nothing available for him. Both of us were born and raised in Santa Cruz BEFORE the university and Silicon Valley were around. They destroyed our wonderful fishing village. Very sad.
Good job, Chris! Providing real-world experience is key.
— Ed Parrish
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SILVER IN THE SAND Surfers at Twin Lakes Beach. Photograph by Manose.
After a successful “barn raising” at the base of UCSC, construction is under way to build a new Cowell Ranch hay barn, which basically uses historical-looking Lincoln Logs. Workers are assembling it in the style of the original barn, with a mortise-and-tenon frame made out of interlocking pegs. The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems will be housed in the new barn.
With the drought in California stressing everyone out, the state’s Water Resources Board is tightening up. And some of the state’s new rules are similar to ones Santa Cruzans got used to many years ago. For example, the rules forbid restaurants from offering customers water unless they ask for it, and the regulations will also limit the number of days people can water their lawns. Welcome to reality, California. The forecasts say it’s here to stay.
“Everybody is a story.” — Rachel Naomi Remen