.From The Editor

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This week’s cover story was one of those ideas—and there are more than you’d probably think—that came up in casual conversation during an editorial meeting, sparked a discussion, and then kept coming up over time, until somebody finally had the good sense to give it the proper cover story treatment.

I promised I wouldn’t ruin the surprise of what the 10 inventions are in this column, which is really testing my willpower right now because ever since I found some of these out, I’ve wanted to blab to pretty much everyone I meet, “Did you know such-and-such was invented in Santa Cruz?” Ironically, if I remember correctly, that’s the very question that originally inspired this article.

It was Brad Kava who eventually decided to take it on, and what I like about the way he approached it is that beyond the gee-whiz factor of learning what was invented here, he also profiled some of the people behind them, and they’re fascinating, too. So if you’re one of those people who always has some million-dollar idea brewing in the back of your head, hurry up and get around to it before we start talking about “10 More Things You Didn’t Know Were Invented in Santa Cruz.”

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Mule Train

Re: “Deriding the Rails”: Several years ago, I sent in a letter and asked the question, “If you buy it, do you really own it?” The fact is that the railroad has the right to use the rail, forever! That is why the rail and right of way must be kept in good working order.

The best [idea] would have been to use the money for a bridge from 49th Avenue and Capitola Road over Soquel River to Depot Hill at Park [Avenue]. That was the plan in 1975.

Like they say, a fool with money is like a mule with a bike: He does not know what it is, and he does not know what to do with it.

Fred Henry, Capitola

Online Comments

Re: Activists Get the Nod

If cities wanted to do the right thing—that would also cost them less of the public funds—they could take that same $300,000 (per year, I am guessing) and donate a piece of unused land to develop an Eco Village for the homeless.

They could do so with tiny homes and homes built with cob, straw bales, or earthbags, and use the help of the homeless to build those homes.

Instead, they throw good money after bad and show everyone their lack of true compassion.

— Harold Thackston, founder of Sherwood Forest Eco Village

Important social issues here always seem to attract the same activists who latch on to causes and offer lots of rhetoric and few solutions outside of blaming the government and wanting the government to fix it. There is an obviously quick work-around fix to the camping ban problem in the city of Santa Cruz, as evidenced in the story itself.

Instead of trying to fight city hall—as the activists always like to do, and which really doesn’t help anyone actually have a place to sleep—they should encourage the homeless to sleep in county parks. The story itself says the county does not have a camping/sleeping ban. There are nearly 40 county parks in Santa Cruz. Give the homeless maps and get them transportation to those parks. Problem solved.

—John Miller

Thank you Freedom Sleepers for speaking out! Santa Cruz has become a place where hateful voices (TBSC) dictate and dominate the storyline, and it’s nice for a change to hear the more compassionate ones ring out.

— Jim Wright

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good work


Last month, 12-year-old Coco Lazenby was killed in a car accident on Highway 1 in Santa Cruz. Her mother, Kate Pavao, is a member of the Santa Cruz Team in Training, which raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and also trains for marathons and other races. Friends and family are raising money to support Team in Training—with over $90,000 raised toward a $100,000 goal—to put a research grant in Coco’s name.


good idea



A Watsonville company called Marquez Bros. recently started making three-foot-tall Donald Trump piñatas. Sure, a more anatomically correct Trump would be filled with hot air, not candy. And his hair would be the first thing to fall off in a beating. Also, his head should be twice the size, and his mouth should be on his rear end. But it’s a start.



I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work. — Thomas Edison 


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