.From The Editor

ednote stevePlus Letters To the Editor

It’s not that much of a surprise that, as Cat Johnson reports in her cover story this week about the Open Studios Art Tour, Santa Cruz is one of the most artist-dense cities in the nation. (Although our actual ranking—I won’t spoil it—is kind of an eye-opener.) And yet, this can still be an incredibly tough place for an artist to make a living. Johnson’s story reveals just how much of a difference Open Studios makes for many artists living here, and how these three weekends in October can be make-or-break.

After 30 years, most of us around here know about and likely participate in Open Studios, but few probably realize that it is one of the most acclaimed events of its type in the country. It’s easy to understand why after reading what the organizers say about their relationships with local artists, and what artists say about the importance of Open Studios in their lives.

After you’ve been properly primed by the story, grab the Open Studios guide in this issue and check out the scene for yourself!






There Must Be A Better Way

Re: Coast Dairies: Wow, I am a surprised by Fred Keeley’s quote “Will there be increased traffic? Of course. Will there be more tourists? We hope so.” (GT, 9/23) Sounds a lot more focused on increasing tourism business than land preservation!

This land is already protected, and the BLM has already been planning for public access. The issue is the additional tourists who will come to the area because of the monument status. According to the Land Trust’s own website, the estimations are that “the Bureau of Land Management estimates 150,000 to 300,000 visits when everything (trails, parking lots) is built. The higher number is most likely if it becomes a National Monument.” The monument status will bring more people … period.

Do we really need 300,000 tourists tromping though the area? How does that protect the wildlife and environment? How are we going to manage the additional traffic, trash, fire danger, policing, parking, etc? I think preserving the area is great and providing access is great. But there has got to be a better way of really preserving the environment. I think designating this as a national monument and sending up an invite to the entire nation to visit this area before mitigating the huge environmental, cultural and safety impacts is just not responsible management.

Betsy Firebaugh, Santa Cruz

Egg-Breaking News

McDonald’s pledge this month to start using cage-free eggs is only a small step in preventing staggering suffering endured by millions of birds.

Hatcheries that annually supply 200 million female hens for U.S. egg production, including cage-free, also kill the same number of male chicks at birth by grinding them up alive in industrial macerators, or suffocating them slowly in plastic garbage bags. The female laying hens endure a lifetime of misery, crammed with five to six others in small wire-mesh cages that cut into their feet and tear out their feathers.

Eggs are common carriers of food-borne bacteria, including salmonella, campylobacter. listeria and staphylococcus. The USDA estimates that Salmonella alone accounts for 1.3 million U.S. illnesses and 500 deaths annually.

Eggs contain saturated fat and cholesterol, key factors in incidents of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. They are a common cause of allergies in children.

Waste from millions of egg-laying hens ends up in waterways, rendering vast areas unsuited for recreation or water supply.

The good news for compassionate, health-conscious, eco-friendly consumers is that our local supermarket offers a number of delicious egg substitutes and egg-free food products.  Entering “egg-free” in a search engine returns tons of recipes.

Solomon Levine, Santa Cruz

Online Comments

Re: Coast Dairies

Coast Dairies is a small piece of true wilderness situated very close to large population centers. What makes it wilderness are the mountain lions, badgers and grey foxes that will not stay in areas of high use. If they are displaced, they may not be able to find other suitable habitat. The land is already protected in perpetuity against any development other than recreation. It is not suitable for the kind of visitation national monuments get. The BLM will develop a management plan and open it to recreation—national monument status is not needed.

— Sandy Baron

Re: Love Your Local Band

As a longtime band leader and performer, Fishhook has all the elements that successfully makes up a local band. They keep getting booked in some of the best venues in the Bay Area for good reason. Fishhook is made up of skilled musicians who deliver great music that is fun and what audiences love to hear and dance to. Their energy is infectious.

— Ric Hines

Letters Policy

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photo contest


THAT’S SUPER Sunday’s supermoon lunar eclipse, as seen from Midtown Santa Cruz. Photograph by Rosie Eckerman.


good work


It means a lot to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but it means even more to put a stranger in a pair of brand new kicks. And that’s essentially what Merrill Lehrer, the new owner of Aptos Shoes & Apparel, did when she helped donate 100 pairs of Naot shoes to the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center on Friday, Sept. 18. Here’s to helping women and families lead a more comfortable everyday life from the ground up.

good idea



Santa Cruz residents can now register to host a yard sale for the city’s 16th annual Garage Sale Weekend at cityofsantacruz.com. This fun faux holiday is just around the corner, with the yard sales running Oct. 10 and 11. There even will be a treasure map full of spots for bargain hunters to hit up. People can call 420-5593 for free garage sale kits, which include bright yellow street signs, labels for pricing items, and a booklet of helpful tips.


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust


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