.From The Editor

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If I told you that a new, tech-based system for teaching dyslexic kids was being used to teach kids internationally, you’d probably assume that it was a product initiative from some big company. But isn’t it so Santa Cruz that it’s actually a system developed by one educator in Aptos, who does the instruction himself via video conferencing with dyslexic students both in the U.S. and other countries?

It also says a lot about what is required to meet the needs of those students. As Anne-Marie Harrison’s cover story explains, it is only recently that significant leaps have been made in understanding exactly how to turn the educational model inside out (literally, as you’ll read) to better serve those with dyslexia. Technology is giving those efforts a big boost, but even so, there are no shortcuts.

Even the very notion of what dyslexia is, and how it affects those who have it, is still widely misunderstood. Read the story and see if you’ve had the same misconceptions that most people do.

Also, don’t forget that our Santa Cruz Gives holiday giving program is in full swing. Read this week’s moving story about Watsonville’s Aztecas Youth Soccer Academy, one of the 30 nonprofits we’re asking you to fund this year, then go to santacruzgives.com and decide who you’d like to support.






Thank you for your very timely, sensitive and well-written article “Bedside Manners.” (GT, 11/4). I am so happy to see coverage of local efforts to create a welcoming community for people of all genders. I have just one comment about your article: you refer to trans people several times as “biologically female,” “born female,” and “born male.” I understand the impulse toward clarity for readers who are not familiar with transgender terminology. However, many people see these terms as overly reductive—for instance, a transgender male might object strongly to being called a “biological female” or “born female,” since he identifies as male (and not a “former female”).

I quote from the GLAAD Media Reference Guide on Transgender Issues:

“Problematic: biologically male, biologically female, genetically male, genetically female, born a man, born a woman.

Preferred: assigned male at birth, assigned female at birth or designated male at birth, designated female at birth.”

Problematic phrases like those above are reductive and overly simplify a very complex subject. As mentioned above, a person’s sex is determined by a number of factors—not simply genetics—and one’s biology does not “trump” one’s gender identity. Finally, people are born babies, they are not “born a man” or “born a woman.”

Thank you for publishing this excellent article. I hope you will take my comments into account.

Sophia Booth Magnone, PhD Candidate, University of California Santa Cruz


Re: “Bedside Manners”: That was an awesome write-up about transgender phenom. Something I have a hard time with is facing transphobia in the face and telling people that sometimes it is not OK to always call me “sir.” I have to correct the person, as I am gender-non-conforming, but do prefer fem pronouns—after all, pronouns were put on this earth to fulfill their duty. Please stop calling me mister! And don’t call me ma’am, either, it’s overrated.


Going Farr

Re: “Secretary’s Son” (GT, 11/18): I’m saddened to hear of Sam Farr’s retirement from Congress next year. Rarely does a representative so closely match his constituency. From protecting the environment to alleviating poverty, Sam has a legacy of calm, deliberative leadership on the Central Coast. The respect that Sam has earned over the years from a broad political base shows how well he listens, considers and then acts in our best interests. Given recent horrible events in Paris and around the world, Sam’s foreign affairs expertise will be sorely missed. He is leaving some big shoes to fill.

Assemblymember Mark Stone, 29th Assembly District

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photo contest


ON THE ROCKS A gulp of Brandt’s cormorants at Pleasure Point. Photograph by Deborah Good.


good work


Thanks to local residents, thousands of poor children around the world will receive Christmas gifts this year—shoeboxes filled with small items like toys, school supplies and hygiene necessities. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, collected more than 9,000 shoebox gifts from Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties in its annual collection week, Nov. 16-23. Visit samaritanspurse.org/occ for more information.

good idea



The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County hopes to raise $20 million for its Great Land and Trail Campaign. Two anonymous donors have stepped up to match every donation, of any amount, until the end of January 2016. The anonymous donors did tell officials, “Let us know when you reach $5 million, and we’ll see.” That would still put the group halfway to its goal. Visit landtrustsantacruz.org for more information.



“Dyslexic kids are creative, ‘outside-the-box’ thinkers. They have to be, because they don’t see or solve problems the same way other kids do.” — Rick Riordan


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