Let me start by saying that I hope your stomach is feeling better after being turned by Mr. Hammer’s recent letter. Rather than his comments being “hateful” as you described, I saw them more as a complaint about the misplaced priorities of our local leaders here in Santa Cruz.  The writer is correct in saying that Pacific Ave has become somewhat of a No-Go zone for many locals, with its number of vacant shops, the flea market atmosphere, with vendors spread out on the sidewalks selling their wares, and its propensity for attracting vagrants and misfits who wander around aimlessly among the tourists.

Yes, our once hospitable and prosperous downtown is now sadly in decline, but in spite of that, one of the biggest local concerns centers on some community members who are offended by the BLM street art being damaged once again.  Let’s face it…that wasn’t the best choice for a place to do some City-sponsored virtue-signaling anyway. Painting giant letters on a public street that can only be read from a nearby rooftop or a low-flying plane wasn’t really the brightest of ideas.  Why not paint the words on the outside of City Hall where it could at least be seen at a glance by those passing by?  And why is it that only Black lives are being singled out for respect anyway…shouldn’t this community feel that ALL lives matter?

I think that, instead of always just preaching to the choir, Good Times should consider printing more opinions from residents that might not align with the thinking of a small, but very outspoken, group of locals.  And these letters should not always be considered hateful simply because they happen to disagree with the editor’s personal beliefs, or the paper’s philosophy of promoting progressive ideas and “Woke” thinking.  After all, isn’t that what freedom of expression is all about?

Jim Sklenar | Santa Cruz   

No School Shootings in Cuba

Your recent reader’s letter to you regarding the need to prepare for more school shootings caused me to think about a past tour of the Cuban high school system there a few years ago. During the visit in a Havana high school I asked some of the teachers and a principal there participating in the tour how they dealt with graffiti, weapons, shootings and other forms of violence. There was a dead silence. The teachers looked stunned and were speechless for a few moments as they looked at each other and then me. “We have never had any of those experiences that you speak of” the principal said.

secure document shredding

I also visited over seven major cities in the past 10 years there and couldn’t find a single homeless person living on the streets.

Maybe we could send a delegation to Cuba and find out what they are doing that we are not that could help us get out of the situation that we are now in.

Drew Lewis | Santa Cruz


I would like to thank you for your excellent story, Parks for All, about the effort to build a universally accessible playground at the centrally located and popular Jade Street Park in Capitola. Like the well used LEO’s Haven playground at Chanticleer Park, children with disabilities can play alongside friends, neighbors and family members, experiencing joy.

LEO’s Haven has become one of the most heavily used playgrounds in the county, which isn’t surprising since one of every ten children have a disability, as do two out of every ten people in the general population. Universally designed playgrounds clearly show that when public spaces are designed with all abilities in mind, children, parents, grandparents, and caregivers benefit. 

County Park Friends is working to raise $1 million for the playground from the community and the City of Capitola will fund the balance of the estimated $1.79 million project. Fundraising has begun, and if you’d like to learn more or to contribute, please visit https://www.countyparkfriends.org/jadestpark. You can help to make this dream a reality. Thank you.

Dan Haifley campaign volunteer


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  1. It’s disheartening our community has wasted so much energy enraged over a name change. San Franciscans didn’t go into such a tizzy when their International Airport’s name became ‘Harvey Milk’. Nor was there an uproar when UCSC’s College 8 become Rachel Carson College. Those in a snit should take a deep breath and consider the fact that northern California was the most populated area in all of USA. Removing Cabrillo’s name will benefit everyone. Names are powerful. This is especially true for names of colleges, team mascots, and institutions of higher learning. Clearly those riled up fear historical record. The very land you stand, live, and work on was stolen by force from biodiversity experts who had miraculously learned to live in harmony with nature for over 15 thousand years. This acknowledgement must deeply embarrass the naysayers. Indigenous people engaged in commerce, travel, politics, botany, healthcare, economies, artistry, drama and more. Many still do. Much of our Declaration of Independence came from Iroquois people. The greed of white male leadership and dominance has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Encouraging students and teachers to celebrate the past, present, and future of Native Americans is key. We teach one another by removing from prominence “Cabrillo”, a known “murderer, slaver and a sex trafficker,” according to many historians. The trustees are elected and they should alone determine this issue. A public vote would cost more than a name change. At a recent public gathering with Cabrillo Trustees, a man stood claiming he would pay the school a million dollars not to change it. I suggest he move to Florida where his ignorance and inability to acknowledge and heal from his ancestor’s actions, are welcome.

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  2. Jim, as one of the leaders to rename our community college, i am honored when my detractors call me “woke”. i am proud to be woke. better woke than comatose, being aware of local history means i do not have to say I am sorry because i did not know. why? I did some reading and talked to people about local history. having lived in this county since 1998, and having also served on the Santa cruz city school disrict board of trustees in the last decade, i feel i know this place pretty well. and doing research about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo has paid off. that is why people get so pissed off at me: as a former history teacher of 36 years, i did my research. try it, Jim.

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