.Opinion May 18, 2016


Memorial Day kicks off festival season, and around here that means the American Music Festival, which is in its second year as the successor to the long-running Santa Cruz Blues Festival. Brad Kava’s cover stories this week take a look at each day of the festival from unexpected perspectives. For instance, Saturday headliner Buddy Guy, who has been making his mark on modern music since he played with Muddy Waters in the 1960s, and who Eric Clapton once called “the best guitar player alive,” is usually associated with the old guard of blues music—the Legends Division, if you will. But Kava writes that Guy is actually far more obsessed with what the future of blues music will be than with his own iconic status, and then argues that Guy himself is finding that future in his most recent songs.
As for the festival’s second day, Kava explains how he misjudged the country-focused Sunday line-up last year, and points out how the very definition of country music is in flux, thanks to musicians like AMF headliner Josh Turner.
I also want mention two awards for news reporting that GT picked up from the California Newspaper Publishers Association last month. The paper won second place for environmental reporting in the CNPA’s largest-circulation division for breaking news about environmental mercury poisoning in Henry Houskeeper’s cover story “Tracing the Elements” and Maria Grusauskas’ news story “Foggy Notion.” GT was also a Blue Ribbon finalist in the category of education reporting for Anne-Marie Harrison’s article “Learning Inside Out,” about how Aptos educator Mark Rogers is working to transform the way dyslexic students learn.


Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Not Empowering
Your burlesque story is misleading. While I love sex and want nothing censored, I also believe those who choose this “entertainment” might consider that there are unforeseen repercussions that nobody wants. The line between prostitution and stripping is increasingly blurred, and the amount of physical contact between exotic dancers and customers has increased, along with verbal abuse, sexual harassment and physical assault of women in strip clubs. As former stripper Taylor Lee explained: “The sale of sexuality through stripping also leads to the customer’s impression that he has bought the right to touch, grab, slap, or otherwise violate, degrade, or devalue the woman stripping.”
Why pretend the sex industry is benign, because some performers claim to choose it? Nothing exists in a vacuum. Females do not live in a secure bubble where we have burly bouncers, (as Cyn has at the Catalyst) to ensure our level of consent. The men thrown out of her burlesque show, after yelling “show me your boobs” will land right on Pacific Avenue both angry and aroused. Is women’s safety really of no concern? Every 107 seconds a woman is raped. Every day at least three women are murdered by their intimate partners.
As a community paper why not report on the complexity and harm that this industry brings to all who live around it? We need to work together to promote and model the fact that every human is worthy of dignity and respect, no matter their age, race, gender, class, or sexual orientation.
Ann Simonton
Santa Cruz

Re: “Back for Moore”: Martin Luther King famously said, “a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus. but a molder of consensus.” This describes exactly what Bernie Sanders has done by changing the political discussion in this country. Six months ago, virtually no one was talking about “income inequality,” the “rigged political system,” health care as a human right, or investing in our country’s future by providing free college education for our children. Even Republicans are now talking about these issues. Like Martin Luther King, Bernie Sanders does not accept the status quo—he knows we can do better.  
Don Eggleston

Online Comments
Re: Burlesque
Wonderful article! Hope to have a chance to meet these empowering women!
— Kitsune Kami
Re: Michael Moore
In reply to Rex—give Michael a break. He makes great films of huge social educational value for which he gets a lot less than people of lesser talent who produce stuff of zero or negative social value. He probably needs to make some money to pay for the movies he made, which don’t make much, if anything. What would you charge to go spending your time in airports and staying in motels so you can talk in person to large numbers of people hungry for this information presented in an entertaining way?
— Steve Newman
Re: Library Tax Measure
It seems that the people of Santa Cruz continue to pay for budget mismanagement. Why are we taking out a credit card (bond) for something that has been paid for by the general budget for over 100 years?
I am for the libraries, but against another tax created by the city borrowing money. The city should live within its means, just like the citizens do. We could decrease funding of some other programs to increase funding for the library.
— Joe Hill

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Many Santa Cruzans have strong feelings about Monsanto, the international agricultural biotechnology company, as do people interested in the food industry around the country. Seven West Coast cities, including San Jose, recently announced they would be suing the GMO developer for contaminating waterways, and Nebraska farmers filed suit over an alleged cancer link. Locals are organizing a March Against Monsanto starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 in San Lorenzo Park. Costumes are encouraged.


The Aptos History Museum celebrated 10 years on May 15. Karen and John Hibble began acquiring historic Aptos memorabilia in 1985, starting with a photograph of the old Aptos Train Station. Soon the Hibbles were getting plenty more donations, including the guest register from the Aptos Hotel, to go with incredible artifacts, important documents and amazing photographs. The museum, which is on Old Dominion Court near Best Western, is open Monday through Friday.


“The essence of democracy is the ability to make intellectual choices in an election. Unless you have access to information, those choices are not available to you.”

-Conn Hallinan


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