.Opinion: August 22, 2018


This week’s cover story really hits home for those of us here at GT, and I think it will do the same for a lot of people in the Santa Cruz community. James Aschbacher has been a member of Good Times’ extended family for nearly as long as this paper has existed; when I first came on board in the mid-’90s, he was kind of like the whole staff’s awesome uncle, and everybody loved when he came around the office with our film critic Lisa Jensen. Interestingly, Lisa says in her tribute to him this week that they never spent a night apart back then, but I have my doubts that they even spent a moment apart. I literally never saw one of them without the other, and I know I’m not the only one.

Talking about him since his death in April with others who knew him better than I did, I’ve realized it wasn’t just GT—he was pretty much the awesome uncle of the whole Santa Cruz arts scene. And everybody knew the relationship that he and Lisa shared was special, but I never knew the details until I read this story. It turns out it was even stranger and funnier and more delightful than we imagined. I’m grateful that there will be an event to celebrate Jim’s life this weekend at the Rio, and I’m grateful to Lisa for sharing this story of a truly unique man and her truly unique partnership with him.



Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Re-Imagine Library Plan

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when reading the printed material produced and supplied at the city’s Aug. 6 Open House. The event was held to sell the proposed $67.7 million library/garage project to the public. It’s very disheartening for those of us who value libraries (and librarians) to witness the trajectory of events since Measure S passed, which was intended to upgrade county libraries. Instead of spending within our means, the downtown library, the flagship of the system, is deemed unworthy of renovation. Instead, 369 new parking spaces would be created for $41 million and at least $26.7 million to put the library in the parking structure. That seems crazy. This project needs to be re-imagined.  

Judi Grunstra
Santa Cruz

It’s Up to Us

In my campaign for City Council, I have discussed door-to-door with voters the issues facing Watsonville that cannot be ignored: homelessness, the mentally ill, lack of low- and moderate-income housing, and the quality of life in Watsonville.

At last, the board of supes has taken action.  

We need to pass the affordable housing bond issue and the sales tax half-cent increase as we are on our own dealing with these issues. Why?

Trump, an illegitimate POTUS, has made California the unwanted bastard child in virtually every utterage he has made about issues facing us. Our federal judges have blocked his immigration policies; he is greeted with thunderous protests whenever anyone from his administration ventures forth to California; Hollywood has launched broadside after broadside exposing his corruption, greed, calumny and hypocrisy.

Santa Cruz County, it is up to us. We need to deal with our issues that these two ballot measures address.

Please join me in supporting both the affordable housing bond act and the half-cent sales tax increase.

Steve Trujillo

Re: Susan Solt

Looks like there’s a fox in the henhouse. You can reframe, rephrase it or bury it in euphemisms—commodification of creative human expression is and always has been a sellout’s path. Commodification sucks the life out of everything it touches. The context offered of Da Vinci’s circumstance diminishes both his genius by itself and the impact that public demand had. Does the description mean to suggest Da Vinci sought public demand so he became a genius? I’m no expert, but I think he would have been and was often creative for free. Resources were made available, so conceivably he applied his creativity as a practical means. It sounds almost blasphemous to think what he earned would be considered his inspiration.

— esteban

secure document shredding

Re: Rail Trail

I’m just shaking my head right now on how the pro-train folks have demonized the idea of a dedicated trail by creating this “rich overlord” conspiracy garbage. Please, Santa Cruz, you are smarter than that. All any of us want is to serve the highest good for this county, and we want a professional, unbiased assessment of what really is the best use for the corridor. Pro-train people are way over the top with their “wealthy cabal” narrative—most of us who want a trail live paycheck to paycheck, OK? Poorly thought out decisions affect us in a huge way, and so much more is known now than when this deal was conceived 20 years ago. Start fresh, measure twice, cut once.

— Ray D


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An event next week aims to give local workers more ownership over their own industries. The event, “New Economy: Local Capital and Employee-Owned Cooperative Development,” will continue discussions about how to switch baby boomer-owned businesses to an employee-owned model. Community Ventures, Project Equity and Democracy at Work Institute are hosting the Wednesday, Aug. 29 event, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum of Art and History. Guests can win prizes, including social justice-oriented games like Rise Up and Co-opoly.


A new agricultural loan could help farmers dream big and achieve success. The Community Foundation Santa Cruz County has announced a million dollars in new loan capital, thanks to a generous anonymous donation that will help the Central Coast’s farm-based entrepreneurs grow their businesses. The funds come in the form of a cost-effective loan to California FarmLink’s lending program, which in turn offers access to capital for small and mid-sized farmers. Once repaid, the loan dollars will get recycled for a new social initiative.


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

-Steve Jobs


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