.Opinion August 3, 2016


The author of this week’s cover story, Maria Grusauskas, sometimes accuses me of being too cynical about alternative medicine and the culture of natural healing. I like to think of it more as a healthy skepticism about anything until I’m shown some actual proof. Believe me, if more people wrote about herbal remedies the way she does in her story this week, I’d be completely on board.
The claims people make about some of this stuff can get absurd, to the point that you don’t know what to believe; for the uninitiated, the world of medicinal herbs can be confusing and overwhelming. But her “Herbal Medicine 101” guide cuts through the hyperbole to make it clear what we know and don’t know about some of the most interesting plants in use today.
Christina Waters also writes about the pursuit of natural wonders this week—namely, a new bible for local mushroom hunters. And on the fitness side of our Health and Fitness issue, June Smith writes about an offshoot of the Zumba craze, Zumba Gold, that’s helping adults in our community get moving. Here’s to your health (and fitness)!


Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Re: “Stumped” (GT, 7/20): I really enjoyed your article. I am all fired up to plant a new tree in my yard here on the Westside. I am looking for guidance on what tree to select for our climate and other considerations. The itrees.com website that you mention is tailored more to the Midwest, and does not appear to take into consideration the local climate conditions. I could not find a place on the website to enter my zip code. For now, I will visit some of the local nurseries for advice, but also wonder if there is any online information.
Maria Grusauskas responds: Russell, it’s great to hear that you are not only going to plant a tree but that you’re putting thought into what kind. The City of Santa Cruz website includes an approved planting list for “street trees” on sidewalk strips in front of houses. These trees are given to residents, once their permit application is accepted. The city also has something called a “Neighborhood Tree Planting Program,” where neighborhoods can apply for young trees and planting materials and host a tree planting event. As for your own backyard, you’re free to plant whatever you’d like, but I have yet to find a resource similar to itree.com that caters tree advice to our area.

Cover Symbolism
Re: “Redefining Marriage” (GT, 6/1) While many of us are striving to redefine gender, the cover graphic for this article simply serves to reinforce stereotypes (that of women in dresses/men in pants). Also, the graphic implies that the redefining of marriage seems to be that of three people with a genderfluid person in the middle
The article content does not include this structure, so the ill-matched graphic is misleading and perhaps counterproductive.
An apology from the editor is warranted.
Orly Laluz | Santa Cruz
Thank you for the feedback on an important and often tricky issue of visual representation. The image was meant to suggest a multitude of possible combinations between gender-specific and genderfluid persons. — Editor

No Other Option
I’m surprised by a community that sees itself as creative and intelligent, yet can’t seem to apply these traits to our shared problem. Read “Can Lighthouse Field Be Saved?” (GT, 7/6) to see old and backward thinking that forever casts our most vulnerable population as the whipping-dog of inappropriate space usage. With zero solutions put forward by the city for people who, for one reason or another, sleep outside, why are they made out to be subhuman? After the Lighthouse Field restrooms close, there’s no place within a half-mile to relieve oneself. There are virtually no trash containers and no syringe sharps containers to be found anywhere in the park, yet we prop up the boogeyman of the “transient” as blame for poor civic planning. Let’s admit it, we have no solutions to our most pressing social problem, so we attack the victim. I’ve spent the past month exploring homelessness in southern and central California, and no city is doing a good job with it. At least we can own up to it. Instead, I’d like to see an article titled, “No Other Option but Open Space.”  It’s my work and prayer that our community begins to understand that people shouldn’t be treated and written about as though they’re trash. We’re all in this together.
Brent Adams | Santa Cruz

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Simpkins Family Swim Center just added a new feature to its facility: childcare. And the county-run aquatic hub is charging only $5 an hour—which seems like a real steal as far as babysitting goes. But no, you’re not allowed to drop your toddler off and go for a drink with your sweetheart at the Pocket—you have to stay on-site.


Over the last 80 years, the big avocado tree in the Shopper’s Corner parking lot has shaded many a car. It was planted there in the early 1930s, before Shopper’s was even a business. The tree, which has reached the end of its life, will be removed on Monday, Aug. 8. Andre Beauregard, who manages the family business, says crews will plant a new tree and mill the old one into slabs for furniture.


“Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean you can be as stupid as you want with it.”

-Susan Lynn Peterson


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