.Opinion February 17, 2016


It’s time to come clean: behind the doors of the Good Times office, beyond its tastefully decorated lobby, there’s been a cult flourishing openly for more than a year. This being Santa Cruz, the world’s leading exporter of conspiracy theory, I’m sure someone already suspected this. And, for once, it’s true. It’s a cult whose membership has infiltrated all departments: advertising, production, editorial—probably distribution, too, although I think they’re more of a sleeper cell.
It all started when somebody in the office—I honestly can’t remember who was the first—discovered the Serial podcast. Whoever it was had to go and talk about it, and within a few weeks, several key members of the staff were hooked. It got to the point where there would be impromptu meetings in my office on Monday mornings some weeks—after everyone had time to absorb the previous week’s episode—to discuss the latest developments. What was Jay’s deal? Was the creepy park guy as innocent as he claimed to be? How is it possible that no one knows whether there was a pay phone at Best Buy—there either was or there wasn’t, people! Seriously, though, what was Jay’s deal?
The cult didn’t break up when the first season of Serial ended. It moved on to obsessing over Undisclosed, the podcast that examined the Adnan Syed case in even more minute detail. (Those taps, though. WTF.) And also The Jinx, and then of course Making a Murderer, and now season 2 of the podcast that started it all—for us, at least—Serial. And for a lot of other people too, obviously, since Serial is probably the biggest culture phenomenon of the last two years (non-Star Wars division).
I was intrigued to discover that one of the minds behind Serial, co-creator and producer Julie Snyder, is a UCSC alum who got her start in radio here in Santa Cruz before moving on to one of NPR’s flagship shows, This American Life. Snyder is coming back to the Monterey Bay with Serial host Sarah Koenig to discuss the making of the podcast at an event at Carmel’s Sunset Center on March 9.
At the end of my interview with her, I told her about the GT cult of Serial and she sounded not just thrilled but also genuinely shocked to hear about it. This is a woman whose podcast has been downloaded over a 100 million times—how can that possibly surprise you at this point, I asked her. She laughed, but later I realized it’s because the people behind Serial are only beginning to understand the influence they have. They’re not jaded by their success, and they just want to tell more stories. So do we here at GT. Enjoy!


Read the latest letters to the editor here.

I appreciate the Good Times’ story last week (2/10) about the underreported greenhouse gas emissions which would result from proposed Highway 1 expansion. The Campaign for Sensible Transportation (CFST) has more concerns than that about the related Environmental Impact Report, and in a collaboration with the local Sierra Club, we’re posting an eight-page, detailed and referenced, greenwash-free analysis on our website, sensibletransportation.org.
You can also see our Highway 1 slide show and sign our petition at the website. We agree there’s a traffic congestion problem on Highway 1; the necessary question is: what’s smart to do about it, while not helping to hand the children of the future a destabilized climate?
We’d like to correct any mistaken impression that could result from the GT story. CFST supports having a local transportation sales tax measure considered by the voters, to include sustainable transportation measures that would help reduce automobile dependence in Santa Cruz County along with providing funds to maintain the existing transportation system. We’re asking the RTC to move in that direction, instead of including funds for adding lanes on Highway 1 in projects that have been shown will not perform, either to provide long-term congestion relief or to promote livable communities. We know better than to repeat old mistakes—and besides, it’s wrong to wreck the world.
Jack Nelson
Co-Chair, Campaign for Sensible Transportation

I wanted to write and thank you for the insightful article “Walking with a Ghost” in the recent Good Times (2/10).
I’ve read a thousand of these, and have never been compelled to try to contact the writer of an article before but this one really got to me.
As a 30-year-old who grew up in Santa Cruz and has lived in big cities, (Bay Area, L.A.) I’ve gotten to see this ghosting phenomenon on different scales.
Your article has described things that I’ve both done and been on the receiving end of. It made me go back and question my own involvement with this behavior and why I did it or allowed it to be done.
Texting is truly a terrible way to express feelings, but I hear people argue it’s “easy” or “convenient.” But really … it’s shallow. (I use it for work mostly, but hate it for my personal life.)
I have no social media for this reason, except LinkedIn. And that’s all for work.
I’m grateful you took the time to write about this, and wish it got more coverage in mass media.
Trevor Adrian | VIA EMAIL

Online Comments
Re: ‘On the Run’
Wow, nice to see someone out there is paying attention. I have to agree with virtually everything in this article. I have been telling my customers and others for decades that the vast majority of our fish are hatchery produced. Restore our waterways use innovative hatchery techniques and we can have salmon for all. Ignore the problems and we all lose. It’s time that salmon and Steelhead get the attention and respect they deserve. Three cheers for the author.
—   Capt. Ivan Hotz
Wow! What an interesting and intriguing article on salmon! I hope it’s not too late to save our salmon.
—   John McHatton

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A group of volunteers has started serving in Boulder Creek, teaming up with the Valley Women’s Club of San Lorenzo Valley to restore local landscapes. The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps will work around the San Lorenzo Valley through March 15. They will remove invasive plant species in Highlands County Park, build a new bridge to reduce erosion and restore bird habitat at Scott Creek Beach, among other projects.


Leah Resendez, a 27-year-old mother, Cabrillo College student and cancer survivor, will receive a $2,000 cash prize next month from the Soroptimist International of Capitola. Resendez, whose daughter has special needs, will use the money to help her write, as her illness restricts use of her right arm. The award is given to a woman in a vocational training program or an undergraduate degree program and is the primary financial support of her family.


“Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice. Somewhere else, the tea’s getting cold.”

-Seventh Doctor


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