.Opinion: June 12, 2019


The last time I interviewed Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers, he told me he was a little fed up with everyone assuming that Bay Area music began and ended in San Francisco around the Summer of Love. Most of the longtime Doobies, for instance, got their start in San Jose or Santa Cruz. And even the San Francisco bands drew on talent from around the Bay Area—as did the biggest bands from around the country and beyond. John McFee, the current guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has been with the Doobie Brothers for the better part of 40 years, was born and raised in Santa Cruz, and has played on everything from the Grateful Dead’s From the Mars Hotel to Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey to Elvis Costello’s My Aim in True.

Simmons goes so far back with Carlos Santana at this point that he told me didn’t even remember exactly when they first met, or even when the Doobies started playing shows with his band Santana. But there’s so much history with these two bands—including Santa Cruz history—that it’s great to still see them playing together more than four decades later. They’re doing a huge show at Mountain View’s Shoreline on Wednesday, June 26, and in this issue both Simmons and Santana himself talk about the history and legacy of their careers. Rock on!


Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Creating Communities

Experts can agree that people are forced to live on the streets due to lack of affordable housing and stagnant wages. Increased rent prices have to lead to the rise of the homelessness population, especially in California’s expensive areas (Zillow, 2017). Federal housing vouchers, which are considered to be a solution, are not sufficient enough because only a quarter of homeless individuals receive it nationwide. $20 billion worth of vouchers are available per year, but only $1 billion vouchers are utilized (Zillow, 2017). It costs taxpayers a tremendous amount of money to leave people on the street. The homeless crisis could improve with the implementation of tiny home communities. Six states in the U.S. have had success stories (2018, Washington Post). In Austin, Texas, a program was implemented called Community First! Village. This program initiated a 51-acre development. It provides affordable, permanent housing as well as a supportive community for the chronically disabled homeless in central Texas. Community First! Village has become the largest community-based model in the country and exists to help and serve homeless neighbors who have been living on the streets (Mobile Loaves and Fishes, 2015). Other states that are using tiny houses to help the homeless include Kansas City, Missouri, Detroit, Nashville, Newfield, New York, and Seattle.

Tiny homes of 200-400 square feet could rent for $1 per foot per month, which is a much more affordable option for homeless individuals, with or without housing authority assistance. Permanent residences for the homeless is the first step to helping this population live healthier, quality lives.

Ashlyn Vargas, Khushboo Asija and Samantha Wildman
Santa Cruz

Poor Priorities

We spend millions on fruitless Russia probes and research on climate change, and billions have been spent subduing the cannabis industry. To what end? Are our lives any better? Of course not, and all the while the most vulnerable, the addicted and homeless suffer because of ineffective policies and poor financial planning. Why is it when citizens owe money to the government or you fail to show up for court, immediate action is employed and consequences ensue, yet when our very own suffer opioid addiction or homelessness the timeline to resolution is so prolonged?

Public schools should be beautiful, the weak, aged and disabled should be protected and have basic human needs, and no person should ever, ever be left sleeping on the street.

If we can’t at least shelter our own citizens (because no one in their right mind would choose this), then what good is government really? If government works with the people we can achieve great things. We need serious people to run on these issues and then we can indulge our relative curiosities via research.

A. Anderson
Santa Cruz

Re: Recall Effort

Right-wingers? Really, Nuz? Your accommodating arrogance puts you firmly in the running for Krohn’s next candidate recruitment, since Justin Cummings turned out to be so disappointingly independent. And to think just yesterday I was telling someone that GT’s journalism was superior to the Sentinel (a low bar, I know). I guess we all have our blind spots.

8,000 signatures will be a snap.

— Mark

secure document shredding

Re: Microfibers

GT pointed out that the microfiber filter is a good solution “for those that can afford them.” Why doesn’t the County (and for that matter the City) of Santa Cruz and/or the water agencies offer a rebate on the filters, like for compost bins? This is a super important issue, especially for our seaside region. The filters will probably also save money in terms of wastewater filtration in the long run (since they appear to filter out other things as well).

— Julie


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A new report that says Santa Cruzans see the City Council’s antics as “dysfunctional,” “theatrical,” “childish,” “disrespectful,” and “embarrassing.” The study comes from a collaborative and consensus-oriented California State University Sacramento program, which was studying how to proceed with a possible taskforce on rental housing. The consultant’s recommendation? Don’t bother; the discourse is too toxic right now. The report could provide a needed wake up call for city councilmembers. Chances are they’ll sleep through it.


Immediately after GT covered the environmental microplastic disaster last week (“World Piece,” 6/2/2019), two new studies detailed findings about just how prevalent these ocean contaminants are. A study from Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers laid out frightening levels of microplastics swirling through our region, sometimes in concentrations greater than the surface of the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A separate study published in Environmental Science and Technology found that humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000-52,000 microplastic particles per year.


“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliché that must have been left behind in the ’60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.”

-John Lennon


  1. Regarding the City of Santa Cruz Water Dept subsidizing micro plastic filters for washing machines…….I wondered that, too. Difference is I emailed them & asked them their official position. I got a reply, but it’s not appropriate for me to share what they said to me, a private citizen. One need not wonder about most things in this technological age. Inquiry is the requirement for answers to puzzling questions. And the City of Santa Cruz has a comprehensive web page readily accessible. Last….as upset as I am about the micro plastic issue, I always try to remember there’s a big picture & change takes time. I was somewhat disappointed by SCMU’s response, but they answered my question within a few days.. Try it. Best, Sandy Cohen


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