.Opinion March 1, 2017


1984 has been my favorite book for a long time, so the marathon reading of the book that Steve Kettmann writes about in our cover story this week seemed like a brilliant idea to me right away. What had surprised me over the course of talking about the reading these last couple of weeks is how many other people also consider Orwell’s dystopian novel their favorite.

What is it about this book? Perhaps it has something to do with when we first encountered it, which for most of us was sometime in our formative high school or college years. For me, reading 1984 opened a door into a world of literature that used imagined societal nightmares to explain real-life ones. After that came Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We and Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle, but as I got older and more familiar with how the world works, it was 1984 that continued to ring the most true.

For a lot of people, it seems to be ringing truer than ever since the election. Kettmann’s story explores why 1984 has become a phenomenon again, almost 70 years after it was published. What I particularly like is how he looks deeper than the “Big Brother” level which the book is most famous for; there’s so much more about 1984 that better describes the world we live in—now, unfortunately, more than ever.



Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Null Service

Lily Stoicheff dedicated her article about “six up-and-comers” who are shaking up the Santa Cruz culinary scene (GT, 2/15) to chefs, each with a unique path. Restaurants have become a launching pad for those chefs who seek a farm-to-table menu or a Pacific Rim adventure to try and appease the local community. Missing from this equation is service. Table service and customer service etiquette.

I would rather drive to Palo Alto, San Francisco or Napa Valley to be greeted by food captains and back-servers who actually live by a dress code rather than someone disguised with plainclothes. The longsleeved white shirt and black pants have disappeared, along with details on table service. Culinary masterminds do not have time to train the front-of-the-house employees. So the dedication of balance in a restaurant is lost. Paying a handsome price for lunch or dinner other than Santa Cruz is real.

Lou Barnes, Jr.

Santa Cruz

Climate Changes

Santa Cruz County has been affected over past years by drought with water restrictions, concern about fires and saltwater intrusion. This season, we have experienced flooding, landslides, infrastructure and housing destruction. All of this chaos has been predicted by climate scientists, yet we as a nation and community are resistant to making changes in our policies and personal lives to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal government is advocating increased fossil fuel production and pipelines, with no regard for the communities affected by pollution, poisoned water and climate destruction. We must resist these policies.
 Locally, vehicle travel comprises 60 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. Yet Highway 1 will be widened, and insufficient funds will be allocated to METRO by Measure D to improve service. In addition, there is a new proposal to build a five-story parking garage above a new library in the parking lot of the current Farmers Market.

Carpooling, bus ridership, biking and walking are ways we can all significantly decrease our carbon footprint and the need for more vehicle infrastructure. If local communities fail to change radically, each succeeding year will be hotter than the next and the temperature of the Earth will make it uninhabitable for life as we know it. I fear for my children and grandchildren if we do not make hard choices now to change our 1950s way of viewing 21st century reality.

Susan Cavalieri

Santa Cruz

Online Comments

Re: Rides for Vets

Good stuff, every little bit helps. There are way too many in need and more needs to be done.

— Barry Williams

Re: #DeleteUber

Yes, you are right, and I damn agree that rideshare firms Uber and Lyft are charging a large amount in the form of fees and other expenses, which is not fair. Age restriction is also a disappointing feature of Uber services.

— Julia Tsu

secure document shredding


Shortly after our story “Menu Generation” was published, the name of Santos Majano’s new restaurant was changed from The Kitchen at Abbott Square to The Kitchen at the Octagon.


Submit to ph****@go*******.sc. Include information (location, etc.) and your name. Photos may be cropped. Preferably, photos should be 4 inches by 4 inches and minimum 250dpi.


The Santa Cruz County government is asking locals to immediately report flood damage suffered to their homes, businesses and properties to help themselves and others across the county qualify for federal aid to rebuild. A SurveyMonkey link has been posted to the county’s webpage, co.santa-cruz.ca.us, with a 10-item questionnaire. Residents may also call 211 to report damage and have someone assist them with the report.


The World Wildlife Fund and the Carlos Slim Foundation, founded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú, have been working together to fund protections for Monarch butterflies, which migrate each year from Canada to Mexico (many of them making an autumn stop in Santa Cruz). The time for action is nigh, as the foundation just announced that the area occupied by the butterflies decreased 27 percent this winter, compared with the previous year.


“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

-George Orwell


  1. Dear Editor ~

    Yes, “carpooling, bus ridership, biking and walking” will decrease air pollution. However the statement that “All of the chaos we have experienced this season (flooding, landslides, infrastructure and housing destruction)” is alarmist and ignores the history of Santa Cruz County weather.

    In point of fact, for the calendar years of 1940, 1941, 1950, 1982, 1983, and 1998 precipitation totaled 56″, 63″, 47″, 47″, 60″ and 54″. We know that 1980 had 27″. And we know that ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91 and ’92 had only 20″, 15″, 16″, 25″, and 28″. (NOAA, 2012 Annual Climatological Summary)

    We know that this County has a mediterranean climate of summer drought and winter rains. We know that coastal erosion happens every where on this dynamic planet, which is 2/3 ocean. We know that Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley used to be under water.

    We know that there is more infrastructure to be destroyed than there was in 1982. We know that there was lack of adequate maintenance of infrastructure for the last dozen to 20 years. We know that there are 224,000 more people in the County than there were in 1940 and 80,000 more than in 1982. More lives to be disrupted.

    We do not know that “each succeeding year will be hotter than the next and the temperature of the Earth will make it uninhabitable for life as we know it.” This kind of alarmism does not help in making policy decisions that must address how humans can learn to adapt to climate change.

    My husband and I are daily pedestrians. My husband bicycles a couple of times a week. If need be, we take the bus. We put less than 200 miles per year on our 1972 car. We do not do this because we are afraid that our grandchildren will have no planet on which to live or that humans will go extinct. We do it because we are environmentalists who know that humans consume too much, create too much waste, and that consumption is what drives real destruction of the environment, not climate change.


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