.Opinion March 29, 2017


There are some things that seem like they must always have been true about Santa Cruz, but some of GT’s cover stories lately have taken a closer look at our assumptions. For instance, Mat Weir’s piece a few weeks back about the police raid on a birthing center in the 1970s let the air out of the simplistic notion that Santa Cruz has always been a bastion of reproductive rights and women’s liberation.

This week’s cover story by Geoff Drake is startling in a similar way—doesn’t it seem like a progressive mountain bike advocacy group must have existed in Santa Cruz before 1997? And yet, as Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz celebrates its 20th anniversary, Drake’s story lays out all the ways that the group was indeed revolutionary in its vision for promoting both the sport and the local trail system. The MBoSC battle to reclaim Heroin Hill is one of those Santa Cruz stories that should be widely known. As usual, behind the popular notion that Santa Cruz is a biker’s paradise is a more interesting real story of cyclist activists in Santa Cruz—lovers of the sport and the local landscape who have dedicated themselves to building and increasing access to trails—who made it that way.



Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Down the Memory Hole

In Mr. Kettmann’s article (GT, 3/1) comparing George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 to the arrival of the Trump presidency, he paints Mr. Trump as the new “Big Brother,” and as a petty, petulant, totalitarian bigot, woman-hating, life-hating (that’s a new one), reality TV curiosity (not as someone who worked his ass off for decades to build a multi-billion dollar business empire), and a liar (despite keeping all his campaign promises) whose presidency is an “assault on decency.” Of course, in his very emotional and slanderous picture of the president, he brings absolutely zero quotations or documentary evidence to back up his assertions of blind hatred for a man he has never met.

He implies that we all woke up on Nov. 9 to the reality of a full-surveillance-style police state; however, that has been a reality for Americans and others around the world for quite some time now. The Edward Snowden revelations about unchecked NSA surveillance of everybody occurred during the “Big Brother” Obama administration.

He also seems to have overlooked the historical fact that in 1948, Orwell was warning us about the dystopian world of left-wing communist-Marxist totalitarianism (INGSOC), i.e. he was warning us about the modern intolerant, totalitarian, and violent “regressive left.”

Kettman writes of the two closely related phenomena of “thought control” and “the distortions of language,” which in fact we now find in the “cultural Marxist” world of the modern “newspeak” movement, i.e. the modern cult of political correctness championed by the New Left.

Regarding the Orwellian news “memory hole” and “doublethink,” does he remember back in 2014 when the people of Crimea held a peaceful national referendum on whether or not to rejoin the Republic of Russia (the “Yes” vote was 95.5 percent) after the Obama administration orchestrated a Neo-Nazi-led coup d’état against the democratically elected government of Ukraine, costing U.S. taxpayers $6 billion for the whole operation? I’ll bet that he is completely unaware of this historical fact and actually believes that Crimea is now part of Russia due to “Russian military aggression,” a thoroughly debunked myth which the corporate fake news media still refuses to admit was a total lie. They dropped the facts down the “memory hole” to prop up their false narrative of “Russian aggression” in order to support the warmongering neoconservatives’ plan for World War III against Russia, which the current president is trying to avoid by peacefully normalizing U.S.-Russia relations. When he (and all life on Earth) does not die of radiation poisoning in the next six months, he might want to send the president a little thank you note.

E. Campbell

Santa Cruz

Steve Kettman responds: I would like to thank J.E. Campbell for his letter, the publication of which does demonstrate that we live in a society which allows for wide, wide latitude of expression, unlike in Orwell’s fictional ‘1984.’ That said, I am no less alarmed now than when I wrote the original piece by the daily assault on honesty and reality by Trump and his crowd. One day, his gimlet-eyed spokesman is blaming the British for a fantasy “wiretap” of Trump, the next day Trump is startling the visiting German Chancellor by claiming he and Frau Merkel have “something in common” in both being wiretapped by the Obama administration. This is not doublethink. This is beyond doublethink.



Last week’s cover story (“Warming Trend,” 3/22), reported that the Homeless Services Center shuttered its shelters in July 2015, but not that they re-opened two weeks later. We regret the error.


secure document shredding

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The Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) has taken a step that it hopes will increase transparency and community trust: Deputy Chief Rick Martinez announced last week that the agency is reinstating its Santa Cruz Police Chief’s Advisory Committee. The group will give input into the department’s policies, strategies, and priorities. The 14-member body has members representing a variety of perspectives, including public safety, diversity, homelessness, mental health, education, faith communities, and social services.


Construction on the Branciforte Creek bicycle and pedestrian bridge project finally began earlier this week. The last piece in Santa Cruz’s five-mile river walk, the linkage will go under the Soquel Avenue Bridge and over Branciforte Creek. City leaders first conceived the plan 30 years ago, but continued to put it off while they looked for funds. A Caltrans Active Transportation Program grant is funding $1.8 million in construction, with another $600,000 coming from local gas taxes.


“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.”

-Mark Twain


  1. New Leaf, A Community Market In Name Only
    It used to be that New Leaf Community Market prided itself in being a part of the community, a business that cared for its patrons by providing them with natural foods which were wholesome, nutritious, and primarily locally produced.
    New Leaf cared about the seniors living in the community by providing a senior discount to those in their mid 60’s or later. Then, a few years ago, New Leaf changed its senior discount policy to allowing the discount only on Wednesdays.
    This may seem like an innocuous change, but the ramifications soon became apparent. Many seniors have issues unlike the general population such as transportation, fixed income, memory impairment to name just a few.
    For me, the issue became upfront and personal this past week when I postponed shopping for three days so I could purchase one of the more costly items I buy, Strauss Whole Milk Greek Yogurt. I did my shopping, stocking up on many items to last a week but New Leaf was out of stock – delivery scheduled for Thursday. I was told that I could not receive a “rain check” to purchase the item the next day for the senior discount.
    Sorry, out of luck!
    It’s only a matter of time until the “senior discount” is eliminated entirely due to “business reasons” I’m sure.
    There is a glimmer of hope, however. Staff of Life still allows a senior discount every day: 5% Friday through Monday, 10% Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
    Now, I ask you, who is the real Community Market?


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