.Opinion March 7, 2018


Many years back we did a cover story at Metro Santa Cruz about the supposed “Curse of Santa Cruz,” which local legend says was placed on this area by Native Americans who suffered under the truly unwoke, not-at-all-understanding-the-principles-of-their-own-religion Franciscan priests who established the mission here. I remember thinking the oddest thing about this urban legend is that it never really specified what the curse was supposed to do, or who it was supposed to affect.

However, I have a theory. I think whatever bad juju has been circulating around this place over the years disproportionately falls on Santa Cruz musicians, because man it is tough to make it here. I’ve seen so many great bands build up to a critical mass of popularity here in the bubble of the Santa Cruz scene, and then be completely unable to turn that into any kind of meaningful success beyond the city limits. Of course there are exceptions (looking at you, Good Riddance and Devil Makes Three), but it’s happened so many times now I’m not even surprised anymore when a Santa Cruz act that seems primed for bigger success calls it quits in frustration or just kind of fades away.

So if local musicians with big dreams get the chance, they should get out while they can, right? Not necessarily. Many extremely talented musicians have been faced with this choice and decided to stay here and make it work however they can.

This is the dilemma that AJ Lee is up against right now, as Aaron Carnes describes in his cover story this week. She dreamt of moving to Nashville to pursue music-industry success, but then her roots band Blue Summit got big fast on the local scene. The remarkable way that she and the other members of the band have navigated these issues speaks, I think, to a larger point about how truly supportive friendships and artistic collaborations are the real stuff of big dreams.



Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Cabrillo Students Deserve Early 71 and 91 Buses

In 2017, the Cabrillo College ballot approved an obligatory fee of $40 per semester, enabling students to have a bus pass whether or not students planned to use the bus. Collectively, the fee accumulates to around $300,000 per year. The objective of the fee is to support the 71 and 91 bus routes for students to access Cabrillo from their home communities. Many students of Cabrillo College are asking for one early 71 bus and one early 91 bus to leave from Santa Cruz toward Watsonville by 6:30 a.m. Though there are several buses leaving Watsonville for Santa Cruz as early as 5:34 a.m., the earliest bus leaving Santa Cruz is at 6:45 a.m. This is an excellent example of services offered to the Watsonville community that could also be offered to help communities of Santa Cruz who regularly use the public transportation system.

Many students of Cabrillo are parents who work and need to be able to bring their families to school before their classes or work begin. Most parents use the Soquel corridor to drop their children in the morning at school or to bring them to doctors’ appointments at the hospital. We are asking please for your empathy, compassion, and to consider how a simple decision can be made to prevent disenfranchisement of student rights, student money, and to ensure that the vote of each student be counted. Please make a wise decision and remember that this decision is in your head, in your hands, in your heart, in your name, and in my name too. Please, we don’t want Proposition 69 [on the state ballot in June], a transfer of the fees paid to the general funds of METRO, because it could hurt our rights.

Ofelia Gomez | Santa Cruz


Re: “Puppy Love” (GT, 2/7): Santa Cruz County is a great place to share life with a dog. You can shop with your dog in Downtown Santa Cruz and Capitola Village; there are more than 50 dog-friendly restaurants, plenty of on-leash beaches and trails, plus our animal rescue organizations are the best. We have some of the most spectacular areas to take our furry friends. Have you been to Byrne-Milliron Forest in Corralitos? It’s off-leash with amazing views.

Being off-leash and socialized has been proven to make dogs better canine citizens. I agree we need more off-leash opportunities throughout the county. Almost half the county households have at least one dog. By the numbers: there are 12 off-leash dog areas throughout the county and around 55,000 dogs (based on 2007 Census). That is 4,584 dogs per dog park! That doesn’t count the “tourist dogs” (37 percent of visitors travel with their pooch).

When we lost off-leash at Its Beach, the City of Santa Cruz stepped up and created little “pocket dog parks” throughout the city, including some permanent agility equipment (check out the “dog walk” in Bethany Curve Park). It would be nice if City Parks would make Mitchell’s Cove off-leash sunrise to sunset. At this point, it is time for the county to step up and provide more off-leash opportunities. So, Eva Rider (Letters, 2/14), if you want to make a difference, go talk to County Parks and the Board of Supervisors about creating more opportunities.

To those who don’t like off-leash dogs: you aren’t getting enough oxytocin! You need a dog!

Whitney Wilde | Santa Cruz


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With a proposal on the table to open up the California coast for offshore oil drilling, Save Our Shores is making a final push to get ocean lovers to comment on the plan from U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, an appointee of President Donald Trump. A call to action from Santa Cruz’s environmental nonprofit reminds people that they have until Friday, March 9, to express their views on the idea. Visit regulations.gov to comment, or visit saveourshores.org for more information.


The all-volunteer group Free Books for Kids gave away 1,302 books by Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, which fell on Friday, March 2. Malcolm Kushner, a retired teacher who created the group in 2014, says the books went to five elementary schools from Santa Cruz to Watsonville, in addition to the Live Oak Health Center and Santa Cruz Reading Association. The group has now given out more than 88,000 books.


“Everyone has learned how to monetize music except the music industry.”

-Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy


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