.Opinion: An Enlightening Look at Pandemic Lessons


Anniversaries usually come and go in a day, or at most a commemorative week, but the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic might take another year to fully process. It doesn’t help that the first news of it came in January, and then worsened over several months—it’s far easier to commemorate the first anniversary of, say, March’s lockdown than it is the pandemic as a whole. Add to that the fact that it feels like we’ve been slogging through this for many, many years, and suddenly a one-year retrospective maybe doesn’t seem so important.

But it is. We’ve been through a lot, but we’ve learned a lot, too. And Tony Nuñez’s cover story this week gives people from many different sectors of our community a chance to talk about those lessons, and about what they hope for going forward. I found it both comprehensive and enlightening.

It’s also important to celebrate the signs of our improving situations, and here at GT we have one this week: Our longtime film reviewer Lisa Jensen is back! As with so many things, we’re going to be figuring out how to cover film as we go, but I’m so glad we can cover films again, and that Lisa has returned to contributing reviews. 




Read the latest letters to the editor here.


Re: Hen Harbor

Yes cockfighting is cruel and terrible, but so is creating animals and then not allowing them to live anywhere. Roosters crow at the same decibel range as a dog, and they can be just as sweet and cuddly. The biggest problem here is the breeders that carelessly breed these animals without considering that they will most likely be killed either by being left for a predator or euthanized at a shelter. It’s unethical to bring these animals into existence without a safe place for them to live. By all means, go after the cockfighters, but we also need to place restrictions on breeders, they’re just as responsible. And we should not be punishing people like Ariana who just want to give these sweet boys the life that they deserve. The city should be ashamed of themselves for going after her.

— Alyson


The proposed ordinance is absurd. Either it should be wholeheartedly defeated or modified to specifically target perpetrators of cockfighting. Heroes such as Ms. Heumer should be exempt from this ordinance, as should poultry enthusiasts. Chickens are brilliant companions, and make great guardians for flocks. They are as, if not more, intelligent and sentient than dogs. They can pick up cues from their pet-parents. People should really consider keeping them as pets, and ordinances should be passed allowing people to do this.

Moreover, lobbyists should fight for legislation that would impose a tax on chicks sold at hatcheries to generate revenues to fund the operation of facilities such as Hen Harbor. Hen Harbor is an asset to the community. It keeps chickens out of municipal parks, streets, and actually lowers the city’s cost and burden on animal control. The city’s tax dollars should not be wasted on euthanizing chickens that can be nurtured by volunteer operations [like] Ms. Heumer’s. Please support Hen Harbor for the service it provides to the County of Santa Cruz.

— Nazma Sultan


This ordinance is totally misguided, extremely ignorant and harmful. If the proposer of this law really cared about the roosters that have fallen victim to cockfighting, he would work with Ariana to strengthen her aims and objectives since she is one of the only ones to care about the welfare and ethical treatment of roosters as well as other oppressed and exploited beings. She truly gives them a second chance at life. This ordinance would inflict another injustice on one of the most mistreated and abused groups of beings: roosters. I am very grateful to Ariana and Hen Harbor for every act of their compassion for the most vulnerable living beings in our society. Thank you so much.



[Editor’s note: Hen Harbor shared this update following our coverage of the proposed limits on roosters: “Thanks to public input, the proposed ordinance has been modified to target only gamecocks and no other breed of roosters. Pet roosters are safe for now!”]


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In honor of May’s designation as Affordable Housing Month, Housing Santa Cruz County—a broad coalition of individuals, nonprofit and for-profit businesses, homelessness organizations and many other organizations—is holding a series of virtual panels. In addition to a presentation by five local government leaders addressing affordable housing needs, other events include a webinar on existing affordable housing options and projects in the pipeline. Interested participants can access a full calendar of events at housingsantacruzcounty.com/affordable-housing-month.



Among the casualties of the devastating 2020 wildfires was Camp Krem, a nonprofit charity in the Santa Cruz Mountains that supports thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The fires caused extensive damage, destroying 30 of the 32 camp structures. Now, Camp Krem aims to rebuild and continue offering programs to the community it serves. “We are keenly focused on fundraising to rebuild,” says Camp Krem Chairman Alex Krem. To donate or to volunteer to help with the rebuilding, visit campingunlimited.org/donate.


“I’ve got some bad news and I’ve got some good news. Nothing lasts forever.”

-Kate McGahan


  1. Hen Harbor is not the lovey, sweet happy place they try to paint themselves as. I volunteered with Hen Harbor regularly for years; I was their “right hand woman” in some ways; I was physically there with the owner, Ariana Huemer, more than anyone else for years. Hen Harbor’s chief support base is comprised of people that are not local, and that have NOT regularly been to her facility. At best, a rare handful of online supporters have visited her facility once or twice, certainly not several times a week for years straight, like me.

    In recent years, Huemer has deteriorated her once-compassionate ambition into a desperate means of maintaining income under the guise of helping underserved animal species.
    Huemer began confessing to me, along with photo proof, of multiple instances in which she intentionally kills roosters in her care. She hates roosters (word for word what she has written to me and said in person countless times).

    Huemer has tried to bribe locals to bring her excess unwanted roosters to local butcher farms. Multiple people from the Bay Area have come forward about her trying to do this.

    Want a second opinion? Ask “Animal Place”, the well-known rescue facility also located in California. Like me, Animal Place was in support of Huemer’s endeavors. But after recently visiting her facility regularly to help with evacuation efforts, that opinion has changed. The birds in Huemer’s care are in abysmal conditions of neglect.m, heavily infested with parasites and constantly suffering from ongoing episodes of mycoplasmosis (respiratory difficulties/discharge from the eyes and nares).

    If you’d like to see some of the proof, you can go to “Hen Harbor Uncensored” on Facebook.


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