.Opinion: What Happens When a Community Prioritizes an Issue


We have been writing about the “digital divide”—that line separating technology’s haves and have-nots—for years. Even more so in the pandemic, during which we’ve reported on, for instance, the 30% of Santa Cruz County kids whose families didn’t have internet access at home when the pandemic started, making it difficult or impossible for them to participate in distance learning.  

What’s usually missing in stories about the digital divide is a clear sense of what can be done about it. Like so many of the issues in this country rooted in race and class, it is often treated like a foregone conclusion—if there are haves, there are going to be have-nots, and that’s just the way it is.

What’s so important about Liza Monroy’s cover story this week is that it shows what happens when people from different sectors of the community question why it has to be that way, and then work together to figure out how they can change it. Now, you might say this is an only-in-Santa-Cruz kind of story—where else is there going to be a local, independent internet service provider like Cruzio that cares about social justice, a local philanthropic organization like Community Foundation Santa Cruz County that understands the importance of this issue and is willing to prioritize it, and a school system that can work with them? But I’d argue that it is possible to replicate the success that the resulting partnership Equal Access Santa Cruz County has had, and that’s why I’m excited to get this story out there on our cover this week.

Also, a quick note about my cover story on Jordan Graham’s new film last week: Several readers wrote to scold me for mentioning the Moon Rocks in Bonny Doon without including that they are not open to the public, and there are fines for trespassing. All true, so don’t go there! It’s guarded by Sator anyway, from what I hear, and that guy is bad news.




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Speaker: J.R. Blair

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Most plants, about 90% of all species, maintain a symbiotic relationship with fungi at the roots. Those relationships are called mycorrhizae and are usually mutualistic; that is, both members of the relationship benefit, although there are exceptions to that rule. J.R. Blair will introduce the mycorrhizal relationship, discuss the benefits that the plant and fungal partner receive, and present the various types found in nature. He will also talk about some of the more recent scientific revelations of this fascinating biological phenomenon.

J.R. Blair’s active interest in mycology began with his MS at SFSU in 1999. Since then he has been an active member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, serving a two-year term as President and Fungus Fair chairperson for five years. He has taught mushroom identification workshops for mycological societies and outdoor education programs for many years. Currently he is a lecturer of biology at SFSU and is the director of the University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus.

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This Mother’s Day, the Family Service Agency encourages the community to make cards for seniors in care facilities. Many residents in these facilities may feel isolated, and cards such as Mother’s Day cards or “Thinking of You” cards can brighten their day. They are also collecting items such as crossword puzzles, word search books, adult coloring books, colored pencils and crayons. Items can be mailed to FSA/I-You Venture, 104 Walnut Ave, #208, Santa Cruz, or dropped off at the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center, Attn: FSA, 1740 17th Ave., Santa Cruz.



The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) has launched Cruz On-Demand, a new transit service that provides a shared ride experience on four to five passenger vans. The project will lead to greater transit service coverage in the county. Cruz On-Demand trips can be booked on the Ecolane App or by calling METRO’s ParaCruz Customer Service Department at 831-425-4664. 


“It is dangerously destabilizing to have half the world on the cutting edge of technology while the other half struggles on the bare edge of survival.”

-Bill Clinton


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