.The Editor’s Desk

Our editor’s note, readers’ letters, and the quote, photo and good things of the week

Editorial Note

Santa Cruz California editor of good times news media print and web
Brad Kava | Good Times Editor

For most people the “Dog Days of Summer” refers to the heat and humidity of July and August, but there’s another meaning for journalists. With schools and government closed and so many people on vacation, we are hard pressed to find hard news. And that’s when the animal stories come out.

We avoided dogs this issue, but we’ve got a couple of four-legged stories, including a truly amazing one about how horses can help cure serious mental problems. This is one that will really blow your mind. Writer Richard Stockton talks to people who have had amazing life-changing experiences with half-ton equine friends. I promise you will never look at a horse the same way after reading it.

And I thought Mr. Ed was fiction.

Our second beastly bash by the ever brilliant Mat Weir is about how climate change is affecting the people who try and save animals. It’s scary and sad, as is everything about climate change. I know we wish we could put our heads in the sand and wish it away, but every day we see the evidence that we are on a scathingly slippery slope toward horror.

Sorry to ruin your mellow. But on the positive side, at least there are people who care and are working to help give sanctuary to endangered animals. We salute them. Take a good read and let us know what you think.

Read on, MacDuff, and thanks for sharing the news with us.

Please send comments, ideas and opinions to le*****@go*******.sc

Good Idea

Dental Dignity

Dientes is celebrating National Health Center Week by honoring those providing oral health for disadvantaged residents. Only 1 in 3 low-income residents receiving Medi-Cal can access the dentist, according to the organization. As the largest dental provider in the county, Dientes is working to address the issue and has opened two new clinics in Harvey West and Live Oak. They are expecting to serve 16,000 patients this year, a 30% growth over last year.

Good Work

Pool Pups

The 8th annual Parks & Rex Pool Party Fundraiser takes place Saturday Aug. 19 from 11am to 4pm at the Simpkins Family Swim Center. The event celebrates the deep bond between people and pets, providing an opportunity for dogs to enjoy the water in a safe environment. Proceeds will go to Santa Cruz County initiatives such as free veterinary care for underserved pet owners and scholarship support for youth recreation programs and services.

Photo Contest

SAND SCULPTING — Aerial perspective to commemorate Woodies on the Wharf on June 24. Photograph by Craig Ferguson.

Quote of the Week

“If you want to change the world,
change education.”
— Nelson Mandela —



As our country emerges from the grips of the pandemic, our kids and communities still have needs to be met. And yet, with all this in mind, Republican extremists in the House of Representatives are working to slash funding as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill. Now is the time to address our kids’ challenges, not ignore them.

If their bill passes, it would cut funding to $63.8 billion dollars from education, slash Title 1 grants by 80% and cut billions from programs assisting English language learners, Head Start, IDEA and more, devastating millions of students who attend these schools.

Make no mistake: These cuts are a wholesale attack on public schools—the schools that 90% of our country’s children attend.

But the cuts won’t stop there. The House bill would decimate funding for job training, cancer research, health initiatives for mental health, opioid use, HIV/Aids and more. It would continue the Republican party’s attacks on women’s health by cutting programs to support maternal health, eliminating programs that provide contraception and health services and would add amendments to push their draconian agenda on banning abortion and making reproductive healthcare harder to access.

The education, health and economic opportunity of our nation are of the utmost importance. The fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill should be growing investments in these areas, not making draconian cuts that decimate the public services our students, families and communities rely on. I strongly urge our lawmakers to reject this bill.

Patrice Wallace


I’m reaching out for a little help. I’m a mom of two young kids who lives in Pleasure Point. We frequent the two-six beach and have watched multiple precarious situations arise due to this crossing area of East Cliff near Moran Lake Beach. Cars whip around the curve at racing speeds with little time to stop while people, kids and dogs are on the road. Further, the crosswalk itself is not painted in the area people are crossing.

I’ve contacted Manu, Parks & Rec and also FEMA only to learn there are no funds for an upgrade. However, I’ve been approved by Parks & Rec to fundraise and they’ve guaranteed to use the funds to re-paint the crosswalk and add a flashing beacon. Save Pleasure Point has been helpful getting my message out and the Point Market generously let me post a fundraiser sign in their window.

Other than that, I am just a one mama show going door to door, putting flyers in mailboxes and spreading the message on my dog walks. I’ve raised $6k towards my $20k goal and am wondering if you’d do a story on this or post the situation on your Instagram account. I don’t have much social media presence but really need a platform to spread the word.

It’s unfortunate the county doesn’t have the funds, but if I can get 400 people to donate $50 then we can make a huge difference. Maybe even save a life. This means a lot to me and I’d really appreciate your help.

Donations can be made via GoFundMe

Thanks for your consideration,

Vanessa Young

Eliminating the need to “prepare for the worst.”

I am a local educator with 30+ years of experience in public schools K-graduate school. My career has seen the rise of school shootings in the USA from 63 total school shooting incidents in the decade of the 80s to 261 incidents in the 2010s. The 2020s are poised to outstrip the previous decade with 141 school shooting incidents so far since 2020. (source: Wikipedia)

I respect and appreciate our local law enforcement and public safety agencies working together to try to “prepare for the worst” at our schools. My response is in no way meant as a criticism of these agencies. I know that they are doing their best to address a violent and dangerous social and cultural phenomenon and to try to protect our communities.

At the same time, as a parent and an educator I find the very fact that this type of drill is necessary to be the problem. Over the past decade or so I have been in many real “code red” lockdown situations at various school sites in PVUSD. I have been through several different versions of teacher training to prepare for a school shooting. If you have ever been locked alone in a room for an hour with 26 terrified 6-year-olds, or in a room with 50 terrified middle schoolers lying on the floor in the dark, you would know that drills are not the answer.

Our school sites are not equipped with some of the basic facilities needed to provide real protection. A few examples: Lack of perimeter fencing OR lack of ability for staff to open that fencing if they needed to flee. Inoperable windows that cannot be opened or broken if an escape is needed, or that are too high or too small to use as escape routes. Poor cell service hindering communication. The list goes on. Add to this the fact that most school staff are NOT first responders, not physically or psychologically inclined, or capable of suddenly possessing the skills and knowledge of trained military or police. Nor should we be. Finally, the drills and photos/news like the one in your story, only serve to traumatize students, while doing little to nothing to truly keep them safe.

The ONLY sensible and effective way to reduce school shootings is to eliminate the need to “prepare for the worst.” How? Enact reasonable gun control laws. Reinstate or grow, comprehensive, affordable public health/mental health programs and place school counselors and nurses full time at every school site. Focus on preventing the incidents in the first place.

The reality is this: There is no way to “prepare for the worst,” as incidents have shown us again and again. We are deluding ourselves, and normalizing school shootings to boot, if we think otherwise.

Caitlin Johnston



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