How far do we want to support freedom of expression? As the editor who reads all the letters sent to us, I have to decide, when is hate appropriate? Do we print hateful letters to show people what’s out there, while giving the writers a chance to voice their opinions, or do we ignore them and let them send their views to Fox “News”?
I’ve got one sitting here that turns my stomach, but at least the writer put his name and address on it, so he’s willing to stand up for his opinions. This is from Thomas Hammer, of West Cliff Drive.
“I just read an article about the damage to the Black Lives Matter street art in front of the city building.
This really bothers me, not because someone defaced a sign of a debunked useless bankrupt organization but the fact that this is such an important issue when a block away on Pacific Ave we can’t even walk down the street without walking over filthy unruly homeless people, random people playing music so loud you can’t hear yourself think, filthy disgusting sidewalks and NEVER a cop in sight. I think the Mayor and the City of Santa Cruz needs to get its priorities straight.
The true victims are the locals and the business owners, not the proponents of Black Lives Matter!
Bernie Escalante, the police chief, says Santa Cruz should be a safe place for all individuals. Obviously he NEVER goes down Pacific Ave!”
There. I printed it. But should I have? I totally disagree with the sentiments. I love downtown and feel safe there. I’ve brought my kids there and they’ve seen it all. But there’s no city that doesn’t have problems. Of course the part that bothers me most is his false criticism of Black Lives Matter, an organization with the intention of bringing unity to all of us. Letters like this only bring division.
Your thoughts, please?
County Parks Friends has launched a public-private campaign to raise $1 million for a universally accessible playground at Jade Street Park in partnership with the City of Capitola. Universally accessible playgrounds are designed so children of all abilities can play with their friends and families without encountering barriers to play found at other, typical playgrounds. The city has plans to fund the balance of the estimated $1.79 million project. The community is invited to submit name ideas for the playground by August 31.
Summer traffic has slowed down drivers around the county, but for those heading from 41st through Soquel Drive, prepare for more stops. Commuters already know this stretch has been stop-and-go lately, but prepare for more congested lanes as construction continues this week. The project is to construct north and southbound auxiliary lanes and bus-on-shoulder improvements on Highway 1 between the 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive interchanges and to construct a new bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing at Chanticleer Avenue.
“War is created by those too old to fight for those too young to die”
PREPARING FOR SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ISN’T THE ANSWER
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.
KEEP THE X-WORD
1) Please keep running the NYT crossword!!!! It is a primary reason that I pick up the Good Times every week, but your content keeps me reading. There is nothing like solving the puzzle in print, rather than online.
2) I like the Street Talk column. I hope readers keep in mind that the views expressed are not necessarily representative of the public as a whole, but are merely thought-provoking. You’ve probably asked this before, but questions that solicit praise about our area are always uplifting, such as “What’s your favorite thing about living in Santa Cruz County?”
3) I enjoy both the wine column and the cannabis column. I’d like to see the wine column expanded to something like “Libations,” and include interesting drinks offered in the area (maybe even highlight specific restaurants), and include special mixed alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (such as those offered by Makai), juices, bobas, etc. I’d also enjoy more coverage of “south county” (e.g, Aptos and Watsonville) establishments.
Thanks so much for involving us, and cheers to more success for you and Good Times.
La Selva Beach
~ As you said, there is great music nightly. Short show reviews? Maybe short snippets from audience members. Rock, Jazz, Country, Classical, etc. That was Brad’s wheelhouse before.
~ Restaurant reviews: Want to know best/worst deals on menu. Best dishes and those that need improvement. Rate prices by 1 to 4 $ signs.
~ Winery reviews. Review sit down tastings. How much? What tasted? A little back history or owners. Case deals or other specials. Dog quotient.
~ Beach and park reviews. Deep dive what each locale has to offer.
Honor the Otter
I think we should change the name of Cabrillo College to Otter 841 College. No one would object to that.
— Robert Garon