.The Editor’s Desk

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

Mindful Meditation has been a buzzword of late, but our cover story by writer DNA, is more buzz than cliche. (Yes, that’s his legal name!)

The focus is on Joe Clements, a punk rocker who fell into drug abuse, a path anyone who watches celebrity biopics knows all too well. But Clements pulled out of his downward spiral before a fatal mind crash.

And now, the beauty part, he’s helping so many others recover and thrive. We all love happy endings and the best is like a Horatio Alger story, going from the bottom to the top. The true winners are those who remember where they came from and help others achieve their goals.

We salute Clements for that and we salute DNA for bringing him to our attention.

Anyone who looks around knows we are in a frightful place because of drug abuse and the ease with which we can be addicted.

secure document shredding

If you followed the news last week, you heard Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s chilling  address to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

“More than 40 percent of the American people know someone who has died from an opioid overdose,” he said.  “Synthetic drugs are now the number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 45.”

The message hits too close to home right here in our beautiful cul-de-sac of a county and it’s a problem that money alone can’t solve. It takes people like Clements willing to reach a hand down and lift up others who are struggling. Actions like that put the good in Good Times.

In other must-read news, the Live Oak School District lost its leader, after fallout from some bad financial moves. I’m afraid schools will be in the news more than ever, as we see attendance dropping because families can’t afford houses here. It’s also distressing to see administrators making hundreds of thousands of dollars while teachers are paid minimum wages.

When did kids become so unimportant?

And we looked in on families recovering a year after the Pajaro flood. Would things have moved more quickly in a more affluent community?

If you like American, Mexican and Italian food, you won’t want to miss a tucked-away location featured in our Foodie File  by sleuth Andrew Steingrube. I thought I knew this county pretty well, but every week he manages to point me to something new. Do you have suggestions for him? Let us know at ed****@we*****.com

And then there’s a great column by Elizabeth Borelli, steering us to a book, restaurant and Bookshop Santa Cruz talk by Toriano Gordon, who has mastered the art of cooking meatless soul food. Who knew?

Thanks for reading.

Brad Kava | Editor

Photo Contest

SPRING SPRANG Wild mustard thrives in between rows of apple trees in the Pajaro Valleymarking the first day of Spring Tuesday. Photograph by Tarmo Hannula

Good Idea

Pajaro Valley Unified School District on Friday named its new superintendent, Heather Contreras, who spent the last four years as the Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership for Modesto City Schools, with roughly 30,000 students.

Contreras holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from CSU Stanislaus, and has been serving in education for 22 years.

Her experience includes teaching primary, intermediate and junior high school grades, serving as a site administrator at several schools and district office leadership for the past seven years.

Good Work

An unveiling was held last week at the completion of Willowbrook Park in Aptos for Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller who was gunned down in June, 2022 while on duty.The long-standing park, on Willowbrook Lane near Cabrillo College, was a common place for Gutzwiller to visit with friends, family and his dog, Shasta. He grew up in Santa Cruz County, owned his first home in the  Willowbrook neighborhood and served with the Sheriff’s Office for 14 years.

The park features benches, a kid’s play area, restrooms, new paths, signage, barbeques stations, a fountain, a new flagpole and seven metal plaques with words of honor for Gutzwiller and service to the community.

Quote of the Week

“It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country”
Donald Trump speculating on losing the 2024 election


  1. yes, i have said this before, but it bears repeating. The town of Pajaro has been the unwanted stepchild of Monterey county for more than 100 years. The fact that most of the people who live there are Mexican, are farmworkers , have little formal education and are financially poor has everything to do with their shabby treatment. Pajaro residents are part of our larger community. They deserve the same opportunity to live a good life and the same dignity that EVERY resident of Monterey county deserves. The farmworkers who live in Pajaro work very hard to harvest the crops that make mililons of dollars for both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
    As I represent both parts of Watsonville and all of the northern part of Monterey county on the Cabrillo college board of trustees, I am proud to represent the people of Pajaro. I do not share the attitude that elitism and classism are acceptable if you speak limited English, do not have a college degree and do not have a Tesla in the driveway. While we do not have any current employees who live in Pajaro, we do have students. I will not keep quiet and allow our Pajaro residents be treated as second class, whether they are Cabrillo students or not.
    By the way, if you are looking for historical verification for this, look no further than the Watsonville city historical museum or some of the works of John Steinbeck. it is all there.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Good Times E-edition Good Times E-edition
music in the park san jose