Letters to the Editor
Of density and decency
REGARDING "Home in the Range" (Cover Story, Jan. 14), I recently actually hung on the phone to answer questions to a "survey" when they said it was about Santa Cruz and our "quality of life." It was really about an upcoming proposal to raise utility taxes to help make up for state budget cuts to community services. Whether or not that is one of the answers, it can't be the only one. Several questions were about the county's concern to combat gang activity. Yes, absolutely all the community services they're talking about preserving are essential to that battle. But so is affordable housing. Santa Cruz County has the lowest per capita number of apartments than any county in the state. Add that to being adjacent to the one of largest per capita income industries in the world, and preserving the "quality of life" for those of us who can afford to own property will never make sense if we are destroying the quality of life for lower-income populations. Not just baristas, field workers and stock boys but nurses, teachers and law enforcement employees.
Appropriate density housing is environmentally conscious and a reasonable promising answer to the problem. Focusing that effort along transit corridors is brilliant. Look to the creative minds of the new generation of civil planners (and those open to a new paradigm) for wonderful projects that could give this area a much better reputation—being known for its green projects and taking care of our community as a whole. Yes, investors will make some money—but they will also contribute to the property tax base, employ local construction workers and serve a part of our community in dire need of an improvement to their quality of life. When I look at my situation in perspective of the state, the country, the world, I couldn't ask to be more fortunate, but the quality of my life depends on inclusion of those barely getting by, those forced to the streets, and those who work tirelessly to provide crucial services.
Thank you, Jessica, for the hopeful article.
Lisa Joseph, Santa Cruz
AS A REGULAR Santa Cruz Weekly reader, I was appalled to find an anti-LGBT slur buried in a seemingly innocuous article in your last issue. In Michael Houghton's article "Dancing King" (Cover Story, Jan. 27), the author writes, after attending zumba classes: "Sure, I still occasionally feel like a Brazilian tranny on a Carnivale float, but I'm OK with that. Those trannies are clearly having a blast."
While Mr. Houghton may have meant this comment to be lighthearted, he is clearly ignorant of the derogatory nature of the term "tranny." His comment seems to be referring to transsexual women, but "tranny" has a long and ugly history of being used as a slur against many different groups of people—including transgender women and men, gays and lesbians, and non-trans women. It is a term used to ridicule anyone who does not live up to mainstream society's expectations of gender. In fact, the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Reference Guide states that words like "tranny" "only serve to dehumanize transgender people and should never be used." In addition, for transgender readers, seeing such a word used so flippantly is an insulting and hurtful reminder of the discrimination and violence many people face because of their gender identities or expression.
In using this word in his article, Mr. Houghton shows a lack of respect for transgender people and their identities, instead turning them into the object of a joke. Using the word "tranny" is, for many trans people, akin to printing "f*ggot" or the N word. And the fact that such a derogatory word appeared in Santa Cruz Weekly suggests that the publication's editorial staff is equally unaware of the responsibility it has toward its diverse readership. I would suggest that all editors and contributors at Santa Cruz Weekly take a look at the GLAAD guide (www.glaad.org/referenceguide)and keep a copy handy next to their AP style books. I hope this is an isolated incident that you and your staff take to heart and work to correct in the future.
Austin Mamont, Santa Cruz
Rest of The Story
A FRIEND who lives in Santa Cruz sent me a poem that was printed in your paper. My grandfather, Frank Robert Brentlinger (he went by Brent), wrote the poem "Santa Cruz Has Everything—But You" (Streetsigns, Jan. 7). It first appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sunday, Sept. 5, 1926. Santa Cruz was looking for a slogan that would draw people to Santa Cruz on vacations and to live. Apparently Santa Cruz was famous for its bathing beauties and the beach, however, the powers in charge at the time wanted people to see Santa Cruz as something more. The illustration that went with the poem has a scene at the beach, someone fishing and rowing in addition to a mountain scene with trees and people on horseback. My grandfather wrote a column in which he included a lot of his poetry. He column was signed "by Brent."
Gretchen Blais (Brentlinger), Richmond
REGARDING a letter appearing here ("Misguided Colleagues," Posts, Jan. 27) and all the many conversations I've heard lately regarding our local yoga scandal, will everyone please take a deep breath, stretch, "omm" a few times and please remember that a person is innocent until proved guilty. For the love of Ganesha, accusations must not be treated as fact! Even if you think you "know they did it." It's really important to maintain this attitude. Consider it a love offering.
Daniel Mollner, Santa Cruz
Victims Should Seek Help
WE OPPOSE and renounce violence in all of its forms. Non-harming is a fundamental tenet of yoga. Unfortunately there are some yoga instructors in Santa Cruz and around the globe who may be subjecting students to verbal and physical abuse, coercion, intimidation and even sexual assault. While this may come as a surprise to some of you, there are others for whom this truth is all too real. If you or someone you know has been the victim of these or any other acts of violence, you are not alone. It is not your fault. You have trusted your body and spirit to the hands of what you perceived to be an authority in the field of yoga. If that trust has been violated in any way, then that instructor has misrepresented him/herself and the practice of yoga. Women's Crisis Support offers assistance to anyone affected by these violations. For confidential and secure support contact Women's Crisis Support—Defensa de Mujeres at 1570 Soquel Drive, 831.425.4030 or 831.685.3737, or visit www .wcs-ddm.org.
Jocelyn and Victor Dubin, Nourish Yoga and Wellness Center, Santa Cruz
In last week's guide to yoga studios, we printed an incorrect phone number for Nourish Yoga and Wellness Center. The correct number is 831.429.9355. We apologize for the error.
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