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April 18-25, 2007

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Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Form vs. Function

CULTURAL IMPULSES are never successfully repressed; we push them down and they just bob back to the surface somewhere else. FREUD said that, and like everything else he said about REPRESSION, he knew his stuff.

And a particularly tragic example of that is happening right now, even as another EARTH DAY approaches, to the great cause of our time: environmentalism.

Older Nūz readers might remember the volleys of contempt that AESTHETES launched against EARLY ENVIRONMENTALISTS. "No one," repeatedly claimed one ubiquitous food industry radio rep, mocking the idea of chemical-free natural foods, "is going to buy peanut butter that needs STIRRING." Recycling bins "would never be accepted by any neighborhood concerned with a DECENT appearance." And so on.

Luckily for the planet, and PARTICULARLY THE OCEANS, which are the ULTIMATE STORAGE TANKS FOR RUNOFF PESTICIDES AND ERODED PLASTIC TRASH, environmentalists managed to overcome the aesthetes.

But now, they've BOBBED BACK UP--within the environmentalist movement itself--and threaten much of the progress being made in saving us from our own EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION of fossil fuels.

A minor but familiar example is the struggle over the ARANA GULCH BRIDGE/BICYCLE PATH. Environmentalists who focus on human-powered, fuel-free transportation would like one built, so as to complete the COUNTY'S LOOPED BIKE AND WALKING TRAIL. Those who focus on SPECIES PRESERVATION would like it to be less intrusive on tar plants.

But right in the middle is a group of neighbors who insist that THE MERE EXISTENCE OF A BRIDGE--no matter how narrow--ruins their PRISTINE VIEW OF THE GULCH, and who have managed to add years of time and millions of dollars in cost to the bikeway by insisting on a RUBE GOLDBERG-style multiangled descending/ascending project to spare their views.

That, however, is SMALL POTATOES--even if organic locally grown potatoes from heritage seed--compared to the struggle now emerging over the LARGEST ALTERNATIVE-ENERGY PROJECT in United Sates history, made to clean up the dirtiest air in the nation--which may never be built due to aesthetic objections.

Nūz will report on that project--called the GREEN PATH--next week.

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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