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June 18-25, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

Slanted Right-Wing Propaganda

METRO SANTA CRUZ masquerades as a local progressive paper. Unfortunately, its reputation is beginning to come under a cloud. The paper too often tries to put a reactionary spin on stories that involve progressive issues. In the June 11 edition, there are two typical examples.In an item about the inauguration of UCSC Chancellor Blumenthal ("Chief Blumenthal," Nu_z), the paper states "AFSCME (a UCSC union) protestors were, as always, on hand."

This is completely untrue, and from the language any competent reporter or editor should have known better even without bothering to check the facts: "always" is the tip-off.

This union, representing some of the workers at UCSC, is not ALWAYS protesting--not even USUALLY protesting. They were protesting because UC refuses to pay comparable wages for the work and a contract is in the process of being negotiated.

Strange how the university can ALWAYS find lots of money for higher ups as well as additionally created positions such as "Directors" and fill these highly paid positions (without bothering to follow their own personnel policies) but usually claims lack of funds when it comes to workers' salaries. A glaring example of this was several years ago when the clericals were forced to take a multi-year wage freeze due to a claimed lack of funds, while their bosses received a 24 percent raise. So Metro Santa Cruz sucks up management's story and gives UC's positions a nice spin with snide comments about the protesters.

In another instance of this type of bias in the same issue, in a piece about the proposed Rispin Mansion development in Capitola ("Hotel Capitola," News&Views), Metro Santa Cruz attempts to trivialize concerns of the local group Save the Habitat. The paper uses phrases like "litter scattered EVERYWHERE" and "graffiti on EVERY surface" [my capitals] to rationalize the cutting of 18 trees and allowing a sewer line and part of two buildings in a conservation easement, just to expedite the project. Metro Santa Cruz then waxes on that the developer is only "following his dreams."

I say to Metro Santa Cruz, "Quit dreaming and get real with your readers." We deserve better reporting than these attempts at slanted right-wing propaganda.

In the interest of fairness, the recent article on local biodiesel, by Molly Zapp, was a rare breath of fresh air for your paper. Hopefully she is available to edit the Nūz and the News&Views columns, which are particularly egregious.

Fred Geiger,
Santa Cruz

Positive Before Positive Was Cool

WE, THE OWNERS and employees of Camouflage, are writing to address the article titled "Cedar Street Blue" (Nūz) in the June 11 issue of Metro Santa Cruz, about the opening of a new adult store downtown. In that article the owner of the new store, Amy Baldwin, described her new store as "the only store in town that can call itself sex-positive."

While Ms. Baldwin is certainly welcome to her opinion, we are disappointed that the Metro Santa Cruz reporter chose not to ask us our opinion about that matter. We strongly disagree with the assertion that Ms. Baldwin's store is the only sex-positive store in town.

Camouflage, in fact, has been a champion of the idea that pleasurable, consensual sex is a basic human right, regardless of gender, orientation, or age, since, well, since before Ms. Baldwin was born.

Camouflage regularly donates time, products and money to support and educate the GLBTI groups on the UCSC campus and around town, and has always prided itself on being a gender-neutral, orientation-neutral organization.

Camouflage employees strive to be well-educated in matters of human sexuality, as well as the products we sell. This is part of our effort to offer a safe, comfortable atmosphere where the public can discuss sensitive topics and receive educated answers to their questions.

As such, we definitely consider ourselves a sex-positive store, and work every day to ensure that continues to be the case. In fact, given that the term "sex-positive" became a part of popular culture back in the 1980s and '90s, we consider ourselves to be the original sex-positive store in Santa Cruz.

We wish Ms. Baldwin the best of luck with her new business. We applaud any new business that furthers the cause of educating people about the beauty of human sexuality and dispelling negative stereotypes around sexuality. We take pride in knowing that the efforts that the folks at Camouflage have taken to raise awareness about the sex-positive movement over the last 28 years have paved the way for a new generation of young women like Ms. Baldwin to pursue their dreams.

Shannon Collins and Ken Vinson,
owners of Camouflage, and our employees,
Santa Cruz

Due to the editor's error, last week's cover story ("Utopia or Bust," June 11) contained an inaccuracy. When he's in San Jose, Summit Limousine owner Rafael Meng buys biodiesel at Western States Oil. We regret the error.

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