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November 11-18, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Coming Soon: Concrete Jungle

AS REGARDS the bike vs. auto debate, I can't take sides. Perhaps both have valid points of view. I am concerned, though, when they, "the powers that be," keep destroying the beauty of our area in order to go a little faster. I'm talking about the Highway 1 expansion. I wonder if all those who would care are aware that the trees (along Highway 1) between Morrissey and Soquel exits) will be cut down. Take a good look, 'cause right now the trees along that stretch are beautiful and they intend to cut 'em and replace 'em with more concrete walls! Of course the Santa Cruz Sentinel has the nerve to call this a "green highway expansion," and of course our Sentinel newspaper, being advocates of a freeway expansion, have refused to print letters pointing out the farce of a "green freeway." I say bravo for Santa Cruz Weekly for printing varying points of view. Bikes and cars will both continue to use our roadways for a long time to come, so let's try to keep the peace between us and keep the beauty of Santa Cruz that we've all come to love. Trees, not walls!

Rob Thompson,
Santa Cruz

Hard-core Halloweens

TO ALL THOSE folks taller than a yardstick, Michael Roberts (with tongue in cheek?) proclaims, "Let's take back Halloween" (Bullhorn, Nov. 4). I'm sorry? Did Mr. Roberts sleep through the last decade as we "adults" incrementally pushed the little ones aside and strong-armed their innocent realm of dime-store costumes, gooey treats, friendly goblins and jack-o'-lanterns away from them? In case Mr. Roberts hasn't noticed, Halloween ain't your Linus-in-the-pumpkin-patch kid-fest any longer.

No, All Hallows Eve has branched out and retooled and become your hard-core Halloween, Inc., a tricked-out, freaked-out dive into Big People's dress-up and debauchery. It's Mardi Gras without the air fare, complete with booze, boobs, the occasional firearm and the always-popular act of public urination. Sure, the kiddies are still relevant--they've got their cute costume parades and their chaperoned candy extortion racket (both of which I'm an all-day sucker for). But when the witching hour arrives in Santa Cruz, the going gets weird, and the weird take it up a notch. Yes, one can legitimately fret about the epidemic of overindulged children--Mr. Robert's point is well taken. But a sanctioned day off for adults? In Santa Cruz?? Oh well, maybe even Mickey needs an occasional break from Disneyland.

Tim Rudolph,
Santa Cruz

Stop the Witch Bashing Already!

PLEASE stop accepting ads from people who think it is fun, innocent and not a problem to portray witches as old, female and ugly--with green faces, missing teeth and hooked noses!

Most people's ideas about witches are shaped by the media, in which many harmful, prejudicial, reinforcing images of witches are abundant. This has been resulted in painful, embarrassing and physically harmful witch bashing.

In this liberal and conscious area, these should be as unthinkable as would be printing images of mother Mary with a green face, missing teeth and a hooked nose, or allowing people to throw eggs at black people who don't sit at the back of the bus.

Barbara Dougherty
Local Witch, Cotati

Open Letter to Obama

THESE ARE hard times for many, maybe even most, of our fellow countrymen/women. I know that you're aware of it and I believe that you care about them, but we all need reminders, especially when we're inundated with other serious, vital concerns. You, and by extension we, inherited a helluva mess comparable in scope and difficulty only to a few other times in our nation's history: our fight for independence, our Civil War and World War II. We face two ongoing wars and a Middle East in turmoil; two very dangerous nuclear hot-spots that must be addressed; an economy so destroyed and disabled it harkened to the Great Depression of the '30s; a global climate change crisis that will affect billions of lives, and perhaps the life of the planet itself to sustain many of its species, and those are just a few of the top choices from column A.

This letter is not to serve as a report card or to praise or condemn how you've handled things. What I want to bring your attention back to is that your, our, country is hurting. Think a Katrina-like situation that has struck practically every state in the union. This country is drowning in a sea of unemployment, lost homes, health-care cost bankruptcies, credit interest bankruptcies and legal usury that has so stunned the once-burgeoning middle class as to threaten its very existence. And because of Wall Street's and the banking industry's notorious misdeeds the threat to our middle class economic stability is exacerbated and could prove fatal.

This country is hurting, Mr. President, and it's fearful, angry and confused. Yes, it was of paramount importance to immediately address the deadly virus that threatened our and a good part of the world's economies. But it's not enough to stabilize the banks and certain giant investment corporations, because as a result of their failures and immoral activities tens of millions of people are suffering or face imminent economic demise. People are fearful and angry and rightly so. This dire situation has to be addressed and it has to happen now.

Health-care reform, as important as it is, is not going to put people back to work and it's not going to stop home foreclosures. Only jobs and programs that create huge numbers of jobs will alleviate the enormous suffering and get this country back on safe economic ground.

The wars can wait. As far as I'm concerned they're a monstrous waste of money and lives, but that's only as the writer sees it. But the people without jobs, the people who can't afford health care or to help their kids advance through good schools and higher education, these people can't wait. First things first, sir.

Turn the economy around by getting people back to work. You don't offer hungry person rhetoric or rationales. Your nation needs jobs first and help not losing their homes. Put the resources, i.e., money, there. Feed those needs first, Mr. Obama, and the rest will fall into place.

Will Shonbrun,

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