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December 9 - 16, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Forgot Someone

IN HIS article "The H Bomb," Mr. Cartier neglected to mention the ravages wrought on the families and close friends of those addicted. I witnessed firsthand, particularly in the '60s, the slow deterioration, occasional incarcerations/hospitalizations, and, in many cases, death of a number of former party buddies–turned–heavy users. There is theft involved from one's closest acquaintances, endless lies and stories told to cover their crimes and misdemeanors and outright savagery towards those who love them. This is where the real pain is felt besides that endured by the true user.

Kathy Cheer,

Santa Cruz

The War Connection

AFTER READING your article on heroin I couldn't help connect the dots from the heroin here in Santa Cruz and its most probable origin in Afghanistan. It seems that Afghanistan now produces around 80 percent of the world's heroin these days. The president of Afghanistan's brother was recently exposed in a scandal where it was revealed that he was involved in poppy cultivation and opium production. I read in the news today that about $10 million a day is smuggled out of Afghanistan "by drug cartels and corrupt officials" ("Graveyard of Empires and Lots of Cash" by Abby Zimet in Maybe with the $100 billion more of our tax dollars that our corrupt officials in Washington are going to send there the drug lords and the president's brother will be able to produce heroin even cheaper and make it easier to get here in Santa Cruz. Something to think about when we do our taxes at the end of this year.

Drew Lewis,

Santa Cruz

Why The Dis?

I FOUND it interesting, and a bit weird, that a retrospective look at the Santa Cruz music scene and the most significant bands of the decade ("Sound Garden," Cover Story, Dec. 9) failed to recognize a band that has been drawing huge crowds consistently for at least 10 years. Extra Large, in fact, has received Gold, Bronze and Silver Awards five of the past 10 years by your very own readers and Best Band for the last three years by readers of the other local rag. Extra Large performs and has released three CDs of original music that define the positive message and energy of the band. One of many past quotes from your very own paper describes Extra Large as having "an innate sense of the true sound of Santa Cruz." So why the dis?

Valerie Leal,

Santa Cruz

Predetermined Conclusions

AS A transportation planner for the last 27 years, I read with great interest the op-ed piece written last week by Mike Speviak ("The Trouble With a Bike Boulevard," Bullhorn). I was impressed by his apparent knowledge of the physical environment in the area of Mission Street and King Street in what started out as an unbiased assessment, but I was disappointed when he seemed to move very quickly to what seemed to be a predetermined conclusion.

For one thing, he apparently took some of the findings of the report written by John Ciccarelli of Bicycle Solutions out of context. Mr. Speviak wrote the report states that "relevant Mission Street intersections are already at maximum level of service, and there is not a grid pattern of alternate motoring byways." Based on my communication with the report's author, what he actually said was that the report was "intentionally not "comprehensive" with regard to diverter-based bike boulevard scheme, because the study's scope did not include the areawide traffic analysis that would be needed to predict the effects of various diverter locations and orientations." 

Furthermore, at the top of page 14 (of 21), he wrote: "Design of a diverter-based plan to dramatically reduce daily and peak-period vehicle volumes on King Street east of Bay is beyond the scope of this King Street bikeway study. To avoid unintended consequences, such a plan would require a comprehensive analysis of existing and potential vehicle routes through the neighborhood used by residents and commuters. For this reason, this report does not recommend any locations for diverters." The report did not actually say that a diverter scheme could not work.

Also at issue is the statement where Mr. Speviak assumes that "This would cause an increase in gas emissions and noise pollution for each vehicle while also increasing hazards for cyclists and pedestrians." This statement does not take into account the very real possibility that with a well designed bicycle boulevard on King Street, conditions for cycling and walking would improve so much that it would most likely induce people to get out of their cars and subsequently increase the non-motorized mode share in this corridor.

It should be remembered that, as transportation professionals, our job is to develop and manage a transportation network that provides for the safe and effective movement of people, not just cars, but bicycles, pedestrians and the people that drive cars. Furthermore, residential streets are ostensibly designed for the residents that live on those streets, and are not designed as ancillary facilities for congested arterials such as Mission Street.

As a final note, there is some irony here. Prior to moving to Santa Cruz, I lived on one of the most successful bicycle boulevards in Northern California—King Street—in Berkeley! The improvements in this corridor did not create gridlock on adjacent arterials, and were embraced by most of the residents that live in that neighborhood, including cyclists and motorists.

Tim Bustos,

Santa Cruz

Nutty Wisecracks Are Sweet

NOT TO knock The Nutcracker, nor to nudge the news toward a widely known nicety—namely, Santa Cruz Weekly's knack for naming—but the name you chose for Bubble Man Noddy's letter, "Noddy's Nutty for Nutz" (Letters, Dec. 2), nested neatly above Nutzle, could not have been niftier. Nutty wisecracks are indeed sweet, and need to be noticed. Happy Holidays.

David N. Evans,

Santa Cruz

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