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[whitespace] Ahoy, Froggy: Pirate Kermit, Free Radio Santa Cruz's mascot, wields a mean sword over mixing-board miscreants.


Radio Activists

The recent dust-up at Free Radio Santa Cruz over the pirate collective's dismissal of the foul-mouthed DJ known as Merlin has overshadowed more pressing business matters.

The Federal Communications Commission has scheduled a vote for Jan. 20 on several proposals that would allow the licensing of low-power FM signals, such as the burning 40 watts put out by 96.3 FM. But the National Association of Broadcasters has been fighting the rule changes for years, and it has a lot of powerful friends.

One proposal allows the licensing of stations of up to 100 watts, but excludes stations like Free Radio Santa Cruz from applying for their own signals.

"We've proven this can work; we've risked our asses to bring the issue to their attention," says collective member V-Man. "But we're considered 'pirates' because we've never complied with the FCC." As a friendly reminder of this, an FCC goon showed up at the station's secret location Jan. 14 and served it with a "Notice of Unlicensed Radio Operation."

V-Man acknowledges that there are no easy solutions for how to parcel out signals. One would involve a bidding procedure, but that could price out the very people--low-budget broadcasters--for whom the low-power rules are being designed. V-Man admits that no one has any good ideas for a fair allocation system.

Radio Free Santa Cruz is pressing ahead with plans for a fundraiser Mar. 3 at the Vets Hall to mark the station's fifth anniversary. Meanwhile, the audio and video tapes--now making the rounds--of the Jan. 4 show that got Merlin booted are not flattering to the dumped DJ. Station members, making a distinction between free speech and intelligent speech, canned Merlin after a rant-fest that made even jaded Nüzzites blush.

Pro-Teen Power

Don't expect to see any grrrl-power plays in this group. Caroline Reich of ETR Associates (Education Training and Research) says she is tired of negative teen stereotypes. So in planning this spring's Creating Cycles of Respect workshops for Teen Women's Day, Reich, with co-coordinator Shaunessy Jones and a group of teens, selected a spirited theme: Unity Through Action.

"We wanted to come up with something expressing that we can work across our differences," Reich says. "We wanted a place where we can unify and act instead of competing, and celebrate our diversity."

The March 10 event, founded by Frieda Krueger eight years ago, and co-sponsored by the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and the Santa Cruz City School District, is open to all teen women. Reich says she expects more than 300 participants to attend the Civic Auditorium event.

Unlike previous Creating Cycles of Respect workshops, this year's Teen Women's Day strives to be by, for and about teen women. Some events, such as the positive sexuality class, are teens-only--no adults allowed.

A team of teens selected the eight workshop topics, ranging from self-defense to body image and eating disorders, and will also act as volunteers throughout the day, registering the teens and directing participants to workshops and on-site teen counselors.

"We wanted the seminars to be interesting, but also include information that you can use every day," says Harbor High senior Nikki Hotvedt, who helped plan Teen Women's Day. "And we wanted it to be a little bit about empowerment, too."

For more information, call the CPVAW at 420.6298, or send an email to either [email protected] or [email protected].

Love Thy Neighbor

Who or what, exactly, decided that loving someone of one's own sex is more sinful than despising those who do? Some say it's the Bible, others figure it was merely the (mistaken) interpretation of the Bible by a bunch of angry homophobes. Here's your chance to weigh in on the mightily controversial issue at a symposium sponsored by the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist this Saturday, titled "The Church's Response to Gay and Lesbian Christians: What Divides Us? What Unites Us?"

Opening with keynote speaker Scott Anderson, executive director of the California Council of Churches, the symposium will continue with a panel of local pastors discussing how their denomination is grappling with this thorn in Christianity's side.

For more info and reservations, call E. Schick at 426.1379.

Going Down

The big news at the Rio Theater is the revival of the '70s 3-D porn flick "Disco Dolls." But the midnight crowds packing the Rio--the only true big screen left in Santa Cruz County--are getting an eyeful of more than star John Holmes' endowment fun. The Rio is in bad shape.

The city of Santa Cruz held a hearing Dec. 16 on the subject of adding the building to the national Historical Register, but the approval process takes months. Meanwhile, the historical gem is decaying before our eyes, with a crumbling marquee, substandard projection, lack of heat, and the recent malfunction of a large piece of neon.

"It needs help," says employee Ericka Horen. "The owners aren't interested in keeping it up, though. Even general repairs don't get done. Staff members have volunteered to do extra work to repair things--we just need supplies, but they won't buy them."

Former employee Braden Listman agrees. "The management was cheap about everything. They obviously didn't care about the place. They would tell us to tell customers that we didn't know how to fix the problems so they'd stop asking."

Danielle Woods, manager of the Rio and the 41st Avenue Playhouse, is quick to rebut. "It's an old building; we're trying to fix it up," she tells Nüz, "but historical designation is not something we want to have happen." She adds that it would lower the value of the building to any potential buyer who wanted to tear it down.

Off the Fence

For weeks Sheriff Mark Tracy has begged off making an endorsement in the race for DA--despite endorsing in other races, and despite the fact that every other top law-enforcement official in the county, including Santa Cruz Police Chief Steve Belcher, has endorsed Ron Ruiz.

But on Friday the 14th, Tracy finally fell off the fence and endorsed Ruiz.

"He's doing a good job, he's ethical and honest, and he's been aggressive on the cases he needs to be," Tracy tells Nüz. "I expect he'll do a good job."

Nüz just loves juicy tips. Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at

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From the January 19-26, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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