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Photograph by Stephen Laufer

If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home by Now: Jeff Harding was one of thousands of locals who took to the streets Saturday.

Nüz

Get Duct

Who knew that Home Depot Land Security (as it shall henceforth be known ) was making a fashion statement when it urged citizens to go get themselves duct tape last week?

It's not as if the sticky stuff didn't already have a 1001 uses, including patching together the last cigarette in the pack, getting cat puke out of the carpet, not to mention restraining (hopefully willing) partners in bedroom bondage.

Created in 1942 to keep moisture out of ammo, duct tape used to be called "duck tape" until the postwar housing industry got their hands on it, at which point its name morphed--as did its color from Army green to silver (to match the ductwork, of course).

That said, duct tape still ain't no friggin' anti-nuclear/biological/chemical life-saving device, as more than one sign-carrying marcher noted at last Saturday's 6,000-strong peace rally in downtown Santa Cruz.

Duct tape wasn't the only sign of the times.

"Love Him as You Impeach Him," "Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing It's [sic] Idiot," "How Did Our Oil Get Under Their Sand!!?" and "Stop Mad Cowboy Disease" were other favorites with the crowd, and Women In Black gladly gathered around the Arabic symbol for peace, which was written in ribbon on the grass in San Lorenzo Park.

But duct tape did feature heavily in bracelets, drum straps and hats. (These fashion-conscious demonstrators had doubtless discovered that since the recent "terror alert," www.ducttapefashion.com and other online duct tape purveyors are giving price reductions--though customers can't choose which of 12 possible colors they get sent.)

Local Media Coverage: Farr From Accurate

Paradoxically, though many signsters actively wanted to "Duct Tape Bush," the only person who did get gagged at the rally was none other than Congressmember Sam Farr. Despite reports in Sunday's Senile that Farr did speak at the county building before the march began, he in fact did not.

Whoops! Kind of a huge flub, considering the story behind this one was one of the most intriguing to come out of the weekend's events.

Asked why rally organizers in the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition banned Sam from speaking, SCPC member Susan Zeman said the group decided not to invite Farr long before they discovered--"only 48 hours before the rally"--that mayor Emily Reilly had invited Farr to speak. Did we mention "whoops?"

"We operate on consensus. Had I been contacted earlier, I'd have called a special meeting to discuss the matter," Zeman explained.

And a SCPA press release, while applauding Sam's recent "efforts to rescind the congressional authorization for the use of force in Iraq" noted that "Rep. Farr has not been an ally in many of our struggles: he supported the bombing in Serbia, he continues to support Plan Columbia, and he votes Yes for most military appropriations."

All of which apparently led the California Peace Action to give Sam a C+ on his voting record, which they claim is considerably worse than that of other Bay Area reps.

"His support for NAFTA and other 'free trade' measures, meanwhile, demonstrates that Rep. Farr does not mind waging economic and environmental warfare on the world's most desperate people," continued the release, which ended by extending an invite to meet Sam "to discuss his voting record. We hope that soon he will join with us in our efforts to silence forever the guns of empire and extend the hand of peace."

Asked what she thought of SCPC's decision, Reilly said, "We're telling the world that we've got to get beyond past disagreements and disappointments. We have to move forward, we have to let go of what's past, if we want to change the future."

As for Sam, his comments to Nüz were, simply stated, Farr out.

"I'm here. We're all here," he said. "And we're all about peace here. People say we're not doing enough in Washington, but the truth is that what we're doing isn't being reported by the media. So, we're going back to our communities to participate in meetings like this one, because real power lies in the people."

As for Farr's thoughts on the recent duct tape advisory, "That's Bush's new economic stimulus plan" (a comment which got Nüz wondering who does own duct tape shares ).

"By the way," added Farr, "I'm not buying any. We have to make sure we don't panic."

We won't if you don't, Sam, but would you tell Tom Ridge to at least issue duct tape vouchers, given all the money his Depot--we mean, Dept.--has received to keep Das Heimland safe und secure.

What Rhymes With Orange? SUV

First, it was a "code orange" alert (which, BTW, is code for "You're fucked"), an alert which remained in place for over a week, even though claims apparently made by a captured Al Qaeda member that Washington, New York and Florida would be hit by a "dirty bomb" were quickly revealed to be "the product of his imagination."

And then came the orange parking tickets, which began popping up under windshield wipers of SUVs, in downtown Santa Cruz as well as on campus, "as part of a nationwide campaign to create awareness of the devastating effects of SUVs," says campaign spokesperson, Jay, who, when asked for his last name, would say only "I am the Ghost of Things to Come."

So far, the response to the tickets, which list eight sobering stats, including the fact that federal law permits SUVs to waste 33 percent more gas than passenger cars, has been mostly positive, says Jay.

"One person returned our mock ticket with the words 'Eat Me' scrawled across it, while others mostly say 'Oh my God! What is this?'"

That's the kind of inside knowledge that makes Nüz wonder if maybe Jay is hiding in the bushes waiting for SUV drivers to discover his little presents, but whatever.

Speaking of "mock tickets," why are the tickets orange and not pink, which, BTW, Jay, is the color of "real tickets" round these parts?

"Most of us who do this do not drive cars," replies Jay, blushing ever so slightly.

"And we doubt whether a lot of people will get rid of their SUV," he says, " but the tickets are a little reminder that our individual behavior can do harm to everyone."


Nüz just loves juicy tips: Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at , or call our hotline at 457.9000, ext 214.

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From the February 19-26, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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