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[whitespace] Pakalolo Head of Their Class: UC students organize pot-friendly protest.


Great American Bake-off

Last Friday was much like any other day around the bustling newsroom. Major crimes needed to be solved, dishonest politicians needed to be exposed, the water-cooler bottle needed to be changed.

We were busy, but never too busy to pick up the phone and hear our favorite, pulse-quickening words crackling through the receiver: "I've got a Nüz tip."

Speak to me, baby, we urge our no-named informant.

In a sotto voice he informs us of an act of civil disobedience soon to take place. He can't tell us exactly what this illegal act might be, but it's gonna promote the legalization of cannabis and industrial hemp.

We wonder.

Anyway, Deep Throat directs us up to the UC campus bookstore Saturday, at 4:20pm. Hmmm. The date is 4/20, the time is 4:20.

We still wonder.

The informant hopes to clear up any remaining confusion when he proudly gives us the name of the proposed law-bustin' wingding: The Great American Smokeout (GAS).

Dude. Like, dude, we point out. That name is, like, all taken. And he's all, Whoa! No way! and we're all, yeah, really. Like, the American Cancer Society? They do this thing every November? Where, like, people are encouraged not to smoke?

Perhaps a little at odds with the goal of Saturday's bluntfest, but our friend is not deterred. We are directed to his group's website for more information.

Instead, a call to the American Cancer Society seems more in order.

Yes, the name is trademarked, sez Jane Henehan, ACS' media relations spokesperson in New York. who then suggests we call the ACS legal department. But before we bring the wrath of a giant do-gooder organization down on the rather stoned heads of a local do-gooder organization, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to see how much of a stink the campus GAS can make.

We are a bit too busy to actually show up on 4/20 at 4:20, but our informant calls in with an update. Apparently, around 100 people showed, ready to fire up until they noticed more than a dozen cops and a few provosts lurking about. Then there were those handouts warning students they could lose their housing contracts and financial aid if they were caught smoking the whacky tabacky.

"We felt like it was a success, even though people didn't smoke," says Deep Throat. "We're just trying to get activism started here again. In the future we're gonna be doing more events that are a little less selfish than helping out Santa Cruz stoners."

Blessed Tunnel

Ah, the sound of angel wings flapping furiously in delight. Thoth is going to be prayerforming during the Santa Cruz Film Festival in the Cooper House Walkway, which will be open--and possibly candlelit--for a two-hour period May 10 .

So. Why is the arcade usually closed, given that it was envisioned to keep the Museum of Art and History connected to Pacific Avenue?

MAH's executive director Chuck Hilger confirmed that MAH access was one of the many conditions on Cooper House developer Jay Paul's permit--access, says Hilger, that Paul tried subsequently tried to negate.

"But since MAH had spent $87,000 to renovate the museum entrance and plaza, City Council declined his proposal," says Hilger, who credits Paul with renovating the walkway.

"He also created the possibility of eight little boutiques, each with a door that opens onto the arcade, but then the recession hit, and the dotcommers left," says Hilger, who is "confident the boutiques will rent out" when the economy takes off again--whenever that'll be.

But for now, the Cooper House squats like a grim sentry between Pacific Avenue and MAH, which is too bad.

"In this little town, if you're half-a-block off Pacific Avenue, forget it," says Hilger. "But we've built a really beautiful arcade, so it's just a matter of time before we have a coffee cart in the plaza."

Noting that everyone loved the old Cooper House, Hilger says, "It was all just staircases and hallways. The arcade will be great, once the economy picks up."

Once Thoth blesses it, of course.

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From the April 24-May 1, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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