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Nüz

Chair View

Last month ("Gubernatorial," July 6) Nüz misidentified DARRELL DARLING as being the current chair of the county's Democratic Central Committee, which decides, among other things, which candidates and measures to endorse in upcoming elections.

But thanks to an email from 28th Assembly District Committee secretary MARIA GITIN, we now know that though Darling was the chair for years and continues to be a supporter of all things Democratic, RICHELLE NORAYAN was elected to be the new chair this May.

Contacted by phone, Norayan was gracious about Nüz's goof, saying, "It only went to show that the DCC needs to get an announcement out about it."

Instead, the DCC appears to be busy zeroing in on GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER'S upcoming special election in an effort to defeat several of Arnie's initiatives and thus weaken his chances of reelection in 2006.

"We're aligning with leaders from labor unions in the county," said Norayan. "I'm pretty resentful that an election is planned at all. That's an $80 million tab that county voter registration offices are going to have to pick up for issues that don't urgently need to be addressed."

What about those rumors that Arnie, smelling defeat at the polls, was considering canceling the election?

"There were several rumors that Arnie's advisers were telling him not to hold the election. And at one point, legal scholars were saying that if two-thirds of the California state Assembly and Senate voted against it, the election could be called off, but before it came to that, Arnie came out and said, 'Full steam ahead.' So, with my fingers in the wind, I'd say this election is going to happen."

Norayan recommends voting no on pretty much everything on this November's ballot with one major exception.

"One of the propositions allows senior citizens access to prescription drugs, the other makes that access voluntary," Norayan explains. "I support PROPOSITION 79, which makes that access law."

Teenage Rampage

Nüz last spoke to Norayan in January, shortly before ROE V. WADE's 32nd anniversary, when Dems were considering abortion foe TIM ROEMER for chair of the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE, which decides, among other things, the party's overall platform.

Though former Vermont governor and pro-choicer HOWARD DEAN finally won that chair, Norayan still believes it's not a matter of if the landmark ruling that gave women a constitutional right to an abortion gets overturned, but when.

Her pessimism has grown, in light of GEORGE W. BUSH's nomination to the Supreme Court of JOHN ROBERTS, and of PROPOSITION 73, which is on this fall's special election and would prohibit abortion for minors until 48 hours after a physician notifies their parent/guardian.

"People have a knee-jerk reaction to the parent–child relationship aspect and say, 'Of course, parents should be notified.' But if they stop and think about it, they'll conclude that the government shouldn't be interfering in parent/child relationships, and that this is more of a privacy issue.

And then of course there are cases where the minor's father could also be the father of the minor's child. And what if the minor is being abused? Or the parents are alcoholics? Since there are so many cases in which we don't know what the individual reality is, it's horrible to legislate someone's future."

Asked who she thinks the DCC will likely put their money on in the 2006 gubernatorial race, Norayan gave state Treasurer PHIL ANGELIDES the nod.

"State Controller STEVE WESTLY is probably not our nominee," says Norayan. "Phil has mounted an incredible campaign, and is ready for running, while Steve has not held a full term in his current position ... but you never know."

Arnie Watch

Meanwhile, Nüz learned that Arnie took time out of his vacation to join U.S. Rep. SAM FARR in making the case for keeping the NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL AND DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE open during an BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION hearing that took place on Aug. 8 in Monterey.

We don't know as of presstime what Arnie said, but we do know that Farr argued in favor of keeping the schools open in terms of physical location, intellectual capacity, key military jointness, the proximity of the Monterey Institute of International Studies--and the ability of these schools to provide on-demand valuable military research drawing on local resources.

"I hope the commission will strongly consider the reasons I've laid out. It's not just the fate of these two institutions that rests in their hands, or the impact on Monterey, but the safety and defense and military intellectual prowess of the United States," said Farr.

Forest Talk

Eight years ago, partners KATHERINE KNIGHT and ED SCHEHL founded the EARTHVISION film festival in Santa Cruz in the hope of spotlighting environmental issues.

Sadly, Knight died a few years ago, but Schehl, who says he's trying to get his boat "back in shape" at Moss Landing, still carries their environmental torch.

And this year, Schehl even has a documentary in the fest, having handed over the directorship to WELL WITHIN manager CYNTHIA BEGIN. Titled Silent Forest, Schehl's piece, which is narrated by DR. DAVID SUZUKI, is about the threat of genetically engineered tree farms.

"Silent Forest deals with a lot of the same issues that are coming up around genetically engineered crops," says Schehl. "Genetically engineered forests could have disastrous effects on native forests. People are keeping quiet about it because of the backlash against GE crops, but we're pretty sure there are 150 outdoor GE tree plots within the United States."

Referring to Saskatchewan farmer PERCY SCHMEISER, who last year was found by Canada's Supreme Court to have infringed MONSANTO's patent on genetically modified canola after growing seeds that he said landed in his fields by accident, Schehl observes, "Some forests can send pollen for 400 miles. Could native forests get infected? Could Monsanto lay claim to them?"

Earthvision 2005 kicks off Sept. 29, but those wanting a preview can see three of the fest's films through the SANTA CRUZ NIGHT OUT series, which happens 5:30–8:30pm on Tuesdays through Sept. 20. and will be channeling people down to COMMUNITY TV, starting Aug. 16, to watch Chavez Ravine, which tells how a Mexican-American village in downtown Los Angeles was razed in the 1950s to build Dodger Stadium, and In Our Hands, which features the SANTA CRUZ ROASTING COMPANY and efforts to support the organic fair trade coffee industry. Another cup of Joe, anyone?

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From the August 10-17, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

For more information about Santa Cruz, visit santacruz.com.




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