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In the Hopper: Fish and Wildlife Service extends public comment period on draft recovery plan for the California red-legged frog.


Friends in High Places

Frog-friendly UCSC Arboretum enthusiasts are hopping out of the woodwork these days.

Some 52 people have signed an electronic petition to Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood that reads: "We are alarmed that UCSC wants to build faculty housing on acreage between the Farm and Garden and the Arboretum, and that the preferred entrance to this development is an extension of Western Drive through the Arboretum's eucalyptus grove."

And a noteworthy bunch of signatures it is.

"I've seen firsthand that a well-run Arboretum can advance horticulture in an entire community, affect horticulture worldwide, attract significant numbers of visitors, raise significant contributions and even endowments and contribute to science," writes Mark Kane, the executive garden editor of Better Homes and Gardens.

"I fully support the protest of our colleagues and friends of the University of California in Santa Cruz," adds Dr. Gerhard Gottsberger, the director of the Botanical Garden of the University of Ulm in Germany.

Apparently Greenwood is taking notice--or her henchmen are, anyway. One letter writer garnered a personal reply from Vice Provost Lynda Goff.

"We will be working with the Arboretum to insure that the housing that is built next to the Arboretum blends into the plantings of the Arboretum," Goff writes to Professor Greuter at the Free University in Berlin. "We are encouraging them to use this opportunity to demonstrate the horticultural value of the plants they cultivate."

Goff's comments are also noteworthy for what they don't say. Past UCSC disinformation has been careful to point out that no decision had been made on building housing at that location. Goff's reply to Greuter treats the plan like a foregone conclusion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the public comment period on the draft recovery plan for the California red-legged frog, from Aug. 10 to Nov. 8.

"We want to get as much input as possible from as many different people as possible," says USFWS spokesperson Patricia Foulk.

Most of the comments have been positive, says Foulk, and people are interested in working with the service to help save the frog. She says she received a couple hundred letters and about 20 phone calls last week alone.

"They think it's a pretty neat critter, and they would like to see it recovered. But then there's a few who call and say the only good California red-legged is the kind you can eat."

The e-petition is available online at http://members.cruzio.com/~vollmer/.

Twist of Fate

Nu&-z is going to go out on a limb to predict that at least 10 of the 15 candidates in the race for the four open seats on the Santa Cruz City Council will be opposed to the district election charter amendment on the same ballot.

That is how many candidates would currently be ineligible to run for re- election to their own seats in 2004 if they win, and if district elections pass.

According to the proposed charter amendment, Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 would be up for election in 2004. If district elections pass, 2000 winners who currently live in Districts 5, 6 and 7 would have to move to one of the other four districts to run for re-election in 2004.

Only five of the current candidates--including incumbent Michael Hernandez, who is running for reelection and lives in what would be District 3--live in one of those four districts. By contrast, the proposed District 7, which encompasses the West Side area where the politically contentious consolidated transit facility would be located, boasts five candidates.

And for all the complaining about historic inequities in representation of the east side on the City Council, not a single candidate emerged from what would be District 1, which includes Prospect Heights, where a candidate might have been expected to ride a wave of pro&- district election sympathy into office and be set for re-election four years later. If district elections pass, and no incumbent moves into it, District 1 would be an open seat in 2004.

Meanwhile, only one candidate emerged from the east side neighborhoods that would comprise District 2.

Pat on the Back

Metro Santa Cruz is proud to have snagged two editorial awards over the weekend in the California Newspaper Publisher Association's 1999 Better Newspaper contest.

Competing against other weekly newspapers with circulations of 25,000 and higher, Metro Santa Cruz photographer George Sakkestad (with text from the inimitable Kelly Luker) took top honors in the category of Photo Essay for his Oct. 27 photo/essay on the life of Capitola resident Betty Breadth. The piece, which also took top honors with the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the Peninsula Press Club, can be found on our website at http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/10.27.99/photo1-9943.html.

Metro Santa Cruz also took second place in the Special Issue category for our April 28 travel issue, which included essays by Christina Waters, Kelly Luker and John Yewell. It can be found at http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/04.28.99/index.html.

A New Wrinkle

Sun-worshipping Santa Cruzans, take note.

The following will not be welcome news to women (and men) who have been slathering on facial creams that promise to bring the pesky aging process to a halt.

Recent reports suggest that anti-wrinkle creams containing alpha hydroxy acids (better known as AHAs) may actually cause "accelerated aging" when exposed to the sun. AHAs are found in many anti-wrinkle creams, including (but not limited to) L'Oréal's Plenitude, Optimum's AlphaHydrox and even Vaseline's Dual Action Cream.

Marketed as an all-natural way to rejuvenate the epidermis, dermatologists now believe that AHAs can cause long-term damage.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that people who use AHA products show greater sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, resulting in increased cell damage, excessive reddening, blistering and burning. The European Commission has toughened limits on AHAs and may enforce mandatory warning labels, but the FDA has been slow to follow suit.

AHAs are fruit acids that peel off the topmost layer of skin, revealing a fresher layer beneath. These acids can be found in a variety of food stuffs, from sour milk to old wine, both of which were used by women in ancient times to beautify their complexions.

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From the August 16-23, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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