CLOSING PACIFIC AVENUE (TEMPORARILY).Earnest and heavy debates have continued almost daily about what to do with traffic on Pacific Avenue. Merchants being afraid of changing anything, ever, have always opposed any opportunity to alter their way of life. They oppose any parades, community events, or plans through the Downtown Association and the Chamber of Commerce. Now we’re seeing another attempt to make Pacific Avenue back into the traditional two way street is was for decades. When these plans are proposed there are always groups who want to close Pacific entirely and make it into a pedestrian mall. It’s worked for Santa Monica, it’s worked for Culver City and many cities around the country.
HERE’s a brilliant idea (dating back at least to post earthquake 1989 days…Close Pacific Avenue TEMPORARILY. Use those highway 17 type movable blocks and close Pacific just for 6 (six) months. See what happens. Check business reports (assuming there would be no fudging) and more importantly, assume that the merchants do not own Pacific Avenue. Put out some tables, chairs, benches, listen to the merchants woes and cries about the homeless, but end the bickering and guessing about Pacific Avenue. Be bold, adventurous, and add some new and needed magnetic attraction to bring our families , friends, and the rest of us back downtown.
THE IRISH VERSION OF THE OLYMPICS. Paul Hostetter sent this link to what he calls the…” Best sports announcing I’ve heard in years…
STOMP OUT WINERIES!! Jan Mitchell sent this Opinion piece from the Salinas Californian dated July 25th. It bears a lot of new thinking..
*CORRIDORS OF CONTROVERSY*
Do Monterey County voters favor the “Napafication” of our wondrous Steinbeck Country through development of an Ag Winery Corridor Plan (AWCP)? Just imagine, 80 NEW miles of wineries, all meandering down River, Metz, Elm and Toro roads, all the way to Lockwood. Recently, reading the Salinas Californian “Wine Goal” feature, I questioned why special treatment for one special interest. Supervisors are elected to protect our County, our valuable agricultural land and environment, and our breathtaking coastline, which should include an equitable balance between a healthy economy and citizens’ safe quality of life.
In 2006, Monterey County grapes were a $255 million industry, with 41,209 acres planted in vineyards. How much is enough? Today, acres of healthful trees and habitat have been removed to make pathways for more vineyards. Take a look; as far as the eye can see. What happens when we have a glut on the market? Even Croatia has joined the competition! Viticulture is a thirsty crop. Continued expansion of grape acreage unfairly sacrifices our dwindling water supply to serve more vintner profits.
In addition, there are 21 possible accessory uses which can be approved for each winery (i.e. wedding chapels, bed & breakfast, picnic/campgrounds, restaurants, farm/employee housing, convention centers, golf courses, tennis courts, concerts etc.) The AWCP can easily become a sprawling city within itself!
More urgent, while some well-intentioned organizations advocate numerous sober-driving plans, the reality is we have more than our share of “not-so-sober” drivers. Consider why “Don’t Drive Drunk” messages are counter-productive. Danger awaits everyone when “wine sippers” drive. Yes, one can continue tasting and become intoxicated; it happens. There won’t be enough “tipsy taxi’s to transport visitors unfit to drive. Is this the future we want?
Who pays to upgrade corridor roadways to serve this commercial development? Existing infrastructure is insufficient to carry the current traffic load. In 2004, a conservative estimate for improving these roadways to safety standards was $180 million plus. Today, with concrete costs “up” per Caltrans, imagine current expenses. Take a drive; witness for yourself. Cha-ching!
And, what about adequate police officers to patrol this corridor? Shrinking government budgets guarantee more and more layoffs. In 2005, Fresno air regulators had approved the nation’s first air quality controls on wineries in an effort to clamp down on the smog-forming chemicals that drift into the atmosphere during fermentation. The winery rule approved by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District asked the 18 largest winemakers in the 8-county region to reduce pollution coming from their plants by 35%. Wineries in the valley had come under scrutiny because the fermentation process that turns grape sugars to alcohol releases ethanol, methanol, and other organic compounds into the atmosphere, where they react with sunlight/heat to form Ozone. Regulators estimated that the grape fermentation process released about 788 tons of pollutants per year.
The Californian reported (3/12/2006) “California Second in Air Pollution” only to New York, among states with the dirtiest air, according to data from the EPA.
To date, we haven’t solved our water, traffic, infrastructure, budget, and/or safety problems to the extent that we can afford such a mega plan. The current process works; why mess with success? (530) * Jan Mitchell is the representative of the Prunedale Neighbors Group, who has monitored the AWCP (Ag Winery Corridor Plan )for over a decade. (551).
LATTÉ BREAKING NEWS. Dr. Peter Nash long time favorite Santa Cruz Doctor who left town years ago, is returning to do a reading from his book, Coyote Bush: Poems from the Lost Coast. It was the winner of the 2011 Off the Grip Press Award for Poets over 60. There’ll be a reception with refreshments starting at 5 p.m. He’ll be at The Felix Kulpa Gallery at 6 p.m. this Saturday August 18th. Check out the book review
ELERICK’S INPUT.Paul Elerick gives us another look at The Regional Transportation Commission.
SCCRTC’s Commute Solutions Ride Sharing Program report card rates an “F”.
As reported here back in 2008, I was distressed that the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation (SCCRTC) had received a $120,000 grant from the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District’s treasury to fund their Commute Solutions program. This money went towards helping Cabrillo College’s students reduce auto dependency by encouraging alternative transportation usage, and should have gone to promote a competing program called RideSpring. Why so? RideSpring was already in use at Cabrillo, used by faculty and staff, and was a proven success. All that was needed at the time was to extend its availability to over 16,000 students. But instead the funding went to SCCRTC’s Commute Solutions program, a decision that has been proven a failure based on very little results. How so? Here’s a timeline:
June 2008: the RTC submitted a grant application to the Air District that expected to achieve at least 11 tons of pollution reduction in two years. The estimated emission reduction savings were calculated from 1900 carpoolers over a two-year period.
August 2008: the Air District awarded $120,000 to the RTC for this two-year program that was to end in February 2011. Three members of the RTC on the Air District’s board supported Commute Solutions (the RTC’s program) getting the $120,000 over RideSpring.
January 2011: the RTC requested a one-year extension to the project.
March 2011: The Air District approved the one-year extension to February 2012, stating that “all other terms and conditions of the existing grant remain in effect and that no further extensions will be entertained or approved by the Board”. In the early part of 2012 the RTC requested an additional two-year extension from the Air District, before submitting the results report in March 2012. Air District’s Air Pollution Control Officer, Richard Stedman: “We’re confident that the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission can get to where they need to go based on the plan they submitted.” How is this even possible? The project has already failed. The plan they submitted was supposed save over 11 tons in a two year period. It has taken three years to save 40 pounds of pollution (less than 0.2% of the expected result has been achieved). Providing the RTC with two more years does not change these results, or fix this disaster. It would be like providing more time to a very slow marathon runner that had only covered 300 feet when the other athletes had crossed the finish line 26 miles down the road. “If we give more time, he still could win!” – doesn’t really work, does it? The Air District evaluates projects based on measurable results, not on the opinions of grant recipients. The most important measurable results being emissions reduced and cost-effectiveness achieved. The actual results delivered, even with the one-year extension, was well under 1% of what was estimated by the RTC in the submitted plan, at a cost of close to $2M per ton, rather than the estimate of $10,500 per ton. What can be done? Perhaps the Air District Board of Directors or SCCRTC commission members can take action and prevent further waste of public funds? They can be found here:
(Paul Elerick is co-chair, along with Peter Scott, of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, http://sensibletransportation.org/ , and is a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).
PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary’s KUSP daily program deals with Affordable housing in Santa Cruz, A toll road in Monterey County, new plans for Soledad, and a Santa Cruz City Water Management plan. He also says this about that proposed De-Sal plant… This November, voters in the City of Santa Cruz will get to decide if they want to have the final say on whether or not the City should help construct a new, $100 million dollar plus desalination plant. The so-called “Right to Vote on Desal” Initiative will be on the ballot on November 6th, though only within the City itself.
As KUSP listeners and BrattonOnline readers probably know, the City’s water service area goes beyond the City limits, encompassing areas in Live Oak, the City of Capitola, Pasatiempo and Branciforte, not to mention agricultural areas on the County’s North Coast. The election in November will not really be on desalination, per se. It will be on whether or not City voters should have the final sign off on a desalination project that could be very expensive, and that could have some very significant environmental impacts. Keeping the debate focused on the “right to vote” question seems very appropriate at this stage. That is actually the question that will face the voters in November. Nonetheless, many KUSP listeners and BrattonOnline.com readers might like to start reading up on the desalination process itself. If you are in that frame of mind, I’ve placed a link to a recent report on desalination in the transcript of today’s Land Use Report. The report comes from the Pacific Institute, and is called Desalination, With A Grain of Salt. The link is available at kusp.org/landuse.
Gary Patton Two Worlds Blog – “This Is Desal….” called Desalination, With A Grain of Salt. The link is available at kusp.org/landuse. (Gary Patton is “Of Counsel” to the Santa Cruz law firm of Wittwer & Parkin, which specializes in land use and environmental law. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365″ – www.gapatton.net)
ANCHOR IN ANTARCTICA AND APPENDICITIS ATTACKS. Micaela emails from Antarctica…”
We’ve reached that point in the winter where everyone starts to look forward to spring, the arrival of our replacement crew and our own departure to warmer lands. Experience has taught me that in another two or three weeks these feelings will reverse entirely and we’ll get sentimental and nostalgic, wishing the winter would never end. But for the moment, the dinner table talk has shifted toward post-Ice travel plans and favorite meals.
While leaving might be on everyone’s mind, no one wants to go home early… especially not as a Medical Evacuation or MedEvac. One of the winter crew at McMurdo Station caught his charter flight home because of a rupturing appendix. Luckily, the Australian Antarctic Division and Royal New Zealand Air Force found a window of good weather needed to land an Airbus A319 on the ice runway and pick him up. So far as I know, he’s in stable condition. Read the details HERE and HERE.
Appendicitis has a long history in the Antarctic, oddly. No one knows why, but Antarctic crews experience a “high incidence” of some uncommon medical complaints. Appendicitis is certainly the most life-threatening, and I’ve heard that some Antarctic programs requested (required?) winter overs to get their appendices removed prophylactically. I thought that getting my wisdom teeth pulled seemed extreme! Ice folk must also contend with kidney, bladder and gall stones more frequently than statistically predicted in a normal population elsewhere on the continent. Two people here on station have dealt with some kind of stone while on the continent, although this winter seems blissfully free of such conditions this season.
Doctors’ logbooks from the earliest days of Antarctic exploration have noted “a clinical impression” that even superficial wounds take longer to heal on ice than elsewhere. I would have to agree based on my personal experience, but I’ve never found or heard rumor of a formal study. I do have a copy of a “longitudinal study or personality and disease incidence among Antarctic winter-over volunteers” dated 1987 that found a positive correlation between physical and mental health in winter-over crews. I haven’t been sick or injured, which unfortunately doesn’t provide logical proof that I’m not insane.
Medical researchers discovered a thyroid condition known as Polar T3 Syndrome (aka the “Winter Over Syndrome”) caused by prolonged Antarctic residence, although the exact mechanism remains a mystery to my knowledge. After a few months on ice (especially in dark winter months), we begin to produce less T3 thyroid hormone. Symptoms include “depression, irritability, aggressive behavior, insomnia, difficulty in concentration and memory, absentmindedness, and the occurrence of mild fugue states known as “long-eye” or the “Antarctic stare.” So now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pack a suitcase just to be on the safe side”.
(Micaela Neus works for Raytheon Polar Services Company as a utilities technician and is currently living at Palmer Station, Antarctica until at least October 2012.
EAGANS DEEP COVER. Tim Eagan delivers another take on “Term Limits” look further down for it…
LANDAU’S PROGRES. Saul Landau tells us more about the USA and Syria in his weekly article titled “Oh Horrors It’s Syria” it in he says, “we forget the “big” truth. That this is an attempt to crush the Syrian dictatorship not because of our love for Syrians or our hatred of our former friend Bashar al-Assad, or because of our outrage at Russia, whose place in the pantheon of hypocrites is clear when we watch its reaction to all the little Stalingrads across Syria. No, this is all about Iran and our desire to crush the Islamic Republic and its infernal nuclear plans – if they exist – and has nothing to do with human rights or the right to life or the death of Syrian babies. Quelle horreur!” Read it all here…
Saul Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films are on DVD from roundworldproductions@gmail.
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Make way for comedy and kingship in Henry IV Part 2, now playing at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and consider an improbable premise redeemed with plenty of sly wit in the Indie comedy, Celeste and Jesse Forever.”
Lisa Jensen has been writing film reviews and a column for Good Times since 1975.
AI WEI-WEI – NEVER SORRY.If you’ve ever grown tired of fighting our City Council, developers, or the system in general, see this documentary on Ai Wei-Wei. He’s a great Chinese artist and designed the bird’s nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics. He fights their corrupt government and they have tried to beat the hell out of him in every way possible…and he keeps coming back. Pay attention too as to the ways he uses Twitter to achieve his goals. Watch the trailer clip…and see it quick, it’ll probably leave soon.
HOPE SPRINGS. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are superb in this saga of marital problems. Steve Carrel is equally excellent at the marriage counselor. Beware though that contrary to the publicity there isn’t a laugh in this film. It’s mildly funny at moments but if you’ve ever had problems, issues, fights, or boredom in your relationships go see this “saga”. War of the Roses was funnier but not as memorable.
CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER.Here’s another extra intelligent, sensitive, half comedy-half tragedy that is centered on relationships. A married couple split but try to remain together and be close friends. We see how the world reacts to their attempt and also see our own relationship disasters…up on the big screen, you should see it too.
THE BOURNE LEGACY = BORED LETHARGY. This is the worst of the Bourne films. The acting is fine; the special effects are way over-much, it’s the stupid plot that will drive you crazy trying to figure out who’s who. Government spies, crooks, secrets, Rachel Weisz, motorcycle chases, Jeremy Renner, explosions, Edward Norton, drones, Albert Finney. Wait and rent it…oops I forgot there is a photograph of Matt Damon in it too.
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer (live only, or sometimes old programs are archived…(see next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Audrey Stanley will bring Shakespeare Santa Cruz up to date on August 14 followed by Becky O’Malley editor of The Berkeley Planet, whowill help us compare cities and campii influences. KUSP’s poet Dennis Morton will discuss poetry on August 21, after Dennis will beLisa Uttal ,Project Coordinator of the brand new Santa Cruz Marine Sanctuary Center. Grapevine on Sept. 4th will have Joan Van Antwerp whowill tell news about the Van Antwerp Theatre Company’s next play. “Crooked” opening Sept. 19. Right after Joan, Jack Bowers and Sayaka Yabuki from New Music Works will share thoughts about their John Cage tributes. Julie James from The Jewel Theatre Company will talk about their new season on Sept.11. Jim Emdy also from KUSP and I will talk about the many area opera season’s on Sept. 18th. Later, on September 25 Scott Griffin, Nickelodeon chief operating manager will discuss films, digital releases and local movie tastes. Cathy Pickerrell from Santa Cruz Chamber Players will provide season news on October 2nd. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at email@example.com
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES.In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just this year’s podcasts. Click herehttp://kzsc.org/blog/tag/
BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.
QUOTES. “Alcohol takes a case of nerves and turns it into a can of worms“, Ross McDonald. “Well the handwriting is on the floor!, Joe E. Lewis. “Good and Evil lay side by side while electric love penetrates the sky“. Jimi Hendrix.
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BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.
Deep Cover by tim eagan.