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September 9-16, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Shock And Awe

I READ with great amazement, shock and awe the statement by Ms. Laura Brown, general manager of Soquel Creek Water District, and Mr. Bill Kocher, Santa Cruz water czar ("Conservation Not Enough," Letters, Sept. 2): "By supplementing groundwater supplies with desalination, the District will be able to limit groundwater pumping to within the sustainable yield and prevent seawater intrusion from contaminating the aquifers [plural]." This is disingenuous at the very best.

Apparently, Ms. Brown and Mr. Kocher should reread Ms. Brown's 1996 Aptos Times article (which can be found online at, wherein Ms. Brown describes how one-third of Soquel Creek's water supply comes from wells in the same aquifer, the Aromas Red Sands, that Pajaro and the Farm Bureau uses around 90 percent of at around 200 percent overdraft to grow around 25 percent of this country's berries annually ... thereby permanently losing 15,000 acre feet of their shared supply to salt water intrusion each year for decades, exported in berries! And earning UC a cool $5 million a year in berry IP royalty payments, UC's fifth-biggest yearly revenue generator.

We would have to build around seven new 24/7 $100 million Santa Cruz desal plants yearly (before operations and maintenance) just to keep even, global warming or not. The late Marc Reisner, author of Cadillac Desert, said 12 years ago here that our situation in Soquel Creek and Pajaro was the worst in the world. By what type of 1984 doublethink can this be considered preventing "seawater intrusion from contaminating the aquifers"? With this Water Weltanschauung, Soquel Creek and Santa Cruz ratepayers better consider the distinct possibility of their being up "the" creek without a paddle or any water either. How tough that be, and where will Ms. Brown and Mr. Kocher be then retired to?

One statement in the letter is undeniably true, though: "Our local water supplies are not sustainable for the current population"--but only of berry plants, not humans, I'm afraid. For example, after its expansion, UCSC will use annually, in total, less water than does 200 acres of berries: 600 acre feet a year. That's why I call this a Water Berry Ponzi Scheme.

Douglas Deitch,
Executive Director, Monterey Bay Conservancy

To The Vermin Who Steal Bikes

DID YOU KNOW Santa Cruz has an epidemic of bike thefts? My son's second mountain bike was stolen seven hours after I bought it. It was locked in front of the main arcade at the Boardwalk! His previous mountain bike was stolen in front of the main library during the day on a busy holiday weekend on a Saturday six months ago. I was told that in front of El Palomar is common too. What is going on? Is this new? As I put fliers up around town and walked on foot questioning folks, almost everyone I spoke to told me they had at least one or more bikes stolen here.

I've heard it's mostly drug addicts and/or homeless who do this to get a quick fix to supply their habit and will sell the bike quickly and is not some elaborate scheme. My son's bike has caused a major family feud; my brother was supposed to buy a good $35 U lock from the Bicycle Trip; the lock company then insures the bike, but my bro chose not to do this.

When will police see this as a serious problem? Maybe they should do a set-up to catch these thieves. Stealing from kids is sick. These bikes are often $1,000 or more. This is not cheap, and often they are sold for $20-$50! Have you noticed the homeless have very nice brand name bikes, like Specialized? I am sure not all of the homeless in Santa Cruz are thieves, but if you go to the shelter on Coral street you can see for yourself how the majority of the bikes are $500-and-up price range bikes. Wonder if the cops ever compare the bikes there to the ones that have been reported stolen in town? I doubt it. Everyone I've spoken to in the last week said they have had many bikes stolen! Something needs to be done. This is out of control.

Get one of those $35 locks. Register it. At least make those thieves work hard. My son's bike was a Giant mountain bike, silver aluminum/dark gray 2009, adult XL frame, XTC-2 model, rock Shox front suspension. It is more than about money to me. It is about feeling powerless and no one seems to care in Santa Cruz about our property anymore. I've lived here off and on since 1972, and you didn't have to buy some ultra crazy tough lock for a bike back then! This is ridiculous. I just wanted my son to have a bike to ride on and know his mom loves him. Why couldn't he have that for more than seven damn hours? Thanks to whoever did that to us. Hope it was worth it.

Susan Eisenman,
Santa Cruz

The Right to Bare Legs

WHY SHOULDN'T Michelle Obama wear shorts when it's 106 and she's on vacation? She sets a good example for American women everywhere by being fit. Where else in the world would people object to a beautiful woman showing off her shapely, toned legs? Only in Iran or Afghanistan or maybe Outer Mongolia.

Meanwhile, yet another politician has been caught with a mistress. Hooray for Sanford's wife for throwing him out. It's the usual double standard: the President's wife can't be seen in shorts, but married senators and governors can cavort with their girlfriends and still remain in office. What a country!

Joyce Keller,
Santa Cruz

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