Plagiarism in fashion is a fuzzy area
The local skateboard artists whose images allegedly have been copied by a major New York fashion designer may themselves have borrowed their designs from earlier artists. Their designs show influence of the "monster art" created by L.A. hot-rod artists of the 1950s. Chief among these artists was "Von Dutch," the originator of the famous "Flying Eyeball," which continues to inspire all sorts of adaptations today. He was a motorcycle and hot-rod artist whose real name was Kenny Howard. A Google search on his name will illuminate this corner of art history. Von Dutch didn't worry about seeing his work copied. He said, "Use any of my stuff you want to. Nothing is original. ... Copyrights and patents are mostly an ego trip." Ironically, Von Dutch is now a multinational brand licensing company. It's named after Kenny Howard.
John Wilkes, Live Oak
Gas prices and greed, an ugly combination
Today's article about the recent higher spike of gas prices ends with "Auto Club officials said the surge can't be attributed to a single factor." Well I can come up with a good reason: it's called greed.
Terry Hollenbeck, Felton
Stone's stroke of genius? Not really
Assemblyman Mark Stone's announcement of a new bill to transfer the costs of controlling plastic
Michael Chamberlain, Santa Cruz
Desal: Storage not adequately addressed
In his Feb. 24 letter, Santa Cruz Water Commissioner David Baskin concludes that, like himself, our citizens will initially be ignorant and skeptical about the need for desal. He is certainly correct about their skepticism. Ignorant or not, the first question the person on the street will ask is, "Why aren't we planning to store winter runoff for later use?" The city's response to this is: Having studied several off-stream and on-stream storage options, there are numerous "institutional" reasons why they are not feasible. They don't provide data, initial studies, engineering estimates, pilot studies; nothing concrete to show the public why, what they want, will not work. The City Council can educate us all they want but the question remains: Why can't off-stream storage provide a sufficient and reliable water supply?
Jim Bentley, Santa Cruz
Brooks column based on faulty premise
I was surprised to see that the Sentinel printed David Brooks' column about the sequester ("Doing the DC dubstep," Feb. 24). He had taken a lot of criticism for it when it first appeared in the New York Times and was forced to recant his assertion that Obama has no plan for addressing the sequestration crisis. Obama does have a plan. It's on the White House website, and it lays out specific cuts in entitlements as well as some revenue components. Brooks has admitted that his column (like the "reporting" on Fox on the same subject) was based on falsehoods. The Sentinel should be more careful.
Tim Eagan, Santa Cruz
Yes! Open another elementary in SC
I was interested in the Sentinel's story about Santa Cruz City Schools considering re-opening an elementary school. I think that is a great idea! With elementary enrollment growing, the school district needs to take action to provide adequate space for these kids. Santa Cruz has a great opportunity to reopen a nice elementary campus and relieve crowding at Westlake and DeLaveaga elementaries. Reopening an elementary seems like a much better idea than adding more portables to our current campuses. A fifth elementary campus would make the number of students at each campus more manageable and make school pickup and drop-off much easier! I have a child at an elementary school in the Santa Cruz school district and my child's experience has surpassed all our expectations. Every day she is excited to go to school! I know that if another elementary opens, Santa Cruz children, parents and teachers will benefit from less crowded campuses. I hope the Santa Cruz City Schools board moves forward with this idea.
Andy Tatum, Santa Cruz
Why no reporting on Carmel accident?
This was in from the Associated Press: "CARMEL, Calif. -- Two ocean divers died after they were pulled from Whalers Cove south of Carmel on Friday." I would think this would be something the Sentinel would at least mention. After all, Carmel is right across the bay from us. With all the ocean activities we share, this needs to make the news.
Chris Kilgus, Felton
Milbank is wrong
Dana Milbank's opinion piece on Feb. 21 perpetuates the myth that the most serious problem facing our nation is the deficit and that therefore we have no choice, big sigh, other than cutting back government spending dramatically, something great thinkers like Grover Norquist have been urging on us for years. It's the only thing that will solve that problem and we desperately need to pursue that approach. Wrong. Our major economic problem is the lack of good jobs, which has led to the shrinking of the middle class, whose spending propels 70 percent of the American economy. That makes us consumers the true job creators. Do what it takes to create jobs and the deficit will shrink automatically. Why cut back on programs that help create a larger middle class? Why not cut the bloated Pentagon budget and subsidies to Big Oil and Big Ag, etc? Why not eliminate corporate tax loopholes? Why not raise taxes on the crooked Wall Street banks who created the housing bubble that led to the recession? And where were all these deficit hawks when the Bush administration was putting two wars and tax breaks for the wealthy on the national credit card? And let's not blame Obama for the lack of a "grand bargain." It's pretty obvious which side has been willing to compromise and which has not.
Tony Connole, Felton
Layoffs very possible after sequester
It is possible, if nothing is done to stop it, that more than a million people will be laid off soon due to the sequester that looms in D.C. It is also possible that America will never know why this is happening. The so-called sequester was insisted upon by President Obama, and he now blames the GOP for its possible result. The GOP has tried to force this president to make real spending cuts, and at least try to bring out-of-control spending to a halt. Mr. Obama has all but refused. I hope the GOP will stand its ground, and the sequester happens. It may be ugly, but it may be the wake-up call America needs. Somehow, someway, we must stop putting 40 cents of every dollar we spend on our credit card.
Lynn Green, Scotts Valley
Strawberry story had holes
The recent front-page story about the $1 million gift from the California Strawberry Commission to research for a better berry mentions bringing "scientists and students from multiple academic disciplines ... to develop innovative approaches to industry challenges." After mentioning how economically important California strawberries are, readers are informed that Mark Murai, president of the Strawberry Commission, said, "We can't look at this one dimensionally," and further, "It's not about one resource, one tool," and "It's not one thing that's driving this center, it's about a holistic approach." We were told that researchers will include "hydrologists, plant scientists, entomologists, engineers and specialists in packaging and marketing." Yet not a single word indicated whether the new center will be researching how to eliminate methyl bromide from strawberry fields, something that was supposed to happen years ago under the Montreal Protocol. Nor was there any mention of research on organic growing, something that was pioneered locally by Jim Cochrane on Swanton Berry Farm very successfully. Did your reporter ask any questions about research to conform to the Montreal Protocol or organic growing?
Bill Friedland, Santa Cruz
Universal pre-K desperately needed
Kudos to Obama for being on target in addressing education realities: Educators, economists and public policy wonks have all agreed for more than 40 years that there is no downside to universal pre-K. It is the best anti-poverty, public education and health program imaginable and, in future social costs, as well as educational achievement, it easily pays for itself many times over. High Scope and Perry Preschool in the 1960s clearly proved its value. Universal preschool (certainly by age 4) will never get the funding it needs, but at least Obama is planting seeds for a more equitable and sensible discussion of the future in education. We will never "close the achievement gap" between the advantaged and the disadvantaged (and provide the critical opportunities all children need!) when most of the latter group is a year or more behind their more fortunate peers at the start of first grade.
Bill Garrison, Royal Oaks
Soledad the gateway to Pinnacles? Hardly
It was interesting to read that Soledad was rebranding itself as the "Gateway to Pinnacles." Just days before Pinnacles transformed from monument to national park, I visited the area to do a story for the now-defunct Monterey Bay News and Views. As part of the story, I attempted to get some reactions from Soledad businesses. It was mid-afternoon when I parked on Front Street, the main commercial street in town. I hoped to talk to someone at the Chamber of Commerce, but their office was closed. I walked several blocks of Front Street, hoping to get some usable quotes. This is what I found: Most of the businesses in Soledad were closed in the middle of the day on a Friday, and most of the people working in the open stores had no idea about the changes. If fact, some of these seemed only vaguely aware of Pinnacles. However, Ann Trebino of Soledad Pharmacy said, "I don't think there'll be any change." She doesn't anticipate more business, seeing that there are few visitor-serving businesses in Soledad. Based on my experiences, I don't see Soledad as a destination for visitors to Pinnacles.
Meade Fischer, Watsonville
Love Griggs' stories of arctic explorers
Kudos to local marine scientist Gary Griggs for his wonderful columns and tales of scientific adventure. His current series about 19th century Norwegian arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen is fascinating and a good reminder about the risks many scientists take on behalf of us all. The data they gather expands our knowledge about this planet we inhabit and its place in the universe.
Linda Wilshusen, Santa Cruz
Love the best response to violence
These past few weeks, as Santa Cruz has found itself facing seemingly random acts of violence, theft and rape, I have found myself telling the people I love to stop walking alone, telling them to stop going out at night. And yet every time I say these things, I wonder why we are telling people not to be attacked, rather than telling them not to attack. These crimes emerge from places of insecurity, fear and disrespect; I refuse to allow them to create these feelings in me, too. As I walk (as safely as possible) down the street, I will walk with bold compassion, and I will refuse to be afraid of the people around me. These assailants are human, nothing more or less, and I will not let their crimes take away my patience, courage and empathy. Please don't let them take those things from you either; if we want true change, our love for each other must be stronger than our fear of each other.
Matilda Morrison, Santa Cruz
Living wage is a right
I am writing in response to Cameron Jackson's letter to the editor on Feb. 17. Mr. Jackson, how do you define a living wage? In simplest terms I define it as the ability to feed, clothe, house and provide basic medical care for my family. Do you, Mr. Jackson, propose I do this for $20,000 a year while also providing safe, competent and friendly service to the 5.4 million people who ride Santa Cruz buses every year? If so, then you Mr. Jackson are living in a bygone era when you could rent a house in Santa Cruz for $350 a month. I have worked for the Santa Cruz Metro for seven years. I do not expect my income to afford me the ability to purchase a home in this county. I do expect my income to provide for the basic needs of my family -- as do all hard-working people. The Santa Cruz Metro has allowed me to do this, and for this I am eternally grateful. I do not live in Luis Alejo's district, but I support him and all like-minded representatives who advocate for the basic needs of their citizenry.
Chris Sullivan, Santa Cruz