THIRD IN A SERIES
By TOM HONIG
Santa Cruz's singular economy is one where a lot of people have to leave the county in order to afford living here..
Is that sustainable? Is that what local people want?
Some say that it's just what you get. Local Larry Darnell wrote to me with a story about his wife and him:
"We did the hill. Our children were in day-care after school. Our hobby was commuting. But we lived here. We would give a collective sigh of relief every night leaving Silicon Valley behind. (My wife) Judy decided first to cut off the commute and be available more as a parent - cut off the money. I decided second, partly as a result of the earthquake and the recession. We cut our pay and got our lives back off the road."
To him, the cut in pay was worth it: "Why would a manufacturer locate here? They wouldn't. I'm working now for the largest domestic classical guitar company in the U.S., in Ben Lomond. We hired five people this year."
Darnell and others think there's opportunity: "Considering the wealth and intelligence here, I would have expected someone to be able to come up with a thematic promotion whether locale related or arts related to build the area's draw...."
That's a theme seconded passionately by local businesswoman Adele Talmadge. "Support year-round tourism based on sports and lifestyle opportunities. Support the world-class sporting events that come and want to come to Santa Cruz. We need to not just be a 'cheap vacation' destination -- we are so much more. Engage tech companies from Silicon Valley to have satellite offices here by inviting young professionals to experience the Santa Cruz lifestyle."
This is the "Santa Cruz is great" argument. I know this argument -- I've been here for 40 years. But there are others who would like to see change -- and it has to do with making local government work better.
NEXT: There's gotta be some changes made.