I'd always thought Santa Cruz's lunatic "progressive" fringe would eventually fade into the woodwork, as the county slowly turned into Carmel/Pebble Beach North, but that hasn't been the case.
Instead, the rest of California became more like Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata and other flaky hippie strongholds. Maybe they won by default when most sane people abandoned the Golden State for Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and other greener pastures.
Now obnoxious, middle-aged, "enlightened" liberal scolds sit on million dollar homes they've owned for 30 years. They'll brag to anyone who will listen about how they can afford to buy organic produce at health food stores, something out of reach for working people. They pack council meetings to fight Outback Steakhouse expansion plans.
Steady government work is where it's at!
A caravan of hippies travelling across California today can speak to school children nearly anywhere and not be run out of town. What struck me about this story is that vegan activists were welcomed into schools in South Santa Cruz County, traditionally a more conservative area.
When I was growing up in the area, hippies wouldn't dare travel to that end of the county, as they'd probably be arrested. UC-Santa Cruz has always been an object of ridicule and scorn in places like Watsonville for very good reasons. People there have to work for a living and don't have time for the university's stale, failed political nonsense.
Sadly, this Common Vision group does nothing but reinforce the negative image UC-Santa Cruz has never been able to shake, as a dumping ground for suburban brats looking to "find themselves" as neo-hippies.
(Hey, maybe I actually beat Rosenblog to a Santa Cruz story for once!)
(Santa Cruz Sentinel-Joanne Sanchez)
FREEDOM — One of their buses broke down in San Luis Obispo. But the second bus, hand-painted with the colors of the rainbow, kept on going.
Friday morning, 20 members of environmental-education group Common Vision, packed into the colorful school bus that doubles as their home, arrived in Watsonville bearing fruit trees and drums to spread their word about sustainable living.
The stop at Watsonville Community School marked the halfway point of the group’s 70-day Fruit Tree Tour, aimed at teaching ecology to students at mostly urban schools from San Diego to Sacramento.
"If (students) get their hands dirty in the soil, they will develop a relationship with the earth," said Common Vision founder Blair Philips, a UC Santa Cruz graduate.
The nonprofit travels in a caravan of vehicles powered by vegetable-oil — two buses and two trucks. But one of its buses is in the shop, and the group has been forced to cram into one bus that sleeps eight to 10 people.
"It is tight but it is doable," said member Julia Trunzo. "We are very adaptable."
The group’s reception was mixed at the 80-student alternative school, which serves many at-risk kids. "They’re weird," some kids whispered. But the group’s message seemed to get across.
While helping plant an apple tree, student Jorge Lopez, 15, said he didn’t mind getting dirty — it got him out of math class.
Later into the planting, he began to show appreciation.
"It is our school, and we have to take care of it. It is our planet and we have to preserve it," he said.
In addition to gardening, the kids were asked to participate in a drumming circle, an activity that seemed more popular.
Group members told the students that all indigenous people have one rhythm in common — the earth’s heartbeat, and that it represents the heartbeat of all life.