Today, interestingly right before Memorial Day, thousands of residents of Santa Cruz are hiding their faces like a bunch of old nuns who would have caught sight of a naked man by mistake. (I should stop saying this; it’s not fair to some nuns.) The cause of their emotion: a front page article in the local newspaper about one of the most obvious beaches in town being grossly polluted. The newspaper is itself a grossly biased greenie-liberal sheet that can’t spell. (It has its good days once in a while but I can’t figure out why.)
Something like this happens regularly with the most attractive beaches in the area pointed to by the severe index of pseudo-science, or of quasi-science. The last time I looked into it, it turned out that natural lagoons had been allowed to form on the offending beaches, stopping the flow of small creeks. Ducks and seagulls had gathered in there, of course and done for weeks on end what waterbirds will do in the water. The solution: Breach the sand dam that allows for the lagoon; sea water downstream then tests clean within a day or so.
At the time, local surfers organizations and many greenie mouthpieces had darkly commented as if it were a known fact that the high bacteria count near those beaches was due to human fecal matter. It was not. It matters. I would not let my grandchild swim in duck shit but the fact is that it’s less likely to infect humans with human disease bacteria than do human feces. Got it?
(Note: Contamination of beaches with some human fecal matter does happen after heavy rains from runoff from ill-maintained septic tanks in the Santa Cruz mountains. From the septic tanks of people who eat only, strictly organic, I would guess – Oh, how awful! I have no excuse for speculating like this; I ought to be ashamed of myself! Such temporary contamination happens nearly exclusively in the winter when few people touch the sea at all.)
What’s going on? I think that poorly educated people read half-baked reports and do not even consider the possibility that the announced pollution may be mild, or transitory, or easy-to-remedy, or have natural causes, or that it may have been triggered by ill-conceived environmental regulations. In the Santa Cruz sensitive, politically correct, Mother Nature-loving, whiny, semi- educated culture, some people, many people, do not find the courage to say the obvious:
“How can that be, a city that relies to large extent on tourists and visitors offers them disgustingly polluted water that might make their children severely ill? Does it make any sense or is someone making this up?”
Today, I heard a caller on a good program on my old local radio station (KSCO) refer to a sewer spill on my favorite beach, one I know as well as my own house. I called to opine that the caller was probably mistaken, that he had confused a innocent harbor dredge outlet with a sewer line. Within minutes, the first caller came back on-air to explain that the one-time sewer spill was a one-time accident. That sure puts everything in a different light. (I am not even sure any of it happened at all.)
What am I deviously suggesting here, you would be right to ask.
Here it is: Santa Cruz, like much of California, is home to many selfish anti-growth people who are ready to do anything, tell any lies, spread any rumors to keep the doors of their 1970s paradise closed. Why, they routinely use municipal power to make life difficult for the only big employer that they have not already chased out of town: the University of California at Santa Cruz! Why, this is a town where important political forces fought for years against the installation of a low security wall separating ongoing traffic from incoming traffic on the winding mountain road that connects it to Silicone Valley! Years! That wall was finally put up. It saved lives, but mostly of humans, that despicable species!
On this long weekend, surfers are especially exercised to have to share what they think of as their waves with an inevitable invasion or more or less clumsy “Valley” (San Jose side) surfers. Not long ago a fashionable grafitto in Santa Cruz , addressed to the same alien surfers from the other side of the mountain said, “Go die on (Highway) 17, Valley!” Nice people!
Here, locally, as is also the case on a national level, the press does not perform even the most minimalist version of its job: Don’t spread bullshit, about anything, not even about duck shit.
A Stanford University study on the issue of Santa Cruz beach pollution is supposed to be released this coming week (Memorial Day week of 2013). If it does not confirm the gross pollution vision, it will be buried by the local media, I think. I will keep you informed not matter what, it goes without saying.
6/2/13 No sign of any Stanford study of pollution of California beaches so far, published or unpublished. Was there one that was buried or was it always a figment of the local media’s imagination?
Here is a sign of municipal rationalism amidst the ambiant foo-foo-headed panickiness, as reported by the Santa Cruz Wire, an independent organ:
“City officials are asking the California Coastal Commission to approve a two-year study on Cowell Beach aimed at determining whether piles of kelp left to rot on the beach are the main source of the water pollution, or whether the area’s sea lions, pelicans and fish are the real culprits. Ongoing testing by the county’s Environmental Health Department has already ruled out human sewage as the bacterial source.”
The panic-mongers in Santa Cruz may have been thinking of another “Stanford” study concerning Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco. Here is the link:
Let me summarize it: Septic tanks leak on beach. No poop. Too much nitrogen.
I keep telling you.
Update last day of July 2013: Oops I forgot to let you know: Two hundred yards from the beach in question, Cowell Beach, on the wharf, live about one hundred sea lions. I am sure they take the trouble to swim out to sea to do what they unavoidably have to do. Sea lions wouldn’t be so gross as to do it close to Cowell Beach. No, they wouldn’t!