Several years ago, the owners of Bookshop Santa Cruz gave birth to a bumper sticker. "Keep Santa Cruz Weird" it read. Residents of the curious seaside haven dug it. Sales skyrocketed. Now, I see the stickers whenever I drive around town. I also see a lot of weirdness.
But that's what makes Santa Cruz one of the most unique coastal towns in California. I moved here nine years ago to take command of a funky weekly dubbed Good Times. As editor, I wanted to change the name and revamp the entire editorial direction and more. I may have succeeded on the latter two items -- it didn't hurt to win an General Excellence Award in a state competition -- but the name, Good Times, would remain.
I guess that's good. The paper, launched by Jay Shore in 1975, embodied everything Santa Cruz -- its liberal views, that free-spirit, the fascinating desire to pound some bongos in the middle of the day on the main drag and take in the never-fading scent of patchouli floating around town.
Oh, I exaggerate -- a bit. Actually, the town is a creative vortex and I'm grateful to have been here. With the help of a fine Good Times editorial and production crew, we turned the paper around and gave the readers of Santa Cruz County something meaty to embrace.
In between, Santa Cruz remained "weird" and we kept chronicling some of that weirdness. Why, it was just earlier this week, right here on HuffPo, that some of the oddities of Santa Cruz popped up in a column titled "Sarah Palin vs. That Crazy Santa Cruz Lady."
I had to set the record straight--a little. The woman, featured in a "This Week in Public Comment" video, wonderfully spawned by Jeff Dinnell, who co-hosts his own show on Community Television in town, is more unique by way of weird .... with a dash of "oh isn't that interesting?" tossed in for good measure. Crazy? Not so sure.
If anything, the "Public Comment" videos allow us to witness some of the stand-out characters that attend local city council meetings. (And there are many here, believe me.)
Here's the entire unedited "This Week in Public Comment" video. Take a peek: