Volume 2 Issue 32, Jan. 28, 2022 View as Webpage
Last Saturday, shoppers at Lion Plaza,1818 Tully Road in San Jose, prepared for the New Year Celebrations that begin this weekend. The mango cake, right, is at Euro Delights Bakery in the shopping center.
2022 - Year of the Wildcatz (Tiger) - Gung hay fat choy

Officially it’s the “Year of the Tiger,” but there are no tigers in the USA except in zoos. So, it’ll be the year of all cats, including the mascot of my alma mater, Watsonville High School, Willie of the Wildcatz.  Yes, it is spelled with a “z” to distinguish it from all other wildcats.  
My 1968 blue Mercury Cougar and I talk whenever we go for a ride.  He’ll be 52 this coming May, and he is very wise for he listens and talks on his car radio.  The Cougar explained that this lunar year will be the year of 4708 and that good wishes for health, wealth, and good fortune will be bestowed on all family members and friends if they are cautious, considerate, and careful!

“Hey, Cougar," I say, "it looks like 2022 will not be your year.  But, remember it was your's 12 years ago in 2010.”  This year will be the Watsonville High’s Wildcatz. 

My Cougar loves being the center of attention, particularly when cruisin’ down Main Street. Although impatient at all the stop lights, he is very thoughtful to those in the crosswalks!  These traits are characteristics of cats.

The Cougar told me that among the people of Japan, it is a fortuitous thing for one to be born in the Year of the Tiger, “The tiger, it is believed, represents the greatest terrestrial power and stands as an emblem of protection over human life.  It chases away the ‘three disasters’—thieves, fire, and ghosts.”

Amazed, I asked, “Where did you hear this?”  

“Oh, I was parked next to a Honda.” On a roll, he purred, “It may be a difficult year if we don’t chase away a "fourth disaster," the continued threat of COVID-19.” 

Those born in the Year of the Tiger (1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, & 2010) are considered to be powerful, passionate, and daring. While the 2022 Year of the Tiger promises to be very challenging, the Cougar (pictured below) asks us to keep our sense of humor for we will need it before the year’s end.  Hmmm …Happy New Year to all!
Survey of Active Voters Shows 74% Support a Passenger Rail

The independent data collection firm FM3 Research did a survey of randomly-selected Santa Cruz County voters to find out their opinions on a passenger rail. They talked to a selection of voters taken from the county voter registration lists. FM3 Research found that 74% of the county supported moving forward with the rail and trail project! Check out all the details here.
Photo contributed
October's Coast Futura demonstration ride heading down Chestnut St. in Santa Cruz, showed that not only do we have a rail line that can be used by our community for rail transit, our community wants to use it. From fully booked rides, smiles and waves at every intersection, and excitement about the potential for a clean, quiet light rail in our county, it’s clear that we should be moving forward with rail transit now.

The Plan for Electric Light Rail in Santa Cruz County is Completed

The recently released Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis and Rail Network Integration Study, TCAA business plan, has some potentially great news for electric passenger rail service in Santa Cruz County. 

Our neighborhoods will be safer and more walkable. The reduction of neighborhood traffic achieved by adding electric rail transit is projected to reduce vehicle, bike and pedestrian accidents by 346 collisions every year.

There are many all electric trains and street cars available today that we can implement, ensuring a sustainable, quiet and traffic free option along our branch line. In fact, the TCAA indicated that adding rail will reduce our local GHG emissions by 1482 metric tons annually, the equivalent of planting 24,500 trees and growing them for 10 years every year, year after year.

We will be a part of a regional transit system, connecting to the state rail lines and Monterey rail line at the Pajaro junction. Imagine traveling stress free between where you live and San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles or anywhere else in California or the USA.

There are current funding possibilities for more than 57% of the total projected cost which is fantastic at this stage of the project development. 

One thing is clear, light rail transit is an increasing priority in our community. Support has grown dramatically. There have been new endorsements from two city councils, several Democratic community clubs, local labor representatives, and many business and community leaders.

Unfortunately, the Regional Transportation Commissioners are currently split in a 6:6 impasse and have not authorized RTC staff to move forward with applying for funding for initial engineering and design work. The commissioners need to hear from us. Please click here to tell the commissioners you support taking the next steps to add zero-emissions passenger rail to our public transportation system.
More People Facing Hunger and Homelessness

Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs is busy supporting the ever increasing number of people facing homelessness and hunger. We share meals every day at the Town Clock at Pacific Avenue and Water Street from noon to 4pm. We have volunteer positions available every day. Help us share food, clothing and survival gear. You can make a difference by volunteering with Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. Give us a call at 1-800-884-1136 or visit santacruz.foodnotbombs.net to get involved.
8 Trailers Bought to House Homeless Youth Still Sit Unused

Eight trailers that were bought in the early days of Covid-19 to house homeless youth for a few months still sit abandoned at Pinto Lake County Park. Pinto Lake City Park, that is a short distance away, has hook ups and bathrooms. Eight families could be housed there. Contact your county supervisors Manu Koenig, Ryan Coonerty, Zach Friend, Bruce McPherson,and Greg Caput. You may also try calling Robert Rather, the director of Santa Cruz County's Housing for Health division at 454-4925. However, he has yet to returned my calls.

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” 
Thomas Paine

A Black-crowned night heron keeps a close eye on passersbys at the Santa Cruz Harbor.
Santa Cruz County Covid-19 Report - Get your free tests here

The Santa Cruz County Health Department regularly releases data on the current status of Covid-19 in the county. Total known cases as of Jan. 27 were 32,232, up 9% from last week's 29,470. There were no new deaths.

Because of all the home tests currently available, these numbers are underestimates according to Corinne Hyland, County Health Services Agency spokesperson. She recommends people with minor symptoms stay home, isolate and rest.

Confused about testing? Lisa Krieger's Jan. 13 front page article in the San Jose Mercury News has comprehensive information gleaned from various sources on how to make some sense of the various tests, incubation periods, contagion, viral levels, etc.

Hospitalizations stayed the same from last week. Click to view a graph of hospitalizations here.

There have been some changes in the last week. Active cases in south county rose by 7%. Mid county stayed the same and north county decreased to 6%. See details in the chart below.

On the county's vaccination webpage, as of Jan. 24, 79% of the county has had at least one dose and 73% has had two doses. That is a one percent increase in each category from last week. Here are more details on the county's vaccination data

This webpage also has a link where you can get a digital copy and scannable QR code of your vaccination record. Keep track of your four digit code because that is your access to the site.

The county's Effective Reproductive Number is now at one. See chart below. Numbers above one show the spread of the virus is increasing. Below one means the spread is decreasing.

To get information of COVID-19 testing locations around the county visit this site. Click here to make an appointment to get tested.

Any Californian age 12 or up can get vaccinated for free. For information on getting vaccinated, click here.
% deaths by ethnicity:
White - 56% 
Latinx - 36%
Black - 0% 
Asian - 7%
American Native - 0%
Unknown - 0%

% deaths by gender/% of population:
Female - 49%/50% 
Male - 51%/50% 

Deaths by age/228:
25-34 - 2%
35-44 - 3%
45-54 - 4%
55-59 - 1%
60-64 - 6%
65-74 - 18%
75-84 - 22%
85+ - 42%

% active cases testing positive by region/% of population:
Mid-county - 12%/12% 
North county - 54%/56% 
South county - 34%/32% 
Under investigation - 1%
Weekly increases in positive tests: 
June 12-19 - 7% 
June 19-26 - 23%
June 26 to July 3 - 22%
July 3-9 - 23%
July 9-16 - 40%
July 16-23 - 20%
July 23-30 - 27%
July 30-Aug. 6 - 13%
Aug. 6-13- 12%
Aug.14-20 - 16%
Aug.20-28 - 10%
Aug. 28-Sept. 3 - 10%
Sept. 3-10 - 6%
Sept. 10-17- 8% 
Sept. 17-24 - 7%
Sept. 25- Oct.1 - 5%
Oct. 1 - 9 - 4%
Oct. 9-15 - 4%
Oct. 15-22 - 5%
Oct. 23-29 - 4%
Oct. 30-Nov. 5 - 6%
Nov. 5-12 - 10%
Nov. 12-19 - 11%
Nov. 19-26 - holiday
Nov. 19-Dec. 3 - 29% 2 weeks of data for this week only
Dec. 3-10 - 16%
Dec. 10-17 - 17%
Dec. 17-24 - 14%
Dec. 24-31 - 19%
Jan. 1-7 - 13%
Jan. 7-14 - 14%
Jan. 15-21 - 11%
Jan. 21-28 - 5%
Jan. 28-Feb. 4 - 5%
Feb. 5-11 - 2%
Feb. 11-18 - 2%
Feb. 18-25 - 1%
Feb. 25-March 5 - 1%
March 5-11 - 1%
March 11-18 - 2%
March 18-25 - .5%
March 25 - Apr. 1 - .7%
Apr. 1-8 - 0.1%
Apr. 9-15 - 1%
Apr. 16-22 - 2%
Apr. 22-30 - 2%
Apr. 30 - May 6 - .3%
May 6-13 - 2%
May 13-20 - 0%
May 24 - Data readjustment by county means percentages cannot be calculated this week.
May 27 - June 3 - 0%
June 3-10 - 0%
June 11-17 - .25%
June 18-24 - 0%
June 25-July 1 - 0%
July 2-8 - .3%
July 9-15 - .2%
July 16-22 - .5%
July 23-29 - 1.2%
July 30-Aug. 5 - 2%
Aug. 6-12 - .7%
Aug.13-19 - 4%
Aug. 20-26 - .7%
Aug. 26-Sept. 2 - 3%
Sept. 2-9 - 2%
Sept. 10-16 - 1%
Sept. 17-22 - 1%
Sept. 23-30 - 2%
Oct. 1-7 - 0%
Oct. 8-14 - 1%
Oct. 15-21 - 1%
Oct. 22-28 - 1%
Oct. 29-Nov. 4 - 1%
Nov. 5-11 - 1%
Nov. 12-18 - 2%
Nov. 19 - Dec. 2 - 2 weeks 2%
Dec. 2-9 - 2%
Dec. 9-16 - 1%
Dec. 16-23 - 1%
Dec. 24-30 - 2%
Dec. 31 - Jan. 6 - 5% Growth of home tests underestimates cases-see above
Jan. 7-13 - 9%
Jan. 14-20 - 15%
Jan. 21-27 - 9%
Fashion Street - Curtis Reliford of the Santa Cruz Peace Train brings danceable music and social change to downtown Santa Cruz.
Labor History Calendar for Jan. 28- Feb. 3, 2022

Jan. 28, 1861: American Miners' Association formed.
Jan. 28, 1942: Australian troops armed with machine guns, rifles and bayonets attack 500 striking sailors, killing one, Ping Sang Hsu, and arresting many in port city of Fremantle.
Jan. 29, 1737: Birth of Thomas Paine.
Jan. 29, 1936: Sit-down strike helps establish United Rubber Workers as national union in Akron, Ohio.
Jan. 29, 2017: Airports occupied in solidarity with victims of US travel ban.
Jan. 30, 2015: Turkish government bans strike by 15,000 metalworkers.
Jan. 31, 1911: US troops enter Mexico to suppress Magonist rebellion.
Feb. 1, 1907: IWW strikes Portland, Oregon sawmills.
Feb. 1, 1921: Kronstadt rises demanding workers' rule in Russia.
Feb. 2, 1911: IWW wins Fresno, CA free speech fight.
Feb. 2, 1937: US Steel, now USX, begins to bargain with CIO.
Feb. 3, 1903: Colorado City free speech fight begins.

Labor History Calendar has been published yearly by the Hungarian Literature Fund since 1985.

Peanut Butter and Miso Cookies
By SARAH RINGLER                            

The origin of the peanut butter cookie starts with the 1884 invention of nut butter. It was hoped that it could be used as a substitute for butter or lard. Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec invented a hot grinding stone to process roasted peanuts into a paste that he used to make into candy. It took another fifty years to make it into the cookie we recognize today with the distinct crisscross markings made with the tines of a fork. That recipe was featured in the newspaper, the Schenectady Gazette, on July 1, 1932,  
Well, nothing seems to stand still long. Our globalized and curious society now has an even larger repertoire of ingredients with which to experiment. This recipe, from Krysten Chambrot in the New York Times's food section, replaces a little Japanese miso with some of the peanut butter. Miso adds a slightly salty and earthy dimension that, I think, makes these cookies more sophisticated. Also, instead of making the crisscross design on top of the cookies, Chambrot’s recipe, in these anxious times, provides you with the opportunity to flatten the cookies by slamming them on the kitchen counter, twice. 

I field tested these cookies with quite a few people because although I loved the flavor, I wanted to make sure that most people would enjoy them. The feedback was positive. Although miso has a flavor that is not associated with sweet desserts, with enough sugar and the crunchy topping of crystals of Demerara sugar, it is clear that this is a sweet treat. 

This recipe requires at least six total minutes of beating, so it helps to have a stand mixture. Also, be sure and watch your timer if you want to keep them chewy and moist. Over-baking makes them hard. Remember that they will continue to bake for a short while even after they come out of the oven. Over baking is not a total disaster as they can then be dunked in tea, coffee or milk. 

Staff of Life in Watsonville and Santa Cruz have a good selection of miso.

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 
¾ teaspoon baking soda 
½ teaspoon baking powder 
½ cup butter, at room temperature 
1 cup light brown sugar 
½ cup granulated sugar 
⅓ cup white miso  
¼ cup chunky peanut butter 
1 large egg 
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 
½ cup Demerara sugar, plus more as needed 

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.
Use a standing mixer if you have one, or in a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes.
Add miso and peanut butter to the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar, and continue to mix at medium speed, for about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated, and mix a bit more if needed. Add egg and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined. Do not beat. 
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until flour mixture is incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in two batches until all of it is incorporated.
Place 1/2 cup Demerara sugar into a small bowl. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll between your hands until it is round. The recipe can make about 2 dozen medium sized cookies. If the dough is too soft, you can put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm the dough up slightly. Put the ball of dough into the bowl of Demerara sugar and turn to coat. Transfer each ball to a parchment-lined baking sheet, arranging them about 3 inches apart. Repeat with all of the dough.
Refrigerate the tin for 2 hours or overnight. (Even 15 minutes of refrigerator time will help the dough firm up, and the flavors combine. The longer the dough is refrigerated, the more mellow the flavors will be.)
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, until crisp at the edges and slightly puffed in the middle. They should still be underdone in the center. Pull out the baking sheet and slap it down on the counter. Place back into the oven to finish for about 3 to 4 minutes. When cookies are firm at the edges and slightly puffed in the center, pull them out and again slap the baking sheet on the counter. The cookies should appear flat and crinkly at the center.
Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container; they should retain their chewy texture for a few days.
Send your story, poetry or art here: Please submit a story, poem or photo of your art that you think would be of interest to the people of Santa Cruz County. Try and keep the word count to around 400. Also, there should be suggested actions if this is a political issue. Submit to coluyaki@gmail.com

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Thanks, Sarah Ringler
Welcome to Serf City Times Over time, our county has grown more stratified and divided with many people feeling left out. Housing affordability, racism and low wages are the most obvious factors. However, many groups and individuals in Santa Cruz County work tirelessly to make our county a better place for everyone. These people work on the environment, housing, economic justice, health, criminal justice, disability rights, immigrant rights, racial justice, transportation, workers’ rights, education reform, gender issues, equity issues, electoral politics and more. Often, one group doesn’t know what another is doing. The Serf City Times is dedicated to serving as a clearinghouse for those issues by letting you know what is going on, what actions you can take and how you can support these groups.This is a self-funded enterprise and all work is volunteer. 
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