I’m the Santa Cruz Otter. Why Shouldn’t I Bite Back?

Your Accusations Are Otterly Ridiculous—Humans Are the Real Aggressors on California’s Coast

Who are you to be calling me aggressive?

Yes, I’m the 5-year-old female otter from the waters off Santa Cruz, about whom you’ve been reading scary headlines.

Now, I do sometimes approach surfers or kayakers in ways that they interpret as threatening. It’s also true that, on occasion, I separate surfers from their boards, and exercise my right, as a Californian, to ride the waves myself.

But have I ever done anything aggressive, at least by Santa Cruz standards? It’s not like I ever swiped a street parking space near the Boardwalk, or …

The True Horror of Sunny Santa Cruz | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The True Horror of Sunny Santa Cruz

The City’s Residents Feel Powerless Over Their Future—From Housing to Climate Change

Is Santa Cruz the scariest place in California?

For sure, this state’s 21st-century reality is frightening: from the persecution of immigrants to the droughts and wildfires made worse by climate change. …

If You Can’t Beat the Bay Area, Join It

Solving Northern California’s Toughest Problems Requires a New Megaregion, from San Francisco and Tahoe to the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys

Welcome to the Bay Area, Merced!

Further north, welcome as well to Modesto, Sacramento, Placerville, and Yuba City. And, to the south, you’re invited, too, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and …

Santa Cruz Made Me Love Movies

Four Downtown Theaters Within a Square Mile of Each Other Showed Me How Films Can Bring People Together

I only made it through the first few minutes of The Great Gatsby before I knew something about the film was off. The 1920s world it portrayed looked glossy and …

Dead Lawns and Two-Minute Showers

Learning to Love Water Rationing in Santa Cruz

As another disappointing rainy season drew to a close this spring, I began a new household chore. I walked across the parched and withered remnants of our front lawn and …