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Fixing the Broken — Again and Again

Living on the beach, people have short and long memories.

The city of Santa Cruz is taking it on the nose with the latest series of storms that keep rolling in off the Pacific Ocean. Especially beach areas that are now being impacted not just by rain and wind, but wave action that is destroying homes.

Reference my note above: “Living on the beach, people have short and long memories.” The long memories come from many a happy moment watching the waves gently lap against the shore. Sunsets, I’m sure! Family dinners on the beach, throwing the ball to the dog, and on and on. Then there are the “short memories” of when storms caused damages before, but “we love it here so much” that people fix up, repair and forget!

Here’s a quote that ends this New York Times article, “Battered by Storms, Central Coast of California Prepares for Another Deluge”:

“Gary Griggs, a professor of earth sciences who has taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, since the 1960s, said that the same spots in Santa Cruz, like the Capitola pier and West Cliff Drive, had been damaged once or twice a decade by storms, but that people had ‘short-disaster memory.’ He said the region needed to seriously consider moving development away from the coastline because there was no way to escape inevitable sea level rise. ‘What this storm is telling us is it’s time to think a little more long term and make some decisions,’ he said. ‘We’ve been Band-aiding things together for a long time.’”
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.