Majority Report | November 1

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Just the Facts Ma’am

Sgt. Joe Friday on the old cop show, Dragnet, used to say, “Just the facts ma’am,” which is pretty convenient when you might not want to hear the quilt of stories behind how the facts became facts. But without context, facts are like vacuum cleaners sold to people who don’t have access to electricity, convenient machines, but not very useful without a power source. There’s quite a few “facts” running around Santa Cruz inside the housing, homelessness, and UCSC conversations, but often a context, the stories behind the facts, is lacking. Having stated the obvious, I am going to now put out a bunch of factoids that happened this week and in the interest of time, let you draw your own conclusions. It’s a kind of, do as I say not as I do, column this week.

  • Library-garage architects (advocates?) presented three plans recently to the Library Committee. 1) $37.7 million to renovate existing library; 2) $47 million to build a new, one-story library, 3) $49 million to build a new two-story library…but, lo and behold, if it is put inside of a five-story parking garage the price magically comes down to $26 million. BTW, none of these buildings would be “net zero energy,” which is really sad in 2017.
  • Just the facts ma’am: Six undergraduate women were evicted by the city this past week from 102-104 Hillcrest Terrace below the University off Highland. They were given 36 hours to vacate and not offered any alternative housing opportunities as far as I’ve been able to ascertain. One of them said to me when I stopped by to see what could be done, “We can kiss tomorrow’s midterms goodbye.”
  • In the new movie, Mark Felt (Watergate’s Deep Throat character) the main character, FBI second-in-command to J. Edgar Hoover, Mark Felt played by Liam Neeson, goes through a long list of communes where his runaway daughter might be, and he lands on one in Ben Lomond of all places, on Bear Creek Rd. In the next scene he is retrieving her and bringing her back Washington, D.C. just in time to see Nixon walk across the tarmac and get on that infamous helicopter just after resigning.
  • SC4Bernie member and UCSC student leader, Jeff Stoll talked to City on a Hill Press recently about housing and his comment as one of now 19,000 hill-dwellers bears repeating. “At the end of the day, housing is the issue that unites the campus and the community…it’s an issue related to campus development and the way we want to see the campus expand or not expand in a sustainable way.”
  • UCSC Prof. Adam Millard-Ball reported that in the transportation research he is conducting, “traffic sprawl” in the United States peaked in 1994, but not in Atlanta, they seem to still be in “sprawl” mode he said. He also said that car ownership peaked in 2005. Interesting.
  • Just the Facts Ma’am–the top issues of concern by residents in the Prospect Heights neighborhood voiced at a forum on public safety at Delaveaga School hosted by SCPD Chief, Andy Mills were: Isolate aggressive transients, form private sector partnerships for patrolling, focus on community safety–wellness and quality of life, make mental health collaborations between city and county, connect crime to campsites, there needs to be more visible patrols–get out of the car and more citizen involvement, use compassion when confronting homeless, police need to be proactive vs. reactive, and we need to find better ways of managing mental illness. Chief Mills also said that “80% of the calls for service by PD are for homeless-related issues.”
  • Just the Facts Ma’am Talking Points from Eastside Save Santa Cruz meeting last Thursday night:
    • “Anyone here play poker? Well, the Corridors Plan is currently on ‘hold,’ we need the city to ‘fold’ the Corridors Plan.” (Jerry Christianson)
    • Farrell’s Donuts vs. Dunkin’ Donuts (corporations certainly know how to vulture local businesses)
    • Habit Burger? Where did that come from?
    • The goal of developers is to maximize profits…and we get that. The goal of the city council should be to maximize the quality of life for residents, and THEY should get that!
    • Is 340 square feet for $1700-$2000 really “affordable by design?”
    • “We need housing for people who live here now.” (Dawn Norris)
    • City has approved over 500 hotel rooms in the past three years. Where will the wait- staff, gardeners, bartenders, and chefs all live?
  • Gary Patton hit it out of the park at the eastside meeting when he said: “Let’s make this city the way we want it to be, not the city someone tells us it should be.” And on the accusation of NIMBY-ism, Patton said, “We have nothing to be ashamed of if we fight for our community…we can’t have self-government if we don’t get involved ourselves.” Patton seemed to lay down the gauntlet when he said if developers really want to build in Santa Cruz they can build 50% market rate and 50% affordable…the crowd went wild!
  • Okay, Patton and the rest were all really good, but Carmela Weintraub had the quote of the night when she stood up from the audience and announced: “Okay, we saved the Pogonip, we saved Lighthouse Field, we saved Wilder Ranch…now we have to save the whole god-damned city!” (Applause!!!)

Finally, I planted a redwood tree and a sequoia tree in my backyard this week…I really felt powerful, can’t wait for the grand kids to figure out how to save them when the developers come!

Bernie Tweet of the Week

“Are you truly free if you work 100 hours a week because you can’t find a job with a living wage? Are you free if you have no health care?” (October 29)

Packed Save Santa Cruz eastside meeting, over 200 in attendance!

llar performances by eastside community members at the Save Santa Cruz forum (L-R): Gary Patton, Jerry Christiansen, Walt Wadlow, Dolores Salazar Talbert, Deborah Marks, Dawn Norris, Candace Brown, Bob von Elgg, and Cyndi Dawson. Kudos!

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