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Possible closing of Beach Flats Community Garden & Community Center
Police services are the largest single expenditure of the city alone and account for more than 25% of the budget. But come a budget crisis, the first thing that is on the block is the community center in the only primarily Spanish-speaking part of town.
Along with the Museum of Natural History and the Surfing Museum, the City is planning to close the Community Garden and Community Center in the Beach Flats. This includes community gardens, tutoring programs, homework support, childcare, cultural events, computer labs, and other family support.
And these public services are being threatened in a city that spends far above average on "public safety." That is, most cities the size of Santa Cruz spend around 45% of their budget on fire and police. In our city, we spend closer to 60%. Police services are the largest single expenditure of the city alone and account for more than 25% of the budget.
So if it seems like we live in a city crawling with cops, this helps explain it. In lefty liberal Santa Cruz, if you sit on a sidewalk, or run through a stop sign on a bike, or relax on a sunny day down by the river you are virtually guaranteed an interaction with authority Do you feel our little town is more crime-ridden than most and deserves this bloated police expenditure?
This is the same police force who week-after-week have posted 2 to 4 officers at $75 an hour all day at the Farmer's Market to silence the traditional drum circle. But come a budget crisis, the first thing that is on the block is the community center in the only primarily Spanish-speaking part of town.
Perhaps it is time to question the priorities of our mayor and city council.
The city council will be considering these weighty matters at their council meeting on Tuesday. This stuff will be discussed in the 3pm council agenda, in order to make it more difficult for you to attend. Here is the most likely agenda item that will cover it:
21. Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Balancing Plan (Phase 9). (CM)
Motion to provide direction to take emergency actions necessary to address the City’s
fiscal crisis. NOTE: Written material for Item 21 will be provided prior to the meeting.
Naturally, the council arrive already heavy with regret at the inevitability of their regrettable but necessary decisions, but perhaps your demands that they dig deeper for a more sensible budget solution will convince them otherwise.