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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Possible closing of Beach Flats Community Garden & Community Center
by Concerned
Friday Dec 5th, 2008 9:46 PM
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.
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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.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Ursula
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 8:20 AM

Here is what happened in Vallejo, when their first responder costs spiraled out of control.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/21/MN35V5V9I.DTLThose outer-ring areas like Stockton/Modesto/Fairfield/Vallejo experienced the most intense boom-bust cycles in the housing bubble because speculators in the city looked there for houses the flip. Then in foreclosure, they provide no revenue (look here for numbers currently starting foreclosure. It's something like 5% of stockton houses, which is actually a pretty city with a historic downtown http://www.realtytrac.com).

It seems like higher education and assistance to the disabled is going to be on the line with our $11billion state deficit. Without having time to access the budget, it's hard to say what you would prefer to cut. You can click here for the basic form. In my opinion, the prison costs are very disproportionate to nearby states, where we both have much higher salaries, and implement rules which result in the highest 'recidivism' rates in the country, as parolees don't have to reoffend to get sent back. A lot of the human services budget is the state healthcare fund for the indigent. I think that would be solved if they came up with a national solution to cut health insurance companies out, which take a 30% share for profit and management.
http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/agencies.html

by Ursula
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 8:27 AM
oops. forgot a space. Article on Vallejo
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/21/MN35V5V9I.DTL

Since last spring, nearby Fairfield suffered similar problems with its city budget and uncontained pension, healthcare, salaries. Rio Vista (windy agricultural city in the Delta) is going bankrupt
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/19/MNHA143FHK.DTL


by Global
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 10:10 AM
This is state wide. Not just our small city. Although crime is a problem in the DT.
by plot resistance
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 10:31 AM
There will be a meeting today at the BFCG at 1pm.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 11:04 AM
Resisters are invited to come down to Pacific Avenue tonight (Saturday Dec 6th) to chowdown, copwatch, and sleepout. See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/04/18553665.php .

You can also call in to fire a question or two at the Copshop's biggest fan, Councilmember Mike Rotkin, who will be on my show discussing issues of free speech and assembly at UCSC and downtown.

Perhaps such the jumbo police budget is an essential part of defending Freedom of Assembly at the Drum Circle (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/05/18553732.php & http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/03/18553519.php ) and at the Metro (see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/11/25/18552885.php )? Inquire of Herr Rotkin what his view is. We'll try to limit his answer to 2 minutes or less.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 11:05 AM
9:30 - 10:30 AM Sunday 101.1 FM http://www.freakradio.org 427-3772 469-3119
by plot resistance
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 11:41 AM
This could be a good opportunity to have the Beach Flats Community Garden operate autonomously from the Beach Flats Community Center and the City of Santa Cruz. The gardeners maintain the garden and with help from the community, we can find ways to continuing farming the land.
by City Worker
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 12:25 PM
I am a employee with the city of Santa Cruz Parks & Rec Dept. and the word we got was not only the Beach Flats Community center and Nat History Museum are purposed to be closed but the Teen Center and the Harvey West pool will also be closed and to expect another round of cuts by spring.
City council still to decide on Dec 7th.
by brent lucifer
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 12:52 PM
I live adjacent to the garden. I have a plot in it myself.
I know for a fact that the funds that the city puts into it are minimal and - more-over - unnecessary.
The one thing we NEED that the city provides is water. THATS IT. The management is just
silly bureaucratic nonsense. We will resist. We will continue to plant and harvest.
thanks for the heads up on today's meeting. I didn't get the word. strange.
by nm
Saturday Dec 6th, 2008 5:00 PM
It's impressive that you got him on your radio show. Does he call in, or go to the studio and hang out?

Talking with a friend, I realized I could use a better explanation of the pathway that dollars take between sending in your property tax bill or paying sales tax, and reaching either the schools, Santa Cruz's budget, or the state. My friend said that a lot of this is proposition 13 (on Zillow you can look up some pretty nice houses in town that pay $1000 or lower because they were purchased 25 years ago for $60,000.) He said that the state takes the property tax and doesn't send all of it back to Santa Cruz, but uses a formula for the schools and for the city expenses. Of course, maybe this is more socially responsible
by zombo
Monday Dec 8th, 2008 11:15 PM
Not really, the average city in California generally spends around 60% of its budget on public safety. It would appear Santa Cruz is just about average.

And yes, public safety is always the last thing to get cut.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Dec 9th, 2008 10:39 AM
Cutback CoP CRACKDOWNS Not Social Services !
Stop Sleeping Ban Busts Not Youth Facilities !

Save the Beach Flats Community Center !
March 2 PM Today (Tuesday 12-9) from Beach Flats Park

Talk Back to the Budget Busters at City Council 3 PM
309 Center St. (across from the Main Library) !

Eat Pastries with the Pastyfaces 8 PM
Recycled City Council & Public Meet & Eat at the Civic Auditorium (across from City Hall)

Restore Public Assembly at the Wednesday Drum Circle
3 PM December 10th Cathcart & Cedar Near the Farmer's Market
Flyer by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 http://www.huffsantacruz.org 12-09-08