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City Council Makes Move to Redevelop Dream Inn to Five Story Convention Center, Make Your Voice Heard

Within Santa Cruz County there is an entity separate from the City yet still directly connected to it. This entity is the Redevelopment Agency. The purpose of the redevelopment agency is to, separately from the City, "improve" blighted areas, not to blight improved areas -- yet it has just this in mind.

In an sneaky deal between the Redevelopment Agency and the Coast Hotel, plans have been devised to demolish the current hotel and its parking lot and replace it with a five-story convention center and gigantic matching parking structure. Because of its controversy the City has been planning in secrecy for about two years, and information about it has just been released to the public. Aside from incredibly biased photographs portraying the plans blocking Cowell's beach from public access, included in this package is a payoff for the Redevelopment Agency alone -- no direct revenue is paid to the City yet at the same time the City would be forced to pay for the construction.

One Commenter writes: Public Hearing on the Redevelopment of the Coast Hotel is 7 pm Tuesday, January 18 in City Council Chambers, 809 Center St. and 7 pm Wednesday, January 19, in the Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St.

Report Backs: Y Swami Y Given Special Mayoral Escort I Rotkin Sent Third Brown Act Demand on Public Comment Censorship

See Related: SC Coast Hotel project--Sentinel article analysis

Previous Coverage: California CoastWatcher on Santa Cruz City Council
The economics of this plan have been questioned by many people, including experts, and have not been validated by anyone. Including increased noise and traffic pollution, this project will affect the daily lives of many of the citizens of Santa Cruz directly and block access to beautiful West Cliff Drive for over two years.

During the creation of the plans, not even City Council members had their questions answered by developers. In fact, this plan may well sweep by almost invisibly under the supervision of the City Council without the residents of Santa Cruz voicing their resistance on January 20th, at the Civic Auditorium at 8pm. A member of the City Council estimated that at least 400 people showing up to this public hearing is necessary to prevent the City from giving the Redevelopment Agency and the Coast Hotel from going through with these plans that will not benefit anyone except a select few. The City must be honest about its actions.

Stay tuned for more.
 
 


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Comments

Such a deal!!

Geez. Why would anyone who lives here want to subsidize a for-profit private property owner with $30 million of public funds because, on paper anyway, we will break even sometime in the next century?

The contractors, plumbers, electricians and unions are in favor of it, because of the lucrative jobs it will bring them. But seriously, if you're a taxpayer, this rip-off should really piss you off. I mean the audacity of it!!

And notice, they always promise how many "Union" jobs will come to our community out of this. But even that is not guaranteed. They could be just another set of low-paying jobs well below a living wage. And don't forget how much fun a lot more traffic will bring to our quality of life.
 

Ramming the Hotel Project through City Council

For those who want to comment on the Coast Hotel slamdunk before it's rammed through in Special Sessions on the 18th and 19th, the City Council meeting on Tuesday the 11th has one agenda item. It deals with adjusting the fees for staff dealing with environmental impact reports on the Hotel on the consent agenda (item #10).

Mayor Rotkin is clearly following in Kennedy's footsteps displacing and diluting public comment. There's no evening session on Tuesday January 11th. Oral communications has been moved from the start of the evening session to the end of the afternoon session at a time uncertain. The Santa Cruz Coast Hotel project, instead of being considered at the normal rate (say at the Tuesday evening session, and then two weeks later) will be fast-tracked in two days on the 18th and the 19th at Special Sessions.

For more discussion on the Hotel Boondoggle tune in to Bathrobespierre's Broadsides Sunday 9:30 AM- 1 PM and particularly Thursday January 13th 6-8 PM.

Go on line to see the full City Council agenda at www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/ .
 

Tell the truth

I hope those that have written about the hotel conference center before me (including jack) will allow me to correct a few of the errors in their comments about the hotel project.

This so-called “secret� project has been discussed many times at open public meetings by the City Council. One the earliest of those meetings took place in November 2003. It was reported in the Sentinel at that time (15 months ago). Here is a link to that story:
www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/November/16/local/stories/01local.htm
Okay, so maybe info in the Sentinel doesn’t count. Check indymedia’s own article from about 10 months ago “revealing� the plan. Here’s the page: santacruz.indymedia.org/feature/display/8287/index.php
Additionally, detailed information has been available on the City’s website for several months, including both draft and final environmental impact report: www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/
Okay, so it hasn’t really been a secret…

What about this claim in jack’s article: “The economics of this plan have been questioned by many people, including experts, and have not been validated by anyone.� The fact is that several independent experts have been hired to examine the finances of this project and have said that they work well for the City—increasing revenue to both the City’s Redevelopment Agency and the City’s General Fund. Just because jack hasn't bothered to find these reports is no reason for him to claim they don't exist.

jack wrote alarmingly about “the plans blocking Cowell's beach from public access.� This is simply another mistake on jack’s part. The hotel project will increase public access because they will build a new stairway from West Cliff at Bay down to Cowell’s beach. This will provide access where none exists now. In all other respects the access is the same as it is now. So it is a net gain in access at no cost to the taxpayers or the city.

jack also wrote: “During the creation of the plans, not even City Council members had their questions answered by developers.� There is simply no basis in reality for this claim. The hotel owners have been meeting with individual City Council members and the whole Council over many months.

Finally, jack wrote: “The City must be honest about its actions.� The City seems to be open and honest about the plans, based on how easy it has been for me to find out so much. I hope jack will hold himself to the same standard as he expects from the city.

On Becky Johnson’s comment about the City’s $30 million subsidy: just so everyone knows, the part of the project that the city will pay for will BE OWNED BY THE CITY. The City will make money from this ownership.

And on the labor question: the hotel is ALREADY UNIONIZED and it will continue to be until the workers there decide otherwise. The project has a legally binding commitment to pay the construction workers a union wage with benefits.

By the way, did anyone mention that this project includes knocking down what is arguably the ugliest building in Santa Cruz and a building that has close to zero wheel chair access. The new building will be shorter, have first class wheel chair access, and be built to “green building� certification standards. jack really ought to take a close look at the piece of shit that is there now before he spends any more energy defending it.
 

wrong dates!!

Public Hearing on the Redevelopment of the Coast Hotel is 7 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2005 in City Council Chambers, 809 Center St.

-AND ANOTHER-

Public Hearing on the Redevelopment of the Coast Hotel is 7 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2005 in the Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St.
 

FRSC Airs Live Opposition to Coast Hotel Tonight

Clear View Court and Union Activists Oppose the Coast Hotel

Free Radio's Bathrobespierre's Broadsides will interview Tim Ahern of the SEIU and Liberty Lana of Clear View Court on their opposition to the Santa Cruz Coast Hotel Development 6-8 PM tonight Thursday 1-13 at 101.1 FM (also www.freakfradio.org).

Call-in number 427-3772 or chat room at www.pagesincolor.com.

Those concerned about the rushjob Santa Cruz Coast Hotel project and its impact on the neighborhood, including the marked-for-death Clearview Court Mobile Home park, can check out FRSC tonight, or listen to the archived show at www.huffsantacruz.org in a few days.

Call City Council at 420-5020 to register your opposition to the fast-track approach being used here as well as any substantive concerns.
 

Re: City Council Makes Move to Redevelop Dream Inn to Five Story Convention Center, Make Your Voice Heard Jan. 20

Help me here. Mr. "Robert Ass" claims:

"So it is a net gain in access at no cost to the taxpayers or the city."

Yet the old 2003 Sentinel article states:

"Surveys conducted in the 1990s estimated that a hotel and conference center would generate $1.75 million annually in property, sales and hotel occupancy taxes,".

Occupancy taxes are paid by.. occupants. Therefore, occupants are... tax payers.

Maybe what you should say is "at no cost to residents".

Furthermore, the old Sentinel article states:

"With the city facing tight times, the initial outlay could be financed through a bond or reserve fund, said Councilman Kennedy."

No cost? You mean no LONG-TERM cost, assuming the hotel and convention center are a success as a financial venture and pay back the loan.

So the city, and thus the tax-payers, are to assume the financial risk for this $65M business venture, pay for it now, and HOPE that it pays us back in.. 20 years?

We'll have the new hotel as collateral, but if it has to be sold to the highest bidder at auction, who wants a failed hotel? Maybe they'll take it at $30M, leaving us with a $35M loss.

Im all for making sound investments to get us out of tough times, but I dont like the way you're trying to sell this to us.

If it's such a sure thing, why does the city have to get involved at all? This is a venture capitalist investment. The city should waive occupancy and other taxes, licenses and fees to encourage this growth, but TAXES are not supposed to be for playing the market. They're supposed to be for real community services.

If you want this hotel so badly, go find investors.
 

The Only Sure Thing is We'll Be Out $30 Million

The main reason there is so much impetus to do this project is that the tradesmen locally will have a lot of work for several years to come with well paid jobs. Hence, the Unions are not at all motivated to look this project over too keenly, but are ready to give their blessing fairly readily.

Now I am all for honest labor at a fair wage. But does finacially strapped Santa Cruz, which is cutting Library hours and has already closed two schools, have a spare $30 million laying around to invest?


Oh, the financial whizzes at the Redevelopment Agency can swing some kind of deal (and it makes me queasy to think how much of our hard earned money goes to THAT make-work agency)but make no mistake. It is a heavy mortgage on our future and on our children's futures. And for what????

A BIGGER??? swankier (maybe)greener (although how Green can a 258 unit hotel and conference center be?)private for-profit corporation-owned HOTEL????

If I'm going to mortgage away my kids futures, I sure as hell don't want to do it for some cheesy hotel owner!

Just how is the Salz Tannery rework "artists live/work" project going? What has been the cost so far and what will the benefit be for our community later on? One thing is for sure, the RDA staff well keep their overpaid jobs a while longer.


And never forget that the City of Santa Cruz signed contracts with the residents of De Anza and Clear View Ct. that were "irrefutable" and "in perpetuity". The City broke their promise to 263 senior and low-income mobile home owners. They will break any promise they make to us too if it is convenient. So don't count on union jobs, living wage jobs, or even local businesses benefitting. Anything could change.

This is a shill game people. Don't fall for it.
 

Re: City Council Makes Move to Redevelop Dream Inn to Five Story Convention Center, Make Your Voice Heard Jan. 20

The more I read about the Dream Inn redevelopment, the more I like it. The only industry that Santa Cruz can foster that will keep our economy healthy without destroying our community and environment is cenvention tourism: tourists who will stay overnight. I've been studying Santa Cruz's 150 year history, and time and time again people have tried other industries (lumber, light industry, oil drilling...) and nothing is as sustainable as the convention business.

This convention center is exactly what Santa Cruz county needs. Sure, people who live in the trailer park near the hotel are going to be severely impacted, and frankly, the park should probably be closed. I'm really sorry about that. But look--where did that park come from? It was a campground for early car-trip tourists. Like Beach Flats, it was never indended to be housing, long-term, for poor people. It was landowners who turned our campgrounds into trailer parks for low-income people. It was not a rational decision based on what is best for both the poor people or the city.

Let's build real neighborhoods that are wonderful to live in, and let's build a tourist area that attracts rich people who will come here and play at the beach, leaving their money behind for us to enjoy--and to provide decent housing for everyone.
 

Union Local 270 Supports The Coast Hotel Redevelopment Project

Laborers Union Local 270 Supports the Dream Inn / Coast Hotel Redevelopment Project

What does the Dream Inn / Coast Hotel Redevelopment Project mean to my community?

* LOCAL JOBS

Union Local 270 represents over 2,300 hard-working Santa Cruz County citizens and maintains an aggressive 86% part- and full-time employment rate for our membership countywide. Ranked 8th highest statewide.

* DIVERSITY

Union Local 270's diverse membership fights aggressively for compliance with the federal Equal Opportunity Employer Act and other laws which promote opportunity for the strata of society which has proven itself time and again as the real backbone of this county.

* A LIVING WAGE

Union Local 270 believes in, and fights for, a Living Wage for all our brothers and sisters.

Divide and be conquered. Unite and be strong. Union YES!

To learn more, please contact us at the following address.

Laborers Local 270
2920 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-1412
831-475-7058

Peace,
Erika Kristamurphy
 

I hope I'm Wrong!!

Linda Rosewood has no sympathy for the Clear View Court residents who have gotten nothing but the screw job from the city. When the City caved on rent control, they cancelled their "irrevocable" contracts which were guaranteed "in perpetuity." Thats a warning for folks who believe the council will guarantee union jobs for the hotel workers once the project is built.

Now this huge contruction project will be going on mere feet from their homes (which lost at least half of their equity already from the lack of rent control), with noise, dust, and finally huge fans blowing fumes away from the parking structure and into the Clear View Court living space.

And Linda thinks the answer is to close the park??? She justifies this with an attack on affordable housing which she thinks is too "indecent."

Linda tells us she likes the project. But how sure is she that it will make money? What if there are so many cost overruns, that it throws the profit element out? (the police station was bid for $6 million and ended up costing us $13 million!!) What if its not the big success Ceil Cerillo of the RDA and City Manager Dick Wilson say it is? What if the days of big conference business are over? Don't people teleconference now for a fraction of the money?

Please read the article in Monday's Mercury News about how San Jose's convention center---which RDA types there sold to the public claiming it would net $300 million a year? IT only earned $98 million a year ---only a THIRD of the rosy forecasts of the staff pushing the project?

This project is a much riskier investment than we are being told. Don't accept, hook, line, and sinker the glowing reports of the RDA (they after all will make huge bucks for their dept. from this project).

LInda, if this is so good, why don't you explain to us in English, which we can all understand, as to why you are SURE it will be such a financial success???

Also: Note to Local 270. Yes, we all know you are your fellow tradesmen will get a lot of well-paid work in the next 2 to 3 years. But the City will be out the $30 million for the next 30 years (source: Dick Wilson). Aren't you being selfish?

Note to everyone: I hope I am wrong.
 

Re: City Council Makes Move to Redevelop Dream Inn to Five Story Convention Center, Make Your Voice Heard

A briefing describing the proposed conference hotel will be rebroadcast on Community Television:

January 24 @ Noon on Channel 25

January 26 @ 6: p.m. on Channle 25

January 27 at 8:30 p.m. on Channel 26
 

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