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Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

In a 4-3 vote, the Santa Cruz City Council approved the Coast Hotel and Convention Project. Supporting the proposal were Ryan Coonerty, Cynthia Matthews, Mike Rotkin and Tony Madrigal; opposing it were Emily Reilly, Ed Porter and Tim Fitzmaurice.

Expressing deep concern for the process which she felt left out much of the community, Reilly suggested an alternative motion to the approval of the Environmental Impact Report that would table the issue for six weeks while the community was able to learn more and communicate about the project. She expressed her desire to get the community behind the project instead of dealing with “a bitter community for the next year and a half.�

Video: Clear View Court Residents are Kept in the Dark
Photos: From the Council meeting
Fitzmaurice and Porter voiced support for Reilly’s idea. Porter noted that the Environmental Impact Report was flawed and called the consultant’s explanation of its problems “spin.� He remarked that he “wouldn’t support spin.� Acknowledging that they “were dealing with a political decision, not just a practical one,� Fitzmaurice expressed a desire to include a greater segment of the community, including organizations such as the Coastal Commission. Coonerty expressed his opposition to Reilly’s proposal, commenting that they were “democratically elected representatives and had the responsibility to make a decision (tonight.)�

Despite his relatively short-term experience dealing with the public as a newly elected council member, Madrigal, who works as a union representative, expressed a vague disgust for the public, commenting that “maybe we should set false deadlines.� He opined that he’s heard people saying that they felt left out of the process, but noted that they only seem to come out to meetings when they hear there is going to be a vote about something.

Mayor Rotkin appeared to be the impetus behind the movement to approve the project; Matthews also demonstrated support for the project, but was less involved in the discussion.

Porter, Fitzmaurice and other council members proposed several practical amendments aimed at ameliorating traffic, noise and other quality of life issues for residents of Santa Cruz most likely affected by the project. Other conditions, including the option of revising specifics about the parking structure in a month, were added to the final proposition.
 
 


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What about Redevelopment Law?

I note the council did not address former Mayor Celia Scott's written concern that Redevelopment law does not allow RDA funds to be used to enhance a for-profit projects unless it is to address issues of blight.

The RDA has caused us to bet $1.5 million dollars that this project will make it past the Coastal Commission. So far, it looks unlikely.

I am not impressed by Tony Madrigal's last minute attempts to talk to Clear View Court residents. When he found they were not home (since they are largely, poor working people) he should have supported Reilly's motion to hold back 6 weeks.
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

As a member of the public somewhat familiar with the rules governing public boards, I know that there are usually codes of ethics that address the idea of conflict of interests. Reading the above, I am reminded that councilmember Tony Madrigal is a union representative and, as such, stands to gain from the approval of this plan, yet he is also bound to represent the interests of his constituents. This is called a conflict of interest and is usually prohibited in governing bodies' codes of conduct. Anyone have a law degree and would like to offer a preliminary opinion???
 

Ignore Those Protesters...

Ignore Those Protesters...
GruesomeFoursome.jpg
Just Build Us A Hotel And Make It Look Green!
 

Opposition on the Executive Board of SEIU Local 415

Despite opposition, the Executive Board of SEIU Local 415 voted to endorse this project the night it passed in City Council.

The vote was 13 in favor, 5 opposed, and 2 abstaining.

Those speaking for the project included Cliff Tillman, Executive Director of SEIU Local 415, and former campaign manager of Tony Madrigal. In addition to working directly on his campaign, Cliff Tillman gave Tony Madrigal a large amount of paid time off from his union duties to run for City Council.

Tillman argued that the concerns union members have about the project could be incorporated into the plan after it was passed.

I spoke against an endorsement of the project pointing out that public input would pretty much end after thing passed and that now was the time to voice our concerns.

I spoke in favor of guarantees for the adjacent residents who will now be in the shadow of this monstrous project and face potential health problems from black mold. I demanded that the plan include sitting down with residents and coming up with a solution that they would agree with, a solution that would include relocation if necessary.

In addition I pointed out problems with spending well over $30 million dollars of taxpayer’s money on a project to help the capitalists make more money, calling it welfare to the rich. Santa Cruz taxpayers will be paying for this project for many years to come, and the fact that it is being paid for through bonds means that the final price out of our pockets will probably be about $60 million dollars, and that doesn’t even include additional costs to infrastructure.

Projections of increased revenue through taxes and parking fees are purely speculative in a world where more and more conferences are being done via the Internet and deeper economic problems for the capitalist system are inevitable due to a number of factors including the war in Iraq combined with the falling rate of profit.

It is not the place for the City to get involved in the capitalist speculation of the hotel and convention market with taxpayers money.
 

Meyberg Speaks on Santa Cruz Coast Hotel Boondoggle

Ralph Meyberg, community activist with SCRAP (Santa Cruzans for Responsible Planning), will air on a taped interview at 7 PM tonight on Free Radio Santa Cruz on the Bathrobespierre's Broadsides show at 101.1 FM and www.freakradio.org.

To contact SCRAP, e-mail: SantaCruzansForResponsiblePlan (at) yahoo.com

Meyberg will also be speaking at the People's Democratic Club at the Vet's Hall tonight at 7:30 PM (see below).

For additional commentary, check out www.brattononline.com/

Also note: [according to Bruce Bratton]: "PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC CLUB MEETING. The PDC meeting this Thursday night will have Don Lane and Bob Blitzer taking on the pro convention center side and Pat Matejcek from the Sierra Club and Ralph Meyberg representing the negative side of the Coast Hotel Convention Center Redevelopment Project. As Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt said in her op-ed piece in last Sunday's Sentinel "the community is deeply divided and that the process to date has fostered, rather than avoided that result." Is it even possible to hear "the other side" now? Let's attend the PDC meeting and see what happens. It's at the Vet's Hall at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, January 27 call the PDC at 420-1133 for information."
 

I really like Matt's photo montage...

...especially Madrigal's expression.
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

oportunistic bastard...
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

The corporados (who are colonizing Santa Cruz and mutating it into Orange County North) are quietly putting all the legal puzzle pieces in place.

Read the fine print

Check out the Sentinel's 2/4/05 Classified section -page C-11.

In the second column are proposals to amend City ordinances pertaining to zoning and water use. The microscopic print below the photo reads: Coast Hotel Rezone.

This is how the Grand Wazoos in power get their way. They not only make the rules and write in the loopholes. They bury pertinent info where the public (many who are working two or three jobs) as not too likely to see it.

Sort of like the movie A Hitch hiker's Guide to the Universe. Aliens informed earthlings that the Earth would be blown up to allow for their outer-space shipping route, but nobody knew about it.

"Well" said the alien, "We posted the notice on Alpha Centauri five years ago. If you earthlings are too lazy to take action then too bad!
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

There is no "widespread community opposition."

The so-called "responsible planning" contingent is the same group of a dozen or so white, aged, Reagan-era "I-me-mine" homeowner millionaires (and their trust-fund toadies) who've shut down affordable housing, created homelessness with endless land use restrictions, let the transit system deteriorate, lessened the job base, lowered income levels, and oppose spending a single penny of money unless it's spent on further enriching them and their westside mansions.

Thank god/dess we have people like Madrigal, Rotkin, Coonerty and Mathews on the council, who not only talk the talk about caring for the general population, but actually do something to see that people have decent, stable union jobs and a functioning economy.

That's sure more than the wealthy white mansion-dwelling elite ever did for this town, and more power to them, and to us.
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

Right on, at least one person gets it!
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

I can't wait to be in debt for a median-priced house for $700,000. It's so affordable ... NOT!
 

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Approves Coast Hotel Project Despite Widespread Community Opposition

Right on, at least one person gets it!
 

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