Third District Supervisor Candidates
No Power, No Phones?
Dr. Betty Saxon, AT&T
RBDA General Meeting
May 10, 2006, 7:30 PM
Multi-Purpose Room, Bonny Doon School
ICE CREAM GRADE & PINE FLAT ROAD
|1 Win, 1 Loss in UCSC Expansion Fight
Much has happened in the last two months in the effort to keep UCSC from
overwhelming Santa Cruz's resources and pushing urban development into Bonny
Doon. City and County leaders pressured UCSC to revise and resubmit the
draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for its Long Range Development
Plan. The DEIR was widely criticized for basing projections on inadequate
data and avoiding responsibility for the serious impact the expansion will
have on housing, traffic, wildlife, and the environment. UCSC responded by
revising only the traffic portion of the DEIR to include impacts on a wider
area than previously considered. This rebuff to community complaints may
well end in legal action.
Speaking of which, a suit brought by the Coalition for Limiting University
Expansion (CLUE) regarding the Ranch View Terrace housing project on campus
was rejected by Superior Court Judge Robert Yonts. The suit regarded the
project’s failure to take into account the preservation of natural wetlands
and a contingency that UCSC has with the project contractor to sell the
houses to the general public if not enough university affiliated buyers snap
them up, which may well occur because they are going to be unaffordable by
most professors and staff. An appeal of the rejection is under
A brighter outcome resulted from CLUE's challenge of UCSC's application to
the California Coastal Commission to put 700,000 square feet of new
development, including labs and 120 houses, on environmentally fragile
wetlands at Terrace Point (site of Long Marine Lab). CLUE hired two top
wetlands experts to make a site visit to Terrace Point and write a report,
which was presented to the Coastal Commission at an April 12 hearing in
Santa Barbara. The commission staff had recommended approval, largely based
on the report of a UCSC wetlands consultant that greatly understated the
extent of wetlands.
CLUE contended that allowing development on the wetlands would have set a
terrible precedent and threatened all coastal wetlands in California,
brought additional traffic to the west side of Santa Cruz, and led to the
consumption of a significant portion of the City’s remaining water supply.
When it became clear at the hearing that the commission was going to reject
UCSC's application, UCSC withdrew the plan entirely rather than having it
All these efforts require a great deal of time and money. CLUE is badly in
need of donations, which may be sent to CLUE, P.O. Box 5241, Santa Cruz, CA
95063. Make checks payable to CLUE; donations are tax-deductible. For more
information, go to the CLUE website, santacruzclue.org.
CLUE has a public meeting scheduled for Monday, May 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. at
the Santa Cruz Police Dept., Community Room, 155 Center Street. If you want
to get involved, attending this meeting is the best way.
Who Will Succeed Mardi Wormhoudt - and Will Our Phones Go Dead?
The race is on to fill the seat and the shoes of our 3rd District
Supervisor, Mardi Wormhoudt, who has been a great champion for the
environment and quality of life on the North Coast and Bonny Doon. Mardi is
stepping down after decades of service to the County and the City of Santa
Cruz, where she served as councilwoman and, perhaps most significantly, as
mayor during the trying years following the 1989 earthquake.
Running to replace her are two other former City council members and mayors,
Chris Krohn (1998-2002), who works as an internship coordinator at UCSC, and
Neal Coonerty (1990-1994), who owns Bookshop Santa Cruz. Also running is
labor organizer and retired carpenter Jonathan Boutelle. All three
candidates are veterans of Santa Cruz politics and are seen as progressives
and protectors of the environment.
At the May 10 RBDA General Meeting, the three men will attempt to
differentiate themselves on the issues, which are widely agreed to be growth
(especially the impact of UCSC expansion), environmental preservation,
housing affordability, traffic, and attracting jobs. The forum will be
moderated by Morgan Rankin in the format of the League of Women Voters, of
which she is a member. Please come with hard questions and an open mind.
The election is June 6. If no one receives a majority, there will be a
runoff in November. In either case, the new supervisor will take office in
Also on the RBDA General Meeting agenda is Dr. Betty Saxon of SBC/AT&T’s
Community Relations Dept. Dr. Saxon will be addressing the concern that our
telephones could be interrupted in the event of a serious power outage. We
have received conflicting information about whether phone switchboxes have
batteries that need recharging every few hours during power outages by
generators driven around by telephone employees. We hope Dr. Saxon will
provide some solid facts on whether this is something to be concerned about,
especially since cell phones do not work in many parts of Bonny Doon.
Cemex, Coast Dairies Talking Land Swap
Cemex, the parent company of the Davenport cement plant, has been working on
a land exchange with the Coast Dairies & Land Co. (CDL), a non-profit entity
that owns and manages the Coast Dairies property. The exchange involves
several parcels located in the Bonny Doon and Davenport regions. If it takes
place, it could add some attractive parcels to the Coast Dairies acreage and
help finalize the transfer of the inland areas of Coast Dairies to the
federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The discussions are still in their
infancy and face several logistical and political hurdles.
The parcels that Cemex is considering transferring to CDL include three
located in the vicinity of the access route to Davenport Landing beach,
totaling approximately two acres, and two on the ocean side of the train
tracks in front of the north end of Davenport, totaling approximately six
The parcels that CDL is considering transferring to Cemex include two that
directly flank the cement plant itself, totaling approximately 32 acres, and
an area that adjoins the quarry in the vicinity of Bonnymede Road off Smith
Grade, totaling approximately 160 acres. All of these parcels have been
under the control of Cemex and its predecessors as part of a long-term lease
for many years.
CDL has been involved in the land trade discussions as part of its transfer
of approximately 5,500 inland acres of Coast Dairies to BLM and to provide
for additional acreage that will eventually become used for open space. The
land trade benefits Cemex's operations and public safety interests by
providing Cemex control over access to the land it uses.
The County of Santa Cruz has raised some concerns about the exchange. While
CDL does not propose changing the existing zoning designations in the
exchange, the proposed transfer requires boundary adjustments on several
parcels, which affects the amount of land that is zoned as Agricultural
Preserve. This requires a change in the agricultural preserve contract
between the owners and the County, which may require approval by the County
Board of Supervisors and an environmental review.
In addition, the County has concerns regarding whether the mineral rights
should be included in the transfer, particularly of the larger parcel near
Bonnymede. The land is not intended to be mined and has not been identified
as being of value in terms of mining activity, but the County feels that
attention should be paid to the long-term consequences of having Cemex
control the mineral rights on this land.
So, nothing is concluded at this time and discussions are continuing. Watch
this space for further developments.
Finally, Big Creek vs. Santa Cruz Hits Supreme Court
At a 1-hour hearing in Los Angeles April 4, the State Supreme Court finally
heard the arguments on both sides of the Big Creek vs. Santa Cruz County
lawsuit. Two issues were heard: 1) whether local governments can use their
zoning authority to determine where logging can take place, and 2) whether
the county's helicopter ordinance, which requires helicopter pads for
logging operations to be on or on parcels contiguous with those being
logged, is a matter of conduct or location. This ordinance was passed as a
result of Bonny Doon concern over the proposed Molosky Creek timber harvest,
which would have flown logs over Bonny Dooners homes and back yards.
The Board of Forestry joined Big Creek and presented arguments in favor of
the industry position that only the state can determine how and where
logging takes place. County attorneys argued that local zoning authority
allows counties the right to determine where logging may occur. Seven
justices heard the arguments and the County attorneys remain guardedly
optimistic. The justices have 90 days to publish their opinion. Those
interested in the arguments, can hear them on the web: calchannel.com/search.php
Whoops! UCSC Chopped CDF Out of Timberland Conversion Review
In addition to the myriad problems the Santa Cruz City Council, County Board
of Supervisors, and a host of others including the RBDA, found in UCSC's
Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), it now turns out UCSC neglected to
solicit comments from the California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection (CDF). This is a huge oversight - the proposed upper campus
development includes converting 120 acres of redwood forest to non-timber
uses, some for building sites and some for playing fields.
CLUE and the RBDA Board brought this oversight to the attention of CDF, who
then asked UCSC for an extension of the DEIR public comment period in which
to respond. On March 17 Richard Sampson of CDF submitted written comments.
“In light of the public controversy generated by previous development
projects on the campus where considerably smaller amounts of this resource
were removed, it is confusing why the DEIR placed so little value or
discussion on this resource. Evaluation of the value of this resource to the
local economy, wildlife species, and aesthetics appeared to be absent. It
appears that conversion of this resource to clearings is preferred as
opposed to development in the abundant existing open areas on the ownership.
For example, the DEIR did not address why converting 75 acres of timberland
to build athletic fields instead of constructing the fields on existing
grassland (4.4-69). The significance of this conversion of timberlands needs
to be evaluated,” Sampson wrote.
Several other issues were brought up by CDF, including “the need to create
defensible space under the new 100’ defensible space zone required around
buildings,” the fact that no conversion of this size has ever occurred
within the County, the need for a Conversion Permit and a Timber Harvest
Plan and, of great significance to Bonny Dooners, the concern regarding
traffic impacts on emergency response times in and adjacent to the project.
Up the Creek, and Loving It
Nearly 40 people attended the March 18 educational walk on Laguna Creek.
There were lots of smiling faces at the end of the three-plus hours, thanks
to those who led the walk and a miraculously sunny day. Here are excerpts
from a couple of walkers describing their experiences (thanks to those who
shared their stories with us!):
Encompassing seven miles of coastline, the Coast Dairies property is an
impressive piece of land, offering stunning views of Monterey Bay as you
climb up the grassy marine terraces that rise up from Highway 1. Bern Smith,
the Coast Dairies property manager who gave us permission to walk on the
land, met our group and led us inland from the lagoon at the base of the
Laguna Creek watershed along a creek tributary. Stopping at a bridge that
crosses the creek, fish biologist Don Alley pointed out a sandbar in the
creek and explained how sediment is harmful to fish and insects as it
eliminates their cover and habitat. Steelhead are better adapted to
conditions generally; in the cold, protected waters upstream they can often
grow large enough in one year to make the journey out to sea. Coho often
have to remain in the creek for two years before they are large enough (five
to six inches). The lagoon next to the ocean is a great source of food and
shelter for them.
Don described the sampling process to determine fish populations. Blocking
off a section of the creek with nets, experienced crews put electrodes in
the water to stun the fish, then net and place them in a holding cage in the
stream as they recover. Once all fish in a section are gathered, crews count
and examine the fish before release. (If done well with experienced netters,
mortality is less than one percent.)
Our route took us to where we could look down into the Yellowbank watershed
and out to the ocean. Across a small valley was an escarpment, perhaps 300
feet above us, topped with maritime chaparral and knobcone pines. The cliff
face showed a large, almost vertical expanse of mudstone. Plant biologist
Grey Hayes explained that mudstone was formed in the ocean and brought up by
tectonic action. Grey also talked about the local karst (limestone cavern)
topography visible along our route. And he shared how the sweeping, gnarled
look of the older live oaks was created as young grizzly cubs pruned the
branches while searching out acorns.
A unique feature in the Yellowbank watershed was a distinct cone-shaped
mountain, which may have been an island at one time. The cone rises about
350 feet and is densely covered in large evergreen trees, redwood and fir,
very unlike everything else close by, which is mostly low coyote bush and
oaks. Bern said the cone is a favorite mountain lion lair, evidenced by
their scat and tracks.
Grey pointed out that the terrace grasslands are the most bio-diverse in the
US, even more so than virgin prairie grasslands. The basic premise of his
studies is that native grasses depend on grazing and/or burning (Native
Americans burned extensively for 10,000 years). Herds nibbling down grasses
make sunlight available for the natives. Left alone, taller non-natives will
crowd them out. The use of the grasslands for active cattle ranching by
Coast Dairies is a perfect complement to the preservation of the area.
The walk was a wonderful tour of this amazing piece of land. Thanks to Bern,
Don and Grey for giving their time and expertise to make the walk both
interesting and informative, and to Karl and Ginger Bareis for organizing
Watershed Preservation Whet Your Interest?
For many years, Bonny Dooners living in different watershed areas have had a
keen interest in understanding and preserving them. Some have worked with
the Surfriders Associations to test samples from local waterways and put on
educational programs for Bonny Doon School students. At the November RBDA
meeting, Karl Bareis gave a wonderful presentation on Bonny Doon watersheds,
and in March organized a community walk with experts along Laguna Creek on
the Coast Dairies property.
The RBDA board has created an ongoing RBDA Watershed Committee, with Karl
and his wife Ginger as the coordinators. Also on the committee are Chuck
Stein, Marty Demare, and Bob Piwarczyk. If you have an interest in learning
about watershed flora and fauna, and helping to monitor and preserve the
quality of our streams, we invite you to join this committee. To join or get
more information, contact Karl and Ginger at 427-1034 or e-mail them through
the RBDA Board.
The committee plans to work with Bonny Doon School Principal Gail Levine and
local experts in ecology and hydrology to educate the students about the
value of our watersheds and the need to preserve them. They also are
planning a program for adults, which may involve activities like the recent
creek walk. Both these efforts require some funding, and the committee is
investigating various grants that may be available. If you have experience
in grant writing, they would appreciate your help.
Better Fire Protection and Emergency Medical service
After an 18-month study, the Bonny Doon Fire Team organization has
determined that fire protection and emergency medical services would be
improved by the formation of a new fire protection district in our area.
They plan to send a mailing soon to all local residents and property owners
that explains in some detail what it will mean to be a fire district, and
the advantages it offers. A card enclosed in the mailing will allow you to
comment and ask questions.
There will also be information available at the Fire Team’s annual Unpancake
Breakfast at the Martin Road Fire House Sunday, May 7 from 8 am to 1 pm.
Come out and show your support for the team, and learn more about this
important new proposal.
Sadly, missing from the Breakfast this year will be long-term Fire Team
board member Jac Idleman, who died recently at the age of 92. A realtor, Jac
was a local icon, her no-nonsense demeanor belying her heart of gold. She
devoted a lifetime of service to the Fire Team and Bonny Doon, and she will
be very much missed by the many people whose lives she touched.
Eshoo Asked to again help with Mail Woes
Our mail service seemed to be improving after last year’s intervention by
Rep. Anna Eshoo dramatically so, on the route given to a new contract
carrier who is a former US PS employee. However the recent arrest of a
substitute contract mail carrier, who Sheriff’s deputies allege helped
herself to credit cards, bank statements, and checkbooks, emphasizes once
again that we need to have a regular USPS employee delivering our mail. It
is criminal (pun intended) that our mail can be entrusted to anyone who is
convenient, without the oversight of the USPS to vet, train, and supervise.
The RBDA Board has contacted Cong. Eshoo and asked her once again to
intervene on our behalf.
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The Bonny Doon Planning District
If you live in or own property within this district, roughly from Empire Grade to the ocean and from San Vicente Creek to the City of Santa Cruz border, you are eligible to be an RBDA member.
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