May/June 2008 issue

27th District State Assembly Candidates
for the Democratic Nomination

Stephen Barkalow, Bill Monning,
Emily Reilly, Barbara Sprenger

RBDA General Meeting
Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 7:30 PM

Bonny Doon School Multipurpose Room
Ice Cream Grade & Pine Flat Road

Democratic Assembly Candidates Debate at May 14 RBDA Meeting

The proposition to change the way term limits work having failed in last November’s election, our outstanding Assemblyman, John Laird, is forced to give up his seat. There are four people vying for the Democratic nomination in the June 3 primary in this heavily Democratic district, which encompasses nearly all of Santa Cruz, coastal Monterey and a bit of Santa Clara counties. The winner will face Libertarian Mark Hinkle and Republican Robert Murray in the November election.

We have invited the Democratic candidates to a forum at the May 14 RBDA meeting. We have commitments from three, Barbara Sprenger, a businesswoman and former San Lorenzo School Board member; Emily Reilly, a Santa Cruz City Councilwoman and business owner; and Stephen Barkalow, a chiropractor. We are hoping that Bill Monning, an attorney, professor and mediator, will be able to free his schedule to attend.
Below are statements from the four candidates:

Steve Barkalow
I am running for the 27th District Assembly seat because I know I can change the lives of people in Bonny Doon and all Californians.  I want to see integrity, vision, your priorities and your special interests brought back to California politics.

As the only candidate with 30 years experience in healthcare, I can assure you that I will not stop fighting until all Californians have quality, affordable health coverage. The system is broken and the damage is pervasive in many areas of our life.

It is unacceptable that so many working families can no longer afford to live in the Monterey Bay area. We need more affordable housing. Like you, I want my children to be able to live in this area, if they so choose.
We must realize that educating a student is far cheaper than housing a prisoner. We must make education a priority, giving our children quality, well-compensated teachers and training that will allow them to compete advantageously in the 21st century.

There is every reason to believe that California should be a leader in environmental and energy issues. Locally, we must encourage smart growth, promoting a small carbon footprint to protect our pristine district. I want us to be the cleanest, greenest district in California.

I urge you to visit my website at, write me with your questions and vote for me on June 3. I promise I will work toward improving and preserving the California we all love.

Bill Monning
If there's a place that needs mediation and conflict-resolution skills, it's Sacramento. I have spent 35 years advocating for change, protecting the rights of working families, and bringing people together to solve problems, locally and globally.

As a professor of law and international studies, a civil rights and labor attorney, and a mediator, I have worked for environmental justice, healthcare reform, and economic sustainability.
I helped initiate a program that teaches conflict-resolution skills to K-12 students, a program I plan to introduce for statewide adoption.

As a small business owner and educator, I know the challenges facing our local business communities and the vital importance of our agricultural, tourist, and educational institutions to the economy. I will promote sustainable international trade, green tech, and appropriate biotech jobs.

In Sacramento, I will lead the fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions, protect our coastline, and preserve our precious water resources. I will work to secure affordable, universal healthcare for Californians. I believe we should not make schools, the poor and the disabled bear the brunt of the budget crisis.
I pledge professional and responsive constituent services, following the high standards set by John Laird and Fred Keeley.

Supporters include: Anna Caballero, Assemblymember, Salinas, Gilroy, Watsonville; Celia Scott, former Mayor, Santa Cruz; Scott Kennedy, former Mayor, Santa Cruz; Manny Santana, Artist, Restaurant Owner; Pedro Castillo, Professor, UCSC; Mary Selby, Retired, Rio Del Mar; Gail Michaelis-Ow, Community Leader.
Visit or call me at 421-0339.

Emily Reilly
I am running for State Assembly to address the critical issues we face in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties and to champion our cherished progressive values of equality, fairness and opportunity.
We must protect our environment for future generations by slowing down climate change, by preserving our coast and creating good green jobs. We must improve our schools so that all children achieve their highest potential. We must establish universal healthcare for all. And, most importantly, we must work together to accomplish this.

As the only elected official in the race, I am uniquely qualified to represent you. The experience and skills I have accumulated as Santa Cruz Mayor and City Councilmember, serving on regional boards working to improve transportation and environment protection in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, and as a progressive small business owner and active member of the community have prepared me to be your strongest progressive advocate in the Assembly.

When I first ran for office, I was told by a voter that it was my job to take his voice to government, not the other way around. I have never forgotten that. I know it is my job to carry your voice to Sacramento, and I intend to make sure your voice is heard.

I look forward to continuing the progressive tradition of our recent Democratic Assembly members, and with your support I will be very proud to serve as your Assemblywoman. I ask for your vote on June 3.

Barbara Sprenger
We have to make protecting our environment our very highest priority – and those of us who live in the Santa Cruz mountains really understand what that means. We think about winds and flooding and our impact on the earth. We think about impervious surfaces, logging in riparian corridors, and reducing our carbon footprint.

I’m running for Assembly to represent our coastal district because we need people in the legislature who have a grassroots and common-sense perspective for dealing with the crises California is facing: 7 million people without health coverage, per-pupil education spending that is 46th in the nation, climate change challenging our very existence. At the core, however, is our budget mess, and I will roll up my sleeves and get to work on it.

As a leader in FLOW, I’ve helped take on the 3rd largest water owner in the world to protect clean, locally-controlled water. As a twice-elected school board member, I fought for the kids who fall through the cracks and made tough decisions that put our district on a sound financial footing and protected our kids’ education. As a businessperson, I built a company (starting in my partner’s garage!) that developed innovative technology to help industry meet the Clean Air Act, growing internationally and providing well-paying jobs.

I believe our job is to build and protect a world that we can be proud to pass on to our children. You can count on me to always keep that touchstone at the front.

Apple Moth (LBAM) Spraying Halted

It appears that the state will not be allowed to spray pesticide over Santa Cruz County in June. A ruling in Santa Cruz County Superior Court ordered California leaders to finish an environmental review prior to resuming the spraying. Judge Paul Burdick said the state did not prove that the invasive Light Brown Apple Moth poses an immediate threat to life or property. As a result, he said, an emergency exception to finish the review while the spraying continues was not justified.

In the meantime, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced plans to postpone all aerial spraying for the moth until acute testing of eye, inhalation, respiratory and other potential irritants could be completed. State officials vowed to appeal the case. However, Judge Burdick denied the state's request for a stay, which would have allowed spraying to continue as the Attorney General's Office prepares its appeal.

The momentum in the case turned in the County's favor about halfway through the hearing when Judge Burdick asked the State's attorney for evidence of damage caused by the 10,000 plus moths found in Santa Cruz County since April 2007. The state was not able to provide any evidence.

The state is expected to file an appeal in a couple of weeks and that would be heard in the 6th District Court of Appeals in San Jose.

The ruling Thursday only stopped Santa Cruz County spraying, but a similar case is expected to be heard in Monterey County within the next month.

Cement Plant, Quarry Emissions Need More Study

At a meeting in Davenport on April 22, David Craft, staff of the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control Board, reported on the now completed Health Risk Assessment (HRA) of emissions from the Cemex factory prepared by a Cemex consultant. The HRA was triggered by 2004 tests showing potentially dangerous levels of several compounds emitted by the Cemex stack. That study was required after higher than usual concentrations of carbon monoxide were found in stack emissions, an indicator of incomplete combustion.

Also at the meeting, Miriam Rotkin-Ellman of the Natural Resource Defense Council, who is working to reduce pollutants and emissions from cement plants in California, reported that sampling she did in Davenport in July 2007 showed mercury concentrations 100 times higher than those predicted by the model used in preparation of the HRA. Her conclusion: more testing is needed to protect community health.

After the meeting RBDA Board Member Jodi Frediani learned from Craft that levels of diesel emissions identified in the HRA as the Highest Cancer Risk and Highest Chronic Risk were next to nearby homes and Santa Cruz’s Liddell Spring water intake. They were sufficiently high to trigger a need for emission reductions, but had not been identified as such in the HRA. State law requires a public meeting.

The HRA, which looks at acute and chronic health risks, conflicted in some areas with additional tests done by the NRDC’s Rotkin-Ellman.

We will post more extensive information on the RBDA website,

Meanwhile, the County Planning Dept. reported that  it will issue the Final EIR for the proposed 17-acre limestone quarry expansion in the fall. It had been expected, after numerous objections were raised, that a new Draft EIR would be forthcoming.

LATE NEWS! Slow Sales Force Cement Plant to Close Alternate Months Starting in May!

In the print version of The Highlander we added a last-minute breaking news flash to the story about the Cemex Davenport cement plant emissions. The flash said that the plant would close every other month, beginning in May, because of slow sales.  That is substantially true, but we since The Highlander went to press on May 1 we have been able to get more detail on the situation.

In May the Davenport cement plant will be shutting down the kiln for about three weeks because the cement plant storage areas are full due to the downturn in the construction and housing market in California.  This is also happening at other U.S. cement plants.

The remainder of the cement plant operations-sales, maintenance, etc., will continue to operate. Shutting down the kiln in May will provide the opportunity to sell the stored cement and create room for additional storage of cement.

Cemex told us it expects the Davenport plant will be started back up before the end of May to continue production. “Currently, the expectations are that we should be able to operate without another forced kiln shutdown until the fourth quarter of this year [Oct.-Dec.]. However, this will depend on market conditions,” said Cemex spokeswoman Janet Krolczyk. Mining at the Bonny Doon quarries will continue even while production is halted, she said. 

Because the Monterey Bay Air District plans to conduct additional mercury sampling in Davenport in July, Cemex notified it about the planned shutdown and said it was uncertain whether any additional shutdowns would be required. It was this notification that led us to learn, just at The Highlander deadline, that the plant would be undergoing periodic production halts.

Supervisors Act on Building Code Changes, Postpone Discussion of Code Compliance

On March 18 and again on April 15, the County Board of Supervisors held public hearings on the Planning Department's proposal for Regulatory Reform for Small Scale Residential Projects (RR4SSRP).

RBDA Board Member Joe Christy presented the RBDA's opposition to the specific proposals (discussed in the March issue of The Highlander) that had the potential to increase lot coverage and density. He emphasized it is not possible to perform proper CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) mandated EIRs nor effectively enforce the new code when the magnitude of existing and projected illegal construction and conversions is unknown.

During the break after the hearing, Christy asked Planning Director Tom Burns about the “further analysis” of the 10 proposals that Planning recommended be deferred (allowing toilets in Habitable Accessory Structures (HASs), increasing the height and area limits on HASs in rural areas, changing owner residency requirements, allowing conforming additions to non-conforming structures, etc.). Burns replied that, given Planning's staff and budget limits, the proposals are effectively dead, except in cases where they are required by State law.

After the break, Burns clarified that the proposal (recommended for deferral) to allow developers to build second units is motivated by one specific case of a municipal requirement on a development in Watsonville, and that in any case, deed restrictions on the second units would still be required, and that such projects would still be discouraged. Supervisor Mark Stone spoke of the need to “incentivize permitting” and control those who choose to ignore the rules. Supervisor Neal Coonerty remarked that the public hearing made him realize that the Board of Supervisors often doesn't examine the status quo when considering changes and that the County needs “robust” code enforcement.

Chair Ellen Pirie moved that the Board vote on each of the 28 proposals separately, and postpone discussion of code compliance until April 15. During the voting, all of the most worrisome proposals about which the RBDA was most concerned were rejected outright, except second units for developers, pending clarification. The Board rejected 3-2 deferring implementation of RR4SSRP pending environmental review and discussion of enforcement. Coonerty moved that Planning continue working on reform, and return in May with specific recommendations for Proactive Code Compliance.

Action on RR4SSRP as a whole was postponed to April 15, a hearing that was much shorter, though no less contentious and emotionally fraught. Mark Stone added language stating that nothing in the regulations be deemed to waive Fourth Amendment rights. Despite the Sierra Club's documentation of two egregious examples of abject failure of code enforcement, the board voted unanimously to proceed with implementation of 17 of 28 specific proposals approved in March, without an overall CEQA review or consideration of code compliance.

Following up on Ellen Pirie's admonition to not lose sight of the fact that easing the rules is “making it easier for people to convert illegally,” the Board placed Proactive Code Compliance on the May 20 agenda. The RBDA board is preparing a letter on code compliance to be entered into the public record prior to the hearing. Please click on this link to email the board with your comments. 

Redtree to Harvest 60 Acres of Trees

Redtree Properties has submitted a timber harvest plan in Bonny Doon totalling 60 acres of harvest area on four parcels located  within the upper San Vicente Creek Watershed.  The plan (THP 1-08-045 SCR) and reviewing agency comments can be found at:

Anyone wishing to participate in the review of the plan or submit comments can contact the CAL FIRE Felton Resource Management office for information at :

UCSC Negotiations Drag On

UCSC tried its hardest again on April 20 to stop thousands of pot smokers from jamming Porter Meadow to celebrate the joy of getting stoned. The result? Thousands of students and townsfolk jammed Porter Meadow and inhaled.

Will UCSC be as woefully unsuccessful in stopping the grass roots effort to halt or reduce its own growth? Time will tell, and a lot of time has rolled by (about five months) as the City and County and the community group CLUE (Coalition for Limiting University Expansion) continue to go back and forth in negotiations with UCSC resulting from the lawsuit that decertified the expansion’s EIR last fall. If a settlement is not reached, a lot more time, perhaps a couple of years, may pass before the appeals process finally runs its course.

Meanwhile, UCSC angered the private citizens involved in the lawsuit with the unheard of filing of a motion claiming that the citizens aren’t entitled to recover court costs because, according to the motion, they were motivated not by community concerns but by a desire to increase their own property values.

Did UCSC think that this hardball legal ploy will make the citizens any more willing to settle the lawsuit?
 What is the UCSC administration smoking?

Frans Lanting Donates Proceeds of Photo Sale to RBDA

World renowned nature photographer and Bonny Doon resident Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom, his wife and partner in Frans Lanting Gallery and Studio, have donated the proceeds of a $475 print purchased by an RBDA member.

We greatly appreciate their generous support over many years. Despite raising dues recently, we are facing increasing costs for mailing and other expenses that keep our treasury barely even.

If you have never seen Frans Lanting’s work, check out or, better yet, visit the Lanting Gallery at 207 McPherson, Suite D, in Santa Cruz. The gallery hours are M-F, 10am-5pm.

Jacobs Resigns from RBDA Board

Yana Jacobs, who has served on the RBDA Executive Board since 2004, most recently as Vice Chair, has resigned because of the increasing pressures of her job.

The Bylaws allow the board to select a replacement until the next Annual Meeting, in January 2008. If you are interested in joining the RBDA Board, please contact RBDA Chairman Ted Benhari at 426-5053. There are many issues challenging Bonny Doon, and energetic, committed board members are needed to help preserve our unique community. This is a great opportunity to make a difference where you live.

RBDA Executive Board Actions April 2, 2008
1.  Yana Jacobs’s resignation from the Board was accepted.
2.  A motion to investigate modifying the RBDA's tax status to a 501(c)3 organization (contributions tax deductible) was approved.
3.  A motion to send letters to local and State government officials regarding concerns about the LBAM (Light Brown Apple Moth) spraying was approved.

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& Other Real Property Transfers
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The Highlander
The Rural Bonny Doon Association Newsletter
102 Sunlit Lane • Bonny Doon, CA 95060

Bonny Doon's voice in preserving our special quality of life, 
The Highlander, is mailed free to Bonny Doon residents prior to the 
RBDA General Meetings, which are usually held on second Wednesdays of 
January, March, May, July, September and November.
We encourage you to participate. 

 Send mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor at the above address, 
or by email, below.

RBDA Executive Board
Board Chair
Ted Benhari
Vice Chair

Joe Christy
Corresponding Secretary 
Jodi Frediani
Ben Harmon 
Recording Secretary
Jan Hilkert
Highlander Editor
Tom Hearn
Contact the RBDA Board in one email

The Bonny Doon Planning District
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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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your voice for keeping Bonny Doon rural and natural.
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