November/December 2002 issue
The Art of Bonny Doon
An Exhibit of 7 Local Artists

Therese Baisinger, Nancy Howe, Maryjo Koch, Kimberly MacLoud, Albion Smith, Ray Gwyn Smith, Carol Summers

Wednesday, November 13, 2002, 7:30 p.m.
Multi-Purpose Room, Bonny Doon School
The Artists of Bonny Doon

Sometimes it seems that every person in Santa Cruz County, if given the chance, would be a professional artist. Many have actually managed to achieve that dream, and, luckily for us, many of them live in Bonny Doon.  At the November 13 RBDA meeting, seven Bonny Doon artists working in various media will exhibit and talk about their work.

They are: Terese Baisinger, Nancy Howe, Maryjo Koch, Kimberly MacLoud, Albion Smith, Ray Gwyn Smith, and Carol Summers.

Their work ranges from jewelry to glass to painting and printmaking.  At the meeting, artists will talk briefly about themselves and their work, and then the audience will be free to roam about the room to look at their work and meet the artists individually.

Here are thumbnail descriptions of the 7 artists:

Therese Baisinger has been working glass for 18 years, beginning with stained glass windows and Tiffany lamps for her own home, and then commissioned stained glass work. Her more recent interest is fused (melted) and slumped (shaped) glass. The resulting platters, plates and bowls are both decorative and functional.

Nancy Howe takes inspiration from the beauty of Bonny Doon for her paintings.  "By using the watercolor medium I am able to express my feelings and views of my surroundings, from sweeping landscapes to studies of the products of nature," she says. Her work has garnered various prizes and has been widely exhibited locally and elsewhere.

Albion Smith: Funerary urn, 2002Albion Smith is a native California jeweler and silversmith who has been working in this medium for the past 19 years. He forms, fabricates and engraves each piece by hand, often with design advice and assistance from his mate, Elissa Forsyth. He takes particular pleasure in creating functional jeweled objects that are made to be used rather than just displayed.

Maryjo Koch is an author-illustrator of books that are treasured by thousands of admirers around the world. She has designed fine china dinnerware, lines of greeting cards, gift wrap, gift boxes, writing portfolios and wallpaper.  She also teaches illustration at her studio in Bonny Doon and gives a seminar once a year at UCSC Scientific Illustration Dept.

Kimberly MacLoud says that for four "long" days a week she is the Art Director at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. After living in Santa Cruz  for 30 years, she and her family moved to Bonny Doon last year. She works "in whatever medium presents itself to my mind’s eye." In her present work, she is painting on enlarged old snapshots she buys on eBay, and her sister embellishes some of the images with sequins and beads.

Ray Gwyn Smith Cranes in Snow 2002Ray Gwyn Smith (a former member of the RBDA board) was born in Wales. "With an inherent love of the earth, the sea and the moody skies around me, I spent a great deal of time alone in the countryside. And I always painted and wrote poetry." After 4 years in Los Angeles, "a longing for wild country pulled me away from city life. I settled in Bonny Doon, where I have found places that have the same feeling of primal spirit I had known in my native Wales. It is this presence in wild places that has moved much of my painting." 

Carol Summers says it is "the mystery and surprise that are the artist’s rewards for me, so I resist formalizing and ordering my ideas, which are, after all, simply a map to guide one through the terra incognita of the world of experience. We live in a time that places great emphasis on the primacy of thinking, but I’ve found intuition a surer guide, feeling a wiser teacher and imagination a more rewarding companion." His prints and posters grace museums around the world, including SFMOMA and New York’s MOMA.  We hope that you will enjoy this departure from the usual subjects at RBDA meetings, and join us for a beautiful evening on Nov. 13.

Planning Head Plans for Improvements

At the September RBDA meeting county Planning Director Alvin James talked about the problems he faces and the solutions he hopes for in his often-criticized department.

James said he perceives:

  • External issues, including water, timber, cultural;
  • Internal issues, including inability to communicate with the public, loss of experienced staff who can earn more elsewhere, loss of 17 positions in the last budget; 
  • Challenges for "freshman" planners learning a complex system with many levels of regulations.
With such departmental constraints, James feels it is prudent to wait to revise the county’s General Plan. The state, however, mandates updating the "housing element," a project hampered by discussion at the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG), which has voted for new housing numbers unfavorable to Santa Cruz County. James explained that Santa Cruz has not exceeded its Measure J growth limit, and that the county has received housing funds even without a certified "housing element" in its General Plan. San Diego County successfully sued over scarcity of water as a limit to growth.

James is working on recommendations to improve the Planning Department demanded by county Supervisors Mardi Wormhoudt and Jeff Almquist, who asked that matters such as responsiveness and permit processing be addressed. James asked whether the County Code’s regulations should be reviewed, with a view to what can be eliminated and still improve the quality of decisions; whether fees are reasonable, and how much the department’s fees should pay for its work.

James said that his department is reviewing whether there are some apparently trivial situations which shouldn’t be regulated by permits. 

Regarding "red tags," James said that when he arrived there were 4,000 cases in backlog, 100 new cases per month, and 7 staffers handling them. A moratorium on cases older than 1980 eliminated 1,100, and staff is concentrating on those cases which affect health and safety. James said 80-100 cases in the past year resulted in a court hearing. Many were brought by an offender challenging the penalty. Planning’s goal is to resolve cases before they become violations, by working with property owners to correct problems. In the last 12 months 113 cases have been moved from backlog to resolution.

Agenda for the RBDA                                       General Meeting 
Nov. 13, 2002
    1.  Approval of Minutes of Sept. 11, 2002 General Meeting
    2.  RBDA Treasurer and Membership Coordinator reports
    3.  Nominations for RBDA Executive Board
    4.  Exhibit and Talk: The Artists of Bonny Doon

Summary of Actions of RBDA    Executive Board Meeting Oct. 1, 2002

    1.  Two-signature check provision of Bylaws interpreted to mean one endorsement plus one signature from another officer.
    2.  Minutes of Exec. Bd. meeting of Aug. 6, 2002 revised and adopted.
    3.  Approved sending a new letter (including the text of the previous one) to the county Planning Commission to ask for a response to concerns we raised about the Vigne Farms equestrian center project.
    4.  Approved sending a new letter to the county Board of Supervisors opposing permanent production increases at the RMC Pacific Materials Davenport cement      plant until the requirement for a 5-year review (now 8 years overdue) has been fulfilled.
    5.  Selected Don Coyne as chair of the Nominating Committee for RBDA 
        Executive Board officers’ election
    6.  Approved buying a Public Address/recording system for use at RBDA 
        General Meetings
    7.  Approved putting a link on the RBDA website to Jim Austin’s website for issues related to RMC Pacific Materials’ cement plant and quarries.
    8.  Approved putting a disclaimer on the RBDA website restricting material there to that pertinent to the mission of the RBDA (Bylaws Section VI-A5).

Permit Hearing for Vigne Farms Boarding Stable

A public Planning Commission hearing will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 13 on permits for Vigne Farms, a 50-horse boarding and training facility on 79 acres just south of the Bonny Doon Vineyards tasting room on Bonny Doon Road.  Vigne Farms has been in limited operation since it was red-tagged 2 years ago. Judge Robert Yonts allowed owner Amie Van Dine to board up to 24 horses until it gets its permits. The project requires Coastal, Commercial Development and Grading permits. Van Dine leases the land from the Soper-Wheeler company, which uses it for timber production.  The RBDA board has addressed concerns and questions about traffic, erosion and the manure management plan to the Planning staff. The site drains to a branch of Liddell Creek.

North Coast Water Safe for Now

As the City of Santa Cruz has been going through its Integrated Water Planning process, a number of methods for getting more water from the North Coast have been considered and discarded.

A dam at Yellow Bank Creek was removed from consideration. Diverting heavy winter flows yields water that is too muddy to filter. The last proposal to fall from favor was the plan to supply treated wastewater to farmers in exch ange for water drawn from wells on the North Coast.

The city did an investigation of agricultural water sources on the North Coast "to better understand the feasibility of the groundwater exchange concept and to help determine the potential geographic limit and capacity of a reclaimed water system." The study revealed that the groundwater production came from wells south of Majors Creek on State Parks’ Wilder Ranch property.  That idea was squashed by a letter from organic farmers rejecting the reclaimed water, and another from State Parks Regional Superintendent Dave Vincent, whose letter cited "uncharted legal and complex policy issues having serious long term implications of statewide consequence that go far beyond Wilder Ranch State Park and the City of Santa Cruz. The intent of setting aside state parklands for natural resource protection and provision of recreational opportunity is not served or enhanced by pursuing this alternative."

The raw water pipeline rehab study that trespassed on some Dooners’ property is still in the works but it is no longer intended to take additional water from Majors and Laguna creek diversions. Given the recent crackdown on agricultural water diversions on the North Coast, it was unlikely that the National Marine Fisheries Service and state Fish and Game Dept. would approve a further reduction of stream flows.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s all easy swimming for the fish. When the city didn’t like the report of the fishery biologist hired for the Watershed Advisory Task force, the report was buried and the biologist fired.  And the Central Coast Forest Association has petitioned to have coho salmon removed from the endangered species list for our area. The petition is based on an archeological study it commissioned that failed to find coho salmon bones in midden heaps along the Central Coast. However, the study was limited in scope and methodology and so the archeologist’s report concludes with "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." It is also well documented that Native Americans traditionally return bones and entrails to the sea out of respect for the salmon who have nourished them.

The city is left with a desalination plant as the recommended water supply alternative. It will give the city an expensive but reliable source for water even in drought years and ease pressure on North Coast ground and surface water sources. As the city moves forward with that idea, do they still need to repair the diversions and relocate the pipelines that take water from North Coast streams and springs?

RMC Digs in on EIR

RMC Pacific Materials has begun preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on their proposed limestone quarry expansion, but they are also appealing the court ruling which prevented them from expanding the quarry without one. A major issue will be determining the quarry’s impact on Liddell Spring, currently one of the City of Santa Cruz’s dependable year-round water sources.

Since RMC lost their case on a technicality, the appeals court could choose to visit the underlying issue: whether the county has the right to require an EIR for the quarry expansion and what the scope of the EIR should be. The appeals process is a slow one and briefs outlining RMC’s position have not been filed.

The county’s recent approval of an increase in production at the RMC facility in Davenport will increase pressure to supply raw material for the plant.  Every year the plant has gotten routine approval for temporary production increases. (One justification is that the plant would have to stop production and lay off employees right before Christmas if the production increase is not allowed.) The RBDA board submitted a letter for the Oct. 8 Supervisors’ hearing on the production increase.

The letter questioned the appropriateness of expanding production when limestone is running low and quarry expansion is awaiting an EIR, and went on to point out that "RMC’s existing permit (#88-0188) for the Davenport Plant was granted in 1989, with the condition that a 5-year review must be completed: 13 years later, this review has yet to take place."

Ecological Reserve Plan Presented

In September, the California Department of Fish and Game (F&G) published the long-awaited Final Draft Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve Management Plan (on the Internet, a fact which made it difficult for many people to obtain).  Although the public comment period closed on Oct. 25, the Plan can still be accessed from the RBDA website.

Interested community members and volunteers looked it over, found many portions which need further work, and submitted comments.

Areas of concern include:

  • A low level of planned staffing, much of it on a one-time-only basis
  • Inadequate delineation of sensitive habitats, including unique plants and animals, which the Reserve is supposed to protect
  • Provisions for fire prevention that neglect to specify methods, don’t assign responsibility for tasks or payment between F&G and the California Dept. of Forestry (CDF), and make no mention of continued maintenance
  • An interest in "promoting recreational uses," not purposes primary to a Reserve
  • Little staffing to support such activities as school field trips, informational visits, and research
  • Minimal and vague references to maintenance and monitoring
  • Lack of coordination with the California Coastal Commission and lack of documents for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review.  The Reserve has long enjoyed care from docents who, under Val Haley’s dogged leadership, have kept the Reserve a lovely place to visit.  Attention from F&G staff has been at best minimal (a fact perhaps reflected in the Plan’s deficiencies).  We hope this Plan will be revised to benefit from the knowledge of concerned residents.

RBDA Board Election

It’s hard to be engaged in voting when someone who lost the popular vote leads the country. We may never regain the rights and privileges we enjoyed before the 2-party system and the Patriot Act. But we can still exercise democracy in our own community. People still can do the small things that make a difference close to home, and one way to do that is working with friends and neighbors in community organizations like the RBDA.  Helping to maintain our environment, water quality, roads and services has a value beyond preserving our local quality of life. It also restores the feeling that you can make a difference and that participation in democracy is still worthwhile. If you are currently an RBDA member please consider offering your time and energy for a term on the RBDA board. Nominations for the board elections in January can be made at the Nov 13. Meeting, or contact Don Coyne (429-5755) of the nominating committee.

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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
Chair: Ted Benhari  426-5053    | email here |
Vice Chair: Marilyn Hummel 426-3352    | email here |
Recording Secretary: Don Coyne 429-5755    | email here |
Corresponding Secretary: Miriam Beames 423-6275    | email here |
Highlander Editor: Marty Demare 457-1190    | email here |
Membership: Ben Harmon 459-7752    | email here |
Treasurer:  Chris Gordon  469-4498    | email here |

Contact the RBDA Board in one email

The Bonny Doon Planning District
Bonny Doon Planning District map

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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