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News Briefs: Work It, Measure F

ReelWork May Labor Day Film Festival, Measure F

Work It

They say hard work pays off. It stands to reason that a festival about hard work would, too.

“Sometimes we lead our lives with blinders on, just to deal with the day and the immediate obstacles, and forget about some of the working struggles that got us the things we have today, such as the weekend—brought to you by the labor movements. Healthcare. These things mostly didn’t come to people by the generosity of their bosses,” says Jeffrey Smedberg, who’s organizing this year’s ReelWork May Labor Day Film Festival, which kicked off last weekend and runs through Tuesday, May 6.

Centered around the May 1 international labor holiday May Day, the 13th annual festival does more than mope about the plight of laborers. It celebrates their accomplishments too, as well as all aspects of working life.

On May 1, “The Interviewer,” a look into the meaningful employment of people with learning disabilities, plays at the Del Mar—followed by Fixed: The Science Fiction of Human Enhancement. Two educational films play at the Watsonville Cabrillo College campus on Friday. And Wisconsin Rising, one of Smedberg’s festival favorites, plays 2 p.m. Saturday at the Live Oak Grange. The film follows Gov. Scott Walker’s crackdown on unions, but, Smedberg adds, there’s a silver lining to the end—Walker’s recall election—so the flick’s not as grim as it sounds.

“It shows all the organizers and the networks working together, showing this was the beginning of a much bigger struggle. This filmmaker sees the people of Wisconsin are organizing to build for the future,” Smedberg says. “We don’t just choose films about how bad stuff is—there are plenty of those, though. We want to show films about how people are dealing with the hand they’re dealt. That’s the rallying message we’re trying to promote: the power is in the people.”

For more info visit reelwork.org. | Jacob Pierce

Measure F

Some residents in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County will vote on a parcel tax measure in the June 3 election, with funds generated to go toward county park maintenance and improvements.

If passed by two-thirds of the voters, Measure F would impose an $8.50 parks parcel tax on all improved lots within County Service Area 11, which includes all unincorporated areas of the county, except the independent recreation districts of Boulder Creek, La Selva, Alba (near Ben Lomond) and Opal Cliffs.

An annual service charge of $6.58 currently provides $280,000 in yearly funding for county parks, but it sunsets on June 30, at the end of the county’s fiscal year. Measure F funds, estimated at $355,000 annually, would replace the expiring service charge and go into effect July 1.

If passed, the monies raised would support recreation activities, and help address a growing list of deferred maintenance issues at the 59 county parks, recreational facilities and beach access points within the service area. The 1,400 acres, just under 300 of which is developed (the remainder is open space), serves approximately 130,000 residents in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The new funding stream would not solve all deferred maintenance issues for county parks, says Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks president, Kate Minott, but it would be a good start, and get some of the infrastructure improvements that have stalled due to budget cuts moving again. In her home district of Aptos, the largest unincorporated area of the county, she calls the 11 county parks and five coastal access points, covering 307 acres of parkland and community buildings, vital to families—especially those living in small parcels typical of the area. “They are tiny houses with not a lot of play area, leaving children to play in the street,” she says.

A new park in the Seacliff neighborhood of Aptos is expected to break ground later this year, and the project could benefit from some extra funds. | Roseann Hernandez

News Editor at |

Jacob, the news editor at Good Times, won the 2014 award for best local government coverage from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. A longtime basketball and football fanatic, Jacob has evolved into a shameless fair weather fan and band wagoner for hot West Coast sports teams. He also enjoys arguing with others about where to find the best burrito in town.

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