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NUZ: Ranger Danger and Flynn’s Cabaret for Sale

At what point does fear of tall-ish buildings get to be silly?

“Lot 24 ain’t gonna happen.”

That’s what Santa Cruz Parks Ranger Jeremy Mathews said about a possible encampment near Depot Park, in a Facebook comment thread about homelessness on Tuesday, March 26. The implication was that a planned nighttime sleeping site and day-storage facility in that spot will never open. And he might have some inside intel—Mathews’ mom Cynthia is a longtime member of the City Council, and she made a motion that same night to reconsider the idea after hearing community frustration. With two councilmembers absent, her motion passed 5-0, so she wasn’t alone in having concerns.

Before Mathews wrote that sentence, no one had even mentioned Lot 24, so it was a weird thing to bring up. It almost felt like he wanted to tell everyone a secret he’d heard at dinner!

In the thread, Mathews told stories about how large the rats have gotten in the current Gateway encampment, and he liked a comment saying that no one would show up to a new sanctioned camp anyway, because it would be drug-free. The overall theme was that government leaders need to stop messing around and crack down on those lazy, drug-addicted homeless people who can’t get their lives together.

Mathews certainly doesn’t seem shy about letting loose online, whether or not it’s appropriate for a city employee to do so. Nuz also has a screenshot of the time in August of 2016 when Mathews jumped into the comments of a friend’s post calling out Judge John Salazar, who he apparently had sentencing disagreements with. Mathews wrote, “Salazar needs to go.”

LEVEL OF DISCOURSE

Anti-corridor-rezoning group Save Santa Cruz is refashioning itself as an anti-three-to-six-story-building-in-general group. In addition to opposing taller apartment buildings on major streets like Soquel Avenue, Ocean Street and Mission Street, the group has expanded to opposing them downtown, too, according to a Facebook post about a proposed Front Street housing development along the river.

Nuz doesn’t even feel comfortable making fun of these old-school NIMBYs, because their pathological fear of tall-ish buildings is so extreme that they might be candidates for batophobia—which is defined as, “the abnormal fear of being near an object of great height.” But if that’s the case, these architecture haters already can’t go downtown, because the old Hotel Palomar is eight stories and probably taller than anything that will ever get built there again.

Save Santa Cruz has built its premise on the idea that this town is at risk of turning into Santa Clara County. It’s no secret that Silicon Valley is itself unaffordable, but that’s partly because the region isn’t building enough housing, despite adding high-paying jobs faster than you can say “Google.” The mayor of Cupertino, home to Apple, even joked about building a wall around his city. (It did not go over well.) If we truly put the kibosh on development locally, we’ll run the risk of going one step further and turning into Carmel, with Santa Cruz continuing to lose the young, boot-strapping creative community that helps make it a special place (see page 11).

Here’s an idea: maybe we could have an honest discussion about growth and try to learn more about our options, instead of lethargically whining about every single rendering for a building that doesn’t look like the kind of home that a hippie might dream up during a watercolor-painting session?

FLYNN’S LIMBO

After a $650,000 overhaul that saw the Felton institution Don Quixote’s reopen as Flynn’s Cabaret and Steakhouse last summer, a mystery buyer has stepped up to (maybe) buy the revamped music venue.

Flynn’s owner Bradd Barkan says that a sale has become a financial inevitability after opening delays related to overhauling the in-house kitchen, inconsistent bookings and a recent non-compliance claim over disability access to the club’s bathrooms. “I don’t really have any more money,” Barkan tells GT. “It is in escrow, so that’s the reality.”

A real estate broker involved in the deal says the sale is moving quickly, but is by no means final, and the identity of the would-be buyers remains confidential. Rumor has it that the prospective new owners have ties to Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre and Monterey’s California Roots music festival. “There’s lots of rumors as to who exactly they are,” Barkan says. “I can tell you they have some deep musical connections.”

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