A letter to the Good Times last week hit on common themes in so-called progressive views–basically, why are we building all of these new housing units when they “don’t benefit the current residents of Santa Cruz?” I’d say that’s true if you already own your home here and don’t mind if your children can’t afford to live here, or your health providers—or kids’ teachers, or city and private sector employees who provide you with services—can’t find housing closer than a two-hour-a-day commute, or if you are one of those “current residents” who works 40 hours a week and still lives in a tent.
It’s not just greedy “developers and real estate interests” that benefit from new housing, both affordable and market rate, but all of us who live in this community. Let’s all agree that we should maximize the percentage of affordable housing in these projects, but I’m a little tired of the privileged few fighting every housing project here, affordable or not.
And with respect to water issues, it is a material and demonstrable fact that the contribution of new housing to our water shortage is relatively minimal. We would have water shortages that require new sources and periodic restricted use until they are developed even if we had no new housing being built. Some of us here like gardens and don’t enjoy watching our fruit trees die. Conservation alone will not produce the amount of water that we need for the current population. And sometimes small water-rate subsidies for business are necessary if you want to have a tax base that pays for your public safety, public works, and parks and recreation services.
Finally, with respect to campaign funding, when you get beat 2-1 as in the Council recall, it is not just a function of funding. It’s an indication that your side of an issue was just not very popular with local voters. This community has beaten back initiatives where we were outspent 10-1.
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