Re: “Great Wet Hope” (GT, 9/15): Thanks for publishing the well-researched and informative article by Erin Malsbury about the water situation in Santa Cruz County.
I have to disagree, however, with a comment quoted in the piece by Sierra Ryan, the Interim Water Resources Manager for Santa Cruz County. She claims that since new buildings are more water-efficient than old ones, the impact of development is irrelevant. In fact, these more efficient units are not replacing the old units, they’re just further adding to the demand by causing an increase in the population of our county, as well as adding to our traffic problems that are so apparent.
One would have to wonder why the Santa Cruz City Council majority have recently approved several projects amounting to more than a thousand new units (a minute fraction of them being affordable) without addressing the obvious water and traffic issues. At the same time, the city is continuing to force single residences to subsidize the water rates that business, hotels, the University and especially constructions projects pay.
The answer is unfortunately quite simple: the developers and real estate interests have bought the council majority their jobs by spending $750,000 on a recent recall election. This figure is especially shocking, taking into account the fact that the average council election has an expenditure of less than $30,000.
Yes folks, monied special interests have captured our town just as they have so frequently in larger political venues. People should be aware that they’re abdicating their responsibility of being informed voters if they are allowing themselves to be influenced by massive misinformation campaigns flooding their mailboxes with flyers. A good rule of thumb is if you see a lot of money being spent on an issue or campaign, ask yourself what special interests are at work here, and if they are acting in the public good—which would be very rare.
The onslaught has begun—witness the corner of Laurel and Front Street, which will take up an entire city block with an eight-story building, and is only a forerunner of many monstrous projects approved by the current majority. The livability of our city is going to continue to get worse. These projects do not benefit the current residents of Santa Cruz, only the greedy developers. It’s up to us whether we will limit further damage in the future.
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