Photo by SARAH RINGLER
Locals come out to protest turning a downtown Santa Cruz street corner into a high end hotel.
Build Housing, Not a Hotel - Rally and Song
By SARAH RINGLER
June 4, over 100 people rallied in the parking lot next to the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union at 324 Front St. in Santa Cruz to protest the building of a high end hotel on the site. There was live music, theater, crafts and a version of musical chairs where each chair that was removed when the music stopped, represented another person removed from their home in Santa Cruz.
My husband and I experienced this a year ago when the benevolent landlady of our east side home died and her heirs quickly descended to kick us out and cash in on the high price of real estate in our area. We were lucky because Covid restrictions at the time delayed our eviction by a few months, but unlucky since we were subjected to escalating housing prices. It was frustrating and almost impossible to find a place we could afford in the county we have lived and worked in for the last forty-two years. My husband still works here.
Thanks to our advanced age, we ended up moving into age restricted housing in south county that is mostly affordable.
The rally began with a singalong of a clever song composed by Nita Hertel. It's written to the tune of "If I Had a Hammer," of course.
If We Had a Hammer
Lyrics by NITA HERTEL
If we had a hammer, we'd build affordable housing
We wouldn't build a hotel, no not on this land!
We'd build houses for families, we'd build it for seniors,
We'd build it for the students who need it, and people in tents
All over this land, ooo.
If we had some land, we'd make a big park there
We'd plant lots of trees, and veggies to eat
We'd feed the families, we'd feed the seniors,
We'd feed the people who need it, and the people in tents
All over this land, ooo.
If we had some plans, we'd show them to everyone,
We'd ask for their input, and listen real good.
We'd listen to families, we'd listen to seniors
We'd listen to the students who live here and people in tents
All over this land, ooo.
So we have some hammers, and they have some land
And we have some plans, for using this land
We'd build affordable housing, for families and seniors
And housing for students who need it, and people in tents
All over this land!
Finally, Santa Cruz County DA Responds to Request to Investigate Brown Act Act and Campaign Finance Violations
By SARAH RINGLER
I wrote an email on the DA’s website May 11 and ask if they were going to investigate Ann Simonton’s allegation of Brown Act and Campaign Finance violations by Santa Cruz City Council members Donna Meyers, Martine Watkins, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Renee Golder during a Santa Cruz Together meeting on May 2 as written about in the May 13, Serf City Times.
I admit I’m low on the totem pole of Santa Cruz County power people, but after waiting almost a month, with more than a few back and forths, I finally received a response from Shandra Handley of the Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection Unit, County of Santa Cruz, Office of the District Attorney.
The first response from Ms Handley was a curt email stating she wasn't aware that her office sends automatic replies after receiving emails. When I provided my first request, a second one wondering about the delay, the two autoreplies, and reclarifying that I was trying to support Ann Simonton's request for an investigation, I finally received, on June 8, the following information:
“Ms. Ringer(sic), I am providing you with the response we sent to Ms. Simonton. I believe it addresses the same concerns you have.
"Dear Ms. Simonton, We received your email complaint alleging violations of campaign and finance laws, and the Brown Act. As per our protocol when we receive complaints such as yours, we reach out to those who the allegations are against for a response. In this case we received a response from the City Attorney’s Office and the attorney representing Santa Cruz Together. Once we received the responses from these two offices we independently reviewed the allegations and the laws. Based on our review it does not appear criminal prosecution is warranted at this time. Please feel free to pursue whatever civil remedies might be available to you.
"The information we received from Santa Cruz Together and the City Attorney’s Office was as follows:
"As to Violation 1: Insofar as Ms. Simonton alleges that a Brown Act violation occurred by four members of the City Council attending an event organized by Santa Cruz Together (“Violation 1”), it is appropriate for me to respond. I would merely point out that the Brown Act’s prohibition on a quorum of council members discussing City business outside of a duly noticed and agendized meeting (Govt. Code Section 54952.2) includes a number of exceptions, including the following which, based on Ms. Simonton’s own description of the event, would seem directly on point here:
(c) Nothing in this section shall impose the requirements of this chapter upon any of the following:
(3) The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at an open and publicized meeting organized to address a topic of local community concern by a person or organization other than the local agency, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss among themselves, other than as part of the scheduled program, business of a specific nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body of the local agency.”
As to Violations 2 and 3:
1. Santa Cruz Together is a General Purpose Committee registered with the FPPC. SCT complies with all campaign restrictions and reporting requirements.
2. SCT did not incur any expenditures of any kind in relation to the event on May 4, 2022. There were no expenditures, and thus, no campaign expenditures to be reported.
3. The May 4, 2022, event was held in a space open to the public, and the public was freely allowed to attend. SCT did not rent the space nor did it have exclusive possession of the space. Ms.Simonton herself admits that she attended and recorded the openly public event.
4. The central purpose of the event was to promote Measure E, to support a vote for Shrebreh Kalantari-Johnson, and mostly to support SCT's election efforts generally and to solicit donations for SCT.
5. City Council Member Donna Meyers briefly addressed the public and gave a narrative about how Measure E came about, and what it means to City Government. Measure E has already been approved for the ballot. It will be approved or rejected by the voters, not the City Council.
6. Ms. Simonton’s objection about alleged “independent expenditures” is hard to follow. SCT is unaware of any separate “Yes on E” committee by Donna Meyers nor anyone else. Also, there were no expenditure by either SCT or Donna Meyers at the event.
7. Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson briefly addressed the crowd about her candidacy for Supervisor. I do not believe that she solicited campaign funds. Ms. Kalantari Johnson was not involved in the planning of the event, except that she was allowed the opportunity to address the crowd about her campaign.
8. No other council members addressed the crowd. To my knowledge, no more than two or three council members were ever in close proximity to each other. Certainly, there was no discussion of any matter within the jurisdiction of the City Council. The event was limited to the June election.
"If you have any questions please let me know. Sincerely, Shandra Handley”
So, in case you were wondering what happened, here it is. I sent this email off to Ann Simonton just to let her know I got it. She said she never received this letter.
Photo by TARMO HANNULA
This Anna's hummingbird collects nectar from a lion's mane in Watsonville.
Santa Cruz County Covid-19 Report
By SARAH RINGLER
The Santa Cruz County Health Department regularly releases data on the current status of Covid-19 in the county. Total known cases as of June 9 were 52,857 up 505 cases from last week's 52,352, rounding off to a 1% rise. Deaths increased by one to 263.
The government is issuing four free Antigen Rapid Tests for free here.
Because of all the home tests currently available, these numbers are underestimates according to Corinne Hyland, County Health Services Agency spokesperson. She recommends people with minor symptoms stay home, isolate and rest.
Total hospitalizations remains at 649. Click to view a graph of hospitalizations here.
There have been changes in the active cases in the last week. Active cases in south county rose by one, north county stayed the same and mid county decreased by 1%. See details in the chart below.
On the county's vaccination webpage, the vaccination rate shows that 81% of the county have had at least one dose and 75% have had two doses. These numbers have not changed since April 10. Here are more details on the county's vaccination data.
This webpage also has a link where you can get a digital copy and scannable QR code of your vaccination record. Keep track of your four digit code because that is your access to the site.
The county's Effective Reproductive Number is now above one. See chart below. Numbers above one show the spread of the virus is increasing. Below one means the spread is decreasing.
To get information of COVID-19 testing locations around the county visit this site. Click here to make an appointment to get tested.
Any Californian age 12 or up can get vaccinated for free. For information on getting vaccinated, click here.
% deaths by ethnicity:
White - 57%
Latinx - 34%
Black - 1%
Asian - 6%
American Native - 0%
Unknown - 0%
% deaths by gender/% of population:
Female - 48%/50%
Male - 52%/50%
Deaths by age/263:
25-34 - 2%
35-44 - 3%
45-54 - 4%
55-59 - 2%
60-64 - 6%
65-74 - 18%
75-84 - 23%
85+ - 43%
% active cases testing positive by region/% of population:
Mid-county - 11%/12%
North county - 70%/56%
South county - 18%/32%
Under investigation - 1%
Deaths by vaccination status:
vaccinated - 28/263 = 11%
unvaccinated - 232/263 = 89%
Weekly increases in positive tests:
June 12-19, 2020 - 7%
June 19-26 - 23%
June 26 to July 3 - 22%
July 3-9 - 23%
July 9-16 - 40%
July 16-23 - 20%
July 23-30 - 27%
July 30-Aug. 6 - 13%
Aug. 6-13- 12%
Aug.14-20 - 16%
Aug.20-28 - 10%
Aug. 28-Sept. 3 - 10%
Sept. 3-10 - 6%
Sept. 10-17- 8%
Sept. 17-24 - 7%
Sept. 25- Oct.1 - 5%
Oct. 1 - 9 - 4%
Oct. 9-15 - 4%
Oct. 15-22 - 5%
Oct. 23-29 - 4%
Oct. 30-Nov. 5 - 6%
Nov. 5-12 - 10%
Nov. 12-19 - 11%
Nov. 19-26 - holiday
Nov. 19-Dec. 3 - 29% 2 weeks of data for this week only
Dec. 3-10 - 16%
Dec. 10-17 - 17%
Dec. 17-24 - 14%
Dec. 24-31 - 19%
Jan. 1-7, 2021 - 13%
Jan. 7-14 - 14%
Jan. 15-21 - 11%
Jan. 21-28 - 5%
Jan. 28-Feb. 4 - 5%
Feb. 5-11 - 2%
Feb. 11-18 - 2%
Feb. 18-25 - 1%
Feb. 25-March 5 - 1%
March 5-11 - 1%
March 11-18 - 2%
March 18-25 - .5%
March 25 - Apr. 1 - .7%
Apr. 1-8 - 0.1%
Apr. 9-15 - 1%
Apr. 16-22 - 2%
Apr. 22-30 - 2%
Apr. 30 - May 6 - .3%
May 6-13 - 2%
May 13-20 - 0%
May 24 - Data readjustment by county means percentages cannot be calculated this week.
May 27 - June 3 - 0%
June 3-10 - 0%
June 11-17 - .25%
June 18-24 - 0%
June 25-July 1 - 0%
July 2-8 - .3%
July 9-15 - .2%
July 16-22 - .5%
July 23-29 - 1.2%
July 30-Aug. 5 - 2%
Aug. 6-12 - .7%
Aug.13-19 - 4%
Aug. 20-26 - .7%
Aug. 26-Sept. 2 - 3%
Sept. 2-9 - 2%
Sept. 10-16 - 1%
Sept. 17-22 - 1%
Sept. 23-30 - 2%
Oct. 1-7 - 0%
Oct. 8-14 - 1%
Oct. 15-21 - 1%
Oct. 22-28 - 1%
Oct. 29-Nov. 4 - 1%
Nov. 5-11 - 1%
Nov. 12-18 - 2%
Nov. 19 - Dec. 2 - 2 weeks 2%
Dec. 2-9 - 2%
Dec. 9-16 - 1%
Dec. 16-23 - 1%
Dec. 24-30 - 2%
Dec. 31 - Jan. 6, 2022 - 5% Growth of home tests underestimates cases below. See above .
Jan. 7-13 - 9%
Jan. 14-20 - 15%
Jan. 21-27 - 9%
Jan. 28 - Feb. 3 - 31%
Feb. 3-10 - 3%
Feb. 11-24 (2 weeks) - 5%
Feb. 25- March 3 - 1%
March 4-10 - 1%
March 11-17 - 1%
March 18-24 - 0%
March 25-31 - 1%
Apr. 1-7 - 0%
Apr. 8-14 - 1%
Apr. 15-21 - 1%
Apr. 22-28 - 1%
Apr. 20 - May 5 - 1%
May 6-12 - 2%
May 13-19 - 3%
May 20-26 - 1%
May 27 - June 2 - 1%
June 3 - June 9 - 1%
Photo by TARMO HANNULA
Fashion Street - Thomas Sperance plays the saw on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz.
Graphics by TONI BAUER
Last Reel Work Film of the Year
By SARAH RINGLER
The film "Belly of the Beast," that documents the pursuit of justice for women who were sterilized without their consent while in prison, culminates this year's Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival. The film will be available free online from June 7-17 by registering here. You may also join filmmaker Erika Cohen and attorney, Cynthia Chandler on the zoom panel, June 14 at 7pm by registering here.
Labor History Calendar for June 10-16, 2022
June 10, 1912: General strike of British Transport workers.
June 11, 1872: Unions legalized in Canada.
June 11, 1913: Cops shoot at black and white IWW/AFL maritime workers striking United Fruit Co. in New Orleans; 1 killed and 2 wounded.
June 12, 1917: 260 die in Butte mine disaster and 14,000 strike for safe conditions.
June 12, 1968: Unions win 12-day general strike against poverty and police repression in Senegal.
June 13, 1925: Angry miners burn three company stores in Nova Scotia.
June 14, 1905: Battleship Potemkin mutiny.
June 14, 1924: San Pedro, CA, IWW Hall raided by thugs; children are scalded and the hall demonlished.
June 14, 2009: General strike across Brazil.
June 15, 1990: Battle of Century City begins when police attack striking SEIU janitors and supporters in Los Angeles, CA in the Justice for Janitors .
June 15, 1996: Borders Books in Philadelphia fires worker for IWW organizing sparking international picketing.
June 15, 2018: General strike in Nicaragua.
June 16, 1953: A few dozen construction workers strike against speed-up sparking rebellion in East Germany.
June 16, 1987: Paper workers strike mill near Portland, Maine.
“In a society that prioritizes man’s health, a cleaner is more important than a lawyer.”
Photo by TARMO HANNULA
The Amazing Cauliflower - Pasta Alla Gianni
By SARAH RINGLER
With a lot of texture but not a lot of flavor, cauliflower needs help in elevating it to a dish you could recommend. This recipe pours on the flavor with garlic, anchovies, onions, chili peppers and Parmesan cheese. Crunch is added with toasted buttered bread crumbs. Roasting the cauliflower keeps it firm. You can make the recipe vegetarian by substituting the anchovies for Kalamata olives.
This recipe is from Dabney Gough’s column in August 23, 2006’s San Francisco Chronicle. It’s one of the favorite recipes of Chef Donna Scala who with her husband Giovanni, was chef and owner of Scala's Bistro in San Francisco and Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa. Both restaurants are still operating but Donna is no longer alive. It’s an authentic Neapolitan recipe from Giovanni's mother who named the recipe after him.
The cauliflower we eat today is thought by Andalusian Arab botanists Ibn al-‘Awwam and Ibn al-Baltar to be developed from a native variety that grows on the island of Cyprus. The famous Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist, philosopher and military commander in the first century ACE, favored the taste of cauliflower over other vegetables from the same family, Brassicaceae, like broccoli, cabbage and kale. It is truly a Mediterranean vegetable.
We usually think of cauliflowers as white but there are green, purple and orange varieties too. The orange variety contains beta-carotene like carrots and originated from a natural mutation that was found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Mathematicians have observed geometric fractal patterns, most noticeable in the Romanesco variety. Every little branch or floret, is similar to the entire cauliflower and the angle between forms a consistent ratio.
1 head cauliflower (about 2 cups florets)
6 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
¾ chopped onion, 1 cup
4 cloves garlic, smashed or coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced anchovies or Kalamata olives
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2/3 cup panko or breadcrumbs
Roast cauliflower first. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Break the head into florets and put in a large bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle, salt, pepper and chili flakes over the florets and toss well. Spread the florets on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until florets are golden brown but still firm and edible, not mushy or hard. Put in a bowl and set aside.
Make toasted breadcrumbs. Lower oven heat to 350 degrees. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well then spread onto the same baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring and watching the crumbs so they don’t burn but turn golden brown. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 more tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until lightly golden and translucent. Add garlic and mix well. Add cauliflower to pan. With the back of a spoon or a heavy spatula, break the cauliflower into small bite sized pieces while stirring to coat. Add more salt and pepper to taste, then set pan aside.
Cook spaghetti in boiling, well-salted water according to package instructions. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set
Place frying pan with cauliflower back over medium heat. Add the cooked pasta. Combine and add some of pasta water to make a sauce. Add more if necessary. Add the chopped or sliced anchovies and mix. Put into a serving bowl and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan and roughly chopped parsley.
Send your story, poetry or art here: Please submit a story, poem or photo of your art that you think would be of interest to the people of Santa Cruz County. Try and keep the word count to around 400. Also, there should be suggested actions if this is a political issue. Submit to email@example.com
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Thanks, Sarah Ringler
Welcome to Serf City Times Over time, our county has grown more stratified and divided with many people feeling left out. Housing affordability, racism and low wages are the most obvious factors. However, many groups and individuals in Santa Cruz County work tirelessly to make our county a better place for everyone. These people work on the environment, housing, economic justice, health, criminal justice, disability rights, immigrant rights, racial justice, transportation, workers’ rights, education reform, gender issues, equity issues, electoral politics and more. Often, one group doesn’t know what another is doing. The Serf City Times is dedicated to serving as a clearinghouse for those issues by letting you know what is going on, what actions you can take and how you can support these groups.This is a self-funded enterprise and all work is volunteer.
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