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  • Writer's pictureD Lane

A rare display of candor and clarity (not mine!)

In a rare display of candor and clarity, the folks peddling an alternative plan for Downtown Santa Cruz’s Library and Housing and Farmers Market (and everything) revealed the full details.

Spoiler alert: there are giraffes and monkeys involved.

If I was cooking up a campaign to defeat the “Our Downtown Our Future” ballot initiative, I would be sure to continue emphasizing how unrealistic their plans and their measure actually are. I might even draw a silly picture emphasizing the fantasy they are putting forward.

Then I came across a new brochure from one of the main groups (Downtown Commons Advocates) putting forward this misguided plan (and ballot measure). On the cover of the brochure, is the drawing I’ve included at the top of this post. Now I want to emphasize that this is the main image of the brochure… the top selling point. Please examine the picture closely. Among my favorite bits: A giraffe in the trees. Monkeys swinging from vines above the farmers market. Not a single truck carrying the vegetables in the market. A big farm right in the middle of the market. Jungle trees that would not exist in our environment. The disappearance of many existing buildings, including existing housing. No housing at all (unless the herb seller lives in his covered wagon). You can look for your favorites.

I want to talk for a moment about imagination and vision. There is nothing wrong with imagining a farmers’ market and commons like the one pictured. It can be stimulating and amusing… perhaps even inspiring. But an imagined vision such as this one is just a fantasy. And if a policy proposal with huge consequences for our community is based on a fantasy, I feel very confident in saying the policy proposal is total crap.

I’m part of a substantial cohort of local residents who have a different vision. It has a lot of affordable housing. It has a great library. It’s inclusive of all residents…not just the ones who want a plaza and farmers’ market. It has a well-conceived farmers’ market setting with solar panels and the facilities both sellers and customers want and need. It has just enough parking to sustain the housing and businesses downtown without wasting land on parking lots.

It utilizes genuine smart growth principles. And I’m pretty sure it keeps giraffes and monkeys in the wild where they belong.

This vision is forward looking and grounded in reality. There are real plans that have been approved and moving forward. Real builders including affordable housing experts. Real funding. A superior library. Take good look at the details of the current city Library Housing plan.

Then take a second look at the fantasy picture. (I posted it twice here because it is soooo good... I think I might have even spotted a deity with his flock on my second look.)

Please enjoy the picture. Smile. And then let's move on.

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May 23, 2022

The real Downtown Commons is Laurel Park. It's right behind London Nelson. Great play areas, community facilities, playgrounds, a basketball court, a pingpong table, and much more. What more could you ask for?

Kids playing on a dinosaur at Laurel Park, behind London Nelson.

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