[Hpn] Re: Joggers and Polo Ponies

patachek@juno.com patachek@juno.com
Thu, 15 Nov 2001 11:18:09 -0800


Thanks for the latest cartoon. BTW, the last name is spelled "Matejcek".


On Wed, 14 Nov 2001 19:40:54 -0800 "Becky Johnson"
<Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net> writes:
> by Becky Johnson 
> November 11th, 2001
> "The Pogonip* is sacrosanct" trumpeted Joe Rigney of the Green Party 
> of Santa Cruz County "And I have a blocking concern if this language 
> is included in the final version."  Why would an environmentalist 
> oppose a plan to clean up the environment?
> At issue was a letter written by Linda Lemaster to be sent to the 
> Santa Cruz City Council in support of Camp Paradise the self-help 
> encampment currently located along the eastside of the San Lorenzo 
> River across from a tannery, under a freeway bridge, and behind a 
> cemetery. The area had been neglected by both the local 
> environmentalists and the City for years as tons of trash 
> accumulated, and junkies and alcoholics frequented an area rarely 
> visited by the police.  But now the environmentalists are insistent 
> that the camp must go.
> One proposal put forth at City Council by Councilmember Ed Porter 
> had been to temporarily borrow 2 to 3 acres on its extreme eastern 
> edge of the Pogonip to serve as a temporary campsite for Camp 
> Paradise to move to. The newly formed Santa Cruz Service Corps 
> (SCSC) would oversee the camp.   
> The Lemaster letter to be presented to City Council was approved by 
> the Green Assembly with all references to the Pogonip, the greenbelt 
> areas, or to the Master Plan struck per Rigney's concern despite the 
> efficacy of locating the camp in areas the campers would be working.
> The Pogonip is the 640 acre parcel of greenbelt land purchased by 
> the City and running between the City and the University of 
> California Santa Cruz. 
> Santa Cruz has a lot of parks and greenbelt areas. Harvey West Park 
> has 50 acres. DeLaveaga Park has 565 acres.Arana Gulch has 63 acres. 
> The Bombay Property has 250 acres. In addition to these, the City 
> owns and controls Lighthouse Field, Nearly Lagoon, University 
> Terrace Park, Arroyo Seco, Derby Park, Garfield Park, West Lake 
> Park, Trescony Park, Lighthouse Point, Mission Plaza, San Lorenzo 
> Park, Grant St. Park, Mike Fox Park, Central Park, Ocean View Park, 
> Tyrell Park, the Eastside Triangle, Star of the Sea Park, Frederick 
> St. Park, John Franks Park, The Town Clock, the Bethany Curve, the 
> Beach Flats Park, and Laurel St. Park.
> While the City of Santa Cruz is blessed with nearly two thousand 
> acres of parks and greenbelt areas, it lacks the funding to  
> maintain these parks sufficiently. Litter removal, trail 
> restoration, invasive non-native species removal, poison oak 
> removal, and the re-establishment of native flora are all required. 
> The Santa Cruz Service Corps (SCSC) planned on establishing a series 
> of temporary campsites in the parks and greenbelt areas, and have 
> the campers/service corps workers engage in maintenance measures in 
> exchange for a legal place to camp..
> The plan would be a win/win situation for the homeless campers and 
> for the environment. The taxpayers would benefit from it too.
> But hard-core environmentalists such as Joe Rigney, Patricia 
> Matachek of the San Lorenzo River Urban River Project Task Force, 
> Environmental attorney and Councilmember Keith Sugar and former 
> Mayor Celia Scott were adamant that the council should never 
> consider such a move. Despite all the environmental benefits the 
> Service Corps could offer, these few squeaky wheels prevented even a 
> discussion of temporarily using 2-3 acres of the Pogonip for such a 
> purpose. 
> And they can't stay where they are now either.  Now that Larry 
> Templeton and Camp Paradise have driven off the alcoholics and 
> junkies and have removed an estimated 24 tons of trash, the 
> environmentalists are showing an interest in protecting this piece 
> of the San Lorenzo River's riparian corridor.   When it was covered 
> with years of accumulated trash, buzzed night and day with the 
> industrial noises of Salz Tannery across the river mixed with the 
> sounds and smells of the freeway which crosses the river nearby, no 
> environmentalist voiced a hint of concern.
> Homeless people can be cited for illegal camping just for using a 
> sleeping bag while in the Pogonip. Since joggers and polo ponies are 
> allowed to use the Pogonip, one has to wonder who is protecting what 
> for whom. 
> The Pogonip, where an estimated 600 campers already live, had been 
> considered as a potential site for the campers of Camp Paradise 
> under the supervision of the SCSC. Longtime homeless advocate, Dr. 
> Paul Lee was promoting the program, had enlisted 30 Camp Paradise 
> people as workers, and could provide at least $50,000 in funding. 
> But the environmentalists were apparently so opposed to homeless 
> people using the parks and greenbelts that they rejected without 
> examination a plan that is arguably good for the environment and can 
> be utilized at a bargain. Councilmember Keith Sugar acting on their 
> behalf led the council on October 23rd to vote to not even 
> investigate that site or any other greenbelt site.
> It's been a classic case of environmentalists vs. homeless rights, 
> but it need not be. There is no reason eco-camps can't be designed 
> and operated as just one more use of the beautiful greenbelt areas 
> that surround Santa Cruz. To do otherwise, when its clear no 
> environmental threat has been demonstrated is to show that the flag 
> of "Environmentalism" is being waved to cover up the real homeless 
> bigotry behind the decision to exclude exploring the Pogonip as a 
> potential site. Somehow the answer is always "no" when if comes to 
> finding a place for homeless people to camp or sleep.
> Celia Scott needs to stop her whispering campaign against the 
> "dirty" homeless. She needs to publicly explain why she sabotaged 
> even talking about using the Pogonip as a future site for the 50 or 
> 60 people currently living in Camp Paradise. The public needs to 
> hear reasonable environmental explanations why one ecologically 
> sensitive camp cannot temporarily occupy greenbelt areas while they 
> are engaged in restoration work, while illegal camps, without the 
> same ecological consciousness are a fact of life in those same 
> areas.  Celia Scott did not return a phone call asking for her 
> comment.
> If the Pogonip is unacceptable to Scott, Rigney, Matachek, and Sugar 
> then they need to tell the rest of the community where the people of 
> Camp Paradise are supposed to go. Certainly they can find 2 or 3 
> acres somewhere in the nearly 2000 acres of parkland for an 
> ecologically-minded work camp for homeless people.
> *Pogonip -- An Ohlone word meaning either white fog or white death. 
> The Pogonip Club which occupied the lower portions of the area in 
> the '20's consisted of a golf course, a polo field, and a clubhouse 
> serving alcohol, hence the word PO-GO-NIP for polo, golfing, and 
> nipping. Experts disagree on which word the large, greenbelt area in 
> the northern part of the City of Santa Cruz is named after. 
> Becky Johnson can be reached by e-mail at 
> becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net 
> This article can be printed for free by non-profits or 
> not-for-profits
> who work for social and environmental justice.