[Hpn] Re: Joggers and Polo Ponies
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"
> GREENBELTS FOR COMMUNITY USE
> OR JUST FOR JOGGERS AND POLO PONIES?
> 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
> 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
> 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
> This article can be printed for free by non-profits or
> who work for social and environmental justice.