Build Big or Not?
Fred Keeley has had a long, noteworthy career as a State and local politician. Decades serving numerous local and State level roles have led him to become Mayor of Santa Cruz. Mayor Fred is advocating for and promoting dramatic downtown development, he terms it “the third of three big inflection points of change,” (citing the other two as the arrival of UCSC and post-earthquake rebuild).
His and others’ central idea of downtown development appears to involve essentially razing the structures in the area referred to as “South of Laurel” where the temporary Warriors arena is now pitched. The plan includes erecting a new arena and housing and commercial spaces in multiple towering structures 12 stories and higher.
Anyone or any group that opposes or simply questions this development often is characterized as uninformed, naïve, or uninvolved at one end; anti-housing NIMBY socialistic outliers at the other. Such descriptions are each untrue! Those who might question this drastic development are looking through the lens of “care and concern” rather than through the lens of “profit and politics.”
Steve Bare | Santa Cruz
Thank you for Josue Monroy’s balanced reporting on the debate over downtown’s future and Housing for People’s proposed initiative.
Regarding those hoped-for affordable units—Isn’t it a fact that the Santa Cruz Planning Commission recently recommended increasing the inclusionary requirement to 25% for housing projects with over 30 units?
If so—when Fred Keeley is quoted as saying that the 25% number was picked “out of a hat” and goes on to complain, “Was the number ‘25%’ the result of community meetings?”—we are left with two choices:
Either Fred Keeley is speaking out of ignorance, a disturbing shortcoming for someone whom the voters have entrusted to be our mayor for the next four years; or Keeley is deliberately obfuscating the matter in an attempt to mislead his constituents, a breach of faith that is even more disturbing. A betrayal.
If the latter is true, this must be a low point in Fred Keeley’s long career of public service.