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URGENT: Contact City and Seaside Company to Halt Destruction in Beach Flats Garden

A bulldozer rumbled into the Beach Flats Garden early Thursday morning, tearing out mature fruit trees and nopales plants that city staff had earlier promised would not be touched, and damaging an already strained relationship between the City and community.

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(For more images, see The Day the Bulldozers Came)

Parks workers ripped out stakes and string marking out garden plots, and moved the orange fence marking the 60/40 percent split between the garden and land to be taken over by the Seaside Company, increasing the company’s share substantially.

When contacted by garden advocates, interim Parks and Recreation director Mauro Garcia claimed the destruction of fruit trees and other plants was a “mistake” due to “miscommunication.”

Emilio Martínez Castañeda, a long-time gardener involved in the talks with city staff, was saddened by the destruction and blatant violation of trust on the part of Garcia.

The city is going back on their word by moving the fence and removing plots,” Don Emilio said, through a translator. “As for the fruit trees, Mauro’s asking for forgiveness, but what good is forgiveness after they’ve been destroyed?”

Those of us in the coalition of jardineros and garden supporters have spent many hours in meetings with city staff and Seaside company and have heard with our own ears the promises made to the gardeners that have now been bulldozed to the ground. Please join your voices with us to insist that the city abide by its promises to the gardeners.

Don’t Mourn Organize! Here’s what you can do:

  1. Share this post from our website on social media (see share links at the bottom of the page)
  2. If you are on twitter, tweet your thoughts to @beachboardwalk, @CityofSantaCruz and @jardindelaplaya, include #savethejardin
  3. Call Seaside Company representatives and ask them if they approved the bulldozing of the garden, removal of 5 plots, and going back on the promise to lease 60% of the garden

Brigid Fuller, Communications Manager publicity@beachboardwalk.com
(831) 460-334

Karl Rice, President/CFO Santa Cruz Seaside Company:(831) 423-5590

Kris Reyes, Director of External Affairs Santa Cruz Seaside Company:(831) 423-5590

4. Call or email council members, city manager, and Seaside Company to let them know what you think of this violation of the community’s trust.

Points you could address in your phone call:

  • The new division of land and removal of five garden plots, including the children’s learning garden, must not be allowed to stand.
  • The actions taken by the Parks and Recreation Department are in direct contradiction to promises made to the gardeners.
  • City staff need to take immediate steps to restore community trust, including release of an official apology and repaying gardeners for the damaged property.
  • The city recently solicited input from citizens as to what qualifications and characteristics to look for in the new Director of Parks and Recreation. Let the city manager know whether you feel Mauro Garcia has demonstrated the qualities needed to be a successful parks director for our community.

City Manager Martin Bernal: 831-420-5010 mbernal@cityofsantacruz.com
Mayor Cynthia Mathews: (831) 420-5027 cmathews@cityofsantacruz.com

City Council
Santa Cruz City Council: citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com
Vice Mayor Cynthia Chase: (831) 420-5020  
chase@cityofsantacruz.com
Micah Posner (831) 420-5028  mposner@cityofsantacruz.com
David Terrazas (831) 420-5020
dterrazas@cityofsantacruz.com
Pamela Comstock
(831) 420-5024  pcomstock@cityofsantacruz.com
Don Lane: (831) 420-5022
dlane@cityofsantacruz.com
Richelle Noroyan (831) 420-5025  rnoroyan@cityofsantacruz.com

 

3 comments

  1. This is an abomination in so many ways, disrespect ,and a violent and aggressive act against the integrity of the community, what the garden stands for, the caring, the peace of place in an otherwise sea of noise and constant invasion by often drunk and often unlawful outsiders. This is much more than a slap in the face to the garden constituents, the children, the families,the elderly, who have worked the land there for so many years. The only community garden in Santa Cruz that supports the culture, community, and nutrition of its Mexican American caregivers, the people who feed the rest of us! Why are people of different cultures taking their time and energy to support these Beach Flats Gardeners? Because there is something sacrilegious about taking this nurturing garden from them, and so vile that the City and Parks Dept. came in like they were at war, creating an aggressive violent scenario that is anything but what was agreed upon earlier, being able to harvest the fruit, save the Nopales, and the City or Parks Dept. moving the boundary 30 feet in from the agreed on boundary, etc. Like a thief in the night. This is not how civilized and caring city governments act in a democracy. This is more like the dictatorships in Latin America. I am sick to think how this act has made the community of the Beach Flats Garden feel. Seriously racist and classist and unforgivable! I am so outraged!
    Catharine Gunderson
    Seabright Beach, across the river from Beach Flats (and the Boardwalk!)
    Santa Cruz

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