Friday, August 1, 2014
It is not untypical for our government to give away public money and property to private developers, to stimulate behavior that our elected officials think might have public benefit. Remember the history of the railroads. This goes back to the days of Abraham Lincoln. The United States government gave away large portions of our public lands to the railroad companies, in return for construction of the transcontinental railroad. Lots of “private” benefits resulted. Several people got inordinately rich; take Leland Stanford as an example.
Locally, the Santa Cruz City Council recently voted to share tax revenues with developers who build big hotels within the city limits. This action was taken at the Council’s July 8th meeting. Council Member Micah Posner voted “no,” but the proposal otherwise had the full support of the Council. At the meeting, four members of the public testified against the proposal, and two business representatives said that these business subsidies were a good idea. Again, the Council as a whole agreed.
Not apparently a factor in the Council’s thinking was our current drought emergency. As members of the public pray for rain next year, and cut back on their current water use, their elected City Council Members are doing what they can to have more big hotels built in town, and are going to share transient occupancy tax revenues to make that happen. You can get more information at kusp.org/land use.