Neighbors and Labor Rally Against La Behemoth; Change to Zoning Law

People want to preserve, rather than destroy, the historic landmark built in the 1920s.

On August 21st, workers and Santa Cruz community members rallied in front of La Bahia protesting a variety of issues, including the ratio of unionized labor during the reconstruction and then operation of the new hotel. Neighbors, particularly those that live on First Street, are upset that the proposed project exceeds the current legal height limit and because the site is not zoned for such a large building. Other people want to preserve, rather than destroy, the historic landmark built in the 1920s.

A press release by the Build a Better La Bahia Coalition, a group of neighbors, construction and service workers, and community representatives interested in the successful development of a hotel at the site of La Bahia, states that they want the new hotel to be “both economically and environmentally successful.” However, concern for the environment, at least from the labor unions, appears to be token at best. In 1999, Mary Spicuzza wrote an in-depth article in Metro Santa Cruz about the plans for La Bahia. In the article, Spicuzza notes, “Union advocates concede that the their primary concern isn’t preserving landmarks or keeping neighbors happy, it’s organizing workers.”

On the other hand, Ross Gibson and the City of Santa Cruz Historic Preservation Commission seem to be the most influential in regards to architectural preservation and environmental concerns, as well as the relocation of residents.

On September 23rd, there will be a Santa Cruz City Council meeting at City Hall, at 7pm. The Build a Better La Bahia Coalition (BBL) is asking that people show up and also speak for a minute or two against the City’s plan to approve a change in the zoning law that will allow the massive new hotel to be built on Beach Hill.
BBL is also requesting that people send an email to the City Council, RE: LA BAHIA, to: citycouncil [at] ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

For more coverage and background information, please see:

STOP La Bahia Expansion and Takeover!
by Radio Trabajadora
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/08/25/18529888.php

Aug. 21: Santa Cruz Beach Rally for a Better La Bahia Hotel Plan
by Build a Better La Bahia Coalition
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/08/18/18527604.php

New, taller La Bahia conference hotel proposed (November 14, 2005)
http://santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18991/index.php

Is La Bahia part of Santa Cruz’s leisurely past or a key to its economic future?
By Mary Spicuzza
http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/06.30.99/la-bahia-9926.html

Crossposted at Indybay.org.

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.