RBDA 50TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
Come Help Us Celebrate!
Food, Drink & Music
Wednesday 14 November 2007, 7:30 PM
Bonny Doon School Multipurpose Room
Ice Cream Grade & Pine Flat Road
|The RBDA Turns 50!
Memories, Stories, and Observations from Old Friends
About a Remarkable Half Century
We invited present and former County Supervisors and RBDA board members to help us celebrate our golden anniversary by sharing some of their memories and why they think the RBDA should be proud of its history. We hope you enjoy reading their stories as much as we did!—Editor
Gary A. Patton
Third District Supervisor, 1975-1996
My first contact with Bonny Doon was as a private attorney, representing property owners who opposed airport expansion. Actually, my father started off as the attorney, and I got involved through him. My first meeting, if memory holds, was at the home of Len Thigpen and Stephanie Houk on Sunlit Lane. Eventually, we were successful and kept the airport constrained to “historic” levels of activity. Actually, the proposed expansion of the airport kept coming up, and I faced the issue at the Board of Supervisors on more than one occasion, once I was on the Board.
After my first election in November 1974, I sat with the Board (not yet able to vote) prior to taking office in January 1975. During the last meeting of 1974, Third District Supervisor Phil Harry’s last meeting, he and San Lorenzo Valley Supervisor Pat Liteky got in a fight (about something else), and the result was that Pat voted against applying a 5-acre minimum in the General Plan for Bonny Doon, so that failed 3-2. Bonny Doon residents had been working on the policy for about three years, and it all went to naught in about ten minutes. I begged Pat, but unsuccessfully, to follow Phil’s lead.
That introduction to Bonny Doon REALLY put me in touch with the community. I worked with the RBDA for about the next two years to put more protective policies into the General Plan, including the 5-acre minimum, and then kept on representing Bonny Doon until 1995. A trip to Bonny Doon was always welcome. Great food at the barbeque pit and a fresh air smell unlike anything this side of Lake Tahoe. I’m in Sacramento, nowadays, but if there’s ever a crisis, and you need to call all hands on deck to “keep Bonny Doon rural,” I’m ready for the assignment!
One of the main champions of preserving our beautiful community has been the Rural Bonny Doon Association. Organized 50 years ago by men and women who understood and were dedicated to maintaining the rural and natural character of their mountain community, it has struggled to ward off development more concerned with personal gain than community and environmental preservation. Over the years the struggle of the men and women who founded the RBDA was continued by others. There was not always agreement on what changes to oppose and what to ignore, but, with the help of other organizations and the support of our various Third District County supervisors, the fundamental nature of our community has been largely maintained.
Third District Supervisor, 1995-2007
One can only imagine what Bonny Doon might look like if the Rural Bonny Doon Association had not existed for the last 50 years, and my guess is it wouldn’t be rural.
Protecting special places takes commitment and tenacious effort—the pressure for development is always out there. So we all know it is no accident that Bonny Doon looks much the same as it did 50 years ago. It has taken the significant efforts of many people and the leadership of the RBDA through many land use battles to maintain this amazing part of planet Earth. Here’s to another 50 years of the RBDA and a Bonny Doon that will continue to look much the same in 2057!
Third District Supervisor, 2007-
I’m the new Supervisor on the Board and I have the good fortune to represent the North Coast, Bonny Doon and the good citizens of the Rural Bonny Doon Association. The RBDA has made my job easier. For 50 years the RBDA has successfully fought to keep Bonny Doon rural. With constant challenges from developers eyeing Bonny Doon from Santa Cruz and with UCSC being an ever growing next door neighbor, it is important for the community to know we can rely on the clear vision of the RBDA’s leadership. For half a century the RBDA has led the fight and won many battles. Everyday we see their victories in the beauty of an open field, a healthy forest, a quiet road and a landscape that carefully blends people and nature. The RBDA’s work is a gift to our children, grandchildren and their future. Thanks, RBDA, for doing what you do so well.
Former RBDA board member
I served on the RBDA board during two different periods. First in the 70s when Tom Carey was board chair. At that time the board met in the old Bald Mountain School on Smith Grade at Back Ranch Road, which Tom owned. (Editor’s Note: Sadly, it burned down about 10 years ago.) I was again on the board beginning in 2000 and served as the board chair. I recall having General Meetings in Bonny Doon School when they only had one building. We held meetings in one of the classrooms that had windows which opened out onto a porch. When meeting attendance filled the room, I remember standing on the porch and leaning in the open windows to hear the meeting. I think that the RBDA is at its best when its chief effort is spent informing the community on details of pros and cons of the issues before it. However, the success of the RBDA over 50 years is the result of focusing on our goal of keeping Bonny Doon rural and natural, which means at times we have to take a position on some issues to further that goal.
Former RBDA board member, RBDA webmaster
My Bonny Doon tale started in 1967, on one of what were a series of ad hoc escapes from San Francisco. Bonny Doon instantly became my favorite destination and I returned a number of times, then fled back east from the abysmal Summer of Love in ’68. As fate would have it, a small house was offered to me in the fall of 1969 by people whom I only knew through other people. The place was in Bonny Doon, and on a wing and a prayer, I moved west from inner city Detroit the following January. I was in shock on arrival, but I’m still here.
My first acquaintances were Welles Goodrich and the Hellenthal boys—Cort, Gard and Leif, their extended families (the mom Mary Kay Hellenthal co-founded the RBDA in 1957), and their circle of friends, which included the Moeller family on Martin Road and assorted other satellite characters, including Bob Heinlein, Paula and Ron Bevirt, Alan Chadwick, Bruce and Marcia MacDougall, Bruce Anderson, Ken Norris, the McCrarys of Big Creek, Bud Beauregard and his sons, the Bradleys of Coastways Ranch. A truly motley bunch now that I think of it, but a superb lens for looking deeply into—and bonding with—this community, since many of these folks’ people had been here for generations.
Another of the earliest people I met was Bruce Bratton (I thought he was a real oldtimer here, but in fact he was only a few months ahead of me), who quickly roped me into local Issues Requiring Citizen Participation like the proposed PG&E nuclear plant in Davenport, the convention center at Lighthouse Field, the Wilder Ranch Urban Addition, and so on. So I was barely here and embroiled already. And I swiftly became inspired by the notion that speaking and acting could actually affect the destiny of the place we all share. Where I’d come from, that sort of thing really didn’t happen.
I spent 10 years on the RBDA board, fathoming issues like Park Dedication Funds (that was fun!), biotech goats and a quarry that still promises to devour Bonny Doon like a cancer. All the while I’ve continued to meet wonderful people who share my vision of Bonny Doon and our North Coast as a little sliver of paradise that urgently and continually needs and deserves to be protected from becoming like the rest of the world, and who are willing to parlay their beliefs into action. And who, as well, still simply enjoy living in a place this lovely.
Former RBDA board member
Maybe because no one agrees where the name Bonny Doon comes from or oftentimes even how it’s spelled, and no one can say for sure where the Bonny Doon boundaries start and stop (mapmakers try but there’s really no legal definition), it follows that there will always be battles amongst Bonny Dooners, it’s what makes it Bonny Doon. The name Battle Mountain is also surrounded by debate, and is probably located in Ben Lomond. Nancy Abbey and I moved here, built a house, and lived here from 1986 to 1996. I was editor of The Highlander for quite a few of those years and was chairman of the RBDA for a while too. They were wonderful and insightful times and I miss Bonny Doon very much. And here’s some of the best of those RBDA memories.
First of all Roy and Francis Rydell and Page and Eloise Smith were alive and well and living in Bonny Doon. Roy designed the Pacific Garden Mall in downtown Santa Cruz in the late 60s. Page Smith was one of the original instructors at UCSC and established the once unique spirit of that campus. Eloise Smith was one of the prime movers behind the Museum of Art and History and the Santa Cruz Cultural Council.
We never defined rural to anyone’s satisfaction. Some residents fought against having buses run up Empire Grade. Many times, with no satisfactory answer at all, we wondered why huge trailer trucks with Kraft’s Mayonnaise signs on the side were going to Lockheed in the middle of the night. Lonestar Cement tried to convince the RBDA to approve of their burning millions of old rubber tires to make cement, and we even went on an inspection of the polluting old plant to see if we would. We won, they didn’t.
I liked the idea, but we stopped a general store and post office from happening at Empire and Ice Cream Grade, which of course would have saved a million gallons of gas per year. But you can’t win them all. The RBDA wanted better telephone service, fewer outages, and no visible phone lines but we buckled in and we lost a very small battle to get the telephone company to bury their new phone lines after hearing their pitch about how burying lines would cost us huge increases in fees.
It wasn’t widely known but John Travolta flew into the Bonny Doon airport wondering 1) if he could buy the place and 2) if he could lengthen the runway. He was told both were impossible. It had nothing to do with Scientology.
The night of the earthquake in 1989 was supposed to be an RBDA meeting night. I was impressed that even four people showed up. Supervisor Gary Patton, his aide Denise Holbert, my partner Nancy Abbey and me. Gary was scheduled to speak that night, and I was chairman of the RBDA.
Sometimes when the battles against developers and misplaced townies who wanted to bring their commercial conveniences with them to Bonny Doon seemed never-ending and overwhelming, I’d remember seeing the planner’s drawings of how Bonny Doon would look when the airport designers had finished with their “Nut Tree” type schemes. Streets, stores, motels, every tourist moneymaking idea you’ve ever hated would have been carried out and it wouldn’t have been Bonny Doon anymore. As I said, I’ll always miss living in Bonny Doon. Take care of it.
Former RBDA board member
When I moved to Bonny Doon in 1964, there were few community organizations. If you didn’t have children in the school, attend the little church, or belong to the fire team, the only other avenue of connection was the RBDA. The mission of the RBDA at that time was to “keep Bonny Doon rural.” Bonny Doon being what it is, there were minor arguments about exactly what might be deemed rural. Still, after defeating Marion Nichols’ development ideas in the late 50s, most folks on the mountain had a common vision. We felt comfortable with the RBDA as our collective voice in the broader world of Santa Cruz County. There were old-timers living here when I arrived, but an influx of new families was also just coming. UCSC was preparing to open its doors. Many of its new faculty had felt the lure of going back to nature, as so many did in the 60s, and found their way to Bonny Doon. For example, Dean McHenry, founding Chancellor of UCSC, and his wife Jane built a house on Bonny Doon Road and planted a vineyard; Page Smith, historian and first provost of Cowell College, and his wife Eloise Pickard Smith, an artist, lived out what his daughter recently called his ‘Jeffersonian gentleman farmer fantasies’ on their property on Pine Flat Road, next door to the old schoolhouse remodeled by Roy Rydell; and Ken Norris, the famous marine biologist, and his wife Phyllis, a botanist, created a family compound off Smith Grade on Back Ranch Road. Several other faculty folks moved to Bonny Doon as well, along with some writers and artists drawn to the area. Most were quite active in the RBDA in those early days.
As a new resident, I quickly realized that the RBDA was where the action was, and I began attending its meetings. One of my first memories is of a General Meeting held in one of tiny Bonny Doon School’s two classrooms. We all sat at the children’s desks (difficult for those with long legs, like Page Smith) to discuss a proposed amendment to the bylaws which would have made membership in the RBDA available to property owners only. Discussion went back and forth until Page Smith unwound himself from under the desk, stood up, and reminded us that this issue had arisen during the creation of our U.S. Constitution. Were voters to be only the elite and wealthy landowners, or were they to be all citizens? The arguments of our founding fathers, as passionately presented by Page, carried the day, and membership in the RBDA remained open to all Bonny Doon residents.
Another flash of memory brings that same classroom into view, with Don Hummel rising to suggest another amendment to the bylaws, this to add to the mission statement “…and natural.”
Those of us present passed this amendment essentially without thought or discussion, in part to humor Don, who had been so active in the activities of the RBDA. Little did we imagine that the discussions attempting to define ‘rural’ would be nothing compared to those later trying to define ‘natural’! It is my own feeling that this was the defining moment which changed the RBDA from a broad community voice to that of one representing a particular value set and point of view (for better or worse).
The third memory I have is of a General Meeting that took place during my husband Andy Andreasen’s tenure as RBDA chair. Andy’s vision was of the RBDA as a focus for creating community in Bonny Doon, and to that end he organized various meetings of broad general interest. The most popular one, and the one which created standing room only in the (now larger) Bonny Doon School Multipurpose Room, was presenting facets of Bonny Doon history, often through short speeches from old-timers. I remember particularly our friend Fred Fehn, who was brought up in Bonny Doon, talking about his early school days and the cow which followed him to his one-room school. In addition to memories of general membership meetings, I have memories of specific board meetings, since I have served on the RBDA board twice. The first time was in the early years, and I remember little of the issues. I was still trying to learn the cast of characters. Jim Mason, who with his wife Cora was very active in Bonny Doon life in the 70s, was a board member who sometimes gave me rides to meetings, since his home on upper Summit was near ours on Empire Grade. Ken Norris was on the board too. The thing which impressed me most about Ken, in addition to his common sense, warmth, and competence, was the way he kept track of his keys. Sitting next to him at a board meeting one time, I noticed that he had taken a long piece of kitchen string and tied them to his belt loop.
The second time I served on the board things were less harmonious. There were strong differences of view about almost everything. At my dining room table we discussed the definition of ‘natural.’ Are we part of nature, so our constructions (cities) are natural, like the cities of ants? Or are we most natural leaving behind human artifacts, and hiking alone down a mountain in Hawaii wearing as little as possible (in the speaker’s case, only boots)?
Board meetings were often heated as we discussed what RBDA’s positions on issues should be. Once one board member, in utter frustration, invited another to settle the issue by duking it out on my front porch! Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed. The differences on the board were reflective of the differences in the broader community. Over the years some of RBDA’s positions have not been supported by everyone in Bonny Doon. So far, thanks to the work of many, the RBDA has done a pretty good job of keeping Bonny Doon rural—and natural. Much of its work has been effective and important.
Of course, a few of its positions have probably been mistakes. Unfortunately, until after the fact, it hasn’t always been clear which. Some of my positions have proven to be mistakes too. If we are to succeed in the RBDA’s mission we all need to hang in there, mistakes and all, and work things out together. I’ve tried to do this for the last 43 years. Now I’m gearing up for the next 43.
|50 Years of Working to
Keep Our Bonny Doon Paradise Alive
Here is a list of thwarted proposals that would have changed forever the nature of Bonny Doon and the North Coast:
• A golf course on Martin Road, surrounded by houses.
Instead, today, it is the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve.
• A trailer park at the intersection of Pine Flat and Martin Roads.
• An RV Park in Wilder Ranch State Park.
• Houses and periodic timber harvests on what is instead Gray Whale State Park.
• A gas station and convenience mart at the corner of Ice Cream and Empire Grades.
• An event center near the intersection of Smith Grade and Bonny Doon
Road, with hundreds of cars with potentially impaired drivers leaving
weekly weddings and parties.
• The runoff from thousands of biologically altered goats, coursing through
the Coast Road neighborhood into the ocean.
• Coastal air polluted by tires burned for fuel at the Davenport cement plant.
• High-volume Santa Cruz City wells along the coast, draining Bonny Doon
streams and aquifers.
• Finally, a Bonny Doon population double or triple what it is today.
|Booms Remain a Mystery
Large trees being felled? A load of firewood crashing into a delivery truck? Quarry explosions? Even a rumor about someone firing a cannon. Numerous emails, phone calls, and investigation by multiple community members yielded a variety of possible explanations for the mystery booms — “explosions” heard in the early hours of the morning by some residents on Thayer Road and environs.
Supervisor Neal Coonerty’s office checked with the County Planning Dept. Director, who said that he didn’t know of anything that was permitted in the area that could be responsible. Cemex, also wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery, spoke with neighbors hearing the booms, then investigated activity on their land, reporting back to RBDA board members that they could find no evidence on their property of blasting, logging, or other activity (authorized or unauthorized) that could account for the booms.
Following the theory that a loader bucket filled with firewood dumped into an empty truck bed could sound like an explosion of sound, possible logging activity was tracked. Inquiries were made with the forester for Redtree Properties, which owns about 900 acres of largely undeveloped forest land in the same area, and Locatelli, who harvests firewood on Cemex land, but there are no matching activities from either.
The booms and the mystery continue. If you hear them, log the time, your address and where you think they are occurring, and email them to the RBDA board via the link below.
|Cemex Quarry Expansion
Comments on Cemex’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for its 16-acre limestone quarry expansion have been filed with the County Planning Dept. by the RBDA board, neighbors, the Sierra Club and the City of Santa Cruz Water Dept. The firm which prepared the report will now study the comments and address them in a revised EIR.
The comments mostly focused on the expansion’s effect on Liddell Spring, source of up to 10% of the City of Santa Cruz’s water supply, and questioned the efficacy and uncertainty of Cemex’s proposed mitigations to avoid negatively impacting the quality and quantity of the spring’s flow. The DEIR found that the water that flows out of the spring passes under the proposed expansion area, which lies to the northeast of the existing quarry. The existing quarry, south of Smith Grade and east of Bonny Doon Road, supplies limestone to the Davenport cement plant.
Other comments expressed worries about increased noise and dust from expanded quarry operations, possible effects on neighbor’s wells and springs, and impacts to the habitat of threatened animals like the dusky-footed wood rat and the red-legged frog.
UCSC Expansion Suit Goes to Mediation
Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick has confirmed his preliminary ruling that UCSC’s Environmental Impact Report for its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) was inadequate by the standards of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and ordered the various parties in the lawsuit—the City and County of Santa Cruz, and the community group CLUE, the Coalition for Limiting University Expansion vs. UCSC and the UC Regents—to go into mediation to try to find a way to avoid further legal expenses, which have amounted to several million dollars, the great majority spent by UC and UCSC on its large legal team. Ironically, and sadly, this is several times more than UCSC has contributed to the City for infrastructure improvements over its 40-year history!
Mediation should be underway in November, but it’s apparent from the wide gulf between the parties that it will be very difficult to avoid continuing the legal battle in Appeals Court. Judge Burdick found the LRDP EIR deficient in the areas of water supply, traffic and housing. Of these, the most difficult to correct will be water, since Santa Cruz has little available surplus. CLUE will be appealing the judge’s decision that the way the UC Regents allocate growth on its various campuses doesn’t violate CEQA guidelines. This may be the most important issue for ongoing control of UCSC growth in the future. CLUE’s attorney, Stephen Volker of Berkeley, contends that CEQA requires the Regents to study the alternative impacts of assigning growth to other or new campuses when the existing campuses draw up their LRDPs.
No Apple Moth Spraying
It appears that Bonny Doon will not be included in the controversial aerial apple moth spraying. We could find no published information that included Bonny Doon; neither could Rachel Dann, County Supervisor Analyst for Neal Coonerty’s office.
Board Nominations at November 14 General Meeting
Top of the agenda for the Nov. 14 General Meeting will be nominating three new board members. The Nominating Committee has been on a search for RBDA members willing to take a turn serving on the board. The committee will present their nominations at the General Meeting, followed by nominations from the floor. After this meeting, nominations are closed. Elections take place at the Jan. 9 Annual Meeting.
Per RBDA bylaws, to be nominated for a position on the board, you must be an RBDA member in good standing (current dues paid) for at least one month before nominations. As published in the Sept.-Oct. 2007 issue of The Highlander, the deadline to be in good standing for nomination on Nov.14 was Oct. 14.
To be eligible to vote in the board elections at the Jan. 9 Annual Meeting, we must receive your application and dues payment by Dec. 10. According to RBDA bylaws, membership becomes effective 30 days after the RBDA receives a complete application and dues check. Members remain in good standing and retain rights of membership, such as participation in elections, during the period for which dues are paid. If you’ve fallen behind in paying your dues, you have a 30-day grace period to pay without reapplying for membership. Not sure if you’re current? Check with Membership Coordinator Ben Harmon, 426-4917.
Want to vote at the Annual Meeting but can’t make it in person? Request your absentee ballot by sending a signed request stating your name and address and a self-addressed stamped legal-size envelope to Membership Coordinator, RBDA, 102 Sunlit Lane, Bonny Doon, CA 95060. This request must be received by Dec. 15. The ballots must be returned by the start of the Annual Meeting Jan. 9.
Roadside Weed Control Proposal Not Selected
As reported in the last Highlander, Ecology Action submitted a grant proposal in August for a pilot Integrated Pest Management program, exploring methods of controlling roadside vegetation while minimizing the use of pesticides. The RBDA board had agreed to be an advisor on the project, but the grant proposal was rejected. Ecology Action received feedback the proposal concept had merit, but some points could be strengthened. They are considering the option to rework and resubmit the proposal in the future.
RBDA Executive Board Actions - 10/3/07
1. Approved minutes of Executive Board meeting of June 6 and Aug. 1, 2007.
2. Accepted increased rates for bulk mailing of The Highlander due to USPS regulation change.
3. Decided not to send an e-mail to our membership regarding the CSA 48 tax increase ballot.
4. Declined Supervisor Neal Coonerty’s request that the RBDA take a positive position in favor of the CSA 48 tax increase.
5. Decided to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors expressing our objection to eliminating the requirement that a property owner must live on the land in order to rent out a second unit.
RBDA General Meeting Agenda - 11/14/07
1. RBDA Business
2. Executive Board Nominations
3. Featured Program: RBDA 50th Anniversary Celebration
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|RBDA Executive Board
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