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Recalling the Recall

Updated: Oct 23

By Tereza Coraggio



Without a plan to take back our economy, anyone elected to City Council will be overseeing a train wreck of massive unemployment, home foreclosures, business bankruptcies, ballooning government debt, a physical and mental health crisis, closure of public agencies, and economic stagnation. That doesn’t include rebuilding homes that are facing the loss of future insurability or homeschooling students who are facing the loss of future employability. Frankly, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, much less the nice people running. It’s enough to make a person nostalgic for the bloodthirsty fights of the last election over rent protections. Life was so much simpler when problems could be solved by removing a couple of bad apples. Oh, the drama, the intrigue on which we squandered our last few days of face-to-face contact! Perhaps now is a time to reflect on that passion play. My career has been as a Director of Human Resources, and the fulcrum point of the recall was a highly publicized accusation of bullying and gender discrimination against the Councilmembers. These are legal terms referring to abuses of power by a superior to a subordinate, but the accusations were made by the Mayor, now running for re-election, who set the agenda, appointed committees, spoke publicly, and gave permission for others to speak or not. Imagine a corporate CEO who uses a press conference to blast a couple of VPs for bullying her because she’s a woman. Would HR consider the CEO or the VPs to have a valid complaint of disrespect? Imagine that the CEO presents all her evidence and fails to substantiate her proclamation of guilt. Are the VPs owed a public apology or more public humiliation? Does their HR complaint warrant investigation or should they face new charges with different lawyers? Only the latter, according to City Management. Once loose in social media, the charge became harassment, including comparisons to child abusers and sexual predators. In a hearing, the city’s lawyer said Dru Glover meant Drug Lover. The chair of the CPVAW conflated Drew’s activism with rape, bludgeoning, assault, and escalating violence against women, then filed a legal complaint for being called a hypocrite. UCSC students were turned against Drew with inflammatory posters and a mistaken judgment that influenced the County Supervisor to speak out against him. Even a former Councilmember candidate and landlord denounced him for leaving boxes of campaign literature in the living room at a time when his mother had terminal cancer, then implied he might have gotten violent if she hadn’t refunded his deposit on the spot. I’m not in agreement with a pro-renter, pro-homeless platform but no one should have their reputation destroyed because of their political views. What was done to Drew Glover shouldn’t be tolerated in a middle school, much less between City Council and City Management. Empowered, the pro-developer faction is pushing three things we may never need again—a new library, high density housing, and downtown parking—at the expense of the safest venue for our most vital need—the farmer’s market. Instead of either approach, I’d like to see all policies evaluated by how they would encourage or discourage home ownership, small local landlords, and small local businesses. That’s the heart and the future of Santa Cruz, if we are to have one. I’ve submitted a Grand Jury complaint with detailed documentation in the hope that the HR process can never again be weaponized as a political expedient. In the meantime, however, we have an election that could make or break Santa Cruz for the next decade. I won’t tell you who to vote for but I will tell you what: a willingness to work with both sides for radical solutions based on hard data, irrefutable logic, clear objectives, and agreed-upon principles. We can’t afford anything else. Tereza Coraggio is the author of How to Dismantle an Empire … and fund the green new deal. She welcomes response at tereza@thirdparadigm.org.

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