Mayor and Councilman Butt Heads Over Redistricting Letter

Also at Thursday's meeting, progress is made on 2,000-4,000-square-foot skate park.

In months past, meetings of the Capitola City Council have become a hostile congregation grounds for mobile home park residents. For the first time in recent memory, though, Thursday's agenda steered clear of rent control and the mountain of issues that come with it.

In place of park residents were local teens, on hand both as part of a government class assignment and to advocate for the in Capitola.

"You will find that this is a lot more fun than texting or watching football," Councilman Kirby Nicol told the students. 

Below are the five most important moments of the meeting:

  • Community Development Director Derek Johnson announced that Target plans to open in the Capitola Mall in July 2012.
  • Although it was not on the agenda, Councilman Michael Termini and Mayor Dennis Norton pushed for discussion on the upcoming county redistricting. Unhappy with the proposed district lines that run through Capitola, Norton sent a letter to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on behalf of the council, with which Nicol took issue.

"I, quite frankly, am offended to receive a letter under the mayor's pen, speaking for the entire city and the City Council," Nicol said. "I think the mayor should apologize to the members of the City Council for sending a letter to Supervisor [Ellen] Pirie recommending the city's position on redistricting, which position was never brought before the council."

Norton did not apologize to the council but did report that he sent another letter clarifying that it was his position on redistricting, not that of the city.

  • Supervisor Ellen Pirie, one of two supervisors to represent parts of Capitola, addressed the council and confirmed that a second letter was received a week after the first. She said the second letter "wasn't clear, but certainly didn't purport to speak for the city." 
  • A public hearing was held to consider the building of a 2,000-4,000-square-foot skate park in Capitola. The proposed location for the $300K construction is Monterey Park near New Brighton Middle School. Approximately a dozen members of the community spoke in favor of the park. The one dissenter simply asked that it not exceed 2,000 square feet. Councilman Termini motioned that the park be approved in concept and called for public fundraising to begin. The motion passed unanimously. 
  • Councilman Nicol announced that his neighbor, George Slettehaugh, husband of Maryanne Slettehaugh, the woman , "would be honored" if the new skate park was built and named in her honor. 

Quote of the Night, Councilman Sam Storey on the skate park:

"We have the passion. We have the location. But I want to emphasize that the city does not have the money, so the private funding aspect of this is going to be critical if we want to have this happen any time soon. I encourage everyone to embrace this. Let's all work together and see if we can make it happen."

Mary Cahalen September 23, 2011 at 04:18 PM
My question to the City Council is if you make Monterey Park a Skate board park what will happen during school hours. You are not allowed to have non school employees congregate near a school during school hours. Also does that mean we will loose the baseball diamond, and will there be extra police patrol? Since our community prides it self on knowing who comes and goes in our neighborhoods with this new venue we will have alot of strangers and strange cars. So more police will be important. Also who will be responsible for the liability if someone gets hurt? Mary Beth Cahalen
Peking September 23, 2011 at 04:40 PM
These are all great questions which will undoubtedly be addressed during the planning stages. However, keep in mind that there are already many activities which bring strangers and their cars to Capitola. Capitola is not a closed community. By its nature it is a tourist town.


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