Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Sep 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

For the Love of Capitola

news1Pam Greeninger looks back on her career as the Capitola city clerk

“My husband and I will always joke about these things,” says Capitola City Clerk Pam Greeninger. “I’ll kid around that my second home is City Hall, and he’ll say ‘No it’s not, it’s your first home—you’re there more than you are home!’ It’s probably true, but I suppose now I’ll be home more than I am at City Hall.”

Greeninger has been in Capitola’s service for 32 years, and served as the city’s clerk since 1984. With a “great deal of thought and mixed emotions,” she recently decided to retire at the end of this year.

“How will the city survive in your absence?” exclaimed Anthony J. “Bud” Carney, AICP of California Land Planning in an email response to Greeninger’s retirement announcement. And it’s a fair question to ask.

As clerk, Greeninger has an extensive list of responsibilities, including: handling election paperwork and processes for the city; attending and recording all city council and Redevelopment Agency meetings; maintaining the city council minutes; receiving claims against the city; publishing public notices; and the list goes on. And then there is all of the personal one-on-one work Greeninger does with people that come into her office.

“I really enjoy working with candidates and people who are running for office,” she says. “Most of the people that run have never been involved in that kind of thing and have no clue what is going on. I feel like I am in a position where I can make a difference by what I do and what I say, helping people get through all the red tape of government and just be there.”

Between her various duties, Greeninger has also had her hand in changing what the clerk position is for the city of Capitola, not only by her work ethic but also through her activism. The city clerk position is currently an appointed one, but it wouldn’t have been without Greeninger’s efforts. In 1994, Greeninger campaigned to change the elected position to the way it is now. “I felt very strongly that in a small town like Capitola, where you don’t have a lot of people running to choose from, [the city] could end up with more of a figure head city clerk,” says Greeninger about her motivation to advocate the measure. “We actually tried to put the measure on the ballot three times and people were telling me, ‘Pam you don’t want to go out there campaigning for this because you are in that position.’ I saw it from both sides, though, and I knew that it was important that the city manager or the city council be able to appoint the clerk to ensure that you had someone qualified.” Greeninger cites the measure’s success as one of her proudest achievements in all the time she has spent with the city.

Looking back on her three decades with the city, Greeninger recalls how Capitola has changed since she first took her position. She has seen the ups: “[There was] a lot of commercial development along 41st Avenue, which of course was really advantageous to the city in that our sales tax revenue is really a very large part of our budget. It was a really exciting time for the city.” And she has certainly seen the downs: “In the last few years, there has been so much going on with the economic downturn, so we’re finding that we don’t have as many projects coming in and things like that. I guess everything fluctuates from year to year.”

One of the biggest shifts in the clerk position over the years has been due to nothing other than the rise of new technologies. Laughing, Greeninger recounts, “In my office, when I was first elected in 1984, I would shorthand notes and type all of my minutes on a typewriter. And so you know, when I was transferring these things, you didn’t want to make a lot of mistakes because it’s not like a computer where you can just start all over and go back and re-write. It’s a lot different now. I think it’s hard for younger generations to understand what we went through back then, but it was a different world.”

Greeninger may be leaving her post as city clerk, but she says her heart remains with Capitola. She is looking forward to finally having time to enjoy the city she worked so hard for all these years. “I’m finally going to be able to hang out on the beach, or take walks around town,” she says. “I’ll still be involved of course, but not to the degree that I am now. I have mentioned that I am only a phone call away, so hopefully I’ll be popping into city hall and helping out if I can.”

Although she foresees more inevitable highs and lows for the seaside city, she looks brightly toward its future. “I love Capitola, I love it the way it is,” she says. “I think a lot of people do, but I [also] think there are a lot of opportunities for making it better. I admire all of the people that we have on our city council who really give it a lot of thought.” She is optimistic for the future of Capitola’s growth with the planning of a new hotel and the yearly celebrations such as the Begonia Festival and the Art and Wine Festival that always bring in plenty of business and fun.

But as always, it comes back to the people she’s worked with: Greeninger stresses how those people made being the city clerk the wonderful ride it was. “Over the years I knew a lot of great people who have helped me do my job and I guess I’m just really going to miss that part of it,” she says.

The sentiments are not one-sided. “Pam personifies the utmost in professionalism as a city clerk,” says Councilmember Sam Storey. “By diligently noticing the city's meetings, taking very good minutes, and communicating to the public, she is the public's liaison to local government. She has kept the city on course for the past 30 years and will be very much missed.”

Dec. 30 will be Greeninger’s last day as city clerk. “I did not regret a day of work,” she says. “I went in and I was always happy to be there. I did it because I felt like I was making a difference in my community and it gave me a sense of purpose and I loved it. I still love it! I just really love my job.” 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.