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News Briefs: Work It, Measure F

ReelWork May Labor Day Film Festival, Measure F

Work It

They say hard work pays off. It stands to reason that a festival about hard work would, too.

“Sometimes we lead our lives with blinders on, just to deal with the day and the immediate obstacles, and forget about some of the working struggles that got us the things we have today, such as the weekend—brought to you by the labor movements. Healthcare. These things mostly didn’t come to people by the generosity of their bosses,” says Jeffrey Smedberg, who’s organizing this year’s ReelWork May Labor Day Film Festival, which kicked off last weekend and runs through Tuesday, May 6.

Centered around the May 1 international labor holiday May Day, the 13th annual festival does more than mope about the plight of laborers. It celebrates their accomplishments too, as well as all aspects of working life.

On May 1, “The Interviewer,” a look into the meaningful employment of people with learning disabilities, plays at the Del Mar—followed by Fixed: The Science Fiction of Human Enhancement. Two educational films play at the Watsonville Cabrillo College campus on Friday. And Wisconsin Rising, one of Smedberg’s festival favorites, plays 2 p.m. Saturday at the Live Oak Grange. The film follows Gov. Scott Walker’s crackdown on unions, but, Smedberg adds, there’s a silver lining to the end—Walker’s recall election—so the flick’s not as grim as it sounds.

“It shows all the organizers and the networks working together, showing this was the beginning of a much bigger struggle. This filmmaker sees the people of Wisconsin are organizing to build for the future,” Smedberg says. “We don’t just choose films about how bad stuff is—there are plenty of those, though. We want to show films about how people are dealing with the hand they’re dealt. That’s the rallying message we’re trying to promote: the power is in the people.”

For more info visit reelwork.org. | Jacob Pierce

Measure F

Some residents in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County will vote on a parcel tax measure in the June 3 election, with funds generated to go toward county park maintenance and improvements.

If passed by two-thirds of the voters, Measure F would impose an $8.50 parks parcel tax on all improved lots within County Service Area 11, which includes all unincorporated areas of the county, except the independent recreation districts of Boulder Creek, La Selva, Alba (near Ben Lomond) and Opal Cliffs.

An annual service charge of $6.58 currently provides $280,000 in yearly funding for county parks, but it sunsets on June 30, at the end of the county’s fiscal year. Measure F funds, estimated at $355,000 annually, would replace the expiring service charge and go into effect July 1.

If passed, the monies raised would support recreation activities, and help address a growing list of deferred maintenance issues at the 59 county parks, recreational facilities and beach access points within the service area. The 1,400 acres, just under 300 of which is developed (the remainder is open space), serves approximately 130,000 residents in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The new funding stream would not solve all deferred maintenance issues for county parks, says Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks president, Kate Minott, but it would be a good start, and get some of the infrastructure improvements that have stalled due to budget cuts moving again. In her home district of Aptos, the largest unincorporated area of the county, she calls the 11 county parks and five coastal access points, covering 307 acres of parkland and community buildings, vital to families—especially those living in small parcels typical of the area. “They are tiny houses with not a lot of play area, leaving children to play in the street,” she says.

A new park in the Seacliff neighborhood of Aptos is expected to break ground later this year, and the project could benefit from some extra funds. | Roseann Hernandez

Comments (2)Add Comment
$8.50 a year for our parks? Absolutely!
written by Rebecca in Seacliff, May 16, 2014
As a parent who frequently uses our county parks, I see how well the parks department is working with current limited funding and a very reduced staff. This parcel tax replaces one that expires soon and if the number were twice the proposed amount it would still not completely finance the parks in our county. Our park in Seacliff would not even be built if it were proposed today because there is not enough money and, in fact, our park is being built in phases because of lack of funds. For the price of a burger and fries we can help create safe places for all of us to play. Healthy parks make for healthy families which reduces crime and makes us all safer. Money well spent!
NO on Measure F
written by Kathy, a fed-up Taxpayer, May 09, 2014
No on Measure F. No more supplemental taxes-enough is enough. We pay more, the county does less-- then asks for more, more, and more. We should not have to pay a supplemental tax to have garbage picked up in the parks. It is the responsibility of the county to manage our tax dollars better for community services.

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