Please see the attached argument for litigation to stop the destructive development of the East Meadow at UCSC. The lawsuit aims to force the UC Administration to adopt a better strategy for bringing new student beds to campus, expanding daycare, and providing for families with children.
April 8, 2019
An Appeal for Funds to Support Legal Action to Protect the East Meadow
The undulating emerald green of the East Meadow that greets those who come to UCSC makes for a beautiful spring prospect. It is a beauty, though, now tinged with the worry that this may be the last time the meadow turns green. The university administration has stuck to its guns, and it may not be long before the meadow is lost to parking lots and pre-fab housing for those 5% of the planned beds for Student Housing West.
Despite the university’s obstinacy, we’ve been optimistic. There were, after all, many better alternatives for the desperately needed student housing, all of which could preserve the campus’s beauty and design integrity. The university’s own appointed Design Advisory Board voted unanimously against building on the East Meadow. Most of the architects and planners associated with the university for its entire history joined the opposition. The Alumni Council and leaders of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, former trustees, over 80,000 petition signers, the Student Union Assembly, members of the city government, the hundreds who came to meetings held in the community… all joined in the resounding chorus: DON’T DESTROY THE MEADOW. Could a public university, committed to rational planning and democratic values, really ignore all that? Yet the university persisted with the plan, initially proposed by the Alabama-based developer with whom it had decided to partner for the new student housing.
The Regents meetings in January and March of this year gave more cause for hope. Former Regents testified eloquently in opposition to the project. Hadi Makarechian, the leading Regent on building issues, and a major developer himself, grilled university administrators about their fuzzy math and obviously inadequate justification for building on the East Meadow instead of an alternate site. Of their cost-based rationale for the East Meadow project he flatly said “I do not buy” it, and there is “no way” it is accurate. Many Regents, however, were inclined to support the project, stating that the Regents shouldn’t second-guess the university administration, and those voices ultimately prevailed. On Friday March 29, the Regents approved the project.
So what is to be done? We have the good fortune to live in a state where there are laws protecting the environment from ill-considered, reckless plans for development. Some of the time, those laws are effective. Our reading of the California Environmental Quality Act convinces us—and our lawyers concur— that the university administration is in clear violation of the Act on a number of grounds. But this, of course, must be decided in court. The East Meadow Action Committee has retained the services of William Parkin, one of California’s most renowned environmental lawyers, with an excellent record in litigation. He thinks we have a very good chance of prevailing, and keeping the meadow in its current state for generations to come.
We need your help, and we need it now. Legal action costs money. The university wants to break ground this summer, which is approaching quickly. There are three ways to contribute:
1. For sizable tax-deductible donations, write a check to “Environment in the Public Interest” and send it with “EMAC” on the memo line, or with a note directing the contribution to EMAC. Address: EPI-Center, 1013 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo. CA 93401. If you need a Federal Tax Number to contribute, the number is: 522381905. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know you have chosen this method.
2. For smaller donations, also most welcome, you can make your donation at our GoFundMe site.
3. If you would like to send a non-deductible contribution by check, please use the following address: East Meadow Action Committee (c/o Karen Bassi) 217 Dickens Way, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
If you are considering a large donation but would like to first speak with one of the organizing committee members, please email email@example.com and we will arrange a conversation.
This effort is for all of us, and for generations to come. Once gone, the meadow is gone forever.
With many thanks,