Letter: Build college at Aviza campus
by Kris Miller, Scotts Valley
Jan 21, 2010 | 1304 views | 25 25 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I propose a college for the Aviza Technology Inc. campus in Scotts Valley. Seven million dollars will buy 43 acres, with 204,000 square feet in nine buildings, with a short walk to the bus.

Perhaps it could house Cabrillo College, or University of California, Santa Cruz, extensions, research labs or an occupational center. Maybe even use the clean rooms to build solar panels. This would enhance local businesses and support the Town Center concept.

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7 million
January 31, 2010

Be creative
January 28, 2010
Glad you looked into it, but there are other ideas I would hope you are asking for.

I wonder how 5 MM costs more than a 47MM bond. Can you please explain that.

Secondly, depending on your time window, the city could look at getting money for the Super fund site Aviza, and then buy it, and have a double closing for the sale of the spare acreage. Might take a some time but it might make the spread.

Another less creative option is to revisit the town center. The design can be more efficient. like removing the streets, make it a walking mall. I understand the limitationsof the parking structure, but that can be overcome changing the plan. Ever consider moving the post office, they lease the buildings, that might be what Gateway South needs. And then the Post office could be the extra land it needs for a proper sized garage.

or for that matter, make it the library and sell or lease the skating rink.

It's worth considering finding a way to spring more money from the Town Center.

Did yo know that during the reconstruction on Pacific Ave, after Loma Prieta, just by placing the movie theaters on the second floor, they had a major increase in tax revenue. There are some lessons like this that can be incorporated into an updated design. And maybe cover the spread in a substantial manner. Could it get form 50MM to 35MM? Maybe if fixed bids were placed at 40MMm and peg insurance to it.

George OW might be looking for a good reason to do some updating while prices for improvement are low.

If these things are on the same time like as the Town Center, Both would benefit. Regards.

Michael S
January 27, 2010
You can't use bond proceeds for operational expenses. They can only be used for facilities.

With about 7,000 (or so) parcels in our district eligible for a parcel tax (some are or can be excluded, based on state law), you'd need a parcel tax of $700 / year to raise $5M. Think you'd get 2/3 to vote for that? I don't.

It's time to move beyond fantasy and the notion that there's an easy answer out there, if only the politicians and bureaucrats weren't such buffoons. A lot of people and the institutions they have long relied upon are in dire straights. This isn't a novel where the author can pull out a happy ending. Sacrifices are being made (talk to those who've lost their employment and/or their homes and/or their insurance and/or their confidence in the future), and more will be needed.

I'm not asking you to solve this problem for us. But I am asking you to work with us towards some kind of solution; some kind of future that is 'less bad' than another kind. I offer no reward for your service, nor any promises of success. Will you volunteer?
January 27, 2010
"Whatever we do over the next couple of years, it will not be enough and there will be difficulties for some. There's no "win-win" outcome available. It's a question of survival."

Please describe the criteria. Everything has a solution, the problems and objectives need to be defined. And in the context they are expected.

for example, here is one for attracting the portion of the students that attend private schools or choose other districts because of class size.

In lue of a 50MM bond, pass a 5 MM bond and boost the Teacher to student ration to 15-18. That's a 45MM savings, and you engage the part of the crowd your looking for, namely those with money and choice.

That goes a long way to THEN post a 35MM bond an pick up 81 votes.

2 cycles maybe but this has been going on since the 80's. You can decide to have success when the solution is designed well. This is a win-win. low taxes, majority input, fixed leaky roofs, affordable fixed and predictable costs.

So what do you think is not a win-win. The answer is in the terms not the goal.

Michael S
January 27, 2010
I'm glad to hear that you are supportive of fixing the middle school, and I'll look for your ongoing support on this. I'll also be looking for support from our city council, as individuals and as a group, and knowing them all quite well I have every expectation that it will be there.

At last night's school board meeting, we agreed to explore how we can reach out to all stakeholder groups and interested individuals (especially those who have shown a propensity to exert influence on others) to determine what they will support. Not just for a bond but for a parcel tax as well. It's an extraordinarily challenging time to be asking people to tax themselves, but it's also an extraordinarily difficult time to maintain a viable public school system. Decisions will need to be made, and we are embarking on a process to seek information that will lead us towards a well-informed set of decisions.

Whatever we do over the next couple of years, it will not be enough and there will be difficulties for some. There's no "win-win" outcome available. It's a question of survival.
Bloated Bond
January 27, 2010
Those advocating a bloated bond will be embarrassed because their are solutions available to craft an appropriate bond. Failing to so so is their doing, not my intent as you describe. In fact nothing would please me more than to see the Middle School get fixed.

Mr Bustichi said it best after the defeat of measure Q, (paraphrased) The voters don't trust us with their money. And he right. Many still don't. Having him anywhere near this is a conflict of interest. We did notice him at the recent meeting with his friend along the back wall until the public commentary was done. He should step up if he has something to say, or is he keeping an eye on you?

We believe that this is for the good of the children, yet those on the CIty Council have the ability to do something for them now, end the inappropriate development at gateway South, crime, traffic and pollution - things that effect every student on the way to and from Brook Knoll.

And they pushed the Library first before the Middle School. This is evidence of their agenda. By the way they could create a satellite branch of the Library at the Middle School and not loose that 2 million they are chatting about AND help the School.

Allowing the City Council to use it as a political football is unfair the children. I mean Mr Read was hoping for his moment again in the press, like the photo op printed in the front page of the paper, it looked like a modern posing of the Last Supper.

Until they do the right thing, I will be there at every step to remind them of the right thing to do. In this case it's getting the Middle School fixed and being transparent in that process. Especially when we are asked, we should be involved. We don't have to be elected to make a difference.
Michael S
January 26, 2010
Dear you said,

Your earlier comment was (see below):

"And my solution,

You would like to know. Ill let you know when the time is right and it will be quite embarrassing for those advocating a bloated bond based upon an unchallenged numbers and a cherry picked process."

That's why I indicated that it seems your purpose is to embarrass rather than to help. Your words.

I asked for Jack's information to be provided to staff, not to the board, for exactly the reason you mentioned -- I'd rather it get administrative review (and I would expect our staff to consult with our legal team) before any of the board gets a hold of it. It sounds very dubious to me, but so does a lot of stuff that has become both legal and standard practice in this crazy state of ours.

I do appreciate your concerns about the sequence of events that happen in these situations. I just don't think it is at all feasible for the district to button down all of the construction options prior to getting a green light from the community to move forward with a project. Construction drawings and logistics are complicated, expensive, and time consuming. We can't afford the money up front, nor would any legitimate competitive group of contractors or attorneys front this on our behalf (at least not until we are a serious candidate for their business, which we are not until we pass a bond). So if too many in the community won't support a bond without feeling like they know where every nail will be nailed, I fear we will never be able to move ahead. We can only squeeze so much analysis from a budget of $0.

Whether the board decides to move forward with a bond, on what time frame, and for what scope, is the decision that lies before us. How we go about making that decision is the topic of tonight's agenda item. You may believe that a decision has been made; I can tell you without hesitation that this is not true. It is not a simple decision, in large part because of the high levels of uncertainty on everything from the state of the economy, the mood of the community (both now and through November), and the relative lack of precision associated with cost and time estimates that can be made available to us.

The bottom line is that I was elected to this position, and the position is now being asked to make a decision. I am prepared to NOT make a decision -- to decide not to move forward -- if the sum total of information I can gather suggests that it is in the best interests of the community to stand pat. There are consequences to that, obviously, with long term impacts. I don't take the matter lightly, and while I may disagree with any number of people I don't dismiss anyone's opinion.

And believe it or not, I appreciate your willingness to stay with this dialogue and provide the additional perspective that you've already shared.
You said
January 26, 2010
You invite criticism by not having a method to record the event - which if you invite the public to bring you suggestions, you should have a way to record them, but you are mistaken that if you assume I was there alone, we share some friends (and everyone heard it too). You haven't denied it. I am sorry if it is embarrassing to you. Maybe you should ask the press to do a better job reporting.

If you paid more attention to the details of the plan and less interested in running this over without public dissent, then you would get a better initiative. You have to admit your judgment isn't stellar when it comes to figuring out the mood of the public to pass an enormous bond measure. You could use all the help you can get, which is what I am proving, though I'm sure you won't care to pass the credit.

When you get your story locked down, you might share that information and try smelling like the rose. Funny thing is I like you Mike, but you owe it as an elected figure to operate transparently. Next time bring the recorders if you want people to believe you.

"It seems your goal is to embarrass other people rather than to help our kids get the best education we can afford to give them."

Why would you say that? Because I dare challenge your program assumptions?

I'll throw you a bone since you can't see the writing on the wall.

1) I do challenge them. Fist off, if you try to pass off 47 Million as not being 50 million, your nuts. No one will pass a shade of this amount. Go back and redo. Labor alone is 1/3 cheaper.

2) go back and challenge, then re certify the assumptions, don't let the funding fellow do the oversight. I'm sure means well but..

Having a Volunteer parent be the same person making the bond recommendations and and also being the same person help run the program through. He did say he rechecked the numbers after you asked him (where are the results, and how did he do it and show us the proof), With out it, It's a conflict of interest. Especially when he state things in a manner that frames the choices like there is no other good options. This could be farther from the truth.

Here is some homework.



You get the picture. Replace with favorite search result.

Do what other municipalities do, use a fixed bid and cap the risk with an insurance policy, it will still cost less than allowing the project to be chosen by the open ended choices that were presented in the slide show. (Though it might not be the kind of thing the chosen contractor would like, having an insurance rep hanging over the shoulder to make sure they are doing things the way they agreed to, on time and on budget.) You have to decide if you want the bond to actually pass. Taxing in a bad economy is a tall order.

(And if you haven't figured it out, you have less time than you think, as they are getting to tax us at the federal level. )

Then he explained that in this new business environment, that the costs are projected at only 2% less than the amount Measure Q missed by?

um... no.

Where is the competitive bids? Oh wait, you can't get there from here because your methodology picks the contractor at the very end of the process they have selected.

The process conveniently picks the contractor last. Can't chew gum and walk at the same time?

You're not getting any favors from City. They should be helping you.

The City should be helping you, not running around spending the city dry for land grabs in the form of dubious 20 Million dollar library projects. And yes, these are connected, those bonds they took out could you paying to fix or replace portions of the facility.

Instead of blaming me for your panels lack if insight, I think you should be focusing on doing what you were elected to do instead of trying to land this albatross as advertised.

Get a 35 Million option, you might have a chance. And take the suggestions. Steer clear of gerrymandering, it looks bad. Parents might not like it too much.

Jack Dilles, he's a well meaning fellow, but you should be clear when there are questions that arise that can shed liability on the district, that's part of your job. P.S. You said, (paraphrasing) that "you mean you would explore redrawing the district for the purpose of passing this initiative, and he said yes. then you asked for the data." I think your constituents have the right to know what goes on, especially when it is not reported in the paper.

Recording things keeps you out of hot water. See.. transparency isn't so bad.

If you wanted that information, you should have had him send any communications to legal first, then be clear that if it's kosher, you would post for the public to review. have the press report it - i'm sure they are moving to provide you with cover as I type.

Just remember, You did invite the public to attend. You should be THANKING us instead of attacking us, that's no way to win friends for the cause.

Michael Shulman
January 25, 2010
Dear Uniformed / Solution II,

I'm glad you were at the facilities presentation. There were only 25 or so people present, and I recognized most of them. I have a pretty good idea who you are.

The redistricting issue was raised by Jack Dilles, one of our COE board members, who claimed that he heard about it at the recent CSBA meeting he attended. The suggestion he made was that we could exclude portions of our district from voting for (and assumably sharing in the financial responsibility for) a bond. This is somewhat similar to excluding seniors from a parcel tax. I don't think anyone else in the room had ever heard of such a thing. So I asked him to share the information he had on this with our staff. You seem to think that getting this information is a bad thing. I disagree. Whether we are able to do this, whether we want to do this, or whether this was just some misunderstanding on Jack's part, is something we can figure out after we get the information. I don't think the newspapers suppressed any info; there simply isn't any info on this (yet).

It seems your goal is to embarrass other people rather than to help our kids get the best education we can afford to give them. Why would you do that? If I need to incur some embarrassment to get something positive done for the community, that's fine -- it won't be the first time. But when it's all over, I'll sleep well at night.

Solution II
January 24, 2010
And my solution,

You would like to know. Ill let you know when the time is right and it will be quite embarrassing for those advocating a bloated bond based upon an unchallenged numbers and a cherry picked process.
Dear Uniformed
January 24, 2010
The recent slide show for the new Middle School indicated using Cabrillo College assets as one of it's assumptions. So it have real material implications now. But I guess that's not news either. One persons news is another papers rant. Get you facts straight.

And yes, the paper suppresses other relevant information, like the fact the Michael Shulman was very interested in the suggestion fo redistricting for the pursues of passing a Bond similar to the defeated Measure Q. Even called it "gerry..rigging" he said. The word is gerrymandering and that is illegal. Then he asked for the data to be delivered to the committee.

With both the PressBanner and the Sentinel sitting in the front row, I found it humorous that they let this go unchallenged. But if you think it's not news that parents will have to start sending their kids to different schools than their sibling went to, I guess it will be news when they feel like publishing it.

This is one of MANY oversights that is news, but the preference to push a protectionist agenda, over the concern to pubic relevant local news for maintaing the status quo, well, we know what happens when people catch one.

You should hope the City would be concerned with being open and transparent than pushing a spend and tax agenda which is severely restricting the options of the City.

They use my suggestions al the time. You should know lol.

January 24, 2010
Leaving -- if Cabrillo has to leave SV, it will be temporary. Budget cuts are happening everywhere so it shouldn't be so surprising. The recently received Cabrillo Extension catalog doesn't mention the SV campus, so maybe you're on to something. But I don't see why you consider the below discussion about Cabrllo as uniformed, just because it isn't filled with rants and complaints. You "warned" the newspaper? Did you invent Windows 7, too?

It's not clear what problem you want the City to acknowledge. The City has lots of problems; its leaders, residents and businesses seem pretty aware of most of them. There's certainl lots of disagreement over solutions or steps to develop solutions. Maybe you've got a solution to one you'd like to share. That would be more useful than "warning" us all that the sky is falling. It's winter. It does that. We call it rain.
Leaving On
January 24, 2010
Cabrillo College is leaving Scotts Valley. No more extension. If the paper thought to go find out they would report it - maybe. Most likely it will be reported after they leave. I find the discussion about Cabrillo so uninformed it's too bad. I warned the paper 3 months ago. Unless they have rescue funds, or a building subsidy. Aviza could fit the bill, but you have to have the CIty acknowledge the problem before they can entertain a solution.
2 stay on topic, thx
January 23, 2010
Civil discussion, Nice.

I agree Cabrillo has done well. There are a fair amount of student from SV, and the SLV that attend. The satellite is good, saving travel, and expanding service. If that lease money were applied towards this locations purchase, I thought it would benefit our city to keep some business here. Being a fair amount of open space adjacent to existing park, etc. But if the hatefilled people think it is that bad, then it must be really ugly. So, I am over it, I made my comment. I have learned a few things I did not know.

I like our local merchants. If something like this helped keep them successful, then I would be for it. I think extra local tax puts them at disadvantage, since many talk of driving to Watsonville.

Communications. It seems someone loves to polarize every simple thing. Thank you for discussing pros, and cons of this.

Now, I am curious of who the good old boys are. That, I will ask offline.
Stay on topic folks
January 23, 2010
It would be helpful to the author and those interested in the author's letter if posters could stay on topic. Oh, and use something resembling common english language as well. It's rather time consuming trying to translate some of this jibberish.

So to the author's suggestion:

1) Kris, who are you suggesting would build this college? Cabrillo has done an amazing job enhancing and expanding their campus over the last decade (check your property tax bill -- we've all be paying for it). They've been renting portions of a small office building in SV to provide some satellite courses, but they don't appear to have any need to actually build in this area.

UC Santa Cruz has land up the yin-yang if they wanted to expand. But the entire UC / CSU / Community College system is fundless, with no prospects on the horizon for campus expansion.

If you're aware of some private institution that wants to build a college campus in this area, great. But I can't imagine who that would be.

2) The site has an old (circa 1980) toxic spill that contaminated our underground acquifer. They've been under orders ever since to continually pump from that portion of the acquifer, clean the water, and then discharge back into Bean Creek (at least I think that's the logistics of it all). Most of the toxic plume is gone by now, but the remediations remain in place. Not necessarily a deal killer for any new owner / tenant but a nuisance nonetheless.

3) The existing structures are probably more trouble than they're worth for anything other than a heavy industrial operation. So it's more than likely that any new owner will trash the place and start from scratch. Solar panel mfrg doesn't need this kind of facility.

So I think it's great that you're trying to think outside the box here, and propose solutions (rather than just griping about everything, as tends to happen in a lot of letters). But the only thing that really leads to development is somebody with a lot of money who sees a potential return on their investment. The Aviza site seems to be lacking in both of these key ingredients. An idea alone (good, bad, or indifferent) isn't going to make anything happen.
Wheres the love?
January 23, 2010
Toxic HATRED is all you express!

Your soul in on the superfund list now.
Mockingly familiarII
January 23, 2010
It's not your fault they underestimated the political fallout that would occur when misjudged. Here is fact, some developments are treated more equal than others. The own center and the library are paraded around with presentations, quasi open community participation and posted on the City web sites front page. Others are close door negotiated and pushed over the people they think they can get a way with. That is FACT. Look at the CIty site and look for the same treatment.

Last time I checked, it's common courtesy to extend fair and open input, especially on a project larger than the Town Center. CIty wide it is recognized, and admitted by Target the 40 felony crimes and other crimes of opportunities, even police offers speak out publicly about this.

So it is the City Council which has created this persistent problem and still after they have been given the chance to be decent to the community, continues to harass us by keeping the inappropriate Title II project alive. I do not know anyone who enjoys having to bring this to the attention of the CIty or organize support against this project or the rampant spending in this economy.

We could be supporting the Middle School which needs everyones focus and the cities resources.

We have an obligation to stand up for what is good for the City, not just using taxes a yardstick for right and wrong. I applaud those who stand up in the face of the City machinery . If there is bullying, it is by City Council.

Rant response
January 23, 2010
LoL.........I have been in all of their buildings. Good for you, so your CEO, or janitor?

Please think before you speak. Kinda did, just waking up then.

Did you really have the card to get yourself in the entire building? You did not!!.Never claimed to, did you? did you have security access, is what your implying... I have.(love the food). Chefs come and go.

Who is going to speak of that place???(what employee)... what is it about?.....the place is garbage.....please do a PDI...Interested in property, not skeletons buried there, or in closets.

Oh thats right the "good old boys" know nothing.

Nothing has been disclosed, so how would I know? Kris....I do understand that you think the place is big...Yes..

but you do need to understand what that building has done in the years it has been in Scotts Valley. What did W.& J. do?? test??????

Did they target your ancestors, or what are you implying??

We do need more solar for sure. This is the wrong place.....OK, WHY? clean rooms not up to snuff? what?
Excuse Me for breath
January 23, 2010
ing! Sorry for waking love scotts valley up,starting a 8888storm. But I can speak for myself. Basic conservative thinking, thought I might have a solution that would leave money in coffers for projects like middle school. Your right, it will not work. We are doomed to 35 years of bond repayments of $8,750 per $500k assessed per Redenbacher. This will impact availability of money for middle school waiting for 35 years, ironic. Any future bond sales must list library bonds as an obligation, or debt city already owes. Silly me thought keeping number smaller would allow more credit available (for this item on hold for 34 years).

Love Scotts Valley brings up, it is what good old boys want. We are stupid to think they give a darn. Just shut up, and pay while they play, on your dime. You expect documentation befitting a million dollar home loan, for floating bonds valued many times that? It could be posted on website, for all to see. It seems that would not please thems that loves scotts valley, good old boys, girls, geriatrics, whatever they are.

Mockingly familiar
January 23, 2010
Think about poster who brazenly bullies his or her opinion on any and all subjects without any plausible evidence to back them up. Some find these people oppressive, some finding them fascinating.

Amazing how some personalities just drive people away. Wish we could say it was nice working with you, but!

Hoped some college courses would get you past small minded perceived slights that shape bitter view of all others as evil. Everything is bigger and scarier in the real world. Especially other peoples opinions.

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