Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Tue, Jun 22 2004

Free Radio Santa Cruz: Clarification

Last month I made mention of Free Radio Santa Cruz, and I got some additional information from V-Man, who knows his stuff, because he works there. In order to prevent any further misdirection on my part, I will quote him here, with his permission:

What happened is that Air 1 had a ten watt repeater on 95.9 fm down in the south county. They petitioned the FCC for a frequency change, due to interference from a Spanish language station, and the FCC gave them 96.3, since it was technically an open channel. They went on the air last summer. Now, one might be led to believe that this was done intentionally to cause a problem for FRSC, but one might be called a conspiracy theorist, so we'll just say it was a coincidence. This is how the signals blended in the Live Oak, Capitola areas. In October, we put up our own repeater on 101.1 FM, and had both frequencies going for awhile, then, when we moved to a new home, and got listeners used to the new frequency, we stopped using 96.3 FM.

Thanks much, V-Man. And do keep reminding us that the people make the best users of airwaves. When we rely on government agencies to do our work for us, we give up our power to something that is way too ethereal to be responsible (or responsive) to citizens who value freedom of speech.

posted at: 07:56 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

The Battle For Whiskey Hill

We spent two and a half hours at a frustrating meeting last Wednesday night. Our neighborhood (called Freedom) is in a pocket of older development that sprang up after World War II in an area formerly called Whiskey Hill. We've come a long way since the days of saloons and brothels, but now there is a push from the nearby town of Watsonville to annex land and develop more housing, and there are groups (some from higher levels than our local community) who are pushing for Watsonville to expand its borders and pack in more people per square acre. Those of us who love the neighborhood have gained a new kind of reputation for our community. We're the notorious diehards who are digging in our proverbial little heels and telling Watsonville to go somewhere else with its plans to pave over rolling hills where horses roam and where a traffic jam means there are more than 2 vehicles sitting at the stop sign down on Buena Vista Drive.

We were never allowed to vote on Measure U, the measure which opened the door for the development and changes in zoning of property in this area. Our tiny pocket of streets is not expected to be in the city limits of Watsonville any time soon. They don't want us. We already have single family homes with happy property owners. If they annexed us, they would have to pay for infrastructure. If they annex the open land right next to us and get it into the hands of greedy developers, they can collect taxes from the resulting overly-dense housing that will surely happen. Only Watsonville city residents were allowed to vote for or against Measure U, and they voted to pass it.

The meeting last Wednesday was an opportunity for certain planners to present possible scenarios of what might happen when development actually begins to take place. They had a very good turnout for the meeting, and our vocal crowd was eager to let them know we are not happy campers, and that none of their pretty little plans suit us. Period.

One issue that may make or break a lot of their grab for green is that of our Watsonville Community Airport. Donna Jones covers some of the airport issues in today's Santa Cruz Sentinel. The airport brings in tremendous revenue and assists local business and agriculture. It was the sole way in and out of this area after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which blocked mountain and bridge access on all sides except the west (which is Pacific Ocean). Now we are hoping this same airport helps to thwart the greedy attempts to take away rural beauty and replace it with cookie cutter housing (with a few token mansions on a hilltop). Could it be that this airport, which was not even here where the place was called Whiskey Hill, will do something that we as local residents couldn't do at the polls? Can it stop this whole lopsided growth attempt? We'll find out. One thing is certain. We're going to give them a run for their money, even if we're not allowed to vote. If the name of Whiskey Hill gave us a reputation for being a tough neighborhood, then the name of Freedom gives us a boost that backs it up with solidarity of purpose. We're proud of our neighborhood and we're proud of our airport. We plan to keep them both for a long time to come.

posted at: 07:13 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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