Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Cop Shops on the Horizon?

When the flooding happened, seeing fully submerged cop cars brought smiles to our faces. Now, Capitola police are trying to use this as an opportunity to move out of a building that "has not been adequate for the department's needs for a long time." We can expect that the residents of Capitola, with its deep law-and-order tendencies, will generally support rebuilding the police station (it ain't called "Copitola" for nothing). Even in Copitola, the police are always looking for opportunities to increase their power.

Unfortunately, the Capitola pigs aren't the only ones considering an upgrade. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner is looking to spend $44 million out of a $75 million redevelopment budget on a more centrally located Sheriff's Center. The current Sheriff's Center, located in the Ocean Street government complex, is aging and poorly located (for them). The new facility would be in a midcounty location close to Highway 1. The current push for the project is a response to the proposed cuts to redevelopment agencies to balance the state budget. The proposed sheriff's center is a bit of a departure from the usual fare of the redevelopment agency--past projects include parks, parking lots, and sidewalk improvements (and also unfortunate things like graffiti removal).

The massive prioritization of police infrastructure illuminates the larger vision of the Redevelopment Agency. Projects like the Twin Lakes Neighborhood Park and the parking lot at the Hook are, in a sense, community projects: they provide common space, encourage togetherness, and are much preferable to the condos that would probably have been built in those locations otherwise. When the RDA bends backwards to police interests, it shows these projects in a different light. These projects, apparently for everyone, are done for those who play by the rules of this society. The RDA spends half their budget on developing Santa Cruz County and the other half policing it. This is the similar to the logic of the Downtown Association: we want a fun and vibrant downtown, but only so long as business interests are protected. The RDA is building a Santa Cruz for a community of people with money and property, those who will never be considered criminals by this society. For the rest of us--those of us excluded from this community, those who find it disgusting, those who want to destroy it--now is the time to act together.

The police have found openings in recent circumstances to increase their power and consolidate the control that capitalism mandates. These developments are also openings for resistance. Looking forward, we must build the power to prevent these developments. For now, they appear as opportunities to clarify how we feel about the police (hatred) and come together to express our rage. Building connections to others based on a mutual hatred of police (and the prison world that they maintain) is a powerful point of connection, especially when coupled with a libertarian social vision. Most importantly, allowing the police to operate without opposition gives them the impression that they run this town. For now, it seems that they do. And they will, until we do.

stay up,


  1. Nice to see this project get off the ground. Hope this blog stays updated and well used.

  2. Ditto, I have lived here forever, watched the Capitola police get busted for selling guns back on the streets in the 70's. I think they have plenty of cops and gear. We have parks closing and schools suffering. At one time, Capitola had more police per captita then any city in the U.S. Its reputation is not one of folk lore. Tenderfoot