Friends of Lighthouse Field: Milestones - 9/08
This list represents many of the key events and milestones of FOLF over the past few years or so as we campaign to preserve off-leash recreation at Lighthouse Field State Beach (LFSB). It is by no means exhaustive.
We are grateful for the hard work of so many volunteers, for the many generous financial contributions, for assistance from local businesses and most of all for the support of thousands of community members who share the beauty & recreation opportunities for people and dogs off leash at Lighthouse Field and Its Beach.
- October 2005 - California State Parks announces that people with off-leash dogs are to be expelled from LFSB starting November 15, 2007.
- November 2005 - FOLF General Meeting with about 100 attendees.
- January 2006 - Strategy development with expanded group of activists; creation of communication task force.
- January 2006 - FOLF continues regularly scheduled clean-up days.
- March 2006 - New board replaces previous loosely structured steering committee; officers appointed; regular meetings commence with a more formal process.
- March 2006 - "First Dog" event is held on Presidents' Day to kick off an expanded campaign to preserve off-leash access at LFSB.
- March 2006 - FOLF retains legal counsel and receives advice on future legal strategy.
- April 2006 - FOLF trail repair and clean-up with over 50 participants plus substantial contributed materials.
- April 2006 - Informational whitepaper, presentation and key messages ("Barking Points") created.
- May 2006 - FOLF surveys candidates for Santa Cruz County Supervisor and endorses the most supportive candidate.
- June 2006 - FOLF support contributes to Neal Coonerty's significant election win.
- July 2006 - FOLF reaches over 2,800 supporting signatures.
- August 2006 - FOLF Clean-up day.
- September 2006 - "Wet Your Whistle" fundraiser for community education, political action and to contribute to facilities at LFSB. The event is a huge success, with a large turnout and more money raised than any previous event.
- September 2006 - FOLF conducts LFSB clean-up in support of the Coastal Cleanup Day.
- September 2006 - FOLF surveys candidates for Santa Cruz City Council, including a detailed questionnaire and personal meetings.
- September 2006 - All candidates respond with support for our position. FOLF announces endorsements of the top candidates who most strongly supported us. Endorsement/educational mailer sent to all registered voters in Santa Cruz.
- November 2006 - Two of the FOLF supported candidates are elected to City Council.
- November 2006 - FOLF presents to Parks and Recreation our case for supporting off-leash access and presents $2,000 check for new dog-friendly water fountain.
- November 2006 - "Paws in the Park" march and rally has a large turnout, significant news coverage and attendance by all of the City Council members able to vote on LFSB matters, with speeches by three of them including Mayor Emily Reilly.
- December 2006 - FOLF Clean-up day and SPCA food drive.
- December 2006 - Board members met with Chief of Northern Division of the State Parks in Sacramento.
- January 2007 and ongoing - Board members continue regular meetings with key elected officials (City Council members individually, County Supervisors, State Assemblymen, State Senators, State Park officials.
- February 2007 - "Love the Dogs You're With" FOLF letter writing event and community education day. Hundreds of cards delivered to City and State officials; great press coverage.
- February 2007 and ongoing - FOLF letter writing campaign continues.
- March 2007 - A standing room only crowd was on hand at a Santa Cruz City Council meeting. Our message was loud and clear with more than 30 speakers and a room filled with supporters.
- March 2007 - Park cleanup day.
- May 2007 - FOLF Community Forum, with a panel including Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly, Assemblyman John Laird, FOLF Board Chair Betsy Firebaugh, State Parks District Superintendent Dave Vincent, California Research Bureau Policy Analyst Lisa K. Foster, and Officer Todd Stosuy, Santa Cruz County Animal Services Field Supervisor. Audience fills the Vets Hall and the Forum is broadcast by Community TV of Santa Cruz County.
- May 2007 - FOLF accelerates fundraising efforts, begins taking online donations.
- May 2007 - Forum videos are made available online, including a summary of the case for off-leash recreation and testimony from Animal Services Officer Stosuy showing that off-leash recreation at LFSB is both trouble-free and beneficial.
- June 2007 - Assemblyman John Laird accelerates his work to find a negotiated solution to keep LFSB under City control and preserve off-leash recreation.
- June/July 2007 - FOLF board members continue meeting with City and State officials.
- July 2007 - Park cleanup day.
- August 2007 - Hundreds of community members participate in FOLF Walkathon, which raises $8,000 for FOLF Legal Defense Fund.
- August 2007 - California State Legislature passes bill SB-85, which provides for the transfer of Lighthouse Field State Beach to the City of Santa Cruz at "fair market value" on the condition that it remains undeveloped in perpetuity. (The condition will not only permanently preserve the land but also makes the land have no commercial value, thus keeping the transfer price affordable.)
- September 2007 - City of Santa Cruz offers to buy Lighthouse Field State Beach. City/State negotiations commence.
- September 2007 - FOLF presents "Top Dog" award to Assemblyman Laird for his efforts on behalf of the community.
- September 2007 - Park cleanup day, in support of the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.
- October 2007 - FOLF Garage Sale fundraising event.
- October 2007 - 2nd annual "Wet Your Whistle" wine tasting and silent auction.
- October 2007 - FOLF conducts usage survey to document 50 year off-leash tradition.
- November 2007 - FOLF board members meet with City and State officials at Assemblyman Laird's office.
- November 2007 - Information/action meeting for FOLF supporters.
- November 2007 - City Council meeting with multiple FOLF speakers and large public turnout.
- November 2007 - Last Cleanup Day before State Parks takes over. Future cleanups are uncertain because unlike the City, State Parks can not provide logistical support (barrels, bags, pick up sticks, haul-out, etc.)
- November 2007 - City of Santa Cruz loses control of Lighthouse Field State Beach as the City/State operating agreement expires on November 15. State Parks takes over. Off-leash recreation is now against the rules at Lighthouse Field and Its Beach.
- November 2007 - FOLF initiates legal action in the Superior Court for Santa Cruz County. At the preliminary hearing, State Parks commits to the court that virtually no off-leash citations will be issued until after March 15, 2008. Prior to the initial hearing, State Parks provided information about a previously undisclosed agreement in which the City lost its right to renew the park operating agreement with off-leash recreation.
- November, 2007 - Local press coverage of the newly disclosed information. FOLF publishes original documents and analysis. Numerous community members make their views known to City Council members. City/State negotiations continue.
- December, 2007 - FOLF Board members meet individually with every City Council member (except Rotkin and Porter who are not allowed to participate in Lighthouse Field deliberations because they own nearby property) to gain a better understanding of where they stand and their views about past decisions and what needs to be done to move forward.
- December, 2007 - Discussions continue between City and State officials regarding land transfer. There is a gap between the City's offer of $1M interest free and the State's somewhat higher fair market appraisal.
- December, 2007 - FOLF Board members meet with Assemblyman John Laird.
- December, 2007 - FOLF Board members meet with Mayor Ryan Coonerty to discuss ideas for closing the gap between the City and State.
- December, 2007 - FOLF compiles and publishes a record of problems occurring after only one month of State Parks management.
- January, 2008 - State Parks maneuvers in court to block the full merits of the FOLF case from ever being heard. FOLF evaluates appeal strategy.
- January, 2008 - FOLF makes $600,000 proposal to assist City with acquisition of LFSB.
January, 2008 - FOLF holds candlelight vigil at Santa Cruz City Hall.
February, 2008 - As a result of expanded fundraising and increased activities,
FOLF publishes its first detailed financial and operating report.
2008 - Continued meetings between FOLF, City and State officials.
2008 - Santa Cruz Mayor Coonerty states his and Council's determination to
continue negotiating with the State and to continue to seek solutions.
2008 - FOLF launches effort to encourage continued community presence in the
park despite State enforcement efforts.
- April, 2008 - FOLF conducts survey to
document how public safety and the park/neighborhood environment has been
affected by the State's off-leash enforcement.
- April, 2008 - "Take Back the
Park" rally at Lighthouse Field has a great turnout. Speakers include City
Council members and State Assembly candidates.
- April, 2008 - park cleanup
follows rally. Future cleanups are problematic with the loss of support
from City Parks workers and the threat of State ranger presence.
2008 - Continued dialog with City and State officials.
- June 2008 - FOLF
commences informal "Dog Day Morning" social events at the Field and Beach, with
coffee, donuts, doggie treats, and the company of friends and neighbors.
These continue every few weeks as a community-building effort.
- June 2008 -
City takes initial steps towards acquisition of Its Beach from the State for the
purpose of restoring traditional off-leash recreation. Discussions between
FOLF and officials continue.
- August 2008 - FOLF obtains candidate position
statements on off-leash recreation at Lighthouse Field and Its Beach.
September 2008 - FOLF endorses candidates for Santa Cruz City Council.
September 2008 - FOLF sponsors Its Beach cleanup as part of Coastal Cleanup Day;
FOLF adopts Its Beach for on-going cleanups in cooperation with Save Our Shores.
In addition to these milestones, we have met frequently with community members, elected officials, appointed officials, and members of the press including multiple appearances on local radio shows and TV news; we've produced many newsletters, informational emails and web site updates; and we've organized a continued presence at meetings of the Parks & Recreation Commission, Parks & Recreation community meetings, and City Council meetings.
Many more milestones are still to come in 2008 as we work to preserve the Santa Cruz quality of life and sustain the community centered on LFSB.