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Farmers' Market Fact Check

Claim

If Measure O passes, the Farmers' Market will not get the $1.775 million promised to them by the City for permanent infrastructure.  They will only get that money for Lot 7.

The Facts

  • The Farmers' Market signed an MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) with the City on October 14th.  The Market Board specifically ensured the MOU includes Lot 4 as a place they would receive the funds for permanent infrastructure.  

Claim

Measure O claims to "save the Farmers' Market."  

The Facts

  • Measure O has absolutely never claimed to save the Farmers' Market.  
    • ​It has never been on our website, in the initiative, on a flyer, mailer, or any campaign material.
  • We have heard reports from the opposition (the No on O campaign) that some of the initiative signature gatherers a year ago were saying "save the Farmers' Market" while gathering signatures.
    • This may be the case; we don't know.  But we have always been clear with our volunteers that Measure O secures the best possible place for the market and for a public plaza or town square.
  • This part of Measure O is not just about the Farmers' Market.  
    • Lot 4 is the ideal place for a public plaza.  It is the largest, most central, and only south-west facing parcel downtown available for this needed downtown attribute.​
    • Lot 7 on Front Street is traffic burdened with 3 times the amount of traffic as Cedar Street.  It is already darker, and will be a wind tunnel of shade once the already approved Front Street developments go in.  
    • The Library's current location could be turned into a lovely plaza for the Market and other events; however it is not as close to the businesses along Pacific Avenue, Cedar and Front.  It is fundamentally in a lower activity zone and would be organically utilized far less than the location on Cedar Street.  Less activity and less use leaves it open to the types of challenges our city faces in public parks.  A public central plaza should be as central as possible within the heart of Downtown.

Claim

The Farmers' Market has nothing to do with Measure O.  
They don't know who we are and do not endorse Measure O.

The Facts

  • The Farmers' Market is its own nonprofit entity and does not engage in political endorsements.
  • They have endorsed neither side of the political debate and have a good relationship with both the City and Measure O leaders.
  • One of the founding organizations of Measure O, the Downtown Commons Advocates, has been in good communication with the Farmers' Market Board Director, Nesh Dhillon for many years.
  • Grace Stetson, a former Lookout Santa Cruz reporter interviewed Nesh Dhillon before the Our Downtown, Our Future coalition of organizations announced our existence and initiative publicly.  A cherry-picked quote from that interview is what is being used by the opposition.
    • Grace Stetson is now the ​paid employee (campaign coordinator) for the opposition's campaign.

Claim

The Farmers' Market wants to move from Lot 4 to Lot 7.  

The Facts

  • The Farmers' Market is a tenant of the City.  The City is their landlord, allowing them to use City property for the weekly market.
  • The Market has been told numerous times over the years that they would be forced to move from Lot 4.
    • This started in the early 2000's when the City proposed a parking garage for Lot 4.​
    • When Measure S passed, and the City had funds to spend on our Downtown Branch Library, the proposal was quickly made to explore a garage/library facility on Lot 4.
    • As part of that conversation in 2017, both Farmers' Market leaders and the organizer of the Antique Faire went on record in the GoodTimes stating that they wanted to stay on Lot 4.
      • It is in the "Checking Footnotes," in the second half of the article that is primarily about the library.
      • Once this became a political situation, the Farmers' Market Board decided to not state any preference between Lot 4 and other locations.
  • The City told the Farmers' Market they would have to leave Lot 4, and gave the Market Board the opportunity to choose another location from what is available.  
    • The Market Board​ chose Lot 7, as their alternative to Lot 4 (their current home).
  • The Farmers' Market Board made clear in the MOU (Memorandum Understanding), that they want to keep options open for Lot 4 (should Measure O pass) or other locations (should Measure O fail).

Claim

Measure O prevents Farmers' Market self-determination.

The Facts

  • The Farmers' Market has never said they want to move.  They want permanence and in the best location possible. (see MOU links above)
  • Measure O does not control where the Farmers' Market chooses from their options, but it ensures the City must prioritize the Market and public space on Lot 4.
  • "If" the Market wanted to move to Lot 7, Measure O allows that. Measure O doesn't allow for anything except 100% affordable housing to be developed "above the ground level."  
    • Ground floor use is not controlled by Measure O.  The Farmers' Market could still move there if they desired to; they are not planning any market activities on a second story.