By Stephen Kessler | Santa Cruz Sentinel September 24, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.
The first question that occurs to me is: If affordable housing is so urgently important as to have supplanted the original garage in project propaganda — the garage is still there but underneath the housing and is never mentioned even though it is still volumetrically the largest component — why was there no housing included in the original project? And if housing could be added so easily to the library-garage, why not just build it somewhere else, like Lot 7, where it wouldn’t be caught in such a fraught political controversy?
The answer is: branding. Knowing the garage-library was widely unpopular, the prevailing city powers (staff, council, the Democratic machine) added affordable housing so that anyone opposed to the Taj Garage could be branded as anti-affordable housing — which is as distasteful and disgraceful as being called antisemitic, LGBTQ+phobic, racist or misogynist in such a righteously progressive community as ours. So let’s be clear, based on the evidence (it was a cynical afterthought), that housing was added to the Lot 4 project mainly because nobody could object to anything that included it.
Stephen Kessler’s column appears on Saturdays.