RELEASE : FEATURES OF THE PEREZ ADOBE DISCOVERED IN EAST SANTA
Villa de Branciforte Preservation Society
Phone : 831-423-8367
Tiles and Foundation Wall Dating Back to End of 18th Century Found
During Construction Project
CRUZ, November 26, 2003 - The Perez adobe house was discovered today
by construction workers in the historical Villa de Branciforte,
known today as East Santa Cruz. Significant archaeological features
such as adobe foundations, bricks, roof tiles and burial sites pertaining
to the Spanish Colonial history in California are of historical
significance both locally and statewide.
was interrupted indefinitely today for archeologists to retrieve
fragments of the adobe for further evaluation. Cornelio Perez was
the oldest son of Margarita Rodriguez and Jose Maria Perez, the
first Perez to settle in California in 1800. The Rodriguez family
was one of the six founding settlers of Villa de Branciforte.
Perez site is adjacent to a vacant land parcel subject to a proposed
two-story 6-unit housing development in 2004. The wall foundations
will be reburied beneath a concrete sidewalk and part of the asphalt
roadway, but could possibly be threatened by trenching for public
utilities, which will proceed as part of the proposed development.
Villa de Branciforte
in 1797, Villa de Branciforte is a unique occurrence in Spanish
Colonial history. Unlike the Spanish missions, the Villa was secular,
and unlike the other two original secular settlements, the pueblos
of Los Angeles and San Jose, Branciforte was a "villa,"
the only villa to be created during the Spanish Colonial era in
de Branciforte was a hybrid community populated by soldier-settlers
and established to colonize and defend Alta California against Russia,
England, and France. In 1802, the Villa de Branciforte settlers
attempted to establish a civil government by electing an alcalde
(or mayor), an election that was perhaps the first to be held in
A MISSION TO PRESERVE HISTORY
Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 28, 2002
By Brian Seals, Sentinel Staff Writer
SANTA CRUZ - The 21 missions that shaped California's history, transportation
routes and culture have fallen on hard times. The shrines to the
settling of the Golden State for the most part are decaying, as
are the wealth of artifacts within them. Father Junipero Serra would
Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz, is pushing for state money to
preserve the Spanish missions, which collectively draw more than
5 million visitors each year. "The missions from San Diego
to Sonoma are a critical element of our state's history," McPherson
said. "We should do what we can to ensure their preservation."
will be a big task. Not only are many of the mission falling apart,
the myriad documents, artwork and artifacts that decorate them also
need preserving. "There are documents Father Serra had in San
Diego that are in file cabinets," said Richard Ameil, president
of the California Missions Foundation, which is also pursing a private
Santa Cruz Mission, or what is left of it, is one of the less needy
missions around the state. "The adobe itself is really well-restored,"
said Randy Widera, executive director of the Friends of Santa Cruz
a seven-room adobe completed in 1824 is left from the Santa Cruz
Mission, which was built in 1791 along what is now School Street.
A survey of each site's needs by the California Missions Foundation
showed the local mission needs about $400,000 in refurbishing, but
state parks curator for the Santa Cruz district Steve Radosevich
said that number is probably high.
$600,000 boost five years ago built new restrooms, a bookstore and
patio, and built a wall around the adobe. Radosevich said any new
money could be used for a landscaping and interpretive exhibit estimated
at $200,000 or less. The plan would landscape the site with plants
reminiscent of the original mission days, as well as create exhibits
detailing the experience of Ohlone Native Americans who worked at
the mission and lived in the rooms that still stand.
plan would include recreating a small tribal village on the grounds.
"Our focus is unique in that we attempt to interpret the experience
of Native Americans," Radosevich said.
chain of missions was begun in 1769 by Serra at the direction of
King Charles II of Spain who wanted to settle what was then known
as Alta California. The missions were to intended to be about a
day's walk apart from one another.
American labor was crucial to the settlements, and the Spanish sought
to convert, willingly or otherwise, the natives to Christianity.
After Mexico won independence from Mexico it ended the mission system,
and in 1834 privatized much of the property.
two missions are owned by the state Department of Parks and Recreation
- Mission Santa Cruz and Mission La Purisima Concepcion in Lompoc.
The buildings had an indelible imprint on California, lending many
cities their names. Moreover, El Camino Real - the transportation
link of the missions - is generally the same thoroughfare, Highway
101, that traverses the state today.
the mission is Santa Cruz met its demise in an earthquake in 1857,
other missions still stand, but need some help to stay that way.
Mission San Miguel Arcangel, for example, needs an estimated $10
million in repairs, according to the Foundation.
Foundation estimates about $2.9 million is needed for work at Mission
San Juan Bautista. Father Ed Fitz-Henry said money is needed to
preserve papers, books, painting and other artifacts. "We don't
have a museum-quality environment to preserve them," Fritz-Henry
would also unearth and restore a buried wing of the mission and
redo electrical wiring that dates to the 1930s. "These missions
are landmarks that are not just national, but international,"
will look to the $2.6 billion in bond money passed under Proposition
40 in March. Some $267 million of that is earmarked for historic
preservation. Originally, McPherson authored a bill that would have
established a fund in the state treasury for the effort. Last week,
that bill was rolled into a separate measure by state Sen. John
Burton, D- San Francisco, that creates a commission to dole out
the preservation funds included in Proposition 40, but lists the
missions as a priority for that funding. That bill's next step is
the Senate Appropriations Committee next month.
the California Missions Foundation is continuing with a private
effort to raise $50 million to restore and preserve. About $4 million
has been raised, Ameil said. Not only does the foundation want to
fix and preserve now, but also establish an endowment for future
LAND USE ISSUES CAN'T BE IGNORED
Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 21, 2003
OPINION, Letter to the Editor
Legislators took on the issue of urban sprawl last year, and it's
important to keep the matter on the front burner. When Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenneger went on the "Tonight Show" to announce
his candidacy to talk-show host Jay Leno, he most definitely did
not discuss land-use issues in California.
long after the applause has died and other day-to-day political
issues have presented themselves, land use is on the governor's
plate - as it well should be. This is just one of the many issues
that can be easily ignored as the new governor settles in and starts
to deal with a multibillion-dollar budget shortage in Sacramento.
Californians care deeply about land use. A recent study pointed
out that those living near the coast are willing to pay more in
taxes and housing to keep the coastline open and free of pollution.
Californians care about land-use issues inland as well - and throughout
of the few major actions successfully dealt with last year by the
state Legislature was an Assembly bill - AB 857 - that established
important planning priorities for development throughout the state:
Promoting infill development; Protecting open space; Encouraging
compact and efficient development patterns.
to an organization called the California Policy Reform Network,
those priorities must be part of any future planning and budgeting
by state agencies. The sponsor of the bill, Assemblywoman Patricia
Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, recently declared in a speech to the Association
of Bay Area Governments that the measure is "the most important
piece of land-use legislation in 30 years." These kinds of
planning priorities hardly seem novel to those used to Santa Cruz
County politics. After all, planning and controlling growth have
been the dominating political issues here for the past two generations.
However, statewide, development pressures have caused all sorts
of sprawl and runaway building. This legislation provides a different
approach, sometimes known as "smart growth."
even if the governor hasn't talked about smart growth with Jay Leno,
he has given signs here in the early going that the issue of growth
will be on his priority list as governor.
to the Policy Reform Network, some of Schwarzenegger's appointments
are supportive of restraining sprawl. Two appointments in particular
were singled out as positive: Sunne Wright McPeak, formerly CEO
of the Bay Area Council, has been named secretary of business, transportation
and housing, and Terry Tamminen, the new director of the state Environmental
Protection Agency. Both are familiar with the land-use legislation.
a sympathetic governor could be excused for ignoring the issue of
land use while he grapples with billion-dollar problems. However,
in the long run, the future of California is as tied to land-use
decisions as it is to the health of its budget. We hope that the
governor will find time and energy to ensure that land use continues
to be part of the public debate.
SUPES APPROVE MORE, HIGHER-DENSITY HOUSING
Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 24, 2004
By Brian Seals, Sentinel staff writer
A housing plan that calls for 3,341 housing units to be built in
unincorporated areas through 2007 inched closer to final approval
Tuesday. The county Board of Supervisors approved a draft of the
so-called housing element by a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Jan Beautz
elements are planning tools aimed at pushing cities and counties
to plan for a certain amount, and types, of housing. The state withholds
some housing funds from governments that do not have certified plans.
The plan discussed Tuesday was generally similar to the draft unveiled
in June 2003. The major difference is that it calls for building
more houses and apartments, and also allows for more densely built
was the latter that brought kudos and criticism. Beautz said she
fears the 1st District she represents, especially the Live Oak area,
will be the dumping ground for dense housing. "Sixty percent
of Live Oak's housing stock is high density," Beautz said.
"We should look at it throughout all the districts."
Mardi Wormhoudt said the county needs to work to use what little
land is left for housing. She said density comes down to how a project
is built. Wormhoudt said she recently took a tour of dense projects.
"I came away with the feeling that good design has as much
to do with whether high density works or not," Wormhoudt said.
draft plan calls for upping the density potential on some parcels
from the current 17 units per acre to 25. Virginia Johnson of Progressive
Housing Advocates said she supported even greater density, especially
along major transportation routes.
"It is better than it was before," she said. Others said
that kind of density is an undesirable housing recipe. "I don't
think you'll find many Americans that want to live in such a dense
manner," said resident Daniel Beckett. The other difference
in the most recent draft is in the amount of housing the plan envisions.
The last draft, rejected by the state, called for 2,621 units.
that allocation is still the subject of a lawsuit, the county planned
for the 3,341 mandated by the state and doled out by the Association
of Monterey Bay Area Governments. Supervisors also made other alterations
before submitting the plan to the state, including developing an
amnesty program to legalize illegal units, and removing a request
for laws limiting construction-defect lawsuits for condominiums.
also asked for a legal opinion on a proposed policy giving affordable
housing developers first crack at buying properties in default on
tax payments. The next step will be getting state approval. Tuesday's
action gives the state Housing and Community Development division
60 days to respond. Supervisors could also implement the plan without
state endorsement, risking the county's share of state funding.