chapter  9
32 Pages

Disaster Recovery in a Progressive City: Santa Cruz, California Daniel J. Garr

Santa Cruz, California is a city of 50,000 located on the northern rim of Monterey Bay on the central California coast. Favored by both nature and circumstance, it enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, a picturesque physical setting as well as proximity to Silicon Valley. In addition, its economy is bolstered by large employment bases in city and county government as well as by a University of California campus (UCSC) with more than 10,000 students. Until the early 1970s, politics in Santa Cruz were dominated by the pro-growth forces instrumental in attracting the UCSC campus to the community during the previous decade. In a sense, Santa Cruz was, in microcosm, a typical sunbelt community with most key decisions made by the chamber of commerce whose influence was strongly felt in city government (Parker and Feagin 1990). By 1989, the year of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, UCSC's impact on the local economy was measured at $373 million, increasing to $666 million in early 1999 (Doyle 1989; University of California 1999).