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Veiled Flirting: UCSC grad Azadeh Moaveni wages a 'Lipstick Jihad.'


Rumble on the Street

Last week, as the March 10 deadline for signature gathering approached, Nüz was flooded by calls from members of the anti-COAST HOTEL committee, a.k.a. SANTA CRUZANS FOR RESPONSIBLE PLANNING, who claimed that hotel proponents were out on the street trying to block people from signing petitions that would put the project to a public vote.

SCRP's BILL MALONE told Nüz that on Feb. 26 while he was outside O'NEILL'S in downtown Santa Cruz "there were 9 guys outside O'Neill's handing out fliers. It was a bit intimidating."

He also said it was so bad outside NEW LEAF that a manager came out and asked both sides to move away because they were annoying customers.

While Malone admitted that project proponents had every right to share the street with project opponents, he claimed that proponents of the project were physically blocking people from signing petitions by putting pro-project fliers on top of the anti-project petitions.

"The blockers are putting their fliers on top of our petitions and saying, 'Don't sign that, until you've read our petition,' until the person who was going to sign says, 'I'm getting out of here.' It's really heated up the battle. It's annoying, but it's not gonna stop us."

Former Mayor CHRIS KROHN also called to complain about a "series of incidents in which folks were hassling petition gatherers." Krohn described the scene as "bad incidences, frayed nerves, tension and stuff."

"Some are handing out fliers at 15 feet away, which is fine, but others are putting their hands on our petitions, which former Mayor CELIA SCOTT reads as illegal," Krohn reported.

City Attorney JOHN BARISONE pointed Nüz to Section 18630 of the elections code, which only deems illegal specific threats of assault, battery or property damage.

Asked if they think the petition drive will gather the requisite number of signatures, Malone and Krohn described themselves as "feeling positive." "I think we're gonna do it," said Krohn.

If they gather the requisite 4,000 signatures by the March 8 deadline, the county has one month to verify them, after which the council must either rescind the ordinances that will allow the project to move forward, or hold a special election--not sooner than 88 days after the council convenes on the matter.

According to anti-referendum literature being passed out on the street, the special election will cost $60,000-$125,000, or $60,000-$190,000, depending on which side of the flier you're looking at. Malone disputes the amount, citing the possibility of (a) doing a mail-in election, which some say would cost $70,000-$80,000 or (b) throwing this election together with Arnie's, which Malone claims would reduce costs to $10,000-$20,000.

The latest figuring at the county estimates that a stand-alone special election will cost about $5 per registered voter, a mail-in election will cost about $3 per registered voter and a consolidated Arnie special election/referendum will cost between $1.50 and $3 per registered voter. Multiply those numbers by the 37,295 voters registered as of March 1, and you're looking at an estimated cost of somewhere between $56,000 and $186,000. (And they told us there would be no math!)

"After spending hundreds and thousands on the project so far," says Malone, "why not spend a little extra?"

Hanoi Jane

She's known by many names, but 'HANOI' JANE FONDA will always be most vividly remembered for her opposition to the Vietnam War, for celluloid and for cellulite. In her upcoming appearance at the Rio Theatre, on April 24 at 7pm, Fonda will talk about her new book, My Life So Far, a reportedly "intimate" memoir of Fonda the Hollywood rugrat, Fonda the Academy Award-winning actress, Fonda the feminist and activist, and Fonda the workout guru. Tickets can be purchased at CAPITOLA BOOK CAFÉ and BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ for $15; book purchasers receive two free tickets while supplies last, but books and tickets don't go on sale until April 5!

Public Displays of Immorality

Nüz can't help but applaud the flirting youth of IRAN, who continue to subvert the religious dictates of the hard-line SHIITES by turning somber public ceremonies into joyful public displays of affection (PDAs). In a gathering at MOHSENI SQUARE in north TEHRAN last month, when Iranians were supposed to be commemorating the death of IMAM HOSSEIN, young men and women wore brightly colored Western clothes and mingled freely with each other in a country where PDAs between unrelated men and women are banned.

San Jose native and UCSC grad AZADEH MOAVENI, in her acclaimed memoir LIPSTICK JIHAD, details the significance of the peculiar nonviolent revolution and its internal dynamics within Tehran, where she worked as a reporter for Time magazine. Moaveni will speak at the Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola, on March 14 at 7:30pm.

Planning Made Sexy

What with planning issues being all the rage these days, it doesn't come as a huge surprise that the city--on the verge of writing its new GENERAL PLAN--will reach out to the community, starting in April, via a mini series of community workshops designed to elicit more input from more than just the usual population of vested interests. Now that the good ol' days of post-earthquake cooperation are over, this new "visioning" process promises lots of creative and heated debate.

Meanwhile, in an effort to involve the community in the TANNERY PROJECT before important decisions are made about its future, City Councilmember EMILY REILLY and former Assemblymember FRED KEELEY, who's back in the 'hood as COUNTY TREASURER/TAX COLLECTOR, joined forces last week in hosting a community conversation, where participants were invited to express what excited them about the project, what were their questions and concerns and what they'd like to see happen next to increase participation. Stay tuned for future opportunities to participate in planning the future of the Tannery and the city ...

Schooling Indonesia

Having recently returned from a relief mission to deliver food and building/fishing materials to people along the northwest coast of BALI (Cover Story sidebar, "Forging the Food Chain," Feb. 9), Santa Cruz engineer JACK SCHULTZ is back in town, now fundraising to build a school in the devastated city of BANDA ACEH. Schultz says a 700-student can be built for only $400,000, and he is seeking help from the city and the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION to oversee the fundraising effort. Schultz will present a slide show of his previous trip and talk about school plans on March 9 at 7pm at the QUAKER MEETING HOUSE, 225 Rooney St., SC.

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From the March 9-16, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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