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Revolving Door

A twice-convicted pedophile accused of molesting a local homeless boy was released on his own recognizance last Friday by a Santa Clara County judge after jailers delayed in getting the man's hearing aid fixed. Daniel Joseph Carpenter, 38, faces his third strike after racking up two felony sodomy convictions in other states.

Santa Clara County Deputy DA Christine Garcia told the court that Carpenter is a flight risk. "He not only has connections and convictions in other states, he's looking at a lot of time and he's out there and has access to the children," she says.

However, defendants are entitled to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of arraignment, and Carpenter's was postponed when he complained his hearing aid was not working. After the Department of Corrections failed to resolve the matter promptly, Santa Clara County Municipal Court Judge Randall Schneider allowed Carpenter released pending a new preliminary hearing slated for June 12. As of Monday, Garcia says, there was still a problem with the hearing aid, so it is unclear whether or not Carpenter will remain free.

Prosecutors say Carpenter lured the 13-year-old boy and his parents to his Mountain View home by promising them work and claiming to be affiliated with a supposedly charitable organization called Adams-Lehmann Foundation. While the parents were put up in a motel, the boy spent the night at Carpenter's house and the next day told his parents Carpenter had molested him. The family went to the Mountain View police, who arrested Carpenter at his home

and seized numerous cameras and rolls of film containing pictures of other children. "[Carpenter] was not counting on a boy who couldn't be snowballed," says the boy's mother.

According to his parents, the boy recognized several other homeless boys from the pictures detectives seized, but others have not yet come forward. "He has contact with kids of the type who are unlikely to report a crime," says Garcia. "He's picking on kids who are vulnerable because of their situation and difficult for us to locate."

Garcia urges children and others who have had contact with Carpenter to contact Mountain View Police Det. James Warburton at 415/903-6356.

Walking Mall

Local pedal pushers are trying to raise public enthusiasm to make portions of the Pacific Garden Mall bike- and pedestrian-only. Members of the Hub for Sustainable Transportation, including Bill LeBon of local bicycle courier business Pedaler's Express, hope to convince the Santa Cruz City Council to put an advisory measure on the November ballot. Their proposal is to limit three blocks of Pacific Avenue. between Water and Cathcart streets to pedestrians and bicyclists. The blocks in between would be open to cars, allowing traffic to flow across the mall. "Businesses have this old mentality that cars mean business and it's not relevant here," says LeBon. "There's not much room for cars on the mall anyway, so they wouldn't lose much space for cars, but they'd gain lots of space for people."

Similar ideas were expressed during the rebuilding of the mall after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but local business leaders lobbied against the proposal, which would have made the mall a far more attractive, enjoyable and safe place for tourists and locals to come spend their money. Of course, everyone but the business leaders seemed to realize that.

The Hub proposal is modeled after a successful pedestrian mall in Boulder, Colorado, where businesses also were resistant to the idea when it was first proposed. According to Marilyn Haas, executive director of Boulder's downtown business association, the pedestrian mall--20 years old next year--has completely revitalized Boulder's once-struggling downtown. "It has done nothing but increase foot traffic," says Haas, adding that the business vacancy rate is now less than 4 percent. "It's changed the whole face of the downtown. It's created a place even professionals like to be."

Haas adds that it is key to have cross traffic, so that drivers can pass through and see what is happening within.

The idea has some city honchos interested. According to LeBon, City Councilmembers Mike Rotkin, Katherine Beiers and Celia Scott recently queried the Downtown Association about closing the mall to auto traffic one day per month as a trial.

But the business leaders rejected the idea, and LeBon, too, considered it the wrong tactic. "When you close it off, you have to replace it with something-- either an event, or a permanent pedestrian mall," says LeBon, who envisions a streetscape replete with landscaping, benches, outdoor cafes and public art. "Make it a real garden mall. That's what Boulder did and business has gone up tremendously."

The walking mall advocates have collected between 1,000 and 2,000 signatures, LeBon says, though they haven't been out collecting them aggressively. People in favor of a pedestrian mall, he says, should write or call members of the City Council during the next few weeks to show their support.

Surf Rules

Santa Cruz surf god Sam Reid may be long gone, but his rules for proper wave riding live on. Just before Memorial Day, the Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation department installed a new sign containing the legendary longboarder's "Etiquette For Surfing" dicta at Steamers Lane. Check it out yourself. It's across from the bathrooms, near the top of the stairs that lead to the surf.

For those who don't know, Sammy was Santa Cruz's answer to Hawaiian surfing icon Duke Kahanamoku. Back around the time Richard Nixon was president, Reid posted a sign at Steamers reflecting his views on appropriate wave riding. The plaque contained such civilities as "first surfer on the wave has right-of-way" and "Hang on to your board." The sign became something of a legend among local hotdoggers, but it disappeared some years ago and no one knows what happened to it. Reid himself kicked out of his last wave in 1978.

This being the '90s, with surfing seemingly at an all-time high, longtime Santa Cruz surfer Chuck Reed began a successful drive for a new sign. Acknowledging the need for a code of conduct, Parks & Rec staffers built and installed it themselves. "It's just more crowded now and that leads to conflict," explains Jim Lang, director of Parks & Recreation.

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From the June 13-19, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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