Mike Tomasi, downtown on Church Street. Photo: July 2011.

Mike Tomasi (or Michael) was a veteran and described himself as having lived in the Santa Cruz area for 50 years. He called himself, "The King of the Trolls, from A-battery, 6th Batallion, 14th Artillery," and he was probably best known as an outspoken member of the public who regularly voiced his opinions at Santa Cruz City Council meetings. He passed away at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Palo Alto on January 16, 2012.

Tomasi was highly critical of Mayor Ryan Coonerty, and his father, County Supervisor Neal Coonerty. About Ryan, he once said, "we should send him over Highway 17." He was worried that the younger Coonerty was going to take away Social Security from city employees, and he was unhappy that the Mayor reduced the time that members of the public could comment during the open forum at city council meetings from three minutes to two. He felt that Coonerty was the one who did not, "deserve to be heard." As a veteran, he was concerned that the father and son politicians did not have respect for veterans. Tomasi quoted Vice President Joe Biden: "Veterans are the heart, soul, and spine of America," and added to that, "without vets there wouldn't be any life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness." His feelings echoed a general sentiment among area veterans that they had been mistreated by the local government.

Mike Tomasi may have come off as rash sounding, but he often would say what was on everyone's mind and that which no one else would say. An example of this took place at a city council meeting in July of 2011 that gave intital approval to the Park Pacific condominium project, which would have filled the last hole on Pacific Avenue left by the Loma Prieta Earthquake. In a council chamber full of professional support for the project, including one local architect who thought the building was a 'good fit' for the area, Tomasi, using an expletive, was blunt about how bad he thought the building looked. He was the only one in the room to offer any critique of the project that everyone has been so desperate to push through.

Tomasi, speaking before the Santa Cruz City Council. Photo: September 13, 2011.


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