Campbell’s Capitol Communications
August 19th, 2005
Surf City: We have a persistent and severe budget crisis in this state, as you know. We also have an ongoing energy crisis. We still have a state regulatory structure that is unfriendly to entrepreneurship. We have continuing security issues from an unsecured border and the costs of illegal immigration. We have problems with transportation, not enough affordable housing, etc. etc.
So what issue became hot this week? What topic did most of my calls from the media address? No, nothing listed above. But instead, it was the critical matter of whether or not Huntington Beach or Santa Cruz is the real Surf City USA.
This issue has arisen because Senator Joe Simitian, who represents the area around Santa Cruz, has introduced SCR 60, which would “designate the City of Santa Cruz as ‘Surf City USA’”. The resolution extols the virtues of Santa Cruz’s surfing lore as justification for this coveted designation including its “laid back lifestyle” and the fact that Surf City Coffee is located there.
Now, I represent the City of Huntington Beach and in their defense, they have taken significant steps to be designated as “Surf City USA”. In fact, the city’s Conference and Visitor’s Bureau recently obtained a federal trademark for the name “Surf City USA”. That Bureau has licensing contracts to produce everything from bicycles to apparel items with the Surf City USA moniker. So, they believe that this resolution would interfere with their trademarks.
So who is the real Surf City? Believe it or not, this debate has been raging for over a decade. A USA today article in 1992 pointed out that in addition to the two cities in California, there is actually a Surf City, North Carolina and a Surf City, New Jersey where those are actually the cities’ names. Surf City, New Jersey? What were they thinking?
Anyway, to try to resolve this important dispute, I went to the original source; the lyrics of Jan and Dean’s hit song “Surf City”. There really are no clues there. Neither city is mentioned and unless one or the other can claim “two girls for every boy”, then it’s a tie.
The Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA”, however, does in fact mention Santa Cruz in its list of places that we will “tell the teacher we’re surfin’” But, it also mentions Redondo Beach, La Jolla, L.A., Wiamea Bay, Manhattan Beach and Doheny in Orange County. So, maybe they should all be “Surf City USA”.
I am aware how the future of our Democracy may hinge on where the real surf city lies. But, I just think we ought to leave it to each city to call themselves what they want. And if they want to go trademark it, fine. Besides, how can California declare Surf City USA anyway? Wouldn’t we be declaring “Surf City, California”?
I hope when we find the real Surf City, that we’ll find the real Atlantis too. Now that would be cool.
Until next week, I remain respectfully,
Senator John Campbell