Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Sentinel-News, Evening Edition. Feb. 3, 1942. p. 1


Italian, Japanese and German aliens in Santa Cruz who may have harbored a hope that some disposition would come to exclude them from the evacuation order, had those hopes completely quashed Tuesday in a justice department announcement from Washington that "no exceptions" would be made.

The new disclosure brought home the severity of the hardships local evacuees face after February 24.

There will be no relaxation of the regulations, it was said, to permit the aged and infirm or those Axis aliens living with naturalized or citizen sons and daughters to remain in the areas.


All enemy aliens also will be prohibited from entering the restricted areas for shopping or similar purposes.

One ray of cheer was the expectation the farm security administration would assist nationals affected by the orders in finding new homes and jobs, but plans to cope with the resettlement problem were still indefinite.

Locally it appeared Tuesday artichoke and brussel sprouts growers along the coast between Santa Cruz and Davenport, in whose fields alien Italians are employed to quite an extent, and the fishing industry at the wharf will bear the brunt of evacuation.

The growers definitely face a labor shortage, according to Louis Poletti, manager of the Davenport Producers Association, representing a large majority of the artichokes and sprouts growers.


Most of the fields are in the restricted area he said, and aliens can not set foot within the designated limits.

Some growers will be excluded from the area, Poletti added, indicating their numbers are exceedingly small, that most of the producers are citizens.

"It's pretty hard to tell who will replace them in the fields," he said, "but I think we will get the crop out one way or another."

One favorable aspect so far as this year is concerned is that the harvesting peak has passed. Sprouts are now at the end of the season.

However, there are two and maybe more months of artichoke picking.

Poletti also stated this year's crop has suffered from over much rainfall, but not to the extent of last year.

One of the prominent producers, John Mazzei, declared, "It hits pretty hard. We've got some working men who are not citizens although as far as I know they're loyal. On our ranch we employ quite a few Filipinos. They are getting ready now to move out for the asparagus season at Sacramento as the sprouts crop ends."

Another well-known coast road rancher, Joe Scaroni, Sr., indicated, "If the alien laborers are withdrawn, it will hurt. I don't know how that labor would be replaced."

He indicated the possibility of permits to allow them to continue work, in which case, he said, there would be no difficulty. That possibility was voided, however.

In Santa Cruz city, subject of high interest is the order restricting aliens of enemy nationality from the waterfront.

Townspeople interested in the fate of these men and their families swarmed over the wharf Tuesday to talk to them.

In some cases, where only one member of the family is an alien, a peculiar situation will arise, it was admitted.

Whether aliens will have to continue paying taxes on property which they are not allowed to use is not known. Final disposition of their property probably is up to the government, it was felt.

Malio Stagnaro, "boss" of the wharf, reported the Italian aliens of the fishermen's colony taking the situation "pretty calmly."

"They're waiting further orders from the government and have taken no steps to move yet. They are not bitter about it at all," said Stagnaro.

Robert Kinzie, Jr., superintendent of the Santa Cruz Portland Cement plant north of Davenport, posed a technical question as to whether alien workers at the plant could drive on the coast highway to the plant.

The plant is outside the evacuation area, but a few Italian aliens -- less than a dozen -- are employed there from Santa Cruz.

Terminology of the order designating the restricted area is ambiguous on this point. It reads:

"No. 28. Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, including part of Santa Cruz and Monterey and commencing at the mouth of Laguna creek, running up the creek to State Highway No. 1 (coast road), then south on State highway No. 1 to the Carmel river, etc."

Kinzie indicated that since boundaries usually follow a middle line, workers could drive to work in a free area, but could not return home without using the wrong side of the highway and violating traffic rules.

A few Italian aliens in Davenport, also out of the restricted area, will be hit by the order, it was indicated, since they are employed in fields south of the boundary limit. However, most of the population there works at the cement plant or in the fields north of Laguna creek, it was said.

Meanwhile, tentative plans to solve the enemy alien control problem without evacuating Japanese to the interior of the United States from coast points were decided upon Monday at a conference of military and government officials in Sacramento, Gov. Culbert Olson announced.

Declaring the plans could not be revealed until they had been fully considered and means for effecting them worked out, the governor said the tentative proposal would require complete co-operation of Japanese loyal to the United States, would give them an opportunity to demonstrate such loyalty.

Santa Cruz county is the center of the world's greatest artichoke and brussels sprouts producing area. Statistics show 1500 acres planted to the two crops in 1940, approximately the same as this year.

Farm value of all agricultural production in the county in 1940 was $6,324,000. Fruits, berries and nuts led with $2,561,000, of which $1,500,000 came from apples. The county is the state's leading producer of this fruit.


Truck crops brought $1,761,000; livestock and products $1,022,000; miscellaneous crops $575,000 and field crops $400,000.

Total value of farms with their buildings was set at $18,922,530 and implements and machinery at another $1,268,885.

Of a total land area of 280,960 acres, 150,060 are arable, 23,935 idle cropland and plowable pasture and 46,774 woodland and miscellaneous. Average overall value of farm land was $180 per acre, fourth highest in the state.

Plans for the evacuation of enemy aliens from vital defense areas in California to nip any possibility of sabotage or "fifth column" activity, were being completed today with the assurance wholesale removal to the midwest of Japanese, Italian and German nationals was not contemplated.

Federal and local authorities who detained nearly 500 Japanese on Terminal Island, adjoining Los Angeles harbor's army and navy establishments, were rounding up scores of other nationals they regarded as "dangerous" at every point in the state.

Eighty six "forbidden" zones already have been established in California by authority of Attorney General Francis Biddle under direction of President Roosevelt. Thus far they have been designated by the army's western defense command. Additional zones are expected to be named by the navy.


Within these areas aliens may not reside, work nor visit. Penalty for violations of the order is internment.

The order particularly strikes at the fishing and vegetable industries of California.

Fishermen on San Francisco and Monterey bays -- two affected areas -- are predominantly Italian, and more than 50 per cent are aliens, although long time residents of the United States.

In the Los Angeles harbor area, Japanese fishermen predominate. The sprinkling of Jugoslavs, Greeks and Scandinavians will be left to carry on the huge industry.

The bulk of California's truck gardens are operated by Japanese and a large part of them adjoin vital areas -- oil fields, airports and airplane factories, refineries, smelters, steel mills and powder works.

And because agriculture is so vital to the state, W.J. Cecil, state director of agriculture, was called into a protracted conference yesterday between Gov. Culbert Olson, Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt, commanding the western defense command, and Thomas J. Clark, co-ordinator of alien enemy control for the department of justice.

For more than a month Cecil has been at work on a survey of aliens occupying farming lands and the disrupture that would result if they were removed.

The Japanese virtually control the truck-garden crops requiring "stoop labor" -- the carrots, beets, onions and asparagus -- and a large part of the lettuce crop, particularly in the vicinity of Los Angeles. The Italians operate huge tracts of artichokes between San Francisco and Monterey, and hundreds of small dairies along the coast line.


Olson said he would deliver a statewide radio address tomorrow night outlining what federal authorities expect of the state government and other details of the conference.

He stressed the desirability of avoiding the "extreme procedure" of removing all adult Japanese to the interior for the duration.

The tentative plans reached with DeWitt and Clark will afford adequate protection against fifth column effort or activity, Olson believed.

Biddle's order yesterday closed the 50 mile coastline from Bodega Bay south to San Francisco Bay, to all enemy aliens.

Also closed were the cities of Vallejo, Richmond, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Nortonville, Summerville and Alameda, bordering San Francisco and San Pablo bays, extending almost 20 miles inland. These incorporate the industrial area of the region -- the steel mills, the smelters, oil refineries, and docks, shipyards and manufacturing plants.

Vallejo is the home of the Mare Island navy yard.

More than 2000 aliens, mostly Italians, are affected in the Contra Costa county industrial area; approximately 1600 Japanese and Italians in Alameda are under orders to leave the city.

There was no accurate estimate of the number of enemy aliens residing in the 30 square mile Vallejo area.


Terminal Island, in the middle of Los Angeles harbor, long has been a Japanese fishing center and a suspected settlement. It lies in the midst of oil and lumber docks, two shipyards, a navy airplane base, an incomplete navy ship terminal and a former federal correctional institution transferred to the navy to become a receiving station. A recent census disclosed that of 2200 Japanese living on the island, 800 were aliens, 523 of them men.

"Nearly all" alien men will be removed from the island, an official said, but women and children will not be molested.

Meanwhile registration of all German, Italian and Japanese nationals over 14 years of age on the Pacific coast was under way. Only 3000 of an estimated 30,000 in San Francisco responded to the call yesterday and the final day for registration was extended until next Monday night.

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Evening Edition. Reproduced by permission.