#NeverAgain- End Gun Violence
In the wake of yet another horrific school shooting at the hands of a gunman wielding an AR-15 assault rifle, we have seen a movement erupt led by young people. The #NeverAgain movement is demanding sensible gun control. I brought an item to the Board of Supervisors on February 27 to add our County's voice to the students demanding sensible gun policies. The Board unanimously voted to express support for the March For Our Lives taking place on March 24 in Washington D.C. and around the country, to support the effort to divest California pension funds from certain gun manufacturers and to support legislation to increase the age requirement for purchasing rifles from gun dealers and support the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. There are marches planned in the County and around the Bay Area on March 24 and there will be a Santa Cruz County gun buy-back from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day.
I stand in full support of the effort to end gun violence and I was proud to see so many local students take part in the walkout. I was at Santa Cruz High School to help register new voters in an effort coordinated by County Clerk Gail Pellerin, Santa Cruz County Women’s March and local school districts.
Referendum on UCSC Growth
Supporting Working Families
UC Santa Cruz has begun the process for their next Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and has proposed increasing enrollment by 10,000 students (for a total of 28,000 students) as early 2040.
Like many residents, I recognize that UCSC brings many benefits to our community, but I believe that the proposed addition of 10,000 students would have severe negative impacts on housing costs, traffic and water.
I worked with City Councilmembers to place a referendum on UCSC growth on the June 5 Ballot. This referendum, known as Measure U
, will ask voters if a City Ordinance should be adopted "expressing the Santa Cruz community's opposition to the proposed enrollment growth at the University of California, Santa Cruz." While local governments don't have authority over UCSC's growth plans, the vote on Measure U will send a strong message to the UC Regents early in the LRDP process about our community's view on further enrollment growth.
I am working with the County Human Services Department to make sure that all those who qualify are getting the help they need. CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps, is a nutrition benefit program that helps struggling families pay for food year-round. While many families in our community utilize CalFresh to help put food on the table, many more are eligible but don’t realize it.
If you know someone who needs help putting food on the table, please urge him or her to apply!
Apply online: www.GetCalFresh.org
By phone: 1-888-421-8080
In person: 1020 Emeline Avenue in Santa Cruz and 18 W. Beach Street in Watsonville
We are also working to put more money into the pockets of working families by offering free tax preparation for low-income families and individuals. The goal is to make sure residents receive the earned income tax credits they are entitled to. Click here to find out when and where tax help is available.
Meeting the Needs of Women in the Criminal Justice System
Thanks to community advocacy, Sheriff Jim Hart, and County investment, the Blaine Street Women’s Facility has been upgraded to better meet the needs of incarcerated women by providing robust programs and services in a safe, secure and supportive environment giving these women the best chance for successful re-entry to the community.
In another important effort to improve the lives of justice-involved women, I’m pleased that the County is continuing the commitment to the Gemma program, which provides transitional housing, therapy, case coordination, and other critical re-entry services to recently-incarcerated women. Gemma provides the support structure and safety to empower women to break the cycle of incarceration and recidivism.
Exxon is now suing us in response to our lawsuit in an attempt to intimidate us and discourage other communities from filing similar lawsuits. We won't be deterred by Exxon's retaliatory tactics and we won't let the oil companies stick the public with the bill after they've reaped untold profits and lied to us.
Battling Big Oil
Last December, I supported the County and City of Santa Cruz filing lawsuits against 29 oil, gas and coal companies for their role in creating climate change and the resulting damage from storms, fires and sea level rise. We have evidence that Big Oil, like Big Tobacco, knew for 50 years of their potential impacts, but covered it up and ran campaigns of misinformation to block legislation. You can read the complaint here. This suit is on contingency and will not cost taxpayer funds.
Opportunities to be Involved
Please come to a public meeting on the draft strategic plan for County Parks. In 2017 the Santa Cruz County Parks Department undertook a strategic planning process and asked you all what was most important to YOU. On March 27, 28 & 29, they will bring what they learned back to you and the community.
Public Meeting Times and Locations:
March 27, 6:00-7:30pm- Simpkins Swim Center, Live Oak
March 28, 6:00-7:30pm- Highlands Park, Ben Lomond
March 29, 6:00-7:30pm- Civic Plaza, Watsonville
Come hear what's in the plan and how it got there... and why this plan matters to YOU! Learn more here.
Would you or someone you know like to serve on the Santa Cruz County Seniors Commission? The Commission advises the Board of Supervisors on all matters affecting seniors, reviews the needs of seniors, monitors the various services made available to seniors and communicates with Federal and State agencies and commissions serving seniors. To apply, please fill out the online form here.
Consider applying to serve on the Civil Grand Jury. Each year, 19 citizens are selected to serve and study government functions. Learn more and apply here.