Photos: Before and after the Trestle Trail Project
Trestle Trail Project Completed!
The first segment of the Coastal Rail Trail is open (ahead of time and under budget)! The Trestle Trail Project replaces the previous narrow walkway on the San Lorenzo River Trestle Bridge with a new multi-use trail that is 10 feet wide. I’m proud that years ago my office advocated for a quicker and cheaper fix for this pinch point, rather than spending a huge amount of money to rebuild the entire bridge. We succeeded with partners like Ecology Action, the Land Trust, the City of Santa Cruz, the RTC, former Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird and the community. If you haven’t already, check out the new safe and accessible way to get across town with your bike, feet or stroller!
Addressing homelessness continues to be a major challenge in our community. I strongly supported the City of Santa Cruz’s decision to close the Gateway Encampment, which had been declared unsafe by the City’s Fire Chief and the County’s Public Health Officer. Going forward, my focus will be on increasing resources to families in our community who are at risk of becoming homeless, continuing support for well-run shelters- not encampments in neighborhoods, expanding mental health and substance abuse treatment, and working collaboratively with the City to help those in need and reduce impacts on the community.
Banning Flavored Tobacco
I’m happy to report that the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in the unincorporated area of the County. This is about protecting kids from big tobacco. Flavored tobacco products play a key role in enticing new users, particularly youth. A study published by the National Institutes of Health and the FDA found that 80.8% of youth ages 12-17 who used a tobacco product started with a flavored products that have child-appealing flavors such as grape, watermelon, and gummy bear. Santa Cruz Mayor Martine Watkins championed a similar policy in the City and I’m glad the County followed her lead.
Coming Up: County Budget Hearings
Passing a balanced budget and setting our spending priorities is the most important action the Board takes all year. My goal, as always, is to allocate the County’s funding to reflect the priorities and values of Santa Cruz County residents. The proposed County Budget can be found here and an online interactive budget module to make exploring the budget even easier here. County Budget Hearings will be held daily from June 17 through June 20 with evening sessions in Santa Cruz and Watsonville and final budget actions on Tuesday, June 25. If you have thoughts on the County Budget, feel free to send me an email.
Landlords are needed to help house vulnerable families. Through state grants and local efforts, the County helps homeless families become permanently housed. Over the past four years we have successfully housed approximately 200 families. With more willing landlords we can do more.
The County in partnership with community programs will provide families with case management, housing location assistance, rent subsidies and other temporary financial assistance towards ending their homeless situation and moving towards self-sufficiency. In addition to regular move-in and rent payments, landlords that rent to program participants may receive financial incentives and a program liaison to mediate potential landlord-tenant issues. Interested landlords can email Jessica Scheiner or call 831-454-4088 for more information.
My Podcast: An Honorable Profession
I launched “An Honorable Profession,” a podcast with NewDEAL Leaders to profile state and local leaders who are making change and giving me (and hopefully you) hope for our country.
Here are few new episodes that are particularly interesting:
- Listen to my conversation with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo about why he refuses to give subsidies to corporations and how he thinks we can balance technology and democracy.
- Need some good political news? Listen to my interview with Leirion Gaylor Baird, who was just elected the Mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Hear about Boise City Council President Lauren McLean’s work to guide Boise’s growth as a vibrant city, and putting the environment at the center of city decisions. She just announced her candidacy for Mayor.
You can listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Podtail or wherever podcasts are found. I hope you will check them out and let me know what you think.
*No taxpayers funds are used to make this podcast*