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News from Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty
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Supervisor Ryan Coonerty - Third District News
Two years ago, I had the honor of being sworn in as your County Supervisor.   It’s been incredible to work with so many great people to improve our community.   Below is a brief report on the major issues I've been working on, what's been accomplished, and what's on the horizon.  As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions.

Standing Up for Our Values
Like many in our community, I have deep concerns about our President and his ill-advised proposals and appointments.  Immediately after the election, I joined with several local leaders to sign this open letter to the community voicing objections to the rhetoric of this administration and pledging to fight for equality, transparency and justice.  I will stand up for our community’s values and will work tirelessly to ensure our County is a model for a more just and equitable society for everyone. 

Supporting Our Families & Reducing Inequality
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Supporting Moms and Their Babies-Working with local healthcare partners, we are establishing the proven Nurse-Family Partnership program that changes the lives of first-time low-income moms and their babies by providing regular home visits from specially trained public health nurses.  This effective “upstream” program increases healthy births, decreases child abuse and neglect, reduces behavioral and intellectual problems in children and increases families’ economic self-sufficiency among other benefits.  I’m working with Supervisor Zach Friend and children’s advocates to make sure a $350,000 investment in at-risk 0-3 year olds is in the final 2017-2018 County Budget.  Over the long-term, I will work to sustain and grow these funds.  I’m happy to report that the Board voted to support Thrive by Three – an Early Childhood Development Fund in January. 

More Money for Working Families – I’ve expanded County efforts to get hard-working families the Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and food security to which they are entitled.  EITC and food assistance programs support people who are struggling to make ends meet and brings millions of dollars to our local economy.
 
Incentivizing Affordable Housing- I led the effort at the Board to encourage smaller, more affordable units by adopting lower affordable housing fees for smaller units and higher fees for large units.  These fees can be invested to create more affordable housing options in the community.  I’m currently collaborating with Habitat for Humanity on new housing opportunities.    
 
Reducing Homelessness - I supported the creation of a County Homelessness Coordinator position to manage and implement an effective strategy to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in our community.  In last year’s budget, I also supported increasing the number of housing case managers that prevent and reduce homelessness.
 
Making Digital Video Equipment Accessible- I urged Community TV to utilize available funding to establish a grant program providing digital video equipment to entities such as Digital Nest. 
 
Revitalizing Abbott Square- I am working with the Museum of Art and History to support the revitalization of Abbott Square in Downtown Santa Cruz which promises to be an engaging gathering place for families, artists and our whole community.

Protecting Our Environment
The  San Vicente Redwoods (formerly Cemex Redwoods)—the biggest piece of unprotected redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains until its purchase in 2011. Photo courtesy Land Trust.
Stewarding our Forests and Beaches- For the past year, I have been collaborating with Sempervirens, Peninsula Open Space Trust, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, County Parks and the Sheriff’s Department to implement a Parks Patrol program that will put Parks Service Officers on the San Vicente Redwoods property.  The program will be funded by the property owners (Sempervirens and POST) in order to educate students and visitors to the San Vicente Redwoods, allow for appropriate access and provide law enforcement for this special land.  I’ve also worked with Save Our Shores and State Parks to reduce litter and vandalism on North Coast beaches.
 
Reducing Carbon Emissions- I set ambitious goals for the County that will lead to reduced carbon emissions, more local jobs and savings on energy costs to taxpayers.  I am also supporting an effort led by Supervisor McPherson to establish a Community Choice Energy agency in our region to increase renewable energy production, grow green jobs and keep our energy dollars local.
 
Designating Cotoni-Coast Dairies as a National Monument- I worked with the community, Senator Boxer, Representative Eshoo and the Obama Administration to develop conditions in the President’s National Monument proclamation to prevent unfettered expansion, develop a meaningful management plan and provide additional protections for the biological resources on the land.  It is a remarkable property and we all owe a debt to the community members who originally protected it from development.
 
Building the Rail Trail- Working with key partners, we secured funding to design and build the North Coast Rail Trail from Wilder Ranch to Panther Beach.  We also secured funding to design the segment from Panther Beach to Davenport.  After securing a $500,000 State grant, I’m working with the City of Santa Cruz to widen the heavily used San Lorenzo Trestle Walkway, so that it is safer and easier for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. 
 
Planning for the Re-use of the Cemex (cement plant) property on the North Coast-   We’ve launched a process to plan for future uses for an amazing and unique property.  Please visit the website to get information and share your ideas.
 
Simplifying Solar Permitting- In order to incentivize solar installations, I worked to simplify the County solar permit process and decrease the solar permit fee.
 
Improving Twin Lakes Beachfront - Continuing the work of my father, I shepherded this important coastal access improvement project to the point of construction and anticipated completion this year. 
 
Improving Davenport Wastewater- I am actively supporting the grant-funded effort for a Davenport wastewater facility.   This project will help protect our bay and will save money for ratepayers.

Increasing Public Health and Safety
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Investing in Healthcare- As a Board member for the Central California Alliance for Health (the Medi-Cal HMO for Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced Counties), I voted to allocate $100 million in smart healthcare investments in our region.  
 
Improving Mental Health Services- I’m working to increase effective mental health services, public awareness and professional training and services for individuals who refuse treatment.  I'm also working to ensure we are meeting the needs of kids in crisis.
 
Increasing Public Safety- I’ve actively supported the MOST program, which helps stabilize mentally-ill offenders by providing employment, treatment and pro-social activities.  I continue to support the PACT program which focuses on reducing recidivism for chronic offenders by offering services and accountability.  These programs have both increased safety downtown and in our parks and have also reduced unnecessary arrests and emergency room visits.
 
Reducing Needles- I helped lead the effort to pass a strong County drug and sharps take-back ordinance.
 
Regulating Cannabis- I’m working to ensure that we have sensible County policy to address the environmental and neighborhood impacts of cannabis cultivation and also to make sure that adult residents have safe access to cannabis.
 
Standing up for Planned Parenthood- I joined community members in strong opposition to a fellow Supervisor’s proposal that the County support an investigation of Planned Parenthood.  In the end, the Board majority expressed support for the important health services Planned Parenthood provides.   
 
Ensuring Effective and Responsive Government
Improving Governance- The County’s bond rating is one of the best in the state.  Because of our sound fiscal management, we now have long-term contracts with our County workers, and through my advocacy, we are now making sure that every County contract includes measurable outcomes in order to ensure smart and effective investment of taxpayer dollars.
 
Increasing City-County Coordination- I’m working to increase coordination between the City of Santa Cruz and County Government by increasing communication and connection among elected officials and staff so that we can work together toward shared goals.

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 Removing Barriers to Voting- I collaborated with County Clerk Gail Pellerin to remove the requirement to put stamps on mail-in ballots.  I believe exercising your right to vote should be easy, accessible and free. 
 
Dumping Bad Banks- I led the effort for the County to cease doing business with five banks convicted of federal crimes and also spearheaded a policy to suspend County business with Wells Fargo after learning that the bank opened millions of unauthorized accounts. 
 
Limiting Vacation Rentals on the North Coast- At the urging of residents, I brought a vacation rental ordinance to the Board that will prevent the North Coast from being over-run with vacation rentals. 
 
Monitoring Flight Path Changes- I advocated on behalf of my constituents in an effort to make sure the current problems with flight path noise aren’t simply shifted to other County residents.
North Coast View
Next Board of Supervisors Meeting:
February 28, 9:00 a.m.
701 Ocean Street, 5th Floor

Davenport Community Meeting:
Thursday, February 23 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Pacific School Multi-purpose Room
 
State Water Resources Board staff will answer questions about the CKD pile on the Cemex property and Santa Cruz County staff will share information about important and exciting Davenport water and sewer projects. 


LINKS
Board of Supervisors Meeting Schedule
Agendas & Minutes

EMAIL
Ryan Coonerty

Staff
Rachel Dann
Allison Endert




 
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