Thank you to voters for overwhelmingly approving Measure G, which will help fund new public safety and behavioral health programs, parks and other critical needs. The Board will act quickly to put these needed funds to work on residents’ behalf.
My biggest priority will be supporting Sheriff Hart's plans to deploy intervention teams composed of deputies and mental health workers to address high impact individuals who have repeatedly declined services. These teams will operate county-wide but will focus their efforts in the City of Santa Cruz.
In addition, thanks to Measure G, the County is in a position to fund several parks projects, including Chanticleer Park and LEO’s Haven, the County’s first all-inclusive playground for kids of all abilities.
UCSC Long Range Development Plan Update
UC Santa Cruz has begun preparing a new Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) which, based on public statements, will call for an enrollment increase from the current 18,000 students to as many as 28,000 students by the year 2040. While UCSC provides many benefits to our community, it also has significant impacts on the housing, water and traffic challenges in our community. In June, Santa Cruz voters overwhelmingly supported Measure U, which expressed the community’s opposition to the proposed enrollment growth at UCSC.
As an engaged member of the UCSC LRDP Community Advisory Group, I’m strongly urging the University, the State and the Committee responsible for hiring the next chancellor to understand the acute impacts of enrollment growth on our community.
While local governments don’t have direct authority over the University’s growth decisions, it is critical that the University and Legislature hear from the community on this issue, and that community members participate in the process. Keep an eye out for future updates on this challenging issue.
Affordable Housing: County Waives Fees for Small ADUs
The Board of Supervisors voted to waive building fees for small accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the unincorporated area, saving applicants thousands of dollars and becoming one of the first communities in California to remove this potential barrier to affordable housing. The fee waiver applies to units 640 square feet or smaller and is part of a three-year pilot program.
Santa Cruz is in a critical housing crisis and this fee waiver pilot program is one part of a multi-pronged approach to this complex issue.
To foster the development of ADUs, the County has also created an online toolkit allowing property owners to quickly determine if they are eligible to build an ADU, research financing, and anticipate costs using a fee, cost, and cash flow estimator. More information is available here.
Supporting the Holiday Food Drive
Let’s fight hunger this holiday season! Every $1 donated to Second Harvest Food Bank provides 4 healthy meals. Second Harvest Food Bank serves 55,000 people each month- that’s children, seniors, veterans, working poor and more. Let’s give them all the support we can! Click here
In October I was happy to cut the ribbon for the Davenport Recycled Water Project. The project represents a great achievement and partnership by County Public Works and the Sanitation District Team, the community, the state and local farmers. The project is a win for the community of Davenport which will benefit from new infrastructure at no increase to their sewer rates, it is a win for the neighboring farmers who will be able to use the treated water on their crops for cents on the dollar of what potable water costs, and it is a win for the greater community by keeping local farmland in production.
I recently 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.
Check Out My Podcast!
Here are few new episodes that are particularly interesting:
- Barack Obama called Mayor Pete Buttigieg the future of American politics. He is a veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, an out gay man and one of the best mayors in America. Listen to my interview with him to hear his insights on the midterm elections and his remarkable life story. He might be running for President in 2020...
- Tune in for Columbus Councilmember Elizabeth Brown, a champion of paid family leave, women’s health care and immigrants’ rights who shares insights about women running and winning in politics.
- What happens when you give a progressive leader more than a billion dollars to manage? Really good things. Check out Oregon's Treasurer Tobias Reed on how understanding the power of capital can lead to social change.
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*
Opportunities to Get Involved
Would you or someone you know like to serve on a County Commission? The Commissions advise the Board of Supervisors on important matters affecting local residents and work on a variety of interesting efforts. There are 3rd District openings on these important County Commissions:
Commission on Disabilities
Latino Affairs Commission
To apply, please fill out the online form here.