Cleaning up the Coast
Our Downtown Streets Team works hard, picking up garbage on North Coast beaches three times per week. I joined them on a recent morning to get my hands dirty and support their efforts. As many of you know, the Downtown Streets Team is a volunteer work-experience program for people experiencing homelessness. In exchange for beautifying the community, the team members receive gift cards to help with their basic needs as well as access to employment and case management services. The Streets Team has been doing great work in Downtown for a few years and I'm happy to now have them on the North Coast.
If you see these folks out there please let them know how much you appreciate their great work.
Mourning our Community's Loss
Our community suffered a heart-breaking loss of many loved Santa Cruzans in the Conception boat tragedy. I worked with the City, our schools and County Mental Health to make sure we are providing services for those in need.
Using Data to Serve the Community
I've long been an advocate for data driving government decisions. So, I'm happy to announce that after several years of work, Santa Cruz County is now a national leader in performance management. Check out our two-year totally transparent Operational Plan that sets clear goals and tracks how we are doing in improving life in our County.
To read the full article I co-authored with County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios about this initiative, click here.
Fighting Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is a huge problem facing our planet and even our own Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz County has a proud history of addressing plastic pollution, styrofoam, and other waste. Recently, the Board of Supervisors took action to do even more on this important issue. We banned the sale of plastic water bottles at county facilities and incentivized re-useable cups at food service establishments in the unincorporated area of the County. The County is working on funding more water bottle filling stations at County parks and other facilities as well as exploring other steps we can take to reduce plastics in our environment.
A Safe Crossing in Davenport
A safe pedestrian crossing of Highway 1 in Davenport is badly needed. There have been several injury accidents including the tragic death of a child and recent accident where a child was hit but thankfully survived. The number of visitors to this area is increasing, which makes a safe crossing even more critical. At my direction, the Board of Supervisors voted to work with Caltrans and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to design and construct a safe crossing of Highway 1 in Davenport. Thank you to the community for coming to the recent RTC meeting to emphasize the need for this crossing. I’ll keep pushing for progress so that there are no more tragedies in this location.
Combating Climate Change: Electric Vehicle Incentives
As Vice Chair of the Monterey Bay Air Resources District I am happy to announce the Air Board’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program! The program provides incentives to the general public for the purchase of NEW and USED fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
You could receive $1,000 for a new Battery Electric Vehicle ($750 for a used vehicle) or $500 for a new Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle ($300 for a used vehicle). Apply here. Income qualified residents can receive double the indicated rebate amount! For a low income application please call Central Coast Energy Services at 1-888-728-3637 or download an application in English here. Click here for an application in Spanish.
I am particularly pleased that we are increasing access to these incentives by covering used electric vehicles and hybrids and by increasing the rebate amount for income-qualified residents!
The Davenport Resource Service Center’s Homework Club needs 5-10 mentors to provide academic support for local students. Last year the Homework Club provided academic support to 20 students and a similar number of students is expected this year. If you’re interested in volunteering your time for 1-2 afternoon hours per week please contact Sophia (firstname.lastname@example.org). For those who are unable to volunteer time, the Davenport Resource Service Center is also seeking donations to support the Homework Club. Needs include snacks, school supplies, laptops, and tablets.
Check out the New Podcast Episodes
I host “An Honorable Profession,” a podcast that profiles state and local leaders who are making change and giving me (and hopefully you) hope for our country. Here are few recent new episodes I hope you’ll check out:
You can listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Podtail or wherever podcasts are found. I hope you will check these episodes out and let me know what you think.
*No taxpayer funds are used to make this podcast.*