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Santa Cruz County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

UCSC College Democrats Questionnaire

By Lynn Robinson

Candidate for Council Member; City of Santa Cruz

This information is provided by the candidate
This is a questionnaire I filled out for the College Democrats
1. Why do you identify yourself as a Democrat?

At the age of 18, when I first registered to vote, it was the summer of President Richard Nixon and Watergate. As a student and first time voter you can imagine that left an impression on me then and clearly defined me as a life-long Democrat. I strongly believe in a government process that involves all citizens. I work hard at helping all local citizens participate, making sure they know that their role is essential to a truly diverse, transparent and welcoming local governmental process. No one should ever think that their voice or their vote does not count and that to me is one of the cornerstones of the Democratic Party.

2 What are your qualifications for this office?

I have been working tirelessly on many issues that face the City of Santa Cruz. I have been doing the hard work of a council member in various capacities with my hours and hours of helping people throughout the City work on a wide scope of City issues. I am known for my proven ability to create new partnerships, bringing people together to solve problems, and listening to everyone in order to create visions and plans that work.

  • I am a member of the Santa Cruz General Plan Advisory Committee, providing needed vision for the future of the city of Santa Cruz.
  • I am a member of the County's Transportation Funding Task Force, providing a consensus of stakeholders for future sustainable transportation funding.
  • I am a liaison for the UCSC Good Neighbor Student Internship, creating new collaborations between students and the residents of Santa Cruz.
  • I am on the Scope Park Art Selection Committee, providing student and emerging artists an opportunity to create a new public art piece in the heart of Downtown.
  • I was a participant throughout the entire Community UCSC LRDP Committee, providing input on the growth plans for the University.
  • I own an organic garden design business and will bring the many years of my professional experience as a small businesswoman, and best practices as an organic gardener to my new role on the City Council.
  • I am a member of the Locally Owned Business Alliance that helps support our unique, local small businesses and helps our City retain its quintessential Santa Cruz style.
  • I am a cofounder of Santa Cruz Neighbors which connects neighborhoods city-wide to help them partner with various Santa Cruz City departments, the local business community, and UCSC and other local schools in order to help make the best decisions on issues affecting all these various groups.
  • I recently completed the CERT program,( Citizen Emergency Response Team), and the Citizens Police Academy, and I feel all City Council members should be required to complete both programs. It is invaluable for understanding the Public Safety needs of our community, and what we as residents and elected City officials need to be prepared for.

3. What are your priorities/goals for your term in office?

One of my priorities is that all residents of Santa Cruz, including seniors, children, students, single women, disabled, business owners and neighbors know they are safe in every part of the City. We need to refocus on all people being safe as they live in the neighborhoods, work at any business in the City, go to any school campus, and use any of our transportation options.

Another priority is to change the Town/Gown relationship between the City and the University that has gone on for more than two decades. We have very critical work to do in defining the future of Santa Cruz and the UCSC campus. I support the educational needs of the University and I know how strongly the local community feels about taking care of the impacts that come along with any University growth. The UC staff officially received 1500 comments on the LRDP. My goal is to be a consensus builder on realistic sustainable solutions for both the students and the community as a whole. I have worked directly with many UCSC students on housing and transportation issues as the Good Neighbor liaison, and will soon work with this year's interns.

I will also be focused on creating new economic opportunities for businesses that can enhance our Santa Cruz style of being unique, being environmentally sustainable, and providing good jobs for local residents. Through my own organic garden lifestyle along with my knowledge from working on the future plans for the City, I have many ideas that fit our values and create new business marketing concepts. Just one idea is to make a permanent destination location for our organic farmers market similar to Pike's Fish Market in Seattle. Locals and tourist flock to it, but is serves a real purpose and brings in money. We enjoy a bounty of small organic farms and we should be the community that gives them a permanent destination presence in our city.

4. What is the most pressing challenge facing the office you are seeking and how do you plan to address that challenge?

The most pressing challenge for the City Council office right now is the budget. Many of the other issues that wrap around that topic, such as UCSC growth and public safety, also intertwine with how our economy is doing. Crime rises when the economy is suffering. When we are prospering as a community and a City government, then the Public Safety personnel have more of the resources they need to do their best. The City takes the financial brunt of UCSC policies such as housing and transportation when the University uses the resources and the City loses, such as the purchase of the Texas Instruments building. The current UC policy of making on-campus housing and transportation self supporting enterprises unfortunately is a negative to our City's budget. I would like to see us join efforts to change UC policies that cost students too much as well as the host community.

5. Why should the College Democrats at UC Santa Cruz endorse your candidacy and what would you do to support UCSC students if elected?

As a lifelong Democrat, and a UCSC graduate in Fine Arts, I am married to another lifelong Democrat and UCSC graduate in Creative Writing. Our daughter, 19, is a junior at UCLA, and our son, 17, will begin applying to UC campuses soon. Although I am a bit older than you, between my core values as a Democrat and my involvement with my own kids as students currently, I am really tuned in to what you are experiencing on a daily basis. I have been working directly with UCSC students for the last five years, because I get directly involved with students participating in the Good Neighbor Internship program. I like helping UC students off campus because I know they get a bad rap that is undeserved. I arranged for students from the sustainability group as well as the Student Union to come and speak to the General Plan Committee so we could hear serious ideas about what you need and expect and want from the City of Santa Cruz. I would love to collaborate this year with students on housing issues. I am the perfect candidate to help bridge the divide between "neighbors" and students, as I see both points of view but I am very understanding of the needs of students.

6 What are your concerns about the growth of UCSC? How would you go about solving these issues? The UCSC growth is problematic in several ways. While the campus has done a fantastic job of reducing car trips, we all know that all streets leading up to the University as well as the streets though out the campus itself are severely congested every day. We need to get serious about our park and ride lots and alternative transportation options that help students and employees on campus reach their destination without having to drive all the way up to campus. When I was a student I was able to ride my bike often and the other days I would use the bus. We need to connect more bus routes and somehow convince the Metro and TAPS to align their routes to actually work for the student's `commute' needs. The other growth concern is the housing and water concerns. These are two resources that the City of Santa Cruz acknowledges are at risk. The University's needs for housing students and staff would drive the local housing market and also use water that we would have wanted to allocate for non-university purposes. I would work with other cities that host a University as well as UC personal to start re-creating some of the outdated UC policies that create off campus impacts.

7.What are your thoughts on the "Party Ordinance"? Do you feel it is mutually beneficial to the students and the community? Why or why not? The Party Ordinance had me concerned in its early conception because I had understood that neighbors were asking for a rental ordinance, not a party ordinance, which is very different. I also knew that out of control parties had become real issues for some neighborhoods. I attended a meeting where I voiced my concern that the ordinance was too "Big Brother". I met with the Student Union about the problems they saw with the ordinance, and we agreed on some possible changes. My understanding is that there have been only a few infractions with this ordinance. I also know that it was never intended to be focused on students, and in fact I know some local kids that are not students and kept having serial out of control parties until this ordinance more or less stopped the problem. While I wouldn't say that the ordinance is mutually beneficial to students and the community, I do feel it lets students know exactly what the playing field is and hopefully most people can party within the guidelines. Text messaging and cell phones are what help fuel these parties that start out with known friends and students and then quickly escalate into out of control gatherings. That is the main reasons the ordinance at this point is a necessary tool.

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