This is the questionnaire I filled out for LOBA
1. What are your priorities if elected to the Santa Cruz City Council?
2. What do you see as the top 3 issues facing the City of Santa Cruz and what will you do if elected to address them?
- The priorities I will work on are maintaining safe neighborhoods and business districts so that city residents and visitors alike know they have a healthy, safe environment to live and shop in.
- I will encourage more local business and neighborhood involvement in planning our future business districts. As a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee I know we need to actually work with the people who will be most affected by future plans, and we currently don't have enough of that collaboration. Areas that will be changing include Mission St., Ocean St., Harvey West and Westside Industrial lands, Cedar St., Front St., Soquel Ave., and the Beach area. I will work hard to help these become very vibrant localized business areas that work well with the neighboring residential areas.
- It is time to get rid of the divisive politics that Santa Cruz is still engaged in. We are a small town and it is imperative that we work together on issues that become polarizing. The current minimum wage initiative is an example of how a lack of cooperation is creating adversarial relationships that are unnecessary. I will work hard with all groups that have opposite ideas to create workable solutions.
3. If elected, how will you work to include the locally owned business community in your decision making process?
- Public safety is a current issue that is at the forefront of many residents and business owners. People want to know that the City Council is focused in keeping our city as crime free as possible. I will continue the close working relationship I have created with the Police Department through my neighborhood networking. We have to work on solutions together with the Police Department, and our business districts are in the same role. Business owners who stay networked with the Police department and the City Council members will be better served than those who do not take the time.
- We cannot continue down the path we are on with a lack of financial revenues creating budget cuts year after year. The City Council needs to take the lead in creating a very strong vibrant business climate that fits the ambiance and uniqueness of Santa Cruz. We need to focus on what we realistically can revitalize that brings in more tax base. The business areas I mentioned in #1 are all primed and ready for re-use of buildings, replacement buildings, or simply a face-lift of a building to invigorate and create an opportunity for new businesses to thrive in Santa Cruz.
- Future planning both by the City and by UCSC is the third big issue facing the City in the next year. We are not like other cities around the state that are growing and creating new infrastructure and housing developments. As a city that is almost built out, we have the challenge of accommodating growth without the physical land to provide necessary improvements. Engaging more city residents in the process of how we will evolve our neighborhoods and encourage new business is an important priority of mine. Also, making our elected officials and UCSC administration work in a more dynamic, transparent and cooperative manner is crucial to any meaningful future planning. Planning for the future under such adversarial relationships has been unproductive for our city for 20+ years and I will work very hard to change that.
4. What is your position on Measure G - the proposal to raise the minimum wage only in the City of Santa Cruz?
- As a member of LOBA I have seen first hand the importance of being a part of the policy making decisions that help our local business community function. I will seek advice from a variety of local businesses when I see policies being created at the council that could use the input of the local business community. We are a city that can really prosper with the help of the many small local businesses that set the vitality and uniqueness of Santa Cruz apart from other cities. As a councilmember I would use my position to remind the public of how important it is to support our local business community as we are all dependant on each other to do well and prosper.
5. What do you think can be done to improve the business climate in Santa Cruz?
- I am not supporting Measure G. I have had many conversations with countless community members and small business owners, and everyone has agreed that the minimum wage needs to be increased. The problem with the current crafting of Measure G is that no provisions were made for the non-profit sector, and there are several un-intended consequences from that oversight. Also, the indexing that will continue to increase the wages to a point where many local businesses will have to make other dramatic cuts (such as heath care) was another unnecessary oversight that makes this current initiative unacceptable.
I would be honored to receive your endorsement as a City Council Candidate. I have invested a huge part of my personal life to creating a vibrant Santa Cruz. I am very passionate about the future of this town and I will not sit on the sidelines while this incredible city we are blessed to call home declines and suffers needlessly. With your hard work we can make a difference together and make Santa Cruz the vibrant, unique, breathtaking City we know it should be.
- The dialogue between the local business community and the public at large needs to be more personalized. I am very involved with a variety of `stakeholders' in the City of Santa Cruz and I am surprised when I hear negative comments about local business in general. We are very blessed to have so many local residents taking the risk to run a small business in the City of Santa Cruz. We need to have people in leadership roles that understand the nature of running a profitable business. There are many ideas being poised right now as to what will make Santa Cruz a sustainable community in the future. As the business model evolves and changes over time, we need to be prepared as a community to capture businesses that can improve our tax base. We cannot continue with tax measures as a way to produce city revenue. When plans are being created that can revitalize a business district, we need early partnerships with opposing points of view to create acceptable solutions. I will work hard to include many opposing views that must find common ground and work for the future of Santa Cruz together.