Throughout my career, I have been on the front lines of addressing public safety challenges in the Santa Cruz community. I served as a County probation officer for 7 years and I currently run the Gemma program, which has successfully reduced crime by working with incarcerated individuals to help them return to productive lives upon release. I work closely with our county sheriffs office, probation and community providers to address issues from a broad context. Using this approach requires collaboration, trusted relationships, and mutual goals and respect.
My experience with both victims and offenders of crime has allowed me to truly understand the complexities of the issue. That experience is needed in order to develop sustainable solutions to public safety and to address the need of our community to feel safe. A primary focus of my term in office will be to direct our attention and resources to evidence-based programs and policies that support the smart utilization of limited resources, and that leverage other sources of local dollars to maximize the impact on this issue. We must focus our resources wisely rather than rely on quick fixes that are ineffective and both fiscally and socially costly.
The City of Santa Cruz has wrestled with our water supply challenges for nearly 30 years and has yet to settle on a comprehensive plan. The current approach of pausing on the proposed desalination facility and utilizing the balanced and committed Water Supply Advisory Committee to develop recommendations for how to move forward is a healthy development, but we cannot delay action indefinitely.
The current drought situation sharpens our focus on the need to find a sustainable solution. We must seriously and rapidly engage with each other and do the hard work of reaching an agreement that provides sufficient water to sustain a healthy community while recognizing that water is a limited and precious resource. I have great faith in the work of the Water Supply Advisory Committee and very much look forward to supporting their work and recommendations.
A healthy environment is both the cornerstone of a healthy community and a treasured resource enjoyed by virtually every member of our community. We need to remain vigilant in our work to reduce our city's carbon footprint by committing adequate resources to the City's Climate Acton Plan. We need to sustain our commitment to protecting our parks, beaches, and open spaces. We need to ensure that we develop transportation and land use system that makes it possible to reduce vehicle miles traveled and supports pedestrian, bicycle and transit options.
As a City Parks and Recreation Commission member, I am currently working to make sure we have great natural spaces for our children and future generations to enjoy. I will continue that work as a councilmember and build on it with new programs to reduce our community's waste generation including residential and commercial food waste collection, improve the San Lorenzo River and actively support the funding of additional sections of Rail Trail.
EXCELLENT CITY SERVICES
One of the top responsibilities of a councilmember is to ensure that city government delivers excellent services to our citizens. I will support enhancing services in key areas including strong levels of public safety staffing; increased recreation programs for our youth including improved and upgraded facilities; improvements to roadways, bikeways and walkways; adequate funding for arts programs; and consistent support for maintaining the basic infrastructure of our city.
HOUSING AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
With the State's termination of redevelopment funding, the City has to be creative in supporting development of new jobs and making housing that’s affordable for working people in our community. I support an engaged City Economic Development Department that helps improve our local economy by building on our natural strengths: the visitor industry that thrives on our amazing natural environment; the tech industry that takes advantage of our university and our proximity to Silicon Valley; and our arts economy that thrives on the high level of creativity in Santa Cruz.
I also support the City's active engagement with both nonprofit and for profit housing developers to build housing in appropriate locations that meet the needs of young families and members of our existing workforce. And I support creative use of city zoning and building regulations to increase the number of rental housing units (including "granny units") while protecting neighborhoods from excessive congestion.
We are fortunate to live in a community of significant diversity. However, that diversity is threatened by a shortage of affordable housing and an ever-increasing cost of living. We need to make a conscious and concerted effort to ensure that lower income residents, young families, seniors, LGBT individuals and people of color are able to have a place in our community. As your city councilmember, I will work to diversify our economy and improve our local employment picture. I will actively engage with people in all segments of the community and ensure that the diversity of the community is reflected in our city government.