The road ahead is going to be difficult. As a leader navigating the fallout of a global pandemic (and the negligent federal response), I promise to act with scrutiny and integrity to make sure we get through this hand in hand. We can’t let this crisis further deepen the existing cracks in our system, and our leadership must look out to make sure that our recovery works for everybody. I plan to:
- Make budget cuts with compassion and equity by only cutting when absolutely essential and in ways that don’t disproportionately impact workers and vulnerable community members.
- Provide assistance to affected residents to keep them safe and housed during this crisis.
- Support and uplift Santa Cruz local businesses and nonprofits by expanding the Santa Cruz Resilience Microloan Program to spur new small business creation, with a special focus on promoting Black, Indigenous, and
People of Color (BIPOC) and women-owned businesses.
- Utilize innovative ideas like permanent street closures to support safe, walkable streets that can be used as open-air market spaces and expanding street bike access and safety throughout the City to maximize opportunities for local businesses.
Santa Cruz has one of the toughest housing markets in the nation, and City leadership has stalled for too long on making this a more accessible place to work, live, and go to school. As a renter and someone who’s been unhoused, I know the real value of home. That shouldn’t be an exclusive right to the affluent. Community means taking care of all of us. As an elected leader, I will fight to:
- Stand up for Santa Cruz residents in supporting affordable and low-income housing through community land trusts and tougher negotiations with large developers.
- Extend eviction moratoriums and expand protections for renters and mortgage payers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Expand access to home ownership through the passage of a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act within City limits and supporting prospective homeowners through an assistance program similar to Washington, D.C.’s.
- Implement compassionate policies to combat houselessness and shelter community members by prioritizing emergency response programs, supporting supervised transitional camps, and utilizing input from the Community
Advisory Committee on Homelessness.
Bold Climate Solutions
Santa Cruz is a natural marvel and we’re lucky to be here to steward our precious resources. But for too long, environmental policy and activism has shut out working-class, Black, Indigenous, and POC communities — families who exist on the front line of climate change. I understand how racial, class, and gender injustice can be deepened by policies we create, and we are at a turning point as a city, a country, a species to act in the interest of environmental justice: we must plan, prevent, mitigate, adapt to the best of our ability without leaving anyone behind. As a climate leader myself, I vow to:
- Support and expand climate action planning and implementation; reprioritize City climate action milestones, GHG inventory updates, and support regional collaborations in support of these efforts, and remove red tape
preventing more comprehensive local renewable buildout and management, prioritize BIPOC involvement in those processes.
- Increase climate-forward City services by implementing programs like municipal composting and free city water bottle fill-up stations, and establish penalties for residents who routinely violate composting and recycling
- Actively engage with and protect vulnerable communities who are on the front line of climate change in Santa Cruz.
- Increase conservation efforts to protect biodiverse ecosystems and ecosystems with high carbon capture potentials.
While we’ve made strides toward accountability, Santa Cruz still isn’t immune to the problem of over policing. And Black and Brown residents, along with our poorest community members, bear the brunt of it. Moreover, youth of color all too often are not provided the resources they need to thrive in our community. In COVID-19 and in the current cultural movement, our leadership needs to take a critical look at our budgetary priorities around safety and what communities those serve and what values those represent. There’s a plethora of great examples of transformative models of safety across the country, and people called to this issue. We should listen, and we should not turn our backs on this opportunity for lasting change. We can do better. I advocate that we:
- Reinvest in community safety and justice by restructuring bloated budget funds to community services: an alternative crisis first responder program, mental health crisis prevention, expanded grocery and gas assistance
programs, and emergency housing resources.
- Address current and historical racial injustices in our community’s history and support affirmative action policies in City hiring policies.