WHO I AM AND WHAT I STAND FOR
As a city council member I would like to focus on helping people, such as teachers, firefighters, healthcare and essential workers, who work in our community to LIVE in our community. In the past decade, Capitola housing costs have skyrocketed and become out of reach for a number of people who, through their labor and dedication, make Capitola the fantastic place it is. We need to create systems to develop housing attainable for everyone and look at every option to develop innovative new housing. I would advocate for locating potential housing sites, addressing needed zoning changes, and courting and working closely with developers to create housing that supports our whole community. This includes supporting Capitola mall development for mixed use, including a large number of housing units, scouting for new locations for development, and seeking government grants to assist with our housing crisis.
As a father, Athletic Director, Bus Driver, and Campus Security at New Brighton Middle School and California School Employee Association (CSEA) Union President for Soquel Union School District, I see the importance of fostering a family friendly environment as essential to our overall well being as a community. Capitola has many great programs in place, for example: a robust Parks and Rec program, village festivals, Capitola Library programs, and junior guards. I would like to work to continue to build more youth programs, particularly thinking about the space opening up at the Capitola Mall. The mall development will be years in the making; in the interim I would love to see some of the empty storefronts, like the Sears building, converted to a year round recreational center with indoor soccer, batting cage, basketball courts, bowling and other family entertainment, This would not only serve as a place for safe family fun and provide a healthy outlet for local teens, but would draw people to the mall and would increase foot traffic to all of the existing retail outlets, which in turn supports our tax base. With my experience in the education community, I could serve as a bridge between the city and developers to make sure the needs of local families are met.
41st Avenue is the busiest road in Santa Cruz, often with major congestion between Highway 1 and Capitola Road. Traffic into the village, both during tourist season and during daily commutes as cars bypass clogged Hwy 1, is also a local traffic pain point. I am concerned that any Mall development plans will worsen 41st Ave. traffic, and want to be sure modern traffic solutions, such as smart controlled traffic lights, and promotion of public transportation use work to mitigate traffic congestion. I would also like to review ways to encourage tourists to use our two large city parking lots by city hall and walk to the village to lessen the gridlock that occurs on the Esplanade as cars seek limited parking spaces. I would like to work to make Capitola a more walkable, environmentally friendly community.
As we face more dire circumstances with the impending climate crisis, I would like to see the city council take an active role in reducing our carbon emissions, particularly by addressing our traffic issues and requiring robust energy efficiency on all new and remodeled business and housing. We also need to work closely with State and Federal agencies to make sure we are doing everything possible as a city to address our impact on the climate. Rising sea water means the Village is the most vulnerable place in Santa Cruz County. We need to apply for research and planning grants, and have important community conversations that will lead to concrete actions that will enhance our seaside Village tourism and charm.
I recognize the importance of TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) as a good source of budget funding for our city and I support continuing economic development on the 41st Avenue corridor and working to bring in businesses that will add to our tax base. I also see the importance of the Capitola Village Business Improvement Association and will work with them to keep our Village economy strong and vital. Capitola is a unique and wonderful place with involved community members implementing innovative techniques to improve our town. We can look at projects like the newly rebuilt Capitola Library as a model that utilized funding from the Measure S bond, private donations, and coordinated community effort that built an incredible public resource that we are all proud of.