Scotts Valley City Council candidate forum - Santa Cruz Local 10/6/2020
1:15AM Oct 7, 2020
Welcome, everybody. Thank you so much for coming. I'm Kara Meyberg Guzman, CEO and co founder of Santa Cruz Local. Santa Cruz Local is a local news podcast newsletter and website we serve at Cruz County. We give you the deepest reporting on local government and our county's biggest issue. And we are supported by our members. We have 640 plus pay members who support local news. The reason why we're here today is this is our Scotts Valley City Council candidate forum. This is the second of five candidate forums we're hosting this week, where we will press the candidate for local government on the questions we heard from our readers, listeners and residents and residents of Santa Cruz County. Before we get started, I want to thank our partners and co sponsors who made today possible the app toss Chamber of Commerce, the Association of faith communities, capital a so called Chamber of Commerce, community bridges, county park friends, live oaks cradle to career tommorow Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz community health centers, Santa Cruz County Business Council, Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Cruz museum of art and history, Santa Cruz, indivisible, Santa Cruz policy, Santa Cruz work and the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce. Um, so as we get started, if there's I want this conversation, the opportunity if you'd like to hear it in Spanish, our interpreter Beatrice Trujillo is here. And I'm going to pass it over to me he
is the first in English so if you want to choose an interpretation language, I'm gonna assume be assigned as an interpreter. So as soon as you see the roles icon and at the bottom, make sure that you pick a language that you prefer whether it is English or Spanish. Once you have chosen if you once you have chosen that language, make sure well, this will be for Spanish speakers. So let me do it in Spanish, but I'm just going to skip generally Spaniards have been through the windows a Windows VM boisterous technical interpreting patisiran econ. As I wouldn't say the lajitas manual, even is Kenny here espanol. I say wouldn't say that I mean seleccionado lab soon, the opponent in Moodle el idioma original production systems which handles Moses el mismo tiempo. In that's, that's it. So now if you can find me as a little as the interpreter, thank you.
Thank you, Beatrice.
This conversation is being recorded. today. We're going to post the video as well as the transcripts on our elections guide at Santa Cruz local dot o RG slash elections. Now for Let's meet the candidates, so we have four candidates, voters, we'll get to choose three candidates, please say your name and why you're running for city council. You'll have 90 seconds Stephen will keep track of time. First, Donna Lind.
Hi, I'm Donna Lind. And I have served the city of Scotts Valley for the past 52 years. I've started as a police officer and actually as a city hall secretary and then first female police officer and was elected city council 12 years ago. And this particularly is a difficult time this is costly. We face some strong challenges, economic recovery is key. And I really feel that I bring experience and relationships that I've developed through the years, including my work with the Chamber of Commerce, the fallen officer Foundation, and our local businesses to be able to assist our community in recovery. And I think it's going to be very important dish this the next few years to have that experience and some consistency in negotiating some very difficult fiscal times. I also have strong ties to the community. It was named Woman of the Year in 2011. very involved with our businesses, and I think that's going to be very helpful in this recovery. Thank you.
Thank you, Donna. Randy Johnson.
Thank you, Kara. My name is Randy Johnson. I'm running for Scotts Valley City Council. I've been the mayor a number of times and without Being the mayor comes a lot of responsibility. And I don't think anything is more true than what we've kind of gone through this year in terms of just trying to pivot and make things reasonable for our citizens and our businesses, it's been very, very tough. With respect to our finances, our ability to keep the city running, keep it intact, keep restaurants open, these are all very taxing for our community. And I think drawing as Donna said, drawing on the experience of how to get things done, you know, I kind of got into politics with with respect to helping build a high school, getting Scotts Valley drive, finished. Libraries, fields, community center, these are all things that have that have happened. And having a hand in that it's kind of made me proud and wanting to do more, wanting to make sure that this city, which is a which is a fantastic city, is able to survive, is able to thrive. And for that I'm running again, because those are the things I feel and I feel passionate about them. So I just want to make sure that I'm there when as our city needs us to kind of get through these very rough times.
Thank you, Randy.
Jack Dilles. Good evening. Thanks for having us here. Tonight. I've lived in Scotts Valley 26 years, and I love this place. I moved here with my family, because I knew was a good family community safe, great schools, green environment. And I've never regretted that for a second. And the more I've lived here, the more I've wanted to be a larger part of the community. And just to the extent I can make things happen, I can add value, I want to do that. I think my particular experience does add value to the city government. My career was in government finance, I was on the previous finance director for the cities of Scotts Valley, Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz. And my career was in government finance. So I bring a lot of solution oriented experience in the financial arena as a staff person. And I think that's, that helps a lot as as was pointed out how and we're in serious financial situation now, like, like many folks, I also bring 10 years on the County School Board, the county board of education. And so I've learned to really value the need to watch out for our young people and to do everything we can to to help them along. And I think that brings brings a lot to the council as well. So I, we I I really love this place. I'm active in a couple of service clubs in the community. I know lots of people. So for me, it's it's a matter of experience as a current city council member, as a as a one time mayor. And as an active community member. I bring a lot to the city council.
Thank you, jack.
Hey, thanks for everyone at Santa Cruz local for including me in this, I absolutely appreciate it. I would also like to thank the existing city council members for making Santa Cruz or sorry, Scotts Valley, a community that I wanted to join, you guys have done a tremendous amount of work. And I absolutely appreciate that. I first got familiar with the Scotts Valley area. When I went to there's my cat. I went to mountain Herman on a church retreat when I was in elementary school, and I fell in love with the area, the trees, cooler in the mornings, the fog that rolls in. It's it's all amazing to me, when my wife and I had a discussion A while back, and we decided that we wanted to start a family, a bell rang, and we decided that we wanted to do it here. We recently joined the community in Scotts Valley, I've only been here for a year and a half. But I'm a hard worker, and I want to try and have a positive impact. So I figured I'd jump in with both feet and try to help out in city council any way I could. I've been a tech worker in the Bay Area for all of my life. When I was 15 years old, I left high school to start working force helped my parents pay the mortgage, and I have a strong work ethic. I absolutely do what I can to try and improve every situation I enter. And I tried to do it with grace, and I tried to do with pride. And I definitely try to thank people for the work that they've already done. And I want to be able to put in my time and my effort to help Scotts Valley grow and deal with the challenges that we're currently facing, which are vast and many, but I have creative thought process. And I'm definitely interested in helping people climb the ranks and do what they can to help out and offering opportunities to new folks.
Thank you, john.
Thank you. Okay, now for our main question. These questions come from our readers and listeners. We've had a survey out over the past several weeks, and these are contributed questions. We'll pick each question in the chat box. So for those of you following from home, you can see check the chat box at the bottom of your screen, click the icon Mark's chat. We ask candidates, we ask that you be respectful of the other candidates in your response. At the same time, we invite you to differentiate your policies and plans from the other candidates. I'll call on each candidate. You'll have 90 seconds even we'll keep time and you should be able to see this clock. Okay, first question. Voters asked about the town center development plan years in the making for the area near the Scotts Valley library and the old Kmart. It calls for denser housing shops, restaurants, and town comments. Why has the town center vision taken so many years to realize what parts of the town center plan would you push in your upcoming term? And how? Randy Johnson?
Randy, you're muted. Sorry, I was muted there.
So that's a very good question. And one that has kind of haunted I think that the city of Scotts Valley for many years. And really one of the reasons I think that I chose to run again, because it's one of those issues and items that has gone unfulfilled. And I really, really feel it's important for our city, we're lacking in Scotts Valley, a sense of place, will cities whether it's capitola, Santa Cruz, watsonville, and so forth, have a downtown. And that's such an important community benefit. What I would propose is that we maintain along the same lines that we've been proposing to the community for a very long time, which is a combination of housing, but also retail retail is something I think the community wants and is deserving of. But it's one of those things that has changed in the in the last few years, of course, because with Amazon and so many other online retailers, the appetite for brick and mortar stores has really dropped. So we're looking to be able to shwarma Town Center of form a place where people can gather we do right now have interested parties, even through this, you know, bad COVID time and so forth. Been a lot of disappointment. One of the factors that's beyond our control, is that Santa Cruz owns right about half of the available land there, and we have to make accommodations with them. So we're still very positive about the future of the town center.
Thank you, Randy. JACK Tillis.
Yes. Well, as you pointed out, the city has struggled for many years to attract retail businesses, and fully developed Town Center. Despite good efforts. The ways proposal was halted by the developer during the early stages. The city heard from residents concerned about the amount of proposed house proposed housing. And we also heard questions about the small amount of proposed retail among other issues. I know one of the things that the city that we had at one point we don't have any more that would have really helped us was the redevelopment funding. And it was a crime when that was taken away from us because that was our one source of money, dedicated funding for economic development and affordable housing. I believe it's time to revisit the 2008 town centers Pacific plan and envision something different. I retail i don't think i think it's just going to get worse in terms of the the overall picture in general everywhere. And so I'm not pinning my hopes on that even though I would be happy if we were able to attract something. I'd like Scotts Valley to reimagine what could be with a focus on economic development. But the city must also honor an existing affordable housing obligation, the Town Center City used some affordable housing money to buy some of that land. And so we are required to spend some of that on affordable housing, which is a good thing. We obviously need affordable housing. I'd like to explore other concepts, possibly developing outdoor oriented businesses to build on the city's image as an outdoors area, gateway to the mountains. Lots of outdoors activity here. Certainly lots of trees. And also another
idea. I thank you talking about the center. Thank you.
Thank the convention center. Thank you. Thank you, jack. Next donalyn
that's fine. I still hang on to the dream of one of the earlier designs that was I don't know how to compare it other than a similar to the Santana Row but with a Scotts Valley feel. I know that we tell his change and that's been challenging for our economic development committee and There's been many challenges out of their hands and certainly not from a lack of work but I still feel that something of that nature with housing affordable housing and housing above offices and retail below with gathering points and parquets connections village shopping center, and the what we now call Kmart shopping center is my dream. I feel that some of the developers don't realize the pull that there would be the draw from not just got Sally but Sam ruins a valley, the summit area. pasa tiempo carboneras states, many of the people that are in these outlying areas would love to be able to come shop in Scotts Valley. And I see other areas such as Campbell where retail is successful, but it's a different type of retail. It's not so much the big box, but something unique, and maybe an anchor and but I want to see that the little brew pubs of wine bars and boutique shops, and gathering places. And I still believe that's possible. Otherwise, I'd rather us wait and enjoy our parks.
Thank you. Thank you, Donna.
john lewis, same question. Why has the town center vision taken so many years to realize what parts of the town center plan would you push in your upcoming term and how?
So the town center plan is something that's new to me, I'm new to the city. And I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of all the problems. And I started scratching the surface on this. And I heard that it's been nearly 20 years since we started this project. And so far, we have Starbucks and an empty hangar to show for it. And it's the third Starbucks that we have. And you know, if we were to roll back the clock 40 or 50 years, there might have been a hanger there. When we first started thinking about this, like, I, I want to question some primitives, you know, what, what is our goal here? What are we trying to give the people of Scotts Valley? And is it time to open up comments, again? Is the businesses or are the businesses that we're trying to attract something that are something that we can maintain sustain, during a post COVID future, we don't entirely know what businesses are going to look like, after COVID. And whether or not it's going to be an ongoing issue. One of the things that we can do to overcome this would take a look at whether or not having micro Bay restaurants would be a possibility with an outdoor possibly semi covered eating area to allow people who want to start restaurants in a small location and then build from there into the community might be something worth merit of discussion. But really, I I'm exasperated. When I first moved to Scotts Valley, a couple of recent real estate agents told me that there's an ongoing plan and is starting to show fruit. And then I dig in and read some of the documentation and I have no idea why it is taken so long to produce so little on this and we really might want to reboot it.
Okay, so now for our lightning round. We will ask a series of yes or no questions, please raise your hand if the statement applies to you. And I'll name the candidates who raised their hands. And so these ideas that I'm about to list came up in our interviews you for our Scotts Valley City Council podcast episode. Okay, so please raise your hand if you would support increasing the city's hotel tax as a way to increase city revenue. Okay, I see jack Dallas, Donna Lind and Randy Johnson. Thank you. Okay. So, next, please raise your hand if you would support term limits for Scotts Valley City Council. I see john lewis, jack Gillis and Randy Johnson. Thank you. Raise your hand if you would support the creation of a community advisory committee on policing.
I see john lewis. Got it. Okay, and this last one is on the city's inclusionary law. That law requires housing projects of a certain size to offer 15% of units to people with low incomes, and those units have to be affordable. That law applies to part of the city, generally along Scotts Valley drive and Mount Hermon road. So please raise your hand if you would support expanding the areas to which the city's affordable housing inclusionary law applies. I see john lewis jack Dulles, Donna Lind and Randy Johnson. Thank you. That was our lightning round. Okay, so back to questions from the readers and listeners. What is your plan in 2021? to better prepare Scotts Valley for possible wildfire and mudslides? What are your lessons learned from the CCU lightning complex fire, you'll have 90 seconds. Randy Johnson.
Thank you. We did learn some very hard lessons with with the latest fires, the wildfires that really descended upon our areas, and including especially San Lorenzo Valley, and so forth. It was, I think, a stark reminder of just how terrible mother nature can be when she unleashes her amazing amount of force. And in this particular case, a lot of it had to do with just bad luck. I mean, you had lightning strikes, you had extremely hot and dry weather, we also have something that is, you know, I think, accelerated the fire, and that was the underbrush and, and so forth, in different parts of the county. And it's something that we've been talking about with good forcement for forestry management, that sometimes just goes by the wayside. And my plan is to engage the federal government, the state government, the county government, and have a collective defensible space that we can all kind of agree upon, that is going to make us a little bit more hardened against a wildfires. So it would probably be about a 678 year plan. But I think engaging those agencies would really help out and I plan to do that when I'm reelected.
Thank you, Randy. Donna Lynn,
assigned to attended a conference a couple years ago, right after some of the prior terrible wildfire season. And one of the speakers was from the forestry department. And one of the things that he said is, for years, California stopped that maintenance that really makes the forest healthier. And sometimes clearing some of these forests really, even though we all want to save the trees ends up damaging the forest and that they're not as healthy. And now as he said a couple years ago, that thinking has changed, but there's been so many years of being behind that there are millions of acres, perhaps maybe not now after this year's fires, but there were millions of acres that needed clearing that they said that explained it will take decades to get back to completing the work that needs to be done. But I do think as a community we need to inform well impress and enforce defensible space working with the fire department. I know our fire department has a program where if you come in and clear limbs and they and they will come and pick up and chip this the the limbs and branches and things that for free, or very low cost depending on what it is and we need we're talking about having in our city council meeting, working with them doing some public workshops, getting awareness and working on making those improvements and helping all of us make precautions to be safe.
Thank you, Donna. So again, the question what's your plan in 2021? to better prepare Scotts Valley for possible wildfire and mudslides? What are your lessons learned from the cvu lightning complex fire? john lewis
I'm not currently a politician and I don't understand what knobs and levers local politicians have within reach to be able to control and and encourage a different type of land maintenance. However, callfire has released a very, very easy to understand guidance on what can be done to defend homes that are in generally in a forest. They are clear, concise, easy to understand. They have a website called ready for wildfire org that outlines all of them. If we were to engage with the Scotts Valley Fire Department and have them work with homeowners, and business owners, property owners at large to figure out what type of guidance they can give on what needs to be changed to allow the individual defense of homes and residences, buildings and otherwise, something we should absolutely look into. We need to look immediately at what we can do to affect things as fastest possible to defend homes, businesses and structures. The idea beyond that, in taking care of the forest at large is something we absolutely should address. And during that we should engage the federal, gosh, I forgot who is Bureau of Land Management, I forgot who controls all the forest. But 45% plus of all forest in California is owned and managed by the federal government, we absolutely need to engage with them to help them become more responsible with their land.
Hey, john, last week, jack Tillis,
yes, well, you know, we, we need to work closely with our separate fire district, which we do already. But I'd like to see more conversations where we, we have a plan, we can support each other. And I know a lot of this falls under the fire, just six responsibility. But we're also responsible. And so I'd like to see us have more conversation in particular, around the subject of creating a defensible space that that Mayor Johnson just mentioned. And just there are there are watsontown, there are overgrown. I know that because I see them. And I'd like to some cities have a an aggressive approach. Where on it's easier when the when the fire department is part of the city. But I know I worked for Morgan Hill, and they had a very aggressive approach that said that, you know, identified the problems in town that did not cut their weeds down in the in the risky fire time. And if they did not cut the profit, cut it down. It was cut down for them. And they were built, if they didn't pay, it went on the property tax roll. So there was an outlay of cash, which is difficult in these days. For both government side, we need to be more aggressive. I believe, however, that might play out. But a way of just taking more control and making sure we minimize our risks. And of course, make sure that the community understands as educated and they I would think everybody would be aware but nonetheless, do everything we can to work with a fire district to make sure that our residents are aware of what they need to do to reduce that fire risk. And lastly, our insurer. Thank
you, jack, we're out of time. Okay, thank you. Okay, so now, back to the questions. Again, these came from more than 50 interviews we did in Scotts Valley residents and a survey. If elected, how will you ensure that communities of color are treated justly and fairly by local law enforcement donalyn.
The citizen actually talking about doing some public work, we outreach, our city manager has been working with Council on some workshops, but we have also just gone through a policy review. The policeman has just gone through all the policies, which they do every few years, but one of it was addressing and training officers on various topics, including equity, and some changes in our reporting. And just I think it's a community wide effort, including our police department that we want to be sure that we are fairly treating our citizens fair and that there's a way to report and many of those changes, as you heard in the last city council meeting on the police reform were discussed and are being addressed within the police department with increased reporting and review and procedures to be able to notify a supervisor if if an officer that they can discreetly notify supervisor if they feel something was done and appropriately there's a policy being put in place to enable those reports to be made confidentially and and safely.
Thank you, Donna. Again, the question if elected, how sure that communities of color are treated justly unfairly by local law enforcement? jack Gillis
Well, you know, the other thing besides our police chief stepping forward and and proactively making sure that we were looking at our, for our use of force policy and, and training for officers. I've been very impressed that our police department for many years now has been tracking the ethnicity of persons that they are stopped and they're not too far from, from what the census says our ethnic makeup is. And that was, for me a very proactive way of trying keep track of you know, are we being reasonable and who were stopping and how that's working. So I've enjoyed I was impressed Press with that, nonetheless, this is a very large societal issue. Obviously, it's playing out in very negative ways across the country. And we need and we're aware of that we have to be aware of that. But it really is a larger societal issue. And for me, it's about somehow encouraging and, and not only having more respect to society for persons of color, but trying to draw them or encourage them into positions of leadership. So I would ask, I'm very much interested in doing that. I'd like to see community conversations of some type, I don't know they should be led by the city. But as a community, I've been impressed that our local high school students and, and college students, led our two black lives matter marches in Scotts Valley, the first marches ever in town. And that's a great start, I'd like to build on that, I'd like to be part of that conversation.
Thank you, jack. Thank you. Thank you, Randy Johnson.
Thank you. You know, there's been a lot of turmoil that has happened over the past five, six months, and I think the city has tried to do a very good job in terms of addressing that, in our police department, in particular, our chief of police, when there were marches, when there were community conversations, he was front and center. And one of the things I instructed our city to do was, listen, let's have a conversation here. And I think, to a large extent, that has that has happened with our chief of police, with our city manager, and also with the City Council, we're very sensitive to some of the things that have happened in not just, you know, in our country, but also in in our city. And, you know, I think, in general, our police officers do a very good job in a very tough world in terms of enforcement. Like Donna said, though, we've enhanced our training, we've done a, I think, a good job in reinforcing the idea that equity and use of force policies are respected and improved upon. And so a lot of that has to do with the training that happens in like each and every month. Our officers are trained. And it's my understanding that we're some of the officers that we are interviewing Arne fact, of modeling diversity in terms of who we are hiring.
Thank you, Andy.
Oh, you're muted, john.
There we go. So
we put a lot of faith in our police officers, and we have trust, and they've executed faithfully and they've done a great job so far. And trust is a two way street. And it has to be maintained. I've always felt through my work in compliance and computer security is shining the light of day on anything that's questionable, absolutely makes accountability real. And accountability is what fuels trust. I think that we should absolutely have citizen oversight during the prosecutorial process. Anytime there's an incident with police officers. Having closed doors around that kind of thing makes it a black box. And it absolutely degrades trust between the community, the police officers, and everybody involved. I know the police officers have already taken some sensitivity training, which is ongoing and required. I know there's also some unconscious bias training, which is ongoing and required. And that's absolutely helpful. Um, one of the things that I think we could also do is try to encourage police officers if they're not to try and become a member of the Scotts Valley Community. And once again, I'm not already a politician, so I'm not sure what knobs and levers we have available there. But if we can find a way of creating housing opportunities within Scotts Valley, so the police officers who work in Scotts Valley will also live in Scotts Valley would make them a part of the community, and it would help create a bond there. I also think that we need to define all policing methods that are questionable, and we need to do some things that supersede qualified immunity, because qualified immunity gives free rein to keep things in the dark, especially when bad things happen.
JOHN, Okay, next question. Scotts Valley residents wants to know, what is your plan to encourage residents to travel by bike walk or public transportation instead of a car? What kinds of new infrastructure or programs would you push? If elected? Again, you'll have 90 seconds. JACK Phyllis.
Yes, well, the city did hire ecology action to do create an alternative transportation plan. That's nearing completion. I've been involved. Just meeting with the with the committee and ecology action over The last year as part of that, and they're looking specifically at, at painting a picture of what the future should look like for cyclists, for pedestrians and for the disabled, alternative ways of getting around town, which is very important. And one of the goals of this, besides creating a blueprint for the future, is to allow the city to get grants, we have very little money for transportation, and we need So unfortunately, to do something new and different and better, we need grants. And this is a tool towards getting there, it's actually an update to an existing 2012 bicycle master plan. So we're moving in that direction. I'm a cyclist, myself, I'm also hiker. And the city is certainly I would love to see us continue to create facilities that that are great for cyclists and walkers. I know, we just opened up the Glenwood preserve, which is, therefore for hikers for cyclists and for dog walkers. And so that's, I'd like to see us do more of that. And it's good for our kids as a safety thing our kids are many kids are, their parents don't want them to ride to school, for instance, I've been going several times with what's called the ROI school bus. We're kids, a bicycle to school with a parent. Hey,
thank you, jack, like if I'm out if we were thinking your strict schedule. i'm john lewis.
I've lived in San Francisco, Oakland and a number of other Bay Area cities where I've been a bike commuter. One of the things I've always tried to do is live as close to my office as I possibly can. So I could walk or ride a bike to work every single time I can. And Berkeley has tried to do various things to ensure the safety of bikers, Oakland is in the middle of implementing a plan of creating barricades and dedicated bike lanes separate from sidewalks. San Francisco is trying out a number of different things. Split height for bicycles and walkers on the same sidewalk. I recently went to Amsterdam, and I've seen how it can be done successfully. Amsterdam is a model of how bicycle and and walking traffic can coexist. With cars. However, they've sacrificed the transit speeds of cars tremendously. It would take a sea change in public mindset to be able to implement effectively real systems that work guaranteeing the safety of bike bicyclists as well as walkers. And we as a country have been building a car Ford society that will take years and lots of money to undo. But really, we need to find a way of addressing do people feel safe when they be on a bike, and whether or not they feel safe walking, and education if we make any types of changes to the roadways with dedicated bike lanes, or moving parking to the opposite side of bike lanes, and including the fire department in that decision because of individual concerns there as well.
Thank you. Thank. Thank you, john. Brandy Johnson.
Thank you. And so one of the important things that I tried to do was get away with, you know, I serve on the Regional Transportation Commission, and they're from Silverton into the High School, a new trail was called Safe Routes to schools. And that is enhanced the ability for our citizens to walk ride bikes walk their dogs, and it's also an entry really to the Glenwood preserve and the trails that jack talked about. One of the important things I did many, many years ago was help forge a compromise between the developer and the open space at Glenwood. And through that agreement, a million or a million and a half dollars was actually given to the land trust for them to do this. Now, it took many years for us kind of keep on the land trust, to make sure that they fulfill their obligation to build the the trails, but we're seeing that right now. You know, COVID-19 has kind of changed the transportation habits of working men and women, because fewer people are actually driving their cars to work. But I think Metro has done a good job with respect to the bus system over the hill, which allows people to actually engage and work as on the buses as they enter the bus. And so, you know, I think it's one of those things where where people will slowly gravitate towards those things as it be as it becomes available.
Thank you, Randy. And Donna Lynn.
Yeah, says Randy mentioned and jack. We have a we have recently invested with grant money so it didn't even come from our general fund in bike lanes. On Glenwood. This has been an area near the city limits that have been very dangerous and that's just been completed. with with with grant monies major s major M and RTC money through malstrom and discus I drive in the enhanced bike lanes and the the intersection for bikes so that they have separate safe areas. And I'm also serving on Metro and and as the mayor said, we have you know really worked through Metro and coordination with each of the cities and will continue to work on being able to carry more bikes and be able to transport bikes on the buses. And the bluebonnet area is also money that an area that we're looking at have received approval with grant monies from RTC and will include some enhanced bike lanes and sidewalks on that area, which is one of the areas near the school that we hear from the the community has not been safe with the pedestrian traffic and and via vehicular traffic. So my work will be continuing on that and working with RTC and Metro in partnership to be able to find funds to increase the bike lanes to make people feel more comfortable and safe. Riding to to and from work and school.
Thank you, Donna.
Next question. Many Scotts Valley voters we heard from called for more help for seniors. Many seniors said they have felt isolated since COVID. Given the city's limited but budget, what will you do in your upcoming term to restore and expand services for Scotts Valley seniors. Again, you'll have 90 seconds back to Donna Lynn.
Okay, I served on the senior council triple Eight's for over 10 years working with seniors. And I'm very involved with our senior center and with our mobile home parks, in fact, participating just saw the past well on Mondays with the senior life Association and in podcast are actually zoom meetings and helping with a lot of outreach with Marsha or senior center leader in getting word out and offering assistance through meals. We'll continue to that I've done this for years as we have as a council supporting seniors. But we've done outreach during COVID in in making sure that those that are isolated are getting meals and through our parks and through our senior center and through senior living and through community bridges, a lot of outreach and a lot of work to connect. seniors have been a passion all through my career as on Council, but my mom was president project scout. So I feel she left that with me is a very important part of our community. And it's something that we as a community have have prioritized and I will continue the outreach that I do and the work that I do with seniors.
Thank you, Donna. JACK Douglas.
Yes, um, well, I'm currently on the seniors Advisory Council that Donna just mentioned. I'm vice chair and on that we do watch out for seniors on that. That committee. And that's so there's I gather all kinds of information, I'm tracking what's happening countywide and there are a lot of services that tend to happen through nonprofits and from county services. And they, you know, such things as, especially during the COVID era, there was this turn I think was called great meals, but there were meals being provided to seniors from paid for by FEMA, from some restaurants, none of them happen to be located in Scotts valleys it turned out but of course, there are many other programs Meals on Wheels is very low cost. And, and I know that they have a tie into our senior center, our senior center is very popular. Unfortunately, it's been closed down for a while, but it's very active. We have some many great activities. And right now activities are happening even online to some extent. But folks really need to really need to get back into our senior center. So I'm looking forward to that. Opening up again. I was involved with the Museum of Art History in Santa Cruz ma they had an exhibit last year called we are still here. And I was part of more than 100 people that participated. I'm not an artist. I wish I were but but I help kind of work on on what that show would look like spent a lot of time in there. And it was really cool to see
that. Thank you. Thank you jack
and Randy Johnson.
Thank you. So you know personally I've I've experienced what the the effects of COVID have had on the isolation of our system. Seniors, my mom, it was 97. And she had a very vibrant social life. But the last she died approximately two months ago. And during that time, the all her visitors dried up, and her social life became something of an issue. So it was important for my wife, my children, and me to go over as, as often as possible to see her and I think a lot of that has to do, I mean, government has a, you know, an obligation to do as much as we can. And we do that with our seniors, we have a senior center, we have, you know, a fabulous Director darshana does a great job. But even that senior center has been not allowed to fully function with the people that that they normally encounter, and people gather, having a gathering place. So my thing is that individuals and families and churches and and, you know, all the, all the those entities, as much as possible, government's important, but I would encourage our community, you have family members, do that, visit them, take that take the extra time in order to kind of make sure that they're okay.
Thank you, Randy. john lewis,
seniors in my life, generally feel isolated the most, when they can't get out of their home, and interact with the people they want to or have the independence they want to for shopping for groceries, or just going out and doing the things that us younger folk take for granted. I definitely think that exploring, I'm putting together a shuttle program, between places with high concentrations of seniors like senior centers, or not the senior center, but senior living living centers. And also just being able to schedule a ride to help people get to where they need to go to do their errands, would really give people the freedom that they need to feel like they can get out into the world and engage with it, giving people independence, and it helps mindset tremendously. And it helps people engage with those around them and live an active life.
I think we could also put together a fairly lightweight
volunteer program for people who are in Scotts Valley, maybe engage high schoolers and see if we could work with teachers on some sort of an extracurricular program and provide a n 95 masks, and follow reasonable guidance to keep people safe. While they're doing that. I definitely think we can come up with some creative solutions here to give people independence, and also remove the feeling of isolation that they're most likely feeling during COVID.
Thank you, everyone. Now for closing statements. What do you want to leave voters with? You'll have 90 seconds again, Randy Johnson?
Well, first of all, I want to thank Santa Cruz local for inviting us. And I really do appreciate everybody on this stage, if you feel of jumping in the arena. Because the life of a life of a city council person, I think in the last year has become a little bit more difficult. It's become harder, because we have fewer revenues, we have a lot more challenges. And that's one of the things I want to be able to do in terms of public service is to bring my experience and bring my problem solving capabilities, to the very real problems that we are facing as a community. I think we have to stay positive, I think we have to be able to engage and have those conversations, be able to talk to our citizens listen to our citizens. And you know, I've been doing that for a very long time. And I think a time when experience and getting things done is going to be an extremely important component as a city council person in the coming years. And that's why, again, I want to thank everybody here who attended in the audience, and I would be honored to have your vote on November 3. So thank you.
Thank you, Randy. JACK Tillis.
Yes. Well, we do have some serious financial issues. We thought they were solved with measure z when the voters thankfully approved our sales tax last March. But we didn't know COVID was coming. So unfortunately finding ourselves with a major backslide. So our job is to To keep the budget in check with reduced staffing, and all the things that go with that with service level reductions and do the best we can. And I think I'm particularly suited to being part of this process with the rest of the Council. So we do need, of course, to rebuild city service levels, reduce employee turnover, and manage finances so that residents may enjoy the excellent Community Services. But standby, we don't know exactly what the switch is going to be. Until we know when we've hit bottom and we're coming back up, we need to get back to where we were. But what the ultimate solution is going to be, we need to stand by until we know the depth of the problem. So stay tuned on that. We also need to increase affordable housing. At the same time, we need to balance that with the need to keep this a small town. They're both important. But I know we all love living here in the town that it is and so we don't want to see it to change too much. And we need to focus on economic development that we did talk about a bit, explore new options for the town center, and our vacant business buildings. I would like to briefly just mentioned a follow up to the fire question before you know the insurance commissioner Ricardo lara is going to be holding hearings this month in Sacramento about ways to deal with the insurance issue. Almost everybody has had their insurance non renewed. And so stay tuned on that. He's got a whole host of ideas, jack. Thank you.
Thank you, jack. Yes. We actually do have everyone's all the candidates responses to how will you advocate for residents who have lost their home insurance or non renewal on our website. It's at Santa Cruz local dot o RG slash elections. And you can read the candidates responses there. Lastly, john lewis, what would you want to leave voters with?
So I'm 41 years old, and I think I'm the youngest person running for city council or hoping to be on City Council. And I think that's doing our youth a huge disservice. We need to find a way of engaging our youth earlier on to get them to be part of city council. If I were to only serve one term, and someone were to replace me who went through school here in Scotts Valley that understands how we spend our money and can make strong guidance on what we can do more effectively educate the next generation of Scotts Valley residents, I would personally consider that a success. I absolutely think we need to strongly discuss term limits. So we can have new fresh opinions on the direction Scotts Valley needs to go in. And the question whether or not old ideas need to be replaced? Do I. And I absolutely think that we need to find a way of encouraging people who don't have the same economic advantage in that I do. And all the city council members do by engaging in politics. You know, it, it takes a huge amount of life experience and wealth to be able to sit here and say, I'm not going to work and earn money for the next four years. And I think that people who have to work every day that need child care, that need educational systems, to support them and educate their children need to have a voice here. And I would be happy to have somebody replace me after four years, who has that opinion that has that experience, by finding a way of reaching out to them, and possibly even encouraging the state to allow rank choice voting to change the tone and tenor of politics. I have a lot more and I could keep going. But you that's as far as I can get.
Thank you, john. Thank you. All. candidates. Thank you so much. Now attending, oh my gosh, I am so sorry. I missed you. I am so sorry. Donna, Donna Lynn.
And I, as I mentioned, all of my adult life has been serving the cities because Valley, 40 years proud serving was a police department 12 years on city council, two terms as mayor, I bring a proven record of experience of work ethics and dedication, commitment to the city, it's been my home, my entire life, my entire adult life, I feel that the next four years are going to be difficult. And I believe that I bring that strong experience relationships and words that work ethics that are going to be necessary to negotiate work with our businesses to support them, and to be able to move forward with the commitment and the anticipation that our citizens believe what happened was when we passed measure z, and we thought we could recover fiscal, our fiscal crisis would be ended or at least working towards that recovery, and that we would be able to provide the salary increases to our police officers that are highly underpaid, and that we've been losing eight nine officers in the past year because of this and this was our intent, but COVID and The CPU fires, you know, have taken push that as you know, into the future. And this is a commitment that I intend to keep to work to be able to take care of our public safety and our staff and to see the city become stable and vibrant again.
Thank you. Thank you so much, Donna. Thank you to all the candidates for attending. We are so honored that you could join us tonight. Thank you, attendees for joining us. This is what Santa Cruz local does. We want to get people watching and engaged in local governments. That's the core of what we do as a news outlet. All our journalism is free for everybody to read and listen to. We're supported by our members. Almost 80% of our revenue comes from members just regular local to give $9 a month or $99 a year. You can support local news with a Santa Cruz local membership at Santa Cruz local.org slash membership. We also invite you to attend our upcoming candidate forums. We have three more tomorrow watsonville City Council and capitola City Council and Thursday, the county board of supervisors district one we will post the links in the chat and also invite you to submit questions. We also have a nonpartisan elections guide. That's where we'll post the video for this candidate forum. There's so much more on there the written candidate questionnaire as well as the podcast episode with interviews individual interviews with each of the candidates so a lot more information you can dig into at Santa Cruz local dot o RG slash elections. Thank you everyone for attending. We so appreciate your time. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.