Capitola City Council candidate forum - Santa Cruz Local 10/7/2020
1:51AM Oct 9, 2020
Welcome to our Capitola City Council candidate forum. I’m Stephen Baxter, editor of member-supported news outlet Santa Cruz Local. Thank you to the Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce for co-sponsoring this forum. Welcome to chamber of commerce members, Santa Cruz Local members and Capitola voters.
This is the third candidate forum in our series this week.
A quick thank you to our many partners and co-sponsors for this series: That would be the Aptos Chamber of Commerce, Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, the Association of faith communities, community bridges, county park friends live oak cradle to career. Santa Cruz community health centers Santa Cruz County Business Council, Santa Cruz museum of art and history. Santa Cruz, indivisible, Santa Cruz policy and finally Santa Cruz works. Thank you all. Um, we are not going to have Spanish translation tonight. Apologies for that. First off, we're going to have candidate introductions. Our candidates in this race are Kristin Petersen, Anthony Rovai. Will Reising and Margaux Keiser will rising is not joining us tonight. But he Yeah. If you chose not to participate in this forum. All these these candidates will be on the ballot, voters will get to choose two of these candidates. So candidates when I call on you, please say your name. And just while you're running for city council, you'll have 90 seconds. Jase will keep time and the timer will appear in his on jaysus screen. So first, let's start with Kristen Petersen.
Thank you. Good evening everyone. My name is Kristen Peterson. I am the incumbent on capitola City Council and this year's mayor. Since my election to capitalise City Council in 2016. I've had the honor and the privilege to engage in many local, regional and statewide initiatives to benefit the residents of capitola. I'm running this year because I want to continue that work. In my first four years I added youth seats to our cities advisory bodies, chaired committees to address coastal resilience, resiliency and village enhancement, and supportive residents and business owners impacted by covid 19 i fundraised for our capitola branch library, pushed for the development of a new hotel as part of our capitola Mall redevelopment rather than in our quaint capitola village. I work to secure funding for a dedicated Children's Fund and raise money for local community groups. I've also represented the city of capitola on multiple regional and state committees, including the Association of Monterey Bay Area governments where I currently serve as the vice president, the Central Coast housing working group, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Committee. I've also served for the last two years on the League of California Cities Community Services policy committee. My family has called capitola home for four generations. And it's been an honor to represent the residents of capitola on our city council for these past four years. I'm eager to finish what we've started in my first term, and consider innovative ways of moving into the next four years.
Thank you, Kristin, we'll move to Anthony Roy.
Hi, I'm Anthony roll by I born and raised in California. I've been a resident of Santa Cruz County since 1975. And some of the things I enjoy doing around here surfing hiking, mountain biking. I moved from app toss to capitola in 1997, and I've been living here and working in capitola. Since then, during my time here I've remodel remodeled multiple homes and have actually built the homes from the ground up my own primary residence and got to know the team down at the Capitol a billing department and saw how they worked and got more insight of how that all worked. The reason I actually running for city council is I have a financial planning background or real estate background and insurance background and with all the challenges we are coming into after COVID I really think that my skill set would greatly enhance the city council. I've been reaching out to all the former council members and planning people and gave me a lot of insight into what's going on in the city and I'd really enjoy pursuing to be a council member and supporting this great city of capitola.
Terrific. Thank you Anthony.
Moving on, just please say your name and why you're running for city council. Mario Kaiser
Hey guys, welcome um, as you just said, my name is Margo Kaiser. I have had the privilege of working in the capital village for the last 15 plus years. My husband and I have lived here for just over 13 years. And while working tirelessly throughout a couple handful of restaurants in the village, I obtained my Bachelor of Science of nutrition from San Jose State University Along with my personal training certificate through NASA. And so for like the last five years or so I've been building my own personal training business and nutritional counseling business. And I've been able to work closely with a lot of capital and locals. And along with being in the restaurant seem to I've been able to make really good connections with people, along with handles and situations that may not be the most calm, if you might say, and so basically COVID came along, and it really did ignite in me how I can get involved locally, how I can speak for the community, and how I can be a part of capital is rebuild after COVID. You know, we've been through a quite tumultuous time. And what better thing to say, then you've helped this quaint, awesome town, get back to where it was, and maybe even better. Thanks.
antastic Well, rising, please introduce yourself.
Hello, everyone, my name is wil rising, I see some familiar faces on here. So good to see you, especially Margo, as you've seen me on the patron side. like very much I was born and raised. Well born in Mountain View, but raised in capitola. lived here for most of my life. And, you know, very similarly, you know, growing up here wasn't my first jobs are down in capitola parking cars in the parking lot across from some of the restaurants down there, then the restaurants serve my first wave of capital, a jetty, I've just been a big, big, you know, capital has always been home, moved away to San Francisco to pursue my career, you know, for about seven or eight years, and then came back how to son and live here now. And I'm a homeowner, now a father, now a small business owner, now, a lot of different perspectives in this town, and I care about it very much. So you know, very similarly to his, as soon as COVID happened, especially as a father, a homeowner, and a business owner, and somebody that's working for a large company, as well, you start to get really concerned about some of the things how it's going to impact all of our daily lives. And really just wanting to have more visibility into how the city a local government can help and then realizing, you know, I'd really like to be a part of that. Um, and then similar to what Anthony was saying, when I came in is, you know, I have a pretty unique skill set, right, I've, I'm definitely a, you know, a local and if been, had the benefit of being able to live here and enjoy all of that, but also, from a career perspective, have had kind of a unique path where, you know, I went from call put myself through college. Oh, there we go. That'll just gonna happen to me a lot. Anyway, so I want to get more involved and really eager to participate.
Great. Yeah, we asked this just you keep an eye on the time, 90 seconds for all the questions, and thanks for joining us, too. You bet. Yeah. Okay, great. Um, first question. So these questions came from Santa Cruz, local readers and listeners, we're going to page paste each question in the chat for our audience, the chats at the bottom of your screen, click the icon Mark chat, if you don't have an open, we just ask that the candidates Be respectful in their responses of each other at the same time. We want you guys to differentiate your yourselves from the other candidates so that voters have a clear idea of the differences between you to you, all of you. So I'll call on each candidate, you'll have 90 seconds. First question. There are some plans in concept for the capitola Mall redevelopment, the plans call for more than 200 housing units along with a retail overhaul. What are your goals and concerns, if any for that development? What should the city council push for? Kristen Peterson?
All right, thank you so much. That's a great question. Because a lot of the things that are happening in capitola now and that will happen in the next four years are going to revolve around that mall. So or what is now a mall and will become what is the working title is capital the town square. I'm excited about the possibility for a new housing. at that location. We're looking at potentially three to 400 housing units. Some of them were asking, remain within the affordable, affordable housing aspect of things. And that's really going to help us meet our Rena numbers. The amount of housing that is required by our regional housing needs assessment and stuff. I am back. I'm excited about the housing. I'm excited about the opportunity for jobs that will come to that area once it's redeveloped. I'm excited for the possibility to make 41st Avenue more walkable in the capitola side of 41st Avenue. Additionally, as I mentioned in my introduction, when the owners of the mom or loan guy or came to us with the plan, myself and several other council members requested that they could return to us with additional plans that will include a hotel because as you know, there was suggestions of a hotel down in the village and there was concerns about the scale and scope of that and so putting That up on 41st, I think would be more appropriate. So I'm really looking forward to the opportunities that this is going to provide our city. And of course, all the things that we need to consider traffic, water, those are all things that we're going to be studying and taking into consideration in the coming years.
Great. Okay, the question again, what are your goals and concerns, if any, for capitola Mall redevelopment? Margo Kaiser.
Thank you. So this has been totally a hot topic, ever since the new owners took it over. And I think it's super exciting. I think we have a big chance here to bring in a lot more jobs. And as Kristin was saying some more affordable housing, which we all know has been a big issue within our county. I really like the aspect of having another destination within capitola. I mean, the village is amazing. I can walk to the village, but at this point, it'd be so cool to be able to walk 41st and have some mixed use, and outdoor dining, shopping, things like that almost more of like a Santana Row kind of vibe, and bring in more people and more sales tax. And yeah, I think that the hotel, you know, not a super huge hotel, but something that will bring in some more to tea tax for capitola. That will definitely help with Rebuild of our budget, and things like that. And yes, of course traffic is going to be a concern, is it going to be a thoroughfare? How is that going to affect neighboring people, but perhaps having something that is walkable would mean that people are going to drive less people ride their bikes, things like that. So it's super exciting. I'm looking forward to working with any team that's part of it and making making the best options happen. Yeah,
thank you. Thank you.
Let's see, Anthony Rovai.
Sorry about that had to unmute. So the you know, the first plan that they put through,
it did not represent a good balance between smart commercial and the correct amount of housing and aesthetics. And I think that's something that we really have to focus on, is the aesthetics of what's going to go in there. I mean, that property could be the pinnacle of capitola doubt, up there. I mean, it has the potential, but it also has, if it's not done right, to be an absolute disaster for our city. So what I'm hoping to see them come back with I really do like the idea of having a hotel up there to generate the GOP tax as a Margot said, we really need that tax revenue to rebuild. And then I'd like to see something that was scalable, up there. And once again, the Santana Row kind of comes to mind or just almost like duplicating, you know, the village up here and make it a wonderful mix juice shops on the first for maybe office on a second floor and or housing, second and third floor. If it goes to three storeys. It'd be a wonderful asset to capitola and it also be a great revenue stream for capital in the future.
Great. Same question will rising.
very similar. Also concerns and thoughts. I think immediately I thinking with COVID, and thinking post COVID. There's a few things. You know, part of the part of the concerns that got me here are things about like childcare, small business, the arts, what I would really love to see. And I know plans are established, but it's finding a way where we can incorporate, you know, a very, very easy user experience for some of the businesses to be able to make money easier, right? Like we noticed outside dining, everything outside is much more comfortable inside dining is less comfortable. So finding ways to incorporate that design or structure or the flow where it can facilitate some of the new kind of channels for First of all, business post COVID. So that goes along with one of the other things that's a top of mind for me, which is you know, incorporating, incorporating how we, how we can easily have the arts, musicians people be able to play. I mean, if I'm dreaming about this and thinking about this in a perfect way, it's there's going to be you know, of course, we need the business, it's going to be wonderful to have a new place to go. All of the things everyone's mentioned about housing are, you know, extremely important and top of mind, but I think the actual experience of it and having the businesses be able to flourish, having it be able to support it should be should be kind of accommodating maybe a new way of post COVID life which would include open air seating, a lot of, you know, flexibility in terms of how people can Common purchase and go. And then as I was mentioning before, being able to incorporate kind of the arts, the entertainment, the mental aspect of things.
Great time. Thank you getting better. Very good. Okay, we're moving on to our lightning round. We're gonna ask them yes or no questions. Please raise your hand if the statement applies to you if it's a yes. So some of these ideas came from earlier interviews with the candidates. Okay, you guys ready? Question one, raise your hand if you are a renter. Okay, and I see and I'll call the names I see Kristen Peterson. That's it. Question two, raise your hand if you are a landlord. I see no hands. Okay, question three from UC Santa Cruz local reader. Raise your hand if you would allow some capitola areas that are zoned for single family homes to be rezone to allow duplexes. See, will rising. Krista Peterson very good. Okay. Question four. Raise your hand if you would allow some capitola areas that are zoned for single family homes to be rezoned to allow for for plexes.
Will rising Krista Peterson got it.
Number five. And our last question in the lightning round. to entice developers to build more rental housing. capital city staff recently suggested removing the city's inclusionary law for rental units. That law requires housing projects of a certain size to offer 15% of those housing units to people with low incomes. Raise your hand if you support the removal of the city's inclusionary laws for rentals. Will rising Krista Peterson There you go. Okay, great. That concludes our lightning round. Thank you for that. Alright, moving on to question our question two, we're gonna have about three or four more questions. Many capitola residents and voters we interviewed said they felt isolated during the pandemic, especially senior citizens, given the city's limited budget, what will you do to expand the city's programs and services for seniors? I will start with Anthony Robo.
I mean, that's kind of a really a loaded question at a time when the city doesn't even have enough budget to you know, maintain, maintain the current streets and everything. But with that being said, I I'd like to see that programs, maybe at Jade street or at the at the senior centers, those type of programs where we can get seniors together, I don't know when COVID will allow us to do that. But you know, host things for for seniors to get together and go around and maybe even get this, you know, schools. When my son went to school, they actually visited some of the senior housing around there. Now, it's kind of a wonderful thing, the seniors love it. The kids got to get out and, and talk with the folks and learn stuff about what you know how life was back, you know, 50 years ago. So just do an outreach with in the neighborhoods and make sure that neighbors are connected next door works out very well, as a platform, I've seen a lot of seniors be able to reach out and ask for help. And it's, it's wonderful to see how many people step up to, to help our seniors. So I fully support that platform and maybe making it more accessible for seniors, let them know that it's even there. Because I don't think a lot of people know I mean, it's like zoom is a thing. So
thank you for that. Same question, Kristin Peterson
or Thank you, I'm going to take a couple seconds of my time to apologize for my fidgeting and let everyone know I have a six month old puppy that is not respecting the importance of this forum right now. So my apologies. Um, it's understandable that people are feeling isolated. I think a lot of us are feeling isolated right now, especially with having to be at home quite often or at least not able to visit with some of our family members, our you know, our grandparents, our our relatives or friends without putting them at risk. So it's understandable that people are feeling isolated right now. Again, with the budget being what it is, this is a really difficult question to answer. I will say that the cities really well so far in transitioning some of our recreation programs to virtual and supporting this is for seniors, but supporting things like our out of school time program and make sure that there's social distancing. So I think that we can continue to move forward. And really, we could do some community outreach to our seniors to see what is the need? And how can we provide that if virtual classes aren't working? And what would? How can we do that in a safe way? We need to provide up personal protective equipment, would we have the opportunity to do social distancing, we recently just did a review of allowing commercial businesses to use our parks for different you know, outdoor workouts or classes. So I think that those are the kind of things that we can continue to explore, to support our seniors and all of our residents who are feeling isolated right now. Thank you.
thank you, I'm going to take a little bit of time, I apologize, I have a little bit of a childcare snafu. So I got a four and a half year old run around the back throwing dice everywhere, a little distracting, and I'll try not to let it to disrupt. But I think along the same lines of you know, what Kristin was saying, I feel like there's a lot of what one it's community are getting the understanding of what the needs are, everyone is feeling isolated. You know, I was raised by my grandparents, and I, you know, they're unfortunately, they're gone by now. But that have I've had, I have friends that are in their senior community and, and getting out and about just getting out and about even for like a drive and and kind of getting to see see life and see air for the ones that have been so scared, is is truly truly impactful, positive experience. So I think it's understanding what what doing some outreach to understand what the appetite would be and what people will be willing to do. But then really leveraging some of the resources that we have there being unused right now, Anthony mentioned Jade Street, you know, I think that's a part there's that community center there that you can rent out by the hour. I'm not sure what the impact are, you know how hard it is to rent things out now, but making all of the resources that might be available for just a safe, socially distanced experience about getting outside I think would even have an impact on some of the seniors. Now some of the folks that are not seniors with other families, I think there's other things that we can be doing to similarly with, you know, having the deck can also stimulate local business, which is maybe having a local tonight where it's reinforced of where, you know, people are going to be safe and be out and about, but it's something that we're locals can get out. And if they're going to feel good about doing it and potentially help stimulate some local business as well. Great.
Thanks. So yeah, this is a really sort of tough thing to handle seeing as how we have had a lot of budget cuts, COVID has affected that population more greatly. Not only are they are higher risk, but less mobility, and less, less ways to be active and get outside without being in contact with other people. So um, as far as the budget goes, I think that this might be something that we have to look into more of a volunteer measure. Or maybe we can bring back pen pals and get younger children in school who, you know, are going to maybe explain how to use zoom to the person via a letter or something cool, you know, and get some connections going on through community that may not be there otherwise, because we're all kind of behind the screens. But again, as other people have said, we do need to identify what is wanted what is needed, how we can do it safely, is outdoors, even safe for this population that may really have to even take extra precaution when it comes to health. And so, you know, family members, if they're around and local, that's going to be a huge help, volunteering, making different connections with younger people and making some more like after school type of things happening along with seniors, that could be something to that is sort of a win win for everybody. But again, it's a tough one. We're in a tough budget and a tough pandemic.
Great. Next question. Many local businesses are still struggling during the pandemic, what more can be done to support local businesses? What new plans will you push for in a year on the city council?
And I'll call on Margo Kaiser.
Yeah, so I'm also a small business as myself and I do have had to learn how to navigate personal training and counseling, nutrition guidance with people so a lot of it has been virtual. A lot of it has been distanced. Um, the other thing that I started doing, I started hosting donation based workouts weekly throughout the pandemic, where either the donations that I received from the people that took the workout either went to donating to people that were higher impact of COVID or small businesses that were down in the village. Caruso is the winebar, zandy, swimwear, I've donated a lot of those proceeds to places like that in the form of a gift card, and then I do a giveaway. So this is where social media comes into a huge play. I think the small businesses need to start using that as a free outlet. As a way to get more growth. We are a small town and you know this, we are in shelter in place. So what better thing to do then do a giveaway or do an event and we can walk down now everybody's doing curbside or pickup or anything like that. It's you're gonna have to get the creative juices going so and stay motivated through this time because we don't know where this is going to lead us in the next few months. And I'm in support shop local, make it a part of your family this year shop local, no Amazon, no, nothing like that. Thanks.
The question again, what more can be done to support local businesses? What new plans will you push, in a year in your first year on city council will rising?
I want to touch on some things, Margot said I think leveraging social media. I'm a small business owner and run to kind of small businesses. And one of the things that I've realized now it's about awareness, there's a lot of things that we rely on from a convenience perspective as consumers that that just come hand in hand like Amazon, but that's not necessary, if there's ways we can leverage local business and local businesses to kind of help each other to do that. So I think finding those combinations, you know, like, for example, food, local delivery, I have a hot sauce. So I'm putting my hot sauces in a lot of the local restaurants and stores and at a discount to try and drive your drive business there and help some traffic come in that way. So you know, the things that come to mind for me is awareness from the local businesses on how they can leverage each other the best, and most effective way to do that is through social media. This is my son, I'm holding real quick and and, you know, through leveraging social media, definitely finding ways businesses can help each other do that and awareness, and I think is the city. I mean, there's we talked about kind of sidewalk things in and I think about like farmers markets where businesses can kind of do that. I think that's a very, very good way to have more of those to help kind of stimulate local business as well. And I'm going to stop early just to deal with this quick. Daddy issue real quick.
Very good. Anthony robot.
Wow. So I mean, what we can do is really going to be determined by what is going on at the state level what what kind of mandates are coming down? What can we do? as everybody else has said, Yes, social media is super important. And just running this campaign, I met with a whole bunch of people and using a local, local printers for my signs. That's what you do is you just shop local, you know, I'm, I have my office here in capitola, I've been helping people budget their money as best they can I, you know, use all my tasks to help stretch their budget, by finding them the correct insurance for them at the lowest option. And I've been doing a whole bunch of financing for people to lower their, their monthly bills on their mortgage. So I mean, you just have to, you know, help people. I mean, that's one of the reasons I'm running is that is that is to help, right? You know, think outside the box, what do we need, we need solutions to this kind of stuff. And it's not all in our control. We do have, you know, the state sending down different instructions. Sometimes daily, you know, depending on my son works down at a restaurant, and he doesn't know what he can do or can't do, depending on what the newest latest guidelines are. So I'd like to see if we get some help, you know, get on a real a simple plan for the business and know what they need to do.
Thank you. All right, Kristin Peterson
Sure. So when the pandemic first hit, maybe five weeks in, I was contacted by several members of the BI A, which is short for the business improvement area, the village and more business improvement area. And they said we need to hear from you more we need help. What can you tell us? How can we how can we make this easier. They told us that they needed outdoor dining, the council made that happen. We also waive the permitting fees for outdoor dining and permanent takeout windows. We now have businesses asking if they will be able to continue that through the end of the year. I support that and if I'm reelected I will continue to support that for as long as it is feasible and we can consider other ways to address the weather impacts that we're sure to have coming this winter. I'm in speaking with the BA we also I worked with our city staff to develop develop a mayor's economic recovery task force that has several of the business owners that come together to discuss ways that they feel they can be supported by the city. Additionally, the business owners are supported through their percentage of our to T taxes that go directly to the VA for them to choose how they will spend that money. And we continue to facilitate conversations with them on how we can continue to support them. I know the county has a grant program right now the city is working on a forgivable loan program that was a little more complicated than we thought it would be. But I'm committed to continuing to support the businesses however I can.
Okay, next question. Many voters that we talked to said they need help with childcare capitola recently partnered with soco union elementary school district and the county of Santa Cruz for a city subsidized childcare and homework help program. Given the city's limited budget, what programs or services will you push, push for related to childcare? And how will they be funded? We'll start with Kristin Peterson.
Sir, so as previously mentioned, we currently have an out of school time program run by the city and I would push to keep that for as long as necessary even past COVID times. If that is the case, whenever that may be. You know, in addition to that, I'd say that we we have a great Parks and Rec program that are running a lot of these, these out of school time programs right now. And I think that before we got into COVID, we were talking about an hour we had started an after school care program, which was really I would like to say kind of pushed forward by our Vice Mayor Yvette Brooks, and so I've got to give her the benefit for that. And additionally, part of our transient occupancy tax or tr t funding goes directly into a dedicated Children's Fund. And so as that funding comes in, we can continue to look at how we can put that money towards child care programs. Again, credit to Vice Mayor Brooks who came up with the idea to waive licensing fees for people that want to open in home, daycares. So there are things that have already started. And then we're kind of disrupted by COVID, there's things that we hadn't considered that were created out of necessity, because of COVID. And again, as we move into the next four years, you know, I heard someone say today that the idea of that's the way we've always done it, or business as usual, that's dead. Now, that's never going to be that way again. And so in the next four years, we can look at the funding we have the things we've done, and the things we want to do in order to address this need of childcare. Thank you.
Um, yes, great question. And so, and I was happy to see and kind of looking through, I saw that that program, you guys have an article about that program being leased. And that's really, really good news. And I think support that as long as possible. The biggest challenge right now, or I, you know, still is and was when this happened is when kids need kids and and parents really need kids to have something to do and be stimulated during the day, in order to keep balanced and be able to do what they need to do in order to you know, keep the household up and running. And you know, this is near and dear to my heart, I ended up turning kind of one of the small businesses I have, we call it vancamp. And it's a makeshift school activity program to where we go out, pick up kids from the house, bring them back to a certain spot, do kind of scholastic education halfway through the day. And then the second half of the day is done doing outside activities, like beach cleanup, nature hikes, go to the park sports, and it's all within a home I get I have a visitor at my house, how funny. It's all between all, you know, motivated by wanting to have the kids have some stimulation in a safe environment. It's within a you know, eight to 10 person pod. And to do that, and it's you know, it's been kind of a it's interesting to see how that evolves. But to do what Krishna just said, it's things are not going to be the same, right, you have homeschooling, you have zoom classes that are making everyone really, really frustrated. And, and it's really hard. But the end of the day, the kids need kids. Sorry about this. And I have five seconds left, the end of the day, we have to think differently. And we have to implement differently. And I support the things are going on now.
Yeah. We'll accept childcare interruptions during the childcare question. So Margo Kaiser same question, given the city's limited budget, what programs or services will you push for related to childcare and how will they be funded?
Thank you. So I was privy to the outside school program that mostly through event and I know she was a big part of that I have donated and I believe that you also can too. So if you are looking to fund these types of programs, that we don't have to rely just on city money. That's great too, and it kind of benefits, everybody. I think sort of like what Bill was saying and maybe we need to learn at getting people involved in specific pods, families that are close already or something like that where either there is one adult, maybe it's six to eight kids that are regularly hanging out with one another that people feel they all have the same level of comfortability around the COVID situation and understanding what their outside lives or like to. Um, and unfortunately, I think since we are not going back to normal life, and some business owners and employers really need to look at how they can help their staff maintain a job, but also maintain their kids normal lives normal activity. They are future and that's super important. They need interaction, they need physical activity, they need mental stimulation. So that's a big one and the funding. I don't know, I, I'm not looking at any numbers right now or anything like that. But these are just ideas that I think we as a city can work together to try and make the most healthy decision for everybody. Thank you.
Thank you, Anthony Roy.
So yeah, this is a very, very interesting subject to talk about, how are we going to get back to some sense of normalcy? You know, from all the different people, I talked to my clients, most of them are working from home. And now when school went back, they're also, you know, having their kids school from home, I know that my, my wife works for our school district, and she actually worked all through the summer, zooming with children to make sure that they are getting the emotional support that they needed. Through this really, really tough time. She was very, very surprised about the amount of students that actually attended during their summer, her little workgroups, she thought you'd have two or three students, and she had closer to 17 to 20 students per age group that that she hosted. So the need is out there, we can definitely leverage the zoom to help, you know, help the kids get the support they need. Ask for where are we going to fund this type of thing? I mean, hopefully, we'll get a vaccine in time. So we can actually get the kids back to school and some sort of normal see, we'll see when that does happen. Until then, we just need to really work together support the teachers, because they're the ones that are having to to educate our kids and entertain them, why we're supposed to be zooming on for our jobs.
Thank you. All right. Second to last question here. Like many cities, capital cities, revenue, from sales tax and other areas decreased during the pandemic, if the city's budget outlook is gloomy, what programs or departments are you willing to trim? What programs or departments are you not willing to trim? And we will start with will rising?
That's a great question and a god and what a tough one, right? Because we don't really want to lose everything, you always want to think things are moving forward progress. And without having and being candid about not having a prepared answer for this. But my immediate thought is,
miles Give me one second pretty pleased.
I know. Okay, my immediate thought is we have to get more creative about how to generate revenue, I think there's a lot of opportunities. One thing this time has taught me is that if you look at things in a different way, and you get out of the way that we're doing things, there are many different ways to kind of get to your end result and get to your outcome. So right now, that's we've relied on that for for tax revenue. It's, you know, substantiates. I guess I'm, I don't know, the exact number of percent or percentage or majority of what that is, but, but it's substantial. I know. So we have to think about creative ways to generate new revenue. And, you know, without, as I said, having a prepared answer. I've seen proof of that in this time and how everyone's been able to transition. I'm confident that as like a community, and and a city council, we can come up with different ideas to generate revenue there. So I'll leave it at that. Thank you.
Great, thank you. Just the question. Again, if the city's budget outlook is gloomy, what programs or departments are you willing to trim? What programs or departments? Are you not willing to trim? Kristen Peterson?
Sorry, should I wait for the previous timer to run down or?
I'm being reset? All right.
Yeah, that's that's a really difficult question. And I'll be honest, I'm not sure that I can give you a straight answer on that, because we've already been, you know, I personally have already been through it as one of the five council members that had to consider how we were going to balance or rather how we were going to make our budget work with a $4.5 million shortfall that we were facing in this in this fiscal year. I can't say here's the thing. The programs or areas that I'm willing to cut, here's the ones that I'm not. I think that, you know, this comes down to labor negotiations, it comes down to discretionary expenditure. So for example, this year, we had to cut our entire community Grants Program, which is not something that I enjoyed doing or was happy to have to do. And if anything, I'm hopeful that in the coming in the next fiscal year's budget, we'll be able to begin to rebuild that. Because you know, right now, we are seeing that there was a massive drop in our T OT and sales tax. But it's starting to recover slowly but surely. And so I don't think the question, and apologies for kind of not necessarily giving you a straight answer, but I don't think the question would be, what are we willing to cut? And what are we not? But how do we build back up from where we are now? And if things get worse than this, and I think we're going to need to start looking even further into dipping into our general fund or our reserves.
Okay, thank you, Anthony aroma.
Oh, yeah, that's a super tough question. No one ever wants to have to make these super tough decisions. For me, though, I mean, the basic things that we really need as a as a city is all the safety issues, we need to have a police department, we need to support our public works department. And those two as a minimum is what we need to see to keep. Because if we don't have a safe and clean city, who's gonna want to come and visit to increase the GOP tax, and spend their money. So I mean, just on a basic level, those are the two areas it's, you know, health and safety. That's what we need to support now to hear. And as the budget gets better than will expand, you know, and expand as fast as we possibly can to bring more services to the citizens of capitola.
Thank you. All right. We've got next, Margo Kaiser.
Thank you. Yeah, this, like everybody has stayed in what a tough question. This is, it's really hard to just nitpick one area here. And there, I think you need to look at everything as a whole within that area, whether it's, you know, safety, city works, anything like that. Those are two very important areas. We did do a lot of cutbacks already. And like the the community stuff, a lot of the meals on wheels, things like that. So those are things that I would like to see brought back, I do feel like we are going to enter an uptick. I do personally want to see that the bettering of the economy here. And this also goes back to supporting local business and spending your money here. And so that that can help go back into your community, and that we can start to thrive more on our own, and maybe not have to survive so much on tourism, that, obviously it's great, we need it. But to be more self sustainable, so that if something like COVID came back and hit us again, we have a better framework to work from. And yeah, I mean, I am not in the position right now to say, and you're gone and you're gone, and your back and your back or anything like that. I just know that people are still working really hard with pay cuts and everything like that. And I thank them for that. And that's it.
Great, thank you for that. Okay, we've got closing statements. I just want all the candidates to talk about anything, any other policy positions they have that you think the voters should know, one. And two, just if you were trying to differentiate yourself from the candidates, please do that, or anything else you wanted to expand on. And we'll start with Anthony robot. Cheese. Thank you.
Well, I'm just gonna close out and be nice and short and sweet here. Um, you know, COVID is brought on some, you know, challenging times and tough decisions lie ahead. So, you know, as a businessman, I know how to make the tough decisions by running my companies. And if you share my love of capitola, like balanced budgets and want to keep capital special, I'd appreciate your vote.
Great. Thank you. Margo Kaiser closing statement.
Thank you. Yeah, so if you've seen any of my signs around town, it says community first. And that's really what I want to put out there. I want the community vibe. We are so lucky to live here and thrive in this small, beautiful community. I realized we want to keep it quaint and we want to keep it sort of where it's at. But we do. We're obviously seeing here that we do need to progress and expand in ways that are going to be helpful for us and I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of the bounce back of COVID. I want small businesses to feel supported. And we're just going to have to get creative as I did for my own business, we're just going to have to help people get creative, together team up as businesses, and as a community and I want, I want to be that person that people can come to, and I want to help and yeah, that's why I stood up to this position, and I hope that I can help with your road. Thanks.
Thank you, will rising.
Um, thank you. And I'll try to keep this concise. A lot of the same things, though, uh, themes, I, you know, I have a deep love for the community I grew up here, I've you know, all that every phase of life I've got to spend here and, and see, and I truly think it's a unique and beautiful place and worth preserving. With that, I also believe we're in a time of change, where it's going to require a tremendous amount of creative out of the box thinking. My differentiators I think, are along those lines, right? You know, in this time span, I've started two businesses that, that are both adapting to the circumstances, and that are actually you know, that are doing well, and they're doing what they were supposed to do, which is kind of be multifunctional, stimulate local business, as well as kind of, you know, meet the needs of the current circumstances. In my, in my career history, you know, I went to school for computer science I've worked for, you know, IBM, Oracle, you know, VMware, now Google, all of my training has been about how to build things at scale, how to be inclusive, how to be mindful of your environment, how to be self sustaining, without even knowing it, this is the environment, you know, thinking about it. This is the environment that I've conducted my career and been, you know, reasonably successful in, in doing that. So I feel like I have a unique skill set and helping change occur. And also being mindful of how it's going to impact the environment and the things around it. I have a track record of that I would love to be able to leverage that for my home community in my town, to preserve the things that I think are so wonderful about it. So that's why I'm here. And that's why I think I might offer something helpful there. Thank you.
Thank you. Kristen Peterson closing statements.
In the last four years, I've really found a lot of joy in being on capitol city council, I've met with numerous residents and business groups and community organizations, I have learned so much from where I was four years ago. And I can only imagine that if I have the honor to be reelected, that I will learn so much more in the next four years. I as I mentioned, my family's been here for four generations, my grandfather worked for capitola pd for nearly 30 years, I feel that it's my responsibility to give back to this community in one way or another. And I would be honored to have the vote of our residents to be able to continue to give back to the community in this way. And if if anyone watching now feels that I can do better, or there's ways that we can do better as a council or things that we can do to improve our city, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm always open to suggestions and conversation and collaboration. And with that, just thank you so much for for tuning into this forum tonight. And as I say at the end of every meeting, please take care of yourselves and take care of each other.
Terrific. Thank you, Kristen. I want to thank all the candidates for coming. I want to thank the Santa Cruz local members for making this happen and as well as the Chamber of Commerce. quick plug for Santa Cruz local. please consider supporting local news with a Santa Cruz local membership in information is at Santa Cruz local.org slash membership. There's also a free newsletter, you can sign up at Santa Cruz local.org that gets free news of local news in your inbox two to three times a week. You can read a transcript of this forum and you can see a video of it. And Santa Cruz local elections guide that's at Santa Cruz local.org slash elections. Lastly, we want to invite you to our final candidate forum this week. That's at 6pm. Thursday that's for County Board of Supervisors district one and you can register for that at Santa Cruz local org slash events. Thank you guys so much. We really appreciate it. Good night. You.
Thank you. Great to see everyone.
Casting tonight, guys.