Santa Cruz Expects Heated Local Elections in November
The filing period opened Monday and lasts until August 15 for four council seats. Voters will also get to vote on continuing with the proposal to boost fresh water reserves with filtered ocean water and whether to raise the hotel tax on tourists.
By Brad Kava
Santa Cruz Patch, 7/17/12
Some new faces join seasoned veterans in what should be heated races for four City Council seats in November. Eight people have expressed intentions to run and four have picked up the necessary papers, but haven't filed them.
The deadline for filing for the November 6 election is August 15. The top four vote-getters get the jobs, which pay a monthly stipend of $1,396, after a 10 percent budget reduction. The mayor earns $3,102 a month.
There are four council seats up for grabs. Ryan Coonerty and Tony Madrigal lose their seats because of term limits; Katherine Beiers has chosen not to run and Don Lane will run for the seat he now holds.
In the veterans corner are Lane and Cynthia Mathews, both of whom have been mayor and served on the council.
Lane served on the council from 1998-1992 and then from 2008-2012. He is currently the mayor. He has served on the City of Santa Cruz/Soquel Creek Water District Desalination Project; the Criminal Justice Council; the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission(SCCRTC). His background includes starting the Saturn Cafe and working on nonprofits to help homeless people.
Cynthia Mathews served four terms on the city council from 1992-2010 and served as mayor three times in 1997, 2006 and 2009. A former director at Planned Parenthood, she has served on the Conference and Visitors' Council (CVC), the Downtown Management Corporation Economic Development Council, the Legislative Strategist Ad Hoc Committee, the Library Joint Powers Board. the Sanctuary Inter-Agency Task Force Chair, Oversight Committee amd the Santa Cruz Redevelopment Successor Agency.
Former school board member Cece Pinheiro spent the past seven years as director of a nonprofit that helps parents of special needs children, the Special Parents Information Network. She was also an executive at Community Television.
Pamela Comstock is a board member of Take Back Santa Cruz, the neighborhood group that has been vocal in fighting crime and encouraging the city to clean up dangerous neighborhoods.
Steven Pleich ran for council in 2010, but placed last in a field of eight. Since then, he's been actively volunteering around town. He fought to have the swimming pool at Harvey West Park reopened and was active in the Occupy Santa Cruz movement.
Micah Posner is a familiar face at city council meetings, where he has been an advocate for the rights of bicyclists and spokesman for the group, People Power.
Richelle Noroyan is the head of the Democratic Party of Santa Cruz County who got her national political experience working for Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign mobilizing campuses. She has worked for UCSC and Apple.
Jake Fusari has been an intern with the San Francisco 49ers, according to a an entry on the LinkedIn site.
So far only Lane, Mathews, Noroyan and Pinheiro have pulled the papers to file for election.
Two other issues are expected on the ballot, after the city council discusses them Tuesday. One is a measure sponsored by a group against building a $100 million desalination plant that will let the plant be built only after a vote. The other is a transit occupancy tax raise charged by hotels to guests in the city.