By Compiled by Michelle Fitzsimmons
A litmus test for how any candidate will perform in political office is to look at what they have done as a private citizen.
The two candidates this paper is endorsing for positions on the city council of Santa Cruz have served terms previously and continued their public service outside of office, each founding and leading stellar community organizations.
Don Lane was a councilmember from 1988 to 1992, leading the city through the Loma Priata earthquake disaster. After leaving the council, he opened Saturn Café. He helped found the Homeless Services Center and has served as its associate director for the past two years.
As if Lane wasn’t active enough, from 2005 to 2007 he was the chairman of the city’s General Plan Committee.
If elected, Lane has placed dealing with the city’s $5 million deficit at the top of his priorities. He has served this city throughout his career and we believe he will continue to act in the best interest of Santa Cruz as a member of the council.
Katherine Beiers moved to Santa Cruz in 1967 and immediately became involved in the city’s public life. When a proposal for a conference center at Lighthouse Field was on its way to fruition, Beiers spearheaded a community effort to prevent the center from being constructed. Today, Lighthouse National State Park is preserved indefinitely.
Beiers, in her words, has been involved in politics ever since. She was on the city council from 1988 to 1996. The Homeless Garden Project is her brainchild.
This is not to mention her 25-year tenure as librarian for McHenry Library. In this time of shaky city and university relations, it is important to have a council member with ties to UC Santa Cruz.
Like Lane, Beiers has served her city in and out of office, and would continue to do so on the council.
The men and women running for the four open seats on the seven-person council represent the wide spectrum of people from different backgrounds, lifestyles and ideologies that call this eclectic city home.
Here is a look at the eight other candidates we did not endorse.
Blas Jacob “Jay” Cabrera: Cabrera, a UCSC graduate, wants to see Santa Cruz adopt a green healthcare system. Like Canada, he sees the current treatment of mental health patients and drug addicts as detrimental to their health, and the health of the community whose streets many live on. “Green healthcare” means a focus on alternative medicine and physical wellbeing. Cabrera has said that the treatment of the homeless downtown is a human rights issue. He wants to see all of Santa Cruz’s public spaces become vibrant and energized centers for public gatherings. Furthermore, he wants to create a permanent committee of UCSC students, community members, and local politicians to have a continuous dialogue between the oft-competing interests.
J. Craig Canada: Canada was homeless for three years, and in that time experienced firsthand the efficacy of the city’s social services. He believes the system is fundamentally flawed, relying too heavily on psychotropic drugs. Canada says that he was denied disability payments and housing because he is a medical marijuana patient. He has called for creating designated space for street performers to reduce conflict between merchants and performers.
Ryan Coonerty: Coonerty has accomplished a lot in his four years on the council, particularly during this past year when he served his turn as mayor. He has passed several ordinances, brought the police force to full capacity, and begun an extensive road project (you can thank him for the city’s freshly-paved roads). Coonerty’s biggest concern is bolstering the local economy. To do this, Coonerty seeks municipal sustainability: more jobs, more shopping, and affordable housing. Several of his policies have been criticized for what some say is a disregard for the rights of poor and homeless people. He received praise for reaching a settlement with UCSC regarding university expansion.
Tim Fitzmaurice: Fitzmaurice’s first priority would be tackling the city’s budget deficit. He also places public safety as a major concern in light of recent Santa Cruz murders. Fitzmaurice and Beiers are the only candidates endorsed by the Sierra Club. He is the self-described most progressive candidate, primarily because he has criticized the building practices of developers and the Chamber of Commerce. He is possibly the most future-minded candidate, calling for a reform of the city’s General Plan, which sets Santa Cruz’s goals and priorities for the next 30 years. Fitzmaurice wants to see sustainable building principles implanted into the Plan.
Simba Kenyatta: Years as the city’s youth outreach coordinator have given Kenyatta a sympathetic understanding of the relationship between students and residents. Billing himself as a coalition builder, Kenyatta says he could apply the skills he learned in gang negotiations and apply them to building a more cohesive community. Among his priorities is prevention of violence against women, including domestic violence. To combat crime and deter illegal activity, Kenyatta has proposed patrolling downtown’s parking structures with security golf carts. Kenyatta has a strong environmental position, calling for the city to immediately adopt greener attitudes and practices. If elected, he would be the first black person ever to hold public office in Santa Cruz; however, he urges voters to elect him on the merits of his campaign rather than his race.
Tony Madrigal: Madrigal is running for re-election. He is one of the few candidates who publically addresses the rise of gang-related activity in Santa Cruz. Along with early prevention, Madrigal wants black “Gang Task Force” patrol cars on the streets to deter gang members from gathering. He is also one of the two minority candidates on the ballot, and the only one to hail from the East Side. Madrigal advocates immigrant and minorities’ rights. While he has been a dissenting voice on many council votes, Madrigal voted in favor of the unruly gathering ordinance, unpopular among many students. His most controversial proposal is the construction of a conference center. He believes it would bring revenue into the city, but opponents are afraid of its effect on the city’s natural landscape.
Lisa Molyneux: Molyneux opened and continues to run Greenway Compassionate Relief, Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary. She has run a low-profile campaign, not joining the other candidates at a recent public forum. According to her official website, Molyneux hopes to increase public and bicycle safety. She is an advocate for medical cannabis patients. Uniquely, she has said she would provide affordable education. To help city youth learn a skill or trade, Molyneux has proposed starting a community college volunteer staff.
David Terrazas: Much has been made of the fact that Terrazas is the only candidate who is a parent of small children. And while he does represent a constituency of voters concerned with raising a family in this city, he also represents workers who commute to the Bay Area every day, which he believes is harmful to developing a sense of community and strong local economy. He currently serves on the city’s Transportation Commission, and wants the city to embrace sustainable transporation alternatives. Walking routes, improved bike paths and more buses are some of the suggestions Terrazas has made in respects to greening the city.