It was a night made for politics. Oct. 11, the night the vice-presidential debate aired on TV, was also the night that the College Democrats at UC Santa Cruz held an open forum with the eight candidates for Santa Cruz City Council.
The objective of the forum was to ask the candidates questions that would help the College Democrats decide who to endorse, or support for the four open city council seats, to be voted on Nov. 6.
The candidates in the running for Santa Cruz City Council are: Pamela Comstock, Jake Fusari, Cynthia Mathews, Don Lane, CeCe Pinheiro, Micah Posner, Steve Pleich and Richelle Noroyan. In a group discussion after the meeting, the College Democrats chose to endorse three of the eight candidates — Don Lane, Steve Pleich and Micah Posner.
Questions ranged from topics such as the expansion of UCSC to the new Warriors stadium, which started pouring concrete this week.
The forum talked to four candidates at a time, split between two sessions for about an hour each session.
One issue both groups of candidates spoke to was Measure P, which would guarantee the right for Santa Cruz voters to decide on desalination before the city could authorize such a project.
While all of the candidates were in favor of leaving the ultimate decision on desalination to a public vote, many did not accept Measure P.
“I don’t support Measure P because the city council unanimously voted to allow the measure to go to the ballot,” Noroyan said. “I’m not quite sure why we need it two times. It will cost thousands and thousands of dollars to put this on the ballot, which is money I don’t want the city to spend. I don’t feel cynical enough to think that the city council members will take their word back on that.”
According to San Jose Mercury News, the cost of the city voting on the measure will be around $2 per registered voter, which means the total cost will range from $70,000–90,000.
The growth of UCSC was a topic discussed at length. There were diverging opinions on the expansion of UCSC. Overall, the candidates supported the growth of UCSC provided that the university worked with the city to maintain a balance that will sustain the city and university both.
“I wish that the UC really wouldn’t grow anymore,” said Don Lane, current mayor of Santa Cruz. “It’s important for the city to push back against growth, and we hope a population of 19,000 will be a cap.”
The Long-Range Development Plan, coordinated between the city of Santa Cruz and UCSC provides for a maximum population of 19,500 by 2020.
Don Lane also expressed the concern that the unmonitored growth of UCSC would negatively affect the environment.
Max Perrey, the president of the College Democrats at UCSC explained the decision to endorse Don Lane, Micah Posner and Steve Pleich.
“Don Lane, Micah Posner and Steve Pleich earned our endorsement by demonstrating their deep commitment to the issues important to students,” Perrey said in an e-mail. “Each showed that they are knowledgeable about the big issues facing our campus and in Santa Cruz, and have bold solutions to address them.”
One issue was only briefly discussed before the end of the forum — jobs after graduation. Pleich explained how the city would generate these jobs hand in hand with graduates.
“Graduates aren’t going to be working in retail, they’re not going to be working at the boardwalk, they’re not going to be working in construction, they’re going to be working in high-tech, high-end jobs,” Pleich said. “That’s why we have to have some kind of a platform for them to come down into the city to develop those jobs, to be the entrepreneurs, to basically create their own opportunities. That’s what we need to be supporting, that’s what we need to incentivize. As city council members, we have the power to do that.”