TBSC 2018 Santa Cruz City Council Candidate Questionnaire

General Public Safety

Police Department


Relationship with County of Santa Cruz

Mental Health


City Employees

Needles & Environment

Civic Engagement

1) What do you think are the biggest public safety issues that currently exist in our community? What would you propose to fix these issues?

2) As a Santa Cruz City Councilmember, what would you do to make Santa Cruz a safer place for children and families?

3) Do you believe that there is a problem of “enabling” criminal, anti-social, and/or drug addiction-related behavior in Santa Cruz? Why or why not?

4) As a Santa Cruz City Councilmember, how would you support our police department to help improve public safety? Would you support increased funding for the department to hire and retain more officers? Why or why not?

5) Do you believe that our Downtown is clean and well-maintained? Why or why not? What would you do to increase the cleanliness of the area and to make it more of a destination for families?

6) As a Santa Cruz City Councilmember how would you engage with County elected officials and staff to improve their participation in and accountability for public safety issues that impact the City?

7) Do you believe that we have a mental health crisis in Santa Cruz? Why or why not? If yes, what would you propose to address it?

8) Do you support Laura’s Law, and would you advocate that the County Board of Supervisors adopt it?

9) Are you aware of other communities that have made progress in addressing homelessness that Santa Cruz could model? Would you support the hiring of outside consultants to better address the issue of homelessness in Santa Cruz? Please elaborate.

10) City employees have expressed concerns about safety when working due to discarded needles, feces, and unstable individuals. What would you do as Councilmember to better protect City employees?

11) How would you work towards keeping our parks and beaches free from needles and garbage?

12) What idea or ideas do you have to bridge divisions of people that may disagree philosophically and or politically to find common ground?

Richelle Noroyan

Safety in public and open spaces – Too often residents are having negative experiences in public and open spaces in our city. The causes of these negative experiences that range from mild annoyances to physical assault, are interwoven with people experiencing addiction and/or mental illness. I will continue advocating for more social worker outreach in public places and support programs that increase SCPD, District Attorney and judicial level coordination to address constant repeat offenders. People who are constantly being arrested or cited for bad public behavior need to accept social services offered to improve their situation or experience some sort of consequences.

Higher than average alcohol and drug use among youth and the adult population – The amount of time SCPD and SCFD spend reacting to those in our community who are addicted are both higher than the state and national average. Collaboration between our school district and the county need to occur to not just treat those seeking recovery, but prevention programs as well.

Very high levels of property crime – More education to residents on measures they can take to not be crime victims is essential, but other actions much be taken. State law makes it challenging for local municipalities to address repeat offenders, but I will continue supporting SCPD’s Constantly Crook program and the county’s HOPES program.

Higher than average pedestrian and bicycle accidents – We need a traffic calming program in Santa Cruz like other cities. Today when neighborhoods request traffic calming services, they are often told there is no money in the budget to address their concerns.

1. I will continue to make public safety a priority for the council to address

2. I will continue to bring neighbors together with SCPD, rangers, planning and public works to address specific problems from all angles.

3. I will propose a traffic calming program

4. I will continue to advocate for improved county social services and more social outreach workers

5. I will collaborate with SCPD on possible ordinance changes regarding bike theft and bike chop shops.

6. I will support more patrolling of public places to enforce standards of public behavior

I do believe as a county, city and community we have had a higher acceptance level of anti-social behavior and drug use, both legal and illegal in Santa Cruz. I love the live and let live attitude in our community, but that should not translate to a lack of standards in public spaces. When we don’t attempt to address this behavior, we are enabling people to behave badly. I don’t think this helps the individuals creating problems or the community.

As much as I would like to increase salaries to fill positions currently difficult to recruit for within the SCPD, our budget, along with cities and counties all over the state will face deficits due to the CalPers board’s insistence of paying pension liabilities back much faster than anyone predicted. If budget were not an issue, I would be in favor of more patrol officers being hired. I will do all I can to keep current staffing and funding levels as the council may have to make some painful decisions regarding our budget.

After the earthquake, sidewalks downtown were created to no longer be slick when it rained. While slip and fall injuries went down, the sidewalk’s textured style made it easy for it to become dirty quickly and more difficult to clean. Council has asked staff to come back to us with proposals to clean sidewalks and downtown areas more often. Also, the Downtown Management Corporation re-instituted the ambassador program and there is a new application for phones that allow the ambassadors and the general public to report graffiti, trash and other issues to the city to address. The application was just launched, and I have high hopes this reporting system will be a good tool for keeping downtown cleaner.

As a councilmember I serve on the HOPES executive committee, a program to replace the PACT program. Through this program, I am able to communicate directly with county staff. I have publicly asked the county to take the lead in addressing health and human services that the city has attempted to address the past four decades. I will continue to approach county supervisors and county department heads to provide more social services to people who are chronically homeless due to addiction and/or mental illness. We also must reach out to our state representatives to allow counties to more easily establish conservatorships for people living on our streets that need assistance.

I believe we do have a crisis, not just locally, but statewide. As a society we have decided the way to handle people who are mentally ill is to house them in county jail or send them out on the streets to live. I am working with the county on asking them to provide an information session at a council public safety committee meeting about mental health care services in the county so I can be a better advocate for these services.

I support the county going through a public process to consider adopting Laura’s Law. I’ve been told by county officials this law is expensive to implement and pulls resources from programs that are effective, but I’ve also noticed counties that were hesitant at first to adopt Laura’s Law are now implementing this law.

Communities who have hired homeless consulting services have met with some success in lowering the number of unsheltered homeless. I support the city and county collaboratively hiring a consultant to go through the exercise of having an expert observe our current services and policies. I proposed this as part of the Homeless Coordinating Committee’s action items, but it was not supported by my fellow councilmembers.

I advocated heavily for city hall to no longer be used as a homeless campground based on the complaints from both city employees and SEIU representatives. I have made myself available for meetings with union representatives concerned about working conditions. I have also advocated for different practices in regard to the county needle program. The amount the county needle program hands out if almost twice as much as Santa Clara County despite our population being 1/5th their size. I will continue questioning the need to distribute so many needles to meet disease prevention goals.

I will continue to question the necessity of our county needle program to hand out almost twice as many needles as Santa Clara County despite being 1/5th their size. I will continue to insist a very thorough combing of our beaches with our sand sifter machine.

For beach cleanings, I led a huge effort to get both the city and Seaside Company to change practices to greatly improve the conditions of the Main Beach on high use days. When a resident came to council with shocking photos about the condition of the Main Beach, I spent many weekends picking up trash to bring the issue to people’s attention. I am happy to report these efforts have improved the situation greatly.

City council study sessions can be a good tool to provide information and road blocks involved to address challenges. Civil conversations need to be based on facts and realities to make progress. I would welcome bringing disparate groups together to find common ground.

Cynthia Hawthorne

1. Underfunded public safety

2. Untreated Mental Illness and Addiction

We need a two-track solution that begins with new leaders who have the courage to direct and fund SCPD’s mandate to enforce existing laws downtown and on the levees. Once word gets out that the free pass to sell/use drugs downtown or on the levee is over, things will change. All the research says that cities with “strong governing” have the best outcomes in reducing drug use and crime. Our public safety dollars that we invest in prevention will pay off.

Also, as a mental health professional who participated in the recent Santa Cruz County mental health update, it is clear to me that there is hope for a new cost effective collaboration on countywide solutions for the long standing problems created by untreated mental illness and addiction. Right now, the City of Santa Cruz carries the heaviest burden with many of those untreated addicts and mentally ill people on our streets and committing the majority of the “nuisance” crimes Santa Cruzans are negatively affected by every day.

This morning I read that the “river street camp” will be closing in November and instead the Salvation Army will open a 60-bed shelter in Live Oak for the winter. These are the kinds of regional solutions we need to shelter homeless/mentally ill individuals. The City of Santa Cruz for too long has been trying to solve these long standing problems as the lead agency. If County voters pass Measure H and G, the money in the measures specifically for treatment and housing that will impact in the entire county.

1. Enforce traffic laws in neighborhoods such as Swift Street and Sea Bright Ave. where vehicles often reach 45-50 MPH near parks and schools.

2. Direct SCPD to enforce the law downtown and on the levee.

3. Commit money and resources to Vision Zero, the bike and pedestrian safety program.

4. Work with all the schools to more aggressively address bullying, sexual harassment and SUD.

Yes. What our City leaders have done is not working. The environment downtown and petty crime in our neighborhoods has gotten much worse during the 33 years I have lived here. The term “petty crime” is actually a misnomer because, while they may not be violent crimes, they have a hugely negative impact on our families, in terms of severely reducing a sense of safety in our neighborhoods.

Yes, I would support increased funding for the department.

1. Investing in public safety is the best way to protect our neighborhoods

2. We need more than 4 officers on duty to protect our city at night

1. I am appalled at how dirty and crime ridden downtown has become at all hours of the day and night, despite the introduction of new programs and resources.

2. I have met two small business owners recently who have moved their businesses to other places because they did not feel safe working downtown and were outraged to find human excrement on their doorways. It has to stop.

The City Council needs to increase funding for public safety, support the SCPD in enforcing existing laws and increase funding for the Downtown Streets Team, which is one bright spot currently. Investing in the DST and helping the program grow would make a real difference. Even the presence of the DST on the streets is a deterrent to crime. I would also like to see the sidewalks steam cleaned by the City or the DST at least once a week in the dry season. We also need to have open public bathrooms that are clean and safe for families.

1. I would become directly involved in working with other elected officials and staff seated at the table. It’s not enough to make statements from the dais during City Council meetings. As a former elected for 8 years (Santa Cruz City School Board, including two terms as board president), I have a proven track record of collaborating directly with colleagues and other public agencies to coordinate positive outcomes for our community and county. Examples include BASTA, Juvenile Justice Committee, Santa Cruz High neighborhood safety improvements, and SC County School Boards Association (which I co-founded).

2. With Measures H and G on the ballot, we are acknowledging that many of our problems in the City are also County problems and have to be solved collaboratively.

As a mental health professional for the last 30+ years, I can say with absolute confidence we have a serious mental health crisis happening in Santa Cruz. And as a candidate walking every neighborhood in town, I can report that untreated mental health and addiction is the most common issue shared with me when I talk with voters.

I know from direct experience there are solutions that work. I worked on a crisis intervention team in San Jose in the 1980s as an intern. The program was similar to Santa Cruz’s MERT and it works. The basics include intervening through social services rather than criminal justice. It frees up our police officers to focus on other priorities and is much more cost effective. In the 1980s, San Jose had treatment centers and transitional housing. Staff would also contact the individual’s family, often resulting in the person returning to their original community – not Santa Cruz. Measure H and G will provide the funds to improve and expand MERT.

YES. I would also advocate for the repeal of the 1972 law called the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, which has resulted in tying the hands of our Police Officers/ First responders. Homeless untreated mentally ill people on our streets’ are a direct outcome of LPS.

YES, I would support outside consultants. Other communities such as Columbus, Ohio, Salt Lake City, Utah and many cities in Europe, such as Vienna, have better outcomes than Santa Cruz. According to Heather Redman from the Seattle chamber of commerce, who reviewed Cities with successful outcomes, “Regions with a strong governing body overseeing the response to homelessness tend to be more successful reducing it. Cities that have made the most headway in reducing homelessness did so using a Housing First approach. That model prioritizes getting people into homes without barriers, under the assumption that once their housing is secure they can begin to deal the factors that caused them to become homeless, such as job loss, mental health issues, or addiction.”

I would support working with consultants that have experience with best practices and positive outcomes.

City employees face the same issues as every community member but on a daily basis. I would make sure that employees know the City Council is listening to them and hearing their specific concerns. I would also ensure safety training/self defense training is made available for every employee – I developed such a program for middle and high school students in Santa Cruz City Schools. We also need to provide demonstrated leadership to solve these longstanding issues of untreated mental illness and addiction.

I would insist on enforcement of our existing laws, advocate for treatment centers for addiction, and work to dedicate more resources to public safety in our parks and beaches.

I am a member of the Santa Cruz Indivisible group “Finding Common Ground.” This group exists to explore how to listen and connect with people who hold different views. The group is planning “living room conversations” to build the bridge to understanding. Santa Cruz belongs to us all. Civility and respect is key to bridging difference and gaining understanding. We have to have the courage necessary to reach across divides, listen to new ideas, and most importantly, try new things. We need independent thinking to get out of our same ol’ same ol’ ideas.

Donna Meyers

I define public safety broadly to include petty and nuisance crime, assault, trespass, and public health as regards the issues facing our community. Our biggest public safety issue currently is the complex population of homeless and mentally ill people living in Santa Cruz and not having the resources or a fully accountable method to proceed forward with our partner Santa Cruz County on solutions for this population. I do believe though that we are on the verge of better describing the needs and issues associated with these members of our community. We also have an extensive narcotic-related safety issue in Santa Cruz that drives much of our petty and nuisance crime and assaults. This population also tends to not be part of the population that seeks assistance in homeless and substance abuse programs and tends to cause property crime, trespass, open drug use, littering and deterioration of our open spaces and parks. This population’s impacts are further exasperated by misdemeanor determinations under current law and our overburdened jail and court system. I would continue to work towards better definitions of these populations through experts that have studied and surveyed these populations in other cities in California. I would continue established committees and accountability dialogue with the County of Santa Cruz. I would better define the fiscal impacts to the City of Santa Cruz for mental health, criminal activity and mental health interventions so we can understand better how to manage these costs through programmatic approaches. I would seek additional social workers for match with City Police officers and substance abuse programming as a priority in the near term. I would support increasing arrests focused on drug sales and networks within the City. We also must address the number of vacancies on our police force.

We need to focus police and ranger patrols in our public spaces like our parks and beaches, near our schools, downtown and other business districts. We need to provide the ability for neighborhoods to have regular communications with neighborhood police teams and also provide outreach and training to neighborhoods more regularly on how to deal with nuisance issues in their neighborhoods and how to interpret possible altercations with mentally ill individuals. We shouldn’t continue to accept these situations as normal but we should talk to and train our community in how to handle these situations and stay safe. I am not saying we should accept this for the long haul but we do need to educate our families and children on how to stay safe in certain situations.

I believe Santa Cruz is a fairly accepting community when it comes to drug use and individual behavior. We are more accepting of open drug and alcohol use in many cases. I believe we do not have enough substance abuse programs currently for those in need and I believe we can work to better track and understand accountability for services when an individual receives them. I have learned that our youth are encountering access to drugs as well so we need to work towards educating the next generation as well.

I would be interested in the near term in addressing existing vacancies on our police force through employment incentives such as salary and signing bonuses and other ways to attract applicants. I am in favor of the downtown host program and would like to see a downtown policing team re-established to help merchants in downtown. I would like to see us spend resources on neighborhood outreach and training through community service officers and maintain both crime analytics and mapping efforts in real time for use by neighborhoods and residents. I would support increased funding if a solid programmatic approach to addressing vacancies and empowering neighborhoods was presented.

After talking with downtown business owners and business associations I know that merchants and businesses are struggling. Cleaniness is really hard to judge as I know there are many instances when campers and others are making a mess downtown by spreading their belongings around and defecating in public areas. I know personally many workers (especially young women who work late or early) who do not feel safe at all downtown. We need to find resources to address these issues and also restablish a dedicated downtown police team in the near term. We need to look at anchor tenants that would attract families and possibly create lodging and other uses closer to the downtown to activate our downtown.

I would maintain existing city staff and county staff committees and institute regular communications between elected leaders in the city and the county. I would request a joint city and county staff dashboard reporting form that gets published monthly and is available through the web and presented at both City Council and Board of Supervisors. We should continue with the State of the City presentation annually as well with public safety being a reportable metric.

I don't know that we have a crisis in as much as we have a persistent population that suffers from mental illness and also is unsheltered and can also suffer from substance abuse. These individuals can tax our police and fire with calls for assistance and this does result in real costs to city residents as well as taking away form other types police services. We should try to understand more from service providers about countywide trends in mental illness but it is not the City’s job to expand resources on this issue as the City is not a service provider nor does it have any funding for such activities.

I am familiar with Laura’s Law through research I have done and note its effectiveness in some counties in California. I will need to do additional research and outreach to understand whether to support a request before the Board of Supervisors. I will track the outcome of SB1045 signed last month by Governor Brown regarding conservatorship laws and implementation on SB1045 in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego as these cities certainly struggle on a larger scale with similar issues as Santa Cruz.

So many communities in California are suffering with these issues and I have done research on the cities of San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara. I believe we have to look at communities that are making progress and I would support outside consultants based on demonstrated program success and outcomes. These issues are national in scale and we should be willing to receive expertise and guidance as appropriate and within the legal purview of California cities. Again I see these issues as being within the purview of the County with the City as a major partner but the City cannot be alone in its efforts to fund experts and solutions.

City employees certainly bear the burden of first hand contact with the impacts of IV drug use, homelessness and mental illness on our streets. In my opinion it is up to City Council and the Board of Supervisors to agree to an approach for this issue in the near term and begin to move forward with programming, policy and funding to address this crisis in Santa Cruz. Until then City staff will remain exposed to these issues and this is unacceptable. I don't have a magic answer to keeping City employees safer other then health and safety protocols already recommended – we need to solve the probable that is causing the exposure to City staff.

As a Parks Commissioner I am very aware of this concern in our parks and on our beaches. I have explored various solutions utilized by medical experts in other cities and communities and at this time I have not chosen a single option to pursue. I am aware of the efforts of San Francisco and communities in Canada to implement safe injection sites (SISs). We need to treat the cause of discarded needles in order to stop needles showing up in our public spaces but we also are a small city with limited resources so again we need to work at the broader county level on solutions to keeping needles in check and safely discarded.

In my experience working with local government on environmental issues during my career I know that common ground can be found through processes that reward incremental agreements and adaptive management based on unbiased research and data. This “progress-based” approach helps disparate groups think through early wins to begin to move toward larger wins. Examples of early wins may be admitting that data is not summarized or available to tackle a larger policy issue and win #1 may be the agreement to commission the data and study for continuing on problem definition and development of initial management or policy objectives. We have to acknowledge that some participants in politics can’t or won’t compromise and that is fine but they are not the groups or individuals that should participate in incremental policy development. We face complex problems and we need to acknowledge this and work towards understanding and defining problems first instead of fighting to obtain our end solution or objective. Trust is only built through successes (large or small), transparency, and communications – lets reward this in our community and new leaders.

Ashley Scontriano

Per capita, Santa Cruz consistently ranks among the highest in the state and nation for both property crime and violent crime. Some of the public safety issues that immediately come to mind are:

• Rampant theft,

• discarded needles,

• violence against women,

• untreated mental health issues,

• untreated addiction,

• “revolving door” arrests of repeat offenders,

• neglected downtown,

• unsafe parks and beaches, and

• Suspicious fires.

A City’s number one function is to provide public safety services to the community – we need to get back to this basic principle. For too many years, SCPD has had a high volume of calls for service, yet has been chronically understaffed, with many officers out on leave due to injuries. We must increase funding to the police department, with attractive pay and benefits packages to hire and retain more officers. This will allow for more proactive patrolling to help prevent and stop crime in progress.

In addition, I support:

• stricter enforcement of existing laws

• enacting a “bike chop shop” ordinance modeled after San Francisco’s;

• Considering expansion of SB1045 to include Santa Cruz (pilot program allowing cities to seek conservatorship in limited circumstances where an individual is chronically homeless, mentally ill, drug addicted, and unable to care for him/herself. (https://www.namicaadvocacy.org/sb-1045/);

• holding repeat offenders accountable through community service; and

• Working with the County to increase its accountability for providing mental health treatment, drug/alcohol and rehabilitation services and discarded needles from the County’s Syringe Services Program in the City of Santa Cruz.

People I speak with report fearing for their personal safety (both in and out of their homes). For far too long, Santa Cruz’s public safety issues have been swept under the rug and not truly addressed. This is unacceptable.

It breaks my heart to see first-hand that many of our parks have been taken over by drugs, criminal activity, and anti-social behavior. Oftentimes our parks are completely absent of children. Families tell me that they often go to the parks in Scotts Valley or Capitola instead because they feel safer there. We must reclaim our parks and make them a safe place for everyone to enjoy. To do this, there must be accountability. The rules must be enforced evenly for everyone, not just those who have something to lose. Additionally, playground areas should be designated “no adults allowed unless accompanied by a child.”

Similarly, our schools must be safe places for our children to learn and grow. There needs to zero tolerance for loitering on campus by people who have no legitimate business at school.

Absolutely. In former SCPD Chief Deputy Steve Clark’s words, “Compassion without accountability is enabling.”

Enabling is encouraging or allowing people to engage in dysfunctional or destructive behavior without consequences. We enable bad behavior through a consequence-free criminal justice system. According to one of our own judges, Ari Symons, this has resulted in a “magnet effect” for criminal behavior in Santa Cruz. (Public Safety Task Force’s September 18, 2013 Meeting Staff Report).

We also enable by giving hand-outs instead of hand-ups. Unfortunately, no-strings-attached, one-way giving results in “Toxic Charity”:

• Give once and you elicit appreciation;

• Give twice and you create anticipation;

• Give three times and you create expectation;

• Give four times and it becomes entitlement;

• Give five times and you establish dependency (Lupton in Toxic Charity, p. 130).

To reverse this trend, truly help those in need without causing unintended consequences, and re-brand Santa Cruz as a place where crime is not tolerated, I propose:

• Accepting Judge Symons’ recommendation for a “broken window” approach to crime fighting, meaning that the City “heavily enforce low-level crime to deter these individuals from coming to Santa Cruz and ultimately engaging in violent crimes.”

• Increasing accountability for criminal behavior through community service;

• Providing services that are coordinated and wrap-around, addressing the whole individual;

• Requiring any non-profit that receives funding from the City to demonstrate success.

I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform who risk their lives for us daily. That’s why, as City Councilmember, I would support our department by asking them what they need from the City to help them better do their jobs, and work to help them get it. As discussed above, I am 100% in support of increased funding for the department so that we can attract, hire and retain additional officers. Having low staffing levels not only puts the community at risk, it also puts our officers at risk or injury and burn-out. I would seek out additional state and federal funding to help our department get the tools it needs to promote public safety.

Our officers should not be expected to serve as social or mental health workers. I support more ride-along social workers, preferably funded by the County. We also need to hold the County responsible for holding criminals arrested by SCPD in jail.

No. Downtown is unfortunately “Ground Zero” for some of our biggest public safety issues. I deeply sympathize with business owners who find themselves dealing with daily criminal activity when they are simply trying to operate a business. I have spoken with numerous downtown merchants who speak of having to close their stores early, cleaning up human waste, and having to take steps to protect female employees. I agree with these hardworking business owners that there must be zero tolerance of loitering and nuisance behavior before we can have a safe downtown.

We also need to streamline and expedite the permitting process for new businesses to open downtown so that we have no more vacant storefronts. Let’s support economic vitality.

Considering the recent Hepatitis A outbreak, we need to revisit the Coastal Commission’s directive that we not power-wash our streets

I believe that once we make our downtown safe and exciting, and earn our community’s trust, it will be filled with families.

The City of Santa Cruz and the County of Santa Cruz must partner together to solve our greatest public safety issues, especially ones that are impacted by County programs such as the Syringe Services Program, County Jail, and the Homeless Services Center. If the County continues to turn a blind eye to funding programs for those neediest in our community, it will time for elected City official to turn to our state representatives for funding solutions.

That said, the City does need to establish some boundaries. Cities are responsible for providing public safety. Counties are responsible for providing human and social services. Somewhere along the line this distinction has become blurred, with the City spending more than its share on services the County should be fully funding. The County needs to fully fund social programs, so that City money is freed up for law enforcement.

Yes. One only need walk downtown to understand there is a problem. I have a soft spot for those I see suffering on the streets, as well as their families who love them and are unable to get care for them.

Since only counties, not cities, receive mental health funds, it is vital that the City continue to seek accountability on the part of County Mental Health, as Mayor David Terrazas has done. As Mayor Terrazas pointed out, the County is behind in its required accounting of Mental Health Services Act funds. Of additional concern are the multiple Grand Jury reports, and an October 2017 Santa Cruz NAMI report, finding serious deficiencies with county mental health services. As Councilmember, I would also urge the County to adopt Laura’s Law, and also to provide more funding for JANUS. We have heard JANUS workers talk about the horrible retention rate of employees because the pay is so low and how consistency if vital for their clients.

Yes. The status quo is clearly not working. It is time to try Laura’s Law. Once adopted by a county, Laura’s Law provides a mechanism for the courts to order Assisted Outpatient Treatment for severely mentally ill individuals who have committed violent acts and have been repeatedly jailed or hospitalized.

Most jurisdictions that have adopted Laura’s Law have seen enormous benefits and savings. For example, after adopting Laura’s Law, Nevada County, California reported the following benefits:

• Hospitalization was reduced 46%;

• Incarceration reduced 65%;

• Homelessness reduced 61%;

• Emergency Contacts reduced 44%;

• Savings of $1.81-$2.52 for every dollar spent as result of reducing incarceration, arrest, and hospitalization.

I have looked at the progress San Luis Obispo, Laguna Beach and Stockton have had with addressing their homelessness issue. I like the look of what Hope Of The Valley Rescue Mission (hopeofthevalley.org) talks about. I would also encourage an investment to learn from Dr. Robert Marbut (www.marbutconsulting.com) to address the issue of homelessness in Santa Cruz. The status quo is not working, and we need to move away from a culture of enablement to a transformative one; one that supports and promotes self-sufficiency and benefits the entire community. While there is a modest cost to consulting services, the

I look forward to learning more about and implementing Dr. Marbut’s seven guiding principles of transformation:

• Move to a Culture of Transformation

• Co-location and Virtual E-integration of as Many Services as Possible

• Must Have a Master Case Management System That is Customized

• Reward Positive Behavior

• Consequences for Negative Behavior

• External Activities Must be Redirected or Stopped

• Panhandling Enables the Homeless and Must Be Stopped

As City Councilmember I will have an open-door policy to all City employees who wish to speak with me. Because they know their jobs best, I will work with them to determine what they need to do their jobs well and safely.

Picking up needles should not be a City staff issue. Because the County of Santa Cruz administers the Syringe Services Program where many publicly discarded needles originate, the County should be tasked with responding to all calls for needle pickup in the City.

With the ideas I proposed elsewhere in response to this questionnaire – increasing police funding, taking a “broken window” approach to crime, holding repeat offenders accountable by community service, adopting Laura’s Law at a County level, and engaging the services of an outside homelessness consultant, there will be a decrease in the types of activities that wreak havoc on our parks and beaches. We must also hold the County accountable for picking up needles within City limits.

We should also reach out to Capitola, Aptos, and Scotts Valley, whose parks are largely free of needles and garbage, to determine if they have any policies or practices that Santa Cruz can model. There are also machines that can sift through the sand for trash and locate hazardous needles to prevent our community and others visiting from getting pricked.

First, all citizens – regardless of political or philosophical leanings – deserve to be heard by their leaders. A common complaint I hear from citizens is that many in local government never respond to their emails and calls. As City Councilmember I will be transparent and responsive to the concerns of the broad spectrum of constituents I serve. Active listening, building connections, and building trust are all important. City council meetings should be orderly, respectful and feel safe for people to attend.

Next, I have found that the best way to get people to work together is to get them in the same room, find something they can agree on, and work from there. It is easy to lose our civility when we remain behind the keyboard. A lot can be accomplished through face-to-face meetings and phone calls.

Greg Larson

Like you, I’m tired of mail and bikes being stolen, cars and homes being broken into, and constant concern for my children and others as they play in parks and at the beach or take a walk Downtown or on our trails. We need to protect Santa Cruz for all of us, and the current array of services and oversight is failing all of us, including those of us most in need.

Consequently, the biggest public safety issue in our community is a rising sense of lawlessness and the resulting need to address escalating criminal behavior in a focused and results-oriented way. There needs to be a new coordinated approach that includes: 1) Increased police enforcement, 2) Increased crime prevention, 3) Greater neighborhood engagement, and 4) Expanded County criminal justice and behavioral health services benefitting the residents of the City of Santa Cruz. Through this coordinated approach, we can both fill the gaps in our public safety system and increase attention on the results and services our community needs.

As a 30-year champion of public safety, citizen engagement, and multi-agency collaboration, I will bring both the focus and experience that is required to help restore a true commitment to public safety for our community, our neighborhoods, and especially for our families.

As the only candidate for City Council with young children, this is at the top of my priority list. As a Santa Cruz City Council member, I would prioritize making our city a safer place for our kids and a safer city for all of us.

There are several things we must do, including:

A. Making Downtown kid-friendly and senior-welcoming – I would work to establish a Downtown police sub-station to increase our public safety presence Downtown;

B. Making sure our parks are kid-safe, with usable bathrooms, tot lots, play courts and regular cleaning and removal of trash and debris – I would advocate for increased maintenance downtown and spearhead “placemaking” initiatives to ensure active and family friendly public spaces;

C. Increasing the City's Safe Routes to Schools program for both walking and biking families and kids – I would evaluate Safe Routes which have high accident rates and work to increase funding to invest in new infrastructure for increased transportation safety; and

E. Proactive enforcement and maintenance (clean-ups) where there is the presence of unsafe and illegal waste and debris in places frequented by children and families, along with citywide maintenance.

In my opinion the use of the term "enabling" takes the responsibility for the criminal and inappropriate behaviors off those doing those behaviors. However, I believe Santa Cruz does have a problem with criminal, anti-social and drug addiction related behavior that must be addressed.

While government and non-profits may create unacceptable and overly permissive environments, our focus must be primarily on combatting the unacceptable behaviors and discouraging the conditions that support those behaviors. Our community has both non-profit actions and government inaction that are contributing to our permissive environments and the rising sense of lawlessness I described in the first question.

Government must enforce the laws, and non-profit service providers and their funders must truly serve not only the individuals in need, but the broader community as well.

My campaign is supported by a broad coalition and has been endorsed by both the Police Officers Association and the Police Management Association, as well as many other public safety leaders. Professionally, my work history demonstrates strong support and direction for effective policing at several cities throughout the greater Bay Area. Additionally, I have always been a supporter of the Santa Cruz Police Department and have worked proactively with Department staff on criminal, traffic and neighborhood related issues.

Professionally, my work included the development of a10 Year Police Staffing Plan and the implementation of a program known as "Project Crackdown"; a comprehensive solution to assist troubled neighborhoods facing rising drug use. Further, I supervised Police in other cities and directed specialized safety enforcement actions and staffing as required (e.g., massage prostitution stings, allocation of funding for "hire-ahead" positions given anticipated officer separations, creation of internal affairs position, etc.).

As a Councilmember for Santa Cruz, I would ensure that public safety is the City's top priority, even during the inevitable recession that looms. It will be essential for the Council to provide support, leadership and direction to creatively maintain and expand public safety programs and results. My professional experience provides a strong background in understanding what is possible and successful approaches to obtain the results our community needs.

The City has initiated a more frequent cleaning schedule and the Downtown Association has recently introduced a new program to report problem areas. This renewed focus on better maintenance of Downtown is positive, but more needs to be done.

We need to intensify partnerships with Downtown businesses and the Downtown Business Association for a quick response team to respond to issues that occur between regular cleaning schedules. More visible and available trash receptacles would also be appropriate. In my opinion, the City needs to increase its outreach to Downtown businesses to prioritize its maintenance programs, including debris left from overnight or early morning users of business entries.

Fuzzy collaboration does not lead to accountability or change. The City must take primary responsibility for its core functions of public safety and housing, while the County owns its primary responsibilities for behavioral health (mental health and addictions) and the criminal justice system (jail, prosecution, courts). All these responsibilities encompass seemingly insurmountable and intractable challenges.

Only with clear accountability and authority can the system gaps and process failures be assessed and improved, with constructive collaboration launched in those areas where there is no clear authority or accountability. As a City Council member, I will continue to advocate for the increased services and attention required in the City given our role as the County seat and center.

After the horrific Clock Tower assault last spring, I gathered nearly 3,000 signatures in a week to bring community-wide attention to the need for increased County mental health and addiction services in Santa Cruz. The County has responded and is dedicating a portion of Measure G funding (if approved by voters) specifically for increased mental health and law enforcement partnerships in the City of Santa Cruz. That is the sort of tangible action and investment that serves our community.

Absolutely, we have a mental health crisis in Santa Cruz. This problem exists in many places throughout California and can be traced back to the deinstitutionalization of critical services back in the 1970's. Coupled with the loss of localized services during the Great Recession, we’ve seen the issues grow in complexity. At the State level, I recommend supporting the adoption of Measures 1 and 2 to provide desperately needed affordable housing, especially for those with mental illnesses.

At the local level I recommend support for Measures G and H. Combined, they will provide resources we need for year-round homeless shelters, new transitional mental health facilities, and ongoing mental health response partnered with lawenforcement. We can no longer allow people in need of treatment services to roam our Downtown and city neighborhoods; they need help and cannot be left to impact others.

Although the City receives zero funds for mental health services and has no statutory responsibility for mental health issues, the magnitude of the need in our city demands that the City Council provides leadership. Specifically, we must work with Federal, State and County resources to ensure that funding and services are responding to the changing and rising needs in our community. For example, our region has one of the lowest rates of available mental health treatment beds in the State; the City must advocate for the new services needed to help those most in need. Furthermore, the location of the majority of County criminal justice and behavioral health facilities and services in the City of Santa Cruz warrants increased support for those left with unmeet needs in our community as well. Last, the City should play a direct role in updating the next multi-year County Mental Health Services Plan to ensure that changes are made to meet the current and emerging needs of our residents and neighborhoods.

Yes. I believe County adoption of a Laura's Law resolution would allow the application of needed Mental Health Services Act and other funding to provide involuntary services in the few instances necessary for both the safety and protection of the mentally ill individual as well as the broader public.

I served as the Speaker of the Assembly's appointee to the California Sex Offenders Management Board that oversaw and advised on equally challenging issues. In this capacity, I argued against efforts to eliminate or reduce the sex offender residency proximity restrictions for schools and parks, and designated the first-ever municipal law enforcement personnel to serve on this important body.

We must understand that unhoused individuals constitute many disparate populations with differing challenges and needed support, including: mental health services, addiction services, economic dislocation (e.g., divorce, health care crisis, employment loss), lost housing, inadequate job opportunities, criminal behavior, or lifestyle choices. Differing responses by the County, City and non-profit organizations will be required in each case, but must always play to the core responsibilities of each agency.

Last spring, I conducted a brief survey of peer cities and their regional approach to the homelessness crisis. In most cases, the homelessness crisis response was either being led by the County or by the County in collaboration with cities within the County.

For example, in both Monterey and Napa Counties, the County government is in the lead with support from the cities in each county, while in Yolo County, the largest city, Davis shares leadership of homeless response with the County. In Santa Barbara County, non-profit organizations provide the leadership with funding from the County and cities, as appropriate.

In my opinion, the most productive approach for Santa Cruz is a model that is led by the County and non-profit organizations in collaboration with cities and supervisorial district offices for the unincorporated areas of the county. We can no longer simply site all these programs in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. We need a regional approach. We must start with a basis of clearly identified unique responsibilities for both the County, the City and our non-profit partners, and then complete an assessment of shared responsibilities and authority to ensure clear accountability and to minimize gaps.

Regardless, the City's core policing functions are essential for minimizing criminal and inappropriate behaviors, and encouraging individuals in need to utilize the support services provided by the County, non-profits or other agencies. Transitional mental health and/or addiction facilities are also a much-needed regional resource. The City should explore assisting with the capital costs for such facilities through affordable housing and other funds while the County or its contractors would operate those facilities out of designated mental health and addiction treatment resources which currently total over $80 million per year. The City does not receive any of those operating funds.

Contracting out services may often be the best solution when there is a need for specialized expertise, an independent authority, or to meet peak workload demands, all provided in ways that are less costly than if the City were to do the work itself. However, The City must retain authority and oversight for the use of all taxpayer funds to meet the intended purposes of those funds as contracted, whether with non-profit organizations, other governmental agencies, or private businesses.

The City must address the safety concerns of the public and City employees alike, as I’ve responded above. Workplace safety is a fundamental obligation of any employer, including the City.

Based on my experience managing public organizations that range from 10 to 1,000 employees, I believe it is essential to have a balanced and participatory approach with employee representatives. Employee participation should be broad enough to avoid dominance by any one extreme position. The broader the employee participation, the more likely it is that the City will hear and be able to respond to valid concerns with reasonable solutions and changes.

I would also encourage the development of increased City reporting systems to ensure that the health and safety of city employees is prioritized.

This may be one of the most pervasive challenges we face, and all of Santa Cruz owes a huge thanks to Take Back Santa Cruz for leading the charge on this issue. If elected to the City Council, I would:

A. Directly recognize and support the volunteer clean-up efforts in our community;

B. Host a peer city meeting involving volunteers, staff and elected officials tackling the same problems elsewhere to share best practices and solutions; and

C. Advocate for County ownership of the entire needle program, from delivery through cleanup, including tighter needle exchange practices.

I believe neighborhood organizing is the key building block to civil society in this day and age, using both high tech (e.g., Nextdoor, Google Groups, Email Lists) and high touch (e.g., block parties, wine tastings, caroling) approaches. Here in the Lower Escalona Neighborhood, over 70% of the homes participate on our neighborhood site. , Every fall, I target outreach to the new students and renters who move in.

Our neighborhood hosts monthly summer wine tastings, periodic block parties and joint garage sales that help keep us connected in person, as well. Together, we cheer the SF to LA Lifecyle riders every June, and much more. A group of us are also developing a pilot network of solar-powered high-resolution cameras for crime deterrence and response, with access to the footage strictly limited to cases with filed police reports. I approved a smaller similar effort when I was city manager of Los Gatos.

This neighborhood organization provides so much more than just community connections and increased safety; familiarity allows us to discuss issues and differences both online and in person much more civilly. Folks are just less likely to resort to stereotypes and hate talk when they might well see the other person the next day walking their dog or riding their bike to school with their child. Unfortunately, recent changes to Nextdoor are making it more of a citywide bulletin board rather than a neighborhood organizing tool.

Dave Lane

I was recently attacked on Pacific Ave, so my immediate concern is public safety and violent criminals on our streets. I would propose increased foot patrols by police downtown

I would like to increase the number and frequency of community events that draw families to interact with the neighbors. I would also like to increase neighborhood watch programs with support from city police, particularly in areas with higher crime rates

Yes, Violent criminals are often not kept off the streets long enough to discourage their antisocial behavior.

I would potentially increase funding, but also want to look at the amount of overtime the police spend money on. There may be more cost effective ways to increase safety.

The sidewalks are always dirty, largely due the way they were constructed with grooves in them. If there is no way to eliminate the grooves in the sidewalks some means to clean them that does not use enormous amounts of water must be developed.

Homelessness and other social issues must be addressed at a county wide level and not within the city only. I would for committees to get better cooperation and joint goals and objectives.

We have a mental health crisis, large related to our homeless population. We need to better study our homes to determine which ones need mental health services and which ones simply do not want to work and maintain a house.

Yes and Yes

Yes, we need new solutions for the homeless. We appear to currently attract homeless from outside our area, and this deserves further study.

First, they must be provided appropriate protective gear to handle these items safely. They should have a direct line to receive police support when unstable individuals are encountered.

Public education would be the first step. A program should be set up so people can anomalously report people leaving garbage in parks or beaches.

The first step would be to reach mutually agreeable goals and objectives. Most people can agree on the things we want to do for out city and the devil is in the details. Committees and facilitators may be needed to get full cooperation and agreement.

Paige Concannon

Santa Cruz is currently under siege by an enormous criminal transient population. Every day, I hear members of our community discussing their concerns of increasing thefts, burglaries and other criminal activities in our neighborhoods, homes, parks and public spaces. Drug activities, rampant vandalism, gang violence, and the deterioration of our public safety is my number one recurring and ongoing concern and I feel it has become an epidemic, growing worse by the year, month, and day. Our once vibrant downtown is becoming a place of avoidance as folks fear what they will encounter. Many have told me they no longer take their families there as it is often described by them as 'dangerous' and 'filthy.' Our parks are no longer safe for children, the elderly and families, in general. Needles left on the ground and blatant drug use is not something many want to deal with while having a pleasant picnic in the park. Unfortunately, the recidivism in our judicial system has left little accountability for bad and criminal behavior. Our criminal justice system, our city and our county must come together to address public safety and it has to be a priority over all else. Santa Cruz is overrun and many people, including myself and my own neighbors have been overwhelmed for too long, trying to combat an increasing criminal element. The police are overwhelmed and understaffed. We must dedicate many more resources to support law enforcement. Crime in our community is a very real and a very growing reality that must be stopped and we cannot do it without fully staffing, fully supporting and fully dedicating to clean this mess up. As a City Council member, I would take the issue of public safety 100 percent seriously and it, by far, is my top priority. If we cannot feel safe in our community, we have no community.

Staff it. We must have boots on the ground. Crime cannot continue to go unpunished. There must be accountability for bad behavior. We need a police presence in our parks and open spaces. We need to utilize our current resources and once those are maxed out, we need more. Our judges, our decision makers and our law enforcement must be on the same page and must find common ground. Our police must have the support they need to enforce laws along with our judges, they all must do their part to make sure bad behavior is punished. It is imperative to gain control over the bad behavior that is killing our town.

Enabling is an enormous problem in our community. Illegal drug use is a perfect example. Instead of treatment, a drug addict is provided needles by the County and may use illegal drugs in public spaces with zero consequences. This must change. The anti-social behavior is mostly due to the drug abusive, some days it seems like we have been hit by the zombie apocalypse, other days it is assault after assault, again by drug induced psychosis. We keep handing out needles by the 100’s, with only one being returned. It must be a true exchange, not a sharps container filled with rocks or debris. We should get clear sharps containers for this to be an exchange. We keep allowing this bad behavior to continue and we keep enabling by doing nothing! When will enough be enough? When we are completely bankrupt from all this enabling?

Boots on the ground and total support of our police department is my number one objective in running for council. We need more officers--a lot more. Our police are overburdened and our community is crawling with criminals as far as the eye can see. How are officers able to walk our neighborhoods and man our public spaces if they are racing from call to call? Santa Cruz faces many financial obstacles, and I realize money will always be an issue, but our public safety must be our priority number one. I would absolutely support, with a blink of the eye, more police funding. A LOT more. It is imperative to have more police. We need to be extreme about somethings such as closing some of our public spaces. It is not right that our children and grandchildren have nowhere in any public spaces that are safe. Children should be able to play, have birthday parties and picnics without the threat of being attacked by a drug induced person. They should not be subjected to drug paraphernalia strewn all over our public spaces. It is just not right.

Our downtown is extremely filthy. The sidewalks are so disgusting dirty. It smells like urine and feces, and so many other things. I personally have spoken to many of our downtown merchants who are struggling with all theft and the many safety issues. They tell me they are disgusted having to clean up feces and garbage every single day. Downtown needs a serious makeover. Many people tell me every day, they do not consider downtown a destination anymore. So many community members will not even step foot downtown, they straight say they don’t want to be attacked or deal with all the aggressive panhandlers any longer. Being a statistic personally, it is hard for me to go downtown, I was attacked during the day by a crazy man. I do support our downtown and want it to be once again the vibrant and amazing place it used to be, but, it needs an overhaul before its lost. If Santa Cruz cannot clean up downtown, privatizing it may be an option.

I am not worried about stepping on any toes, and I am not political. So, with that, I can say with certainty that we have the county seat and the county needs to be involved 100 percent. The city houses many county resources and the county needs to step it up. I would hold the county accountable without hesitation. We must work together for the good of the community. We have to all work together to make our beloved Santa Cruz a beautiful and healthy place for our community and the people who visit.

We have a serious problem with Mental Health here in town. We need more MHCAM facilities. The peer to peer help is working for so many, and I say this with the experience I have had over the many years with people in our community. I will say, I now have MHCANs phone number if there is need of help. I believe this will help so much and that hopefully it is a better experience and I won’t need to call the police. I can call them, and they will respond. We need to make sure that the city and county help with the cost of this program to keep it running. we need more places just like MHCAN.

Yes, I do. Absolutely it is imperative that we adopt and enforce it. This is one more item we all need to work together on. I believe having this program implemented could be very cost effective. We spend so much money and time on arresting and releasing people who just need help, not jail. This is an effective tool for us to use to get our community healthy again.

I have spent thousand of hours looking for a model we could use for our homeless population and I just can find anything that I like. We have some incredible issues for sure. I know that many things are being worked on but at a very expensive price tag. Homeless camp at River St. at the cost of ninety grand a MONTH is outrageous for only 40-50 people. I think we need to go back to the drawing board on this one, specially after seeing the Salvation Army being able to house 50 people for ninety-two grand a YEAR not a month.

I would love for the Homeless Service Center to be used for what it was intended for when they opened the doors. The homeless that line the sidewalks and our open public spaces at this area is unbelievable. The drug dealing, open drug use with needles, the sidewalk being used as a bathroom is horrifying. Prostitution is openly displayed. The mounds of garbage that is everywhere is difficult for our many business that are just to make a living is appalling. This must change.

Call the National Guard, I am somewhat kidding, but not really. City employees have been given the task of cleaning needles, camps, and feces. I am sure when the got hired on to be a city worker they did not sign up to be picking up the county’s syringes or human feces. We absolutely need to make sure our City workers have hazmat suits, gloves and masks and anything else they may need to do the new job they have been given. This is another added expense in the long list of enabling. We clean, they trash, we clean, they trash. We pick up twenty needles and we find fifty more. Continually we pick up needles and then there are more. Gang graffiti pops up and we paint over it or power wash it off and guess what? Yep the graffiti is back within hours. Graffiti, remove, graffiti remove. Our City workers are so overworked with all their new responsibility’s, I am not even sure how they can do the job they were hired for. The City workers need more help from the community and the county. We must stop the insanity.

Close them, this was my answer weeks ago. Last night, I find our Chief of Police has started the process to close two of open public spaces and parks. It is horrible, and it is not right at all that this is happening, but on the other hand we need to be able to enjoy our parks and open spaces without the constant threat of being assaulted, without witnessing drug addicts shooting up, without seeing people defecating or urinate outside of restrooms. We need to restore the parks and open spaces. If this is what it takes, then we must at least try it do it. Everyone says we need help, we need more, we need this stopped, and that stopped, and unfortunately, we need to start somewhere. It is extreme, and I hate that this is happening, but with that being said, it is what I think might be a turning point for our community. Let’s at least give this a try, to see if it can be effective.

We need to work together, together we can work. I feel like the City Council needs to be proactive in our neighborhoods. They need to go out of the office and talk to and walk our neighborhoods, find out what is really happening in each of the neighborhoods. The City Council need to work with us to make our community the best it can be. I don’t think that sitting in an office or council chambers gives them any insight into what is really happening. I would like to see the City Council and The Board of Supervisors have meetings in the neighborhoods. I would like to see the two entities get along with one another. They both are working for us. If they are working together I think we can all work together. We need unity if we wish to go forward in our town.

Drew Glover













Justin Cummings