The Santa Cruz County Business Council has voted to formally endorse the half cent transportation sales tax measure being considered by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. February 5th (Santa Cruz, CA) The Santa Cruz County Business Council (SCCBC) took a formal vote to endorse the expenditure plan that was adopted by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) for a countywide half cent sales tax measure that would be used to fund local transportation projects. The expenditure (investment) plan outlines five core project areas: Neighborhood Projects, Highway Corridors, Mobility Access, Rail Corridor, and Coastal Rail Trail. With Read More »

  • Transportation Sales Tax Measure Draft Expenditure Plan Dec. 2015

    The following are the most recently adopted spending priorities by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, which is pursuing a half-cent sales tax measure in 2016. The sales tax measure is expected to generate close to $450 million over 30 years before it sunsets automatically. Currently Sana Cruz County is one of only 10 Counties in California that does not have a similar measure in place. These so called “self-help” Counties have both more local money to spend, and are also much more competitive in seeking additional state and federal transportation funding. Neighborhood Projects 30% (~$135 Million) – Funding to Read More »

  • Resources on Housing

    The following are three sets of materials taken from separate education “tours” of housing within the City limits of Santa Cruz, compared to the City’s finalized Housing Element, which guides all development over the next seven years. The first item is a copy of the presentation that was given by representatives of UC Santa Cruz to a series of local elected officials and representatives from the real estate and building industries. This presentation is a comprehensive overview of everything related to housing at UCSC, including the number and type of beds, the larger plans and frameworks for providing housing in Read More »

  • Welcome New Member Lakeside Organic Gardens!

    The Santa Cruz County Business Council is proud to welcome new member Lakeside Organic Gardens. Located in Watsonville, Lakeside Organics is a nationally recognized, 100% organic, family owned and operated company with long time roots in South Santa Cruz County. Having switched over to being completely organic in 1996, they have since grown their distribution from serving just cities locally and in the Bay Area, to areas as far away as Western Canada. Their growing operation operates 365 days a year and produces over 45 types of organic vegetables. To learn more about Lakeside Organic Gardens Visit their website here.

  • Welcome New Member Triad Electric!

    The Business Council would like to welcome our newest member company Triad Electric. Triad Electric is a local company with over 30 years of experience operating in the area. Their mission: “To be recognized as the highest quality electrical and audio video contractor that services premier clients who appreciate the value of superior products and service.” Given their reputation and their commitment to the community as a local business, we look forward to working with them to promote economic vitality in Santa Cruz County. To learn more about the company you can visit their website here. 

  • Recap on the MBEP State of Region Conference

    Last week over 250 elected representatives, government staff, and business leaders from all over the Monterey Bay gathered at the Chaminade Resort and Spa to hear a series of panel discussions and speakers covering a wide variety of issues affecting the region. Santa Cruz County Business Council Executive Director Casey Beyer led the panel discussion on local housing, which dealt with the issues of funding and regulatory barriers. Given the limited amount of available land in the tri-county area, and the ever present housing crisis, business and community leaders are going to have to develop new approaches and strategies to Read More »

  • Local Congratulations!

    Business Council Board Member Shadowbrook Restaurant was recently awarded Business of the Year by the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce. Represented on the Council by owner Ted Burke, the Shadowbrook restaurant is a cornerstone of the Capitola visitor experience, as well as a much frequented stop by locals. Congratulations Ted! May the Shadowbrook continue to thrive in Santa Cruz County for many years to come!

  • Save the Date: MBEP State of the Region Conference

    The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), a regional economic development organization that represents Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties will be hosting a State of the Region conference on November 4th, 2015 at the Chaminade Resort and Spa. Business Council members are encouraged to attend to learn more about the present state of our region’s most prominent industries, build relationships that span the entirety of the Monterey Bay Area, and hear from Keynote Speaker Gavin Newsom. To learn more about the event visit the event page on the MBEP website here, and/or download the agenda embedded below. To reserve Read More »

  • Casey Beyer: Driving Toward a Sustainable Future

    The following is an Op-ed piece by Business Council Executive Director Casey Beyer regarding transportation funding in Santa Cruz County. The original letter was posted here in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and appeared on October 3rd, 2015. The Santa Cruz County Business Council is the voice of the business community. Our member companies support economic and community vitality throughout our county by openly engaging with public sector leaders and key community stakeholders through a collaborative process. Local businesses know that our underperforming transportation system results directly in a loss of economic activity. Our roads are some of the most poorly Read More »

  • Lessons Learned from the Community Leadership Visit

    Two weeks ago roughly 40 community leaders from Santa Cruz visited the communities of Seattle, WA and Victoria, BC (in Canada) to learn about new strategies and approaches to a wide range of issues. The issues of principle focus for this trip were economic development and housing, with a majority of the stops being focused on growing new businesses and development policy. The trip also provided a great opportunity for Santa Cruzans of all walks of life to meet with each other and better understand how our own community works. Beyond the packed itinerary, the trip’s roster boasted 5 of Read More »

  • WSAC To Host Open House on Santa Cruz Water Supply Options

    The City of Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee will be hosting an Open House detailing the water supply options and portfolios being considered for their recommendations. The Open House is being held in Louden Nelson Auditorium on Wednesday September 9th, from 5-7:30pm. The address for the Auditorium is 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060. Business Council members are encouraged to attend the meeting to get an in depth understand of exactly what these committee members have been considering for the past year and a half. This forum will both be a learning experience and an input opportunity. The Read More »

  • Overview of PG&E’s new LNG Project in Felton

    Last week Business Council staff and members were invited to tour one of the largest Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects ever to be developed. Located in Felton, the project is being developed by PG&E, a Business Council Board Member. Embedded below is the presentation from the facility tour. To learn more about the project you can contact PG&E’s Business Council representative Joe Foster at J4FU@pge.com. Felton LNG Tour Presentation (PG&E) from Robert Singleton

  • Comerica Bank Economic Outlook Event

    Comerica Bank and the Santa Cruz County Business Council are partnering with the Community Foundation to present Chief Economist and Comerica Vice President Robert Dye, who will be providing an overview of current economic conditions. This is a luncheon event so save the date and RSVP using this link: http://www.comericabankecon2015.eventbrite.com/

  • The Debate Over Passenger Rails Continues

    Over the course of the past month the discussion over potential passenger rail service in Santa Cruz has reached a head, with multiple individuals representing local stakeholder groups weighing in publicly over a series of Op-ed pieces. The debate centers around the recently released feasibility study, published by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), and whether or not such service can ever be economically competitive with other modes of transit. No one denies that greater transportation options are needed, but rather at what cost. The first Op-ed, written by Bud Colligan, CEO of South Swell Ventures (a Business Read More »

  • County and City Release Draft Housing Elements in Wake of Crisis

    Housing has been a hot topic in Santa Cruz as of late, and with good reason. Both the City of Santa Cruz and the County have released their draft housing elements, which outline how these entities will be accommodating the expected population increase over the next 7 years. Housing elements are a significant part of each local government’s General Plan, but are required to be updated more frequently and also certified by the State. They provide recommendations for increasing specific types of housing and are usually accompanied by zoning changes to facilitate new development. In addition to having to meet Read More »


    The long time senior executive has worked in multiple Congressional offices as the Chief of Staff, has served as Chief Assistant to the California Secretary of State, and most recently as the Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. July 16, 2015 — The Santa Cruz County Business Council (SCCBC) has hired senior Silicon Valley Executive and long time public policy leader Casey Beyer as their new Executive Director. Mr. Beyer, who has served in leadership positions under numerous elected officials and private companies for over 30 years, joins the Business Council on the Read More »

  • Business Council Partnering to Host California Business Assistance Forum

    To RSVP, please contact Leslie Villegas at leslie.villegas@sen.ca.gov or (831) 425-0401

  • Rick Longinotti of Desal Alternatives Presents at Business Council Board Meeting

    The following is the slideshow presentation presented by Rick Longinotti of Desal Alternatives during the May Board meeting of the Santa Cruz County Business Council. Mr. Longinotti serves as a member of the City of Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC). Business Council Vice Chair and Board Member, Sid Slatter, also sits on the WSAC as a representative of the Business Council.  

  • Letter in Favor of Aptos Village – Update

    The Santa Cruz County Business Council approved and submitted the following letter to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors supporting the mixed-use Aptos Village Project on May 1st, 2015. The Board voted unanimously to continue moving forward with the project. To learn more about the project click here. To read the latest update about the project status click here. Dear Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, The Santa Cruz County Business Council has had strong input from our membership, who include most of the large employers in our area urging you to approve the most recent set of modifications, Read More »

  • Annual Member Meeting Recap and Annual Report

    Download the full Annual Report Here On Thursday March 5th the SCCBC met for its Annual Membership Meeting, and played host to County Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello as a guest speaker. The meeting started off with a cordial greeting and introduction from Executive Director Gary Merrill, followed by a few words from our Chair, Peggy Dolgenos, introducing our guest. Susan Mauriello gave an illuminating presentation on the current economic status of Santa Cruz County, focusing on how the city has changed due to the businesses in the area. Highlights include decreased crime rates, current sites of development and the County Read More »

  • County Affordable Housing Recap and Update

    Last Tuesday the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted yet again to continue the public consideration of changes to the County’s Affordable Housing program to a later date. The move was initiated by Supervisor Friend in response to a new alternative fee structure affecting smaller developments that was proposed, on the spot, by Supervisors Coonerty and McPherson. The new fee structure came as a surprise to everyone in the room, especially in light of both the Housing Advisory Commission/Planning Commission and the Planning Director already having presented their own fee structures. The new fees almost passed with a motion Read More »

  • Report and Analysis on the Broadband Master Plan

    The following summary was offered by SCCBC Chair and Cofounder of Cruzio Internet, Peggy Dolgenos.  In 2013, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted to create a Broadband Master Plan. They hired a nationally known consulting firm called Design Nine in November 2014 to assess the existing situation in the unincorporated areas of the county and to propose possible actions. The report was made public last week and was discussed at the Supervisors’ meeting on February 11th. Click here to read the full report. The findings weren’t surprising: the broadband situation in Santa Cruz County is not good. At best, most people in the Read More »

  • Santa Cruz Water Commission Weighs in on Potential Water Demand Offset Program

    On Monday night, February 2nd, the City of Santa Cruz Water Commission heard a limited presentation about the potential for a Water Demand Offset (WDO) program within the department’s service area. The motivation for the “informational” discussion was partly a result of the current work being done by the Council appointed Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC), which is exploring a variety of options to meet the water needs of the community. Neighboring district Soquel Creek already has such a program in place, which requires all new development and redevelopment projects to offset 160 percent of their water use through efficiency Read More »

  • MBEP Launch and Summit Recap

    Last week saw the culmination of months of hard work with the official launch of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), at their first ever regional economic summit for the tri-county Monterey Bay area. Entitled “Invent Your Future”, the event brought together hundreds of regional elected officials, business owners and community leaders to highlight the key industries and economic strengths of our diverse region, all while outlining an agenda for facilitating more collaboration. The event also proved to be a vital introduction and much needed opportunity for these same leaders, many of who have never met one another, to share Read More »

  • Business Council Looks Ahead to New Year, New Staff

    Cruzio Internet’s Peggy Dolgenos will continue as Chair, while Gary Merrill will serve as interim Executive Director. January 7th— The Santa Cruz County Business Council will begin the New Year under the continuing leadership of Board Chair Peggy Dolgenos, cofounder and President of Cruzio Internet. Current Executive Director Joe Foster will be leaving in mid January to serve as the regional Government Relations representative for PG&E. Gary Merrill, the previous Executive Director of the Business Council and current Principal at Emergent Systems, will serve as the interim Executive Director, while Policy Analyst Robert Singleton will see an expanded role in Read More »

  • Board Meeting with Supervisor McPherson and Gine Johnson

    Last Thursday Supervisor Bruce McPherson and his Chief of Staff Gine Johnson visited with the Business Council Board about his agenda for 2015. Of key importance were the recent passage of both the Economic Vitality Study and Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan, both of which will serve as valuable policy frameworks for future projects and specific changes. Board members expressed support for these items, but were also quick to point out that they would like to see swift progress made toward implementation. Specifically, some Board members requested a list be drafted of potential opportunity sites for the types of mixed Read More »

  • La Bahia appeal denied by CA Coastal Commission

    SCCBC had the pleasure of attending the Coastal Commission’s public hearing to determine whether or not there was “substantial issue” with the Santa Cruz City Council approved La Bahia project (referenced in earlier SCCBC news posts). By a 10-1 vote, the Coastal Commission found that the “substantial issue” appeal did not have merit, therefore, the project will be moving forward. Check back for updates on the project as plans crystalize.

  • County Board to consider affordable housing recommendations in January

    The final public hearing to approve changes to the County’s affordable housing guidelines has been moved to mid-January to give staff more time to prepare. For those of you who haven’t been following this issue, the County has been considering some of the most substantial changes to housing policy within the past decade in the wake of having to respond to multiple recent court rulings. SCCBC staff has attended every public hearing, including the Housing Advisory Commission and Planning Commission; met with multiple supervisors; and members of County staff. Affordable housing in Santa Cruz County is regulated under Measure J, Read More »

  • La Bahia project appeal to be considered before Coastal Commission

    An appeal to the Santa Cruz City Council’s approval of the La Bahia project will be heard before the CA Coastal Commission on Thursday, December 11th in Monterey shortly after 9 AM. Additional information on the Coastal Commission appeal can be found here: La Bahia CC agenda item – December 11, 2014 SCCBC strongly voiced our support for the latest version of La Bahia back in September. We will continue this support by attending the Coast Commission hearing this Thursday. More updates to follow. Reference: Support for La Bahia – submitted to the Santa Cruz City Council (September 2014)