SCCBC’s Countywide Post-Election Analysis

Tuesday’s elections marked the end of the campaign season and the beginning in a new chapter of local governance. Of key importance to SCCBC were the races for Santa Cruz City Council, Soquel Creek Water District Board and the 4th District County Supervisor seat. This isn’t to say that other races were not important, but that they were either less impactful in terms of the local economy, or not as highly contested.

On the whole, the results were largely positive. The 3 open seats on the Santa Cruz City Council were all filled by candidates who had demonstrated their commitment to and understanding of local economic vitality, and we are confident that our relationship with this group will be stronger than ever. David Terrazas has proven to be a receptive and thoughtful Councilmember through his first term and we expect nothing less of him during his second; we believe that Cynthia Chase recognizes the importance of maintaining our local economy and that she will be open to the perspective of local businesses; and Richelle Noroyan, through her previous service within the SCCBC’s Government Affairs Committee and prior City committee work, will undoubtably bring a robust voice to the Council on issues concerning economic development.

In regards to the 4th District seat, while we were receptive to the messages of Terry Medina, ultimately we have little concern with Supervisor Greg Caput serving another term. And though he has been on the short end of a number of 4-1 votes while serving, there can be no doubt that his commitment to his constituents, and to South County as a whole, is both genuine and positive. Given this, we look forward to working with Supervisor Caput and his staff in the coming years.

Perhaps the most contentious race this election cycle was for the 3 open seats on the Soquel Creek Water District Board, which pitted incumbents Bruce Jaffe and Rick Meyer against a multitude of candidates (7 others in total). Three of the opposition candidates ran as a slate, stating that they would be more receptive to local economic interests. And while the 3 seats were ultimately split between the incumbents, Jaffe and Meyer, and 1 of the slate members, McGowan, the results were again positive in that the campaign served as a healthy and much needed discussion about the future of the water district. The key sticking point for us: while some candidates may have considered a moratorium on new development 6 months prior, certainly none of elected board does now, a position we strongly encourage them to maintain.

Other races included the county wide reelection of all state and federal office holders, including Sam Farr, Bill Monning, Luis Alejo and Mark Stone; the largely steady reelection of a majority of incumbents on both the Scotts Valley and Capitola City Councils; and the election of 2 first timers to the City Council of Watsonville in Rebecca Garcia and Jimmy Dutra, both of which we see as future partners. County voters also strongly endorsed the taxation of medical marijuana in voting overwhelmingly in favor of Measures K and L. And finally, after a tremendous push by some local business owners, Capitola voted against increasing it’s Transient Occupancy tax rate, meaning that it will remain at 10 percent.