Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson

As I reflect on 2022, it’s difficult to imagine another year that brought as much change to Santa Cruz County in terms of policymaking and planning. As we continued recovering from the CZU Fire and Covid-19 pandemic, the Board of Supervisors completed a number of critical actions in 2022 that had been many years in the making. We also saw major investments in transportation and infrastructure that will continue to develop in 2023. Let’s start there. 

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission worked for more than two years with Caltrans, the County, METRO, the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District and hundreds of SLV residents to evaluate and develop the comprehensive Highway 9 Complete Streets Plan.

Passed by voters in 2016, Measure D set aside $10 million for priority transportation projects along the corridor, including $1 million toward initial work and matching grant funding for the southern entrance to the SLV Schools Complex. All five agencies participated in preliminary engineering, traffic analysis and a feasibility and needs assessment for improving the circulation in front of the campus and within the complex, as well as the bicycle and walking facilities in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Measure D also earmarked $5 million to build the Highway 17 Wildlife Crossing, which broke ground in 2022 and will provide safe passage for wildlife under Highway 17 near Laurel Road, which bridges two habitat areas. 

Other priority projects in 2022 included the Boulder Creek Complete Streets Improvements to construct new sidewalks, update existing infrastructure and improve crosswalks with bulb-outs for enhanced pedestrian safety, as well as the proposed expansion of County Service Area 7, which provides sewer service to parts of Boulder Creek. I want to thank Congressmember Anna Eshoo, who represented the San Lorenzo Valley for 20 years before her district was redrawn last year, for embedding in the 2023 federal budget $1.5 million for the Boulder Creek transportation project and $2 million to further explore the sewer expansion.

In 2022, my office continued to work with the San Lorenzo Valley Water District on planning for a potential consolidation with Big Basin Water District. I’m also proud that our County organized the purchase of Watsonville Community Hospital — a critical public health resource for our entire region, not just for South County — and returned it to public ownership. And it was an honor to welcome residents into the newly renovated Boulder Creek Branch Library. 

All of these initiatives came as the Board of Supervisors approved the first major update in 30 years to our General Plan and Local Coastal Program, better known as the Sustainability Update, which guides land use in the unincorporated area and includes a modernization of County Code regarding housing, transportation and environmental justice, among other issues. We also approved an ordinance allowing for Tiny Homes on Wheels and passed the County’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, the cornerstone of which is Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE), which my office led the way in founding more than five years ago.   

Now the largest geographical community choice energy agency among the 20 established in California, and one of the largest by load, number of customers and budget, CCCE has 33 County and City members covering five counties on the Central Coast and we serve 95% of customers with clean energy rates well below PG&E. By 2030, we expect 100% of the electricity provided by CCCE to be renewable, which is 15 years before the State mandate to achieve zero-emissions energy sources.  

Lastly, 2022 also brought big changes for the Board of Supervisors itself. On Dec. 13, we bid farewell to Supervisors Ryan Coonerty and Greg Caput, who represented District 3 and District 4, for eight years and 12 years, respectively. It was my pleasure to serve with both of them, and I wish them and their families the very best in the years to come. 

At our first meeting of the Board in 2023 we will welcome two new members: Supervisor Justin Cummings for District 3 and Supervisor Felipe Hernandez for District 4, both of whom I look forward to working with on issues facing Santa Cruz County. I also am excited to partner with the City of Santa Cruz’s first directly elected Mayor Fred Keeley, with whom I served in the Legislature, as well as our new Assemblymember Gail Pellerin.

2023 will no doubt bring new challenges and opportunities, and as always, if my office can be of assistance, please contact us at [email protected] or 831-454-2200.

Bruce McPherson is the Fifth District Supervisor for the County of Santa Cruz, including the San Lorenzo Valley and parts of the cities of Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Press Banner.

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Bruce McPherson is the Fifth District Supervisor for the County of Santa Cruz, including the San Lorenzo Valley and parts of the cities of Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley.


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