To better inform our readership for the upcoming elections, we reached out to each candidate for the Scotts Valley City Council. Over the course of a few weeks, we reached out several times to give them ample time for thoughtful responses to these questions:
1. What unique skills, experience, and perspective will you bring to the City Council?
2. What are the biggest challenges that currently face Scotts Valley? How do you propose to overcome them?
3. What changes would you like to see in Scotts Valley in the next four years?
Our candidates had the opportunity to reply with no more than 300 words. All but one (John Lewis) decided to take the opportunity. Below are their responses
1. I’ve served the City of Scotts Valley for the past 52 years, starting as City Hall Secretary and becoming the first Scotts Valley female police officer, later a sergeant. I served 40 years with Scotts Valley Police Department before elected to City Council 12 years ago. I bring a proven record of experience, work ethics and commitment to the City.
While serving with City Council, including 2 terms as Mayor, I have served with a variety of commissions including Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency, METRO, LAFCO, Senior Commissions, Criminal Justice Agency, Traffic Safety, AMBAG and more. My experience and history have enabled me to be a strong advocate for Scotts Valley in a wide variety of areas.
2. The biggest challenge the City faces is economic recovery following the devastation created by the pandemic. Having served with the Scotts Valley Chamber for the past 15 years, I have the experience and relationships to continue working to support local businesses in recovery. I have been working to support local business during the pandemic, I know many of our local business owners. I will continue to advocate for them and assist them in every way possible.
3. In the next four years, I look forward to economic recovery for the City of Scotts Valley. I intend to work to replace important staff positions lost during the pandemic and City’s fiscal crisis. Scotts Valley has lost a large number of experienced capable officers due being unable to offer competitive salaries. Scotts Valley has been blessed to have an exceptional police department that is very involved in the community. The City has been named the 14th safest city in California, it is important to maintain this level of public safety and trust. With much work, I look forward to the City becoming economically stable and vibrant.
1. As current councilmember, past mayor and active community member, I understand the challenges facing Scotts Valley. As former finance director for three cities, I know that Scotts Valley must manage taxpayer dollars wisely. As former president of the County Board of Education, I know how important it is that we partner with schools to support young people. I work to protect our environment and our quality of life as a member of regional committees focused on clean energy, clean air, sustainable groundwater and recycling. As a member of the seniors advisory council, I watch out for seniors.
2. Scotts Valley’s ability to provide adequate services is seriously challenged because of a large drop in sales and hotel taxes stemming from COVID-19. In response, the city has reduced services, cut costs and spent cash reserves down. The city needs to rebuild service levels to meet community expectations, reduce Police staff turnover, and manage finances to pave the way for a stable and bright future. Once city finances have stabilized, the city can devise specific plans for reaching these goals.
The city needs to maintain our small-town character and still allow for new housing to meet state mandates. I will advocate to allow new large housing projects only where owners already have the right to build homes, unless a project would provide substantial net benefits.
3. The city should expand to the city limits the requirement that 15% of units in new housing projects be affordable. I would like to see the city encourage homeowners to build accessory dwelling units, which would provide both housing for the community and an investment opportunity for the homeowner.
The city should revisit the Town Center Specific Plan and reimagine the best use of this area to spur economic development.
1. My overall perspective is that improving our city is an ongoing goal that we should always pursue. Keeping Scotts Valley on the right track is so important, but now so challenging. We can never lose sight of the fact that our objective is to remain a strong, safe and welcoming community. Preserving our quality of life is so important to me and I think that is where experience matters. Having a steady hand in implementing public policies and initiatives is critical in advancing our city’s future. I believe that although the next few years will present many challenges, there are always opportunities imbedded in any situation. My intention is to capitalize on those chances and set in motion a productive formula for the betterment of our city
2. Covid-19 has produced an existential threat to our city in how our revenues have been diminished and our services compromised. Our goal is to use our financial reserves to come through this crisis and restore a sense of normalcy to our community. Our task is to use all of our powers to pivot and adapt as each crisis presents itself and provide the type of leadership that will see us through these very surreal times. To that end, encouraging new businesses and companies to expand in our city will certainly help with that transition. We are experiencing a new paradigm and we must be open to creative ideas that will help us prosper in a very challenging environment.
3. I think that a town center is still an important component for our city’s future. In listening to citizens throughout the years, they do want a downtown and “sense of place” where they can enjoy their city. A city’s downtown area has an important and unique role in economic and social development.