Scotts Valley City Council
Randy Johnson, all suited up, is named the new mayor of Scotts Valley during the Dec. 20 Council meeting. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

In a wool sport coat he’d picked up while in Manhattan, Scotts Valley outgoing Mayor Jack Dilles glanced over to see the man taking his job approaching. There was Vice Mayor Randy Johnson in a striking navy blue suit and tie.

“You look great,” Dilles said, just before the Dec. 20 Scotts Valley City Council meeting’s start, as Johnson handed him a bag of cookies. “Oh, thank you.”

With that, the ceremonial hand-off proceeded, Johnson named Mayor and Derek Timm named Vice Mayor—both unanimously.

The first order of business was the handling of public comments about the Israel-Hamas war, as one local couple criticized the City’s decision not to debate a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

“This is amount to a genocide,” said Fatima Alloo, adding, “1.9 million people are displaced.”

Another Scotts Valley resident spoke in support of Israel’s right to defend itself.

“This document marginalizes all of us that support the USA stance,” said Elana Titus. “It will polarize an already-divided community.”

Johnson made it clear his administration was not going to be an outwardly-focused one.

“We’re not really equipped to do international diplomacy,” he said, applauding the speakers for listening to their moral compass and trying to get Scotts Valley to act in one direction or another. “We’re restricted in many ways.”

Councilmember Allan Timms thanked Dilles for his steady hand over the past 12 months.

Vice Mayor Timm said it had been quite a “fun” year, thanks to the “collaborative” nature of how Dilles operated.

“It made the job easier to have the back-and-forth and the discussion,” he said. “It’s been great to work with all the Council this year.”

Scotts Valley City Council
Scotts Valley City Council members (from left) Jack Dilles, Allan Timms, Mayor Randy Johnson, Vice Mayor Derek Timm and Donna Lind gather together for a photo at their Dec. 20 meeting. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

Scotts Valley Council votes unanimously to adopt Housing Element

Just over 24 hours after Scotts Valley got the bad news that its “final” Housing Element draft had been deemed deficient by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Council voted unanimously to proclaim the exact same document—with a few last-minute tweaks—a so-called “substantially-compliant” plan.

Vice Mayor Timm blamed Monterey County for forcing a larger housing-units burden on Scotts Valley and said, despite voices decrying the homogenous, economically-advantaged landscape of the community, in fact it’s Watsonville and Santa Cruz that aren’t keeping-up on the residential development front.

While the region has shown a 42% growth rate over the past four decades, Scotts Valley is at 82%.

“We have been growing quickly,” he said. “We’re doing our best.”

He slammed Sacramento for underfunding HCD to the point where it got its comments about the latest Housing Element draft back to Scotts Valley after 5pm on deadline day—after not even being available for informal conversations beforehand.

“They’re telling us we have to get this in and done,” he said. “They don’t even respond and they leave us guessing.”

Alberto Lustre, of Carpenters Union Local 505, urged Scotts Valley not to adopt a Housing Element without following in the footsteps of Los Gatos, Capitola and Foster City by adding additional language to the draft to protect workers.

Mark Robson, of Robson Homes, thanked Scotts Valley for moving swiftly to improve its Housing Element and urged Council to adopt the plan as-is.

Ryan Meckel, of Santa Cruz Yes In My Backyard, asked the leaders not to adopt the current version, saying he was skeptical that a few late-breaking changes likely wouldn’t be enough to move a defective plan to one that receives final approval.

City Attorney Kirsten Powell said not only is Scotts Valley’s plan in substantial compliance, she believes the one the State said isn’t up-to-snuff already meets that bar.

Previous articlePlain Talk About Food | Time for New Year’s Resolutions
Next articleThe Mountain Gardener | Pantone Color of the Year 2024
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here