The voters of Santa Cruz elected Chris Krohn and Sandy Brown to the City Council in 2016, and then in 2018 elected Justin Cummings and Drew Glover – creating a progressive majority for the first time in about 20 years. Since then, the new majority has led the way towards a more renter-friendly, planet-friendly, labor-friendly and democratic community.
If the recall goes through, leading to a pro-development majority, we are likely to see a return to the Corridor Plan; a huge parking garage on the Wednesday Farmers Market site (Lot 4); and the defense of affordable housing in Santa Cruz will disappear.
Below are some of the progressive accomplishments the majority has achieved over just the past year.
- Raised the inclusionary zoning of affordable units on new construction from 15% to 20%. Developers in the City of Santa Cruz will now be required to build 20% of new housing units at affordable, below-market rates.
- Approved funding for much-needed tenant legal services
- Appointed two pro-affordable housing Planning Commissioners.
- Postponed the corridor rezoning process which focused on increased density and building height and neglected the democratic inclusion of neighborhood concerns and public benefits of affordable housing.
- Secured funding for the warming center, a 24/7 shelter, and re-opened the National Guard Armory and 1220 River Street
- Introduced Green New Deal Resolution
- Working with the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, opposed a six-story parking garage that would induce more downtown traffic and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Questioned the library in a garage concept. Appointed a study group to explore the restoration of the current library on its existing site and the permanent continuation of the Farmers’ Market on its current site.
- Established free bus passes for all downtown employees.
- Granted Kaiser Permanente a new home in the centrally located Cooper House on Pacific Avenue.
- Decriminalized entheogenic and psychoactive plants and fungi as a proven medical response to cases of otherwise intractable depression, trauma, suicidality.
- Adopted the new Health in All Policies ordinance (HIAP), requiring health, equity and sustainability in all city policies.
- Approved significant cost of living increases for the City’s lowest paid workers.
- Supported the UCSC strike for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) sufficient to pay rent in Santa Cruz.
- Directed City staff to work with unions on a Community/Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to assure good wages and working conditions.
Democracy and Diversity
- Re-scheduled the open-ended public comment period (“oral communications”) from the afternoon to the evening when more residents can participate.
- Supported the Amah Mutsun Band re-acquiring land (Juristac) stolen from indigenous peoples.
- Introduced proposal for the establishment of a Beach Flats Improvement Fund.