Q&A With Santa Cruz City Council Member Contenders

Explore their platforms in preparation for the March 3 primary election

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Santa Cruz County voters will have the option to recall two city councilmembers, as well as choose from four potential successors, in the March 3 primary election. City on a Hill Press (CHP) conducted interviews with the six candidates to better understand the platforms they’re running on. 

Katherine Beiers

CHP: What do you think makes you the most qualified candidate?
Beiers: I have 16 years on the City Council and [two terms of experience] as mayor. […] I would be able to just step into the seat and really vote and listen […] on whatever comes up because I think in those 16 years, I certainly dealt with a bit of everything.
CHP: If you are elected, what will be your top priorities?
Beiers: Harmony among the council members. […] I think there’s a commitment to do that on behalf of whoever’s running. […] Whether you’re voting on a policy that you’re supporting, and sometimes you’re not going to be supporting all the policies, there’s a way of doing it that doesn’t cause so much discord.  

Tim Fitzmaurice

CHP: What do you think makes you the most qualified candidate?
Fitzmaurice:  I have the experience of having been in office for eight years and I was the mayor. I’ve learned how to read an agenda packet and work in the community to make things happen. I spent four years building low-income housing in the Beach Flats. […] I’m also qualified because I’m very fundamentally progressive in the way that I approach community, inclusion and compassion.    
CHP: If you are elected, what will be your top priorities?
Fitzmaurice: First of all, you have to create a sense of cooperativeness, respect and collaborativeness on the council. […] You have to get together and figure out programs that are actually going to have impacts on the community, for instance, things that have to do with affordable housing. So, my approach would be to look at those kinds of basic programs. […] There’s a lot we can do by making a better relationship with the DA [District Attorney] and the sheriff and fixing some of the problems that are happening there. 

Drew Glover

CHP:  Why should the voters of Santa Cruz choose to keep you in office?
Glover: I represent a perspective and a voice in a community that has been left out of the decision-making process for generations in Santa Cruz. I understand the realities of people that are low-income and working class. As a renter, I understand the situations that are facing people trying to survive in Santa Cruz. […] I’ve been a strong advocate for people experiencing homelessness, increasing the wages of city workers, addressing the issue of sustainability and climate change through the adoption of the Green New Deal and incorporating different voices to make sure there are many perspectives represented in my policies. […] So, I’m really bringing forward strongly progressive perspectives into a City Council that’s been dominated by private property and real estate interests for a very long time. 
CHP: If your term as a City Council member should continue, what will be your top  priorities?
Glover:  The development of affordable housing, humane solutions to addressing issues of homelessness and working on establishing a human rights commission which would act as an advisory body to the City Council based off of models that exist all around the state of California. It would provide community members an avenue to file reports about discrimination on a variety of different levels, and provide the city with a mechanism to start collecting data and analyzing policy that could address human rights violations within our community. 

Renee Golder

CHP: What do you think makes you the most qualified candidate?
Golder: I don’t know if I’m the most qualified because I have the least amount of experience, but what I lack in experience I make up for in other ways. I’m very driven, I have a comprehensive understanding of the issues, I’ve lived in Santa Cruz my whole life and I’ve lived in almost every neighborhood in town. 
CHP: If you are elected, what will be your top priorities?
Golder: My top priorities would include addressing affordable housing […], addressing homelessness, collaborating with the county, having the county collaborate with other counties in the state and really lobbying the federal government to help intervene in this crisis and look at the root causes of homelessness. […] Other than that, I would like to think about long-term growth solutions and look at transportation. 

Chris Krohn

CHP: Why should the voters of Santa Cruz choose to keep you in office?
Krohn: The voters of Santa Cruz did choose me in 2016 and, barring any sort of criminal activity, this recall is being issued by a group fronting for corporate real estate and developer interests who want Santa Cruz back. They lost the council in the last election, so now they’re pulling out all stops to get their council back. 
CHP: If your term as a City Council member should continue, what will be your top  priorities?
Krohn:  Looking at three sites downtown, the old Tampeco site, the old thrift center site and where the bus depot is, as locations for affordable housing units. […] Another would be making the farmer’s market a permanent location where it is, and making that property a town commons that would be a place for people to gather. The third priority would be refurbishing the central library where it is. A fourth priority would be revenue enhancement, which would be getting on the ballot a hotel tax increase of at least 3 percent. […] I’d like a percentage to be for homelessness, a percentage for affordable housing and another percent for transitional housing. 

Don Lane

CHP: If your term as a City Council member should continue, what will be your top  priorities?
Lane: It’s probably two things. One is that I have a lot of experience in city government, including being a City Council member, being the mayor and having worked with all the issues that the city is working with right now. […] The other thing is that I have a lot of experience working in high conflict situations […], just diving into difficult issues and trying to bring people together to come up with collaborative solutions, and I think that’s a particularly valuable ability to bring to the council right now.
CHP: If you are elected, what will be your top priorities?
Lane: To really try to bring the temperature down in the community discourse right now, and try to be as healing and bridge building as possible. There are a couple of issues that I could easily name, such as homelessness, that are super important and high priority. If we don’t do some healing within the community and within city government, we won’t make progress on those other urgent things.