In light of the president coming out in support of same-sex marriage and the recent ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1st Circuit Court, where do you think this issue is heading? Where do you stand?
Residents welcome the idea of a basketball arena and crowds
Seth Horn is looking forward to the Golden State Warriors Development League team playing at 140 Front St., about a block from his house on Spruce Street in Santa Cruz. He feels that the cause of many issues he sees in the neighborhood is that there is neither enough foot traffic nor attention paid to the area between Beach and Laurel streets.
Lack of volunteer firefighters, equipment and rainfall may mean a harsh fire year for Bonny Doon
A fire season in California is never good news, inevitable as it is. But the outlook is even worse if an all-volunteer fire department is understaffed and under-geared, and also if the state has been suffering from low rainfall.
This is the situation Bonny Doon currently finds itself in. Located just northwest of Santa Cruz, the isolated census-designated place of about 2,700 people isn’t served by any local fire departments (though it is served by CAL FIRE, a statewide agency that tackles wildfire issues), so it has managed on its own with a team of professional firefighters and EMTs. All of them are volunteers, and their ranks have been thinning lately.
There are more than 100 foreclosure filings each month in the county. What has the Board of Supervisors done to address this, and do you have any further plans to do so?
The Board examined these two questions at length at our May 15 meeting. Unfortunately, some hard truths emerged. Beyond the role the county has traditionally played in providing essential health and social services, and beyond our continued support of public and private efforts to provide some form of foreclosure assistance, there is little the county can do now or in the future to prevent a foreclosure from occurring—even a fraudulent one—without a fundamental change in state law.
A guide to the candidates
With the June 5 primary election around the corner, the race for the county Board of Supervisors, state offices, and congressional seats are heating up. Whether or not you have already made up your mind about who you will be casting a vote for at the ballot box, we hope you will take a gander at the candidates’ responses to four important questions below.
County Clerk Gail Pellerin on navigating the 2012 primary
Gail Pellerin has the best job in Santa Cruz County—or at least that’s how she feels about her post as Santa Cruz County Clerk, which she has been doing for more than a decade. After paying her way through a four-year degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Pellerin worked at newspapers and on the radio, but found herself longing to be more directly involved in the governmental decision-making processes.
“I remember covering board meetings sometimes and thinking, ‘Why don’t they just do this?’” she says. “So I started working for a member of the state assembly’s office and ended up working in Sacramento for the Speaker’s Office of Majority Services when Willie Brown was speaker. Working for him, I got a great education on how the state is run, the budget, the challenges, and I ran several campaigns.”
A guide to local and statewide propositions on the June ballot
If your knowledge of local and state propositions and measures ends with the number or letter used to identify them, look no further. With the June 5 special election swiftly approaching, we have compiled a handy guide to the propositions and measures you’ll find in the voting booth.
The upcoming election season is looking like a pivotal one for schools, but it’s not higher education that’s getting all the attention this time around. Before we dive into the school-related measures, here is a quick primer on parcel taxes:
Parcel taxes are taxes levied by local units of government. Property owners within the district pay them annually, but senior citizens can apply for exemption. Schools use them largely to supplement government spending, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of public school district funding. Of the 1,042 public school districts in California, about 245 of them have adopted parcel taxes.
Election season is looking a little greener this year
California has 17 million registered voters. All in all, the voting public of California cuts down about 60,000 trees every election season just so we can have our sample ballots (which some of us just toss in the recycling—or, worse, the trash). But there is a more eco-friendly option, or set of options, on the horizon locally.
Enter paperless sample ballots, the first of two tree-saving measures undertaken by the county. Until recently, California voting law required that a sample ballot be sent to every voter; with that law amended, voters can now request that an e-ballot be sent to their email address in place of a physical pamphlet dropped into their mailbox.
County supervisors urge banks to suspend foreclosures
The state legislature is broken. Not only is it broken, but it has also prevented local governments from doing what can’t seem to get done in Sacramento—such as providing homeowners with legal protection from banks conducting fraudulent foreclosures. That was the consensus of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors at their May 15 meeting, when they adopted a resolution “urging” (but not requiring) local banks to suspend foreclosures until beefed-up, borrower protection laws are passed by the state legislature. The laws are known collectively as the “California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.”
New federal requirement makes public pools ADA-accessible
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, disabled people can patronize businesses—including hotels—knowing that they will at least meet basic accessibility requirements. And as of May 21, disabled Americans can now add public pools to the list of places they can count on to be accessible.
An addition to the 2010 version of the act requires all owners of public pools and hot tubs to make them usable by disabled residents. According to a Santa Cruz County Commission on Disabilities press release, “This can involve installing a lift, making a slope or other steps to improve accessibility.”