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News Briefs: Candidate Forum, Guy Kawasaki

Candidate Forum

For someone who promises to be a smart, fresh alternative to sitting fourth district supervisor Greg Caput, candidate Jimmy Dutra did a good job of following the incumbent’s lead last week—although that might not win him too many votes in the business community.

When the Santa Cruz County Business Council and the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce organized a candidate forum, Caput was the only candidate who said he couldn’t make it. Then after the groups announced the lineup, Dutra said he couldn’t be there either. We wondered if Dutra wanted out after he found out Caput wouldn’t show, but Dutra tells GT he’d made a prior South County engagement he had forgotten about. “My district comes first,” he says. Candidates Dana Sales, a realtor, and Terry Medina, former Watsonville Police Chief, both attended the May 6 forum, which also featured third district candidates Ryan Coonerty and Bob Lamonica.

It’s interesting because it’s uncommon to see just half a race’s candidates show for a serious election forum like this. It might end up being a shame for Dutra, who could be on the outside looking in of a race where some insiders have pegged Medina the most likely threat to Caput’s campaign. Dutra doesn’t see it that way. “I’ve been knocking on doors, and the people say a different story,” he says. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 3 election, the top two candidates will face off again in November. Anyway, no hard feelings regarding Dutra and last week’s forum at Cabrillo College, says Business Council director Joe Foster.

“All I know is that he called and was very apologetic,” Foster says, and the director is confident Dutra will have time to touch base with the business community.

Let’s hope so because with unemployment close to 20 percent in Watsonville, the economy is a big issue for the South County, which is home to some very large companies—Martinelli’s, Driscoll’s, Granite Construction. Then again who knows? Maybe Dutra, whose family owns Dutra Farms, could provide the business experience needed to plough ahead. | Jacob Pierce

Guy Friendly

It’s easy to see why Guy Kawasaki lectures on “charisma.” The former Apple chief evangelist and author of 10 books ascended the Del Mar Theatre stage with a glint in his eye and a beaming smile. He had the audience laughing immediately.

Kawasaki explained there’s great value in a sincere “Duchenne smile”—one you can see in the eyes—and even advocated for the crow’s feet that sometimes come along with such a grin. “Crow’s feet are a good thing,” Kawasaki said. “Ladies, you are not getting older, you are getting more enchanting.”

Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup and Bookshop Santa Cruz brought Kawasaki to the Del Mar Wednesday, May 7, and nearly every seat was filled.

New Tech Meetup’s Lydia Snider, who co-organized the event, hopes to attract more people to the Santa Cruz tech scene. “This is our gift to Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz tech community,” she said. Kawasaki allied himself with Santa Cruz early in his presentation by drawing a comparison that cast the town in a favorable light when he described Silicon Valley as having the “highest concentration of egomaniacs in California.”

While Kawasaki focused on charisma in the tech field, undercurrents of excitement were palpable from those eager to change the city’s relationship with UC Santa Cruz’s tech scene and the Silicon Valley. Santa Cruz residents commute over the hill in droves to Silicon Valley to work in the tech industry. Groups like New Tech Meetup aim to alleviate the drain to the local economy by encouraging tech workers to stay in Santa Cruz and entrepreneurs to headquarter their companies here.

Elijah Butterfield, who won third at UC Santa Cruz’s Hackathon last month is the type of innovative mind that folks at Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup want to keep around for what they hope to be an economic boom. He’s listening. “I would love to be part of its growth,” Butterfield said. “I feel like I have made a lot more connections here because of how open the community is.” | Sarah Naugle

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