Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Off and Running

NEWS Cynthia-ChaseFour more candidates enter the 2014 Santa Cruz City Council race

Like the city of Santa Cruz itself, the many candidates running in the city council race are unique and elude definition. For one, Cynthia Chase, a social worker, former probation officer and recent addition to the candidate roster, wants to make it clear she won’t fall squarely into any one category.

“People are trying to put me in a box. They want me to either be the social services candidate, or they want me to be the law enforcement candidate, and I’ve been spending my entire career trying to not be in a box,” says Chase. “Trying to box me in one place or another is a disservice, and not really a good descriptor of who I am, and what I bring to this.”

Since GT last checked in on the Santa Cruz City Council race for the November election, councilmember Hilary Bryant announced that she would not seek another term, and Santa Cruz County Planner Tim Goncharoff dropped out.

Now, four new contenders have approached the starting line: former Mayor Bruce Van Allen, detective Michael Pruger, City Councilmember David Terrazas, and Chase, who has received a wide range of bipartisan support since she pulled election papers in early July.

Some of Chase’s early endorsements include seven former Santa Cruz mayors, four county supervisors, Sheriff Phil Wowak, Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantes, County Treasurer Fred Keeley, and activist Rick Longinotti.

Chase worked for seven years as a Santa Cruz County probation officer and received a graduate degree in social work from San Jose State University before becoming program director at Gemma, a nonprofit program based in Watsonville that helps people transition back into society from incarceration. Chase has also taught social work courses at San Jose State and CSU Monterey Bay.

Chase, also a UCSC grad, says her experiences have taught her to study every facet of an issue before coming to a decision. This unbiased method of problem solving is one she hopes to bring to the city council if elected in November.

“Being able to work with both the victims and the perpetrators of the same crime really taught me to look at this broad context and know that the answers weren’t simple. They aren’t black and white,” says Chase. “It really takes a balanced approach to make sure we’re not missing one side or the other.”

If elected, Chase will be motivated to create more jobs and affordable housing opportunities for recent UCSC grads. Chase herself was once a benefactor of the Measure O housing initiative, which allowed her to remain in Santa Cruz when she had just finished college.

“That was huge for me as a twenty-something,” says Chase, “and programs like that are the things we need to focus on to help a broad spectrum of our community be able to be homeowners here, to be able to live here, and really invest in the community the way that they want to, and not have to struggle paycheck to paycheck to support themselves or their families.”

Another recently announced candidate who believes strongly in prioritizing subsidized housing is former mayor Van Allen, who has endorsed Chase. Since his last stint in public office in the early 1980s, Van Allen has remained active in local politics, and makes a living as a freelance software developer.

In his role as a programmer, Van Allen created one of the first online interlibrary loan systems, once employed in schools, universities, and libraries around the Monterey Bay. But he’s probably best known in the community as a campaign consultant, where he utilizes software he designed to identify voting trends in political campaigns both large and small.

Van Allen was inspired to run for city council in part by the encouragement of community members, and also because he feels the current council has lost touch with certain aspects of the city.

“The council has done some good work in economic development, although I have some concerns about it, but they have neglected things that are important to the people of Santa Cruz like maintaining a social safety net locally, protecting the environment, and taking the environment into account when they make decisions about economic development,” Van Allen says.

Van Allen wants to steer the council away from projects like desalination, which he believes would have negative long-term effects on the community and the environment. Van Allen would also like to see the city employ more technology in their decision making and problem solving.

Van Allen speaks strongly on the issues that he cares about, like social services and restoring the San Lorenzo River.

The latest candidate to pull papers for the election is Michael Pruger, a detective at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner’s office. Pruger served as a Santa Cruz police officer for almost 20 years, and made the rank of sergeant before transferring to the coroner’s unit at the Sheriff’s Office. Through his former roles with the Police Officers’ Association and current station as president of the Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff's Association, Pruger cultivated an interest in local politics, which inspired him to run for city council.

“Public service is all I know,” says Pruger, “and this is just another way of me to give back.”

If elected, Pruger would like to find a middle ground to address the issues he feels strongly about, like public safety and the continued economic revitalization of downtown and the Soquel Avenue corridor. On his time away from work, Pruger has started opening up dialogues with community members, but he’s new to the campaigning game.

“The initial process of being a candidate is the toughest thing so far,” says Pruger.

One candidate who needs no training in the art of campaigning is incumbent David Terrazas. Terrazas says that the challenges the council has overcome during his term inspired him to run again.

The councilmember highlights his work with the Neighborhood Grant Program, which led to projects like the mosaic on the Barson Street stairs, and his effort to initialize a Parks Master Plan, which will come out later this year—the first update in thirty years.

“I look forward to serving again to make sure that we continue this work in a more comprehensive way, and see these results come to fruition,” says Terrazas.

Although the race has brought some fresh contenders with distinct approaches, it hasn’t brought many concrete solutions yet. Perhaps it’s early, and the new candidates are still warming up to their roles.

Former candidates Steve Pleich, a homeless advocate, and UCSC community relations employee Richelle Noroyan announced their candidacy earlier this year, as did first-time candidate Leonie Sherman, a self-defense instructor and journalist.

Sherman looks forward to meeting and hearing from the crew of other candidates at upcoming forums and events.

“I think there are some really qualified, wonderful people that are also willing to take on this exciting, scary challenge,” says Sherman. “I think there’s a great chance there will be three awesome people elected in November.”

Comments (4)Add Comment
Really?
written by Robert Cunningham, August 04, 2014
Do we really need another attractive young woman clone to go on council. Another social service/non profit-do nothing and tax the community candidate in Cynthia Chase? How about real proven leadership? My vote is for Pruger-Noroyan-Terrazas
Reorient SCPD from
written by John Colby, August 02, 2014
Are any of the candidates willing to reorient the Santa Cruz Police Department's (SCPD's) policing strategy away from attacking so called "nuisance" crimes Downtown to police our neighborhoods, to protect them against teenage gangsters, dangerous drug dealers and sexual predators?
Homeless Advocate
written by B. Adams, August 02, 2014
I really like this cantidate. She is supporting my new Sanctuary Village. Don't worry about her probation record as the facts are padded. I look forward on working with her and Micah to get my Village Approved. The Homeless need a place to call their own and I plan on accomplishing that with my Plan. We need to support her for our Homeless population as she will house them, feed them, and give them all the rights as normal citizens of our town.
...
written by Blake Davis, July 30, 2014
Here's my first question to all the candidates - How many times should a criminal here be put on probation before they are just locked up to do all their time?

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”