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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Local

City of Santa CruzCandidate for City Council

Photo of Cynthia Hawthorne

Cynthia Hawthorne

Small Business Owner
6,445 votes (8.58%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • The Housing Crisis and Homelessness
  • Public Safety & Neighborhoods
  • Strong Local Economy

Experience

Experience

Profession:Mental Health Professional
School Board Trustee, Santa Cruz City Schools — Elected position (2006–2014)

Biography

I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for 33 years, where I raised my children, developed a small business and served two terms as an elected member of the Santa Cruz City Schools Board.
 
As a lead organizer of the 2017 and 2018 Santa Cruz women’s marches, I witnessed the energy our community has for a better future. We need to apply the focus and civility of those marches to the challenges and opportunities we have in Santa Cruz. I believe our most pressing issues are to address our severe lack of affordable workforce housing, foster a strong local economy, ensure safe and vibrant neighborhoods, and sustainably support community members in greatest need.
 
Through my experiences as a school board trustee and president of the Santa Cruz Education Foundation, I developed a strong understanding of governance and public service. In these roles, I led efforts to develop student safety programs, reform school nutrition, establish the award-winning Green Schools Committee and pass local school funding measures.
 
If elected, I’ll bring my local government experience, leadership abilities and passion for Santa Cruz to the job of developing solutions for our current challenges, while also planning for our community’s future. 
 

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

The Housing Crisis: The housing crisis in Santa Cruz must be addressed – now. We need to develop additional units of workforce housing and affordable housing immediately. My top areas of focus for developing new units are: 1) support for new housing projects in Downtown Santa Cruz, near existing transportation networks and other services; 2) continued streamlining of ADU/granny unit policies; 3) engagement with UCSC to ensure housing for students is created on campus; and 4) exploration of new opportunities to collaborate with our local faith community to develop housing solutions on church-owned larger parcels. With regard to rent control, I am a renter and I know first-hand what the rental market is like today. Though I’m a renter, I have major concerns about Measure M, including my belief that it will not make the situation facing renters more stable and will open up the city to potentially devastating litigation scenarios. These are stressful times to be a renter in Santa Cruz. Looking to the future, I support the work of the Housing Blueprint Subcommittee. I also believe density planning should be focused on the downtown area, not the so-called corridors. I strongly support Measure H, the affordable housing bond measure, as well as Proposition 1, the Vets & Affordable Housing Act.

 

 

Public Safety & Neighborhoods: Santa Cruz’s neighborhoods are the backbone of our community. I lived for many years on the Westside, and currently live on the Eastside/Midtown. The most successful neighborhoods are the ones where neighbors look out for each other. I helped organize my neighborhood in the wake of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, establishing bonds and communication networks that lasted through the years. But it takes a lot more than neighbor-to-neighbor engagement – we must prioritize policies that ensure our neighborhoods are vibrant and safe. I support increased funding for law enforcement. Our leaders also must work together to find creative solutions to complex issues that impact neighborhoods. During my two terms as an elected trustee of the Santa Cruz City Schools Board, I worked with the City of Santa Cruz to develop a safety plan for the Santa Cruz High School neighborhood. We also allocated funds necessary to fence the Santa Cruz High property, ending the problem of people sleeping on the roof of the school and in storage sheds. Criminal activity was reduced, as well as neighbors’ safety fears in the area. Critical to our success was close collaboration with the Police Department and door-to-door engagement with neighbors.

 

 

Homelessness: The key to understanding and changing the face of homelessness in our city is to recognize the majority of the people we all observe behaving erratically downtown are suffering from untreated mental illness. On any given day in downtown Santa Cruz there are people on our streets who are not able to keep themselves safe. And yet they also are not committing a crime that would trigger our first responders to intervene and offer assistance. Currently we must wait for a criminal infraction that puts the person in the much less cost effective criminal justice system rather than a social services/mental health intervention. Instead, we need a community plan for treatment. While we wait for a comprehensive plan, moms with kids, seniors and others avoid downtown. Locally-owned businesses lose customers…and sales, which help fuel our economy and funding for city programming we cherish. And a vulnerable community member doesn’t get the humane treatment they need. If Measures H and G pass, as well as the State Propositions 1 and 2, we will have a first-in-a-generation chance to really make a difference on the issue of homelessness. I will bring my experience as a mental health professional for the last 35 years, as well as my proven ability to build coalitions and develop programs, to the task of crafting policies that will truly make a difference in our community.

 

 

Strong Local Economy: Among our most pressing issues is the need to foster a strong local economy. Locally owned businesses are the heart that economy. The city council needs to take steps to make it easier and more affordable to stay in business and stay in Santa Cruz. The city also needs to expand its support for new business incubation and innovation. We need continue to support our growing, local tech ecosystem. We should also extend to non-tech business innovators some of the best lessons learned from the local tech sector. In addition, we should also be cognizant of the fact that solutions to the housing crisis also produce wins for locally owned businesses – we need to build more housing. New projects must benefit locally owned businesses and their hardworking employees. I will fight for construction of new housing. Lastly, as a local business owner myself, I know first-hand the challenges of increasing rent, taxes, insurance costs and stagnant profits. If elected, local business owners will have my ear, in part because I am one. I will work to increase understanding of the direct connection between successful businesses and the revenue they directly – and indirectly – generate to fund essential services providing by the City of Santa Cruz, including public safety, community programs, infrastructure and more.

 

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