Drew Glover will bring new energy and better communication into the City Council, he will work across differences and bridge institutions to catalyze innovative and sustainable solutions for everyone. The money is there, it’s how it’s spent that counts.
Sustainability, Housing and Transportation
Sustainable living creates a sustainable community
Drew’s experience working with grassroots environmental organizations in Santa Cruz has shown that small non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are at the forefront of a community overflowing with expertise, ideas, and concern for ecologically intelligent design and new solutions for local economies. So-called “green” policies are not sustainable or sound in the long run if they push some people into compressed and toxic situations. Santa Cruz can be a model in leadership by considering local proposals for permaculture design, and infrastructural recommendations (new business developments, housing, transportation, public works management) with an eye to climate change. The Council can limit the University development to sustainable levels; it must preserve and invest in green space for all neighborhoods; it must defend our ground and surface water, and our spaces for indigenous wildlife. Sustainability means prioritizing the social capital of this community now, preventing crises in the future.
Housing security and access to social services creates a safer environment for our families and neighborhoods
Santa Cruz is one of the least affordable cities in the nation and the human costs are felt in every household, every classroom, and every workplace. Our city cannot afford this. Sustainable housing practices means careful resource allocation — water, energy, etc. — but also requires increasing affordability by raising the inclusionary zoning to 25% and locking affordability to the unit, not the owner. This campaign is focused on putting a stop to the rapid flight of working people from our community. We need to invest in our proven local organizations and strategies for housing people who have lost shelter and work to create new mechanisms for reducing the gap between income and rent so that all of us can live and contribute to our community.
I grew up in Santa Cruz in the 90s with a single mom who was in college, and have seen the housing market in our city and region become increasingly impossible, especially for the most vulnerable. I know this is part of a national problem, but I love Santa Cruz, and am committed to working with others to create viable options that we currently lack, such as rent control, tenants’ rights support, and ordinances that promote new, sustainable solutions.
A fully funded, accessible public transit system is the foundation for our future
Transportation is one of the most urgent matters facing city and county decision-makers, both in this election, and in the next years. If voters support a broad measure this year to increase local tax investment in transportation, the city will still need to decide what our priorities are. We believe in minimizing options that create wider roadways and maximizing options that help us divest from fossil fuels and individual vehicles. Our solutions should seek commuter relief and corridor-opening by fully funding the metro, encouraging efficient mass transit and safe cycling routes, and encouraging locally self-sufficient neighborhoods by strategically supporting affordable housing and small business development in ways that reduce travel.
A Climate of Compassion
Education, Childcare & Health Care:
When it comes to the social services to nurture and invest in our children, to allow our families to thrive, and to create a climate of security and well-being, our community has not kept up with the times. It is children and low-income families who bear the brunt of this. Access to basic health care and child care is uneven; families lack affordable options and our safety net is made up of poorly funded non-profit organizations that draw funding from a patchwork of county-level disbursements, state and federal allotments, private grants, and individual fees. The city has many pressing needs, but this year, only .5% of the budget was allocated to Community Programs, despite a healthy financial situation. We need to reestablish priorities designed to support community well-being and to work with the county to invest strategically in programs and network solutions that will contribute to a city-wide culture of caring. The city needs to work more closely with schools to support lifelong education and recreation. It must develop programs that meet the diverse cultural needs of the population — especially those who are most vulnerable, like very young parents, houseless youth, LGBQT+ individuals, and those in need of counseling.
I believe that community safety is founded in investments in care and the common good, which builds trust and long term security. Unfortunately, there is an increasing divide between the Santa Cruz Police Department and the community, a divide cultivated in part by the media and by our city government. We are committed to working with diverse stakeholders in the community to help us reach across the current impasse of fear and anger. A significant first step would be to decriminalize houseless-ness and to work with the police to support new roles for officers and emergency medical technicians as first responders in situations where people are struggling with drug addiction and mental illness. Jail is not an appropriate place to house these people. Destroying someones future for a mistake should not be the goal of the criminal justice system. Even I have been charged with a nonviolent drug-oriented misdemeanor and can personally attest to the impact one mistake can have on your entire life.
The recent militarization of our police force has only exacerbated an already tense situation, and the arrest of performance artists downtown further engages the police as a hostile force arrayed against segments of the civilian population. There are more productive ways that the local police can interact and serve the community they are sworn to protect. We believe in standing up for people without fear or favor, and believe Drew is positioned to help bring people together who have been driven apart by unfair and disdainful policies.
Inclusive Representation in City Politics; Transparency and Accountability
This campaign is about listening to and representing people who have not always been heard in policy-making and decisions.
Today, about one third of Santa Cruz residents are people of color. Over half of our public school students are Latina. About one fourth of all our city’s residents live in poverty by official standards; many more struggle to survive. (And these statistics don’t count the massive flight of working people out of the city.) Yet the Santa Cruz City Council has lacked ethnic, racial and economic diversity and lacked the attentive listening required to represent these communities.
From now until the Election, we will be seeking out as many members of the community as possible, to hear what concerns you have, and to hear what your positions are on key issues. Our goal is to build not just a strong candidacy, but to understand more fully the complexity of our city, and to revitalize the democratic process in Santa Cruz. After winning a seat on the Council, I will continue campaigning, walking the neighborhoods and keep regular office hours, to ensure your voices and concerns are represented; I will defend the community’s right to know public information, the right to shape policy, and the transparency and accountability of government to the people.Re-investment in our social infrastructure, innovative ideas for sustainable development, and representation of diverse voices in our community will make our community better for everyone. When minorities or vulnerable people are consistently squeezed out, silenced, made invisible, disrespected, and disproportionately punished by authorities, it creates an environment of fear and bullying. I am strongly committed to encouraging the following constituencies to step forward, become involved, and be recognized:
Communities of Color:
Growing up as one of few African-American children in the community, I was surrounded by white people, and subjected to years of what were to me inexplicably bizarre and unfair experiences. I had no context for them, no language to describe them, and was only able to recognize my experiences after reading about race and racism in college.
Today, in an increasingly militarized environment, communities of color in Santa Cruz still do not have a public culture that recognizes their histories or their realities. It is imperative that the City make historical accuracy, justice, and honoring of all peoples’ knowledge a central topic of discussion and education at community events, film festivals and celebrations, and prioritize development of diverse public library holdings and policies that can help promote an appreciation of diverse viewpoints in our city’s institutions and recognize the cultural wealth of our neighborhoods. Only when our community understands itself will it be able to move toward its goals of non-violence.
Youth and Students:
Youth feel disempowered, ignored and marginalized by the adults who control their institutions. Low-income youth of color who cannot see themselves reflected in their schools are especially disempowered.Racism and oppression run rampant in their lives and many lose hope for a better future, saying thing like “we will just have to get used to it” or “it will never change.” These are the voices that should be lifted up, elevated and amplified out into the community to not only make sure they are being heard, but also to make sure they are answered. Adults in our community owe it to youth to demonstrate that things will change; it is our job to make sure youth have the tools to help us do it. We need to encourage and motivate other youth to step forward, learn the process of city government and get involved in all aspects of society to ensure we have an educated, passionate, and competent next generation of engaged and empowered youth. These are the people who can help us envision and rebuild the youth programs we need. If we stop thinking of them as a problem and a burden, and start recognizing them as our purpose and part of the solution we are missing. Almost a third of our city’s population is of college age, and many are attending Cabrillo or UCSC. Many of them will pass through quickly, but while they are here, they have tremendous energy that they could invest in the community, if they had spaces and channels where they could contribute constructively and where they felt welcome.
Santa Cruz is home to a strong, vital community of LGBTQ+ people, and traditionally this has been a place where gender diversity has been tolerated and welcomed. Nonetheless, the LGBTQ+ community, and LGBTQ+ individuals, are vulnerable in every aspect of life — their schools, workplaces and careers, the housing market, on the street and in private spaces. As a city government, we need to be conscious of intentionally creating a climate of support for gender and family diversity, to reduce phobia, isolation, and bullying.
With accessibility services being cut in Santa Cruz and throughout the country, people with disabilities have suffered. Particular transportation and accessibility needs within this community must continually be re-centered in policy and in design plans by its allies. For people with disabilities, there are additional challenges to be present at meetings and to explain their needs. When connective infrastructure is diminished in the public sphere, people with diverse kinds of limitations are disproportionately isolated from opportunities and community. This campaign is committed to working as an ally to this community, and to keeping access issues on the table.
Increasing rents, a lack of affordable housing and transportation have meant that working people are being displaced from Santa Cruz at an increasingly rapid rate. This is not only immoral, but also not a sustainable way to run a community. Workers need places to live and adequate transportation. This can only be addressed by careful attention to the nexus of housing-transportation-wages. That requires revisiting the whole of our infrastructure to support innovative solutions that can keep this city from gentrifying its working families out of the county.