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 public programs and 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, homeless youth, LGBT individuals, and those in need of counseling.
Drew believes 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 homelessness and 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 someone’s future for a mistake should not be the goal of the criminal justice system. Even Drew has been charged with a nonviolent drug-oriented misdemeanor and can personally attest to the impact one mistake can have on your entire life.
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.