Coonerty was instrumental a decade ago as a Santa Cruz city councilman in forging an historic agreement with UCSC that led to more housing on campus, settled some traffic concerns and promoted on-campus water conservation. But the effort by UC regents to boost enrollment from the present cap of 19,500 to as many as 28,000 by 2040 led him to work with present council members on a June advisory ballot measure that will urge UCSC leaders and state lawmakers to limit student enrollment at the Santa Cruz campus.
For years, the seat was held by Gary Patton, whose land-use policy making still defines much of how Santa Cruz County has grown, and protected open spaces. Patton was succeeded by Mardi Wormhoudt, who also wielded significant influence, inside and outside city limits. Neal Coonerty followed Wormhoudt, and today, the incumbent, seeking a second term, is Neal Coonerty’s son, Ryan Coonerty.