Thursday, October 20, 2022

#294 / Justin Cummings For County Supervisor

We "Live In A Political World." That's my contention. That's the name of this blog. Getting engaged in the political life of the community needs to be a priority for each one of us, because if we want the benefits of democratic self-government, we do need to get involved ourselves
One way to participate in democratic self-government is to VOTE. In fact, voting in elections in which we can help make community decisions is essential. And NOW is the time! Ballots have been sent out, and voting by mail can now proceed. Our last day to vote is November 8th.

Our political choices will decide, ultimately, what laws are enacted. Sometimes, we enact laws directly, by the initiative process. Most typically, we elect representatives who then decide what laws to enact (or repeal) on our behalf. Our laws determine what the government does, so those whom we elect as our national, state, and local representatives will have an important impact on our lives, from issues around land use and environmental protection, including global warming, to issues of social, racial, and economic justice. 
Today, I want to focus on the choice facing voters in the Third Supervisorial District in Santa Cruz County. The Third District includes most of the City of Santa Cruz, including most of the UCSC Campus, plus Bonny Doon, Davenport, and the entire North Coast. Voters in the Third Supervisorial District have a choice between Justin Cummings, an environmental scientist and the former Mayor of Santa Cruz, and Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, a grantwriter and current member of the City Council.


I was honored to have been elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors five times, serving as Third District County Supervisor for twenty years, from 1975 to 1995. I deeply care about who will fill that seat starting in January 2023, and I am unequivocally and enthusiastically urging your vote for Justin Cummings

Justin was elected to serve on the Santa Cruz City Council in 2018. He was Mayor in 2020, during one of the most difficult years in city history. The pandemic hit, as did the devastating CZU Lightning Fires, as did local protests stimulated by the murder of George Floyd. 
Justin acted, with dispatch, in each one of these instances. He personally intervened with city officials, to help protect and preserve local small businesses in the face of pandemic shutdowns. He acted, personally, to make city resources available to fire victims. As Black Lives Matter protests swept the country, after the murder of George Floyd, Justin went personally to police headquarters, to defuse what was shaping up to be a potentially violent confrontation, and helped channel the protest into constructive efforts to change our local criminal justice system. It's not well known, but Justin worked directly with law enforcement officials, countywide, after the national Black Lives Matter protests, to develop new protocols for our local law enforcement agencies that have been recognized by a national award.
Do you want 17-story towers built in a new and expanded Santa Cruz downtown? Justin voted against that proposal (his opponent voted in favor). The fight is not over yet, of course! I have heard that a "Stop The Skyscrapers" initiative is being prepared, so ordinary citizens can override what the City Council majority (including Justin's opponent) are proposing for the City.
Justin also voted against a proposed development on the Eastside, near where I live, the so-called 831 Water Street project. That project, which was ultimately approved by the City Council, will drastically and unfairly impact the adjoining neighborhood and will cause severe and dangerous traffic conditions at the top of the Water Street Hill. Justin voted "No." (Justin's opponent cast the swing vote in favor of that development). 

Justin personally spearheaded the successful effort to require developers within the City of Santa Cruz to provide 20% price-restricted affordable housing in new residential developments, up from 15% (that vote took place before Justin's opponent had a seat on the Council). Since that time, Justin has consistently voted to increase the percentage of affordable housing required in local development projects (his opponent has consistently been on the other side). Justin He has been a strong and extremely effective advocate for truly affordable housing, during his service on the City Council, and I am confident that he will do the same on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. In fact, he has promised to do just that. 
I also have confidence that Justin will oppose any effort to reduce protection for our incredibly productive prime agricultural lands. Current proposals being discussed by County government would reduce protection for our always threatened agricultural lands, and the developers are always angling for a way to turn ag lands into subdivisions!
Justin's opponent brags about never having voted "No" on any residential development proposal - but let's not be fooled. More luxury housing doesn't solve our housing crisis. In fact, that kind of "all development is good development" approach can actually make our housing crisis worse. In case there is any question in anyone's mind about what Justin's opponent stands for, it's helpful to "follow the money." Justin's opponent has raised a lot of developer money for her campaign, and lots of money from out-of-county sources. They have a good idea that Kalantari-Johnson will continue to deliver on her "all development is good" approach if she is elected to the Board of Supervisors.

Justin is also an advocate for the community-based social programs that provide so much help for seniors, the disabled, and those in need. Recently, while the Council majority (including Justin's opponent) voted to cut back services provided to seniors and others who are economically disadvantaged, Justin said no. He urged a continuation of funding for these vital community services. He will continue to do the same on the Board of Supervisors.

Since our vote represents our choice about what we want our local government to do, some comparisons are in order. Here is a summary: 

17-Story Skyscrapers
Cummings - NO; Kalantari-Johnson - YES.
Increasing Affordable Housing Percentages 
Cummings - YES; Kalantari-Johnson - NO.

Continued Funding For Social Services 
Cummings - YES; Kalantari-Johnson - NO.

Justin has not only been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, as the image at the top of this blog posting shows, he is the ONLY candidate officially endorsed by the local Democratic Party and the State Democratic Party. Justin's effective leadership has been recognized by all of the following organizations and individuals:

California Democratic Party
Santa Cruz County Democratic Party
California Nurses Association (CNA)
Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte
Sierra Club
National Union of Healthcare Workers
SEIU - UHW (United Healthcare Workers West)
SEIU – 521
Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC)
Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
Carpenters Local 505
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 234 (IBEW)
Sheet Metal Workers, Local 104
Operating Engineers Local 3
Showing Up for Racial Justice, Santa Cruz County
Equity Transit
Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club
UCSC College Democrats
Sunrise Movement Santa Cruz
People's Democratic Club
Santa Cruz For Bernie

Sam Farr; Former U.S. Representative for California's 17th and 20th Congressional Districts
Sonja Brunner, Mayor City of Santa Cruz
Katherine Beiers, Former Mayor City of Santa Cruz 
Sandy Brown, Santa Cruz City Council Member
Tim Fitzmaurice, Former Mayor City of Santa Cruz
Jane Weed-Pomerantz, Former Mayor City of Santa Cruz
Ed Porter, Former Santa Cruz City Council Member
Kristen Petersen, Former Mayor of Capitola and current Council Member
Greg Caput, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisor, District 4
Bruce Van Allen, Trustee Santa Cruz County Board of Education, Former Mayor City of Santa Cruz
Felipe Hernandez, Cabrillo College Board Trustee Area 5, Former Mayor City of Watsonville
Luis Alejo, Monterey County Board of Supervisors, District 1, former Watsonville Mayor
Ramon Gomez, Former Mayor Pro Tem of Watsonville 
Francisco "Paco" Estrada, Former Mayor of Watsonville and current Council Member
Vanessa Quiroz-Carter, Watsonville City Council Member
Lowell Hurst, Watsonville City Council Member
Bruce Jaffe, Soquel Creek Water District, Director

I am proud to add my personal endorsement to this list

If you are a voter in the Third Supervisorial District in Santa Cruz County, and are willing to credit my judgment, please vote for Justin Cummings for Third District Supervisor. 
And.... tell your friends, too! Feel free to share this blog posting!

To repeat myself, in boldface type, I unequivocally and enthusiastically endorse Justin Cummings for Third District Supervisor.

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