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|Santa Cruz County, CA
|November 6, 2012 Election
Summary of postions
By Don LaneCandidate for Council Member; City of Santa Cruz
This information is provided by the candidate
This is a consolidation of responses to questionnaires from many organizations.City Council candidates are invited by nearly a dozen organizations to complete questionnaires to lay out their position on the issues. Here are some of Don's responses to many of the questions on those questionnaires:
Top priorities: What are your top four priorities as a city councilmember? 1) Local economic development and job creation. I have addressed this and will continue to address this through the city's active work at the addition of new hotels, the city's active recruitment of green businesses, and through recruitment of new retail stores in key commercial areas. I am also working to create a new facility to host a local professional basketball team. 2) Maintaining good municipal services and programs through generation of adequate tax revenue. This begins with success in the economic development strategies described above. It also includes asking voters to approve reasonable taxes and fees to sustain the public services that the community expects: police and fire protection; parks and recreation programs; safe local roads, bikeways and sidewalks; libraries and more. 3) Doing our part to protect the natural environment. Part of this work will involve the implementation of the City's new Climate Action Plan. (This includes a wide range of clean energy and waste reduction projects.) It also includes continuing to adopt local regulations the follow in the tradition of the plastic bag ban and the styrofoam ban. And it includes protecting our coast and our open space lands. 4) Making sure that those on the less privileged side of the economic/social scale have government on their side. This includes working to create more affordable housing and low-income housing. It also includes adequate funding for local "safety net" human services. And it includes protecting the rights those who have historically been discriminated against.
Local Economy: What action(s) would you propose the City Council take to support the attraction, retention, and growth of businesses and to fund the economic infrastructure necessary to sustain a vital local economy in this post-Redevelopment environment? The starting point is ensuring our city Economic Development Department remains fully staffed and provided with adequate resources so the city can continue to be a catalyst for local business and job growth. I proposed the current TOT ballot measure to provide funding for this effort. Continue the collaborative work of the Economic Development Council to ensure a public private partnership. Continue to seek grant funding such as the federal grant to help restore the municipal wharf. Use as much of the RDA bond proceeds as we can legally use to implement some of the projects listed in the question above.
Downtown: What action would you propose the City Council take to improve downtown Santa Cruz?
City employee pension costs: What action(s) would you propose the City Council take to address current and future city employee pension costs? The City has already taken some fairly important steps that will, over time, improve our pension cost situation. We have implemented a lower level of pension commitment to new hires going forward. We have bargained with our employee associations to achieve new contracts where workers will pay a larger share of the costs of their pensions. We will implement new elements of state law that will reduce pension costs for the city. In the end, all the City Council can do is bargain effectively with our employee associations to avoid costs and obligations that the community and the city cannot keep. I do not believe we can (or should) unilaterally solve this problem + we have to work within the confines of state and federal law and within the framework of collective bargaining.
Measure P: Do you endorse Measure P, the "right to vote on desalination" measure and will you be publishing your stance on the measure? I do support the right to vote on desalination... but will remain neutral on the ballot measure. As many folks know, I drafted the city ordinance that committed the city council to providing a community vote on desal. I also modified the draft language of that ordinance to meet the request of a leader of the "right to vote on desal" organization to ensure that the vote would occur in 2014 and not sooner. For political rather than policy reasons, the RTVOD group decided to proceed with the ballot measure campaign--even though it is costing our city general fund more than $50,000. While I share the goals of the measure, I can't ignore the unnecessary expenditure involved nor can I support perpetuating the confusion the measure has caused in the community. A large portion of the people I speak to believe this measure is a referendum on desal itself. And I have still yet to hear a credible case as to why the city ordinance is inadequate to guarantee the right to vote on desal. [My position is published on my campaign website.]
Recycled water. The brine and chemical wastes from the desalination plant would be diluted with outflow from the wastewater treatment plant before discharging into Monterey Bay. Use of treated wastewater to dilute the plant's discharge would eliminate opportunities to use recycled water for purposes such as groundwater recharge and farm irrigation. The amount of wastewater available for re-use is several times the proposed production of the desalination plant. The state's regulations regarding use of recycled water for groundwater recharge are in the process of revision to allow highly purified wastewater to be used in aquifer recharge in closer proximity to potable wells. Would you support deferring consideration of the desalination option in order to further explore use of recycled wastewater? This question begins with "facts" that are not really facts. The lack of correct information here undermines the credibility of the noble enterprise of questioning the need for desalination. Simply stated, we have a lot of wastewater passing through our wastewater treatment plant + and a lot more than would ever be needed to dilute brine if a desal facility ever comes into being. Having a desal facility would not preclude the possibility of recycling our wastewater in a variety of ways. It is also worth noting that a reverse osmosis desal facility could be converted and turned into a reverse osmosis wastewater recycling facility. If a desal facility is built and state regulators subsequently allow cities to use highly treated wastewater in our water service system, I would very much support that conversion. However, we should not take lightly the likelihood that regulators attending to public health will take many years to establish rules to allow safe use of recycled wastewater.
Transportation priorities: Please indicate how you would prioritize projects as categorized below.
(a) Needed repairs of local streets and roads.I would pretty much prioritize them in the order listed. I might move D up a notch and take B down a notch. I think the rail trail is important but should not automatically be rated higher than other bike and pedestrian improvements that might be equally effective and not be as costly. I do think repair of existing local roads is essential because it serves most transportation modes and is in very poor condition. Waiting to do this work will cause us to spend even more later.
Rail and Trail: The county has expressed its support for a Rail with Trail system along the railway from Davenport to Watsonville. If you support this trail, how do you envision creating it as soon as possible? How much do you think it will cost? Where will we get the money? What can we do to complete the purchase of the corridor? I absolutely support creating it as soon as possible though I am sad to say it will still not be all that soon. As you question implies, funding is a huge challenge and will not be easy. That said, we will cobble together federal, state and local transportation funds over a long period of time to get it done. I could guess how much it will cost but I think the guess will be close to meaningless. (It will cost many millions of dollars.) While the community and the RTC formally develop the larger vision and plan for the trail, it is likely that much of it will be built in smaller pieces with the lower hanging fruit coming first. I think the piece from Davenport to Santa Cruz will be among the easiest to complete and could provide great benefits sooner rather than later. I also think that the portion that will run from the Westside of Santa Cruz to the depot area will be a bit easier than some other portions in urban areas because I think that area of the community would be particularly excited about it. On the last segment of this question, I truly believe the completion of the purchase is coming within the next several weeks and that there is nothing more to be done except making sure that RTC staff complete the administrative requirements.
Climate Action Plan:The Climate Action Plan for the City of Santa Cruz is undergoing environmental review and has yet to be adopted. Please express your opinions on goals and policies outlined in this plan, especially those of Chapter 5, related to Transportation and Land use. I have already voted in favor of all of these provisions when the council approved this draft of the plan. When first written, there was more funding for transportation projects through Redevelopment. That funding has almost all been lost... so accomplishing some of the capital projects will be challenging--though I will be working to secure new funding sources.
LGBT issues: What do you think are the major issues facing the lesbian, gay, bixsexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the next five years? Marriage equality. Fighting discrimination and bigotry throughout American society. Adoption rights equality. Medical coverage for transgender surgery. Continued funding for HIV and AIDS treatment and research.
Marriage Equality: What do you believe are the actions you can take in elected office to help realize marriage equality for same sex couples? Be a consistent ally. Introduce resolutions in support of marriage equality (which I have done.) Participate in public events and campaigns in support of marriage equality (which I did in 2008). Refuse to support other candidates that do not support marriage equality.
Workers's Rights: Do you publicly support or oppose the position that workers should be able to freely choose for themselves whether they want to unionize without the intimidating effects of any employer interference? This includes publicly supporting and encouraging employers to remain neutral on the question of unionization. What have you done in the past or what will you do in the future to demonstrate your support or opposition? Yes. I support card check neutrality. I voted for a city resolution in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.
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