GET TO KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES
10 questions were asked to each of the three incumbents running for re-election for Scotts Valley city council;
Donna Lind, Randy Johnson and Jack Dilles. We hope to soon get participation from new candidate John Lewis.
This Q&A comes from:
DONNA LIND, INCUMBENT
1. How long have you lived in Scotts Valley and what brought you here?
I began working for the City 52 yrs ago, then still living with family in Santa Cruz. I rented apartments in the area until I bought my first home in SV in 1980.
2. What do you love best about our city?
I love the people, the small town feeling even though we’ve grown. SV is a beautiful city with the Redwoods and mountains, but it’s the people that make it so special
3. What motivates you to serve in city council?
The City is facing some difficult challenges in recovery from the devastation caused by COVID-19 and the CZU fires. I believe my long history with SV, relationships I’ve built and my experience is valuable in helping the City recover. I also believe consistency in leadership during these difficult times is vital. This has been my home all of my adult life and I can’t abandon my City in this critical time.
4. What are your thoughts on future housing development?
The City receives very little from property taxes, half or less from what other cities in the County receive. Housing is necessary but it doesn’t support services so we need to proceed with caution so we don’t overtax services.
5. What would you do to infuse more business to our local businesses and how are you supporting them today? (More dollars for local businesses mean more dollars for our city of course)
I will continue working with the Scotts Valley Chamber and outreach we’ve been doing in the business community, not just locally but state-wide. The Economic Development Subcommittee has been active in outreach through various commercial organizations to market Scotts Valley and incentivize businesses to locate here.
We’ve worked to streamline the process to assist business locating to Scotts Valley. This work has led to bring 1440 Multiversity, Dovetail Genomics, Bay Photo Lab, Fox Racing Shox and others to Scotts Valley.
The Amazon factor hurt retail however some of our neighbors have been successful in re-imagining retail successfully. I’ve been active with the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce for 15 yrs. I’ve been very active with outreach to local business during the pandemic, I know most local business owners and will continuing working to support them.
6. Where do you think our city needs to focus on most in the next 5 years? What are our biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge is economic recovery. Scotts Valley had been working toward recovery when the pandemic hit. The pandemic has been devastating to local businesses including hotels. This in turn is devasting to the City’s fiscal recovery. The biggest challenge the next 5 years will be to support business. We understand many will not survive devastation from the pandemic. We need to continue to partner with local business assisting them with funding and resources, continue working with them to adjust to the changes required due to the pandemic. Scotts Valley has been ahead of the curve in working with business to adjust to outside dining, outside operations and even with our Cinema to be able to operate outside to stay open.
There is much work ahead and regulations keep changing quickly, we will continue to partner with business where there are opportunities.
7. Do we really need a town center at this point or would we be better off focusing on existing vacant business locations like K-Mart and others including improving them by incentivizing property owners?
I don’t believe it’s an either/or question. The City immediately reached out to K-Mart when it was announced they were closing. K-Mart owns the building and the City was proactive in outreach to assist in negotiating with a strong retail company to move to the K-Mart location. The Pandemic slowed that process but the work continues with a couple strong businesses expressing interest.
Personally, I still love the original plan for a “Town Center” that had a feel similar to Santana Row but on a smaller more Scotts Valley scale. I’d love to see small shops, wine bars, cafes and similar businesses connect King’s Village and Scotts Valley Square (K-Mart Center) with apartments/affordable housing or offices above.
The original plan included green areas, gathering areas, etc. Several years ago, we were told that the Amazon factor made it difficult to move forward with the original plan. I see areas such as Campbell and even Los Gatos where retail is still successful, even areas such as Abbotts Square are thriving. Something of that nature would draw people from not just Scotts Valley but San Lorenzo Valley, the Summit area, Pasatiempo and Carbonero Estates. This concept would bring much needed revenue to the City which is vital to economic recovery.
I understand developers make more from housing and I don’t want to see us settle. I’d rather keep the property as a park that can host events like the Art, Wine & Beer festival and other events that bring tax dollars to the City while still enjoying our beautiful park rather than a housing development.
8. What are your thoughts on Measure A that’s on the upcoming ballot and how can our city continue to support our schools and education?
I know the timing is very difficult. With schools having to make changes to keep students safe as a result of the pandemic, there is an additional expense that can’t wait.
Our elementary schools are particularly old and in need of repairs and although possibly those could wait, the requirement to change ventilation and install safety measures cannot wait.
9. How, going forward, can we support the infrastructure of our city including much needed current positions within our city, public safety and public works?
This has to start with economic recovery from the devastation created by the pandemic and the CZU Lightning fires. The City had been working to support infrastructure including the passage of Measure Z. Two weeks after Measure Z passed, the pandemic hit. Scotts Valley held several workshops with outside professionals to develop a plan for fiscal recovery. A fee study to determine where we can improve in recovering costs for services was completed and adjustments made.
A review of Hotel TOT rates in comparison with neighbors for a possible increase was proposed. The City must continue the work to bring businesses to Scotts Valley to generate revenue.
1440 Multiversity is an example of successful recruitment in not only providing TOT revenue but also bringing people to enjoy our city and support local business. Canepa received the contract as the only North American representative for the Gordon Murray T.50 Supercar and is a wonderful revenue generating opportunity for the City of Scotts Valley. We need to continue outreach and the work to incentivize revenue generating businesses to locate in Scotts Valley.
10. Why should people vote for you in the upcoming election?
There is no one who has and will continue to work harder and is more committed to the City of Scotts Valley than I am. Having served the City for the past 52 years, I have knowledge, experience and relationships to assist the City in recovery and to support local businesses and our community in becoming strong again.