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, as well as new-comer and 4th candidate John Lewis.
We will provide you with the answers from each participating candidate.
This Q&A comes from:
JOHN LEWIS, NEW CANDIDATE
• Read official candidate statement at: https://bit.ly/2S4o06G
1. How long have you lived in Scotts Valley and what brought you here?
I have lived in Scotts Valley for a little over a year. I fell in love with this area when I came to Mount Hermon for summer retreats with my church over the course of my elementary school and jr highschool years. The trees seemed strong and placid with views that are peaceful and serene. When my wife and I saw the house we live in now we decided this was where we wanted to start our family. After some research into schools and visiting the community we decided this is where we wanted to make our home.
2. What do you love best about our city?
The marine layer that covers Scotts Valley in the morning is still new and wonderful to me. I hope the feeling I get when walking in town in the early fog does not fade.
3. What motivates you to serve in city council?
I have a new member of the family and I want to work towards making Scotts Valley the best place for our family to raise a child. When time permits I want to start a business here.
4. What are your thoughts on future housing development?
I have lived in 7 different bay area cities and most of them have resisted change. They did not build enough housing to give the next generation of residents a place to live they could afford, which in turn changed everything residents loved about the city by pricing them out of the place they grew up in. I believe we need to lean in to change so we can have a say in what is to come. I think we need to build where appropriate to provide houses to grow our community and provide opportunity rather than price people out.
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.
Today I am not as yet a city council member. Scotts Valley is in an interesting place, it has been home to some amazing companies; Netflix, Borland Software, Aviza Technologies, Fox, and continues to be the home of Zero Motorcycles, Giro Sport design and more. I believe the city needs to partner with the people looking to build their companies here and work together to invest in the growth of business here in Scotts Valley. Local businesses provide jobs for people in Scotts Valley and that in turn enriches the lives of those in the community. If we can grow the economy every single slice gets bigger.
I would like to reach out to the founders of businesses that were started in Scotts Valley and ask them what made them choose this place to build their business. I would like to ask their opinion on what we can do to keep that door open, and what we can do to build on that foundation. Doing what we can to keep businesses here in Scotts Valley is just as important as the things we can do to incentivize new business.
6. Where do you think our city needs to focus on most in the next 5 years? What are our biggest challenges?
There are a number of major developments that have stalled out that we need to drive forward. If we do not encourage development of these locations they will decay and tarnish the reputation and beauty of Scotts Valley. Opportunity is here in the Aviza property, the unbuilt portions of the Sky Park Town Center, and the closed golf course. Looking into mixed use development to maximize residential, and commercial space would provide a modern lifestyle with work opportunities within walking distance to homes as well as retail and a nightlife.
7. Do we really need a town center at this point or would we be better off focusing on existing vacant business locations like KMart and others including improving them by incentivizing property owners?
I believe new development and creating incentives for new businesses in vacant retail space can happen concurrently. We should actively be reaching out to businesses and request proposals for their expansion into Scotts Valley. That said it staggering the project has been ongoing for 20 years and there is still so much yet to be done.
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?
Immediately, that seems like quite the sum of money. I would like to see a more detailed plan on where all that money is going to go. Some of the improvements like electrical upgrades and HVAC updates could save money in the long run as well as provide a safe place for our children to get an education. The other expenditures seem open ended, but I am not an educator nor have I worked in education previously. I would like to hear from the SVUSD board to get more details on the educational opportunities this will create for residents, I believe they are better suited to answer this question than a member of city council.
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?
Funding. We need to actively be looking to develop funding to grow beyond the cut to the bone level of staffing we currently have. We need to look at old and new ideas for growing the revenue Scotts Valley has to work with for operational expenses. We have key positions that are filled with half time employees like the city inspector. Slowing down projects where people are actively looking to build to code does not describe a healthy city. Public safety is understaffed, workers are putting in overtime that is costly to the city. Overtime is also a personal cost to these workers. We are asking much of them, while not providing what they need.
The city council should actively be taking steps to encourage businesses to build here in Scotts Valley, as well as building new homes to grow the revenue of our city.
10. Why should people vote for you in the upcoming election?
I would like to engage the youth of Scotts Valley and encourage them to become politically active. Working with SVHS government teachers to send student representatives to City Council meetings and report back to their classmates seems like a good place to start. If proposition 18 passes https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_18,_Primary_… this will open more doors to engaging students in civic activities and investing in our city.
Being a new member of the community here in Scotts Valley gives me new eyes on old problems. The 20 year development of the Town Center project needs a fresh perspective. The languishing development projects in Scotts Valley are well on their way to turning into blight and not because of a lack of interest from developers looking to grow our city. It seems like a set of problems town leadership has grown comfortable with rather than looking to remedy. I would like to drive these projects forward.
I would also like to call out that I am not accepting campaign funding as I believe my first term as a city council member should not be beholden to anyone but the voters here in Scotts Valley who have chosen to elect me as their city council member.
ABOVE ANSWERS BY JOHN LEWIS…