For the Capitola City Council there are three seats up for election with four candidates. The council is losing two incumbents Michael Termini and Stephanie Harlan. Running for re-election is incumbent Jacque Bertrand. The other three candidates are Yvette Brooks, Jack Digby and Sam Storey who previously served on the council from 2006-2014.
The Capitola Soquel Times is devoted to the task of informing the voters rather than endorsing a particular person for the office. We asked each of the candidates to answer two questions; two responded, Yvette Brooks and Sam Storey. Here are their answers:
With the closing of two major retail outlets on 41st Avenue, what can the city of Capitola do to help find replacements for them and what kind of businesses would you like to see?
Sam Storey: Sears and Orchard Supply Hardware were mainstays of Capitola’s retail environment. They have served us for many decades. It is too bad they are shuttering their doors. One of the biggest challenges facing Capitola will be to find replacements for these iconic retailers and, in a larger sense, revitalizing the 41st Avenue corridor, including Capitola Mall. Meeting this challenge is essential because sales tax revenues make up 61% of Capitola general fund budget and most of that (84%) comes from 41st Avenue.
Capitola City, working with the local business community, can market Capitola as a regional shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation destination. The city can help facilitate the processing of required permits. It can also make sure our zoning and use ordinances are up to date and suitable for a changing commercial landscape. The city can assure that infrastructures are compatible for safe pedestrian and bicycle access.
New businesses should be ones that can endure the unrelenting shift to internet retail merchandise sales. We should focus on businesses that provide dining, activities, recreation, and entertainment, including performance arts. We should focus on local businesses that can provide a more tailored and unique shopping experience. We should shop Capitola!
Yvette Brooks: Given that approximately 70% of Capitola’s revenue comes from sales tax, the loss of any major tax producers is a concern. The City must work to build our tax base while emphasizing and maintaining Capitola’s small town charm. I would like to see businesses that are locally-owned, environmentally-friendly, artisanal, authentic and experiential. As the economy changes away from traditional retail or box stores we are uniquely situated to foster and encourage local and small businesses within our city. Even though these closures are a loss to our tax base we can see it as an opportunity to be creative in how we grow small, local businesses in a way that is more sustainable in the long term for our economy.
Measure L is considered the most controversial of the Measures for the city. Would you vote yes or no and why?
Yvette Brooks: I believe the most important element of Measure L is that it provides a direct local voice into how transportation decisions should be made in our community. I do have concerns, however, that the ballot language may have legal ramifications and would unduly limit options for our community moving forward, which is why I am not supportive of the measure. But with that said, I believe the measure is a reflection of a greater issue that needs to be addressed and that there is large segment of our community that feels that their voice on transportation issues and decisions made by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) in general are not being heard. There is validity to that. I believe the City of Capitola needs strong advocacy on the RTC, and if I am fortunate enough to be elected, I want to ensure Capitola’s voice is heard equally on the Commission as decisions are being made regarding our corridor and trestle.
Sam Storey: I endorse Measure L and will vote yes. The question posed by Measure L is whether the trestle should be made available for safe, walking and bicycle use. I wholeheartedly support that goal. The trestle is part of the rail corridor that was purchased by our local Regional Transportation Commission. The RTC has plans for a train and a trail to go on the 32-mile length of the corridor. However, in Capitola, the RTC’s plan has the trail detouring off the rail corridor and going on surface streets through Capitola Village. Measure L is Capitola’s opportunity to voice their opinion on whether the trestle should be available for walking and biking.
Measure L requires the City of Capitola to take all steps to preserve and use the rail corridor and the trestle for active uses. Capitola does not legally own the trestle, but has votes on the RTC which it can use to best serve Capitola. Measure L will prohibit the expenditure of Capitola funds for a trail that detours off the rail corridor and prohibits walking and biking across the trestle. The trestle is the most efficient and safest route from one side of Capitola to the other.