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New Day for Don : Santa Cruz City Council candidate Don Lane thought he was through with politics after his last stint in office following the Loma Prieta earthquake.


Assembly District 27
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Bill Monning

In June, Bill Monning handily won the Democratic primary race for this crucial seat representing Monterey Bay in Sacramento. We have every confidence this liberal Democrat with a strong social justice background will carry on the 27th district's tradition of leadership on the environment while exercising the same deft skills that earned him endorsements from farmworker advocates and labor unions too.

Senate District 11
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Joe Simitian

North Santa Cruz County couldn't ask for a better representative than four-year Sacramento veteran Joe Simitian. A champion of education, he's also a supporter of green energy initiatives and state parks. He's also proven willing to buck his party's leadership--and paid the consequences. We need Simitian's integrity and commitment to schools and the environment.

Senate District 15
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Abel Maldonado

We're holding our noses on this one. Oh, sure, Republican Maldonado is a "maverick" (sick of that term yet?) who voted for a higher minimum wage, defends education spending and backed the Democrats on the budget. And our own Bruce McPherson was a moderate Republican. That doesn't change the fact that District 15 is a farce and that Maldonado's roots are 200 miles south of here (as are those of his less experienced opponent, Jim Fitzgerald). So vote yes on Prop. 11, redistricting, and get Monterey Bay our own damn state senator. Then we can get down to some good electioneering and take this clothespin off.

Santa Cruz County District 1 Supervisor
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: John Leopold

We said it once, and we'll say it again--District 1 is a very big area with very little representation, making this office terribly important to about 30,000 county residents. Cabrillo College trustee John Leopold has demonstrated breadth of experience over the years and has diverse and weighty endorsements to prove it. He's more liberal about housing development than his opponent, and he seems committed to making the process work better for residents and developers alike. No doubt opponent Betty Danner has law enforcement locked down, and two thumbs way up on her juvenile drug court proposal, but her rigid stance on development is troubling. She and exiting supe Jan Beautz share many views, and the change of the guard might be too seamless for real change in District 1.

Santa Cruz City Council
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Ryan Coonerty, Don Lane, Tony Madrigal, Dave Terrazas

Santa Cruz is changing, and not everyone likes it. We get that. But two burst bubbles and a global economic crisis tell us the world is changing too, and if Santa Cruz is to remain healthy while retaining its beauty and character, it will need to get smart about growth. Ryan Coonerty, Don Lane and David Terrazas are all longtime Santa Cruzans who can bring fresh ideas on how to do this without selling the town's soul. All three have the blessings of the sitting councilmembers, and former mayors Coonerty and Lane have the backing of labor, as does our other recommendation for council, Tony Madrigal. As the council's sole Latino, and its sole renter, he represents interests too often ignored. Newcomer Terrazas has a solid grasp of smart growth principles.

All of these candidates have their green credentials in order; all advocate for making Santa Cruz a center of green-collar jobs. Our chief concern this time around is that working-class and poor people will get left behind. Madrigal and Lane, currently associate director for the Homeless Services Center, are our best hope for protecting the most vulnerable.

This is a tough race with a strong field of candidates. We hope youth advocate Simba Kenyatta sticks with public service. And we owe former city leaders Katherine Beiers and Tim Fitzmaurice an enormous debt--they've helped make Santa Cruz what it is. But it's time for new blood and less divisive politics.

Watsonville City Council
Metro Santa Cruz recommends:
District 1 - Manuel Quintero Bersamin
District 2 - Luis Alejo
District 6 - Edward Din

Things are getting heated in South County. Conservatives are battling progressives for three seats and the chance to change the course of development in Watsonville. Golden boy Luis Alejo and Manuel Bersamin are progressives pushing for more affordable housing, and Alejo has big-time ideas on turning the city into a green jobs epicenter. While their opponents Joe Ortiz and Gabriel Gonzalez are very in touch with their districts, they seem to have a bit too much backing from airport interests; Ortiz is prioritizing more big-box store projects.

Things are slightly less clear-cut in the wealthier sixth district. All three candidates--Din, Emilio Martinez and Tony Gomez--are opposed to the Atkinson Lane high-density housing project, but incumbent Din has proven himself to be extremely engaged in his community. Nevertheless, it should be said that Martinez has great passion and the businessman's cool to potentially lift him above the Anglo vs. Latino and progressive vs. conservative feuds endemic to Watsonville politics.

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