Where were the campaign commercials for the June 3 election? Not on Santa Cruz televisions, that’s for sure. And the reason appears to be that our local TV market is too big, extending down to Monterey County and well into the Central Coast, with 220,000 total homes, according to Nielsen Holdings as of 2012.
That means that in a small election, it usually isn’t worth a campaigner’s money to cover so much ground over the airwaves—even at the county level, longtime campaign manager Bruce Van Allen tells GT via email.
“The broadcast market regions are far larger than our city or even county jurisdictions, so the ads go to lots of viewers who can’t vote in the race being advertised,” writes Van Allen, a former Santa Cruz mayor who recently declared his candidacy for City Council.
Okay, so who needs commercials anyway? Without them, candidates have more incentive to chat up voters in person, and take forums seriously.
But the wide reaches of our TV markets might also explain why we don’t see much pre-election polling, which, in other regions, is often done by TV stations.
“Its’ a very expensive proposition to spend that kind of money on one small town, for one small issue,” KSBW news director Lawton Dodd says.
Dodd says he’s no fan of election polling, anyway.
“I’m not sure the public is served well when you see a poll every day,” he adds. “It’s a way of keeping score when you want to see the results before the election’s complete. They just tell you the way things are today and not where they’re going to be, and they might keep people away from the polls.”
What’s in a name?
Often some unnecessary political baggage, according to Brent Adams, the architect behind Santa Cruz Sanctuary Village—formerly known as Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp. Adams changed the name of his proposed housing encampment for the homeless because “camp” sounds more rundown and transitory.
The newest plan is to create a gated pilot camp with tents, as well as a separate “village” site with cabins and very low rent, Adams explained downtown at his recent tent sidewalk party to raise awareness about his plan.
Adams, whose proposed Super Massive Slumber Party event for April was denied clearance, had a few setbacks with this June 14 tabling session on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street, because he didn’t get permits for the bring-your-own-tent event.
No matter, Adams decided, and changed the event on Facebook to happen at Abbott Square instead. But Nina Simon, director of the Museum of Art and History, which manages the square, countered that Adams couldn’t host an event there either without permits or notice.
The city’s event staff then said he could hold the event on Pacific after all, but he would be responsible for the plastic table as his “display device.”
Each of his four co-organizers would be responsible for a tent.
“We want people to go, ‘Are people camping here tonight?’ ‘No, we’re in solidarity with the homeless people,’” Adams said, as the organizers broke down the table and tents at the end of the day. “It’s more of a conversation starter, but to be honest, I don’t know if the tents did anything.”