Scotts Valley says farewell to longstanding city councilmember while his replacement gears up to tackle the town’s key issues
There were seven candidates vying for three open seats on Scotts Valley’s city council this November. Councilmembers Randy Johnson and Dene Bustichi were re-elected, both with 23 percent of the vote, making retired police sergeant Donna Lind, who was close behind with 22 percent, the only newcomer in the victorious trio. She will be taking the place of Cliff Barrett, who has served on the city council for almost a decade.
Looking back over his years on the Scotts Valley City Council, Barrett is proud of many things. There was the off-leash dog park, one of his first successful projects, and the first of its kind in the county. He also helped make the creek clean-up, e-waste pick-up, green building ordinance and Styrofoam ban realities. Overall, Barrett says he spent his time on the council “trying to keep Scotts Valley the nice town it is,” which he says currently means completing the downtown center.
“The town center is vital to Scotts Valley’s continued growth and vitality and should be the main focus,” he says. He hopes that other items on the table won’t distract the incoming council from getting the center built in the next five years.
“It’s like Bush’s situation—he started with Afghanistan and then went off to Iraq. He lost his focus. I hope our council doesn’t loose its focus and go ahead with Target instead,” he said. His advice for the next council is to go through with the proposed town center first, and let the Target development happen afterward if it must. He foresees negative impacts on the town center if both developments are allowed to progress simultaneously. But it’s someone else’s problem now, he jokes.
“That was my concern and I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” he says. “I’m about ready to have some fun.”
Fortunately for Barrett, while he is enjoying his retirement, his successor plans to be addressing his concerns. As with Barrett, the town center is at the top of Lind’s list.
“The town center is first,” says Lind. “A heart for the city, something to tie it together, is something I’ve hoped to see come to be for 20 years. The town center is and has been my biggest priority.” Having followed the plans closely, Lind is happy with how the current council has pushed the matter, and looks forward to helping in the process. “I can work with the current council, and be part of the team,” she says.
However, while Barrett would like to see the incoming council delay the Target project until after the completion of the town center, Lind feels that some overlap is inevitable.
“The town center is further along in the process, and it’s appropriate that it comes up first,” she says. “But some of the issues go hand in hand [with Target], and it’s also appropriate that we look and see how one affects the other.” She adds that it is hard to know exactly how the two developments will pan out, as the city is still receiving and considering information from various studies and reports.
Although the fruition of the town center is her number one—and she promising not to lose focus, as Barrett would say—Lind does not deny that there are pressing economic challenges to be tackled. These difficulties will unavoidably be at the forefront of the new council’s agenda.
“We have several developments, as far as the town center, Target, moving the propane tanks—a lot of things going on,” she says. “But the economy is a challenge for all cities. The bottom line is that we need to find ways to generate revenue without raising taxes, and without giving up our core services.”