Santa Cruz city councilmembers have typically each had one intern at a time at most. But newly elected Councilmember Drew Glover has taken inclusivity to the next level, hiring 10 interns—four working on homelessness, two on harm reduction, one on affordable housing, one on water, one on budget, and another focusing on administrative issues.
With this infusion of youthful energy, if the City Council ends up handing out avocado toast and bean bag chairs, now you’ll know why. Glover hopes that the interns will be able to reduce workloads of city staff by doing research, while allowing him to push his city agenda through as quickly as possible. We’ll see if it actually speeds things up.
Glover, by the way, incited controversy when he put aggressive public pressure on Mayor Martine Watkins, questioning her leadership after she declined to agendize his long list of last-minute items on the topic of homelessness for a Feb. 12 meeting. At that meeting, Watkins acknowledged concerns that Glover and Councilmember Chris Krohn had been publicly bullying her because she’s a woman. (Stay tuned for more on that from GT.)
Still, Glover’s interns don’t quite have run of the offices yet. When he did give one intern the access code to Santa Cruz City Hall at the start of his term, City Manager Martín Bernal’s office changed the code shortly after.
Any Californian who was expecting to see more of the status quo on housing and transportation got a surprise with the start of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s term.
For one, Newsom unveiled brand new pots of money to expand housing construction in January, and he threatened to withhold transportation dollars from cities that don’t build. After that, he filed suit against Huntington Beach, the state’s (fake) “Surf City,” for blatantly blowing off its housing production goals. The L.A. Times reported that Newsom was declaring “War on NIMBYs,” referring to not-in-my-backyard anti-housing groups.
Similar NIMBY forces are also strong here in the real Surf City—even if they aren’t as vocal or as powerful as the ones in Huntington Beach. The governor’s direction could turn up the pressure on the county’s five local governments, most of which are behind on all of their housing construction targets.
A couple weeks later in February, Newsom announced that he was dramatically downsizing the state’s high-speed rail plan. Projected travel time for the complicated train project kept getting longer, and costs have ballooned. Nonetheless, supporters of local rail growth—expensive and controversial in its own right—had been using the high-speed rail as a selling point for rail in Santa Cruz, à la… The state is investing in rail! We’ll be able to take the train out of Santa Cruz, and arrive in L.A. within a couple of hours!
Yeah, well, apparently not… But the state’s rail reversal has yet to make much of a stir locally. It seems that with a Unified Corridor Study already approved, everyone is damn tired of talking about cars, trains and trails. Or at the very least, the transportation activists on both sides have taken a brief hiatus to catch their collective breath after a couple years of yelling.
Be that as it may, Nuz surveys the railroad landscape ahead and is reminded of the Grateful Dead, because—to paraphrase Bob Weir—we can only imagine that California’s directional change at this unforeseen railroad switch “left the engineer with a worried mind.”