Quick Take:

None of the three District 4 candidates — Greg Hyver, Hector Marin and Scott Newsome — has held elected office before. They all acknowledge they have much to learn, and each has a unique vision of Santa Cruz’s needs. Hyver advocates for direct democracy, Marin is a Latino activist who seeks change, and Newsome calls himself a political pragmatist. Here, each briefly answers two Lookout questions to help voters understand them better.

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Community Voices Election 2022

Community Voices is bringing you the direct voices of the candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot, those who want to represent you. We will also bring you the voices of those supporting and opposing local ballot initiatives.

It’s one of the most fundamental parts of Lookout’s role in democracy, and one we all prize more deeply as we witness the widening assaults on democracy across the country and the world.

We believe this will help you stay informed and make important choices about who you want to represent you and what issues matter to our community. Our Election 2022 page brings together all of Lookout’s current coverage.

We have done our best to be rigorously fair and to contact everyone running and give them an opportunity to present their views. If candidates are not in our pages, it is because they chose not to respond to our requests.

Other pieces of our coverage include our candidate forums, our letters to the editor and, in coming weeks, our endorsements. You can sign up to receive election news via text and text us your question here, and email us questions at elections@lookoutlocal.com.

Stay tuned. We have lots of election action ahead.

We look forward to your participation.

Overview: District 4 is bounded by High Street to the north, Front Street to the east, Beach Street and the municipal wharf to the south, and a mix of Bay Street and King Street to the west. It will see change in next few years, including the area south of Laurel Street and possibly a new Warriors arena. These projects include up to 1,600 housing units.

The candidates

Greg Hyver has worked in property management, real estate and business development. He advocates an “an individualism rather than collectivism ideology.” He opposes developments downtown, is against moving homeless encampments and says he is against Measure N, the empty homes tax, but for Measure O, which would stop the city’s mixed-use library project.

Hector Marin is the youngest person on the ballot. He is a service worker and a Latino community activist. He supports a vibrant downtown, but worries about the height of buildings. He opposes closing the Benchlands homeless encampment and says he supports both Measures N and O.

Scott Newsome is a UC Santa Cruz politics lecturer and economics researcher. He has lived in Santa Cruz for 10 years. He says he brings a pragmatic approach to politics. He sees “a lot of positives” in the downtown growth, but says he doesn’t think buildings will reach the heights many fear. He says he is voting no on both Measures N and O.

Greg Hyver

Santa Cruz City Council candidate Greg Hyver
Santa Cruz City Council District 4 candidate Greg Hyver. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Please tell readers why they should vote for you. What specifically sets you apart from your competitors?

My core mission is to structurally change the way we do local government in Santa Cruz so that the important decisions affecting District 4 are placed directly into resident hands, not into the hands of politicians (political parties) and special-interest group “clingers,” who have different agendas and different priorities.

Those priorities inject negative byproducts into your neighborhoods and into your lives.

Figuratively speaking, each district resident will be granted a key to city hall to map out our course without political “interference” circumventing choices.

This is called “a transfer of power” as we transition to a semi-autonomous, direct-democracy form of government, made possible through technology advances. By 2024-25, our district will have an operational, software-based policymaking platform that piggybacks onto existing city government to capture your direct voices and channel them into policy decisions … if you choose this path.

In the interim, policy will not take a back seat to my core mission. I shall base important policy decisions on five unique criteria per our district charter: (1) individualism over collectivism, (2) empowering the individual, (3) regrowing the middle class, (4) revitalizing family units and (5) preserving the rich history of Santa Cruz.

Please focus on the single most important issue facing your city and how, if elected, you will address it. Be as specific as space allows.

Answer: Lack of pluralism.

Our No. 1 problem in Santa Cruz isn’t housing, crime, health, drugs, poverty, cost of living, jobs, education, traffic, water, energy … it’s our lack of pluralism. Too many voices are being kept out of the dialogue.

The problem is pervasive, one-sided and static. Individualism is losing out to groupthink — so problems fester. Our participation ends at the ballot box, where we relinquish our choices to politicians and special interests. We’re losing our right to self-determination as government’s grip tightens around us.

With your support, I want to transform local government to reempower each District 4 resident to have: (1) an equal voice in our vision, (2) greater access to the levers of decision-making power and (3) greater freedom of choice.

How? Through a technology-driven, semi-autonomous direct democracy.

Until that time, our district can still wield greater power on Day 1. Our first test case will be California Senate Bill 35, the poster child for government over-encroachment that is driving the one-way, affordable-housing “dialogue” in the direction of big-box housing projects, dismantling decades of traditional liberal devotion to the “small is good” philosophy of E.F. Schumacher.

Schumacher expounded the idea that natural resources should be conserved, concluding that bigness — in particular, large industries and large cities — would lead to the depletion of those resources.

Santa Cruzans of that era embraced Schumacher’s ideas for decades, weaving them into the “fabric” of their city: a low-growth model of zoning and building restrictions, town layout, small business nurturing, preservation of wilderness, waterways and ocean, restoration of historic neighborhoods — each a reflection of “small is good,” and each a component of the cultural fabric that still makes Santa Cruz so unique.

If elected, I promise to restore Schumacher’s principles and say “no” to Big.

Hector Marin

Santa Cruz City Council candidate Hector Marin
Santa Cruz City Council District 4 candidate Hector Marin. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Please tell readers why they should vote for you. What specifically sets you apart from your competitors?

District 4, one of the most diverse districts, would need a candidate who is not only diverse in ethnicity, but also in values, to uplift all voices in the community.

I am the only Latino candidate in the election, but it is my grassroots community organizing and elected office experience that differentiates me from my competitors. I am also a tenant and share the lived experiences of the working class.

I co-founded the UC Santa Cruz chapter of the NAACP, where I was elected chair of political action. I connected BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) students with the community through local political engagement. I was also a union organizer with the AFSCME 3299 union and helped represent service and patent workers unionize and establish worker solidarity.

I currently serve as an appointed member of the county board of supervisors’ anti-racism, economic and social justice circle, where we offer perspectives on racial equity to public health issues.

Actions speak louder than words, and I believe that District 4 can be better represented by someone who has the active community-organizing and elected experience with grassroots values.

Please focus on the single most important issue facing your city and how, if elected, you will address it. Be as specific as space allows.

Answer: Affordable housing and homelessness.

The intersectional issue of affordable housing and homelessness is the greatest concern of community members in District 4. In order to resolve the housing crisis in District 4, I would ensure that extreme and very-low-income inclusionary housing units are prioritized over market rate. I will also ensure that there are height limits in the development of affordable housing to protect the environmental and ecological security of the community.

I will also ensure that the inclusionary rate is increased above its current 20% and prioritize partnerships with nonprofit organizations such as MidPen Housing and community land trusts in development.

I will also implement progressive tax policies which would seek to increase the real estate transfer tax rate to a higher percentage. I would also like to see the eviction and mortgage moratorium for tenants and homeowners in the city of Santa Cruz expanded, since we are still in an ongoing pandemic.

For the unhoused, I will ensure that the city increases and reallocates funds into Human Services and Community Services in order to expand the development of shelters with occupancy requirements, mental health programs and job-training workshops.

I will also ensure that funds are provided along with a line of communication toward nonprofit organizations doing the work of advocacy and services for houseless communities, along with higher pay for homelessness crisis response workers.

I will also ensure that the funds in commissions, such as the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, are increased, in order to provide an institutional safe space for women who are marginalized and houseless. I will also lift the burden of homelessness response away from the overworked and underpaid police force and center it into a community-oriented division of mental health specialists trained in the methods of nonviolence and deescalation.

Scott Newsome

Santa Cruz City Council candidate Scott Newsome
Santa Cruz City Council District 4 candidate Scott Newsome. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Please tell readers why they should vote for you. What specifically sets you apart from your competitors?

As a representative of District 4, I will use a pragmatic approach to address the issues that face our community.

I am also the father of two young children. This provides me with a unique perspective that is not currently offered on the council. I conduct research on economic policy as well, especially in response to recessions. I think this provides me with the knowledge and skills needed to work on the issues that face our community.

Overall, I think District 4 voters should vote for me because I have the skills, knowledge and experience needed to serve our great community well with thoughtful policymaking.

Please focus on the single most important issue facing your city and how, if elected, you will address it. Be as specific as space allows.

Answer: Housing.

There are several issues that face our city. For the purposes of this essay, I will focus on the issue of housing. The demand for housing in our community, especially affordable housing, far outweighs the supply of housing.

Currently, District 4 has made more progress on the goal of building more housing than any other district in our community. There are more than 1,200 homes that are in various phases of the home-building process that are planned over the next several years, and more than 400 of these homes (one-third of those planned) will be affordable housing.

As a representative of District 4, I will work to continue this momentum in my district in a manner that does not displace an existing community, does not close down a park or open space, and that is in alignment with the character of each neighborhood in my district.

I will also work to find ways to help — and possibly require — UC Santa Cruz to house more of its students on campus. Doing so will produce thousands of additional housing units and reduce pressure on our community’s housing stock.