Scotts Valley council race pits three candidates for two seats. All want to fix budget; the difference is how.

Scotts Valley City Council candidates (from left) Jim Reed, Derek Timm and Allan Timms.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Three candidates — Derek Timm, Allan Timms and Jim Reed — are vying for two open seats on the Scotts Valley City Council, with the top two vote-getters winning the seats. Reed and Timm are incumbents, with Reed having served for almost 16 years, while Timms is a political newcomer who got his American citizenship in January. Timm, a veteran of four years on the council, has endorsed Timms. Lookout asked each candidate to answer two questions. Their answers are here.

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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.

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Derek Timm is a real estate broker at Montalvo Homes and Estates in Santa Cruz and is running for his second term on the Scotts Valley City Council.

Allan Timms is a tech industry veteran who is currently senior vice president of engineering at Universal Audio in Scotts Valley, which provides hardware and software for the music industry. Born in the United Kingdom, he became a citizen in January and decided to run for political office.

Jim Reed is the chief of staff to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. He has been on the council since 2007. He has served as mayor and is currently vice mayor. Before working for Liccardo, Reed spent 15 years at internet startups.

Derek Timm

Derek Timm is running for reelection to the Scotts Valley City Council.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

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

Community leaders believe in me. The community knows I’m a trusted leader through good times and bad. I’m willing to do the hard work, listen and collaborate.

It’s why the mayor, council members, our chamber of commerce director, county supervisors and key community leaders are endorsing me. My fellow council member has failed to build similar support.

I deliver results. During the past four years, I drove critical initiatives for Scotts Valley. As a small business owner, I prioritized economic recovery during COVID-19 and teamed up with the chamber of commerce to ensure local businesses survived. I recruited Target to Scotts Valley when Kmart closed. During the CZU fires, I worked with 1440 Multiversity to bring resources to feed evacuated families. As mayor, I supported recruitment efforts to restaff our police department, which had lost officers. I partnered with the Scotts Valley Unified School District and Congress to bring $1.4 million in grant funding for new child care facilities. I fought for the reunification of Scotts Valley into one district during the redistricting process.

I am an inclusive, respectful leader who prioritizes inclusivity in discussions with council, staff and our community. My fellow council member has stated inclusivity is the least important priority for Scotts Valley. He has refused to speak with our city manager for months. This erodes trust and divides our community.

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: Budget.

As the lowest-funded city in the county, Scotts Valley’s largest challenge has always been making sure we can provide the level of service expected by our community on a very lean budget. The budget drives everything from police service to permits, from road and park maintenance to treating our waste and recycled water. It requires careful planning to address critical needs, without sacrificing services.

As a council member, I worked with the community to pass Measure Z to balance our city’s budget. I then served on the budget subcommittee, where we oversaw revitalization from the pandemic. I helped establish the economic recovery subcommittee and partnered with the chamber of commerce to help businesses survive and recover from the pandemic. I continue to serve today. I also serve on the pension subcommittee, where we’re working on ways to help the city stabilize the impact of future pension obligations created by mismanaged state funds.

I will continue my efforts to court businesses to Scotts Valley, bringing continued revitalization. Revenue from businesses helps our bottom line. I will advocate for grant programs that bring outside dollars for needed community improvements.

As we came out of the pandemic, the cost of housing in Scotts Valley skyrocketed. Couple housing costs with inflation, and it has made our community expensive to live in. We’ve seen businesses that could not overcome staffing challenges close. Nearly a quarter of SVUSD teachers left the district. To remain a healthy community, we need creative solutions to housing. We will have to address these challenges regionally.

Part of this solution will be going through a housing element process to comply with state mandates. I look forward to helping the community come together around solutions and zoning changes that address the housing crisis, without changing the core of what we love about Scotts Valley.

Allan Timms

Scotts Valley City Council candidate Allan Timms.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

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

My background is in technology and executive leadership. I have experience in managing large budgets, building high-performance, cross-functional teams and executing on complex products aligned with a long-term strategic outlook. This, combined with the technology expertise (something the current council lacks), gives me a great package of skills to bring to bear for our community.

I have no desire to gain from office or achieve other political ambitions — my only desire is to bring great outcomes to the city in which I live and work.

People should vote for me because I bring a needed set of skills, but also because I bring an energy and dedication to the role. Having worked very closely with Derek Timm over the past several months, and spending time with some of the other members of the council, I can see that I am already having a positive effect, and once elected, the impact will only increase. As a council member, I will prioritize supporting and working with the city staff as they do the hard work of managing our city. I will prioritize inclusivity and opportunity for all. Most of all, though, I will be present and available for the community.

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: Budget.

The single most important issue that faces our community is a long-term, stable budget. Readers will probably be aware that funds that come to the city are slightly unusual, coming primarily from sales and occupancy taxes, rather than primarily property taxes, as they do in other cities (we get 6.5% rather than the more typical 18-20%). Measure Z has a limited lifetime, and the pandemic has left city departments playing catch-up. Thankfully, the current staffing and budget situation is currently on target, but has severe issues in the long term.

Add in the major challenge of the state Regional Housing Needs Allocation mandate to plan for 1,220 new homes before 2031, and we have some deep issues to solve in the next few years. By December of 2023, the city council is expected to deliver a plan to zone for these new homes, of which a significant portion need to be classed as affordable. This will involve a large amount of work, consultation with the community and planning of infrastructure scaling to achieve a reasonable plan. Water, roads, parks, schools, police, etc. are key services that need to scale with the population.

There is also the challenge of the long-stalled Town Center project. This will provide a significant boost to the economy and, if done right, perhaps add housing the RHNA demands. But again, we will need to work with planning and the community to ensure we get the Town Center we want and that it adds to, not detracts from, the culture of our city.

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is running for reelection to the Scotts Valley City Council.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

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

I’m alone in saying our government can and must do better, and noting that instead of working smarter, we are moving backwards in responsiveness to the community, transparency and accountability. I’m also the only one advocating for term limits. As practiced successfully in Santa Cruz and Capitola for decades, term limits should apply to me, my colleagues on the council, folks running this year, and everybody who comes after us. They are long overdue in Scotts Valley and should be enacted now.

Today, the city:

  • lacks a transparent process to set policy priorities.
  • isn’t sufficiently focused on meaningful goals, measuring service or defining desired results.
  • isn’t engaging enough with the public.
  • holds council meetings too often during the workday, when working people can’t attend.
  • has needlessly delayed for four years the two most essential things that can provide more housing for working folks without changing our small town character: updating our general plan and extending our affordable housing overlay to the entire city.

The good news is that these things aren’t hard to change. By tying pay raises for top city leaders to achieving meaningful results, we’ll have a government as good as our people – those who work for the government and those the government serves.

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: Budget.

Our biggest challenge is the city’s precarious finances. Thankfully, in 2020 our community supported imposing upon ourselves one of the highest local sales taxes in California: 1.25 cents per dollar spent.

Despite this unusually large tax, long-term projections show the city continuing to struggle with even basic services for years to come. This is why inadvertent shortfalls in our accountability, transparency and customer service are concerning. If people start to believe we’re not worthy of their trust, they won’t support (nor should they) the self-imposed taxes we need to provide everyday services for the foreseeable future.

That’s all the more reason to be laser-focused on fundamentals and making ourselves better through a priority-setting process that actively engages the public and only allows pay increases for top city leaders if performance metrics are met. It’s also why it’s a mistake for the city to continue trying to duplicate county spending on human services, which is the county’s responsibility per the state constitution.

Especially because Scotts Valley doesn’t have huge sales tax generators such as Costco, the Boardwalk, Capitola Mall, etc., we must continue our recent successes of opening Target and Faultline Brewing Company. These wins, both eight to 12 years in the making, provide a glimpse of what our future Town Center can be like, while providing more shopping and dining/nightlife options as well as boosting city revenues. We should also partner more with our chamber of commerce -- one of the finest small-city chambers in California -- to provide economic development services assisting both existing and new small businesses.

With more fiscal discipline instead of trying to duplicate county functions, tying pay hikes to performance, greater transparency and accountability and performance metrics updated in real time, the public can determine unambiguously if our government is worthy of continued trust.

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