Your Letters and Thoughts: November 2018
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What does the Nov. 6 ballot have to do with parenting?
As a parent, I’m increasingly concerned about the ability of vital and vulnerable community members to afford to stay in Santa Cruz County. From local daycare providers to medical assistants, from grocery checkers to our teachers, the very people we depend on to help us raise healthy, happy children in Santa Cruz County are threatened by our housing costs.
As a nonprofit housing professional, I know stability has a profound impact on the development of children, with the ability to significantly improve health and educational outcomes. Just consider Paloma, 18, whose affordable home at MidPen Housing’s Sunny Meadows in Watsonville helped her become the first person in her family to graduate from high school and go to college. Stable housing allowed Paloma to thrive and Sunny Meadows’ onsite services, includ- ing the Afterschool Program, gave her the boost she needed to do well in school.
But Santa Cruz County doesn’t have enough affordable housing right now to meet the needs of our community. A recent report produced in partnership by the California Housing Partnership and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, where I work, shows that Santa Cruz County has an affordable housing shortfall of 11,873 homes. Local renters need to earn more than four times the state’s minimum wage in order to afford our area’s median rental. When factoring in high housing costs, Santa Cruz County’s poverty rate increases from 13.8 percent to 24.8 percent, one of the highest in the state.
What does this actually mean for our community? Thousands of Santa Cruz County families don’t have safe, secure, affordable housing.
Fortunately, we have opportunities this November to take action on this crisis and make Santa Cruz County more affordable. We can do this by voting YES on statewide Propositions 1 and 2, which will enable California to re-invest in our communities and affordable housing. Prop 1 will build and preserve affordable homes, including supportive housing for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, Californians experiencing homelessness and others struggling to find a safe place to call home. Prop 2 will help people suffering from a serious mental illness and experiencing homelessness by building stable housing for them, as well as keeping mental health services in close reach.
In Santa Cruz County we have the chance to do even better by voting YES on Measure H for local affordable housing. Measure H is a $140 million bond measure that will provide affordable housing for local workers, help families with homeowner down payment assistance programs, as well as help our vulnerable community members have access to safe, stable, affordable options.
I know I live in a community filled with friends, family and neighbors who are concerned about our housing crisis and want to take action to address it. Please join me in voting YES on Prop 1, Prop 2, and Measure H. Let’s help create change — and homes — for our commu- nity members who need it the most.
–Alina Harway: Communications Director at non-profit Housing Association of Northern California
Vote for J. Dan Rothwell
My wife and I are blessed with four amazing grandchildren; two seniors in high school, a seventh-grader, and a third- grader. As a retired Cabrillo College teacher, I want to instill in them that love of lifelong learning that I find so valuable in my own life. That is one reason that I have become so alarmed by the devaluation of lifelong learning at Cabrillo College, my professional home for 30 years. State “repeatability” regulations have significantly diminished access to college courses that are taken primarily for self-improvement and skill building. I am running for the Cabrillo College Board, area 6 (Aptos, Corralitos, Freedom), among other reasons, to fight this unsettling trend.
What I bring to this Board position is experience that counts from the inside, not peripherally from an outsider’s generic point of view. I taught Commu- nication Studies for-credit courses as a full-time instructor for 30 years at Cabrillo College while also serving as the department’s chair. During my tenure as its leader, the Communication Studies department vastly increased its enrollment and grew from a single full-time faculty member (me) to its current seven full-timers. I served for 10 years on the College Planning Council that had to regularly address thorny financial and budgetary issues. In addition, my business-related experience includes popular books on team-building, organizational communication, and a business communication book in progress (with my friend and colleague Michelle Waters), all published by the non-profit Oxford University Press. I also currently serve on the Metro Transit Board for Santa Cruz County that addresses the business of bus transit that directly affects Cabrillo students.
In addition, I served for 22 years on the Faculty Senate, wrestling with some of the most contentious issues across a broad range of interests and groups. I was a vocal member of the CCFT Union Council for 10 years, and I acted as its chief negotiator in my last year at Cabrillo (2016). I have been honored with 25 teaching awards, and the Cabrillo College Employee Union (CCEU) awarded me “Instructor of the Year” in 2009 for my advocacy on behalf of classified staff. I bring a unique set of communication skills to this Board position. I have a doc- torate in Communication Theory and Social Influence. I have the flexible skills to be an articulate, determined advocate, a compassionate leader, and a harmonious negotiator depending on the context.
In the 59-year history of Cabrillo College, there has never been a college instructor who has served on the Board of Trustees. The business community has been adequately represented on the Board for decades. Does it not make sense to elect at least one college educator to the Cabrillo Board?
–J. Dan Rothwell: Retired Cabrillo College instructor