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Constituent Meetings
Supervisor Leopold
meets with constituents each Wednesday at various locations in the
First District:

Wednesday, Dec 8
People's Coffee
1200 17th Ave

Wednesday, Dec 15
Loma Prieta Community Center
23800 Summit Road in Los Gatos
Will include Alex Leman, volunteer Loma Prieta Fire
Wednesday, Dec 22 Cancelled due to holidays

Other Important Meetings

Live Oak Neighbors
Tuesday, Dec 14
7 pm
Supervisor Leopold will review the past year and talk about what's coming for 2011
Live Oak Grange
1900 17th Ave.
Contact John
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Local Emergency Response
I have received several emails and calls from constituents expressing concerns about how our Sheriff's Department
responded to recent episodes in our community.
Most people have probably heard or read about the story of the prisoner who escaped from Dominican Hospital on November 29th. This kind of chaos is not something that people should have to experience. I want to assure you that Sheriff Wowak and County staff are working very hard to make certain that procedures are put in place so that this type of incident never occurs again.

And we are all extremely grateful that Debra Collins was found alive and is recovering.

If you have comments to share, please contact Sheriff Wowak by clicking here.
Thanks to the dedicated work of the Soquel Neighbors Alliance, Evelyn Bernstein (Arts Commission) and Steve Kennedy (First District staff), the utility boxes in Soquel are getting a makeover.
The Utility Box Program is starting in the First District with a pilot project in Soquel.

Utility Box
In His Own Words
John was recently on KION News talking about the impacts of a proposed census designation which would merge Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Salinas into one metropolitan area. Such a change would cost our County millions in funding. Listen to John in this short clip.
Santa Cruz County:
A World Surfing Reserve
Pleasure Pt. Surfer

It is no secret that Santa Cruz County has a long history of surfing and enjoys some of the best surf breaks in the world. Surfing is a significant part of our local culture and home to many nationally acclaimed surfers.

In recognition of the extraordinary local surf breaks, the coastline from Natural Bridges to 41st Avenue has been nominated as a World Surfing Reserve. To endorse this effort, Supervisor Neal Coonerty and I have requested that our Board adopt a resolution in support of the establishment of a World Surfing Reserve in Santa Cruz County.

World Surfing Reserves (WSR) is an innovative coastal initiative operated by the Save the Waves Coalition. WSR pro-actively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments around the world. The California Coastal Commission endorsed this designation in Janaury, 2010. You can read their staff report here. The first World Surfing Reserve was established in Malibu in October, 2010. The program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks by recognizing their positive environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits.

The designation of a World Surfing Reserve in Santa Cruz County would highlight our area's great surf breaks and increase the visibility of our community as an ecological tourist destination. You can see a copy of the Board letter and resolution here.

County Fire Team Works Effectively
Fire Pub Ed

County Fire Services, located in the rural communities of Santa Cruz County, represent an effective team comprised of volunteer fire companies and CAL-FIRE. Funding for CAL-FIRE is provided by the State and the County of Santa Cruz; local residents pay 40% of the costs, while the State pays the other 60% through a unique arrangement the County negotiated many years ago. On December 15th Alex Leman, Chief of the Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire Company, and I will be talking about how local emergency services are funded, what that funding pays for, and what the future holds for fire service in our area. Please join us for a lively discussion at the Loma Prieta Community Center at 5:30 pm (details about the meeting location are in this email). To find out more about Santa Cruz County Fire please click here.

Commission Report: Fish & Game Advisory Commission
Lois Robin

The Fish and Game Advisory Commission advises the Board of Supervisors on matters of fish and game, wildlife, natural habitats and the environment. The supervisor of each County district appoints two district residents to serve on the Commission. The local chief California Fish and Game warden meets regularly with the Commission to keep it informed about current issues. Kristen Kittleson from Environmental Health Services, currently coordinates the work of the Commission. The public is welcome to attend all Commission meetings. Formerly the Commission met eleven months of the year though this year it is meeting only four times. One of the important tasks of the Commission is yearly evaluation of grant proposals. The funds for the grants accrue from Fish and Game code violations. This year at its December meeting, the Commission selected twelve projects to receive $16,800 in grant funds. The excellent proposals ranged from the creation of wildlife videos to youth educational programs to funding of a trout and salmon hatchery. These selected projects will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Grantees will be expected to report to the Commission on the progress of their projects.

Lois Robin is a District 1 resident active in environmental issues including the Sierra Club's Pajaro River Advisory Committee.

Vacation Rental Ordinance Update

vacation rental

In the process of a considering a vacation rental ordinance, the county Planning Commission held two well-attended hearings on this issue in November. The commission has not yet voted to recommend a version of the ordinance, but based on the discussions at these meetings the Planning Commission's version will likely land somewhere between the original version developed by the Planning Department and the stripped-down version recommended by the Housing Advisory Commission.

It appears that the Planning Commission will recommend that all vacation rentals countywide be required to register and pay transient occupancy tax, specify a local person to contact in case of problems, provide signage with this information, and pay the cost of Sheriff's visits.

In addition, since coastal Live Oak is where most of the vacation rental neighborhood issues have occurred, the Planning Commission may favor additional regulation in this area. The staff report to the Planning Commission indicates that in the coastal area of Live Oak, currently about 12-13% of the houses are vacation rentals. The commission may recommend some kind of density limitation on the number of vacation rentals, both for the area as a whole and on individual blocks. Additional possible restrictions in Live Oak include sufficient parking onsite (allowing for 2 vehicles parked on-street) and a restriction on the number of occupants to 2 per bedroom plus 2 additional, with children under 12 not counted in the total.

The commission did not support any limitations on length of stay, so previous recommendations such as a minimum 7-day stay or a maximum of one rental per 7-day period will not be included.

Due to a last minute legal challenge brought by a lawyer hired by three out-of-town vacation rental owners, the environmental review process for the ordinance will need to be extended. The draft ordinance is scheduled to come back to the Planning Commission for a final vote on February 23, 2011. The draft then returns to the Board of Supervisors and will need approval from the Coastal Commission. Stay tuned for updates and scheduled public hearings.