Elect Kalantari-Johnson for District 3 Supervisor – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Both candidates running for District 3 supervision have impressive credentials and compelling personal stories. Our choice, however, to replace Ryan Coonerty for the seat remains Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson. Which isn’t to say his runoff opponent, Justin Cummings, isn’t a credible choice for voters in the Santa Cruz/North Coast district. He is – and his candidacy is supported by two members of our six-person Editorial Board. But, Kalantari-Johnson’s combination of relevant experience, firmness of mind, and willingness to tackle problems with moderate solutions (at least for what passes for “moderate” in liberal Santa Cruz) will get him started. if elected.

Both currently serve on the Santa Cruz City Council. It looks like a close race. In the June primary, Kalantari-Johnson led Cummings, by 541 votes, with 6,181 votes or 43.3%, to Cummings’ 5,640 votes or 39.5%.

Kalantari-Johnson has the support of Coonerty, as well as a majority of elected Santa Cruz County leaders and Santa Cruz City Council members. Cummings enjoys the support of unions and progressive organizations.

Cummings, a Ph.D. environmental scientist who works at UC Santa Cruz, notes that as an African American, he would bring a perspective in tune with marginalized people in the community. As a former mayor and current council member, he worked with Santa Cruz police after the murder of George Floyd on reforms that included banning chokeholds and predictive policing. Additionally, one of his big campaign themes is that he is a tenant in a town where a majority of households are tenants.

Kalantari-Johnson is an immigrant whose family came to the United States from Iran when she was 8 years old. And as a woman (and mother of two), her election would correct a serious imbalance in the current board of directors, made up of five white men.

She is a social worker who has worked with homeless populations in the county and in San Francisco. She also has extensive experience in writing grants for public health and social services which should prove invaluable on the oversight board, where the funding and delivery of these services has become one of the main functions of the advice.

She also took a balanced approach to the city’s homelessness crisis, supporting limits on camping and parked RVs and would bring a fresh perspective to defining the roles of the city of Santa Cruz and the county in the oversight and funding of homeless services. .

Cummings points out that he would be a voice for tenants in an area where housing is prohibitively expensive. He will also bring his expertise on climate change issues.

He also argues that Kalantari-Johnson did not push back on developers to ensure that truly affordable homes took precedence over those on the market.

Kalantari-Johnson responded that Cummings voted against some housing projects — an anti-development stance more in line with old-school Santa Cruz anti-growth progressivism.

Neither candidate fully agrees with the Sentinel’s positions on two controversial Santa Cruz ballot measures. On Mesure N, Kalantari-Johnson joins us in opposition. Cummings told us that while he supports the empty house tax, he is not campaigning for it.

On Measure O which would end plans for a new library/housing complex/parking garage in a downtown parking lot, Cummjngs was somewhat ambivalent, saying he was initially opposed to the project when the element of Parking was paramount, but he likes it better with 124 affordable housing units added.

Kalantari-Johnson is against Measure O, saying the benefits of the multi-use project are many, including daycare, much-needed housing and, yes, more parking for the housing projects she has supported within the advice.

While we disagree with her on Measure O, we also believe she will bring the kind of focus, determination, leadership and follow through that will serve the district and the county as a whole well. We recommend his election as District 3 County Supervisor.

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