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A voter fills out a ballot at New Brighton Middle School in Capitola on Monday. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

The Capitola City Council race has four candidates vying for two seats. The two candidates with the most votes win.

The following unofficial results are from the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s Office. New vote tallies are expected this week. The election must be certified by Dec. 1.

Last county update: 12/1/2020 7:38:00 PM

City of Capitola Councilmember (Vote for 2)

CandidateTotal
KRISTEN PETERSEN3627 (39.9%)
MARGAUX KEISER2399 (26.39%)
WILL LITTLE BEAR REISING1607 (17.68%)
ANTHONY J. ROVAI1410 (15.51%)

Santa Cruz Local interviewed and surveyed Capitola residents about what issues they want the candidates to address. Priorities included:

  • Improving bike and walk safety infrastructure
  • Improving housing options
  • City help for child care
  • Support for local businesses

Here is where the top vote getters stand on the issues, based on the candidates voting records, our candidate forums, interviews and questionnaires.

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Kristen Petersen

  • Petersen voted with the rest of the council this year to support city funding for Out of School Time, an afterschool homework program.
  • Petersen voted with the council to waive permit fees for new outdoor restaurant dining during the pandemic.
  • Petersen has pushed for some of the Capitola Mall redevelopment to be affordable but not necessarily beyond what is legally required. Petersen and the council have considered loosening rules on affordable rental units to entice more rental unit construction.

Margaux Keiser

  • Keiser does not support rezoning single-family-homes areas to allow duplexes or fourplexes. She said new homes would be appropriate in a potential Capitola Mall redevelopment. 
  • Keiser said walkability in the Capitola Mall project should be a goal. 
  • Keiser said the city should facilitate local business to business relationships and help strengthen local businesses’ social media presence.

Anthony Rovai

  • Rovai said Capitola Village landowners should be encouraged to build housing units on top of shops. Rovai added that the “biggest opportunity to produce housing for lower-middle income” residents is with the potential Capitola Mall redevelopment.
  • Rovai does not support rezoning single-family-homes areas to allow duplexes or fourplexes.
  • Rovai is a financial planner with a mortgage bank who also has experience in real estate and insurance. He said business rules during COVID should be clearer.

Will Reising

  • Reising said strict city building rules have stymied home builders. He said some rules should be relaxed to facilitate home building for those with lower incomes.
  • Reising said he supports rezoning areas to allow more duplexes and fourplexes in single-family-home areas.
  • Reising said the city should facilitate local business to business relationships and help strengthen local businesses’ social media presence.

Read Santa Cruz Local’s reporting on the Capitola City Council race:


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Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.