From right, Scotts Valley voter Heather Edington, 39, and her daughter, Bliss Speights, 10, said they want affordable after school programs in Scotts Valley schools. (Kara Meyberg Guzman — Santa Cruz Local)

SCOTTS VALLEY >> In an informal poll of 20 Scotts Valley residents ahead of the Nov. 8 election, many residents said they wanted safer cycling routes, more child care options and more activities for families.

Santa Cruz Local heard from 20 Scotts Valley residents ages 10 to 77 through an online survey, a focus group, a food truck event, and the Scotts Valley Farmers Market.

We asked:

  • What is your biggest need from local government?
  • What personal experience makes you care about this issue?
  • What questions do you want to ask local candidates as they compete for your vote?

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Biking and transportation

Several Scotts Valley residents said they do not feel safe cycling around Scotts Valley. They want to see more infrastructure for biking in Scotts Valley and connections to Santa Cruz.

Scotts Valley residents Moneca Alden, 42, and Greg Tanner, 49 are parents of two young children. They said they want to be able to bike to Brook Knoll Elementary School with their kids. “There are no safe bike paths to go to school,” said Tanner. “That’s lacking foresight.” 

“It’s impossible to get to Santa Cruz from (Scotts Valley) without a car,” Alden said. “We can’t even get from one side of Scotts Valley to another.”

Another resident said his friend was hit by a car and died while biking. He wanted to see more bike lanes, bike trails and safer biking infrastructure in Scotts Valley.

Child care, parks and recreation

Some Scotts Valley residents said they want more affordable child care options and more activities for families. 

Scotts Valley resident Stephen Birmingham, 42, said finding after-school programs for his children was a challenge. His son goes to a Boys and Girls Club off campus. Birmingham said there is a program at school they could go to, but it is “way more expensive and not as accessible.” Birmingham said. “After-school care is really difficult for us. Luckily, we have scholarship through the Boys and Girls Club and we’re able to make it work. But it’s hard.”

Scotts Valley parent Heather Edington, 39, and her 10-year-old daughter, Bliss Speights, said they wanted more affordable options for after-school activities. 

“A lot of my neighborhood speaks Spanish, and I want to learn” Spanish, Speights said. She attends Vine Hill Elementary School. It offers an after-school Spanish program but the $400 cost is too much, Edington said. 

A People’s Agenda

Themes from conversations with Scotts Valley voters have culminated in a list of questions for the Scotts Valley City Council candidates. The questions are Santa Cruz Local’s People’s Agenda.  

  1. Several Scotts Valley voters told us they do not feel safe cycling in part because of a lack of bike lanes. What will you do to improve bike safety and bike routes?
  2. Some Scotts Valley voters told us they wanted better roads. How can you bring money to Scotts Valley’s approved Active Transportation Plan? What road projects would you prioritize?
  3. Several Scotts Valley voters said they wanted more accessible and affordable child care. What’s your plan to increase accessibility to child care?
  4. Scotts Valley’s budget has improved recently, but city leaders have described its finances as stable but fragile. Are you open to raising the city’s sales tax or hotel tax? What other ways could the city grow its revenue?
  5. Some voters said they wanted more parks and recreation programs. What will you do to expand parks and recreation programs, including reopening the Siltanen Swim Center? 

Kara Meyberg Guzman contributed to this report.

An interactive table shows the top priorities and needs mentioned by Scotts Valley residents. Data is based on 22 interviews and survey responses. Data was collected in February and August 2022. (Kara Meyberg Guzman — Santa Cruz Local)

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