In the Nov. 8 election, Scotts Valley voters will choose two city council members. In today’s episode we’ll learn about the role of a council member. Then we’ll meet the three candidates: Derek Timm, Allan Timms and Jim Reed. Santa Cruz Local presses the candidates on the issues important to Scotts Valley residents.
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KMG: I’m Kara Meyberg Guzman. This is Santa Cruz Local.
In the Nov. 8 election, Scotts Valley voters will choose two city council members.
These seats are powerful. For example, city council members can decide where and how much housing is built. They decide how the city spends taxpayer money. They also oversee the city’s services, like the wastewater system, the police and parks.
In today’s episode we’ll learn about the role of a council member. Then we’ll meet the three candidates.
DONNA LIND: OK. We’ll call the meeting of Oct. 5 to order. I’ll ask for a moment of silence…
KMG: The Scotts Valley City Council has five members. They meet on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month. The mayor sets the agendas and runs the meeting. That was Mayor Donna Lind you heard.
The council votes on a wide range of topics. That includes housing proposals, strategies to address pension debt, and partnerships for child care programs. Council members can propose new laws and policies.
Also, each year the council adopts a budget. This year’s budget for General Fund spending was $19.8 million. The council gets to decide how that money is spent.
So, as voters choose candidates, some questions to consider are:
- Do candidates have the ability to understand complex budgets?
- Do candidates have a broad range of interests that match the role?
- And can the candidates work with the four other council members to craft policies?
Another thing to consider is the time commitment. The council role is a part-time job. The salary is about $6,000 a year. Besides the two Wednesday meetings a month, council members are expected to serve on several committees. The role can take 10 to 20 hours a week, sometimes more.
Now let’s meet the three candidates. Derek Timm, Allan Timms and Jim Reed. If you live in Scotts Valley, you’ll vote for two. Also, side note: Derek Timm and Allan Timms are not related.
Here’s Derek Timm. He’s 50. He has served on the Scotts Valley City Council since 2018. He’s a small business owner and real estate broker. Previously, he was a consulting attorney in city attorney offices in Santa Cruz and Capitola. He also has served on the Scotts Valley Planning Commission.
Here’s why he’s running again:
DEREK TIMM: I think there are a lot of items that when I started in 2018, we were able to get a really good start on and, and then COVID hit, fires hit, and all of our work changed to emergency management for our community. And for businesses, and you know, just just all of that shifted, and so there’s still a lot of things that when I started and that I’ve been working on, that I would like to see through fruition. So I want to give it a little more time. And so that drove me to run. And I think also in our community, we’ve been facing a lot of challenges around diversity, equity and inclusion that need leadership. And I want to provide that for the community. And I’ve had people ask me to run, particularly for that reason.
KMG: A fun fact about Derek Timm?
DEREK TIMM: Oh, fun fact? Oh, I don’t know. I do a lot of impressions. But I’m not going to do any for you here today. But I do that. That’s a fun fact.
KMG: Here’s Allan Timms. He’s 48. He’s the senior vice president of engineering for Universal Audio. That’s in Scotts Valley. They make recording products. Allan Timms says he runs a team of about 150 people. His budget at Universal Audio is about $30 million, he says. Here’s why Allan Timms wants to run for office.
ALLAN TIMMS: The issues particularly that affect me and affect a lot of the team that worked for me at [Universal Audio] actually, are things around the economic development and the long term budget stability. So making sure that the town has money to carry on forward, making sure that developments that are being built within the city are to the benefit of everyone. So you know, with Target coming in, with the theater about to open, we have the potential to bring visitors to the city. And I want better restaurants, more local business development, and incentivizing the developers that have to come and build houses, to make sure those things stay in balance.
KMG: And a fun fact about Allan Timms:
ALLAN TIMMS: So I’ll give you an easy one. I’m a black belt karate instructor.
KMG: Here’s Jim Reed. He’s 55. He has served on the Scotts Valley City Council since 2007. He currently serves as Scotts Valley’s vice mayor. His day job is chief of staff for San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. He manages a team of about 30 employees and several more contractors. We asked Jim Reed why he’s running for Scotts Valley council again. He said he wants to help build a transparent process for residents to engage with big issues in government, like housing and growth.
JIM REED: You know, and I do think we’ve lost our edge just a little tiny bit in the last couple years in some important ways. And you know, admittedly, during COVID, it’s been a crazy time for everybody. And, you know, we’ve had our belts tightened several notches in Scotts Valley. At the same time, I think that phenomenal customer service that we have justly been known for both among our residents and folks who work throughout the county, like in the development community, I think that’s been slipping a little bit. And we can do better. And we need to do better, especially in this time, where we have such inflation, when people are struggling just to be able to keep doing the same things, the same quality of life and things they’ve been doing. We’ve got to work that much smarter because our people are having to do that same thing. So I actually do think we are not as far along as we could be on transparency, accountability, and making sure that we focus on key priorities. And I’ve got some ideas on how I think we can do better that I’m really excited to try and get adopted over this coming term.
KMG: A fun fact about Jim Reed.
JIM REED: When I was in my college fraternity I won a bet because I ate 15 fried eggs at breakfast one time and toast and bacon.
KMG: Santa Cruz Local has more about each candidate in our election guide. Go to santacruzlocal.org/vote.
Our team wants to press the candidates on issues important to Scotts Valley residents. That’s why in August, we interviewed and surveyed 20 Scotts Valley residents. We asked them what questions they had for the city council candidates.
The top themes we heard were:
- A need for more bike and walk infrastructure.
- A need for affordable child care.
- And a desire for more parks and recreation programs.
Let’s hear what the candidates said about bike safety. It was the top theme we heard from residents.
Several Scotts Valley voters told us they do not feel safe cycling in part because of a lack of bike lanes. We asked the candidates: What will you do to improve bike safety and bike routes?
Here’s Derek Timm. He mentioned that the city recently created new green bike lanes for safer routes to school.
DEREK TIMM: There are still areas where you kind of need to know where to go to have a good safe bike route. But part of my work with the Community Foundation (Santa Cruz County) has been working on maps for calmer routes countywide. So you can find a place to bike, you know, there’s a way to get down from one side of town to the other without encountering a lot of cars. But it’s not the most direct route. So finding those alternative routes that are calmer, and you’re not constantly in front of cars. And the Community Foundation’s been working with a couple of grantees on that as well.
And we were working on, you know, one of the things we worked on was trying to possibly connect Scotts Valley with Felton via an old road that used to exist, which, you know, kind of now has some fences up and things when there was a landslide years ago, but the path’s still there. And so, you know, getting that reopened for biking would be really cool. We’ve been working with a representative of the county around that as well.
So and then as a city, we just adopted Vision Zero, in a partnership with the county in Watsonville. And that’s gonna allow us to submit safe street grant proposals, and will be eligible for grants to the Federal Highway Administration for funding which we aren’t without that program.
KMG: Here’s Allan Timms. Same question. What will you do to improve bike safety and bike routes?
ALLAN TIMMS: The city, as you may know, adopted the Vision Zero. So to get to zero traffic deaths in the city. I think that’s really important. And I think using that as a lens to look at the transportation plan. And saying, actually, you know, if you look at the history of accidents on the roads in Scotts Valley, it’s almost all pedestrians and bikes, and it’s almost all maybe two or three choke points like the junction with Mount Hermon Road and Scotts Valley Drive, for example, the junction up by Starbucks on Scotts Valley Drive and Highway 17. And those choke points seem to be pretty obvious targets to prioritize.
So, you know, when elected, I would absolutely make it a priority to look at the existing prioritization, engage with the folks that we have on the (Santa Cruz County Regional) Transportation Commission to try and allocate the funds. But I really think that Scotts Valley has the opportunity to be a real bikers’ destination. We have lots of people that ride bikes. We have some of the best mountain and road biking in the state, all around us. And I think an important step to get there is to make it safe, and to make those bike lanes vital. So it’s definitely a priority that I have for sure.
KMG: Here’s Jim Reed. Same question. What will you do to improve bike safety and bike routes? Reed mentioned his experience working on bike safety in San Jose.
JIM REED: We’ve done a road diet in an area of San Jose called Willow Glen where we intentionally narrow parts of the street in order to make it a little more accessible for pedestrians and bicycles and just kind of put drivers in a little bit of a separate frame of mind.
The other thing that we’ve done successfully is we’ve got bollards up around a lot of our key bike lanes. And you know, we’ve also moved the — it takes some getting used to from traffic but we’ve got some thoroughfares in San Jose where the vehicle traffic is in the middle, and then next to where the vehicle traffic, then you have lanes where cars park, and then on the other side of that you have the bike lanes. So you don’t have bikes and cars within a couple feet of each other. You’ve got parked cars that are in the middle.
So I think bollards in particular can not only create the impression of safety that would get more people comfortable with using their bicycles. I think data shows they’re also very effective at signaling to drivers one, the road is not as narrow as you might think and two, you’ve got to share the road and you got to share it with bikes. So I think bollards are an especially interesting way. If you’re talking about good bang for the buck improvements on bicycles, bollards would be very very high on my list.
KMG: To learn more about the candidates’ stances on these issues and more, read Santa Cruz Local’s nonpartisan Election Guide. It’s at santacruzlocal.org/vote. The link is in our show notes.
One thing worth mentioning is that you may have seen the Timm and Timms signs around town. Derek Timm and Allan Timms have endorsed each other. Derek Timm told me their campaigns shared the cost of those signs.
I asked Derek Timm why he did not support Jim Reed’s campaign. Derek Timm has served on the council with Reed since 2018.
Derek Timm told me the main reason is that Reed has “not been available.” Derek Timm said Reed’s workload on council committees is relatively light. Derek Timm said, “He’s selecting roles where there’s not a heavy workload and that just leaves it on other folks.”
Jim Reed serves on six committees which meet occasionally or rarely. He serves as an alternate on one more. Other council members serve on six to 10 committees.
At every meeting, council members are supposed to report their work in committees. Reed has given four reports this year. There have been 16 regular council meetings. I asked Reed why he rarely reports on his committee work in city council meetings.
Reed told me the mayor typically meets with each council member to discuss their committee assignments for the year. He said he was up front with the mayor that he wanted committees that meet at 6 p.m.
JIM REED: I said, ‘Look, I, I work nine to five over the hill virtually every day. And, and it’s hard for me to do meetings during the workday.’ And, then, I’ve had this conversation with virtually every city manager that I have a job over the hill. That is, that keeps me over the hill. And the staff and my colleagues have been, I think, understanding about that. And they gave me committee assignments where I had an interest, they thought I could do a good job and where the meeting schedule of those committees was not during the day. And so if people want, I’m happy to take, I’ll take more committee assignments tomorrow. That’s fine. I’d be happy to take more committee assignments, but folks were comfortable giving me a committee schedule that accepted that I had a full time job. And if that’s changed, that’s fine. I guess I’d like to find out about that from them rather than reading about it in a media source.
KMG: If you’re registered to vote in Scotts Valley, you should have received your ballot by mail. If you need to register, or need to get a ballot, find details on Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide. Visit santacruzlocal.org/vote.
We do this work because we love Santa Cruz County. We want our Election Guide to be useful for you. We believe our local democracy works better when everyone is watching and involved, especially with elections.
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Thank you to all our members. Thank you especially to our highest-level members.
- Elizabeth and David Doolin
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- And Jacob Meyberg Guzman
A big thank you to our freelance reporter Grace Stetson. Grace conducted most of the interviews for this episode.
Thanks to Trimpot for the music.
I’m Kara Meyberg Guzman.
Thanks for listening to Santa Cruz Local.
Questions or comments? Email [email protected]. Santa Cruz Local is funded by members, major donors, sponsors and grants for the general support of our newsroom. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Learn more about Santa Cruz Local and how it is funded.