Five candidates are vying for three seats on the Capitola City Council in the Nov. 8 election. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file) 

Last county update: 3/6/2024 1:48:00 AM

CAPITOLA >> Incumbent Capitola City Councilmember Yvette Lopez Brooks, business owner Alexander Pedersen and retired sheriff’s sergeant Joe Clarke won seats on the Capitola City Council, according to official election results posted Dec. 6.

Five candidates vied for three seats on the Capitola City Council. In August, Santa Cruz Local talked to Capitola residents about what they wanted from the city council candidates.

Several Capitola voters said they wanted:

  • Safer streets for cycling.
  • Better traffic flow around the village and 41st Avenue.
  • Candidates’ stances on the rail-trail project through Capitola.
  • Candidates’ stances on a potential empty home tax.

Here is where the candidates stand on the issues, based on our interviews with the candidates.


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Yvette Lopez Brooks

Yvette Lopez Brooks (Contributed)

  • Brooks said the Capitola City Council recently allocated $100,000 for pedestrian and bike safety projects. “We’ve been working with (city) staff on identifying a number of opportunities to use those funds to improve bike safety, which included fixing the storm grate on Park Avenue at Highway 1, which we actually just completed,” Brooks said. “It’s something that I’ve made a priority, and I hope to be able to continue to work on those projects in the next coming years.”
  • Brooks said traffic could be improved by fixing Highway 1 and creating safer streets for cycling and walking. “As long as the highway’s jammed up every day, Capitola surface streets are going to be impacted,” Brooks said. “So the most impactful thing we can do is to fix the highways. I know there’s been some conversations about highway widening, and I’m not sure, I need more information on the impacts of highway widening before committing to whether that’s an actual solution. About creating safer streets for bicycles and pedestrians, I think we’re moving in the right direction and creating different opportunities.”
  • Read more about Brooks in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Joe Clarke

Joe Clarke (Contributed)

  • On bike safety, Joe Clarke said he wanted more police enforcement of traffic laws. “I’d like to make sure that our police departments are well funded so they can continue to have our motor units out there and do the actual enforcement of traffic laws.”
  • To improve traffic flow in Capitola, Clarke said he might try to re-open 40th Avenue to help relieve 41st Avenue traffic. “And try to get more people that can get out on bikes. Maybe we can finally get our rail-trail going, get that trail up as soon as possible. That might alleviate some of the traffic problems, Clarke said.
  • Read more about Clarke’s positions in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Gerry Jensen

Gerry Jensen (Contributed)

  • To improve traffic flow, Gerry Jensen said increased traffic enforcement, better bike infrastructure and more “consistent” bus service would help.
  • To improve bike safety, Jensen said he would like to see more green bike lanes.
  • On affordable housing production, Jensen said the Capitola Mall redevelopment offers places for housing. “One thing I want to advocate for is workforce housing for our teachers and public safety people, I think that’d be an important thing.”
  • Read more about Jensen in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Alexander Pedersen

Alexander Pedersen (Contributed)

  • Alexander Pedersen said he wanted to try to meet the state’s housing production goals in part with the redevelopment of the Capitola Mall. “I don’t think a lot of people want to see us building taller, more dense housing structures in residential neighborhoods. So there’s not a lot of good places to put high-density housing in Capitola. But the mall is one of them,” Pedersen said. “The mall would be a perfect location. And its redevelopment is great timing to take this a very significant chunk out of the new (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) goal for the sixth cycle here that’s coming up.”
  • To improve traffic flow, Pedersen said more bike infrastructure would help. “More protected bike lanes is a big part of that, just in more pedestrian and bicycle friendly infrastructure, which I think can have a huge impact on traffic, especially in Capitola,” Pedersen said. “I mean, there’s not many places in Capitola where it wouldn’t be relatively easy to bike or walk. It’s such a small place. But again, people need to drive. People need to work. I’d like to see more work and emphasis put into having public-transportation-friendly infrastructure, more bus stops, maybe covered bus stops, whatever you can do to encourage people to use more public transportation would be great.”
  • Read more about Pedersen in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Enrique Dolmo Jr.

Enrique Dolmo Jr. (Contributed)

  • On bike safety, Enrique Dolmo Jr. said more street lights are needed. More flashing lights are crosswalks also would help, Dolmo said.
  • To improve traffic flow, Dolmo said sychronized stop lights would help, as well as more visible signs for parking.
  • On housing production, Dolmo said he feared more congestion on 41st Avenue if more housing were built. “Building more apartments or condos at the mall would not alleviate the traffic, but actually make it worse,” Dolmo said.
  • Read more about Dolmo in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide on the Capitola City Council to learn about:

  • Council members’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Candidates’ profiles.

Read more about early results:

Measure O

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