District 1 Santa Cruz County supervisor candidates.

Manu Koenig, left, ran against Lani Faulkner for District 1 Santa Cruz County supervisor. (Contributed)

Official results as of 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, April 2

  • Manu Koenig 9,264 (52.40%)
  • Lani Faulkner 8,310 (47.01%)

LIVE OAK >> Incumbent Manu Koenig defeated Lani Faulkner for District 1 Santa Cruz County supervisor and will keep his seat.

Koenig said on Election Night that his goals were to facilitate county permitting, “improve our roads, and ultimately to house as many people as possible experiencing homelessness.”

District 1 covers Live Oak, Pleasure Point, Soquel, the Summit and parts of Capitola and Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors creates laws for unincorporated county areas, sets the county budget and oversees county roads. Each supervisor also serves on the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, which oversees work on highways, roads, rail and alternative transit.

Koenig was first elected as District 1 Santa Cruz County supervisor in 2020. Faulkner is the founder and director of Equity Transit, an advocacy group for public transit and affordable housing.

Koenig and Faulkner said county roads should be made safer for cyclists and pedestrians with improved bike lanes and features to slow drivers. Both candidates also said they favored more services and for people with mental health problems to help address homelessness in Santa Cruz County.

Koenig and Faulkner’s policies differed in their views on plans for electric passenger rail service on the Santa Cruz County Branch Rail Line. Faulkner has advocated for passenger rail alongside the rail trail. As a member of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, Koenig voted to start environmental review for passenger rail. 

Koenig has said he is “skeptical” of plans for rail service, “but willing to be proven wrong.” Koenig supported Measure D in 2022, which would have removed references to passenger rail from the county’s General Plan.

A supporter of Manu Koenig’s county supervisor campaign tries to catch drivers’ attention at 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive on Monday. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Many District 1 residents said they wanted the supervisor candidates to address a need for affordable housing. Koenig said during the campaign that he would facilitate the development of more affordable housing.

“I’m excited about doing something similar to what Los Angeles did with Executive Directive 1 where they made all 100% affordable housing [developments] ministerially approved,” Koenig said on the campaign trail. “I’m working on a similar policy for workforce housing, and public employee housing.”

Koenig added that “some of the transportation corridors like Soquel Drive and Capitola Road are appropriate for some denser housing developments.”

Koenig said, “Putting more housing there really creates the opportunity to create walkable communities and neighborhoods.”

Read more

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]. Santa Cruz Local is supported 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 we are funded.

Learn about membership
Santa Cruz Local’s news is free. We believe that high-quality local news is crucial to democracy. We depend on locals like you to make a meaningful contribution so everyone can access our news.
Learn about membership
 | Website

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