Kristen Brown, left, and Kim De Serpa were the top two vote getters for District 2 Santa Cruz County supervisor. (Contributed)

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

District 2 Santa Cruz County supervisor 

  • Kristen Brown 5,310 (32.77%)
  • Kim De Serpa 4,085 (25.21%)
  • David Schwartz 3,278 (20.23%)
  • Bruce Jaffe 2,785(17.19%)
  • Tony Crane 671 (4.14%)

SANTA CRUZ >> Kristen Brown and Kim De Serpa were the top two-vote getters and are expected to appear in a November runoff for District 2 Santa Cruz County supervisor, as no candidate secured more than 50%. Candidates David Schwartz, Bruce Jaffe and Tony Crane trailed.

“Tonight is a culmination of a lot of hard work from my campaign team and volunteers and community members,” Brown said Election Night. District 2 is “facing some really significant challenges around housing and transportation and climate change,” she said. “My hope is to become elected to the board of supervisors and be a voice for the residents to hear their needs, and use my education and experience and enthusiasm and energy for the job to find public policy solutions.” 

Brown, the mayor of Capitola, celebrated her campaign at Brittania Arms in Capitola on Election Night.

De Serpa, Brown’s closest opponent said, “I think we all kind of predicted it was going to be a runoff.”

De Serpa is the social services manager for Salinas Valley Health Medical Center. She’s also a licensed clinical social worker, chair of the For Kids Foundation Monterey Bay and member of the Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance Board.

“My hope is that at some point I can be elected and try to bring some of the success that I’ve already realized in my roles professionally and in public service,” De Serpa said Tuesday night.

The District 2 county supervisor represents Aptos, Freedom, Corralitos and parts of Watsonville and Capitola. The candidates are vying to replace Santa Cruz County Supervisor Zach Friend.

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.

On the campaign trail, De Serpa and Brown explained their stances on the top issues for District 2 voters. Candidates’ responses are from a Santa Cruz Local candidate forum in January.

De Serpa and Brown on roads

Many District 2 residents said county road conditions are bad. How can you get more money for road improvements in District 2? What county roads are your top priorities to fix during your four-year term? 

De Serpa: “What I’m going to focus on is trying to bring more actual revenue that the county supervisors can use to make these projects come into fruition,” she said. She supports pursuing FEMA reimbursement and requesting a state bond to pay for road repairs.  

Brown: Supervisors should advocate for state and regional transportation commission grants, Brown said.

“The roads that are in the greatest state of disrepair are the most expensive to fix. So we need to not only address those, but we need to make sure that the roads that are in danger of getting into that state of disrepair are addressed immediately,” Brown said. 

Prioritizing road repairs “should involve considerations of equity and neighborhoods that have historically been disadvantaged and underserved,” Brown said.

De Serpa and Brown on traffic relief

Many District 2 residents told us they want traffic relief. What can the county supervisors do to reduce traffic and facilitate cycling and walking for District 2 residents?

De Serpa: The Coastal Rail Trail should be completed “as quickly as we can get built so that our residents can get out there safely and move around our county,” De Serpa said. She also supports electric passenger rail. Increased bus service and a planned redevelopment of a county services hub in Watsonville will also reduce car traffic, she said.

Brown: Brown said Santa Cruz Metro has planned a “multi-year trial period” of free bus tickets for all riders. She said she supports the construction of a bus lane on the shoulder of Highway 1 and new traffic signals on Soquel Drive to prioritize buses. She supports planning for electric passenger rail service on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line.

De Serpa and Brown on affordable housing 

How can the county supervisors help fund and facilitate more affordable housing? Where in your district would you support more density?

De Serpa supports:

  • Building dense housing, including workforce housing, on county-owned properties on Emeline Avenue, Ocean Street and other locations. 
  • Concentrating new homes in urbanized areas. “I would not like to see more housing go in our wildland areas, and anywhere near our forests or wetlands,” she said.
  • Increasing staffing in the county’s planning department and speeding up the permitting process.
  • Pursuing block grants to fund affordable housing initiatives.

Brown supports:

  • Working with state and federal agencies to receive more funding.
  • Considering ballot measures to raise money for affordable housing.
  • Considering reallocating the county budget to prioritize affordable housing.
  • Fully staffing the county’s planning department.
  • Reducing county development fees and permitting timelines.
  • Offering low-interest loans for smaller developers.
  • Building more housing near transit stations, at “infill sites” in underdeveloped urban areas, on county-owned land, and near Cabrillo College.

Santa Cruz Local reporter Jesse Kathan contributed to this story.

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Kara Meyberg Guzman is the CEO and co-founder of Santa Cruz Local. ​Prior to Santa Cruz Local, she served as the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s managing editor. She has a biology degree from Stanford University and lives in Santa Cruz.