Monica Martinez, right, and Christopher Bradford were the top two vote-getters in the race for District 5 Santa Cruz County supervisor. (Contributed)

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

District 5 Santa Cruz County supervisor
  • Monica Martinez 7,849 (46.43%)
  • Christopher Bradford 3,619 (21.41%)
  • Tom Decker 3,367 (19.92%)
  • Theresa Ann Bond 1,977 (11.69%)

SANTA CRUZ >> Monica Martinez and Christopher Bradford are expected to face off for the District 5 Santa Cruz County supervisor seat, as the top two vote-getters. Martinez came out with a strong lead, securing more than twice as many votes as Bradford, but still shy of the 50% needed to win the seat outright. Since no candidate secured a majority of votes, the race heads to a runoff in the Nov. 5 election. The winner will replace retiring Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson.

District 5 covers the San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley and part of 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.

Martinez, of Felton, is CEO of Encompass Community Services. It provides behavioral health, early childhood development and housing support services in Santa Cruz County. 

Prior to Tuesday’s election, many District 5 voters said they wanted the candidates to address evacuation plans, emergency preparation and cellphone service in the San Lorenzo Valley. 

Martinez said during her campaign that she wanted to build on early warning systems like evacuation sirens, prioritize evacuation routes for road repairs, and support community-based organizations for emergency response. She also said she would encourage utility companies to build more cellular towers in District 5. 

“I completely relate to the feeling of vulnerability and being unsafe at times up here in the San Lorenzo Valley.” Martinez said during her campaign. “We often don’t have power,” she said, “so that creates safety issues.”

A truck whizzes past signs for District 5 supervisor candidates on Graham Hill Road.

Signs support District 5 Santa Cruz County supervisor candidates on Graham Hill Road in February. (Nik Altenberg — Santa Cruz Local file)

Post-wildfire rebuilding 

Many District 5 voters also said they wanted the candidates to reduce obstacles to rebuilding. 

Homes were destroyed on at least 697 properties in the CZU Fire, Santa Cruz County staff said in 2023. Sixty-four homes have been rebuilt and 224 permits to build single-family homes remained in progress as of Tuesday, according to county records.

The District 5 Santa Cruz County supervisor candidates proposed to reduce obstacles to rebuilding in several ways:

How to reduce obstacles to post-wildfire rebuilding

Theresa Ann Bond
  • Have staff give more data to county supervisors about progress on rebuilding permits.
  • Individually connect with wildfire victims who have not been able to rebuild.
Christopher Bradford
  • Don’t require rebuilders to conform to updated standards for septic systems and roof sprinklers.
Tom Decker
  • Set up a volunteer group to help applicants through the permitting process.
Monica Martinez
  • Remove local regulations and challenge state rules that impede rebuilding.
  • Make septic requirements more flexible.
  • Make permit review faster and more consistent.

Decker said there should be a volunteer group in the county that acts as a clearinghouse to help people get through the hurdles. 

“We don’t need more government on top of the government we have. We don’t need a better website to explain the messaging. We need folks to, one-on-one, say, ‘Let me see where you are, oh, you forgot your environmental report. You don’t have your preclearance,’” Decker said. “We need more folks teaching people how to rebuild.”

After his home was destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in 2020, Bradford said he had to pay $20,000 to get a sprinkler system installed in his home during its rebuild. The sprinkler money came from loans because he said his insurance did not pay for it. 

“A lot of folks don’t have that money,” Bradford said during his campaign. “The options aren’t there.”

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.