Get informed on the Nov. 8 local election

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Meet Hector Marin

  • Age: 25
  • Residence: Downtown Santa Cruz
  • Occupation: Community organizer, service worker and independent consultant
  • Local government experience: Marin is an independent consultant for local nonprofits. He works on racial equity and social justice issues. Marin graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2021. At UCSC, he co-chaired the NAACP chapter and was a student organizer with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299. Marin said he promoted unions and represented workers who dealt workers’ grievance and discrimination cases.
  • Important local issues: Marin said affordable housing and homelessness affect him and Downtown Santa Cruz. He said he wants to seek assistance for homeless people and ensure that District 4 is represented by a person of color. “The Downtown (part of) District 4 is really diverse, so we need someone that has those lived experiences and that has that diversity not only in ethnicity, but also in values.”

Hector Marin (Contributed)

  • What is your dream for the Santa Cruz community?  Marin said he wants a “Santa Cruz that is welcoming for everyone.” He said he wants the area to be enjoyed by families and children Downtown and at Cowell Beach. Marin said families need to feel safe. He said the area needs more community programs to celebrate the area’s diversity and more public transit. “I have so many dreams, but I think we can all accomplish this,” Marin said.
  • Fun fact: Marin said he trains in muay thai and enjoys martial arts: “It really helps you to know how your mind works, not just your body.”

Here are some of Hector Marin’s positions on issues brought forward by Santa Cruz voters. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What does your city council district want? How do you know? How will you represent your district on the council

Hector Marin: I’ve engaged with folks and seen that the community really feels that they need more ample solutions to homelessness, and more parks and recreation for safe areas for children.

I’ve also found that — it’s not really a huge surprise — the affordable housing problem here in Santa Cruz is really bad. I’m hearing from residents that they’re being displaced from their housing simply because they’re being discriminated against, on the basis of race or on the basis of being disabled. We want to ensure that we not only develop [affordable housing] but that we also ensure that there’s protections for tenants, homeowners and the unhoused. That will be the pivotal key in which the community wants to sort of translate into policy. That’s the key right there. 

Further, I believe when it comes to the city budget, we need to reallocate it into social services, housing efforts and affordable housing both at market rate and very-low-income and extremely-low-income units. 

I’ve also talked to several folks, and another endeavor that they really want to address is environmental justice. They don’t want to see trees being chopped up. They want to see more trees being planted.

Some voters told us there is too much market-rate housing being built and not enough affordable housing. Do you agree? How should the city council handle market-rate housing proposals?

Hector Marin: What’s going on right now in District 4 is that there is that overabundance of market-rate development housing. Not only is that going within the district, but also throughout the city, so there is that issue. 

There is not enough ample development of very-low-income and extremely low income housing as well. We need to ensure that we take the state’s critiques and that we build very-low-income and extremely-low-income housing, and ensure that is built for the community.

I would love to work with developers in terms of building more affordable housing throughout Santa Cruz. Our line of communication should be open as a city council to work with these developers, but we should also keep that same energy for nonprofit organizations who seek to do that same thing as well. We need to ensure that we hold real estate developers accountable whenever very-low-income or extremely-low-income units are not being provided for the city. Not only holding them accountable, but also ensuring that we hold accountable to the city staff in creating transparency around the development of those policies and those goals. Since it takes a community to ensure that all of that is built properly.

When I’m voted in to the city council, I (will) seek to create transparency throughout the community so that there can be that right to democracy.

State rules require Santa Cruz city leaders to issue permits for hundreds of homes in the next 10 years. Do you support new housing above shops on Soquel Avenue, Mission Street and Ocean Street? How and where should the city add homes? 

Hector Marin: I have to look more in depth into this, I definitely am going to be in for what the community says. If the community says that they would like to seek to see those projects in the field, if they feel like those projects are properly to be developed within the community, then I’m definitely all for it. 

When it comes to the housing locations, I think there are different areas that the city can definitely cultivate in providing such housing, but we need to ensure that these areas are public-use areas, that we do not sell off our public-use areas toward private entities. If it’s public-use, it’s the city’s property, and if it’s the city’s property, it’s the people’s property.

I would definitely encourage development of housing to be done in public areas in which the city can collaborate with the community to help develop as well, instead of selling it off towards private entities.

During the past year, the Santa Cruz City Council’s homelessness response has been to increase the capacity of managed shelters and adopt laws to limit overnight parking and camping. Do you agree with this approach, why or why not? What policies would you push for?

Hector Marin: When it comes to the (Oversize Vehicle Ordinance) and the (Temporary Outdoor Living Ordinance) that were passed, I believe those ordinances did not create enough solutions that helped out the folks that live in RVs and folks that are unhoused. We need to ensure that, yes, the city can impose certain ordinances which prevent the unhoused from being in certain locations to enhance safety and security of the area. Definitely not against safety and security, but what I am against is there not being any ample solutions that are after the fact of passing such ordinances.

Within my office, I seek to ensure that when we have the Santa Cruz city budget reallocate some of those resources into the human services divisions, and ensure that there is some sort of solution, and that those are funds available for not only homeless folks, but also the folks who are doing the work: the community organizations who are doing so many services to support the unhoused.

I’ve communicated with several community organizations which help the homeless community in Santa Cruz, and they are always telling me that there are just not enough funds from the city. Not only that, but when they reach out to the city, the city does not reach back out toward them. That’s all according to (some homeless services) organizations (I’ve spoken with), not myself.

I want to ensure that the line of communication is open when the reallocation of resources is delegated toward these organizations, and that there is active participation with the homeless community. There are more ample ways to help [resolve] the entire homelessness crisis going on over here. We need to make a Santa Cruz that is welcoming of all, not just tourists.

New Santa Cruz City Council districts

In the Nov. 8 election, Santa Cruz city residents will choose District 4 representative for the Santa Cruz City Council. This is the first election where Santa Cruz voters will choose candidates from their geographical districts. District 4 includes:

  • Downtown, Beach Hill, Beach Flats.
  • Part of the Upper Westside near Westlake Park.
  • Neighborhoods along Mission Street east of Laurent Street. View a district map.

District 4 candidates

Hector Marin is one of the three candidates for District 4. Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide for the other candidates:

Santa Cruz mayoral candidates

District 4 residents also will vote for a directly elected Santa Cruz mayor in the Nov. 8 election. Read Santa Cruz Local’s election guide to learn more about those candidates:

— Grace Stetson

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