David Tannaci, candidate for District 1

Santa Cruz voters will choose a city council member to represent District 1 in the March 5, 2024 election. The district includes neighborhoods from Water Street to Highway 1 and from Highway 1 to DeLaveaga Park. 

David Tannaci is one of two candidates running for the District 1 seat. The other candidate is Gabriela Trigueiro.

David Tannaci is a District 1 Santa Cruz City Council candidate.

David Tannaci (Tom Flinchbaugh — Contributed)

Meet David Tannaci

Age: 38.

Residence: Near Ocean Street and Grant Street Park.

Occupation: Water distribution technician for the City of Santa Cruz.

Experience: Tannaci was a negotiator for a union that includes more than 400 Santa Cruz city workers. The union held its first strike in 2022 and negotiated a 12% pay increase over three years. The experience “catapulted me to the location where I am now, which is sitting here talking and speaking for working families in District 1,” Tannaci said in November.

Read about David Tannaci’s positions:

What will you do to make housing more affordable for families in the City of Santa Cruz?

Tannaci wants to focus on mixed-income developments, streamline the permitting process and include public-private partnerships. He’s critical of larger developments downtown that have mostly market-rate housing.

“We’re doing a great job making units,” he said. “What we really need to do is shift that priority and address the affordability crisis. We don’t need more market-rate or bougie units; we need units that are accessible.”

Would you support more housing density in Santa Cruz City Council District 1? If so, where specifically would you support it and how many stories? 

“I think right-sized housing for the location is important. Currently at 908 Ocean St. (in District 1), I would love to see that project moving forward. The density is a question that I really want the public to weigh in on,” Tannaci said. There is a proposal for 351 homes on about 20 lots on the property.

“My need is that if we’re going to accept higher density, which many people feel we need, we need to make sure that the affordability process is guaranteed and that there are no workarounds allowed or facilitated. In gaining density, we can’t lose affordability,” Tannaci said.

What short- and long-term strategies would you support to address homelessness in your district and across the City of Santa Cruz?

Tannaci wants to seek long-term funding for homeless services now supported by one-time state and federal grants. He is in favor of “developing and maintaining both the three tiers of safe parking programs as well as the two city-run and maintained camps,” at the National Guard Armory and on River Street.

“The other initiatives that need to be supported in the process are mental health services,” and other wraparound services that give multiple sources of support, he said. Tannaci opposes “trying to treat the issue in a cat-and-mouse game where we just sweep people from A to B and B to C.”

Some District 1 residents said they are upset with crime, drug use and litter in public spaces. What can the city council do to help residents feel safer? 

A large part of the problem is undeveloped areas like 908 Ocean St., Tannaci said. “The lack of action to adequately address the problems of the unhoused in our community results in a de facto netherworld in these unused spaces.” he said. “I agree that we see litter, we see the effect of people suffering on the streets,” he said. “Our inability and failure to address that is what’s producing those litter issues, drug abuse issues, concerns.”

Some District 1 residents said they want a champion for safer cycling and walking infrastructure, and improved bus service. What will you do on the city council toward those ends? 

Tannaci supports more protected and buffered bike lanes, and is in favor of expanding a buffered bike lane on Soquel Drive. “I would love to pick that up and be the champion that brings that all the way to downtown,” he said. He also is in favor of closing Pacific Avenue to all vehicles except emergency vehicles to “bring it back to a vibrant cultural center,” he said. “It would bring a breath of life to our downtown shops, and I think in the long run, benefit them.” 

Measure M would create two new requirements for housing developers in the City of Santa Cruz: 

  • For housing proposals of 30 units or more, it would increase the required percentage of affordable homes to 25% from 20%.
  • For a developer to construct a building higher or denser than current limits, city voters would have to approve a change to the city’s zoning code. A height or density change could include a specific parcel or a larger area.

Do you support or oppose Measure M, the Housing for People ballot initiative

Tannaci said he supports the measure. “The manner in which we’ve been developing, the top-down approach from city council, is really pushing for building types, building sizes, density placements, let’s say, affordability constraints that we as the community do not agree with. It is not meeting the need that we are saying we need. And so this initiative puts forward, in a very, very strong manner, the voice of our community saying we need affordability. It’s not a want, it is a demand,” Tannaci said.

Read why David Tannaci is running for city council

What local issues in your district affect you that make you want to run for office? 

Tannaci said he is concerned about environmental sustainability and “stewardship of our natural elements.”

“Something that’s really driven me to the forefront,” Tannaci said, has been unhoused District 1 residents “grappling with the lack of an adequate response from leadership.”

Tannaci said more affordable housing is needed. He said residents should have more say about what kind of housing is built.

What is your dream for District 1? 

Tannaci’s hope is “for it to continue being a really excellent melting pot of diversity for the community,” he said. “We have a pretty wide swath that we cover in terms of socioeconomic status levels, experiences and backgrounds.” 

He also wants “support for the development of multimodal transit within the district to downtown and to other elements of town,” he said. “That’s things like the rail trail and advocacy for bicycle expansion and safe protected lanes.”

Fun fact about Tannaci

“I spent time as a professional skateboarder traveling around the world and fostering the development and healthy upbringing of new skateboarding youth,” he said.

Campaign finances

See campaign contributions to David Tannaci and all local candidates.


See David Tannaci’s endorsements.

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