Gabriela Trigueiro, candidate for District 1

Santa Cruz voters will choose a city councilmember 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. 

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

Gabriela Trigueiro is a District 1 Santa Cruz City Council candidate.

Gabriela Trigueiro (Dennis Hearne — Contributed)

Meet Gabriela Trigueiro

Age: 39.

Residence: Near Branciforte Middle School.

Occupation: Executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County.

Experience: Trigueiro is a commissioner for Santa Cruz’s Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Mills College. “I feel like that really informs a lot of my work,” she said. “I’m a data person as well as a community-oriented person.” Mills is “a really unique women- and queer-led institution,” she said. “And that’s something else I’m really proud to bring into my work.”

Read about Gabriela Trigueiro’s positions:

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

“One of the best things that we can do is really embrace and support housing initiatives in our area,” including meeting state targets for housing productions, Trigueiro said. The city should also “build for transit-oriented communities,” she said. “There’s improvements that can be had for pedestrian ways and bikeways that really go hand in hand with housing.”

Trigueiro added, “Supporting tenants’ rights is something that we can never go without honoring.” She also hopes to see more initiatives to build the “missing middle,” or medium-density multifamily housing.

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? 

Trigueiro supports more density “along certain corridors,” Trigueiro said. “In District 1, unlike other areas, there are different issues around parking. But I definitely support single and multifamily home builds in the district. But I also see a greater need in other areas in our city to actually meet the needs of the community. And so that’s not something that I would want to let go of.”

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

Homelessness is “one of the things that in Santa Cruz is hard to unpack, and it’s been extremely divisive, but I do see progress based on initiatives that are happening,” Trigueiro said.

“There are opportunities to have more mental-health beds when it comes to addressing mental-health issues for, specifically, youth that are facing housing insecurity or homelessness,” she said. “For families on the brink, having a constellation of services that are robust, amenable, inclusive and multilingual help support families to prevent homelessness,” she said. 

Trigueiro also supports workforce development programs that train workers with new skills, she said.

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? 

“As a woman, as a single mom that lives in the area, I share those concerns,” Trigueiro said. Public safety “is about making safe spaces, engaging in peaceful ways when there are things that come up, and it’s about encouraging folks to make safe decisions,” she said.

“We actually have a real need to embrace community education” around homelessness and safety issues, she said. “Having an inclusive culture is the most important thing.”

Public drug use “doesn’t make anyone feel safe,” she said. Addressing public safety and addiction “at the same time is going to be really important.”

Public safety is also important for “youth who are crossing through the district to go to school or go to the parks,” Trigueiro said. “So improvements in pedestrian walkways and bikeways and embracing greenways, as we’ve done as a community, are also next steps that we can embrace.”

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? 

Trigueiro: “I lived in Santa Cruz for a long time without a car. And so I know firsthand what it’s like to walk a mile or two to the bus around here in District 1, District 2 and along these corridors — the 71 bus corridor, for example. And I’m really excited about initiatives that I’ve seen around the transit recently. There was free fare for youth, and I think that’s something that’s going to continue. And when I worked in the Bay Area, equitable fares for vulnerable communities and youth was something that I had worked on. So I get excited about working with folks that are already doing these projects locally.”

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

Trigueiro does not support the measure. She said she does not want to raise the inclusionary rate of mandated affordable homes in new developments. “I am concerned with numbers [of affordable homes] rather than percentages,” she said.

Read about why Gabriela Trigueiro is running for city council

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

“I’m a renter and I’m a single mom, so I know firsthand what it’s like to live in this community and to work towards that struggle and balance of housing and professional life and home life,” Trigueiro said. “Affordable housing is a huge thing.”

“Because I work on the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, I also think that safety is a huge piece for me — street safety and access to public areas. I definitely want to be encouraging safe spaces in Santa Cruz,” she said.

“Something that is really, really important to me and to a lot of folks in Santa Cruz is that next generation that we’re bringing up,” she said. She supports initiatives that support youth development and increasing access to child care, she said. 

What is your dream for your district? 

“To be a thriving and inclusive community,” Trigueiro said. “Embracing in a new way a bilingual community and multicultural competencies that go around multilingual communities is something that I’m excited about. Because I see a lot of that happening already, and I think that’s really, really important to other issues that are at hand.”

Fun fact about Trigueiro

Trigueiro used to be a flamenco dancer. “For a long time I was a performing artist and I was really blessed to work with the National Institute of Flamenco with Ballet Hispanico,” she said. 

Campaign finances

See campaign contributions to Gabriela Trigueiro and all local candidates.


See Gabriela Trigueiro’s endorsements.

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