Hector Marin, candidate for District 2

Santa Cruz city voters will choose a District 2 city council member in the March 5, 2024 election. The district includes the Lower Ocean and Seabright neighborhoods, the Santa Cruz harbor, Arana Gulch and parts of midtown.

Hector Marin is one of two candidates running for the District 2 seat. The other candidate is city council incumbent Sonja Brunner.

Hector Marin is running for District 2 Santa Cruz City Council.

Hector Marin (Contributed)

Meet Hector Marin

Age: 26.

Residence: Seabright.

Occupation: Teacher’s aide and restaurant worker.

Experience: Marin served as a student representative for a union that represents some University of California service workers. He was chair of the political action committee for the UC Santa Cruz chapter of the NAACP, where he “expanded civic engagement for local people of color that go to UCSC,” he said. 

Marin is a member of the Circle on Anti-Racism, Economic and Social Justice, a Santa Cruz County commission that helped create an equity statement approved by the county board of supervisors in October 2023.

Read about Hector Marin’s positions:

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

Marin said that newly built homes are often out of reach for many people, even if the homes are designated as affordable housing. “Affordable to whom?” he asked. “Is it affordable for Santa Cruzans, tenants, essential workers, firefighters, nurses, police officers, our service workers? Or is it affordable for people that make a lot of money?”

“The one thing that I noticed, in my perspective as a tenant and as an educator, is that availability is not the issue. I can go on Craigslist and I can find several one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments to rent for $3,000 a pop,” Marin said. Affordability is the issue.”

New homes should be affordable “for the farmworker, or for the restaurant worker that has a family of five,” Marin said. “We want to ensure that we not only make it affordable for them, but that we also expand homeownership opportunities for their children.”

Would you support more housing density in Santa Cruz City Council District 2? If so, where specifically would you support it and how many stories? 

Marin said he supports more density in places where “the community and the neighbors want us to upzone,” he said. “But if the neighbors don’t want this, if the neighbors want sustainability over these tall buildings, then we’re going to help advocate for them as well.” 

Marin said the council should pay more attention to Latino residents. Forty-one percent of Spanish speaking respondents in a 2021 city survey said they wanted new buildings no more than four stories on Soquel Avenue and Water and Ocean streets. 

However, Marin said, “we want to ensure that we build in areas where mass public transportation is currently in the works.” Marin added, “I would collaborate actively with the County of Santa Cruz to ensure that we find a place within the county to build such housing units as well. There’s a rail and trail that’s going to be developed in the near future, and we can collaborate with the representatives of the board of supervisors who represent the areas of Aptos and Live Oak in finding a place where this housing can be placed.” Marin said, “We don’t want to upzone in coastal areas where our skyline is going to be interrupted, or where or where our nature is going to be displaced as well.”

Marin said he supports an increase in the inclusionary rate, which is the number of affordable homes that developers are required to build with new developments.

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

“We want to ensure that we expand mental health services and that we open up a lot more warming centers and winter shelter programs so our homeless people can have the basic services that are needed for them right now,” Marin said.

Marin noted that the number of unhoused people in Santa Cruz County decreased in 2023 compared with prior years, according to a point-in-time count, yet dozens of homeless people also died in that time.

Marin said the city’s three-year homelessness emergency plan should be more transparent. “That’s millions of dollars of taxpayer money, your money, that you’re contributing to when it comes to addressing the homelessness crisis, yet there is no budget transparency.”

Some District 2 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? 

Hector Marin: “I’ve talked a lot this week to residents, and even within here on the Eastside, within the Seabright neighborhoods, there’s a lot of litter that’s going on within the Eastside. And there is a lack of transparency of who’s responsible for picking up such litter in public areas. 

“There was a constituent that I was talking to earlier, and she said that when she talked to [Santa Cruz Police] about the cleanliness of the litter in public areas, SCPD delegated that role to the harbor, and then the harbor delegated that role to the state of California. So they’re saying that it’s a state issue, they’re saying it’s a harbor issue, they’re saying it’s an SCPD issue, and nothing is being addressed to have that resolved at all whatsoever, right? 

“So with us, we want to ensure that we have transparency behind the portals of communication, of who is responsible in conducting and coordinating these community cleanups in public areas. Within our office, you will have not only that transparency, but advocacy for more money and for expanding partnerships at a statewide level. So we can have that cleanliness within our beaches, within our parks as well. We want to ensure that our children can play in these parks and that our children can have all these visits to the beach.”

Some District 2 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? 

Marin said he supported widening bike lanes to make them safer and outfitting streets with more road bumps and stop signs “so cars don’t go speeding through from one way to the other. Because here in the Eastside, we do have cars speeding through, which puts our children in peril.” He said he supported providing community classes to help people ride e-bikes safely.

He also expressed concern about recent changes to Santa Cruz Metro’s bus routes. “Though the Metro is doing their best to provide routes between North County and South County, these new routes don’t connect Eastside with downtown as well,” Marin said. “We want to ensure that we advocate for much more equitable transit or increased routes that connect downtown towards the Eastside in a much more effective manner for our seniors, for our children, for everybody.”

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

“I support Housing for People,” Marin said. “We want to ensure that we have a much more democratic process, that we involve everybody within the local political process, and this is exactly what Housing for People aims to do.”

“If the neighborhoods want to upzone, the neighborhoods have that choice, our community members have that choice to upzone it, we so want to. If our neighbors don’t want to upzone, if our neighbors feel like upzoning is not the solution, then they also have the right to vote on those efforts,” he said.

Not pursuing development projects without community support would also help the city save money by avoiding costly lawsuits, he said.

Read why Hector Marin is running for city council

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

“The main thing that really motivated me to run for office is the issue of community engagement and neighborhood involvement,” Marin said. He said he wants to hold local town halls and “involve our neighbors within the local political process.”

Marin’s campaign was also spurred by a desire to develop more affordable housing, he said. He described many planned developments Downtown as “luxury-based buildings.” 

What is your dream for your district? 

“My dream for the City of Santa Cruz is just to get everybody involved within the local political process – ensuring that the people are fairly represented as well, and ensuring that we also have community events where we all celebrate our diversity,” he said.

Fun fact about Marin

“Every single morning I get up right at the crack of dawn and I run to catch the beautiful sunrise” over Walton Lighthouse at Seabright State Beach, Marin said.

Campaign finances

See campaign contributions to Hector Marin and all local candidates.


See Hector Marin’s endorsements.

Read more Santa Cruz Local stories