The School District from Hell – Election Guide

The School District from Hell – Election Guide

Stay tuned for more election guides coming out this week and next, including City Council races in all cities, local ballot measures, and the Board of Supervisors! When people think of the upcoming midterms few probably think much of the local school board races, except the parents that is. You can bet that most of […]

Watsonville Update: Main St Improvements Approved, McDonalds next?

Watsonville Update: Main St Improvements Approved, McDonalds next?

Things are growing in Watsonville. At the last Meeting on September 23rd, City Council approved the first stage of its Main St improvement project. The plan includes more sidewalk space, public art and parklets, as well as reducing the number of lanes between River and Beach St from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes. Lane reduction […]

On Recent Developments

On Recent Developments

The Civinomics development team has been busy over the summer and have been rolling out a number of new features in the last couple weeks. Organizations Organizations can now sign up for Civinomics membership. Organization members have different privileges than individual members in that they cannot vote on ideas and initiatives (sorry Citizen’s United, corporation […]

Soquel Creek Water District Update and Election Guide

Soquel Creek Water District Update and Election Guide

Please note that this update and election guide is meant to provide informational context and clarity only. Civinomics does not endorse individual candidates or measures. This election guide only deals with the 9 candidates running for the 3 open board seats of the Soquel Creek Water District. A full election guide detailing every candidate and […]

Martin’s Beach: A Case Study in Public Access Versus Private Property

Martin’s Beach: A Case Study in Public Access Versus Private Property

By now many of you have probably heard about the recent ruling that reinstated public access at Martin’s Beach, after being closed off for almost a year by Vinod Khosla, founder of SunMicrosystems, who had purchased the beachfront property in 2008. It was a case that garnered national media attention and even sparked the debate over new state […]

The Santa Cruz Housing Crisis: A Student’s Perspective

The Santa Cruz Housing Crisis: A Student’s Perspective

I thought my “first-home-experience” would look more like this: But I was never able to capture such an Instagram-worthy photo due to the excessive mold, soiled walls, and grimy carpets that instead disturbed me and my housemates’ view. Yes, I had unfortunately found myself in a common Santa Cruz-style housing nightmare, a story almost always […]

On Infrastructure

On Infrastructure

I come from a family of makers and builders. My father builds furniture and houses, like his father before him,  and I build infrastructure, specifically, telecommunications networks. My current project is a fiber to the premise network in the City of Santa Cruz, California, and then, out to the rest of Santa Cruz County. While […]

Water: An Update and Look to the Future

Water: An Update and Look to the Future

Were you in Santa Cruz during the worst drought on record? Said another way, were you here this summer? We not only had one of our driest years on record (after having a particularly dry year right before) but we also had a turbulent summer with regards to water politics: Grand Jury reports were released, […]

Santa Cruz Water Supply Convention: Our Water, Our Future

Santa Cruz Water Supply Convention: Our Water, Our Future

  The deadline to submit your idea(s) for how to solve Santa Cruz’s water shortage is this Thursday, Sep. 18th at 5pm. Make your submissions to the Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee here: http://www.santacruzwatersupply.com/event/deadline-expanded-proposal-submission You can also take a sneak peak at the 80+ ideas received so far from 50 different respondents. We’ve posted them on […]

Housing: Our Local, Regional and Statewide Crisis

Housing: Our Local, Regional and Statewide Crisis

Few people are aware, but Santa Cruz County is on the verge of making the most substantial changes to local housing policy since the 1970s. And given the state of housing in the Bay Area, and across the state, you can bet other communities will be quick to take notice. Given this audience we have […]

La Bahia and the End of Summer

La Bahia and the End of Summer

This Tuesday, as the Santa Cruz city council weighs in on the third iteration of the La Bahia Project, Summer will have officially ended. As with most places along the coast with great weather, and even more so in Santa Cruz given our proximity to an even wider collection of natural wonders, Summer represents a […]

On Home

On Home

Santa Cruz County is a tough place to buy a home or rent a place to live. Due to a variety of factors such as very high land prices, slow growth policies, density restrictions, an ever growing UCSC and the proximity to Silicon Valley, “housing stock” has not kept up with demand. For people of […]

Robin Williams And The State of Mental Health Care In America

Robin Williams And The State of Mental Health Care In America

On August 11th the news of Robin Williams’s apparent suicide stunned the world. Here was a man who possessed boundless energy, who could transform before your very eyes into a prim nanny, an irate scotsman, a lovable genie. He dazzled audiences across the world, never missed a single beat, and seemed to embody laughter itself. Since […]

On Self Expression

On Self Expression

Our family is enjoying an extended visit to Europe. Our first stop was Berlin, a city with a complicated history under the Nazis and then, for half the city, under the communists. My initial impression was also complicated, as we careened in a taxi from the airport through town to our hotel. I saw a […]

Tim Wu’s ‘Politics of Innovation’

Tim Wu’s ‘Politics of Innovation’

Upon entering what felt like a club I had no invitation to, I opened an iced glass door stylishly marked 548 off 4th st. into Brigade’s San Francisco office. The immediate narrow stairwell lead me into their ultra hip work space, epitomizing the stereotypical San Francisco startup: euro-sleek desks scattered according to proper feng shui, […]

Changing how we use water to save water.

Changing how we use water to save water.

Three years now into the worst drought California has experienced in decades and it seems as though we are still stuck in a waiting game. Scan any local or state news report on the current water crisis and you will find that there really is no quick fix solution here. Without a long term commitment […]

Weathering The Storm: An Update On San Francisco Housing

Weathering The Storm: An Update On San Francisco Housing

Over the last couple months Civinomics has been conducting an outreach campaign in San Francisco, taking our trusty iPads and walking around neighborhoods to get input about what new green infrastructure residents would like to see in their communities. It’s a fairly non-controversial topic, people are generally  pro more green stuff in the city (“I […]

Solving the SF Housing Crises: Loop 1

Solving the SF Housing Crises: Loop 1

San Francisco may not have an app that can solve its astronomical housing prices, or console the 3,374 families who have lost their homes as a result of the Ellis Act, but Silicon Valley has produced a guide book for solving complex problems just like this – it’s called The Lean Startup. In it, author Eric […]

How’s Environmentalist Superhero Tom Steyer Doing 2 Years In?

How’s Environmentalist Superhero Tom Steyer Doing 2 Years In?

Having invested heavily in traditional disaster-based climate rhetoric, Steyer could benefit from diversifying his portfolio with a positive vision of a climate-safe future. You may have heard of Tom Steyer, he’s the billionaire founder of Farrallon Capital, a San Francisco based hedge-fund, that has pledged his private fortune to mitigating climate change. He’s basically playing […]

J Guevara on the Economic Vitality Strategy

J Guevara on the Economic Vitality Strategy

The City of Santa Cruz’s Economic Development Manager J Guevara works closely with Santa Cruz businesses in regards to economic development and redevelopment. He has been apart of a variety of economic development projects including the Motel Improvement Program, Facade Improvement Program, and the Santa Cruz Trolley. This week I sat down with Mr. Guevara to talk […]

To Train or Not to Train? The Future of Passenger Rail on Santa Cruz’s Rail Trail.

To Train or Not to Train? The Future of Passenger Rail on Santa Cruz’s Rail Trail.

Residents cross the Rail Trail trestle in Capitola. If train service were offered, secondary trestles would need to be constructed along the route for bikes and pedestrians. These secondary trestles are one of the largest contributors to the $130M price tag for a full Rail Trail build out. (photo courtesy of santacruzlive.com) Today the Santa […]

The 10 Pt Plan for Our County’s Economic Development

The 10 Pt Plan for Our County’s Economic Development

The County is taking public comment on the final draft of its landmark Economic Vitality Strategy (EVS). Like most government documents, it is deep on study, thick with recommendations, and light on clear next steps. There are 131 strategic recommendations in the EVS – demonstrating that the County’s Economic Coordinator, Barbara Mason, did a great job […]

On Water

On Water

Here in Santa Cruz County, a recent civilian grand jury concluded their examination of the local water situation with a warning that “an environmental disaster is looming if major county water suppliers don’t identify new sources“.  Several years into a severe drought, and with the defeat of plans to build a desalination plant, the issue […]

On Downtime

On Downtime

  One of the servers employed by Civinomics crashed hard and was restored from backups by the good folks at Cruzio onto a new machine. Total downtime was about 3 hours. We’re doing a forensics scan to determine the cause, and will be working to minimize the downtime the next time. Oh, there will be […]

The MayDay PAC

The MayDay PAC

    A common rationale for steadily declining voter turnout is that people don’t feel their votes count, that democracy is bought and sold by a small group of powerful, monied interests. This is especially true following the recent Citizen’s United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling by the US Supreme Court. The MayDay PAC was […]

On Public Interest Journalism, and the role of Community Curators

On Public Interest Journalism, and the role of Community Curators

As the newspaper industry has struggled to adapt to the impact of the Internet on their business model, budgets have been slashed and newsrooms have been decimated by repeated layoffs. This is felt in local communities everywhere, as journalist coverage of government and governance has been cut back. It’s important to know who the elected […]

The County Economic Vitality Strategy and You

The County Economic Vitality Strategy and You

  The County of Santa Cruz has released its draft Economic Vitality Strategy (EVS) for public comment. The due date for comments is July 7th. Here’s why you should care: – This plan will affect your business and your job. Whether you work for a large company or a small company, in health, agriculture, education […]

The Civinomics Roadmap: From here to November

The Civinomics Roadmap: From here to November

Stated simply, the goal of the Civinomics site is to provide members with an online “civic tool box”, a selection of web-based tools to facilitate participation in the civic process. Current features include online workshops and initiatives and the just released new public meetings and agendas listings. There are several other features in the works, […]

John Oliver, Net Neutrality, And The Little Troll In All Of Us

John Oliver, Net Neutrality, And The Little Troll In All Of Us

Over the past several months there has been a lot written about how net neutrality, the idea that all Internet content should be treated equally and without preference to companies who can afford to pay for special “fast lanes,” is being threatened. In February a federal court struck down the FCC’s old rules protecting net neutrality, […]

Dystopian Divergence and Our Civic Crisis

Dystopian Divergence and Our Civic Crisis

  Recently I posted an initiative regarding homeless camping in Santa Cruz on two very different local Facebook groups. The initiative, which wasn’t mine, garnered a substantial amount of feedback, but mainly of varying extreme positions, limiting the amount of real dialogue that could take place. In one group I was labelled a “fascist, conservative […]

TechRaising, A Warm Fuzzy Feeling in the Heart of Santa Cruz

TechRaising, A Warm Fuzzy Feeling in the Heart of Santa Cruz

I’m hunched over a table, staring into my computer screen as the bags under my eyes sink in a bit further. It’s 11:30pm on a Saturday night, and I had just finished explaining my revenue model and market projections to friend of mine, for probably the third time that hour. In one hand I have […]

Transforming Civic Education

Transforming Civic Education

We can all recall what happened just a few weeks ago: Strike activity may be a little ho-hum in Santa Cruz, but the UC Union strike is nonetheless a reminder of the few instances of youth political uproar. But the event brings up the question of just how does our generation participate in government, at […]

The New FCC Rules On Net Neutrality

The New FCC Rules On Net Neutrality

“The principle that all Internet content should be treated equally as it flows through cables and pipes to consumers looks all but dead,” wrote Edward Wyatt of the New York Times last week in response to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) new proposed Internet rules.  In a story originally broke by the Wall Street Journal, these new […]

Threading the Needle of Civic Compromise: Needle Exchange in Santa Cruz

Threading the Needle of Civic Compromise: Needle Exchange in Santa Cruz

Last week at the Board of Supervisors meeting I was pleasantly surprised to see what has become a rather rare site in Santa Cruz politics – a sensible and constructive compromise. Even more astonishing considering the issue being addressed, the controversial (though some would disagree with this characterization) needle exchange program. For what has been […]

Reflections on the Scotts Valley Plastic Bag Ban Debate

Reflections on the Scotts Valley Plastic Bag Ban Debate

What is public opinion worth? Civinomics conducts a public opinion poll of registered voters in Scotts Valley asking whether they would support a city-wide ban on plastic bags along with a fee on paper bags. Scotts Valley currently lags behind the rest of the county in passing a ban, so this seemed like an important local […]

UCSC’s First Ever Hackathon in Review

UCSC’s First Ever Hackathon in Review

This past weekend was a turning point for local technology and the future of the Santa Cruz economy. In what can only be described as a wild success, UCSC students held their first ever hackathon and blew the socks right off their local mentors, teachers and community leaders. For those of you who don’t know, […]

Crowdsourcing Malaysia Flight 370

Crowdsourcing Malaysia Flight 370

Earlier this week the Malaysian prime minister announced that Malaysia Flight 370 had been lost in the southern Indian Ocean.  Authorities from Australia, the U.S., China, and Malaysia are continuing to look for any clues that will lead them to the missing airliner, with efforts focusing on an area roughly the size of Alaska in the […]

Obama on Two Ferns: Did It Work?

Obama on Two Ferns: Did It Work?

Whether or not you agree with The Affordable Care Act, you have to give President Obama credit for using some pretty smart marketing strategies to get the word out to young people.  Last week a web video was released with the President being interviewed by comedian Zach Galifianakis on the internet show, Between Two Ferns, […]

Voting Guide Delay and Corrections

Delaying the Voter Guide Unfortunately we have had to delay the release of our comprehensive voter guide until next Monday, October 20th, because of our ongoing work in preparation for the City of Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee Ideas Convention. The Ideas Convention will be taking place this Thursday, October 16th, and will allow […]

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