Regulating Granny Units in Santa Cruz: Housing or Vacation?

Regulating Granny Units in Santa Cruz: Housing or Vacation?

Last Tuesday the Santa Cruz City Council continued to consider changes to the city’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance, which regulates smaller on-site units, sometimes referred to as “granny units,” within the city limits. City leaders and staff began this process in earnest last year, when they amended ADU design and setback requirements, making it […]

Jerry Brown’s Budget: What You Need to Know

Jerry Brown’s Budget: What You Need to Know

Governor Jerry Brown released his revised budget proposal last week, presenting a $115.3 billion spending plan, up from the original $113 billion plan he presented in January. The budget reflects an unexpected increase in state revenue since the start of the year – $3 billion, to be exact. The state budget is, of course, an […]

Three Proposals to Fix San Francisco’s Housing Problem

Three Proposals to Fix San Francisco’s Housing Problem

“A lot of other places wish they had the problems San Francisco has.” By now I’ve heard this statement in one form or another from a number of people. And it’s easy to see what they mean: San Francisco has one of the strongest metropolitan economies in the country. Located a stone’s throw from Silicon […]

Should Rent Control be Adopted in San Jose?

Should Rent Control be Adopted in San Jose?

As Bay Area housing prices and rents continue to soar, many of the region’s cities are experimenting with new policies aimed at curbing the high cost of living. One such policy is rent control, that is artificially controlling the market price of certain rental units so that their landlords are limited by what they can charge. […]

civinomics 2.0

civinomics 2.0

Today we’re very excited to unveil an entirely redesigned civinomics. We first launched civinomics.com (also civ.io) on April 14th, 2013 and spent the next year and a half building out: more features for more users. Along the way, something incredible happened, a community formed. Like the radioactive tracer compounds in a PET scan, the community […]

Do We Need A Local Minimum Wage?

Do We Need A Local Minimum Wage?

Last week the Santa Cruz City Council commissioned a study on how a local minimum wage would impact our economy. Two days later, UCSC Professor Steve McKay led a presentation at the Museum of Art and History detailing the results of his study on low wage workers in Santa Cruz County. Taken together, these two events […]

Tackling Inequality In The Bay Area

Tackling Inequality In The Bay Area

  By most any metric the Bay Area’s economy is booming. The region has one of the fastest growing job markets in the country and average wages in the Bay Area are among the highest in the nation. The region is generally perceived to be at the center of the radically innovative and lucrative tech […]

Ed Lee’s I-280 Take Down

Ed Lee’s I-280 Take Down

San Francisco mayor Ed Lee has big plans for the part of highway 280 that ends in San Francisco. Namely to tear it down. Mayor Lee will soon reveal plans that would take down the northern most section of I-280 and make way for an underground rail tunnel through the area, as well as a station that would […]

The Aptos Village Appeal

The Aptos Village Appeal

Today the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will be hearing a citizens appeal about the proposed Aptos Village Project, a mixed use development project slated to be built along the Soquel Avenue Corridor in central Aptos, across the street from the Safeway shopping center. The project was originally approved by the Board of Supervisors […]

Voting Roundup: Bernie Sanders, California Climate and Water, and Oakland Housing

Voting Roundup: Bernie Sanders, California Climate and Water, and Oakland Housing

We now know that that Hillary Clinton will have to overcome at least one primary opponent on the road to the White House: last Thursday Bernie Sanders, the outspokenly liberal Senator from Vermont, declared his campaign for the presidency. Indicating that his priority will be creating, “an economy that works for all of our people, […]

Lapel Cameras for Santa Cruz County Sheriffs?

Lapel Cameras for Santa Cruz County Sheriffs?

Last Friday the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs office began a trial period of testing wearable cameras while on duty. Commonly referred to as “lapel cameras” or “body cams,” these little devices are attached to the front of an officer’s uniform and record everything they do. The cameras are meant to promote a greater sense of […]

Should Hetch Hetchy Be Drained?

Should Hetch Hetchy Be Drained?

They say that water is for fighting. Last week the environmental group Restore Hetch Hetchy filed a lawsuit that seeks to drain the reservoir. Hetch Hetchy supplies over 2 million Bay Area residents with water, however proponents of this endeavor say that the water can be stored in other reservoirs such as Don Pedro, Cherry […]

A New Face On The $20 Bill?

A New Face On The $20 Bill?

We very well may have a woman president after election 2016. And not long after that we may soon see a woman’s face on the $20 bill. Earlier this month, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced legislation – Women on the 20 Act – to replace Andrew Jackson with a woman who has had a […]

Should Dog Walking Be Banned On UCSC’s Coastal Campus?

Should Dog Walking Be Banned On UCSC’s Coastal Campus?

Readers of this blog may recall our coverage of Santa Cruz County’s off leash dog debate. Well, virtually the same issue appears to be coming again to the fore, this time involving the university. UC Santa Cruz recently unveiled plans to ban all dog walking – leashed or unleashed – on its marine campus near the Younger […]

Regulating Airbnb and Other Shared Rentals

Regulating Airbnb and Other Shared Rentals

San Francisco is on the cusp of adopting a series of new laws aimed at curtailing the use of short term rental web sites like Air Bnb. These sites allow residents to host guests at their property on a short term basis in exchange for money, much like a traditional bed and breakfast. Hosts and […]

Bay Area Initiatives: Grady Ranch Housing, Minimum Wage Hikes, Ellis Act Reform

Bay Area Initiatives: Grady Ranch Housing, Minimum Wage Hikes, Ellis Act Reform

Lots of juicy issues from the Bay Area over the past week to sink your teeth into: First off, you probably heard about the new Star Wars trailer that was released last week, but the franchise’s creator was also in the news for a different reason. George Lucas, a longtime resident of Marin, has proposed […]

Homelessness in Santa Cruz: Where Reality and Perception Meet

Homelessness in Santa Cruz: Where Reality and Perception Meet

The following is a summary of the second phase of a study on Homelessness in Santa Cruz conducted in partnership with faculty from the UCSC Community Studies, Sociology, and Psychology Departments, as well as the Center for Statistical Research. The lead academic researcher for the study was Mary Beth Pudup, of Community Studies. The study […]

One-Way to the Beach on Pacific Ave?

One-Way to the Beach on Pacific Ave?

The question of traffic flow on Pacific Ave is once again under consideration. This time the Downtown Commission is considering making Pacific Ave one-way going towards the beach by reversing the one-way North section from Church to Cathcart to be one-way South. This has the added advantage of providing an alternative to crowded Ocean St for visitors […]

Should BART Fares Go Up?

Should BART Fares Go Up?

Last week I wrote a blog about what needs to be done to improve public transportation in the Bay Area. I focused on the fact that there are many, fragmented systems, and that much of the solution lies in finding ways to better integrate the systems together. But of course there is the 500-pound gorilla […]

Clinton’s Announcement

Clinton’s Announcement

Let there no more doubt – last Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced that she will, indeed, be running for President in 2016. Clinton made a video announcement that she would be running and enters the field as the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Over the years she has been in the public eye from […]

A Special Thank You, Corrections.

A Special Thank You, Corrections.

  Over the course of the past week numerous people have reached out to us to thank us for our work on the Homelessness study. And while we would like to thank everyone for their tremendous support and feedback, we would also like to highlight the lead academic researcher who made this all possible: Community […]

The Reality of Homelessness in Santa Cruz

The Reality of Homelessness in Santa Cruz

The following is a summary of the second phase of a study on Homelessness in Santa Cruz conducted by Faculty from the UCSC Community Studies, Sociology, and Psychology Departments, as well as the Center for Statistical Research, in partnership with Civinomics. The study was funded through the Social Sciences Division. This is part 2 of […]

Last Chance to Weigh In on SC METRO Fee Increase and ParaCruz Cuts

Last Chance to Weigh In on SC METRO Fee Increase and ParaCruz Cuts

Local public transit operator Santa Cruz METRO is nearing the end of its public input process on proposed measures to close its looming budget shortfall. The proposals include increasing the fare for the Highway 17 bus from $5 to $7 and reducing ParaCruz service to the minimum required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The proposed changes would bring METRO’s […]

Let’s Fix Public Transportation in the Bay Area

Let’s Fix Public Transportation in the Bay Area

The TomTom Traffic Index – which measures trends in highway traffic globally – was released last week, and the report confirms what many a Bay Area driver could probably have guessed: San Francisco has some of the worst traffic in the country. Specifically, the city ranked #2 in the nation for bad traffic. And nearby […]

The Bay Area’s Dog Debate

The Bay Area’s Dog Debate

Bay Area dog enthusiasts are up in arms (paws?) over a plan that would greatly reduce the number of sites in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area where their pets could roam leash free. The National Park Service is set to issue draft rules in the Spring that would allow dogs to be off leash […]

Santa Cruz County Reverses Progressive Commercial Medical Marijuana Legislation

Santa Cruz County Reverses Progressive Commercial Medical Marijuana Legislation

Last week Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors considered new legislation on commercial marijuana grow operations in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County, due to a 42% increase in illegal grow operations in the last two years. On March 24th, the Board of Supervisors Chambers overflowed with financial stakeholders in the extremely profitable marijuana industry, […]

The Future of Housing in California

The Future of Housing in California

On March 17 the Legislative Analyst’s Office of California, the non-partisan state research agency, released a comprehensive report on the high cost of housing in the State. The report documents a 40-year trend in which the costs of housing within California rose at near four times the national average, and highlights the impact that local “no growth” […]

How Santa Cruz Perceives the Homeless

How Santa Cruz Perceives the Homeless

The following is a summary of the first phase of a study on Homelessness in Santa Cruz conducted by the UCSC Community Studies, Sociology, and Psychology Departments, as well as the Center for Statistical Research, in partnership with Civinomics. This is part 1 of a 4 part series previewing the full study. Phase 1 of […]

Voting Roundup: Pot Growing In Santa Cruz, UC Funding, Ted Cruz, and Mandatory Voting

Voting Roundup: Pot Growing In Santa Cruz, UC Funding, Ted Cruz, and Mandatory Voting

Never a dull week goes by it seems with several critical local, state, and national issues coming to the fore. Looking locally, the Santa Cruz County Supervisors are set to vote this week on whether to ban the growing of commercial cannabis within unincorporated parts of the county. Over the last several months Supervisors have been […]

To Expel or Not to Expel

To Expel or Not to Expel

It has been two weeks since the UCSC protesters blocked the highway, causing a severe traffic jam and costing many people a lot of time and money. And while the students have been suspended through finals week, and are currently facing misdemeanor criminal charges, the fate of their expulsion has yet to be decided, despite […]

A Clear Perspective and Path Forward on Homelessness

A Clear Perspective and Path Forward on Homelessness

I am writing today to announce the completion of a landmark study on homelessness in Santa Cruz and the beginning of a four part blog series to review the results. I am announcing this today as it pertains to the release of the new Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, which will be considered at both the […]

Biking in Berkeley

Biking in Berkeley

I’ve been a Berkeley resident for nine years now. First arriving in this town as a Cal student, I stuck around after graduating to work as a music substitute teacher. Schlepping from school to school, I quickly discovered that I could do away with hassle of driving and frantically looking for a parking spot by […]

Keep an Eye On: Supreme Court Independent Redistricting Decision

Keep an Eye On: Supreme Court Independent Redistricting Decision

I’ve recently covered Rank Choice Voting and some of the potential reforms around the California initiative process. Well, the Supreme Court is about to issue a major ruling on independent redistricting committees, which touches both election policy and direct democracy. Redistricting commissions are one of the election reforms Californians have successfully passed. It has lead […]

A 500 Million Gallon Pipeline for Water in Santa Cruz

A 500 Million Gallon Pipeline for Water in Santa Cruz

  Last week the loose consortium of local water advocates known as Water for Santa Cruz held a series of workshops detailing a new proposal for addressing the community’s water supply shortfall. Led by Scott McGilvray, the workshop provided information on the monthly flow of the San Lorenzo River, the infrastructure for drawing water, and the legal and […]

The Highway 6

The Highway 6

If you live in or near Santa Cruz you have probably now heard of the “Highway 6″, which refers to the six UCSC students who last Tuesday blocked off the entrance to highway 17 in protest over increasing tuition fees. The move caused hours of traffic delays on the county’s busiest highway, and is estimated to have […]

Two Supremely Important Decisions: Healthcare and Gay Marriage

Two Supremely Important Decisions: Healthcare and Gay Marriage

Over the past several years, two of the biggest national policy issues have been the advance of same sex marriage and President Obama’s healthcare law. These have dominated the national conversation and have affected the lives of countless Americans. And the future of both may finally be decided this year in the nation’s highest court. […]

A Bag Too Far – Can California Reform its Initiative Process?

A Bag Too Far – Can California Reform its Initiative Process?

The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), the plastic bag industry lobbying group, has just qualified a referendum on the historic California state wide ban on plastic bags that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown just last year. As a result, implementation of the ban has been delayed from July 2015 […]

The Case For Social Entrepreneurship in Santa Cruz

The Case For Social Entrepreneurship in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is one of the most unique places on Earth, and practically everyone who lives here, or has even visited here, will tell you that same thing. However, that uniqueness can sometimes be a double edged sword. Sure we have amazing people from all over the world visiting our beautiful city, for work, fun, and […]

California Controversies: The Oil Train, Asset Seizure, Vaccinations

California Controversies: The Oil Train, Asset Seizure, Vaccinations

Happy March, everybody. Two months into 2015 and things are getting heated here in the Golden State. Here are three statewide issues to keep on your radar: Phillips 66 Oil Trains Phillips 66 has an crude oil refinery in San Luis Obispo. Currently the station gets most of its crude oil pumped to it via pipeline, […]

Senate Bill 32 And The Birth Of My Civic Consciousness

Senate Bill 32 And The Birth Of My Civic Consciousness

The opinions represented in this blog are solely those of the author and in no way reflect the stance or opinion of Civinomics. I can still remember the day my grandparents took me to see An Inconvenient Truth at the Raven Movie Theatre in Santa Rosa. I must have been 11 or 12 at the […]

Should California Put Warning Labels On Soda?

Should California Put Warning Labels On Soda?

Anti-soda activists are feeling lucky these days. In recent months there have been a series of policy battles around curbing the consumption of sugary drinks. This past election voters in Berkeley and San Francisco both decided whether to place a tax on sugar sweetened beverages. The tax passed overwhelmingly in Berkeley, and fell just short […]

What Good Is My Vote?

What Good Is My Vote?

Santa Cruz, California is, in many ways, an ideal laboratory in which to test and refine and evolve the Civinomics online platform and newsletter. Residents here are familiar with the often times polarized local political environment, especially around issues of public safety, water, homelessness, growth, transportation and a myriad of other topics. As in many […]

Update on the Coast Dairies National Monument Campaign

Update on the Coast Dairies National Monument Campaign

Last week brought together a regular who’s who of local elected leaders and conservation champions to begin the campaign to make the Coast Dairies Property off north Highway 1 a National Monument. What was easily thousands of people crammed into Kaiser Permanente Arena in downtown Santa Cruz to hear from Fred Keeley, a former Speaker […]

California Considers New Transportation Funding

California Considers New Transportation Funding

Last month the California Road Charge Pilot Program Technical Advisory Committee (CRCPPTAC) released a 12 page white paper detailing a series of new options for funding California’s chronically underperforming transportation system. The committee, which was originally set into motion by a law signed by Governor Brown, is charged with exploring all possible transportation funding sources, […]

California Policy Roundup

California Policy Roundup

Today in voting, Civinomics brings you several California issues to weigh in on. One of the biggest pieces of news to come out over the last week was California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, declared his intention to run for Governor in 2018. Wait a minute – you might think -2018? Isn’t there this presidential election thing happening […]

Vote the News: Why the Future of Voting Must Be Habit Forming

Vote the News: Why the Future of Voting Must Be Habit Forming

A video of Civinomics CEO Manu Koenig at the recent Voting and Elections Summit in Washington DC explaining how we can make democracy a part of everyday life by voting while reading,watching or listening to the news: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FfwJczeyc4&list=PLtRB8fQ0zBR8B3UyEp-JupsZVsXJC2BW1&index=10

Vote on California’s “Personal Belief” Vaccination Exemption

Vote on California’s “Personal Belief” Vaccination Exemption

The measles outbreak has caused a national stir over the past several weeks. Families have been posting on social media urging their school communities to get their kids vaccinated, and politicians at all levels have been weighing in on the issue. So far, 121 cases of measles have been documented according to the Center for […]

How Much Do YOU Care About Election Reform?

How Much Do YOU Care About Election Reform?

Our election system is broken: 85% of US House Representatives come from “Safe Districts” where they are unlikely to have a significant challenger. 82% of House Representatives and Senators are male. The result? Only 10% of eligible voters aged 18-24 in CA voted in the last election. That’s right, 90% of young CA voters didn’t vote […]

Presentation from Voting and Elections Summit 2015

Presentation from Voting and Elections Summit 2015

Here is a link to full presentation given February 5th, 2015 at the 9th annual Voting and Elections Summit in Washington DC: http://www.slideshare.net/ManuKoenig/vote-the-news-why-the-future-of-voting-will-be-habit-forming Here are two examples of voting units embedded directly into this blog: Make Voting Compulsory in the United States In this year’s midterm elections, just 36.3 percent of the electorate turned out to […]

The Santa Cruz Dog Leash Debate

The Santa Cruz Dog Leash Debate

Perhaps you’ve heard that there is a debate right now over whether to allow dogs off-leash on Santa Cruz County beaches. Currently, there are some beaches in the city of Santa Cruz that allow for off-leash dogs, such as Lighthouse and Its Beach. However, there are no county beaches that allow for off-leash access. This question […]

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