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Real Estate PAC Backs Watkins, Brunner and Kalantari-Johnson for Santa Cruz City Council
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
Santa Cruz Together (SCT), the political action committee heavily financed by real estate and property development interests, has endorsed three candidates for Santa Cruz City Council: Sonja Brunner, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, and Martine Watkins. Santa Cruz Together has reported raising more in financial contributions than any of the individual candidates, and by contributing directly to the PAC, business professionals are able to avoid the $400 cap on individual contributions in the City Council race. Santa Cruz Together has said it intends to use the funds it raises to support the three candidates through digital ads, printing and mailing, and on its website the group facilitates the distribution of the three candidates' campaign signs. Since it was formed in 2018, SCT has flooded the electoral process in the City of Santa Cruz with hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose renter protections. According to the Santa Cruz Together website, the group supports Watkins due to her record of voting against renter protections while serving on the Santa Cruz City Council, and the group supports Brunner and Kalantari-Johnson because they both opposed Measure M (and other renter protections). "I do not foresee pursuing any new city rent ordinance,” Kalantari-Johnson is quoted as saying on the Santa Cruz Together website.
sm_2020-santa-cruz-city-council-candidates-campaign-finance-cash-contributions-santa-cruz-together-real-estate-pac.jpg
Brunner, Kalantari-Johnson, and Watkins have all embraced the support of Santa Cruz Together, and each candidate prominently displays the fact they are endorsed by the real estate PAC on their campaign website.

Documents filed with the City of Santa Cruz on September 19 are the only glimpses into the campaign finances of Sonja Brunner, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, and Martine Watkins. Records show their campaigns, as a slate, have raised more than progressive candidates, and have benefitted from donations by numerous real estate and development interests.

The total Contributions received by all nine Santa Cruz City Council candidates is as follows:

$27,533.81 Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson
$22,749.00 Martine Watkins
$22,395.35 Kayla Kumar
$16,104.59 Sonja Brunner
$12,005.00 Sandy Brown
$11,995.00 Kelsey Hill
$9,024.00 Maria Cadenas
$4,479.74 Elizabeth Conlan
$3,296 Alicia Kuhl

Santa Cruz Together as an organization raised $19,113.00 during this same period. With a beginning cash balance of $9,004.44, the total SCT had at its disposal during the first financial filing period for the City Council was $28,117.44. Since that time, Santa Cruz Together has reported another $5,500 in large cash contributions from the real estate industry.

Santa Cruz Together describes Sonja Brunner as a "passionate advocate for local businesses and our economy". Brunner is employed by the Santa Cruz Downtown Association, which represents a large number of real estate and development interests. On the Santa Cruz Together website, Brunner is quoted as saying that the renter protections in Measure M were "unbalanced and did not appear to effectively address the needs of all stakeholders.”

Additionally, Brunner, Kalantari-Johnson, and Watkins all support the proposal to build a six-story library/garage downtown where the Farmers Market currently operates. Progressive advocates have long hoped to beautify the area and transform it into a public commons in a park-like setting. The issue also figures prominently on the City Council candidate scorecard published by the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, on which Brunner, Kalantari-Johnson, and Watkins all faired poorly. The four candidates who have been widely endorsed by progressive groups for a balanced approach to development that focusses on affordable housing and sustainable transportation are: Sandy Brown, Kelsey Hill, Alicia Kuhl, and Kayla Kumar.

Large donations to Santa Cruz Together during the 2020 Santa Cruz City Council election are as follows:

August 4, 2020: $4,000 total, Richard Moe, Property Developer
August 7, 2020: $1,500.00 total, Robert Williams, Property Manager
August 20, 2020: $1,100.00 total, Locust Street LLC
August 24, 2020: $2,000.00 Ken Carlson, Real Estate Investor
September 15, 2020: $2,500.00 Lighthouse Realty, Peter and Krista Cook, Owners
September 23, 2020: $2,501.00 Hallie Richmond, Property Manager with Surf City Rentals
September 28, 2020: $2,000.00 Karon Properties
October 1, 2020: $1,000.00 Redtree Partners LP


Individual cash contributions from real estate and development interests are as follows:

Martine Watkins

$400 Brad Brereton, Santa Cruz Together
$400 Ken Carlson, Real Estate, Investor
$400 Victor Gomez, Pinnacle Strategy
$250 Krista Cook, Lighthouse Realty
$250 Peter Cook, Lighthouse Realty
$250 Carol Polhamus, Santa Cruz United
$200 Susan Karon, Property Manager
$200 Ruben Helick, Real Estate Agent
$200 Marvin Christie, Real Estate broker
$200 Gary Filizetti Contractor, Devcon Construction
$200 Robert Stone, Landlord
$100 David Plumlee, Real Estate Appraiser, Santa Cruz United
$100 George Ow, Land Developer
$100 Mary Tustin, Property Manager/Sr., VP John Stewart Co.
$100 Diedre Hamilton, Land use consultant
$100 Rene Golder, Landlord, Santa Cruz City Council Member


Shebreh Kalantari Johnson

$400 Peter and Krista Cook, Owners, Lighthouse Realty
$400 Brad Brereton, Santa Cruz Together
$400 Ken Carlson, Real Estate, Investor
$300 Ocean St LLC
$250 Robert Singleton, Santa Cruz Together
#250 Cynthia Mathews, Landlord, Santa Cruz City Council Member
$200 Victor Gomez, Pinnacle Strategy
$200 Robert Stone, Landlord
$100 Owen Lawlor, Land Use Consultant
$100 Diedre Hamilton, Land use consultant
$100 Rene Golder, Landlord, Santa Cruz City Council Member


Sonja Brunner

$993.03 Shiri Gradek, Realtor (Non-monetary contributions: Wix website, Community Printers 4x4 signs, USPS. 460 shows Gradek was "reimbursed" for these)
$400 Peter and Krista Cook, Owners, Lighthouse Realty
$400 Brad Brereton, Santa Cruz Together
$394.91 Ken Carlson, Real Estate, Investor
$300 Robert Stone, Landlord
$259.92 Cynthia Mathews, Landlord, Santa Cruz City Council Member
$208 Robert Singleton, Santa Cruz Together
$104.15 David Plumlee, Real Estate Appraiser, Santa Cruz United
$104.15 Kathy Runyon, Realtor, Monterey Bay Properties
$104.15 Ruben Helick, Real Estate Agent
$104.15 Susan and Stephen Karon, Real Estate and Property Management
$104.15 Diedre Hamilton, Land Use consultant
$104.15 Pete Kennedy, Green Building Professional
$104.15 David Stevenson, Landscape Contractor
$103.12 Owen Lawlor, Land Use Consultant
$100 Rene Golder, Landlord, Santa Cruz City Council Member


Further reading:

Santa Cruz City Council Candidate Positions on Sustainable Transportation
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/09/23/18836896.php

Real Estate Interests Seek Limits on Proposed Eviction Moratorium [During the COVID_19 Pandemic] in Santa Cruz
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/03/23/18831753.php


Campaign finance documents can be found below, or on the City's website:
https://public.netfile.com/pub2/?AID=CRUZ
§Santa Cruz Together Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions from Real Estate Interests
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
sct_460_07-01-2020_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§$2,500 Contributed to SCT from Property Manager Hallie Richmond of Surf City Rentals
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
hallie_richmond_sct_9-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
Example of large cash contribution to Santa Cruz Together during the 2020 Santa Cruz City Council election
§$2,000 Contributed to SCT from Karon Properties
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
karon_sct_9-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
Example of large cash contribution to Santa Cruz Together during the 2020 Santa Cruz City Council election
§$2,500 Contributed to SCT from Lighthouse Realty, Owned by Krista and Peter Cook
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
lighthouse_realty_sct.pdf_600_.jpg
Example of large cash contribution to Santa Cruz Together during the 2020 Santa Cruz City Council election
§Martine Watkins Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
martine_watkins_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Sonja Brunner Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
sonja_brunner_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
shebreh_kalantari-johnson_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Kayla Kumar Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
kayla_kumar_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Sandy Brown Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
sandy_brown_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Kelsey Hill Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
kelsey_hill_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Maria Cadenas Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
maria_cadenas_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Elizabeth Conlan Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
elizabeth_conlan_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Alicia Kuhl Form 460 Shows Cash Contributions to Campaign
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
alicia_kuhl_460_to_9-19-2020.pdf_600_.jpg
§Campaign for Sustainable Transportation 2020 City Council Candidate Scorecard
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
sm_santa_cruz_city_council_candidate_positions_on_sustainable_transportation_november_2020_election.jpg
The candidates full responses to the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation's survey can be read here:

http://campaignforsustainabletransportation.org/santa-cruz-city-council-candidate-positions/
§
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:13 PM
sm_santa-cruz-together-for-real-estate.jpg
§Santa Cruz Together's City Council Endorsements Page
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 7:55 PM
sm_sonja_brunner_shebreh_kalantari-johnson_martine_watkins_-_santa-cruz-together-city-council-endorsements-november-2020.jpg
Page on SCT's website explaining its endorsement of Sonja Brunner, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, and Martine Watkins.
§Downtown Commons Advocates Flyer
by Santa Cruz News Network
Saturday Oct 10th, 2020 8:07 PM
sm_downtown_commons_advocates_santa_cruz_mixed_use_project_library_garage_city_council_candidates.jpg
More information:

https://downtowncommonsadvocates.weebly.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzDCA
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Another Factor: Outside Area Contributions Made to Shebreh Kalantari-JohnsonSanta Cruz News NetworkSaturday Oct 10th, 2020 2:24 PM
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