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reImagine Conference: Two initiatives that will impact affordable housing

Thursday, February 10, 2022
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Type:
Panel Discussion
reImagine Santa Cruz
Location Details:

Two Santa Cruz initiatives fight for affordable housing

February 10, 5 to 7:30 PM

Will the EMPTY HOME TAX and OUR DOWNTOWN OUR FUTURE BALLOT initiatives bring more affordable housing to Santa Cruz?

If you're asking this question, or any question about these two initiatives, this conference is for you.

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION by Oakland Councilmember-at-large and Vice Mayor REBECCA KAPLAN

There's an exciting new vibe in our city. Unhappy with decisions made for them by their City Management and Council, voters have written two ballot initiatives that will generate funds and dedicate most of the remaining downtown lots for affordable housing. Both groups, Empty Home Tax and Our Downtown, Our Future, are currently gathering the signatures needed to get their initiative on the November ballot.

About Empty Home Tax (EHT) and Our Downtown • Our Future (ODOF)

These are separate initiatives that will, if passed, have a collective impact on housing in Santa Cruz. EHT proposes to establish a tax on homes that are occupied less than 120 days per year. The tax would apply to various types of vacant properties, including single-family and multi-family residential parcels, condominiums, and townhomes.

Our Downtown Our Future opposes the planned parking/library/housing structure on Lot 4 where the Farmers' Market meets every week. The fours points of the initiative include dedicating most of the downtown city-owned lots for 100% affordable housing, keeping the Farmers' Market where it is, renovating the downtown library where it is, and using excess parking revenue (from not building the garage) to help build affordable housing and towards cost of renovating the library.

How will these two initiatives affect housing in Santa Cruz?

These voter-initiated measures, if passed, should have a significant and positive impact on Santa Cruz' dire affordable housing situation. And yet, there's opposition for political, practical, and economical reasons. The conference offers an opportunity to dig into the initiatives, and to clarify doubts and misunderstandings as representatives of both initiatives will answer questions posed by a panel of housing experts, renters, students, and political officials. As part of the audience, you will have an opportunity to ask your question, and gain a better understanding of the issues and the initiatives.

Conference schedule

• Keynote by Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland Councilmember-at-large and Vice-mayor.

• Presentation of the Empty Home Tax initiative by Cyndi Dawson and Kayla Kumar followed by a presentation of the Our Downtown Our Future initiative by Lira Filippini and John Hall.

• Questions and comments by panelists:
Sandy Brown, Santa Cruz City Councilmember
Chris Krohn, Activist, former Mayor and City Councilmember
Chris Lang, Graduate Student UCSC
Candace Brown, Accountant and Activist
Don Lane, Housing Santa Cruz County co-founder

• The discussion will be followed by a Q&A.

The conference will be held in English and Spanish, in separate Zoom channels.

Optional suggested donation: $5-10

Please register here:

For more information, please contact Erica Aitken: reimaginesantacruz [at]
Added to the calendar on Sat, Jan 22, 2022 7:38AM
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