Local Economy

There are four main engines of the local economy, and there’s the big engine “over the hill.”

Is it so bad to be a bedroom community for Silicon Valley, which now encompasses the entire San Francisco Bay Area? Isn’t it rather a serendipitous stroke of luck, to be in commute proximity to the greatest economic engine the world has ever known, separated by a mountain range? Far enough to be remote, but not so far as to make a day trip difficult.

Add broadband internet (broadband internet is to outlying Santa Cruz County and other isolated geographic pockets in the 2010’s what rural electrification was to much of America in the 1930’s) for virtual workplace connectivity, and lo and behold, a unique melding of natural beauty and a future resplendent with possibility. We’re ripe for testing and prototyping new technology applications.

Santa Cruz County Agriculture, including timber-related activity, contributes nearly $1.5 billion to the local economy and provides over 11,000 jobs. Technology, including sensors, imaging, robotics and unmanned vehicles, is upheaving agriculture efficiency and productivity, and we can be on the cutting edge.

Tourism may well expand slowly, but it’s going to expand. Santa Cruz is a destination. Let’s attract and accommodate more visitors who spend here. That spending generates jobs and tax revenue we need. Tourism is good. They come, they spend, they go. We can accommodate more, and it would be tastefully done, these developments. Let’s talk about this.

Government includes the County, the four municipalities, school districts and infrastructure districts (water, etc.). I would also include nonprofit NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) like Ecology Action and the many social service NGOs of Santa Cruz County in this set. Growth will primarily come from those, and new public/private joint ventures.

UC Santa Cruz wants to modestly expand. They should. UCSC is a great, world-class institution. I’ll name three areas of UCSC renown: Genomics, Adaptive Optics and Digital Media.

Santa Cruz County, the Third District in particular, which contains UCSC, is a great place to be as the 21st century unfolds, with an incredibly bright future. No doubt there will be home-grown startups that flourish, and a globally connected, vibrant economy. See you in Santa Cruz.

Woods in Bonny Doon

Contact me at 831-466-0500 and bob@boblamonica.com.

Vote Bob for Supe June 3!

Honesty • Integrity • Enthusiasm