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Political groups choose their sides in recall election

By Jessica A. York

jyork@santacruzsentinel.com @reporterjess on Twitter

SANTA CRUZ >> In the often-divisive lead-up to the Santa Cruz City Council March 3 recall election, endorsements from local groups both for and against the sitting city leaders have poured out.

Taking sides in the high-profile local election have been many of the usual suspects, political groups often voting for or against the recall in line with their support or opposition to Councilmen Drew Glover’s and Chris Krohn’s political stances. At least two recent endorsements — or lack thereof — however, have made waves.

One was a declaration of support for Krohn and Glover from Mayor Justin Cummings, who, while considered a member of the council’s “progressive majority,” has often taken a measured and sometimes contrary viewpoint on key issues supported by his progressive peers. The other, an endorsement of recalling only Glover, came from a body — the College Democrats of UC Santa Cruz — which had backed the candidate in his two past council runs.

In a Jan. 24 post to his political Facebook page and “pinned”

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With Santa Cruz City Council’s March 3recall election less than a month away, political groups have begun taking sides in the contentious community debate.

DAN COYRO — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

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to the top, Cummings described the recall as “extremely divisive.” He explained that he opposes both recall efforts, “an attempt to preempt and undermine the normal electoral process.” The post earned him some 78 comments and 55 cross-shares on Facebook by Thursday afternoon.

“Disagreements and different perspectives are not only to be expected, but provide an opportunity for us to work towards consensus on policies that reflect the broad interests of the entire community,” Cummings wrote. “While our elected officials may have very different perspectives and policy beliefs, these differences are not grounds for a recall.”

Cummings also criticized the outside campaign funding supporting the recall effort, noting the overlap between the opposition to last year’s rent control Measure M ballot and this year’s recall.

“Many of these outside investors viewed the new majority on the City Council as a threat to their investments, especially with Santa Cruz as a site for speculative housing investment, which has resulted in exorbitant rents and housing costs,” Cummings wrote.

Also lining up in support of recalling Krohn and Glover ahead of regularly scheduled council elections are the Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz United and Santa Cruz Together. The Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee did not address the recall election in its primary election endorsement process.

Some of the groups opposed to the recall are the People’s Democratic Club Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz for Bernie, the California Progressive Alliance and the UC Santa Cruz Lobby Corps, which is a committee of the school’s Student Union Assembly Office of External Affairs. Glover also counts among his supporters the Democratic Socialists of America Santa Cruz, Service Employees International Union local 521’s Committee on Political Education, the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council and the Sierra Club Ventana Chapter Santa Cruz group. The SEIU endorsement remained neutral on Krohn’s recall.

Pro-recall

President of College Democrats at UCSC Edward Estrada wrote in an email to the Sentinel that the club endorsed the recall of Drew Glover and took no endorsement on Chris Krohn’s recall. In a follow-up club statement on the group’s decision, posted Feb. 3 to Facebook, Glover was described as rude and “very unprofessional” during a club general meeting he took part in during January.

“When questioned by a club member about the recall election, it became a back-and-forth for 20 minutes where Councilmember Glover said things we did not agree with,” club leaders wrote on their Facebook page.

The post went on to elaborate that Glover said those making city workplace conduct complaints against him should have confronted him directly rather than report to human resources, that Councilwoman Martine Watkins played the ‘woman card,’ that he responded to someone saying ‘I see both sides’ of the recall by comparing the statement to Charlottesville, that he called out a club member’s facial expressions and insinuating he knew what she was thinking/feeling and that he questioned that club member’s and the gathering’s ability to understand what was going on by asking ‘Do you know local politics? Do you know the people involved?’ Though the group supports Glover’s progressive politics, his platform “does not excuse his behavior towards us and any others in the community,” according to the post.

“His behavior was unacceptable and showed us it is not a stretch to believe that he has acted this way previously and to believe the women who have come forward accusing him of bullying and intimidation,” the club’s post reads. On Feb. 5, Glover posted an extensive response on his political Facebook to the College Democrats’ vote and subsequent media coverage. Glover acknowledged that he had an uncomfortable conversation with one student member of the College Democrats group and said he was disappointed that the group opted not to stand behind him in the recall election.

“Their decision to recall had to do with the interaction with their club member (which was admittedly uncomfortable for many reasons, but not because they were a woman) and the unsubstantiated claims made against me in the Rose Report.”

Contact reporter Jessica A. York at 831-706-3264.

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