In the News

6 Questions for Micah Posner, Running for SC City Council
Micah Posner is against proposed desalination plant and for cutting council campaign spending. He wants to be known as more than a bicycle advocate. Here's why.

By Brad Kava
Santa Cruz Patch, 10/18/12

Santa Cruz Patch is asking questions of each candidate for office in Santa Cruz before the Nov. 6 election. We've got some standardized questions all candidates will get and then some specialized ones for them, based on their already public statements.

Please send some questions to us and we will add them to the lists.

You will be able to find all of the interviews under ELECTIONS on top of the Patch Home Page.

Newcomer Micah Posner, 44, isn't new to politics. He's been an advocate for alternative transportation and has appeared before the council many times.

He is against building a desalination plant and supports city council campaign limits of $300 per donation and $25,000 for the whole campaign.

He defines some of his principles in this quote from his blog:

"My perspective is that government, at all levels, is less and less likely to serve the ideals of the people in this country, and that the single biggest reason for the disconnect is money. My principal is that, if we want to reform the system, albeit in an incremental way, we have to be part of the solution, just like we have to ride bicycles and walk if we are proponents of human powered transportation."

1. Patch: We all know one thing about you foremost: you are a bicycle advocate. You are billed as that every time you are mentioned. Give me something else you would like to be identified by?  Some other advocacy that would be next important on your list?

Posner: Advocate for working families and the environment.

2. Patch:  Desal: How would you vote on having a desal plant right now, based on what you know? Do you have a better alternative?

Posner: I would not support desal. I have a series of better small-scale alternatives, each one of which would reinforce the others.

Reduce: replace lawns with low need drip irrigation landscaping, replace toilets, showerheads, and appliances with low flow versions.

Reuse: There are several devices that reuse household greywater for the backs of toilets or garden irrigation. One device, manufactured by Sloan plumbing and called the Aqus, stores greywater from one's kitchen sink and puts it in the back of your toilet. 20% of our water use is for toilets.

Recycle: The City could use it's reclaimed sewer water (or that of Scott's Valley depending on location) to water gulf courses (which use 3% of our water supply), irrigate landscaping and flush toilets. For example, we could run a reclaimed water pipe under the wharf and into all the toilets. In the medium term, (10 years seems to be the estimate), the federal government seems likely to OK technology to add a stage to the treatment plant that we would allow us to put reclaimed water back into our drinking supply.

3. Patch: You spoke about too much government regulation regarding parking in front of home businesses. That sounded out of character. Tell us more about that?

Posner: It's not out of character at all. I'm a small business owner who lives in a working class neighborhood with high unemployment. I favor incrementally reducing parking requirements across the board so as to

1. stimulate the economy (especially the building trades which have been hit so hard),

2. reduce rents,

3. legalize housing that is already being occupied but does not generate revenue to the city, 

4. protect open space from being turned into parking.

4. stop the unfair practice of essentially charging the 30% of people that don't drive for the cost of car parking.

To prevent sudden changes to neighborhoods, this would have to be done incrementally (getting rid of covered parking for example) and may be applied differently for neighborhoods with different zoning and/or permit parking.

4.  Patch: Name one other person you would like to see on the city council who is running for office, and why?

Posner: I'm looking forward to supporting some of Don Lane's measures to reduce homelessness, such as the 180/180 project to house our most vulnerable homeless folks.

5. Patch: Perhaps the most unknown thing about serving on the council is low salary and long hours. Can someone who is self-employed do that?

Posner: I've already been doing that for People Power and have resigned to have the time to do a good job on the council.  My only other job will be pedaling the Pedicab on weekends and in the summer and watching my kids in the morning while my wife works part time.  We have low house payments as we sold part of our parcel to our neighbor. My wife works at the UCSC farm and brings home organic fruits and veggies!

6. Patch: What is the biggest change you would like to encourage the city council to make first?

Posner: Support the voluntary expenditure limit on City Council campaigns by reinstating the free mailer that the city used to do for candidates who agreed to it. And/or look into giving other perks (such as city paid postage) to the candidates that agree to it. Santa Cruz is on the cusp of having runaway expenditures for City Council Campaigns.  We need to do what we can to control that. There is too much money in politics. Santa Cruz can do better than that.

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