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Rotkin, Mathews, Fitzmaurice easily top nine other candidates

Rotkin, Mathews, Fitzmaurice easily top nine other candidates


November 6, 2002
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ -Some City Council election years are full of surprises
and stunning upsets.
This year wasn’t one of them.
To the surprise of almost no one, Mike Rotkin, Cynthia Mathews and
Tim Fitzmaurice won three spots on the City Council on Tuesday,
easily beating nine other candidates.
Rotkin, 57, a UC Santa Cruz community studies lecturer, and
Mathews, 60, the local Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, are already
familiar as former mayors and council members, while Fitzmaurice a
UCSC writing program lecturer and former mayor was the race’s
lone incumbent.
The town was rife with talk that Fitzmaurice, 53, was vulnerable
because he trailed Rotkin and Mathews in fund-raising, and has taken
some stands that riled a few backers, such as his support for stricter
downtown behavior rules. He also irked some
moderate-to-right-leaning Santa Cruzans with his support for a
now-scrapped plan to put a peace park downtown.
But Fitzmaurice had a handy lead over the fourth-placed contender,
Aldo Giacchino, who fired one of the first shots in the race by arguing
Rotkin and Mathews were not qualified to run again, according to the
stipulations of the city charter. A Superior Court judge sided against
Giacchino said he was surprised he didn’t fare better, He said there
were “too many candidates splitting the third vote,” including
“candidates who didn’t have a chance of winning.”
Giacchino argued throughout his campaign that the council was in
desperate need of new blood.
But the final results didn’t seem to bear out that desire. He said he
could only conclude this “means people are happy with the candidates
they have.”
The victory of Rotkin and Mathews, both considered moderate and
“pragmatic” progressives, could signal a shift on the council,
especially considering left-leaning councilman Keith Sugar and Mayor
Christopher Krohn opted out of this race.
An exhausted Mathews said the evening “shows people wanted
experience and people who clearly could put together a working
partnership. They voted on our records.”
Sugar, Krohn and Fitzmaurice ran together on a slate in 1998,
opposing the original Beach Area redevelopment plan. Councilman
Mark Primack sometimes referred to them, jokingly, as “the Three
But Rotkin said he took issue with the suggestion the elections
represents a shift to the right, at least in terms of far-left Santa Cruz
“I don’t consider anyone on the City Council is on my left, not a
single member,” said Rotkin, first elected to office in 1979. “But there
are people who are way less pragmatic than I am, that’s for sure. ... I
really resist the notion that we will ‘move to the right,’ but we will be
more pragmatic at getting things done.” He said he hoped there would
be less “tortured” public process and meetings stretching on into all
hours of the night.
Instead, he said voters would see a council eager to bring more
people into the public process and working with neighbors prior to
making decisions.
He said the current council often had worthy spending priorities but
did not try hard enough to find revenue sources to fund these
“You can’t blame the current council for the economic crisis (in the
state and the nation) but it was much worse than it needed to be.”
The three front-runners faced a crop of lesser-known candidates,
and a few “fringe” contestants, who ran on platforms that skewed far
to the left or farther to the right than the present council.
Steve Argue and Thomas Leavitt were the far-left options, running on
a platform denouncing the downtown behavioral ordinances backed by
most council members. They came in seventh and eighth
Contact Dan White at dwhite (at) .

Santa Cruz council

Mike Rotkin 9,616 20.2
Cynthia Mathews 9,149 19.3
Tim Fitzmaurice 6,482 13.6
Aldo Giacchino 4,933 10.4
Karen Woblesky 3,661 7.7
Greg Lopez 3,045 6.4
Steve Argue 2,362 5.0
Thomas Leavitt 2,082 4.4
Connie Thomasser 1,842 3.9
Phil Baer 1,830 3.7
David G. Eselius 688 1.4
Jeromy McMillan 57 0.1

42 of 42 precincts reporting

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