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Thank you for your interest. unfortunately, all available "seats" have been reserved. we will have a recording of the meeting available. 

February 4 and 5, 2021,  from 4 to 6 p.m



with speakers Dan Herriges (Strong Towns)

and Sibley Simon (New Way Homes & Envision Housing)


In two two-hour conferences, learn the historical events that lead to the present housing crisis and meet the people who are passionate about solving the problem.


This conference is organized by Ron Pomerantz, Candace Brown and Erica Aitken of reImagine Santa Cruz.



February 4th, 4 – 6 pm, Daniel Herriges of Strong Towns will present Breaking out of the Housing Trap, a talk that explains the root causes of our housing crisis and offers suggestions that every city could adopt. 

After his talk, Daniel will participate in a discussion with panelists Candace Brown, Sandy Brown, Rebecca Garcia and Don Lane. The discussion will be moderated by Ron Pomerantz.


February 5th, 4 - 6 pm, speaker Sibley Simon will present What I’ve Learned in 6 Years Attempting to Reinvent Housing Development, a talk to describe lessons learned from New Way Homes’ efforts to develop more affordable housing and how California’s recent and near-term policy changes will affect our region in the coming decade.

 After his presentation, Sibley will join a panel discussion with Maria Cadenas, Andy Schiffrin, and Ellen Murtha. The evening will be moderated by Jim Weller.


There will be time for questions and we welcome the audience's participation.


Suggested donation: $25 for both evenings

Proceeds will help reImagine Santa Cruz create videos and further studies on housing and Santa Cruz development.

Registration is closed 

For more information, please contact Erica Aitken 


About the speakers and panelists
Candace, Ron and I deeply appreciate the participation of the speakers and panelists. Their expertise in the questions of affordable housing and sustainable development is unequaled.

February 4th

Daniel Herriges 

Daniel is Senior Editor and regular contributor to Strong Towns, an organization that publishes educational and motivating articles about how we build our towns. He has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the U of Minnesota, a B.A from Stanford University in Human Biology with a concentration in Conservation and Sustainable Development. He is a dedicated environmentalist. He lives in Sarasota, Florida

Candace Brown

Candace is a 47-year resident of Santa Cruz and graduate of UCSC. After a few decades traveling while in high-tech, she looked for meaningful ways to be involved in my local community.  While studying key issues of land use and transportation, she recognized many serious overlooked impacts with the proposed Corridor Plan predominately on the Eastside.  Because the General Plan and other key City documents are mired in planner lingo, she formed a study group named Branciforte Action Committee (B.A.C). She organized a series of Community Forums to bring awareness to City Planning and its impact on neighborhoods. Ultimately, their focus was on how to solve the real affordable housing needs of the Community. She is a member of the Save Santa Cruz Steering Committee and reImagine Santa Cruz. Last year, she was selected to be a Transportation and Public Works Commissioner. In her second career, she is an accountant. She and her partner of 36 years reside in East Morrissey. 


Sandy Brown

Over the past two decades, Sandy Brown has worked for social and environmental justice as a community-labor organizer, policy advocate, researcher, and teacher. She received a BA in Politics at UCSC and a PhD in Geography from UC Berkeley, where her research focused on agricultural labor and environmental conditions and social movements in Latin America and California. Sandy has served on the Santa Cruz City Council since 2016. Her approach to public service is motivated by a lifelong commitment to advancing the goals of economic democracy, sustainability, and social justice. She currently teaches American and Environmental Studies at San Jose State University.


Rebecca Garcia

Born and raised in Watsonville, Rebecca graduated from Watsonville High School in 1965. She earned an associate’s degree in bilingual and bicultural studies from Cabrillo College, then transferred to UC Santa Cruz and graduated with a bachelor’s in politics as well as a teaching credential. She also has a master’s in education administration. She served on the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees for twenty years, until 2012.  In 1990 she was Chair of the Watsonville Housing Task Force that led to the adoption of the city Inclusionary Ordinance. She has been a commissioner on the Santa Cruz County Housing Authority since 2015. And more recently as Mayor, she asked for an Emergency city council meeting to adopt the first Eviction Moratorium in the County.

Don Lane

Don Lane is the co-founder of Housing Santa Cruz County, a new advocacy and community engagement organization created to advance affordable housing. He is also the chairperson of Smart Solutions to Homelessness; a member of the Homeless Action Partnership governing board; and board vice-president of Housing Matters. He teaches part-time at UCSC and works part-time for a small charitable foundation that advances social and economic justice.

Don served for 12 years on the Santa Cruz City Council and three terms as Mayor. He also served as chair of the City’s General Plan Advisory Committee and the Housing Element advisory committee.  And he co-chaired the Measure H Affordable Housing Bond campaign.  He is a UCSC grad and has lived in Santa Cruz for 47 years.


Ron Pomerantz

Ron is an active participant in local politics and community activities. He and his brother were raised in Los Angeles by their single Mom. He graduated from UCSC in 1973 with a degree in Sociology and Economics. He served in the Peace Corps in Venezuela from 1973-4 in an artisan development program. He proudly served 29 years on the San Jose Fire Department as firefighter, hazmat inspector, fire captain, and engaged union member, handling emergencies and people in need. He helped raise a loving and active family of four children in Santa Cruz. He served 7 years as Board member and Chair of the County Housing Authority as the Community Action Board’s representative. He and activist Shelley Hatch filed a lawsuit against the City of Santa Cruz, the City Council and developer Owen Lawlor alleging a violation of Measure O that requires all new developments to include 15% affordable housing. Ron served on the Executive Committee of the Santa Cruz Sierra Club Group for 6 years. He remains active as a board member of the ACLU Santa Cruz, with a focus on police accountability and immigration issues.




February 5th

Sibley Simon

Sibley Simon is the founder and President of New Way Homes and Envision Housing. The latter is a housing development company focused on building affordable and mixed-income rental housing, usually by partnering with non-profit land owners. Funds for these projects are raised through impact investment from small to large investors. Large local funders to the New Way Homes fund include Dignity Health and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. Sibley received a degree in Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics and Astronomy from the Swarthmore College, after which he was a tech entrepreneur for 15 years.  His proposed 120-unit apartment building for chronically homeless adults with disabling conditions, to be located at 119 Coral Street, was recently approved by the City of Santa Cruz. 


Maria Cadenas

For over 20 years, Maria Cadenas' focus has been in developing local and global social, business, and philanthropic models that foster equity, community engagement, collaboration, and wealth building. Born in Mexico and raised in California, Maria is the Executive Director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures, a local nonprofit working on economic justice issues. She received her MBA from Alverno College and BA in Creative Writing and Business Administration from Beloit College.


Ellen Murtha

Ellen Murtha obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California Santa Cruz, and later added a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Ellen’s 30+ year career with non-profit organizations and government has focused on children and families.  Ellen’s work in Santa Cruz County began in 1992 when she accepted the position of Founding Director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates.  Her work path evolved through child development, human services, financial empowerment, workforce development and now housing. She commenced her current position as Senior Analyst with the Housing Authority in 2016.

Ellen is married and has three grown children.  Ellen and her husband, attorney Brian Murtha, volunteer with their church and civic activities supporting our community.


Andy Schiffrin

Andy Schiffrin has worked for Third District County Supervisors since 1975.  He’s taught an upper division Environmental Assessment course at UCSC since 1995.  He currently serves on the Santa Cruz City Planning Commission, as an alternate member on the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and as a member of the County Housing Authority Board.  He served on the City Water Commission for many years and worked ten years part time for FEMA’s Community Planning and Capacity Building program. In addition, he’s participated in numerous community organizations and activities over the years in support of affordable housing and environmental protection.  He has a BA from UCLA and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from MIT.

Jim Weller

Jim has lived in the Santa Cruz area most of the time since 1987. His professional work is in the field of real property transactions and litigation, as an independent land title consultant and expert witness in the California Superior Court. Before 2000, Jim spent most of his working career employed by title insurance companies. Jim has many interests, including church life and religious studies, having spent 7 years in graduate theological scholarship in Berkeley. Jim is a congregational leader of Peace United Church of Christ, and for many years has been an active faith-based community organizer and advocate for social justice in local public policy. Jim’s church, under his leadership, is engaged with local developer partners in planning to build a multi-family apartment project for lower- and middle-income residents on church-owned land in Santa Cruz.


Erica Aitken

Erica is a resident of Santa Cruz and the co-owner and founder of a technical business based in Santa Cruz. She holds a BFA from the Ecole de Recherches Graphiques in Brussels, and a MFA from the University of Baltimore. She is a writer, graphic designer, and artist and published a magazine in 2013. She founded reImagine Santa Cruz in 2020 to provide a channel of communication for residents of Santa Cruz who are concerned about housing, wages, equality, and city management.

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