.Voter Guide: Scotts Valley City Council

This is part of our voter guide coverage for the fall 2020 election.


The only non-incumbent in the Scotts Valley City Council race, 41-year-old John Lewis is the race’s youngest candidate. 

Lewis believes the City Council could benefit from his perspective. “Why do we have such outdated, generational thinking?” he rhetorically asks. “There are all sorts of things we can do to say ‘yes’ to business, but we keep finding ways to say ‘no.’” 

As an infrastructure engineer, he says he sees the city’s budget declining, the general funds depleting and businesses likely leaving. He believes the city needs to think about the future and how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the community landscape, while attracting new businesses. “Commuting may not be a thing three years from now in a post-Covid world,” he says “It’s a tough conversation but we need to ask how we want to be seen as a community.”

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Lewis is running a no-budget campaign and isn’t raising any money. He wants to show future candidates it can be done. “How can we lower the [economic] barrier for entry?” he asks.

Of all the candidates running for Scotts Valley City Council, Donna Lind has the most experience with the mountain town. 

“I celebrated 52 years this last August,” she tells GT beamingly. “When I was a high school senior I started out as a City Hall secretary.” 

One year later, she was on the police force as a dispatcher. During her 40 year career with the Scotts Valley Police Department, she served the first female officer and then as the first woman sergeant as well. After retirement, Lind ran for City Council. Twelve years later this incumbent is running for reelection because she says it would be wrong to leave as the city faces so many uncertainties. “I’ve been through some challenges and up until now I would say the [Loma Prieta] Earthquake was the worst,” she says. “But between Covid-19 and the devastating fires … everyone in the county has been touched by loss.” 

Councilmember Jack Dilles is running for a second term at City Council. He believes in striking what he sees as a balance between Scotts Valley’s small-town charm with new development. He says that, since the city does not collect much property tax from housing projects, Scotts Valley must take the most opportunities it can when it rezones areas for businesses. 

“We need to do what we can when we have the leverage,” he says. When housing is built, he believes in inclusionary zoning, mandating a certain percentage of the new project be allotted for low-income housing. As a 26-year resident of Scotts Valley and avid mountain biker, Dilles believes in protecting the city’s natural resources. “We’ve never branded ourselves, but we’re the gateway to the mountains,” he says. 

Mayor Randy Johnson is running for reelection because he does not want to abandon Scotts Valley during “the hardest year our entire community has ever faced” tells GT via email. 

Johnson helped form the Scotts Valley Local Economic Recovery Committee, a weekly meeting group that keeps local businesses up-to-date on the ever-changing pandemic information, and makes sure they’re ready with masks, sanitizer and proper signage.

He says Scotts Valley’s future is all about “survival,” and part of that is making sure the city is safe from future fires by building defensible spaces around the area, along with better forest maintenance to help the fight against climate change. 

Click here to see all of our ongoing 2020 election coverage.


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