Zach Friend, likely best known as the face of the Santa Cruz Police Department for the past six years, pulled papers to run for the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors this month.
Friend, 32, and three others are vying for the seat that will be vacated with the retirement of Supervisor Ellen Pirie.
The district includes half of Capitola, all of Aptos—including Cabrillo College—then reaches down the coastline through La Selva Beach and the western edge of Watsonville.
Gina Locatelli, Vic Marani and Douglas Deitch also have declared their intent to run for the position, according to the county Elections Department website.
The seat will be up for election June 5, the California Primary Election. Two other supervisor positions also will be decided. District 1 incumbent John Leopold may face a challenge from Charles A. Paulden. Six people have expressed interest in running for Supervisor Mark Stone's District 5 seat.
Friend spoke with Patch this week about his candidacy.
He said meeting with District 2 residents—from the agriculture community to public safety employees to business owners—motivated him to throw his name in for the seat.
“For the last two and a half months I’ve been meeting with and listening to people within the district," Friend said. "… Their issues, their stories inspired me to run.”
Friend, a UC Santa Cruz graduate, lives in Capitola with his wife, Santa Cruz Assistant City Manager Tina Shull. He worked on President Barack Obama's campaign, sits on the board of KUSP and the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival at Cabrillo, and is a founding member of Santa Cruz Next. He was the chair of the county's Democratic Party for six years and is an analyst for the Santa Cruz Police Department, where he handles the agency's public relations.
"Six months ago this wasn’t on my radar," Friend said. "Now that I’ve been with people within the district, listening to what they need and they want and what we can do together, it’s all viable."
Friend said using technology to improve services while not increasing costs is a priority for him. Friend has introduced a number of innovations during his tenure at the Santa Cruz Police Department: , an iPhone app and online crime reporting.
"The focus on innovation and community relations within public safety is an essential thing in all government agencies… all those outreach methods are things that I think could be brought to the county," Friend said.
Infrastructure, public safety, land use—specifically neighborhood issues—are three topics Friend said constituents of District 2 have brought forward to him.
“I’m excited to give it a try to contribute to the solutions in the district," he said.
Friend said it will be essential for the five county supervisors, whoever they are, to broker compromises, be non-ideological and move agendas forward.
"Just because you have less and less resources doesn’t mean you’re allowed to provide less and less services to the community," he said. "...The person who comes into this position needs to take a very pragmatic approach."
Friend said he would resign from the police department, should voters elect him to the county Board of Supervisors.
Pirie made $108,090 as a supervisor in 2010; Friend's 2010 salary from the city of Santa Cruz was almost $92,000, according to salary data published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
In the interest of full disclosure, .