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Free Parking and Dogs on Capitola Beach: Mayor Termini Talks 2012

Capitola Mayor Mike Termini has big plans for 2012.

A new year always means a new mayor in Capitola. In 2012, Mike Termini takes the center chair in city hall's council chambers. 

Mayor Termini, who also served as mayor in 2007, grew up in Newark, New Jersey and made his way to Capitola in 1972. Now the president and CEO of Triad Electric Inc., he spent the early part of his professional days in the restaurant business. 

After raising three children in Santa Cruz County, Termini's youngest son moved out of the house 12 years ago, and the subsequent empty nest syndrome turned the wheels for Termini's break into local government, where he has stayed ever since. 

Termini spoke with Capitola-Soquel Patch this week, and we picked his brain on everything from the coming year to Capitola's best eats. See highlights of that conversation below.

Capitola-Soquel Patch: With the and the constant , 2011 was a tough year.

Mayor Mike Termini: Every councilmember aged significantly throughout last year.

Patch: What is your vision for your term as mayor in 2012?

Termini: I want to step up the green ordinance. We have a green building code and it's a minimalist green building code right now. I want to step it up and make some things mandatory. 

I want to have in Capitola. We have 300 parking spaces behind city hall. We charge 50¢ an hour, a nominal amount. The gross proceeds are $50,000 per year. It costs us $20,000 to service it per year. I want to take all the meters out and make it free. We tried it for about eight months once and it was practically full every day, there were spaces available on the Esplanade every day and there was significantly less traffic. I think $30,000 per year is a small price to pay to eliminate the constant circling.

I want to revisit dogs at the beach. Carmel, of all the snooty towns you can think of, allows dogs on the beach all the time. What I want to do is allow dogs on the beach until 10 a.m. There are as many dogs in Capitola as there are registered voters. I once watched our police chief pick up his lab and walk down the beach to New Brighton and I said, "What are we doing here?"

Patch: Do you see the as something that will actually come to fruition?

Termini: It will happen if the mall wants it to happen. They have to think it's feasible to do the right renovations, and I think they ultimately will. But, it's not up to us to remodel private property. I'm happy that we're going to get the . We have three artists that we've chosen from the California coast. We've invited all three of them back to give us drawn proposals of what they want to do. The art selection panel will see that in the end of January. I will bring the final selection to the council in February and we can move along. We have the money in the bank from developers, thank goodness, in no small part from and Marriott.

Patch: People in the community have expressed dislike toward the way a mayor is selected from the council county rather than elected separately. As mayor, where do you stand on that?

Termini: I hear that a lot. I think I have an unfair advantage because I tend to be out in the public all the time, but ... people say, 'I wish we could just elect you mayor.' But there's a lot to be said for rotating it around, so the mayor isn't always under fire. But then that's the downside too. If the mayor isn't always under fire, they're not always forced to perform, because they're always 11 months or less from getting out of that seat.

I think it would be better for the general morale of the city if it was one person. I think it has been tried once before. You can only do so much in a year, but my first term as mayor I changed something very significant. The mayor and the city manager are the only ones that can put something on the agenda. I changed that so any councilmember can put anything on the agenda, which is the way it should be.

Patch: If you had unlimited funds, time and deciding power, what would you do to improve Capitola?

Termini: If I hit the lotto tomorrow, I'd build a 15,000 square foot library first. I think I would also do this full time, with an office in city hall, available to anybody, any time. I would give 100 percent of my time.

Patch: As a Capitola veteran of 40 years, can you recommend your favorite places to go in town?

Termini: I eat in the Village or in Capitola every day for every lunch. is one of my favorite places. is great and I go to at least once a week. I get the El Toro Bravo Special, which is shredded barbecue pork on top of a tortilla with rice, beans, diced bell peppers and enchilada sauce.

*Catch Mayor Termini in action for the first time as Capitola mayor in 2012 at the Jan. 12 city council meeting at 6 p.m.

Peking January 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
As Columbo used to say, "one more thing." I would have liked to have heard how Mr. Termini proposes to raise revenues in the Capitola. There are many empty storefronts not only down in the village, but also in the Mall. Attracting new viable businesses to Capitola is important so that Capitola can fix its crumbling roadways and make up budget shortfalls. These are not glamorous tasks, but necessary. Capitola's budget is in big trouble.
Ethan Bearman January 18, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Nice interview and I like what Mayor Termini is saying. I suggest in the interest of a vibrant village we offer free weekday parking in the village to encourage locals to shop. Maybe only charge weekends and possibly holidays for tourist revenue.
Chuck January 20, 2012 at 07:50 AM
I don't know Mike Termini personally, but I have seen him in town out and about. I think he is trying to do a good job and the best for the city. Maybe I will be wrong, but i think the idea of trying to partially regulate the dogs on the beach issue isnt going to work. As it is, dogs are prohibited on the beach by city ordinance. Yet, there is absolutely no enforcement of this whatsoever. Jacob Bourne, as a journalist, why don't you inquire with CPD and ask for statistical information on how many citations for dog on the beach violations have been issued in the last 15 years? I am betting less than ten. I see people walking their dogs on the beach every day, and taking the leashes off as soon as they get close to the waterline. I've seen these same folks argue with the lifeguards when the guards attempt to advise them of the ordinance and point out the signs. Lots of excuses: "I didn't see the signs', " Well, I am a LOCAL", " But I'm just walking down to New Brighton from here," etc. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs but I see problems with attempting to create a dog beach on such a small crowded beach. Carmel's beach is a lot bigger than ours. Not all dogs and their owners are well behaved and law abiding, which is why there exists the ordinance today. One well publicized incident of a dog biting a child on the beach or a pit bull killing a Chihuahua on a busy weekend is all it will take for the City Attorney to recommend keeping the ordinance as it exists.
Ethan Bearman January 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Chuck, take a look at a post of mine and let us know what you think - http://santacruz.patch.com/blog_posts/why-are-dogs-running-around
Jacob Bourne January 20, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Chuck, that's a good suggestion. I will check in with the PD and see if we can come up with that number.

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