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Police Spokesman Enters Supervisor Race

Zach Friend joins three other candidates running for the District 2 seat.

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, .

Steve Bankhead December 24, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Zach Friend might be a good supervisor,,,for the city of Santa Cruz. With all his past experience as PR spokesman for the Santa Cruz city police department and his wife being Santa Cruz assistant city manager, his past and future focus is too much on that city, with his connection to Capitola seeming mostly an accident of residency. District Two needs a representative like Gina Locatelli whose past is solidly within it, and without such close connections to public employee unions and partisan politics.
j8 December 24, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Well go figure this guy could not tell the truth If his life depended on it,so It's no wonder he would run for a job with the criminal cartel known as the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT! WAKE UP AMERICA! WE ARE HEADED FOR TROUBLE!
j8 December 24, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Anyone that will say gang crime has gone down in our county must live in Capitola and make a salary 5 times more than the average person living here!
j8 December 24, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Doug Deitch is totally the best and most honest person of the bunch and he has my vote!
j8 December 24, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Another Locatelli please, don't they have some firewood or something to sell!

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