On the release of his new book about presenting a political image, County Supervisor Zach Friend told a packed house at Bookshop Santa Cruz that Santa Cruz wasn't crime ridden, it just wasn't getting the real message of the town out.
Ironically, it was the day the FBI released some ugly statistics about the city of 61,000, saying it had a per capita violent crime rate of 7.1 per 1,000 people and had 3,585 thefts.
"But that's not the story of Santa Cruz that we know," said the newly-elected supervisor who previously had been a spokesman in Pennsylvania in Barack Obama's first campaign.
"We all chose to live here and we still live here. If it were that bad, we would have moved away. It's a great place and there are a lot of great people here. We need to get that message out."
His book "On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed," was released Tuesday and he signed copies at the Bookshop Wednesday. Some of its stories include things he saw backstage at the Obama campaign.
Friend has been the head of the county Democratic Party and the spokesman for the Santa Cruz Police, an unlikely pairing that gave him real world government education and a broad political base. He's also been a comedian and a rock musician, both of which he translates well to the political stage.
People in the audience, many who have known him for a decade, compared him to Gavin Newsom and predicted a successful political career. In response to a question, Friend said his goals were uncertain for the next decade, other than starting a family and paying down his mortgage.