Santa Cruz mayor's keynote surf challenge caps inaugural Civinomicon

18 November 2013 by Steve Blum
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The Santa Cruz style of leadership.

Civinomicon was a weekend of interesting conversation about making Santa Cruz a better place, punctuated by comments from speakers who actually have that goal in their job descriptions.

Santa Cruz County treasurer Fred Keeley, supervisor Zach Friend and Santa Cruz mayor Hilary Bryant keynoted last Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

“We were having a discussion about economic development and the ideas started flying. The conversation was magical,” said Bryant, who also participated in the interest group sessions. “This is going to engage a different set of voices in the conversation”.

Sponsored by Civinomics, a Santa Cruz start-up, and hosted by Cruzioworks, the event drew in more than a hundred people, mostly from Santa Cruz proper and including several local elected officials. The goal was to facilitate civil and informed discussions on eight frequently contentious issues: homelessness, public safety, water, transportation, education, economic development, environmental sustainability and support for the arts.

That’s also the goal of the Civinomics venture overall, except that it’s doing it virtually and not in the flesh. It’s a moderated online platform for publicising, researching and debating public policy issues launched last April in Santa Cruz.

Participants were encouraged to use the platform as a real-time collection and organising tool, in the hope that the ideas and collaborative atmosphere could be transplanted online. Many did, and you can see the results at

Bryant presented her new initiative: challenge Silicon Valley CEOs and mayors to a surf contest, as way to showcase the unique culture and style that Santa Cruz brings to the regional economy. “Even if they don’t take me up on the challenge, maybe I’ll get a little more time in the water,” she said.