|Candidate Hammer with wife Susan and children, Charlie, Ruby and Kai|
An overflow crowd that included three generations of his family and a broad cross section of local community residents gathered at Scopazzi’s restaurant as Hammer officially embarked on what may be a year long race. (So far five candidates have expressed their intention to be on the ballot in June, however if no one receives 50% plus 1, a runoff of the top two finishers would occur in November 2012.)
Hammer was introduced by long time Valley resident and environmentalist, Nancy Macy, who told the assembled that “Eric Hammer is fully cognizant of the hard work involved and wants to take it on, just as he has taken on challenging tasks since he was a kid.”
Macy said Hammer is a “great family man (with) a warm personality and generosity of spirit, (who) works well with all kinds of people. He is a problem solver. And, he is dedicated to doing a superior job, not just a good job.”
For his part, Hammer, spoke of how he learned to honor and value civic involvement as a young child from his parents, Mary and Joe, in their Boulder Creek home. His mother, Mary Hammer, founded what was then known as the Valley Resource Center in response to the devastating natural disaster that occurred in the Valley in 1982. (Now named the Mountain Resource Center, the organization has become the primary NGO in the Fifth District serving children, families and seniors as well as serving as the community wide disaster preparedness center.)
Describing himself as a parent, contractor, activist and life long resident, Hammer said he “is not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get the work done.”
“There are a multitude of issues facing Santa Cruz County.” Hammer said and then highlighted a few of those he felt were vital to the Fifth District:
The Environment: “We need to keep our natural habitat and watersheds preserved now and for generations to come. I learned from Al Haynes, Fred McPherson and John Stanley (founders of Save San Lorenzo River) how pristine, yet fragile our watershed is.”
Roads and transportation: “Times are tough, but maintaining our roads is a critical need for the Fifth District. It’s not only a transportation issue it’s a public safety issue as well. Whether you’re talking about bicycles, busses, cars or trucks, or perhaps most important, emergency vehicles; our roadways are a vital service and they are in great need of repair and maintenance.”
Planning: “It should be an easy process for a homeowner to go and get their own permit. We also should focus on green building and renewable practices and planning.”
Promoting Community: “I understand how important local parks, recreation activites, and local libraries are to a healthy, vibrant community. Programs that support children, families, and our seniors are also critical. I support community programs that help people to help themselves and that foster economic development through counseling, training or access to available resources.”
After thanking all those present Hammer introduced Barbara Sprenger, Chairperson for the campaign, who talked about how volunteers could get involved.
Sprenger mentioned what she said were the “unique and diverse interests of the community -- from protecting the watershed to understanding the needs of kids whose parents commute 1, 2 or 3 hours a day, We need a supervisor who lives and breathes these issues, like Eric does, who has demonstrated how effective he can be for us locally. This community has always known how to pull together in the face of powerful interests. We can do it now and have true, local, accessible representation."
Sprenger also emphasized the plan to run a positive campaign focused on addressing solutions but warned that efforts by some in the County to remake the Board to a more conservative body would likely bring an influx of out of area dollars into the campaign to defeat Hammer. She urged people to get involved in discussions with their neighbors and pointed out that donations and ideas were welcome at the Hammer for Supervisor website and Facebook pages.