Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis Tours Storm Damage and Recovery Efforts in Capitola


Thursday, February 9, 2023 

CONTACT: Rhonalyn Cabello,

Capitola – Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis joined local elected officials and first responders yesterday to tour the affected storm areas and recovery efforts in the City of Capitola. During the tour, Acting Governor Kounalakis met with local business owners and community members on the Esplanade that have recently re-opened and those who are still rebuilding.  

“Capitola is one of the crown jewels of the California coast and I am encouraged to see the resilience of this community as they rebuild after last month’s devastating storms,” said Acting Governor Kounalakis. “Thanks to the support and cooperation between federal, state, and local government officials many businesses have been able to re-open or are working on repairs.” 

Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis tours local businesses impacted by recent storms and meets with first responders and local elected officials leading recovery efforts

Acting Governor Kounalakis’ visit began with local elected officials, first responders, and representatives from Small Business Administration (SBA) and FEMA who have been assisting the community with recovery efforts. They started at the top of Cliff Road for an aerial view of the damages of Capitola wharf, the Venetian homes, and repairs made to residential areas. Afterwards, they visited local businesses on the Esplanade that were impacted by the storms and have re-opened for business. They wrapped up the afternoon with pizza slices at Pizza My Heart.  

“Our village, while small, is mighty!” said Mayor of Capitola, Margaux Keiser. “The community has really come together with support on all sides. Thanks to our first responders, Capitola city staff, the Small Business Administration, the Community Foundation, our small businesses, and the support of our local residents – the efforts to recover and rebuild have been immeasurable.” 

Santa Cruz County was among the hardest-hit parts of California from January’s storms when waves, driftwood, and debris from the 166-year-old Capitola Wharf slammed into 10 oceanfront restaurants on the Esplanade. Several Capitola homes were flooded, and many local businesses had to close. The city estimates $2.6M in damages as a result of the catastrophic storms.  

In January, President Biden declared a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration and a Presidential Disaster Declaration for affected California Counties including Santa Cruz making Federal funding available to affected individuals and businesses in the county. FEMA and the President also announced a 100% federal cost share for Categories A (debris removal) and B (emergency protective measures).  So far, storm victims in Santa Cruz County have been approved for $4.8M in aid from the Small Business Administration. Last month, Governor Newsom announced that taxpayers affected by a presidentially declared disaster may claim a deduction for a disaster loss