Every election needs its comic relief, and over the last few months, we’ve come to trust CeCe Pinheiro to deliver it. The sheer delight of watching her campaign in what was often a downright snoozer of a City Council race came from the thrill of never knowing, at any given forum, when she’d say something majestically ridiculous. Although she didn't win, let us now take a moment to honor her relentless weirdness in the race for Santa Cruz City Council.
A fourth-generation Santa Cruzan who served on the Santa Cruz City School District Board and formerly worked as the assistant director of Community Television, Pinheiro scored the endorsement of Hilary Bryant, Mark Stone, the GLBT Alliance and the Santa Cruz Police Officers Association, among others.
“My grandson got me the endorsement of Nemo, Dora, the Lorax and Big Bird,” Pinheiro has said. She also claimed the endorsement of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, because the deceased patriots were female.
“She has fun, she’s a really interesting person and has a great sense of humor,” said fellow council candidate Steve Pleich, who says he appreciated the lightheartedness she brought to the year’s forums. “We’re all answering questions. We’re all a little nervous, and CeCe has a way of alleviating that.”
In case you missed any, we present to you now our five favorite CeCe Pinheiro moments from the campaign trail:
Bacon: The Ultimate Solution:“Do you have any specific ideas for how to increase citizen participation in city government?” CeCe was asked at a September meet-and-greet forum at Kuumbwa Jazz Center. “Bacon!” came her staggeringly bizarre response. She then rambled through something about “putting the unity back in community,” fessed up that she sounded too much like a politician and asked the moderator to repeat the question. Before she could get out a legitimate answer, though, her time was up, so she settled for whispering a second haunting “baconnnnnnn” into the microphone.
Season Tickets for All:Poor CeCe was booed at an October forum after expressing her support for the Santa Cruz Warriors’ new stadium. “It’s already happening!” she sassed back, before steering the conversation to an earlier question about a lack of year-round homeless shelter housing in Santa Cruz, closing with “Well, if the stadium doesn’t work out, there’s our shelter!”
Cheese, Crackers and Psychedelics: According to one source who attended a social hour at the Cruzio Building, CeCe told a group of techy entrepreneurs there that she dropped acid for the first time at 12 years old. “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that—.” CeCe began to say, before being interrupted by a fellow networker who finished her sentence: “Out loud???”
Hot Water:At a forum hosted by the proponents for Santa Cruz’s Measure P, all the candidates were asked what solutions they had for the water shortage. Cece’s reply: “Does anybody want to take a shower with me?”
Talk to Chuck: One of the moderators in a September council forum lamented the immense expense of owning property in Santa Cruz and commuting over the hill for work each day. “Can you tell me, preferably with some rational and actionable message, why I should not move away from Santa Cruz?” he asked. Nothing if not rational and actionable, CeCe responded, “Well, there’s certainly more to life than money, we live in the most beautiful place—” “Can you tell that to my mortgage lender?” he asked. “Yes!” she replied enthusiastically. “I will tell that to your mortgage lender, absolutely. I’m happy to meet with anybody, anytime, on any topic.”