From an early age, Juan Miguel Munoz Morris saw firsthand the value of being civic-minded and helping others. His grandfather fought in World War Two and the Korean War, his grandmother was a social worker and his father was actively involved in local politics in Spain, as the country transitioned from a dictatorship to a democracy in the mid-1970s.
“It was instilled in me that the rights and freedoms we get as American citizens comes with a responsibility to be a part of that process to give back and feed into the community that helped you develop into the person you are today,” said Munoz Morris, who is running against incumbent Rene Spring for the Morgan Hill City Council District C seat. “I remember hearing stories from my father as he helped organize political parties during the time of (Francisco) Franco. You were risking your own life advocating for democracy. My father joined a couple of different local movements, and I always admired that of him. It kind of inspired me to do the same for my community in whatever capacity I can.”
Born in Granada, Spain, Munoz Morris’ family immigrated to the U.S. over 23 years ago. Munoz Morris, 37, spent several years in Atascadero before earning his Bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and his Master’s at Purdue University and Leibniz University in Germany. He settled down in Morgan Hill 3.5 years ago, approximately the same span in which he has served as a volunteer Planning Commissioner for the city.
Should he get elected, Munoz Morris—a Management Analyst for the County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency—would put acquiring revenue streams from cannabis businesses on the frontburner.
In November 2018, Measure I—the Marijuana Business Tax that if passed was expected to generate an estimated $340,000 to $750,000 annually—won with an overwhelming 79 percent approval. Cannabis businesses in Morgan Hill can be taxed up to $15 per square foot for cultivation and up to 10 percent of gross receipts, and the revenue would directly fund general municipal expenses such as police, fire, roads, recreation and drug abuse prevention services.
However, Munoz Morris has yet to see such revenues as city officials continue to prohibit commercial cannabis business in Morgan Hill. “Here we are now having discussions on how we’re going to recover economically as a city, and the one thing the City Council floated is adding another tax ballot in November,” Munoz Morris said. “For the life of me, I don’t know why the Council is not making use of a tax measure already approved by residents. Currently, both the Fire and Police departments are understaffed, and they’re being asked to cut their budget, so it’s especially important we don’t leave any money on the table.”