Quick Take:

Organizers of a petition to give voters the power to approve tall buildings in the city of Santa Cruz say they have...

Hello again, everyone. It’s Monday, Oct. 9, and it’ll be a mostly cloudy day around Santa Cruz County, with some chance of showers and temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

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If you’re headed out on local roads this Monday, you’ll almost certainly see a number of electric vehicles, but Santa Cruz County is lagging on that front after years of registering more EVs than the state average. Dieter Holger crunches the numbers to go inside what’s happening.

A group aiming to have voters weigh in on the development of tall buildings in the city of Santa Cruz tells Christopher Neely that it has the signatures necessary to get its measure on the March primary ballot. If Housing for People’s initiative qualifies for the ballot and voters support it, any development proposal that seeks to build taller than what is allowed by current zoning would first require the approval of voters in an election.

From higher ed, Hillary Ojeda reports on the controversy surrounding a conference set for later this week in Santa Cruz organized by the newly formed Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism. UC Santa Cruz academics are among those taking part, but the university has distanced itself from the conference.

Our Monday headlines also include what Wallace Baine heard from readers about the role public art should play in Santa Cruz’s ongoing makeover; you’ll find that and more on the other side of this snapshot from Lookout contributor John P. Hefti.

Photo of the day

Musical comedian Nick Stargu, known professionally as DJ Real, performs at Streetlight Records on Saturday as part of the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival. The festival celebrated its 10th anniversary last week, with 40 acts performing across 10 different venues.

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An early adopter of electric vehicles, Santa Cruz is falling behind, challenging California’s EV ambitions

A Tesla electric vehicle in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
A Tesla electric vehicle in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County is falling behind in the adoption of electric vehicles compared to other parts of the state. Higher prices are putting many consumers off, local auto dealers say. Lower-income areas of the county in particular are struggling to afford the upfront costs of an electric car despite thousands of dollars in government rebates and fuel savings. Dieter Holger reports.

FROM 2022: The future looks electric: City of Santa Cruz committed to more updated EV charging stations, with county set to follow

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Zionism conference sparks heated debate at UCSC and among community groups

The Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism conference is set for Friday and Saturday.
The Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism conference is set for Friday and Saturday. Credit: Via Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism

On Friday, Santa Cruz’s Resource Center for Nonviolence hosts a conference organized by the newly formed Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism. About 100 academics from UC Santa Cruz and across the country will discuss issues of Israel’s statehood and its treatment of Palestinians. The conference has caused a wide schism on campus and beyond, with the UCSC administration distancing itself from the event. Some academics say the conference is a legitimate “study of Zionist institutions,” while others argue it is “foundationally and irrevocably antisemitic.” More here from Hillary Ojeda.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Have your say and read what Santa Cruzans are talking about

Groundbreaking Indian rapper to play at UC Santa Cruz Quarry Amphitheater

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That’s the lay of the Lookout land as we ease into Monday. There is most definitely more coming, though. Hitting inboxes later in the day will be In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s newsletter covering Santa Cruz County politics and policy. We’ll also have this week’s high school sports roundup, and you can make sure you don’t miss any of it by signing up here for all of Lookout’s other newsletters plus breaking news alerts delivered via email and text, and by following Lookout on social media — find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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May your Monday be a smooth one!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

A veteran jack-of-all-trades journalist who is Lookout’s copy editor, writes and compiles Morning Lookout newsletter and produces Lookout’s other editorial newsletters and helps run Lookout’s social...