Quick Take:

Mortgage rates reached a new high in early October, leading to a slow start for the housing market’s typically busy fall...

Greetings, Lookout friends. It is Monday, Oct. 23, and increasing sunshine is the forecast for Santa Cruz County, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s as we dry out from Sunday’s welcome rain.

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Wallace Baine is up first as we roll into a new week, taking on one of the thornier debates in Santa Cruz: Midtown or Eastside? He talks to folks with a variety of opinions about the moniker of the neighborhood along Soquel Avenue between (roughly) Ocean Street and Morrissey Boulevard — and there’s a poll, too, so you can register where you stand.

Ahead of his In the Public Interest newsletter covering Santa Cruz County politics and policy, coming later Monday, Christopher Neely catches up with Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, who had a busy first legislative session in Sacramento. Six of her 10 bills signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom focused on voting — right in the wheelhouse of the former county clerk — and one takes aim at a move by Shasta County to hand-count all its ballots.

The local housing market has cooled a bit as we enter fall, Max Chun reports, with high mortgage interest rates to blame. “We’re seeing a little bit more of a lull than we’re probably used to,” one agent tells him, “and rates going up a bit again didn’t help.”

The Monday headlines also include a look at a new book that focuses on how California approaches the Pacific Ocean as sea-level rise and coastal erosion become urgent facts of life. Onward.

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‘Eastside’ vs. ‘Midtown’: Choose your side

Photos of a plaque commemorating the Eastside Library and of the front window of the Midtown Surf Shop
“Names matter to people,” one local historian says of Santa Cruz’s Eastside-Midtown debate. “It’s part of feeling attached to a place you consider home.” Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Midtown is the name of a simple business district — bounded roughly by Soquel Avenue between Ocean Street and Morrissey Boulevard — but in the hurly-burly of change in Santa Cruz, its wider use features lots of questions of identity itself. While it causes some heads “to burst into flames,” others see it as supporting the commercial district around Soquel Avenue and Water Street. Is the Eastside — Seabright, Branciforte, Prospect Heights, the Banana Belt, DeLaveaga and Live Oak — the only name that’s needed? Read more from Wallace Baine and vote in our poll.

ICONS OF SANTA CRUZ: Check out Wallace’s series spotlighting the people, places and things immediately identifiable with Santa Cruz County

Celebrating 40 years of Santa Cruz County generosity: Wine & Roses returns on November 4

In first Assembly session, Pellerin picks fight with Northern California conservatives

Gail Pellerin during a Lookout candidate forum in 2022.
Gail Pellerin during a Lookout candidate forum in 2022. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, a former Santa Cruz County clerk, ended the legislative session with 10 of her bills signed into law. Of those, six focused on voting. One bill, AB 969, takes direct aim at a controversy over a Shasta County plan to hand-count ballots in an upcoming special election. Christopher Neely reports.

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Sign up here for Christopher’s newsletter covering local politics and policy, sent Mondays

Where to next? Plan for the future at Cabrillo’s College and Career Family Night

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That’s how Monday’s looking from here on the Lookout flight deck. And there’s more ahead — as mentioned, Christopher Neely’s In the Public Interest is hitting inboxes in just hours, and you can sign up here for that and all of Lookout’s other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via text and email. Also still on deck as we tackle this new week is our latest high school sports roundup, and if you follow Lookout on social media — we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads — you’ll be the first to know when you can dig into that.

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Here’s to making the most of Monday!

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...