Latest News

Morning Lookout: Pay bump approved for Scotts Valley law enforcement, $600 stimulus payment deal reached

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, Feb. 18. It’s going to be partly sunny with a high of 61.

It was a busy night for local government, and our Isa Cueto and Pat Riley have the latest headlines for you this morning from the Scotts Valley City Council meeting and a Santa Cruz County meeting hosted by First District Supervisor Manu Koenig. In Scotts Valley, the city approved giving law enforcement officers 5% to 8% pay bumps and larger bonuses for new police department hires. Meanwhile, residents who pushed back against the county’s proposed parking fees for a 10-mile stretch of coastline in and around Live Oak have forced county leaders to scale back those proposed fees.

Statewide, Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers reached a deal to dole out $600 stimulus payments to Californians who meet eligibility criteria and $600 for undocumented taxpayers earning less than $75,000. Meanwhile, Newsom’s administration is reviewing the state’s landmark carbon trading program that some have said is too weak — and lawmakers will consider a bill that proposes a ban on fracking by 2027.

In case you didn’t get your Lookout news alert last night, there’s some big news about a downtown Santa Cruz entertainment mainstay closing, too.

Here’s what you need to know for your day:

Scotts Valley police to get 5% to 8% raises under new union pacts, new hires to get larger bonuses

Scotts Valley police officers convene outside a school in 2019.
(Scotts Valley Police Department Facebook page)

Scotts Valley approved contracts with its two police unions that will give all unionized law enforcement personnel a 5% to 8% pay bump. The one-year deals — which are retroactive to July 1, 2020, and will run through the end of the fiscal year on June 30 — will offer pay raises that were out of the question amid the pandemic and set the police unions on course to have their salaries and benefits on the same schedule as other unionized city workers. A starting police officer will earn an annual base salary of $66,420, while an officer with five years’ experience will earn an annual base salary of $80,736, according to the pay scale. See more pay scale and bonus structure breakdowns approved last night here.

Celebrate the MAH’s 25th Anniversary with new exhibitions and events happening throughout Santa Cruz County in 2021.

Resident pushback moves Santa Cruz County to scale back proposed Live Oak coastal parking fees

The county’s Live Oak Parking Program — which covers close to 10 miles of streets near the coastline between the city of Santa Cruz and Pleasure Point — has been in the red for years, officials say. County officials originally proposed $100 seasonal parking passes for residents and visitors to shore things up, but that price angered some. Now, the proposed price is coming down, and other changes are in the works, too. Read the new details here and find out when they might take effect.

Downtown movie mainstay Cinema 9 to close permanently, Regal tells staff

In another sign of the pandemic taking its economic toll, the Santa Cruz Cinema 9 — at one time the central attraction in a rebuilt post-earthquake downtown — is closing permanently, according to an email obtained by Lookout that was sent to employees by Regal, the movie theater’s owner. The multiplex theater had been closed on a temporary basis since October due to the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic. Read about the history of the theater from our Wallace Baine here.

Newsom, lawmakers agree to $600 stimulus checks plus boost for undocumented workers

After weeks of public hearings and closed-door negotiations, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate leader Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon yesterday announced $600 one-time payments to households receiving the state’s earned income tax credit, along with an extra $600 for undocumented taxpayers earning less than $75,000. Read more about who will get aid and a timeline for when lawmakers may vote on the deal here.

PHOTOS: An atypical Ash Wednesday in Santa Cruz County, with a sprinkling of hope for the future

No livestream COVID press conference today: The weekly briefings that Santa Cruz County health officials have been providing each Thursday will not take place this week, Lookout learned yesterday. However, you can keep track of the latest local updates in our COVID Today live blog here.

Presented by Cabrillo College

The show must go on: the performing arts have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cabrillo’s Dance,...

State beat

California GOP seeks to censure Republican David Valadao for voting to impeach Trump: San Joaquin Valley Rep. David Valadao will face an attempt to censure him at the California GOP convention this weekend for his vote to impeach Donald Trump. He was one of 10 GOP members of the House of Representatives who voted last month to send the articles of impeachment that blamed Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to the U.S. Senate. Read more from our partner the LA Times here.

The Valero Wilmington Refinery in Long Beach on Jan. 28, 2021. Photo by Shae Hammond for CalMatters

State to review carbon trading program as part of climate roadmap: Newsom administration officials will evaluate the role of California’s landmark “cap and trade program” as the state examines its strategies for tackling climate change over the next decade. Independent experts have raised concerns that the program might be too weak to achieve California’s ambitious climate goals. Read more from our partner CalMatters here.

California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027: Two state senators announced new legislation yesterday that would halt new fracking permits in the state by Jan. 1 and ban the practice altogether by 2027. The legislation takes aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state already planning to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. Read the report from the Associated Press here.

Around the county . . .

Less than half of residents evacuated during sweeping debris flow response (Scotts Valley Press Banner)

African American Theater Arts Troupe celebrates 30 years with live online performance (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

San Jose man faces multiple charges after domestic violence incident, police chase in Santa Cruz (KION-TV)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs on everything we’re publishing through the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor