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Morning Lookout: Homeless ordinance, new developments to be considered by local governments today

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, Feb. 23. It’s going to be sunny and unusually warm today with a high of 73. Then, much of Wednesday, the area will be under a wind advisory, with gusts in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We’ve got the latest on the forecast here.

We also have a big day for local government on deck with the Santa Cruz City Council set to examine an ordinance that would effectively ban homeless people from living outdoors in many parts of the city. Meanwhile, the Watsonville City Council will consider two proposed developments — one which would bring the first new apartments to the downtown area in three years and a second that would provide housing for lower-income renters.

We are also learning more about local school districts’ plans on how to reopen in-person learning in the coming weeks. This comes as the county expands vaccine eligibility to include educators and child care workers.

But before we get to the headlines, be sure to sign up for our “People in the Pandemic” panel conversation set for 6 p.m. tomorrow. Mark Conley and I will be moderating the conversation with five community members, and you can bring your questions about the vaccine and the virus to ask county EMS director Dr. David Ghilarducci at the end of the event. Sign up here and read about our panelists here.

Now to your headlines:

Local government

Homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz City Council to begin considering ‘outdoor living’ restrictions: The Santa Cruz City Council is set to begin considering controversial changes today on where unsheltered people can live outdoors within the city limits. Our Isabella Cueto has compiled everything you need to know about the draft ordinance. Get all the details here, plus find out how you can participate in the City Council meeting.

Watsonville City Council to consider plans for two new apartment complexes: One development, The Residence at 558 Main, if approved would bring new housing to the downtown area for the first time in three years. Read about that development, which would include ground-level retail space, here. The other, a 53-unit affordable housing complex, would be at 1482 Freedom Boulevard. Read about that development, including the developer’s ask of city council, here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

A new economic analysis found that more than 18,000 jobs can be directly linked to UC Santa Cruz, generating $892.5...

Back-to-school updates

Teacher Lisa Saulsbery gives air hugs to a student during recess at Weaverville Elementary School

County elementary schools begin mapping out return: Timelines are quickly taking shape as districts make final preparations to return elementary students to schools across Santa Cruz County in the weeks ahead. In Santa Cruz, the City Schools district plans to reopen pre-K and kindergarten classes under a hybrid model on March 15 — a year, to the week, after the pandemic first shuttered its schools. What’s going on in PVUSD and other districts? Read the latest from our Nick Ibarra here.

Teachers, child care workers among occupations newly eligible for vaccines: Santa Cruz County health officials announced yesterday that they will expand access to county vaccine allotments to include workers in the education, child care, emergency services, and food and agriculture industries. While teachers were receiving the vaccine through the County Board of Education’s partnership with Dignity Health, this is the first time the county has expanded eligibility to that occupational group. Read more about how employers can sign up workers for the vaccine from our Mallory Pickett here.

Little League gets waved home. What it might look like: When the state revised its youth sports guidelines last week, Little League coaches, parents and kids breathed a sigh of relief. In the current purple tier, as a moderate-contact sport, small Little League cohorts can partake in practices only. However, if the county soon moves to red as is expected, it will open up full rosters and seemingly normal competition except for the necessary safety precautions. Read more from our Mark Conley about how things may look different this year.

Three local nonprofits - Homeless Garden Project, Save Our Shores, and Teen Kitchen Project - are working hard to...

COVID 2021 Updates

State legislators approve $600 stimulus checks for the eligible 5.7M California residents: Later this morning, Governor Gavin Newsom will sign a stimulus package that will include $600 checks for about 5.7 million California residents after it was approved by state legislators yesterday. The pandemic assistance plan also includes more than $2.1 billion in grants and fee waivers for small businesses. Read more about how you may benefit from the stimulus package in a story by our content partner, the LA times.

JOIN OUR CONVERSATION — Get inspired by these ‘people in the pandemic’: It’s been a really tough year for all of us after the pandemic upended our lives as we know them. Tomorrow at 6 p.m., Mark Conley and I will be chatting with five community members in the fields of medicine, religion, wellness, comedy and mental health. Along with the panel discussion, we will also get your questions about the virus and vaccine answered from county EMS Director Dr. David Ghilarducci. Learn more about our panelists here and SIGN UP FOR THE FREE EVENT HERE.

ANOTHER COVID READ: Burgeoning child care union secures COVID-19 relief funding approval (CalMatters)

Around the area . . .

Santa Cruz volunteers clean up bike chop shop (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Moss Landing woman killed in DUI crash near Watsonville (The Pajaronian)

A Berkeley lab’s deadly mistake has been fodder for anti-vaxxers for 50 years (SF Gate)

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