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Morning Lookout: City officials hear Seabright residents out, UCSC fall reopening plans unveiled and more

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, April 8, and the weather today is going to remain consistent with the past two days: intermittent clouds and a high of 67.

Our top story this morning: Top Santa Cruz city officials spent hours last night listening to frustrated Seabright residents who are opposed to the “temporary outdoor living ordinance” that, in its current form, would allow homeless people to camp overnight just blocks away from some businesses and homes. Our Isa Cueto has what transpired in that meeting, including changes being proposed by the mayor.

Meanwhile, we have a couple crime updates: The county sheriff’s office has identified a 39-year-old Soquel man as the suspect who was shot by deputies during an exchange of gunfire outside an Aptos shopping center Tuesday night. Also, Santa Cruz police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect they believe was involved in a jewelry heist that caused a Pacific Avenue store tens of thousands of dollars worth of loss.

There’s a lot to cover so let’s jump right in:

Top Santa Cruz officials try to allay Seabright’s fears about homeless as mayor proposes camping ordinance revisions

Santa Cruz's Seabright neighborhood
Controversy and confusion have erupted over exactly where overnight camping by homeless people would be allowed in Santa Cruz’s Seabright neighborhood (above) under a new city ordinance.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

For hours last night, top Santa Cruz city officials listened to the frustrations of Seabright residents and tried to explain the rationale behind a controversial “temporary outdoor living ordinance,” — changes to which are expected to be unveiled today. The ordinance would have allowed homeless people to camp overnight in proximity to Seabright businesses and homes. Read more about the ordinance, residents’ frustration and Mayor Donna Meyers’ proposal for some changes affecting Seabright and other parts of the city.

#BOLO: Later today, the city is expected to unveil details about the proposed changes to the ordinance, which was passed by the city council last month. Be On the Lookout on our website for those details.

PAST COVERAGE:

March 30: Seabright speaks up: Residents, businesses frustrated by outdoor living ordinance that would allow camping

March 31: Santa Cruz mayor responds after Seabright residents sound off about ‘outdoor living ordinance’

April 5: After intense backlash, Santa Cruz mayor to propose striking Seabright from areas where homeless can sleep

Over the years, programs at Life Lab have emerged into one of the premier educational resources for gardening in the...

When he endured racism at a Santa Cruz donut shop last year, Spike Wong did what he does: He wrote about it

Spike Wong at work in his home office.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

As one of the most respected playwrights and literary figures in Santa Cruz, Watsonville native Steve “Spike” Wong too is not immune to random acts of racist aggression. After an experience at his favorite donut shop in Santa Cruz County, Wong wrote a personal essay, “Glazed,” that was featured in monologue form as part of the Marsh’s Monday Night MarshStream. The former schoolteacher talked to our Wallace Baine about the growing racist aggression against Asian Americans, his fears for his own son’s safety and his father’s true-blue American heroism. Read it all here.

RACISM IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY:

Racist messages on rocks, flyers shock Santa Cruzans as propaganda uptick mirrors state, nation

Santa Cruz police investigating officers accused of racism during response to alleged nightclub assault

The Hashimoto doctrine: Keep vigilant against racism and stand up for civil rights for Asian Americans

‘I don’t deserve to be called that’: Asian American teens in Santa Cruz County talk race, identity, pain

‘To some I’ll never be seen as a local’: Hundreds gather to honor Atlanta victims, support AAPI cause

What to know about UCSC’s plans for a mostly in-person fall

Students walk through a quiet Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz in March.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Most students will be back in Santa Cruz this fall after a year of pandemic distance-learning. While plans remain tentative, campus leaders are looking at reopening on-campus housing to nearly full capacity and holding the majority of courses in person. Fall planning could quickly change due to an unexpected resurgence in COVID-19 as well as any future guidance from the state government or UC system. Our Nick Ibarra has everything you need to know about UCSC’s fall reopening plans here.

California moving to pioneer free meals for all students

File image of lunch boxes
(via Pixabay)

As students gradually return to classrooms, advocates and lawmakers say it’s more important than ever to provide free meals in schools without burdensome eligibility requirements, just as California has done during the pandemic. The “Free School Meals For All” bill introduced last month by East Bay Sen. Nancy Skinner would establish a statewide Universal Meal Plan starting in the 2022-2023 school year that would guarantee free breakfast and lunch for all California students and eliminate the application process that proved a barrier to many families. Read more about the bill and what it would do from EdSource here.

White House rejects U.S. vaccine passports, skirting uproar

People wearing masks walk around Downtown Santa Cruz on Feb. 23, 2021.
People wearing masks walk around Downtown Santa Cruz on Feb. 23, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The U.S. government won’t issue so-called vaccine passports, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, after Texas sought to limit their development because of privacy concerns. Some businesses and colleges are pushing for people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a way to safely resume pre-pandemic operations. “The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” Psaki told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. Read more about what that means for you in a story from our partners at the LA Times.

Crime beat

Emergency personnel load the suspect shot late Tuesday night by sheriff's deputies into an ambulance.
Emergency personnel load the suspect shot late Tuesday night by sheriff’s deputies into an ambulance.
(AIO Filmz)

UPDATE: Police name suspect who was hospitalized after trading gunfire with sheriff’s deputies in Aptos: The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of a Soquel man who was shot by deputies in Aptos late Tuesday during an exchange of gunfire between officials and the suspect. The deputies were investigating “a suspicious vehicle” in the parking lot of the Aptos Village Square shopping center late Tuesday night when the gunfire exchange took place. Read more about the suspect and the charges he faces here.

A boarded-up window at Super Silver Jewelers shows where the store was broken into early Wednesday.
A boarded-up window at Super Silver Jewelers shows where the store was broken into early Wednesday.
(Chris Fusco / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz police seek help in identifying Super Silver jewelry heist suspect: Santa Cruz police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a burglary suspect who robbed the Super Silver Jewelry store Wednesday in a heist that caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of loss for the Pacific Avenue business. Police collected video surveillance from the business and surrounding areas and captured an image of the suspect. Read more about the crime and see the surveillance image of the suspect here.

GET OUR ALERTS: By the way, if you’re not already signed up for Lookout’s Breaking News Text Alerts, I highly recommend you do. When major news happens, we deliver those headlines right to your phone, so you can be in the know all the time. You can sign up for the free text alerts here or just text the word BREAKING to (831) 265-0158.

Buying locally produced food and goods benefits you and your community in more ways than you think.

Join us for these FREE Lookout events

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta ad podium
U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, whose district includes a large portion of Santa Cruz County.
(Congressional website)

TOMORROW — an hourlong live interview of Rep. Jimmy Panetta: It’s been a year of transition in Washington, D.C. So what does that mean for residents and businesses in the Monterey Bay area? Our Wallace Baine sits down with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta tomorrow to explore that and a litany of other subjects during an hourlong virtual conversation — and you’re invited!

When: 5 p.m., April 9
Where: Zoom
To register, click here.

Santa Cruz Is Open event.
Santa Cruz Is Open event.
(Event Santa Cruz)

NEXT WEDNESDAY — ‘Santa Cruz is Open!’: Between its beaches, the Boardwalk, museums, recreation, live music and more, tourism typically is a $1 billion a year industry in Santa Cruz County and the No. 1 driver of the city of Santa Cruz’s economy. Now, after a year that saw the industry’s decline, it’s about to open up again. So what does that mean for jobs and the economy, not to mention the fun that’s in store for you, your family and tourists alike? Lookout and Event Santa Cruz have assembled an all-star panel to dive into those questions and more. Read more about the panelists here.

When: Wednesday, April 14
Where: Zoom
To register, click here.

Around the county…

Reforestation efforts to begin in Santa Cruz Mountains following CZU Lightning Complex fire (KION-TV)

Driscoll’s, PV Sports Foundation team up for Student-Athlete Day (The Pajaronian)

Santa Cruz County man arrested in Soquel Ave arson case (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

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.

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor

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We’re all about Santa Cruz County, from north to south and in-between.