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Morning Lookout | BREAKING: From ‘call me Cait’ to ‘call me gov’? Jenner launches bid to replace Newsom

Good Morning! It’s Friday, April 23, and it will be another mostly cloudy day with a high of 60.

We start the morning with some big, breaking statewide political news: A gold medalist wants to run the Golden State. Caitlyn Jenner announced on Instagram she wants to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom. More on that below.

Locally, UC Santa Cruz was hit with a second lawsuit against a hotly debated student housing project that was recently reapproved by UC regents after years of being tied up in litigation. And students, faculty and staff going back to campus in the fall will now face a vaccination requirement, the UC system announced yesterday.

Let’s get to your headlines:

Call me … governor? Caitlyn Jenner announces run for California’s highest office

Caitlyn Jenner's Twitter page had already begun soliciting donations for a political run.
(Screengrab via Twitter)

Olympic decathlete-turned-reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who announced in 2015 that she was transgender, is planning another big announcement today: A run for California’s highest office as a Republican. Jenner has filed her initial paperwork to join the field to attempt to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in a likely recall election. Read how the announcement unfolded — and Jenner’s full statement — here.

Thomas Sage Pedersen dives in deep with Arts Council Santa Cruz County’s Executive Director, Jim Brown, and Deputy...

Watsonville committee on police transparency, accountability takes meetings behind closed doors

The entrance to the Watsonville Police Department on Dec. 15, 2020.
An entrance to the Watsonville Police Department on Dec. 15, 2020. The city’s 12-member Policing and Social Equity Ad Hoc Committee voted this week to keep most of its meetings closed to the public.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

When the Watsonville City Council sought to improve law enforcement accountability and transparency amid the national conversation on race and policing last year, it created an 18-member panel to generate recommendations on a wide range of subjects. But, earlier this month, members voted to keep all of the committee’s meetings closed to the public. And the decision was far from unanimous, with one member saying it could create the appearance of discussions being ‘nefarious and sneaky.’ Isabella Cueto gets to the heart of the vote, the reasoning behind how some members voted and more.

RELATED: As California’s next top cop, Attorney General-in-waiting Rob Bonta vows he’ll be tougher on policing (CalMatters)

UCSC’s Student Housing West hit with second lawsuit as history repeats for long-delayed project

A proposal to build family student housing
A proposal to build family student housing, and a child care center for students at staff, at the corner of Hagar and Coolidge Drives on UCSC’s East Meadow has faced significant opposition.
(Via UC Santa Cruz)

History is repeating itself for UC Santa Cruz’s massive — and hotly contested — on-campus housing project, Student Housing West. Already long-delayed, the project is now facing two new lawsuits filed after UC regents re-approved it last month. The latest is from an advocacy group called Habitat and Watershed Caretakers. Read more about the pair of suits over the long-delayed project from our Nick Ibarra.


April 15: A coalition of UCSC alumni, faculty and community members sue UC Board of Regents over housing project

March 17: Regents — once again — approve UCSC’s controversial Student Housing West plan after years of delays

Missing kindergarteners drive largest drop in 20 years in California’s K-12 enrollment

Naptime at Gateway School.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

The pandemic has intensified a multi-year trend of dwindling student enrollment statewide, causing a steep drop this year. More than a third of the decline stemmed from 61,000 missing kindergarteners. Statewide, enrollment in K-12 public schools in California fell by almost 3%, or 160,000, students in 2020-21, according to annual data released yesterday by the California Department of Education. That’s the largest drop of the last 20 years, surpassing a 1% drop between October 2008 and October 2009. Read more from EdSource here.

Pedestrian-troubling Scotts Valley street Bluebonnet Lane to get sidewalk extension soon

Where the sidewalk ends along Bluebonnet Lane in Scotts Valley.
Where the sidewalk ends along Bluebonnet Lane in Scotts Valley. It will be extended soon under a plan the city council approved this week.
(Chris Fusco / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Bluebonnet Lane, a source of concern for Scotts Valley pedestrians and bicyclists, will get a new segment of sidewalk after pleas from residents. Some 430 feet of sidewalk missing from the southern side of the road — at its intersection with Bean Creek Road — will be filled in, thanks to state transportation funds. Read more here.

Cal State and UC systems, UC Santa Cruz included, plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations in fall

 Alexis Harris, right, with friend wait with other people in line

The University of California and California State University announced yesterday that they intend to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff on campus properties this fall once the FDA gives formal approval to the vaccines and supplies are sufficiently available. The directive is the largest of its kind in U.S. higher education, affecting more than 1 million members of the two public university systems. Read more from the LA Times here.

Around the county …

Watsonville woman killed in skydive had made over 2,000 jumps (Associated Press)

Santa Cruz’s Fybr Bamboo starts “We Give a Buck’ campaign with stickers (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

UCSC climate conference will address food insecurity (Good Times)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor