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Morning Lookout: Replacing controversial TOLO, celebrating ‘cerebral surf’ and more

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, May 11, and it will be mostly sunny with a high of 70.

We’re waking up to three big stories today on homelessness: Later today, the Santa Cruz City Council is set to hear the first draft of a new camping ordinance created to replace the controversial TOLO that had residents up in arms in March. In advance, our Patrick Riley breaks down the key differences between the two ahead of today’s meeting. Meanwhile, more than 100 people have been moved out of the homeless encampment near the intersection of Highways 1 and 9 so crews can begin a major construction project. Finally, after months of legal sparring, is the city of Santa Cruz close to reaching a compromise with advocates for the unsheltered over the camping situation in San Lorenzo Park?

Before the headlines, a quick note about our website: We continue to migrate our reader, registration and membership technology today. You’ll be able to access all content without interruption. Feel free to introduce Lookout to your friends; thanks for sharing. To be clear, during this time, you will not be able to sign into the site, but then again there’s no immediate need to, as you can read all of Lookout. We’ll continue to keep you posted on any developments.

With that, here is your news:

Housing and homelessness

A protester holds a sign reading "Homelessness is not a crime" outside Santa Cruz City Hall in March 2021
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

From TOLO to CSSO: Revamped camping ordinance heads to Santa Cruz council Tuesday, so what’s changed? Amid pushback and public outcry from all corners of Santa Cruz, city leaders last month hit the reset button on the contentious law that would’ve restricted where people experiencing homelessness can camp overnight. Now, a revamped version of the ordinance, renamed the “Camping Services and Standards Ordinance,” is set to come back before the Santa Cruz City Council today for a first reading. Our Patrick Riley breaks down the key differences between TOLO and CSSO.

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Police move through the Highway 1/9 encampment Monday morning to begin the eviction process.
Police move through the Highway 1/9 encampment Monday morning to begin the eviction process.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Caltrans begins cleanup of Highway 1/9 homeless encampment as eviction notices take effect: Seventy-two hours after notices went up, police and clean-up crews began the final stages of clearing out the homeless encampment at Highways 1 and 9 in Santa Cruz. An estimated 127 people lived at the encampment at its “high point.” That number dropped to around 40 over the weekend as people heeded the eviction notices. But with shelters full, it’s unclear where many of them went. Read more from our Cypress Hansen here.

Santa Cruz city employee Megan Bunch helps set up new tents
Santa Cruz city employee Megan Bunch helps set up new tents at the city’s new homeless encampment in the Benchlands earlier this week.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Is end to legal clash over the San Lorenzo Park homeless encampment in sight? An end may be within reach to a lawsuit that prompted a federal judge to bar the city of Santa Cruz from clearing an unsanctioned homeless encampment in San Lorenzo Park over the winter. The months-long legal battle between city and homeless advocates resulted in a compromise to move the encampment from the park to the nearby Benchlands floodplain. The case will be back before a federal judge later this week. Read more from our Nick Ibarra and Isabella Cueto here.

City kicks off nationwide search to replace Martín Bernal as City Manager

Santa Cruz City Manager Martín Bernal, who is set to retire later this year after 24 years at the city.
(Courtesy city of Santa Cruz)

The city of Santa Cruz formally kicked off its search for candidates for city manager — to replace Martin Bernal who is set to retire in July — yesterday and the recruitment phase will continue through the end of the month. “The ideal candidate will possess the ability to maintain momentum and discipline around organizational priorities and lead in a dynamic environment with high levels of community engagement,” the city wrote. To read more about the job and submit an application, click here.

Riding the ‘cerebral surf’ wave: How Santa Cruz’s epic surf-rock trio The Mermen keep on shredding

Jim Thomas in the Pleasure Point studio the Mermen inhabit.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Jim Thomas and his band The Mermen — one of the most accomplished and bewitching rock bands in Santa Cruz’s long musical history — don’t just attract fans, they draw disciples. Last month, The Mermen released their latest album, titled “Splendeurs et Miseries,” which fits neatly into the band’s signature sound that has defied any and all attempts at verbal description for more than 30 years. Read more from our Wallace Baine here and listen to some specially curated playlists here.

Around the state…

Crystal Cove State Beach in Newport Beach in March 2020. A Pacific footballfish, a type of anglerfish that typically lives thousands of feet underwater, washed ashore at the beach last week. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Weird-looking deep-sea fish washes ashore in Newport Beach: A beachgoer taking a stroll along Crystal Cove State Park’s sandy shore Friday discovered an 18-inch wide-mouthed Pacific footballfish from the depths of the ocean. “It happens when you’re walking along — you find dead things here and there that just shouldn’t be on the beach. The thing about this was that it was almost perfectly intact. Where did it come from that deep below?” Read more and see photos from our partners at the LA Times here.

California Governor Gavin Newsom waves goodbye to friends after attending a press conference

POLL: Opposition to Newsom recall grows as Jenner, GOP generate little support: The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom has failed to gain momentum in recent months as significantly more California voters favor keeping him in office, and only anemic support has surfaced for reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner while other Republican candidates hoping to take the governor’s place have little backing, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll that was co-sponsored by the L.A. Times. Read more results from the poll here.

Am I eligible for the proposed $600 stimulus checks in California? What you need to know: Newsom unveiled an economic recovery plan for California yesterday aimed at helping residents as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to fade. The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan. The plan calls for $600 stimulus checks for eligible Californians. Families with children would get an additional $500. Read key points of the new plan from the LA Times here.

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Around the county …

Health officials in Santa Cruz County focus on creativity in vaccine distribution (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Deputies return stolen tortoise (KION-TV)

Watsonville author releases debut mystery novel (The Pajaronian)

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