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Morning Lookout: A sign of equity, a discussion on race and rebuilding after a devastating year

Good Morning! It’s Friday, May 21 and we’ll see intermittent clouds and a high of 64.

After a tough year that’s disproportionately ravaged the Latinx community, a milestone at Cabrillo College is a harbinger of growing equity in higher education: for the first time ever, the graduating class at the community college is 50% Latinx.

Meanwhile, next week will mark one year since the death of George Floyd — a tragedy that forced a racial reckoning across the country. But in the 12 months since, has anything really changed? Join us Wednesday for an important discussion on racial intolerance in Santa Cruz County and the country.

Here are your headlines:

A milestone in equity: For the first time, Cabrillo College’s graduating class is 50% Latinx

Cabrillo College, based in Aptos
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Cabrillo College is marking a major milestone this year: For the first time in the community college’s history, 50% of its graduating class is Latinx. The milestone is a sign of success in closing equity gaps around completion rates, according to college president Matt Wetstein. Latinx representation among Cabrillo graduates has been on an upward trend for most of the past two decades — more than doubling since 2005. Read more from our Nick Ibarra here.

JOIN US NEXT WEEK: One year after George Floyd’s death, have we gotten anywhere?

Mural of George Floyd in his hometown of Houston, Texas.
(via Pixabay)

Next week will mark one year since the death of George Floyd — a tragedy that galvanized the country into speaking up against racial injustice. But have we made any progress since then? Signs around the country and here in Santa Cruz County indicate this may not be the case. On Wednesday, I will pose this question to key community leaders including Dr. David Anthony, a professor of African History at UC Santa Cruz, Cat Willis, the Founder and Executive Director of the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center and local playwright Spike Wong. Read more about the panelists here.

When: Wednesday, May 26 (6 p.m.)
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
To register for this important discussion on race, click here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

A new partnership between UC Santa Cruz and United Way will support community-engaged research and offer UCSC...

All the water restrictions in place in Santa Cruz County and what it means for you

Many water districts in Santa Cruz County are enacting restrictions in response to drought.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Crux)

With the Scotts Valley Water District declaring a Stage 2 water shortage this week, four of Santa Cruz County’s seven water districts are now under some form of water restrictions as drought conditions worsen across California. “This isn’t just the drought, this is climate change,” said Sierra Ryan, the county’s interim water resources manager. “This is the new way things are going to be.” Are you under water restrictions? Find out from our Mallory Pickett here.

READ ALSO: Running out of water and time: How unprepared is California for 2021’s drought? (CalMatters)

Last Chance’s best chance? County eases building codes to help CZU Fire victims rebuild

The remote Last Chance community was devastated by last summer’s CZU Lightning Complex Fire.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Residents living off-grid in the remote Santa Cruz County community of Last Chance can soon take advantage of a new pilot program to streamline the rebuilding process from last summer’s CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Expected to kick off June 11 and run for three years, the county program relaxes building codes to allow residents in the area to rebuild using alternative means of construction as long as the homes are found to be structurally sound and meet basic health and safety requirements. Read more from our Patrick Riley here.

California approves electric car mandate for Uber and Lyft

Stock image of traffic on a highway
(via Pixabay)

Ninety percent of miles logged by Uber and Lyft drivers in California must be in electric vehicles by 2030 under a state mandate adopted Thursday. The Clean Miles Standard aims to curb the climate impacts of emissions from ride-hailing trips. It’s an ambitious goal: In 2018, electric vehicles accounted for less than 1% of miles traveled by Uber and Lyft drivers in California. But the big question for the gig-economy fleets is: Who will pay for the cleaner cars? Read more from our partners at CalMatters here.

Around the state...

Robert Montgomery teaches a "transition to college math and statistics" class to 12th graders.

Will your gifted child take calculus? Maybe not under California’s reimagined math plan: A plan to reimagine math instruction for 6 million California students has become ensnared in equity and fairness issues — with critics saying proposed guidelines will hold back gifted students and supporters saying it will, over time, give all kindergartners through 12th-graders a better chance to excel. The guidelines call on educators generally to keep all students in the same courses until their junior year in high school. Read more from the LA Times here.

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Cash to help California renters goes unspent with eviction protections expiring soon: Months after the state approved $2.6 billion to help California tenants pay rent amid hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates say a disappointingly low number of people have applied, as the program has been hampered by a slow start, confusion and bureaucratic red tape. Now, with state eviction protections expiring at the end of next month, advocates say the state needs to do a better job of helping low-income tenants get the assistance they need. Read more from our partners at the LA Times here.

Presented by GO Santa Cruz

As offices re-open and traffic worsens, an innovative program called GO Santa Cruz offers a more sustainable way to...

Around the county...

End of nightly celebration in Aptos marks new phase of pandemic (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz Police: Wanted felon arrested in possession of heroin the size of a ping pong ball (KION-TV)

Art Hike Challenge invites guests to visit county parks (The Pajaronian)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor