Latest News

Morning Lookout: Remembering Ben Kelly, ADU regulation tweaks and more

Good Morning! It’s Monday, May 24 and it’ll be mostly sunny with a high of 74. The theme of this morning’s newsletter could be “one year later.”

A year ago...

Let’s dive in:

‘I was absolutely shocked’: Dr. Gail Newel on Newsom’s refusal to fund public health departments

The public pushback against Dr. Gail Newel’s health orders started with angry calls and emails
(Anna Maria Barry-Jester/KHN)

After a year that saw California lean heavily on underfunded local public health departments due to the pandemic and with the state projecting a $76 billion budget surplus, local public health officials felt it was the right time to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom for additional funding. However, the proposed budget does not include the requested $200 million. For Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel Newsom’s budget proposal was “disheartening.” Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Throwing a stokefest for Ben Kelly: Shark victim’s loved ones pay tribute with inclusive ‘No Contest’

Ben and Katie Kelly, out enjoying nature as they often did together.
(Courtesy Katie Kelly)

Katie Kelly isn’t the hardcore surfer her husband was, and probably never will be. But she’s found herself wrapped in neoprene, paddling out into the chilly Pacific, laughing with friends far more often in the past year. “It’s connected me to Ben,” she said. A year ago, Katie suddenly lost her best friend and soulmate to a freak accident when Ben suffered a fatal shark bite while out surfing with friends. Read our Mark Conely’s Q&A with Katie, a year after Ben Kelly’s death.

JOIN US: One year after the death of George Floyd, has anything changed? Let’s talk...

A protester holds up a painting of George Floyd during a police brutality protest near Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz
A protester holds up a painting of George Floyd during a police brutality protest near Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz in 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

One year ago this week, George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers set off coast-to-coast protests demanding justice and condemning police brutality. But, from the shootings of other young Black men nationally to “no white guilt” rocks turning up in Santa Cruz County to hate being directed at Asian Americans here and elsewhere, there’s a lot to ponder. Has anything really changed in the 12 months since our country’s latest racial reckoning? That is the question I will pose to key community members Wednesday evening in an important discussion about race.

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday (May 26)
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
To register, click here.

Education beat

Pajaro Valley Unified is the largest school district in Santa Cruz County.
Pajaro Valley Unified is the largest school district in Santa Cruz County.

In wake of outcry and infighting, PVUSD board will consider bylaw changes: Trustees governing the Pajaro Valley Unified School District are weighing a list of possible changes to the board’s own bylaws as fallout continues from the brief firing of the district’s superintendent in January. Reworking or restricting time allotted for public comments, docking trustee pay for unexcused absences and restricting anonymous comments during remote meetings are among the changes the elected board plans to consider. Read more about what’s under consideration and what’s next from our Nick Ibarra here.

Celine Parreñas Shimizu
(Via SF State)

‘My dream institution’: UCSC’s new arts dean has been all over the academic map, says this is the magic place: UC Santa Cruz is ready to face the post-pandemic period with a clean slate in at least one regard: The university has a new dean of its Arts Division. Filmmaker and scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu comes to UCSC via stops at four California universities. Shimizu has deftly balanced a career as a filmmaker with a career in academia, each with a focus on sexuality, feminism, the Asian-American experience, and the arenas where those themes intersect. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

Development and housing

An above-garage ADU.
(Courtesy Santa Cruz County Planning Office)

The continuing push to streamline Santa Cruz County’s ADU regulations: Here’s what you need to know: Santa Cruz County is mulling changes to its regulations for accessory dwelling units, sometimes called “granny flats.” Seen by some as a tool to build up the housing stock, the proposed tweaks to the rules aim to further streamline ADU development and align the county with changes in state law. The tweaks will center around ADU aesthetics, the number of ADUs allowed on a single property and other issues. Read more about what could change from our Patrick Riley here.

The Santa Cruz Wharf on Nov. 24, 2020.
The Santa Cruz Wharf on Nov. 24, 2020. The wharf could soon see a major facelift under a master plan that’s been in the works since 2013.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Feds kick in $620K for Santa Cruz Wharf redevelopment: The historic Santa Cruz Wharf is receiving a hefty boost of federal funds for the city’s redevelopment project focused on updating the 107-year-old wharf, including upgrading aging pilings, decking, walkways and more. The city of Santa Cruz was awarded a $620,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration that is expected to help create 75 jobs and generate $6 million in private investment. Read more from our Neil Strebig here.

A photo from an Army Corps report shows flooding caused by a 1995 breach of the Pajaro River.
A photo from an Army Corps report shows flooding caused by a 1995 breach of the Pajaro River. The orange circle encompasses the town of Pajaro. The mouth of the Pajaro River is in the foreground.
(Via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Officials to sign agreement with feds on much-needed upgrades to Pajaro Valley Levee: This morning local officials will sign an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to unlock $4.6 million in federal funding and kick off the design phase to draw up long-awaited improvements for levees along the Pajaro River that are supposed to finally protect Watsonville, Pajaro and surrounding farmlands from devastating floods. Our Patrick Riley has previously covered the project’s protracted history and environmental injustice. Read the whole thing here.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

With a goal to continue their mission to uplift the community through music and music education, Kuumbwa Jazz created...

Around the county...

UCSC students seek more protection after data breach (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Groundbreaking on affordable house and health care campus in Santa Cruz County (KSBW-TV)

More than 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks seized in county (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.

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