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Morning Lookout: Talking racism in Santa Cruz County, what we know about the San Jose mass shooting

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, May 27 and we’ll see intermittent clouds and a high of 72.

Yesterday, a 57-year-old gunman set fire to his house and then went to work and killed nine of his co-workers at a San Jose light rail yard. The victims of this tragic mass shooting have now been identified as officials continue to piece together what happened.

Another tragedy — the murder of George Floyd last year — sparked evocative and emotional conversation last night as five community members presented their thoughts on racism, discrimination and othering in Santa Cruz County.

And one note before we get to the news: If you want to stay abreast of all the big goings-on as they’re happening, I suggest you sign up for our free Breaking News Text Alerts here or text the word BREAKING to (831) 387-7662.

Let’s dive in:

WATCH: One year after George Floyd’s death, have we gotten anywhere? Santa Cruz community members weigh in

Hundreds marched in Santa Cruz Tuesday to honor Geoge Floyd on the first anniversary of his death on May 25, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Last night, I sat down with five community members — Dr. David Anthony, Cat Willis, Spike Wong, Maria Cadenas and Natalie Olivas — to talk about the progress we have made in the past year and changes that are yet to be achieved in the wake of the racial reckoning following George Floyd’s murder. The speakers each took 10 minutes and touched on everything from policing reform and environmental justice to the first-hand pain of stereotypes and discrimination. The discussion was powerful and poignant but most importantly, impactful. One attendee, Sandra Cohen, sent me a note after the event. She wrote in part:

”... I was on the verge of tears through most of what was said tonight. Some tears actually spilled over. Each and every person spoke with such passion.”

You can watch all five talks here and we have created a YouTube playlist so you can watch them at your own pace.

PHOTOS: Hundreds take to Santa Cruz streets to honor George Floyd a year after his death (Lookout Santa Cruz)

Tussle over outdoor dining in Capitola looms: Despite a summer extension, permanency is still in question

The Capitola Esplanade aggressively adapted to outdoor dining.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

To park or to sit, that’s the looming question in Capitola Village. The beach community recently extended its outdoor dining ordinance until Sept. 7. However, the city is continuing to figure out how best to institute a permanent outdoor dining policy and how to navigate the offset cost of lost parking fees. At present, several parking spaces along the Esplanade and Monterey Avenue have been converted into outdoor dining areas for nearby restaurants — a shift that has cost the city nearly $140,000 annually in lost parking revenue. Read more from our Neil Strebig here.

Oaxaca Norte, con mucho mole: Santa Cruz’s Copal zeroes in on distinctive Mexican culture and cuisine

Copal restaurant in Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Almost a year after “a really long soft opening,” Copal is finally ready to bring its full vision of the cuisine and aesthetic of Oaxaca to Santa Cruz diners. Copal is the brainchild of married duo Stuyvesant “Stuyvie” Bearns Esteva and Noelle Antolin, who own and operate the downtown craft beer & Spanish tapas spot Lúpulo. There are menu items at Copal that would be recognizable to those familiar with mainstream Mexican food but when it comes to native Oaxacan cuisine, the name of the game is mole. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

‘Stranger than fiction’: Unrelated blazes engulf RVs in Felton 15 minutes apart; injuries, spread averted

Firefighters respond to an RV fire in Felton Tuesday night.
(SLV Steve)

Fire destroyed two RVs in separate incidents Tuesday night in Felton, with no injuries reported and with firefighters able to keep spread to a minimum in the Santa Cruz Mountains community on alert for wildfire danger. Felton Fire Protection Chief Robert Gray said the blazes reported within minutes of each other were unrelated. “With RV fires, once you notice them to the time that they are fully engulfed is usually a matter of two to three minutes,” Gray said. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Around the state...

He set his house on fire then killed 9 co-workers. Gunman’s rampage leaves San Jose reeling: First, the gunman set his house on fire. Then he drove to work Wednesday morning and shot nine co-workers to death in two separate buildings at a San Jose light rail yard, after possibly setting explosives. As Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies ran on scene, he apparently shot himself to death. Witnesses said the gunman wiped out most of the early shift at the Valley Transportation Authority facility. Read more from the LA Times here.

READ LATEST: Ten dead, including gunman, in San Jose rail yard mass shooting; victims identified (LA Times)

John Cox, former 2018 California Republican gubernatorial candidate.
The campaign of John Cox, the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee who lost to Democrat Gavin Newsom in the general election, has been ordered to pay $100,000 in unpaid bills. (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Multimillionaire recall candidate John Cox owes consultants from failed gubernatorial bid: Multimillionaire recall candidate John Cox’s prior gubernatorial campaign has been ordered by a judge to pay about $100,000 to a political consulting firm that produced television ads for his unsuccessful 2018 race — one of a string of unpaid bills detailed in a lawsuit and campaign filings. Cox’s campaign has refused to pay, leading to a “debtor’s examination” hearing next month. Read more from the LA Times here.

Around the county...

UC Santa Cruz opens vaccine clinic to students, faculty (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Suspected burglar caught on surveillance arrested in Watsonville (KION-TV)

El Sistema plans summer music programs for PVUSD students (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