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Morning Lookout: No decision in convicted rapist’s potential placement in Bonny Doon; Flex Alert tonight

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, September 8 and it will be sunny with a high of 83. Be careful if you’re headed out this morning — there’s some patchy, dense fog in the area. Also, with the anticipation of a heatwave later this evening in other parts of the state, a Flex Alert has been issued for this evening.

Yesterday, a Santa Cruz County judge acknowledged the Bonny Doon community’s concerns over the placement of a “sexually violent predator,” approved for conditional release, in the mountain community. However, she also said she needs to hear more.

In international headlines, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck late last night in Mexico, about eight miles from the city of Acapulco. And a major development in the #FreeBritney movement — the 39-year-old pop star’s father has filed a petition to end the controversial 13 year-long conservatorship over his daughter.

Let’s dive in:

Judge acknowledges unpopularity of sexually violent predator’s Bonny Doon placement, but wants to hear more

Members of the Bonny Doon community turned out Tuesday morning
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Syda Cogliati decided yesterday that she needs to hear more about the potential relocation of repeat sex offender Michael Thomas Cheek to Bonny Doon, scheduling another hearing for next month. Cheek’s placement in Bonny Doon has residents up in arms and more than 60 people gathered outside the courthouse to express their outrage. Read more from Lookout’s Neil Strebig and Haneen Zain here.

COLUMN: Why a ‘sexually violent predator’ should not be the Bonny Doon community’s next battle (Mark Conley)

California grid operator issues flex alert ahead of high heat expected Wednesday

The temperature is expected to reach 92 degrees on Wednesday in downtown San Diego
With temperatures expected to climb in inland areas, California’s electrical system operator has issued a statewide flex alert. (Gary Robbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune )

California’s electrical system operator has issued a statewide flex alert for this evening. “With above-normal temperatures in the forecast for much of California and the West, the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use,” said the nonprofit group, which manages the flow of electricity on high-voltage power lines. Read more about when the Flex Alert is in effect here.

One week left: Help us fight against childhood hunger

Lookout Santa Cruz staff in capes and masks

Our Civic Partner Second Harvest Food Bank has risen to the tough challenge of combatting childhood hunger in Santa Cruz County. And for just one more week, when you join Lookout as an annual member, $54 will go directly to Food for Children, the food bank’s fresh-produce-to-kids fall initiative. That’s a $27 donation from Lookout, matched by a Second Harvest donor. Read the details and sign up here.

Housing and affordability

Someone walks through the homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz on Dec. 18, 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

California set to spend billions on curing homelessness and caring for ‘whole body’ politic: California is embarking on a five-year experiment to infuse its health insurance program for low-income people with billions of dollars in nonmedical services spanning housing, food delivery and addiction care. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the goal is to improve care for the program’s sickest and costliest members and save money, but will it work? Read more from our partners at Kaiser Health News here.

A large housing development overlooks Highway 4 near Pittsburg. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

What one thing do Republican recall candidates blame for California’s housing crisis? The solution to California’s housing crisis is simple: Scrap the California Environmental Quality Act. At least according to the major Republican candidates in the Sept. 14 recall election. Democrat and YouTube personality Kevin Paffrath said he, too, would reform CEQA. But experts say that the landmark environmental law is only one of many tools used to block housing. Read more here.

The public can ‘visit’ Big Basin Redwoods State Park one year after the CZU Lightning Complex decimated the park through...

Recall Newsom updates

Gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder waits to be introduced during a rally in the parking lot of The Oaks shopping mall

Democrats optimistic ahead of California recall vote as GOP is divided over its frontrunner: As the recall charges into its final days, Democrats’ midsummer panic has given way to cautious confidence that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s outlook has brightened, aided by healthy turnout so far, a towering advantage in money and the emergence of an ideal foil: Larry Elder. Recall proponents, meanwhile, are projecting an air of underdog scrappiness, noting their effort, underestimated from the start, managed to give Newsom some serious heartburn. Read more here.

A voter hands her ballot to an election official to be dropped in a ballot box during a drive-thru ballot drop-off

In California recall, ballot collection is the hot-button election tool no one wants to talk about: Last year, ballot collection became a hotly debated issue as members of the GOP falsely accused Democrats of using it to help rig the election against President Trump and other Republicans in California. Now, during a potentially close recall election, both parties are downplaying their use of the method as a way to ensure voters return their mail ballots by the Sept. 14 deadline. Read more here.

Around the area...

Loaded gun found on campus at Washington Middle School in Salinas (KSBW-TV)

Several Santa Cruz County renters hope for assistance as eviction moratoriums are set to expire Sept. 30 (Good Times)

Scotts Valley’s win streak snapped by explosive Santa Cruz (Scotts Valley Press Banner)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Lookout Santa Cruz