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Morning Lookout: Housing crisis impacts on farmworkers, students; police reforms signed into law

Good Morning! It’s Friday, October 1 and it will be sunny with a high of 87. The weekend forecast promises much of the same before a mid-week change:

UC Regents approved a plan to boost UC Santa Cruz enrollment to 28,000 — a move lambasted by critics as one that does not account for the burden it will place on the already taxed housing market. This was also mirrored at the statewide level with the school system looking to boost total enrollment by 20,000 — touted as a potential capacity crisis for the nine undergrad schools.

At the statewide level, more than a year after the police brutality protests that swept the nation following George Floyd’s murder, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed eight measures into law that will bring sweeping reforms to law enforcement.

And locally, our Wallace Baine says goodbye to Santa Cruz legend Lee Quarnstorm — a character like no other — who died at age 81.

But first, let’s start with some housing and affordability headlines:

Legislators seeking ideas to help solve housing crisis for farm and hospitality workers

Farmworkers pick strawberries in 2019.
(USDA photo by Lance Cheung)

Two assembly members, one of whom represents part of Santa Cruz County, are continuing a statewide tour next week aimed at finding ways for legislation to help solve the state’s housing crisis. The invite-only meetings are with housing advocates and stakeholders, but a public report based on the findings will be published later in October. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

Homeless Garden Project one step closer to a permanent home in Pogonip

Darren Cocroft works the fields at the Homeless Garden Project in July 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Santa Cruz City Council has approved a plan that moves the Homeless Garden Project to a permanent home on the upper meadows at Pogonip, near UCSC’s upper campus. The two-year process will seek public input and look into environmental impacts. Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

Higher ed beat

Aerial view looking out across the UCSC campus and Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Regents approve plan to boost UCSC enrollment to 28,000: Yesterday, the University of California Board of Regents approved a plan that would increase enrollment at UC Santa Cruz from about 19,000 currently to 28,000 by 2040. Critics say the plan does not account for the burden the increase will place on an already taxed housing market. Read more from Lookout contributor Max Chun here.

UCLA chancellor Gene Block welcomes students to the campus on the first day of classes at UCLA.

UC could add 20,000 seats for students by 2030 to meet surging enrollment demand: The University of California is seeking to add 20,000 seats for students by 2030 to help meet surging demand for a UC education. The system’s nine undergraduate campuses face a looming capacity crisis that could deprive as many as 144,000 qualified California students a seat at a four-year campus by the end of the decade. Read more here.

Gov. Newsom approves sweeping reforms to law enforcement in California

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris at a rally

More than a year after George Floyd’s death, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a stack of bills yesterday aimed at holding California law enforcement officers accountable for misconduct. The eight measures signed into law include raising the minimum age for police officers from 18 to 21 and allowing their badges to be permanently taken away for excessive force, dishonesty and racial bias. Read more about what is now part of California law here.

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Goodbye to a legend: Why we’ll never see a character like Lee Quarnstrom again

READ THE STORY: Goodbye to a legend: Why we’ll never see a character like Lee Quarnstrom again
(Courtest Donna Blakemore)

Lee Quarnstrom, Merry Prankster, former Hustler magazine executive and longtime newspaper columnist who chronicled the beauty and weirdness of Santa Cruz, has died. He was 81. Read our Wallace Baine’s obituary for the Santa Cruz legend here.

After a pandemic pause, Open Studios poised for a creative reset: ‘People are hungry for art’

Photographer Danny Jay, 29, is participating in his first Open Studios this year.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The next three weekends bring a longed-for chance for artists across Santa Cruz County to reconnect with the community and fellow artists — or, for many of the younger, first-time participants, to make real-life connections with folks they’ve seen only virtually during the past year and a half. Read from Wallace about the return of Open Studios and what you can expect here.

BOLO Best Bets: Open Studios and Jonathan Franzen are back, plus First Friday

A flyer for the October 2021 First Friday Art Market

Besides the Open Studios art tour preview exhibits this weekend, there are a lot of great events for you to be a part of this weekend and into the coming week, including First Friday today and an opportunity to interact with Jonathan Franzen as his new book drops next week. Check out a list of the best bet events in town, specially curated by our Team BOLO and sign up to get the free, weekly newsletter here.

Around the county...

Scotts Valley trash collection rates to increase (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

St. Francis begins construction on new sports complex stadium (The Pajaronian)

UCSC students use technology for the good of an SLV nonprofit (San Lorenzo Valley Post)

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
Lookout Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz’s population is using about the same amount of water in 2021 as in 1981, despite growing by about 30,000...