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Morning Lookout: Funneling cannabis cash for kids, the contentious Cruz Hotel moves a step forward

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, October 14 and it will be sunny with a high of 72. The National Weather Service says a warming trend will begin today that will continue into the weekend.

Voters in Santa Cruz will decide next month the fate of Measure A which would nearly double the amount of money flowing from the city’s cannabis business tax to the fund dedicated to childhood development programs. Meanwhile, there are steps left to take if supporters of the for-now-called Cruz Hotel project are to get past loud opposition and become part of the overhaul of lower Pacific Avenue and the riverfront zone.

And before we get to the headlines, I wanted to tell you about a special Lookout offer for new members. With the world reopening (yet again) we can return to the movies! There are some great films on the roster with Daniel Craig’s last Bond movie, “No Time to Die” and the “Venom” sequel competing, and the long-awaited “Dune” opening Oct. 22. So here’s the deal: If you become a new member today, we’ll give you two movie tickets to either the CineLux in Capitola or Scotts Valley. You can sign up here.

Let’s dive in:

Cannabis for kids: Santa Cruz residents have chance to make children’s fund permanent in Nov. 2 election

(Via Pixabay)

On Nov. 2, Santa Cruz city residents will vote on Measure A, which if approved would permanently establish and give more funding to the Santa Cruz Children’s Fund via the legalized marijuana industry. The fund currently receives 12.5% of the revenue from the city’s cannabis business tax; the measure would increase that amount to 20%. Read more from our Hillary Ojeda here.

Presented by Design by Cosmic

Local creative agency, Cosmic, successfully transitioned from working in person to growing into a continent-spanning...

Is downtown’s first hotel in nearly a century Cruz’n into town? What we know about the hot-button project

Renderings of the proposed Cruz Hotel at Front and Laurel streets.
(Via City of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz is one step closer to seeing its first downtown hotel development in more than 90 years — a six-story, 152,000-square foot development known by the placeholder name, “Cruz Hotel.” Amid outcry from some of its customers, the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union officially sold hotel developers its downtown property at 324 Front St. on Sept. 30. Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

Housing and affordability

Santa Cruz city homelessness manager Larry Imwalle.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘There needs to be collective ownership’ — City’s new homelessness point person on work, solutions: Santa Cruz officials named Larry Imwalle the city’s new homelessness response manager Oct. 5. As he get into the job, he spoke to Lookout’s Grace Stetson about what he thinks needs to be done to address the issue at both the government and community levels. Read more from Grace here.

An interior with warm wood walls and storage units

PHOTOS: They turned a one-car garage into a stunning ADU to house their parents: Four years ago, when they were running out of room in their two-bedroom bungalow, Pastor Alvarado and Gennifer Leong-Alvarado went to architects Rebecca Rudolph and Catherine Johnson of Design, Bitches with a proposition. Could they design a multipurpose room that served not just them, but their extended family? The team converted a garage into a stunning ADU in Atwater Village. Read more and see photos here.

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

Around the state...

Los Angeles Times Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers moderates a political panel discussion
Alma Hernández, right, executive director of SEIU California, speaks during a Times panel discussion in 2017. Hernández now faces felony charges after an investigation by the California attorney general’s office. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Top California labor official and husband accused of grand theft, embezzlement and tax evasion: The California attorney general’s office has filed felony charges against the executive director of Service Employees International Union California State Council, the state’s largest labor union with 700,000 members, alleging that an investigation into possible campaign finance violations revealed that Alma Hernández and her husband underreported their income by more than $1.4 million to evade taxes. Read more here.


Port backlogs sum up California’s COVID crisis: President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will move toward 24/7 operations to help unsnarl massive supply chain backlogs. Before the pandemic, usually, just one cargo ship had to anchor near the ports — which together handle 40% of containers entering the U.S. — while waiting to unload its goods. On Tuesday, there were 58 — down from a record 73 in mid-September. Read more here.

Around the county...

Santa Cruz County closes on Watsonville facility (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Hearing begins in Pleasure Point kidnapping, murder case (Pajaronian)

Watsonville High teachers push back on school resource officer decision (KION-TV)

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

A number of Santa Cruz County nonprofits are teaching kids how to grow and cook food, and develop stronger connections...