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Morning Lookout: Tax the absent to solve affordability problem, some say; Netflix in hot water

Good Morning! It’s Friday, October 15 and it will be a warm, sunny day with a high of 82. The warm temperatures will continue through tomorrow but won’t last the whole weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

As the city of Santa Cruz continues to deal with housing affordability, some believe they’ve found an answer: taxing homeowners whose properties are empty 120 days or more per year. Netflix is in hot water after the release of comedian Dave Chappelle’s special — a move severely criticized by LGBTQ+ employees at the company. And at the very end, we have a special offer for you.

Let’s get to it:

Hearts full for an empty homes tax: Santa Cruz set to follow path of other ‘second home’ destinations

A wide shot of a vacation rental home, with a sign advertising who to call for a vacation stay
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

In order to put more money toward affordable housing solutions, advocates want to follow steps taken by voters in Oakland and Vancouver by taxing homeowners who live in their homes for fewer than 120 days in a calendar year. With census numbers showing 9.5% of Santa Cruz’s units as vacant for 120-plus days annually, there are more than 2,000 units in the city that could be eligible for the tax. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Chancellor Cynthia Larive has been meeting regularly with local leaders to find ways to maximize the university’s...

“this week f—ing sucks.”: Netflix takes a hit over fallout from Chappelle special

Netflix app on Ipad
(via Pixabay)

LGBTQ+ employees behind Netflix’s “Most” Twitter admitted “the last couple of weeks have been hard” after the release of Chappelle’s ‘The Closer.’ Netflix has refused to pull the special, arguing that it must protect the creative freedom of its artists even when their material is controversial. Analysts offered conflicting assessments of how damaging the open disagreement could be to Netflix’s brand. Read more here.

‘Striketober’: Hospitals brace for strikes as California workers protest staff shortages

california hospital strikes

Long-simmering disputes with unions over staffing are reaching crisis points. Almost a third of California hospitals report insufficient numbers of critical workers, including nurses, technicians and janitors. As weary health care workers across California enter the 19th month of the pandemic, thousands are walking off the job and onto the picket line, demanding more staffing. Read more here.

70,000 Californians have died from COVID-19

Elizabeth Cooper sits on a bench looking out at the 'In America: Remember' public art installation

COVID-19 has now killed 70,000 Californians, illustrating the pandemic’s still-deadly consequences even as its latest wave recedes. While that overall death toll is the highest in the nation, other large states have seen cumulative death rates over the course of the pandemic that far surpass California’s. Read more here.

READ ALSO: What will it take to get out of the pandemic? California still has a long way to go (LA Times)

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

Jacob Martinez is preparing local young people for opportunities in tech and digital innovation. His growing network of...

Pivot’s latest pivot: Uniquely Santa Cruz fashion event lands at the Tannery

A woman in a mop-like dress designed by artist Rose Sellery
(r.r. jones)

Pivot: The Art of Fashion has found homes at the Rio, the Wrigley Building and, last year, on a screen, and this year the high-profile Santa Cruz fashion show and performance-art showcase moves outdoors at the Tannery and adds other live elements. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

BOLO: Have you checked out this week’s Best Bets newsletter full of all the best events in town? Read it here.

Become a member and go to the movies, on us!

A promotion for CineLux tickets with Lookout membership

Whether it’s the Daniel Craig James Bond finale “No Time to Die,” the “Venom” sequel or the long-awaited “Dune,” Hollywood is back, and there’s no better place to see big-ticket movies than in the theater. That’s where Lookout’s special offer comes in: Become a new member today and grab two movie tickets for your local CineLux Theatre. Sign up here.

Around the county...

Peace United Church, Cabrillo College Chorale hosts community choir performance (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

PVUSD elementary schools plagued by multiple power outages (The Pajaronian)

Santa Cruz County receives $3 million grant to fight homelessness (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

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