Jamileh Cannon chats with Doug Fisher of Santa Cruz County Bank at the site groundbreaking.
(Via Josh Bootz / 7Roots Creative)
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Morning Lookout: Housing project’s twists and turns; Pellerin calls her own number

Well hello there, Santa Cruz County! It’s Tuesday, March 15, and our forecast calls for patchy drizzle this morning to give way to some sunshine and temps in the mid- to upper 60s by afternoon.

If your plans are taking you over Highway 17 and back the next few days, you might want to build in a little extra time:

Back on this side of the hill, Lookout’s Grace Stetson caught up with a local developer who detailed the long process that, after four-plus years, has finally seen her company break ground on a project in Soquel.

And speaking of folks who might be using Highway 17 just a little, Lookout’s Mark Conley talked to former county clerk Gail Pellerin, who is running for the California State Assembly in a new district that includes slices of both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

To the headlines!

Four years and counting

Jamileh Cannon and partner Tim Gordin address the Workbench team at the site's groundbreaking on February 24.
(Via Josh Bootz / 7Roots Creative)

Three weeks ago, local developer Workbench broke ground on a 13-townhouse development in Soquel. Lookout talked to founding partner Jamileh Cannon about why it took so long to begin building — the impact of legislative efforts to speed construction of housing. Read Grace Stetson’s Q&A here.

MORE ON LOCAL HOUSING: Want to rent a Santa Cruz studio? You’ll pay double what you paid last year (Lookout)

‘What about me?’

Close up of an older woman with red hair
(Kevin Painchaud | Lookout Santa Cruz)

Recruitment of others led Gail Pellerin to the revelation that no one has better qualifications for the California State Assembly than herself. That’s why the noted advocate for voting rights and mental health awareness is attempting to become the first area woman to ever earn an elected seat in state government. Read what she told Mark Conley.

FROM NOVEMBER: ‘It’s OK that you’re not OK’: Gail Pellerin shares her pain of loss, wisdom on navigating the holidays (Lookout)

➤ ENACTING CHANGE THROUGH JOBS: See all the most recent listings here.

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Why California gas prices are so high and vary so widely

One driver fills his SUV at $7.55 per gallon for a total of $124 at a West Hollywood gas station.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Gas prices seem to have little logic, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine. Culprits? A combination of market forces, the “mystery gas surcharge” and more. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times do a little digging.

MORE: California’s high gas prices have a little-known ingredient: Russian oil (Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers pass urgent bill to stop Berkeley enrollment cuts

The UC Berkeley campus
(Via Pixabay)

If signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill would rescue UC Berkeley from a court-ordered enrollment freeze and steep admission cuts and allow the university to resume plans to enroll more than 5,000 first-year California students. Get the details here from the Times.

PREVIOUSLY: UC Berkeley could be forced to cut enrollment by 3,050 seats under high-court decision (Los Angeles Times)

Escalating war in Ukraine raises the stakes for China’s balancing act with Russia

Residents evacuate their apartment building in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

China faces growing economic and geopolitical risks from the intensifying war in Ukraine as it attempts to preserve its relationship with Russia without alienating the West. Piecing together a geopolitical puzzle.

MORE FROM UKRAINE: In dispatches from Ukraine, one Chinese man attracts love — and hate (Los Angeles Times)

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Around the county ...

Beach hazard warning in effect for Santa Cruz County coast (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Severe drought causes concern for an early start to fire season (KION-TV)
‘Operation Shoulder Tap’ results in 170 citations, including six in Santa Cruz (KSBW-TV)

That’ll get you caught up and ready for Tuesday — but there’s more in store today from Lookout, including Lily Belli’s latest food and drink newsletter. I’ll forgive you just this once if you’re not subscribed, and luckily, that’s easily remedied: Click over to our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center to get all of our newsletters, plus breaking news alerts and more, delivered right to you. You can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Our content isn’t possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Stay safe out there and enjoy your Tuesday — see you all back here tomorrow morning.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

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