525 Cedar Street rendering
525 Cedar Street — also known as the Calvary Church project — will have 65 100% affordable housing units, retail space and a public paseo. The project is expected to open in late 2023.
(Via City of Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Measure D op-eds, South County candidates in focus + downtown groundbreaking

Good morning, Santa Cruz County! It’s Thursday, May 19, and another sunny day is ahead — temperatures are headed into the 80s in some spots, and winds are forecast to pick up later on. Some of our Bay Area neighbors are facing a wind advisory tonight into tomorrow, and our friends at the National Weather Service have guidance we all should follow:

Stay safe out there, folks.

Meanwhile, I’ve got about 10 pounds of stories in a 5-pound bag this morning:

There’s all that plus a look at Measure B, which seeks to raise the county’s transient occupancy tax, so let’s move along to today’s headlines.

Opinion: Vote yes on Measure D — let’s build a trail now

A rendering of the proposed pedestrian/bike trail along the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line
(Via Santa Cruz County Greenway)

Measure D is the best chance Santa Cruz County has to build a safe and transit-oriented trail from Watsonville to Davenport. We dismiss the “deceptive” campaign slogans of our opponents and explain the facts and objective reports supporting our view. Greenway pits grassroots citizen activists against those who have held power and been wrong about the rail corridor for 35 years. Read the full Community Voices op-ed here.

PREVIOUSLY: Opinion: Vote yes on Measure D (Community Voices op-ed)

Opinion: Vote no on Measure D — transportation justice demands a no vote

A man cycles on a trail alongside a light rail train and train tracks in Watsonville
(Via Friends of the Rail and Trail)

Measure D is inequitable and environmentally short-sighted. We believe Measure D will forever cut off North County and South County from alternate transportation and will reinforce disparities between north and south. Using the rail corridor for both rail and trail will unite us. Removing the tracks will pull us apart forever. Read the full Community Voices op-ed here.

PREVIOUSLY: Opinion: Vote no on Measure D (Community Voices op-ed)

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Local cred in the spotlight: Takeaways from Tuesday’s South County candidates forum

While Assembly District 30 contenders spent much of their time showing that they know this place where none of them resides, the homegrown District 4 county supervisor hopefuls differed mainly on their priorities and truly diverged on only one big issue. Hint: It involves the future of train transportation in Santa Cruz County. Here’s what Mark Conley saw and heard.

LAST WEEK: District 3 forum fireworks: Sparks fly as Kalantari-Johnson, Cummings spar on homelessness, districting (Lookout)


Pac Station South groundbreaking begins remake of Lower Pacific

Pacific Station South rendering
(Via City of Santa Cruz)

As four new housing projects — aiming to add 185 units around lower Pacific Avenue and Front Street — begin to take shape, Pacific Station South gets going. Grace Stetson previews today’s groundbreakings downtown.

HOUSING NUMBERS 101: Santa Cruz County has been told it must build 12,979 more units by 2031. Is that even possible? (Lookout)

Measure B: County Transient Occupancy Tax explained

Project Roomkey temporarily housed hundreds of people in Santa Cruz County during the pandemic.
(Via Shutterstock)

Proponents view the measure as an opportunity to use Santa Cruz County’s large tourism revenue stream to fund essential services vital to the community’s well being, but some in the hospitality industry see the industry split as unfair. Max Chun sorts through it.

Measure C: County Disposable Cup Tax explained (Lookout)
Measure E: Santa Cruz City District Elections explained (Lookout)
Measure F: Santa Cruz City Sales and Use Tax explained (Lookout)

Wildlife officials truck chinook salmon to cooler waters in emergency move to help them spawn

A young winter-run chinook salmon at Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Warming waters in Northern California have been lethal for winter-run salmon eggs; less than 3% hatched last year. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times report.

MORE THREATS TO WILDLIFE: Scientists find new and mysterious DDT chemicals accumulating in California condors (Los Angeles Times)


Around the county ...

Santa Cruz gives update on Highway 1, River Street intersection revamp (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Santa Cruz woman re-arrested and accused of selling vapes to teens (KSBW-TV)
Watsonville youth equestrian team takes third at national finals (The Pajaronian)
Invasive jumping worms have made their way into California, and scientists are worried (SFGate)

Now that is a packed morning update. And more is on the way, including Weekender, Wallace Baine’s newsletter hitting the high notes on the Santa Cruz County arts and entertainment scene. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it, so head over to our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where you can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. I’d also recommend you keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And none of this is possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member, and spread the word.

Attack this Thursday with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, and let’s reconvene tomorrow morning!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz