Part of the group assembled to provide information about the proposed Project Homekey development on Park Ave. in Soquel.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Election count, Measure F down to wire; tug of war continues over Soquel project

Hello hello! It’s Wednesday, June 29, and more sunny skies are ahead for Santa Cruz County, with highs ranging from the upper 60s to the upper 80s.

We’re in the final week before county clerks must certify results of the June 7 primary election to the California Secretary of State, and Santa Cruz County Clerk Tricia Webber and her staff are sorting through the final checks and double-checks. The only vote that’s close — on Measure F, which would increase the sales tax in the city of Santa Cruz — is headed for a hand count, but City Manager Matt Huffaker is “not optimistic” it will pass, and says numerous city initiatives will be under the microscope after fiscal year 2023, Mark Conley and Max Chun report.

Down the road, a Cabrillo College auditorium was the setting Monday night as county leaders put on a full-court press to rally support for an affordable housing project on Park Avenue, on the border of Aptos, Soquel and Capitola. Both sides got vocal, and Mark has the overview.

And even farther south along Highway 1, the nonprofit coalition aiming to take over Watsonville Community Hospital is hoping for a big boost in the form of $25 million in state funding, Hillary Ojeda reports, with a key vote expected today in Sacramento.

We’ve also got the latest from food and drink correspondent Lily Belli and analysis of bombshell testimony before the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, so let’s get ourselves to Wednesday’s headlines.

No final vote tally until next Tuesday as Santa Cruz sales tax hangs in the (hand-count) balance

Election worker Kristie Downs sorts through ballots at the County Clerk's office.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“We’re not optimistic”: Santa Cruz City Manager Matt Huffaker says the city must begin plotting alternatives to the loss of potential Measure F funding that was expected to create up to $8 million a year in revenue. Mark Conley and Max Chun have the details.

COMMUNITY VOICES: How to have your say in Santa Cruz’s new opinion forum


Going to bat for affordable housing: In passionate tug of war over Soquel project, supporters get loud

A mixed crowd gathered at Cabrillo College on Monday
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

While vocal neighborhood opposition turned out at Cabrillo College on Monday night, so did a fervent cast of believers in affordable housing projects such as the Project Homekey development on Park Avenue on the border of Aptos, Soquel and Capitola. That project has received a $10.7 million grant from the state to add 36 units to an area that, like much of Santa Cruz County, is unaccustomed to growth. Mark reports from the scene.

MORE: A ‘proper place’ for the homeless? Push to spread the burden stirs NIMBY backlash (Lookout)

With $25 million in state funding near, Watsonville Community Hospital purchase becomes more likely

The local nonprofit tasked with raising money to purchase Watsonville Community Hospital is about to receive $25 million from the state. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the final budget including that allocation, the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project will still need more than $12 million to reach its goal, but organizers say most of that money should be raised before the Aug. 31 deadline. Get the update here from Hillary Ojeda.

BACKGROUND: Santa Cruz County, health officials confident a district will save Watsonville Community Hospital (Lookout)

Disposable cup tax kicks in, Chaminade revs up a food truck and Lily’s summer kitchen

11th Hour Coffee has taken over the Swift Street Courtyard location formerly occupied by Kelly's French Bakery
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

From why you should consider bringing your own mug to your local coffee shop to vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and more, Lily Belli delivers another packed newsletter on Santa Cruz County’s food and drink scene. Find it here.

GLOBAL FOOD TOURISM, WITHIN 30 MINUTES: Get your eat on with Lily’s guide to Santa Cruz County food trucks and pop-ups

Seven big bombshells from Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony at Tuesday’s Jan. 6 hearing

Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies Tuesday.
(Pool photo)

In testimony before the House of Representatives committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson revealed that Trump administration officials knew about the risk of violence on Jan. 6 in the days prior to the attack. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times round up her testimony.

CENTRAL COAST VIEW: One year later, Jimmy Panetta wants people to know that Jan. 6 was no fluke (Lookout)

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What would California’s constitutional amendment on abortion do?

Abortion-rights demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles protest the Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe vs. Wade.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Senate Constitutional Amendment 10 would, if approved by voters on the November ballot, further codify the state’s already progressive reproductive rights. The Times looks ahead.

MORE ON ROE OVERTURNED: From the Supreme Court’s decision to Santa Cruz’s reaction to Community Voices opinion pieces, find all of Lookout’s coverage in one place

Around the county ...

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office reacts to Steven Carrillo pleading guilty (KION-TV)
Summer projects underway in Pajaro Valley Unified School District (The Pajaronian)
Great America, a beloved Bay Area theme park, to shut down within next 11 years (SFGate)

OK, you’re up to date and ready to tackle this hump day. You never know what we might have up our sleeve here at Lookout, though, so keep tabs by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 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.

And supporting Lookout’s local journalism means you’re supporting Santa Cruz County itself — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Be good and have super Wednesday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz