The rail line on the trestle above Capitola Village.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Moving ahead on light rail; previewing Santa Cruz city races and ballot measures

Hello again, dear readers! It’s Wednesday, Aug. 17, and there’s a chance of thunderstorms into the afternoon for Santa Cruz County, with partly cloudy conditions and temps again approaching 100 in the mountains and in the 70s closer to the bay. With much of California in the grips of a heat wave, authorities have called a Flex Alert for Wednesday afternoon and evening, asking consumers across the state to conserve power from 4-9 p.m.

And while technically it’s still summer, fall is on our minds at Lookout as we dive into election previews. After we talked last week with Santa Cruz mayoral candidates Fred Keeley and Joy Schendledecker, we introduce you to candidates for Santa Cruz City Council in Districts 4 and 6, and explain the three measures city voters will see on the November ballot.

Meanwhile, with the hot-button issue of June’s primary election behind us, Mark Conley reports on the county’s Regional Transportation Commission moving ahead with a post-Measure D study of the feasibility of light rail on the Santa Cruz Branch Line.

But perhaps you’d rather explore Lookout’s offerings for yourself? Get after it!
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Before we get to the headlines, though, we’re sweetening the pot on an excellent membership deal we’ve got going. For a limited time, not only will becoming a Lookout member help revitalize Motion Pacific’s Dance for Parkinson’s project, but the first three people to purchase annual Lookout memberships will each receive two tickets to the Santa Cruz Shakespeare production of their choice; just head to this link and use the promo code SHAKES at checkout, and read more below about the Dance for Parkinson’s program and the benefits of becoming a Lookout member.

Now, to the headlines!

Measure D apocalypse avoided, Santa Cruz’s light rail future will finally go beyond speculation

A section of the rail line near La Selva Beach
(Mark Conley / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The rail-trail debate didn’t end up killing us, but did it make us stronger? That will probably depend on the results of a study local leadership hopes can be launched by November. Either way, having fact-based answers to these long-argued existential questions will be a good place to begin the real conversations about the rail corridor’s future. Mark Conley looks at next steps.

PREVIOUSLY: The ‘No’s had it on Measure D. Now the big question for RTC: What can it say yes to, and when? (Lookout)

November general election preview: Who’s running for Santa Cruz City Council and mayor?

With voting less than three months away, we’ve got an early look at candidates for the city of Santa Cruz’s new at-large mayor position and candidates in Districts 4 and 6 in the new districted city council setup. Read Thomas Sawano’s overview here.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Read Q&As with Santa Cruz mayoral candidates Fred Keeley and Joy Schendledecker, plus dozens more local newsmakers

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A strong, civic-minded brew to jump-start your Wednesday. What else might be in the Lookout content pipeline? That’s for me to know and you to find out, which you can do by bookmarking our site and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep tabs throughout the day.

And if you’re not a Lookout member, now is a particularly good time to make that happen; our content isn’t possible without community support. If you are a Lookout member, thank you, thank you, thank you — and tell a friend!

Be good, and I’ll see back here Thursday morning!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz