Santa Cruz County Jail
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Inside Santa Cruz County jail; downtown redevelopment holdovers

Hello and good morning, dear readers. It is Tuesday, Sept. 27, and the morning fog swaddling many of us in Santa Cruz County should give way to sunny skies later, with highs from the 60s and 70s near the bay into the mid-80s in the mountains.

If you want to zip right into Lookout, I won’t stop you.
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First up this morning is the latest in our Conversations with Jody series, with Community Voices opinion editor Jody K. Biehl speaking with Crystal Ross, who has spent six of the past 10 years in jails in Santa Cruz and Monterey county. Ross has become an advocate for improved conditions, particularly for incarcerated women, and in the first of two installments paints a bleak picture.

Wallace Baine gave us a tour last week of a six-block stretch of downtown Santa Cruz that’s undergoing an enormous transformation, and now Max Chun follows up with a look at three holdovers seemingly set to remain along Front Street.

And with Brazil set for an election that could keep its far-right president in power, UC Santa Cruz is hosting a symposium this week exploring the movement’s rise and its effects on democracy, Thomas Sawano reports.

Before we get to the headlines, though, we’ve got a flash membership sale happening this week, with the first three new annual members each getting a pair of tickets to the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival, happening all over town this weekend. Click the link below to learn more.

Now to Tuesday’s headlines ...

‘I have never had such a horrible experience as I did this past year in the Santa Cruz jail’

An undated photo of Crystal Ross
(Via Crystal Ross)

Crystal Ross has spent six of the past 10 years in the Santa Cruz and Monterey county jails. She describes her experiences to Lookout’s Community Voices editor, Jody K. Biehl, in a lengthy “Conversation with Jody,” which offers a peek at life “inside.” She describes women wailing to see their children, “unhygienic” facilities, rampant untreated addiction and mental health issues and a system unprepared to meet people’s needs, despite all the money we have thrown at it. Hers is not an easy read, but it’s an important one. Sober now and free since Sept. 17, Crystal says she is working to be an advocate and a voice for others still in jail. Read Part 1 here, and check back Thursday for Part 2.

MORE CONVERSATIONS WITH JODY: An OB-GYN talks life post-Roe and why Santa Cruz could soon see more late-term abortions

The Six Blocks holdovers: Sherwin-Williams, More Music and SCFAA

New construction near the San Lorenzo River and Laurel and Front streets in downtown Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The planned overhaul along Front Street might seem like one of the first steps toward an unrecognizable downtown Santa Cruz, but some reminders of today will remain. More Music, Sherwin-Williams Paints and the narrow building acting as home of the Santa Cruz Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, directly adjacent to the former locations of India Joze and The 418 Project, are staying right where they are. But if these businesses do move elsewhere in the future, what does that mean for the land they currently occupy? Max Chun has the details.

RELATED: Six Blocks: Downtown redo aims for 1,000s of new residents, 6 multistory buildings — and revived riverfront (Lookout)


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Much to mull over with your morning coffee. But Tuesdays at Lookout aren’t complete with a serving of Lily Belli on Food newsletter, so click here to get that delivered right to you, along with our other newsletters and breaking news alerts. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current.

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Enjoy your Tuesday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz