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Morning Lookout: Santa Cruz’s contrasting mayor candidates; Dutra accuser speaks out

Hello again, Lookout friends! It’s Wednesday, Oct. 12, and Santa Cruz County has another cool day ahead as the marine layer dominates, with temps warming into just the 60s near the bay and to around 80 in the mountains as the sun peeks through.

If you’d rather warm up to Lookout’s latest on your own, right this way.
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Off the bat as we embark on hump day is a look at the contrasting candidates for Santa Cruz mayor, with Christopher Neely talking to Joy Schendledecker and Fred Keeley about how they might approach the newly configured job.

Mark Conley’s exclusive interview with the man who has accused Watsonville City Council member and Santa Cruz County Supervisor candidate Jimmy Dutra of sexual abuse is also top of mind. “I find it so important to protect the youth of our community,” Stephen Siefke said of his reasons for coming forward about the alleged 2005 incident. “It’s something that didn’t happen that night for me; it’s no one’s fault. But if I can do something for other people, I’m going to.”

Mark was at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Watsonville City Council, chronicling Dutra’s business-as-usual appearance in On the Campaign Trail, our continuously updated file of news and notes from races around Santa Cruz County.

Plenty more headlines to get to, including the latest in food and drink news from Lily Belli, so let’s hit it.

Joy and Fred: A mayor’s race in high contrast

Santa Cruz mayoral candidates Joy Schendledecker (left) and Fred Keeley.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The immediately apparent differences between career politician Fred Keeley and political newcomer Joy Schendledecker deepen as they begin to talk about their platforms in the campaign for Santa Cruz mayor. Keeley, with nearly three decades of public office experience behind him, takes a more traditional approach to addressing the city’s most pressing needs. Schendledecker, an artist and member of the Democratic Socialists of America who came to Santa Cruz in 2015, speaks of the necessity of paradigm shifts she thinks the city needs. Christopher Neely dives in.

THURSDAY’S ELECTION FORUM: Reserve your spot to hear from candidates for Santa Cruz mayor and county supervisor

Dutra’s accuser opens up: Stephen Siefke explains why he is coming forth now, 17 years later

Pictures shared by Stephen Siefke, who has filed a civil suit against Jimmy Dutra.
(Via Stephen Siefke)

When he was 12 years old, on a trip to Southern California with family friends, Stephen Siefke says his life changed in ways he is still trying to process 17 years later with the help of weekly therapy and a supportive family. He alleged in a civil suit filed last week, and to Lookout on Monday, that 4th District supervisor candidate Jimmy Dutra, then 30, sexually assaulted him on that trip. Read more from Siefke’s exclusive interview with Mark Conley.

PREVIOUSLY: Civil filing accuses county supervisor candidate Jimmy Dutra of sexual abuse

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That’s the lay of the land as we head into Wednesday. There’s more coming from Lookout, to be sure, so I’d recommend you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with it all. We also offer breaking news alerts and a host of other newsletters — including Wallace Baine’s Weekender, a recommendation-packed update on the local arts and entertainment scene hitting inboxes Thursday afternoon — and you can sign up by clicking right here.

None of this is possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member. And tell a friend!

Make the most of the Wednesday ahead, and I shall meet you back here Thursday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz