Santa Cruz mayoral candidates Joy Schendledecker (left) and Fred Keeley.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Candidate forum sparks, UCSC protests and Dutra fires back

Greetings, everyone! It’s Friday, Oct. 14, with the forecast calling for gradual clearing around Santa Cruz County and highs from the low 80s in the hills to 60s closer to the bay.

If you’d rather fly solo on Lookout’s latest, you’re cleared for takeoff.
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It’s all local politics off the top; I’ll let Lookout CEO and founder Ken Doctor fill you in Thursday night’s candidate forum:

Seventy-five Santa Cruzans packed our room at the Hotel Paradox on Thursday evening in Lookout’s first candidate forum of the fall. Jody K. Biehl moderated the two panels, which covered the serious issues of the day and produced some sparks.

Among those sparks were differences between Santa Cruz mayoral candidates Fred Keeley and Joy Schendledecker.

Jody asked both whom the streets belonged to, an ongoing question as the community grapples with homelessness.

“Public spaces belong to everybody, not just one group over another,” Keeley initially said during the forum. When asked again afterward, he offered a clarifying answer. “No. That’s pretty clear, huh?”

Schendledecker, who during the forum referred to the homeless community as “displaced economic refugees,” said people have a right to be in their communities. That includes the sidewalks if they have nowhere else to go.

“Well, where are people going to go? People have to go somewhere. Are they supposed to kill themselves? They have the right to exist,” Schendledecker said. “I don’t want anyone to be sleeping on the sidewalk. Everybody should have safe, secure housing. If they don’t have it, then where do we expect them to go?”

More on their tangle on the topic in our new On the Campaign Trail feature.

Leading off the evening, 3rd District county supervisor candidates Justin Cummings and Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson engaged in a mix of light and heavy back-and-forth.

Light: Cummings couldn’t name his favorite dessert place in town because “I don’t do sweets.” (Kalantari-Johnson is partial to Chocolate on Pacific Avenue.)

Heavy: Kalantari-Johnson wondered aloud if the city’s inaction on homelessness response has made its citizens more callous to the worsening situation: “I’m afraid Santa Cruz has lost its compassion,” she said.

More on how the debate played out later Friday. And we’ll have videos of the forum for those who couldn’t attend later as well. Sign up for our next two forums — including Monday evening’s, on Santa Cruz city Measures O and N — here.

You can get up to speed on Measure N here, via Max Chun, and Measure O here, via Wallace Baine.

Thursday evening’s event followed an afternoon news conference by Jimmy Dutra, the embattled county supervisor candidate and Watsonville City Council member, at which he and his supporters pushed back on allegations of sexual abuse leveled in a civil suit by Stephen Siefke. Read on for coverage of that from Mark Conley.

That’s not all the news we have this Friday, however. At UC Santa Cruz, students are pushing the university to respond to what several student groups are calling a “hate crime,” the burning of a Mexican flag during move-in weekend last month — and Hillary Ojeda has details.

Wallace, meanwhile, checks in on the Catamaran Literary Reader, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary — quite a milestone among literary journals. And our Farmers Market Fridays series continues, with Kate Hull profiling the cornucopia of apples from Watsonville’s Billy Bob Orchards.

Our headlines also include Wallace’s recommendation-packed Weekender and a celebration at Watsonville Community Hospital, so let’s get to it already!

Students push UCSC for response on burning of Mexican flag; school investigating incident

Amid a Thursday protest march and plans for a healing circle Friday in the wake of what student groups are calling a “hate crime,” UC Santa Cruz administrators assured the campus the incident was being taken seriously. Hillary Ojeda reports.

FROM MARCH: ‘It feels like a personal attack’: UCSC, Cabrillo College officials condemn hate-related vandalism (Lookout)

Santa Cruz’s Catamaran Literary Reader reaches 10-year landmark

Catamaran's founding editor, Catherine Segurson, in her office at the Tannery Arts Center
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The quarterly publication that’s a balance of fine literature and fine art, text and imagery, is the brainchild of Catherine Segurson, who stands atop of pyramid of editors, donors and contributors. “In a way, 10 years feels like a long time,” she says of Catamaran. “But it also feels like we’re just now hitting our stride.” Check out Wallace Baine’s column here.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Find all of his work here

DAILY DIGEST

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Yowza, that’s about a whole day’s worth, and all before 9 a.m., no less. You know we’re not done, though: In addition to more coverage of Thursday night’s candidate forum, Lily Belli will be along with a palate-cleansing Eaters Digest, always a Friday highlight. Stay in the know by following Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and click over here to sign up for breaking news alerts and our other newsletters, including our famously weekend-enriching Sunday Reads.

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

Enjoy your Friday and have a safe, relaxing weekend!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz