California State Assembly District 28 candidates Liz Lawler (left) and Gail Pellerin share a laugh during Monday's forum
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Forum finale, a farmers market-library swap and spotlight on Assembly District 30

A brisk good morning to you, dear readers. It’s Tuesday, Oct. 25, and according to our sources at the National Weather Service, another mostly sunny day is ahead for Santa Cruz County, with highs in the 60s and 70s.

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Lily Belli is first up with a look at a scenario that might have gotten lost in the churn of development and the politics that goes along with it: that the downtown Santa Cruz farmers market and the library could end up swapping spots.

Politics ruled the night Monday at Hotel Paradox, where candidates for Santa Cruz City Council and California State Assembly District 28 took to the stage. Lookout founder Ken Doctor takes it from there:

Lookout’s forum — featuring all five candidates for two Santa Cruz City Council seats and both state Assembly District 28 competitors — heard robust debate on the familiar issues and unearthed some unexpected ones as well.

A crowd of about 55, with another 30 tuning in on Zoom throughout the 2½-hour session, heard directly from the candidates. Moderated by Community Voices editor Jody K. Biehl, the candidates expanded on the answers they’ve given in news stories and opinion sections.

Lookout will feature short segments from the forum, as correspondents Max Chun, Christopher Neely and Mark Conley offer their quick analysis of the most interesting moments in the debates.

Our On the Campaign Trail feature, which you can find below, also includes several forum items.

While the big issues of affordability and homelessness occupied much of the discussion, the issue of crime got a bigger, and unexpected, hearing. At one point, city council incumbent Renée Golder, after recounting her own tale of crime, asked how many in the audience had experienced crime. A third of the group raised their hands, naming a number of mainly property-based crimes, and ones they said unsettled them in the community. That’s an issue that looks like it has legs going forward.

The city council races, of course, now are districted for the first time in Santa Cruz history. Council candidate Greg Hyver offered his own take on what that should mean: “I want my district to be able to say no occasionally to a city council vote. That’s called semi-autonomy. And the United Nations gives people the right to self-determination.”

We took a number of good questions from those assembled at the Paradox, and from the Zoomers, and one Jody reused a couple of times: What quality do you admire in your opponent?

Some of the answers were halting; others enthusiastic about their opponents’ want to serve. Assembly candidate Gail Pellerin on opponent Liz Lawler: resilience. Lawler on Pellerin: passion. Lawler also took the opportunity to wonder aloud where all the Santa Cruz graffiti displaying love for her, in hearts, flowers and more, was coming from. “Please stop,” she asked.

For folks with other candidates on their ballots, we’ve got more Election 2022 fodder — Mark Conley scopes out the state of play in the Assembly District 30 race between Dawn Addis and Vicki Nohrden, and each answers two key questions in a piece for our Community Voices opinion section.

A lot on the Tuesday dance card, so let’s tango.

Could the downtown Santa Cruz library and the farmers market swap places?

A sketch outlines a possibility for the current downtown Santa Cruz library site.
(Via City of Santa Cruz)

If Measure O is defeated and the library/mixed-use project goes forward on Lot 4, then the downtown Santa Cruz farmers market’s permanent home could be part of a larger plaza project on the old library block. It’s not a new idea, but one some might have missed amid all the questions of downtown development. Lily Belli has the details.

PREVIOUSLY: Downtown farmers market signs MOU with City of Santa Cruz to establish permanent home

Assembly District 30 update: Will Addis’ advantage in Santa Cruz, Monterey push her past Nohrden?

Vicki Nohrden of Monterey, the Republican candidate in the race for state Assembly District 30, garnered more votes in San Luis Obispo County than Morro Bay’s Dawn Addis in the June primary. But Addis (along with three other Democratic candidates) carried the vote in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties and seems likely to collect the votes of those three other Democrats. Read what each told Mark Conley.

PREVIOUSLY: Looking to lead ‘the Highway 1 District’: Who is best for a swath of California’s most pristine coastal geography?(Lookout)

DAILY DIGEST

About 15 pounds of politics in a 5-pound bag there. If you’re hoping for a palate-cleanser, you’re in luck: Lily Belli on Food is on the way in mere hours, and you can sign up for that and all of our other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts, by clicking right here. Give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too.

At Lookout, our commitment to the trustworthy local journalism that’s the bedrock of democracy is unwavering, as we hope you see in our blanket election coverage. But none of it is possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member. And help spread the word about what we’re doing.

November is just around the corner and the days are growing ever shorter — so get out there and enjoy what’s shaping up to be a gorgeous Tuesday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz