Lot 16 along Church Street, next to the downtown library.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Measure O’s eight lots; Martine Watkins on Santa Cruz ignoring her race

Hello hello, Lookout fam. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 2, and our friends at the National Weather Service see a partly sunny day ahead around Santa Cruz County, with lingering showers possible and highs in the 50s and 60s.

If lingering isn’t your thing and you’d rather get right down to the day’s top stories on your own, I’ve got some links.
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If you’re continuing with the guided tour, our first stop is in downtown Santa Cruz, where Measure O has put the spotlight on eight city-owned parking lots proponents of the ballot proposition have targeted for affordable housing. Christopher Neely puts each lot under the microscope.

Our series with local school board candidates continues, with Thomas Sawano breaking down what four Pajaro Valley Unified School District hopefuls say are their top concerns and priorities. You can find answers from candidates in the Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley districts here.

And in our Community Voices opinion section, Santa Cruz City Councilmember and Vice Mayor Martine Watkins writes about her identity as a biracial Black woman and asks why city leaders, colleagues and others are “misrepresenting history” when they call Justin Cummings “the first Black mayor of Santa Cruz.”

Wednesday’s headlines also include the latest on an inmate death at the Santa Cruz County Jail, so let’s get right to it.

Eight lots: Debating the parking lots that Measure O would mandate for housing

Lot 7 along Front Street.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The battle over Measure O is many things to many people, but at its base, it is an attempt by residents to push through their own vision for urban planning, one that contrasts against that of city staff. Sharing the stage in this struggle are a well-known library mixed-use project proposal and a broad outline of affordable housing on eight city-owned parking lots. Where are these lots? How large are they? What do they look like? Could housing realistically be placed on these sites as the measure promises? Christopher Neely examines what we know.

MORE: A lot of disagreement: Measure O galvanizes competing visions of downtown Santa Cruz (Lookout)

I was the first biracial mayor of Santa Cruz; why has Santa Cruz ignored my race?

Santa Cruz City Councilmember Martine Watkins.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Martine Watkins, vice mayor of Santa Cruz, is perplexed. She is biracial — her father is Black, her mother white — and she was the first biracial woman to serve as the mayor of Santa Cruz. She thinks it’s a misrepresentation of local history to call Justin Cummings — who is currently a candidate for District 3 county supervisor — the first Black mayor of Santa Cruz. Read her Community Voices opinion piece here.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Learn how to submit your own and read what other Santa Cruzans are saying about local issues


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Much to warm you up on a brisk Wednesday morning. Stay current on all that’s happening around Santa Cruz County with Lookout’s other newsletters and our breaking news alerts by clicking right here, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for good measure.

If you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member — our content isn’t possible without community support.

Stay safe out there, and have a swell Wednesday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz