Portions of West Cliff Drive were shut down Jan. 5 after damaging storms.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: West Cliff managed retreat; focus on mental health; city’s ‘harassment’ of homeless

Morning, friends and neighbors. It’s Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Santa Cruz County is looking at a breezy day, with clouds increasing, highs in just the 50s and a chance of rain.

If perusing Lookout’s latest on your own is your thing, I’ve got you.
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We’re headed first to West Cliff Drive, where managed retreat is on the table, Santa Cruz officials said during a meeting Monday night. That process of relocating community infrastructure away from coastlines and other environmentally sensitive areas was thrust to the fore of conversations, Max Chun reports, after January’s storms took big chunks out of the iconic coastal roadway. That story is just one we’re tracking in our Storms 2023: Road to Recovery section.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Santa Cruz County chapter is marking its 40th anniversary this year, and it’s a time when both the focus on mental health and demand for resources and education are higher than ever. “To have an organization speaking openly about it, offering accessible resources, people feel more like they can show up,” the local program director tells Mark Conley. “Just to be able to see, ‘Oh, there’s other people like me, there are other families like me.’”

In our Community Voices opinion section, meanwhile, advocate Reggie Meisler has some strong words for the City of Santa Cruz, which he contends is unfairly and unlawfully targeting those living in their vehicles around Natural Bridges State Beach.

Tuesday’s headlines also include Capitola institution Gayle’s Bakery celebrating its 45th birthday (on Valentine’s Day, no less), plus the latest COVID data from around Santa Cruz County, so please read along as we cover all that and more.

‘Managed retreat is on the table’: City discusses West Cliff’s future, will explore expanding one-way

The stretch of West Cliff Drive where a portion of sidewalk collapsed in November
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruzans could soon see West Cliff Drive become a one-way street all the way from Bay Street to Woodrow Avenue as city officials begin to seriously consider implementing a managed retreat strategy for the iconic stretch of coastal road. Max Chun has details from Monday night’s meeting.

SAVING WEST CLIFF: ‘If we decide not to do anything, then you will have nothing’

Housing Matters PROMOTED CONTENT ROADBLOCK (Strength in numbers: How data is helping solve homelessness)

You are not ‘totally alone in this’: NAMI’s 40 years of working to support those living with mental illness

Program Director Anastasia Baboulevitch and Director of Program Development Noeli Perez from NAMI Santa Cruz County.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The organization on the front lines of mental health awareness, advocacy and education has been around for four decades, but the work has ratcheted up exponentially in recent years. Many of those helping shed the stigma are among those whose lives were suddenly upended by the tragic consequences of unchecked mental health conditions. Mark Conley reports.

‘ONE MORE STEP TOWARD HEALING’: Scotts Valley High community commemorates suicide death of Mateo Deihl


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Santa Cruz County Job Board

Lots to chew over this Valentine’s Day, and here’s hoping you got some pointers from Lily Belli if you’re looking to celebrate with sweet treats. There’s plenty more where that came from, with her Lily Belli on Food newsletter only hours from arriving in inboxes. Sign up right here for that and all of Lookout’s other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts, and follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with what’s happening around Santa Cruz County.

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Be good, and I’ll see you all next time.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz