Tracy Cotten, owner of Mick's Automotive, surveys at a car in his shop in Live Oak.
(Alison Gamel / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Big housing numbers vs. small town, CARE Court coming and a mechanic’s view

Good morning, Lookout friends. It is Monday, April 24, and the forecast calls for a mostly sunny day around Santa Cruz County, with highs in the upper 60s for most of us.

A packed Lookout slate awaits; if you can’t wait for the tour, hop right in.
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Local politics and policy get top billing as we embark on a new workwee, with a pair of stories from Christopher Neely. With the city of Santa Cruz under state mandate for a threefold increase in the number of housing units it must permit over the next eight years, the city’s “small town” feel is on uncertain ground.

Monday also brings the latest installment of Christopher’s In the Public Interest newsletter, which this week leads off with the state’s system of courts with the power to compel people suffering from some mental health conditions into treatment. Santa Cruz County doesn’t have to implement its CARE Court until December 2024, but it’s definitely on the radar for many officials and observers.

Work life in Santa Cruz County is another Monday focus, with auto mechanic Tracy Cotten in the spotlight in Lookout’s How I Got My Job series. Kaya Henkes-Power talks to the owner of Mick’s Automotive about self-driving cars, the industry’s lackluster recruiting and more.

The day’s headlines also include a Wallace Baine check-in with the Santa Cruz-born Le Boeuf twins ahead of their return to Kuumbwa Jazz, so let’s get to it.

As state-mandated housing plan heads to city council, ‘small town’ Santa Cruz faces its future

Mission Street on Santa Cruz's Westside.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The city of Santa Cruz needs to build more than three times as many housing units in the next eight years as it did in the past eight. And the plan coming before the city council Tuesday shows a projected 4,457 units that can be permitted during that time. Most of them would be in along the city’s corridors — Mission, Ocean, Water and River streets and Soquel Avenue. Christopher Neely reports.

RELATED: As Santa Cruz County faces a mandate of fourfold increase in new housing, all stick, no carrot from state

In changing automotive times, Tracy Cotten talks recruitment, self-driving cars and detective work

Tracy Cotten, owner of Mick's Automotive.
(Alison Gamel / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Tracy Cotten, owner of Mick’s Automotive, spoke with Lookout about how he acquired the Live Oak vehicle repair shop, starting a green auto shop and the future of the auto mechanic industry. Check out the latest in our How I Got My Job series via Kaya Henkes-Power.

MORE HOW I GOT MY JOB: Academia to nonprofits, plumbing to cider, check out our series on working in Santa Cruz County


Santa Cruz County Job Board

Lots to take in as Monday dawns, and there’s more coming from Lookout, so you’ll want to stay tuned. There’s social media, of course, where you can follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; we also offer breaking news alerts via email and text in addition to all of our other newsletters, which you can sign up for here.

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Good luck with your Monday — I’m pulling for you.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz