Ann Lopez of the Center for Farmworker Families speaks during a presentation on pesticides to the Watsonville City Council.
Ann Lopez, executive director of the Center for Farmworker Families, speaks during a presentation on pesticides to the Watsonville City Council.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Housing plan OK, Watsonville anti-pesticide push and an overnight movie marathon

How goes it, Lookout fam? It is Wednesday, April 26, and we’ve got a summerlike forecast around Santa Cruz County, with a foggy start giving way to sun and 60s/70s closer to the bay and sunny and toasty mid-80s in the mountains.

It’s another jam-packed slate as we hit hump day, so if solo exploring is your jam, right this way.
JUMP TO ... Latest News | Opinion | Events | Guides | Puzzles | Obituaries

The city of Santa Cruz’s plan to build more than 3,700 housing units by 2031 is headed to the state for approval after the city council gave it a thumbs-up Tuesday, Christopher Neely reports. That’s a fourfold increase on what the city added during the most recent housing cycle.

Watsonville’s city council, meanwhile, moved toward a resolution that would call on Pajaro Valley’s agricultural producers to give up using pesticides on farms near schools, Hillary Ojeda reports. “You saw everyone is supportive of these efforts,” Mayor Eduardo Montesino said. “We don’t want to see families and kids harmed.”

The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds has a new interim CEO, Wallace Baine reports, approved Tuesday amid another contentious meeting of the fair’s board of directors. It’s the latest chapter in the turmoil that’s surrounded the fair since the state ousted CEO Dave Kegebein last fall.

And if you’ve wondered how Christopher Neely spends his time away from covering local politics and policy, you’ll want to keep reading. He recounts a marathon experience last weekend attending the Secret Film Festival, which started at midnight Saturday at the downtown Del Mar Theatre and wrapped around noon Sunday.

As if that weren’t enough, Wednesday’s headlines also have the latest in Santa Cruz County food and drink news from Jessica M. Pasko, including a Filipino pop-up downtown and reopenings for local faves in Zayante and Capitola Village. Let’s do it.

Watsonville City Council supports organic conversion near area schools

A farmworker who spoke during a city council meeting about the impact of pesticides on his family holds his son.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )

“I’ll be a supportive voice wherever you might need,” council member Maria Orozco told a crowd supporting the conversion of school-adjacent farms from pesticide use to organic methods Tuesday evening. By one estimate, only 18 of the 67 farms within a quarter-mile of schools in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District use organic farming. Hillary Ojeda has details.

PREVIOUSLY: Organic’s big South County moment: Might school-zone pesticide switch provide momentum for change?

Surviving Santa Cruz’s most Secret Film Festival

The Secret Film Festival
(Christopher Neely / Lookout Santa Cruz)

What’s it like to watch 12 hours of new films starting at midnight at the Del Mar Theatre? Correspondent Christopher Neely endured from “Polite Society” through “Sisu” before reemerging onto sunlit Pacific Avenue at noon Sunday. As longtime SFF theatergoers told him, it’s all in the biorhythms, “breakfast” timing — and what you could snag at the unusually supplied snack stand. Inside an unusual night in downtown Santa Cruz.

EVENTS IN SANTA CRUZ: Check out Lookout’s searchable BOLO calendar, your place to go for things to do


Santa Cruz County Job Board

That’s a lot of news, and there will be a test later. (No, for real — stay tuned later this week for Wallace Baine’s news quiz, and catch up on past quizzes here.) Stay up to date with everything going on around Santa Cruz County by following Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up here for breaking news alerts and our other newsletters.

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Be good, and I’ll see you all back here Thursday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz