Pajaro resident Esperanza Esquivel shows a picture of the March 11 flood damage to her home.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Strain in Pajaro, West Cliff status meeting and a jazzy homecoming

A pleasant day to you, Santa Cruz County. It’s Thursday, April 27, and it’ll be a warm one in the mountains, with temps forecast to soar into the upper 80s, while spots closer to the bay will be in the 70s. A cooldown is coming, though, with some rain possible Monday night and beyond.

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More than six weeks after floodwaters inundated Pajaro, the recovery process remains a struggle for many residents, Hillary Ojeda reports. Some remain in the shelter at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, and others have seen their families separated as they try to navigate our pricey rental market, getting local, state and federal aid, and work that has been cut back or disappeared altogether.

Fallout from this winter’s storms is also on the agenda Thursday evening in downtown Santa Cruz, where a community meeting on the future of West Cliff Drive is happening at the London Nelson Community Center. Community group Save West Cliff is participating for the first time, Max Chun reports, part of a multipronged presentation on ongoing plans.

And in Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, Watsonville resident Takashi Mizuno writes about his fears that undocumented neighbors in Pajaro are being mistreated in the wake of disastrous flooding there in March. He’s heard about many turned away by officials who should be there to help, he writes, comparing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to an insurance company.

Read on for those headlines and more.

Piecemeal approach to Pajaro aid leaves farmworkers, community straining to move forward

Pajaro resident Esperanza Esquivel discusses the impacts of the Pajaro River levee breach.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )

More aid to the residents of Pajaro is being patched together, but the gaps in help and communication are complicating post-flood recovery efforts. More than 100 people remain at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds shelter as Pajaro evacuees have scattered throughout the area, seeking temporary housing. Meanwhile, many farmworkers’ jobs are in limbo as the flooded fields prevent work and have caused almost $50 million in farm loss, says Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau president Dennis Webb. Read more from Hillary Ojeda.

RELATED: Padilla, Panetta promise to ‘pressure’ pace of Pajaro levee project

Save West Cliff to participate in Thursday city meeting, unveil new resources

Enormous imported rocks, known as 'rip rap,' has been a tool to arrest coastal erosion
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The City of Santa Cruz will host a community meeting Thursday about the status of West Cliff Drive repairs and the one-way pilot project for the storm-ravaged coastal roadway. Community group Save West Cliff will present resources of its own that it hopes will serve as a valuable resource to the agencies planning the road’s future. Max Chun has a preview.

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


And our week marches right along. Thursday means that the weekend isn’t too far off, a veritable bat-signal for Wallace Baine. He’ll be by presently with Weekender, a weekly roundup of Santa Cruz County’s arts and culture scene, complete with his Baine’s Nine slate of recommendations for things to do all over. You can get Weekender and all of Lookout’s newsletters delivered directly to you, along with breaking news alerts, by clicking right here. And you know we’re on the socials, too: Follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Stay cool, friends, and have a good day.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz