Chayne Hampton of Santa Cruz Plumbing
Chayne Hampton of Santa Cruz Plumbing.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Public transit, civil grand jury in focus; one plumber’s journey

Hello again, Lookout friends. It is Monday, May 8, and the forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds, with perhaps more of the former as the day goes on, around Santa Cruz County, and highs in the 60s.

Raring to go on Lookout’s latest? Right this way.
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The future of public transit in Santa Cruz County is the topic for Michael Tree, and Max Chun sat down with the CEO of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District about his plans to boost ridership, where the most recent infusion of state funding is going and much more.

Also on the public policy and politics front is one of Lookout’s Monday standbys, Christopher Neely’s In the Public Interest newsletter. In focus this week is the civil grand jury process, its hits and misses over the years and how it’s viewed by local officials.

Another Monday feature looks at work around Santa Cruz County, and Kaya Henkes-Power is along with the latest in Lookout’s How I Got My Job series. Plumber Chayne Hampton is in the spotlight this week, talking about how he got into the business after serving a sentence at San Quentin State Prison.

And before we get to Monday’s headlines, a heads-up about an event happening Saturday for Lookout members:

Join Coastal Watershed Council river ecologist Kaiya Giuliano-Monroy and Lookout staffers on Saturday to learn more about the San Lorenzo River and get your hands dirty maintaining the native ecosystem along the riverbanks.

We invite Lookout members to meet the Lookout staff at Cat & Cloud at downtown Santa Cruz’s Abbott Square at 9:15 a.m. for a complimentary coffee and a walk along the riverwalk with Wallace Baine. We’ll discuss the upcoming changes and construction projects coming downtown as we make our way to the restoration site. Find more information here.

A lesson on the history of Santa Cruz’s literary scene is also among the Monday headlines, so let’s go there now.

$40 million later, Metro CEO Michael Tree’s priorities remain doubling ridership, zero emissions and housing

Santa Cruz METRO CEO Michael Tree
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Having managed four transit systems before making his way to Santa Cruz, Michael Tree lives and breathes public transportation. With a recently secured $40 million from the state, the head of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District sat down with Lookout to discuss what that money will help fund, how his past experience informs what to do in Santa Cruz, the difficulties in building passenger rail, and more. Here’s his Q&A with Max Chun.


The civil grand jury and the complexities of the public process

The Santa Cruz County building and courthouse on Ocean Street
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz County’s civil grand jury is in focus for Christopher Neely in this edition of In the Public Interest, as he digs into its purpose and hits and misses of past incarnations. Check out his latest newsletter.

CATCH UP ON PAST INSTALLMENTS: From housing policy to CARE Court and Kaiser’s deal with the county, In the Public Interest has it covered


Santa Cruz County Job Board

And it’s into another week we go. There’s more on the way from Lookout, so make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also offer breaking news alerts via text and email, plus a host of other newsletters, which you can sign up for here.

Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Courage, friends — have a good Monday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz