UCSC first-year student Eva Hecht says antisemitic incidents are regularly happening on campus.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )
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Morning Lookout: Jewish students press UCSC; difficulties of investigating, tracking hate crimes

Hello, all. It is Wednesday, May 10, and Santa Cruz County will see a mix of sun and clouds with temperatures in the 60s — and there’s a warmup on the way as we head toward Mother’s Day weekend.

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Recent antisemitic incidents continue to ripple across the UC Santa Cruz community and beyond, and Hillary Ojeda and Max Chun have a pair of stories. “We’re so used to being targeted here that people don’t feel like it’s worth having their story told,” one Jewish student says of her experience at UCSC, where she and others have been meeting regularly with campus officials to push for more support and resources.

Investigating such incidents is often difficult, law enforcement officials tell Lookout, with Santa Cruz Police Chief Bernie Escalante noting that the difference between hate crimes and hate incidents is “very gray.” His agency, the UCSC police department, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and the district attorney’s office weren’t immediately able to provide data on local incidents.

Elsewhere, Wallace Baine is along with a look ahead to an upcoming celebration of Santa Cruz County’s artist of the year, with highly regarded poet and translator Stephen Kessler taking to the stage May 20 at Kuumbwa Jazz.

And Christopher Neely has this dispatch from Santa Cruz City Hall:

The Santa Cruz City Council’s unanimous decision Tuesday to spend $250,000 on trash cleanup at Pogonip ahead of the clearing of a homeless encampment there offered a proxy debate over the merits of continuing to clear out encampments while the city has such limited shelter and housing capacity.

Although Mayor Fred Keeley said the city has a “greater obligation than what we’ve undertaken so far” in addressing homelessness, he said the county and state governments are better designed to tackle homelessness than individual cities.

Councilmember Sandy Brown, who has come out against encampment clearouts in the past, said she supported this latest effort as the “fire danger is very real” in having an unmanaged encampment, with possible open fires, within a wooded area. A city representative said the city counted up to 75 tents in the sloped, wooded area along Highway 9, and that the clearing would occur in a phased approach beginning in two weeks.

The Wednesday headlines also include the latest in local food and drink news, including the chef of Capitola’s highly regarded Trestles taking over the Aptos spot formerly occupied by Restaurant Malik Williams — so please, read along.

UCSC Jewish students, leaders say more has to be done to help students feel safe

UCSC third-year student Donna Harel says antisemitic incidents are regularly occurring on campus
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )

Weeks after two antisemitic incidents connected to campus, Jewish students have been meeting with UC Santa Cruz officials to discuss what kinds of support and resources they need on campus. Students and Jewish leaders say they believe antisemitism has been a major problem at UCSC. Hillary Ojeda and Max Chun report.

HATE CRIMES IN SANTA CRUZ: Investigating often difficult, officials say, and incidence data not readily available

Stephen Kessler’s literary journey takes him to the pinnacle of county’s artist of the year

Stephen Kessler, Santa Cruz County's 2023 artist of the year
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year Stephen Kessler gets the star treatment May 20 in a celebration of his work as a poet and translator in a free event at Kuumbwa Jazz. Wallace Baine has the story.

A SNAPSHOT IN TIME: Looking back at a 50-year-old photograph showing the glories and shortcomings of Santa Cruz’s literary scene


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A full slate as we hit another hump day. Lookout has more coming, of course, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current with goings-on around Santa Cruz County. We also offer breaking news alerts via email and text, to say nothing of all our other newsletters, which you can sign up for here.

Before I sign off, 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 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.

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

Keep on truckin’, and I’ll see you back here Thursday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz