The Santa Cruz County building on Ocean Street
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: County budget deficits loom, fair’s interim CEO & plea from a health worker

A pleasant morning to you, friends and neighbors. It’s Thursday, May 11, and mostly sunny skies is the forecast for Santa Cruz County, with temperatures warming to near 70 in many spots.

No time for my guided tour? This way to Lookout’s latest.
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It’s a gloomy future as far as Santa Cruz County’s budget is concerned, Christopher Neely reports after a first round of budget hearings this week. It’s a complicated equation that includes federal recession predictions, state budget shortfalls and local tax revenues coming in under expectations.

We’re just about four months from the opening of the Santa Cruz County Fair, and after turmoil has roiled the organization in recent months, its interim CEO says things are on track for “a very good fair this year.” Wallace Baine was on hand as Ken Alstott briefed the media after a couple weeks on the job.

And in Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, one Watsonville worker gives a forceful endorsement of state Senate Bill 525, which would deliver what Nathaly Rodriguez says is a desperately needed boost to the minimum wage for health care workers.

Your Thursday headlines await ...

Santa Cruz County foresees a future of budget deficits and slimmed services

As Santa Cruz County begins building out its budget for 2023-24, leaders warn that the county might have to tighten its belt in coming years to stave off a potential deficit fueled by a possible recession, disappointing income from cannabis and disposable-cup taxes and expenses related to natural disasters. Get the details from Christopher Neely.

FROM JANUARY: With FEMA back, Santa Cruz County asks: Where is the $68M reimbursement for pandemic, CZU fire expenses?

I’m a health care worker in Watsonville with four kids to feed: We need a $25/hour minimum wage

A nurse writes down readings of instrument connected to a coronavirus patient hooked up to a ventilator
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Nathaly Rodriguez is a lactation consultant in Watsonville and is tired of seeing her colleagues leave for better jobs and higher pay. People in our community need more services, she says. The answer is simple: higher wages. She advocates for the passage of state Senate Bill 525. Read her Community Voices op-ed here.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Submit a letter to the editor and read what Santa Cruzans are saying about local issues


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That’s a good start to our Thursday, but as usual, there’s more coming from Lookout. That list includes the latest Weekender, Wallace Baine’s newsletter encompassing all things Santa Cruz County arts and culture. The recommendation-packed missive will be finding its way to inboxes in mere hours, and you can sign up right here for that and all of our newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via text and email. Lookout is also on social media, and you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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.

Have a great Thursday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz