Robert Rivas sits in attendance as he awaits his swearing-in as Assembly speaker at the state Capitol in Sacramento.
(Rahul Lal / CalMatters)
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Morning Lookout: Santa Cruz leaders head to Sacramento, Lily Belli returns, and a Joby-ized future

Happy Monday, readers! Today is July 3rd. We’re expecting partly cloudy skies with a high of 67F. The forecast calls for slightly cooler temperatures for the July Fourth holiday tomorrow: 64F and partly sunny. However, the National Weather Service is warning residents to be extra cautious around the area’s crowded beaches during the holiday. Ocean temperatures are running slightly cooler than normal for this time of year.

Now time for the headlines.

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Christopher Neely traveled to Sacramento along with nearly a dozen Santa Cruz political leaders to watch as District 29 Assemblymember Robert Rivas was sworn-in as speaker of the California Assembly. Local leaders are hopeful that having one of their own in the powerful position will give the Central Coast more of a voice in state policymaking. Rivas’s district extends into Watsonville, Freedom and Corralitos.

Next, we bring you the latest installment in our How I Got My Job career series. Tiffany Harmon, owner of Aptos-based Seahorse Swim School, turned her lifelong love of the water into a business. Along the way, she has navigated challenges such as the death of both of her parents, the closure of her business during the pandemic and an ongoing staffing shortage,

We will pause our regular daily newsletters (including this one) on Tuesday for July 4th. So Lily Belli returns to her Lily Belli on Food newsletter a day early — later today — with all the updates on the Santa Cruz County food scene.

Lastly, if you missed Wallace Baine’s Sunday column on Santa Cruz-based air taxi company Joby, it’s a must-read for anyone who is wondering what a world of on-demand, short-hop air travel might mean for the future of our communities and our society.

Santa Cruz County leaders gather in Sacramento as Rivas sworn in as Assembly speaker after bitter battle

Robert Rivas speaks at a press conference following his swearing-in as speaker of the California Assembly.
(Christopher Neely / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Robert Rivas, whose district includes stretches into Watsonville, Freedom and Corralitos, drew a powerhouse lineup to his swearing in, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, along with a host of Santa Cruz County political leaders such as District 28’s Gail Pellerin, county Supervisors Bruce McPherson and Zach Friend and Sen. John Laird. Read Christopher Neely’s dispatch from state capital.

MORE COVERAGE: Analysis: Democratic factions vie for power in Assembly in Speaker faceoff

How I Got My Job: Swim school entrepreneur Tiffany Harmon on surviving the pandemic as small business owner

Tiffany Harmon laughing
Tiffany Harmon laughing
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Swim school owner Tiffany Harmon turned her love for water safety into a career teaching swim lessons and training others in water safety. Through issues with staffing, COVID-19, and personal loss, Harmon has found support in mentors and small business resources. Read Gabrielle Gillette’s story here.

MORE COVERAGE: How I Got My Job: NOAA fish researcher Tom Laidig on spending 31 days at sea for work

Read the full How I Got My Job series here.

Later today: Lily Belli returns with a special Monday newsletter

Inside Lulu Carpenter's new Westside cafe.
(Via Lulu Carpenter’s)

Lily returns to her Lily Belli on Food newsletter for the first time since she took a break last March to have a baby. (Thanks to Jessica M. Pasko for keeping us abreast of Santa Cruz County’s dining news during Lily’s leave.) We’re bringing you Lily’s Tuesday newsletter a day early this week because of the Independence Day holiday.

She previews Cavalletta, a new California/Italian-style restaurant headed by Nick Sherman, chef/owner of Trestles in Capitola, and partner Shawn Ryberg, that is set to take over the Aptos space recently vacated by the short-lived Restaurant Malik Williams later this year. Over in Rio Del Mar, Venus Spirits Beachside will reopen in July after an extensive renovation. Sign up to read this and more food news from Lily Belli on Food later today.

PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS: Sampa Kitchen’s new spot, summer fun, road-tripping and passing back the baton

ICYMI: SFO in half an hour? Where will Joby’s take-off end up taking us?

Joby Aviation's first production line aircraft was unveiled at an event on Wednesday.
Joby Aviation’s first production line aircraft was unveiled at an event on Wednesday. The aircraft is the first in the industry to be produced by an assembly line certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘Helicopter’, ‘air taxi,’ ‘peopled drone’ or ‘eVTOL,’ Joby’s potential revolution opens a world of possibilities. Will it solve some of the more pressing problems of urban life or create a world in which some people live like the Jetsons while others are still Flintstones? Wallace Baine attended the Santa Cruz company’s demonstration flight in Marina last week and wonders what the societal implications are for this burgeoning new industry. Read his column here.

MORE COVERAGE: Joby Aviation’s vision of becoming the Uber of the skies is one step closer to reality



We’ll have other news headed your way later today, but that should be plenty to tide you over for the long weekend. Lookout will be pausing its newsletters on the Tuesday holiday.

July Fourth is a good time to remind ourselves how crucial independent local journalism is to this democratic experiment of ours. All this content isn’t possible without community support, so please consider becoming a Lookout member (if you’re not already, of course).

Head this way at all of Lookout’s newsletters, along with breaking news alerts via email and text. And be sure to follow us on social media to stay current with the latest Santa Cruz County news. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

May the Fourth be with you — and see you back here Wednesday morning!

Tamsin McMahon
Lookout Santa Cruz