The Pajaro River breached its levee in March, flooding the community of Pajaro.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Pajaro levee repair questions, cows and methane, Cabrillo’s place in reckoning

Hello hello, friends and neighbors. It is Monday, Aug. 28, and the forecast is for plentiful sun around Santa Cruz County, with temperatures from the 70s at the coast to the low 90s in the hills.

If you’re gassed up and ready for the latest from Lookout, I won’t hold you back.
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It’s a policy and politics Monday here at Lookout, with Christopher Neely reporting from the Pajaro River levee on ongoing repair efforts. While crews are fixing the breach that flooded the town of Pajaro in March, many obstacles remain before long-promised work on the broader levee system can begin. Christopher also has an update on where a proposed affordable housing measure stands in Santa Cruz, so read on for that — and make sure you’re signed up for his newsletter, In the Public Interest, hitting inboxes later Monday.

Hillary Ojeda is along with a Q&A with Peter Aldhous, a UC Santa Cruz lecturer who’s one of the co-authors of a report on methane emissions from California cattle farms and the difficulty in regulating them. Stay tuned for both that Q&A and for the story from our partners at Inside Climate News.

The Monday headlines also include Wallace Baine’s column on where the Cabrillo College name-change process fits into a broader reckoning with California’s colonial past — onward.

As Pajaro River levee repairs begin, questions remain around the long-sought replacement

District 2 Supervisor Zach Friend speaks at a press conference convening the Pajaro River levee repairs.
(Christopher Neely / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Crews are working to repair the levee whose failure flooded the town of Pajaro in March, but the permitting requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act are among the obstacles that might delay the start of larger, systemwide repairs into 2025. Christopher Neely has details.

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Sign up here for Christopher Neely’s newsletter, sent Mondays, on Santa Cruz County politics and policy

UCSC science journalism lecturer Peter Aldhous on why Santa Cruzans should care about cattle, dairy pollution

For folks living in Santa Cruz County, the closest cattle and dairy farms are as much as two hours away. Still, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced on those farms, and thousands of others across the country, contribute to climate change, which itself contributes to a higher frequency of environmental disasters across the planet, and likely in Santa Cruz County. Hillary Ojeda interviews journalist and UCSC science communication lecturer Peter Aldhous about how state and federal rules fall short when it comes to tracking methane emissions from California’s largest cattle and dairy farms.

MORE FROM INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS: California’s top methane emitter is a vast cattle feedlot. Regulators are giving it a pass.


Santa Cruz County Job Board

That’s what I know as we roll into these last few days of August. There’s more to come from Lookout, as usual — In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s look at local politics and policy, hits inboxes later Monday, and you can sign up here to get that and all of Lookout’s other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via text and email, delivered right to you. Also coming is this week’s high school sports roundup, so check back with Lookout later, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads so you don’t miss a thing.

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

Take it easy this Monday — but take it!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz