Morning Lookout: Moms for Liberty, real estate’s slow summer & Santa Cruz eyes sales-tax boost
Top o’ the morning to you, Lookout friends. It’s Monday, Sept. 18, and the forecast calls for sunny skies around Santa Cruz County, with temperatures in the 80s in the mountains and 70s closer to the bay.
Max Chun was in Watsonville on Sunday for a meeting of Moms for Liberty, a controversial “parents’ rights” group that has opposed school vaccine mandates and teaching students about issues such as gender identity and systemic racism. Read on for what he saw and heard.
Max also has an update on the Santa Cruz County real estate market, where flat August sales were emblematic of the slow summer. But change could be on the way, agents tell him, with some who bought locally during the pandemic reconsidering those purchases.
Christopher Neely is in the mix, too, bringing word that voters in Santa Cruz could be asked to raise the city’s sales tax to help compensate for the expiration of a state grant that has helped fund homelessness response. That story is a preview of Christopher’s weekly newsletter covering county politics and policy — and you can sign up here for In the Public Interest.
The Monday headlines also include Wallace Baine’s look at what role public art should play in Santa Cruz’s ongoing makeover, so stick with me — we’ll hit those headlines after this view through the lens of Lookout photojournalist Kevin Painchaud:
Photo of the day
The Santa Cruz County Fair wrapped up Sunday, with the All Alaskan Racing Pigs drawing their usual big crowds of fairgoers. Between the animals and the food, carnival rides and produce, art and more, this year’s fair drew thousands to Watsonville — including Wallace Baine, who gives us a video overview here.
Controversial parents’ rights group Moms for Liberty held an event in Watsonville this weekend. Who are they?
The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Moms for Liberty an anti-government extremist group earlier this year. The group’s three-hour forum in Watsonville on Sunday featured a number of speakers who attacked schools’ approach to sex education — particularly LGBTQ+ and transgender topics. Its latest targets are two California Assembly bills that recently made it to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. Max Chun has more.
➤ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Make your voice heard on local issues and read what other Santa Cruzans are saying
Santa Cruz County realtors say housing market to strengthen as pandemic-era buyers rethink remote work, second homes
Santa Cruz County’s housing market had a slow summer, though home buyers still showed plenty of interest in more affordable South County and mountain communities. But with interest rates expected to dip by next year, some real estate agents say pandemic-era buyers might starting to sell — and competition could heat up. Details here.
Plenty to get you fueled up to tackle the looming workweek — but wait, there’s more coming from Lookout! Not only is In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s dispatch covering Santa Cruz County politics and policy, on its way, we’ve also got the latest high school sports roundup as part of the Monday lineup. How to get all that? I’m glad you asked — sign up here for all of Lookout’s other newsletters, and don’t forget our breaking news alerts, available via text and email. You can also stay current by following Lookout on social media — connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.
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Now get out there and give Monday a run for its money!
Lookout Santa Cruz