Inside Lookout: Events! Elections! ICYMI... and the NEXTies

Lookout logo at event
On May 12 candidates for State Assembly District 28 and 3rd District Santa Cruz County Supervisor turned out for a forum moderated by Lookout’s Community Voices editor, Jody K. Biehl.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The candidates at our recent election forum eyed the audience, still having to accustom themselves to talking to that many voters in person. “This is the most people we’ve seen at an event,” one of the candidates told me. If still uneasy, “in-person” is the magic word of 2022.

What a weird time, again. As COVID cases go up – who of us doesn’t know someone who has gotten it in the last month or two – we still plan to be in person as much as possible, weighing risk and reward as best we can. Last week, I spent a couple of minutes playing whack-a-mole with the seating chart for the upcoming Dylan concert at the Civic. And in fact, with the help of my friend Wallace Baine’s newly B9’ed-up Thursday Weekender column (sign up here for texts, letting you know it’s out), I see a stretch of June that ranges from Tommy Prine, John’s son, at Michael’s on Main to Lyle Lovett at the Mountain Winery to Dylan – in three days, night after night.

We designed Lookout to give you the best and earliest takes on all the things happening in Santa Cruz County, and Wallace and Lilly Belli (On Food!) lead that coverage so well.

Our community role, of course, goes beyond the fun.

The election forum, put together with our event partners, Santa Cruz County Business Council, the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz Works, Downtown Association of Santa Cruz and Hotel Paradox, is just the beginning of a new season of events, the next one on Wednesday with Housing Santa Cruz County. We’ll have more forums on key community issues, offer a new round of Insider Events for members and can now let you know about a formal announcement coming...

A crowd watched Liz Lawler, Gail Pellerin, Rob Rennie and Joe Thompson answer questions from Jody K. Biehl.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Event Santa Cruz and Lookout now will present the return of …. The NEXTies, together. The Nexties debuted in 2010, went virtual in 2020 and paused last year. Together we’ll be celebrating the best and brightest in the Santa Cruz community, ones we think you’ll be on the lookout for. We’ll be awarding winners like Entrepreneur of the Year, New Business of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Band of the Year, with new accolades coming under this new partnership. More details, soon.

Our whole team of 16, including interns, really enjoyed another event of the last month: the long-delayed Lookout Open House where we could talk directly with members and partners. Though we are profoundly digital – what isn’t these days – we are also terrestrial. Lookout is all about local, being here now, and exploring this place in time with you. That means sponsoring and co-sponsoring lots of events – look for more announcements soon – and of course reporting and meeting people every day throughout the county. That’s community journalism, and now pre-post-COVID, we can finally do it.

Become a Member

This week, we’re making it easier for non-member readers to join us. We’re offering a special 20% savings on membership – and you still get to support one of your favorite community nonprofits with every membership. Use offer code spring or sign uphere.

The Season of Decision

Our mid-May Forum did what we wanted it to do – push the candidates, in this case for the North County Supervisor’s seat and the 28th Assembly District – to tell us where they stand on key issues, what voters should know about how they differ from their opponents and how they would approach the many issues before us all. We succeeded, and if you missed it, find all the coverage of the session (and separate Zooms of each hour) here. And lots more.

This is the first election Lookout has been privileged to cover, since we launched just after the 2020 contest, and our Election 2022 information grows day by day, with the most complete coverage in the county. There, you’ll find Lookout’s own coverage of all the local races and coverage of the statewide races from our content partners at the L.A. Times and CalMatters. And our fast-growing, election-related Community Voices.

In the week ahead, we take on the anxious “D” word, as in Measure D. Wallace has already captured much of the common angst around it — and in the two weeks ahead, you’ll read coverage of the knotty issue from multiple points of view and data.

New in Partnerships

On the business side, we’re continuing to serve more than 30 of the most well-respected and community-centered local businesses and organizations in Santa Cruz County. New this month – the Local Offers Carousel. Find Yoso Wellness, Santa Cruz Farmers Market, and Home by Zinnia’s as the carousel rotates through their latest social media posts on our homepage and below all Lookout articles. Contact Ashley Holmes to get your account connected,

Hiring? Join our weekly “10 Hot Jobs” article published every Monday. This new weekly feature has been circulating widely to reach the best local and regional candidates and it’s well-scanned, shared across newsletters, Apple News, LinkedIn and Facebook. Employers joining up with our Santa Cruz County Job Board get the best deal by purchasing a four- or eight-job bundle for 25% off our standard listings. Buy individual listings here or save with bundles here.


I’m proud to note how much many of you liked the great work our team is producing each day and week. In fact, we see it in our “traffic” numbers, which are hitting a high point this very month.

In case you missed some of our best work this month, here it is and, remember, this is the shortlist. (And yes, you’ll need to be a member to read it all, but that’s not hard. Do it here: Become a member today.)

Criminal Justice and Climate Change

While Lookout covers the county as thoroughly as we can, we’ve also aimed to bring the wider world – Bay Area, California, the U.S. and the globe – to you selectively through our content partners. Early on, that has included the L.A. Times, CalMatters and Kaiser Health News. Now, we’re increasingly working with The Marshall Project, focused on criminal justice, and InsideClimate News, centered on the biggest issue of our time, global warming.

California’s longest-serving death row prisoner on isolation, survival and his Native identity,” picked up from the Marshall Project, told an incredible story of life inside just last week.

Please let me know if you’d like to see more such partner content,

More Graduates!

Special congrats to three of our Lookout interns, who graduate this spring.

Each has propelled our Community & Commerce team forward this year, advancing lots of relationships with small businesses and nonprofits, a number of which have joined our Marketing Partners program.

Christian Abraham, who’s been with us for 10 months, completes his major in Film & Digital Media at UCSC. And both Riley Engel and Lara Aguirre Medina finish their double-major degrees, both in Film & Digital Media and Business Economics from UCSC as well.

Into the summer and fall, we have new internship opportunities, listed here, and a new nine-month Community & Commerce residency as well. Click here to learn about the Business Development Residency position available now.

In our first 18 months, Lookout has hosted eight interns, drawn from several departments at UCSC and Cabrillo College. We especially want to thank Ron Kustek, Cabrillo business professor, and Jasmine Graze at the UCSC Economics Field Study Program for recommending some great students and sharing our internships with the wider student audience.

Tech Update:

We’ve kept you apprised on our tech update, which will make it easier for you to get and stay logged into Lookout. We now have about a month to go on that, so thanks again for your patience. Related: We’re glad you like our new Puzzle Center, and we know there’s an issue with an icon that’s blocking the best use on mobile. That will be fixed at the same time. We’ll let you know when the fixes are all done soon.

trivia night

One more sneak peek: A half-dozen of us even ventured out to the Westside’s Upper Crust Pizza for its Wednesday night trivia contest, as we prep for the launch of our Wallace Baine-hosted Lookout trivia nights at Abbott Square this summer. Details to come.