Ryan Coonerty is bidding farewell to public life after 16 years in office. Here, he talks about his legacy, his Santa...
A damp good morning to you, Lookout friends. It is Tuesday, Dec. 27, and rain — possibly heavy at times — and gusty winds are in the forecast for Santa Cruz County, and with a flood advisory in effect until afternoon, it’s a good day to stay home if possible, and take it slow if you do need to venture out.
Wallace Baine launches a year-end series looking back at prominent people Santa Cruz County lost in 2022, remembering Mas Hashimoto, who devoted his life to telling the story of the incarceration he and thousands of Japanese Americans faced during World War II, and who taught generations at Watsonville High while fighting for a more inclusive community.
Our Unsung Santa Cruz series — Lookout profiles of ordinary Santa Cruzans doing extraordinary things — continues. Christopher Neely introduces us to Tonje Switzer, who lost her Bonny Doon home in the 2020 CZU fire and is now a driving force for neighbors still navigating the rebuilding process. We’ve also got chapters from Max Chun (on a pair of locals helping young adults with disabilities find independent footing), Hillary Ojeda (on an educator whose classroom and sex-ed curriculum help students feel safe) and Wallace (on one man’s efforts to connect volunteers to environmental activism), so please read on to find those.
And in our Community Voices opinion section, Ryan Coonerty writes about what he learned as county supervisor as that tenure comes to an end.
Lots of headlines, so let’s take a peek.
Mas Hashimoto’s relentless campaign to remember
Masaru “Mas” Hashimoto, who died in June at age 86, made it his mission to spread the word about what he and thousands of Japanese Americans endured when they were incarcerated in camps during World War II, and fought for inclusion as he taught history at Watsonville High. Wallace Baine has the first in our Remembrance 2022 series.
➤ MORE FROM WALLACE: Find all of his columns in one place
Tonje Switzer’s ‘condoned activism’ helps others through long-term CZU recovery
Bonny Doon resident Tonje Switzer has turned the experience of her home burning down in the CZU fire into a way to help others through post-fire recovery. “Her story,” says one person who knows it, “is one of a clear-eyed motivation to succeed in values-driven work, leaving a trail of people better off, and community better built, in her wake.” Christopher Neely profiles another Unsung Santa Cruz hero.
One more thing before I go: Lookout is working on an ongoing series exploring working life and we’d love your input. How did you get your job? What do you love most about it? What are the biggest challenges? What do students and recent graduates need to know about how to get into your industry? Share your stories and career advice with us — email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “career advice” in the subject line.
All in all, plenty to chew on this Tuesday. Follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with that’s happening around Santa Cruz County — and click here to get breaking news and all of our newsletters delivered right to you.
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Please stay safe, folks, and I’ll see you Wednesday.
Lookout Santa Cruz