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By Eric Johnson
Published Jun 10, 2024

The Importance of Planning

Before we get to our featured article and all the other good stuff, I need to own up to a mistake that illustrates a point about planning. In the May 28 edition of The Newsletter, I announced the publication of our first book, How California Works: Building Democracy in the Golden State, by the great Jon Vankin. If you missed the big announcement, that’s on me, because I scheduled it for the day after Memorial Day. Not the best timing for a book launch.

In my defense, some last-minute snafus had delayed publication, and I was eager to let you know about the book as soon as that was possible. This is a hopeful book that can be an antidote to the dire news we are confronted with daily—it’s filled with true stories about the ways, at its best, California is leading the world toward a better future

I also forgot to say this last month: Here's how to empower yourself as a citizen AND support local journalism: Find How California Works on Amazon; available in hardcover, softcover and digital (Kindle). 


The General Plan: Your Community’s Map to the Future

I say How California Works is a hopeful book because when you really see how local government functions, you have to be a little bit amazed. Our friend and colleague Chris Neklason has written about how building the database underlying California Local—discovering the elected bodies and volunteer boards that safeguard your tax dollars—hipped him to The Genius of Democracy

This week Chris explains how a  General Plan serves as the “constitution” of every incorporated community in the state—enumerating the long-term vision, priorities, goals, objectives and policies informing community governance—especially with regard to land use decisions. Good stuff to know.


The Central Role of Planning in California Government

Incorporated communities in California must manage local resources and your tax dollars according to a plan.
General Plans, mandated by the state and carried out by local counties, cities, and other municipalities, serve as a locality’s ‘constitution'.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Spring! cookbook.


Grilled corn the base for a delicious salad

A cilantro-lime dressing ties together the grilled vegetables in this salad. Add sliced grilled chicken or other protein to make it an entree dish.
New! Late-spring combination works for summer cookouts, too


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Santa Cruz County's Homepage

Our overview page for Santa Cruz County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to https://santacruz.californialocal.com/ to catch up on the latest news in California and Santa Cruz County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!


Get to Know a Group

Central Coast Community Energy logo Central Coast Community Energy

Central Coast Community Energy is a Community Choice Energy Agency established to source clean and renewable electricity for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties and parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties while retaining local utility providers’ traditional role delivering power and maintaining electric infrastructure as well as billing.

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From Our Media Allies

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Benito Link logo Condor Update 2024: Central Coast Population Stands at 100

Nine chicks have hatched and two remain to hatch this season.

Good Times logo Judge Orders End to UCSC Strike

An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the University of California and ordered a temporary stop to all striking activities by the United Auto Workers through June 27.

KSQD logo Happy 100th Giant Dipper!

The Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk turned 100 years old on May 17th, 2024.

Press Banner logo California State Parks to Begin Prescribed Burn at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on June 10

Fire personnel from California State Parks are planning to conduct a 13-acre prescribed burn near the observation platform at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on Monday, June 10, with alternate dates of June 11 or 12.

Press Banner logo Scotts Valley Makes a Splash With Reopening of Siltanen Family Swim Center

While the City of Scotts Valley has exploded with retail and dining opportunities in the past several years, city leaders have discovered another way to help local residents keep their cool during the summer heat.

The Pajaronian logo Kim De Serpa Kicks Off Her Campaign at the Shadowbrook

On June 5, Kim De Serpa kicked off her campaign for 2nd District Supervisor while celebrating her birthday at The Shadowbrook restaurant.

Santa Cruz Local logo Less Money for Road Maintenance in Approved Santa Cruz County Budget

Santa Cruz County supervisors on Tuesday approved a budget that was 10.5% smaller than the prior fiscal year and had 16% less money for road maintenance.

Good Times logo Hurt on a Hike: Pine Valley Trail Hike, Carmel Valley

Laurence Bedford tells me that for his hiking buddy Sven Davis, “Minimalism gets to be a religion.” Laurence grins and explains that Sven cut the handle off his toothbrush to save the weight. And that as Sven reads his books, …

Good Times logo Food Bin Housing Approved

The Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved a 48-unit housing project at the current site of the Food Bin and Herb Room on May 28 after the developer submitted plans for 59 units on the site.

Hilltromper Santa Cruz logo The Stories of the Castro Adobe

With the unveiling of new interpretive exhibits, the once-crumbling Castro Adobe emerges as a first-rate State Historic Park.

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Recent Local News

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• Report Finds County Roads "Deplorable"

The Santa Cruz County Civil Grand Jury released a report on the state of the 586 miles of county-maintained roads, finding them inadequately funded and maintained.

(06/10/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Big Sur Is Back

Photos spotlight the beauty of the Big Sur community.

(06/06/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay

• Additional Funding for Highway 1 Project Approved

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission approved an additional $3 million for the Highway 1 expansion project to cover cost overruns.

(06/06/2024) → Lookout Local

• Santa Cruz Shakespeare's 11th Season Approaching

Season 11 will be the biggest yet, with two plays by William Shakespeare and two by other authors.

(06/06/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Clocktower Development Unveiled

The proposal for the 16-story 260-unit Clocktower Center housing development in Santa Cruz was presented on June 6.

(06/05/2024) → Lookout Local

• La Bahia Hotel Advances

The long-delayed 155 room La Bahia Hotel and Spa is making progress toward a spring 2025 opening.

(06/05/2024) → Lookout Local

• City of Santa Cruz Downtown Plan Expansion Project Open for Review

On June 4, the City of Santa Cruz released a draft of the Downtown Plan Expansion project documents for public review.

(06/05/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• UCSC Chancellor Defends Use of Police

In a statement posted to the UCSC website on June 4, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive defended use of police to break up a pro-Palestine encampment in the interest of campus safety.

(06/04/2024) → Lookout Local

• Aptos High Students Build Tiny Home

Aptos High School building and construction trades program students recently completed construction of a 20-foot by 8-foot tiny home.

(06/04/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
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Recent Statewide News

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• Sports Complex Unveiled as Part of California Forever

A rendering for a Solano Sports Complex development with facilities for baseball, basketball, football, swimming, tennis, volleyball, pickleball and other sports was released as part of the California Forever project in east Solano County.

(06/07/2024) → SF Gate

• CalMatters Hosts Big Ideas Festival

The two-day CalMatters Ideas Festival wrapped on June 6 with more than a dozen events examining critical policy issues impacting the lives of millions of Californians.

(06/07/2024) → CalMatters

• The California Maternity Wards That Are Staying Open

Over the last decade, nearly 50 maternity wards have closed across California, with more than half shutting down in just the last four years.

(06/06/2024) → CalMatters

• Land Trust Announces Opposition to California Forever

On June 6, the Solano Land Trust announced its opposition to the California Forever project to build a new community housing up to 400,000 people in the county.

(06/06/2024) → The Mercury News

• How Best to Reduce California Homelessness?

A panel at the CalMatters Ideas Festival debates how to reduce homelessness without punishing poverty. There’s worry about a potential $1 billion cut in state funding.

(06/06/2024) → CalMatters

• The Future for California Workers Is Apprenticeships

A panel of labor experts at the CalMatters Ideas Festival say California workers should have more access to more apprenticeships that pay more. Barriers still exist, especially for women and low-income Californians.

(06/06/2024) → CalMatters

• New Reservoir Project Advances

The $4.5 billion Sites Reservoir project is advancing after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

(06/05/2024) → The Mercury News

• A Look at Police dispatches to Schools

EdSource reports that police are dispatched thousands of times per school day across California.

(06/05/2024) → EdSource

• California Seeks a More Resilient Water Supply as Familiar Sides Battle for Access

A new study, conducted by researchers at three University of California campuses, projects that a combination of factors will reduce California’s water supply by up to 9 million acre-feet a year.

(06/05/2024) → CalMatters

• California Made It Easier to Vote, but Some With Disabilities Still Face Barriers

California is hailed as a national leader for voting access. But visually impaired voters and their advocates say they still face unnecessary barriers, despite bills and lawsuits. Some election officials raise security concerns.

(06/04/2024) → CalMatters

• California Homelessness Funding Is on the Chopping Block. Will It Make the Final Budget?

It’s the billion-dollar question. That’s how much cities and other local governments have been receiving from the state each year to deal with California's ever-increasing population of homeless people.

(06/04/2024) → CalMatters

• Why CA Families Are Getting a Tax Surprise for Health Care

For families seeking affordable health insurance, the state’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California, can provide major relief. But if they’re not careful, they can get hit by an unexpected federal tax bill.

(06/04/2024) → CalMatters
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Government Announcements

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Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (06/10/2024)

6/10/2024 - “The Letters” Sculpture Installed at the Live Oak Library Annex

Image of United States seal. United States   (06/07/2024)

Green Life Farms Issues Voluntary Recall of Baby Arugula Because of Possible Health Risk

Lake Worth, FL (June 7, 2024) - Green Life Farms is voluntarily recalling one lot of its 4-ounce containers of Baby Arugula because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella may include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Illness usually occurs within 12 t
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/07/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Frozen Ready-To-Eat Bao Curry Chicken Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for product labeled as bao Thai-style curry chicken...
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/06/2024)

Robert Rivas CA Assembly 29:
Speaker Rivas, Pro Tem McGuire Announce Joint Legislative Budget Proposal, Hearings Scheduled This Week

Speaker Rivas, Pro Tem McGuire Announce Joint Legislative Budget Proposal, Hearings Scheduled This Week hagamasc Thu, 06/06/2024 - 11:05 Title Press Secretary Email Cynthia.Moreno@asm.ca.gov Phone 916-319-2029 Wednesday, May 29, 2024 SACRAMENTO Today, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and Senate Pro Tem Mike McGuire (D-North Coast) announced a joint legislative budget proposal and plans for budget committee hearings beginning this week. …
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/04/2024)

New Seasons Market Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almonds in Strawberry Rhubarb Bakewell Tart

June 4, 2024, New Seasons Market of Portland, Oregon is recalling Strawberry Rhubarb Bakewell Tart, because it contains undeclared almond. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almond run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/04/2024)

South American Meat Inc. Recalls Frozen Raw Beef Products Imported Without Benefit of Import Reinspection

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2024 - South American Meat Inc., also known as 5Gogi LLC, an importer located in Commerce, Calif., is recalling approximately 20,111 pounds of various eligible frozen raw...
Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (06/04/2024)

6/4/2024 - Board Approves 2024-25 Proposed Budget

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (06/04/2024)

6/4/2024 - Board Greenlights Bridge Housing Facility

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (06/04/2024)

6/4/2024 - Senate Bill 9 Ordinance Vurtual Public Outreach Meeting Scheduled for June 12

Image of United States seal. United States   (06/03/2024)

UBC Food Distributors Recalls Baraka Brand Ground Black Pepper Spice Because of Possible Health Risk Announcement

UBC Food Distributors in Dearborn Michigan is recalling the Ground Black Pepper under the Baraka brand name in 7oz plastic containers 7oz * 10 With UPC code 8 22514 26626 6 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infect