Happy MLK Day, California. A reminder that this day was dedicated to volunteerism when Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act of 1990, encouraging Americans to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy “with acts of civic work and community service.” If you are in a position to do that and plan to do so, we commend you.
And a reminder that below our featured articles, you will find an easily digestible digest of curated news from trusted sources.
Are Fatal ‘Accidents’ a Form of Violence?
This week we begin with the first of two articles about unnecessary losses of life. Jon Vankin writes about the increasing phenomenon of “traffic violence,” which is also known as the automobile “accident.” As you will see, thousands of Californians lose their lives each year because we’ve designed our transportation system to optimize for cars instead of people. Meanwhile, pedestrians are being killed by distracted drivers in bigger and bigger cars in devastating numbers.
Reading ‘The Wisdom of Plagues’ on COVID
In his new book, a former New York Times science reporter and expert on pandemics writes: “If the lies hadn’t been told ... we really would’ve ended up with only about 600,000 dead instead of 1.1 million dead.” I consider the book’s harrowing truths while suffering from a late case of COVID-19.
COVID Still Sucks
A new book, ‘The Wisdom of Plagues,’ makes me feel angry that I contracted the disease in what should be the post-COVID era.
Mickey Mouse Is Free
For generations, US copyright law was determined largely by the value of one iconic piece of intellectual property. The fascinating tale of the Walt Disney Company’s successful campaign to protect the world’s most famous mouse, which has finally come to an end.
• Capitola City Council Probes Wharf Damage, Outlook
At its meeting Jan. 11, which also happened to be the 75th anniversary of the city’s incorporation, the Capitola City Council received a comprehensive review of the Dec. 28 winter storm event damage.
(01/15/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
• Legislature’s Analyst Gives Mixed Review of Newsom Budget
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recipe for digging the state out of a multibillion-dollar budget hole has “strengths and weaknesses” while his revenue projections are “plausible, but optimistic,” the nonpartisan analyst’s office said.
(01/13/2024) → CalMatters
• UCSC Faculty Hoping for New Online Creative Technologies Major
UC Santa Cruz will provide a ”first of its kind” bachelor of arts in Creative Technologies beginning in fall 2024.
(01/12/2024) → City on a Hill
• Cabrillo-UCSC Joint Housing Project Groundbreaking Delayed to 2025
Cabrillo College President Matt Wetstein says the challenges of doing a joint housing project with the University of California are delaying the groundbreaking of the complex planned for Cabrillo's Aptos campus.
(01/12/2024) → Read the full Lookout Local report
• Capitola Bar and Grill Closing This Month
A sports bar along the Capitola Esplanade will be closing amid a years-long feud between the business owners, the landlord and his son.
(01/12/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
• State Budget Cuts May Ax Santa Cruz County Resentencing Relief Fund
State funding that has helped fuel a second look at dozens of Santa Cruz County convictions over the past two years may be eliminated in the coming year’s budget.
(01/11/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
• UCSC Whistleblower Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Workings of Big Donations
A former UC Santa Cruz deputy development director claims a retaliatory firing after she complained about a scheme by a consultant to mislead and pressure campus donors. Officials call the claims “absurd.”
(01/11/2024) → Read the full Lookout Local report
• The World’s Next Big Carbon Capture Challenge? Figuring Out How to Use It
Carbon capture is having a moment. Companies such as Chevron Corp. are building technology to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks while others are working to yank the greenhouse gas out of the air.
(01/10/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
• Lessons of Resilience and Hope at McHenry Vineyard
Like the redwoods that survived the devastating CZU fire of 2020, the McHenry family is resilient. That fateful August conflagration ruined a promising crop at Beauregard Vineyards.
(01/10/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay
• 12 Monterey Bay Spots to Anticipate in 2024
It’s nice to have a little something to look forward to. Or in this case, a dozen somethings, starting with three special cases.
(01/09/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay
• Community Service at Heart of Bruce Jaffe’s Supervisorial Campaign
Bruce Jaffe, a 40-year county resident and longtime Soquel Creek Water District boardmember, is running for the soon-to-be vacant 2nd District seat on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.
(01/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
• Rooftop-Solar Industry Blames PG&E, Newsom as Bay Area Businesses Struggle
Bay Area rooftop-solar businesses are reeling from a statewide change that gutted compensation for homeowners returning surplus power to the electrical grid, causing applications for new solar to plunge to a 10-year low.
(01/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
• SCOTUS to Hear Case with Major Implications for Homeless
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case related to whether cities and towns can ban camping on public property. The high court could overturn Martin v. Boise, a 2018 federal court decision that keeps western cities and counties from blocking public camping when sufficient shelter space is unavailable.
(01/12/2024) → Sacramento Bee
• Fourth Graders Might Lose Free Access to California State Parks
California’s projected budget deficit of close to $38 billion likely means some cuts are coming. Among them, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed ending the California State Park Adventure Pass, which offers free access to some state parks for fourth graders.
(01/12/2024) → SFGate
• Iconic California Restaurant Closes Without Warning
Pea Soup Andersen’s, a Buellton, Calif., restaurant just shy of its 100th birthday, closed suddenly. The restaurant's other location, near Interstate 5 in Santa Nella, remains open.
(01/10/2024) → SFGate
• $10M-Plus Lawsuit Follows Multiple Deaths at Sacramento Jail
Sacramento attorney Mark Merin has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a man who died in May after being held at the county jail. Other inmates have died in recent years, and the jail is under a federal consent decree to improve its health care.
(01/09/2024) → Sacramento Bee
• Hate Crimes Rising in Los Angeles
Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism found that hate crimes rose 12.9% between 2022 and 2023. The spike follows a particularly stark increase in crimes against Jewish people.
(01/09/2024) → LAist
• Newsom Sets March 19 Special Election to Fill McCarthy’s Seat
Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for a March 19 primary to elect a replacement for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who resigned from Congress in December. If a candidate doesn’t win outright, a runoff will be held on May 21.
(01/08/2024) → Sacramento Bee
• State Trying to Use Generative AI to Reduce Traffic
Caltrans has set a Jan. 25 deadline for tech companies to show how generative artificial intelligence might reduce traffic congestion in the state. This follows an executive order that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in September related to this type of AI.
(01/08/2024) → LA Times
• New Year Brings Protections for Deep-Sea Corals and Ocean Fishing Opportunities
New rules took effect Jan. 1 permanently protecting the most fragile deep sea corals off Southern California. Simultaneously, more than 4,500 square miles of ocean waters are now reopened to fishing after more than 20 years of closures.
(01/08/2024) → YubaNet