• July 2022

    Community Loss

    Help Save Watsonville Community Hospital Not only is it the place most babies are born, but it provides invaluable emergency services countywide. By TONY NUÑEZ When news broke late last year that Watsonville Community Hospital was facing imminent closure there was a panic among people that understood what the loss of the 106-bed acute care facility would mean for local health care. Quickly, a coalition of public entities and nonprofits—now known as the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project—formed to purchase the hospital and stave off what would have been a catastrophe for the Central Coast. The hospital employs 620 people and has a medical staff of over two hundred physicians.…

  • February 2022

    Solar vs Big energy

    Is California Attacking Local Solar Customers? by Casey Beyer, CEO, Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce For more than two decades, California solar energy companies, installers and customers have benefited from an incentive program known as Net Metering. What is Net Metering? It is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on their roof, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backward to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods…

  • February 2022

    Youth Bill of Rights

    City of Santa Cruz Children & Youth Bill of Rights By Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Renee Golder If passed, the Bill of Rights will help us promote youth-adult partnership, amplify youth voice and integrate youth voice in City decision making, and foster youth leadership development. Children and youth well-being is a topic that we can all get behind, right? Each of us has some relationship with children – we have our own grandchildren, aunts and uncles, and caretakers. Yet repeatedly, we as adults, organizations, and the government fails to prioritize youth in our decisions and actions. Case in point-In 2019, the federal government spent only about nine percent of the federal…

  • December 2021

    Support Local

    Supporting Local Businesses This Holiday Season by Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County Supervisor The holiday season is traditionally one of the largest sales times for many retailers. Over the last year and a half, local businesses have been facing additional pressures as a result of the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. Many have faced declines in sales as online retailing has increased and others are having staffing challenges that have required hours to change or owners to work multiple shifts. As a community we have a unique opportunity to show support for our small, locally-owned businesses as they compete with national online retailers – especially during the holiday season. In…

  • October 2021

    Showing Up For Youth

    Showing Up for Youth By Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson Whether or not you’re a parent in this community, each of us has been impacted by the tragic stabbing at Aptos High School that led to the death of a 17-year old child, as well as the arrest of two other children. This has led me to reflect on the impacts of adults in my life when I was a child, and my role, our role as caring adults. When was a time when a caring adult who wasn’t your parent comforted, uplifted and gave you space to grow?I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Donovan. Little in size, big in heart, gray-haired,…

  • August 2021

    South County

    Expanding Services to South County by zach friend, County Supervisor One of the most significant actions the County took during our recent budget cycle was to authorize the purchase of a new South County Service Center. This purchase will create a second County government building that would provide mid and south county residents equal access to County services – including services for children – in a way that hasn’t been seen before. The building purchase, and subsequent location of many County services in a centralized south county location, will be the largest investment in service delivery for the south county in multiple generations. Where is it located?The new South County…

  • June 2021

    Expanding Broadband in Santa Cruz County

    Expanding Broadband in Santa Cruz County by zach friend, county supervisor It is estimated that as many as 1 in 3 California households lack broadband access with a disproportionate number of those households consisting of seniors, those with low-incomes and adults self-identifying as having a disability The pandemic highlighted the critical need for access to affordable, high-speed internet. For students participating in remote learning, parents attempting to work remotely and our families needing to access tele-health, high-speed internet is an essential resource. Yet, many households in our community, and throughout the state, either have limited bandwidth to meet their needs or are priced out of options. The County has taken…

  • February 2021

    Vaccine Timeline

    Understanding Vaccine Timeline and Questions By zach friend, county supervisor TUES | FEB | 2Supervisor Zach Friend hosts a COVID -19 Tele-Town Hall,  6-7 pm Supervisor Zach Friend will host a tele-town hall on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, from 6-7 pm with Dr. David Ghilarducci, EMS Medical Director and Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Cruz. Dr. Ghilarducci is a board-certified EMS Medical Director with extensive public safety and front line experience. Dr. Ghilarducci was previously a Fire Captain and Acting Battalion Chief with the Santa Clara County Fire Department and after transitioning to medicine served as president of the Emergency Medical Director’s Association of California, EMS Medical…

  • December 2020

    Should the Aptos and Central Fire Districts Merge

    Should the Aptos and Central Fire Districts Merge? It could save $3 million by 2026 By Zach Friend, County Supervisor Recently, the Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted unanimously to approve the consolidation of the Central and Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection Districts. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the consolidation. Why is LAFCO involved in the consolidation? LAFCOs have broad authority under the state Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act in regards to boundary changes for cities and special districts (like the Central and Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection Districts). Specifically, under this authority LAFCO can deny or approve, with or without conditions, a wide range of…