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Santa Cruz Local

News & Politics Podcasts

We're a news organization in Santa Cruz, CA. We watch our public institutions and hold power to account.

We're a news organization in Santa Cruz, CA. We watch our public institutions and hold power to account.


United States


We're a news organization in Santa Cruz, CA. We watch our public institutions and hold power to account.








Ep 87 Vote Nov 3, Santa Cruz City Council race 10.18.20

Santa Cruz Local presses the Santa Cruz City Council candidates on the priorities we heard from residents: housing and homelessness. We meet eight of the nine city council candidates: Martine Watkins, Sandy Brown, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, Kelsey Hill, Kayla Kumar, Maria Cadenas, Elizabeth Conlan and Sonja Brunner. Voters will pick four. Read the transcript: Read Santa Cruz Local’s elections guide:...


Ep 86 Vote Nov 3, Watsonville City Council 10.14.20

Santa Cruz Local presses the five Watsonville City Council candidates on the priorities we heard from residents: affordable housing development, city-sponsored youth programs, the high cost of rent and more. We break down the differences between District 2 candidates Aurelio Gonzalez and Vanessa Quiroz-Carter, District 6 candidates Jimmy Dutra and Tony Gomez, and District 1 candidate Eduardo Montesino. View the maps of the Watsonville City Council districts:...


Ep. 85 Vote Nov. 3, the Santa Cruz County District 1 supervisor race 10.5.20

If you’re a voter in Live Oak, Pleasure Point, Soquel, western Capitola or the Santa Cruz Mountains north of Soquel, you’ll vote on the District 1 Santa Cruz County supervisors race. But even if you don’t live in the district, this race still matters to you. The decisions of the board of supervisors affect the entire county. We press incumbent John Leopold and challenger Manu Koenig on the priorities we heard from District 1 residents. A map of Santa Cruz County's District 1:...


Ep. 84, Vote Nov. 3: The Scotts Valley City Council race 9.29.20

Santa Cruz Local has interviewed and surveyed about 50 Scotts Valley residents in recent months to hear their priorities for the Scotts Valley City Council race. Today, we press the candidates — John Lewis, Donna Lind, Jack Dilles and Randy Johnson — on the concerns of residents. Listen to the candidates’ views on housing, supporting local business, stabilizing the city budget, school funding and policing. Read the transcript:...


Ep. 83 Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson discusses CZU Lightning Complex Fire 8.24.20

We hear from Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson with an update on the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. McPherson’s district covers San Lorenzo Valley, which has been hard hit by the fire. McPherson shares an update on the fire response. He also describes his tour Monday of San Lorenzo Valley and what damage he saw. Read more stories on the wildfire: Find resources, shelter, and how to help: Episode transcript:...


Ep 82 How has COVID-19 hurt Santa Cruz County's most vulnerable? 7.31.20

COVID-19 shutdowns have hurt many locals on the brink of poverty because of the county’s high cost of living. About 40% of Santa Cruz County residents have received some food assistance since the COVID-19 shelter orders began in March, according to Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County staff. We hear from four people on the margins, from San Lorenzo Valley to Watsonville. We hear how COVID shutdowns have changed their lives and what solutions they’d like to see. Join Santa Cruz Local's...


Ep. 81 Reducing harm in Santa Cruz County law enforcement(7.14.20)

Residents’ recent calls to reduce police presence and funding in Santa Cruz County come at the same time police say they are overburdened with calls for mental health care and homelessness. We explore the aftermath of two recent, fatal police shootings in our county that involved mental health — and how harm could be avoided. Looking toward solutions, we examine a program in Oregon that dispatches mental health care workers to crises without police. We talk to a Santa Cruz County 911...


Ep 80 How To Be Social But Safer During The Pandemic 6.26.20

Santa Cruz County on Monday recorded its largest single-day increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Local health leaders say the uptick is worrisome but expected, as businesses reopen. We hear advice from infectious disease expert and UC Santa Cruz professor Marm Kilpatrick on small ways people can be safer as they venture out. And we share what we know so far about the recent uptick, how the virus moves, and the county’s shortcomings with contact tracing. Join Santa Cruz Local's email...


Ep 79 Santa Cruz Downtown Library Decision Looms 6.19.20

A big decision is on tap Tuesday for the Santa Cruz City Council: Should the downtown library be renovated, or should a new, larger library with a parking garage and at least 50 affordable housing units be built on nearby city land? Santa Cruz Local talks to library and city leaders, activists and architects about the $27 million question. Join Santa Cruz Local's email newsletter: Apply for Santa Cruz Local's Business Advisory Circle:...


Ep. 78 Start By Listening. What We Heard From Lower Ocean, Beach Flats. 6.11.20

Santa Cruz Local's Stephen Baxter and Kara Meyberg Guzman start their reporting for the upcoming Nov. 3 elections by listening to residents and watching city council meetings. We see the biggest local races as the city councils for Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and Capitola and the District 1 supervisor runoff. As we kick off a county-wide listening tour, we share what we heard at our first stop: the Nueva Vista Community Resources food bank in the Lower Ocean neighborhood of Santa...


Ep. 77 Santa Cruz Local Answers, part 5. Tough decisions- Child care during a pandemic 6.7.20

Parents and child care providers worry about the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Santa Cruz Local's Jerimiah Oetting answers your questions about child care rules in Santa Cruz County during the coronavirus emergency: How can we expect young children in daycare to socially distance? What is the county doing to ensure these facilities are safe? This is the fifth installment of "Santa Cruz Local Answers," where Jerimiah tackles your coronavirus-related questions. Submit your questions:...


Ep 76 Santa Cruz Local Answers, part 4 - What's the plan for antibody testing? 5.24.20

Santa Cruz Local's Jerimiah Oetting answers your questions about antibody testing: What is it? Is it available in Santa Cruz County? How reliable are the tests? And is the county pursuing antibody testing? This is the fourth installment of 'Santa Cruz Local Answers,' where Jerimiah tackles your coronavirus-related questions. Submit your questions to Or email a question to Get Santa Cruz Local's free email newsletter:...


Ep. 75 Santa Cruz Local Answers, part 3 - What's the status with Project Roomkey? 5.7.20

Santa Cruz Local's Jerimiah Oetting answers your questions about Project Roomkey, the state effort to provide hotel rooms to vulnerable parts of the homeless population. Where is Santa Cruz County at with the project? How much money did the state provide? How many rooms are there, and who qualifies? Jerimiah talks to a Project Roomkey resident, county officials and homeless service providers. This is the third installment of "Santa Cruz Local Answers," where Jerimiah tackles your...


Ep. 74 How deep is Santa Cruz County's economic downturn? 5.3.20

Santa Cruz County’s health officer limited beach hours and hotel visitors in her latest revision to the COVID-19 shelter order. How deep are the county’s economic problems, with the prospect of far fewer tourists? How do shelter orders impact a county where the largest share of jobs are in leisure and hospitality? We hear from California economist Chris Thornberg and Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce CEO Casey Beyer.


Ep 73 Dr. Catherine Sonquist Forest answers COVID FAQs 5.1.20

Dr. Catherine Sonquist Forest answers frequently-asked questions on COVID-19. How long do we have to wait for a vaccine and treatment? Can I get an antibody test and what does that mean? Can people without COVID symptoms spread the disease? Does social distancing and wearing masks work? Sonquist Forest is a Santa Cruz County resident and a medical professor at Natividad Hospital in Salinas. Read Santa Cruz Local's story on new COVID rules, effective late Friday night:...


Ep. 72 Santa Cruz Local Answers - How can UCSC help with COVID testing? 4.22.20

Santa Cruz Local's Jerimiah Oetting answers a listener's question on what UC Santa Cruz is doing to help with COVID testing. This is the second installment of 'Santa Cruz Local Answers,' where Jerimiah tackles your coronavirus-related questions. Submit your questions to , by email or voice memo to, or by voice mail to 831-222-0460. Read the transcript to this episode: Subscribe to Santa Cruz Local’s free...


Ep 71 Santa Cruz Local Town Hall with Drs. Larry DeGhetaldi, David Ghilarducci 4.19.20

Santa Cruz Local hosted its first town hall meeting Friday, April 17 on Zoom. Our guests: Dr. Larry DeGhetaldi, Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz division president, and Dr. David Ghilarducci, Santa Cruz County’s deputy health officer. Some takeaways: Santa Cruz County can maybe expand to 60 intensive care beds, but models predict 100 will be needed at a peak in May or June. The plan is to transport patients to hospitals out of county. Dr. Ghilarducci said the...


Ep. 70 State and local factors to lift coronavirus shelter order 4.17.20

Details emerged this week from California and Santa Cruz County leaders on what it will take to lift the shelter orders. The county still lacks about 50 ventilators it needs for a potential peak of 100 severe COVID-19 cases, county health leaders said. That peak could come as late as June. Santa Cruz summer traditions remain up in the air, including the Wharf to Wharf footrace, Junior Lifeguards and visits to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Read the transcript to Thursday's news conference:...


Ep. 69 Meet Santa Cruz Local part 7- Our 2020 vision 4.14.20

Santa Cruz Local is seeing its fastest growth since its launch in August. Co-founders Kara Meyberg Guzman and Stephen Baxter take you behind the scenes. We share where we're heading with the company. One of the biggest things that sets Santa Cruz Local apart is our commitment to community listening. We discuss our business goal for April ㅡ reaching 600 active members ㅡ and how that sets us up to better listen. Become a Santa Cruz Local member: Upgrade your...


Ep. 68 Progress on the COVID-19 battle in Santa Cruz County 4.10.20

At a news conference Thursday, Santa Cruz County health officials said they were encouraged by the relatively low numbers of COVID hospitalizations in our county. However, the county still only has a maximum intensive care unit capacity of 50 beds. Dr. Gail Newel said she plans to extend her shelter-in-place order past May 3. Santa Cruz Local co-hosts Kara Meyberg Guzman and Stephen Baxter explain their key takeaways from the conference. And they ask the health officials your questions....