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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 97 District 3 Santa Cruz County supervisor candidates address voters' priorities 4.26.22

In the June 7 primary election, North Coast and Santa Cruz residents will choose a new District 3 representative on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. We hear from residents about their priorities for the election. Then we meet candidates Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, Justin Cummings and Ami Chen Mills and press them on residents’ concerns. We hear from the candidates on their plans to: Develop affordable housing. [21:17] Expand rent assistance programs. [27:47] Address homelessness....


Ep 96 How Santa Cruz County could solve chronic homelessness 12.17.21

Bakersfield and Kern County, California, solved chronic homelessness in part through better coordination of service providers, shared housing databases and a fearless approach to experimentation and results monitoring. Despite Santa Cruz County’s housing shortage, there are lessons from Kern County that start with making housing searches more efficient for the unhoused. In Santa Cruz Local Ep. 96, Kara Meyberg Guzman travels to Bakersfield to learn the successes and limitations of the area’s...


Ep. 95 Homeless and formerly homeless residents discuss solutions in Santa Cruz County 11.19.21

We hear from four Santa Cruz County residents: a 25-year-old caregiver in Santa Cruz, a 54-year-old janitor in Watsonville, a father of three in Santa Cruz and a 24-year-old sales associate in Capitola. They share their experiences with homelessness and the keys to getting housed. This episode is part of Santa Cruz Local’s Solutions to Homelessness Series. Read the transcript: Support local journalism with a Santa Cruz Local membership:...


Ep 94 Reshaping mental health crisis response in Santa Cruz County 6.11.21

Responses to mental health crises are set to change in Santa Cruz County with a new 988 system as an alternative to 911. Non-police responses are expected to be dispatched through the system, and advocates say the 24-hour, non-police system is overdue. Santa Cruz Local’s Stephen Baxter talks to Assemblymember Mark Stone, advocate Jeffrey Arlt and others about the mental health crisis response in the county now and its shortcomings. Some potential solutions may come from Santa Cruz County’s...


Ep 93 'Nobody wants to be out here': Homeless residents share views on proposed law 4.11.21

Tuesday, the Santa Cruz City Council will consider a proposed law that aims to prevent large homeless camps by limiting where and when people can camp and requiring most tents to be removed each morning. We explain the proposal. And we hear from three Santa Cruz residents who are homeless. We hear their stories: their goals, their barriers and their thoughts about the proposed law. Support local journalism with a Santa Cruz Local membership: Subscribe...


Ep 92 Student mental health and stress in Santa Cruz County, part 2 3.26.21

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a need for mental health services in Santa Cruz County’s public schools. We hear from a director at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education about virtual mentoring, an approach that has shown promise in addressing student mental health needs. We discuss how it works and where it falls short. This episode is the third in Santa Cruz Local’s Distance Learning Series. Listen to part one of this series: Ep. 89 Public education money, COVID and the power of...


Ep 91 Were some COVID deaths preventable in Santa Cruz County senior homes? 3.23.21

Were some COVID-19 deaths preventable in Santa Cruz County long-term care facilities? This episode investigates why some senior homes — which had more than half of the COVID deaths in the county — waited for vaccines through January while others received vaccines. Separately, the episode includes a conversation with contributing reporter Jerimiah Oetting and Santa Cruz Local's Kara Meyberg Guzman and Stephen Baxter about whether new housing means more water demand in Santa Cruz County. Read...


Ep 90 Student mental health and stress in Santa Cruz County, part 1 3.23.21

Many students in Santa Cruz County feel stressed and disconnected after months of online-only school. We hear from three Aptos High students about their social and emotional well-being needs. A program administrator responds to these stories and shares tips on how adults can help. This episode is the second in Santa Cruz Local’s Distance Learning series. Listen to part one of this series: Public education money, COVID and the power of Santa Cruz County school boards...


Ep 89 Public education money, COVID and the power of Santa Cruz County school boards 1.31.21

This episode is the first in Santa Cruz Local's Distance Learning series. Today we explore how the state's public education system is organized and funded, and how decisions are made. Many of you wanted to know: How can students, parents and teachers make their voice heard in such a huge, complicated system? We hear from former county superintendent Michael Watkins and state Sen. John Laird on the governor's school reopening plan and how to get involved. Support local journalism with a Santa...


Ep 88 Prescribed burns and wildfire in Santa Cruz County 12.20.20

In the wake of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in Santa Cruz County, this episode explores forest management policies in the state and county. It also looks at the role of prescribed burns in land management in the county, and a new Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association. Support local journalism with a Santa Cruz Local membership: Subscribe to Santa Cruz Local's free newsletter. We're in your inbox two to three times a week:...


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...