County Commits $1 million to Rent and Utility Assistance
Due to the extraordinary economic impacts to Santa Cruz County residents from the COVID-19 pandemic, I advocated for the designation of at least $1 million in federal CARES Act funding to assist with rental and utility assistance needs in our community. Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously endorsed my plan of action. Shortly after the local and statewide implementation of protective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, unemployment claims rose to unprecedented levels, surpassing the peak of the Great Recession, with 8,000 claims during a single week alone. While the Board and State have taken measures to suspend evictions, additional steps are necessary to allow people to stay in their homes once those measures expire. We know that the best way to eliminate homelessness is to help people avoid becoming homeless in the first place. Working now will help prevent a greater homelessness crisis down the road. It is imperative that we help those in need and prevent a surge in homelessness in our community by allocating these funds to provide rental and utility assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Final details for how the funds will be distributed will become available very soon. I will share them through my newsletter and via Facebook. The County will also be putting information on our website.

Fines Assessed for Health Violations
Responding to increasing infection rates and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an urgency ordinance implementing infractions for violations of a state or local health order. The ordinance allows law enforcement officers or designated administrative staff to issue citations rather than penalize violations through misdemeanors, which carry fines of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. The citations will result in fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $500 for a third within a calendar year and is effective immediately. The ordinance covers all aspects of state and local public health orders, including the local order to wear face coverings. Residents are urged to continue to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, avoid gathering in groups outside your household, and practice safe hygiene including washing your hands with soap and water frequently. The County’s primary objective continues to be educating individuals on health order requirements. The lower level of enforcement allows law enforcement officers and administrative staff to support community health and safety by quickly addressing situations without escalating them into court cases or arrests. The new ordinance applies only in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County. Any enforcement within cities is subject to future action by local jurisdictions.
Nissan Development Pulled

We are starting to see new economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. After assembling numerous properties, completing and defending their EIR in court, Nissan has recently withdrawn its approved application for the dealership on the corner of 41st and Soquel. The cost of the project and required infrastructure investments became too great for them to move forward, especially with the uncertainty created by the pandemic. When any new project is proposed for that corner, I will share that information with constituents to ensure that whatever is envisioned for this area has been vetted by the community. 
Town Hall: Virtual Live Oak Walking Tour
This week’s constituent meeting will take us to some places that you are likely familiar with but may not know the stories about how and why they are here. Norman Poitevin, local historian and a leader of the Live Oak History Walks, will share stories and answer questions about local landmarks and other mysteries about the community. This will be a great chance to hear some wonderful stories and learn about the roots of our community.

August 12, 2020
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Or Telephone:
Dial: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 253 215 8782 
Webinar ID: 948 2128 6249
Nominate Your Slow Street
In order to slow down traffic and create a safer neighborhood, the County has partnered with Bike Santa Cruz County to create a Slow Streets program. Slow Streets will use signage to slow traffic and create more space for people to walk and bike and allow everyone to maintain a safe social distance. If you are interested in your street becoming a Slow Street, click here and follow the instructions. You will need the support of your neighbors, similar to a process used for showing support for speed bumps. There is no cost to you, and Bike Santa Cruz County staff will help in the process. Let’s work together to help slow the traffic in our streets so we can walk and bike safely, especially as we stay close to home.
Email John and his staff!