County Responds To The Wildfire
Our county has shown its amazing resiliency and generosity over the last ten days as we have faced the CZU Lightning Complex fires. After a historic lightning storm that produced over 500 fires statewide, the fires in our county generated the largest evacuation in county history, all without incident or accident. The community opened their homes to evacuees, opened their wallets to support efforts, and gave their time helping at the shelters housing over 1,400 people or helping to accept the incredible amount of donations. Although many have returned to their homes, we have lost a record number of homes to the fires. There will be a long rebuilding process. The Board is taking the first steps by declaring a public health emergency in the fire zones, and my colleagues have directed staff to come to the Board at our next meeting with plans to expedite processing of permits and rules to allow people to quickly rebuild. Last week I reached out to a fellow Supervisor in Sonoma County who has unfortunately suffered in the wildfires there to connect him with my colleagues on our Board to learn what Sonoma County had done to recover quickly from their fires. To find out the latest on evacuation shelters, donation needs, or other fire related information, visit the County’s website by clicking here. To hear from the County Fire Chief, Incident Commander from the Sheriff’s Office, and Central Fire Interim Chief about their experiences, click here to watch last week’s Town Hall.
Jet Path Update
The wait has been long for new information about the Select Committee’s recommendation to return the jet path over Santa Cruz County to its historic path. In August, the County responded to a request from the FAA to address any issues with a new flight path and locations on the National Historic Registry. Most revealing about this request was the inclusion of a map and a new jet path name that corresponds to the Select Committee’s recommendation. The planning documents from the FAA show a new flight path, named SEFER 5, that would fly the historic route. We have contacted our federal representatives and the FAA to get a better sense of timing, but this map shows that the jet path is on its way to being changed. As soon as I know more, I will share it in my newsletter.
Rent and Utility Assistance
With my direction, the County has allocated $1.1 million of CARES Act funds to provide housing stabilization assistance to residents of unincorporated Santa Cruz County who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whose housing is at risk because they are in arears for rent and/or utility payments. The Santa Cruz County CARES Rental Assistance Program is limited to residents of the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County whose annual income does not exceed 80 percent of area median income (for a single-person household, income must be at or below $74,350). Unpaid or partially paid rent and utility payments going back to April 1, 2020 are eligible up to a maximum of $10,000 per household. Income losses must due to COVID-19- related factors.

The program will be implemented by the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. (CAB) and Families in Transition (FIT). The County anticipates that there will be two application deadlines with recipients selected through a list prioritized through a random drawing. The deadline to apply for the first random drawing is September 15, 2020. Applications can be submitted electronically or physically. Please visit https://cabinc.org/ or here.

Small Business Assistance
The County has committed up to $1,000,000 in one-time funds through the CARES Act to create a Small Business Assistance Grant Program. The objective of this program is to offer immediate financial assistance to reimburse COVID-19 expenses to small businesses throughout Santa Cruz County. These funds are to be used to help maintain small businesses and their workforce. Grants are available up to $15,000 maximum. The grants will be awarded through a lottery system, with the County divided into three grant zones – North, South and Mid-County. Fifty percent of the grants are dedicated to businesses owned by women and socially disadvantaged individuals. For complete details, click here.
Town Hall: Preparing For Sea Level Rise 
Climate change is real, and we are already feeling the effects of it in our community. The intensity of the lightning and the fires already point to the growing threat of climate change. The other area we need to be looking at is our coast due to the threat of sea level rise. Join me for an online Town Hall this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. with Mark Massara, Coastal Land Use Attorney and General Counsel of O’Neill, and Dan Haifley, former Executive Director of Save Our Shores and former Executive Director of O’Neill Sea Odyssey. They will be talking about the climate threat to our coastlines and the County’s innovative strategy to address sea level rise. In addition to Zoom, this meeting can be viewed on my Facebook page. No account is necessary to view on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 2
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


Or Dial: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 669 900 9128
Webinar ID: 947 3626 7887 
Virtual Kickoff Is Coming September 9
with Melissa Etheridge & Los Lobos
Join the Friends of John Leopold for the kickoff of the General Election campaign for Supervisor John Leopold. We had a great set of guests for our original kickoff that was rescheduled due to the fires. Now, in addition to Congressman Jimmy Panetta, former Assembly Pro Tem Fred Keeley, Mayor Justin Cummings, and Live Oak education leader Stacey Kyle, we have two musical guests – Los Lobos and Melissa Etheridge! You don’t want to miss this great evening for a great candidate and Supervisor.

Wednesday, September 9
5:30 p.m.


Or Dial: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 669 900 9128
Webinar ID: 944 1328 0643
Email John and his staff!