Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Santa Cruz County Evacuations Lifted #LomaFire

PRESS RELEASE 9/28/16 3pm

Evacuations have been lifted for Santa Cruz County residents displaced by the Loma Fire. There is still an active wild land fire in the area and the Sheriff’s Office encourages residents to remain vigilant. Vehicle traffic in the previously evacuated areas will be limited due to a high number of emergency vehicles on the roadway. It is advised that residents limit travel on the roadway in an effort to reduce gridlock. California Highway Patrol may restrict access to non-residents at check points.

Residents are encouraged to monitor Cal Fire for current fire information. If residents observe fire or other activity that may need an emergency service response, please call 911 or Sheriff’s Office Dispatch (831)471-1121. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for current events.

The Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank residents for their patience and understanding over the last few days. We also wish to thank the outpouring of volunteer and community support which ultimately helped enhance the services we were able to provide to those affected by the Loma Fire.

Friday, September 23, 2016

County Cannabis Czar Named, Cultivation Registration Program Revamped

Online Registration Program Back Live With Anonymous Option, Lower Fee

Daniel W. Peterson, a water resources engineer for Yuba County (pop 73,000) will become the first Santa Cruz County Cannabis Licensing Official it was announced today. He is expected to begin work in mid-October.   

He will oversee the newly created Cannabis Licensing Division "including staff management, community outreach and coordination with state regulators."  

In a prepared statement County Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello is quoted as saying  “Throughout the hiring process, Mr. Peterson stood out as someone ready to work with neighbors, growers and patients to strike a balance and achieve a medical cannabis regulatory system that works well for everyone in Santa Cruz County.”

According to the County spokesman, Jason Hoppin, Peterson worked for CalTrans and Sutter County before his current job in the Yuba Department of Public Works.

“I am humbled by and excited about this opportunity to work with the County of Santa Cruz to navigate the complexities of a unique regulatory environment. I look forward to being a part of this team and helping to develop a program that best serves the interests of all members of the community while maintaining a positive path toward the future," Peterson said according to the County press release.

He is said to be familiar with Santa Cruz County’s current regulatory environment and how it relates to the state and the activities of other California counties in this emerging area of law.

Meanwhile major revisions to the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Registration Process went into effect today.  Applicants can now open an account online without having to identify themselves or their location.  

The County is encouraging everyone who wishes to operate in the regulated market in the future to register  ”... even if they think at this time their site might not qualify for licensing under the proposed ordinance so that you can preserve your ability to apply for a license.”

The account creation page has been changed to allow cultivators to register using only an email address, a username and a password. You will not have to provide your name, address, APN or cultivation site information in order to set-up an account and you will have the option to opt out of providing this information on the registration form as well.

You will need to pay $500 and complete and upload the registration form by midnight Nov 6 to be eligible for licensing in the future.

Those wishing to provide all of the requested identifying information can still do so.  A new process, separate from the registration, will begin sometime in November at which time registrants can choose to identify themselves and their parcel, complete additional forms and pay $2500 to receive feedback and consultation from County staff regarding readiness for licensing.  

Anyone wishing to register should go here:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission Splits $7 million on 15 projects

$7 million approved for local transportation projects 

Press Release from SCCRTC
Sept 1, 2016

 At its meeting today, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) selected projects to receive $7 million in local shares of federal transportation funds.

Following a public hearing, the RTC approved funds for 15 projects including:

 Major pavement repairs on local roads in Ben Lomond, Happy Valley/Carbonera, Santa
Cruz, Scotts Valley and Watsonville - $3 million
 Bus: Funds to replace an old diesel METRO bus with a low emission CNG bus - $500,000
 Highway 1/9 Intersection modifications: add turn lanes, bike lanes/shoulders. Intersection is used by over 80,000 vehicles per day and all METRO buses - $950,000
 Highway 1 Corridor Environmental Review and Analysis: Complete environmental review documents including response to public comments and questions and updated traffic
analysis of auxiliary lanes, bicycle/pedestrian overcrossings, and carpool lanes on Highway 1, including detailed analysis of auxiliary lanes on Highway 1 between 41st Ave and Soquel Drive and a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Highway 1 at Chanticleer Avenue - $830,000
 Aptos Village: Turn lanes, sidewalks, improved bicycle lanes, and pavement repairs on Soquel Drive and other roadways in Aptos Village - $650,000
 Traveler assistance programs: Tow truck safety freeway service patrols on Highway 1 and Highway 17 that assist drivers, remove collisions, and clear obstacles that impede traffic flow; which provides information about traffic incidents, carpooling, taking the bus, and park-and-ride lots - $550,000
 Environmental review and preliminary design of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network (MBSST) Rail Trail along the north coast near Davenport - $300,000
 Safe Routes to Schools Youth Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education programs provided by Ecology Action in second and fifth grade classrooms – $50,000

After considering testimony from members of the public, Commissioners committed $10,000 for an Open Streets event in Watsonville. Additional information on the approved projects and the related staff report, are available on the Regional Transportation Commission's website: and in the meeting agenda packet:

These grant funds come from the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG), a federal program created by the federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act". Due to the volatility of gas tax revenues, delays in adoption of the federal transportation act, and the unreliability of State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds, this was the first time the RTC has programmed funds to new projects since 2013. The region’s proportional share of Federal and State revenues continues to fall severely short of what is required to address the backlog of infrastructure repairs, safety, traffic congestion, bicycle and pedestrian projects that have been identified as priorities by the community. Measure D – a countywide November ballot measure – would bring in an additional $500 million through a ½ cent sales tax for priority local transportation projects such as fixing potholes, improving traffic flow on Highway 1, expanding safe routes to school and other bicycle and pedestrian projects, and maintaining transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities. Information on Measure D is online at:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Major Revisions Made to County Cannabis Registration Program

Saying her goal was to “make this work for everyone” County CAO Susan Mauriello directed her staff to significantly reduce the paperwork required for cultivators to register their intent to seek a license from the County.

The $3500 registration fee will also likely be reduced to reflect less cost to the county to process.

Among the changes will be an elimination of the Live Scan and the very detailed background information request as well as a number of the other forms that were originally included in the August 8 roll out. A new registration form is being finalized and should be available by the end of the month.  Deadline for registration remains November 6.

Mauriello emphasized that much of the information sought was for the purpose of establishing a baseline of data for use in determining the potential environmental impact of the proposed new ordinance.  In addition she said the county’s goal was to provide applicants with information about the new rules so that they could ensure they were in compliance or begin to work on becoming compliant to be eligible for local licensing in time to seek a state license when they become available in 2018.

“Cultivators need to understand that there may be a number of hurdles they will need to overcome in order to obtain a local license and we want to give them the time and information they need to be ready.”  said Mauriello.  

While admitting that things will be probably be “a little weird” for a year - cultivators need to remain compliant with the existing 99 plant ordinance even as they submit applications for operations under a new proposed ordinance - Mauriello encouraged anyone who is eligible and considering becoming a licensed cultivator in the future to register.  “We are not going to deny anyone a registration.  We will tell them where they may be deficient or if they need to move their operation.”

A number of workshops to answer questions and assist cultivators with the registration process will be held throughout the County including one in Felton on Wednesday, September 7 between 4:00 – 5:30 pm at the Community Hall.

Contact Jim Coffis ( for more information.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Santa Cruz County To Begin Registering Cannabis Growers

Santa Cruz County to Launch Cannabis Cultivation Registration Program

Santa Cruz County officials are expected, within days, to begin accepting registrations from eligible parties interested in seeking a local license to grow medical cannabis for sale. The online registration process could roll out as early as August 11th, sources say. A 90-day registration window for eligible existing cultivators is among the provisions in the proposed new ordinance, which the Board of Supervisors approved in concept.

While the ordinance has not yet been passed, County staff have been moving ahead with the program in an effort to identify those who "intend to seek a local license" in the future. The information gathered will also be used as a “baseline” for evaluating the environmental impact of the new ordinance.

Licensing priority is given to growers who were operating before December 2013. There are some exceptions for persons who are involved non-cannabis commercial agriculture.

A Licensing Official, who will have broad discretion in approving or denying registrants - with little public oversight, is expected to be hired soon. Over 100 applications for that $140,000 position have been screened and final interviews are being conducted.

The registration process, will require prospective registrants to create an online “account” with basic identifying information. Various forms will need to be downloaded and completed, then uploaded to the system.  It is anticipated that the entire process will require some time to complete and therefore only the initial account setup will be required to be completed in the 90-day window.

A site visit from yet-to-be-hired code enforcement officials will be part of the process. A non-refundable fee of $3,500 will be collected.

The County plans to offer workshops and other technical assistance for prospective applicants. Local cannabis advocacy groups are also planning on providing help once they see the forms and review the various information the County will require..

Priority for review and acceptance of registration will be based upon how complete and compliant the registration is and not the date when the account was initially created.

In other developments the County has taken steps to include a new cannabis tax measure on the November ballot which amends Measure K to include growers and other related operations to the list of businesses subject to up to 10% tax.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cannabis Cultivators Registration Process Under Development

Even as they prepare to interview applicants for the new Medical Cannabis Cultivation Licensing Official, Santa Cruz County staff are busy creating forms for a "registration" process for growers hoping to seek a local license.  Word is that they hope to have an online system and an information page up sometime in August.

The County is also looking to fill code enforcement and resource planner positions to support the program.  Applications for one of those positions closes on Friday July 22.  More information about those jobs can be found here:

To "preserve a place in line" for a local license, qualified growers will be required to register their intent during a 90 day window.  Qualified personal grows, with no intent to share or sell product are not required to register.

The second reading of the revised dispensary ordinance is scheduled for the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug 2nd.  If approved, application forms for a local license for the 14 eligible dispensary operators will be posted.

In the meantime the proposed new cultivation ordinance is being reviewed by various County Commissions including the Fire Advisory Committee which meets Wednesday, Jul 20 at 4pm in Felton.  The Commission on the Environment will take up the matter at their next meeting, Wed July 27 in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at 5pm.

The Water Advisory Commissions will meet on Wed Aug 3, 4pm and the Fish and Wildlife Commission meets on Thursday Aug 4 at 7pm.  Both groups meet at the County Government Center, check their websites for exact locations.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SLVUSD Expands Transitional Kindergarten Program

San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (SLVUSD) will be expanding the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Program with classrooms available at both San Lorenzo Valley (SLVE) and Boulder Creek (BCE). In addition enrollment opportunities for an Extended Transitional Kindergarten (ETK) will be available for the first time.

SLVUSD will also be offering the transitional kinder opportunity to four year olds whose birthdays are in December, January, and February.  Registration is now open to all eligible students.  While funding and space are limited at this time the District hopes to add as many students as space allows.

TK classes are available for eligible four-year-old students whose birthdate falls between December 2011 and February 2012, and possibly into March 2012, depending on enrollment.

The following priority will be given in filling seats for TK and ETK:

  •  TK eligible students will have priority enrollment into the TK
  •  Four year olds who will turn five between September 2nd - December 2nd (per Ed. Code 48000)
  •  Then ETK eligible students will have priority enrollment based on their month of birth.
  •  First Priority: Four year olds who will turn five in December 
  •  Second Priority: Four year olds who will turn five in January 
  •  Third Priority: Four year olds who will turn five in February 
  •  Fourth Priority: Four year olds who will turn five in March 

TK and ETK students will be on the same school calendar and hours as the elementary Kindergarten program. If you are interested in attending TK or ETK at SLVE or BCE, please make sure you register your child at their respective elementary school.

A TK Parent Meeting is planned for August 2016 to welcome students and parents to TK.

Please note: both of these programs are not mandated by the state and are at the sole discretion of each individual district. In addition, transportation will not be provided for TK/ETK."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

San Lorenzo River Symposium Sat May 21

Santa Cruz (May 12, 2016) – The City of Santa Cruz Water Department, the County of Santa Cruz, the Coastal Watershed Council and the Resource Conservation District will host the second annual State of the San Lorenzo River Symposium on Saturday, May 21, in recognition of National Rivers Day. This year’s event will focus on the history, science, fish and wildlife of the San Lorenzo River lagoon. Keynote speaker Geoffrey Dunn will open the symposium with a talk about the human history of the lower San Lorenzo River and lagoon.
An optional interactive tour of the lagoon will be offered immediately following the symposium.
The event will be held in the Louden Nelson Community Center Auditorium from 10:00a.m. – 1:00p.m., with the tour of the lagoon following from 1:15p.m. – 2:15p.m.
For more information please visit or call Jessica Missaghian at (831) 420-5475.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Community Choice Energy Supply Program Moving Forward


Regional Plan Would Provide Consumer Choice, Increase Renewable Energy and Stimulate the Local Economy

 SANTA CRUZ, CA — May 3, 2016 — Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP), a regional project among local government agencies to provide electricity to residents and businesses throughout Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties, announced today the completion of a feasibility study that validates the suitability of creating a new regional power agency which would provide renewable energy and create green jobs.

Empowered by California’s 2002 Community Choice Energy (CCE) law AB 117, a public committee comprised of representatives from Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties has determined that a new agency would enable as many as 285,000 residential and business customers to choose clean-source power at a cost equivalent to PG&E, while retaining PG&E’s role in maintaining power lines and providing customer service. The new agency will be financially self-sustaining and would come at no cost to local government.

Building on successful Community Choice Energy programs in Sonoma and Marin Counties, the Monterey Bay Community Power plan provides local choice on energy generation, fosters more renewable energy, and stimulates economic vitality — all while utilizing existing PG&E infrastructure and service. When formed as early as Fall 2016, an agency that includes the three counties and their 18 cities could represent the largest CCE agency in California.

After three years of planning, a Project Development Advisory Committee has completed a feasibility study ( on the viability of creating a CCE agency. Key findings include the possibility of:

  • Increasing the local power portfolio of renewables by more than twice what is now offered by PG&E and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by purchasing energy that is at least 70% GHG free.
  • Developing a long-term strategic goal of 100% regional energy self-sufficiency by building out local renewable generation projects, using revenue surplus that would otherwise have gone to PG&E shareholders.
  • Creating numerous construction jobs for renewable energy build-out, many permanent operations and maintenance jobs, and nearly $1.4 billion in total economic output.
  • Offering complementary programs that serve community interests such as net metering, comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits, community solar, electric vehicle charging, and support for local training programs.

“In keeping with our strong environmental values, we have in Monterey Bay Community Power the most meaningful chance in a generation to impact climate change,” said Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, whose office organized the CCE exploration. “The idea that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing renewable energy at the same rates customers are currently paying for PG&E is game-changing.”

“The job creation potential represented by Monterey Bay Community Power is exciting,” said San Benito County Supervisor Jerry Muenzer. “The money saved by transitioning to a locally-controlled model will allow us to build and sustain solar and other renewable energy projects right here in our own community.”

The public is encouraged to join elected officials and staff in attending community study sessions scheduled in each of the three counties. The sessions will provide an opportunity to meet experts, learn how CCE works, review goals and recommendations for the project, hear additional results of the technical study, and examine legal and financing aspects of CCE.

  • Monterey County: May 24: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 168 West Alisal Street, 1st Floor, Salinas.
  • Santa Cruz County: June 9: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 701 Ocean Street, Room 500, Santa Cruz.
  • San Benito County: June 9: 3-5:30 p.m., San Benito County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 481 4th Street, 1st Floor, Hollister. 

“The study sessions provide a great opportunity to get engaged in a project that will improve accountability and transparency in the delivery of our electricity,” said Salinas City Councilmember Steve McShane. “From the coastline to the valleys, Monterey Bay Community Power has the potential to increase regional resilience by determining the mix of energy available to ratepayers.”


Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) is a regional project among local government agencies to provide electricity to residents and businesses throughout Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties through the Community Choice Energy (CCE) model. Established in 2002 by a state law, AB 117, CCE enables communities to choose clean-source power at a cost equivalent to PG&E while retaining PG&E’s role in maintaining power lines and providing customer service. The CCE model helps ensure local economic vitality because money from rates paid by local customers stays local, which helps to fund renewable energy projects, create jobs and stimulate the economy. For more information,visit or

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Cannabis Committee Recommends "Provisional" Licensing for Small Home Grows

More Recommendations to Be Sent to Board of Supervisors
By Jim Coffis

In another marathon meeting, the Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4) added to the list of recommendations they are forwarding to the Board of Supervisors.

On Tuesday morning the The Board of Supervisors accepted a number of recommendations from their 13 member citizens group and directed County staff to consider how they could be incorporated into a new ordinance.  Later in the day the C4 met to consider a long list of additional recommendations including the creation of a “Provisional” license meant to provide existing cultivators with some time to become fully compliant with the the new ordinance while the County creates a local licensing system.  

While deferring on the specific details of the "provisional license", the group voted 8-2 to recommend small home growers be included in the program. In their previous meeting they had split 6-7 on recommending a license tier for home based occupations, effectively banning the smallest growers.

How the recommendation will be received by the Board of Supervisors remains to be seen but it does provide hope for thousands of current cultivators who felt they were being ignored in favor of larger scale operations.

In other significant recommendations the group voted in favor of allowing sales outside of the County, against a numerical cap on licenses, and to give priority to growers who could show proof that they had been operating in the County prior to Jan 1, 2016.

They also urged the BOS to pass a resolution calling on the Federal Government to declassify Marijuana from the schedule of dangerous drugs.

The full Board is expected to consider all the offered recommendations and others in the coming weeks. County staff is hoping to present language for the ordinance as well as an implementation schedule before summer.