Special Sections

Year In Review

Issue link: https://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/1323931

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 15

such as Black Lives Mat- ter, Defund the Police and No Justice, No Peace. In the process, however, van- dals stopped at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park site near Holy Cross Church, leaving their mark with graffiti across several buildings and the removal of a cast-iron bell hanging at Mission Park. OnJuly1,severalhundred more marched through Cap- itola, ending at Esplanade Park, where the remain- ing mask-wearing crowd's members gave each other respectful distance while listening to inspirational speakers and artists in an- other event co-organized by Santa Cruz's Bonner. However, the energy that began as protests against police violence toward Black Americans began to transi- tion into broader themes of justice and calls to end sys- temic racism. The Santa Cruz City Council unan- imously voted June 23 to ban the police department's use of so-called predictive policing and facial recog- nition technologies, except where special findings are made and the City Council provides explicit approval. The technology is be- lieved by opponents to fos- ter racially discriminatory policing. A decade earlier, the City of Santa Cruz was one of the earliest cheer- leaders for predictive polic- ing, which analyzes crime data by way of an algorithm to predict where crime is most likely to occur in the future. While the effort to move the initiative forward predated the national move- ment and emerged from a broader January proposal, the summer's energy helped light a fire under the effort. At the same meeting, Mills said his department was working on additional policy changes to bar "no- knock" search warrants, the kind of search that resulted in the death of Louisville, Kentucky, resident Breonna Taylor in March. The coun- cil also voted to approve the formation of a working group of council members and a community advisory group to evaluate further police reforms. Partly prompted by bud- getary restraints, the Pajaro Valley Unified School Dis- trict board of trustees voted atits July 22 meeting to per- manently defund its campus police program, announcing planstoreplacethoseschool- resource officers with social- emotional counselors. The district hired its first school- resource officer at Watson- ville High School amid con- cerns of gang violence and had stationed the officers at three high school cam- puses since 2004. PVUSD is the largest school district in Santa Cruz County. On Aug. 18, Santa Cruz County declared racism a public health crisis and vowed to address dispa- rate health outcomes ob- served during the corona- virus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected the county's Latino popula- tion and unveiled other so- cietal inequalities. During the meeting, Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel noted the sig- nificance of the issue, saying that while COVID-19 out- break was "the worst pub- lic health crisis in a genera- tion," a "second pandemic" of racism has "ravaged our country for centuries." The county resolution in- cludedcommitmentstotrain all elected officials and staff on workplace biases, to have administration view human resources, vendor, grant management and economic and workforce development througha"racialequitylens" and to direct all county de- partments to "incorporate educational efforts to ad- dressanddismantleracism." BLM FROM PAGE 1 related felony weapons charges leveled against him in the case. On a par- allel track, Carrillo is facing federal murder and related charges, along with Robert Justus Jr. of Millbrae, in the May 29 killing of federal se- curity officer David Patrick Underwood at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland — an incident also involving a white van. Federal authorities claim Carrillo was involved in the so-called "Boogaloo" move- ment, depicted as a libertar- ian anti-government citizen militia which is preparing for the next American civil war. In both capital murder cases, Carrillo faces poten- tial death sentences if found guilty in either. Upcoming hearings in his Santa Cruz County case were delayed this month until early 2021, while the federal case pro- gresses. On the day of the Santa Cruz County fatal confron- tation, law enforcement was alerted around 1:30 p.m. to a 911 call reporting a suspi- cious white van in a turn- out near Jamison Creek Road in Boulder Creek. The caller reported seeing what appeared to be guns and bomb-making materials vis- ible inside the van, accord- ing to the Sheriff's Office. Deputies responding to the area saw a van leaving the area and attempted to follow, eventually tracing the vehicle to Carrillo's res- idence on the 100 block of Waldeberg Road in Ben Lo- mond. There, law enforce- ment officers allegedly were ambushed with gunfire and improvised explosives by Carrillo. In addition to Gutzwiller's fatal shooting, a second deputy, Alex Spen- cer also was injured in the confrontation. Spencer was shot, hit with shrapnel and struck by Carrillo's vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Office. According to Hart, Car- rillo began shooting and throwing incendiary de- vices at the deputies from higher ground as soon as they stepped out of their vehicles. After fleeing the Wal- deberg Road home, Car- rillo reportedly stole a ve- hicle and then attempted to steal a second vehicle at gunpoint, according to the Sheriff's Office. Carrillo also allegedly shot a California Highway Patrol officer in the hand during a subse- quent confrontation. At the time of his arrest, Carrillo was an active-duty U.S. Air Force sergeant sta- tioned at Travis Air Force Base. ContactreporterJessicaA. Yorkat831-706-3264. Officer FROM PAGE 1 WILLIAM DUNCAN — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL FILE The 2-year-old son of fallen Santa Cruz County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller is presented his father's badge by Sheriff Jim Hart during a memorial service at Cabrillo College in Aptos on June 17. Officers from police, sheriffs, and fire departments around northern California attended the service for Gutzwiller, who was gunned down in an ambush in Ben Lomond on June 6. SHMUEL THALER — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL Eight-month-pregnant Faviola Del Real holds the hand of her son Carter and the arm of Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart as she follows the flag-draped coffin of her husband, Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, into a June 17 memorial service at Cabrillo College in Aptos for the fallen deputy, who was killed in the line of duty June 6. Officers from police, sheriffs and fire departments from around northern California attended the service for Gutzwiller, who was gunned down in an ambush in Ben Lomond. SHMUEL THALER — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL More than 1,000people mourn during a vigil for slain Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller at 2:26p.m. June 7in front of Sheriff's Office headquarters in Live Oak. The call of an "officer down" originally came in on emergency dispatch at 2:26p.m. June 6. SHMUEL THALER — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart speaks glowingly about the exemplary life led by Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller at Gutzwiller's June 17memorial at Cabrillo College. KEVIN PAINCHAUD — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL FILE More than 500volunteers joined together Sept. 12in downtown Santa Cruz near the city's civic center to help paint a Black Lives Matter mural on Center Street. The privately funded mural was approved by the Santa Cruz City Council on June 23. nonessential travel, and shutdown hair salons, restaurants and bars for in-person services. As a result of that March order, UC Santa Cruz was forced to cease all in-per- son instruction. Public and private elementary and high schools alike were also closed in March. Santa Cruz High School's Abby Heitzler,who was par- ticipating in a study-abroad program, was locked down in Peru for two weeks, as cases surged in the South American country. Professional and recre- ational sports were can- celed. In March, Santa Cruz County high school sports were also banned indefi- nitely. The same month that the state's inaugural stay- at-home order went into effect, the first COVID-19 death occurred in Santa Cruz County. A few weeks later a second resident, who worked as a UCSC shuttle driver, died battling the vi- rus. The first COVID-19 clus- ter was declared in Santa Cruz in April — that took place at New Leaf Commu- nity Market in Aptos. On April 9, Santa Cruz Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel issued an executive order that closed parks, beaches and trails across the county. The order, which also barred surfing and other forms of exer- cise in those public spaces, was lifted on April 16. But beach activities were still restricted as part of new guidelines — only active exercise was allowed on shores and in the water. Just about a week later, Newel issued a mask or- der that for the first time required Santa Cruz resi- dents to wear facial cover- ings when in certain pub- lic settings. That continues to include places of work, businesses, and when in ride-sharing situations. In May, Santa Cruz County qualified to slowly ease restrictions, enter- ing a Phase 2 reopening. On May 8 for the first time since the shelter-in-place or- derwasimplemented,cloth- ing stores, bookstores, and other retailers were able to offer curbside pickup. On May26,thoseretailerscould once again open for in-per- son shopping, with restric- tions. The late-May guide- lines also allowed residents to gather for churches, fu- nerals, cultural ceremonies and protests. In June, the county was approved to further re- open. Hair salons, restau- rants and schools were given the green light to re- sume in-person services, with safety modifications. Toward the end of June, ongoing COVID-19 related beach restrictions were lifted, and visitors were once again allowed back on Santa Cruz shores. Summertime spike Soon after the local economy began to, for the first time in months, of- fer in-person services, CO- VID-19 infections spiked. In early July, a county that once had some of the lowest-case counts in the state, began to see a surge. Latino residents in Wat- sonville and across South County Santa Cruz were es- pecially hard-hit. A home- less shelter in Watsonville experienced an outbreak that same month and was shut down as a result. More than a third of the total COVID-19 cases at the time — 397 — were re- ported from July 13 to July 27. As a result of increasing cases, Santa Cruz County was put on Gov. Gavin New- som's COVID-19 watch list in late July. Gyms, salons and churches were forced to move services outside. Indoor dining was barred as well. In August, city beaches such as Cowell were once again temporarily closed to keep tourists at bay for the Labor Day weekend. Localvirusimpacts continueintofall,winter Public schools across Santa Cruz County con- tinued to operate remotely throughout the year, while some private schools, such as Mount Madonna School in Watsonville, initiated in-person instruction in the fall. High school sports re- main on hold, indefinitely. The impact of COVID-19 continued to be felt at UC Santa Cruz throughout the fall quarter. According to Marc DesJardins, execu- tive communications di- rector with UCSC, out of 1,500 courses offered this fall only six had an in-per- son instruction element. In early September, res- taurants and other indoor retailers were allowed to reopen their doors with modifications. But just a month and a half later many of those business owners had to adapt again. Restaurateurs were forced to stop indoor ser- vices in late November. Weeks later, as CO- VID-19 cases soared locally, eateries were barred from offering outdoor dining op- tions. Under current stay- at-home orders Santa Cruz County breweries, winer- ies and restaurants may only offer to-go or delivery service. Beauty salons and barbershops were forced to close their doors again. It's been a year of whip- lash for business owners and some have not been able to fare the economic challenge that COVID-19 has presented. At least 19 downtown shops and restaurants have closed their doors amidst the pandemic. They in- clude institutions such as the Poet and Patriot Irish Pub, Pono Hawaiian Grill, 99 Bottles, and retailers such as O' My Sole and a Brighter World. Half of those busi- nesses that no longer op- erate downtown continue to offer services online, or in different locations, ac- cording to the Downtown Santa Cruz Association. In total, Jorian Wilkins, exec- utive director of the associ- ation, said more than 85% of downtown retailers and restaurants have survived the pandemic. "Downtown Santa Cruz has shown remarkable re- silience thanks to local pa- tron's support, and retail- ers' and restaurants' own incredible determination," Wilkins said. Some new shops have opened their doors down- town amidst the pandemic. That includes Lulu Lemon, The Cat's Meow, Crazy Crab and others. Still, in recent weeks the county has seen its highest coronavirus infection num- bers to date. Santa Cruz County's Latino commu- nity remains the most im- pacted by the virus. "When we look at num- bers of people that have died and been diagnosed with COVID there's def- initely been disparity of impacts, due to long terms issues…lack of access to health care, crowded living situations and a lack of job and economic opportuni- ties." Jason Hoppin, county communications manager said. "It's just made our work more urgent. In December alone, at least 25 people have died as a result of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County. The Sentinel reported in No- vember that figure was 18 deaths, the second-highest monthly death toll of the year. "I think the public ser- vice providers, the first re- sponders, the health care workers are literally spent at this point," said Fifth District Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPher- son. "I hope that they can last through this." Seventy-percent of those killed by the virus in the Santa Cruz area thus far have been skilled nursing or residential care facility residents, the Sentinel re- ported. On a more positive note, the year is ending with the community's first wide- spread COVID-19 vaccina- tions amongst health care workers. That's something to celebrate in 2020. "There is so much hope on the horizon," the coun- ty's top doctor, Gail Newel, told the Sentinel. "I predict that next year's Christmas we'll all be able to gather with our loved ones and even our elders. We're go- ing to be able to hug them and spend time with them without concern about CO- VID infection." But to get there, Santa Cruz County residents need to keep following corona- virus guidelines: don't mix between households, social distance, wear a facial cov- ering. "I think if we can just get through the next few months, that anyone who wants to be vaccinated will be. And there's going to be so much more freedom to travel, to move around, get our schools open again. A lot more a lot more fun ahead in 2021," Newel said. Pandemic FROM PAGE 1 "Downtown Santa Cruz has shown remarkable resilience thanks to local patron's support, and retailers' and restaurants' own incredible determination." — Jorian Wilkins, executive director of the Downtown Santa Cruz Association | | SANTACRUZSENTINEL.COM THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2020 2 D

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Special Sections - Year In Review