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SCS Year In Review 2022

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SHMUEL THALER — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL More than 200 people participate in Black Surf Club Santa Cruz's Liberation Paddle-Out on June 19 at Cowell Beach. The event was organized by the club's founder Esabella Bonner as part of the local Juneteenth celebration. This image is one of Sentinel staff photographer Shmuel Thaler's favorites from 2022. To see more of his choices turn to pages 4 and 5 of this section. JUNETEENTH PADDLING OUT By Jessica A. York jyork@santacruzsentinel.com SANTA CRUZ » The summer of 2022 saw the close of a more than two-year legal saga involving a lo- cal deputy's murder at the hands of a Ben Lomond man involved with extremist ideologies and a community beginning to heal. Within weeks of being sen- tenced to 41 years in prison for a separate federal Oakland drive- by shooting case, Steven Carrillo pleaded guilty to the slaying of Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Of- fice deputy Sgt. Damon Gutz- willer. As part of his negotiated plea deal June 27 with the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office in the local case, Carrillo avoided both trial and a poten- tial death penalty in the sentenc- ing. He will serve the federal and Santa Cruz cases' prison terms si- multaneously. Before a packed courtroom overf lowing to several others, Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick sen- tenced Carrillo, 34, on Aug. 26 to a negotiated term of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Gutzwiller's murder, plus the attempted murder of two other deputies and two California High- way Patrol officers caught in the firefight at Carrillo's Ben Lomond home. "There is no justice for what you have done," Fabiola Del Real, Gutzwiller's partner and the MURDER OF SGT. DAMON GUTZWILLER Community starts to heal aer guilty plea SHMUEL THALER — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL FILE Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller's widow Favi Del Real weeps in court Aug. 26 during the sentencing of Steven Carrillo for Gutzwiller's 2020 murder. By PK Hattis pkhattis@santacruzsentinel.com SANTA CRUZ » In what will be re- membered as one of the most heated ballot initiative contests in Santa Cruz County history, voters made their voices heard in deci- sive fashion this summer when it came to the future of the Branch Rail corridor. After months of contentious debate, the Measure D Greenway Initiative was overwhelmingly defeated in the June 7 primary election by a difference of nearly 36,000 votes. When the final bal- lots were tallied, the "no" votes came out on top with 56,342 (or 73%), while the "yes" votes came to 20,616 (or 26%). The initiative aimed to amend the county's General Plan — a long-term planning document that outlines land use and devel- opment in unincorporated county regions — to favor the establish- ment of a multi-use trail in place of the 32-mile rail line connecting both ends of the county. Current plans place a trail next to the rail line and organizers in opposition to the initiative such as No Way Greenway said keeping this plan in place is key to pur- suing future transportation pos- sibilities in the county, including an exploration of passenger rail service. But even if the initiative had passed, it wouldn't have guar- anteed that Greenway's vision would come to fruition, accord- ing to a county analysis. The rail line stretching from Watsonville to Davenport has been owned by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission since 2012 and ultimately its 12 com- missioners get to decide what vi- sion to pursue for the corridor. "I'm very optimistic that we can have electric passenger rail service in this county and it will make a huge environmental and convenience difference for peo- ple," longtime Regional Trans- portation Commissioner Mike Rotkin recently told the Sentinel, adding that he was "pleased" with the election outcome but not to- tally surprised. One commissioner decidedly not pleased with the outcome is MEASURE D Passenger rail moves to forefront By Jessica A. York jyork@santacruzsentinel.com SANTA CRUZ » In a cycle that has become familiar to Santa Cru- zans over the past decade, a large homeless encampment that had ebbed and flowed in size and ex- act location within the city's San Lorenzo Park since April 2020 was cleared of its last occupant in early November. In a more than two-year pe- riod, the parklands had become home to one of the city's larg- est and most persistent camps, swelling at times to upward of 300 people, by some estimates. While having served as a sleep- ing site in more limited ways for those without shelter for decades, San Lorenzo Park particularly be- came a significant central gather- ing zone as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic's lockdown converged with city-enforced encampment closures elsewhere in the city in 2022. For much of its early exis- tence, the park encampment also had remained protected from dispersal by a federal court or- der that was first issued in De- cember 2020. However, in March, six months after the federal injunction ex- pired, city officials aired a three- year homelessness response stra- tegic plan that was to be funded in its first year by a one-time, $14 million state budget homelessness earmark. One root of the multi- tiered plan drew inspiration from the Santa Cruz City Council's ef- forts to update its suspended no- camping ordinance. That city law, dubbed in 2021 as the Camp- ing Services and Standards Or- dinance, called for the city to es- tablish 150 sites for overnight sleeping and a storage program before law enforcement could re- sume criminally penalizing indi- viduals sleeping outdoors on pub- lic property. "I want to be very clear for the community that as we talk about establishing additional shelter, we're wanting to get out of the business of the current environ- ment that we have at the Bench- lands and move to a more mean- ingful, higher standard of shel- ter at these other locations," City Manager Matt Huffaker told the Santa Cruz City Council during a SANTA CRUZ Benchlands homeless encampment cleared SHMUEL THALER — SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL FILE A San Lorenzo Park Benchlands occupant removes belongings as a portion of the site is cleared in November. By Jim Seimas jseimas@santacruzsentinel.com As 2023 approaches, we turn out thoughts to the past year to reflect how much local teams and athletes entertained us. There were plenty of highs and lows, giving the Sentinel sports staff plenty to think about when de- ciding which program made the biggest splash. After much mental wrangling, the Sentinel has declared Soquel High's girls water polo team and Watsonville's boys soccer team as the Sports Newsmakers of the Year. Both teams won Central Coast Section titles in the high- est division and reached CIF Nor- Cal Regional finals. Soquel (29-3, 8-0) suffered just three losses in the pool all season, two in nonleague and the other in the NorCal final. All three came at the hands of the same team, unbeaten Miramonte (28-0) of Orinda, ranked No. 1 in the nation by maxpreps.com for teams who compete in the fall. The Knights finished ranked No. 1 in the CCS and No. 2 in the nation. The Knights, led by Stanford University committed Quinn Healy and Indiana-committed se- nior Olivia Harris, featured a per- fect mix of experience and youth, and offense and defense. United in ambitions, the Knights bene- fitted from their chemistry in and out of the water. They outscored opponents 469 to 187 on the season and secured the program's 12th straight league title and second straight CCS Open Division crown over rival Sacred Heart Prep. A year after scraping by the Gators for their first Open crown, the Knights left no doubt in their rematch, and prevailed 18-5. "We were all looking forward to this," Harris said after the win. "We were looking to defend our ti- tle. It turned out how we wanted it. We came in with a game plan and played with confidence. We all trust in each other and we communicated well." Healy was named Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League MVP and CCS Player of the Year. Watsonville's soccer team (18- 5-3, 8-1-1) was no less impressive. The Wildcatz won the Pacific Coast Athletic League's Gabilan Division title and survived three CCS thrillers to earn the school's 12th section crown. Seeded No. 2, the Wildcatz knocked off No. 7 Lincoln of San Jose 2-0 in over- time in the quarterfinals, No. 3 Saint Francis of Mountain View 1-0 in the semifinals, and No. 1 Branham of San Jose 2-1 in the final. "These kids were tremendous this year, the way they've come back," said Wildcatz coach Roland Hedgpeth. "They're a second-half team. We can't doubt that. And they've come back over and over and over again." The Wildcatz earned two more postseason wins in CIF Nor- Cal Division I play. After beat- ing Modesto 2-0 in the quarter- finals, they finished regulation and overtime deadlocked at 2-all against De La Salle of Concord in the semifinals and advanced on a marathon, penalty-kick shootout. They did so with backup goalie Mateo Arias making a key stop as the Wildcatz won in nine rounds of kicks. Watsonville lost to top-seeded Whitney 3-1 in the NorCal final. Still, the Wildcatz were a cele- 2022 SPORTS NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR Soquel, Watsonville teams share honor HOMELESS » PAGE 2 MEASURE D » PAGE 7 CARRILLO » PAGE 3 SPORTS » PAGE 6 YEAR IN REVIEW » santacruzsentinel.com Saturday, December 31, 2022 » MORE AT FACEBOOK.COM/SCSENTINEL AND TWITTER.COM/SCSENTINEL C1

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