The Weekly Dump 7.8.16

Civic Disgrace is Alive and Well in Santa Cruz

Here’s a terrific article on homelessnesssycamore, and an honest assessment of how San Francisco has dealt with it over the past 30 years. So many of these issues have permeated Santa Cruz for just as long.

Here are a couple of great quotes from the article. Just replace the word “San Francisco” with “Santa Cruz”. Amazing how well it fits.

On homelessness in the city:

“It takes a heavy toll on the ambience of our neighborhoods, the cost of doing business for many enterprises and the experience of visitors who are stunned to encounter such deprivation in a city of profound prosperity. It frustrates and polarizes San Francisco Santa Cruz like nothing else. There are those who see it as a social-services challenge, those who reduce it to a law-enforcement matter, and a few who think the problem would simply go away if only there were more affordable housing in the city. On one point we must all agree: The level and pervasiveness of homelessness in San Francisco Santa Cruz is a disgrace. It is simply not acceptable to allow people to stay in the squalor of tent encampments or sleep in doorways, parks and freeway underpasses without attention to the underlying issues that prevent them from attaining shelter and stability in their lives. It’s bad for public safety, bad for public health, and bad as a matter of basic humanity.”

Here’s another great quote from the article. If the shoe fits.

“Also, San Francisco Santa Cruz, which gets an influx of about 450 chronically homeless people a year, needs to shed any perception that it is a sanctuary for people who are unwilling to participate in programs designed to get them off, and keep them off, a life in the streets. It is neither inhumane nor “criminalizing poverty” to enforce laws against aggressive panhandling, tent encampments or defecation and urination in public places. It would be a colossal waste of money to make the necessary investments in supportive housing and other services without a commensurate commitment to assure that the people who are offered this array of assistance are no longer afforded the option to flout the law with impunity.”

What’s that I hear?


Blighthouse Field

lighthouseNormally I think the local Good Times is a crappy progressive mouthpiece that at best might offer mediocre investigative reporting and at worst presents biased amateur rhetoric that often borders on libel. But they did an interesting piece recently on Lighthouse Field, that long neglected parcel of land along West Cliff drive’s million dollar row that’s better known now as a place for dogs to crap and people to crap and sleep (and shoot up among other things). It’s arguably the country’s most beautiful shit hole. Even long time local progressive icon and socialist (and Lighthouse Field neighbor) Mike Rotkin has his issues with what’s happening at Lighthouse Field.

From the article:

A walk around the field’s eastern half reveals at least six makeshift latrines under the trees, littered with used toilet paper, feminine pads and human waste. Needles, spoons and other evidence of drug use are also regularly found by maintenance crews. Former city council member Mike Rotkin lives next to the field, and says every night someone sleeps in a car on his street. Around sunset, when the rangers close the field’s parking lots, he sees people with packs and sleeping bags walk through his neighborhood toward the field. “The average numbers are probably around 15 to 20 people,” Rotkin says. “And it ranges from a person who plops down a sleeping bag to people who drag mattresses and trash and camp stoves and bicycle parts and all that kind of stuff.”

Read the full article here.

Why Isn’t Privates Beach Public?

privatesThere seems to be a battle brewing over Privates Beach, a long time local beach that’s been protected by a locked gate since forever. Now the Coastal Commission wants the gate taken down and the public to have full and free access. In California, the California Coastal Act was passed in 1976. The Coastal Act states that one of its basic goals is to “Maximize public access to and along the coast and maximize public recreational opportunities in the coastal zone consistent with sound resources, conservation principles and constitutionally protected rights of private property owners”. The Coastal Act created the California Coastal Commission. One of the Coastal Commission’s permanent functions is “The implementation of a public coastal access program for the length of California’s coastline, including maintaining and updating an access inventory, keeping records of easements and dedications, and expediting the opening of new accessways for public use.” So why has this beach been gate locked to the public since forever? The fence has been up at Privates since the 1940s. People often hopped the fence when it was 6 feet tall in the 1990s and vandalized a wooden staircase to the beach, so leaders from the recreation district raised the fence to 9 feet and improved the staircase and cliffside park. Apparently, anyone can buy a $100 key to the gate for one year of access. Sheriff Jim Hart wants to keep Privates Beach private. Talk about a NIMBY sheriff. Do your job Jim Hart. Don’t let a gate do your job for you, keeping the public from enjoying your “privates” beach.

Listening in on SCPD in Real Time!

Many people probably don’t know that they can listen in on SCPD in real time online! Go to this link and check it out. Sometimes it’s quiet and it’s just dead air space, other times you can hear dispatch working with SCPD in the field. I’ve got it bookmarked and sometimes when I’m bored or working, I open it up in a new window. You can also copy and paste that link into iTunes and stream it. It’s pretty enlightening, sometimes entertaining, and you get to hear the SCPD in action, in their own words, how they handle situations in real time. It’s “Cops” in Santa Cruz, unfiltered and live!

Seabreeze Tavern Loses Liquor License, Switches to Marijuana-Based Drinks Instead

Seabreeze TavernThe Seabreeze Tavern in Rio Del Mar will officially run dry Thursday as a suspension levied by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control begins. The loss of the Santa Cruz County watering hole’s liquor license is the result of an 11-count complaint, which includes failing to operate a bona fide eating place, denying the ABC access to financial records, selling medical marijuana without authorization, forging fake medical marijuana cards and buying alcohol from retail establishments such as Safeway and BevMo instead of commercial distributors. As a result, owner Rich McInnis said he hopes to transition the Seabreeze Tavern from a bar that serves alcohol to a bar that serves hot and cold drinks infused with hemp and cannabidiol, or CBD. Both are products of marijuana plants. CBD is a non-psychoactive derivative thought to have numerous health benefits. “CBD is from the hemp plant, which contains no tetrahydrocannabinol so it’s not psychoactive and has no negative side affects – so no medical marijuana card is required,” McInnis said. Gotta love Santa Cruz. If you can’t cater to one vice, there are plenty of others to pick from. Read more!

Free Concert by The Family Stone at the Boardwalk!

The-Family-StoneFree concert tonight at the Boardwalk!

Led by Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees and original founding members of Sly & The Family Stone. The first inter-racial/inter-gender horn section in Rock & Roll history brings you Sly & The Family Stone’s big hits.

Together with Phunne Stone and some of the funkiest players of all time, they present an explosive set of classic hits like Everyday People, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), Dance To The Music, and Family Affair.

As usual, shows at 6:30 and 8:30PM.

Weekly Shoutouts!

Shoutout to Downtown Ranger Jeremy Mathews for scraping barnacles off Pacific Avenue!

DeCinzotized – Classic Steven DeCinzo


Thoughts and prayers to the communities of Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Falcon Heights. 

City Council Election Watch

So we’re into July now, and soon the candidates running for the city council will become much more visible. You’ll start seeing their signs popping up everywhere all over town. You’ll see them at community forums debating local topics. So maybe it’s time to start looking at who they actually are. I’ll start by sharing a bit of what I know. I’m also going to rate them on what I’m calling my “Progress-o-meter”. 1 being a Trump Republican. 10 being Don Lane. I’m not endorsing anyone yet, as more candidates may still declare. But I still have an opinion about the candidates who did declare!

Declared Candidates:

  • J.M. Brown
  • Dru Glover
  • Nate Kennedy
  • Steve Pleich
  • Cynthia Mathews
  • Steve Schnaar
  • Martine Watkins

J.M Brown:
Brown is a former reporter for the Sentinel. He works in communications and brand management with a successful local firm, and has an impressive list of endorsements. They include Assembly member Mark Stone, County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty and former mayor Hilary Bryant, also a campaign advisor to Brown. He is currently serving as a City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Commission member and a member of the Santa Cruz County Housing Advisory Commission. I wouldn’t go so far as to proclaim him a “moderate” candidate, but he’s moderate compared to most of the others. He’s close to Katherine Beiers, who I consider a local disaster. She endorses him. He has the endorsements of 4 of the current 7 council members (Comstock, Noroyan, Terrazas, and Chase) and would likely get Mathews endorsement if she wasn’t running against him. So he’s a “mixed bag”. Or as I like to say a “wild card”.

Do I know them personally? No
Progressometer Rating: 7

Dru Glover:
Founder of “Project Pollinate”, a community activism group that likes to throw parties 4 times a year in San Lorenzo Park. Not sure if he works or what his paying job is. Seems to be popular with the younger “progressive” crowd (UCSC students in particular). Has never held public office before. Seems like a very intelligent guy, very good public speaker with charisma. Supports many of the local progressive causes and much of their agenda, though he seems to cherry pick who he works with (doesn’t really work with Norse or the HUFF loons).

Do I know them personally? No
Progressometer Rating: 8

Nate Kennedy:
Nate is a local homeless (or perhaps formerly homeless) guy who is known for making origami cranes out of paper and handing them out to people walking along Pacific Avenue. He seems to have a few past scrapes with law enforcement, and may suffer from ongoing medical issues. But he actually brings some good ideas to the table. He brings some completely wacky ideas to the table too. He has the support of the local progressives (but probably from a distance). I think he’s mostly running so that his ideas get heard. In reality, he has little to no chance of winning a seat. But he brings color and flair to the summer debates!

Do I know them personally? No
Progressometer Rating: 9

Steve Pleich:
I’ve known Steve for a few years. Not really well but we know each other. I actually like Steve personally, but I have my issues with him on the city council. He seems to try every 4 years and always comes up well short, so I don’t really expect this time to be much different. He loves attention. He loves the limelight. He loves to hear himself talk. He has run twice before, largely on repealing the sleeping ban and other homeless issues.

Do I know them personally? Yes
Progressometer Rating: 9.9

Cynthia Mathews:
Current mayor. Long time city council member. Long time property owner and manager. Has been involved in Santa Cruz politics for at least 20 years. Has been Mayor previously. She has had a history of leaning progressive but has become more moderate in recent years. I can’t really say we’re friends but I know her and I have a lot of respect for her. She always seems to have the best interests of the entire community in mind, not just a favored group.

Do I know them personally? Yes
Progressometer Rating: 6

Steve Schnaar:
Founder and director of the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree project, and a volunteer mechanic for the Bike Church. Long time social activist. Has had previous issues with SCPD and the city council. Married to Stacy Falls, longtime progressive advocate for homeless issues and co-founder with Brent Adams of the sanctuary camp project.

Do I know them personally? No
Progressometer Rating: 9

Martine Watkins:
A mother of two, Watkins works as the senior community organizer in the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. I know Hugh thinks highly of Watkins, and I think highly of Hugh’s opinion. She also has a strong, mixed bag list of endorsements from local politicians and leaders. I thunk she leans progressive but not when it gets in the way of public safety.

Do I know them personally? No. But Hugh does!
Progressometer Rating: 7

One Comment

  1. Bored Housewife

    Thanks for the link to the SCPD scanner. That thing is addictive!

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