Santa Cruz City Manager Explains His Public Safety Policy
Santa Cruz City Manager Martin Bernal went on KION News to explain how the city is dealing with the out of control crime problems along the downtown Riverwalk. Before that though, his Substitute Apologist from SCPD feeds us all a line about how this was an “isolated incident” and was NOT a “random act of violence”. REALLY? Isolated in what way? Isolated to the spot of the Riverwalk you’ve known was a ticking time bomb ready to explode? Not a random act of violence? Well we know that now because we know it was a drug turf war beef between a couple of homeless bums (but we know this no thanks to you!). This whole video is just a self served, bad PR piece for the city. How to take an ugly murder in your small beach town and make yourself look clueless about it (it’s actually nice that Bernal didn’t march Scott Collins up there to take yet another public flogging in the media for him. I heard Scott’s on a well deserved vacation. Good timing Scott! – BD).
“City Manager” Martin Bernal explains his unofficial, “vibrant” public safety policy. This is what I’m calling “Whac-A-Troll”. I was kind of hoping $250K per year (his approximate annual salary) would buy me a better solution here. Something a little more cerebral maybe? I can sum up his strategy in 2 words: “We react”. That’s not a long term, or even a short term plan. That’s not a strategy. That’s a reaction. This is about the most apathetic strategy I’ve ever heard. It’s admitting defeat here. Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s self defeating because this guy represents the city. It’s one thing for the man himself to admit he doesn’t have a clue but I still have faith someone with a clue is out there. And his name isn’t Martin Bernal.
“What we tend to do is focus in an area, and then the issue pops up somewhere else, and we focus on that area. We don’t have enough resources to be everywhere, throughout the entire city, all the time” states Bernal in the video. Nobody really expects you to be EVERYWHERE Martin. But maybe if you didn’t look the other way all the time, do nothing all of the time, then just MAYBE Santa Cruz wouldn’t be seen as an easy mark for crime. Being passive about public safety leads to I’m guessing MORE CRIME? It’s not rocket science. It’s not even Algebra. It’s plain old common freaking sense.
Hello? Anyone home? Can we finally start talking about PUBLIC SAFETY as a priority and as one of our biggest issues needing to be addressed? If “Whac-A-Troll” is the best Martin Bernal’s got, maybe the question we REALLY need to be asking here would be IS MARTIN BERNAL THE BEST THAT SANTA CRUZ HAS GOT?
Letters to the City Council Reveal Mounting Community Frustration
I’ve been told by a couple different people this week that the public is outraged right now over the lack of focus on public safety and much of that anger is being directed at the Santa Cruz city council. Rightfully so. They are Martin Bernal’s boss. They have the right to fire him anytime they want. They’ve always had the power to change this. We the people can’t fire him. We don’t elect him. A number of recent letters to the city council were passed along to me by friends of friends. They are actually part of the “public record” but they never see the light of day. The city kind of buries this stuff. Makes it hard to find. They make you have to ask for it. They sure as hell aren’t having Joyce or Scott do a press release about it.
Here are a few choice cuts from one of those recent letters to the city council and others. I’m not including any names here, but all of the cuts are 100% accurate and authentic and were sent to a number of people who can validate their authenticity.
This comes from a local couple who bought one of those new condos on North Pacific Avenue:
“We have a lovely 3rd floor view of the River levee and Water Street Bridge. AND, we are front row witness to the deterioration of the Riverwalk and the Downtown area. We love Santa Cruz…and we want to love Santa Cruz more. We take pride in our home; we keep it safe and clean. Santa Cruz Riverwalk and the Downtown are the front yard and the backyard of our home. The degenerate state of our “yards” are not what you would stand for in your own front or back yard….I am sure.”
then they detail some of what they are witness to:
“The ongoing camping along the river banks. I watch these camps start with two or three people and then grow to several sites with multiple vagrants. I call the police about them when they grow to this number. Each and every time, I am told “we will come and clear them out but they will only come back”! And, I say “well, then come and clear them out again….you know they are there!!!! You drive the levee all the time”!
The river has become a toilet bowl! It reeks of human feces and urine near, under and around every underpass and on some of the banks. WE are concerned about the wildlife that would be affected by recreation paddling on the river…. but are we not concerned about the garbage and human waste that is in our river???
illegal activity is so obvious among the vagrant pods of people who gather in very specific spots! The latest being the murder in broad daylight! We have witnessed drug deal, addicts shooting up …. And we are not on the river as much as our enforcement agencies.
These are vagrants; they are not homeless people looking for help; they are intentional vagrants who are known to law enforcement, and have no intention of being housed or employed”
WHY IS ALL OF THIS FALLING ON DEAF EARS? WHY DO WE SETTLE FOR THIS CRAP?
The letter concludes with the following conclusions, which seem to be obvious to everyone not named Martin Bernal:
“We must say, ENOUGH! We need enforcement! and if issuing citations that are just thrown away don’t do the job, we need teeth to move these vagrants on! Downtown Santa Cruz and our River have become the domain of vagrancy, drugs, crime and filth! Wow! this is a hard Santa Cruz to love! We will add our voice by voting this November, and foremost on our agenda is the present degenerate state of the River and Downtown.”
THE PUBLIC IS SCREAMING FOR PUBLIC SAFETY TO BE A FOCUS HERE. WHY DOES IT CONTINUE TO GET RELEGATED TO THE BACK OF THE ROOM? WHY ARE ALL OF THE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES DUCKING THIS ISSUE? WHY DOES THE CITY MANAGER CONTINUE TO DEFLECT AND IGNORE THE COMMUNITY OUTRAGE ON THIS ISSUE?
Santa Cruz NAACP Joins with SCPD and SCSO for Peace Party at the Circle Church
I know I report a lot of snark and bad news but here’s a nice item with no snark. Gotta give the Rev. Chris Drury of the Garfield Park Community Church (aka the “circle church”) big props for throwing a successful “peace party” last Sunday afternoon. By all accounts it was well attended and everyone I’ve talked to about this event sang it’s praises. The purpose was to try to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, and specifically people of color. I’m not sure how much of a problem that is locally, we are a melting pot of ethnicity here, and we have a VERY tolerant police force in the city and the county. But it’s not so much about the sense of urgency here, but the fact that people took the initiative to make it happen, something positive which benefits the community. I’ve also heard about a few idiot “progressive” critics (are there any other kind locally?) who were all offended that SCPD and SCSO were allowed to actually engage with people in a nice way. “Compassionate Progressive” seems to be more and more of an oxymoron locally. I’m sure they’re just mad they weren’t invited. Or maybe they’re just mad that Chris doesn’t put up with the general vagrancy and stupid levels of tolerance the last guy before him inflicted on the neighbors by running a homeless free for all at the church. I’m sure there’s some residual hurt feelings in the gluteus maximus over that. More on this story here.
Tuesday Night Brawl on the Levee
Did you hear about the brawl on Tuesday night on the river levee near Broadway and Laurel? Probably not. 8 people fighting, with knives and hammers. And let’s see, this happened about 50 feet from last week’s bum murder? I guess the city has really cleaned that area up since last week!
Wednesday Night Brawl at 7/11 on Laurel and Chestnut
We’ve got nightly brawls now downtown! Wednesday night a call came in about 6 guys fighting in the parking lot of the 7/11 on Laurel and Chestnut. An employee called it in from inside the store after watching it unfold from inside on their security camera. By the time SCPD arrived, they were gone. SCPD suspects it was a possible drug deal gone bad. Gee, maybe go check on the corner of Washington and Laurel where the drug dealers like to hangout daily. You know the spot. It’s only a half a block away. Next to the children’s playground in Laurel Park. ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE SCPD MAIN STATION.
Woman on Meth or Bath Salts Strips Off Clothes at Gateway Plaza
Wednesday night around midnight, a woman was reported to be stripping off her clothes and acting erratically in the Gateway Plaza parking lot. Keep in mind nothing is open there at that hour. The call came from a friend who was there to pick her up. The caller said she may have been on meth or possibly bath salts. She was also reported to be arguing with an air conditioning unit. Police eventually found her wandering half naked along the levee near Ross (where else).
Woman Carjacked on West Cliff Drive on Saturday Night
Saturday nights are never boring in Santa Cruz. Around 9:30pm this past Saturday night, a female was carjacked along West Cliff Drive. She was yanked from her car and her car was stolen, apparently by someone she knew. SCPD set up a perimeter all over West Cliff and the westside area in general. The vehicle, parked along West Cliff drive, had Oregon plates and the victim knew the suspect. As the story played out, the woman appeared to be uncooperative with SCPD and there were no actual witnesses who saw her being pulled from the car (a nearby resident called it in after the woman came to his porch screaming she had been carjacked). No idea how this turned out but SCPD had multiple units all over the westside looking for the car.
Bikes Being Stripped Down Behind Ferrell’s Donuts
I swear I didn’t make this one up just for a cheap laugh. A call came in around 12:30am Thursday morning that 3 males were seen behind Ferrell’s Donuts stripping down bikes. I know. Sending cops to a donut shop on a call really needs no other joke. I wonder if they threw Ro Sham Bo to see who took the call.
Woman Punched in the Face in Bathroom of Restaurant on the Westside
I heard about a woman who got assaulted and punched in the face at Upper Crust pizza on Mission on the westside Saturday night. Apparently she was found in the bathroom with her face bleeding pretty badly. No word on who clocked her in the face or whether they were caught.
Woman Beaten and Stripped at Steamer Lane Bathroom
I heard about an incident on Saturday afternoon about women brawling in front of the Lighthouse at Steamer Lane. When SCPD showed up, they found a woman who apparently was beaten up and stripped of her clothing in front of the bathrooms at Steamer Lane. She was wearing a men’s flannel shirt (probably given to her by a bystander). Last I heard was they knew who did the beating and the victim wanted to press charges but no word if they caught the suspects.
Passed Out Man With His Pants Down on Pacific Avenue
A call came in Tuesday night about a man passed out on the sidewalk in front of 1010 Pacific Avenue with his pants down. Pants on the ground. Pants on the ground. Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!
Just Another Sunday Afternoon in Harvey West Park
Reports came in around 6pm on Sunday that there was a woman at the Harvey West baseball field bathroom, apparently on drugs, taking off her clothes in her underwear, with lots of children around. Try to avoid stepping on any needles while you’re in the area. The Pogonip area up behind the ball field is full of homeless camps, and the city has known about this for years. They’ve looked the other way for years. And the destruction to the nearby historic Evergreen Cemetery is just shameful on the part of the city and the Museum of Arts and History, who have allowed the constant destruction and vandalism to manifest itself by the homeless for many years. It’s one of Santa Cruz’s dirtiest little secrets. Talk about crapping on your history. The city and the MAH allow the homeless to do it daily.
Fire in Arroyo Seco Threatens Nearby Homes and Knocks Out Power to Nearby Residents
A number of Santa Cruz residents and their homes were threatened Friday night after fallen power lines ignited several brush fires, coming within 25 feet of homes, according to a Santa Cruz Fire official.
About 7:30 p.m. Friday, there was a report of a fire on the 100 block of Alamo Street. Fire officials responding found the electrical wires had broken and come down, causing fires in four spots and threatening houses on the 500 block of Arroyo Seco. The fires were in a high brush area between houses. There’s a greenbelt buffer area in between the 2 streets (Alamo and Arroyo Seco) that is full of highly flammable Eucalyptus trees. And if that tree hugger Gillian Greensite knows about them, she’s probably already sued the city over them. I’m not sure if the Blue Gum Eucalyptus is on the “Heritage Tree” list, but if it is the city should consider removing it. First of all, I’m actually a fan of the tree. They are beautiful, majestic trees, a bit messy, but they smell great. The Monarch butterflies love them. They hang out by the thousands in the tops of the trees in the winter here sunning themselves during the day along their winter migration. The viewing area in the gulch at Natural Bridges where it’s full of Eucalyptus trees, when it’s full of thousands of Monarchs, is an amazing place to witness the wonder of nature. But they are also non native, invasive, and did I mention they are very messy. And very flammable. So messy and flammable is a really bad combination in the “buffer greenbelt” spaces located in high density neighborhoods locally like the one this fire was in. It’s by no means an “endangered species” of tree. They are everywhere in Northern California, as ubiquitous as a redwood. So it would be prudent to consider doing more “thinning” of the species in the urban greenbelt areas. Obviously, this won’t sit well with serial litigators like Greensite. But the city runs the risk of losing entire neighborhoods to fire by doing nothing.
“There were multiple homes threatened by the fire but we were able to keep the fire back from the houses,” Santa Cruz Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Venezio said. More on the story here.
Food Trucks in San Lorenzo Park Tonight for First Friday
If you happen to be lucky enough to be here for the Best Week of the Year to be in Santa Cruz, check out the 2nd “Food Trucks A Go Go” event, taking place TONIGHT from 5-8:30PM. This also coincides with the monthly First Friday events that take place downtown, so maybe it will have a strong turnout if it can glean some of the runoff foot traffic from Pacific Avenue. Of course there’s this thing called “the levee” that stands between the 2, and the levee is like the red headed stepchild of Santa Cruz as far as the city itself is concerned. All snark aside, I am a huge fan of bringing food trucks to Santa Cruz. We are way behind the cultural 8 ball on this one. We are ripe with great places to put them (West Cliff Drive for example, where there’s NO FOOD). The city could make money off them, and run the Bum RVs off of West Cliff by replacing them with food trucks. Close off one parking lot along West Cliff (the former 3 trees for example) and turn it into a food truck parklet. Turn that free parking into a cash cow. Duh. I do hope this event gets a good turnout. Come out and support food trucks in Santa Cruz!
Democratic Women’s Club Candidate Forum Review
Held recently at the SCPD community meeting room
Candidates Participating: Everyone except Nate Kennedy and Jim Davis.
Estimated Attendance: Maybe 50-75 community members
I couldn’t make it to this one live because it was at 10 freaking AM in the morning on a Saturday. And Los Lobos and visiting friends kept me up well past midnight. But I have friends (I’ll affectionately refer to them as “Dumpsters”) who did manage to make it there despite the early time. And I caught some live stream of the forum as well (thanks to PS, it was a HUGE help and let me do this writeup – BD). So I watched from a distance. First thought. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF OLD PEOPLE. I’d guess the median age of the people attending here was eligible for AARP membership. I think the only people under 40 in the room were some of the candidates. I also wonder how many of those purple shirts Dru Glover has. – BD
Singleton started things off and talked about a lot of things but he did talk about public safety as the last point. Wants a sobering center. I think the county has one. But ended with his willingness to make tough, unpopular decisions. That’s good. Schnaar went next. Social and ecological issues are his focus. Wants more compassion. “evidence based decision making”. Yeah right. Never once mentions public safety. Of course not. JM Brown was next. He needs to learn to not try to eat the microphone when he talks. Primary reason for running is affordable housing. Didn’t I just say last week it’s a pipe dream? His stance on public safety finally is revealed to be soft serve compassionate drivel. Well that’s revealing. Martine Watkins was up next. Talked about being a local, being a mom, public policy graduate, really good speaker. She’s good at the art of the elevator pitch. Good response from the crowd. Dru was next. I noticed he slowed down his elevator pitch. That’s good! I can actually follow along with what he says now. Interesting. His job at the RCFNV is part time. Cynthia Mathews gives us a laundry list of her 20 plus years of progressive public service. Much less monotone this time. More affordable housing red herring talk. Please. If she could do something, wouldn’t we have seen a hint of it by now? She’s had 20 years to fix it. Can we talk about stuff you can actually do something about? Never brings up public safety. Not once. I think she talked about everything BUT public safety. I wonder why? Bum murders on your watch doesn’t help. Sandy Brown came next. She did better this time. At least she seemed prepared to talk about herself. That’s a start. She still doesn’t reveal anything about what she would actually do. Chris Krohn came next. He loves to preach I’ll say that much. And he loves to enunciate for effect (the “preacher” effect). And when he’d do it, the mic would feedback on him. Kind of funny how every time he did it, he sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. More affordable housing red herring talk. Can’t do anything but talk and pander for votes about it. Steve Pleich went last. He seems to be getting bored reciting his laundry list of stuff he’s done, as the droning seems to get worse by the day and more tiring the longer he goes on with it. Tried to use the “preacher” effect to break up the vocal white noise coming from his mouth but he can’t work it like Krohn can. Nothing about public safety.
Then a question comes up about crime and local issues with meth and heroin and how they are impacting public safety in the community and what would you do about it. YES! A legitimate question. JM Brown really disappoints here. He gets asked a simple question about local crime and he dances around the issue and deflects and blames “substance abuse” and the lack of available treatment options. Nothing about a lack of enforcement. Nothing about an over tolerant culture to the point of stupidity. Seems to have more empathy for the problem than the victims. At least Martine discussed job training, the courts, etc. Give people something productive to do. She was smart enough to stay off the homeless bandwagon here. Dru talks about a “climate of compassion”. Oh STFU. Stop blaming the public’s perceived lack of doing enough for the homeless on the problem. Mathews talked about more collaboration to address this problem. Well DUH. Is that the best you can do? How many years now have you been doing this again? More “prevention, intervention..” How about some ENFORCEMENT here. And Sandy Brown is the Chief Apologist on the subject (and obviously an expert on the subject here). She answers the question by not answering the question and talking about how the homeless are blamed for everything bad and it’s not all their fault. (I should point out that the word “homeless” was never part of the question but santa mierda! did some of the candidates use them for their answers! – BD)
So I know everyone is wondering. Who worked it the best here*?
- JM Brown
- Sandy Brown
(Nate Kennedy and Jim Davis either didn’t attend or were not invited)
*As always, this is just my humble opinion here. Has nothing to do with who I personally like or endorse, everything to do with public speaking performance and ability to “work the room. I think given the geriatric nature of the crowd, the geriatric candidates had a bit of a “senior” advantage, which is why 4, 5, and 6 placed higher than 7 or 8 here. – BD
In the end, the DWC endorsed Mathews, JM Brown, Watkins, and Singleton (pictured left to right above). They look pleased! I guessed 3 of the 4 on my list above. I was wrong about how much they liked JM (obviously) but I think more than anything, they decided to go with the “safe” (non-kook) slate of candidates. Or maybe they love drinking the Coonerty Kool-Aid because Ryan (among many others) endorsed all 4 (and just these 4).
At this point I’m having a hard time endorsing anyone else here. I still like the 2 I’ve endorsed so far (Watkins and Singleton) but everyone else is doing everything in their power to have me NOT endorse them. -BD
People’s Democratic Club Candidate Forum Review
Held recently at the Louden Nelson Community Center
Candidates Participating: Everyone except Nate Kennedy
Estimated Attendance: Maybe 200-250 community members
“Last Call for Nate Kennedy and Jim Davis!” – unintentionally funny opening announced by moderator at the beginning of the forum as both were late arrivals (Nate didn’t show up) – BD
First thought: MORE REALLY OLD PEOPLE. MORE AND OLDER THAN THE LAST ONE ON SATURDAY (someone tell Bratton that just because most of them are younger than him, that doesn’t make them “young” – BD). I mean, lots and lots and lots of old people here. I thought the first one had a lot of old people. This one has 3 times as many old people. I’m starting to think young people don’t give a crap about Santa Cruz politics. It feels like the City of Lost Children here. That’s scary. Apathy is never good in an election year (If someone here can effectively engage and tap into the younger, under 40 demographic, they could win this election outright here. Hello Robert Singleton! – BD). And where’s Dru’s purple shirt!? This particular forum was the full on FAR left of left forum. 2 standard deviations to the left. Martine Watkins was a bit late (looking for parking) and Jim Davis was also late (not sure what he was looking for) but they both made it in time for the 1 minute elevator pitch. And this was kind of interesting as I’m not sure most of them have worked the 1 minute time limit much. About half took the full 60 seconds, Pleich went over (of course), and the other half took considerably less, maybe 30-45 seconds. They all did pretty good here, I’ve heard it all before. I noticed Jim Davis was wearing his favorite hat down to cover his black eye. Dru Glover has slowed down his pitch and it’s much more effective now (and I can actually follow along). Steve Schnaar also did pretty good here. He’s getting better at this as he goes along. JM Brown read from a script about himself so not much to say there. I’ve heard it before. He still seems to be having microphone issues. Chris Krohn brought more of his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God bible belt fire and brimstone. Sandy Brown did better but she still has no plan. Robert Singleton started off a little slow and tripped up a couple times during his pitch but he did ok in the end. Martine Watkins was again a very good speaker, very confident and self assured. Cynthia Mathews also did ok but she just rehashed everything she’d done in the last 30 years (and not what she’ll do moving forward). And Steve Pleich continued his “Krohn Lite” approach to righteous indignation.
So then they are getting ready for questions and I smell this really nasty food odor coming from my left. I turn to look and there’s this creepy old progressive woman shoving take out Chinese food in her face. Disgusting. I was ready to bail at that point. But I stuck around long enough to hear the first 2 questions. And I’m actually glad I did. They were pretty good questions. The first question dealt with the relationship between city staff and the city council (how do you see the relationship?). This is a huge point of contention for many people, including me. I keep saying Martin is the tail that wags the dog (and obvious Dump reader Pleich lifted that line from me tonight – BD). And it’s his staff they are asking about here. So on this question, Mathews went first (how uncomfortable!) and she basically gave the politically correct expected answer (the council sets the agenda, the staff follows their lead). Sandy Brown went next and referred to the “consent agenda council”, which started getting the crowd warmed up. Schnaar says it’s been “all talk in the past” and feels staff “wags the dog” (gee, where have I heard that expression recently! – BD). Singleton says it’s hard being a part time city council member (and guess who ultimately suffers for that?). He talks about “standing up to staff”. WAIT. Aren’t they called “STAFF”. Don’t they work for you? JM Brown gives a similar excuse (part time council members are just too busy to adequately prepare) but they’ve got PLENTY of time to CAMPAIGN while working those other jobs right now. And then Pleich comes out and steals my “tail wagging the dog” expression, numerous times. Well he’s never been too original. Jim Davis seems completely clueless here. He wants to have meetings between staff and the CC. I’m pretty sure they do that Jim. Dru is pretty PC about it, talks about staff having a research and advise role. Finally Krohn RAILS on the city manager and then goes off question. The 2nd question dealt with “the pipe dream” (affordable housing). RED HERRING ALERT. Sandy Brown waffled a lot, discussed increasing the % of affordable units required, ADUs, and even brought up rent control! Schnaar brought up increasing the TOT fee and modifying the in-lieu fee (many of them had issues with the “in lieu fee”, which allows developers to pay into a fund instead of offering affordable units for new development). Singleton discussed a “landlord liason”, more Section 8, ending the rental inspection ordinance, and had an interesting idea for ADUs where 9 month student rentals would allow the other 3 to be a vacation, short term rental. Then things started to get a little catty. Watkins reclassified the housing “crisis” as a housing “crossroads”, which drew from Dru (like that, drew from Dru?) a response over the definition. He didn’t name her but he went after her. So when it was her turn, Martine basically blew off the first 30 seconds of the NEXT question to go back after Dru (but not by name). The claws are out! Pleich had an interesting idea about a senior ADU program with Habitat for Humanity.
And then Krohn ended with the SINGLE DUMBEST IDEA OF ANYONE by suggesting some completely idiotic idea to have the city become a “below market” property manager by having the city buy up vacant properties and sell them back to the community at BELOW MARKET RATES in some kind of “Affordable Housing Trust”.
This has to be at it’s core one of the fundamentally STUPIDEST ideas I’ve heard on this subject.
Never mind it will NEVER happen (and why on earth would it? Why would the city buy something and sell it for a loss over and over?). I think the market will ALWAYS beat Chris Krohn and his pandering, idiotic views on the local pipe dream (and seemingly all of the city council candidates favorite red herring topic to discuss) known as “affordable housing”. If this guy can’t grasp basic math, he’s got no business on the city council.
So I know everyone is wondering. Who worked it the best here*?
- Krohn (despite his issues with reality and basic math, the seniors ate him up yet again)
- JM Brown
- Sandy Brown
- Jim Davis
*As always, this is just my humble opinion here. Has nothing to do with who I personally like or endorse, everything to do with public speaking performance and ability to “work the room”. I think again given the geriatric nature of the crowd, the oldest candidates had a bit of a “senior” advantage here. – BD
And in among the vast expanse of progressive hair in the room, I spot a familiar face in the crowd. It’s Hugh Jorgan!
And here’s what Hugh had to say about this event:
Not sure I can accurately describe the atmosphere of this room. I don’t know why I keep expecting the left of the lefts to have a more peaceful vibe to them. It is anything but. I have been in prison yards that have a more welcoming atmosphere. I walked in the room and this woman insisted I tell her what party I was with. I pretended I didn’t speak English. The room was hot, sweaty and filled with Santa Cruz’s finest progressives. In other words, a lot of self-obsessed, self-serving ego maniacs with inferiority complexes. And A LOT of grey, frizzy and unmanageable hair.
Martine Watkins, Robert Singleton and JM Brown did a fine job of answering questions. Concise, to the point and strong. I think they will be an excellent addition to our City Council. They seem to have fresh ideas and their own experiences that will add some flavor to the current City Council . Bless Cynthia Mathews. Clearly the least favorite candidate to this particular crowd. She handled herself well, despite the hissing and insults being thrown at her. I don’t remember the moderators name but she did not put up with that crap. Robert Norse was standing behind her hissing and the moderator turned around, put her hand up and said “NOT ON MY WATCH!”. Robert, like a scolded child, looked at his shoes. Sandy Brown………Yawner and CLUELESS, Steve Schnaar is in complete denial, Drew Glover… great speaker but I have seen you at City Council meetings at the podium Drew. You may be fooling the crowd but you don’t fool me. I have watched you shame, insult and sling foul accusations at current council members. Get a hold of the attitude and maybe in a few years. Steve Pleich, you have a very good heart, this just isn’t your venue. Krohn needs therapy. Jim Davies…., oh Jim. I would love to sit down on a park bench with you somewhere and compare drunk stories.
And in the end, the PDC endorsed Krohn, Schnaar, Glover, and Sandy Brown. I got 3 of the top 4 right. I have no idea what they see in Sandy Brown. I know what I see. Nothing. Oh wait, she’s all pro union! Now I get it. “Look for…the Union label….”
Keeping Up With Chris Krohn
We’ve got a new irregular feature on the Dump (let’s be honest, everything is pretty irregular on the Dump). “Keeping Up With Chris Krohn” explores the colorful past and history of Chris Krohn, former mayor and now a city council candidate after being out of government for the past 16 years. Maybe he thinks 16 years is long enough for most people to forget about who he is and what he’s done. But Weekly Dump readers have a long memory, and have been bombarding me with stuff about Chris Krohn and his past transgressions. So I’m gonna pick a few of my favorites and feature them through this election campaign, just to provide some balance and perspective to all the rhetoric that will inevitably come from his mouth in the coming months. – BD
From a 2002 article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel…..
Mayor’s Unwanted Visit Angers Property Owner
Mayor Christopher Krohn went on private property last week to examine a tilting tree, and the property owner is furious. The owner, Carole Herbert, had applied to the city to remove a large Monterey cypress she believed was unstable and posed a risk. Two city commissions and city inspectors had labeled the tree a potential hazard to neighbors. Herbert said she’s been through months of review, spent thousands on prunings and permits, and that the unauthorized visit was the last straw. “Your own experts decided it’s damaged, and it will fall,” she told council members last week before they ultimately voted to let her remove the tree. “How much more do I have to spend?” Herbert had been trying since May 2001 to have the 60-foot cypress cut down. But one neighbor, activist Gillian Greensite, had appealed the latest decision to the City Council. Herbert, who does not live on the Liberty Street property, accused Greensite and Krohn of sneaking onto her property before last week’s hearing. Krohn says he just wanted to look at the tree. But Herbert said she never gave the mayor permission, and added that she had warned Greensite to stay away.
So now Chris trespasses on private property and seemingly intimidates a community member who was seeking due process from the city by working with a known critic of something the city had already approved.
SAY IT AIN’T SO CHRIS!
Would you want Chris Krohn and Gillian Greensite creeping around on your property without your permission? I wouldn’t.
Got a good Chris Krohn story? Send it in on the form located on the homepage and maybe we’ll share it with the world!
City Council Election Watch
We’re into September now and the race is heating up. Many of the candidates have been seen walking the hoods, knocking on doors wanting to chat. None of them bite. Chat them up. Ask them why public safety isn’t their top priority? Because really, what’s more important than being safe? Nothing. I think being alive and healthy tops my personal wish list.
You’ll start seeing their signs popping up everywhere all over town. You’ll see them at community forums debating local topics. I’ll share what I know. It’s mostly opinion. I’m also going to rate them on what I’m calling my “Progress-o-meter”. With a 1 being a Trump Republican and a 10 being Don Lane. And I’ll add casual observations overall every now and then. This week, I’m also adding what I’m calling “Ryan or Micah?” (as in Ryan Coonerty or Micah Posner). If one of them endorses a candidate, I’ll let you know.
And this week, Vault Boy tells us if he thinks the candidates are “trending” up or down! (this will likely change each week until the election)
UPCOMING CANDIDATES FORUMS:
- September 14: Santa Cruz Neighbors Candidate Forum, 155 Center St.
- September 21: Democratic Central Committee Endorsement Forum, 740 Front Street, Suite 165
- September 22: Downtown Association Candidate Forum, 307 Church St.
CANDIDATES ENDORSED BY THE WEEKLY DUMP!
I’m endorsing her for a number of reasons. She has a masters degree in public policy so she’s not just someone with a bunch of grand ideas with no substance and no ability to make it happen. She seems pragmatic. She works for the County Office of Education so she’s already doing public service work that really does benefit not only the community but the less fortunate as well. I realize she’s not actively selling “public safety” as part of her campaign, and that’s a concern for me. But I think she understands what needs to be done there without the need to spell it out yet. I really like what I saw at the first candidate forum. I think she was the best speaker. She didn’t read from a script but seemed to be very well prepared. She’s raising 2 young kids. I’m sure she can handle the kindergarten atmosphere of most city council meetings like the adult in the room. I have little doubt that she’d do a fine job on the city council. I might not agree with all of her positions, and I’m fine with that. I’m not always right. Just most of the time. Good performances at all of the forums so far and a great list of endorsements has her trending up.
Progressometer Rating: 7
Ryan or Micah?: Ryan
I’m endorsing him for a number of reasons. He’s smart, ambitious, and idealistic. And perhaps more importantly he’s fresh. He’s not a retread. He’s also not afraid to tackle sensitive subjects and try to identify better solutions. He’s not married to an ideology. He seems both progressive and pragmatic. I think he understands the challenges of improving public safety in Santa Cruz, a town easily frightened by a rescue vehicle named after a cute little animal. One thing I feel he does understand is the red-line level of dysfunction within the city government. I don’t think he can fix it (at least not by himself) but I don’t think he’ll perpetuate it either. I think he’s a break from the status quo, despite being endorsed by the status quo. He serves on the Downtown Commission, so I’m sure he’d represent their interests better than some of the others on the city council do or will. And perhaps his biggest strength is he’s smart enough to understand the nuances of data driven analytics and how to apply that to improving the way our city government “does business”, especially with social service based non-profits looking for handouts in perpetuity. Good performances at all of the forums so far and a great list of endorsements has him trending up.
Progressometer Rating: 7
Ryan or Micah?: Ryan
Other Candidate Profiles:
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. 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. He did ok at the first candidate forum, but nothing he says really stands out or differentiates him from anyone else. It’s like he’s a safe bet for a lot of people. He seems really nice, down to earth, seems to want to please everyone. Not sure how well that will work for him. But he’s been the leader in raising donations (by far) so his message is resonating with his donors at least. Solid performances at all of the forums so far, a great list of endorsements, and leading all candidates in donations has him trending up.
Progressometer Rating: 8
Ryan or Micah?: Ryan
Sandy Brown is an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco and University of the Pacific. She previously worked for the local Community Action Board, and has taken part in the city’s Living Wage Advisory Committee, the Citizens’ Police Advisory Board and Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission. She also doesn’t like city hall. She doesn’t seem to have any real plan here but he unions love her anyways. Terrible performances at the forums so far, no website, but she has solid backing from the “sheeple” so far (unions and SCAN) so she’s on the rise, despite doing nothing to earn it.
Progressometer Rating: 9
Ryan or Micah?: Micah maybe?
Jim writes jingles for KPIG radio. And he likes cool hats. He looks every bit like a rock star. I’d call him the “Average Joe” candidate but his name is Jim. I know he thinks the city doesn’t do nearly enough for the homeless and he’s disgusted by all the needles found in public spaces. So he’s a definite wild card. He can be BOTH very progressive and very moderate. Now that’s an anomaly in Santa Cruz. Was recently busted for a DUI (after the black eye). The forums haven’t been his friend, he just seems either lost or incoherent, no website, no endorsements, sinking like a rock. He can be very entertaining but I’m not sure what we need is an “entertaining” city council member. He’s colorful for sure.
Progressometer Rating: 8
Ryan or Micah?: Neither
Founder of “Project Pollinate”, a community activism group that likes to throw parties 4 times a year in San Lorenzo Park. Works for the resource center for non-violence. Has never held public office before. Good speaker but talks really fast to fit all his ideas in. Seems to really love the color purple. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called “life”. He’s done pretty good in the progressive friendly forums so far but that’s his crowd. He’s lacking in “name” endorsements, but he’s doing pretty good on the social media and event circuit. He’s trending up slightly.
Progressometer Rating: 8
Ryan or Micah?: Micah
Hard to take Nate seriously. No website. Sometimes he has a few good ideas, and I think he really cares. In reality, he has little to no chance of winning a seat. He did bring color and laughs (no flair, that would be Jim Davis) to the first forum. He’s skipped a couple forums since the first forum (or maybe they didn’t invite him) and the air is quickly leaving his balloon here. I really felt like Nate was using this as an opportunity to hear his ideas and now that he’s been given the chance, he’s missing in action. Maybe he got bored. Maybe the whole thing was too overwhelming for him. Maybe he smartened up and someone talked some sense into him. I haven’t seen him on Pacific lately. Still has no website, no endorsements, no chance. Trending way down.
Progressometer Rating: 9
Ryan or Micah?: Neither
Another former mayor and city council person comes back to try to haunt us. He is the Internship Director for the Environmental Studies Department at UCSC. He was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council in 1998 and was mayor of Santa Cruz in 2002. He’s been out of city politics for 14 years. The Santa Cruz Weekly actually described him as “one of Santa Cruz’s most famously leftist former mayors”. He would be the reincarnation of Don Lane. He gets the Perfect 10 on the Progress-o-meter. Even Mike Rotkin, notorious local socialist who previously served with Krohn on the city council, said “If you ask my opinion, I don’t think he’d make a great council member”. I guess that rules out his endorsement here. He’s done very well at the forums and he works the crowd well. He’s using his “experience” as the “alternate leader” of the progressive “slate” so he’s getting some benefit by association from the moderate acceptance of Glover & Schnaar so far. He’s basically a hot mess but let’s face it, the old SCAN crowd loves a hot mess. Trending up.
Progressometer Rating: 10
Ryan or Micah?: Micah
Current mayor. Long time city council member. She’s been involved in Santa Cruz politics since the Pacific Garden Mall days. She has had a history of leaning progressive but has become more moderate in recent years. She seems to have the best interests of the entire community in mind, even though I still think she leans too far left much of the time. I just feel like she had the opportunity as mayor to make a real difference this year but I just didn’t see it. I saw a lot of pandering but I didn’t see any major changes for the better. Just the opposite. That’s not a “vibrant” look and it’s on her watch. She’s trying really hard to not bring herself down to the level of some of the others here. She’s done ok at the forums in front of basically unfriendly crowds (people were actually hissing at her at the PDC forum), she has GREAT endorsements if you like that. More than anything it’s just timing and a tormenta de mierda of bad public safety related events in the city right now is trending her down. She’s the mayor.
Progressometer Rating: 7
Ryan or Micah?: Ryan
Steve seems to be everywhere now that the campaign season is in full swing. He’s all over social media. Every photo-op you can likely find Steve ready to photobomb it. He loves attention. He loves the limelight. He loves to hear himself talk. He is running mostly on what I’ll call the “homeless” platform, bent on repealing the sleeping ban and other homeless issues. I’m sure he’s hoping to tap the old SCAN crowd once again but how many times can they go to the well and find it empty yet again. He couldn’t even get an endorsement from the world’s oldest progressive city council candidate forum audience. That hurts. He hasn’t really done anything wrong, he’s just done it all before many times. And the “New Progressives” (led by 16 year absentee relic Krohn) have kind of decided he’s not one of the cool kids in their clique anymore. If he’s been marginalized within the progressives, he’s trending down. Go Independent Steve! Don’t let the “progressive” tail wag YOU!
Progressometer Rating: 9.9
Ryan or Micah?: Neither
Founder and director of the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree project, and a volunteer mechanic for the Bike Church. I really like both of these groups, although the Bike Church has had a stigma for supporting bike thieves. Long time social activist. Has had previous issues with SCPD and the city council (mostly related to the Bike Church). Married to Stacy Falls, longtime progressive advocate for homeless issues and co-founder with Brent Adams of the sanctuary camp project. I know he comes across as pretty soft spoken but his positions can be pretty extreme (and he seemingly has a tendency to take rejection personally when it comes to dealing with the city, much like Micah does now). Schnaar has actually done well at each forum, and was endorsed by the PDC (beating Pleich). I think his calm demeanor works well for him. Newly anointed part of the “New Progressives” ticket (with AARP member Krohn, Glover, and of all people the woman without a plan Sandy Brown!). He’s in, Pleich is out. Trending up slightly.
Progressometer Rating: 9
Ryan or Micah?: Micah
Free Concert with Papa Doo Run Run
In the final show of the season, we’ve got Papa Doo Run Run. Formed in Cupertino in 1965, the group has toured with surf music icons Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys, and served as the “celebrity house band” at Disneyland for an unprecedented 15 years, 1975-1990. Their act encompasses all the great Classic Rock hits of the 60s and 70s, with a special emphasis on their award winning re-creation of the hits of the Beach Boys. Free shows at 6:30 and 8:30 as usual.
DeCinzotized – Classic Steven DeCinzo
Coming to the Weekly Dump: The Dumpster Report
So I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the idea that the city is getting lots of community outrage over the recent public safety issues (mostly in the form of emails) and as I mentioned above, it seems to fall on deaf ears a lot. Personally, I’ve written emails to the city council before and every single time, mine seemed to fall on deaf ears as well. I’ve never once gotten a response email from any city council members (ok, maybe I’ve gotten one or 2 but they were from people I know personally). I just feel this is kind of a whitewash city response to public safety. So I have a couple ideas to address this issue. I’ll go into more detail later about that, but I wanted to announce another new “irregular feature” on the Dump. I’m calling it “The Dumpster Report” and it’s gonna be sort of a “Letters to the Editor” kind of thing, and using some of them as a “Guest Op/Ed” feature where I publish something from all of you, the readers, the community at large. I know 90% of what you read here is MY opinion and I want to be able to also share yours, and do it better than the city currently does. So if you think your emails to the city are falling on “deaf ears”, send them to me too when you send them in to the city. Just CC me in the email. Ben at santa mierda dot com. Better yet BCC me so the city doesn’t know about it. Or if you have an “op/ed” piece you want to share, send it in on the contact form on the homepage. I’ll feature some of my favorites here.
My Favorite Quote of the Week
“In Santa Cruz, you have to run a gauntlet of self-absorbed liberal idiocy to enjoy the levee. After you battle through the sanctioned transient murderers, drug dealers, human feces, infected needles and dead bodies, then you’re faced with battling a group of hysterical bird lunatics who are desperately trying to keep people off the river. Welcome to Santa Cruz…a logic-free zone.”
– Pat McGroin in the Senile comments
Weekly shoutout to Kris Reyes (or whoever is responsible at the Seaside Company) for bringing Los Lobos to the Boardwalk Free Concert series. Make it happen again next year. Good bands this year! Shoutouts to Toby, Sam, Sharon, Brooke, Shawna, Crackers, Troy, Julie, Gabby, Robin, Diane, David, James, Mike, Patti, Lisa, Skindog, and anyone else I might have left out who “shared” the Dump last week on Facebook. You all made it an all time high day and I really appreciate you all spreading the mierda. Keep telling your friends!
Check Out Our Twitter Feed for More Mierda!
Be sure to check out and follow our Twitter feed for even more mierda! Even though the Dump only comes your way once a week, I try to post breaking news and updates on other days as well. So check us out and follow us on Twitter for even more updates about real time news in Santa Cruz you might not otherwise hear about.