This week we’ve got lots to talk about. fashionART Santa Cruz is coming to the civic, the P&R Commission meets to discuss the obvious, new signage on the levee, bringing the dog out, downtown train crossing malfunctions, Homeless Garden Project gift store moving, more on the HSC, what is “Santa Cruz for Bernie”, put up or shut up, SCN forum review, lightning round!, Hugh’s News, city council election watch, Jason Aldean loves Santa Cruz, Weekly Shoutouts, and more!
fashionART Santa Cruz Coming to the Santa Cruz Civic Center
Get your tickets now for the 11th annual fashionART Santa Cruz, which takes place September 24th at the Santa Cruz Civic Center. This is always a fun and funky event, and it’s annually a “scene to be seen” in Santa Cruz. I plan on being there, covering it for the Dump!
Show runner Angelo Grova along with his team from Michaelangelo Gallery always deliver a first class event. FashionART Santa Cruz is a full blown multi-media runway fashion show featuring ready to wear from local and independent designers and unique one of a kind art pieces, all strutting down the runway for a truly unforgettable evening. Get your tickets here!
Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Commission Publicly Reiterates the Obvious
At least it seems to be obvious to everyone not named Martin Bernal. The City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Commission met on Monday night to discuss the public safety issues along the San Lorenzo River levee. The candidates for the city council won’t talk much about public safety, but maybe this group will so that’s a start (if not a reaction). At least we’ve got J.M. Brown actually talking public safety! Or at least pretending to talk about it.
Earlier this month, Parks and Recreation Director Mauro Garcia issued a “directive” (is that like an “executive order” I wonder?) that allows public passage and access along the paved levee pathways, but prohibits loitering, blocking the path or going onto the adjacent dirt and grassy areas. He said on Monday that the public space closure was “indefinite”, but that he expected to take stock on the area’s progress after five or six months.
So Mauro Garcia can just wave his hand and close public access here indefinitely? Has anyone actually vetted the legality of this idea beyond Martin Bernal’s office? I doubt it. My sniff test calls this just another REACTION. Or as Martin likes to call it, a “response”. It’s pretty clear the tail wagging the dog here is one of Pavlov’s dogs.
Garcia said new seasonal rangers have recently started and more will be in place by the end of October. Trash pickups along the levee are expected to increase and a new large trashcan will also be added. Community service officers from SCPD are expected to patrol the levees on bicycles and ATVs during the day and officers are temporarily redirected to problem areas as available, SCPD Lt. Dan Flippo said. Placing the department’s mobile command post in city parks should also help add a needed police presence Flippo said.
“I really hate that we’re at a place that we’re closing off a public facility in order to deal with this issue,” Commissioner (and city council candidate) J.M. Brown said. “We really need to articulate what our vision is for that space for now and into the future instead of reacting to problems.”
GEE. WHERE HAVE I HEARD THAT BEFORE? FROM ME!
Keep in mind that 2 things are happening or about to happen, and neither has anything to do with the city or it’s reaction (I’m sorry, I mean response). The first is that the “tourist season” is basically over, and SCPD and other public safety departments can now go back to servicing a “normal” level of activity, instead of the Santa Cruz on steroids we see daily during the summer (which stretches resources thin daily and helps allow the pockets of vagrancy to manifest). Or as Martin likes to say, “they can’t be everywhere” and in the summer they are needed far more often than in the time between Labor Day and Memorial Day every year. The second big factor that will INEVITABLY impact how many vagrants hang out on the Riverwalk is the weather. Once it starts raining (hopefully often as we need the water), and the temperature drops significantly, a lot of the “able bodied” bums move on to someplace warmer and drier. This too will have a natural effect on reducing the problems here. It’s very much a SEASONAL problem (and explains why it’s mostly a problem during the summer). I’m just saying this because it’s likely that these 2 factors will contribute significantly to reducing this problem in the near future, at least for a few months. Then it usually comes back in the spring. I just don’t want the city (or the city manager) to start barking about how “the Riverwalk is clean and bum free!” when it’s mostly a result of the rain and the lack of tourists to prey on. It’s like a dirty house. If you work to keep it clean daily, it’s a clean house that doesn’t require an overwhelming amount of work to stay clean. If you don’t, you end up with a hoarder’s house that is so overwhelmingly nasty and bad, you have no clue where to begin. That’s where we are now.
New Signage Goes Up Along the San Lorenzo River Levee
Well, I guess “City Manager” Martin Bernal means business this time! He put up signs! In all seriousness, it’s a good step and I’m not complaining that they did this. I’m gonna continue to harp on the fact that it’s a “REACTION” and not a strategy, or a plan, or anything resembling forethought and vision (God forbid!). Apparently the city has now blanketed both sides of the Riverwalk with signs telling the public the area is now “CLOSED”. We can’t protect it, we can’t protect you from the dangers that lurk within it, so it’s CLOSED. Remember how we can’t have nice things in Santa Cruz? Here’s the long suffering, long neglected, untarnished jewel of downtown, the San Lorenzo River, left to rot in a backwash of bum garbage, human feces and dirty needles, while the city and the county have looked the other way about the real cause for over 20 years. The vagrants that hang out along the levee that shoot heroin in their foot in broad daylight, does anyone REALLY think they’re going to obey these signs? Talk is cheap. Signs are just expensive anonymous cheap talk. Enforce the damned laws already. It’s called “law ENFORCEMENT”. Remember?
When They Bring Out the Dog It’s Time to Just Give Up
Some guys just don’t get it. These dogs want to bite you. The are trained to protect their human and end conflict in a non-lethal way (hopefully). They don’t negotiate. They have zero tolerance for human stupidity. They just obey commands, and they do it really well. So when the dog comes out, it’s time to just wave the white towel and say “no mas“.
Unfortunately for some guy in Ben Lomand on Friday night, he didn’t get it. So he did get it. He got the dog.
He was wanted on a warrant and barricaded himself inside his car, forcing law enforcement officials into a lengthy negotiation before sending in a K-9 officer. The man was wanted on a $100,000 warrant by Santa Cruz Police Department for burglary and sexual assault. Upon arriving, deputies used their vehicles to block the man’s car from three sides to prevent him from escaping. He refused to come out of the vehicle and became hostile with deputies. After multiple warnings, law officials broke the rear passenger window of the car and sent the K-9 officer into the vehicle. They were able to open the door and arrest the man, who was taken to Dominican Hospital after suffering a dog bite to his right leg. He was discharged and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail. Let’s see, go to jail with or without dog bite? Hm. I think I prefer without dog bite.
Train Crossing Malfunction Causes Huge Traffic Backup Downtown
If you happened to be unfortunate enough to be driving along Laurel between Mission and Pacific on Sunday afternoon around 4:30PM, you probably found yourself sitting in a parking lot of backed up traffic as SCPD had to send officers out to Laurel and Chestnut to run traffic control. The large traffic control barriers that go up and down to allow the train to run along Chestnut was broken (and basically stuck in the down position), so SCPD had to send 2 guys out to waste their time for at least an hour, maybe longer. What pisses me off is I heard that SCPD was getting frustrated as they were trying to get someone (from the the city maybe? Public Works? Not sure who is responsible for the train barriers along Chestnut at Laurel) to come out and deal with the issue. It sounded like the person responsible didn’t feel like dealing with it on their day off. Traffic was backed up all the way to California on one side and past Pacific on the other. Just another dysfunctional day in Santa Cruz.
Homeless Garden Project Gift Shop Moving to Pacific Avenue
I noticed that the Homeless Garden Project’s gift shop, currently located at 110 Cooper off Abbott Square, will be relocating to 1120 Pacific Avenue in a 3 month temporary lease arrangement with the city. This is the space previously occupied by La Playa gifts, and located between New Leaf and the Del Mar. I love this shop and the money spent goes to a really great cause and group of folks. And they always have unique, one of a kind gifts for the holidays at a reasonable price. I’m guessing they’ll have the new shop set up by mid October (they have to be out of their current space the end of this month). Check them out in their new location this holiday shopping season!
Downtown Cafe Employee Assaulted at Work on Pacific Avenue
Monday morning around 10am, there was a report of someone in Verve lighting up a cigarette inside the coffee shop, then being asked by an employee to take it outside. At that point, the employee was assaulted (punched I believe). SCPD was called and searched for the suspect near Trader Joe’s and along the river levee (of course!). Verve is one of the nicer coffee shops downtown and it’s also in one of the worst locations for random bum foot traffic along Pacific Avenue. I’m always amazed at the ridiculous level of tolerance expected by local businesses downtown by the city of Santa Cruz.
Who Needs a Winter Shelter in Santa Cruz Anyways?
Apparently not the local homeless. At least that’s the impression I get from the local Homeless Services Center, who always seem to be crying broke when it comes to actually servicing the local homeless in any meaningful way (like keeping them warm when it’s cold outside). I did a story last week about how the Homeless Services Center (HSC) decided it was broke and couldn’t afford to operate the Winter Shelter for the county this year. In an earlier story I did on the Weekly Dump (in the very first Weekly Dump in fact!), The HSC Executive Director Phil Kramer stated “It’s a hard thing for us to say, but the right thing for us to do to sustain the organization. Running the winter shelter program relies on an infrastructure that doesn’t exist”. So I was surprised this week to learn the very same HSC just received part of a federal grant worth almost a half million dollars. From this article, Phil Kramer states “This year, the Homeless Services Center will take on the leading role in the program’s implementation, and will hire a new program coordinator to oversee the effort”. I think it’s great that homeless vets might see some help. I have no issues with that. The problem I have is the HSC using federal grant money to start and fill a new staff position that didn’t exist instead of sheltering the homeless in the winter. It’s called priorities. And it’s obvious where the Homeless Services Center’s priorities lie, and it’s not with the city’s homeless. It’s with filling their unfilled (and previously non-existent) staff positions. Think about that next time they want a handout. And just think, they pay the city of Santa Cruz $1 a year (until 2060) to grace us with their presence here. That’s what progressive led city governments buy you. Long term headaches that take advantage of you year after year. The hangover that never goes away.
Who or What is Santa Cruz For Bernie?
No, it’s not a Jeopardy answer. I’m not sure what it is. It’s a question. An enigma. Apparently, it’s group of local folks (obviously) who have decided to misappropriate Bernie Sanders name and image without his permission (obviously) to give the local progressive “slate” more relevance. I guess if you can’t make it on your own merit, might as well use up whatever good Bernie Sanders feelings are left over in Santa Cruz. What a joke. Here’s the funny thing. I’M A BIG BERNIE SANDERS FAN. I know for sure I would have voted for him over The Buffoon and I did vote for him over Clinton in the state primary (and yes, I’m a registered Democrat believe it or not. Always have been). But THERE’S NO WAY I’D VOTE FOR ANY OF THE 4 CANDIDATES ENDORSED BY “SANTA CRUZ FOR BERNIE” (Krohn, Glover, Schnaar, and the “Other” Brown). I hope that was clear enough. I love Bernie. I think the 4 candidates endorsed by “Desperate Santa Cruz Progressives Appropriating Bernie Sanders Name Without His Permission” are desperate for relevance and attention here. Hey “Santa Cruz for Bernie”! You don’t represent me or any of the other local Bernie Sanders fans I know in Santa Cruz. They’re pretty offended you’d smear his name like you have. Maybe enough to ignore your “slate”. I’ve even heard a few have contacted the Sanders National Campaign with their complaints that you are using his name and image without his permission. Good luck explaining that one.
Put Up or Shut Up Already
I really just wish Santa Cruz “City Manager” Martin Bernal would just fix something, and then he can brag about how he fixed it. Instead, we continue to get a bunch of empty promises that probably won’t happen and someone’s gonna be disappointed all over again. In this particular case, it involves nice ladies that volunteer to pick up trash along the levee. You know what the problem is. How many times do we have to tell you what the problem is? You need to evaluate it? Please. How many times do you need to evaluate something so obvious?
Anyways, Martin recently sent out an email outlining his “Riverwalk Response” (that was the subject line of the original email) and here’s his “Big Reaction” (because Martin doesn’t do plans, he does “reactions”). Guess what’s another word for “reaction”? RESPONSE!
Good Afternoon Councilmembers,
I wanted to give you an update on the City’s response to the troubling activity on the Riverwalk. A comprehensive response is needed in order to make an impact on the area. As such, I engaged the Neighborhood Safety Team late last week to develop solutions. Below is the list of actions we are implementing now. I also wanted to let you know that the Leveelies have agreed to return to the river starting in October.
Enhanced Safety Presence, Increased Riverwalk Patrols
- Six additional Park Rangers will be sworn in by the end of August, thereby increasing the capacity for current patrols of the levee. There will be continual bike patrols of the Riverwalk and Benchlands Park, as well as a new ATV patrol of the area.
- SCPD will increase the Park Unit levee patrols
- Our office has also asked Parks and Police departments to develop recommendations for staffing adjustments and/or enhancements should they be needed to provide additional coverage.
New Park Rules
- The NST decided to immediately close the external and internal banks of the levee. Additionally, the NST recommended to create a new park rule to limit access on the levee to only the paved paths, thereby prohibiting access to both the internal and external banks of the levee. The NST’s is pursuing these changes to limit loitering and illegal behavior on the banks of the levee.
- NST Sub-committee including IT, Parks, Public Works, SCPD and CMO will evaluate fencing, infrastructure, and vegetation management to limit opportunities for loitering and illegal activity. First area of focus will be the west levee between Soquel and Laurel, but sub-committee will comprehensively evaluate between the San Lorenzo Park pedestrian bridge and the KP Arena for security and environmental design enhancements as needed. Janet Fardette joined the group on a walk of the levee today to review and discuss ideas for making improvements.
- NST Coordinator will work with IT and SCPD to evaluate and install security cameras. First area of focus will be west levee between Soquel and Laurel. Camera installation plan will coincide with Neighborhood Enforcement Team deployment.
Cleanups and Maintenance
- The Parks and Recreation Department will step up levee cleanups and maintenance efforts
Community Partnerships and Outreach
- NST is coordinating with the Leveelies to gain feedback from them about these solutions and other ideas
- NST Coordinator will work with City outreach team and current river partners to develop a plan for river activation and disseminate this levee safety plan as agreed upon by staff and Council.
Our office, along with the NST will monitor the effectiveness of these efforts. We will provide an update to the City Council and discuss further efforts that can be taken to make our parks and open space safe and welcoming for everyone.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Wow! That’s a lot of promises! I’m sure he’s good for it. Of course I’ll just take his word for it. How much of this is talk and how much is real action? To help you see through the BS, I highlighted the “all talk” sections above.
Santa Cruz Neighbors City Council Candidate Forum Review
Santa Cruz Neighbors sponsored another city council candidate forum Wednesday night at SCPD’s community meeting room. The place was packed, probably 150 in the room with more outside overflow. I couldn’t get down there to catch it live but I was able to watch a live feed of most of it. So here are my cheap shots and random thoughts. – BD
No Sandy Brown tonight. Not sure why. Everyone else was in attendance. Dru in the Purple Shirt. Jim Davis in THE HAT. But where’s JM Brown’s sweater? I missed the opening remarks tonight (like I haven’t heard it all before already) but I came in during the questions. The questions and crowd were much different than the previous forums, more public safety friendly shall we say. Cynthia Mathews probably had her best performance to date here. Robert Singleton also impressed. He was prepared, confident, and did really well with all the answers. Still talks a bit fast sometimes (I think he’s just excited to talk about whatever he’s talking too fast about). Steve Schnaar also did pretty good tonight. And Jim Davis was his usual Lebowski self. The Dude abides here tonight! A couple of times he had the crowd laughing with him instead of at him (build a wall to keep all over the hill carpetbaggers out got a huge round of applause and laughs). Dru also did ok. I think he brought some fanboys with him (The Dru Crew?) who kept hooting in the back of the room. I’m ok with a little hootenanny here. And Dru told everyone his bike got stolen last night. DOH. I HATE when that happens. Krohn seemed a bit off tonight. Maybe it was just an off night but not his A game tonight. Very little pulpit rhetoric from him. But Pleich made up for it. He brought plenty of Krohn Lite righteous indignation. He should be righteously indignant. His progressive “friends” left him off the A team. He did ok, nothing new or noteworthy. Watkins also did ok but kind of got lost in the seating arrangement. She’s pretty tiny and was hidden among the bigger dudes sitting next to her. JM Brown was mostly bland and pandered a lot (big surprise). But the sweater was missing! Jim Davis and Nate Kennedy provided the comic relief for the evening. Nate had a complete brainfart moment on one question where he started to talk and then he just stopped and stood there completely quiet and in the zone for maybe 10 seconds (crowd completely quiet) until he snapped out of it and said that was all he had and sat down. Laughter. He takes it in stride. Nate and Jim are good sports here. But they are comic relief.
So I know everyone is wondering. Who worked it the best here*?
- JM Brown
(Sandy Brown was not in attendance)
*There’s no science to this. It’s just my humble opinion. It has nothing to do with my preferred candidates. It’s mostly about public speaking and who worked the room the best (or worst). – BD
Time for the Lightning Round!
So one of the interesting things at last night’s city council candidates forum happened in the last 5 minutes of the event. Each candidate was given a cardboard arrow and was told to point it up or down if they agreed or disagreed with each point. The great thing about this concept is it completely eliminates the “filler”, the roundabout, bullshit, pandering response that most people would like to give. I don’t need an explanation here. It’s just yes or no. It’s binary! Don’t overthink it. Give me your gut (honest) reaction.
Of course, some of them had a hard time grasping what yes or no (up or down) actually means. So some of them started holding their arrows sideways. Really? Is it that hard to just be honest here? So those that held their arrows sideways, who couldn’t just answer a simple yes or no question with a yes or a no, those people got what I’m calling a “meh”. It means they didn’t care enough about the audience to honestly just answer the damn question.
So there are 3 possible responses to each of these questions. I’m sharing with you how each voted on each question.
Are you in support of a vacation rental ordinance?
- Everyone supported this
In principle, would you vote for or against the zoning amendments in the city corridor plan for mixed use districts?
- YES: Martine Watkins, JM Brown, Robert Singleton, Nate Kennedy
- NO: Steve Pleich
- MEH: Chris Krohn, Cynthia Mathews, Steve Schnaar, Dru Glover, Jim Davis
(I think Mathews voted “meh” because it was a purely hypothetical question)
Would you support a tent city or permanent encampment site for transient and homeless individuals and their families within the city of Santa Cruz?
- YES: Chris Krohn, Dru Glover, Jim Davis, Nate Kennedy, Steve Pleich, Steve Schnaar
- NO: Cynthia Mathews, JM Brown, Martine Watkins, Robert Singleton
(Notice the split here between perceived “moderates” and “progressives”)
Would you approve a budget increase for SCPD to enlarge the police force?
- YES: Robert Singleton
- NO: Dru Glover, Jim Davis, Nate Kennedy, Steve Pleich, Steve Schnaar
- MEH: JM Brown, Martine Watkins, Cynthia Mathews, Chris Krohn
(Only Robert Singleton would approve increasing the number of police locally)
Do you support Measure D?
- YES: Cynthia Mathews, JM Brown, Martine Watkins, Robert Singleton, Steve Pleich, Jim Davis, Nate Kennedy
- NO: Chris Krohn, Dru Glover
- MEH: Steve Schnaar
(Interesting at the lack of “progressive” support here)
Do you support further expansion of there PACT program?
- Everyone supported this
Downtown Merchants Association City Council Candidates Forum at the Santa Cruz Civic Center
Next Thursday, we have the Downtown Merchants Association sponsoring their city council candidate forum. This will be a different audience I think than the usual “packed progressives” we’ve seen at some the earlier forums. The Downtown Merchants Association represents the business interests of Pacific Avenue, which as we all know struggles with the city’s lack of focus on public safety. I expect Singleton to do well here. He works for these guys as a lobbyist. And the format for this should be great! Much different than what we’ve seen so far. It uses what’s known as the “PechaKucha 20 x 20” format, which basically means each candidate has an animated Powerpoint presentation with 20 slides which automatically advance after 20 seconds (so basically a presentation that they talk over animated slides). And the civic is a large space, so public speaking skills will be critical for success here. Tickets are free but you have to pre-register online here.
City Council Meeting September 13, 2016
This would qualify as one of those “only in Santa Cruz” meetings. Truth be told I have some serious focusing issues but even Gandhi would have experienced a few “what the hell just happened” moments. Among the usual band of merry kooks idled in and out of the building, there were two present that had been absent for some time. I am not sure if they are a couple or not. Their brand of crazy literally hung in the air. Like you could feel them before you see them. Kind of like the Dementors in Harry Potter. The male portion of this bizarre couple was filming everyone, the Council, staff, speakers, and people in the audience. He would then clap excitedly after each public speaker and yell ‘YES!’ even if they contradicted each other. He also spoke to EVERY SINGLE TOPIC. They need a trap door in front of that podium with activation buttons located by Noroyan, Comstock, Sgt. Bush and myself. Corridor Planning/Rezoning was a hot topic. The city’s Senior Planner made a presentation on the latest proposed city zoning regulations. There were a number of public speakers and their concerns focused heavily on traffic and parking. Mayor Mathews pointed out to the speakers that they are always welcome to attend and share their concerns at the Planning Commission meetings. Their input is valuable. The other hot topic was the 2nd reading of an ordinance that would help target massage parlors that are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking. Again, a lot of public concern. Mostly massage business owners and individual therapists. The concern seemed to center around certification and how having their businesses shut down because they could not provide the certification required as currently written in the ordinance. So it’s back to the drawing table on that one. I appreciate all the council members voicing their concerns over the people that are potentially being victimized in human trafficking. I especially appreciate Dan Flippo for bringing this forward. It needs to stop people. If you are getting a massage somewhere and someone grabs your junk and asks you if you need some tension relieved. CALL THE COPS. You can relieve that on your own. These are human beings that may be there against their will and have no escape. And now for oral communications. The resident anti Semite got up and spewed his hate AGAIN, audible groans from the audience as he walked up to the podium. The weird guy I mentioned earlier literally jumped up and down and clapped his hands as he was speaking and tried to engage the other people in line. Anti-Semite meets un-medicated creeper. They shake hands, slap each other on the arms. It was like watching someone pop a boil. Now it is the creepers turn to talk and he talked about a gang of people stalking him and his partner with government sting rays. Blah blah FBI, blah blah Obama. Then his partner got up to speak. A friend of theirs lost a cat. I do hope the cat finds a beautiful, safe and kind loving home.
Why Two Party Politics is Just a Fact of Life
I’m sure many people are completely frustrated with the existing 2 party system we have in both local and national politics. Nationally we call them “Democrats” and “Republicans”. Locally we call them “Moderates” and “Progressives” (see what I did there? – BD). Let’s face it. Life is just binary for humans. We’re one or the other. We’re dead or alive. Right or wrong. Tall or short. Smart or stupid. “left wing” or “right wing”. But we have wings! 2 of them! We love to compartmentalize life and we always try to break it down to the binary level.
So anyone running for say city council, who tries to tell you they are both “moderate” AND “progressive” is lying to you. Have you ever met anyone who was seriously BOTH a Democrat AND a Republican at the same time? Of course not. They don’t exist. Sure, anyone can just cherry pick their favorite vanity projects from both sides and call themselves “independent” but how well has that really worked? Nationally, have we ever had an independent POTUS? Not even close. Since 1856, 160 years of governance since the civil war reconstruction, there have been a total of 30 U.S. Senators, 111 U.S. Representatives, and 28 Governors that weren’t affiliated with a major party.
That’s like less than one percent. Candidates are one or the other. There’s no middle ground here. People have opinions about everything. You either agree with my opinion or you don’t (that’s binary!). If you agree with most of what I say, we have similar views and could be part of the same “party”. If you disagree with most of what I say, you’re in that “other party” (the party of disagreement). Binary. So if you take offense at being called a “moderate”, I guess my binary based deductive reasoning tells me you’re a “progressive” (because those are the binary names we use here). You can’t have it both ways. To say you can is completely disingenuous to EVERY SINGLE VOTER. It means you’ll say anything to win. That’s called pandering folks. Pick a side. Any side. Show some spine. Because for me, the only thing worse than the candidate on the “other side” is the panderer that lacks conviction in their words and just talks mierda to both sides in order to get elected.
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.
So it seems as if there was a bit of confusion for a few people last week about what “trending” means. It doesn’t mean endorsement. This week I’m skipping it. Vault Boy has been relegated back to the vault. – BD
UPCOMING CANDIDATES FORUMS:
- 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.
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.
Progressometer Rating: 7
Ryan or Micah?: Ryan
I know I’ve been pretty hard on her here at the Dump, and it’s really not personal. She’s the Mayor. She means well. I never doubt that. It’s kind of a reflection right now of her job performance. But the truth is I blame City Manager Martin Bernal MUCH more for the local public safety issues than Cynthia or any other person on the city council. If anything, I’ve been disappointed that she didn’t do more this year as Mayor, but she hasn’t done a bad job, and given the fact that she has to deal with both Don AND Micah pontificating and basically derailing every single meeting, and the local circus from the public, and the fact that she’s still doing it and seems to enjoy doing it! Now that’s hard to find. What she does bring is obvious wisdom, knowledge of history, and perspective. She is status quo, and I know I complain A LOT about that. But we should be careful to not toss the baby (Cynthia) out with the bathwater (Don and Micah). You can have a variety of opinion about Cynthia but she is definitely pragmatic, and that’s pretty high on my checklist. Yes she panders. It’s an election! They all do. Some more than others. But she has shown an ability to actually deliver. At least when she doesn’t have a circus to deal with. Hopefully the next city council will be less circus and less circuitous. The new members can learn a lot from her experience in navigating city government.
Progressometer Rating: 7
Ryan or Micah?: Ryan
Other Candidate Profiles:
Nothing he says really stands out or differentiates him from anyone else. He’s vanilla ice cream. Nothing offensive. It’s like he’s trying to be a safe bet for the most people. You know what they say. If you’re not pissing someone off, you probably aren’t doing anything important. He’s a safe bet for extreme Progressives like Katherine Beiers. She endorses him. Photo ops with John Leopold? Check. The more I learn about him, the more I see him for what he really is. A progressive posing as a moderate. Or maybe it’s a moderate posing as a progressive. Who knows. It changes depending on the audience. He just feels like Don Lane Lite. Don Lane even endorses him! (go figure). He’s really not that “progressively” different from Glover or Schnaar. He just has better name endorsements.
Progressometer Rating: 9
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
Progressometer Rating: 10
Ryan or Micah?: Micah
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. 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.
Progressometer Rating: 9
Ryan or Micah?: Micah
Jason Aldean Loves Santa Cruz Too
If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t complain about it so much. And he sure makes it look good here. Nice video. This is gonna be great for the Seaside Company next summer. Every Jason Aldean fan is going to want to come to Santa Cruz now. And I’m betting there’s a lot of them.
Weekly shoutout to Robert Singleton for doing a Friday night ride along with SCPD. No word how it went but apparently it went. HUGE shoutout to intrepid beat reporter (and good friend) Kim for live streaming the SCN Forum for me and others to watch from the comfort of somewhere else. And a shoutout too to Deb Elston for putting on a good, well attended event (loved the lightning round!).
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