The Weekly Dump 9.23.16

And You Wonder Why I Hate the Status Quo

Has anyone else looked at this next week’s city council agenda? It’s been “scrubbed”. And that’s a nice way of saying what’s happening here. There’s nothing on it. It’s a bunch of administrative stuff, a few declarations and new employee introductions, and ONE BIG CONSENT AGENDA. I was at a city council candidate forum a few weeks ago. Sandy Brown, who I have railed on constantly, called the current city council a “consent agenda city council”. And SHE’S RIGHT! She was sitting right next to the mayor when she said it. Cynthia Mathews JUST VALIDATED SANDY BROWN.

The city council agenda is set up by the mayor and vice mayor with help from the city manager’s staff. I guess you could call it a perk. Especially when you happen to be also running for re-election and can dictate what the city council discusses for the remainder of the year (or at least until November). Want to avoid pissing anyone off? Do nothing. Punt. Don’t pick a side on anything. Just offer up soft serve for the next 4 months. I think the community deserves better than a lame duck Mayor running for re-election shortchanging the community here. I’m curious. Has anyone EVER seen the Santa Cruz city council go into a meeting with nothing but a consent agenda? Talk about shutting down any meaningful public discussion on anything meaningful here. Interesting how the mayor protects the status quo and “city manager” Martin Bernal protects the mayor. Quid pro quo on protecting the status quo! I guess there’s nothing to talk about. Oh wait. See the next 2 items.

Murder Victim Found in Seabright Neighborhood Thursday Morning

scpdSome time around 12:30AM on Thursday morning, a body was found near Broadway and Pennsylvania in the Seabright area of Santa Cruz with multiple gunshot wounds. Apparently no arrests have been made or I would have probably heard about that too. The victim was apparently a 23 year old Latino male who lived in the neighborhood. And this is a pretty nice, safe neighborhood by Santa Cruz standards. A number of residents and neighbors reported hearing gunshots the night before, and one reported hearing some sort of verbal altercation before it happened.

Woman Beaten With Bat Downtown Saturday Morning

This was sent to me by a friend (who wouldn’t make this kind of stuff up) who happened to be up at 5am on Saturday morning and heard on the scanner about a woman being beaten with a bat by 2 men downtown, near Walnut and Center. The suspects took off and were being pursued by SCPD and SCSO, and a K9 unit from Capitola was also called in. Apparently the suspects were actually caught (cross referenced against the media log from SCPD).

SCPD Launches New Survey on Public Safety

SCPD just announced they’ve launched a new public safety survey to get feedback and input from the community at large. They are inviting people who live and/or work in the city to participate in the survey and give their feedback. The survey will run for 3 months until December 21, 2016. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out and I highly recommend doing it. I did it. It’s a good survey. I know I complain a lot but when it’s time to complain to the people that need to listen, I’m all in.

Take the survey!

New Courtyard Marriott Breaks Ground in Beach Flats

courtyard-copyIt’s been a slow and sometimes painfully contentious process (especially if a tree might be involved) but the ongoing gentrification of the Beach Flats neighborhood is moving full steam ahead. The “boutique” Hyatt that’s almost ready on Broadway and Ocean will surely help clean up and gentrify that top section of “lower Ocean” (say Ocean between Broadway and Barson). The new Courtyard Marriott will be located closer to the end of Riverside near the Boardwalk. It’s replacing a bunch of ramshackle flea bag motels that were probably mostly being used as SROs (probably for Section 8 and other hard to place tenants) or as fronts for prostitution. Or groups of local homeless would use them to squat in. So we’re basically trading in 3 local casa de mierdas for a nice, clean, brand new corporate “partner” (for the city anyways) that will not only want to protect their new investment, they are going to want to insure the safety of their customers, and they will drop the hammer on nuisance crime in that area (if the city works with them here). What the city needs to do is see the Hyatt on one end of Beach Flats and the new Marriott on the other end and it needs to clean up all the mierda in between the 2. The Beach Flats Garden fiasco was just the beginning here. The Seaside Company owns a huge amount of the Beach flats. Think of these 2 huge corporate giants (Hyatt and Marriott) as “anchor tenants” in a new Beach Flats version of something similar to what San Jose did with Santana Row. You don’t think the Seaside Company would love to create a cleaned up walking mall along Riverside that links to downtown and a gentrified “upper lower Ocean” area? The value of that property would go through the roof, and the Seaside Company already owns a good chunk of it. The Garden should be the least of their concerns here.

More on this story in the Senile here.

Prop 47 and AB109 Continue to Crap on Local Public Safety

These have to be 2 of the most shortsighted, poorly thought out laws in recent history.

In 2015 California voters passed Proposition 47 (The Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative or the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act), with it winning about 60 percent of the vote. The new law reduced the sentence for seven nonviolent, “non-serious” crimes, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, including the possession of controlled substances for personal use. It was also retroactive, allowing already incarcerated individuals’ eligibility for release. When Prop. 47 passed, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) estimated 5,350 people within the system had felony charges for nonviolent offenses and could be released under the law. According to the California Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the law would save the state at least $100 million annually. The public was promised the savings generated would be distributed into a “Safe Neighborhood and Schools Fund” (SNSF). According to this plan, 65 percent of the revenue would be distributed toward funding mental health and rehabilitation treatment for offenders, 25 percent would be allocated to public education for grades K-12, and 10 percent to funding for services to the victims of crimes.

But as usual all those promises were a smoke screen for the truth. The money promised for the SNSF has NOT materialized. Even the predicted savings are now being adjusted down. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office announced that instead of $100 million, the savings for 2015-2016 will be $29.3 million. Wow, that’s a HUGE miscalculation there. How can we believe any other amount of their data if they can’t get this even close to projected right.

Critics say it has led to a rising crime rate, and the law is taking a beating in the court of public opinion. Last October, the Washington Post published an article titled “A ‘Virtual Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card’” that seemed to galvanize opposition to the new law. In May, anti-Prop. 47 sentiment grew again when the California Police Chiefs Association issued a press release noting an increase in crime “a year after Proposition 47 resulted in statewide criminal justice reform”.  There is now a Facebook page called Overturn Prop. 47 with 13,000 likes. In Orange County, many street cops say Prop. 47  is the most dangerous ballot initiative ever passed by California voters.

“It’s my belief that most crime we see [locally] is fueled by drugs and alcohol,” says Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart. “Incarceration is not always the best thing for someone going through drug addiction and needing treatment. We have to give them an opportunity to get better.” Sure thing Jim. And while you and the county are at it, what don’t you give out free needles, that just end up getting dumped in the community. Let’s just take some former felons, re-classify their crimes, and dump them into the community. Sounds like a plan there Sheriff!

At the same time, California prisons were over 200 percent capacity. In the 2011 case Plata vs. Brown, the Supreme Court ruled that the overcrowding violated a prisoner’s Eighth Amendment Rights, and ordered a decrease in prison population to 137.5 percent capacity, or approximately 113,000 individuals. Immediately following the ruling, Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill 109. Also known as “Prison Realignment”, AB 109 moved nonviolent, low-level criminals out of state prisons and into county jails for the duration of their sentence. By the end of 2013, the legislation had reduced the prison population by 17 percent. By September of 2015, 4,454 people serving for nonviolent, nonsexual offenses were released from state prisons in county jails, where many of them were kicked loose instead of being incarcerated in county jail. Basically, the state passed the buck down to the cities and county level and they passed them out into the community (under the guise of “probation”). Our county sheriff loves probation.

In 2015, the City of Santa Cruz experienced a rise in property crime, driven mainly by increases in burglary, auto thefts, shoplifting and bike thefts. The 2015 Santa Cruz Police Department’s Annual Report shows crime rose approximately seven percent over the year, with a nine percent increase in property crime, with bicycle thefts increasing 19 percent.

A Side Order of Drunk and Disorderly at Burger King

I just happened to be driving down Mission on the westside on Monday night around 8pm when I noticed a “big scene” going on at Burger King. There was a fire engine, ambulance, and SCPD SUV all in the parking lot at various odd angles. So naturally, my curiosity (and appetite) got the best of me. I stopped and went inside and found out after talking to the poor counter guy that there was some drunk and disorderly bum causing trouble, refused to leave, and then start exposing himself inside the restaurant. I got there as they were loading him on a gurney into an ambulance. Just another Monday night in Santa Cruz!

Free Car Washes on Water Street Saturday Night

hydrantSaturday night around 6:30pm, someone apparently hit a fire hydrant on Water street at Reed, sending a geyser of water into the air. It is called “Water Street” for a reason!

I’ve seen this happen a number of times along Mission as well, usually either at Laurel or Bay. I have no idea why this seems to happen so often in town. Pokemon Go?

As you can see by the photo on the right (thanks JJ!) it was literally a geyser of water.

Body Found Behind Westgate Plaza

Monday afternoon a woman’s body was found behind the Ross department store at Gateway Plaza shopping center. SCPD thinks the death was from a drug overdose. This area is notorious for harboring homeless transients. It’s right along the “vibrant” Riverwalk, which is used by many of the local transients to back and forth between the Harvey West Park area and downtown.

Santa Cruz Wins Dubious Title Despite Evidence That Suggests Otherwise

The City of Santa Cruz is tooting it’s foghorn all over social media about how our residents are “likely the most environmentally conscious in US“. This is according to something called ValuePenguin. First of all, WHO OR WHAT IN THE HELL IS VALUE PENGUIN? Are they actually based anywhere near here? Nope. They’re based in New York City! So they know all about Santa Cruz. Try not to laugh too much here.

Let’s just review a few recent other notable instances of how Santa Cruz is so “vibrantly” ahead of everyone else in the country when it comes to progressive environmental city policy.

  • Remember how Cowells Beach was voted California’s dirtiest beach? It’s not a one time award either. WE OWN THIS AWARD. We win it year after year. We say year after year we’ve figured out the issue and year after year we win this award.
  • The city just had to CLOSE the San Lorenzo river banks because it was overrun with bums, garbage, feces, and needles. How long did they have to close it for? INDEFINITELY (according to Mauro Garcia, who reports to Martin Bernal, “city manager”).

fashionART Santa Cruz Tomorrow Night at the Santa Cruz Civic Center

If you haven’t scored a ticket to tomorrow night’s event yet, it’s not too late. 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 tickets here!

Celebrate the fall Equinox With Earth Spirit Americana Concert at Crystal Bay Farm

tobyCheck out the Earth Spirit Americana Concert at Crystal Bay Farm tomorrow afternoon! Toby Gray and his band Highway Buddha celebrate the fall Equinox on the farm on Saturday, Sept 24th from 4:30PM until sunset. Fun for the whole family. If you can’t spend the equinox at Stonehenge or Machu Picchu, spending it on an organic farm in Watsonville is a pretty good alternative. Live music, snacks & beverages for sale, fire pit, and more! Music starts 4:00 with community drumming and Earth Blessing at sunset. Crystal Bay Farm is about 15 minutes south of Santa  Cruz in Watsonville at 40 Zils Rd. I caught a nice write up a couple weeks ago on Toby and his band. He also plays bass in the legendary San Francisco based band It’s a Beautiful Day and has played with founding members of the Jefferson Airplane among others. Toby’s been playing gigs in Santa Cruz for many years, and he’s a good dude who really cares about his community. You can usually catch him often playing acoustic guitar at the Pono/Reef on Union. Check him out there if you haven’t seen him. The Pono pulled pork sliders are pretty tasty too.

Check out the feature on Toby in Good Times.

Costanoa Commons Farm Invites Community to Participate in Work Day on the Farm

Tomorrow, Costanoa Commons Farm is inviting the community to participate in a work day on the farm. They’ll be doing habitat restoration along Pogonip Creek, which borders their farm field. For creek restoration, they’ll teach you to recognize the native plants that need to be preserved and the invasive plants that need to be pulled. Tasks will include removing non-native plants and shrubs, installing more fencing, and finishing the wheelchair path to the barn.

Costanoa Commons is an organic farm where people with disabilities and others grow healthy food and build community. Located at 335 Golf Club Drive, Costanoa Commons belonged to the Puccinelli Family for over 100 years. At just under five acres, the property has been a farm incubator for several organic farms in the recent past, including Blue Heron Farm and Dirty Girl Farm. A spring-fed creek runs year round along the back of the parcel, offering a rare opportunity to steward riparian habitat in the urban core. At the end of Golf Club Drive is Pogonip a 640-acre open space that links Santa Cruz with neighboring Henry Cowell Redwoods in Felton. Only three-quarters of a mile from downtown Santa Cruz, Costanoa Commons is conveniently located in the Santa Cruz community.

You can sign up here!

SCPD Prepares to Add New K-9 Units 

SCPD has 2 new K-9 pups, getting prepped and ready for duty! They are keeping a low profile for now. After they get adjusted to their new homes, K-9 dogs Cash and Luna will be ready for a formal introduction. I wish Santa Cruz would significantly increase their K-9 presence, especially along the Riverwalk and San Lorenzo river levee area. There would be no better deterrent to bum parking than to have an increased presence through the park and along the Riverwalk. And the public will love seeing them out in public, keeping the public safe in an area that’s notorious for being NOT safe. You want to take back the Riverwalk. You bring out the dogs. When the dogs come out, the white flags get waved and the bums move along.

Legalize It

State Proposition 64 would allow adults 21 and over to grow up to six plants and possess one ounce of marijuana without fear of prosecution by the state. Authors of the proposition say it is intended to reduce organized crime, provide safer products, and generate tax revenues for educational, environmental and law enforcement programs. Under the proposition, smoking marijuana in public would still be illegal, as would smoking in the presence of children. The initiative includes safeguards intended to prevent marketing pot to children in the form of regulations regarding packaging and appearance of edible products. It also requires “seed to sale” tracking of commercially sold marijuana to insure purity and safety of products. If the proposition is approved, most of the generated tax revenue would pay to provide education on the dangers of drug use (not just marijuana) and outreach to homeless children. Additional tax revenue also would go to the environment and law enforcement.

I support this. It’s basically reached critical mass at this point (mainstream acceptance of recreational use of cannabis). It has the potential to generate new tax revenue. And it’s not like it’s going to create a sudden new market for pot. Locally, it’s about as mainstream as you can get. What I would really like to see here would be an additional county tax on local sales which would specifically help fund more substance abuse and mental illness treatment programs for the city of Santa Cruz. Have the county do something that benefits the city specifically here. We are the county seat. Either that or have any future treatment centers created through the “pot tax” be located outside the city borders. And I don’t mean Emeline Avenue outside the city. I mean Scotts Valley or Watsonville outside the city.

Read more in the Senile.

Democratic Central Committee Endorsements

The Democratic Central Committee met this past week to decide who it wants to officially endorse. It came out with 3 endorsements: Cynthia Mathews, Martine Watkins, and JM Brown. Robert Singleton came up 1 vote short of an endorsement here. I have a pretty good idea why they decided not to endorse Robert Singleton. Fred thinks he’s too “moderate”. Robert might be arguably the best public safety candidate in the whole group. He’s one of the few with actual ideas and plans here. It just goes to show you how far to the left of left Santa Cruz swings here. But they did get something right. They got 3 things right in fact. Only 22 people are allowed to vote here. 13 votes are needed for an endorsement. So it’s not an easy endorsement to get. Only Mathews, Watkins, and Brown (the JM variety) were able to muster 13 votes from the 22. Interesting how none of the “Brand New Council” candidates (and none of the “Santa Cruz for Bernie” candidates) got an endorsement here. In fact, I heard that Chis Krohn got ZERO votes here. I’d call that a ringing vote of “no confidence” for the “Brand New Council” and Krohn in particular by the local “mainstream Democrats”. If the Democratic Party of California doesn’t support or endorse your “Brand New Council” here, I guess there’s always the GOP!

Downtown Association City Council Candidate Forum Review

This was held last night at the Civic. Pretty good crowd turned out. Maybe 300-400 people. I’d say the split was about 50/50 progressives to moderates. Maybe a slight lean to the progressives. No Sandy Brown and no Jim Davis. No explanation why they weren’t there. Sandy Brown sure seems to skip a lot of these forums. I’m guessing she’d skip a lot city council meetings too. Nate started things off and he’s wearing a suit! I was expecting the worst here, but he gave it his all and wasn’t terrible. I even complimented him after on his suit. He rambled and talked about tandem bikes alot. The slideshow was just a rotating set of images and mostly an afterthought. Krohn mostly talked about improving downtown (without any real ideas how). Long on talk, short on solutions or ideas. He also had some issues with pacing and talking to the animated slides (instead of just talking and not caring what the slides were like Nate did). I think the format rattled him a bit. It wasn’t his comfort zone. He ended his time promoting that “brand new council” crap. Seems like he needs Glover and Schnaar more than they need him right now (they both did pretty well tonight). Schnaar did well, was comfortable speaking to such a large crowd with a spotlight on him, good pacing, and he hit on many popular themes. He’s positioning himself more as a “populist” candidate (a la Sanders) and less of a full on “progressive” (though he still identifies with that group strongly). Singleton also did well. Called himself a “downtown evangelist” and talked about how he supports downtown businesses. Brought up the idea of a downtown hotel (interesting idea), and talked about “embracing change” and breaking the status quo. Mah man. Talking my language here. Mathews also did well for most of her time, but like Krohn she got thrown off a couple times by the pacing and the animated slides. Practice! She had lots of nice photos of downtown but didn’t really put forth much in the way of new ideas or a plan. But she mentioned multiple times how much she loved taking those pictures. She loves taking pictures almost as much as she loves being in them. She’s the queen of the photo op. But let’s not worry about that city related stuff that we can’t all agree to in advance. Pleich actually did pretty well. His pacing was good, better than most. He hit on his ideas, no matter how unrealistic they might be. And the crowd liked him too. One of his better efforts. JM Brown talked about lots of the same stuff he always talks about. I think he’s ditched the sweater. It was sweater weather too! He has a very progressive (soft) approach to public safety so I don’t need to beat a dead horse there. He also mentioned the Streets Team idea, an idea I’ve liked for many years that never went anywhere locally (and yes, Mathews and others have known about them for years). Watkins did well, she always impresses me with her public speaking ability. I think she’s got the “mommy” vote sewn up here. Dru went last and he did really well. He worked the crowd and they built his confidence as he went along. More of the same progressive grand ideas with no plan to pay for any of it.

So I know everyone is wondering. Who worked it the best here*?

  1. Glover
  2. Singleton
  3. Schnaar
  4. Watkins
  5. JM Brown
  6. Pleich
  7. Mathews
  8. Krohn
  9. Kennedy

(Sandy Brown and Jim Davis did not participate, although I’m pretty sure I saw Sandy Brown outside before the event started. No idea why she didn’t present)

*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

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.


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


checkI 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:

J.M. Brown:
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:
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 Davis:
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

Dru Glover:
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

Nate Kennedy:
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

Chris Krohn:
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 Pleich:
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

Steve Schnaar:
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

Weekly Shoutouts!

Weekly shoutout to Nate for his sweet suit last night. In fact, shoutout to all 3 city council candidates I met last night and chatted up briefly. I know I pick on you all but I have much respect for you running. It’s a tough and thankless job. Good luck. Huge shoutout to the amazing person who dropped a $10,000 check on Project Purr after the unfortunate burglary at their shop.

The Weekly Seen


Seen at Costco. Thanks AL!

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  1. It hasn’t been mentioned yet that Schnarr self-identifies as an anarchist. Or is it too PC to not use that word?

    • I think he’s trying to soften that image of himself. It might be great to wear that label like a badge when you’re marching in a protest, but it becomes a stigma when you run for city council. He’s moving more to the middle to court more of the votes in the middle. He has the left of left crowd in his pocket. He wants more. And probably needs more to win a seat. Thanks for reading and commenting Don!

  2. Knot Rilly Dunn

    100% agree on your order of who did well at the candidates forum last night. (Though it was sponsored by the Downtown Association, not the Downtown Commission. Maybe edit that?) Glover is like a local Obama, knows how to work the crowd and say just the right things—feasible or not. If we get a Whole New Council, there may be no Santa Cruz left in a few years. And if the UCSC students get Nate elected, it’s going to be a VERY interesting year when he rotates into the mayor seat! Oh. My. God.

    • Thanks for that clarification on the sponsor! I updated it. I think we’re safe with Nate. Traditionally, I think the UCSC vote is overrated (and I’ve heard this from a number of others). It’s not really much of an impact. I see it as more of an untapped group. Glover did really well considering he went last, and many folks had left by the time he came on. He had the benefit of seeing what everyone else did right or wrong though. It’s gonna be an interesting election for sure. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

  3. Arthur Macmillan

    Re-Legalize it:
    – How are you going to legalize it AND generate tax revenue AND fight organized crime. Big lie!
    – How does it work that smoking in public will remain illegal, when in practice it already is legal. I’ve been told point blank by cops that they will not enforce bans on smoking pot in public even if the pot smoker does not possess a so-called “script”. So another big lie!
    – If marijuana is going to be legal I am still totally against charging people money to grow, distrube, sell, or use it. If I wanted to fund substance abuse programs it would not be by generating income from the sale of drugs.
    – I suppose we would have tacky promotions for pot smoking, much the way we pimp gambling to support schools?
    – The only reason I see to support legalizing pot is to take the profit out of it and prevent the ecological damage and the windfall for gangs and criminals and dishonest doctors. I really don’t like that doctors make bank by authorizing recreational drug use. eliminating such corruption would be a beneficial side-effect of legalization.
    – If, as a society, we want to get off drugs, then we need to start by breaking our addiction to the idea that we can make money selling drugs and that is the answer. We are not going to get rid of addiction by selling drugs. There! I said it!

  4. Arthur Macmillan

    @ Ben: I wanted to be sure I was clear! When I say “big lie…” I don’t mean to say you are lying! I totally appreciate all of your hard work, insight, resources, and time spent tracking down news. I meant, that I consider the logic behind this position is flawed. Things like won’t lead to increase in useage…and the things I already mentioned. There real case seems to be, most people are doing it, most people will support it, our opinion based premised don’t need to hold water.

    As a practical matter I love taxes on cigarette smokers. But I consider that damage control. Whether making money off of something I don’t think we should promote rubs me the wrong way, but no disrespect was meant. I’m sure most will agree with you, and I respect your opinion to say the least! Sorry, I realize I may have been a little strong in my response!

    • No reason to apologize for having a strong opinion! It’s ok if people don’t agree with me. Thanks for reading and commenting! What you see as a “big lie”, I see as society acceptance. Most people nationally are ok with pot being legal. Most people locally are definitely ok with it being legal. If that’s the case, legalize it and tax it. It happened with alcohol. When it was illegal it was controlled by bootleggers and the mob. Now it’s heavily regulated and taxed. And it’s also arguably more dangerous and negatively impacts more lives than cannabis. But we’re ok with that being legal! People have been smoking weed for what, literally thousands of years by generations of people around the world? How many people have died from smoking weed. We all have our opinion here. Let’s see what the voters think.

      • Arthur Macmillan

        Thanks Ben! I am very impressed with Santa Mierda and I truly believe you are doing something that is next to impossible. Helping to keep us informed in the age of disinformation! I just want to add one thought, and admittedly it is anecdotal, but it is at least making an attempt to get at the truth. I asked my families doctor if she believed that marijuana was beneficial or harmless. She said that studies have shown that long term use destabilizes the personality. Now, what I am suggesting is that readers ask the same question of their doctors, just for the input. I’ll tell you about an unrelated study that I read years ago that made a big impression on me. Cigarette smoking is practically non-existent among doctors. They drink coffee. The drink alcohol. But they don’t smoke cigarettes. That made the value of their opinion on healthy life styles go up. It proves nothing. Except maybe I want to know the truth.

        • O.K. Arthur, I’ll bite!
          I asked our family doctor his opinion, and he said studies have shown that long term exposure to exorbitant and ever-increasing taxation destabilizes the personality, and those who smoke pot are 82% more likely to have their personalities re-stabilized after ingesting marijuana.

          • Howard, I am being honest about the problems with legalize and tax marijuana scenarios:

            – I don’t want it taxed and regulated it in a way that jacks up the price so high that there is still incentive to grow pot illegally. Once it is legalized will the state know good ways to produce it, price it, and distribute it? After observing what California has done on other issues, crime, and alcoholism, drug abuse and law enforcement to name a few. I think I’d actually like to see exactly what the state is proposing. Other than in general, taking money.

            To simplify things since no one is curious what their doctors think let’s use use as proof!
            -If you smoke pot that proves it’s good for you!

            I admit the tax revenue issue + the reality of it’s cultural use has me walking an ethical tightrope now. Maybe it is OK to make money selling drugs? If we do as a society decide to make money off of dealing drugs, do we really have to waste the money on treating people who want to take drugs? How is that a sound business model? Why not use it instead to fund projects that benefit everyone? Sewer, water, housing, maybe eliminating bottle necks on the streets we plan to cram more people into? What about cops? Possibly a jail? It just seems such a waste selling drugs for profit just to spend it trying to prove that we really care!

            I heard Alex Benet say “They want $10,000 for a drug treatment program…If you have $10,000 you don’t have a drug problem!”

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