This Weekly Dump brings you a mystery quake, people keep getting hit by cars, water rescue drills near the wharf, yo no hablo español, questions around the county winter shelter program, the county loves it’s needles, who won again?, not in his front yard, observations on local mental healthcare options, Guerreros, the Weekly Seen, Weekly Shoutouts, and more.
Living on the Fault Line
Tuesday afternoon around 3:30PM, something literally shook up Santa Cruz. Many people thought it was a small earthquake but apparently the USGS says that wasn’t the case. KSBW reported the possibility that it was a sonic boom. But then others said that wasn’t the case either. So as of now it’s a big mystery. I know it was heard and felt as far away as San Jose. And I definitely felt it myself. Personally, my first thought wasn’t earthquake but something landing on my roof. But then I started hearing almost immediately from others who also felt it. And LOTS of other local folks felt it, in Santa Cruz, in Aptos, and people reported feeling it in San Jose. The San Francisco Chronicle is calling it a “phantom earthquake“. I have a pretty good idea where the epicenter was!
Another Pedestrian Hit at Highway 1 and River Street
Friday night around 10PM another pedestrian was hit by a car at the intersection of Highway 1 and River street. The victim was a woman, and the car who hit her was described as a red or maroon sedan, possibly a BMW, possibly a convertible, with obvious front end damage. The driver left the scene after the accident and was last seen heading towards Mission street and the west side. It didn’t sound like the victim died, at least not on scene.
Pedestrian Killed by Vehicles on Front Street Next to Metro Station
Tuesday night around 8:30PM, a pedestrian on Front street was struck and run over by 2 vehicles in front of the Metro Station and died at the scene. It did not appear to be a hit and run as a white truck and what looked like a RAV4 were both stopped at the scene. The victim appears to be a transient male who crossed the street outside of the crosswalk and was struck by both cars. It was reported that the victim was heavily intoxicated. Witnesses described seeing him run out in moving traffic without looking, and after he was hit by one car, he was run over by a second car going in the other direction. Both drivers remained at the scene and were cooperative with SCPD. More on this story in the Senile.
Water Rescue Drills Around Wharf
The Santa Cruz Fire Department announced this past week that they were performing water rescue drills and training near the wharf. Many people reported seeing what they thought was a rescue this past week, only to find out it was actually a multi agency training exercise. It will likely be taking place this afternoon as well, so don’t be alarmed or feel the need to call 911. They’re already out there. Never a better or safer time to surf Cowells!
Santa Cruz County Court Employees Scheduled to Strike This Morning
Late breaking news tells me that Santa Cruz County Court employees are planning a walkout strike this morning at 7:30AM. The 88 employees include clerks and court reporters with SEIU Local 521. If you have a court case this morning, or have business in the county building, expect delays and a walking protest out in front of the county building.
Bilingual Public Safety Officers are a Good Thing
There’s your “no duh” headline of the day. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about an incident that requires a Spanish speaking officer and one is just not readily available, or on scene. Sometimes they might not have one on an entire shift. I’ve heard calls go out asking the Rangers if they have anyone who speaks Spanish. Same applies to SCSO. Can we get some freaking Spanish speaking public safety officers already? Tire de su cabeza fuera del culo. How many of our local population speaks Spanish? A LOT! Is it that hard to start prioritizing this in the hiring process? Gee, I don’t know. Maybe one reason SCPD (and law enforcement in general) have a bad rap in the local community is THEY DON’T SPEAK THE FREAKING LANGUAGE. I heard a call on Saturday morning where SCPD had NOBODY on the shift who could speak Spanish, and they couldn’t get anyone from the Rangers or SCSO to help because NOBODY on shift spoke Spanish. Pretty unacceptable. You want to improve community relations? SPEAK THE FREAKING LANGUAGE OF THE COMMUNITY. ALL OF THE COMMUNITY.
Winter Shelter Program Update
I’m still curious why the Homeless Services Center was chosen as the “fiscal agent” for the group selected by the county to oversee this program, yet the Homeless Services Center publicly acknowledged it didn’t want to participate in running this program for the county. Can you say “Just show me the money”. Gives new meaning to the expression “poverty pimp”. This whole scenario just screams of desperation. Not from the homeless, but from those tasked to help them. Sad and pathetic response to this county RFP.
Let’s review this again. The county put out a RFP (Request For Proposal) for an operator of the homeless winter shelter program. The local non-profit Homeless Services Center CHOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE. So when the county received ZERO proposals for this, they did a second RFP. From that, they then selected a local group to run the program. But wait! Apparently this local group isn’t a 501c3 non profit, so someone decided they needed a “fiscal sponsor” in order to get county funding here. So who gets selected to be the fiscal sponsor? THE SAME HOMELESS SERVICES CENTER THAT DIDN’T WANT TO ACTUALLY MANAGE THE PROGRAM.
So what I’m seeing is they want the money, but they don’t want to manage the actual program. They want to be the bank here. Does anyone really trust them with that responsibility? I know the county is desperate here, but this is ridiculous.
Here’s a good link on what can go wrong with fiscal sponsorships. Ask yourself. Do you trust the Homeless Services Center with county money? With your money (it’s your tax dollars at work here)? With money designated for a program THEY DIDN’T WANT TO DO?
It is also a common practice for the fiscal sponsor to charge an administrative fee for its services, which is usually a percentage of the budget of the sponsored organization or program. Is the Homeless Services Center charging an administrative fee to act as the fiscal sponsor here? Are they just skimming a percentage of the budget off the top for doing nothing more than acting as a money conduit? After their unwillingness to actually manage this program?
The County of Santa Cruz is Really Willfully Ignorant About Their Needle Problem
It’s been going on for years. The county of Santa Cruz gives out literally tons of free needles to junkies every year, and where do the dirty needles end up? In the ocean. In the river. In our parks. In our back yards. Everywhere they’re not supposed to turn up. Ryan Coonerty is the district supervisor for the city of Santa Cruz and represents the city on county matters. Ryan (and his Dad before him) are the ones who have basically let the city of Santa Cruz run interference for the county on social services. Why make it a county problem when the city is so willing to take on the burden here in the name of “compassion”? Ryan isn’t an advocate for the greater community here. He’s a roadblock to getting it fixed.
Here’s the latest data reported by local public safety watchdog group Take Back Santa Cruz, who have been continuously compiling and collecting data on needle finds in Santa Cruz for the past 4 years now. From the most recent report:
“For reporting period 47 (10/9/2016-11/8/16), 381 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 63 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 318 needles were found by City workers.” 318 NEEDLES WERE FOUND IN THE PAST MONTH BY CITY WORKERS. That averages to about 10 per day. So on average, CITY WORKERS FIND 10 NEEDLES PER DAY IN PUBLIC IN THE CITY OF SANTA CRUZ. Chew on that for a minute. And that doesn’t even count the needles found and reported by the community at large. It certainly doesn’t count THE TONS OF NEEDLES NOT FOUND YET. Or found but not reported.
You can find more details and the full latest report here. Great job to all of the fine volunteers working on this project. It’s about the only way the community can see the actual impact of this FAILURE of a COUNTY program. Ryan Coonerty has the power and influence to overhaul this FAILURE of COUNTY HEALTH SERVICES but he chooses not to. He’s fine with the status quo of the city workers IN HIS DISTRICT finding on average 10 needles per day IN HIS DISTRICT. He probably just sees it as “collateral damage” to not upsetting local progressives who support him.
And We Still Don’t Know Who Actually Won Here
So apparently I may have jumped the gun on calling the winners of the city council race (can we just call it a “premature election”?) because there were thousands of absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. In the latest results the county released on Wednesday afternoon, Martine Watkins has now passed Cynthia Mathews for the overall lead. Both seem to be solidly winning 2 of the 4 votes. Chris Krohn is in 3rd place, about 1500 votes behind Mathews and about 600 votes ahead of Robert Singleton, who holds a VERY slim lead over the clueless Sandy Brown (GTFO! I know!), who has now actually passed JM Brown by about 20 votes. My head is still spinning over how she of all people can pass the guy who raised more money than anyone else (by far!). Oh wait, THEY HAVE THE SAME LAST NAME. Maybe by next week I can report with some degree of certainty who actually won here.
Not in His Front Yard
I guess he supports the city wide ban on RV parking.
Observations on the Pathetic State of Mental Healthcare Locally
Here’s a good article in the Senile about the sad state of mental healthcare in the county. It can be fixed if the county actually made it a priority to fix it. Here’s a great piece from the article:
Just as important is the fact that the Santa Cruz County community has developed a higher tolerance for the seriously mentally ill being visible on its streets. By opting to limit the number of beds and services available, the U.S. has traded one institution for another, Fitzgerald said. “The largest mental health facility in the nation is Los Angeles County Jail — followed closely by Cook County Jail and Riker’s Island,” Fitzgerald said. “The decline of psychiatric beds is a perfect correlation with the number of seriously mentally ill people we incarcerate.”
Unfortunately, a leadership void in the mental health community exists. Namely, the state of California has no agency addressing the problem, Fitzgerald said. The issue is addressed entirely at the county level. “Somebody once said, ‘Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results that it gets.’ The death of Mr. Arlt, the killing of Shannon Collins and many other horrid events — as well as the daily tragedy of our downtown streets and parks — were unintended consequences but predictable outcomes of all the things I’ve mentioned. It was a conspiracy of incentives and mis-incentives.”
Applied locally, I’d argue that the Santa Cruz County Jail has become the de facto “mental health facility” in the county, and given the turnstile nature of court sentencing locally, they just get shuffled back and forth between jail and the street. And the county knows this, sees this, and is willing to accept it. This is how the county CHOOSES to treat the chronic mentally ill, those who suffer with no family, no support, no alternatives to the street. Just shuffle them between jail and the street. Want proof? We’re masochists when it comes to recidivist bad behavior.
So last week, Ernie posted a list of the Warriors roster. Except it wasn’t this year’s roster but last year’s roster. He claims it’s the Warriors fault because that’s who was listed on their website. I’ll give him a pass this time. So I took the list down. But some of the Dump subscribers likely saw the list. Just ignore it. – BD
by Ernie Douglas
Golden State Warriors:
They took on and beat a scrappy Suns team at Oracle. Another game they really needed to tighten up their defense better. They then travelled to Toronto to take on the Raptors in the first game of an extended road trip. They played well most of the game, but their defense still needs to tighten up. They won a close game. Interesting that McCaw closed out the game in the “death lineup” (with the big 4). Might be a sign of things to come. Javale McGee is getting more playing time in the rotation (good) but making bonehead plays (bad) but I still think he can grow out of his bad habits. If Ron Adams can just get him to focus on being a defensive beast (along with Draymond), that’s all he needs to focus on. Rim protection, weak side defensive help, rebounding. Upcoming games this week: 11/18 at Boston, 11/19 at Milwaukee, 11/21 at Indiana, 11/23 Lakers (at Oracle), 11/25 Lakers (in LA).
Santa Cruz Warriors:
The SC Warriors kicked off their season against LA on Saturday night. They lost. The Warriors led by 13 points entering the fourth quarter but couldn’t put away the visiting Los Angeles D-Fenders, losing 116-114 at Kaiser Arena. Phil Pressey led the Warriors with 25 points. Scott Wood, who had a late-game 3 rim in and out, finished with 16 points, while Elgin Cook provided 16 points off the bench. Cam Jones also had 16 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. They took on the Iowa Energy on Wednesday night and got their first win of the season with a 125-104 victory. Phil Pressey led all scorers with 31 points, along with his seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals in 35 minutes. Cameron Jones also had a terrific outing, dropping in 23 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Scott Wood contributed 23 points and 10 rebounds for the home team. Ferrakohn Hall and Elgin Cook also contributed 10 points each. Upcoming games this week: 11/18 Rio Grande at Kaiser. Tickets might be available online here. 11/19 (at LA). 11/25 Sioux Falls (at Kaiser).
Shoutouts to Robert Singleton and JM Brown for riding the never ending rollercoaster these past 2 weeks. I hope you both pull it off.
The Weekly Seen
Near Gault Elementary School, Santa Cruz
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