When Black Friday Comes
Happy day after Thanksgiving! I hope everyone out there had a nice day with friends and family, ate lots of good food, watched some football, and hopefully never heard anyone utter the words “Donald Trump”. If you work retail, today is the day from hell. Unless of course you had to work yesterday, but today might still be arguably worse than working on Thanksgiving day itself. Last year I went to the Gilroy Outlets at around 11PM thinking at that hour it won’t be bad. It was an absolute nightmare. Never again. I’m sticking to online shopping this year. Many years ago, when I worked in retail, I worked many a Black Friday. It’s beyond insane. I can remember at the end of the night, when the store closed, the place was just an absolute wreck. It could take an hour or 2 just to clean up the aftermath. And that time was bliss, because you just spent the past nine hours dealing with mobs from hell. So if you go shopping on Thanksgiving, or the day after, be patient and be nice to those poor souls working retail. Smile and say thanks. You can make it a little less black for them.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy Kills Knife Wielding Teenager
A Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy was forced to shoot and kill a 15-year-old boy at about 3 a.m. Saturday in Watsonville after deputies unsuccessfully used non-lethal Tasers and weighted foam rounds in an attempt to subdue him. Sheriff Jim Hart said the boy was fleeing authorities after he allegedly stabbed two men, who were found with “life-threatening injuries”. Deputies and officers from various police agencies found the teen not far from the scene still armed with the knife. “Efforts were made to engage with the suspect to diffuse the situation and various less-lethal weapons were tried,” Santa Cruz County Undersheriff Jeremy Verinsky said. “When the suspect advanced on deputies with his knife, he was shot at least once”. Hart declined to reveal a motive, or any connection between the boy and the two men who were stabbed inside the home, where neighbors said three men live. Both were taken to trauma centers. 15 years old. Just a kid. Apparently he was a student at Aptos high school. I’m not blaming the deputy here. The kid appears to have stabbed 2 people, nearly killing both of them. There’s way more to this story here we may never know. Tragic.
SCSO has been VERY transparent about this, releasing the bodycam video on Monday afternoon, just 2 days after the incident. We can’t even get a name from SCPD about who killed Sean Arlt, much less video. It’s not a good look for SCPD when SCSO shows what “transparency” actually means. I’ve seen the bodycam video. It appears SCSO was very patient and exhausted all of their options before having to shoot him. Keep in mind he just stabbed 2 of his family members and refused multiple orders to drop the knife. They had no choice here. Sad yes. But if it was a 50 year old white guy and not a 15 year old kid, I doubt we’d be hearing the same reaction here. I think that people that hate cops in general (and locally we all know who they are) love to find an excuse to pile on their stupid rhetoric. It’s so predictable locally. And so dismissible. It’s why so many people tune these kooks out.
Get Ready for the New Gold Rush
I know people are sad and depressed locally about “The Apprentice in Chief” but I’m gonna talk about something positive that is inevitably coming to the central coast and Santa Cruz. Thanks to the voters and Proposition 64, California has just been given a license to print money. Seriously. Proposition 64 will bring millions, if not billions of dollars of investment money, jobs, and tax revenue to the central coast, and Santa Cruz county. It’s as if someone turned on a faucet and what comes out is money. Lots of money. We are the salad bowl of the US. The Ag industry isn’t just already here, it’s turnkey for large scale commercialization of a brand new industry. The infrastructure is already in place. The workforce is already in place. Farmers can have a choice now to grow almonds or weed. This new BILLION dollar industry will potentially bring in huge amounts of tax revenue for the county AND the city. And there will be new service industry jobs to support this new “green rush” of investment that is coming in 2017 and coming hard and fast. The hell with Donald Trump. Who cares. We’ve got a license to print money!
What’s Next For Cemex?
Ryan Coonerty recently hosted a meeting in Davenport to discuss potential future use of the site. I know what I’d suggest. Turn on the money faucet. Prop 64. It’s a perfect spot for large scale cannabis production and commercialization. It’s fairly isolated and is unlikely to have a large impact on anyone, including the Davenport neighbors. The Cotoni Coast National Monument will have more traffic impact for them, even if it stays in BLM hands. And it has the potential to generate some serious tax money for the county, and potentially for the residents of Davenport. It will be a small boon for Davenport cafes and restaurants. The plant itself is a fairly secure compound, well fenced with limited gate access, so a contracted security force could add jobs and support local business as well. The industry is coming. It’s not if but when and where will they go. It’s time for Santa Cruz to jump ahead of the bandwagon here. More on this in the Senile.
Bums Fight in the Rain on River Street
Saturday afternoon a report comes in that bums are out fighting in the rain in the intersection of Highway 1 and River street. As the big, fugly, yellow sign says, “Welcome to River Street”. As if this intersection wasn’t bad enough with transients shuffling back and forth in a real life daily version of Frogger, now we have to deal with bum fights here too. Right next to the “Homeless Services Center”, that big, sprawling, conspicuously indifferent campus that pays ridiculous subsidized rent thanks to our former city council. Has anyone driven that block of Coral lately? It’s like a third world country. The sidewalks have been taken over by bums, the area along the railroad track (the bum highway) is constantly full of campers and their crap. The Homeless Services Center for years was the “community hub” for the local homeless, so when you turn that faucet off, the people it serviced didn’t go away. They stuck around and created their own makeshift community hub in the Harvey West Park area anyways. The gate has been up now for years, and while it might have improved the situation INSIDE the gate, it turned the area OUTSIDE the gate into a homeless dump. And the county wants to give these fools our tax money as a fiscal agent for a winter shelter? They don’t even care about the homeless camped nightly on their doorstep.
Shooting in Beach Flats on Friday Night
There was a report of a shooting late Friday night in the Beach Flats. The shooting apparently took place near or in Poets Park community garden off Raymond street. Reports are the victim was shot in the leg. SCPD was looking for a red Acura.
Shoplifter with Knife Threatens Staff at Salvation Army
Saturday afternoon around 3PM, a man was confronted by the staff at the Salvation Army store on Pacific, and refused to leave the store. He wasn’t brandishing the knife, just stealing stuff and refusing to leave. SCPD responded. What kind of complete asshat steals from the Salvation Army thrift store? The stuff there is already discounted to the point of ridiculous cheap. The money made from sales is for a good cause. Talk about opening up a giant can of bad karma there.
Patience is a Virtue
Sunday night around 9:30PM, some homeless kook kept calling SCPD and when they didn’t just teleport themselves to his location, he thought it would be a good idea to call them again and threaten to burn down the public library downtown. This is the kind of stupid mierda we tolerate in this town. REALLY? You want to burn down the library? Put this fool in jail already. Stop blowing off bums like this and just put him away. Charge him with threatening to blow up a public building. One less idiot bum on the street wasting public safety resources and our tax dollars. But no! We coddle the hell out of our local bums. Let’s send multiple units to hold his hand and tuck him in. They seem to know his name and who he is. He seems like a regular. A regular RECIDIVIST. Might be why we have so many.
Water Rescue at the Wharf
Monday night around 7:30PM, multiple units were dispatched for a water rescue at the Santa Cruz wharf. A man apparently jumped off the wharf and into the water and refused to be rescued until an animal in the water that was apparently in distress was also rescued. Was he trying to save a sea lion here? What in the hell was this guy thinking? He obviously wasn’t thinking about hypothermia. Apparently he called Native Animal Rescue and proceeded to tell them he was jumping off the wharf until someone came to rescue the animal. This story is just soooo Santa Cruz.
3 Way at the Wells Fargo
Monday night around 9:30PM, a call comes in that 2 men and a woman are having sex in the Wells Fargo parking lot on Front street, in the parking lot adjacent to the parking garage. Couldn’t they at least go in the garage? They’d have a little more privacy, but maybe that’s not what they wanted. If they were looking for attention, they got it in the form of a visit from SCPD.
Shoplifter Arrested at Forever 21
Monday night a shoplifter was reported at Forever 21 on Pacific Avenue. She actually managed to leave the store and evade employees and SCPD on the initial call. But about 20 minutes later she returned to the scene of her crime. Why? She forgot her cell phone in the store. Employees found it after she left and called SCPD back when she returned for it. They stalled her until SCPD arrived. Low hanging fruit.
Missing Juvenile Found at Book Shop Santa Cruz
Monday night, someone at Bookshop Santa Cruz called in and reported seeing a missing juvenile in the bookstore. He also happened to have an outstanding juvenile warrant out of San Jose. Oops. Turns out San Jose wanted him. So I think he’ll be headed for the South Bay shortly.
Woman Commits Suicide on West Cliff Drive
Early Wednesday morning, a woman shot herself in the head and took her own life on West Cliff Drive at Columbia. I don’t have a lot of details to this story (thanks to the NON coverage by our local “news” media) but what I do have is an eyewitness account who gave me this information. Apparently, it happened very early in the morning (at sunrise). Very sad. I know for a fact SCPD handles a significant number of calls dealing with suicidal people daily. Many of them aren’t trained to be social workers here, they are trained to be peace officers. It’s unfortunate that we’ve compromised our local, county level mental health options to having SCPD (and SCSO) act as a buffer and filter to actual treatment by mental health professionals. I hear about 2-3 calls a day on average, and I’d bet the average number of calls SCPD fields for suicidal people averages closer to around 10 per day. I’d love to know the number if anyone has it. My point is that the lack of mental health treatment options on a county level is significantly impacting our local public safety resources in ways that might not be obvious or tangible. Negligent sure. Constructive nope. And it compromises the treatment options locally for those that require it. Sean Arlt might be alive today if he didn’t get kicked to the curb by the lack of county mental health options.
Local Guardian Angels Help Find Missing Girl
I got word this week that one of the local Guardian Angels located a missing girl in downtown Santa Cruz. The girl had been missing for about a month, and posters of her face were displayed around town. One of the local Guardian Angels was on patrol downtown and spotted and located the girl. I know there’s been some pushback in the overly sensitive Santa Cruz community about the Guardian Angels appearing downtown along Pacific Avenue, as they work to establish a local chapter. I’ve honestly heard nothing but good things about them so far. It appears they are trying very hard to connect with the local homeless community as well, and I think what they offer them is something that kooks like Dirty Bathrobe Guy and his motley, ragtag collection of “homeless madvocates” never offers to them. Hope. They see the homeless community as their eyes and ears on the street. They try to take care of them beyond offering them protection. I’m impressed (and I’m not easily impressed).
I saw this on their Facebook page recently:
Good day with the Santa Cruz County Guardian Angels. Started off with a quick trip to the $1 store for snack packs, socks, and feminine hygiene products for the homeless. I met up with Paige, Leslie, and Jane at the Taco Bell. Along the way I got to meet and know the names of many homeless folks, listen to their stories. First one I met was a lady named Adrianne, then Rudy, Gary, but the saddest was a lady named Victoria. She was elderly and bound to a wheelchair. Paige knew her story well from her own work with the homeless in Santa Cruz. She has mental issues, and suffered from frostbite so severe a few years ago that they had to amputate some of her digits. She was really starving, she gobbled up that peanut butter and jelly really fast. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but it’s a good feeling knowing you fed someone that hungry. I promised we’d check in on her every week. Part way through the walk some girls from Monterey wanted a picture with us, and we always oblige 🙂 Finishing up the walk we found a trove of needles and crack pipes which we destroyed and disposed of. One thing we have to remember as Guardian Angels. The homeless guy begging for change isn’t what Curtis set out to defeat when he started the Angels in NYC. There was crime, really bad crime. From the stories I heard, there was people running into the McDonalds he worked at just having been stabbed or shot. Our job as Angels is to keep people safe from danger. Doesn’t matter if the danger is violence, or starvation, we have to do our part to help. Also, the homeless population is our full time eyes and ears out on the street. Befriending them, knowing them on a first name basis and gaining their trust will help us out in our overall mission. I’ve had first hand experience getting information from a homeless person, that led to the arrest of some violent gang bangers. Thanks again to the SC members for having me out today. Feel free to share this on your page.
These folks are already doing more for the local homeless than Norse and his kook friends have ever done or will ever do.
North Coast Campers are Back in Droves
I was up in San Francisco on Friday night and drove the coast road home from Half Moon Bay. I think I only saw one other car going my way between HMB and Pescadero, and nobody until Davenport after that. What a great alternative to driving 17 on a Friday night. It was interesting to check out the camping situation along the drive. I saw a small pocket of campers just outside of HMB getting busted by HMB police (it was about 10PM). The further I drove, the number of campers dropped off significantly, until I noticed another pocket of about 8-10 vehicles near San Gregorio. Then nothing until I hit the Santa Cruz county line and they started stacking up, near Swanton road, the Davenport beach parking lot was close to full, Bonny Doon, 4 mile, etc. At least 20-30 campers between the county line and Western drive. It appears SCSO has slacked off on enforcement here. If they continue to ignore the issue, it’s only going to get worse as the city of Santa Cruz pushes people living in their RVs outside of the city limits through parking reform and into the unincorporated areas, especially the north coast.
11/22 City Council meeting Notes:
This was one of those marathon of pain meetings, especially the evening session. I fell asleep around 10:30 but a friend of mine said “Micah is STILL talking and it’s 11:45!!”
Scott Collins presented on the Riverwalk Safety Plan update. This is long overdue and I for one am very grateful to staff and to council for their efforts in making the San Lorenzo Riverwalk a safer place to be. The plans include creating 5 permanent ranger positions to replace the 5 temporary positions that are currently there and creating one Senior Ranger position, more lighting along the path and security cameras! Micah and Don of course were hesitant to approve the cameras. They both said they were not necessarily opposed to the security cameras but wondering if $ should go to this particular item. Is it really the money? Or are you opposed to the “big brother is watching concept”? I really have never understood the fear around that kind of thing. No individual needs to be concerned with security cameras if they are abiding by the law. But if you are along the Riverwalk and are breaking the law by drinking, shooting up, operating a bike chop shop, dope dealing, fighting etc then clearly security cameras are a threat. This is a wise investment and desperately needed. A resolution was presented to update the current schedule of fines and penalties for various Vehicle Code infractions and would add a fine amount for various Vehicle Code parking and standing vehicle infractions that have not previously been included in the schedule. This passed unanimously with council and I know at least one Santa Cruz Police Officer that is VERY happy about it. So, pay your registration fees, don’t park where you aren’t supposed to, if your vehicle is leaking stuff it shouldn’t then fix it. The kooks were visibly absent for this item (thank goodness). I think some of them are going to be pretty pissed they failed to show up for this one. I think this is going to have a very positive impact on Santa Cruz. I noticed that there were a lot of typos on the agenda item descriptions on the screen displays. It was bizarre. “Aprroval”. “Apprroval”
There was an item on the agenda about recreational marijuana regulation restricting outdoor cultivation for personal use. I don’t know. It’s legal, whatever. 6 plant limit was mentioned. Someone did bring up a point that when the plant is “flowering” it does let off quite a smell. I can imagine that would be difficult for some people. The gentleman in the robe had much to say about it all and of course once again swung it so that council was somehow discriminating against a particular class. He also kept saying Reefer Madness. Those were the first words that popped into my head when I woke up the next morning.
Evening Session – There were MANY speakers that showed up to speak against cuts to several programs including Early Childhood Education, Homeless Services and Seniors. So I want to be clear about something. I don’t underestimate the value of these services at all, but the only reason any of this was even considered was because council was reallocating funds towards mental health services and substance abuse. Which hundreds of people have come to council demanding that they fix. These are clearly huge issues in our town. One walk down the levee or Pacific Avenue will tell you that. The manner in which some of the speakers spoke to council was completely inappropriate. I am not speaking of the parents that are concerned about child care or the seniors that are concerned about their services. I am talking about these entitled self serving assholes that show up at every council meeting to berate and shame. One woman in particular whose voice I can only describe as shrill, nails on a chalkboard, drill at the dentist excruciating. The level of anger she brought to the podium was pathetic. What I find ridiculous is at prior meetings she was yelling that there isn’t enough money being put towards mental health services and substance abuse. I have a suggestion for you. Xanax. Clearly the outcry of the public was heard, no one lost funding and mental health/substance abuse got more funding. Council made it work. Bravo!!! Now this message is for EVERYONE that showed up to speak at the CC meeting. Please go do the exact same thing at the Board of Supervisors meeting. The County has a responsibility to you as well. Go tell them about it. Go be loud, go protest, go fill their chambers. Seriously, it’s time.
One Step Forward and Two Steps Back
So it appears that the final votes for the Santa Cruz city council race have been counted, checked, cross referenced, and validated by a “general assembly” of vote counters. Why else would it take this long to count? But if the vote holds, it appears the winners will be:
- Martine Watkins
- Cynthia Mathews
- Chris Krohn
- Sandy Brown
What a predictable mess this is. Santa Cruz just cannot get out of it’s own way here. It just can’t seem to move on past 30 years of stupid, failed, “progressive” policy making (and policy makers). I guess people are happy with the status quo because that’s exactly what you’re getting for at least the next 2 years. Here are some final, final thoughts on all this:
- JM Brown lost because of his last name. I really have no other explanation here. Sandy Brown won because of her last name. I really have no other explanation here. People are dumb. I have no other explanation here.
- I say one step forward (Watkins) and two steps back (Krohn & The Other Brown) because with Cynthia Mathews, we might as well just be running in place. Watkins offers hope and forward thinking vision. Krohn and The Other Brown offer nothing but promises they can’t deliver to their clueless constituency of cult followers.
- I’m not really concerned with how this shakes out. My “side” (moderates) will still maintain a strong presence on the city council. I like Richelle, DT, and Watkins. I’m ok with Mathews and Chase. So Chris and his sidekick can come in and predictably pontificate and try to rock the boat, but they probably won’t be making any new friends here anytime soon, or getting anything they really want or promised. They’re on the outside looking in. They beat 2 of The Machine’s chosen candidates and The Machine isn’t likely to be happy about it. The other 5 all have the support of The Machine. At least Don had some respect from his peers on the council. Krohn is the worst kind of retread and The Other Brown is just goofy.
- Krohn and his sidekick (and Yoko) will give us plenty of material for the forseeable future. Hugh’s claws are coming out.
by Ernie Douglas
Golden State Warriors:
The GS Warriors began their extended road trip with a visit to Boston to take on the Celtics. They pummeled the Celtics 104-88. Durant had 32 points, Klay had 28, Curry had 19, and they kept an opponent under a hundred points (finally). Then they flew to Milwaukee (where it appeared to be frigid cold) and almost lost to an overachieving, scrappy Bucks team by giving up 121 points. Terrible defense again. They should not be giving up 121 points to the Bucks. Can’t blame Draymond here, but I pretty much blame every other guy. The Bucks are about 2 years from being pretty good. Antetokounmpo is a beast and add Jabari Parker and you’ve got 2 future all stars playing and growing together. Offensively, the Warriors are clicking right now, defensively they pretty much suck. But they are just too good offensively. They then flew to Indiana to take on the Pacers, where they beat them by almost 30 points on the road. A strong effort all the way around. Returning to Oracle, they took revenge on the Lakers (who were missing Russell and Randle) and beat them by more than 40 points. That’s what happens when you poke the bear. Offensively, this team is the best in the league, maybe one of the best ever. Defensively, they are slowly coming around. Draymond seems more committed now to leading the defensive end, he’s playing better with Zaza (they all are), and McGee is really finding a nice spot in the rotation. He gets better as his confidence goes up, and the entire team is behind this guy and wants him to succeed. McGee is the X factor this season. If he overachieves, this team is unstoppable. And he’s only 28 years old, and on a vets minimum contract. The guy is a STEAL. And he could be the key to them winning a title this year. He’s gone from the very end of the bench to being the 2nd or 3rd guy to sub in. And he’s in Kerr’s regular rotation plans right now, so I expect him to see regular minutes all season, at least 15-20 minutes a game on average. He’s basically Zaza’s backup now, and West will play more 4 against big line ups and can play the 5 in small ball lineups. And if Draymond can get him trained right in the system, he’ll beast in the post. Nothing but upside with The Javalevator so far.
Upcoming games this week: 11/25 Lakers (in LA). 11/26 Minnesota, 11/28 Toronto, 12/1 Houston.
Santa Cruz Warriors:
The Santa Cruz Warriors managed to hold off the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, winning 112-110 on Friday night at Kaiser Arena. Elgin Cook led the way for the Warriors with 23 points off the bench. Phil Pressey added 19 points, four rebounds, nine assists, and three steals. Cameron Jones contributed 17 points and had seven rebounds, and Dennis Clifford chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Warriors then traveled toEl Segundo to take on the LA D-Fenders on Saturday night, losing 134-109. Phil Pressey scored 21 points, and added three rebounds and eight assists. Cameron Jones contributed 20 points, three rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, while Elgin Cook had 15 points, four rebounds, and two steals. It was also announced that Golden State Warriors center Damian Jones is being assigned to Santa Cruz. Jones was selected by Golden State with the 30th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and is currently rehabbing from surgery on his right pectoral muscle.
Upcoming games this week: 11/25 Sioux Falls (at Kaiser). 11/27 at Reno, 11/30 at Westchester, 12/1 at Brooklyn.
DeCinzotized – Classic Steven DeCinzo
Adios to Don Lane. Your kindness and civility will be genuinely missed. Your patronizing demeanor and your penchant for pontificating won’t be missed. Good luck in your next life. Find a nice, cushy, well paying ED job among the many local social service non-profits and let go (until we see you looking for a handout at the annual budget meetings).
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