The Weekly Dump 12.9.16

6.5 Magnitude Earthquake in Pacific Ocean off Northern California Coast

Early Thursday morning, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Northern California. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement there was no threat of a tsunami. The epicenter of the quake was about 100 miles west of Ferndale, which is in the northern part of the state near Eureka. Back in 2011, a tsunami triggered by an earthquake in Japan did some serious damage to the Santa Cruz Harbor. On that date, a large surge came through the Santa Cruz harbor and sent dozens of boats, some as big as 40-feet long, turning onto their sides and slamming into other boats that were tied up at nearby slips. Several boats sank as a result. Tsunamis are a pretty serious threat to Santa Cruz when a moderate to large earthquake hits off the coast in the Pacific. I actually live in the “tsunami inundation zone”. 

Transient Dies Downtown at Clock Tower Before Holiday Parade

In seemingly true Santa Cruz fashion, a transient man was found dead early Saturday morning near the clock tower on Pacific Avenue by a member of the downtown Rangers. This happened right as the city was preparing Pacific Avenue for the Holiday Parade, which began around 10AM at the other end of Pacific and ended at the clock tower. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cause of death turned out to be some health related issue (heart attack, “natural causes”) but it was pretty freaking cold that morning and I wouldn’t be surprised if “exposure” played a big part in his death here. I kind of doubt you’ll hear much about this in the mainstream media. It’s a terrible look for the city for one thing. “Homeless Man Dies of Exposure Before Downtown Holiday Parade” isn’t what the city wants to see at the top of the Senile. The deceased was apparently a transient, and a serial recidivist as well. I know his name but I’m not going to report it here out of respect for his family and friends. But I will say he has 29 appearances on That’s since 2014. To say he’s well known to law enforcement, the local judges, the district attorney and his staff, and many others is an understatement. They don’t just know him. He’s been a burden on the system for years, because the COUNTY can’t figure out (or prioritize) how to deal with homeless people suffering from chronic mental illness, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. I’ve said it before. The “COUNTY method” here is to just shuttle them back and forth between the jail and the street. This guy just validates what I said. How’s that “multi agency” downtown recidivism program working for this guy? The former Bob Lee, whatever it’s called now program designed to get serial recidivists off Pacific Avenue and downtown. How’s it helping Mr. 29 mugshots here? I’d say it isn’t. He’s dead. The county is responsible for social services, COUNTY health services, all of the local, redundant, social service non-profits whose mission is to help people like this guy. Where are they? They failed this guy, but the city will get blamed for it here. 

Man Evades Police By Wading Out into the San Lorenzo River

Monday afternoon, SCPD apparently approached a transient male along the river levee who didn’t want to be questioned or bothered by them. He was so adamant about this, he decided to take a half naked stroll out into the San Lorenzo river while chiding SCPD to follow him into the river if they really wanted him. He hung out in the water for awhile, no shirt but apparently he was wearing pants. He had to be hypothermic, in addition to being bat shit crazy to walk out into the river with no shirt on and yell and scream tin foil hat nonsense at people trying to help him. Another daily example of the county’s lack of mental facility options at work. It’s just a non stop shuffle between jail and the street for guys like this. How does that really benefit anyone here? 

Here’s a bit of video:

Federal Railroad Administration Considers Enforcement Actions Over Unsafe Train Tracks

The Federal Railroad Administration is considering enforcement action against the Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway, operators of  The Polar Express Ride, after finding nearly 6 miles of track in disrepair along paths used by the trains. It forced the immediate suspension of all holiday tours until at least Dec. 10. About 2,000 rides were refunded or had to be rescheduled. The railroad is responsible for maintaining tracks and performing inspections based on federal safety standards. A Federal Railroad Administration spokeswoman said the track did not meet the regulatory agency’s safety standards for passenger trains. The train is operated by Chicago-based Iowa Pacific Holdings, which also operates in Canada. The holiday train ride leaves the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and heads to Capitola to a set resembling the North Pole. A Federal Railroad Administration spokesman said the tours can resume once the safety standards are met.

Janus Provides SCPD With New First Response Treatment Options for Drug Overdoses

SCPD now has new treatment options when dealing with drug overdose victims, thanks to Janus of Santa Cruz. Janus is behind the funding for this new pilot program project, aimed at better dealing with medical emergencies involving drug overdose victims. The new program provides SCPD with a new nasal spray used to help provide emergency respiratory relief to drug overdose victims, allowing more time for emergency first responders to arrive and transport and potentially saving lives, as often SCPD are the “real” first responders. While I’m not a big fan of the “optics” here (having so many overdoses in the community we need this) but the reality dictates what we need, not the optics. More from KSBW

SCPD Loses Car in Car Chase Near Downtown

SCPD was chasing a male driver on Friday night around 9:30PM who failed to yield, when they lost him in the pursuit. Another caller reported seeing a matching vehicle driving recklessly on Morrissey headed for Highway 1. The car was a 1990 (or similar year) tan Toyota Camry. Most likely stolen. Probably with some damage as it apparently hit another car while being chased. 

Santa Cruz Protests Having Banks


In another story worthy of the Onion, local protesters apparently shut down the Bank of America on the corner of River and Water streets last week. I guess they were protesting the pipeline in North Dakota (it’s only about 1600 miles away but hey, we need to scratch that itch and protest something!) and somehow decided to correlate that with the local Bank of America (as the employees of Wells Fargo and Comerica a block away threw a collective side eye of shade and relief). I count 13 people in this photo, and they all look pretty harmless. I’ve waited in longer lines INSIDE of the Bank of America, so I’m not sure why the bank itself was so upset they decided to close for the day. I’m SURE they didn’t want them coming inside the building. That would be one squat they didn’t want to deal with. I think it was more the bank’s way of telling them to piss off. People could still use the ATM outside. They were just having none of the usual nonsense here. 

Fight at the 515

Multiple calls came in Friday night around 9:45PM that 3 subjects, including a bouncer, were physically fighting in front of the restaurant. Sounded like a white male and female fighting with the bouncer. Drunks fighting with a bouncer. Dine and dash? Another Friday night downtown. SCPD had multiple officers downtown looking for the guy and still couldn’t find them. 

Free Admission This Weekend at Monterey Aquarium for Locals

This weekend, the Monterey Aquarium is offering free admission to locals from Santa Cruz! FREE ADMISSION for locals (Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties) through this Sunday, December 11th at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Just bring your photo ID for proof of residency. More on this story from KION

Love is All Around

Santa Cruz is still my favorite girl.

by Ernie Douglasernie_1968_4x5_72dpi
Golden State Warriors: 

The GS Warriors had a pretty solid week. First they routed the Suns 138-109. Curry had 31 points, Klay had 26 and Durant added 20. Then they routed Indiana 142-106, in which Klay Thompson again showed why the Warriors turned down Kevin Love for him by scoring 60 points in 29 minutes! Then they flew to LA to take on the Clippers and beat them 115-98. They just own the Clippers.  They’ve beaten them the last 7 straight times they’ve met. Then they flew to Utah to take on the Jazz, and beat them 106-99, with Curry scoring 26 and Durant adding another 21. They are just firing on all cylinders right now. And it’s obvious that Durant is enjoying the hell out of himself here. He’s having the time of his life playing with these guys, and they are bringing out the best in him as well. 4 games this week, 4 wins this week. 

Upcoming games this week:  12/10 at Memphis, 12/11 at Minnesota, 12/13 at New Orleans, 12/15 vs. NY Knicks (at Oracle). 

Santa Cruz Warriors:
The Santa Cruz Warriors travelled to the frozen reaches of Maine to take on the Red Claws but lost 115-106. Scott Wood had 26 for the Warriors, with Phil Pressey adding 20 points. GS Warriors first round draft pick Damian jones played a rehab game and pulled down a team high 12 rebounds. They next took on the Delaware 87ers, and finally broke their losing streak by beating them 116-102. Phil Pressey lad the Warriors with 21 points, and Elgin Cook added another 20. It’s been a tough season so far for the Warriors. They’re at 3-7 after 10 games. 

Upcoming games this week:  12/9 vs. Austin (at Kaiser), 12/14 vs. North Arizona, 12/16 North Arizona (at Oracle)

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  1. Ben, I thought you might find this article interesting. It’s from Hoodline, an on line SF media outlet and was published yesterday as part of an on-going Bay Area media project on the homeless.

    Bottom line: many “homeless” aren’t homeless. They are home. They prefer being unhoused and no amount of services (or harassment) to get them off the street will change that fact.

    • Thanks Dan. Your bottom line is the worst kept secret in Santa Cruz. It’s the elephant in the room. Oh, and most homeless “advocates” aren’t homeless either. They go home to their nice warm bed at night after encouraging real homeless people to risk getting ticketed and/or arrested by the city.

  2. Johnny at the Harbor

    Hey Ben, I sould never understand why these Bum/Homeless advocates dont do the right thing and take some of these people home with them to peotest them from the elements. Put them up in their house with some hots and cots and not to forget that big flat screen…but we know that ain’t going to happen. Most of these advocates just get off in getting their mug in the paper or on TV. True Homeless need to be in shelters while these stinkin Bums need to get on down the road.

    • If we didn’t prop up so many bums, we could afford to take care of the homeless that really need the help. People that truly can’t help themselves deserve to be helped. But the system gets played by people that take advantage of an overly “compassionate” community by propping up the people that steal our bikes, that leave dirty needles in our parks and streets, that break into our cars and homes. We reward them with unconditional social service programs.

      • Johnny at the Harbor

        Ben, once again you are so right on with your comments…its just a shame the pablum puking liberals in this town just dont get it. Whats it going to take to get the lefties to wake up and at least admit we have an extreme problem with the BUMS in this town? Help the truly homeless, and give the BUMS the BUMS rush, as they say out of town. Every time I go down on Pacific Ave to buy or enjoy a movie its a BUMORAMA…a F&%king shame.

  3. You really have the pulse of the city. Really love your updates, many thanks. Wish you would run for city council!!

    • Thanks Gail! No city council for me. I honestly think I can be a more effective agent for change and reform by putting the city council on weekly blast. I just have no patience for that job. I’d be rolling my eyes and laughing at every regular kook during oral communications. I doubt that would sit well with others.

  4. Was it Peter Birmingham who passed away?

  5. The reason for the protest at Bank of America is because they are funding the companies that want to build the pipeline. Chase and Wells Fargo are also among those funding the pipeline too. There was a massive push to get people to move their money out of these banks and into local credit unions that don’t fund things like pipelines and give customers better interest rates. A few days after I cancelled my BofA credit card was when the protesting started and the permit was denied. Not sure if there’s a connection, but BofA was not happy at all when I cancelled my card. Their PR team was obviously on overtime.

  6. IMHO, the problem with our approach to homelessness is we group them in this singular category without differentiating between the various types of homeless folks. I’ve identified three categories 1). The “economic” homeless that are homeless as as a result of financial stresses–lost job, health issues preventing them from working, deadbeat spouse etc. 2) the “addicted” homeless that have chosen drugs/alcohol over a stable dwelling and 3) the mentally ill homeless that can’t function adequately to provide for themselves.

    We should focus our resources on category 1 first followed by 3 and find away to export category 2

    • You forgot the 4th group. Those that choose to be homeless. Who think it’s cool to leech off of others. They’re usually some combination of young, naive, and stupid. But I agree with your assessment, and I agree with your 3 groups. As for priority, I’d say “Group 3” gets top priority, mentally ill folks that can’t take care of themselves should get top priority and should be taken care of by the state, or county, or city, or all of the above. Followed by “Group 1” who will likely work hard to make themselves “not homeless”. Groups 2 & 4 have made their lifestyle choices and should feel the repercussions of those choices. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. Darius Mohsenin

    Entitlement??? You want to talk about entitlement? Dude, you don’t know entitlement unless you’re a landlord with Section 8 tenants. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Section 8 program so much I have 23 Sec 8 tenants! Well, let me correct that…I conditionally LOVE the Sec 8 program. It has two overarching flaws. The problem is it 1) doesn’t have a time limit, 2) doesn’t require the recipient to be working or even looking for a job or continuing their education. I have several tenants that are “professional poor people” who game the system big time at the expense of the single mom working a low wage job at Grocery Outlet and commuting from Prunedale who should be subsidized to live close to her low wage job. I can’t make the minimum wage $15-20 and hour but I can provide an apartment that is an indirect “wage subsidy” via the Section 8 program. Let me share a letter I sent to John Stossels urging him to do a story on Section (I only had 18 tenants at the time):

    Someone, Stossel, 60 Minutes, whomever, needs to do a piece on the Section 8 housing program sponsored by HUD.

    I am a landlord in with fifty units in one of the best beach towns in the US–Santa Cruz, California. Eighteen of my fifty tenants are on Section 8 and get housing assistance where they have to pay anywhere from $434 to as little as $17–yes, $17 for a one or two bedroom apartment that rents for anywhere from $1,300 to $1,400 per month in one of the most competitive, tightest housing markets in the country.. The only qualification is that you have to be low income (check out “low income” here in Santa Cruz County–,%20Util%20Allow,%20Inc%20Limits/Inc%20limits%20SC%20fed%20program.pdf).

    Tenant’s pay 30% of their income for their unit. A lot of my section 8 tenants are on social security disability (some by choice through hard lobbying SSA, but that’s for another story) and receive around $840 per month. They pay anywhere from $264 to $300 depending on various puts and takes. I once had a perfectly healthy, able-bodied 40 year old woman tenant on General Assistance receiving $50 a month and she paid only $17 a month for a killer one-bedroom cottage in one of the best areas of town!

    Here are the “problems” with the program after 25 years experience as a landlord that will make your viewers blood boil and could, no, SHOULD set off a Congressman to take action.

    First, there is no time limit on the subsidy. A tenant can stay on the program for the rest of their natural lives–and they do. There is absolutely NO incentive to wean off HUD’s hind-tit.

    Second, no preference is given to the WORKING poor. Santa Cruz, like every town, needs their butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers as well as their fast food workers, Wal Mart employees etc. making low wages. THEY should be given preference in receiving housing vouchers. I have tenants–bless their hearts and I love most of them–living three blocks from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Pier not working, not contributing to the economic engine of the town, not going to school to advance themselves but, instead, smoke pot all day while strumming their guitar or playing in a drum circle all while paying as low as $17 a month. Think about that when you look at the FED TAX WITHHELD box in your pay stub next time!

    Third, the program is income based, not asset based. What does that mean? You can have a million dollars real estate or gold bars and the program “imputes” the income from these assets based on a percentage return. Seriously??

    Fourth, people that rent to non-working, non-student section 8 tenants (yes, that’s me until I changed my policy recently) are actually exacerbating the serious housing crisis in areas like the Bay Area by taking rentals from those folks that are working and going to school. “Hey, dude, yeah, you in the drum circle, if you’re on section 8 and not contributing to the economic interests of Santa Cruz, drop the bongo and take your ass and voucher to Bakersfield where there are plenty of rentals!”

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for Section 8 housing and housing subsidies to the poor as I think the minimum wage is way too low, especially in the Bay Area. I can’t control the minimum wage; however, I CAN control who I provide a unit to with a housing voucher. In my new rental ads, I put WORKING Section 8 only!

    The Section 8 program as currently structured has created an entire entitlement class completely dependent for income and shelter on the federal government. I’m not talking about disabled seniors on fixed incomes eating cat food. One of my poster-children tenants for why section 8 is flawed is in his late thirties, has an undergrad degree from UC Riveside, one year of Pepperdine Law School but decided to be a “professional” poor person and lobbied Social Security Disability because of his OCD, hoards food at the food banks, gets free laundry money, and when I had a complaint from his neighbor about too much late night bed-shaking with his new girlfriend, he intimated to me that he even gets free Cialis!

    I am available to discuss this with your staff.
    DArius Mohsenin

    • Thanks Darius. Your comments are very enlightening and I appreciate you sharing your unique perspective on this issue. I completely agree with your sentiments regarding the Section 8 program and HUD. We have way too many people gaming the system here locally, at the expense of those that truly deserve the help.

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