The Weekly Dump 12.23.16

Frost Bites Santa Cruz in the Culo

It’s been a pretty frigid week locally leading up to Christmas. Frigid by Santa Cruz standards. It dropped below freezing on a few occasions. This was tough on plants and animals (and humans) that were stuck outside. It’s a tough time to be homeless in Santa Cruz, which isn’t usually the case. I’m thankful for the folks that are helping them stay warm in this brutally cold weather. Hypothermia is a real danger to your health, and can kill people quickly. Wet clothing in this cold weather will kill you. I am appreciative of the folks that are helping with this makeshift, winter shelter by the county. I’m not gonna rehash my well hashed criticism of the county and their half assed efforts here. The churches stepped up when the local Homeless Services Center said no thanks (except for the money, which they said thanks). My issues have never been with having a winter shelter, or a “warming center”. It’s been about the people behind it. It’s been about questionable motives, less than transparent business practices, and the dubious cult of personalities competing for attention at someone else’s expense. No matter which way our ideological barometer swings on homelessness locally, I think we can all agree that keeping people from freezing to death is a good thing to do in general. We can get into the hows and whys of their need for help later when it’s not so cold. 

Artisans Gallery Hit By Shoplifter

Well so much for supporting your local artists and businesses. It must really suck to be a downtown merchant. The idiot level of tolerance would drive me crazy. The way the city just shrugs it off is just so wrong. It’s like the cost of doing business downtown is to accept a ridiculous level of “people behaving badly”. It’s just a big, collective shrug. 

Over $3000 worth of jewelry was stolen here. That’s the kind of felony you’d expect someone to see real jail time for. I’m betting probation, if they ever get caught. I don’t recommend doing what this woman is doing in the screencap here. Brave but not smart. None of that art is worth dying over. And given our history and track record, none of our local downtown recidivist tweekers (like this guy) are predictable or safe. She would have been better off tripping him on the way out the door, then dropping one of those pretty pieces of glass on his head. I’d be fine with that. I’d chip in to pay for the broken art piece. 

SCPD Arrests Local Grinch Who Stole Woman’s Christmas Money

SCPD arrested a Watsonville man accused of snatching a woman’s purse last week with $225 in Christmas gift money in it. The suspect is facing allegations of grand theft and possession of unlawful paraphernalia after he was apprehended by police at Beach Street and Pacific Avenue. Officers set up a perimeter after the victim reported a man wrenching her purse out of her hands while she sat at a local bus stop. Officers recovered the victim’s Christmas cash hidden within Rodriguez’s pants and used witnesses to verify his identity.

Drug Dealers Busted in the Beach Flats

A pair of local drug dealers were busted in the Beach Flats with more than 3 ounces of meth last week. A Santa Cruz man and Scotts Valley woman were arrested on suspicion of having more than 3 ounces of methamphetamine, 8 grams of heroin and drug paraphernalia. The man, a 46 year old from Santa Cruz, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sale, possession of heroin for sale and possession of drugs for sale with the same prior offense. All are felonies. Expect little to no jail time. Thanks Prop. 47 and 57. The woman, a 33 year old from Scotts Valley, was arrested on suspicion of possession of heroin for sale and possession of methamphetamine for sale. The Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team served a search warrant at a motel at the 600 block of the of Third Street in Santa Cruz, where officers found the drugs, a scale, drug-packaging materials “consistent with drug sales” and syringes, according to Sgt. Mark Yanez of the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team. Craig remained in custody Tuesday afternoon at Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $140,000 bail. Thompson was apparently released Saturday. Probably on her own recognizance. It’s part of the county shuffle!

Trial Date Set for Violeta Cervantes

A trial date has been set for Violeta Cervantes, for killing Scott Brunton while driving drunk and then leaving him to die in the street. Judge Volkmann set her trial date for January 12th at 8:15AM. There was a HUGE turnout for her initial arraignment, and I’m betting that will continue with her trial.

Apparently she doesn’t like or want the public to see her face on the local news. Let’s review her charges again here. Four felony charges:

  • Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
  • DUI causing bodily injury
  • Hit and run causing death
  • Probation violation (felony child endangerment)

What a piece of work this menace to society is. The bigger question is: HOW WILL THE COUNTY DEAL WITH HER? MORE PROBATION?

Car Chase Through Downtown and Westside Ends at the Golden Arches

SCPD was chasing a car through downtown and the westside on Tuesday night around 9PM, finally trapping the car at the McDonald’s parking lot exit at Trescony. The chase went down King street until the car turned on Trescony and crossed Mission. They executed a “high risk” stop at that location and detained one person. The plate on the van didn’t match the registration or the VIN number, so it’s likely the van was stolen. Suspended and revoked driver’s license on the driver. “You deserve a break today…”

Woman Abandons Car on Sidewalk in the Beach Flats and Flees SCPD

Wednesday night, a woman drove her car up on the sidewalk off Barson street and apparently then abandoned it. Witnesses describe her as muttering something about “can’t go back to jail again” before she left it, with one witness saying she may have gotten in another car. SCPD arrived and ran the registration and the driver it was registered to had a suspended and revoked license for DUI. It doesn’t take Einstein to connect the dots here. Thank god nobody happened to be walking on the sidewalk when she drove up on it. 

Santa Cruz Running Company Takes a Brick Through Their Front Window

Ah, it’s the season of giving and some jerk decided to gift the Santa Cruz Running Company on Soquel with a brick through their front window early Wednesday morning. In return for that brick and broken window, they also gifted themselves with a bunch of Garmins. This is what running and owning a small business in Santa Cruz is like. I hear stories like this DAILY. No repercussions. Hell, we can’t even make it a deterrent, let alone stop it. Thanks to Prop. 47 and 57, this kind of crap isn’t deemed worthy of punishment. Probation maybe! But jail? I’ll believe it when I see it. Every time I hear another story about a small business owner struggling with stupid levels of nuisance crime daily, I just shake my head and wonder when the people we keep electing to fix this will finally get it. 

Thieves Break Into Coffeeville

Some time last week, thieves broke a window on the front door of Coffeeville on Ocean street. Coffeeville is located at 533 Ocean St. It’s another small business just trying to make it in the city sponsored transient sewer known as “Ocean Street”. And folks seem to love them on Yelp. So please, support Coffeeville with your business and your jones for a cup. We can’t expect much support from the city or county here. 

Rotten Robbie Robbed!

Last Thursday night, the Rotten Robbie on Mission was apparently robbed. I don’t have too many details on this one. I know it happened around 8:30PM. I know SCPD was looking for surveillance video from the neighboring businesses. And I heard later from a few folks that said staff was pretty shook up over it, and the doors to the inside of the store were locked closed. 

Man Interrupts Car Break In and Gets Assaulted With Bat

Early Monday morning around 2AM, a man interrupted another man trying to break into his car. This happened on Delaware. The man was then assaulted with a bat. The man followed the suspect to a house at 315 Alta which was under construction. SCPD set up a perimeter around the area to try to catch him. The suspect was described as a black male, over 200 pounds, dark hoody and dark pants. He apparently got away. 

Drunk Man Tries to Stab His Girlfriend

A call came in on Friday night that a drunk male came home and got all domestically violent with his girlfriend in the Beach Flats area, trying to stab her. He apparently missed and stabbed a door instead. She left the residence and went to a friend’s house, where she called and reported it. No idea if they eventually caught or arrested the guy. 

Fremont Man Attempts to Rent Junker RV as Local Housing on Craig’s List

Van for rent. Not mobile. No restroom inside van. No access to main house. Few blocks to Rio del Mar Beach. The beach has sinks, toilets, showers. The rent will be $800 a month. You will need first and last month’s rent with a $300 security deposit to move in.

People figured it must be a joke. A Fremont man confirmed he had placed an ad earlier this month about renting an RV he owned in Aptos. The craiglist ad provided a phone number for Jason, a handyman from Fremont. Earlier this month, vans and recreational vehicles, many seemingly abandoned, lined Moosehead Drive, a short walk away from Rio Del Mar State Beach. More than 200 complaints about abandoned vehicles have also been reported in the past year to Santa Cruz County on an app called “Citizen Connect,” making it the second most reported problem. And oh, the Coastal Commission has NO PROBLEM with mierda like this. Can’t block access to the beach for those abandoned, non-mobile RVs with slumlord owners from Fremont trying to play the system. Nobody wears a virtual “kick me” sign like Santa Cruz does. 

Squatters Booted From 510 Lincoln

I heard about an ongoing problem with squatters at 510 Lincoln street in Santa Cruz. From NextDoor:

After the police came yesterday and removed multiple bags of garbage, drugs, etc. from the squatters at the house on Lincoln street, they returned last night and broke into the house again. This time they had gasoline. These are not your regular homeless from around downtown. They are new to the area and very dangerous and aggressive. We are concerned that they may be trying to burn down that home as well as others near it. If you see anyone who looks suspicious please contact the police. The police have advised us to stay away and do not approach them. Please keep an eye out for your neighbors. Be safe!

So apparently the house in question is empty and being remodeled. The transients in question are apparently squatting in the vacant home. This is from another neighbor:

We live just a couple houses up from you and just over a week ago we had to go get a homeless couple to move along from that house. The older man was compliant BUT the younger female was less than cooperative. But we eventually got them to move along. Last night we saw the police down there and then at 11 pm last night my car alarm went off and my trunk was opened. We will be watching that house much closer as we don’t want our son exposed to what they are bringing. Thank you for the update.

And one more update on the property itself from another neighbor:

I live close and spoke with the property owner today. He is planning kitchen remodels for 2 of the 3 units which is why it has been unoccupied since the last tenants moved out (pulling permits with the city). Hopefully he will get that done soon and get the place occupied. I know someone on Chestnut street who sold his house and had the same problem with homeless using the outdoor shower and leaving all kinds of trash in the yard while in escrow. We need a strategy to make these squatters move on.

So keep an eye on 510 Lincoln. The more eyes the better.

Feds Throw 2 Million Dollars at Santa Cruz County for the Homeless

The feds recently gave a variety of “vested interests” about 2 million dollars in grants from HUD. Of course, Santa Cruz doesn’t have a clue how to solve homelessness. If it did, we wouldn’t actually need the money now would we? How many years now has this charade been played out? I expect this money to go to propping up programs that lack transparency, that lack accountability, that if they actually WORKED they wouldn’t require increased funding annually. They would need less if they were actually effective in reducing homelessness. 11 different programs got federal money here. I’d trade all 11 for just one program that actually reduced homelessness. 

More in the Senile.


37 Homeless People Died in Santa Cruz County in 2016

How good or effective are our local homeless services (or the people getting millions of dollars to reduce homelessness) when they allow 37 people to die on the street last year? They did reduce the number by one from last year. So I guess now they can collectively claim “they are reducing homeless deaths on the street in Santa Cruz” now! Funny how that works. 

More in the Senile.


Man Has Meltdown on Coral Street

Thursday afternoon, a transient male apparently had a raging meltdown in front of the Homeless Services Center. SCPD was called while staff locked themselves inside the building. SCPD eventually found the guy on the bike path on the other side of 1 near River street. Has anyone driven the block of Coral street that the Homeless Services Center is on? SANTA MIERDA! HOLY SHIT! It’s freaking awful. It’s like the city (and the Homeless Services Center) doesn’t even bother trying here anymore. People talk about a “homeless camp”. Here it is. 24/7. It’s called “Coral Street”. It’s a half block from that big ugly yellow sign welcoming visitors to “Downtown Santa Cruz”. Just stay on that side of River street. 

Starving Musician Moving to Pacific Avenue

All’s well that ends well I guess with regards to the old Union Grove music store on Pacific Avenue. As the old owners of Union Grove retire and shut down their business, the Starving Musician will be taking over in the same location. That’s what I call “turnkey”. I wonder if the Starving Musician will just buy up the remaining UG inventory, or maybe take some of it on consignment. I’ve always liked the Starving Musician, so I’m glad they aren’t being displaced in the new Habit/Dunkin development. Their store is being torn down and being replaced by a parking lot. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot. Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. (actually, I’m thrilled about this development, and thrilled for the neighbors).

The Surf Colony is Coming to Downtown

The planning department recently approved an application to demolish a five unit building and construct a nine room hotel on the corner of Sycamore Street and Pacific Avenue. The building it will replace is one of the very last unreinforced masonry buildings remaining to be addressed since the earthquake. The boutique hotel, currently being referred to as The Surf Colony, is being billed as one that will cater to travelling surfers and includes surfboard and bicycle storage. The proposed three story building includes a ground floor level with parking and retail space (likely to be a market catering to the guests), with two levels of rooms above and a roof deck. The design includes a modern style of architecture not unlike the approved 94 unit SOU project across Sycamore Street at 555 Pacific Avenue.

SCPD Launches New Cold Case Unit

I just saw this announcement from SCPD:

The Santa Cruz Police Department has launched a new webpage dedicated to Cold Cases. We are aimed at taking the forces of communication and community engagement to a new level to solve cold cases in the City of Santa Cruz.

The SCPD Cold Case Unit is composed of a single investigator who specializes in investigating old, unsolved homicides. A case has gone “cold” when investigators determine that all potential leads have “dried up”. The Cold Case Detective explores how new technology and new informational resources might impact a dormant investigation.

More info here.

by Ernie Douglasernie_1968_4x5_72dpi

Golden State Warriors: 
Head coach Steve Kerr wasn’t happy about the last win, despite the team sharing the ball well, and Javale McGee having another strong game starting in place of Zaza. Saturday they faced off against the Trailblazers. This game was never close. KD had 34 points and 11 rebounds. Curry had 19 and Klay had 16. Ian Clark scored a career high 23 points, with a lot of it coming in 4th quarter garbage time. Draymond had only 3 points but had 12 rebounds and 13 assists. Final score was 135-90, a 45 point blowout. Zaza was back in the starting lineup, which is good as I think McGee is better coming off the bench with his energy. And I don’t want his overachieving, new found success to go to his head. His last post game presser showed why it’s a concern. There aren’t any clowns on this team, and we don’t need one now. Then they blew out a pretty good Utah team on Tuesday night, beating them by 30. 104-74. Good defensive effort there. Curry, Durant, and Klay all led a pretty balanced scoring attack. Draymond anchored the defensive effort. They traveled to Brooklyn to begin an extended road trip that culminates with a long anticipated rematch with the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Draymond sat this game out with the birth of his son. This game had all the earmarks of a “trap” game, and sure enough, the Warriors floundered in the first half. They managed to come back in the 3rd quarter before eventually beating the Nets by 15. Durant had another big game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Zaza also played very well in Draymond’s absence, with 15 points and 14 rebounds. GSW is off to Detroit to take on the Pistons next, before their Christmas Day matchup against Cleveland. 26-4 and best record in the NBA. 

Upcoming games this week:  12/23 at Detroit, 12/25 at Cleveland, 12/28 vs. Toronto (at Oracle). 

Santa Cruz Warriors:
Damian Jones was re-assigned back down from the GS Warriors to the Santa Cruz Warriors this past week. The GS Warriors 1st round draft pick last year is still rehabbing his injury and should get more playing time in the D-league than he would at the end of the bench. It will be interesting to see what he does with his time in Santa Cruz. Javale McGee has overachieved for the GS Warriors this year, moving from the end of the bench, into rotation minutes, and now he’s starting as Zaza has been hurt. McGee is now filling the role the Warriors anticipated Jones filling when they drafted him. It’s doubtful Jones would see ANY playing time with Golden State, so they might as well stash in him the D-league for now. Jones scored 15 points and had 9 rebounds as the 6-7 Warriors beat a good Northern Arizona Suns team 113-89 last Friday night at Kaiser. Six Warriors scored in double figures for the Warriors. They were led by LaDontae Henton, scoring 18 points in his Santa Cruz debut. Alex Hamilton added 16 points, and Mychel Thompson chipped in 15 points. The team then travelled to Iowa on Tuesday night and beat the Energy. Elgin Cook had a team-high 17 points off the bench, including two clutch shots with under a minute remaining in the ball game. They then had to travel to frigid South Dakota on the back end of a back to back to take on the 11-3 Skyforce from Sioux Falls. The Warriors stayed close through 3 quarters, but eventually lost 112-107. They’ll be playing both teams at Kaiser next week as well. 

Upcoming games this week:  12/23 vs. Erie, 12/27 vs. Sioux Falls (at Kaiser), 12/29 vs. Northern Arizona (at Kaiser)

Weekly Shoutouts

Weekly shoutouts to all the people helping those less fortunate right now. Especially those that are helping the homeless find a place to sleep where it’s warm and dry. I know I can pile on the snark here, but it’s rarely directed at the less fortunate. It’s usually saved for those who take advantage of or fail them. 

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  1. Knot Rilly Dunn

    SC downtown retailers put up with CONSTANT shoplifting. Go talk to any of them. It’s insane. The best they can do is kick out ones they recognize, otherwise, it’s just a slap on the wrist for the bad guys. You and I can go into business shoplifting. Low risk, high reward.

    Merry Christmas, Ben! Ben, busy, Ben.

    • It’s ridiculous. It’s basically a license to steal. It’s also just a matter of time before someone steals from the wrong shop owner and ends up badly hurt or dead. The city has just given up here. At least with the recidivist bums. There’s no real repercussions for bad behavior downtown and the biggest offenders know it. And flaunt it. Just look at how the city deals with bike theft. The city makes all these BS ordinances they don’t really bother enforcing, since the courts won’t enforce them. Paper tiger. Thanks KRD. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you too!

  2. Well it looks like Knot Rilly Dunn and Ben have inadvertently stumbled across the answer!
    The City needs to add a new category to their Business License Division……make them pay
    for a business license to steal. And monitor their tax remittances to the I.R.S. to make sure they
    are paying their “fair share”.
    If the affore-mentioned entities aren’t getting their “cut”, the scofflaws are certain to face either jail time
    or confiscation of their assets!
    (Lobs a softball…)
    Merry Christmas Ben, and thanks for tolerating my opinions!

    • haha, yeah right, what we need is another useless layer of middle management and overpaid bureaucracy in the city government. I kind of like the idea of using all that social service money the city gives out for the various, REDUNDANT, homeless services “support” programs (I call them “support” because they aren’t really reducing homelessness, they are supporting it) and put that into a dedicated “fund” that local merchants can be reimbursed from for all the blatant, ridiculous, inexcusable, “city sponsored” nuisance crimes they deal with on a daily basis. See above for examples just from this past week. All those REDUNDANT service providers just got a fat 2 million dollars from HUD. They don’t really need the city’s support here, at least not as much as the local, small business owner does. The city (and Chief Apologist Martin Bernal) needs to get their priorities straight here. Thanks for the regular comments Howard, and Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you!

  3. Speaking of local businesses being left to the wolves, I just finished my Christmas shopping at Smith’s China Shop on Water. It’s been here for generations and has great quality merchandise and first rate service. While there, I heard about a druggie transient who tried getting in last week, during the day, and when they locked the front door on him, he smashed his hand through the glass door. There were calls to the SCPD and no-one came. No response. $300 to replace the door. One of the owners took my package to my car for me (really, I about bought out the place) and we ran into a transients leaving his possessions, in the rain, on their property. He was asked to leave, and got belligerent. I’m a person too. You are not the FBI. And on, in the pouring rain. The next time Don Lane gets all emotional about helping transients, I suggest he spend a day or two with local businesses and see what they go through.

    • Thanks Mabel. What a terrible (but hardly shocking) story. Hopefully we won’t be hearing much from Don anymore. Now we’re stuck with Chris Groan for the next 4 years. I’m sure we’ll be hearing PLENTY from him. Happy holidays!

  4. I think we need to designate a space in the downtown area for some stockades. Since there’s no room in the jail, we need a place to secure these shoplifters downtown.

  5. Arthur Macmillan

    37 Homeless People Died in Santa Cruz County in 2016
    (down one from last year). I’d say it’s a bit soon for Santa Cruz to count its chickens. We still got seven days to find the bodies!

  6. That reminds me of a joke!
    There once was a great King, and one day his advisers told him
    they had heard that some of the Counts in his kingdom were conspiring against
    Upon hearing this, the King had Three of the local Counts rounded up and thrown
    into the dungeon. He told them “At dawn, you will reveal to me the plot and the
    participants or your heads will be chopped off!”.
    Come dawn, the Counts were taken from the dungeon and placed by the chopping
    The first Count was put on the chopping block and the executioner raised his axe.
    The King said “Well, who all is plotting against me?”
    The Count replied “I’ll never tell!” So down swung the axe “Chop”! and his head rolled into the
    The Second Count was then placed onto the chopping block, the executioner again raised his
    axe, and the King asked him the same question “Who is plotting against me?”.
    “I’ll never tell!” shouted the Count…….”Chop”! and the Counts severed head rolled into the basket.
    The Third Count was then placed on the chopping block. The executioner raised his axe, the King spoke
    “Well, you see what we have done to your friends…save your own life and tell me what I want to know!”
    The Count replied “Never!” and as the executioner started to swing his axe down the Count screamed
    “WAIT I’ll tell you!” CHOP! …….too late, and his head rolled into the basket with the others.
    The moral of the story?

    Don’t hatchet your counts before they chicken.
    Merry Christmas

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