The Weekly Dump 12.30.16

Downtown Prepares For Another News Year’s Eve Party

Tomorrow night, I expect a big turnout for New Year’s Eve on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. It’s always one of the 2 biggest days of the year anyways (with Halloween). Last year, crowds gathered at the Town Clock for a city sponsored celebration. Temperatures dropped to about 38 degrees by midnight as a crowd of about 3,500 people celebrated. Last year between 5PM on December 31st and 5AM on January 1st, 28 people were arrested and SCPD responded to 161 calls for service. The weather this year is expected to be mild with a slight chance of rain. Partly cloudy skies and a 20 percent chance of rain are expected with temperatures ranging from 44 degrees to 55 degrees.

Drive By Shooting Injures Man in Beach Flats Park

At least one man was shot in the leg in the Beach Flats Park near Raymond and Leibrandt on Monday night around 9PM. Two to three men reportedly fired numerous shots at the victim from their vehicle. The suspects, described only as Latino men, were last seen driving the wrong way on Raymond Street toward Beach Street in a light-colored four-door sedan with tinted windows. Two of the rounds struck the man in the leg. Several rounds also struck a concrete wall in Beach Flats Park and one round hit an unoccupied vehicle, according to Deputy Chief Dan Flippo of SCPD. The victim was sent to Dominican and was flown over the hill to a trauma center. Apparently he suffered from a shattered femur as a result of the gunshot wound and it was life threatening. 

Man Brandishes Gun at Denny’s

A report came in on Monday night around 8:45PM that a car with 2 males in it brandished a handgun at someone at the Denny’s on Ocean street. Shortly after, a Hyundai with Nevada plates was located matching the suspect’s vehicle near Dakota on Ocean. SCPD followed the vehicle to downtown on Front near the Metro and pulled the vehicle over at Front and Laurel. SCPD did a high priority stop on the vehicle (meaning guns drawn by multiple units and officers). Traffic was shut down in the area and rerouted while this was going on.

Road Rage Machete Assault on Westside 

I got a report about a minor accident behind New Leaf on Fair around 11AM on Monday. Some guy in a van rear ended another driver. No big deal right? The guy in the van starts to call the cops about the accident. Then the guy he actually rear ended gets out of his car with a machete, smashes the guy’s window with it, steals the guy’s phone from him, gets back in his car and leaves. SCPD put out a Project ROPE. I got word the suspect was eventually caught.

Bums Fight Outside the Homeless Services Center on Christmas Morning

Christmas morning around 10:30AM, a report comes in that someone on staff at the HSC reported a couple of transients fighting outside the entrance on Coral street. The staff member actually identified both the male and female by name. I guess they’re “regulars” that hang out on the sidewalk along Coral street. Can’t we have just one day that this isn’t a regular recurring service call? Apparently not. Speaking of 115 Coral street….

Homeless Man In Kilt Dances in the Middle of Coral Street

Tuesday morning around 10AM, a call came in to SCPD that a homeless man in a “Scottish kilt” was dancing in the middle of Coral street and threatening and terrorizing other patrons of the Homeless Services Center at 115 Coral. SCPD knew his name as usual. No truth to the rumor his name was Willie and he was a local groundskeeper at Evergreen. Just another morning in Harvey West Park. I’m sure SCPD gets multiple calls like this every single day. Sometimes they respond. Sometimes they don’t. It really depends how busy they are. These are the lowest priority calls. Because they might stop the bad behavior, but as soon as they leave, the bad behavior returns. And it all happens right in front of that oxymoron known as the “Homeless Services Center” , that crystal palace of compassion that didn’t want to operate a winter shelter for the people freezing on their doorstep. 

Coast Guard Involved in Water Rescue Off Natural Bridges

I got a report on Wednesday morning around 10AM about an overturned boat a couple miles off Natural Bridges. An ocean rescue was going on, involving multiple agencies including the Coast Guard. Several people were apparently in the water. Hopefully all were rescued, given the water temperature, the air temperature, and the likelihood of the quick onset of hypothermia from being in the water. Life jackets might keep you afloat but they won’t keep your body warm and from going into shock. 

KION confirmed 4 people were rescued.

City of Santa Cruz Evicts Low Income Housing Residents Days Before Christmas

Mr. Potter is alive and well and apparently working code enforcement for the city of Santa Cruz. What a terrible look. But if you dig deeper into this story, it appears the people being evicted had been paid significant relocation fees by the landlord, and still didn’t leave. This is an intriguing story on a number of levels. You have a city and their code enforcement division caught in the middle here, looking especially grinchy, and apparently being clowned by both sides. It’s a TERRIBLE look to be evicting low income people from their housing right before Christmas. But the same people are being compensated through the proper channels and playing the system here. And apparently the landlord, who wants to build MORE low income housing at this location, can’t get rid of the people playing the system here. And when I say “playing the system” here, that includes playing the PR and social media game of hyping up the bad optics here (by the residents who are being evicted, their friends, and lots of people that drink the compassion kool-aid without reading the label first). Some interesting comments in the Senile article that sheds more light on this. 

More in the Senile.

Is Martin Bernal in Jeopardy of Losing His Job?

I’ve actually had a number of folks ask me about this in the past couple weeks. It’s news to me. I really haven’t given it much thought lately. This was part of a recent article in the Senile, which raised a few eyebrows locally:

“The city created for the first time an employee agreement with City Manager Martín Bernal, who has been in that role since July 2010 and is paid a monthly $18,713 salary, nearly $225,000 annually. The agreement does not set an ending date, but does allow for a six-month severance lump sump payment if Bernal is terminated without cause.”

I know it mentions an “ending date” and I’m not sure why. And California is an “at will” state for employment, meaning anyone can be fired without “cause”. Your employer does not need a reason to terminate you in California. I have known for some time that he didn’t have any kind of actual work contract. His performance evaluations are done behind closed doors at closed meetings, so the public never really gets to see what his bosses (the city council) think of his performance, and WE are the ones who elect his bosses, so WE are the people he in theory is accountable to. Just part of the city dysfunction. We have a city manager, who is the tail that wags the dog (the city council) in the city, who gets rubber stamped every year without community feedback or review or even knowledge of the results, by the people we elect to keep us informed and provide a “transparent government process”. That’s certainly an oxymoron here. 

I don’t think Bernal is getting fired any time soon. I don’t think the city council has the cojones to do it. A few of them might but the majority don’t. I could certainly see Chris Groan and The Other Brown making some overtures towards replacing him. But it would be REALLY HARD to fire him. People like Cynthias Mathews and Chase don’t rock the boat like that. Now I could see him leaving for a better job. In an easier town to manage, without the constant freak show. I think this new “contract” is just a way to build a “golden parachute” for himself. It insures he’ll leave on his terms, when he’s ready. As if there was ever any doubt there. The tail does wag the dog you know. 

Suspected Child Rapist and Kidnapper Extradited to Santa Cruz

A 21-year-old Watsonville man charged with kidnapping, rape of a minor, and child prostitution was arrested by the FBI and Mexican Authorities in San Bartolomé Coro, Michoacán, Mexico and now he sits downtown in the county jail. He was flown to San Jose International Airport and released to Watsonville police. He was then transported to the Santa Cruz County Jail and booked on nine charges including first degree robbery, lewd acts with a child under 14, aggravated sexual assault and prostitution. His bail was set at $500,000. Watsonville PD confirmed that Ruiz has gang ties. And now he sits in our already overcrowded COUNTY jail. Right here in downtown Santa Cruz. We all know how secure our COUNTY jail is here. People never escape from our COUNTY jail. He’s extradited from Mexico. Why isn’t he in STATE PRISON? We don’t want him here. 

More from the Senile.

Proposition 47: A Failure to Learn History’s Lesson

Here’s a great editorial by the Sacramento Bee on the growing fallout of this idiotic proposition.

“Thousands of addicts and mentally ill people have traded a life behind bars for a churning cycle of homelessness, substance abuse and petty crime,” says a report by The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, The Ventura County Star, The Redding Record Searchlight and The Salinas Californian.

The reporters found that 13,500 inmates have been released early from prison as a result of Proposition 47. Courts, complying with the initiative’s terms, reduced as many as 200,000 felony convictions to misdemeanors. For more than a year, some local law enforcement officials have been decrying the real life implications of the initiative. Cops see little reason to arrest people for minor property crimes or drug possession because penalties are so lax. Petty property crimes, of the sort that lowers quality of life in cities, are on the rise. Drug users know they will face few consequences. So in a perverse incentive, addicts are choosing short jail stints, knowing drug treatment, which could help them turn their lives around, would be more intrusive.

SOUND FAMILIAR? IT SHOULD. IT’S HAPPENING HERE DAILY. REPEAL IT.

Effort to Bring Downtown Streets Team to Santa Cruz

“Just Chip” is on a one man crusade trying to organize a new fund raising effort to bring this program to Santa Cruz. I’ve always liked this program. I became aware of it a few years ago, and I know there was some local effort back then to try to bring a group to Santa Cruz. I have no idea why it didn’t get more traction or attention back then (but I have a few guesses). The Downtown Streets Team empowers homeless people with work. They have successful programs in cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Palo Alto. 

I like Chip. He’s a very personable guy, and people seem to like him. He’s a great guy to have out in front of this idea locally. He can build bridges. I commend his effort here. I still think the city and/or county is the one who should pay for this, not the average joe being asked to reach deeper into our already overtaxed pockets. There’s ABSOLUTELY NO REASON the county can’t come up with $48K for a pilot program here locally. That’s chump change to the county. Same applies to the city of Santa Cruz. $48K is chump change. They settle stupid litigation brought by citizens behind closed doors for less than that. Or have the Downtown Merchants cough up the money. They get the direct benefit of the program. But why are we being asked to finance another social service program from within the community? I know why. It’s because there’s NO SENSE OF URGENCY BY THE CITY OR COUNTY TO DO IT. As usual, the people are left to fend for ourselves if we want something done. I applaud Chip’s effort here. I think it’s shameful the city or county can’t cover the cost he’s asking for. 

Chip’s Fundraising Campaign to Bring the Downtown Streets Team to Santa Cruz

Just Another Reason NextDoor Sucks For Local News

I heard from a couple different people that someone on NextDoor was sharing the Weekly Dump. Wonderful! Much obliged for all the sharing. Then I get word that some whiny old gasbag didn’t like what the Weekly Dump was saying. This person whined and complained that it was “political” and “spam” and wanted the links sharing it deleted. Gee, it’s just another crybaby trying to censor the discussion. Nothing to see here. Is she the Queen of Content for NextDoor? Apparently, a number of local admins in the group ignored her, so the whiny old gasbag decided to whine higher up the NextDoor corporate ladder. And it worked. She got the post removed, and she even got the person who posted it removed. But the story gets better! This same whiny old gasbag, who threatens censorship over opinions she doesn’t like, who bullies her neighbors on NextDoor, well this same whiny old gasbag is CHRIS KROHN’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER. Wow. What a big surprise. Candace Brown can besa mi culo

Guerreros
by Ernie Douglasernie_1968_4x5_72dpi

Golden State Warriors: 
The GS Warriors flew to Detroit to take on the Pistons, who managed to keep the game close through most of the game. The Warriors took the game over in the 4th quarter. They travelled to Cleveland on Christmas Day to take on LBJ and the Cavaliers. This was a great game, full of intensity on both sides. Curry had an off night but Durant was spectacular and clutch. And in the end, the Warriors got jobbed by the refs and lost a close game they led most of the game. I’m sure the game itself meant more to the Cavs than it did to the Warriors, it was a home game for Cleveland. It’s a rivalry. Draymond has made it one personally. But it’s still just one regular season game and doesn’t mean anything really. It was fun and entertaining to watch though! Wednesday night they took on the Raptors at Oracle. Another game that was never really close. Warriors opened a huge lead in the 1st quarter and never looked back. I also just heard that Patrick McCaw and Damian Jones have both been sent down to Santa Cruz. McCaw has been a regular rotation player for the GS Warriors, so he should add some scoring punch to the local home team.

Upcoming games this week:  12/30 vs. Dallas (at Oracle), 1/2 vs. Denver (at Oracle), 1/4 vs. Portland (at Oracle)

Santa Cruz Warriors:
The Santa Cruz Warriors took on Erie a couple days before Christmas. They beat the Bayhawks 102-74. Scott Wood had a game-high 23 points for the Warriors. Cameron Jones contributed 17 points. GS Warriors first round draft pick rookie Damion Jones added 10 points and nine rebounds. They then took on South Dakota at Kaiser and won their 2nd straight game 115-98. The win moved the Warriors to 9-8 for the season, getting them above .500 for the first time this year. It was also the 14th straight sellout at Kaiser, proving again the local fans LOVE this team and stick by them. The Warriors were led by LaDontae Henton, who had 25 points and 6 rebounds. Dennis Clifford added 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists. Phil Pressey also had 18 points and 3 assists. Their next opponent was Norther Arizona at the Kaiser on Thursday night. 

Upcoming games this week:  1/6 vs. Grand Rapids (at Kaiser)

It’s a Wonderful Life

I know I complain a lot about living in Santa Cruz but the truth is I feel blessed to live here. It is a wonderful life to be able to live in Santa Cruz. It can be tough at times. It can be frustrating at times. But there’s a reason we all live here, and why so many others wish they could. A bad day in Santa Cruz beats a good day in 99% of the rest of the world. It’s because we have such a wonderful life, being fortunate enough to actually live here, that we care so much about protecting it. Call it “locals only”. Call it a sense of pride. Call it lucky or blessed. Whether we identify as “progressive” or “moderate”, one thing we all have is a pretty strong opinion of what Santa Cruz should be. And I’m no exception to that. It’s because we care so much about protecting what we love about it. What makes it a wonderful life in our view. What makes it worth tolerating the frustrations, the transgressions, and the lack of progress. And people here are persistent. Really persistent. Even those that consistently “lose” (see Micah Posner) are nothing if not persistent. 2016 proved to be a challenging year. Arguably ending on a disappointing and flat note. I’m not happy how the national election turned out. I’m not really happy how the local elections turned out. But life goes on, if we’re lucky. I’m apathetically optimistic about 2017. I’m still living here. Let’s start with that. 

My 2017 Resolutions

Here are a few I resolve to see though. Feel free to hold me to it by calling me out when I fail. 

  • I will not mention Micah Posner’s name here in 2017. I’m really tired of this guy. He’s been on pretty much weekly blast here, but now that he’s done, I’m done talking about him. 
  • I will volunteer more of my time as is possible. Not for the city or county though. I pay taxes for them to do their jobs, not for me to do it for them for free. But I will try to volunteer more time to causes I like that really need the help. 
  • I’ll put out a Weekly Dump every week. So far so good. I don’t take a week off. 
  • I’ll keep trying to be “vibrantly honest” here. 

Weekly Shoutouts

Weekly shoutouts to Steve Pleich for feeding the less fortunate at the MAH on Christmas. I know I pick on him but I respect his tireless efforts here. Weekly shoutout to Just Chip for his crusade to bring a Downtown Streets Team to Santa Cruz. And a weekly shoutout to all of you! The faithful (and new) readers of the Weekly Dump. Thanks for being my weekly muse. 

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17 thoughts on “The Weekly Dump 12.30.16

  • Please can we talk about Micah Posner once more. This past week, his house was covered in tarps for extermination. Wonder if he gave his roommates a heads-up about this?? I also got a notice yesterday that he has applied to put “a 264 square foot addition to create a duplex on a parcel exceeding 5,5000 square feet in the R-M zone district.” There is a public hearing on Wednesday, January 18th at 10am. As someone who has broken laws in the past by renting out an illegal unit in his backyard, I do not think he should be granted permission for this extension. I do not know enough about zoning laws in SC, but I do know he is a bad council member and a shitty landlord. How do we prevent him from being approved for this duplex?

    • I said I wouldn’t mention his name anymore. I didn’t say anything about everyone else. Public hearing on Wednesday, January 18th at 10am about slumlords applying for new building permits? Keep us in the loop here. Mark your calendars!

    • If I was dispensing some of my wisdom here (which I am), I’d start with the neighbors. Engage with them frequently on this issue. Start with the neighbors that aren’t big fans of his. Build a group. Have them write letters of concern to the planning commission (or emails):

      Juliana Rebagliati, Director
      809 Center Street, Room 107
      Santa Cruz, California 95060
      Phone: 831-420-5100 • Fax: 831-420-5101
      jrebagliati@cityofsantacruz.com
      (and CC any emails to the city council at citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com)

      adding the CC to the city council insures your email becomes part of the public record as well.

      and have the neighbors show up at the meeting on the date you mentioned. Start giving them that date and time now so they can plan for it.

      That’s what I’d do if he was my neighbor!

  • I almost missed the column this week. Nobody posted the reminder link up on Nextdoor. Now I see that the guy that was doing this was excised from Nextdoor just because he was posting a link. He never said anything more than that the new edition was available if people wanted to check out the latest news.
    What is our community coming to, if someone can be totally shut down because they encouraged neighbors to just check something out?
    Santamierda may be opinionated but it’s not malicious.
    Information is power, this closing down of a distribution avenue smacks of politically correct fascism.

  • ‘It’s a beautiful life” “If you don’t like it leave”

    I understand why you felt you had to say you love Santa Cruz. I would guess that anyone who advocates any positive change in Santa Cruz is told: If you don’t like it, leave.

    It’s sad that one even has to point this out. Would you tell a car theft, robbery, or assault victim, “If you don’t like it, leave?” It’s not a crime to want a better, safer place to live. I am not compelled to agree with giving the freedom to harm others, and commit any act against another person and worship it in the name of individual freedom!

    Several issues ago, you talked about massage parlors, and human trafficking, I don’t know how long ago, and I don’t think I commented on it. But it stuck in my head, because that was at that moment I knew, without a doubt, what kind of person you are. A good person. Also a person I don’t always agree with. But a person worth listening to. I person I admire.

    I’m not going to actually quote you, and can only say what I took away from reading it. You made it clear that there is a difference between needing, and wanting. We don’t need to buy and sell human beings. We don’t need to be complicit in the buying and selling of other human beings. I don’t expect everyone to understand, but this is not hyperbole. Humans are put in shipping containers and shipped here, much the same as any other imported commodity. This is reality. And we have made it a part of our culture. If you are ignorant of it, that’s too bad. Because it is the truth.

    If you like it, leave!

    Only, at least when I say it, I am smart enough to know that going or staying is your decision. And my not agreeing with you won’t change if you stay or go. We all believe what we believe. I’m going to keep saying what I believe. And I might even be forced to mention Santa Mierda on Nextdoor. I will simply quote things I have read there, without promoting the political views or the publication. Why? Because I am not as weak as some idiotic campaign manager would like to think everyone in Santa Cruz is. I hope because of that egotistical jerk, Santa Mierda’s name becomes mentioned many more times than just once a week.

    I don’t like what she did, and I’m not going to leave. In fact, I am going to make my presence known!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Arthur. Candace Brown is the least of my concerns. And apparently she’s Chris Groan’s “treasurer” and not his “campaign manager”. Whatever. I’m not gonna mince self proclaimed titles here. She’s still the whiny gasbag that favors censorship over dialogue in this case. She wants to suppress free speech locally because she doesn’t like what’s being said. She’s the worst kind of hypocrite.

  • I passed the downtown post office around 4:30 today — transients were camping under the eaves and on the steps. Two were pitching a tent close to the front door. The smell of weed was really strong. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s the post office, old people checking their mail, young people running errands for their employers. I was hoping some beefed up postal employee would come out and knock them all to the curb. Why does Santa Cruz put up with this? How does an open drug market on the steps of the post office show what great, compassionate people we are? SMDH.

    • I thought I read somewhere that Brent’s Homeless Taxi Service is now picking up transients at the Post Office. I’m not sure where he delivers them (some church du jour I assume). If enough people complained to the Postmaster General, they’d likely do something about it. That’s the person who allows the scene to fester into the freakshow it’s become. It’s also property that the city has no jurisdiction over enforcing trespassing laws on. And the bums and their friends know this. Not much compassion for people just trying to get in and out of the post office. Thanks Mabel.

  • Come on you guys, ease up on Posner–he got busted for violating zoning laws regarding an illegal unit and now he’s going through the proper channels to rectify the situation. And why call him a slumlord? He rented a “dwelling” to a consenting and I presume content tenant who chose to live in what truly can be described as a “detached bedroom.” Posner didn’t put a gun to his tenant’s head. And I’m going to assume he provided as much access to bathroom and perhaps kitchen facilities in his own house albeit a short, outside walk away. There are hundreds of examples of shed-dwelling going on in this town. The tenants’, not the landlord, made the choice. As a landlord with five multifamily properties in town and six sheds, I constantly am asked to rent them out. I finally caved and DID rent one out because the guy was a friend of one of my tenants and was sleeping in his car in my parking lot! He–and I–preferred the shed solution figuring if you can’t beat them, join them.

    Tenant’s make choices. They want to live in Santa Cruz rather than Lodi with rents half ours but they still make the choice to sleep in a car or live in a shed. This is what free markets are all about.

    And the ultimate irony is the thousands of people in Oakland and San Francisco signing petitions and protesting at their local council meetings to stop the various cities from inspecting their illegal warehouse units in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire!! What’s up with that??

  • Hmm, ok I was under the impression the poor guy had heat and access to a bAthroom–after all, there’s more going on than just a jar could, er, should accommodate.

    As for Mabel’s comment, being a landlord in this town presents unique challenges I don’t have with properties in Sunnyvale. The shed-dweller has access to a bathroom and a space heater as well. What are his options? Sleeping in a Subaru Outback in my parking lot or elsewhere? Or join the other street denizens?

    • I believe Micah claimed his “shed dweller” had access to a bathroom in his house, that he’d keep the back door unlocked. Yeah right. The mason jar is a more likely scenario. As for other options, I can only speak for myself but if I couldn’t afford to live in a town, I’d find a town I could afford to live in. Nobody’s entitled to live here, including me. But man, we have such a freaking sense of entitlement from some folks that live here. Or “live” here.

  • Ben,
    I read your article on the Nextdoor incident. I am one of the neighborhood leads on Nextdoor and pretty amazed that Nextdoor would allow themselves to be manipulated that way.

    I am trying to get information from Nextdoor on this issue and have opened a support ticket relating what you reported but they are asking me for more information. Can you supply me (offline) with the name of the person who made the original post on Nextdoor, or the name of the person who made you aware of the post and the subsequent flagging and removal? A timeframe of when it was posted and when it was flagged would be helpful too.

    Thanks,
    Pete

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