It’s the final Weekly Dump of 2016! This week, we’re discussing the big NYE celebration on Pacific, the shooting in Beach Flats Park, gun brandished at Denny’s, road rage assault with a machete, Christmas morning bum fight at the HSC, Willie the Groundskeeper possibly spotted on Coral street, Coast Guard water rescue off Natural Bridges, low income evictions days before Christmas, Martin Bernal’s job security, child rapist comes back to Santa Cruz, Prop 47 failures, Chip tries to bring Downtown Streets Team to Santa Cruz, why NextDoor sucks, Guerreros, it’s a wonderful life, My 2017 resolutions, Weekly Shoutouts, and the usual self serving promos.
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.
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.
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.
Proposition 47: A Failure to Learn History’s Lesson
“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.
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.
by Ernie Douglas
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 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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