This week we’re playing Truth or Consequences with the city, 3 die in fatal Highway 1 collision, multiple shootings in Felton and Ben Lomond, rolling car chase on the west side, brazen shoplifters downtown, gun flashed at west side party, cold call across from the HSC, bum vandalizes Radio Shack, stabbing in Live Oak, Little Napoleon, The Weekly Bern, Guerreros, and more!
Truth or Consequences
Well, that was an interesting week. Nothing like starting a public pissing match in the national media with DHS/ICE over what most rational people considered a successful take down of one of the most dangerous street gangs in Santa Cruz. What should have been celebrated locally for improving public safety turned into a hysterical, finger pointing, hurt feeling, “city sanctioned” public whine that made it’s way to the national media. Let’s parade our civic dysfunction on the national stage and show everyone how it’s done here!
What should have just been a quietly successful collaborative law ENFORCEMENT event turned into a circus side show thanks to the city council, the city manager, and anyone else who might have made Chief Vogel stand up there and whine while taking one for the team. I’m not surprised, given how city council meetings are typically run (like a circus side show!). Law enforcement should never get caught up in the politics of the city. They should enforce the law. They took an oath to uphold it. That oath shouldn’t be subject to being politically correct. I’ve shared my theory about all this with a number of people so I might as well share it with everyone here. Here’s what I think happened:
I think the “lie” isn’t really a lie. It’s a matter of how two people (or groups) CHOSE to interpret facts. Let’s look at those facts:
- Fact 1: Santa Cruz is a “sanctuary city” and Chief Vogel knows this. It (arguably) goes against his oath to uphold the law but that’s another discussion. The city council expects him to uphold this rule, declaration, whatever the hell it is. Decree? But they expect him to abide by it, and he works for them.
- Fact 2: The DHS and ICE don’t care about any “sanctuary city” decrees from the city. They don’t need the city’s permission to come into town and enforce the law. The city can do nothing to stop them from enforcement here if that’s what they plan to do.
- Fact 3: SCPD (by it’s own admission) invited DHS and ICE to come to Santa Cruz and collaborate on a raid to arrest and possibly deport MS-13 gang members.
And then things get muddy here. SCPD got “into bed” with DHS/ICE here, and then woke up the next morning feeling all guilt ridden thinking “what am I doing here?” (after a vocal handful of local activists disrupted the last city council meeting and the city council cowardly caved in to their “demands”). I doubt we’re gonna see any kind of MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between SCPD and DHS/ICE. It may not even exist, but it probably does. These types of huge collaborative events will always have some kind of contract outlining responsibilities and process flow. What I think happened here is SCPD “interpreted” what DHS/ICE was planning to do (you could use the “assumed” word here) and it’s possible DHS/ICE wasn’t “explicit” enough in describing the process (but arguably they were very explicit per their response). There’s an obvious disconnect and breakdown in what SCPD “ordered” and what the DHS/ICE “delivered”. How much of that disconnected breakdown is politically driven locally? That’s a fair question to ask. Everything in this town is political. Every decision is scrutinized and micro analyzed within the politically correct on steroids framework of Santa Cruz politics.
3 People Die in Fatal Collision on Highway 1 Near Wilder Ranch
A fatal head on collision shut down Highway 1 in both directions on Tuesday night around 5PM. A white Buick Regal was traveling south on Highway 1 north of Wilder Ranch when it collided head on with another vehicle traveling north. The driver of the Buick was a 21 year old Santa Cruz man who was flown by air ambulance to Valley Medical Center. He later died of his injuries. The passenger in the right front seat of the Buick, a 20-year-old Santa Cruz woman, died on scene. CHP investigators identified the two victims from Santa Cruz by paperwork in the glove compartment as neither carried identification. The driver of the other car was a 56 year old woman from Oregon who was transported to Dominican and then flown to Natividad Medical Center in Salinas where she later died.
“The driver of the Buick lost control, likely due to speed and overcorrection, and crossed over the double yellow lines, into the northbound lane. The Buick was struck broadside by a Chevy Blazer traveling north.” CHP said.
Pair Arrested for Multiple Shootings Sunday Night in Felton and Ben Lomond
The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office received multiple reports of shots being fired in the Felton and Ben Lomond areas on Sunday night between 10PM and 1AM. During the investigation, a total of 5 separate locations were identified where one residence, one business, and multiple vehicles were struck by gun fire. One vehicle also had property stolen from it at one of the shooting scenes. Despite all the gunfire, no one was injured. A suspect vehicle was seen on surveillance footage from one of the shooting locations and Deputies located the vehicle on the 1000 block of Emeline Ave. where evidence was believed to be found in the vehicle. A 22 year old Santa Cruz man and an 18 year old woman from Boulder Creek were arrested for their involvement in the shootings and charged with multiple offenses, including shooting into an occupied dwelling, negligent discharge of a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and felony vandalism. During a subsequent search of the man’s residence, a firearm was found.
Rolling Car Chase Through West Santa Cruz Leads to Guns Drawn in Safeway Parking Lot
A rolling car chase through the west side of Santa Cruz on Wednesday night around 7PM finally came to a conclusion in the parking lot of the Safeway on Mission. Initially, SCPD attempted to conduct a vehicle stop in the area of Cedar Street and Walnut Street. The driver of a black 2014 Honda Civic failed to yield to the officer’s lights and siren and sped away. After running multiple red lights and stop signs (as well as SCPD units all over the circles neighborhood and along Mission), the vehicle pulled into the Safeway parking lot and was trapped by pursuing SCPD, who proceeded to surround the vehicle with their guns drawn. SCPD used several patrol cars to box in the suspect’s car to prevent the vehicle from moving and laid down spike strips behind the car. The driver initially refused to comply with verbal commands to exit the vehicle until an officer from the SCPD Crisis Negotiating Team was able to convince the suspect to get out of the car after an extended period. Apparently the driver (and the car) were registered out of Roseville. The driver was apprehended and taken into custody and charged with DUI, the sale of marijuana, reckless driving, and evading police with disregard for public safety.
Brazen Shoplifting Incident Downtown Ends With Felony Arrest
A man brazenly walked into a local arts store downtown, picked up a large frame, and walked out the door without an concern for being caught. When the business owner confronted the man outside the business, the man just kept walking as if he was oblivious to the owner. After making the rounds on social media, the man was quickly identified as a local transient that frequents Pacific Avenue (big surprise I know!). He was arrested by SCPD and not only charged with theft but apparently he was also charged with battery. I’ll probably see him back downtown this week.
Man Brandishes Gun at Large Party Off Western Drive
A large party on Friday night around 11PM off of Yosemite Drive near Western drive was creating lots of problems for neighbors on Friday night, with reportedly hundreds of people attending and hanging outside. A neighbor who confronted some of the party goers had a gun pulled on them. This brought a huge response from SCPD to the location looking for the car that left the party with the guy with the gun. SCPD later found a car matching one of the suspected vehicles at the end of Chestnut street at Neary Lagoon.
Monday Morning Burglary Reported at Polar Automotive
Poor Polar Automotive. DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE HOMELESS SERVICES CENTER. Their employees have a nice weekend off, then they come in Monday morning to face a week of homeless gone wild outside their doorstep. All week long. Every week. So it’s no surprise to hear about a burglary call around 9AM on Monday morning.
Bum Breaks Radio Shack Door and Threatens Manager
Heard a report about a local bum that apparently was high as a kite and threatening the manager of the Radio Shack on Soquel and Dakota, after kicking and cracking the front door. I’m thinking maybe the manager didn’t want the guy dragging his wagon train trailer of crap through the store with him and told him to leave it outside, and that didn’t sit well with angry bum. The manager called it in and said the suspect was standing out front yelling and screaming. Really, this could be anywhere downtown, on any given day, at any given time. In this case, it was Thursday morning around 11AM.
Man Bricks Woman’s Car After Reportedly Beating Her in Grant Street Park
Thursday mornings are crazy around here. Heard a report of a male that had reportedly assaulted a woman after throwing a brick at her. It also involved a hit and run with a parked car as she left the scene trying to escape from the male. SCPD sent multiple units to Grant street park to search for him while CHP was put on notice to watch for the female. Another person also called in and reported it may have involved some kind of domestic violence issue with an ex.
Stabbing in Live Oak Early Monday Morning
I heard about a stabbing that took place near 14th and Merrill on the east side of Santa Cruz early Monday morning around 1AM. Neighbors reported multiple police units in the area in what may have been a car chase at one point, and included use of a police helicopter with a searchlight. That’s all I’ve got here. Lot’s of hearsay and lot’s of crickets from SCPD and the city (and the media).
Little Napoleon Loves to Float His Conspiracy Theories
It cracks me up how John Leopold, the “Little Napoleon” of Santa Cruz, feels the need to insert himself into the DHS “scandal” of Santa Cruz politics now. Mr. “Free Needles for Every Junkie in Santa Cruz” cries about the lack of transparency from SCPD. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so pathetic. This guy is arguably the most narcissistic, least transparent, willfully ignorant politician in Santa Cruz. And he wants to lecture SCPD? Of course he does it in an ethically challenged manner, preferring to float his stupid conspiracy theories into the ear of the city council’s goofiest new member instead of confronting SCPD or the city manager, undermining the city’s public safety and SCPD. John really doesn’t want to see people get the short end of the stick here. As someone who loves to micro manage all the tiny details, John’s only reaching to lift the city to new heights here. No conspiracy theory is too tall of a tale for John. No pile of manure is too high for him to climb.
That New Homeless Shelter Being Secretly Planned for Downtown Santa Cruz
Is there a new homeless shelter coming to downtown Santa Cruz? Maybe if Steve Pleich and his friends get their way. The serial city council candidate and jack of all local progressive causes seems to be planning something with the Association of Faith Based Communities behind closed doors. Someone recently passed along to me the Association of Faith Communities meeting minutes from three weeks ago. It looks like they are trying to circumvent the city and start a homeless shelter at the Veteran’s Memorial Building downtown. Pleich apparently reported that he is developing a “pilot program” to create a shelter at the Veteran’s Memorial Building on Front Street in Santa Cruz at the request of Herb Schmidt and Paul Lee (aren’t they the same geniuses responsible for that other now gated, blight on the community “shelter” located on Coral street?). He is apparently also working with Stoney Brook, who will be taking a proposal for the shelter to the County Board of Supervisors. The Veteran’s Memorial Building is a County Building. The pilot program will operate as a one-month pilot program. A ONE MONTH pilot program? Is he serious? “Pilot programs” are meant to gauge the efficacy of a possible long term program by testing it on a smaller scale initially. What can you learn in a month? Most pilot programs run for at least 6 months to a year. This program doesn’t sound particularly well thought out.
The Weekly Bern
Hugh is on vacation this week. He’ll be back next week with his updates and opinion on this last week’s city council meeting. – BD
Stop Unregulated and Unsanitary Food Giveaways in Downtown Santa Cruz
Food Not Bombs breeds rats downtown. Stop the madness already. Sign the petition.
by Ernie Douglas
Golden State Warriors:
The GS Warriors took on Brooklyn on Saturday night at Oracle where the easily defeated the Nets 112-95. KD bruised his hand in the previous game, so he sat this one out. They did fine without him, Curry had 27 points and Klay added 24. They then started a long, extended road trip in Philadelphia, where they took on the upstart 76ers (without Joel Embiid) on Monday night. Curry had a terrible night shooting but the team had no trouble with the Sixers. All 5 starters were in double figures. Zaza had 16 points in 15 minutes! They flew to DC to take on the Wizards in Washington on a back to back on Tuesday night. The Wizards are one of the Eastern conference’s best teams, and the Warriors not only looked tired, they lost KD to a knee injury within the first 2 minutes of the game. It appears to be a hyperextended left knee. The game came down to the final minute, but the Dubs just didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to put this one away and lost it 112-108. Curry had 25 points on another rare off shooting night. In their first game without KD in Chicago, the Warriors struggled and lost to the Bulls 94-87. It was their first back to back loss in almost 2 years.
In other related news, the Warriors signed Matt Barnes to a roster spot this week to fill in while Durant is out. We’ll see how this move pans out but honestly, I’m not a Matt Barnes fan. Even when he was with the team the first time, he was part of the “attitude and character” problem that was so prevalent during the Nelly days (funny how nobody ever talks about Don Nelson anymore). You don’t see that nonsense anymore with this team, with this ownership group and management. Baron, Captain Jack, Monta, Barnes, solid players but knuckleheads for character (led by a coach that was phoning it in). Barnes is a thug. It’s funny how the Warriors are loading up on thugs (Zaza, West, and now Barnes). If GSW faces Cleveland again in the finals, Barnes will be tasked with guarding LBJ. That’s why he’s here. He’ll cost some of the young guys (McCaw, McAdoo, Looney) minutes in the rotation, but it’s only for this year and it’s only until KD gets back. We’ll see how it goes. Personally, I think his chemistry is kind of toxic but maybe he’ll shut up and just play ball and be a good soldier here. Check the drama at the door.
Upcoming games this week: 3/5 at New York, 3/6 at Atlanta, 3/8 vs. Boston
Santa Cruz Warriors:
The Santa Cruz Warriors took on Reno in Sacramento on Friday night, losing 109-108 to the Bighorns. James Southerland paced the Warriors with 27 points and 11 rebounds while Phil Pressey had 12 points six rebounds and 10 assists. They returned to Santa Cruz the next night where they defeated the Windy City Bulls 118-113 in front of their 24th straight sellout crowd at Kaiser. Seven different players for Santa Cruz scored in double-figures in the first ever match-up between the two teams. The Warriors were led by Alex Hamilton with 26 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Phil Pressey was an assist shy of a triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists. Dennis Clifford added 18 points and 7 rebounds, while James Southerland had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. They flew to South Dakota for a matchup Wednesday night against the Skyforce. Phil Pressey led the way for the Warriors with a 21 point, 19 assist, 15 rebound triple-double. James Southerland had a team high 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds in the win. Golden State Warriors assignee Damian Jones added 10 points and six rebounds. The win moved the Warriors to 21-17 for the season.
Upcoming games this week: 3/4 vs. Reno (at Kaiser), 3/8 vs. Raptors 905 (at Kaiser)
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