Aptos Teen and County Employee Arrested by FBI For Child Pornography
A recent Aptos High School graduate who worked as a babysitter for local families and as an after school program assistant at Mar Vista Elementary School was arrested last Friday by FBI agents and is accused of manufacturing pornographic photographs and videos of underage boys and sharing the images, according to an FBI criminal complaint.
UGH. CAN THIS STORY START OUT ANY WORSE? BABYSITTER FOR LOCAL FAMILIES AND AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM ASSISTANT AT AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
Nineteen year old Ryan Michael Spencer of Aptos was arrested and is currently in federal custody. The Pajaro Valley Unified School District said it was alerted by the FBI on Friday that a Santa Cruz County employee had been arrested. SO THE PVUSD WAS ALERTED TO THIS ON FRIDAY BY THE FBI AND WAITED UNTIL MONDAY TO MAKE THE NEWS PUBLIC? WHY? I think I know the answer to that one.
You can’t handle the truth. The truth hurts. It’s painful. It’s not all unicorns farting rainbows in Aptosia. Even as of Monday, PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez refused to release the arrested man’s name publicly. Spencer’s name appears in FBI documents. Spencer apparently graduated from Aptos High in 2016 and was studying at Cabrillo College to become an elementary school teacher, and was working for the county’s parks and recreation department. The school district said Spencer was employed at the After School Childhood Enrichment Program at Mar Vista Elementary School, managed by the county. MANAGED BY THE COUNTY! A COUNTY EMPLOYEE.
The county immediately fired Spencer. Really. That’s a good start. When? Last week? And we find out 3 days later? How TYPICAL of the County to hide behind the truth. Transparency my ass. Only when it suits the County’s needs. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education received a subpoena Wednesday seeking a list of jobs held by the suspect. The federal subpoena requests records from October 2013 for students who interacted with Spencer according to court documents. The subpoena was issued to facilitate a federal grand jury investigation. School officials must provide the information before May 30th or appear in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, according to court documents. Spencer’s arraignment is scheduled for 9:30AM on May 16th before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in U.S. District Court. Spencer remains in federal custody.
Drunken Crash and Dash Hits Capitola Village
Some local menace to society crashed his car on the sidewalk Wednesday afternoon around 4:15PM at the intersection of Capitola Ave & Stockton, right in front of Big Kahuna in the village. According to various witnesses, the suspect then apparently threw his empty beer cans out of the car, grabbed what remained of his case of Coor’s Light, and fled down the street. Notice the guy in the wheelchair in the photo behind the wrecked car? Luckily nobody was hurt (or killed) and the driver was arrested. No word on if the car was stolen or just abandoned.
Man Jumps Off End of Wharf For $20
Wednesday night around 8:30PM, a male only described as “Asian” was reported to be in the water near the Dolphin Cafe at the very end of the wharf. Fire and Rescue were dispatched, as well as the Harbor Patrol. When SCPD arrived, they found the man in the water hanging on to a pylon. Harbor Patrol lowered the man a life ring after they arrived and dragged him aboard. I heard he jumped in the water on a $20 bet. What an idiot. Talk about a buzz chafe. I’ll bet that water was COLD, and having all your clothes on just speeds up the time it takes for the onset of hypothermia to start killing you while dragging you to the bottom of the ocean. If you’re gonna jump off the wharf, at least be wearing a 4/3. He was taken to to the hospital. Wait until he gets the bill for that. That $20 bet sure looks smart now!
Bum Fight at the Car Wash
Thursday morning around 9:30AM, a report came in about a fight near Branciforte and Water streets, next to the self serve car wash. Apparently, a male took property out of the victim’s VW bus and then ran over it. The suspect was driving a truck with a trailer. SCPD showed up and dealt with it the way they typically deal with bum fights in public. With a lecture and a figurative slap on the wrist.
Package Thief Busted on Broadway
Thursday afternoon around 1:30PM, an alert eyewitness notified SCPD when they saw a woman steal a package from a residence on Laurel street. The witness watched from a distance and kept their eyes on the suspect until SCPD arrived and located the woman and a male accomplice walking on the other side of the Broadway bridge near the river levee. The woman suspect was from Washington.
Project ROPE Initiated For Possible Kidnapping Thursday Night
Thursday night around 8PM, a report came in that SCPD and the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office had initiated a Project ROPE after a Hispanic male apparently abducted an Asian female against her will, The report was the male carried the female into a blue and white older truck against her will. This happened near the Safeway on 41st avenue. The suspect was reported to be last seen headed in the direction of Highway 1. The Project ROPE was called off about a half hour later. The suspect was not caught and I have no idea how this was resolved or if was resolved.
Junkie Overdoses In Subway Bathroom Downtown
Thursday night around 8:30PM, SCPD as well as Fire and Rescue responded to the Subway on Pacific Avenue after a man had apparently been locked inside for over an hour and wouldn’t respond to requests to open the door or leave. When SCPD arrived and opened the door, they found the male overdosed in the bathroom. This is why there are no “public” bathrooms open downtown 24/7. This is why only one or 2 businesses downtown have public accessible bathrooms. Because junkies INEVITABLY use any publicly accessible bathroom as their personal shooting gallery, often passing out or leaving their DIRTY FREE NEEDLES PROVIDED TO THEM BY THE COUNTY in the wake of their daily path of destruction.
The City Releases Another Report on the Local Homeless
The city of Santa Cruz’s Homeless Committee (Cynthia Chase, Richelle Noroyan and Pamela Comstock) issued their report and recommendations this past week. The report proposes 20 short-horizon and long-horizon solutions that they feel, if implemented, will help alleviate homelessness and the impact locally. City Council reviewed the recommendations this past Tuesday during the evening City Council meeting. Check out Hugh’s column for an update on that. I haven’t had a chance to read the full report, so I’ll pontificate on that next week. But I have much respect for the authors of the report for tackling the issue. Here’s where I complain about running in place, but I just want to acknowledge the hard work and effort that went it this by the authors and the city staff that contributed their time here.
You can read the full report here.
UCSC Possibly Committed Civil Rights Violations by Giving In to Student Demands
A well known social activist named Michael Meyers is looking for an explanation from UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal regarding his May 4th ransom payment to the “Afrikan/Black Student Alliance” to get them to leave Kerr Hall without further incident. I say “further incident” as they already broke numerous laws and ethics violations by occupying the hall to begin with. Let’s start there instead of rewarding a handful of acknowledged trespassers and thugs for their bad behavior.
Meyers is the President and Executive Director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition. UCSC getting National attention for ALL THE WRONG REASONS AS USUAL. He has described Blumenthal’s gutless caving in to the students’ “demands” as a potential violation of state and federal civil rights. In a May 6th public letter, Meyers asked Blumenthal to confirm and explain his decision. Good luck there UCSC. Ever heard of desegregation? Brown vs. Board of Education? I guess stuff like this, one of the most important legal rulings in our country’s history, is lost on UCSC students drunk on the fame of being interviewed on FOX television by Tucker Carlson. Let’s just reward these kids!
Hit and Run Victim Dies From Her Injuries
The victim in a May 1 hit and run on West Cliff Drive died as a result of her injuries Saturday, according to family members and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Elizabeth “Breezy” Green, 62, of Bonny Doon, was struck while walking her dog just east of Its Beach near Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz. The dog, Jackson, was uninjured and is in the care of the Green’s family. Lorenzo Arteaga of San Jose had been charged with felony hit and run and DUI after he allegedly struck Green while driving his 1994 Buick LeSabre. After the incident, Arteaga fled the scene in his car. He was located minutes later traveling in the roundabout on Beach Street. Arteaga’s vehicle had damage to the front windshield. I still haven’t heard if they upped his charges since her death. Or if he’s even in jail. What I have heard is he’s a bum living in a POS RV over by Natural Bridges. So he’s obviously a flight risk, as long as his RV will start.
Man Rescued From Toilet Bowl Dies
More sad news to report. Last month I reported on a water rescue next to the Toilet Bowl, where a number of bystanders rescued an unconscious man. I heard the nineteen year old victim, a budding professional soccer player from Watsonville, died Monday night at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek as the result of a massive infection. Alejandro Lopez was one of Santa Cruz County’s top, young soccer talents, training with numerous international clubs. He was also a member of Major League Soccer’s Club Real Salt Lake. On April 26th, Lopez was leaping off a cliff near an area known as the “Toilet Bowl”, a small, notorious cove next to Lighthouse Point where waves break violently inside, often resulting in tragic results for anyone caught inside of it. Surfers and other bystanders managed to get Lopez to a nearby beach, where despite their efforts Lopez did not regain consciousness before Santa Cruz Fire arrived on scene to continue CPR and transport him to Dominican Hospital. A GoFundMe page has been set up by the man’s family to help with his expenses. Stay out of the Toilet Bowl. Just like it’s namesake, it’s the last place you want to end up.
Accused Maddy Middleton Killer Back in Court
Last Friday morning marked another court appearance by 17 year old Adrian “A.J.” Jerry Gonzalez, accused of killing his 8 year old neighbor, Madyson Jordan Middleton, in Santa Cruz last year. Gonzalez was arrested 26 hours after he allegedly lured, kidnapped, and raped the child in the Tannery Arts Center, where they both lived. Gonzalez was arrested on July 27th, 2015. He faces six felony charges, including murder with a special allegation of lying in wait, kidnapping, forcible rape and lewd acts with a child younger than 14. He has been housed at Juvenile Hall since his arrest. At the hearing, Superior Court Judge John Salazar scheduled a transfer hearing to determine whether Gonzalez will be tried as a child or an adult. The transfer hearing is slated for August 21st at 9AM. A confirmation hearing, which will confirm whether all parties are prepared for the transfer hearing, will be August 16th at 9AM in superior court.
Gonzalez is being tried in juvenile court to comply with state law passed last year that no longer allows district attorneys to charge some minors as adults. The case started in adult proceedings. Proposition 57 nullified “direct-file” cases, such as this case, and the cases were remanded to juvenile courts. The law directs a juvenile court judge to determine whether children can be tried as adults (as opposed to the district attorney). If tried as an adult, Gonzalez could face life in prison without chance for parole. It is unclear what would happen if he is tried as a minor.
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue Adoption Event This Saturday in Santa Cruz
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue will hold a dog adoption event from 11AM until 1:30PM on Saturday at New Leaf Westside, 1101 Fair Avenue. Volunteers will bring up to 10 dogs to the event. Peace of Mind dogs are cared for in foster homes until they find their forever families. The organization’s mission is to help seniors citizens who can no longer care for their dogs and older dogs at risk of euthanasia. I’m a huge fan of this group and their mission. If you’re considering an adoption, please consider going through them. “We bring peace to much more than the person who was connected to the dog, but everyone who’s going through the process of losing a loved one” according to Carie Broecker, executive director and co-founder.
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, founded in 2009, is a resource and advocate for senior dogs and seniors on the California Central Coast. Through its foster and adoption services, the organization has rescued more than 1,260 dogs. In addition, more than 450 senior citizens have received help with keeping their dogs in their homes through the Helping Paw Program. To view adoptable dogs or learn about the rescue, please visit their website.
Come Out and Support Urban Farming and Fairy Tale Farms
Fairytale Farms will host an open farm tour and benefit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 21. The urban farm will have free seeds to give away and a variety of goodies for sale, including informational books. Fairytale Farm is at 728 Riverside Ave. For details, visit www.fairy-talefarm.com.
Oceanview Apartments Sold to Menlo Park Developer
An out-of-town company has acquired the 104-unit Oceanview Apartments, two blocks from West Cliff Drive and Monterey Bay, for $40.68 million. The new Oceanview owner is Acclaim Cos. in Menlo Park. Can we say “out of town speculators”? So that averages out to over a little over a half million per unit? Don’t expect any “affordable” units here.
City Council May 9, 2017
Consent agenda took really long again and there were more uncomfortable moments between Khron and Mathews. You know what would be amazing? Cage fight, Khron and Mathews. My money is on Mathews! She may look all school marmy but I think she could take him down hard. Things started to move along after that and then of course…. PROTESTERS. Really loud protesters. Every old school progressive, self proclaimed activist, sign carrying, foot stomping, semi-retired, new to Santa Cruz but have all the answers, show up at protest of the week, they said we could have free food if we yelled with them, emo douche, mullet wearing individual showed up and made a lot of noise. It was so bipolar. There was really aggressive yelling and then they started singing “This Land is Your Land” then more aggressive yelling and women singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Major props to the poor guy that was presenting item 19. He didn’t even get flustered. People that showed up for oral communications were dismayed to hear they only had 1 minute to share. Fear filled anti semite was able to rattle off his usual nonsense. It really bugs him when council members leave chambers when he talks. It gives me warm fuzzies. Item 20 CPVAW appointments was next on the agenda. A past council member that was censured lectured the council on protocol (insert eyeroll and WTF here) Two people were appointed. Evening session was completely devoted to a report done by the Homelessness Coordinating Committee. This committee put in a lot of time and effort and I want to take this time to congratulate them. This is not an easy undertaking and there are many critics out there. Pam Comstock, Richelle Noroyan and Mayor Chase please consider yourselves high fived by me. Examples of some short horizon solutions (0-3 yrs) create a triage location/expanded recovery center for crisis intervention, secure storage facilities, secure hygiene resources and increase homeless outreach services and mobile behavioral health/mental health response. There is a link with all the information on the city website and I urge you all to take a look if you have not already. So if you haven’t guessed by now this item is why all protesters showed up. They of course had much to say. There were some sincere thank yous but of course the shamers showed up in droves. They still hold strongly to the idea that the council should remove the word “sleeping” on the city’s long standing overnight camping ban. Apparently a whole lot of people (in addition to the usual group) are spending the night on the sidewalk and in the corridors of city hall tonight. One person brought their young daughter. After hearing a number of unhoused folks talk about getting robbed, women getting sexually assaulted which I know to be true it does not sound like a good idea to me. Council weighed in on report as well. Brown, appreciates the report but wants “sleeping” word removed, Martine Watkins made a motion to move the recommendation as presented with a few additional components including having a year round shelter. Richelle Noroyan spoke to focusing and working in collaboration with county on increasing the number of mental health workers available to working with the homeless. Khron then read a dramatic monologue to the audience. I wonder how many people ground their molars just a little flatter while listening to it? Khron then started badgering Watkins to make additions not only to her motion but to the report itself He is like an incessant child. She said no she would like to move forward with the report and the 20 recommendations, he
badgered, more no… Mathews says no… he tries to add something else, Watkins says again no. “Local activist” has her bimonthly meltdown in the audience and makes a dramatic exit as the audience applauses. Report was passed unanimously. TFG.
by Ernie Douglas
Golden State Warriors:
The Warriors have the week off after disposing of the Utah Jazz in quick fashion. I don’t think they wanted to go back to Utah. The team is playing very well, firing on all cylinders, and everyone is pretty healthy and well rested. One of the biggest takeaways so far is the fact that the Warriors are rotating at least 10 guys in their rotation through these first 8 games so far. So everyone is getting good rest and not tired during the games. The Spurs are beat up (Parker and Kawhi are both out right now), and will be tired or banged up when they meet the Warriors. They are gassed, banged up, and facing a well rested Warriors machine. Still no word on Steve Kerr but I’d be surprised if he returned for this series. Mike Brown continues to do well in his absence.
Upcoming games this week: The Warriors swept the Utah Jazz and have had the week off to rest and prepare for San Antonio. That series begins Sunday afternoon.
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May 4, 2017 – The day UCSC disgraces the memory of Rosa Parks!
Congratulations UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal! We are living in a time of moral bankruptcy, but you have managed to go lower the bar even further disgracing the memory of one of the greatest heroes of my lifetime, Rosa Parks. That a black woman dared to demand equality in an era, and a place where that very easily could have resulted in her lynching is a turning point in American history.
All of the demands (?!) of the students that illegally occupied Kerr hall were acceded to, including the demand to grant the students four years of guaranteed housing; to convert the Rosa Parks African American Theme House to a community lounge space and paint its exterior in the Pan-Afrikan colors of red, gold and green.
Blumenthal not content to dishonor the memory of Rosa Parks has also agreed to announce to the world in big the big bright colors of red, gold, and green, that the university is more than happy to defile the memorial of one of America’s great historical figures, and doesn’t even have the self respect to not make a spectacle of it. Just how many loud, multi-colored buildings are there on the UCSC campus? Is there a reason for it?
Blumenthal: You are a gutless wonder, I wonder what stops people from spitting in your face? Except, that it’s not the kind of behavior that that most people engage in. It’s not respectful, nor is it legal. In other words, you’d probably just stand there and take it!
usually i see eye to eye with things with you, but i think the UCSC students were justified in this protest. UCSC has an intense struggle to retain black students, and their attempts to do this legally fell on deaf ears and were repeatedly belittled.
at least they didnt do something stupid like block campus, and had a clear message and focus. it wasn’t aimless protesting just for the sake of fucking shit up.
Thanks for reading and commenting Stan. I disagree. But that’s ok. We can disagree here without being punched or assaulted. If what you say is true, I don’t think the way you make people feel more inclusive into the greater community is through segregated housing. That’s neither inclusive or progressive. That’s just plain ignorant. It violates federal law. And that was their demand? This small group probably represented less than 1% of the student population, yet they were rewarded for their bad behavior by a gutless chancellor. What kind of message does that send to the other 99% of the student population? Do whatever you want and we’ll reward you for it because our administrators have no spine.
What a great issue of real SC news!! Behind every story is inept government costing us money and I’m glad you all are pointing out how.
“The guy in the wheelchair” was a cop. Still good that nobodydy got hurt.
Thanks! I seem to be always the last to know!
The “guy in the wheelchair” is a Capitola police officer…something you should know.
Something I “should know”? How the hell would I know that? I know that now. I know I’m a know it all but I don’t know it all. But thanks for enlightening me here. I was only concerned for his compromised ability to GTFO of the way from drunks driving their cars down sidewalks. His occupation had no bearing at all on my concern for his well being. And thanks for reading and commenting! (seriously!)
How the hell was he supposed to know that?
The guy in the Volkswagen bus was not a victim. If anything he was the protagonist.
Mike Hunt! Welcome and thanks for reading and commenting!
Thank you for keeping it real.
Hugh is a national treasure. Thanks for your paper, which is an island of sanity in a very weird, sort of upside down town. And thanks for publishing Hugh.