The Weekly Dump 10.27.17

Judge John Salazar Rules on AJ Gonzalez

Tuesday afternoon, Judge John Salazar finally made his ruling on whether AJ Gonzalez, the man child that brutally raped and murdered Maddy Middleton in one of the most heinous crimes in Santa Cruz history, would be tried as an adult or a child. And the answer is, he will be tried as an adult. The decision concluded a nine week transfer hearing that decided Gonzalez will be tried as an adult on six felonies, including murder with a special allegation of lying in wait, kidnapping, forcible rape and lewd acts with a child younger than 14. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole. Keep in mind Gonzalez has already admitted during police interviews to luring, trying to rape and killing 8 year old Maddy Middleton in July of 2015. After the hearing, Gonzalez was immediately remanded to Santa Cruz County Jail. Judge Salazar called the acts “cruel, calloused and calculated.”

In Middleton murder case, Adrian Gonzalez will be tried as adult (KSBW video)

Judge Salazar found that Gonzalez did not suit the juvenile system for three legal elements: He was sophisticated. Multiple teachers said the boy is intelligent and observant. There is insufficient time to be rehabilitated by the juvenile system. And the gravity and circumstances of the crime warranted adult courts, Salazar ruled. Both Judge Salazar and Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell said the case was among the worst they have seen in their decades of experience in the criminal justice system. I can remember how this effected the entire community when it happened. The community mobilized immediately after she was reported missing, and an enormous effort to find her was undertaken by hundreds if not thousands of local volunteers to search for her. I personally searched for her for hours the night she went missing. And while mistakes were obviously made by SCPD and others (like establishing a “command center” at the Tannery just feet from the dumpster where her body was eventually found the next day), an arrest was made within 48 hours of her being reported missing, and they got the right guy who did it. I’m not going to dwell on the mistakes. It was an absolutely crazy 24 hours after she was reported missing. And they were dealing with a psychopathic, cold blooded killer, not just an autistic, “troubled” child as the public defenders would like the public to believe.

Delaveaga Elementary School Locked Down Thursday Morning

Delaveaga Elementary School was briefly locked down on Thursday morning around 8:30AM after a parent reported seeing a man parked in a truck outside the school on Prospect Heights and Park with a possible gun. SCPD sent multiple units to the scene and briefly locked down the school for about 20 minutes while they investigated. They found the suspect parked in his truck outside the school passed out after shooting up (drugs, not bullets). The suspect was on probation (as usual) and he had search “hits” for drug paraphernalia and guns. What a surprise! He was arrested for probation violations and sent to county jail.

Branciforte Middle School Locked Down After Gun Found at School

Branciforte Middle School was placed on lockdown Wednesday after a staff member found a disassembled gun in a trash can on campus. According to Santa Cruz Police, the school was placed on lockdown by police and school administrators out of caution. The gun, an AR7 rifle was not loaded, according to school district superintendent Kris Munro. The lockdown occurred around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Parents were sent an automated message letting them know the situation. Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Mills said the lockdown was lifted around 2 p.m.

Ninety Six Degrees in the Shade

Real hot. In the shade. Monday we had another mini heat wave, with afternoon temperatures at the beach in the nineties while areas slightly inland like Felton and Boulder Creek were over 100 degrees. Isn’t it almost November? At least we didn’t get any new wildfires as a result. Speaking of wildfires, the “Bear Fire” has been mostly contained at this point and Cal Fire expects full containment by next week. It’s currently about 90% contained after burning about 400 acres. And speaking of the Bear Fire….

Bear Fire Started at Illegal Chop Shop

Fire officials now believe the Bear Fire started on a 30 acre property that was the site of a chop-shop bust in 2015 and is now littered with dozens of charred cars, trucks and tractors. The property made headlines in 2015 when law enforcement officers, operating on a tip, recovered 13 stolen motorcycles, cars and a trailer from the site. Julia Cabibi was charged with possession of stolen vehicles, drug possession and being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to the sheriff’s office. Cabibi pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle on Feb. 3rd according to court records. In September, numerous drug charges were dismissed and Cabibi was ordered to serve three years of probation. PROBATION! Does anyone ever actually go to prison from Santa Cruz anymore? A neighbor recently stated that seven years ago, so much garbage was on the property that it was visible in a satellite image brought to a road association meeting. Multiple fire pits were visible from the roadway, scorched by flames, and farther up, generators, gas canisters and what appeared to be fuel tanks were visible further into the property, intermingled with dozens of burned husks of cars. You can thank our COUNTY leaders for this fiasco. A complete and utter lack of code enforcement by the county, and then county probation lets this menace back out to continue to terrorize her neighbors and start a 400 acre inferno that ends up costing millions of dollars in lost property and service fees.

Laura’s Law Needs Your Support

I know I’ve talked about Laura’s Law here before. I’ve mentioned the success seen by Alameda County, which is an hour from Santa Cruz. The Senile even had a good article about it last year, only to see the deaf ears at the county ignore the obvious successful case studies and pilot programs as usual. I’m gonna keep talking about it, and keep pointing my finger at the county to try this (you can guess which finger I’m pointing with). The county has extended the public comment period on the Mental Health Services Act Plan until November 12th. The county is deciding how to spend any money received through the passage of Proposition 63, otherwise known as the Mental Health Services Act. 18 Counties now have adopted Laura’s Law. What makes mental illness in Santa Cruz County so different that we are not implementing Assisted Outpatient Treatment? It is not going to reduce voluntary services. A percentage of people with serious mental illness don’t have an awareness that they are ill and don’t recognize the need for mental health treatment. Please check out this link and sign the petition.

Downtown Still Out of Control

Tuesday night, I heard some unstable transient, possibly on drugs or suffering from mental illness, wreaked havoc on a local business and a local city council member’s home. First, the guy tosses a rock through the window at Verve on Pacific, then he makes his way up to Mission Hill a few blocks away and breaks the windshield of city council member Richelle Noroyan’s car, then he throws another rock through her front window. According to multiple witnesses, the guy was high as a kite and combative with SCPD when they caught up to him near the intersection of Highway 1 and Mission street. Again, you can thank the county (and yes, Ryan Coonerty in particular) for this being a daily thing in Santa Cruz. There’s no sense of urgency at the county level to deal with the increasing violence associated with unstable mentally ill and drug addled transients wandering the streets downtown. The county’s idea of “treatment” is what I like to call the “County Shuffle”. Arrest them, kick them to the curb. Repeat over and over.

Five People Arrested at Pot Grow After Shooting at People

Thursday around 5:30PM, Cal Fire requested emergency law enforcement assistance with a possible shooting near Deer Creek and Hartman Creek Roads in Boulder Creek. Sheriff’s Deputies were patrolling the area, which was evacuated due to the recent Bear Fire, responded and spoke with three people from Boulder Creek and Felton who said a suspicious car was parked near a marijuana grow in the 100 block of Hartman Creek Road which belonged to one of them. The three men thought that two people in a car parked nearby were involved in another previous theft at the grow site. The three men confronted a man and woman, who told the men they were looking for their missing dog. Reportedly, one of the men grabbed a shotgun and handed it to another one, while a third suspect grabbed a baseball bat and threatened the couple with it. During the confrontation one suspect shot out both front tires of the couple’s vehicle, the front bumper and the hood of the vehicle with a shotgun. All five people were arrested and booked into the Santa Cruz Main Jail on charges ranging from assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a firearm, conspiracy, exhibiting a firearm, and entering a closed disaster area.

Wildfire Near Western Drive

Saturday afternoon around 2PM, a wildfire broke out just north of Western Drive off of Highway 1. SCPD shut down Highway 1 North at Western drive while firefighters battled the blaze from the ground and the air. With help from a Cal Fire helicopter, firefighters quickly attacked the blaze and had it under control in about 30 minutes. No injuries were reported and firefighters determined that the fire was caused accidentally.

UCSC Protestors Arrested for Disrupting Meeting

Students storm library, shut down College Republicans meeting

In one of the funniest (and least surprising) stories I heard about this past week, three UCSC students who apparently can’t grasp the concept of “free speech” decided to crash a meeting of the Young Republicans student group, who were holding a meeting at the library at UCSC. The three “protestors” just busted in on the meeting and told the group in no uncertain terms they needed to just GTFO and not come back. It’s amazing how inclusive UCSC is, as long as you’re a liberal Democrat. Self absorbed, entitled, and stupid is no way to go through college. The three liberal “fascists” (because really, that’s what they are here, see the “no tolerance for opposing opinions part”) were eventually arrested by SCPD. More on this story in the Senile.

The Leveelies Retire After Nine Years of Levee Stewardship

I heard from a number of folks that the Leveelies, a group of volunteers who meet weekly to remove garbage from the San Lorenzo River Levee, are calling it quits after nine years. They’re leaving because the Downtown Streets Team has taken over for them as part of their daily downtown clean up. The Downtown Streets Team has been working along the levee Monday through Friday, and will transition from five days a week to seven. Janet Fardette, the Leveelies’s founder, said the group will still meet occasionally to pick up trash in other parts of Santa Cruz and to socialize.

Thank you Downtown Streets Team!

Brawl at the Ultramat

Saturday night around 8:30PM, I heard a report of 7 males beating up another male at the Ultramat on Laurel. Suspects were described as black males in their late teens, who left in a gold Mercedes on Laurel. SCPD sent multiple units to the scene. The victim apparently didn’t require medical attention according to SCPD.

Get Ready for Halloween!

SCPD has enacted a “Safety Enhancement Zone” designation in downtown for this Halloween. It begins at 5:00PM on Halloween night and runs through 5:00AM the next morning. This designation includes triple fines for certain municipal code violations committed in the zone during the designated times. In addition to the increase in fines, there will also be a number of road closures and no parking zones.

No Parking/Tow Away zones from 10:00AM October 31st to 10:00 a.m. November 1st on the following streets:

  • Pacific Avenue between Laurel Street and Water Street.
  • Cooper Street between Pacific Avenue and Front Street.
  • Cathcart Street between Cedar and Front Street
  • Soquel Avenue between Pacific Avenue and Frazier Louis Lane.

No Parking/Tow Away zones from 5:00PM October 31st to 3:00AM November 1st, on the following streets:

  • Front Street between Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street.
  • River Street between South River Street and Front Street
  • Front Street between River Street and Soquel Avenue
  • Front Street between Water Street and River Street.
  • Locust Street between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street.
  • Walnut Avenue between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street Parking Garage.
  • Cathcart Street between Pacific Avenue and Front Street.
  • Church Street between Pacific Avenue and Double Decker Parking Garage

Temporary road closures from 5:00PM October 31st to 03:00AM November 1st, on the following streets:

  • Walnut Avenue between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street.
  • Maple Street between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street.
  • Locust Street between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street.
  • Soquel Avenue between Pacific Avenue and Front Street.
  • Front Street between Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street.
  • Front Street between Water Street and River Street.
  • Church Street between Pacific Avenue and Double Decker Parking Garage.

Temporary road closures from 10:00AM October 31st to 10:00AM November 1st, on the following streets:

  • Pacific Avenue between Laurel St Street and Water Street.
  • Cathcart Street between Cedar Street and Front Street.
  • Cooper Street between Pacific Avenue and Front Street.
  • Lincoln Street between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street.
  • Elm Street between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street

Every year, Halloween draws big crowds downtown so SCPD will utilize over 100 uniformed police officers from SCPD and neighboring agencies to provide public safety support that night.  Last year SCPD responded to 397 calls for service, issued 24 triple fine citations and made 20 arrests, with an estimated crowd size of 10,000 people downtown. There will also be increased lighting and portable restrooms throughout the downtown corridor.

Hugh’s News
Hugh is off on another adventure this week. So I’m filling in. – BD

The Santa Cruz city council met Tuesday in a LONG session. And it was hot as hell. One of the main areas of discussion revolved around how to close a $2.7 million gap in city budget overspending. Gee, I wonder how that happened? When every redundant social service provider comes looking for a handout, they rarely say no. And then it’s time to pay the bill. There was some serious blowback at the staff suggestions like eliminating a $168,000 security patrol contract with First Alarm, cutting parks maintenance work back by $93,500 and reducing recreation programs and facilities use by $43,725. But even those 3 measures are a drop in the bucket here. That’s about $300K out of a deficit of $2.7 MILLION DOLLARS. Councilwoman Richelle Noroyan said she would not vote for security patrol cutbacks and other areas she believed were areas of high public concern. David Terrazas shared the same concerns. But status quo dinosaur Cynthia Mathews urged everyone to “act like grown-ups” and approve the cuts recommended by city department heads. Am I the only one tired of her know it all attitude up there? Sure she’s served on the city council for something like 50 years now, but it truly aggravates the hell out of me when I hear her mansplaining over everyone else. I like her for the most part, I respect her service to the community, but stop acting like you know more than anyone else. Honestly, I blame her (among others) for the mess we are in today. She can be rude, condescending, and patronizing with her peers up there and anyone that doesn’t share her opinion. Anyways, she always seems like the person most likely to accept anything from Martin’s staff at face value, and that’s a big part of the problem here. She lets the tail wag the dog. The city’s general fund, which is facing the deficit, has about a $16 million reserve backing it up, but nearly $6 million of that is set aside to pay down long-term retired city worker costs such as health care and life insurance. I also heard from a very trusted source that the city manager’s staff is gearing up for a tax measure to fund public safety. Interesting. More taxes so they can misspend and give up more money to nonprofits?

The city council also approved a new city law regarding short term vacation rentals. They also approved Park Pacific, a mixed use development project downtown located in the hole in the ground next to Lulu Carpenters which has sat vacant for almost 30 years now. Park Pacific will include 79 condominiums above commercial space at 1547 Pacific Ave. Sandy Brown and Chris Krohn both wanted more subsidized, “affordable” units included than what was being offered. The motion passed 5-to-2. Krohn and Brown seemingly love to lose over principle. Who cares?

Krohn tried to add an emergency ordinance to the agenda to freeze apartment rental rates citywide, as he pandered to a handful of protesters (mostly students) who stormed into city hall asking for the same freeze. It failed of course. Freezing apartment rental rates. Is this guy stupid or what? The market dictates rental rates. It’s called supply and demand. Basic economics.

Hot Dog!

I heard last week an application was submitted to remodel the former Wienerschnitzel building at 800 Soquel Avenue. The applicants, who are also the owners of Beer Thirty in Soquel, want to create a take-out restaurant with outdoor seating with beer and wine service. The proposal is to maintain the general shape of the existing building while modernizing it with a new roof, exterior paint and materials, windows, kitchen, restrooms, and a cooler. All seating associated with the restaurant would be outdoors and located toward the corner of Caledonia Street and Soquel Avenue. It should be noted that the applicants have already secured approval for up to three food trucks on this site as part of the City’s pilot program. Will we soon be seeing a “food truck parklet” here? Beats the shabby, decaying building inside a chain link fence that’s been sitting there for years. San Francisco has a terrific food truck park that has proven to be very successful at drawing crowds of people. I hope this goes through successfully.

Pacific Rim Music Festival Comes to UCSC This Weekend

UCSC will be hosting and presenting a series of concerts featuring traditional and contemporary Korean music this weekend at the 2017 Pacific Rim Music Festival, going on October 25th through the 29th at the Music Center Recital Hall on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Five free public concerts of traditional music and 40 world premieres will be offered. The series features the 55-member Creative Traditional Orchestra of the Korean National Gugak Center, the Center’s Chamber Ensemble, the Borromeo String Quartet, the New York New Music Ensemble, and Festival Ensemble Korea. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the Sunday, Oct. 29 concert which begins at 3 p.m. All concerts are free and open to the public. Who says beach towns have no culture?

Weekly Shoutouts

Weekly shoutout to Judge John Salazar and the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office. Weekly shoutouts to Janet, Colin, Pat, Julie, Nancy, Debbie, Myrna, Barry, Kim, Sharon, Michael, Daniel, John, Teresa, Pam, Maria, Scott, Judy, Joyce, Patti, Kim, Christine, Lynn, Jane, Robert, Konnie, Bob, Sandy, Lucinda, Becky, and any other Leveelies I may have left out. Thanks for 9 years of dedication to protecting the San Lorenzo River and the levee. And a weekly shoutout and thanks to the Downtown Streets Team for taking over for them.

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  1. Annouschka Collins

    Fire on Western Drive was caused by transients. I was hiking with some friends and tried to take a short cut and we came upon all these encampments. Garbage and crap everywhere and a sign posted to a tree with a knife that said “touch my shit and die”. Right then we heard 2 males in the bushes in the ravine cussing so we took a u-turn out of there. We were a bit freaked out, 3 womens with 2 kids. Within 15 we were up Western Drive and we heard sirens and airplanes and saw smoke right in the ravine we were just at. It was those 2 guys that started it and when we look back on it, those 2 guys were cussing because they were panicking because they had just started a fire they could not contain. Oh and cops did not clear all those encampments out and get rid of all that garbage. Had that fire not been called in so quickly this could have been very tragic. Many, many houses run along that ravine all up Western drive. If I stated this I would be an arsonist, but nothing happened to these guys.

    • Ugh. So sorry this happened to you and your friends. That area is a known transient free for all campground, with little to no oversight from the city. It’s been that way for YEARS. And the city has long looked the other way here. I have no doubt you’re correct about the fire source. Calling it an “accident” (which was the “official” reason given) is disingenuous and perpetuates the city’s willingness to look the other way while failing to address a serious public safety hazard. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Love your informative, funny updates. Keep up your good work, and THANK YOU

  3. You’re right about Krohn. Every time he opens his mouth I wonder if his IQ hits the three digit mark (like Micah Posner) or he’s so glued to the past that he has no idea we’re in a new century.

  4. howard roark

    The Pacific Rim Music Festival photo is so refreshing.
    Clean, orderly, cultured, classy.

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