San Lorenzo Park “Campground” Full of Dirty Needles
San Lorenzo Park has now been turned into a complete espectáculo de mierda, thanks to city manager Martin Bernal and Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills. Congratulations! If you didn’t think Santa Cruz could get any worse by the spineless and clueless actions of city “leaders”, you were proven wrong today. Is anyone really surprised here?
After a one day “eviction” notice was posted to clear the park, at least 80 drug needles were found while crews were clearing out the homeless encampment in the area behind the county building along the San Lorenzo river levee, which of course used city resources and was paid for by your tax dollars. Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation workers, along with the Santa Cruz City Rangers and other city workers spent most of their day on Thursday cleaning up the toxic HAZMAT mess left behind by homeless “campers”, all with the blessing of our city manager and police chief. In another one of his “no duh” moments, Bernal stated “while this is not a good area for a permanent homeless encampment, it is necessary for the city to manage it for the time being. We are designating areas where tents can be again to kind of allow for the area to be better managed so people aren’t spread out all over so there’s more organization in respect to where people are placing there belongings”. What an idiot this guy is. He turns a public park into a human sewer, advocates polluting the San Lorenzo river, and expects the majority of the city residents to be fine with this ridiculous idea. Hey, paddle boarders on the river can’t be allowed due to the sensitive environmental impact, but it’s fine to let bums fill the levee and river with trash, feces, urine, and dirty needles. How do we fire this guy already? He obviously has no clue how to deal with this.
And where the hell is the county response to all of this? Where the hell is Ryan Coonerty, the city’s rep on the Board of Supervisors? He’s obviously nowhere to be found (as usual). God forbid Ryan Coonerty does something actually useful and beneficial for the people of Santa Cruz. I remember one time Fred Keeley, who despite our philosophical differences I have a lot of respect for, once told me “social services are a county responsibility, not the city’s responsibility”. So why in the hell is the city forced to bear the burden here, and why the hell is the county doing nothing about it, despite the obvious fact that this human cesspool sits directly behind the county building? The inmates are truly running the asylum here.
Sacramento Has the Cojones That Santa Cruz Lacks
Sacramento’s no-camping ordinance was ruled to be legal after a jury delivered a 9-3 verdict in favor of the city this week that went against civil rights attorney Mark Merin and plaintiff John Kraintz, saying the city’s no camping ordinance did not discriminate against homeless people. The lawsuit claimed the city of Sacramento’s ordinance was unconstitutional because it was selectively enforced against homeless people. The city of Sacramento responded with this statement: “We are pleased the jury returned a verdict in favor of the city. The city and its dedicated police officers respect the rights of all individuals, and do not unlawfully discriminate against the homeless or those who advocate for the homeless. Ordinances are adopted and enforced for the benefit of the public, the community as a whole. When an ordinance is intended to preserve the peace and welfare of the community, it is only right that the city enforce it, when persons knowingly and willfully ignore the city’s warnings.”
Well duh. Tell that to Martin Bernal and the Chief of Police.
Who Said Scotts Valley is Boring?
Tuesday night, Scotts Valley Police stopped a U-Haul truck and found lots of drugs, including black tar heroin, powder heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine along with hundreds of items of drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. A man and woman with the same last name were in the vehicle and were arrested on charges of conspiracy, possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute, and providing false identifications. Scotts Valley police officers were suspicious of the U-haul because a “BOLO” (Be On the Look Out) had been issued for two fugitives who had escaped from custody. The man and woman arrested were not the fugitives in question, but thanks to the nose of Atlas the K9 sniffing the vehicle and providing the officers with a “strong alert”, the officers had probable cause to search the vehicle and found the drugs and paraphernalia. Gee I wonder if they were from Santa Cruz? Or headed there?
Fire in Front of Radio Shack
Monday night around 6:30PM, reports came in that a homeless man was lighting a bunch of cardboard on fire in front of the former Radio Shack on Soquel. The fire department responded with SCPD to put the fire out. The store location is part of a strip mall of businesses on Soquel and the fire could have lit up and burned neighboring businesses if SCFD hadn’t responded quickly.
Break In at Ocean Pacific Lodge
Tuesday night around 11:30PM, I heard a report of a break in and possible burglary at the Ocean Pacific Lodge at 301 Pacific Ave off Center street. It’s only across the street from the SCPD main station. A witness reported seeing a person break into the breakfast room. The suspect, who SCPD caught inside the business, was arrested (twice!) earlier in the day. Of course, this being Santa Cruz nobody wanted to press charges so they just let him go. Arrested twice earlier in the day, now he’s breaking into a local business later that evening and he walks away with a police escort. Third times a charm! Welcome to Santa Cruz! Why do we have police again? Oh right. To coddle the transients camping anywhere they want.
Break Ins at El View Lodge
Thursday morning around 9AM, I heard a couple of transients broke into 2 different rooms at the El View Lodge on Third street near the Boardwalk. They fled after the manager caught them and called SCPD. No report if anything was stolen and it didn’t sound like anyone was arrested.
It’s the Stuff of Life in Santa Cruz
Wednesday night around 6PM, I heard a report that a battery occurred at the Staff of Life on Soquel avenue after a drunk male was being escorted off their property after refusing to leave and started hitting the employee with his (likely stolen) bicycle. SCPD sent a couple units out there but it doesn’t sound like anyone was actually arrested. Why would they? It’s not like they did anything wrong by Santa Cruz standards.
Van Hits Two Juveniles on Soquel Avenue
Around 7:30AM on Tuesday morning, there was a report of an accident involving a van that apparently hit a pair of juveniles on the 700 block of Soquel avenue. Both victims were conscious and breathing when SCPD arrived on the scene and transported to Dominican for their injuries.
It’s Hammer Time!
Monday night around 6PM, a report came in that a man was banging the street in front of the downtown library with a hammer and threatening to throw it at passing cars. SCPD sent a couple of units. Doesn’t this type of behavior just make you want to take your kids to the library?
Maybe He Just Hadn’t Had His Morning Coffee Yet?
Thursday morning around 8:30AM, there was a report of a disturbance at Peets on Pacific avenue about an aggressive male wearing bloody clothing inside at the counter causing a disturbance. He probably wanted a free cup of coffee given the fact he probably gets so much other free stuff here. SCPD was well familiar with him. He’s only been arrested 13 times locally. He was listed as “on probation”. Of course he was! Probation is the new black in Santa Cruz.
I Guess You Could call This Another “Nuisance Crime”
Sunday night around 6PM, a male described as a “homeless transient” broke a window at a local business on Pioneer Street near Harvey West Park, then started terrorizing an employee by banging on a car window trying to break it with a stick while they were in the car.
Man Robbed and Assaulted on Pryce Street
Sunday night around 6:30PM, a witness reported seeing a man being assaulted after he was apparently jumped and had his backpack stolen. The suspect reportedly took off running along the levee towards Water street bridge. Gee, I wonder where he was headed? San Lorenzo Park?
Bicyclist Hit By Truck Sent to Trauma Center
Monday morning around 8AM, an 88 year old Santa Cruz resident was biking down 17th Avenue when he was hit by a truck and seriously injured. He was traveling south on 17th Avenue near Capitola road when he collided with a Toyota pickup truck. The victim, who was not wearing a helmet, sustained serious head injuries and was airlifted to a trauma center in Santa Clara County according to the CHP reports. The initial investigation into the incident determined the cyclist may have left the bike lane before checking to make sure it was safe, and the pickup driver was not able to avoid hitting the victim.
Picking on the Disabled
Friday night around 6:30PM, I heard a report of a group of 5-6 people that were pushing a man in a wheelchair around without his permission. I’m sure they were just having fun with the guy. Nothing to see here.
Why Rent Control Won’t Create Affordable Housing
The subject of rent control seems to be a hot topic in Santa Cruz, with local left of left activists pushing for it locally. It’s a bad idea. It won’t help create more affordable housing. It will actually have the opposite effect, but don’t tell that to people like Chris Krohn or Steve Pleich and others who insist it’s what’s needed to create more affordable housing. These people really have no idea what they are talking about. Unlike Stanford economists who do know what they are talking about. So whenever I hear someone saying bring on the rent control to Santa Cruz, I just shake my head and laugh in their general direction. Like so many other bad ideas we hear from our local electeds (and wanna be electeds), it’s just a stupid idea. The people that will ultimately suffer the most are those people looking for affordable housing. You want gentrification locally? Listen to local dummies like Chris Krohn and bring on the rent control. Slumlord property managers love it. More on this story in SFGate.
Bring On The Crab!
Dungeness crab season is finally here! Last Saturday was the start of the recreational Dungeness crab fishing season along California’s coast. State officials have given the go-ahead. Crabs caught by sport fishing boats are not supposed to be sold commercially. The commercial crab fishing season is scheduled to begin on November 15th. So far, there are no worries or warnings for Bay Area waters about high levels of domoic acid, the toxin that pretty much sank the last two seasons.
Academy of Arcana To Close Downtown Location Later This Month
I heard recently that the Academy of Arcana, located at 428 Front street in downtown Santa Cruz, will be closing up shop as a result of poor sales, theft, and issues with the transients that hang out downtown. Their lease ends on November 30th.
“After two years in Santa Cruz, it’s just not really working out here. There’s not enough money coming in to pay the rent and bills. Plus we’ve had major thefts, and problems with street people and drugs,” according to a statement from shop owner Oberon Zell. Over the next few weeks, Zell said he and his friends and staff will be packing up the museum and having a moving sale. Then they will begin looking for a new home. Just one more local business closing shop due to an over tolerance of bad behavior downtown.
Remember this hilarious video captured by a witness passing by the business?
Vandalism suspect climbs through broken hole in glass door
Gotta love downtown Santa Cruz. Unless you own a business there.
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Didn’t you love the video Chief Andy Mills posted from the man who served in Afghanistan in 94 ??? ?
I saw it. Personally, I think it was damage control for the obvious blowback he was gonna get. I’m actually kind of offended he’d use the poor guy’s hardship (and I do feel sorry for the guy) as political propaganda here. But I’m hardly surprised. Thanks for reading and commenting Paige.
Re: San Lorenzo Park
It seems to me our fearless leaders just binge watched Season 3 of “The Wire” on HBO Now and thought “That’s a fucking brilliant idea, that could TOTALLY work!”.
Next Up In Their Queue: Escape From New York
I’m taking a wait and see attitude on the San Lorenzo Park situation. Nothing bad is happening there that wasn’t already happening in and along the river channel , in front of the post office, and in our city and county open spaces. Its just become visible, right in front of the county gov’t building. On the positive side, there are port a potties and some patrols.I’d love to know about the behinds the scene thinking and maneuvering on this. I can’t help but wonder if this is a play by Chief Mills to generate public support for some changes.
Status quo Santa Cruz would be to form a commission or working group, hold endless meetings, and hear all the usual suspects yammer on endlessly while nothing changes.
Isn’t there an city open space right next to Bernals house?? That seems like a great place to send all the “campers”. Heck, I’ll even drive them up with their belongings!!
I think there is actually but I wouldn’t wish that nightmare on his neighbors, or anyone else. There’s only so much Bernal (and the city in general) can actually do here without the help of the county, which continues to just ignore the city’s concerns here. Why should they get involved and spend their money when the city is so willing to do it for them (and nobody ever calls them out for it). I’m certainly not afraid to call them out for it. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ben it’s literally unbelievable that this town continues to be as screwed up as it is. I appreciate your journalism very much and continue to hope the Fed’s come in do the work in cleaning out the drug gangs that Chief Handy Andy won’t do. He is a clown and a major disservice to the city.
Thanks Gracchus. I personally don’t think Mills is a clown or a disservice here. He’s actually a pretty nice guy and a very good public speaker. But I do think he’s becoming a pawn in the usual political war of ideology we have here. I was having a conversation recently with one of his “bosses” who told me they are trying to give him the benefit of the doubt but he’s on a short leash with this campground idea, and the biggest mistake he made was to make a big announcement about this publicly in the press. I’ve heard a number of people warned him about the inevitable community reaction and fallout he’d get. It sounds to me like this is the city’s way of ramping up the pressure on the county to get involved. Fat chance that happens when people keep electing fools like Coonerty and Leopold over and over. The only way you’re gonna get a county reaction is to shame the hell out of them. Which is why I’m here. People think I hate the homeless. But what I hate is the people taking advantage of them, or people gaming the system, or people using the city’s benevolence towards the homeless to not do anything about it (see Coonerty, Leopold, Friend, McPherson, and Caput). I blame the Board of Supervisors for their systemic apathy about this issue more than I blame anyone else.
Ben, Ben, Ben.
1. He won’t cooperate with ICE and he’s running a Sanctuary City 2. He decides which laws he’s going to enforce and which he’s not going to enforce when his job is to enforce all laws 3. He sets up a tent city shooting gallery with parks and recs cleanup – which is just absolutely incredible. I was being nice calling the guy a clown and a disservice to the city so as to give him the benefit of the doubt by implying that he might not know what he’s doing. But the fact is he KNOWS what he’s doing and that HE HAS NO statutory authority to do any of it. Maybe there are other words for him?
But as you point out, unfortunately we’re in a City of Fools in a County of Fools so he doesn’t really stand out. But in my opinion this guy is a Loose Cannon and a danger cuz you don’t know what illegal act he’s going to do next. Welcome to Santa Cruz! Come on over and visit our, shooting gallery welcome center on your way downtown. It’s unlikely you’ll ever get arrested because our police chief is such a “nice guy.” But if you do it’s a short walk back to the shooting gallery welcome center from the revolving door Courthouse. Oh – and there’s free needles, healthcare and free money up on Emeline. Come one! Come all!