The Weekly Dump 11.24.17

Happy Thanksgiving!

Living in Santa Cruz, we have a lot to be thankful for and that’s no snark. It’s a beautiful place to live, a special place with lots of friendly cool people living here. It’s gets tons of accolades and it also gets lots of grief from people who actually live here (like me) about how it could be so much better. I know I probably come across as snarky and bitter (some of that’s an act by the way…) but living here for a long time now, I’m fiercely protective of this town and anyone or anything that tries to tear it down. It’s why this weekly brain dump happens each week. It’s a labor of love for a place I love and I’m thankful and blessed to live in. So thank you Santa Cruz for being weird, kind, frustrating, endearing, overbearing, eclectic, predictable, unpredictable, enigmatic, and most of all vibrant.

City Manager Addresses Camp Coonerty at Public Safety Committee Meeting

This week, the Public Safety Committee of the Santa Cruz city council brought in City Manager Martín Bernal to question what if anything the County was doing to find proper space for homeless people to spend cold winter days indoors, and sleep overnight. They could have just asked me, or just about anyone who lives here, since it’s pretty obvious what the county is doing about it. Nothing. Bernal said city and county management representatives had met three times since Oct. 31st to discuss the San Lorenzo Park encampment (otherwise known as “Camp Coonerty”), which sits within easy viewing distance of the county government center and Ryan Coonerty’s office. Later, Bernal said he believed the county’s goal of identifying a homeless day center site by Dec. 15th is “probably optimistic,” which he later amended to “probably very unlikely”. Of course it’s unlikely! Nobody wants to pay for it. The county has been ignoring the need forever. The city is sick of paying for everything and having it all end up within the city limits. Meanwhile, it appears people are doing more than just “sleeping” in the park.

Body Pulled From Camp Coonerty on Monday Morning

I heard from a number of witnesses that a body was pulled from one of the tents in Camp Coonerty on Monday morning. The scuttlebutt I got (from a very reliable source who was there) is the corpse was a 20 year old male who had just arrived in Santa Cruz a week earlier and apparently overdosed in one of the tents. I guess as soon as you arrive here, you’re officially “from Santa Cruz” as far as the compassionate cottage industry is concerned. The claim that the majority of our local homeless are “from here” is a such a bogus, manipulative lie. It’s propaganda to feed the machine. Most of these people came here from somewhere else. Here’s your “safe injection site”. Coonerty Park. Once for kids, now for skids.

Even the popular former Chief of Police is calling people out over this.

SCPD Rescues Human Trafficking Victim

Last Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a large police bust went down at the Ramada on Water street. A K9 was brought in from Capitola and SWAT was allegedly involved as well. Reports indicate the bust was related to prostitution and drugs, as well as possible child trafficking. Of course when a SWAT team is deployed, you’d expect to read about something like that on the news. Of course this is Santa Cruz so this wasn’t mentioned by any of the mainstream news media outlets. But I heard plenty of witness reports on social media, and Chief Mills sent out some odd, cryptic tweet about it. Hey, maybe instead of just tweeting about it, you put out an actual press release? Is that too much to ask here?

Morning Stabbing in Front of Trader Joe’s

In a related story (in that it also wasn’t reported anywhere), I heard about a stabbing in front of Trader Joe’s on Front street that took place around 3AM Monday morning. It was originally reported as a DOA but apparently the victim did manage to initially survive and was flown over the hill to Valley Med trauma center. I have no further reports on the victim’s condition or whether a suspect was caught or arrested, because once again, the public hears nothing about most of the crime that takes place in this town including this one. Why does SCPD even have a “media spokesperson” anyways if you never hear anything from them about the actual crime taking place in this town?

Tagged For Being Stupid

This past Tuesday, SCPD apparently was executing a traffic stop involving an expired registration. After pulling the car over and running the driver’s identification, it came back with an outstanding warrant attached to it, and the passenger in the car was also on parole (of course they were on parole!) and initially gave out false information. Oh, and they also found meth in the driver’s pocket. If you’re someone with an outstanding warrant, why on earth would you drive around town in a car with expired tags? It’s like driving around with a “pull me over please” sign taped to the back bumper. And the parolee I suppose deserves everything they got here. These folks are the flies our mierda attracts here. We’re a magnet.

Someone Needs a Better Excuse Already

Monday night around 8PM, two people were arrested for prowling after Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies were called out to a home on Big Basin Way for a report of people prowling on private property. The property owners confronted the suspects and were told the suspects were looking for their lost dog. Hey that story sounds familiar! The suspects tried to leave but their truck wouldn’t start and they were chased out of the area. A short time after deputies arrived, the suspects rode up on a dirt bike. The female suspect got off the bike and waited with the deputies, but the male suspect ran into a creek and then to a nearby home where he was confronted in a tree by the homeowner. Eventually the suspect climbed off the roof of a carport which was near the tree and was arrested by deputies. Both suspects were booked into the Santa Cruz County jail. More details on the previous arrest here.

And The City Wants To Build Another Parking Garage?

Due to a technical glitch in equipment upgrades at the downtown Santa Cruz River/Front parking garage, parking was free to daily and hourly users for the past month and a half according to recent reports. According to City Parking Programs Manager Marlin Granlund, hourly customers were able to park at the 450 space garage for free at the city’s expense during that month and a half due to “equipment upgrade failures”. The city lost an estimated $24,000 in customer parking fees during that period, funds typically put toward downtown garage and restroom maintenance, sidewalk cleanup and garage debt repayment. And what kind of deficit are we looking at again? What programs do we need to cut again?

Student Arsonist Arrested at UCSC

A UC Santa Cruz undergraduate student was arrested last Saturday on one charge of felony arson after he reportedly burned a poster inside a college dorm’s third floor, according to police reports. He was arrested and taken to Santa Cruz County Jail, where his bail was set at $25,000. Six intentionally set fires have scorched bulletins and posters at Oakes College this month. Saturday’s arrest was linked to only one of the fires. The suspected student lives in one of the dorms subjected to the fires.

SCPD Launches U Visa Program

SCPD just launched a new U Visa program to help undocumented victims of crime. The U Visa status is for undocumented people who have been victims of certain crimes and help law enforcement and prosecutors with the investigation. The city wants undocumented immigrants to know they can report violent crimes without fear of deportation under the U Visa. There are specific stipulations involved in qualifying for the program. The person has to be a victim, only certain types of crimes apply, they have to have been physically or psychologically hurt and they have to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors. Examples of applicable crimes include kidnapping, human trafficking, certain sex crimes and domestic violence.

Grand Jury Report Criticizes Santa Cruz County Jails

And what does the county do? Shrug it’s shoulders and say meh mostly. Last week, the county response acknowledged the Grand Jury findings and agreed with one point. One point! That the Main Jail lacks equipment to scan inmates for nonmetal contraband. The Grand Jury report was issued back in June and found most detention facilities are aging and crowded. The Blaine Street Women’s Facility, the only detention center that actually had spare room is closed. The Sheriff’s Office is seeking money to convert their operations there after applying for a grant in February and being turned down. The Grand Jury found the reason the Blaine Street facility is vacant is the result of poor planning. Hard to argue that but obviously that’s the county’s position and the county always knows best, even when it doesn’t. In other findings, the Grand Jury report questioned whether officers were breaking the rules for inmates placed in protective, padded cells. The Grand Jury also asked for data showing the outcomes of jail programs and proving whether the programs reduce recidivism. This data was not provided and the Grand Jury questioned whether the lack of documentation would affect funding. The county is less than transparent? You don’t say!

Pining For The Partridge Family Life

Anyone who grew up watching the Partridge Family in the seventies will recall a show about a free spirited hippy family band that travelled around in some kind of Mondrian inspired former school bus. They were “clean” hippies, didn’t seem to do drugs or drink alcohol or even get in any kind of trouble, and their TV show was blockbuster huge when it was on. Anyways, with the death of David Cassidy this week, it got me thinking about how would the Partridge Family be received in Santa Cruz today? As Gypsies? Bums? Probably. Certainly the bus would set off red flags as soon as they drove into town (off the beach road Highway 1 from the north of course). If the town wasn’t completely overloaded already from decades of over tolerance, maybe local folks might embrace the Partridge Family and their funky bus and free lifestyle. But not so much these days. Today they’d be parked along West Cliff or Natural Bridges, or busking their songs along Pacific Avenue and most locals would see them as just transients living off our city streets, taking advantage of our generosity and tolerance. That’s what too much of a “good thing” does to you. Makes you jaded. It’s not so much “not in my backyard” but “no mas” already. We still like weird here, but we have plenty of homegrown weird. We don’t need any more transplanted weirdness.

Nice article in the New Yorker about Cassidy and his immaculate feathered hair.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Initiates Bait Box Program

Starting this week, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies will begin placing fake “bait box” holiday gift packages in front of homes to try to catch the annual problem with mail thieves stealing packages from resident’s homes and apartments. The bait boxes will contain a GPS tracking device, allowing the Sheriff’s office to track the thief and the package in real time and arrest them with the package. Packages will be planted in front of houses owned by residents who agree to participate in the program. More than anything, it will hopefully act as an additional deterrent to stop the low hanging fruit that prey on innocent people and steal their holidays by stealing their packages.

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  1. Johnny at the Harbor

    Just to let people know my wife got a jury duty summons the other day telling her to report sometime in December. She told me yesterday there is no way she will get any where near that courthouse with all those drug addicts and bums camping all over the place down there. She said she fears for her safety not only from potential violence but from fear of catching a disease from even being near that area…i.e. feces, needles etc

    • Ugh. What a nightmare. Sorry for her.

      • I served last month and the police are ALL OVER the grounds and assured me it was “safe” to eat my lunch out behind the courts. There’s still too much litter, but no more than anywhere else around here, unfortunately. I was proud to serve for our community. But we are all different 🙂

        • There’s something a bit disingenuous being assured the area is “safe” while police are “all over the grounds”. There’s no reason or excuses that potential jurors should have to walk through a criminal mine field to do their civic duty and serve the community.

          • Bingo! If there is Police presence, Rangers, it is not a safe place to be or to go to or there wouldn’t be a need for law enforcement of any kind!
            Laurel Park (Louden Nelson Community Center) has Ranger because it’s extremely unsafe there