In the final Weekly Dump of 2017, we’ve got the year in review, 99 problems, morning growlers, Pinky fingered, fire on the tracks, smash and grabs near Mission and Bay, the dog can be very persuasive, torched car burns along Highway 9, belligerent drink trashes 7/11, fight at the Best Western, bat wielding transient downtown, Narcan coming to our local schools, local ADA appointed to be judge in Monterey, new CHP laws for 2018, safety enhancement zones downtown for NYE, my 2018 “wish list”, and more! See you next year!

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The Year in Review

You know how a lot of websites and TV shows get lazy in the final weeks of the year and package up some kind of pre-made “year in review” or “best of” list of notable things from the past year? Well this website covers “the week in review” every week here, so if you want the year in review, go here. Now, on to what happened this week….

I Got 99 Problems….

Monday night around 8:30PM, I heard a report about a disturbance at 99 Bottles of Beer. A witness reported that there were a number of transient people panhandling out front and yelling, when one of the females came into the business screaming and spitting at the witness, then mooned them before leaving. I don’t think anyone was arrested.

I Sometimes Growl at People in the Morning Too

Wednesday morning around 7:30AM, I heard a report about a homeless woman refusing to leave the public bathroom near the Ideal on Beach street. The report was made by a parks employee who was trying to access the bathroom to clean it. The woman refused to leave and had her belongings spread out and was camping inside the bathroom. When the employee asked the woman to leave, she reportedly growled at him. So he called SCPD to deal with clearing her out.

Pinky Fingered as Suspect in Robbery Near Camp Coonerty

Wednesday morning around 3:30AM, I heard a report about a robbery that took place near Dakota and Soquel. The victim had his wallet and iPhone stolen, possibly at gunpoint. The suspect, who had facial tattoos and who SCPD knew by the name of “Pinky”, left on foot and ran towards San Lorenzo Park. SCPD thought “Pinky” may have hidden himself among the people living in Camp Coonerty.

Fire Along Railroad Tracks

Tuesday night around 9PM, I heard a report that some bum set a pallet on fire along the railroad tracks near the Homeless Services Center on Coral street. Santa Cruz Fire responded to put the fire out. SCPD seemed pretty nonchalant about dealing with the arsonist who lit the pallet on fire. It wasn’t any kind of priority for them.

Man Found Unconscious With Head Wound Downtown

Thursday afternoon around 4:30PM, a male victim was found unconscious but breathing and bleeding from the back of his head near River and Soquel. Fire and rescue were called and SCPD also responded. The victim was found lying near some cement blocks. SCPD was flagged down on the West levee side near Soquel by witnesses who found the man.

Smash and Grab at Mission and Bay

I heard a report of a smash and grab from a car parked in the Burger parking lot on Tuesday night. This happened around 6PM. A witness described seeing a male smash a car window and grab a backpack out of the car, then take off in a newer model Dodge Challenger along Bay street. Then around an hour later, I heard a report that a couple customers of Mission Street BBQ apparently had their cars broken into. That’s what, a half a block away from Burger?

The Dog Can Be Very Persuasive

Last Friday night around 11:00PM, members of SCPD’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team responded to reports of suspicious activity from a hotel room in the 600 block of Riverside Avenue. Officers found a suspicious vehicle associated to the room in question and identified one of the occupants as a 32 year old Santa Cruz resident who was on probation (Probation!). As they attempted to conduct a probation compliance check, the occupants locked the door and refused to allow the Officers to come in. SCPD, with help from their K9 Luna, forced entry into the hotel room, where officers arrested the man as well as a second male suspect, a 21 year old resident of Felton who was also on probation (Probation again!). Both men were charged with resisting, obstructing and delaying a peace officer, and probation violations. Further investigation revealed that both men were also in possession of methamphetamine, digital scales and other drug paraphernalia. They are believed to have disposed of a large quantity of methamphetamine before SCPD made entry to the hotel room. Both men were additionally booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on several other related charges, including maintaining a place where drugs are used or sold, and possession of potentially stolen property with the serial numbers removed.

Torched Car Burns Along Highway 9

Sunday morning around 9:30AM, a report came in about a car on fire along HIghway 9 near Harvey West park. The caller reported seeing a car engulfed in flames at Highway 9 and Golf Club Drive. The vehicle had reportedly been abandoned in the same spot for days according to a witness, who said they saw a male transient set the car on fire.

Belligerent Drunk Trashes 7/11

Saturday night around 10PM, I heard a report of a male causing a disturbance and refusing to leave the 7/11 on Mission and Swift. He was reportedly harassing customers and throwing stuff around the store according to the employee who phoned it in.

Saturday Morning Fight at Best Western

Saturday morning around 10:15AM, multiple reports came in that a man and woman were involved in some type of altercation in the lobby at the Best Western at Plymouth and Ocean. Witnesses described it as a physical fight, and the male suspect, described as about six foot six and bald, was seen running away from the hotel with black pants and no shirt. Both the male and female were apparently on probation and the male suspect reportedly had outstanding warrants, as well as a restraining order against the woman he beat up here. Considering it was about 40 degrees outside, he should have been easy to spot but he evaded SCPD. The suspect ended up texting the victim that he was near the courthouse, so numerous SCPD units headed over to Camp Coonerty to try to find this guy. Because where better to hide and blend in with the crowd than Camp Coonerty? SCPD reported he may have picked up some clothing in Camp Coonerty to change his appearances in order to avoid detection by SCPD.

Bat Swinging Transient Downtown

Saturday afternoon around 4PM, a Jamba Juice employee witnessed a transient swing a baseball bat (and nearly hit a child) while threatening people along the 1500 block of Pacific Avenue. SCPD followed the guy until they could send more units to confront and arrest him in the parking lot behind Motiv. The suspect was apparently from Marin County and had a history of run ins with police.

Santa Cruz COE Approves Narcan Distribution in Local Schools

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education Board of Trustees has endorsed training and arming its district employees with Narcan, an opiate overdose antidote. When Narcan is administered to people who are having an opioid overdose, it stops the opioids from working.Santa Cruz County Superintendent Michael Watkins is urging fellow school districts to follow suit. He said he will seek to acquire the nasal inhalant form of the drug. Assembly Bill 1748, signed into law Sept. 24, 2016 authorizes pharmacies to provide schools with naloxone hydrochloride, known by its brand name Narcan, to properly trained personnel. Santa Cruz County has one of the top 10 highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in California, according to the state health department. From 2011 to 2016, the county had 130 deaths and 700 nonfatal emergency room visits related to opioid use. Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Kris Munro said her school board approved adding similar language to the school’s medication dispersal policy shortly after the state bill was approved.

Santa Cruz Prosecutor Appointed to be Monterey Judge

After spending the past 7 years as a prosecutor and Assistant District Attorney with the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office, Rafael Vasquez was appointed last week by Governor Jerry Brown to serve as judge in the Monterey County Superior Court. He’ll fill the vacancy left by Judge Albert Maldonado, who retired in June. Locally, Vasquez has been assigned to the felony division and has prosecuted a number of high profile cases, including the recent AJ Gonzalez case.

New Highway Safety Law Reminder from CHP

The CHP is reminding us about a few new laws that take place starting on the first of January. So I’m here to remind you!

  • Smoking or ingesting cannabis while driving or riding in a vehicle is prohibited. It’s similar to current laws against drinking while driving. I assume this means vaping too. So don’t do it in the car or while you drive.
  • No open containers or bags of marijuana or any edibles can be in the car. They have to be packed away in the trunk of the car.
  • AB390 allows “a pedestrian to begin crossing an intersection while facing a traffic signal displaying a flashing “DON’T WALK” or “Upraised Hand” symbol if the traffic signal includes a countdown timer and the pedestrian can complete the crossing before the traffic signal phases to a steady “DON’T WALK” or “Upraised Hand.”
  • If the bus is equipped with seat belts, passengers have to use them or face a fine. CHP says if someone is busted, the passenger would face a ticket, not the driver. There are exemptions for school buses and transit buses.

Safety Enhancement Zone Rules For Downtown on New Years

All available SCPD personnel will be patrolling downtown this New Year’s Eve. It’s a long standing holiday tradition to count down the new year at the town clock. Crowds will gather starting around 11:30PM Sunday night. Fines will be tripled from 5PM Sunday night to 5AM Monday morning in a “safety enhancement zone”, an area where roads will be closed west from Center Street to the San Lorenzo River and north from Sycamore Street to the intersection of River Street and North Pacific Avenue.

Triple Fines and Court Fees:

  • Possession of an open alcohol container: $480.
  • Consuming alcohol in public: $480.
  • Littering: $288.
  • Graffiti: $576.
  • Trespassing: $576.
  • Urinating or defecating in public: $576.
  • Trespassing on public transit facilities: $480.
  • Defacing sidewalks: $576.
  • Mutilating a tree, plant or lawn: $1,056.
  • Discharge of a firearm: $1,440.
  • Noise control: $576.
  • Traffic violations: $192 to $960.
  • Improper parking: $576.

About 2,000 people celebrated the new year downtown last year, with 12 arrests and 11 triple fine citations issued. There were about 3,500 revelers downtown in 2015, when there were 28 arrests and 27 triple fine citations issued, according to a police statement.

Road Closures:

  • Knight Street: 8 a.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday.
  • Bulkhead Street: 10:30 p.m. Sunday to 12:45 a.m. Monday.
  • North Pacific Avenue between River and Water streets: 10:30 p.m. Sunday to 12:45 a.m. Monday.
  • Water Street between River and Center streets: 10:30 p.m. Sunday to 12:45 a.m. Monday.

Tow Away and No Parking:

  • Front Street between Water and River streets: 10:30 p.m. Sunday to 12:45 a.m. Monday.
  • The 1500 block of Pacific Avenue between Locust and Water streets: 10:30 p.m. Sunday to 12:45 a.m. Monday.

My Wishlist for 2018

I don’t really make resolutions and if I do I don’t tell anyone about them. So instead of resolutions for 2018, I’ve put together my “wish list” for Santa Cruz for 2018. It’s not what I want for myself. It’s what I want for my town.

  1. I Want the Mayor to Impress Me With a Paradigm Shift of Epic Proportions
    I like David Terrazas. I consider him to be one of the more pragmatic city council members we have. I really want him to “go out with a bang” as he terms out as Mayor. Burn some OG, status quo figurative bridges if need be if it better serves the community. I want to see him create a legacy of change (for the better) in Santa Cruz. If that means replacing the city manager, well I’d be fine with that. I at least want him to remind Bernal et al of who’s the boss. Stop letting the tail wag the dog already. I really hope he asserts himself (and his will) on the city council in 2018, and creates more balanced, pragmatic policy within the city government. End the dysfunction. That would be a huge start. Use the moderate majority voting block (Noroyan, Mathews, and Watkins) to get our house in order. Focus on local issues and not global issues. There will never be a better time to lead by example here, and anyone who reads the comments regularly in the Senile understand the way the wind is blowing here ideologically.
  2. I Want Someone to Run Against Ryan Coonerty for the Board of Supervisors
    I’m not talking about a retread or a flake, I want a real, moderate, option that can beat him. At this point, I would support almost anyone but Ryan Coonerty. No more status quo from the Board of Supervisors. No mas to “Camp Coonerty”.
  3. I Want Some Moderate Candidates to Run for the Santa Cruz City Council
    I’m not asking for any more left of left kooks or progressives to run. There’s never any shortage of them running. I’m asking for a few good, normal, moderate, pragmatic people to run. People with fresh, new ideas. People who are fed up with the status quo here. People who are willing to make a difference through community service. People who aren’t self centered narcissists. Yeah, I knowing I’m asking for a lot here.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

As we bid goodbye to arguably not one of our better years as a country, we’ll be flocking to downtown to celebrate the coming of a new year along Pacific Avenue with the midnight countdown at the clock tower. Be safe, have fun, don’t be stupid and do something you’ll regret the next day.

See you next year!

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28 Comments

The Weekly Dump 12.29.17

  1. Thanks so much for bringing the news to us each week. Where else could we possible find out the real stories that currently make up our town and it’s dealings. Wishing you and your readership a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

    1. Thanks Pamela! Obviously there’s more I’d like to see happen but let’s start with those 3 for me. I think we need to do something drastic to change the systemic cycle of apathy and dysfunction at the city and county level. “Camp Coonerty” is a perfect example of that systemic apathy and dysfunction personified. Have a safe and happy new year and thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Ben, I too love what you’re trying to do here. But I really disagree with some of your specifics – like for example how in the world can you commend Terrasas for doing anything productive when last week he was on the front page of the Senile announcing that the city is going to spend $350 an hour [probably $200,000 in total] on the City attorney to sue big oil for climate change when the very next day- there was an all-time record low of minus 37 degrees in Minnesota? Terrasas is is a complete joke for his inept globalist thinking. This is supposed to be local government not Global government or Celestial government. There is nothing Santa Cruz can do about global warming – if it even exists – and Terrasas is a misguided politician for not even taking public input on this egregious waste of public funds – that could better be used to help deserving homeless people move into the Pradox and the other hotels. Do you have any idea how long $200,000 will put up a well-deserved homeless people in hotels around town . Well the answer is — a long time — and a lot of people — in fact $200,000 would probably house Camp Cooberty for the whole winter? There are “no fault of their own” homeless people who really need the $200,000 a lot more than the City attorney who is already milking the cow. You then go on to perplex me that you’re against doing things globally? I agree that we should concentrate on local stuff – but how can you support Terrasas? He seems to be he’s the biggest globalist in the world ? Did you not see the guy on the front page of the Senile a couple of days ago? How do you explain yourself? Please tell me because I like what you’re doing but you really seem inconsistent on Terrasas.

    1. First of all, his name is Terrazas. Let me get that out the way since it bugs me to see it misspelled over and over. Second, you’re just tossing around numbers like the $200K figure that have no basis or foundation. It was reported in the mainstream media (I don’t have the link) that this dumb lawsuit isn’t going to cost the taxpayer anything. I have my theories about why David put himself out there publicly about the lawsuit. It was a convenient photo op. It pandered to the far left. He’s a lawyer and this helps validate him professionally as though he’s taking on big oil in a big lawsuit. He’s an opportunist who saw an opportunity. Is he perfect? Of course not. Is he one of the better options we have to work with here? Yes he is. You play the hand your dealt. As for agreeing or disagreeing with me, I’m fine with either one as long as it’s done with respect and it’s not made personal. A lot of what I spout here is opinion. Sometimes that aligns with facts, sometimes it doesn’t. But I truly appreciate all the comments, good and bad, that help create engaging dialogue on local issues in Santa Cruz. That’s what I’m most proud of here. Thanks for regularly reading and commenting Gracchus and have a safe and happy new year!

      1. Ben, I just read and really like your comment about David Terrazas. My first thought on reading about the lawsuit and seeing the photo was he’s trying to smooth over the ruffled feelings at the county.

        1. I think that’s possible. He does want to involve the county in more of the social services burden (at least as far as the money goes). I don’t think this was his idea though, in that he was the lead or the catalyst. The county took the lead on this and the city went along for the photo op ride. Thanks for reading and commenting and happy new year!

      2. Happy New Year Ben, I’d like to mention that the Sentinel article did not mention that it wasn’t going to cost the city anything and also that my estimate of $200,000 is on the low side for what it is really going to cost the city if there is no recovery in this action. This is because the city attorney’s like Tony Condotti and the County Attorney Dana McRae work for $350 to $450 an hour and bill their time to the county in the city regularly. If you looked at their billing records you’d see it’s already cost the county and City a lot of money to just have them read and file and serve the pleadings.

  3. Thanks Ben & Hugh for your work. The Mierda is something I look forward to each week. Not a bad wish list. I would add replacing Superior Court Judges to the list though. They are directly responsible for the shit show that is Santa Cruz. GD I hope someone runs against them!

    1. No doubt the judges (and more specifically the way they judge) are a huge problem locally. I’ve kind of given up there as long as Jerry Brown is still in Sacramento. Although I wish the Vasquez appointment was here and not Monterey. Thanks Big J for your support of the Dump in 2017 and have a safe and happy new year!

    1. It’s a fair question. I don’t have the patience or the disposition for the job. I’m also painfully honest and blunt, which combined with my desire to speak my mind would result in a lot of ugly confrontations with people. I prefer working behind the scenes, which I have done for the past couple of local elections. Thanks for reading and commenting Karen and happy new year!

    2. Oh, and Karen’s comment was the 1000th comment posted to the Weekly Dump. When I get around to creating some swag for the site (hopefully next year), I’ll send you a t-shirt or something. Thanks to everyone for commenting!

  4. Tina, one of our readers, asked for the name of the person killed by the cement truck on Encinal a couple weeks ago. I learned on Facebook that his name was Mohamed Bentabet, and he frequently used the name Joaquin. He apparently was a homeless man who frequented Pacific Avenue. RIP Joaquin.

  5. posted on next door yesterday – heard anything?
    A body at the car wash
    I saw cops swarming the car wash @ B40 and Water today at around 11:30am. I have since heard that a person was found dead there. Does anyone have any additional details?

    Kathryn Damron
    Kathryn Damron, Glen Canyon·16h ago
    It was alarming and traumatic. I pulled up to the stop sign at Water and Market and a young woman laid face down clearly not alive. Someone’s daughter, Mother or family member. It was heartbreaking. There were a few people around her, making phone calls, as the ambulance arrived and took her away.
    Thank2 Thanks
    Tina May
    Tina May, Prospect Heights·Edited 7h ago
    Tonight Thurs night/Fri am, there was a lot of police cars around. I was parking, and a police car pulled up and said they were looking for a person who ran from the police. They said they could not say he was dangerous. He said to report a person if I saw one and to take note what the person looked like, was wearing. I asked which line, emergency or not, and he said to use the emergency line. I do not know if it was related to what is reported here or not.

    1. Thanks for that info Toni. I only learned about this earlier today and know pretty much what you’ve shared so far. I was planning to mention it next week. If anyone has other details, please feel free to share here.

  6. Let us hope for good things in ’18.

    I enjoy reading this true news every week. Thanks for the energy and time you and your crew do. I rately see any of your items in the sentinel.
    My observation of Camp Coonerty is it is there because we have not had intense rainstorms …. that would cause herd migration…
    And my 2 cents: when did the homeless gain so much power? You and I cannot camp anywhere we choose. I cannot park downtown without time restraints…I cannot randomly bother or hurt people…
    . so this group of campers , travelers, druggies, or mentally off people seemingly control downtown daily causing issues.
    I do not find it surprising that capitola is crowded daily.
    Off to a New Year

    1. Excellent questions. It’s not politically correct in this town to hold transients responsible for their actions. You want to poop in public? Not a problem. Shoot up? Hit someone with a golf club? Our society has been so cruel so unfair you have this one on us.

    2. Thanks for reading and commenting Julie. At this point, I think (like you said) the rain and the rising river will be the only thing capable of clearing out Camp Coonerty. I think to just follow up on what you said about the homeless having power, I think it’s more a case of basically spineless (for the most part) city and county “leaders” afraid of anything that farts progressive rhetoric locally. They are so afraid of pissing off or alienating anyone who’s views run left of moderate, they coddle and they soft peddle and they basically punt the problem down the road for the next group to deal with and ultimately punt down the road. It’s pandering and it’s pathetic and they all do it to a degree.

  7. There were six auto burglaries (window smash) 3 week ago at Avanti on Mission Street. Back packs, computer bags, etc. taken. Seems to be a common occurrence.

    1. Hadn’t heard about the Avanti incidents but thanks for sharing that info Jim. Smash and grabs are crimes of opportunity and I wonder if some people have a false sense of security parking in a small business lot along Mission between Laurel and Swift. Lots of restaurants, lots of human activity (people coming and going), and seemingly lots of smash and grabs lately. Thanks for reading and commenting and have a safe and happy new year!

  8. Ben – You also may want to know that the ICE director said on Cavuto yesterday that he’s going to greatly increase his people’s presents and California to clean out the criminal aliens that this sanctuary state [and city] are protecting. ICE director also asked the DOJ to sue people like Sheriff Mills and the city council for protecting criminal aliens which is against the federal statute. Although this hasn’t happened yet – you heard it first from Gracchus first on the Dump!🇺🇸

    1. Mills isn’t the “Sheriff,” he is the Chief of Police. Both he and Sheriff Hart do not write law or municipal code. They enforce it. That would be the city council, the county board of supervisors, and the state legislature.

      1. Thanks Big Joe for the correction in title – but as per Mills’ Op Ed, he’s probably better known for NOT enforcing laws (for camping) and herding homeless around , which has the effect of Mills making up laws – which he has no charter to do. My point was not about what these politicians and cops are supposed to be doing, but what the cops are NOT doing and the illegal laws that the politicians are enacting. In simple words these people are doing the exact opposite of what their Charters are supposed to have them doing. The politicians are in enacting illegal laws and our law enforcement agents or not enforcing federal laws there supposed to be enforcing

        Acting ICE Director Homan has a staff of 20,000 agents and he stated on Fox News Channel that he is going to be aggressively rooting out criminal aliens in California in particular if you believe what he said. He also said that he asked the Department of Justice with the president’s support, to investigate prosecuting the police Chiefs and Sherriffs who do NOT enforce Federal Detention requests and City councils mayors and Governors who write the sanctuary state and sanctuary city laws. In my opinion this is certainly going to include Governor Brown all the CCs and BoSs who wrote and voted on sanctuary state statutes, AND all the top cops including Andy Mills and Jim Hart who don’t follow federal law. In addition to the City and County’s misguided lawsuit against Big Oil , this ICE situation is going to be another gigantic waste of taxpayer dollars to defend the folks that run Santa Cruz city and county.

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