The Inmates Think They Run the Asylum
Tuesday afternoon, there was a pretty serious incident at the Santa Cruz County Main Jail, as inmates refused to follow orders from the guards, armed themselves with makeshift weapons, and used mattresses to barricade their cells. Deputies say it was a minefield of booby traps. Bedsheets were tied across the railing to act as tripwires, soapy water was thrown on the floor to create a slipping hazard, mattresses were used to block access to the stairs and windows were smashed. Officers, dressed in riot gear, entered the jail and used stingball devices filled with rubber pellets, along with bean bag rounds. None of the inmates or Sheriff’s Office staff suffered any serious injuries.
This was part of an inmate protest about the jail being too cold. Is anyone really in jail long enough in Santa Cruz to complain about the conditions? Maybe if some of our frequent flyers on the County Shuffle hate the jail conditions so much they should try something different? Like staying out of jail. And this is jail! It’s not the Dream Inn. It’s not like people are dying in the jail. Oh wait. Never mind. If I had to sleep in a 70 degree house with the “blanket” equivalent of a flannel sheet, I’d probably be pretty pissed too. So pissed that when I got out I’d make sure I stayed out. But I’m glad this ended without anyone getting hurt, although I doubt anyone got any extra blankets.
The Field of Broken Dreams Plods On Another Week
Is anyone really surprised? First we were told it would be gone by the “middle of December”. Then it was the end of December. Then it was the middle of January. Now it’s “as soon as possible”. Camp Coonerty is still there, still polluting San Lorenzo Park and the San Lorenzo River, as well as the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The city likes to proudly proclaim the river to be a shining jewel of downtown while it treats it like a toilet. The city has shat all over it’s relationship here with the Coastal Watershed Council, the local stewards of the river and the levee downtown. The environmental damage to the river and levee is done, it’s continuing on a daily basis, and this is happening with the tacit approval of the city council, who has the ultimate authority over what the city manager or the chief of police can do. They have the power to fire them, they have the power to tell them what to do here. The tail keeps wagging the dog.
This is the future of Santa Cruz, if our city council (and city manager and chief of police) are allowed to continue with their “plan”.
It’s time to demand more from your city’s “leaders” here. Before the “Riverwalk” turns into the “Riversquat” like it has in Anaheim. We see the same types of makeshift camps all over town already. This is what giving up looks like.
This is What Happens When You’re Not Nice to ICE
People around the Bay Area are starting to freak out over credible rumors that ICE are preparing for a major sweep in the Bay Area, targeting Northern California cities who have declared themselves to be “Sanctuary Cities”. Federal immigration officers aim to arrest as many as 1,500 undocumented people. Many people believe the Trump administration is trying to send a message that immigration policy will be enforced regardless of any “sanctuary” status. The sweep could happen within weeks, and is expected to become the biggest enforcement action of its kind under President Trump according to a source familiar with the operation. Earlier this month, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan told Fox News that “California better hold on tight.” He said that if local politicians “don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will.” The reported sweep could last more than one day and will include enforcement of worksites suspected of illegally employing undocumented immigrants, and will involve immigration officers from other parts of the country who are being flown in to assist with the operation. More on this story here.
I heard from a local friend who manages HUD properties in San Jose and she told me she received instructions today for when (not if) they come. I haven’t heard anything specific about Santa Cruz but that makes sense since the city doesn’t want to cooperate with ICE, we get no heads up when they show up here. Is that really the best policy? That’s the price we pay for compromising our public safety in the name of pandering and “sanctuary city” proclamations that have no legal merit, and only serve to make Santa Cruz a target for overzealous federal enforcement operations from ICE. It’s like we paint a big bullseye on our back in order to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes the people that pay the heaviest price for this feel good policy are the people who want as little attention as possible.
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Normally I wouldn’t waste my time or space here talking about local homeless advocate and anarchist lite gadfly Brent Adams. I usually just write him off as a good hearted, benevolent, mostly harmless, low level grifter. He’s good at tugging local progressive heart strings with his well intentioned but always ill advised, impractical ideas related to the local homeless. What he’s really good at is making himself the center of attention. But normally he’s pretty far off my radar as I usually just tune him out. This week he’s been all over the news so it’s pretty hard to avoid him.
So I have a few things to say about this story, as well as a few questions about it. Was the man “discharged” or was he kicked out of the hospital for being abusive to the staff there? When did Dominican become a homeless shelter? When did sheltering this homeless man become Dominican’s responsibility and not a county responsibility? How is it that a bus couldn’t drag him downtown (or wherever he wanted to go) but a county employee from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office could drag him and his stuff downtown, where Brent could film his story? Why the hell is the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office calling Brent Adams to deal with their responsibilities and problems here? This isn’t patient dumping by Dominican. It’s another story about a homeless person being “dumped” at Dominican by the county (probably by SCPD or a Sheriff’s deputy), being treated by Dominican (or maybe refusing treatment) and being discharged like any other patient at Dominican. It happens multiple times every single day. Get mad at the county for “patient dumping” here. The appalling lack of mental health and substance abuse options by county health services results in stuff like this happening daily. Dominican is a business. The county is responsible for homeless social services.
Adams obviously used this opportunity for personal attention by making a video of the man downtown and pimping it out to the mainstream media. I know what most people who know Brent Adams are probably thinking. Why should we believe anything he says? I can’t fault Brent’s good intentions. I honestly believe he cares. He walks the walk on the homeless issue locally. The problem is he likes to talk the talk more, which irritates his critics and advocates alike. He’s a progressive, know it all narcissist whose mouth always gets in the way of any kind of real success.
I’ve heard a number of stories since this story “broke” (and it is broken alright) about the victim here. I’ve heard from a number of people who personally know the “victim”, who is apparently homeless but he’s also been described by them as an angry, abusive, belligerent man who is known to refuse help and verbally assault those who have tried to help him. I also heard from a bus driver who is very familiar with the man, and reaffirms his aggressive, angry, abusive behavior. Was any of this brought up or questioned or confirmed in Adam’s story? Of course not. In all probability, the man was taken to Dominican by the county (because this is how the county deals with mental health and substance abuse problems), he got angry and abusive to hospital staff, and he was kicked out of the hospital for his bad behavior. Does Brent Adams bring any of this up in his one sided, biased, poor victim video? Of course not. The guy has zero credibility. He’s the local patron of “fake news” locally.
And just to further illustrate that looks can be deceiving here, I heard through the grapevine the real reason he didn’t get the service contract with the city of Santa Cruz to be the Camp Coonerty “Storage Bin Coordinator” (or whatever he would be doing) is because he was rude and belligerent to members of the local Downtown Street Team, barking out orders to them and basically insulting the group. Word got back to City Hall about it and Brent was toast as far as they were concerned. So here we have a great group of homeless volunteers, picking up trash downtown, and Brent is out there insulting them. Appearances can be deceiving.
Another Overdose in Downtown Parking Garage Bathroom
Thursday morning around 11:30AM, a report came in about an overdosed victim laying on the floor of the bathroom at the downtown parking garage at Front and Soquel. SCPD and fire and medics responded to find a male with a needle in his arm breathing but unresponsive. And the city wonders why people don’t like shopping downtown? And people wonder why we don’t have enough public bathrooms open 24/7? And I say this is just another indication of why we can’t have nice things in Santa Cruz. And within 15 minutes of this report, another one comes in for an overdose along the railroad tracks on Coral street. Yeah, right next to the Homeless Services Center.
Burning Truck in Walgreens Parking Lot Causes Evacuation
Firefighters from the Santa Cruz Fire Department had to evacuate the Walgreens on Front and Laurel streets in downtown Santa Cruz around 11AM on Monday morning after a parked truck caught fire in their parking lot, sending flames and thick black smoke billowing into the air. When they arrived on scene, they found a black pickup truck completely engulfed in flames parked almost directly in front of the entrance to the store. Two engines responded to the scene and firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze without any injuries or other damage to nearby property.
Surfer Rescued at Steamer Lane
A surfer was rescued near the Steamer Lane lighthouse by another surfer Monday at Steamer Lane after he lost his board and was pushed against the cliffs, where overhead waves pummeled him until he could be rescued. Fire and rescue responded to an ocean rescue call to the area of West Cliff Drive near the Lighthouse about 10:30AM. Two fire engines, an ambulance and other emergency vehicles responded as well as rescuers in wet suits, but the man was already ashore by the time emergency crews arrived on scene.
Someone Needs to Switch to Decaf
Wednesday morning around 9AM, a report came in about a road rage incident at the Fish Hook involving someone being beaten with a baseball bat. Now that’s rage! In an apparent fit of road rage, a 26 year old Watsonville man hit a 42 year old Santa Cruz man in the head with a bat on the side of northbound Highway 1 at the Fish Hook, according to a CHP report. The “batter” has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon and driving with a suspended license. The suspect was driving north on Highway 1 in a 2001 Ford Ranger when a 2015 Nissan Altima veered into his lane and the two vehicles stopped on the shoulder of the highway. The suspect confronted the victim with a baseball bat hidden behind his back and proceeded to strike the victim in the head. The victim defended himself by punching back and officers were at the scene within a few minutes. The victim was “bleeding profusely” and had to have staples in his head, according to the CHP. The suspect was at Santa Cruz County Jail on Wednesday night. His bail was set at $25,000. I’m just shaking my head at $25,000 bail for felony assault with a deadly weapon. Beat a stranger in the head with a bat. I’d call that a pretty violent felony. Throw a few angry, idle threats at a well connected county supervisor and they set your bail at $110,000. Beat a stranger in the head with baseball bat and it’s a measly $25K. Go figure.
Asleep at the Wheel
Monday night around 10:30PM, I heard a report about a man who was apparently asleep in his car, while it was running and he was in the drive through lane at the Jack in the Box on Ocean street. He reportedly woke up while the employee was on the line with SCPD, and the witness reported they thought the man was probably drunk. I guess it’s better that SCPD nails this guy with a DUI while he’s stuck in the drive through lane instead of out on the road somewhere. Except by the time they got there he was gone.
Home Burns Down in Boulder Creek
Monday morning, Santa Cruz County fire crews responded to an early morning house fire on Mitchell Drive in Boulder Creek. No injuries were reported, but the the home is considered a complete loss and one person was displaced as a result of the fire.
Saturday Morning Fight at Safeway on Morrissey
Saturday morning around 8:30AM brought a disturbance at the Safeway on Morrissey. Witnesses said the fight started after a Safeway employee told someone outside the store to turn down their loud music. That’s when someone got literally knocked out, with the aggressor in the fight apparently knocked unconscious. SCPD sent multiple units sent to the scene.
This is Probation in Santa Cruz
A Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a business check recently in Aptos and found a man on probation in possession of drugs, money, and several watches. A probation search revealed that the man was in possession of methamphetamine, a digital scale, drug packaging, and cash. I’d say he’s checking all the boxes here that led to the decision to release him early and give him a free pass to continue to plague the community with his illegal activities. The man was later booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail for being in possession of a controlled substance for sale. No probation violation? I’m starting to think “probation violation” is an oxymoron.
Stolen Vehicles Recovered After Suspect Eludes Sheriff’s Deputies
Last Thursday, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies were out on patrol on the 1200 block of Buzzard Lagoon Road when they noticed a man driving a Ford F350 truck they suspected to be stolen. After pulling the 30 year old Santa Cruz man over, he initially stopped and talked to the deputies but then sped away. This led deputies on a short high speed chase allowing the suspect to successfully elude them. While searching for the suspect, deputies located a second stolen vehicle on Grizzly Flat Road. This discovery led them to the suspect’s residence on the 300 block of Loma Escondida Road, where 5 additional stolen vehicles were located including the Ford F350 truck the suspect originally fled in. The problem was the suspect wasn’t there. Then last Friday, investigators with the Santa Cruz Auto Theft Reduction Task Force (SCARE) as well as the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office returned to the suspect’s residence with a search warrant to recover the remaining stolen cars. Investigators recovered three stolen trucks, two trailers, one box truck and a BOBCAT tractor from the suspect’s residence.
Public Storage Does Not Mean Public Parking
Friday night around 6:30PM, a report came in about a disturbance at the Public Storage on River street. Apparently, 2 people were living in an RV on the lot and threatening other patrons of the business. I know most public storage places are usually gated, but I’m pretty sure this particular business is not gated.
Women’s March Downtown This Saturday
The march titled ‘Be The Change’ will begin at Pacific Ave. and Water St. and will culminate in an activist fair at Louden Nelson Center featuring groups like Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Diversity Center, and others. Art, music, speakers, food and fun will be staged during the event at Louden Nelson. Last year’s march was huge and lots of fun so check it out this year!
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