The Weekly Dump 3.2.18

Camp Coonerty Dies a Slow, Miserable Death!

Much like the 4 people who actually died there of various drug overdoses over the past few months, Camp Coonerty has officially died a slow, miserable death. All day Wednesday and into Thursday morning, the city of Santa Cruz sent a massive presence down to San Lorenzo Park to literally give squatters the “bums rush” out of the park. It only happened about 3 and a half months too late, ended up costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted city employee services here, and what do we have to show for it all? A muddy mess of hazardous materials, urine, human feces, and used needles. And it’s not like the problem went away. It just moved down the road a couple miles to a fenced with barbed wire, dirt parking lot that we now pay about $100K per month just to babysit the bums squatting there. And that’s a conservative estimate when you consider the First Alarm 24/7 security, the additional SCPD presence required, etc.

Once a beautiful park. Today a muddy, contaminated shithole. Well done City of Santa Cruz.

I was talking to a friend recently after the last city council meeting. In January, the city council declared a “Homeless Emergency“. In February, the city declared a “Housing Crisis” that required “emergency”, stop gap measures designed to prevent “greedy property owners” (in their eyes) from gouging tenants as they attempt to gain enough signatures to put rent control on the ballot. Talk about pandering to special interests here. And I know personally of at least one case where a friend had to move because their property manager anticipated the city council doing something stupid here, so they pre-empted the vote and jacked her rent up anyways. Way to go Santa Cruz. Keep spitting into the wind here. And now, we’ve got the “Sweet(heart) Tax” on soda designed to make up the budget shortfall “Fiscal Emergency” created by years of city leadership failure and incompetence. I’m officially declaring a “Leadership Emergency” here. And I’ll just say it now. Vote NO on ALL of these tax measures. Make the city responsible for it’s failures, and don’t let them keep passing the cost down to you in the form of more taxes to cover their failures. Balance your damned budget already.

Oh, and by the way, SCPD arrested 28 people in the mass eviction of Camp Coonerty. That’s about 30% of the “hundred or so” squatters they regularly claimed occupied the space. Take that number in for a minute and let it digest. 30% of the squatters were arrested today, while we paid to have the city move the other 70% down the road. That’s just ridiculous. 89 citations issued. That’s about one for each squatter. Ridiculous. More from KSBW.

Woman Stabbed in Live Oak

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a stabbing on the 1200 block of 7th Avenue. Deputies arrived at the scene and found a woman suffering from at least one stab wound. The woman was airlifted to a trauma center over the hill. No report on her condition or if anyone was actually arrested here.

Drive By Shooting Outside Dominican Hospital

Monday night around 8:15PM, there was a drive by shooting outside Dominican Hospital on the 2900 block of Soquel Avenue. Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s detectives are looking for the person who fired a gun at two 16 year old juvenile males, injuring one and sending him uh….to the hospital. I heard the suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his twenties with lips tattooed on his neck. As far as I know, nobody has been arrested.

Bum Stabs Another Man in the Back in Line at Homeless Shelter

A 51 year old man was stabbed in the back multiple times early Monday morning during at altercation at a temporary homeless shelter in Live Oak. The stabbing victim was staying at one of the Santa Cruz County winter shelters, hosted at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7263 building on 7th Avenue. The victim and assailant reportedly got into an argument over one of them cutting in front of the other in the meal line. The two took their disagreement outside where one man stabbed the other in the back multiple times, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. The victims injuries were reportedly not life threatening. In the past 12 months, the Sheriff’s Office has responded to 39 calls at the site for incidents such as disturbances, fights, threats, drunk in public and drug activities. Capitola Police later arrested a 56 year old man from Live Oak, who was being held at the Santa Cruz County jail on a $25,000 bond on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Creeper on Carbonera Attempts to Invade Home

SCPD is asking for the public’s help identifying a man who tried to force his way into a house on Carbonera Drive last Thursday around 4PM. The suspect reportedly knocked on the victim’s front door wanting to talk about “the good book.” During the ensuing conversation, the suspect asked to come inside and the victim said no and tried to shut the door. When the suspect used both hands and tried pushing the door back open, the victim screamed and called police. The suspect took off running towards El Rancho Drive. The suspect is described as a clean shaven white man, medium to heavy build, wearing a light blue dress shirt and black jacket.

Breaking Bad in Santa Cruz! 

While on patrol Thursday night, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy contacted a woman who was illegally camping in a motorhome along Highway 9. While speaking with the woman, the Deputy spotted drug paraphernalia out in the open, and a further search of the motorhome found almost 10.5 ounces of methamphetamine, heroin, a digital scale, and cash. She was placed under arrest and booked into county jail for possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Woman Assaulted and Robbed on Pacific Avenue

Monday afternoon, a woman was apparently assaulted and robbed by 2 men on the 1200 block Pacific Avenue, near Walnut. SCPD responded pretty quickly according to multiple witnesses, who described seeing at least one of the men caught  and detained by police.

Aptos Cab Driver Gets the Wrong Kind of Tip

Thursday night in Aptos, a cab driver gave a man a ride to the Park Avenue area and upon arriving and stopping, requested that the man pay his fare. That’s when the man allegedly pulled out a knife and threatened the driver. The cab driver ran away while calling 911, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy arrived and spotted a man who matched the description of the suspect. When they stopped and searched him, they found a knife concealed inside his jacket. The cab driver was able to identify the man as the suspect. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on weapons and threat charges.

Is a Wrap like a Chalupa?

Friday morning around 10:30AM, there was a report of a fight in front of the Taco Bell downtown on Laurel and Pacific. SCPD sent multiple units to deal with an apparently agitated and angry tweeker who was resisting arrest. It even required something called a “wrap”, which I think is sort of like a full body straightjacket. Or maybe it’s a kind of Chalupa.

Bum Fight in Front of Bay Photo

Monday night around 9PM, I heard a report about a homeless man and woman physically fighting, kicking and punching each other on the 700 block of Soquel in front of Bay Photo. The woman claimed the man stole $8 and a bag of weed from her. She declined to press charges and walked away so SCPD let the man go as well. Just a couple of bums behaving badly. Nothing to see here.

Man Arrested For Attempting to Sell Stolen Property to Victim

A 46 year old man was arrested last Thursday after he tried to sell stolen tools to the victim, who aided by deputies, responded to a Craigslist ad selling the victim’s tools, according to Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. The tools, valued at over $5000, were apparently stolen during a burglary at the victim’s home last year. The suspect was also convicted in November for theft by use of an access card, according to Santa Cruz County Superior Court records. Maybe he was trying to sell the stolen stuff to pay his legal fees from November.

Hugh’s News

City Council February 27, 2018

Apparently there was a performance review of City Manager Martin Bernal during closed session. Wouldn’t it be fun if there was public comment on that? Feel free to share your performance review of Bernal in The Dump comments section!

The city manager’s report included an update on the River Street campground. The camp is now open and at capacity. 61 people (in groups of 10) started moving in on Monday. Campers are expected to keep their area clean, to connect with outside services that are available to them, and to not drink or use drugs in the camp. It’s pretty clear this situation will not work for everyone and as those individuals leave, others can come in. Intake services will take place at the downtown library. February 28th was the deadline for the benchlands encampment to be cleared out but that has been extended by a few days. Krohn told Bernal that he hoped everyone remembered that this is the most vulnerable population and that they should be given a few extra days transition.  Signs were put up; outreach workers as well as rangers have been there every single day informing people of the River Street camp as well as the exit plan for the benchlands. While some folks were very interested in the camp, others simply walked away and wanted nothing to do with it. Krohn also asked if people would be permitted to camp under the Water St Bridge. Bernal said no. I don’t like much of what Bernal has to say but the word no was music to my ears. The winter shelter is usually only at 75 to 80 percent capacity, there is also the Warming Center but some folks for whatever reason chose to not go.

A transient was arrested yesterday over by the soup kitchen for sexual battery and child cruelty. He is on the Megan’s Law website, has past convictions of sodomy and has served time in prison. I do not consider rapists the most “vulnerable population” no matter what their housing status is. Amongst those that have fallen on hard times and truly are vulnerable, there are people that are dangerous and want nothing more than to take advantage of every person and every situation that they can. Is the camp doing background checks? Someone please tell me that they are. For the amount of money this camp is costing I certainly hope there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that it isn’t a train. 

Meet the Violent Inmates Getting Released from Prison

Thanks to the The Association of Deputy District Attorneys. No thanks to Governor Moonbeam, Gavin Newsom, and the California Democratic Party for their roles in making this nightmare a reality. Read all about it here.

Study: California Has the Worst ‘Quality of Life’ in the Country

It’s official! The annual “Best States” ranking was part of a study that scored all 50 states across eight different categories: health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life. The data was derived from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company‘s Leading States Index.

Overall, California ranked 32nd. California scored high in state economy (4th), but failed miserably when it came to citizen opportunity (46th), fiscal stability (43rd), and quality of life (50th, dead least). More on this story here.

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  1. Bernal said that the Boneyard is a bargain, costing $270,000 for the first three months.

    • Thanks Don. Of course he would say that. It was his idea! You think he’d call his own idea anything but brilliant? I know what the community thinks of his idea. Far less than brilliant.

  2. Nancy H maynard

    I love this weekly summary…. especially since the local news seems to omit a lot of this stuff.

  3. Any more details about the robbery on Pacific Avenue? Right by Walnut…that’s really scary.

    • Sorry Julia but I haven’t heard any other details. If I do, I’ll post them in the comments here. Or if anyone else has anything, feel free to share. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. The Mayor of Hobonip

    My Martin Bernal report card:
    English: C
    Right in the middle. He panders both ways. He’s never offensive, soft spoken, although sometimes he tends to mumble when he doesn’t want anyone to quote him on something. His propensity for propaganda is well known and rarely appreciated. But status quo is his goal.
    Math: F
    He obviously can’t balance a budget for shit. And he thinks spending $270,000 on the homeless industrial machine and it’s service jobs is a great investment. Basic math and simple economics seems like a stretch for him
    History: D
    He’s been around long enough in the city manager’s office to have witnessed (or been complicit in) many of the city’s failures over the past 20 odd years or so. He knows our history. He refuses to acknowledge the failure. What’s the definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
    Home Economics: F
    We’re facing a huge budget deficit in the coming 5 years. Public safety isn’t just a joke, it’s a dirty word. All we talk about is the homeless. Maybe if this was “Homeless Economics”, I’d give him a B+ but given his willingness to crap on the average local homeowner with his lack of vision and failed policy, he gets the F (and the U too).

  5. Nancy H maynard

    There are car break ins daily… gee why is this not reported??? somewhere

    also… i heard that this special election is costing us $100,000…. so they could put new sales tax on the ballot… and 2 more in Sept… hotel tax and tax on transferring property.. The state of emergency
    allowing them to do this ????? somehow ???

  6. Ben and Hugh, thank you. We live in a loony upside down place and you keep it level. And genuine.

  7. Damon Bruder

    My wife and I took a walk around the park today and found people camping under both ends of the Water St. bridge, piles of ‘belongings’ strewn all along the levy, and a total of 6 used needles in plain sight at the end of the pedestrian bridge across the river from the benchlands. I proceeded to walk over to our city manager Martin Bernal, who was in the park surveying his mess, introduced myself, and laid the needles at his feet for him to dispose of. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy. Needless to say, I didn’t care. His report card should show an ‘F’ for failing to protect our community and an ‘E’ for enabling the criminal elements in the homeless community to take over our town.

    • haha, I’ll bet he wasn’t happy! The only thing better would be to have video of the look on his face when you did it. Thanks Damon! Can’t argue with your grades!

  8. The 28 arrests was a citywide star, not just at San Lorenzo Park. We only had 2 arrests IN the park on Wednesday.
    Keep fighting the good fight!

    • Thanks for that clarification. That’s a big difference. Keep fighting the good fight yourself. I appreciate your hard work and community service in a tough job.

  9. Orcinusmom

    Also, the stabbing in Live Oak was apparently a suicide attempt, not an assault.

  10. City Insider

    The City of Santa Cruz purchased all the supplies (tents, canopies, sleeping bags, etc) for the new camp from Amazon NOT from local business that DESERVE the extra $$$.

    Has this been brought up?

  11. City Insider

    Does anyone question WHY the City of Santa Cruz bought all the “supplies” from Hundreds of tents, canopies, sleeping bags, etc.

    Why wouldn’t the City purchase locally? Outdoor World, Big 5…? Nope. Easier to shop online and the businesses get a big fat zero!!

  12. City Insider

    There is so much spending that is going on…it’s disgusting!

    You can submit a public records request. The city is “transparent” and required to furnish the information. They have up to 10 days.

  13. The City files a frivolous, feel-good lawsuit against the oil companies with taxpayer’s money, and then declares a fiscal emergency….And the solution is to raise our taxes? Brilliant.

  14. Concerned Citizen

    I am getting a little concerned about sloppiness in the Council’s actions and records. Has Santa Mierda run any past articles on conflict of interest disclosures and really crappy record-keeping compared to other cities and government agencies with Boards?

    I am seeing poor practices as far as reasonable time to review draft work product, full participation of parties with skin in the game, and a complete record of the contacts, discussions, and conclusions. I guess hah hah on me for being so stupid as to expect this.

    When I compare Santa Cruz City Council minutes and draft Code and Ordinances to other cities, and even the County, the difference is striking. In the City I see a widespread lack of redlining on proposed ordinance changes. I see incomplete proposed ordinance changes published with the Agendas. For one thing the City always leaves out all the statutory references, for another they publish multiple times without redlining and version tracking.

    I see a general lack of publication of all of the public documents used in Council decisions. I see a serious lack of timely entry of counter-arguments into the process for fair debate from the floor. There is no calendar for Council members to inform the public about significant meetings and activities of the Council members. In 2018 so far I see two significant ordinance changes passed on the consent calendar (2018-01 and 2018-02) and two passed by emergency rule making (2018-03 and 2018-04.) The intent of these is good, but the use of consent and emergency rule making is considered bad form. The California League of Cities discourages the practice.

    The language in the City’s Code and Ordinance is confusing and vague in comparison to other cities. Vague language allows actors to make up interpretation on the spot and it fosters FUD and litigation. Contrast the 2018 Santa Cruz ordinances to other Cities with similar ordinances. I looked at Portland, OR, and their housing ordinances are twice as clear and were published in red-line when introduced and in all subsequent debate and republication. Maybe the Council Clerk is unreasonably burdened and needs more staff?

    I see biased reports and surveys trotted out as impartial independent research. I see cherry-picked statistics and “make up anything we want” preambles to Council actions. For example, on one hand the City says greedy landlords have caused an immediate and substantial crisis of unfit housing and outrageous rents that are immediately harmful to the health and safety of tenants. On the other hand, in a separate report to Council not mentioned in the recent rule making, the City Apartment Inspection Program has not found very many significant issues other than a small percentage of really crappy properties and a whole lot of illegal ADUs. The ADUs are being worked through to allow owners to bring them up to Code if the zoning allows an ADU for the property in question.

    All across the City web site one will find documents without a date and without an author, department identification, and page numbering. Planning and Building are the worst. No one can track what is going on chronologically if the documents are largely undated, unsigned, and without any version number and revision tracking or history! It is shameful and embarrassing.

    This can’t be sloppiness or work overload. I am concerned about it being a directed-practice ordained from the top to gain some undisclosed advantage. Other huge Cities are not this way. I believe that record-keeping practices are the outward indicator of due diligence, honesty, and transparency. Poor practices foster maximum confusion, chaos, fear, uncertainty, and doubt. These are all the things that governments and the legal system thrives on.

    Confusion is good for lawyers. I am not sure, but by doing a web search it looks like City Attorney Condotti and Mayor Terrazas are both principles in law firms. and I could not find any disclosure of this with the Form 700 records with the State Fair Political Practices Commission. Jessica York over at the “Sentinel” recently wrote an article in which she pointed out which Council members had made disclosures and what they disclosed on their Form 700. Elected officials have to disclose when they have economic interests within the limits of their jurisdiction, interests that exceed $2000 a year gross. I think. In any case, the disclosure discussion was a backhanded way for the “Sentinel” to point out that there might be disclosure omissions, but they didn’t attack the issue head on. There is probably a good explanation. I wish I knew what it is.

    Well, anyway, I sure hope the new Ordinances and taxes passed in 2018 help empower the City and the Code Enforcement troops to hammer the crappy property owners in lower Ocean and Beach Flats. I hope the owners will be forced to give up and bail. I hope the properties can be seized for back taxes and condemned because of their immediate threats to the life and health of tenants and the surrounding community. The City and County can then work with good developers in order to tear down the crap and build new and fabulous low-income housing.

    Nah, BS, just kidding! They will will build luxury hotels. Look into the property history for the Hotel Paradox and how it came to be. Amazing! Sigh.

    Crap. I lived through this in NYC 68-74. Everyone prayed the corrupt Council and the lawyers would not tip things over into chaos, but they did. Every form of tax and every possible emergency Code and Ordinance was called into action to deal with the “landlord and poverty crisis.” No one was more surprised than the low-income people when it came to the gift inside the City’s box with a pink bow. I was one of the low-income masses, but I was white, so I got a break.

    The South Bronx and other low-income neighborhoods burned to the ground. The poor were simply pushed out and they moved to working-class neighborhoods upstate. The properties shifted through shell redevelopment corporations in order to build new and better things. It was a mess of unrest and social conflict, with the government fanning the flames of landlord against tenant. The chaos provided great cover for the property theft. First organized crime made a killing getting the properties away from the owners. Then government leaders and developers made a fortune from the demolition and reconstruction “abandoned” property blocks. It wasn’t a few blocks. It was square miles.

    I guess it is all relative and there really isn’t anything ill-intended going on. It is all just accidental casual slaughters. Council is totally transparent and just trying to do the right thing is all ways. Record-keeping issues are just because of work overload. Politics is not being played to the detriment of community relations.

    When I move to the Bay Area in 74, people told me not to go to East Palo Alto and Oakland because they were slums and really dangerous. I went there and laughed my ass off. Slums?? I told my new friends that they did not know anything about slums. Santa Mierda is not and cannot ever become the New Yuck Sh*tty I knew and hated, but it can try. Be careful when playing with matches.

    Thanks for reading.

    • I’m upgrading an ADU to legal status. The reason many of us turned garages into ADUs were economic or outlandish code requirements (I do support common sense codes). Thing is, it will cost me $50,000. Luckily I can pull it off now as my economic condition has improved. However, my point is that many people cannot.

      Regarding “greedy landlords” there are definitely some scumbags. There are also good landlords who rent houses at 40% below market.

      Cities like Detroit have built tiny home communities that can house service workers, teachers etc. If Santa Cruz only has homes $500,000 and up we all lose. Innovative solutions are needed along with the will and talent to implement. Hard to find leaders like that…just look at Washington!

  15. Whose brilliant idea to zone homeless shelters near seniors, elementary schools and residential?? this veterans one is making a lot of neighbors upset.

    a census of the local homeless population shows its mostly middle aged white males with drug or alcohol problems. this should be in indusrial zoning or commercial next to industrial. why are the homeless the only vulnerable members of society? why should children and elderly people be scared like this?

    its the same problem with needles everywhere. if a 5 year old child steps on a needle at the beach and gets hep a or aids, how can these extreme liberal policies claim they are purely altruistic? how can they claim to have no blood on their hands?

  16. that census also shows the majority of local homeless are not veterans!!

  17. Paul Demarest

    The fact that police resources were used to survey the homeless about why they are homeless shows how clueless Mills and Bernal are. Ask people in prison why they are there and they will invariably say its someone else’s fault or they didn’t do it. The city is still stuck on the idea that these people are victims – WE’RE the victims here. Vote out everyone on the council and vote no on any tax increase until the city is run by adults.

  18. JUST the FACTS

    7.4 TONS OF TRASH taken out of San Lorenzo by City Staff. 7.4 TONS!!!!!!!! The Senile showed great before and after photos of Camp Connery like it magically was swept clean by rainbows and unicorns. They failed to show the piles of stripped bike frames, bottles of urine, feces and garbage that were left behind by these trolls. Oops, I failed to mention all the tents , blankets , sleeping bags, propane bottles, etc. that had been donated by concerned citizens that now reside in the landfill because they all got new stuff purchased with tax-payers dollars! And speedily delivered from Amazon, Shop Local anyone?

  19. Ken Collins

    I can not believe they spend all our tax dollars on baby sitting and enabling these drug addicts and then have the nerve to say that The City is in a financial crisis. No duh, stop wasting our taxes and then come at us claiming we need to pay more.

    And about rentals, if UCSC would stop increasing students each year, maybe just maybe there would be enough rentals for everyone. Also, you can not stop people from coming here and buying up the rentals to live in. A friend once told me, if you want rent control….. buy a home.

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