Phase II of City’s Homeless Solution Plan is a Circus
At this past week’s city council meeting, city manager Martin Bernal said city officials are considering moving the growing local homeless hot potato to a “big top” circus type tent structure somewhere, possibly as early as June (but we know the city changes dates the way most people change their socks). In an update to the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday, Bernal said the city is limiting the duration of the new “Hobonip” camp, located at 1220 River St., to four months. Santa Cruz is spending at least $270,000 for the first three months, supplemented with a proposed $100,000 contribution from Santa Cruz County for the last month, according to Bernal. Well isn’t that special? It’s a COUNTY responsibility to begin with and they’re hoping the county will pay for less than half. What a deal! Officially “Ben Dover” approved! He also said the city is looking at some sort of temporary, larger sprung-type tent type structure, which refers to an industrial high-tension fabric structure similar to the Santa Cruz Warriors’ Kaiser Permanente Arena. Wow. Let’s build an ARENA so we can welcome and accommodate MORE homeless. The Homeless Industrial Machine is working OVERTIME here!
As part of the city’s “Phase 1” plan to deal with the exploding homeless bubble (a result of the city’s open ended, free for all, welcome mat to the world attitude and policy shift), the River Street Emergency Transitional Camp (aka “The Hobonip”), is located at a city owned, dirt parking lot at 1220 River St. According to the city, this is stage one of the city’s three-phased plan to “increase homeless shelter opportunities in the community”. Yes, you read that right. Not to DECREASE homeless shelter opportunities in the community (by actually reducing the number of homeless). Nope. Just the opposite. Let’s increase the number of opportunities for people to be homeless here. Stupid doesn’t even begin to describe this attitude. The Hobonip, which opened Feb. 28th when the city officially euthanized Camp Coonerty in San Lorenzo Park, is set up to accommodate about 100 people. As of this week, the site is hosting about 62 people. So it’s barely over half full. But we have this EMERGENCY here!
Bernal admits city and county negotiators have not agreed upon any kind of budget. Bernal said he will need to return to the council by next month with a proposal for the next site and a spending plan. So basically, they have no idea who is paying for what, or who is responsible for what between the city and the county. Hell, let’s be honest. They have no idea what they’re doing period. They’re basically making this up as they go along. As usual. What’s the definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? The county ALWAYS makes the city pay first. The county ALWAYS does as little as possible because the city lets them.
Shots Fired on Myrtle Street Lead to Arrest of Pair at Safeway
Sunday night around 10PM, multiple people reported hearing gun shots fired in the 100 block of Myrtle St. When SCPD arrived, they confirmed a gun was fired and found 7 slugs from a 9MM handgun in the street. The shooting was caught on a neighbor’s security cameras and through the video surveillance, SCPD was able to get a description of the suspect’s vehicle. Officers quickly located the car in the area and subsequently conducted a vehicle stop in the parking lot of the Safeway on Mission street. During a search of the vehicle, officers located two loaded firearms, an illegal high-capacity magazine, and crack cocaine. A 24 year old male was arrested for willful discharge of a firearm in a negligent manner, possession of a loaded firearm, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of an illegal high-capacity magazine. A 25 year old male was arrested for possession and transportation of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance while armed with a firearm, commission of a felony while out on bail, and an outstanding warrant.
More From UnSafeway
In what has to be one of the strangest and most bizarre stories I’ve heard recently, someone apparently died Sunday night in the parking lot of the Safeway store on Morrissey. Details are pretty sketchy, and of course there’s zero stories about this in the local news media. But I’ve heard from a number of witnesses, as well as others who heard it play out on the SCPD scanner, so I have no doubt it actually happened. Here’s what an eyewitness reported seeing:
“a van piled with bikes and stuff that a local homeless man lived in got stuck in reverse with the accelerator down and went out of control around 10:30PM in the Safeway parking lot. It made large circles backwards, repeatedly smashing into a car someone had parked under the redwood tree behind Safeway. We heard really loud crashing and smashing glass and when we went outside to look we saw the van doing donuts and a body on the pavement.”
Apparently the driver fell out of the vehicle and was run over by his own van. Witnesses reported it took SCPD about 20 minutes to arrive. In fairness to SCPD, this actually happened while they were responding to the shots fired on Myrtle Street (see above story), and almost everyone on duty was out there initially. And I have a pretty good idea why there’s no news story about this incident after the fact. Homeless guy living in van smashes up a dozen vehicles in the Safeway parking lot before falling out and running himself over. That story doesn’t do much to prop up the narrative coming from the city manager and the chief of police about the poor car campers just needing a place to sleep.
Satan Worshiper Arrested for Vandalism in Boulder Creek
A 23 year old Boulder Creek man was arrested on two counts of felony vandalism after two area churches were defaced with homophobic and anti-religious slurs last weekend. The charges could be prosecuted as a hate crime under California law. In February of last year, the same suspect was arrested after breaking into one of the two vandalized churches. During that prior arrest, the handcuffed suspect attempted to flee from custody by leaping into the storm-swollen San Lorenzo River, from which he was rescued.
ICE Pays a Visit to Capitola
Two Capitola residents were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents this week, police told KSBW Friday. ICE agents informed the 911 dispatch center that federal authorities were serving warrants at two homes in Capitola early Wednesday morning. The Capitola Police Department did not have any role in the immigration operation. ICE did not request any assistance from Capitola police. Police did not know if the men had criminal records, or if they were detained solely for their suspected illegal immigration status. Their names were not released. Two more people were detained during the operation, and later released. According to city officials, ICE called 911 dispatch to let Capitola Police know that agents were going to conduct an operation Wednesday. The operation began around 4:15 a.m. and ended about three hours later. ICE officers arrested two individuals, and detained two others. ICE explained to the city that they were in town conducting administrative warrants.
Where’s ICE When You Need Them?
Apparently in Capitola.
Around 8PM last Friday night, a 17 year old male was arrested on suspicion of participating in a criminal street gang and having a loaded, concealed handgun after a traffic stop at Ocean and Barson streets, according to reports from the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team. He was charged with possession of a concealed firearm in a vehicle, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm by a gang participant, and possession of an unregistered firearm. The blue Volkswagen Jetta he was a passenger in had five minors in the vehicle when it was pulled over. While talking to the female driver, investigators determined alcohol was present in the vehicle, and while detaining the 17 year old male, they found a pistol in his waistband. Authorities apparently also have information linking the boy to a criminal street gang.
Hit and Run Fatality in Boulder Creek
Around 9:30AM on Sunday morning, a 60 year old Boulder Creek woman was struck and killed by a vehicle in the area of Highway 236 and Jamison Creek Road in Boulder Creek. The victim was apparently walking eastbound along the shoulder of Highway 236 when a green Subaru Outback crossed into the shoulder and struck her. The driver reportedly pulled over and attempted to move the victim out of the roadway after the collision, according to information released by the California Highway Patrol. The driver was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and was arrested.
How’s That Prison Reform Working For You?
Six people were arrested last week after a two day round-up took place at a Watsonville motel. According to Watsonville Police, tips from the community about increased gang activity at the motel led officers to the motel last Wednesday. Officers from the Special Investigations Unit, Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team, Santa Cruz Auto Theft Reduction Task Force, and patrol units took part in seizing two loaded firearms and a significant amount of methamphetamine. Six people were also arrested on various charges, including felons in possession of a loaded firearm, possession of methamphetamine for sales, parolee at large, probation violation, felony warrants and resisting arrest. “Parolee at large”. “Probation violation”. “All too familiar”. “Out of control”.
Singing Ashes Ashes All Fall Down
Monday night around 11:30PM, a report came in about a disturbance at the Coldstone Creamery on Pacific Avenue. I’m pretty sure they weren’t open at 11:30 on a Monday night, but reports came in that a man was standing outside the business throwing stones at the business and challenging employees and witnesses in front of the business to a fight. SCPD caught up with the guy after he crossed the street and started causing trouble in front of New Leaf. I checked him out on Mugshots. Frequent Flyer! 28 times since 2013.
I heard a report that Arrow Surf Shop on Mission St was broken into Sunday night. Apparently, someone smashed the glass of their front door and stole a bunch of sector 9 and NHS skateboards. If you see anyone suspicious selling them, let them know (and call SCPD).
Santa Cruz High School Students Walk Out of Class
Santa Cruz High School students walked out of class en masse last week as part of a nationwide protest over a lack of gun reform in Washington. I heard at least one story about a local kid who apparently walked out and got an F from his teacher. What a load of mierda. I give that teacher an F.
The Weekly Seen
Found near a local bed and breakfast on Laurel Street. Across from Santa Cruz High School.
It’s a Three Dog Night!
Three new deputies were formally sworn in as K9 officers in front of a full house this past Monday at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Jim Hart is bringing back the program he gave up on two years ago. K9 Lola is a 22 month old black Lab that trained in narcotics detection. K9 Murph is a 2 year old Belgian Malinois that is trained in patrol apprehension and explosives detection. K9 Colt is a 23 month old Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mix that is trained in patrol apprehension and narcotics detection. You can clap your hands, it’s alright!
The Happy Story of the Week
Last weekend’s Polar Plunge at Rio Del Mar Beach in Aptos raised close to $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Northern California. Money raised will go to help athletes and their families participate in sports across Northern California. Well done to everyone who pledged and everyone who took the plunge!
No council report from me this week. I just want to take a moment to say best wishes to all those that loved David Minton Silva. I will miss seeing him. I will miss his twinkle fingers, his colorful outfits, his wild hair and his warm greetings. I didn’t agree with everything David had to say (and man did he say a lot!) but I always appreciated his passion. He spoke his truth and always stuck up for the underdog. He shared many of his experiences at the podium and I learned a few things from him. I was at an outdoor music event a few years ago and David was wearing a beautiful rainbow shawl around his waist. He twirled just as much as the 20 year olds dancing between us. Council meetings will be a little shorter from here on out and certainly less colorful. Blessings and sweet slumber to you my friend. – HJ
Happy Trails to DMS
I heard from a couple people that David Minton Silva passed away recently. David (who I’ll just call “DMS”, since that’s how I always referred to him), was a regular and colorful presence at city council meetings over the years. He was a hard line progressive, and was passionate about the local homeless and the right to sleep. DMS spent many a night sleeping out on the sidewalk of city hall with others, even though he could sleep in a warm bed at the St. George. He and I rarely if ever agreed on anything. But I had the utmost respect for his unwavering conviction. He never pandered, he never wavered, and he seemed always willing to lend a helping hand (or money) to his friends in need. City council meetings are gonna be a lot less colorful and a lot more boring now. RIP David. All the burdens of the world (and more specifically of Santa Cruz) have been lifted from your shoulders and you are free to let your freak flag fly. – BD
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At the Tuesday City Council meeting there was an unprecedented occurrence – NO ONE, not a single person got up to speak for Oral Communications. Council members were beside themselves. Even Krohn was speechless.
I think I saw a pig fly by at that very moment. Thanks Ike!
Thank you for such fabulous information !! Most times we never hear about what is actually going on with our town. ? You do a great job of letting us know !!!
Thanks Paige. If I could only get the street names right.
I believe Santa Cruz can find an entrepreneur willing to manage an incarceration encampment to feed, discipline and manage several hundred drug users charged with non-violent larceny and drug use violations at something less than the $3,000 per month it is costing us for the dirt parking lot! I don’t see in the 2017 Homeless study what % of homeless have an outstanding warrent or unpaid fine that could result in incarceration. My guess it is over 75%. How about a remote area of California with living conditions just a smidgen above the dirt lot. 30 AA meetings equal early release. Society’s priority is to first protect law abiding citizens then work on rehabilitate those that break the law.
Thanks for reading and commenting Rob. I like a lot of your idea. Unfortunately, the idea of building a new jail (or even increasing budgeting to pay a 3rd party to manage more inmates) has about a zero chance in progressive to the point of stupidity Santa Cruz. We love feeding carrots more than feeding the stick here, which draws plenty of jackass attention from outside the area.
Haha Ben! Love your writings. I wish I was 30 years old again…for the $ and aggravation the several hundred homeless are causing this city, I’d build the Tent-Camp in the NorCal wilderness (or maybe NV) and hire the recovered inmates to run the place. Save the city a ton of money and earn a place in heaven for all the recovery that can take place when folks have chores and a goal to achieve in order to exit the mess they got themselves into.
BTW I’m a loving father of a recovering 20 something addict w/ 18 months of sobriety. #longhaul
Why do you decry the city for doing so much to enable a growing homeless community by putting out the welcome mat to every type of criminal and bum and then cry the county is not paying enough to support the services? I live in Santa Cruz County but not the city, and I don’t even like what gets contributed to your folly now. You made your bed, now lie in it. Quit crying on the one hand that the city makes things worse and then on the other that the county wont pay for everything so you don’t suffer the consequences of your own corruption and failed politics.
I don’t even know where to start here. I’ll just say thanks for reading and commenting.
I originally mentioned the UnSafeway was on Branciforte. It’s actually on Morrissey. I updated the street. My bad. Thanks Dave.