Santa Cruz County Pays Critical Frontline Mental Health Workers Minimum Wages
This really pisses me off. Santa Cruz County administrators and the Board of Supervisors just do not take this issue seriously. These are the front line mental health and substance abuse workers that are so critical to solving this crisis, and the county wants to pay them as if they are flipping burgers at McDonalds. In this video, drug treatment workers describe trying to survive in Santa Cruz on as little as $12 per hour. Janus of Santa Cruz is the county’s largest-publicly funded drug treatment program, but it can’t retain treatment workers. Higher turnover at Janus means no end to the addiction crisis. Call your County of Santa Cruz supervisor (831) 454-2200 and ask them to give Janus the resources it needs to help people overcome addiction. The National Union of Healthcare Workers posted this video on facebook a week ago and it’s gotten more than 37,000 views so far. Keep it going. The county should be ashamed! These do nothing blowhards sitting on the Board of Supervisors each make north of $100K per year, and the CAO (the county equivalent of the city manager) probably makes close to $200K per year (or more). Don’t cry cash poor to me here. What a typical load of mierda from the county.
Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is
It’s pretty clear to me that one side of this rent control fight locally is fully in charge here, at least if you look at the money. According to recent reports, the group against rent control has raised more than $383,000. The group in favor of rent control has raised about $30,000, according to the latest campaign finance reports. That’s literally more than 10 times the money raised by one group over the other. So is this a slam dunk “no”? I wouldn’t go that far. Stranger things have happened (Hello POTUS!), but it’s going to be a difficult challenge to overcome for the rent control support group, and that’s being kind. Opponents didn’t raise that $383K (and counting) to let it sit in the bank and gain interest. We are going to be blitzed by a heavy “NO” marketing campaign. Slick TV ads will run constantly in October locally. Full page ads in the Senile. And expect lots of mailers, postcards, flyers, door hangers, and maybe even flying signs over the Boardwalk. With that much money, they are going to pound their message into the minds of the collective community between now and November. Good luck trying to get your $30K message through that tsunami of advertising. What a waste of money. Anyone with a basic understanding of economics theory can tell you rent control is a dumb idea. We live in a free market economy. Supply and demand. When you choke supply, you increase demand. Why did gas prices go up in the seventies? Because only a few oil producers controlled the supply. Rent control will choke the supply. There will be less turnover with available rentals as people will stay longer. There will be less rental stock available in the MARKET (there’s that word again). Less turnover, less housing stock, higher demand for available rentals. Higher demand? Higher prices! Higher than they already are. Don’t buy the rent control hype. It will not increase the stock of available rentals. It will decrease it. And decreasing it will lead to higher rents for what is available. It’s not rocket science. It’s Economics 101.
We’re Full of Poor People Here
Tell me something I don’t already know. Santa Cruz County apparently has the second highest poverty rate in the state, according to a new study. The Public Policy Institute of California shows Santa Cruz has a 23.8% poverty rate, trailing only Los Angeles County at 24.3%. We’re not trying hard enough here! Monterey and San Benito Counties both came in at a 19.3% poverty rate. I guess if you look at our mean income here, we probably are pretty low on the totem pole. We have lots of well paid professionals here, but the numbers get dragged down considerably when you add in the part of the population that brings in zero income per year. And as that latter number seems to grow exponentially each year, it brings the whole county down to poverty level numbers. We prioritize poverty over business growth and success here. Poverty is a cottage industry in Santa Cruz. We don’t reduce homelessness here. We service it. We wrote the book on idiot compassion.
Not Making Your Mama Proud
Last Saturday morning around 8:30AM, a male subject reportedly punched and choked his mother during a fight in the main jail’s parking lot on the 200 block of Water street. The man then took his mother’s keys and fled on foot. When deputies arrived, the man was found in his mother’s car and placed into custody without incident.
Fire at the Boardwalk Bowl
Monday night around 6PM, the Boardwalk Bowl across from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was briefly evacuated after an apparent fire in one of the men’s bathrooms filled the bowling alley with thick black smoke. No word on what caused the fire. Beach street was shut down briefly but it didn’t sound as if anyone was injured. I later heard the fire may have started in the attic.
Cold Case Murder Suspect Extradited From Mexico
Authorities have arrested a man in Mexico in connection with the murder of a seventeen year old in 2004 in Watsonville, and have extradited him back to the US to face trial. Detectives say the suspect stabbed the victim multiple times in broad daylight. I hear about a lot of criminals fleeing to Mexico but rarely do I hear about anyone being extradited back to Santa Cruz. Hopefully his stay here is short as he heads off to state prison.
Boardwalk Security Guard Nearly Run Over
Sunday night around 10PM, I heard a report of a vehicle that tried to run over a security officer at the Boardwalk. The security guard was grazed by the driver but apparently not injured too badly. The suspect was described as a gray Acura registered to someone in Sunnyvale, who seemed to get away.
Have Some Free Needles Courtesy of the County
Saturday night around 11PM, I heard a report about the usual, typical, seemingly happens at least once a day heroin overdose, this time on the east levee at Riverside, across from the Budget Inn. Witnesses reported giving the junkie some NarCan, which probably saved his life. At least until the next time when it might not be so readily available. Then 15 minutes later, another call comes in for ANOTHER heroin overdose, this one at Depot Park involving a 45 year old male who wasn’t breathing. Fire and rescue were sent. When PD arrived, they found the victim apparently had a pulse and was breathing but was unconscious. Thank God neither one was driving!
Arsonist Burns Down the House He’s Renting in Bonny Doon
Last Sunday, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man they say lit the house he was renting in Bonny Doon on fire. The home on Warren Drive was fully engulfed in flames before firefighters from the Felton Fire Department and Cal Fire were able to extinguish it. This fire also ignited several other small spot fires nearby. Cal Fire and deputies found evidence of arson in their initial investigation and the suspected arsonist was arrested by Cal Fire and booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.
Garden Deli Robbed at Gunpoint
Last Friday around 10PM, the Garden Deli on Soquel Drive was robbed at gunpoint. Deputies say that two people wearing bandanas over their faces robbed the store with a handgun, getting away with an unknown amount of cash. Deputies are reviewing surveillance footage in an attempt to track down the robbers.
Nothing to See Here
Thursday afternoon around 3:45PM, a report came in about an older man in his sixties who was apparently sitting in his car in the parking lot across from Wells Fargo downtown. Nothing unusual there. Except he was naked. Witnesses reported seeing him pull out of the parking lot and head towards downtown.
Scotts Valley DUI Crash Sends Driver to Hospital
Saturday afternoon, San Lorenzo Valley deputies responded to an injury accident at Mt. Hermon and Graham Hill Roads. The Felton fire department aided deputies in helping the injured motorists. One woman was transported to Dominican. The other male driver was arrested by the CHP for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Sunday night around 9:30PM, I heard a report about some kind of fight at the end of the wharf. Staff from the Dolphin restaurant apparently held down a suspect who was reportedly drunk and belligerent and fighting with patrons outside the restaurant.
El Circo del Ayuntamiento
We’re still holding steady at 11 this week, with Robert Singleton apparently officially dropping out before he got started, thanks to a bunch of assholes spreading lies and gossip about his personal life. You know who you are. I do too. I did hear about a possible new puppet for Geppetto though. Nothing officially confirmed yet there. Just watch where the special interest endorsements and money goes, and run the other way. Unless you’re happy with the way things are! In which case, you probably don’t read me much.
I’m starting to get dates for upcoming forums and public meetings with the candidates, and I’ll share those dates and events soon. I encourage all registered voters living in the city of Santa Cruz to try to attend at least one event! I think it’s critical you see these people in person, that you hear their words with your own ears, that you meet them and chat with them, and don’t be swayed by how this group tells you to vote, or that group tells you to vote. Think for yourself! And it’s actually quite entertaining. I plan to be at a number of them, and who knows you might run into me. I will be covering all the action here if you can’t make it, but please try to come to at least one.
This week I’m also including a link to candidates websites as I become aware of them. You can read more about their profiles, experience, platform at those links. If they have a current website, their name will be a link. I encourage you to check them out and get to know them.
The Line Up (listed alphabetically)
Craig unsuccessfully ran for city council in 2014. I remember him from back then. His big thing I think was water, and of course back then desal and water were pretty hot topics. And if I remember correctly, he had this really cool beard and great baritone voice. I have no doubt he’ll break up the monotony with his presence.
Paige is a former cook for the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall who has been volunteering at the St. Francis Soup Kitchen for 10 years and counting. Known by her neighbors as the “Mayor of Seabright”, Paige is focused on improving public safety. I’m all for that! She’s not easily intimidated by people, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, she’s blunt to a level that makes certain people uncomfortable (and probably should), and she won’t be bullied by the status quo, and I don’t think she’s afraid to try to rock the boat here. I think she’s a very interesting (and rare) case of someone who has walked the “progressive” walk locally, but understands the limits and impacts of overdoing it, or doing it the wrong way.
Phillip J. Crawford
Phillip J. Crawford unsuccessfully ran for judge on the Santa Cruz Superior Court in 2010, so he’s familiar with the numbingly dysfunctional Santa Cruz political scene. Just the fact he actually ran for judge intrigues me instantly. According to some simple research on Google, Crawford has served as a police officer and sergeant, professor of law and justice, attorney, court executive officer and a justice system consultant. He sounds like my kind of guy so far! Looking forward to hearing more.
Justin is a UCSC graduate and works for UCSC. He apparently moved to Santa Cruz 11 years ago from Chicago and lives in the Beach Flats neighborhood. He worked on the rent control ballot measure and said he is interested in addressing the city’s affordable housing shortage and general city safety and security. Well, since I think rent control is an incredibly dumb, short sighted, and naive idea here, I’m guessing we don’t see eye to eye on that one. I did notice that apparently Justin and Drew won the hearts and minds of that fake “Santa Cruz for Bernie” group that doesn’t really represent the majority of former local Bernie supporters. And honestly, I think a lot of local Democrats BLAME Bernie for Trump winning the election. And let’s not forget, the guy behind the fake Bernie group? He’s the same clown behind the rent control initiative. This is what I mean by “SPECIAL INTERESTS”. We have enough of that crap going on already.
Drew lives in the Eastside/Seabright neighborhood, and his major themes include vague cliche stuff like “sustainability, a climate of compassion, inclusive representation in city politics, transparency and accountability”. Nothing tangible like public safety, balancing an out of control city budget against rising pension cost obligations, better accountability of the city manager, you know, important stuff like that. Glover ran unsuccessfully for the city council in 2016. Drew also got the endorsement from the fake Bernie group too. I’m seeing a pattern here. And there have already been multiple sightings of the Purple Shirt!
Cynthia is a psychotherapist who apparently helped organize the last two women’s marches locally in downtown Santa Cruz. She previously served on the Santa Cruz City Schools board. I still don’t know much about her. I’ve heard from numerous, unconnected people that she’s apparently “difficult to work with”. Great! Like we don’t have enough of that already. I’m not particularly inspired to learn more here.
Dave is a retired UCSC auditor who wants to cut back the police budget and reverse course on any goals for low income, high density housing. Cut back the police budget? GTFO. Next!
Michael is a Santa Cruz County assistant district attorney. He wants to help the police in prioritizing a crack down on serious crimes, as opposed to petty offenses. Aren’t we already doing that? And how well is that working? It’s not. Next!
Donna lives on the lower west side and is on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. She is apparently interested in getting housing programs working, addressing social service issues and making sure local infrastructure is ready for global warming related changes. Global warming related changes? In our lifetime? We don’t have anything that requires a bit more sense of urgency and need for attention here? She sounds like another social justice warrior that wants to change the world locally while ignoring the shit show in our own back yard. Next!
Richelle Noroyan is the only incumbent candidate running, and works in community relations at UCSC. A moderate on the council, she pushed for more rigorous Cowell Beach cleanups and served on the Homelessness Coordinating Committee. Full disclosure: I know Richelle and I personally like Richelle. I voted for her last time and I’ll vote for her again. She’s good for Santa Cruz.
The Scontriano family has a long history in Santa Cruz. From 1939 until 2009, her family owned the Dolphin Restaurant at the end of the wharf. Ashley attended Westlake Elementary, Branciforte Junior High, and Harbor High School before attending UC Santa Cruz. She has worked locally with Metro Santa Cruz, Good Times, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel, helping launch Santa Cruz Magazine. She has also worked in fundraising at UCSC for both the Arts and the Humanity Divisions. She is now a local small business owner and is interested in improving community safety, addressing housing shortages, and supporting business growth locally. She knows what needs to be done to get us back on the right track here as a city. I think she frightens the local political “machine” here. So in that sense, she frightens the “status quo” here. You want smart change? I want smart change. Ashley is smart change.
The Weekly Seen
Saw this posted on social media this week.
Church Street Fair This Weekend
Held in front of the Civic Auditorium in downtown Santa Cruz, the Church Street Fair is a pretty nice, family friendly downtown summer festival. The Church Street Fair is a collaboration between the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and the Civic Auditorium. Lot’s of good music, food, and kids activities. Music runs from about 11AM – 7PM both days.
Riding the Soul Train
I love these old Soul Train videos.
I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
For all my critics and haters out there. Every time I hear this song now, I think of Baby Groot dancing. And somewhere, Marvin Gaye is laughing at Don Cornelius.
Y&T Returns to the Boardwalk
Many of the biggest acts of the ’80s, including Metallica and Mötley Crüe once opened for Y&T. With 18 albums and three greatest hits collections, Y&T has sold over four million recordings since they began in 1974. Two free shows at 6:30 and 8:30PM. Big hair returns to the Boardwalk.
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Here’s a good one…. let’s take all the trash in the ocean… and let the govt. build walls with it
Seawalls. We’re gonna need them eventually. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Great idea! Those trash islands could be used !
If it makes sense, ain’t gonna happen. People would actually support a wall built out of those messes killing sea life.
I’m happy to see that kind of money being donated to fight rent control but I think we are very far from a slam dunk. A lot more of the eligible voters are renters than landlords or home owners. Almost every renter I’ve discussed this issue with has been leaning toward a “yes” vote because it will benefit them in the short run. Most people vote with their pocket book in mind more so than their ethics. We need to keep our foot on the gas pedal and make sure this thing doesn’t pass.
I agree. Thanks Austin!
Just for the record. I don’t dig into people’s personal lives and I sure as hell don’t publish stuff about their families, their wives, their children, their former girlfriends, etc. That kind of behavior I’ve seen is so typical of a certain segment of Santa Cruz, but I will not go there. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, I rarely publish names of either victims or suspects here, even though they might be published elsewhere. I am a big fan of due process and not having your name smeared online (at least before you’ve been convicted of something). Politics is an ugly ass game in Santa Cruz. But it’s also something that ultimately effects our daily lives, more so than national politics does. So stuff like the lack of county support for substance abuse treatment, the rent control divide, and yes the daily crime. That’s my grind this week. But it’s never personal. Even with the people I pick on the most here, it’s never personal. Chris Krohn has just replaced Micah Posner. Cynthia Chase has replaced Don Lane. When they are gone, they will be gone from here too. I rarely talk about Micah and Don anymore because they aren’t relevant to the narrative here anymore. And I’m not going to stalk them, harass them, dox them, or even care about them anymore. So if anyone comes in here attempting to libel, shame, dox, stalk, harass anyone in the comments section, your comments will be removed and you’ll be blacklisted. We are better than that. Show it. Thanks for listening and commenting and engaging with each other on a mostly respectful level here.
Ben, Don Lane is hardly “gone” – he (and Fred Keeley) are behind the move to get a tax measure or bond on the ballot to fund housing programs and drug rehab programs. And I was surprised to get an email from Micah about a very small rental unit he is building to help the housing shortage. Just FYI.
Thank you for The Mierda!
Your first paragraph summed it up quite well for those wondering why people don’t seek alternatives to drug addiction. The help is not adequately compensated and therefore, “nobody cares”, really. Except the bill collectors at the rehabs. Those fees don’t equate to minimum wage staff.
It’s no wonder the situation is spilling into the streets. There is no adequately appreciated help for those wishing to improve their lives by getting clean. Free needles are cheaper than a half as$ed staff who REALLY DO CARE, but can’t stay long (they gotta pay rent!).
Spot on! Thanks for reading and commenting.
REFRESHING is my best word to describe your column. Thank you
Thanks for reading and commenting Patti!
dont shrinks make $200/hour if they work in the private sector? 12$ bucks an hour?! the city of watsonville was advertising an admin job at $23/hr not long ago. and i think it said no degree required LOL.
what percentage of sick people in this program really want help though? i know some people really are addicted, but are the majority? when i read in the census almost 60% of the local homeless are white, 75% are middle aged males and 40% listed their disability as drug or alcohol problems – it made me wonder… i dont believe that segment of the population would really be more vulnerable to a disability like this.
i think they are the only ones who can survive on the streets that way. that or they arent even 100% homeless- maybe they rent a room in the mountains part time and do other things to keep affording the meth and heroin?
maybe the high employee turnover shows some cynnism for the program too? if this were 100% healthcare crisis, people would probably find a way to keep working regardless of the pay and help no matter what. there are a lot of diehard “do-good” people like that here.
if these programs are part of the revolving crime door, full of a criminal element, and the county has no money to properly fund them, who are they helping? what is the point in having them? people make more money waiting tables! why not make it more difficult to get these drugs, and these needles? why not make the punishment more severe?
i knew a girl who got addicted to meth back in high school. i also knew the real reason she got into it was a death in the family. she did make it out, safely recovered. but she wasnt completely surrounded by easy access to drugs and needles the way kids are in this town. what a sad environment to raise teenagers.
one mistake on the peninsula and you will probably recover, one mistake in santa cruz and who knows- people will convince you youre disabled for life?
they say if you drink to get drunk you are an alcoholic. almost everyone drinks to get drunk at some point, just to see what its like. we arent all alcoholics. i think its wrong to say that everyone who ended up stuck in this loop in santa cruz is disabled for life. its just wrong to diagnose people like that.
this city probably needs some programs like this, but if they are swamped with a criminal element and totally underfunded, i dont think they are able to help the people who need it.
Thanks Kris. Appreciate your insight.
I’m enjoying reading local Santa Cruz County news, events and commentary. Thanks
Thanks for reading and commenting!
The way that Bratton and co. slimed Robert Singleton in their newsletter is shameful and unbecoming of a civilized debate, whatever way the facts point.
As for the rent control measure, I’m worried it will pass. It’s not easy to convince the majority of renters that it will hurt them in the long run. Just more cynical “I got mine, screw you” politics, a staple of California public policy for decades now.
The only way that senile gasbag can stay relevant in this town is to be a creepy, stalker asshole. He can have that demographic. He’s a good spokesman for them.
The Santa Cruz CAO salary maxes out at $24,776 per month! That is $297,312 a year! Ridiculous.