The best week of the year to be in Santa Cruz is coming next week! But first, let’s see what kind of stuff we can talk about this week. I’ve got an update on the West Cliff and Monterey incident I missed last week, teens lead SCPD on another cross town chase, just bring the dog next time, Starbucks thieves in Scotts Valley, mail thief busted, dope rescued from the toilet bowl, what could possibly go wrong here, deputies deflate tire theft, the usual Denny’s madness, It’s all good man, third times a charm, the sanctuary city for crime, we haven’t bottomed out yet, we pay for good cops here, El Circo del Ayuntamiento, deep cuts, every breaking wave, and maybe more.
Get Ready For the Best Week of the Year to be in Santa Cruz!
Thursday afternoon, I saw some local UCSC kids packing up an SUV with all kinds of camping and survival type stuff. That spells one thing. Burning Man! Been there done that enough times already. Now I just enjoy it vicariously through webcams and news reports. I haven’t been since 2005 so it’s been awhile but I ended up going 4 or 5 times (I can’t remember) between 1997 and 2005. It’s the harmonic convergence of a mass exodus of burners to Nevada for a week, most kids are back in school again, and UCSC is not back yet. The town will empty and we’ll have mostly empty beaches, empty grocery stores, traffic will be light and breezy, and the weather should be nice. Of course, all hell could break loose on the public safety side of things. I’m hoping not but if something does happen, you know where to read about it.
He Wasn’t Giving Up His Million Dollar View Easily
So I finally got a first hand account of the shit show that happened over on Monterey and West Cliff last week (too late for my publish deadline). I know a few people asked about it last week. Here you go! Thanks BC!
“It started over a week ago, with a man hanging out/living in his car. He would sit in it all day, leave for a bit, but leave the car there, then come back. He started throwing his stuff all over the street, garbage, belongings, then would sit and talk on the phone, then throw more stuff around. Finally, last week, he was yelling so police were called. He left in his car, but by Wednesday he was back. He was acting out, yelling and screaming, pacing up and down the streets yelling, throwing stuff. He had his phone charging in the front yard of someones property, was going onto other people’s property. Multiple people called SCPD and within minutes, 8 cops show up. They tried to talk him down but he got into an altercation (hit/punched/kicked) two officers so tasers were deployed. His car was finally towed after he was arrested”.
Feel safer? Feel like crime is down locally? Feel the new normal.
Teens Lead SCPD on Cross Town Car Chase
Around 6:30PM on Monday, SCPD responded to a possible fight between a man and woman near 2nd and Main Street in Santa Cruz. A witness reported a male had a female by the throat and was pulling her into the vehicle. Another person reported the driver was assaulting the female in the car, according to SCPD reports. The car was later spotted on Ocean Street near Water Street, and when officers approached the vehicle, it sped towards Market Street. After losing sight of the car, it was later found crashed near Market and Stoney Creek. SCPD said four people in the car ran off after the crash but Deputies eventually located them in a nearby neighborhood. Two men and two women were arrested for failure to yield, hit and run with injury, parole hold, public intoxication and delaying a police officer.
Just Bring in the Dog Next Time
Wednesday around 3PM, I heard reports of some kind of disturbance in the parking lot of the county jail. SCPD closed off the entrance to the jail at Blaine street while they dealt with some guy who refused to get out of his car for some reason. More and more cops showed up, they brought out some kind of non-lethal “comply” device, and he finally ended up complying and it all ended safely. He could have just gotten out of his car without all the drama, but this is Santa Cruz.
Starbucks Thieves Chased in Scotts Valley
I heard unconfirmed reports that earlier Wednesday night, Scotts Valley police spotted a couple thieves in the act of trying to steal customer laptops from a local Starbucks, and chased them onto Highway 17. CHP joined in, along with Watsonville PD, Santa Cruz County Sheriff, and SCPD. The suspects apparently crashed the car and both suspects evaded authorities. Multiple laptops were found in the car.
Scotts Valley Mail Thief Busted After High Speed Chase
Late Tuesday night, a Scotts Valley resident spotted a woman in a dark SUV stealing mail from her mailbox. The suspected mail thief then led Scotts Valley police on a high speed chase through the Granite Creek/Upper Navarra area before dumping her stolen car on a dead end street. The suspect hid inside a nearby home and was later arrested. Officers found stolen mail from nearby neighbors. SVPD added additional charges of mail theft, felony evading, and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Dope Rescued From Toilet Bowl
Tuesday afternoon, SCPD, Santa Cruz Fire, and probably the Harbor Patrol all participated in pulling some dumbass out of the toilet bowl. It happens every summer. Sometimes it doesn’t end so well. Witnesses reported the man left the scene after being rescued and didn’t even thank the people that saved him.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong Here?
A 53 year old former local cab driver accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a customer in 2014 has asked Superior Court Judge John Salazar to change his terms of release which prohibit the convicted felon from driving for Uber or any other taxi companies. He basically wants permission to drive strangers around in his car again. Talk about a sense of entitlement here. The man was/is? charged with kidnapping, kidnapping to commit another crime, assault with intent to commit a felony and sexual battery by restraint. He was released from jail in August of last year one day after Santa Cruz County Superior Court jurors declared a mistrial. The DA is planning to try him again. The man is accused of taking a 30 year old Watsonville woman to a Santa Cruz hotel and assaulting her in 2014, according to court documents. Santa Cruz police have said the suspect has a significant criminal history. In 2012, he was convicted in Santa Cruz County of drug possession. He was convicted in 2005 in San Joaquin County and in 2004 in Santa Clara County for drug possession as well, according to court documents.
Deputies Deflate Tire Theft in Progress
Wednesday night, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies noticed a Chevy SUV that was parked near 7th and Soquel Avenues with two flat tires. Another deputy spotted a man down the street with a tire iron and a different tire. Around the same time, dispatchers received a call from a couple who woke up to one of their tires missing from their car (gee, what a coincidence!). The deputies determined the man walking with the tire and tire iron had just stolen it and was walking back to his car when he was stopped. The bum was arrested for tire theft, possession of burglary tools, and a parole violation (of course he was on parole here!).
More of the Usual Denny’s Madness
Saturday night around 10PM, I heard reports of a fight with weapons in the back parking lot of Denny’s on Ocean street. Witnesses reported seeing one man seen swinging a hammer at another man, while 3 other males were seen running from the scene. The suspect with the hammer jumped in a white Acura and fled before SCPD pulled him over minutes later at gunpoint along Ocean street.
It’s All Good Man!
Thursday afternoon, the Scotts Valley Police Department served an arrest warrant on a local woman for the theft of almost $100,000 from a victim she acted as a caretaker for. She’s looks pretty happy here.
Third Time’s a Charm
While on patrol Friday, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Deputy found a man camping near an elementary school in Soquel. When approached, the man took off running from the deputy and jumped over a nearby fence attempting to escape but was still caught. The man was determined to have had two outstanding warrants for his arrest and was booked into the County Jail.
We’re a Sanctuary For Criminal Activity Here
A dozen alleged members of an MS-13 gang in Santa Cruz have been accused of charges including murder, drug trafficking and racketeering in a revised indictment by a federal grand jury in San Jose. The gang, known as Santa Cruz Salvatrucha Locos 13 or SCSL13, reportedly operated between 2012 and 2017 according to court records. It allegedly was a branch of Mara Salvatrucha 13 (or MS-13) and primarily composed of immigrants and descendants of immigrants from El Salvador.
All 12 defendants are accused of conspiring to racketeer, or conduct an organized-crime enterprise. The charge carries a potential life sentence upon conviction. Six are accused of conspiring to murder rival gang members and three of those defendants are accused of murder in aid of racketeering, according to an indictment summary prepared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. That charge could carry a potential death penalty if local federal prosecutors seek approval to pursue a death penalty and the U.S. attorney general allows it. Otherwise, it carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Seven defendants are charged with conspiring to extort payments from local drug dealers by threatening violence against the dealers, their families or friends. Other charges against various defendants include conspiring to sell methamphetamine and using guns in crimes of violence.
We Obviously Haven’t Bottomed Out Just Yet
We’ll Pay To Get Good Cops to Come Here!
And the city will pay you to get them here! SCPD and the city of Santa Cruz announced a new program designed to recruit more capable officers. As part of a method to bring new officers to the area, people can receive $2,000 for bringing ready to go, qualified officers to Santa Cruz. Chief Mills said they are looking for candidates who have had previous field experience. Those who help to recruit new members will receive their first $1,000 after the candidate is sworn in and the second $1,000 after his or her first six months have been completed. More information available here!
El Circo del Ayuntamiento
The deadline has passed and so have apparently a couple of folks I’ve been listing here the past few weeks. According to official election records, both Craig Bush and Michael Mahan have officially dropped out. So it was a short but sweet ride for them. Michael, never got to know you. Happy trails. I’ll miss Craig’s beard and his deadpan response to questions at the forums. So the final count here will be 10. Or less if others fall off down the road. But no more than these 10.
I noticed a handful of candidates had some kind of mixer event this last week. Drew, Richelle, and Ashley all had public events this week that I was aware of. Get out and meet your city council candidates!
And Thursday night, the local SEIU had some kind of candidate forum/debate at their meeting, I assume to decide who they will endorse as a group. Of course, I had a plant or 2 there. And here’s the general feedback I got: “8 of the candidates showed up, Paige and Dave Lane were not there. There were 8 or 9 questions that everyone had to each answer in 60 seconds. Hawthorne appeared a bit stressed and Meyers didn’t do as well as I thought she would do. Richelle and Larson seemed to pull from their past experience a lot, Phillip Crawford is crusty, and Ashley did pretty good as I saw a number of heads nodding along when she said something. And course they liked Drew, who always sports their favorite color with The Shirt”. So that’s the feedback I got here from my trusted eyes and ears on the scene.
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.
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)
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. 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. 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. I’ve noticed her making the rounds at various events, some unexpected ones as well (which I respect!). I’m not surprised she didn’t make the SEIU forum. Wrong crowd for her. They can’t appreciate what she brings to the table.
Phillip J. Crawford
I pulled this from a recent profile on the Chamber of Commerce website promoting their October forum event. Crawford wants to “create affordable housing opportunities, expand public and alternative transportation, achieve a sustainable budget, protect our environment and provide responsive city government”. he goes on to say “Specifically, I will work to identify home ownership opportunities for veterans, teachers and city workers, make the city more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, improve transportation connections between people and jobs, ensure that any new development enhances our quality of life, protect residential zoning and our treasured coastline, and promote “green” buildings, renewable energy and open space”. Wow. Never mentions public safety once. Not even casual lip service. How utterly disappointing. I guess we know which direction he leans. Next! And I hear he’s “crusty”!
Justin seems to have a dubious understanding of the rules here. I’ve heard from a couple people who saw yard signs with his name on it plastered on neighborhood lawns before the legal date allowing them to be placed in public. I guess he needed a head start. No word on how Justin did at the SEIU forum, but I’m sure they loved him. He checks their boxes, and the Krohnies love him.
Drew had a nice little campaign mixer thing in Laurel Park this past week. I walked by but didn’t stop by. Mostly because I didn’t know what it was at the time. All I mostly saw and heard was Curtis and his land yacht parked next to the park. I later saw photos relating it to Drew. It looked like a nice little get together, lots of tired old progressive faces (Krohn, Sandy Brown, Norse). And of course The Purple Shirt. I heard a rumor he loves that shirt so much because it’s the SEIU color. So I looked it up and holy crap! They’re right! Talk about subliminal advertising here. He would be a nightmare on the city council. Krohn Lite.
Cynthia seems to be the subject of a lot of good rumor mongering lately. She seems to excel at pissing people off. I can relate! What I’ve heard is that she kind of split ranks with our favorite local “machine”, after they advised her not to run this time, after apparently advising her not to run last time. I heard she told them to take a flying leap and then she split from the ranks of a local “gender based” Democratic “club”. So at least to my eyes, she’s a wildcard now. I had her pegged as a “machine moderate” and now I’m re-classifying her as “progressive wildcard”. I’m sure she has her fans and her audience here, but there’s absolutely nothing about her that excites me in any way.
Now Dave is a real wildcard here! He just happens to share the SAME LAST NAME as former mayor and progressive barnacle Don Lane. Will the lemming voters of Santa Cruz confuse them? Of course they will! You know they will! It’s how Sandy Brown got elected (ask JM Brown). Other than that observation and prediction, I know pretty much zero about this guy and he’s not helping me out here. No show at SEIU. He seems to be fading fast here.
Greg has been dropping his latest endorsements on social media like they’re pennies from heaven. Here’s where I say endorsements are like culos. Everyone’s got one. Some are just bigger than others. It’s not that I’m anti-endorsement. I just think it’s such a vanity thing, for both the giver and the receiver. It validates their clique. Look at all my cool friends. Never mind if I would be a good city council member, look at who I know. In many ways, endorsements are what got us here. Endorsements make the machine a machine. So when I see people chasing endorsements, I kind of throw a side eye. If you have a good plan, and you have the stage presence to effectively communicate that plan, it won’t matter who your friends are. Because everyone will want to be your friend. Greg looks great on paper. He’s moderate. Many of my friends support him so I guess I should too. But I won’t just because my friends do. That makes me ill informed and lazy. I’ll support him if I think he’s one of the best 3 moderates running. That’s far from being decided yet. I heard he did pretty good at the SEIU forum. I’m sure he can do these forums in his sleep.
Donna is apparently interested in getting housing programs working, addressing social service issues and making sure local infrastructure is ready for global warming related changes. I know I’m going to inevitably confuse Meyers and Hawthorne a lot. Maybe if the city council wasn’t already overloaded with progressive kooks (like Krohn and Sandy Brown) or “machine” puppets (like Chase and Watkins), I might be ok with her. But I just can’t see her standing up to the county (and her county friends on the BoS who endorse her here). We won’t get a city advocate to the county any more than we have with our current supervisor now. I just don’t see her stepping up and stopping the county from constantly bullying the city around. There’s nothing offensive here. Nothing optimal either.
Richelle had a nice little event this past week at the MAH. I wanted to stop by but I didn’t make it down there. I saw photos and saw many familiar faces of friends and folks I’ve met or know. I know and like Richelle, and will almost certainly vote for her. She’s been one of the only steady moderate voices on the city council the past 2 years (along with David) and she’s not afraid to ask hard or uncomfortable questions. I know a number of people who have recently told me they’re disappointed in her for various reasons, “she’s part of the machine now”, she supported rent control, etc. So she’s arguably lost some of her initial shine. Last time she ran, she was the outsider, now she’s the only incumbent. And probably, unfairly, will bear the brunt of criticism directed at the “status quo”. I know I gripe about the status quo a lot, but I’ve never felt like Richelle was the problem there. She’s the Professor on Gilligan’s island up there sometimes. I heard she did pretty well at the SEIU event. She usually does well at any event. If nothing else, she’s always prepared.
Ashley 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 recently helped organize a community rally in downtown Santa Cruz to support women victims of violence. Her family has a long history in Santa Cruz, owning the Dolphin Restaurant at the end of the wharf for 70 years until 2009. Ashley attended Westlake Elementary, Branciforte Junior High, and Harbor High School before attending UC Santa Cruz. She checks all my boxes here. She’s smart, articulate, and fiercely determined. She’s a straight shooter in a town that can’t shoot straight. Ashley had an event this week downtown that I saw posted on Facebook, saw some friendly familiar faces there as well. And I heard she held her own at the SEIU forum.
Deep Cuts Casting Call in Santa Cruz
Want to be in a Jordan Peele movie? Universal Pictures is looking for extras for his new film, scheduled to shoot in the Santa Cruz and surrounding areas. Casting directors are looking for hundreds of extras, both men and woman to play characters aged 9 and older. Extras will be paid and fed. The pay rate is around $106 for 8 hours plus overtime. Shooting begins in September. More info here!
Every Breaking Wave
Are we so helpless against the tide
Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave
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