The Weekly Dump 11.23.18

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it seems like we don’t have a lot to be thankful for but if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can muster up a few things. Like you! My faithful readers. I’m thankful for you, that you lend me your ear when I feel the need to vent, that you often share my frustrations and prove misery does indeed love company. I’m thankful for being able to live here. I’m thankful for my health, and my family, and my friends. Sure there’s a lot I gripe about weekly, often over and over, but as far as the big picture goes, it’s small stuff. And I don’t really sweat the small stuff too much. I make fun of it a lot. I can be critical to a fault sometimes. But I also know when it’s time to move on. Because I really do have so much more important big picture stuff to be thankful for and focusing on.

Two Armed Robberies Within a Half Hour on Saturday Night

Last Saturday night around 8PM, I heard about 2 armed robberies which took took place at local businesses. The first armed robbery took place at a business near Mission and Berkshire. I heard from one source it was the Rotten Robbie store (unconfirmed). While SCPD was responding to that call, another armed robbery took place at the Subway on Soquel. In that case, the suspects apparently stole the cash register at gunpoint. Both cases involved 4 male suspects, 2 of which entered the businesses wearing masks before exiting to a waiting vehicle. I doubt anyone was caught or arrested here, since we didn’t hear anything about any of this on the news, from SCPD, pretty much anywhere but here. I’ve seen absolutely ZERO coverage of this story anywhere else.

Dead Body Found Outside Camp Bernal

Well that didn’t take very long. It’s only been a few weeks since the first “transient wave” of squatters and campers arrived to set up shop behind Ross and the Gateway Plaza, and now we’ve got our first confirmed dead body. Multiple people let me know on Saturday that a dead body was apparently found near the new “Camp Bernal”, the collateral damage of the city’s prodigal answer to solving homelessness behind a chain link fence on a city owned dirt parking lot. All I know is the body was male. Obviously, we hear zero from the city or the police or the news about any of this. And while I think the homeless folks who saved lives recently in the same location truly are heroes, this is the dichotomy of the local homeless issue in general. Yes, I know not all homeless people are bums (and not all bums are homeless!). The really sad, shocking part of this story for me was when I heard some of the other homeless people in the area were actually picking through and taking the dead guy’s stuff. Then as I thought about it more, I sort of came to the conclusion that he wasn’t coming back for any of it. As shocking as it was for me, it’s just the rule of the street I guess. This is just not a solution and an inhumane approach to dealing with the most vulnerable people. I can’t say enough times how much the county has failed here. And they are still failing us daily. This is not a solution. It’s a reaction. Then shortly after 3PM on Sunday (the next day!) I hear a second body was found inside a vehicle parked in the Gateway parking lot near Ross. Another apparent overdose. Police and paramedics found a 73 year old male with “no known address” unconscious in his vehicle, according to SCPD. A relative apparently found him unresponsive in the vehicle and believed drugs may have been a factor in his death. He reportedly had 34 priors for drug offenses and stealing, with one felony case awaiting adjudication, and he was on probation. Homeless, living in a car, stealing from others to support his apparent addiction, and then dying from that addiction in a parking lot. How often do you think this story plays out in Santa Cruz? This broken record is stuck on skip here and we need to move the needle.

Sunday Morning Fire Injures Two Local Firefighters

Sunday morning, a vegetation fire in the area of Eureka Canyon near Buzzard Lagoon road injured two firefighters who were hurt trying to escape from a falling tree. Both were treated by paramedics at the scene and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Cal Fire says the injuries were non-life threatening and they were last listed in stable condition. The fire burned at least 2 acres before it was contained.

Dumb and Dumber

Friday night, dumb and dumber paid a visit to Scotts Valley, resulting in both being sent to the Santa Cruz county jail. It all began with a traffic stop by Scotts Valley Police for a cracked windshield. Officers then discovered the female driver didn’t have a license. When K9 Atlas alerted officers to the probably presence of drugs in the car, the subsequent search found a third of a pound of methamphetamine. She’s pretty much cooked so now it’s time for Dumber. The female driver called the father of her child to come get some belongings from the car before it was towed. The man happened to be on active probation for a prior conviction for selling meth. During a probation search after he arrived, the man was found with meth, packaging material and a large amount of cash. Police seized more than 160 grams of methamphetamine. Both were arrested. Dumber was also placed on probation hold. “Probation Hold” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

The Usual Mischief at the Morrissey Safeway

Friday night around 8:30PM, I heard a report of a man with an axe or a hatchet walking through the Safeway on Morrissey seemingly terrifying people. He apparently wasn’t threatening anyone with it. Yet. But he was asked to leave and refused to and that’s when staff called SCPD. He even went up to a cashier and attempted to purchase something. Alcohol maybe? SCPD stopped the guy when he left the store.

Pair Arrested With Guns, Knives, and Xanax

Last week the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force made two weapon arrests near the area of 41st avenue and Soquel. A 17 year old male was stopped with a fixed blade knife. Another 19 year old man lied about his name and was searched because he was on probation. Deputies found a loaded .38 caliber revolver in his backpack along with 75 Xanax pills. The juvenile was arrested for possessing a concealed fixed blade knife. The adult was arrested for possession of a loaded firearm, possession of medication without a prescription, and a probation violation.

Boulder Creek Wildfire Scorches More Than 15 Acres

Friday morning around 10:30AM, Boulder Creek Fire and Cal Fire responded to a fire near Mayfair and Bear Creek roads in Boulder Creek. The fire quickly spread to nearby vegetation and grew to about 15 acres. At least one structure where the fire originated burned down. Hopefully with this wave of rain we’re getting, you’ll be hearing about a lot less wildfires locally now. Bring on the rain!

Homeless Winter Shelter Opens in Live Oak

The county run winter shelter for the local homeless opened last week without much fanfare at the Veterans of Foreign War post building in Live Oak. Last year’s winter shelter welcomed about 30 people per night, and so far this year they are averaging about 40 according to reports. New this year, people wanting to stay at the emergency winter shelter can apparently “reserve” a spot, if they continue to use the facility nightly. This winter shelter is considered a “low-barrier” facility, meaning people can bring their pets, stay with their partners and are not restricted from entry based on state of intoxication unless they are causing a disturbance, according to reports. They do have to go through a security checkpoint, as well as find a place to store large possessions. Brent would be happy to help out with that one. They have also set check-in and check-out times, with shuttle bus pickup nightly around 5PM is at the corner of Coral and Limekiln streets. No walk-on shelter seekers will be accepted at the winter shelter. Finally we get a winter shelter OUTSIDE the city limits for the North County. Even better that it’s in Leopold’s district.

The Parallels of Machine Politics Are Predictably Ugly

Once upon a time there was this guy named Bernie Sanders. Bernie was popular, but he wasn’t the first choice of the “machine” known as the DNC (Democratic National Committee). The “machine” choice was Hillary Clinton, a very well qualified but uninspiring pick. Considered to be a safe pick. A “status quo” pick. She had all the money. She had all the good endorsements while Sanders remained a populist long shot, running on principle mostly, but his message resonated and echoed with people. Remember the lines of people he brought to Santa Cruz? Then as the campaign played out, the back room shenanigans by the DNC (Machine) were exposed, how they tried to undermine and sabotage his campaign for Clinton’s benefit. And what did that do to the Sanders supporters? It alienated them pretty hard against Clinton and the “machine”. Maybe it made them stay home. Maybe it made them vote Sanders anyways. But there is one truism here. It cost Clinton (and the Democratic “machine”) the election. They lost a chunk of their base with their behavior. They alienated a chunk of their base by disrespecting not so much an opponent but a colleague. How did that ultimately work out for the Democrats or Clinton? Sound familiar? It should. It doesn’t just happen on a National level. I’ll leave these parting thoughts here. Don’t alienate your base. If someone is pretty likely to vote for you, don’t insult their intelligence and lose it. Respect the fact that while people might have similar core values, things that make them “moderate”, they don’t mirror each other. Show grace in both winning and losing.

Two Pore Guys Hit Gold With Grant From Gates Foundation

Two Pore Guys, which has more than 100 employees at their corporate headquarters on Delaware Avenue, recently received a $2.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop molecular diagnostic tests for tuberculosis. The 18 month grant will fund research to determine if the company’s technology could provide an easy to use, sensitive, low cost device compatible with automated wireless reporting in parts of the world with limited resources. Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. An estimated 10 million people contracted the disease last year, with 6 million officially recorded and 4 million undiagnosed, according to the World Health Organization. Affordable and rapid detection is a major hurdle in poor countries, so a low cost portable test could save thousands of lives. I know I like to harp on the fact that we try to save the world’s problem’s locally (and usually fail miserably in the process). This is not one of those cases. I love reading and hearing about this. These guys are trying to save the world, and it’s not at the expense of the local taxpayer. In fact, with over 100 employees contributing daily to our local economy, I’d say we need much more this this kind of “save the world” thinking and much less coming from our elected officials.

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving mr.bendover! Our household is grateful for your relentless pursuit of honesty, fairness, and truth in reporting…the only place we can get that information. We appreciate that you’re always on the lookout for ways to bring some semblance of safety and sanity back into our community.

  2. happy thanksgiving to u2!- thanks for all the great writing/reporting!

  3. Austin Twohig

    Excellent report this week Ben. So many things I wouldn’t know about if Santa Mierda didn’t exist. You’re the best news source in Santa Cruz.

  4. I noticed you were commenting on Clintons money but what money exactly did you mean? If you mean her net worth, that wasn’t her’s or bills money. That money was our money. She stole it. Do some reading on her and you can find the facts.
    The same happened with McCain. look up “US Navy releases McCains record”. Investigate before printing.
    Both cases above are on line and all one must do is an small amount of digging.

    • Try not to assume so much. I was talking about the money that backed her, not her personal net worth. I have no idea what you’re referring to. I don’t hate either Clinton. I hate what the DNC did to Sanders.

  5. Gracchus too, would like to chime in and thank you – Ben Dover – for your honest reporting this year in 2018 and hopes it continues well into the future. You seem to have “moderate liberal” political views with a “law and order” twist? And Gracchus is hoping that in 2019 – with the help of some more blunders from our ineffective police chief – “Handy Andy” Mills that the progressives push will be stopped to abate the Santa Cruz death spiral into socialism. At least you and Gracchus are fairly close on “law and order” and you your classic sarcasm is greatly admired. For example, how could anyone with an ax [threatening people in Safeway mid-town] be there to buy anything other than alcohol? Your comments busted me up laughing – for at least 2 minutes. Thanks for the entertainment — which is often a co-incident outcome of your honest reporting with it usually brilliant “twist of sarcasm”.

  6. ” stuck on skip ” is a lovely turn. Thank you.

  7. Paige Concannon

    Oh boy, this should get very interesting. Happy Friday ?

  8. Thanks for all your reporting, I like others often get a laugh before reality settles in…. thanks.

  9. Stealing from a corpse is awful,. We aren’t some third world country. A transient here will never go without: food, clothing, medical care, the attention of serious dogooders who will think you are the victim of classism, sexism, capitalism (insert your societal ill of choice). Defiling a dead body is so low, such a unethical and hateful act. It’s the kind of behavior that gives this town a bad name.

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