The Weekly Dump 12.14.18

The Status Quo Gets Obliterated

Well, I guess I asked for it. Only this isn’t exactly what I asked for. Yes, I’ve been an unabashed, cheerleader for disrupting the local “status quo” way we run the city. But this is the wrong direction. So now what? I’m sure you’ll hear plenty of answers to that question. But as I see it, the local Coonerty/Mathews “machine” has taken a major beating in this city council election. They only had one candidate out of 3 from the “slate” actually win, and with 3 seats open, that is just not a successful outcome. Given the amount of collective money spent on the “slate” candidates, and all the big name endorsements, the best they could manage was a 2nd, 4th, and 5th place finish. Ouch. That “machine” is broken. And was beaten by a couple of amateurs, a first time candidate and a guy who calls himself “Sweety Muffin Top”. It’s like that Southwest commercial. “Wanna get away?”

So back to what’s next. Fire and brimstone? I don’t think so. I think we’ll see a lot of status quo actually, just a kinder, gentler, dumber status quo. I see a bunch of idealistic dopes acting like they just got ahold of their parent’s credit card. I see lots of dumb ideas being floated, discussed ad nauseum, only to have the city attorney tell them that it’s either illegal or opens the city up to huge liability in civil court. I see Cynthia Mathews basically wishing she could be anywhere but up there for the next 2 years. I see even LONGER meetings, with Krohn and Sandy Brown feeling empowered to pontificate and endlessly babble more than their usual amount. I see a guy in a dirty bathrobe complaining about the city not doing enough about something, because he needs something to bitch about at city hall. I see Justin Cummings wondering if he bit off more than he can chew. I see lots of material for future Weekly Dumps.

We’ve managed to survive 2 years of Donald Trump. We can survive 2 years of this. Just gotta try harder next time. Maybe we need a new “machine”. Maybe we need better choices. Maybe we need to learn why they won and do some things differently. In 2 years, 4 seats will be open, including those of Krohn and Brown. I personally think Watkins is a “one and done”. I would be shocked otherwise. And Mathews is definitely done. The right group could WIN a new majority pretty easily. But that takes building bridges between candidates and not fences. If anything, that is the one thing the progressives did right in this case. And the one thing the “machine” did wrong that likely explains the results. Anyone who doesn’t like the result, you’ve got 2 years to basically figure it out and fix it. The current group will likely spend the next 2 years dragging us down further. They will basically give the next group the “talking points” to present a strong, unified, better alternative.

The Stuff We Don’t Hear About

File this story under “the stuff we don’t normally hear about”. I was doing some last minute perusing of the SCPD media crime log (It’s actually pretty entertaining. This is Santa Cruz after all). Lots of the usual drunk and disorderly stuff, and then I come across this:

So this person was arrested and charged with the following on Tuesday morning:

  • Rape of a victim incapable of consent
  • Kidnapping
  • Causing harm/death of elder dependent adult
  • Incest
  • Threaten crime with intent to terrorize
  • Battery

And we hear nothing about it until I bring it up? He was arraigned in Santa Cruz County court on Thursday morning according to court records. I heard his bail is listed at $50K. For these charges. Pathetic.

Watsonville Man Charged With Murder in Robbery Slaying

A Watsonville man has been charged with murder in the slaying earlier this summer of a thief who was trying to steal from him. This past June, there was a confrontation that resulted in a deadly shooting at a residence near Lawrence Avenue and South Green Valley Road. A 32 year old man was shot and killed in a driveway after he and an accomplice robbed the suspect, who was apparently dealing marijuana from his home. The two men robbed the suspect of drugs and cash at gunpoint. When they attempted to flee the scene, one of the thieves was shot by the victim/suspect. The other thief was caught nearby and arrested. The suspect is facing murder and gun enhancement charges and is being held on $1.5 million bail.

Sex Offender Found Inside Cabrillo College Women’s Bathroom

This past Tuesday around noon, a 25 year old registered sex offender who was ON PROBATION (of course he was!) was caught inside the women’s bathroom at Cabrillo College. The man was apparently looking under stalls when a 20 year old woman confronted him trying to leave the bathroom. After he shoved the the door into her head, she called the Sheriff’s Office. Several hours later, detectives identified the suspect from video surveillance at Cabrillo College. The man was later found at Target in Capitola (in the women’s bathroom?) and they arrested him without incident. He was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail and is being held without bail on a number of charges, including parole violation, false imprisonment, loitering on school grounds, and lewd conduct. Held without bail? For being a creeper? WTF? This low hanging fruit is who gets held without bail? How about the recidivist felons we cycle through the system daily? How about the guy we “never heard about” who gets $50,000 bail? Who is worse? The serial creeper or the guy who possibly raped, kidnapped, and killed someone in their family?

God is Not Happy or Amused

Sunday night around 7PM, a staff member of Star of the Sea Church witnessed and reported a transient male who was taking a crap in the church carport. Apparently a woman friend he had with him yelled at and threatened the witness.

Did Their License Plate Read “Kick Me”?

Saturday night, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputy was patrolling near 17th Avenue and Brommer Street in Live Oak when he noticed a conspicuously parked car in a parking lot filled with closed businesses. It was conspicuous mostly because 3 people were just sitting inside the vehicle. Upon further check of the occupants, one man was in possession of drug paraphernalia, a woman had a warrant and some meth, and another woman was in possession of a concealed fixed blade knife. All three were arrested and taken to jail.

Watsonville Search Turns Up Guns and Stolen Cars

Last Thursday night, a 31 year old Watsonville man was arrested during a search on the 100 block of Rache Road. Deputies found an illegal short barreled rifle, handguns, high capacity magazines, ammunition and several stolen cars. The man was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail with bail set at $25,000.

Local Retailers Busted For Selling to Kids

Last week, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office busted three local retailers for selling alcohol and tobacco products to customers under the age of 21. The three busted retailers were Harbor Liquors, M.B. Liquors and Hernandez Market (not the one on Laurel street). Live Oak American Gas, Live Oak Liquors, Dekes Market, Pleasure Point Wine and Spirits, 7-11 Portola Drive and Pleasure Point Liquor and Mini Mart were all determined to be in compliance.

Making the Baby Jesus Cry Again

Last Friday morning around 1AM, A 20 year old man was arrested after stealing from the Messiah Lutheran Church nativity scene. California Highway Patrol officers were on patrol near High Street in Santa Cruz when the suspect nearly ran into their patrol car with a large wooden wise man. When officers tried to stop him, he ran and dropped the wise man before he was caught and arrested. According to the local Pastor, last year Mary and Joseph were stolen and never returned. The man was booked on charges of being publicly intoxicated, petty theft, and resisting arrest.

Robbery and Battery on Soquel

Last Friday night around 10:30PM, somebody was robbed and beaten up on the 300 block of Soquel. According to police reports, the victim was punched and beaten in the face multiple times and suffered serious bodily injury. Nobody was arrested. Details are few (as usual).

Take Me to the River

Last week, Watsonville Police arrested a man after he led them on a chase and was found with drugs and stolen credit cards. After Watsonville police responded to a call for a possible residential home invasion burglary, a 35 year old man ran from officers. After chasing him to a nearby river bank, he was arrested for loitering on private property and resisting arrest.

Robbery Suspect Arrested Driving Stolen Truck

Saturday afternoon, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputy was on patrol in Boulder Creek when she noticed the vehicle in front of her was a stolen pickup truck. With the help of other deputies, they initiated a stop and detained the male driver, who was also wanted in connection with a recent robbery. The man was booked into County Jail on charges that included, robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle, and possession of a controlled substance.

Pacific Front Project Approved for Downtown Santa Cruz

In their final meeting of 2018 (and for some their final meeting), the Santa Cruz City Council approved a new downtown commercial and housing development at the corner of Pacific and Laurel by a 5-2 vote. Of course, the 2 opposing votes came from Dumb and Dumber (Krohn and Brown). The new “Pacific Front” project will be six stories tall at it’s peak, and include 205 housing units with ground floor commercial space and a two floor parking garage. The biggest point of contention (at least for Dumb and Dumber) seemed to be the city rule exempting the developer from including restricted rental units. The city was willing to do this in exchange for parcels of adjacent Pacific Avenue property, which the city is expected to use to build a new 100 percent affordable unit housing development. Huh? So how is this new “100 percent affordable” project going to be subsidized? With our taxes? The project will tentatively combine seven parcels at Laurel Street, Pacific Avenue and Front Street. The project will add 205 units to our existing housing stock and Dumb and Dumber voted against it. They just keep pulling our chain.

A Fond Farewell to David, Cynthia, and Richelle

I mean this honestly, thank you for your service to the community. I know it’s a tough, thankless job. And the pay sucks. I know there was plenty we didn’t agree on, but there was plenty of common ground too. I wish all 3 of you the best in whatever comes next. I know I can come across as a constant critic, but I know you did the best you could with what you had to work with. I can question the motives, the intent, the lack of critical reasoning, but I’ll never question the effort from any of you. I know how much all 3 of you care about the community in your own personal ways. Mahalo.

Long May You Run – Neil Young

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  1. arent most of the corridors here also the most violent areas of town? its wrong for the new housing to be on the corridors because of the violence. how are women and children, or small dudes supposed to live there?

    did you see the large sign on highway 1 heading south bound? there is a large red x, and then another sign that says “mas” in red too haha – no mas! ahhh i guess they probably meant x mas like christmas 😛

    • I don’t know how you correlated the “corridors” with crime. I personally think the highest concentration of criminal behavior (and calls for service from the city) is where you let criminal recidivists set up their “camps”, complete with open drug dealing, stolen bike chop shops, etc. The areas the city and county have just conceded and given up on. Harvey West. Pogonip. Natural Bridges. “Paradise” Park. “Camp Bernal”. No mas! Thanks!

      • well downtown is unsafe, ocean st is disgusting and littered with needles all the time, soquel has guys chopping bikes all the time, and the drive by shootings on the corridors. criminals can set up camp in different tent areas, but they go other places to commit crimes.

  2. I truly can’t express how much I enjoy reading this every week. If for no other reason, the “entertainment” value. But more than that, it’s stunning to me to see how much is kept quiet in this town. I moved here after a decade in Los Angeles and having grown up in NYC. I thought I was moving to a quiet little town where I could live the rest of my life in a community of like-minded people. Wow. Was I ever wrong. Oh, David and I have made many friends here in Santa Cruz and the area is, of course, gorgeous and the air fresh and clean. It’s just wonderful. But for safety and truth? Give me LA or NYC any day of the week over Santa Cruz. Crimes are reported, “bad guys” actually stay in jail for more than 24-48 hours and bail is realistically set.

    The guy in Watsonville, dealing drugs out of the house who shot the dude who robbed him at gunpoint. There is just SO much wrong with that ENTIRE scenario. What would I have done had I been the judge? No clue. Which is why I’m not a judge! Glad I didn’t have to make the decision! But what about the other guy whom they arrested? What happened to him? Bet he’s happy he wasn’t shot…

    I don’t know. Now I’m rambling so pay no attention. But please do keep writing every week. At least we have some idea of what’s going on. God knows the local news doesn’t tell us this stuff. I’d rather know what’s going on than be kept in the dark.


  3. Ben,

    You seem to be getting ready for a future run at City Council, so here’s something you’ve probably considered but are hesitant to take on:

    Our absurdly innumerate “sanctuary city” welcome mat for 7,300,000,000 people!

    You know it’s a perfectly legitimate concern that any self-respecting public servant should take on, damn the torpedoes. Even here in P.C. Santa Cruz plenty of decent people would be delighted to, at long last, have a City Council member with what used to be known as courage.

    –Pat Kittle

    PS: I enjoy your reports, even if you do curse the ground I walk on.

    • In no uncertain terms, let me say I will never run for public office in Santa Cruz. The whole “Sanctuary City” propaganda (I call it that because the designation has no real effect other than to placate and pander to people) seems to have mostly faded from the public radar for now. But obviously most if not all the new city council supports it. Good for them. The feds don’t care. As for me cursing the ground you walk on, that’s not true. I strongly disagree with you on a number of topics, but as long as you play by the rules and keep it nice and clean here, I’m not going to censor you just for being you. Just keep your opinion about Israel out of here or that will change quickly.

      • Serious question:

        Why are you so touchy about that?

        • It’s not about being “touchy”. This isn’t the forum for it and I won’t tolerate it for a number of reasons. I have 3 main rules for comments. Keep it on point to what’s being discussed (local topics). Don’t make it personal against anyone (unless they are a public figure). And be respectful in general. When those rules get broken, people get timed out. There’s plenty of other stuff to talk about. I’ll leave it at that.

          • I sure wish you’d follow your own rules. Specifically, name-calling is not respectful. It’s a bullying technique used to perfection by our president, but, for many readers, it has the opposite effect than what you intend. It demeans yourself more than it demeans the subjects of your discontent. If you need to resort to name-calling in order to enhance your arguments, then those arguments must not have been very strong.

          • There are always exceptions to my rules. It’s just that I’m the only one who knows what those exceptions are. If your biggest concern here is me calling public figures names, perhaps you’re missing the point of why I do this every week. Maybe a kinder, gentler, place would be more to your liking. But thanks for the feedback.

  4. Always looking for some irony…….Forget dumb and dumber…..should our two least favorite council members now be known as dump and dump her ……particularly heading toward the next election cycle.

  5. I’m okay with a creeper with a prior conviction being held without bail. But whatever the h*** that other guy did should keep him in lock up without bail as well.

    • Definitely not giving Serial Creeper Guy a pass here, but if he’s such a threat to society why did the dopes at COUNTY PROBATION kick him to the curb? The number one threat to public safety in the city of Santa Cruz? County probation.

  6. Johnny at the Harbr

    Keep the info coming Ben, we always get the fluff from the TV and the Senile and never tells us whats really going down on the streets or in women’s bathrooms….thanks again for the site…

  7. OMG !! with some giggles in the middle, followed by WTH ??
    Thank you!

  8. FYI, the 205 unit downtown development will have 11 affordable units included in the project. The developers have agreed to making 5.5% of it affordable to low income.
    The donation of the adjacent parcels might include $1.2 million if they can’t add a third parcel to the mix,(it’s the old Pitney and Perry building, now Project Purr) that they are trying to acquire for the city to complete the 100 affordable units project.
    The way that is supposed to work is that the city partners up with a low income specialist developer and the city donates the land and the builder uses their money and grant money and tax incentives to fund the actual construction. The builder can also be the finished project’s rental management company so they continue to be paid for their efforts.
    Technically, the city shouldn’t be into it for more than the land, but they could end up giving permit concessions or even some of their grant funds to make it happen,
    HOWEVER, there an impending fly in the ointment. The new council in all their progressive wisdom will probably find a way to backtrack on the approval and demand changes requiring 30 or more affordable units. This will result in the developer stepping away and nothing will get built, no property will be donated and drug deals will continue at Taco Bell ad infinitum.

  9. Judi Grunstra

    Ben, Maybe the new city council members will attempt to steer the City Manager in a different direction, which I believe is something you were in favor of. I am hopeful that they will also derail the awful library-under-a-parking-garage project, thereby resulting in the use of $28 million in Measure S funds to renovate the library on the present site, as well as and retaining (and improving) Lot 4, site of the Farmer’s Market and monthly Antique Faire. That central downtown lot has so much more potential than wasting it on a parking garage.

    • I think the library/garage package deal is pretty much dead (in my humble opinion). I don’t see this city council supporting it (at least not a majority). As for a shift in the city manager’s actions, they can direct him but he’ll push back with his staff and the city attorney. Now they may fire him at some point and try to replace him. That would make things very interesting. I think if anything, his job is less safe with the status quo in ruins. Thanks Judi.

  10. I split my time between my place here and my place in Lewistown, MT. Many people ask why. After reading the SCPD and COSC Sherrif logs, the reason crystallized. Here is the weekly Lewistown Police Log:

    “Here are a few items from the Police Blotter in today’s edition. You can find the entire article on page 3.
    • A 911 caller advised someone knocked on her door, but she was not expecting anyone. Officers responded, but did not find anyone in the area.
    • A caller requested someone from dispatch call her at 3 a.m. the next day, to wake her up for her shuttle ride to Billings. The caller was advised dispatch does not provide that service.
    • An officer warned two juveniles about skateboarding on downtown sidewalks.
    * Incidentally, calls about people knocking on windows/doors – and the homeowner found no one there when responding – were received on more than one day.”

    My friends and neighbors give me crap about living in Lewistown, calling it backwards, culture-less and flyover country. They might be right. But I yearn for the days of old here in Santa Cruz when our police logs looked like the Lewistown police log.

    Given the results of the next election , how is it possible to convince the registered voters (that bother to vote) that we can do better, and the “better” would eventually result in a police blotter similar to that of Lewistown? I am not being sarcastic here, I just don’t see a pragmatic way out of this mess here in Santa Cruz at this point.

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