The Weekly Dump 4.19.19

Stopping Bad Ideas Before They Manifest Themselves

It’s not something we are particularly good at in Santa Cruz. We seem to be more the kind of group that embraces bad ideas, despite obvious evidence to them being bad ideas, and do them anyways. Then we spend years trying to extricate ourselves from our bad idea. You don’t need to look any further than Chief Wiggum’s decision to stop enforcing the law and allow criminals to first take over San Lorenzo Park, then take over the area behind Gateway Plaza with zero repercussions. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also had no problem with random people just showing up and handing out hundreds of free needles daily. We all know where most of those needles end up. On the ground somewhere. Or in the river. Or in the bay. Or on the beach. Dirty needles have been a plague of Santa Cruz for more than 10 years, and the problem gets worse daily.

So when it was brought to my attention recently that the same group of kooks currently handing out those hundreds of free needles to the junkies in Camp Bernal wanted state approval to keep doing it, this required more than just me complaining about it. It required action. And when motivated, I’m all about action. So that’s what I did. I leveraged the platform I’ve spent 3 years building, 3 years trying to reach and maintain and keep interested. I put my speedy delivery hat on and set up an online petition that made it easy for people to get involved and take action. And to say it worked is an understatement. It steamrolled the message into the collective inboxes of the state, the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, and the head of the County Health Services program at a rate of more than 700 emails and signatures in the first 24 hours.

And in late breaking, stop the presses news, I received a copy of a letter from the Board of Supervisors explicitly stating opposition to the application, signed by Ryan Coonerty and Bruce McPherson. Two is good. Three would be better! Leopold is an insufferable lost cause here, so that leaves Caput and Friend. So now is a good time to ask publicly. Is he a friend or is he a foe?

Good Dog!

K9 Colt looks pretty proud of his haul here. He joined his partners with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office Gang Enforcement Team when they stopped a car last week. Colt alerted them to narcotics inside the vehicle, where deputies found nearly 7 ounces of heroin, along with a large sum of probably drug cash, indicative of narcotic sales. The guy was arrested and taken to jail.

Drunken Broken Bottle Brawl on Pacific Avenue

Wednesday evening, reports came in about a couple of drunken, drug addled transients brawling in front of O’Neills on Pacific and Cooper. One was apparently using a broken bottle as a weapon. SCPD sent numerous units down there. I know one guy needed medical attention for a lacerated hand, but I have no idea if anyone was actually arrested. And even if they were, they were most likely driven a couple blocks to the sobering center before they were kicked to the curb yet again.

Robbery and Stabbing Outside 7/11 on Ocean Street

Monday morning around 2AM, someone was reportedly stabbed and robbed outside the 7/11 on Ocean and Broadway. Apparently nobody was arrested and SCPD has no suspects. That sounds familiar. Does that mean crime is down when nobody gets arrested and there aren’t any suspects? I noticed the victim self admitted themselves to Dominican with multiple stab wounds and told staff he was stabbed in the city of Santa Cruz. So I know it happened. There’s a public record, even if they don’t want to tell us about it.

Three Aptos Businesses Burglarized

Tuesday morning between 3 and 5 AM, three local Aptos businesses located on Soquel Drive were vandalized and robbed. Burglars broke into Sid’s Smokehouse, California Coffee and Valero by breaking door locks or shattering the glass to the front door and targeted ATM machines and cash registers. Thieves made off with about $1000 from the combined burglaries while doing over $1000 in damages. All of the businesses have security footage they gave to the sheriff’s office. The suspects, if they are ever caught, are facing felony commercial burglary charges.

Stabbing Yourself in the Armpit Hurts

Wednesday morning around 5:00AM, SCPD responded to Camp Bernal for a report of a 31 year old man who “slipped, fell, and stabbed himself in the armpit with a knife”. A likely story. But lacking in so many other cutting edge details. SCPD cleared the call about a half hour later. No word on the condition of the victim.

Transient, California

Monday morning around 1AM, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies were involved in a pursuit of a stolen car near Freedom Boulevard in Soquel. Two people were eventually caught and arrested on a laundry list of charges. A 29 year old female, whose address was listed as “Transient, California”, was arrested on 9 separate charges, including theft and DUI, as well as having 2 outstanding warrants from Santa Clara. An 18 year old male was also arrested on 6 similar charges. Both were still in custody last time I checked.

Rude Wake Up Call for North Coast Transient 

Monday morning around 7:30AM, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies arrested a transient parked on the 600 block of Coast Road who had an active felony warrant, a suspended license, and was in possession of methamphetamine. They took him to jail, where last check he still sits.

We Have Hobbits in Santa Cruz!

Last Friday around 6PM, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies responded to a person living in a large, illegal campsite dug into a hillside in the Pogonip. The man told deputies he had been living there for three years. He was arrested for having outstanding warrants and illegal lodging and taken to jail.

Butts on the Beach

Allison Hack, a member of the Downtown Streets Team of Santa Cruz, earned a bronze level award in a statewide tobacco awareness photography contest for her image depicting a cigarette butt littered beach and sand castles. Lovely composition! Vibrantly honest! But where’s the random dirty needle?

Helicopters Invade Santa Cruz!

I’m sure people were freaking out but it apparently was only a movie shoot. Or so they tell us! Maybe it was the Department of Homeland Security? It wasn’t. But given the way certain people love to fan the rhetorical flames of fear for attention, I’m sure some local folks were buzzing with conspiracy theories about ICE raids and round ups. Maybe it was a movie about that stuff!

Listen to the Experts

When it comes to mental heath issues, we should be listening to experts in the field. Dr. Drew Pinsky is an expert in the field. He wrote a really excellent column last weekend about mental health issues within the homeless community, and how appalling the state (and other elected officials) are currently dealing with it. And failing miserably.

Maddy’s Garden

I wanted to give a shoutout to Janet and Julie and all of the other Leveelies who have quietly been fostering and caring for “Maddy’s Garden”, a small memorial garden area near the Riverwalk pedestrian bridge to San Lorenzo Park. Several members have been working on this garden over a year now, planting California Native plants as a memorial to Maddison Middleton and to beautify the area. Thank you Leveelies for all you do (and have done) for the city to make it a better place.

Who Bought Red, White, and Blue Beach?

This week it was announced that a private buyer purchased the 170 acre property around Red, White, and Blue beach in Santa Cruz, possibly creating access issues for the public. The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County wanted to purchase the property off of Highway 1 and Scaroni Road and open it up to the public as a campground, but a different private owner was selected instead. The Land Trust bid $17.5 million for the property, but a private buyer offered more than $23 million for the property, and that bid was ultimately selected. The new buyer is unknown and it is unclear what they will do with the land.

Weekly Shoutouts

Weekly shoutout to Melissa and Big Joe and Sharona for helping hammer out a plan of resistance with me and others (who I’ll keep anonymous but whose help is really appreciated, you know who you are). And a big shout out to Ryan Coonerty and Bruce McPherson. I know I pick on Ryan a lot. But what he did today was a big deal. He went public with it. And as a small token of appreciation, I’ll probably go easy on him for awhile. He earned some brownie points today.

The Santa Mierda Podcast Network

Be sure to check out the Santa Mierda Podcast Network! We’ve got the latest “Unfiltered” by yours truly, as well as a new podcast, “Untreated” from Sharona. You can find the Santa Mierda Podcast Network on SoundCloud. And Apple Music. And Spotify. It’s free so check it out and give it a listen! Next new podcast should be coming this Sunday night!

Check Out Our Twitter Feed for More Mierda!

Be sure to check out and follow our Twitter feed for even more mierda! Even though the Dump only comes your way once a week, I try to post breaking news and updates on other days as well. So check us out and follow us on Twitter for even more updates about real time news in Santa Cruz you might not otherwise hear about.

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  1. Congrats on the needle letter. Good work!

  2. “Chief Wiggum” …Man that’s funny. I’d call that my “quote of the week,” but your readers are so damn clever I’ll wait a bit.

    Thanks for that Ben. It made me smile

  3. thanks for the petition… and omg @the photo of the officer and the k9 ♡♡♡♡

    • thanks for posting this. if u scroll down to the second page it says over 61,000 needles distributed in march. even if all 2000 homeless were using these- that is 30 needles per month per person. what a joke.

  4. Thank you for the petition. I signed it. Friend represents my district. I am shocked that he didn’t sign the letter opposing the needle bats. There’s plenty of free, clean needles already.

  5. Thank you for doing the petition and posting that letter. I emailed my supervisor this morning, Zach Friend. I asked him why his name is not on that letter and let him know I oppose an additional needle free for all in our county.

  6. Hey Ben!
    I just posted your petition on NextDoor Seacliff and surrounding area. I just said here it is. You can read and sign if you are interested. Also mentioned that Coonerty and McPherson are on board. Where is Zach?

    • Thanks!

      • Hi Ben – saw Chief Wiggums (love it!) doing some sort of photo op on West Cliff with a large group of people wearing name tags. Don’t know what it was about but I wondered if the Chief noticed how many bums are parked along West Cliff – limiting access to local citizens and tourists alike. Most of these vehicles have expired tags and I’m going to go out on a limb here but I doubt that they have insurance. These people have become permanent seaside residents due to the lax enforcement of any laws that apply to us but not to the homeless. Some of these wanderers are parked in the exact same spot each time so I’m wondering if the city is even enforcing the ban on overnight parking there.

        Thanks for your efforts on the needle issue. Wife and I signed the petition and we’ll hold our breath to see if the other BOS members come to the their senses. Meanwhile, we can only hope that Chief Wiggums comes out of his liberal stupor and starts being a policeman instead of a social worker.

  7. Thanks for posting Drew Pinsky’s editorial. How do we support his concepts & Senate bill 640?
    Insanity what we’re doing time & again in this State.
    Thank you Ben!

  8. So Ben, don’t know if you will see this since it is already Wed., but I am watching KION news about a homeless project in Monterey where they help people get off drugs and even contact their estranged families in an effort to improve morale and motivate them to stay clean and get off the streets….so, the newsreader meantions that Monterey has 338 (!!!!!) homeless. How does Monterey have only 338 homeless??? If Santa Cruz had only 338, we could get them all cottages with ocean views with all the money S.C. spends. We need to notify the encampment that Monterey has GREAT services and maybe some would want to relocate. Just saying….
    And thanks for your timely interventions regarding the “volunteer” needle donaters….we do not need more free needles in our community, parks, beaches and rivers, etc. Great act of community activism that seems to have actually paid off. Kudos to you and your posse.

  9. Thanks Leigh!

  10. Hi Ben,
    An involved person on Nextdoor has been doing some great research on how to stop the expansion of the Syringe Roadshow. I think your readers might want to know how they can help. If you and your friends could help spread the information that would be fantastic. Here you go. Thank you to Chick Webb. This is his info:

    … “What CAN happen, though, is that their Harm Reduction Road Show Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) application to the California Department of Public Health (CDHP) can be denied. THAT is what we should focus on.

    The question is, “How?” Glad you asked. Here is the CDHP page where you can find the application – Scroll down about 1/3 of the way to the “Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County” heading.

    Now, you can (and I encourage you to) register your individual objection to this application by sending an email here – If you do, make darn sure that you reference the application by name, and emphasize the negative impact that this will have on the public health of the community at large.

    Unfortunately, that’s probably not enough, though, since if you dig a bit you can find the criteria that the CDHP uses to deny a SEP application ( There are only three criteria for denial, and the relevant one states, “Evidence of projected harm to public safety, presented by local law enforcement official(s), is, in the department’s judgment, greater than evidence of projected benefits to public health.” Note that is says “local law enforcement officials”, as in, the taxpaying public’s POV doesn’t matter at all. (Nice, huh? Your government at work for the people. Think about that the next time you get a chance to vote. Differently. 😉

    In order to shut this sh*t show down, we’ve got to focus our efforts on getting as many members of the law as we can to write letters to that email address above expressing their objection to this misguided effort. I STRONGLY urge you to write them ASAP, since the comment period closes on 5/24. Chief Mills has already come out publicly against this (, though I do not know if he has expressed his objection to the CDHP.

    Here is some contact information:

    Sheriff Hart –

    Chief Mills – 831-420-5816 (I couldn’t find an email address)

    Santa Cruz Police Officer’s Association –

    Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff’s Association –

    Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Correctional Officer Association –

    Nadler Oweis (UCSC Chief of Police) –

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