The Weekly Dump 6.26.20

The Beaches Are Officially Open Again

As of today, all Santa Cruz beaches are open again after a coalition of local law enforcement told the county health director they couldn’t enforce the closures anymore. Couldn’t or wouldn’t? Obviously it’s the second one. Where there’s a will there’s a way they say. I think the closures were mainly being used to deter the tourist traffic from driving over the hill and coming to clog up our beaches with their nasty coronavirus. That’s why the hours were 11-5. And that’s why they wanted to extend it past the 4th of July but SCPD and SCSO said no mas.

Santa Cruz County now has 106 active cases, up from around 40 two weeks ago.There have been 337 identified and confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz county and three deaths.

More here from ABC7 News.

Downtown Library Garage Gets Approved by City Council

Lots of stuff to digest here. Should we talk about how Cynthia Mathews “recused” herself from the vote while basically leading the charge to approve behind the scenes? Should we talk about how Justin Cummings flipped his support here, against the will of his far left progressive friends? Should we talk about the back room wheeling and dealing, trading chips like it’s a big poker game and they’re playing with house money, our money? The final vote was 4-2 (with Mathews recusing herself because she owns property nearby). If Cummings hadn’t rolled over on his comrades, the vote would have been tied 3-3 and it wouldn’t have passed. So again, Cummings was the swing vote here and had the final say. I wonder what he traded for his “yes” vote here?

More on the contentious history of this project at KION.

Choosing Political Correctness Over Public Safety

This week, the Santa Cruz city council decided it wanted no part of PredPol, the local technology company that created predictive policing software that is currently being used by other public safety departments around the country and the globe. But meh, our city council doesn’t want it. Even though SCPD was it getting for free. Our city council is all about pandering to the public, not public safety. And PredPol frightened them. It frightened them more than actual crime frightens them. This is the “Bearcat Crowd”, the small group of local progressive pearl clutchers who viewed the acquisition of the free Bearcat by SCPD as the equivalent of “militarizing” SCPD. You can’t sit down and rationally talk to these people when they are so far from being grounded in reality. And given all the bad cop drama taking place seemingly everywhere BUT here, critics of PredPol (and SCPD in general) struck while the iron was hot. It didn’t take much effort. There wasn’t any pushback from our tepid, public safety averse city council (and the same could be said about our police chief).

“We have technology that could target people of colour in our community – it’s technology that we don’t need,” Justin Cummings, the seaside city’s first African-American male mayor, who proposed the ban last year, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. You know, now I’m starting to sense a theory. Call it a conspiracy if you like. Did Cummings cave on resisting the library/garage in return for Mathews support on this? We’ll never know! Quid pro quo baby!

The bottom line is SCPD was getting it for free and now they aren’t. They have one less tool in their toolbox now. Choosing political correctness over public safety is never good for the community. That hammer? It’s part of the old “hammer and sickle”. It’s communist Russia. Throw that shit away!

Stabbing Near Santa Cruz Harbor 

Last Friday night around 8PM, a man was apparently stabbed by an assailant on the 700 block of Mariner Park Way. SCPD responded but nobody was caught or arrested. The victim claimed to have been stabbed in the hand after an altercation with someone he knew.

Picking Up Novato’s Trash in Watsonville

Tuesday morning around 8:30AM, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Novato man in Watsonville for kidnapping, rape, and having a felony warrant in Marin County. His bail on the kidnapping and rape was set at $25K, but a no bail was issued for the open felony warrant so last check he’s still in county jail.

Robbed and Knocked Out on Dakota Street

Last Saturday morning around 6AM, a man was reportedly knocked unconscious and robbed on the 100 block of Dakota Street in Santa Cruz. He told authorities he was looking for his stolen property at the time he was knocked out and robbed.

Robbery and Assault in Live Oak

Last Friday afternoon around 1:30PM, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 1600 block of Capitola Road for a report of a robbery. After they arrived, they found a victim suffering from significant injuries, who was treated by fire and medics. Nobody was apparently arrested.

Oh Look the Santa Cruz Coroner Was Wrong!

This past week, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and Watsonville Police arrested a transient bum for the murder of a man last October in what the Santa Cruz County coroner originally called an “accidental death”. The death is now being treated as a a homicide investigation. Last October,Santa Cruz County fire and ambulance personnel responded to a report that a 71 year old man had fallen and needed help. When they arrived, they found him in grave condition after what was reported as an accidental fall, and he was taken to Natividad for treatment of his injuries where he died four days later. The coroner’s office ruled the death an accident and closed the case. Then last month, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office received information that the man’s death was the result of a crime that took place in north Monterey County. After Investigators interviewed a number of people, they concluded a 41 year old transient from Watsonville was the prime suspect. This week the found him and arrested him near Ford and Kilburn Streets in Watsonville. He was booked into the Monterey County Jail on murder, elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, witness intimidation and spousal battery charges. His bail is set at more than a million dollars.

The coroner was wrong? About an “accidental death”? Hm. Where have I heard about an accidental death ruling by the Santa Cruz coroner recently? “Water Intoxication“.

He Died From Drinking Too Much Water?

Seriously? Last week, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office classified the death of an inmate who was found dead in his cell on May 10th as an accident and said he suffered from water intoxication. According to the sheriff’s office, The healthy 21 year old man died unexpectedly in his cell. There was no evidence of trauma, foul play, toxic substances or COVID-19. He did not share a cell with anyone else and there were no visible signs of injury or trauma. In a press release issued last week, the sheriff’s office said a forensic pathologist determined he drank too much water in a short period of time partly due to mental health issues, causing an electrolyte imbalance that caused his organs to fail. In a dubious twist of fate, the Sheriff is the Coroner and is the guy in charge of the jail. How convenient.

Santa Cruz City Council Candidate Watch

So we’re still about three weeks away from the opening of the city council candidate “nomination” period, which begins July 15th and runs until August. That’s when candidates can begin filing paperwork with the city and officially “declare” their intentions to run. I’ve heard a few goofy rumors from people like Bad Mom and the Libertarian guy I’ll just call the “Bloody Prick”. I haven’t really heard any solid rumors about serious candidates yet. But I can still speculate! Four seats are up for grabs, so basically the council majority is at stake, and theoretically, a 4 person slate could come in and clean house and start a new majority. I think that’s pretty unlikely for a lot of reasons but in theory it’s possible. I can make one pretty solid prediction. Both “sides” (the far left “socialist” Democrats and the more mainstream moderate Democrats) will try to trot their favorite 4 choices out. So figure we’ll see at least 8 candidates, with a few more probably tossed in and running mostly on narcissism and wishful thinking.

So names. Let’s toss out a few names. Chris Krohn. I’m sure he wants to run again but do others really want him to? If he can muster the support after being recalled, he’s almost certain to try again (just to pacify his bruised ego). Drew Glover. He can’t run again for another 3 years. Micah Posner. I guess it’s possible. He’s still involved behind the scenes, he’s a narcissist, and he’s got a shit ton of baggage. Like with Krohn, it’s a matter of support and endorsements I think. Sandy Brown. She’s up for re-election. She would be the only incumbent for that side. I just don’t think she’s got it in her to go another 4 years. I think she will be pressured to run but I doubt she really wants to run. Martine Watkins. I think she’s done a fine job under difficult circumstances but I think 4 years is enough for her. I doubt she runs again. She’ll want to spend more time with her family. Richelle Noroyan. I think she’s going to run again. I think she wants to run again. Greg Larson. Hard to predict but I think he’s pretty busy with other work projects will probably not run this time. Robert Singleton. I could see him running this time with 4 seats open. Ashley Scontriano. I don’t see her running again. She’s doing other stuff now. Paige Concannon. I don’t see her running again. the last time left a bad taste in her mouth. Steve Schnaar. I could definitely see him trying to run this time. He’s posting stuff on social media sounding like someone who’s planning to run for office. Steve Pleich. I think he’s done running for CC and would rather focus on the BoS. Brent Adams. Now this would be a wild card for sure. He might actually surprise people if he ran. I don’t think either “side” would fully embrace him though. Katherine Beiers. She already said she wouldn’t run again, and while she could change her mind about that, she’s 90 years old. Nope. She’s keeping the seat warm. Don Lane. I just don’t see it happening after his loss to Beiers and his age.

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  1. Why can’t Drew run again?

  2. MuyDeplorable

    P.C. and police: I hear that in a very P.C. place in another state, the local progressives decided that they would have a no-police neighborhood. Only call the cops for bodily harm, not property crimes. Guess what? Bums now encamped, public parks no-go, drug dealing, theft… but no cops, since those are not bodily harm. Oh please, Santa Cruz progressives, do that in your own neighborhoods here.

  3. re: “Robbed and Knocked Out on Dakota Street”

    The 100 Block of Dakota St is of course the infamous San Lorenzo Park. Home to Bernal’s transient drug camp (part 2) shit hole. Lots of stolen stuff in there.
    Maybe the Chief could stop admiring the photo of him taking a knee w/ cummings long enough to go in there and retrieve people’s property for them? After all, we’re paying out $31M for police services.

    • As always, succinctly and precisely stated. It always boils down to: are we fucked or what? If only you would run for city council.

  4. Re: The Beaches Are Officially Open Again

    If you read the ABC 7 report, you’ll find what Dr. Gail Newel really said: “People are not willing to be governed anymore in that regard.”

    So, when I’m not willing to pay my taxes anymore because I no longer receive services “in that regard”, will the County just shrug its shoulders and say OK to that too? Really, this is too much to stand anymore. It’s time for someone to show real leadership from the City and County. Posturing and slogans are just not cutting it anymore. I’m seriously looking for a way out from this mob mentality. It’s a sickness that’s spreading too.

    • MuyDeplorable

      I was at the wharf one day, back at the height of the shutdown. SC police were chasing fishermen off. Actually drove cop cars onto the wharf, and told isolated fisherman to pack up and go. This kind of regulation merely creates the impression that the people in charge do not know what they are doing, and foments contempt.

      • At the height of the shutdown, we were “flattening the curve” for the one and only reason to prevent overwhelming hospitals with patients. So the police did their jobs then and most people complied. Now, for some reason after the curve has been flattened, we still keep some restrictions in order, such as limiting the hours beaches can be used. Good arguments can be made that this was unwise. But since these restrictions were in fact always approved by the Board of Supervisors and the City Council, and the expiration deadlines were public, its not up to the Sheriff or the Police Dept. to ignore them. That is the definition of a mob mentality, doing what they feel like instead of following the rule of law. Just my opinion.

  5. Besides the huge opposition and the council just ignoring the people, the mix-ed use library vote was pretty horrific in many ways.
    1) Unknown cost and no sure money
    2) Not what the people voted for in measure ‘S’
    3) They will be selling air space, public property, probably cheap (only way to entice low cost housing developers) to benefit exclusively not many people
    4) This idea of “downtown only” renters sounds like the city selling public property to benefit, guess who, city employees, it’s like “free bus passes II”. (corruption?)
    5) While your analysis of the vote is fine, Brown waited until she knew it would pass, then I think voted NO to not have that anti-voter vote on her resume in case she ran again, in one of the more memorable drama queen moments.
    OK, just for you, I stayed away from the other really horrendous stuff that went on.

    • Judi Grunstra

      Public comments (emails to Council and phone calls during the Zoom meeting) were overwhelmingly opposed, and for so many valid reasons. Financing for the garage and the so-called affordable housing are unknowns, and they could end up including market rate units to subsidize the library. And yes, voters are disgusted by the way their vote for library improvements have been used. Another lousy idea of the City Manager’s (who, as a member of the Library Joint Powers Authority, hired the Library Director, right around the time the bond measure passed). The next time the city asks me to approve a bond measure, I will vote NO, even if it’s a project I support.

  6. I read some old stuff and recent stuff it’s all the same. I talked to my family about this my dad and uncles said that’s how Santa Cruz County and especially down town has always been. Up here in Los Gatos we have bums like every where else but they know if they break the law they go to jail for a while then my dad told me they get taken to Santa Cruz. I guess it’s true because it’s seems there are more bums in Santa Cruz county then any place around here Even San Jose. You should really be on YouTube it’s so crazy the things I have read about.

  7. Just the Facts

    What no one in city hall wants to talk about is the amount of asbestos that is in the Library structure and how much it would cost for removal and remodel. There are still plenty of people around who cleaned up after the quake in ’89 who were coerced into signing “no sue” release forms for their exposure in the Library building. Measure “S” was a bait and switch from the start.

    • Judi Grunstra

      The asbestos is contained in a few areas that the public rarely uses (tiles in hallway upstairs). The Jayson proposal to basically rebuild the entire building (minus the 1-story peripheral areas) would result in all new systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC), (and yes, asbestos removal), a large Community Meeting Room that could be used even when the rest of the library is closed, bigger children’s area, Teen Space, etc. The renovation and the “new” library (in a mixed use building) both would cost the same amount per square foot, both will be smaller than the existing library, and both would use low-to-medium quality materials without additional money. The Farmer’s Market is being pressured to move to an inferior (smaller) location. The Antiques Faire will likely cease if they lose Lot #4. Say goodbye to the beautiful mature trees there, and say hello to a library that feels more like an airport terminal.

  8. I love your newsletter, it always brightens my day. But Anti-PredPol = Pro-Communist Russia? Now that’s irony, given the realities of the totalitarian society in communist China. Their gov’t relies on info tech to monitor ALL citizens and suppress dissent, then imprison and execute many that they deem dissenters – at their whim, without due process.

    Privacy rights and government transparency aside, for PredPol to be fair and accurate:
    Humans must not have cognitive biases.
    Software developers and the businesses that employ them must have encyclopedic knowledge of the domains they are developing for, and empathy for all using and affected by their software.
    All crime victims must report said crimes immediately and accurately.
    All accused criminals must have equal and fair treatment in our courts.
    Police must process, resolve, and update the database(s) PredPol uses for every resolved case, in a timely manner.

    None of the above are true.

    People are irrational.
    Software development is often an existential nightmare. (I’ve lived it for 30 years. Beneath the humor, Dilbert is a damn good documentary).
    Social systems are rigged, consciously or unconsciously.
    Many crime victims are too ashamed and/or frightened to report crimes, and for some of those who do, again – people are irrational.
    Of those crimes that actually are reported, many go unsolved or are ignored or misfiled. (I have great respect for police *in general* – forces are mostly overworked and understaffed, and I’m not implying that this problem is one of systemic malicious intent).

    Therefore, PredPol’s algorithms are almost certainly fundamentally flawed, and the data is provably incomplete and untrustworthy.

    “Garbage in, garbage out”. Funny in the computer science classroom, horrific when it exacerbates bigotry and can result in computer-aided profiling, false arrest, false imprisonment, and in extreme cases, death.

    • The hammer analogy was a reference to removing tools from the “toolbox” over a driving need to be politically correct. Look at how people are trying to scrub history now in the name of being politically correct. Political correctness should have no bearing on public safety. Here it’s all that matters. The PredPol motion was nothing more than a big fat pandering fart to progressives. It got Justin in the national news, it made his base happy, and in return he caved on the library/garage. That’s about all that is. PredPol was just a chip in the city council’s poker game. Just like the library. It’s all about keeping your base happy and not losing face.

    • I’ve been told by someone at PredPol that they could meet the benchmarks set by the city council’s motion and prove a lack of bias in their software. But why would they? They were giving it away for free. Why spend company time and money trying to defend something you were giving away for free anyways? They actually have people that want to pay to use it. That’s where their time and attention should probably (rightfully) be. They don’t need SCPD or Santa Cruz to validate anything for them.

    • The police use predictive policing anyway on patrol (I suspect anyway). They look for the bad guys where they found bad guys before, they check out people who look like the bad guys they are on the lookout for. As to whether a computer could do that better, got me, but whatever bias the computer might have is no different than potentially the bias the police officer could have. Both can be tweaked, both could be flawed, but both are trying to do the same thing, a good thing, find the bad guys.

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