Dysfunction junction what’s your function? Keeping our beaches open while everyone else closes their beaches for the holiday weekend. We are the Bay Area’s doormat for the 4th of July. We also had a carjacker drive off West Cliff Drive into the Pacific Ocean in the middle of a busy afternoon (thankfully not killing anyone in the process), we had a guy shooting at people and running them off Highway 17, a racist thug got arrested downtown, wildfires don’t care about our COVID problems, exploding bum trailers on Delaware, fatal crash near Depot Park, a couple of local perverts arrested for sex crimes with minors, turnstiler of the week, get out of jail free cards are back, no bail and still in jail, exploding porta potty in Garfield Park, the drunken brawl at Alderwood, Santa Cruz city council race updates, vibrant honesty from the Santa Cruz Grand Jury, the Weekly Seen, and more! Stay safe and sane out there!

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The Bay Area’s 4th of July Doormat

In typical Santa Cruz fashion, the city and county has decided to keep our local beaches open so that hundreds of thousands of people from OUTSIDE Santa Cruz can descend on our town and spread their infectious disease within our community. All of the state park beaches along Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz all the way to Sonoma County have closed their parking lots for the weekend. All of the state park beaches south of the county line to Big Sur and beyond have closed their parking lots for the weekend. But in Santa Cruz, we open for business! So where do you think all of those non-residents, with no other options and nowhere else to go are going? Here of course. We continue to show time and again that the one thing we are really good at is an inability to get out of our own way. We excel at making the wrong decisions. We’re the Bay Area’s doormat here. People are going to wipe their shitty shoes all over us before they come and go and we’re left to clean up their mess or deal with the fallout. What’s good for Monterey (and even Los Angeles) isn’t good for Santa Cruz? Santa Cruz needs to close our beaches this weekend and do it NOW. Before it’s too late. And we get spiked from people coming here from outside Santa Cruz, infecting our workers and our community. Willful ignorance by local “leaders” isn’t going to solve this problem.

Never a Dull Moment

Around 3:30PM on Tuesday, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a man shooting a handgun in the air near Waddell Beach and Scotts Creek just past Davenport. Shortly after that report came in, they received reports of a carjacking in the same area. After deputies located the vehicle north of Scotts Creek and attempted to make a car stop, the drive refused to pull over and continued driving South towards the city of Santa Cruz.  Reaching speeds in excess of 100mph, the driver continued into the city of Santa Cruz down Mission Street where deputies terminated the pursuit for the safety of the community. Moments later, SCPD located the vehicle driving on West Cliff Drive where the driver crashed near Stockton Avenue, going over the cliff and into the water. The suspect climbed out of the car and up the cliff where Deputies assisted SCPD in taking the suspect into custody without further incident.

Friday Morning Madness in Santa Cruz

Around 7AM last Friday morning, SCPD received multiple calls about a man with a knife driving around recklessly in the city. Shortly after those calls came in, more people called 911 about a vehicle intentionally running other cars off the road on Highway 17. SCPD located the driver on Ocean Street, but after failing to pull over he led officers on a chase north on Highway 17 and into the Santa Cruz Mountains. Officers learned that the vehicle was wanted in connection to an incident a few days earlier which involved a man brandishing a gun and threatening to shoot law enforcement. Eventually the vehicle stalled out on Glenwood Drive in Scotts Valley and the suspect tried to get away on a bicycle but he was arrested a few blocks away. Police said they also found a knife at the scene. The 37 year old Aptos man was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a knife, hit and run and reckless evading with a vehicle. His bail was set at $100K.

Racist Thug Arrested in Downtown Santa Cruz

Last Saturday around 2:30AM, SCPD responded to the 1400 block of Ocean Street for a report of a physical fight in front of a local motel. When they arrived, they found two men and learned one man physically assaulted the other unprovoked. The 31 year old suspect from San Jose also apparently used racial slurs while beating the victim up, bad enough that he needed to be transported to a trauma center for his injuries. The suspect is still in county jail facing a number of charges, including battery with serious bodily injury, resisting arrest, as well as civil rights violations. He was previously arrested by Santa Cruz police back in 2012 after a wild car chase along Highway 1.

Wildfires Don’t Care About Our Coronavirus Problems

This past Monday, we had two separate wildfire incidents in Santa Cruz not far from each other. One incident took place at Antonelli’s Pond on the property of UCSC. The other fire burned nearly 20 acres in Wilder Ranch before finally being contained.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Gee I don’t know. What could possibly go wrong with letting people squat their shitty broken down and full of crap campers and trailers along Delaware Avenue, a street lined with Blue Gum Eucalyptus trees, one of the most flammable trees out there? It’s like lighting matches next to barrels of gunpowder.

Fatal Crash Kills Man in Downtown Santa Cruz

A man was killed after a car he was a passenger in collided with a tree at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Center Street around 1AM on Saturday morning. First responders attempted CPR but were unable to save the man, who died at the scene. The driver was taken to a trauma center and was in critical condition.

Santa Cruz Man Arrested For Sex Crimes With a Minor

Last Monday, detectives with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office arrested a 39 year old man for various sex crimes involving a minor. He was arrested on charges of annoying or molesting a child, lewd acts with a victim under the age of 15, stalking, and burglary. He is being held on $100,000 bail at the Santa Cruz County Main Jail.

Suspected Watsonville Creeper Arrested For Sexually Assaulting Young Girl

This past Tuesday, Watsonville Police arrested a 40 year old man who was under investigation for the sexual abuse of a young girl. Police said the suspect coerced the girl to participate in multiple incidents of sexual abuse and convinced her not to tell anyone. He was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. His bail was set at $100K and he’s still in jail.

Turnstiler of the Week

Last Friday around 1AM, Watsonville Police responded to the 100 block of West 5th Street in Watsonville where they arrested a 40 year old male on a laundry list of charges, including multiple counts of burglary, grand theft of a firearm, possession of stolen property, and multiple vehicle code violations. He was charged with 22 different things in this one incident. Still in jail last check on a $75K bond. He’s been arrested 24 times locally in the past 5 years. We coddle guys like this.

Get Out of Jail Free Cards Are Back

Last Friday night around 9:30PM, Capitola Police responded to the area of Stockton and Capitola Avenues for a disturbance of some kind. They arrested a 26 year old male for being drunk in public, resisting arrest, and battery on a peace officer. He got out of jail for free. PTA baby! He’s a regular around Sheriff Hart’s jail so he’s probably on a first name basis. He’s been arrested 26 times since 2014 locally. We coddle guys like this. Even worse, he’s got a man bun. Can we charge him for that?

No Bail and Still in Jail

Last Friday night around 11:30PM, SCPD arrested a 20 year old male on the 700 block of Ocean Street and charged him with a single felony count of false imprisonment. The interesting thing is he’s being held on a no bail warrant. So he’s still in county jail.

Torched Porta Potty Stinks Up Garfield Park

Early Sunday morning, someone torched a porta potty that was set up and being used as a “24 hour bathroom”.

Porta Potty Fire in Garfield Park

Santa Cruz Police responded with Santa Cruz Fire to a reported portable toilet on fire at Garfield Park shortly after 1:20 a.m. Saturday morning, June 27, 2020. The cause of the fire is still in question.

Drunken Brawl at Alderwood Turns Into Social Media Dumpster Fire

So apparently a drunken brawl inside local downtown restaurant Alderwood a couple weeks ago has gotten a lot of recent attention on social media this past week. I honestly hadn’t heard anything about it until the past couple of days when it blew up my inbox. Apparently the brawl involved two groups of diners (or drinkers, or both), and one group included an off the clock employee of the restaurant. It got a lot of attention after claims of racism and hate crimes. Since the story broke more publicly, the employee involved was fired and the customers involved have been banned from the restaurant. Witnesses reported seeing one of the diners fall into a partition between tables, impacting the employee. This happened three times. Both groups reportedly had been drinking and the dining group was cut off and asked to leave when the fight broke out and racial slurs were reportedly made towards the employee who is Filipino. Santa Cruz Police arrived on the scene and detained the participants. No one was arrested. The matter is being investigated as a disturbance but not as a hate crime. Alderwood terminated the employee, and Tuesday afternoon at least half the staff of 22 quit in protest.

Santa Cruz City Council Race Updates

About two weeks until candidates can officially start filing paperwork! I’m still not hearing any chatter. It’s kind of scary how little chatter I’m actually hearing right now. If you look at what I wrote about four years ago, we had lots of people coming out. The candidate filing period runs from July 13th to August 7th. Candidates are encouraged to file your candidacy papers in person by appointment. More good information here!

Some Vibrant Honesty From the Santa Cruz Grand Jury 

This past week, the Santa Cruz Grand jury released a pretty scathing report on the dysfunctional chaos known as “Santa Cruz City Hall”. It’s over 50 pages long so they really covered this in depth and I thank them for their dedication and hard work. Here are some takeaways and excerpts from the actual report:

Recent events and publicity raise serious questions as to whether the Santa Cruz City Council (City Council) and City staff are following the City’s Human Resources (HR) policies. These policies are intended to govern their behavior, but they are not being followed—thus the City Council and City staff impair their ability to carry out their oaths of office, and compromise the public trust. Our report examines how dysfunction, mistrust, and lack of progress occurred when City leadership failed to follow its own policies and procedures. Our investigation uncovered issues relating to City policies, HR processes, and decision making. Much of the City of Santa Cruz’s dysfunction originated from a conflict of political ideologies about how local government should function.” (Page 1. They aren’t wasting any time here). Now who might they be talking about in that last sentence? Obviously, the two dingleberries that we just recalled and fired. Glover and Krohn.

as time went on the City Council meetings became contentious, chaotic, and very long. Three months ​after the election, Santa Cruz City Staff (City Staff) and Council members lodged formal complaints alleging that two Council members’ behaviors and social media posts violated the Santa Cruz City’s Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy (RWCP).[​ ​06​]​ ​[​07​]​ ​[​08​]​ ​[​09​]​ The discontent seemed to spill over to public behavior as well, most notably the disruptive, (some would say intimidating), crowds at City Council meetings.” Calling out the Bob Noise Bad Mom Clown Show, and the way Glover and Krohn ran marathon meetings with their stupid ideological pontificating and support of the disruptions.

During interviews with City department heads and City staff, it was noted that managers and executives do not have quantified goals.” No goals? No accountability.

Grand Jury interviews of City Council and City staff revealed a widespread culture of mistrust, lack of accountability and poor communication among those whose success depends on cooperation, good faith, and acceptance of responsibility. From community members, County officials, and City Leadership, this Grand Jury heard a consistent message about a lack of trust that ran in all directions, with most of the fingers pointing in the direction of City Leadership. It was clear during our interviews how this level of distrust has contributed and will continue to contribute to ineffective governance if it is not resolved. We heard about the divided loyalties and watched battle lines being drawn in print, on television, on social media, and during City Council meetings as those tasked with doing the City’s business and representing the voters clashed with each other and with constituents on the issues that divided them. Some of the more contentious issues centered around tenant’s rights, politics, “just cause evictions” and homelessness, specifically the Ross Camp. Contrary to Brown Act provisions, Council members attempted to raise some of these issues, which were not agendized, during City Council meetings. The Mayor was subjected to hostility when she appropriately refused to allow discussion of non-agendized items.

In addition, participants in the CCP inquiry stated that City Council members’ behavior, characterized as “theatrical,” “dysfunctional,” “childish,” “disrespectful,” and “embarrassing” constituted a major barrier to successful outcomes.

Throughout 2019 until the writing of this report there have been allegations of a concerted effort by members of the Council, their supporters, and their allies, to inappropriately influence public opinion and behavior. The issues of improper influence included housing and homelessness policy, the recall, and RWCP investigations. These perceived influences have created discomfort for some of the City Staff, commissioners, and Council members. Grand Jury interviews, public testimony, workplace complaints, and investigative reports document complaints of “harassment,” which played out across multiple public forums. We heard testimony about a former member of the City’s leadership being spat on and called names while leaving work and a City staffer who made allegations of harassment by a Council member’s interns. Multiple witnesses testified to memos and information related to investigations being leaked to the media, and names and testimony being shared publicly when they were assured that they would not be. At least two witnesses stated that their trust had been violated by City Leadership and investigators.

The overwhelming message that the Grand Jury received throughout its investigation was there exists pervasive mistrust among City staff, City Council, and the public, which impairs the City’s ability to function.

Across the board, interviewees testified to the Grand Jury about a loss of confidence in City Leadership. Many interviewees stated that many of the City’s current and ongoing issues could have been avoided with better management. We heard and read about conflict on the City Council and between City Leadership, and City Staff. Witness testimony educated us to a level of dysfunction and lack of trust that was so divisive that Council members chose not to share work projects that could have increased functionality on the City Council and at City Hall. We were alarmed to learn of the tens of thousands of dollars spent by the City to investigate serious allegations of workplace misconduct

The Grand Jury concluded that the City Council should consider a transition to the Mayor-Council form of government and a Strong-Mayor leadership. This form of government establishes leadership, accountability, checks and balances, and is a form of government that most people are more familiar with. In the meantime, the City Leadership should assess what changes can be made to create a more transparent process that leads to a more effective, efficient, and responsive government. Restoring trust and faith within the walls of City Hall has the potential to help restore public trust in government.” (Get rid of city manager Martin Bernal)

Beyond observing and analyzing individual events and their impact, we considered the bigger picture of what underlies the chaos and dysfunction of the City Leadership. Our interviews and observations demonstrated a lack of trust and commitment to change, and reluctance to take personal responsibility. Instead, events and ‘others’, i.e. not each and every individual, were to blame for the dysfunction.

The Grand Jury concluded that the City Council has not yet prioritized continued remediation of their conflicts. Its focus has been on finding ways to assign blame. In Council meetings, Council members are not yet admitting their contributions to the dysfunction, nor are they committing to do better. Absent reprimand or censure, they should adopt the practice of coaching and supporting each other—not challenging and reprimanding each other—in order to hold each other to a higher standard of behavior.

FINDINGS:

  • City Leadership fails to consistently follow and enforce the City’s Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy and have no effective or consistent definition of egregious behavior in that policy.
  • The City Council’s conduct policy is insufficient to guide behavior and lacks enforcement provisions.
  • The onboarding process for newly elected Santa Cruz City Council members is not adequate or timely, leaving them unprepared to act as a team and inadequately oriented on multiple subject matters.
  • City employees do not feel supported and protected by the City Manager and Human Resources.
  • There are disagreements and a lack of transparency on how the City Council meeting agendas are set.
  • Failures to amend City Council Policy 6.9 resulted in a lack of comprehensive guidelines to address interactions between City Council and City Staff.
  • Lack of a well-defined social media policy leads to confusion about the appropriate use of social media.
  • The public has lost confidence in the City Leadership’s ability to function effectively.
  • The Assistant City Manager and City Manager do not manage to key performance indicators and measures of success.
  • The designation of a City Council position as part-time, with insufficient compensation, may limit the candidate pool and negatively affect City Council performance.
  • The City does not have an elected mayor position which limits the ability of voters to assign accountability when City government is dysfunctional and ineffective.
  • Lack of a formal intern policy for Council members has caused confusion, disruption and a burden on City Staff.
  • Lack of trust among City Council members impedes constructive discourse and decision making.
  • The Conflict Resolution Center (CRC) contract lacks performance criteria, making it difficult to determine whether conflict resolution was successful. The CRC engagement also failed to address conflicts between City Council and City Staff.
  • Major conflicts and dysfunctions were recognized by City Staff, City Council, and the public in February 2019, but there was a failure to seek remediation for those conflicts until October 2019.
  • Without a current, detailed strategic plan, the City Staff and City Council goals and objectives are unclear.
  • Poor performance and antagonism at City Hall resulted in lost opportunities and could impair the City’s ability to raise money.
  • The City Council’s inability to control disruptive behavior during meetings increases meeting length and inhibits a representative cross-section of the public from participating.
  • The employee engagement survey methodology is flawed, and may not accurately represent employee sentiment. The survey does not have the ability to present results per City department and thus the interpretation of results and recommendations is compromised​.

The Weekly Seen

The goats were out in Neary Lagoon last weekend. Doing goat stuff. Eating brush and looking cute. 

Get Your Swagger On!

I have swag! I’m working with Spreadshirt and have my own shop. I just put some basic products up to start with for now with the new logo. You can also click “Customize” and “Products” and pick from other products not currently available in my store. Contact me with any questions or issues. Nothing would make me happier than to see people out and about with my swag. I want photos! I’ve never asked for money, and I still plan to continue to do the Weekly Dump each week and make it available for free, without any paywall or ads or spam (or salary). Think of this as a way of donating to the effort and getting something back for your donation (I only make a few bucks on each item sold). I’d love to do more with Santa Mierda if I had the means to do so. This will help provide the means to do so. And it helps get the word out. The hell with the coronavirus, let’s make this viral. Being stuck inside is the perfect time for online shopping! I’ll love you long time if you buy my swag.

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18 Comments

The Weekly Dump 7.3.20

  1. Jesus-everloving-fucked-up-christ!
    Just your opening ‘cover’ paragraph was enough to make my brain hurt, then you go and threw in the grand jury findings! 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
    So a ‘jury’ of people verified and validated all of the shit that we had to live through in 2019, and came up with the same conclusions…
    1) FIRE Bernel because his shit is proving that it doesn’t work.
    2) ELECT a mayor that has accountability, responsability and the GUTS to make hard decesions!
    3) SET SOME DAMN GOALS AND WORK TOWARDS THEM !!!
    I don’t get why that seems so fricking hard for people to comprehend!
    I am so over willful ignorance and mass-stupidity !!!
    AAAAAARRRHHHGGGGGHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!
    (Sorry… I’m better now.)

    1. I loved Ben’s coverage of the grand jury report. I read the Senile everyday and no one wrote anything about the grand jury report. Does anyone know why that is?

  2. I get a notice from the Friends of State Parks. It said the following:

    State beach parking closed for Fourth of July weekend; please take the Parks Pledge and stay safe
    California State Parks is temporarily closing vehicle access to all state beaches in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties to reduce the density of visitors over the Fourth of July weekend. The parking closure is Friday to Sunday, July 3-5. The beaches will be open to walk-ins only. More information is available on the State Parks website.

    It looks like the parking closure does apply to our county. (You indicated that was not the case in your recent email.)

  3. When you knew things were messed up, but didn’t understand just how screwed up the city really is.

  4. So as of the day before the 4th of July weekend the official count of Covid cases in our county is 410. It will be interesting to see where we’re at 2 weeks from now if they keep the beaches open this weekend.

  5. Tons of fun in Santa Cruz, the only place that can never ever get out of it’s own way. I will say, at least some of the bad guys get to stay in jail. Grand jury report is fabulous, another entity has spoken about all the dysfunction that the community was screaming about. Wonder why no one!!! is in a hurry to get on the city council!! Read the grand jury report. Thanks for always telling us what really happens here in Santa Cruz!!

    .

  6. Progressive is the new word for socialist and Marxist, so I for one am not surprised at what’s happening. Ben you did a great job showing the dysfunction of this Town
    Ckowncil.

  7. The angry mob banging tin pan drums outside the mostly empty city council chambers was loud enough to stop the meeting twice before the Mayor called the guess who to throw them out. Of course the rest of the meeting was non-stop de-fund the police spend money on social programs coordinated anarchist non-sense. Otherwise, the lead organizer for slow streets , rhymes with Carson, forgets to call in and advocate for his own agenda item so begs via email Brown to go back to public comment so he can speak. I suspect everyone wants their block to be a private cul-de-sac. Is it me , or is this city getting stranger by the week?

  8. I put the City Council fiasco under “glad I live outside the city limits.” No further comment there.

    Will be interesting to see whether beach visitors spike the local COVID cases, or not. My understanding is that contagion is largely caused by close personal contact, especially indoors. People piling a car, to come here, can spread it among themselves. Families and friends congregating at the beach, or a bar, can spread it among themselves, but also spread to locals who happen to be there. In the case of a beach, especially among those who are not young adults, I do not expect that there is much congregating or personal contact. So, infected outsiders might not spread it much, at the beach. Eventual numbers will show.

    As for the supposed racially-involved brouhahas: I wish that merely shouting an epithet did not cause our politi-sheep to suppose that race was a reason. Some folks just like to get drunk and fight, or they are thugs even when sober. Who cares what they say? They’d only cause a disturbance with someone else. As I recall, author Amy Tan (fictionally writing about SF’s Chinatown) has a character wonder why her non-Chinese tenant refers to her as the “Fukien landlady” when she is not from Fukien.

  9. Thank you for giving us the highlights of the Grand Jury Report re: our dysfunctional city gov’t so we didn’t have to read the whole thing. It will be interesting to read the City’s response, which they are required to make.

    Also, for those worried about more CV cases being reported after the holiday weekend, just remember:
    1. Cases of CV does not equate to hospitalizations or deaths, the truly concerning numbers to pay attention to, and while the case numbers are increasing, the hospitalization & death rate numbers have actually been declining for awhile now, indicating that the virus is weakening and that we are indeed developing herd immunity the natural way.
    2. Many of the CV tests now being offered have not been independently certified by the FDA, and still have an unacceptable rate of false positives.
    3. As was revealed at a recent meeting of the Texas Commissioners Court, the CDC has instructed the “Contact Tracers”, who identify those who have tested positive and then track their recent contacts, to also count their contacts as CV positive, even though these contacts haven’t been tested yet. Again, many of these tests have not been independently certified by the FDA as being accurate.
    4. Seems like the CDC wants to arbitrarily inflate the numbers. Who would that benefit?

    1. Now who would that benefit? Companies with an online-only business model. Food chains that primarily provide take-out. Software and hardware providers for working and learning at home. Ever notice how much money those company leaders have, and how politically active many of them are?

  10. We live in Los Gatos and growing up our family never went over into Santa Cruz now I know why and why my parents never let me go now that I’m older. This site is very eye opening my uncles and father have known what Santa Cruz is all about for a long time now and know people who live there and most are planning on moving away some have a long time ago. I watch YouTube and there is really nothing about Santa Cruz only like a few things but nothing on what I read here that’s why I totally think this should be a YouTube channel it would be a huge channel and maybe things will change for the better. They actually pass out needles there and let people use heroine in public there that’s what my uncles just told me.

  11. So Ben…do you think that the recalls will cure most of the problems cited in the Grand Jury report? I sure hope so. it is such a shame that City Council descended into chaos and I hope that changes. Just letting common sense, common decency and common courtesy rule would be such a relief.

  12. Ben: On July 4 I roke my bicycle along most of West Cliff Drive, occasionally peeking down at the beach to see who was there. Did not go by Main Beach.

    At the beach, most people were well-separated. Lots of isolated folks, individuals with dogs, and obvious family groups. I did not see congregation. Up on the sidewalk, there were a lot of masks, majority.

    But I did see groups of evidently unrelated youths (same age, unlikely to be siblings) riding around in vehicles. Probably from out of town; why would locals do that on the Fourth? Usually no masks. Close proximity, like indoors. I believe this is the mechanism for COVID transmission in that age group.

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