Summer is over! This week Santa Cruz leaders finally have an epiphany moment about closing our local beaches, updates on COVID and the fire, a man was arrested for stabbing his grandfather in the neck and killing him, another guy was arrested for trying to burn his housemates alive, firefighters find a pipe bomb in the burn zone, gangbanger arrested in Watsonville, picking low hanging fruit, Ocean Street robber arrested, turnstiler of the week, Kaiser Arena opens it’s doors to evacuees, and the Rangers are getting thrown under the bus by SCPD. Typical week!

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Santa Cruz Finally Decides to Close Their Beaches

After lots of willful ignorance and hand wringing, the Santa Cruz city council and the Master of Disaster decided it would be prudent to close our public beaches over Labor day weekend. You mean we don’t want to be the ONLY beach open like we were on the 4th of July? How prudent!

That Pesky Virus is Still Around

Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County. So far we’ve had 1,878 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County, according to the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. 7 people have died. 123 have been hospitalized in total. According to a state count, 10 people are currently hospitalized and three are in the ICU. 1,584 people have recovered from the disease. A total of 39,425 people have tested negative. Santa Cruz County is in the purple tier of the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy”, so many non essential indoor businesses operations are closed. It is at 6.3 new COVID-19 positive cases per 100,000, and it needs to be at 7 or below to move up. It also has a 2.7% positivity rate, and that needs to be at 8% or below to move up. The county needs to meet the criteria for three weeks before moving to the red tier.

Containment Grows on CZU Lightning Complex Fire

This week, thousands of local evacuees were allowed to return to their homes in the San Lorenzo Valley as firefighters continued efforts to contain the fire. As of Wednesday, containment on the CZU Lightning Complex increased to 46%. More than 1,100 structures have burned in Santa Cruz County since the fire began on Aug. 16th. Among those burned structures, 925 are single-family residences. Fire officials said more than 85,000 acres have burned so far and another 6,700 structures remain threatened by the flames in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. As of Wednesday, 2,224 firefighting personnel were on the fire line. The fire also burned and destroyed 5 miles of a water pipeline in the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. Some residents of Boulder Creek are under a no-boil and no-drink water advisory.

Santa Cruz Man Arrested For Murdering His Grandfather

Tuesday night around 6:30PM, deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s department responded to a report of a stabbing on the 700 block of Heath Cove. When first responders arrived at the home, they found an 80 year old man suffering from a stab wound to his neck. He was taken to Dominican Hospital where he later died. His 28 year old grandson was arrested and charged with murder, elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury or death, and battery. Last check he’s in Santa Cruz county jail with an $850K bond.

Santa Cruz Man Tries to Burn His Roommates Alive

Last Saturday, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on 25th Avenue and East Cliff Drive in the Pleasure Point neighborhood of Santa Cruz after a man tried to set a home on fire while people were inside. The 45 year old man was arrested and charged with attempted murder and arson of an inhabited structure. His bail has been set at $750,000. Everyone inside the home made it out safely.

Firefighters Find Pipe Bomb in Fire Zone

Firefighters working on the CZU Lightning Complex fire in Santa Cruz County discovered a possible pipe bomb last Thursday, according to Santa Cruz County Chief Deputy Chris Clark. Firefighters were putting out spot fires near the Boulder Creek Golf Course when they spotted a tool box. After inspecting it, they saw what appeared to be a pipe bomb inside. The bomb team was dispatched to detonate the device, making it safe for firefighters to continue their work in the area. An arrest was made on Friday. Authorities arrested a 34 year old Boulder Creek man and charged him with manufacturing an explosive device, as well as child endangerment. Last check he’s still in county jail on a $100K bond. He was arrested locally back in 2014, and arrested a couple more times in 2017. So he’s familiar with how the turnstiles work here.

Gangbanger Arrested by Watsonville Police

This Monday, Watsonville Police arrested a 21 year old male and charged him with a variety of gun and gang related charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm in public, violating parole, being a gang member and carrying a load firearm, all felonies. Last check he’s still in county jail on a $25K bond.

Low Hanging Fruit Gets Plucked Again

Last Friday, SCPD arrested a 38 year old male. He was charged with 5 felonies, including looting, burglary, grand theft, being a felon in possession of tear gas, carrying a concealed weapon, and drug possession. He’s been arrested at least 21 times locally since 2014.

Ocean Street Robber Arrested

Tuesday around 6:30PM, Santa Cruz police responded to the 500 block of Ocean Street where they arrested a 27 year old male and charged him with robbery, resisting arrest, and false impersonation. Last check he’s still in county jail on a $50K bond. His local rap sheet goes back to 2010.

Turnstiler of the Week

Wednesday morning around 3AM, SCPD responded to the area of Broadway and Clay streets where they arrested a local serial recidivist, charging her with a total of 15 charges ranging from grand theft, battery on a peace officer, burglary, looting, mail theft, drug possession, and being drunk in public. She’s been arrested at least 25 times locally since 2013. We coddle her. And this is what we get for it.

Kaiser Arena Opens Doors For Fire Victims

Kaiser Permanente Arena is now open for fire victims as the home of the County of Santa Cruz Recovery Resource Center, offering resources and aid to victims of the fire. It will be open seven days a week from 11AM to 7PM. Representatives from numerous agencies will be on hand to answer questions about disaster assistance programs and other support to help families. FEMA, CalOES, and numerous federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits will be located at the arena. Thank you Santa Cruz Warriors!

Throwing the Rangers Under the Bus

It appears to be the case. So I heard this week that the Santa Cruz Rangers might be getting cut and fired as part of the ongoing budget cuts related to SCPD.

The Rangers were originally part of the parks and recreation department (and their budget) before some local genius decided to absorb them into SCPD. Now that same fool is talking about eliminating them and throwing all those rangers under the bus. I think there’s a lot to the back story here, stuff we aren’t actually hearing about. Here’s my hot take (mixed with facts). The city mandated all city departments take a budget cut of at least 10%, which would inevitably result in jobs being cut. The Police Officers Association (our local Police Union) refused to take the cuts. This put the city and the department in a bind. The POA insisted no union jobs get cut from the SCPD budget. Guess which group isn’t part of the POA? The Rangers. These fine folks are front line public safety and public welfare workers here. They deal with serial recidivists, drug addicts, people in mental health crisis ALL DAY LONG. Who’s going to replace them? Why cut your army so your “officers” can dick around and sit on their asses? You think SCPD cops are going to double down and work twice as hard if they cut the Rangers? GTFO. Don’t make me laugh. Chief Wiggum has decriminalized so much shit in this town now, and don’t get me started on Mr. Get Out of Jail Free Cards. Public safety is a joke here. These “leaders” would rather cut front line crisis workers before trimming a few layers of middle management fat from the SCPD waistline. They want to cut their only victims advocate but keep their shitty ass public information officer, who completely sucks at her overpaid job. But Wiggy likes her. She’s good at what exactly? What does she actually do?

I might not have any sway or influence over the decision here. By myself. But if everyone signs this petition we might show the people making the decision that we support the Rangers even if they don’t. And personally, I won’t let this go quietly. That’s the least I can do. Run my mouth and inform people with some vibrantly honest attitude and opinion. I’m good at that.

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.

The Santa Mierda Podcast Network

Be sure to check out the Santa Mierda Podcast Network! 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!

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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32 Comments

The Weekly Dump 9.4.20

  1. I must say Ben, that your description of the Covid 19 statistics was the best I’ve read ever. It also makes it easy to understand why closing the beaches this weekend is so important because it gets us from the purple zone to the red zone at a time we only have a couple of more months left to wait for the arrival of a vaccine which looks to be a high probability by Nov / Dec. Thanks so much for explaining it that well.

    1. Believe me I’ve considered one. It’s not that hard to do (get rid of him). It just takes a majority of the city council to want to do it. He’s an at-will employee of the city. He can be terminated without cause. It would save the city a nice chunk of change too. Make it a twofer. Throw Mills in too and we save over half a million dollars a year, and we’ll see no loss.

  2. Remember, only tourists who come to sit on our beaches spread covid-19. When they come for other reasons such as to shop, sail, fish, surf, rent hotel rooms, occupy vacation rentals, walk on the Wharf or West Cliff Drive and have barbeques and play golf and disk golf in our parks, covid-19 cannot be spread.

    I can read the names of the out of town car dealerships and cities on their license plates. Apparently, the Board of Supervisors and the City Councils cannot.

      1. Since Coastal Access is guaranteed to all citizens under State law, I doubt if they have any legal authority to enact beach attendance bans either, and specifically ones targeted to holidays. But that doesn’t seem to stop them, does it? Consider also that there is no evidence that being outside on a beach increases covid 19 transmission rates but there is plenty to the contrary, and its clear that the city and county just want to make a meaningless statement.

        I suspect they will treat it like they did on 4th of July and admit once again there is nothing they can really do. We will see.

    1. I think all the other reasons they come here are irrelevant. The only thing that’s relevant is they’re coming here period, bursting our local COVID bubble. The closing of the beaches is nothing more than a temporary deterrent. They can do all the things you mentioned in Fremont, or San Jose, or Morgan Hill, or Mountain View, or wherever the hell they trek over the hill from. And they can sail, they can fish off the wharf, and they can surf any other weekend. Tourists need to stay home this weekend. Or at least stay the fuck out of Santa Cruz.

  3. Sitting on the beach with your family? Bad.
    Birthday parties for your child? Bad
    Operating your business so you can survive? Bad
    Jammed together screaming slogans, burning and looting in a protest? Good.

    Now you know all the rules of the pandemic. Stay home. Stay safe. Stay scared.

    1. Good luck trying to get a bunch of angry progressives to follow the law or take one for the team/community by staying home and avoiding the spread. Nah, I’ll just be one of dozens holding my shitty old cardboard sign about climate change or defunding police surrounded by back patters who think just like me. Gives new meaning to the term “circle jerk”.

      1. I think that it’s important to remember that extremists from both the far right and far left sides of the political spectrum have one thing in common. They’re all @ssholes. Actually, they have a lot in common. Both right and left wing extremists are deeply wounded and troubled people. Bigoted extremist dogma (flowing both from the extreme right and left like a gusher of sewage) gives them platforms from which to vent their ancient rage and hatred at targets. Many social justice warriors and “Proud Boys” publicly whine about how they are victims. In reality, many of them are bullies looking for innocent victims. Riddle – A social justice warrior and a KKKlansman drive 1000 miles to Portland and get into to knife fight. They both pass away from their wounds. Who wins? Answer – We all do.

  4. Hey, I FINALLY got a hair cut and guess what… I didn’t die. It was lookin’ pretty shag for months. I’m not on the co-co response is justified bandwagon. Our rights and economy are too important, but others are entitled to their opinion. I have no idea how this is all supposed to work in the winter. It won’t, but since all hell breaks loose after the election, maybe that won’t be the top concern.
    I’ve been preaching the ills of progressiveness for a few years almost now. No one can say it’s not getting worse and the idiocy of claiming systemic racism exists, white man bad, and are the root of all evil and mindless zombies are buyin’ it should be concerning. It’s time to take sides and speak up (or possibly move out of state). This is a political statement, not actually about race. Racism is the dodge being peddled by essentially Marxists. Less police means the Portland experience can come here.

    1. I need a haircut. Also, don’t talk about race. It’s why your comment got flagged for moderation.

      Don’t talk about race here folks. There are literally thousands of other places to do that. We’re colorblind here. This is a “race free discussion zone”. Don’t like it? Too bad. We can’t talk about race here. It ultimately just devolves into a clogged toilet of angry finger pointers. Not in my back yard.

      Also, posting a comment full of external links is just spam.

      1. Yes, there are other places to talk race. I’m going to go nuclear on my phone zoom city council call in for Item #14 Tuesday. Too bad I only have 2 minutes. That’s a much better place for it than here.

  5. Earlier today, Dr. Anthony Fauci remarked (televised) that beaches were OK, as long as there was some social distance. I could have told you that, five months ago. In fact, I did. It’s groupd travel that is the problem, I believe.

    But that’s all right. I don’t go to the beach when there are crowds. Can wait a few days.

    In other news, a friend remarked that due to so many downtown businesses being shut, the less sanitary among our riff-raff have been making a mess. No problem if the intent is to bulldoze the buildings, and replace with multi-story condos.

  6. All city workers took a 10% reduction in hours rather than layoffs. SCPD refused to take the furlough, so the the city let go of four sargents and a patrol officer. Now the city is looking for additional cuts, but seriously we can’t hire enough police. How many extra employees does the city have? How many librarians, pr people, assistants, etc etc. the last city workers we should be letting go are the police. Jesus Christ, you can’t make this shit up.

  7. Yes, let’s get rid of some of the most hard-working, dependable, and dedicated city-staff there is. Let’s get rid of the people who actually patrol the parks and open spaces, clean up the filthy camps, and actively enforce public safety. Good luck staying safe in your local community park/ vagrant drug camp! We should not let this go quietly. Your right Mr. Guy, you sadly can’t make this shit up.

  8. I can’t imagine fewer Rangers particularly on a weekend like this with Temps heading close to 100. We need MORE Rangers patrolling areas like DeLaveaga and Pogonip to get bumfest out before they set Santa Cruz on fire. Our local leaders don’t seem to realize the safe zone a lack of patrols will allow in these and other Park areas.
    Thanks for setting up the petition, I’ve posted it to my Facebook page.

  9. The Sentinal informs us that there will be 175 new condos on Front Street, with ground-floor retail (etc.), some low-income units and a mural. Hint: The mural will not likely be a celebration of surfing.

    Nice beach town you have there. Be a shame if…

    1. Note: The parcels in question are on the east (river) side of Front St., in the stretch north of the Metro Bus depot to south of (not including) the corner of Front and Soquel. Not clear whether the several parcels are contiguous or not, or whether then new condos will be one large project or several smaller ones, or whether existing buildings will be torn down or built-around.

      1. This project has been planned for some time. It will run the entire block from Taco Bell (now closed) to the Metro. I actually support it. They would infill behind the businesses and have cafe seating open to the levee. Right now the area is a shithole.

        1. Ah, thanks Ben. I have no problm with moving forward, planning, as so forth. A lot of the downtown area is way past its prime. It’s just that I don’t like everything turned into high denssity housing. For that matter, I don’t like population growth.

          One potential problem is the street-level businesses that will seek to occupy those spaces. How many coffee shops can you have, especially when the residents live upstairs and can make their own? Pubs, maybe, for social gathering; but it that what the city needs? Internet shopping is killing other kinds of small businesses. Even before that, look how long it took to get the ground floor of Rittenhouse occupied, and look at what kinds of businesses occupy the street level at some other complexes built in recent years.

          So-called “river walks” have been tried in a variety of towns, large and small. At first, they are a novelty. Eventually, they may become a hangout for undesirables.

          When I went to university, many years ago, it was in a Midwestern town where the big U was nearly self-contained, and local businesses serving students were at campus periphery. No hills, easy to walk. Compare to our “City on a Hill.”

  10. Ben, I can’t figure out how to post a photograph on Santa Mierda. Perhaps you could take a drive up Mission Street and enter Highway 1 northbound just after the Swift Street intersection (but before Western Drive). You will see a caravan of dilapidated scumbag motor homes. One of them has garbage stacked on the entire roof and a 5′ x 20′ pile of shit piled next to it. Nothing says “Welcome to Shithole Santa Cruz” better than this mess.

    1. Although what you say is likely, consider: A lot of refugees from the Bonny Doon fire had to evacuate quickly. Many houses have been burned down or damaged. Power and phones may be out, water may be undrinkable, and animals cannot be easily kept there for awhile. I used to live in an area up there, which was not itself destroyed but is surrounded by homes that were destroyed. I know that many of them keep dilapidated old motor homes, just in case they are needed some day. Especially with COVID, not everybody wasnt to go to an indoor refugee gathering, and many of those motor homes might not make it to the Watsonville county fairgrounds. Just a possibility. I myself was on the fire periphery, and had to evacuate for a week to a friend’s back yard.

      1. I can’t disagree with what you are saying about some of the motor homes parked in Santa Cruz. However, the one I’m referring to was there before the fire. I do have sympathy for those who lost their homes. Most of the homes in my neighborhood were destroyed, including mine.

  11. I signed the petition to save the Rangers. It seems to me they started out funded by a grant and so it was sorta predictable that once the grant ran out….bye bye Rangers. And they are exactly the sort of resource we need to preserve cops for crime fighting instead of cleaning up homeless encampments. Thx as usual for your great publication.

  12. First off, support the Rangers! They are police in all but name, and have a difficult set of job(s) to carry out daily. If they are cut, it will be a huge hit to our collective safety, especially in Pogonip and along the River …

    Normally I’d be unsympathetic to the POA refusing to take a haircut when everyone else does … but in 2020, with a pandemic, protests and massive wildfires, I just can’t see the logic in cutting public safety salaries with the same blunt instrument applied to other City functions.

    The City is overstaffed for a community of 50,000 people, and the Council doesn’t even realize it …

    Looking at the budget from July … there are There are 32 positions in the 2020 budget in Finance alone. There are 25 positions outlined for IT. There are 40 positions in Planning another Baker’s dozen in Economic Development. Not that you don’t need people in these roles, but … not at this level of staffing (or with this total lack of business process automation). This is not normal for other communities in the US even in California.

    While there are many good people that work for the City, tax receipts post-pandemic will not support the staffing we have. And I very much doubt a tax increase would be either sufficient or supported by the public.

    We have programs upon programs, plans on top of plans and rules on top of rules … while we underfund public safety (inc. the Rangers), maintenance and infrastructure development.

    I hope that this is part of the conversation during this year’s election.

    1. Somehow taxes always go up. Not surprising. If a dept doesn’t spend the budget, it gets cut, so spending never ever stops. The result is always a bigger more expensive (and intrusive) government. California wants to jack taxes from 13.3% to 16.5% (approximately) IN A RECESSION. This is like medieval medicine “take more blood, the patient is still sick!” That $30k they kissed off so far here for “slow streets” is a joke. They just put up “street closed to through traffic signs” all over. As far as I can tell, nobody is using these streets any different than before, just less cars that now have to drive around them. We now have 11 of these “private street(s)” (should have put up those signs, no difference). I think those street residents should have paid the city the $30k, maybe more. Be sure to “thank” Larson for that dumb idea.

  13. Why do they even bother “closing” the beaches if they don’t actually enforce it? Cops/sheriff could be raking in thousands of dollars in citations per hour this weekend.

    1. In the bad old days, small town in the Southeast would run traps, to fine Northern tourists coming down the highway. They knew they were from out of state, by the license plates. And they knew that the fine would not be contested, because that would involve coming back in person at a later time. Fifteen dollars here, fifteen dollars, there, and soon the Good Ol’ Boys could buy a keg of beer. Sho’ ‘Nuff.

      Nowadays, consider what would happen if a large number of people were cited. They would form an organization, challenge the enabling law in state and federal courts, possibly winning or not. But the legal costs would far outweigh any fines collected. They cannot add much to the fines. Net loss to government. Plus, for better or worse it would affect the upcoming national election, as politicians take sides.

  14. Just wanting to say that I hope all of you readers in the first District will support John Leopold. He is really smart and experienced and knows County government inside and out. I don’t agree with everything he supportsd but he is reasonable and cares about our neighborhood and this guy Manu is a rank amateur…we have NO idea what he might stand for or support. Just saying….

    1. John Leopold has had 12 years to prove he’s worth what we pay him. He hasn’t. He’s given us plenty more dirty needles. Rank amateur? The guy has a successful local start-up. What has Leopold done but waste our tax dollars on his salary? NO MORE LEOPOLD.

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