What a crazy week nationally! We’re turning corners this week, talking winners and losers, Camp Duh is coming, local COVID updates, checking all the bad behavior boxes, carjacked on Felix Street, getting what we are willing to tolerate, jeepers creepers, and the Boardwalk returns (sort of).

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Turning Corners

Well we kind of officially have a new President. Love him, hate him, ambivalent about him, at least he’s DIFFERENT, and we need to try something different here. We are basically a 50/50 nation. And neither side likes the other side very much at all. Will this change bring new civility or create more divisiveness? Only time will tell us the answer to that. I rarely talk about national politics here, and I’m only making an exception today because today is a big deal. I do feel like we turned a corner today. I just don’t want to keep spinning circles. I hope we can bring back the “united” part in United States. We as a country love to loudly proclaim how inclusive we are, how racism and bigotry is bad, yet we as a country can’t seem to practice what we preach. Don’t hate someone because they are black. Don’t hate someone because they are Jewish. Don’t hate someone because they are gay. But hate all you want if they happen to be a conservative who votes Republican or a liberal who votes Democrat and they don’t think like you? That’s the hypocrisy we face going forward. That’s the new “black and white” version of America. My way or the highway. Where’s the diplomacy? That’s the challenge we face in the next 4 years. While trying to stop a deadly pandemic.

There’s plenty of blame to go around from both sides. While working class stiffs are STILL WAITING for another stimulus check from the feds, the millionaires in Congress squabble over ideology and the need to win. There’s a massive disconnected void between Congress and the American people right now. There’s a severe lack of trust. There’s rampant corruption at every level of government: federal, state, and local. We still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go. But this week we celebrate. For me personally, it was a pretty good week at the polls.

Winners and Losers

So who are the winners and losers this week?

Winner: Local Moderates

Locally, we saw a long overdue change as Manu Koenig took down John Leopold for the Board of Supervisors 1st District seat. This was a blow to the status quo. Leopold spent 12 years basically coasting on progressive platitudes. Manu brings fresh ideas and vision. Leopold brought us literally tons of dirty needles. We also saw the 3 more moderate women candidates (Martine, Shebreh, and Sonja) taking 3 of the 4 open seats on the Santa Cruz city council. Sonja was the overall top vote getter, with Sandy Brown rounding out the top 4. The new city council will have a much more moderate tone going forward. Adding Donna Meyers (expected to be named the next mayor) and Renee Golder to Martine, Shebreh, and Sonja creates a pretty solid 5 moderate majority. Of course “moderate” is subjective, and I’m talking “moderate DEMOCRAT” here. I grade on a pretty large curve.

Loser: Local Progressives

For every winner there’s a loser, and we’ve got plenty here. Leopold was a progressive darling and many of his fans are really butt hurt at the loss to Manu, who by the way is a well liked, stand up, compassionate guy. He’s just not their guy. And if you consider all the effort and resources that went into the progressive “slate” of Sandy/Kayla/Kelsey, it has to been seen as an unmitigated failure when only one of your candidates can crack the top 4 and finish only 3rd as an incumbent. Having no UCSC students to grift votes from hurt that side considerably. And if you include the most recent election losses (in the recall election), the progressive machine seems to have run out of gas.

Loser: Local Supporters of Rent Control

Prop 21 would have allowed local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. It failed. Local progressives have been trying to get the city to pass rent control for years. Last time it made the ballot, it failed miserably.

Winner: Former Felons

Prop 17 restores voting rights to former felons upon completion of their prison term.

Winner: Gig Drivers

Prop 22 was a way for Uber and Lyft drivers to bypass the recent AB5 reclassification of their employment status from independent contractors to full time employees. I’ve talked to a number of drivers who hated AB5 and were solidly for Prop 22. AB5 had the potential to eliminate literally thousands of California jobs. This prevented that.

Winner: Bail Bond Companies

In a surprising vote (for me), voters decided to keep the current cash bail system we have in California. Not like we’ll see any change locally. Our local sheriff already treats cash bail like it’s COVID. He’s found plenty of loopholes and end arounds already to make his “get out of jail free” program the number one public safety hazard in Santa Cruz.

Camp Duh

It was announced this week that the current homeless camp squatting in San Lorenzo park is being moved to DeLaveaga Park in Santa Cruz. The current Camp Coonerty has been polluting San Lorenzo park and the San Lorenzo river (with the city and county’s blessing and support) for over 6 months. Squatters were informed of the plans on Wednesday, and the county anticipates the move to begin on November 15th.

A county spokesperson said “permitted camp residents” will be given food, security, transportation and staffing. Will they have concierge service too? Free backrubs? Free chop shops for stolen bikes? The new homeless camp will be located outside the National Guard Armory on property the City of Santa Cruz is leasing from the state. The armory space has been used continuously as an indoor homeless shelter since January, when a Salvation Army-run outdoor managed camp at 1220 River St. was shuttered for the winter. A spokesperson for the city of Santa Cruz said the city and county continue to partner on researching multiple locations for outdoor homeless encampments.

COVID-19 Updates for Santa Cruz County

According to the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, there have been 3,074 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County. 26 people have died, 197 people have been hospitalized, and 2,723 people have recovered. A total of 62,776 people have tested negative. Santa Cruz County is in the orange tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning some indoor business operations are open with modifications. Its adjusted case rate is at 4.5, and it needs to be below 1 to move up. It also has a 2.2% positivity rate, and that needs to be below 2% to move up. The county needs to meet the criteria for three weeks before moving to the yellow tier.

Checking All the Bad Behavior Boxes

This week, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a driver in a stolen vehicle. The driver was a convicted felon with an out of county felony warrant. He was also in possession of a dozen cell phones, shaved keys (which can be used to gain entry into cars), burglary tools, a short barreled shotgun, stun gun, drugs and drug paraphernalia. He went to jail and is being held on $25,000 bail and a felony warrant.

Carjacked on Felix Street

Last Sunday morning around 1:30AM, SCPD responded to the 200 block of Felix Street for a reported carjacking. The victim told police the suspected thief flashed a firearm at them before stealing their vehicle. Nobody was arrested.

We Get What We Are Willing to Tolerate

Just after midnight this past Tuesday, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy made a traffic stop involving a driver on the 1800 block of Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville. During the stop, the driver was found to be in possession of meth for sale, burglary tools, and had a stolen laptop from a local school. You’d think he might go to jail for all that stuff. NAH. It’s Santa Cruz. He was cited and released. I hope they at least took his meth away!

Jeepers Creepers

Sunday night around 7:30PM, a 40 year old male was arrested on the 300 block of Raymond Street for making unwanted sexual advances towards a 13 year old girl. He was apparently arrested but he’s out of jail already.

Boardwalk Partially Opens

This week, the Seaside Company announced they would be partially re-opening some of the rides on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The Boardwalk will become the first amusement park in California to reopen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was made possible after the county moved into the orange tier of California’s blueprint for a safer economy. Rides can continue to operate as long as they don’t go back into the red. Admission to the dedicated ride area will cost $25 per person and provides access to a two-hour reservation window, which caps at 300 people per session. Rides will operate on weekends. All guests who enter the dedicated ride area will have their temperature checked and also undergo a COVID-19 health screening. Only Santa Cruz County residents can go on the rides. Reservations can be made here.

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!

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19 Comments

The Weekly Dump 11.6.20

  1. I appreciate your political comments at the top of your column. I continue to be really unhappy about the let go free criminals…wrong, wrong!!

  2. Politically, more divisiveness. It will just be quiet, not tweeted from above. Might be a good thiung. The reason is that outside a few flyover-country rural areas, folks are afraid to speak their minds, or have their Internet communications monitored. Things have been going that way for decades. If you will recall, the last President to be elected by a large mandate was Richard Nixon in 1972. But then…

    I wasn’t able to find the online article today (interference from current events), but I recall seeing the historical photo of brownshirts standing with a “ballot box” in front of a genuine German polling place, 1930s era. The sign implied that only cowards would proceed to secret ballot at the real poll, instead of dropping their ballots into the brownshirt box, where no doubt they would be reviewed before submission. This mail-in stuff reminded me of that, for better or worse. Whatever.

    Locally, much improved. Although Santa Cruz city politics does not directly affect me (I live outside city limits), it indirectly does, since I necessarily must mingle in town. I remember many years ago, a candidate for one of the County offices was trying to get votes by talking about water resources, which was an important job consideration. But the response was, “Students will vote for someone else, based on frivolous reasons.” And so it came to pass.

    1. fly over rural areas afraid to speak their minds? where are such places? I lived in rural alaska and Idaho and they are very vocal and well connected – far better than santa cruz “mountains’. Santa Cruz in in the stone ages compared to alaska, which puzzled me as my husband in telecom in alaska, most have 5g there and its literally sucks in santa cruz in comparison.

      1. You mjis-parsed what I wrote. The fly-over areas were not silenced. It is the more urban areas that were silenced, even the suburbs.

        As for the telecom: No doubt! I live in the hills above SC, and cannot get a cell phone connection in most areas.; Even the west side of SC, along West Cliff, has weak spots. Seems to depend on provided, and model of phone.

        Back to siloencing: Some years ago, a controversial proposition was put to California voters. In those days, anonymous news article comments (Disqus) were fashionable. I had my own web site, with ability to create Email addresses. As an experiment, I would log into Disqus using different names, always opposing the proposition. Some of my comments were mild, reasonable, and gramatically correct. Those would shortly be voted down and removed by automatic filters. The other comments were irrational, mis-spelled, or strangely religious. Those would be left in place. The net result was to create the impression that thoughtful, rational prople did not oppose the proposition; only troglodytes opposed it.

  3. Sheriff Jim Hart is up for reelection in June 2022. That’s actually not that far away. Last time he ran unopposed. Let’s hope that’s not the case next time.

    Regarding the move of the benchlands homeless to the armory: We already have a group of homeless here; we don’t need more. DO NOT bring in additional campers. Even people working with the homeless who are currently housed at the armory are against this. Further, I’m puzzled as to where exactly they plan to place all the new tents. I can only suppose the “flat grassy area” leading to the armory isn’t the designated spot since it’s been cordoned off for years due to an endangered plant on its premises. So where?

    As far as where all the hangers-on who camp outside the benchlands fence will re-locate, Jason Hoppins admits that he has no idea. But those of us who live in this area have a clear idea—a few years back the “voluntarily unhoused” who were squatting in the area next to the armory started a fire under the eucalyptus trees there. Enough! Find a different spot. Elizabeth Smith, spokeswoman for the city of Santa Cruz, let us know who made the unilateral decision to bring another wave of campers here with zero notification or input from neighbors. Martin Bernal mentions that he’s requesting the county do its part by finding additional spaces outside the city. Hey Martin, forget your passive request and DEMAND that the county do its part. That’s your job.

    1. Agree with all you say. Where’s Ryan Coonerty? Anyone seen or heard from him? Nah. He’s next.

      I hope everyone saw what Manu did to Leopold and take a lesson from his playbook. You don’t need to win initially. You just need to keep him under 50% and take 2nd to a runoff. Then you court everyone else that lost to support and endorse you. Brilliant strategy even if unintended. Run to win, but make sure you at least take second and keep him under 50%.

      We need a solid professional who lives in the 3rd district to step up. If you’re a woman, even better. We need sensible women up there. The pay is good. Contact me and let’s talk about it. I’m serious.

      1. Third and Fifth district supes both need to go away. Both are useless and fossilized even though one is younger than the other.

  4. People who lack the capacity to ponder their mistakes never get around to correcting them. Both the progressives’ diagnosis of what’s wrong with America and the regimen they prescribe to correct it have grown increasingly radical, a trend that predated the Trump presidency, intensified throughout it, and will likely continue after it’s over. William Voegeli
    November 6, 2020 Politics and law

  5. Local races are non partisan in California by law and for good reason. So it really doesn’t matter if someone interested in serving in local office claims to be conservative, moderate, liberal or progressive in such races. Except in their own minds. And that, my friends, is what is wrong with local politics in this state. So if you insist on being a party hack as if it is your religion, then stay out of local races and everyone using local services will be better off.

    1. I don’t disagree with what you’re trying to say but it’s just not that simple here. Yes, the CC seats are non partisan TECHNICALLY but we all know they aren’t in reality. They are all Democrats. To varying degrees. People in Santa Cruz love to fling the “Republican” label around like mud at anyone who doesn’t toe their progressive line. Perceived political ideologies have become weaponized against local candidates for office. Look no further than Manu’s race against Leopold. Leopold’s fan club constantly tried to label Manu “republican” or “libertarian” as a personal insult and look how successful they were. They lost big. As long as labeling people by political ideology is pervasive and weaponized here (and it’s very pervasive and weaponized here), it will be a problem that just creates divisiveness instead of building bridges (and getting more shit done).

      And I hate to say this but one of the few “public” people who truly GETS IT, who understands what I’m talking about, is Brent Adams. He’s been trying for some time to build bridges and what happens? Local homeless “advocate” assholes attack his personal character. This is a guy, like him or hate him, who is actually getting shit done. I might not like the guy personally but he has my respect for trying to find middle ground and taking the high road when necessary.

  6. I just bought some Swag to support you and Santa Mierda. Turning Corners was beautifully written. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I’ve lived here for 20 years and have zero friends. I can’t toe the invisible line. I do have friends in other countries and from other states. That’s a plus. So, no worries.
    Look forward to Santa Mierda every week!

    1. Thanks Jami! I’d be happy to be your friend. Feel free to comment anytime. I’ve tried to keep this place respectful of other opinions, and I think we have a wide variety of people who regularly comment here, with different political ideologies. I encourage respectful discussion on the issues, without making things personal towards the person giving their opinion. I just wish we could all just focus more on the issues and less on the personalities involved. And thanks for reading and your support!

  7. All putting up another “official/unofficial” BUM camp in SC is going to do is get more scum bags to come here, not like they don’t already flock here to the NO JAIL TIME drug addict/ criminal Mecca. All the scum on foot will just stay put and the ones with vehicles that are already here and those that can get here by vehicle will now have a destination and this will further empower the scum bags that already claim SC as a drug addict Mecca. I think instead the whole thing needs to do a 180 and start shutting down places the we ALLOW scum bag addicts to be stop giving scum bag addicts money and free camping gear and food and just start programs to start getting them out of the city of SC. The city of SC needs to START taking care of people who like to live in SC and want to contribute to a peaceful society. As for what will happen with the scum bag addicts well since they don’t care about people who want to live in a drug free city and all that goes along with that type of lifestyle well I can’t care about them. Though I have to deal with them every time I’m in SC.

  8. Ben, since your lead photo is asbout the presidential election…

    Today, a Trump-favoring, politically-oriented web site noted that if Green Party votes were all assigned to Biden, and Libertarian Paty votes were all assigned to Trump, then Trump would have won the contested swing states, and would easily have been re-elected (without vote count controversies). It was also noted that Pennsylvania succeeded in banning the Green Party from the ballot there. Karma for 2000, I suppose. So, a ranked-choice system would have elected Gore and re-elected Trump. Had the Green Party been on the Pennsylvania ballot, then it might have re-elected Trump. Only caution is that we cannot assume that all, or even most, Libertarians would have chosen Trump instead. I also note that the same web site does not like ranked-choice voting!

    In other news, I now appreciate the value of a face mask. Keeps my nose warm while cycling in the cold mornings.

  9. Could you mention about the shit show of stolen bikes right there in front of the court house park area!!!! So anyone missing their bike lately….its being chop shopped right there. And its growing day-by-day day. What a fucking mess….unreal!

    1. Any photo available? I’m not going there in person, but it seems to me that it should be easy enough to circulate some cell phone photos, if nothing else.

      San Francisco had (maybe still has) that problem. Chop shops in plain view. At the suggestion of a SF bike shop (which mentioned it online!) I walked past one of them. It had a portable generator, welding tanks (!) and power paint spray. There were two attendees. Doubt if they were homeless. I looked it over, and the attendees didn’t give a damn. Someone else posted a photo of a stack of bike frames and parts outside a tent located at UN Plaza, not far from SF City Hall.

      The catch is that anything under $950 is not sufficiently valuable for the police to pursue it, unless something else is going on. That’s state law, not local choice. So, inexpensive bikes in good condition are actually more likely to be stolen than are bikes obvously worth over $950. Not clear if that’s new purchase price, or depreciated value.

      SF tried tacking a few geolocation transmitters onto planted “steal me” bikes. Nothing came of it. The idea was not to recover just that one bike, but maybe it would lead to something bigger. Recall, a few years ago, Santa Cruz had a bike theft ring operating out of a gas station! Caught only because they also stole a phone with geolocation.

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