Let the 2020 Hangover Commence
Happy New Year? I guess a question mark seems more appropriate right now than the usual exclamation point. I think we’re turning a corner. I’m an optimist. It’s not gonna happen overnight. It might take all of 2021 just to recover from 2020. But I don’t see it continuing to be the bitter, divisive, free fall of epic proportions that defined 2020.
Local Mountain Lion Captured Near Downtown
This week, the State Department of Fish and Game captured a mountain lion that was roaming around near Neary Lagoon over the past week. Neighbors were on high alert after multiple witnesses spotted the big cat in the nearby neighborhoods. Officials think the animal might have been sick or eaten some poison. They captured the lion without incident and it will be medically evaluated before being relocated and released.
Bungle in the Jungle
Walking through forests of palm tree apartments
Scoff at the monkeys who live in their dark tents
Down by the waterhole, drunk every Friday
Eating their nuts, saving their raisins for Sunday
Lions and tigers who wait in the shadows
They’re fast but they’re lazy, and sleep in green meadows
This week, the city of Santa Cruz tried to remove all the bums living in San Lorenzo park. These are the dregs of people that basically refused to leave the park after the city closed and shut down the original dumpster fire with fencing a couple months ago. The city tried to do it the official way, got their asses handed back to them, and had to retreat in shame. At one point, they all had to walk back through the park towards Dakota while dozens of social justice warriors threw down chants of shame. It reminded me of the classic Cersei’s walk of atonement scene from Game of Thrones.
Then, to muddy things up (pun intended) and make matters worse for the city, that fool, third rate Saul Goodman wanna-be lawyer from Sacramento Tony Baloney filed a TRO against the city to stop the removal of the bums squatting in the park. Just delaying the inevitable. And using the poor, vulnerable homeless as pawns to feed your grift. Anyone who uses the homeless as some kind of narcissistic fuel to feed their ego is truly a despicable piece of shit. The wolves in sheeps clothing are more dangerous than critics like me.
Turnstiler of the Week
This past Tuesday night around 10:30PM, SCPD responded to a possible home invasion burglary after a caller reported two males were prowling and attempting to break into a home. A resident of a nearby apartment caught one suspect and pinned him down until SCPD arrived. The 2nd suspect evaded police and was last seen near Outdoor World. The guy they arrested has been arrested locally at least 20 times since 2013. We don’t punish. We coddle.
Monday morning around 11AM, reports came in that a transient male from Arizona walked into the CVS on Soquel and Front streets and walked out with a 12 pack of Lagunitas without paying. Police were already downtown and spotted the guy behind New Leaf in the parking lot. He’s got good taste in beer. Police recovered the beer (all of it?) and arrested the guy.
Bringing Pepper Spray to a Knife Fight
Thursday afternoon around 4PM, SCPD responded to a report of a fight between two males in the alley near Commerce and Church streets in downtown Santa Cruz. Witnesses told police that one man pulled a knife on another guy and he was pepper sprayed as a result of pulling the knife. SCPD arrived quickly and detained at least one guy in handcuffs. Medics responded to deal with the guy who got pepper sprayed.
I Hear You Knocking But You Can’t Come In
Last Friday night around 10:30PM, SCPD responded to an apartment on the 300 block of River Street after getting a report of a possible home invasion burglary. The report came from the person who lived in the apartment, who came home and couldn’t open the front door because someone was inside blocking it. SCPD sent multiple units to the scene and surrounded the apartment before getting the suspect to come out peacefully.
Bums With Guns For Breakfast
Saturday morning around 8AM, SCPD responded to the area near Ocean and Barson after getting reports of someone pointing a gun at another person. The witness, who didn’t stick around, reported seeing this happen near the mini mart. SCPD got a good description of the suspect, who was later found in a tent near the river levee. Police found an airsoft pistol in his tent. Not sure if anyone actually got arrested.
The Wrong Place to Spend Christmas Eve
Thursday night around 11:30PM, SCPD responded to the Holiday Inn Express on the 1400 block of Ocean Street where they made a high risk stop in the parking garage after a stolen black BMW was flagged there while it was parked and occupied. One person was detained. The car was reported stolen out of Scotts Valley.
Truck Drives Off Cliff
FIRE CZU says they have rescued two people after their truck went over a cliff on Felton Empire Road Saturday evening. Fire officials say both people have major injuries and are being transported to a hospital via air lift. It all happened around 5:30 p.m. One patient is in critical condition. CAL FIRE CZU adds that the truck fell about 100 feet.
Turning Pallets Into Transitional Shelters For Local Homeless
Here’s an idea I’ve been thinking about for some time. A local guy (Alex) has been “field testing” his concept of a new type of transitional shelter for the local homeless to use this winter. While I can appreciate his effort and enthusiasm for the project, his product frankly looks like crap. Some of his (jealous) haters have compared his structure to a coffin. There’s some undeniable truth there. If we allow these things to just pop up anywhere, and someone uses one to shoot up and they overdose inside, and nobody knows about it. It will be a coffin for someone.
And my main beef as always is we as a society of civilized people can do much better. And before anyone wants to lay out whose fault it is that we have more homeless living in our open spaces than poppies, keep in mind there’s really only one answer here. IT’S THE COUNTY. It’s the county’s fault. Period. The COUNTY is responsible for social services for all the citizens of the county, of which the people living in the city of Santa Cruz are all part of. We have a weak County response because we have had and continue to have a weak Board of Supervisors who have punted this down the road (or back to a willing and eager city council ready to take on a responsibility that isn’t theirs). Why does the city constantly pick up the county trash for them? It should be obvious to anyone who watches local politics. It’s an ego thing! It’s a contest to see who can look the most “progressive” and “compassionate”.
So back to my original headline and idea here. Pallets. They’re everywhere. They can be gotten for basically free. And they can be turned into modular transitional tiny homes with a small group of people using hand tools. And the result isn’t some butt ugly bivy. The result is something the rest of the community could actually live with (at least aesthetically). And it’s using recycled materials.
Where do you put it? On COUNTY land somewhere. Make the COUNTY manage it. But you have to be willing to actually partner with the county on this idea. It needs a show runner. Hello Manu? It’s got your name written all over it.
Check out this video. The final product is actually pretty nice.
Living Up to the Dysfunction Junction Label
I heard a pretty credible rumor that local law enforcement is still waiting to be vaccinated for the COVID-19. Other first responders like medics were apparently given the vaccine this week. But not the police? I’m hearing our local county health director has been a roadblock in getting this done. She’s proven herself to be a road block before. I heard she also threw a party during the lockdown this past spring, and deputies from the sheriff’s office had to break up her party. More hypocrisy?
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Nothing Changes on New Year’s Day
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Great reporting Ben….we can always count on you for responsible news….HAPPY NEW YEAR….
Supervisor Caput wrote in today’s Sentinel (Jan 1) that the county is in the process of purchasing some land for a park. With the continuing need to find someplace for homeless people living in RVs to have a managed spot, or to allow some tiny homes to be built, or find some other short-term or long-term solutions, is more park land really the biggest need?
re: “Living Up to the Dysfunction Junction Label”
You are absolutely right! The county’s response to nearly everything (I’m leaving out Pellerin’s County Clerk’s Office) is failure.
Newel (on San Lorenzo Park transient sweep) would have advised against sweeping the park of vandals, addicts, arsonists, bike thieves, and criminals who use that area to flee from police. She states that allowing them to shelter in place is a CDC guideline, and best practice. But has she tested any of them for covid? No. Is she using the TRO bonus time to conduct covid testing? Not yet… and the clock’s tickin’ on the TRO expiration date. By the time she gets off her ass (Monday?) the TRO will have expired before she knows the test results. And SHE”S THE F’N PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER!
Newel (and Hart, and Giraldo, Riera, Rosell…) are the epitome of dysfunction.
Been saying this all along. Of course all of the productive/tax paying members have to follow all the mandates… but homeless are exempt. Add it to the list of everything they dont have follow the laws for.
Been screaming this for years !!!
So disappointing that Gail Newell is not doing anything about that. Frankly, how dare she even comment such a thing!! Best practice, sure but then we can expect her to hide her head in the sand with the rest of them! It is a county thing !! No matter what way anyone or anybody wants
to twist it! It is always the county’s responsibility !! I am sick of all of it ! Sick of the person, and person’s who barks constantly, tells so many stories, demands so much from the city to help, while helping no one !! They still they don’t understand that this is a county issue!!!
Rolling my dam eyes !
So the county is purchasing land for a park? Good. Then relocate the “homeless” there when they are moved out of San Lorenzo PARK. “Homeless” in quotes because I am so sick of the bums, transients, druggies, and homeless-by-choice being lumped in with citizens who are down on their luck and actually contribute to society. Does anyone actually believe the old line that there are no beds available for these people? The homeless-by-choice do not want to abide by regulations, which is why they’re camping out in this free for all mess. Try the armory for beds, but be prepared to follow the rules. Of course that unwelcome thought doesn’t make its way into the mindset of the rabid enablers who pushed back against the police. It’s time to de-activate the activists.
So yes, the county needs to step up and take on this exponential overflow of “homeless.” But the state is responsible too. Mental health and drug/rehab facilities are desperately needed here and throughout the state. The only way that’s going to happen is if each one of us sits hard on our state legislators through letters, phone calls and emails until they can’t ignore it any longer.
The government has more money to pis away than we can possible imagine. Relatively speaking, I’d say a homeless RV campground, at least the land, should be no problem-o it just requires a leftist approved suitably victimized socially acceptable caretaker that can make it happen. Consider for instance (without getting into if they deserve it or not, which I kinda think they don’t), the Esselen tribe of Monterey somehow finagled (hired out of state lobbyists) to get the state to buy(I.E. GRANT) 1200 acres on the Big Sur River (that’s about 6 acres EACH tribe member) about 5 miles inland in perpetuity to them to be “stewards of the land” and hold their ceremonies using.. (the punch line) Prop 68 Water,Park… “outdoor access for all” (but not if your not in the tribe) money. They just need to call it a “park” and the homeless are “stewards of the land”!!! There’s BILLIONS left in Prop 68 money! (This is sarcasm in case you missed that)
On a trip to South Africa years ago witnessed an amazing re-use of pallets and recycled aluminum. The S.A. government established camps with housing, health care, etc. for unemployed folks. There was a constant line of semi-trucks delivering pallets and recycled cans coming in one side, and driving away with fabricated tiny houses on the other side. The pallets were disassembled and re-used for lumber. The cans flattened and used for roofing. It was F’n amazing to see the ingenuity and true re-use of materials. We have too many regulations and standards (County) for this to fly here. I checked. So sad that the “Third World” make this happen and we just can’t get out of our own way!
I’m assuming because the 3rd world doesnt have the 1st world leftist dot commers and idealists with mislead sympathy to hold thier hands through their dysfunction.
Not to mention when you live in a culture where being a hobo isnt “cool” or “rebellious” …while simultaneously having the option to do better at your doorstep, you tend to want to do better for yourself with whatever is available.
Its sad that in a free country we have ppl that strive to collect handouts while other countries that are oppressed strive to do the opposite with much less.
It doesn’t matter what resources SC does or does not have/provide for those who “do” or “don’t” “deserve” it. The thing is there are individuals who just simply insist on living on the streets to no matter what they are literally handed they just insist on being on the streets to – do drugs, drink Alcohol,do crime(s) but some individuals don’t do any of those things but still insist on living on the streets. But it seems every minute of everyday Santa Cruz’s leaders just want to keep SC the same Drug Addict Criminal Mecca that it’s always been. Keep in mind it’s not the old people male/female you see on the streets caring everything they own like turtle/Gypsy’s. It’s the younger male/females that walk/bike/skateboard all over town 24/7 that do most of the crime/theft/property damage, harassment and assaults not hard to figure out but it’s those individuals that go around with basically “ diplomatic immunity” they even group up along Pacific and roads off of it especially at night and all just hang out play music smoke and drink what they want at all hours of the day and night and police just act like there not there and when they do commit crime it’s basically the victims fault for report them.
Agreed. Those who are simply down on their luck and need help are either too proud to accept the hand out, or are taken a back seat at the bottom of a long list of the squeaky, whiny, undeserving wheels that get all the top of the line grease.
And it makes me sick to hear my friends who work at the vets hall and homeless services center talk about how much state or federal money goes into the leaders pockets rather than into the programs they are intended for… all the while these local leaders break their arms patting themselves on the back for being caring and progressive… as if this isn’t all just about money to begin with.
I agree with you IH8SC; you can lead a bum to productive citizenship, but you cant make him take responsibility for his life from there on.
Those who want better, will get it. Those who dont, wont.
I worked with handicapped teens for several years. I always tho’t it’d be would be fun to use pallets to assemble things easily. One thing I thought would be pretty easy to assemble were adirondack chairs, and dog houses, etc. They are made with wood slats, and pallets are easy to obtain. Adirondacks are made of redwood slats, but even if they use pine, & then are painted your butt won’t know the difference. You could undercut the market & the kids would really enjoy enjoy being productive & earning some money.
Some of the homeless, including “homeless by choice,” are harmless, and often they are not unsightly. You would hardly notice they are around. I have met some by chance, both here and elsewhere. It is often a matter of marginal mental difficulties (not enough for public aid) or other issues not related to drugs or alcohol or criminality. They are nice, and they are aware that they are not sociable. You do not find them handing out on the street, or begging, or visibly camping. Perhaps they would take advantage of those mini-houses, or perhaps not. In any case, no real problem. But this is a minority.
As for the ones who do drugs, hang out on the streets and beg, visibly camp, steal, and so forth: Take a look at the cage used for the mountain lion.
If you think the bums trash the city, you actually are seeing them on their best behavior.
They are far worse in our local wildlands.
Get them out & keep them OUT!!