The Weekly Dump 2.26.21

Adios Martin Bernal

Wednesday morning, Santa Cruz city manager Martin Bernal announced he’ll be retiring in July. I’ll try not to gloat, get up and do a happy dance, punch the air a few times, drop a few f-bombs, and then settle down to read the news again in disbelief. To say this is long overdue is like saying water is kind of wet. It’s possible this has been in the works for some time. I’ve heard numerous rumors that he was planning to retire soon. And planning it and doing it are two different things. I’m sure the writing was on the wall after the last election, with so many new faces inheriting his mess. And his mess has only gotten worse since last November, with numerous examples of his obvious failure to lead (the horrible bum camps along Mission/Highway 1/Highway 9 bypass, the failure to break up the camps in San Lorenzo park).

I don’t even know where to begin with Martin’s Greatest Hits. Just in my tenure here for the past 5 years, I named an illegal homeless camp in San Lorenzo park after him. Twice. It was under his “management” that city hall became a toxic mess of harassment of city staff by a couple of now recalled former city council members. The community had to finally do Bernal’s dirty work for him and get rid of Drew Glover and Chris Krohn after Martin Bernal forced female staff members to work in toxic working conditions. His own assistant city manager was one of the most abused. I won’t shed a tear at his departure. I’ve been calling for his firing for years. I’ve been told over and over again, by people who would know and sometimes even be part of the process to make it happen, that it won’t happen. They just didn’t have the votes (guts to do it) on the city council. It appears to me anyways that this city council, made up of 6 women and one man, finally had the guts to make it happen. Tuesday morning he has a closed session meeting with the city council to discuss his job performance evaluation. Wednesday morning he announces he’s retiring. I smell a little correlation there. And the city council quietly, without fanfare, telling him they’re moving on. He gets to save face by “retiring”, with his pension intact. And I’m fine with it. Let’s all turn the page on Martin Bernal.


Cracker – I See the Light

It was only by the grace of you that I got this attitude. I’ll send you my gratitude when I make it through!

You Can Blame the Assholes That Voted For This

In a written opinion issued on Thursday, the California State Supreme Court issued their ruling on Senate Bill 1391, which was challenged in the case of Adrian “A.J.” Gonzalez, who brutally raped and murdered 8 year old Madyson “Maddy” Middleton in Santa Cruz. The court ruled that SB 1391 was constitutional. The law, which went into effect in 2019, prevents anyone under the age of 16 years old being tried as an adult. In 2019 SB 1391 was ruled unconstitutional by a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge before it was taken to the state supreme court.

The Middleton Family released a statement after the supreme court ruling.

“The decision by the California Supreme Court that SB 1391 is constitutional is absolutely disappointing to our family. We have thought long and hard about what we desire from the justice system in regards to this case. No punishment can ever undo what was done or bring our beloved Maddy back to us. However, at the very least, it is our hope that this act does not happen again. We believe that the heinous nature of the crime, level of sophistication and manipulation, planning and cover-up indicates all of the characteristics of a psychopathic killer, who needs to be kept away from our children and society. It is our firm belief that the California Juvenile Justice System, as it exists today, is not capable of adequately dealing with this type of individual. For us, the worst has already happened. We will now see where this path leads,” said Dan Middleton, Madyson’s grandfather.

The killer is 21 years old now but could now go free when he turns 25.

City Council Discusses Reducing Idiot Compassion

Idiot Compassion. I know it sounds harsh but the term was coined by a Buddhist monk so I really can’t take credit for it. In a nutshell, it’s this: “It refers to something we all do a lot of and call it compassion. In some ways, it’s what’s called enabling. It’s the general tendency to give people what they want because you can’t bear to see them suffering.” And we sure do a lot of that here in Santa Cruz.

Tuesday night, the city council passed the first step in trying to at least manage the human dumpster fire they created. The agenda item passed with a 5-2 vote. The 2 on the losing end were Brown (predictably) and Cummings (somewhat surprising but still predictable). How’s that recall working for you again? This agenda item would have never even made it to the point of public discussion under the previous “brand new council”. This is what a “moderate” majority gets you. Conventional wisdom! Imagine that. Not some delusional rhetorical babble from the likes of Bob Noise and Bad Mom. We actually have smart people on the city council now. And Sandy Brown.

Santa Cruz Felon Arrested in South Lake Tahoe

A 55 year old Santa Cruz man was arrested in South Lake Tahoe on Wednesday after barricading himself inside a home. The man was OUT ON BAIL on 50 felony charges and had numerous warrants for his arrest. Some of the charges included domestic violence and intimidating witnesses. Deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on the man’s home, where they found 43 weapons and tactical vests with Washoe County Sheriff’s Office patches on them. Washoe County is located in Nevada next to South Lake Tahoe. They located the man on the 3700 block of Alder Avenue but he refused to make contact. The neighborhood was evacuated as a precaution while officers and multiple agencies tried to contact the suspect. He was eventually taken into custody, sustained minor injuries, but no officers were hurt.

Stealing a Car Gets You Penny Bail Now

Last Thursday afternoon around 1PM, SCPD responded to the area of Delaware Avenue and Shaffer Road (imagine that!) where they arrested a 31 year old male for vehicle theft. Not good enough for Jim Hart’s jail! Steal a car, get out for a penny. Penny bail!

You’d be amazed at the kind of shit you can get away with in this town with a pocket full of change.

Burglary? No sweat. Penny bail!

Spare change?

Drunk and Belligerent Downtown on a Sunday Morning 

Sunday morning around 10AM, SCPD responded to the area of the west levee near Laurel Street where they proceeded to arrest a 57 year old male and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats, and being drunk in public. His bail was set at $25K and last check he’s still in jail.


Last Thursday morning around 10:30AM, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 42 year old Aptos man on the 700 block of Ocean Street and charged him with a total of 18 charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, as well as other drugs and weapons charges. Last check, he’s still in county jail on a $75K bond.

Multi-Vehicle Mission Street Crash Kills Local Motorcyclist

Early Thursday afternoon, a multi-vehicle crash on Mission Street between Younglove and Swift took the life of a local 29 year old motorcyclist. Police on scene said their initial investigation determined the motorcyclist hit a passenger vehicle while traveling on Mission Street, lost control and fell off his motorcycle. The victim was a former volunteer with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Last Thursday around 5PM, SCPD responded to the area of the east levee and San Lorenzo Boulevard, after getting reports of a robbery. They eventually arrested a 28 year old Sacramento man and charged him with robbery, possession of stolen property, drug possession, and of course, the always predictable FELONY VIOLATION OF PAROLE. The gift that keeps on giving. It’s that last charge that’s keeping him in jail right now on a no bail hold.

The Probation Violation is What Kept Him in Jail

Last Thursday, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Team (SET) and County Probation conducted a probation search on a known gang member. During the search 536.2 grams of methamphetamine, 114 grams of heroin, a drug scale, a police scanner, and over $4400 cash were found. The man was arrested and booked into county jail for possession of methamphetamine for sale, possession of heroin for sale, and violation of his probation.

Breaking Bad on Delaware and Shaffer

Last Friday, the same SET group served a search warrant on a trailer in the area of Shaffer Road and Delaware Avenue. Yes, they served a search warrant on a trailer parked along Bumfuck Parkway in the far western reaches of the city of Santa Cruz. During a search of the trailer, 378.6 grams of methamphetamine, scales and packaging were located. A male suspect who was occupying the trailer at the time of the search was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale. He never went to jail. He was given a ticket. While dealing with this drug dealer, a vehicle with expired registration tags driven by another drug dealer was noticed leaving the area and a vehicle stop was conducted. K9 Lola alerted to narcotics being in the vehicle and a search was conducted. The driver was found to be in possession of 508 grams of methamphetamine. He faces charges for possession of methamphetamine for sale. He never went to jail. He was given a ticket.

The Latest COVID Updates From Santa Cruz County

There have been 14,588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County, according to the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, and 446 are active cases. 183 people have died, 436 have been hospitalized, 19 people are currently hospitalized, and 2 people are in the ICU. 13,959 people have recovered from the disease. A total of 115,451 people have tested negative.

Santa Cruz County is in the purple tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning many non-essential indoor business operations are closed. Its adjusted case rate is at 8.6, and it needs to be at 7 or below to move up. It also has a 2.9% positivity rate, and that needs to be at 8% or below to move up.

Taking Out the Trash

This past week, SCPD released some numbers related to their vehicle abatement program.

  • 2,425 Citations Written by SCPD Staff & Volunteers (Over 1000 written in the area of Delaware & Natural Bridges)
  • 2,220 Vehicles issued Abatement Notices
  • 198 Vehicles Towed

HOTLINE: 831-420-5863 to Report Abandoned Vehicles To SCPD Vehicle Abatement Officer

Who Lost a Stash of Cash Downtown?

Last weekend, parking employees with the city of Santa Cruz found a bunch of cash in the downtown area. Apparently a lot of it. They handed it over to SCPD, who are attempting to locate the rightful owner. Contact Lt. Jones at or 831-420-5992 and be able to describe the following:
– What type of container was the money located inside?
– What kind of design or writing was on the outside of the container?
– What was the quantity and denomination of the money?
– When and where (in the downtown area) you may have lost your money?

Why do I have a feeling there are drugs involved somehow? Oh, because this is Santa Cruz!

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  1. Paige Concannon

    He is finally leaving….wishes do come true…..
    Did you hear anything about a murder or?? At Camp Bernal.
    Thanks so much for all you do !!

    • Long time coming! Thanks Paige! I haven’t heard about a recent murder in the park, although I have heard they’ve pulled a handful of bodies out of there since the judge let them stay.

  2. Martin Bernal out—THANK GOD! The next one I want to see out of here asap is Sheriff Jim Hart.

    • All we need to do to get rid of Hart is not elect him next time. Easier said than done, but they said Leopold would never lose either. Hart was hand picked by the last sheriff and benefitted from that. Thanks Julie.

  3. Great write up, very informative
    Keep them coming….

  4. Let’s hope the next city manager isn’t a repeat of M Bernal!

    • Or worse! It’s a calculated risk for sure but things were never going to improve under Bernal, only get worse as we’ve seen. So it’s worth the risk at this point. Thanks Beth.

      • Curious to everyone’s thoughts on key criteria, skills and competencies to be an effective SC City Manager?
        Here’s my short list:
        Leadership –
        – politically agnostic (neutral)
        Management –
        – ability to plan and align diverse stakeholders
        – has deep roots to SC so cares about long term outcomes, not just a paycheck and pension


  5. Bye bye, Bernal. As President Obama said, “Elections have consequences”. Now the City Council’s next task should be to conduct a job performance evaluation of Andy Mills and send him back to the planet of Incompetence from whence he came.

    • They can fire Mills anytime they want. He’s an at will employee of the city. But they won’t fire him if they haven’t already. They’ll wait until they hire a new city manager, and offer Mills the same “graceful exit” they just offered Bernal (leave on your terms now or we will let you go). And he’ll take it and move away with his pension intact too. They’ll let the new city manager hire their own police chief (I would hope), since the chief works so closely and directly with the city manager. Thanks Greenie.

  6. Not too street savvy here, 866 grams of meth ( from the RV and car bust)!, how many hits is that? What kind of a dent did that put in the supply chain?

  7. wow a ticket for all that meth. I rollerskate with my daughter at the UCSC campus at the end of delaware. Didn’t realize it was that dangerous.

    • MuyDeplorable

      Years ago, I rode my bicyle along Highway 1 in Big Sur. When I got to the National Forest campground, I was hot and thirsty. Figured that if I looked around for some plump Midwesterners with an RV, they would have a cooler of beer and I could get some. Found Midwesterners with RV, and they had the cooler of beer. Success. Now, here is why I tell you this: If you or your daughter is ever injured while rollerskating, just ask around at the decrepit RVs. You are sure to score some pain killers. By the kilogram, probably.

  8. Ben for City Manager !!!

  9. “City Council Discusses Reducing Idiot Compassion”
    Just spit balling here, but could we superimpose a grid on the City of Santa Cruz and take bets on the squares for where the next Hep-A Heights will located? I would put some money on Pogonip until the grass gets dry there, because that is shiny new dumpster fire to create.

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