The Needle and the Damage Done
This week, it was brought to my attention that during a meeting of the county’s “needle exchange commission”, they heard statements from the CEO of the needle collection company that the county has hired and contracted out to maintain and empty the county’s needle kiosks, which are located in various locations around Santa Cruz. The commission heard from Larry McCarty, who runs a company called “Sharp Solutions“, and they are the company contracted by the county to collect and empty the numerous county needle collection kiosks located around town in various locations.
And in arguably the least surprising news of the week for me, he revealed to the commission that the official county “numbers” for needles collected are full of shit. Literally! There’s all kinds of random shit that gets disposed of in those kiosks and that means the numbers the county makes public in terms of how many needles they collect back is pure garbage. It’s speculation. It’s wishful thinking. But it sure as hell isn’t based on fact. Fact is it’s based on weight, not how many needles they actually count back. This has been revealed for years, yet the county refuses to acknowledge they are peddling lies and propaganda here. Check out this video from the meeting. Go to the 55 minute mark to hear what Larry has to say. He calls the kiosks biohazards. He talks about “intrusions” (getting accosted by junkies as they do their pickups). My buddy Damon calls out the BS counting methods and claims by the county. “we have no idea what’s inside of it”. There’s the fucking vibrantly honest truth folks.
Please contact Santa Cruz Supervisors Koenig, Friend and Caput asking them to publicly oppose AB 1344, which removes local control over syringe dispensaries and would increase the number of used needles in public spaces. Why have Ryan and Bruce come out in opposition and the other 3 have not? Where’s Manu Koenig on this issue? Why hasn’t he come out publicly in opposition to trashing the environment with more needle litter? And how about Zach Friend? Some “friend”. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Where is he? Former SCPD spokesguy. Has he forgotten about public safety? And how about Greg Caput? Do you support this idea of more needles in the community spaces like parks, beaches, and open spaces? Ryan and Bruce are onboard. Where are the other 3? Missing in action? Willfully ignorant? In support of more dirty needles? Inquiring minds want to know.
Friday Night Brawl at the Wharf Sends Victim to Hospital
Last Friday night around 9:30PM, SCPD responded to the Santa Cruz Wharf after getting multiple calls about a brawl involving at least 3 people with weapons. When they arrived, they shut down the entrance to the wharf and found at least one victim with serious facial lacerations who they originally thought might have been stabbed. Three males were arrested at the scene and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The victim was transported to Dominican for their injuries. About a half hour later, four more people were arrested in Depot Park who may have been somehow involved in the assault.
Woman Slashes Liquor Store Employee After Stealing Stuff
Saturday night around 10PM, SCPD responded to Lloyd’s Liquor store on the 300 block of Soquel for a report of a stabbing. When they arrived, the found a store employee had been stabbed in the arm by a female, who left the scene with 3 other females. They apparently stole about $50 worth of stuff before leaving. Witnesses got a good description of the suspects and the vehicle.
Dead Body Found Behind the Tannery
Monday night around 7:30PM, Santa Cruz Fire and SCPD responded to the area behind the Tannery off River Street for a report of a dead body found next to the San Lorenzo river. The body was found in an area along the river between the freeway and the Tannery.
Watsonville Shooting Suspect Charged With Attempted Murder
Last Saturday afternoon, a 23 year old suspected gang member from Watsonville is accused of shooting at several people outside of a home on the 200 block of Center Street in Watsonville. He was taken into custody a few blocks away from the scene and arrested within 10 minutes of the attempted murder. Officers found the suspect hiding behind a parked car and the gun he used underneath the car. Several people were outside of a home when the suspect started shooting at them. A mother and her young child were inside a car parked in the driveway but were not injured during the shooting. Detectives believe the shooting was gang related.
The Weekly Benchlands Assault With a Deadly Weapon Story
Just before 7PM on Monday night, SCPD responded to the benchlands of San Lorenzo park for a report of an assault with a metal pipe in the homeless camp. When they responded, they got flagged down to an apparent victim under the footbridge near Trader Joe’s. The male suspect left the scene and witnesses reported seeing a male walking along the levee towards the beach. The suspect apparently used a large flashlight for a weapon and the victim had significant head injuries. The suspect seemed to be known and lived off the 200 block of Blackburn near downtown. The assault sounded personal, and a former girlfriend may have been involved. They pulled a black Camaro they thought was related over on Blackburn and Jenne in a high risk stop at gunpoint. The victim was taken to the hospital.
Ain’t That a Kick in the Head
Around 11AM on Thursday morning, SCPD responded to the bum camp in San Lorenzo Park after getting reports of a fight in the benchlands. The caller reported at least one person had been “knocked out”. Witnesses reported seeing the victim get kicked in the head. When they arrived, they found an unconscious male near the duck pond. They later saw the suspect on the 700 block of Ocean. The victim was transported to Dominican. The suspect was arrested for felony battery.
Thursday Afternoon Brawl on the Wharf
Just before 3PM on Thursday, multiple callers reported some kind of fight happening on the Santa Cruz Wharf in front of Stagnaro’s. Two males were fighting inside of a car and moved it outside and began fighting on top of the car while threatening to kill each other. Then another guy got involved who might have flashed a knife according to witnesses. SCPD showed up and broke up the fight. Not sure if anyone actually got arrested, but the tourists got a free show!
The Usual Vagrancy at Laurel and Front
Sunday night around 6PM, SCPD responded to the Food For Bums parking lot on the corner of Laurel and Front streets after getting a report that a man was chasing another man swinging a machete. When police arrived, they found a male victim with lacerations to the face, and quickly located the suspect on the Broadway bridge going over the San Lorenzo River. He was stopped at gunpoint, and they determined the machete was actually made of plastic. The victim refused to cooperate and told police he cut his face after falling off his bike. They still arrested plastic machete guy for being drunk in public. He was in jail for about an hour before they cut him loose. With a plastic machete!
If At First You Don’t Succeed Try Try Again!
Monday morning around 8AM, SCPD responded to the 300 block of Ocean View near broadway after getting reports of some guy smashing up cars and windows in the street with a screwdriver. Witnesses followed him to Soquel and Caledonia where he was arrested. The suspect was banging his head on the window of the patrol car on the way to jail. He’s from Oregon. He had been arrested on 5/28 for drug possession and being drunk in public, but was let out for a penny (or less) and a week later he does this. I blame the people that let him out of jail a week ago. Now he’s back in jail charged with robbery, domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, battery on a peace officer, and vandalism and his bail has been increased to $100K. If the county had kept him in jail last week, at least 5 people wouldn’t have to be dealing with their car insurance companies today.
North Carolina Sex Offender Arrested in Santa Cruz
Last Thursday, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina notified SCPD that a Wanted Sex Offender was possibly living within the Santa Cruz City limits. SCPD investigators followed up with them are locating and confirming the 48 year old wanted sex offender was living (or more likely squatting) here. Detectives learned the suspect is known to use aliases to evade arrest and was currently using a false name after he met a woman online who resides in Santa Cruz through a dating website. He showed up in Santa Cruz sometime in April. The woman he met online was unaware of his true identity or that he was a wanted felon. The next day around noon, SCPD arrested him for the outstanding felony warrant in violation of the terms of his Sex Offender Registration. He was booked at the Santa Cruz County Jail, awaiting a full extradition back to North Carolina.
The Walking Not Quite Dead Yet
Just before 7PM on Saturday, SCPD responded to a report of a 22 year old female who was unconscious and not breathing after overdosing in San Lorenzo Park’s homeless camp. She was given Narcan and was revived. The she apparently got up and walked away like nothing happened.
Around 6PM on Saturday, SCPD responded to a disturbance at Bonesio’s on Laurel and Pacific. After arriving, they arrested a 35 year old transient drunk male, charging him with being drunk in public, trespassing, resisting arrest, and of course, the ever present and ubiquitous felony violation of parole. He would have gotten a Get Out of Jail Free card but for that pesky felony violation of parole, which is keeping in jail for at least a couple more days before they cut him loose again.
Motorcyclist Hits Bicyclist in West Santa Cruz
Saturday afternoon around 2:30PM, SCPD and Santa Cruz Fire and medics responded to the area near Moore and High Streets after getting reports that a motorcyclist had hit a bicyclist. At least one victim was flown to Stanford trauma center for their injuries.
Santa Cruz Man Killed in Highway 17 Crash Near Scotts Valley
Friday night, a 28 year old from Santa Cruz was killed following a fatal crash on northbound Highway 17 near Mount Hermon Road in Scotts Valley. The Santa Cruz resident was driving his Toyota Tacoma when he tried to pass a slower moving driver in a Toyota Camry. According to the California Highway Patrol, he struck the rear of the Camry which lost control and began to spin out and the Tacoma rolled over and ejected the driver, who died at the scene. The 22 year old driver of the Camry from Oakland was transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries.
Motorcycle Group Pays Tribute to Local Fallen Hero
A group of motorcyclists traveling across the country to visit cities and law enforcement agencies to honor officers who lost their lives on the line of duty last year mad their way through Santa Cruz last week. The “Beyond the Call of Duty End of Watch Ride to Remember” group made their 13th stop here on the Central Coast. The organization visited the Santa Cruz Sheriffs Department to pay tribute to the fallen Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. The six motorcyclists are traveling 22,300 miles over the course of 84 days to honor fallen members of law enforcement. Last Sunday marked one year since Santa Cruz Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller was killed on June 6, 2020, in an ambush attack on law enforcement in Ben Lomond. The six motorcyclists are traveling 22,300 miles over the course of 84 days to honor fallen members of law enforcement.
RV Fire Shuts Down Highway 1 Traffic
Thursday afternoon around 1:30PM, an RV caught fire along the Soquel frontage road just before the 41st avenue exit. The fire caught nearby grass and brush on fire. Multiple units from Santa Cruz Fire responded. Highway 1 was temporarily closed at 41st avenue due to smoke and visibility issues.
Solo Kayaker Rescued Off the Coast of Santa Cruz
Early Sunday morning, a male kayaker was rescued about 70 miles west of Santa Cruz during a solo voyage from Sausalito to Honolulu, according to the Coast Guard. The kayaker contacted the Coast Guard on Saturday night, saying he lost GPS capability and nearly capsized due to weather conditions. A helicopter crew left the San Francisco station and about 2 hours later, the kayaker was rescued. The Coast Guard said the kayaker is in good condition with no medical concerns. The boat is still out in the ocean, and he said he hopes to coordinate a retrieval when winds die down.
Stolen Guitars Turn Up in Santa Cruz
This past Tuesday, SCPD detectives served search warrants at three locations in the city with the help of the Neighborhood Policing Team and the Anti-Crime Team. They searched two homes and one warehouse, where they located 9 vintage stolen guitars worth between $5,000 and $50,000 each. the total haul of stolen guitars amounts to more than $250K. SCPD was contacted by Los Angeles police about a case where almost $2 million worth of musical equipment was stolen from a storage unit in Marina Del Rey. The burglary happened in July of 2020. During the investigation, they determined some of the stolen guitars were being sold online in Santa Cruz. Police have not made any arrests at this point, and they said it is still unclear how the people associated with the searches got the stolen items.
Zooming in on the Santa Cruz City Council
A new law that limits where and when homeless people can camp in the city was adopted 5-2 by the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday. The new law can be enforced only after a storage center is opened and 150 new safe sleeping spaces are established. If city-sanctioned or private shelter beds are available, camping essentially would not be allowed on public property unless city leaders give permission for that site. The law aims to deter large, unmanaged homeless camps.
Handicapping Ryan’s Seat
Lots of interesting stuff in this story! I guess I’ll have to update my odds this week! I think I had Shebreh at 5:1 odds last check, I had numerous folks contact me telling me she’s the “chosen one” (apparently has Ryan’s blessing). If Donna and Renee endorse her publicly like they did, they’re both out (Donna is a surprise there). Cummings looks to be leaning in. Watkins appears out.
My personal feelings about this: I think she’s done a fine job on the city council so far. She’s pragmatic. She listens well and doesn’t just drone on about her pet vanity projects to appease a certain voting bloc. And if she’s come out this early, with early endorsements from both Donna Meyers and Renee Golder, she almost certainly has Ryan’s (yet to be made public) backing. Which is a big deal. It’s basically half the field at least. The “moderate” half. As if “moderate” is some kind of dirty word. I’ll just say she’s the local moderate Democratic “machine” choice here. Does that mean she’ll be the only choice? I hope not. I hope they don’t throw all their eggs in one Shebrasket. Learn from Manu. Study Manu’s campaign. Unless you can guarantee Shebreh can pull 50% +1 votes, you’re looking at a runoff. You gotta plan for a runoff. Shebreh is relatively new. She’s still building her political brand. Let’s say Justin decides to run. I would instantly put them equally capable of winning, perhaps even giving Justin (as former Mayor and getting lots of PR recently) a slight edge. Let’s say Justin also runs against a real hard core progressive (let’s just say Sandy Brown would like to get paid). In a race with Shebreh, Cummings, Brown (and Pleich), unlikely Shebreh pulls the magic 50%+1 number, and it goes to a runoff. Let’s say Cummings came in 2nd, but in runoff he pulls all the Brown and Pleich supporters too. Cummings wins. All hypothetical mind you! But if it happens, you read it here first! Gotta play for the runoff election. Now if another moderate ran, not Ryan’s choice but an alternative to Shebreh. We’ll call this mystery candidate “Woman 2”. Now you’ve got Shebreh, “Woman 2” (both moderates), Cummings et al (all progressives). Nobody gets the 50%+1 because the field is crowded and split. Top two go to runoff election. If Shebreh is top, and “Woman 2” is 2nd, you win no matter what. If “Woman 2” finishes third or outside top 2, her supporters counteract the progressive “group” support from the losing candidates.
Also, interesting that if Shebreh wins and leaves the city council early, the current city council can just pick her appointment with a majority vote to fill out her term. I’d have no problem with that outcome given the current make up of the CC. They would pick another moderate.
Odds based on nothing more than random rumors I’ve heard, innuendo, and gut feelings. New odds this week!
- Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson 1:1
- Steve Pleich 1:1 (hell we all know he’s gonna run again….)
- Justin Cummings 3:1
- Hilary Bryant 5:1
- Chris Krohn 5:1
- Sandy Brown 5:1
- Martine Watkins 10:1
- Sonja Brunner 10:1
- Kayla Kumar 10:1
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