Bring Out the Bearcat!
Monday afternoon, SCPD responded to a home on the 400 block of San Juan Avenue as part of a tactical response to a man US Marshals were tracking and believed had barricaded himself inside the home. At least 3 US Marshalls had the home surrounded and SCPD sent multiple units to assist. The suspect apparently had outstanding federal and state warrants for drug trafficking and stolen firearms. After a nearly 5 hour standoff, he finally surrendered to police peacefully. The incident is probably related to this story, which surprisingly hasn’t been confirmed by local law enforcement, and I haven’t seen Mills or Hart grandstanding about it. Nothing to see here! Despite spending a shit ton of public money and resources on arresting a single guy.
The Pacific Ocean is Merciless
This week, two people drowned off the North coast near Davenport in separate but similar incidents just days apart. Sunday afternoon around 5:30PM, Santa Cruz Fire, Cal Fire, and multiple rescue units responded to Davenport after getting reports about a man swept into the ocean off Davenport beach. The victim was not located and the search continued into Monday but the man is presumed to have drowned and his body has not been recovered. Days later, a San Jose man got swept into the ocean after standing on the rocks at Panther State Beach. A witness saw the person get swept off the rocks and disappear in the ocean. Another huge response went on, including Coast Guard, Cal Fire, Santa Cruz Fire and rescue, state parks lifeguards, etc. Hours later, his body was found in the surf and recovered. The Pacific Ocean is beautiful. picturesque, alluring from a distance. But up close, it’s cold, nasty, unpredictable, and very unforgiving.
Monday afternoon around 2:30PM, SCPD responded to the wharf where they got a hit on a stolen car that was parked at the wharf near the boat rentals. One officer saw the suspected driver walking away with a bag full of clothes and apparently he was wearing weird socks. A witness saw the man drop the key to the vehicle, which SCPD recovered. Lots of people apparently saw the suspect, before they finally found him squatting in an alcove near the Ideal at the entrance to the wharf. He was arrested.
Bush League Batter
Saturday night around 11PM, SCPD responded to the area near Fair and Almar after a neighbor heard what sounded like some kind of domestic violence incident. When SCPD arrived, someone reportedly left the house they responded to and jumped in the bushes of a neighbors back yard. The suspect had a restraining order to stay away from the victim. They ended up arresting a 31 year old male and charged him with attempted murder, false imprisonment, domestic violence, and violating a protective order.
Look For the Union Label
Last Saturday around 10AM, SCPD responded to the Ramada Inn on Water Street for some kind of disturbance involving a male threatening to kill people. Was it one of Bad Mom’s various boyfriends you might be wondering? Nope. Not this time. When police arrived, the guy was gone but about a half hour later he returned while SCPD was still on the scene interviewing witnesses. Well that was easy! “Look there he is”. He was arrested for making criminal threats and last check, he’s still in jail with his bail at $10K. Apparently he’s been arrested locally a few times and is buddies with Keith McMuffin and the FNB clique. Let’s see if the laughingly inept and dubious Santa Cruz Chapter of the Homeless Grifters Union bails this guy out of jail. I seriously doubt it. That would cost them hard earned money they grifted.
Two Gangbangers Plead Guilty to Double Homicide in Watsonville
Two men from Watsonville pleaded guilty this week to a 2014 double homicide in Watsonville that killed a 4 year old girl. Marcos Robles pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder, firearms enhancements, gang allegations and felony assault. Brandon Ruiz-Martinez also pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and gang charges related to the shooting incident. Robles and eight other defendants in the case fired more than 20 rounds into a room at the Valley Inn Motel. Robles was able to escape and fled to Mexico but was eventually arrested in Mexico in October of 2015. Ruiz-Martinez also entered a plea related to the killing of Marco Ortega in 2013. Ortega was approached by four gang members and shot multiple times while at a soccer game at Watsonville High School. Robles will be sentenced to 100 years to life in prison on December 2, 2021 while Ruiz-Martinez will be sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the killings.
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Last Saturday night, SCPD responded to the 100 block of Dubois Street after getting reports of a man trying to climb onto the roof. Despite all his rage, he was still just a rat in a cage. Officers took into him custody without incident for narcotics related charges before the Sheriff let him loose for nothing. Then, literally 24 hours later, he gets arrested AGAIN for arson and a probation violation.
The ink wasn’t even dry on his Get Out of Jail Free Card yet and he’s back in jail. We don’t have bars. We have turnstiles.
The Collateral Damage of County Probation
Saturday morning around 9AM, SCPD responded to the 400 block of Beach Street where they arrested a 47 year old bum from Roseville and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon, theft, and a probation violation. Last check he’s still surprisingly in jail.
Less Than Penny Bail
SCPD responded to the 1100 block of Pacific Avenue after getting reports of an assault in front of Logos. Witnesses reported seeing one male beating on another guy. They arrested a 24 year old male and charged him with battery and making criminal threats. The suspect was on probation. A bail increase was requested but he still got out of jail for nothing.
I Am Iron Man
This Sunday, the Iron Man triathlon returned to Santa Cruz, taking over Depot Park and closing off streets in various sections of the city. It clogged up traffic horribly, people were running and riding bikes without observing the rules of the road, roads were shut down, there were mobs of people in spandex, thousands of them, and they came from out of town. An invasion of triathletes who took over the town for a few hours. Terrifying. And good for business! I thankfully knew not to drive anywhere that morning and then things got back to normal again. I hope the triathletes had fun and enjoyed their visit to Santa Cruz!
Zooming In on the Santa Cruz City Council
The Santa Cruz City Council met virtually on Tuesday and discussed a number of issues. They delayed a decision on a new housing development proposed for 831 Water Street. The complex would replace a strip mall at Branciforte Avenue and Water Street. The project includes 145 units, 71 of which would be affordable at rents based on area median income. City staff had issues with the project because it did not meet the city’s “objective design standards” and the application had missing parts. The developer submitted an update which included details requested by city staff. The council voted 5-2 to delay a public hearing on the project to Oct. 12 to give city staff time to evaluate the new details. The council did not take public comment on the project. Watkins, Kalantari-Johnson, Golder, Meyers and Brunner were in favor. Brown and Cummings opposed. Both Brown and Cummings wanted to delay the hearing but also indicated they want to deny the project. The hypocrisy here is so predictable. The moderates want to build more housing, and yes that includes “affordable” housing, but leave it to the nimrod progressives Brown and Cummings to ONCE AGAIN delay and try to derail ANY new housing developments in the city of Santa Cruz. The same gasbag idiots that scream “we need affordable housing” seem to be the first people in line who oppose ANY new housing in Santa Cruz. It’s why it takes so long for anything to get built. It’s why we lag on housing development compared to the rest of the state. It’s why we have no affordable housing!
The council also approved a $2.2 million contract to hire San Francisco-based Jayson Architecture as the master architect for the new downtown library planned at Cedar and Cathcart streets. The council voted 6-1 with Brown opposed. In June 2020, the council approved the concept of a one-story library with affordable housing above and a maximum 400-space parking garage adjacent. About 50 to 107 affordable units are planned for people who earn less than 50% of area median income.
City leaders are also considering the National Guard Armory in DeLaveaga Park as a possible overnight sleeping site for homeless people. The armory has been previously used as a winter shelter. During the pandemic, the site has been used as a homeless shelter. The site, along with most other COVID-related homeless shelters in the county, is expected to close next month.
Deputy City Manager Lee Butler said that city staff could open a shelter at the armory in December and are trying to avoid displacement of shelter residents. Butler said at least one other site is being considered as a safe sleeping site. The council is expected to discuss that site in October.
City leaders will host a public hearing on the transition to district elections at 10 a.m. Saturday on Zoom. Spanish translation will be available. Santa Cruz and many other cities have at-large elections, where residents from anywhere in the city can vote for any candidate. With district elections, the city is divided into geographical districts and voters in each district choose a council member that lives in their district. The proposed change was spurred by the threat of lawsuit from a Santa Barbara-based law firm that alleged that Santa Cruz violated the California Voting Rights Act by not adequately representing Latinos in the city.
Downsizing the Santa Cruz County Jails
In the latest mind numbing but predictable news coming from Santa Cruz County, it was announced this week that two units used by Santa Cruz County Corrections are closing temporarily due to “staffing shortages”. Both the Rountree Facility in Watsonville and the Blaine Street Women’s Facility will be closed for up to a year. Six people were currently housed in the Blaine Street facility, and 19 were housed at Rountree. They will be moved to other facilities. The Sheriff’s Office claims this move ensures the safety of corrections staff and those incarcerated. Apparently this will also reduce the mandatory overtime that corrections staff has been working. So it’s about money too! Color me surprised! The Sheriff’s Office is looking to hire 10 new corrections officers. In the meantime, five patrol deputies will be moved to the Corrections Bureau. They also claim this will not have an impact on response times in the community.
The Weekly Seen
So I was watching a documentary on the infamous Scorpio Zodiac killings from the 70’s and I learn that one of the prime suspects used to live in Santa Cruz! They even talked about “Palace Stationers” on Pacific Avenue. Apparently he was arrested here back in the day for “cavorting in the nude in a dazed trance” in public. Gee, we never see that happen here!
Get Your Swagger On!
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The city of Santa Cruz has exceeded the number of housing units for moderate income (and above market-rate). It has not built enough units for very-low income individuals, though projects approved for downtown will meet that quota. (per report in recent City Council agenda packet). I applaud Sandy Brown and Justin Cummings for being responsive to the hundreds of people who have objected to the 831 Water St. project, for many valid reasons, while still being aware of how state law is limiting cities’ rights to have a say. There’s never going to be enough “affordable” housing here for everyone who’d like to live here.
Now that silicon valley has moved over here will never be “affordable” housing.
Oh, there will be. It’s just that those will be tiny rooms in broken-down houses. Good enough for the maids and servants whose jobs are in the better places.
I agree Judi and that particular project is full of red flags. It isn’t always about affordable housing, building something that will have a negative impact on many, many people here is not worth it, I am opposed to that project as it stands. I have lived here since 1978, it was not even affordable then compared to the local wages unless you were a doctor, lawyer or professor/Admin at UCSC. I also agree, when will Scotts Valley, Capitola et all be tasked to step up?
Have you heard any more about “Living High Off the Hog …… (9.3.21)”? Inquiring minds would like to know more.
I should have added that though the County has been adding low-income housing, Capitola has added NONE, and Scotts Valley also next to none. How come they don’t worry about meeting the state’s requirements?