Let the Water Come and Carry Us Away
This week Santa Cruz saw some decent rain, as forecasters called for one of those “atmospheric river” things to hit the Bay Area this coming weekend. And when that happens, the kinfolk living in the foothills get lots of pockets of rain. So I’d expect some serious totals from places like Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, Felton, and the Santa Cruz mountains. The hardest rain is supposed to come through on Sunday. So be prepared for lots of rain, wind, falling debris, and probably loss of power. Should be interesting for the group of transients squatting in San Lorenzo Park. The benchlands are in a flood plain, and as we’ve seen literally every year, it will inevitably flood the people living there out. It’s like nature’s enema. Where are they supposed to go? Downstream? That’s where they’ll be going if they stay there much longer.
Suspected Gunfire Shuts Down Highway 17
Saturday afternoon, CHP shut down Highway 17 near Granite Creek Road in both directions after someone reportedly shot out the back window of a CHP patrol vehicle. CHP was responding to a report of another vehicle who reportedly had their window shot out while driving. As they pulled up to the scene, someone shot out the window on the CHP vehicle. After shutting down the highway, a helicopter was brought in to join the search for the suspected shooter. I haven’t heard of any arrests.
Man Shot to Death in Watsonville
Sunday night around 8PM, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an area south of Watsonville near Carlton and Coward roads for a report of a person lying on the ground next to a white BMW. The car had been driven off the road and its driver’s side door was left open. When they arrived, they found a male with a gunshot wound. The 21 year old victim was taken to a local hospital where he later died. Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is treating it as a homicide. This shooting was Santa Cruz County’s 11th homicide of 2021.
Falling Tree Kills Driver in Felton
Friday afternoon around 1:30PM, a large tree fell on a Toyota pickup truck that was driving on East Zayante Road near Highland Avenue and Redwood Circle. According to CHP, the tree fell onto the truck resulting in the vehicle veering off the roadway before coming to rest down a hillside. Falling trees are my biggest fear of driving on Highway 17 in the rain. And it seems to happen at least once a year a huge tree falls on or across 17.
Last Saturday morning around 1AM, SCPD responded to the 100 block of Felker Street where they arrested a 33 year old male and a 29 year old female and charged them with robbery, assault with a stun gun, making criminal threats, flashing a deadly weapon, drug possession, vandalism, battery, and having a number of outstanding felony warrants.
Maced in the Face
Wednesday afternoon around 2:30PM, a 26 year old bum tried to steal some stuff from the Trader Joe’s on Front Street when he was stopped by store security. As he tried to leave the store, he shoved the guard against a wall before the guard maced him. The thief made his way over to the Galleria and the parking garage before calling 911 about getting treatment for getting maced in the face. Medics arrived and after treating him, the guy was arrested and charged with robbery. Last check he’s still sitting in jail on a no bail hold. Stealing from Trader Joe’s is just bad karma. Everyone working there is always so nice.
Change Their Name to Waffle House
Monday afternoon shortly after 4PM, SCPD responded to the Las Palmas Taco Bar on the 100 block of Front Street after getting reports that a couple of women were causing a disturbance inside the business. Apparently their car was getting towed and they were pissed off about it, so they decided to take it out on the taco bar. Witnesses reported that the women started destroying the business, throwing plates and punches around. They even tossed a fire hydrant at someone (maybe the tow truck driver?). They were last seen headed toward the Boardwalk. The truck that was towed was registered out of Manteca. I didn’t hear about anyone getting arrested for this.
Belted in the Face
Friday night around 8PM, SCPD responded to the area near Ocean and Felker after getting reports that someone was assaulted and hit in the eye with a belt. The suspect was a female who apparently hit a woman who was riding by on her bike. She was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and drunk in public. Last check she was still in jail on a $25K bond.
Tearing Up the Pogonip
Earlier this week, SCPD got reports that some asshole was riding a motorcycle back on the trails in the Pogonip, threatening hikers and bicyclists and running them off the trails. Workers from the city’s Parks and Recreation department located the motorcycle and the guy who probably stole it at a campsite, but when approached the suspect jumped on the bike and took off. After relocating his campsite and hiding the motorcycle a few different times, SCPD along with Santa Cruz Fire Department Inspectors located the motorcycle at a campsite off a small, heavily wooded trail in a closed area of the Pogonip. SCPD confiscated the bike. The motorcycle had no license plate nor visible registration and remains in impound. The motorcyclist is still out there somewhere, despondent over losing his stolen bike.
Controlled Burn Burns Out of Control Near Corralitos
A controlled burn last Friday afternoon jumped the fire lines and burned out of control near Corralitos. The Estrada Fire began as a prescribed burn Friday morning. The fire jumped a containment line Friday afternoon. The fire started on Hazel Dell Road near Hidden Canyon Road. The fire burned 148 acres. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported. The fire was on the property of the former fire chief. Maybe that’s why he’s former! All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted Sunday morning.
Arsonists Burn the Pogonip
Last Friday night, Santa Cruz Fire responded to the top of Spring Street at the entrance to the trail that leads into the Pogonip for a wild fire that burned dangerously close to a number of homes in the area. After a pretty large response, they were able to extinguish that fire before any homes were damaged. The next night, 2 more fires were reported in the Pogonip. Santa Cruz Fire and Cal Fire reported two other fires started in the same park off the Emma McCrary Trail on Saturday. Santa Cruz Fire called both fires “suspicious in nature.” The first fire was 100 ft by 100 ft on Golf Club Drive about 300 yards north from the gate entrance. While crews were trying to protect the Clubhouse, they saw a second fire adjacent to the location about 70 ft by 50 ft. According to Santa Cruz Fire, crews called for immediate police response when they saw other people were “tampering” with the fire. Police responded and looked for the suspected arsonists but nobody was arrested.
Feel the Bern
It was announced this past week that Deputy Chief Bernie Escalante has been named “interim” police chief for the city of Santa Cruz. Escalante grew up in Santa Cruz where he went to Santa Cruz High. After getting his B.A. in Social Science at San Francisco State, he received his Master’s of Science degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership at the University of San Diego. He has been working for SCPD for more than 25 years, starting as a community service officer in 1996 before transferring to be a patrol officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2003 and served as a detective. Escalante was promoted to lieutenant in 2009, managing the Investigations Division and became the Commander of Emergency Service Unit Tactical Team. In February 2020, he was promoted to Deputy Chief. According to a city spokesperson, Escalante will serve as Interim Chief until a permanent Chief is named, which according to the department, is expected to happen after a permanent City Manager is appointed. Congratulations to Chief Escalante!
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Closely related to “Let the Water Come and Carry Us Away” is “Rust Never Sleeps.” Being one of those folks who live up the hill, lately I’ve been startled by numerous trees falling. Not the big ones (yet). Seems that during the past dry years, it’s still ben damp enough to make fungus happy. So some of the trees have slowly been turning into fungus-eroded sponges. As soon as it rains, they soak up the falling water, get too heavy, then topple.
Was the cover image related to the motorcycle on the trails?
Seems like murder is more of a threat around here than covid.
I read that the motorcycle that was confiscated was not the same one that has been terrorizing people.
What was going on at Grandview and Crespi Court yesterday? I drove by there were 7 cop cars and a paramedic….
Nothing in the news…can you let us know? I think there is ZERO transparency in Santa Cruz… Just the zoom meetings business on top party on the bottom on the bottom Do you notice all the sirens towards the end of the month? No brainer….
C’mon, there is no crime in Santa Cruz. That’s why it’s not reported. The dirtbag with the dirt bike was terrorizing folks in the Pogonip for weeks before SCPD responded. After the fires of course. Our former Rangers would have been on this kook ASAP. Hopefully Bernie will bring them back and give our parks and open spaces back to the people who pay for and support those areas.
To “Just the Facts”- I’m curious to find out who you know, or believe, “pays for” our barely used, poorly managed, unpatrolled, unfairly and selfishly planned by our “Floral Majority”, unregulated, state gifted (at a phenomenally cheap price under $45k/acre where land costs over $2 million/acre) “greenbelt/preserve/natural area/wildland/sensitive habitat/open space/city park”
[take your pick; all these labels have been used. Since many are legally contradictory they are excellent at spawning litigation (since 1979) but have miserably failed producing the facility benefits long promised by the City (since 1994) or proposed by their Master Plan(1998) or our General Plan (since 2015) or ANY FAIR RATIONAL EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT ( Ranger Program canned 2020)
IT HAS NO DEDICATED FUNDING
AND NO INTEGRAL REVENUE
HOW LONG CAN WE AFFORD TO SUBSIDIZE THE SMALL VISITOR (and RESIDENT) population of the ‘”Pogonip Greenbelt” who pay NOTHING to use a property that cost the State $27 million and which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to care for an SC manage? ie: fire prevention & response, vegetation management, erosion & landslide control, trail & fencing, maintenance/ construction, sensitive species monitoring, invasive species eradication, environmental remediation, rescues, police response, camping enforcement
vandalism, leash enforcement, stream pollution, trash, feces, litter, drug paraphernalia, and illegal, toxic waste, camp cleanup, ??!!
by J Golder. 410 Golf Club Dr
Camp Pogonito Libertad
Preachin’ to the choir J Golder! What little funding that comes from the General Fund comes from taxes payed by residents and legit visitors. Add in some begged-for grant money and parking fees on top of that. The vagrant population pays nothing to abuse our city. Zero. Nada. No fines, fees, taxes, nothing. Yet they are allowed to squat in our parks, open spaces, and live on WestCliff for months at a time, free of charge. The laws are on the books, the vagrants have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Stop using Covid as an excuse. Demand that the County actually take responsibility. Start enforcing the laws. Bring back the Rangers. Give us back our town and our parks, parking lots, and open spaces . Time to send the vagrants back to where they f’ed up so bad they wound up here.