The Weekly Dump – 3.1.24

Remembering Our Local Heroes

It was 11 years ago this week that Santa Cruz suffered the loss of 2 of our finest heroes, in what was one of the darkest and saddest days in our city’s history. Sgt. Butch Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler were ambushed and killed in the line of duty while trying to serve a warrant. After murdering them, the killer engaged law enforcement in a gunfight on the streets of Santa Cruz until he was finally eliminated. I’d forgotten his name and I’m not saying it here.

But there is so much I do remember about that day. It was a few years before I started Santa Mierda, but I was still engaged and active in the community and local politics. When it happened, I was actually watching the Santa Cruz city council meeting on community tv, going on live at the time. I remember Micah Posner whining and complaining about the First Alarm truck driving on the riverwalk. Then sirens just started blaring in the background non-stop and I started seeing stuff on social media about 2 SCPD cops getting shot. Shortly after, they cancelled the rest of the city council meeting and we all followed along on social media as there was a crazy shootout in the street before law enforcement thankfully killed the guy. 

It was a heartbreaking loss for the community. Thousands turned out the morning of their service in San Jose, which had to be moved there because Santa Cruz didn’t have a place large enough to facilitate everyone who wanted to go. 

They were loved by the community. We will never forget them.

UCSC Student Strangles Girlfriend on Seabright Beach

Around 1:30AM on Friday morning, a man called 911 and told dispatch that he had murdered his girlfriend on Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz. He said he strangled her and gave them directions on where to locate him. After SCPD arrived, they located the man and arrested him at gunpoint. The 20 year old male, who is apparently a former UCSC student, was arrested and charged with murder. The 21 year old victim, who was a UCSC student, was taken to the hospital where she later died. Just a really sad story. Two young lives lost for nothing. He’ll spend the rest of his life in prison. And her life is cut so short over what? Wanting to break up with someone? I doubt we’ll ever know what happened here. 

Middle School Principal Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

Last Thursday, Santa Cruz Sheriff Deputies arrested a 58 year old man from Santa Cruz on several sexual assault charges. The suspect has been the principal for EA Hall Middle School since July 2022. According to a spokesperson for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, the suspect is currently on paid administrative leave. He is facing charges including rape of an intoxicated woman, sexual penetration of intoxicated person, and oral copulation. All that and he’s on paid leave! 

The Sad State of Harvey West Park

The facts are obvious. The city of Santa Cruz just doesn’t give a shit about Harvey West park. Need some proof? All of these photos were just taken LAST WEEK. 

It’s ground zero for human HAZMAT in Santa Cruz. And yeah, it’s where we expect little kids to play baseball. And this just came out yesterday! Nobody creates their own, self made public health crises like we do!

Why fix something if we can just bleed it for cash?

Talk about some fucked up priorities here. Coral Street needs an enema, not another homeless service center. 

Pour One Out For New Bohemia Brewing Company

I saw something posted last week on social media from the owners of New Bohemia Brewing Company over at Pleasure Point, that they were closing their doors for good. It was over on 41st avenue, cool place with good food and craft beers, live music, a real community asset for Pleasure Point. It will be missed. 

The Community Speaks

Each week I ask a question on my Facebook page and I get community feedback on that question. I share some of the responses here. Here’s what they said.

You can see all the responses here.

QOTW: “If you had a friend or family member visiting Santa Cruz for the first time, where would you take them?”

“The Redwood Loop, Roaring camp, a couple local Beaches, if in the summer Wednesday concert on Capitola Beach, we love Pigeon Point as my father in law lived there in the early 60’s and the Santa Cruz wharf.”

“Jewel Box. O’Neill house. Wharf. As a lifelong Boardwalk patron, I can’t quit it. Las Palmas by the wharf for easygoing Mexican and convo with the awesome RICK!”

“Brady’s Yacht Club”
– Mando

“For a walk at Pleasure Point and show them O’Neil’s house. Then up to Felton for a walk in the redwoods and a picnic. Watch the sunset from West Cliff Dr. Oh and I’d squeeze in the Monarch butterflies at Natural Bridges.”

“Walk on West Cliff, Wilder Ranch hike, Clam Chowder at Stagnaros. And honestly, I would take them to Pacific Avenue w a heads up. Because Abbott Square is delightful.”

“Up to the UCSC overlook for a glimpse of how the whole beautiful area melds together. Especially cool if the visit includes a Wednesday when the harbor is sailing strong.”

“So many great suggestions so far! I would add Wilder Ranch by bicycle, shark fin Cove in Davenport, along with a visit to the Davenport Road, house, and the history of Surfing museum in the Mark Abbott memorial lighthouse at lighthouse point.”

“We usually take people to Seacliff Beach, then hit Manuel’s for great service,delish margaritas and food,then Marianne’s for ice cream to finish it off. Always a hit and we be sure to grab a jar of salsa to send home with them”

“End of Delaware has something for everyone. Antoneli Pond, Derby Park, Natural Bridges, Long Marine Lab, Moore Creek, West Cliff, one mile to Wilder. Check it out if you haven’t for a minute. The #20 Metro bus gets out there at least hourly daily.”

“Davenport, Henry Cowell, Gizditch, Manresa and back to Capitola for the Shadowbrook for dinner”

Santa Cruz City Council Meeting Notes: 2/27/24

Ugh I forgot how much I hated watching these things. It didn’t take long to refresh my memory. I made it less than 10 minutes before I had to shut it off. It started with “oral communications”, which serves to remind everyone how weird Santa Cruz actually is. We get the same old guy whose been getting up there for years (I forget his name), reading from his Unabomber Lite manuscript. Then we’ve got another guy who spends half his time referencing something, gets frustrated when he runs short of time, then makes veiled threats at someone. Then comes the 3rd strike, the human dingleberry, Keith McMuffin, who lasts about 5 seconds before saying “Fuck You” to Mayor Fred and Mayor Fred shutting him down for a quick recess. Yup, same old Shitty Council meeting. If you’re curious, you can watch the fun below.

The 9:15 mark is where McMuffin gets muffled and ejected. Same dim witted, dumbass he’s always been. I want more of Mayor Fred shutting him down! Better yet, call a recess as soon as he walks up to the mic. Don’t even let him speak. We’ve coddled this pain in the ass fool for far too long. Anyways, some stuff went on. I didn’t stick around to hear it because if you start things off with a dumpster fire, I’m running away. 

Preaching to the Choir Here!

I like this guy. Can he be our Sheriff?

I’ve been talking about how AB109, Prop 47, and Prop 57 took a giant crap on public safety since 2016. It’s predictably turned out the way we thought it would. AB109 was a fleece job by then Governor Jerry Brown to avoid building more jails in California after the federal government sued the state for prison overcrowding. Brown figured it was easier to dupe progressive voters into voting for “prison reform” instead of getting them to approve a new bond measure for building more jails (good luck there!). And he was right of course. Progressives love a good social experiment, even if it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Prison reform became a prisoner dump, it reduced overcrowding and got the feds off his back, and we the community at large were left to deal with the fallout of his failed social experiment fleece job. 

Now we’re finally seeing long overdue pushback on Prop 47. These 3 laws have literally destroyed communities, small businesses, and peoples lives. That’s on the voters who approved it. 

What’s Andy Been Up To?

Ever since he left SCPD in shambles, carpetbagger and former SCPD chief Andy Mills has been living a nice, quiet life as the chief of the Palm Springs police department. So it caught my eye when I saw this article about people having public sex along a park trail in Palm Springs. Cruisers! He’s used to dealing with people having sex in public spaces. He can apply all that Santa Cruz wisdom he took with him. 

The Needle Fairy is Still Grounded

Art by DeCinzo

The Needle Fairy. If you read me in my previous incantation, you’ll know who I’m talking about. The leader of the oxymoronic “Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz”. She thought it was a wonderful idea to dispense her idiot compassion on the community of Santa Cruz, stalked and harassed her critics, and dispensed literally hundreds of thousands of needles to local junkies to provide a fix for her need for attention. After she and her little crew of miscreants polluted Santa Cruz with HAZMAT, a local group of citizens sued and shut her down. And she’s still shut down!

The local group won their appeal in August 2023 when the Third Appellate District Court found that the California Department of Public Health had violated the law in approving the Harm Reduction Coalition’s application by

  • failing to notify local law enforcement of the application in three out five affected jurisdictions (Scotts Valley, Capitola, and Watsonville – they only notified then Chief Mills of SCPD and Sheriff Hart of the County sheriff’s office)
  • failing to consult with any of the local law enforcement leaders in the five affected jurisdictions (including the City of Santa Cruz and the County of Santa Cruz)
  • cutting the public comment period in half (from 90 days to 45 days)

In November 2023 the Sacramento Superior Court ordered the Department of Public Health to revoke the Harm Reduction Coalition’s illegal authorization. The Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County has not been handing out needles since. They have indicated that they plan to submit a new application and go through the process again. The CDPH has been ordered to pay the Petitioners’ law firm $1.5 million in attorney’s fees for bringing the action under a private attorney general theory.

Local citizens get fed up with prevailing stupid, misguided, sometimes illegal policy decisions by the state, county, or city and do something about it. They shut that shitshow down for all of us! Thank you to the group that literally saved Santa Cruz from The Needle Fairy. Citizens making a difference. It can be done. It’s difficult, it’s time consuming, and it’s pretty satisfying when they win. 

You’re Making Me Hungry

Last Friday, after I published the latest Weekly Dump, I met a friend for lunch at Abbott Square, where we sat outside in the courtyard and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in downtown Santa Cruz. The square was full of people enjoying their food and each others company, lots of families with kids having lunch, nearby office workers enjoying a break from work, and folks like me, having a nice burger and a beer with my BFF. 

Years ago, Abbott Square was just a sad little courtyard, tucked away and forgotten by everyone but transients. Then in 2017, it was transformed into the nice little community space and food court that it is today. We took a small, tarnished, unused and unappreciated public space in the heart of downtown, shined it up, and now it’s a downtown jewel. The community loves it and enthusiastically supports it. 

We settled on trying Belly Goat Burgers. Lots of fancy choices to pick from, but I went with the good old standard burger with fries and she had a burger without a bun. We paired our burgers up with a couple nice microbrews, grabbed a table in the shade of the MAH, and had a fantastic lunch. The burgers were cooked to order delicious, the fries were hot and fresh, the service was quick and friendly. My first time there but I’ll go back again. At one point, as our food coma and beers were kicking in, we both laughed and said we could just sit here all day and be happy. Being happy! It sure as hell beats being miserable.

The Kids Ride Free

This week, the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District announced that students in grades K-12 could ride METRO services within Santa Cruz County for free form the remainder of 2024 (Highway 17 service is excluded). This started as a pilot program to increase youth taking public transportation. The program was supposed to end this week, but after seeing a 400% increase in youth ridership, Santa Cruz METRO announced they would extend the program. So when your kids tell you they need bus money, tell them you know better!

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  1. David Giannini

    Dear Ben,

    Thanks for the weekly dose of reality. I look forward to the dump each week!

  2. “Coral Street needs an enema, not another homeless service center.” Ha ha ha… so true

  3. Another great dump!
    Just a reminder, if you agree with the housing first debacle article proposition 1 is HF on steroids.Newsom spending millions on ads. I’m a NO

  4. “Needle Fairy”??.. I think “Needle Witch of the West” is more appropriate.

  5. Thank you for reminding us of the heroic actions of Sergeant Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler. It was a sad day indeed for Santa Cruz, and their sacrifices in the line of duty should never be forgotten.

  6. Sea Dog Drew

    Maybe Tony and Travis over at Parks and Rec. will offer a “Shigella Special” discount for those brave enough to rent a picnic site.

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