The Weekly Dump – 3.8.24

Tuesday’s Gone

“Super Tuesday” came and went without a whole lot of fanfare. Results are mostly in from this past Tuesday’s primary and votes on various state and local measures. On the local side of things, in the races to fill 3 seats on the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, Manu is beating Lani by more than the 50% + 1 threshold, so if that holds he wins outright and gets re-elected supervisor for the 1st District. In the 2nd district, Kristen Brown will probably take on Kim De Serpa in a November runoff as the top 2 finishers. In the 5th district, Monica Martinez will likely take on Christopher Bradford in a November runoff as the top 2 finishers. On the Santa Cruz city council, 4 seats were up for grabs. And thank god they are all getting grabbed by smart, moderate women! In district 1, Gabriela Trigueiro is still currently over the 50% + 1 threshold needed to avoid a November runoff. In district 2, Sonja Brunner leads by a comfortable margin and should make the cut. In district 3, Shebreh leads by a wide margin and should comfortably make the cut. And in district 5, Susie O’Hara also leads by a wide margin and should make the cut. 

In the props and measures categories, Prop 1 was winning with about 54% of the vote. The county and city sales taxes also passed (unsurprisingly). People here just seem to love self flagellation when it comes to paying more in taxes. And Measure M failed miserably. I’m sure we’ll hear all about how “developer money” killed that one. Or gee, maybe it was a just a stupid progressive power grab measure that would end up reducing new housing development and most people saw right through it. 

Skeezy Former UCSC Professor Pays $45K to Make Her Go Away

This week, a former professor of history of consciousness at UC Santa Cruz settled a lawsuit against a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by the former professor when she was 22. Apparently a lot of other women came forward with similar complaints, leading UCSC to fire him in 2019. Sounds like a real peach of a guy. And WTF is “history of consciousness”? Are you kidding me? Is that a joke? More STEM. Less “History of Consciousness”. 

Gangsta Arrested in Watsonville for Attempted Murder

Last week, an 18 year old Watsonville gang grom got picked up and put away after Watsonville Police arrested him and charged him with attempted murder. The shooting happened a few weeks ago on the 100 block of Riverside Drive. The victim, who was shot in the chest, is expected to survive.

It’s Time to Move the County Jail From Downtown Santa Cruz

I’ve been saying this for a long time now. If the county ever decides to close the downtown jail, public safety downtown will improve a thousand percent. The jail is more a turnstile than a jail, part of a seemingly endless process of taking people arrested for “nuisance” crimes like drunk in public, drug possession, etc, and dumping them in and out of the jail. They might sit there waiting to be arraigned (unless they get released immediately “on their own recognizance”), but they all end up in downtown Santa Cruz, many of them homeless recidivists. And we shrug and tolerate it. The current downtown jail needs to be shut down. It’s old, broke down, over crowded, and dangerous. In the last 10 years, probably at least a half dozen people have died IN the jail. Building a new jail outside the city limits would probably require a bond measure, which normally I’m against, but a bond for a new county jail outside the city limits? Sign me up. Rountree in Watsonville could easily be used as the new site. It would bring more jobs and services to Watsonville, while eliminating downtown Santa Cruz as the current dumping grounds for everyone released from the current county jail.

It’s interesting because as I was doing some research on the opening date for the main jail in downtown Santa Cruz, I came upon this article from about 3 months ago from the kids on the hill, basically talking about exactly what I’m suggesting! 

Santa Cruz County Debates New Main Jail

 The Community Speaks

This week’s QOTW: “Should Santa Cruz County shut down the old and problematic jail in downtown Santa Cruz and build a new county jail with substance abuse and mental health treatment facilities outside the city limits?”

“YES. The useless charge, cite, bail and ultimately release and dumping program Hart runs (short of murder it seems) onto the streets of our once fair city just ain’t working for the law abiding/tax paying citizens”

“If we get a different DA and judges who will prosecute criminals, then I say yes!”

“That would be great, but doubt it would happen.”

“People arrested in South county should be booked at Rountree and released from Rountree. Santa Cruz shouldn’t be the dump for the county.”

“Yes, makes sense!”

Steamer Lane is Crumbling Into the Ocean

Lots of social media reports this past week were showing and talking about how the cliffs under Steamer Lane are falling apart and into the water. I saw some pictures of big cracks opening up at the top of the cliff where people like to gawk at the surfers. It even made Surfer magazine. You can see the big chunk that flaked off in this video


Remember Tom the Redwood Tree? It’s sad to see it go. Apparently it was almost 250 years old. It lived through harsh weather, fires, earthquakes, but ultimately couldn’t get past 6 people on the Santa Cruz city council, who decided to kill it. 

Conservation Easement Protects 120 Acres of Upper Zayante Watershed

This past week, the Sempervirens Fund announced a donation of a conservation easement of 120 acres in the Upper Zayante watershed from private landowners. The landowners wish to remain anonymous, and the exact location of the property will be kept private. The conservation easement protects the land, known to the owners as “Isabel Upani,” in perpetuity, and permanently restricts development, subdivision and commercial timber harvest, while allowing the owners to continue to access and enjoy the land for low-impact recreational purposes. Feeding into the San Lorenzo River, the Upper Zayante River watershed is important to steelhead habitat and recovery of coho salmon. The land includes more than 67 acres of redwood forest, Douglas fir, oak woodland, mixed hardwood, maritime chaparral, chamise scrubland and riparian woodland.

Last year, Sempervirens Fund purchased a nearly $10 million conservation easement from The Y of San Francisco to permanently protect more than 900 acres, including the largest unprotected stand of old-growth redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, at Camp Jones Gulch in La Honda. With this latest 120 acres, Sempervirens Fund has protected more than 36,000 acres of land in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and currently owns and stewards more than 12,000 acres.

A Different Kind of Bakery

Apparently the old Emily’s Bakery on the corner of Laurel and Mission (now vacant) is in the process of opening up as a new cannabis dispensary. I’ve heard there’s been some blowback from the neighbors, the NIMBY kind of blowback, but it seems like the new owners have met all the laws concerning proximity to the high school. I’m fine with it, although I will say that business has arguably the shittiest parking lot to get in and out of in all of Santa Cruz. It’s just a clusterfuck how it was designed. The city of Santa Cruz doesn’t have a glut of cannabis shops, I think there’s probably fewer than 5 in the entire city, and none on Pacific Avenue. 

You’re Making Me Hungry

This week’s lunch with my lunch date was takeout from local favorite the Buttery Cafe. I love their salads. Plus, they are next door to the Buttery! Hard to resist some yummies from there.

I picked up a chicken caesar salad and a buttery cob salad to go, both were huge. I ate about half of mine and brought the other half home for dinner. The Buttery Cafe has lots of delicious food options, including breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and their delicious salads. They also have that nice little picnic table area outside if you feel like just eating outside there. Great place to stop for take out if you’re headed to the beach, or just a backyard on a nice sunny day. And get a cupcake or 3 from the Buttery next door! Everything at the Buttery is so decadent and delicious. 

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  1. Re: Steamer Lane: There’s a house on the edge of the water on the East Side (forgot the exact location) right above a substantial cave. Waves are gradually eroding and enlarging that cave. But it’s a nice house, “worth” millions of dollars, and growing.

    That cave was there thousands of years before some greedy idiot decided to build a house above it.


    • Smithson Bob

      Jon I think you are referring to the house at Sunny Cove that some years back had a Blow Hole pop up in their driveway. As far as calling somebody a greedy idiot on a piece of property that was probably originally built on in the 1930’s -60’s is a bit misguided. People were not building with greed in mind in that era.

  2. “Apparently it was almost 250 years old. It lived through harsh weather, fires, earthquakes, but ultimately couldn’t get past 6 people on the Santa Cruz city council, who decided to kill it. ”
    It was also 100 years older than the City of Santa Cruz.
    I agree- sad story

  3. Mick Routh

    The downtown jail is not the problem. The problem is the cite and release policy of the SCPD, and the continual no bail releases by Sheriff Hart. If these miscreants that dominate the crime and drug scene in SC we’re actually locked up for their repeated crimes, jailed for outstanding warrants, or had to pay bail with honestly acquired funds, the crime rate in SC would drop immediately, as would the homeless population, because most of the drug addled bums would leave town if they knew there was actual punishment for crimes they commit.

  4. Smithson Bob

    I agree with you on the jail thing except your statement about it being overcrowded. Correct me if I am wrong but Big Joe’s monthly numbers 🔢 n the county jail’s occupancy seem to reflect that it is half empty all the time mainly because of the wonderful Cite & Release program. Welcome back and keep up the great work ! You were missed.

  5. To set the record straight, here is a quote taken from the investigation into the tree named Thom’s origin:
    “the city presented photographic evidence that the Lynwal complex predates the redwood. In a Santa Cruz High yearbook photo from 1959 the Lynwall is clearly visible. The tree is absent.”
    So that dates the tree to less than 65 years old.
    Just a big baby in redwood years. Still, it was glorious.

  6. How can the tree be 250 years old when it wasn’t there in 1968, absent from a photo of that location in the Santa Cruz High yearbook of that year? Why do people cling to this notion of a centuries old tree?

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