The Weekly Dump – 4.19.24

You Should Be Dancing Yeah!

Early Thursday evening I was walking downtown and I noticed how oddly quiet the north part of Pacific Avenue was. As I continued to walk, I could see a street barrier and crowds of people blocking Pacific Avenue from traffic. Curious, I walked into a street full of dancers! Little did I know it was the kickoff of Dance Week in Santa Cruz! Pacific Avenue was shut down at Church Street and was closed all the way to Locust Street as different groups of dancers filled the street for public performances. 

Dancing in the Streets of Santa Cruz

It really was a beautiful scene down there. I know it’s a small sample size, but it just reaffirms my belief that closing a few blocks of Pacific Avenue to vehicle traffic would be a win for everyone in the community. Last night, for a few hours anyway, it showed everyone that was down there what could be possible by turning a few blocks of downtown into a pedestrian mall. For a few hours, it was a community hub. It brought people out. It brought people together. It brought a lot of people downtown who might not otherwise go downtown. It left a good impression on anyone who was there. Why only do this a few times a year? Make it a daily thing. Reimagine downtown. 

Pour One Out for the Metro Center

As I was walking towards the aforementioned dancers on Pacific Avenue, I walked by the now flattened and decimated former Santa Cruz Metro Center. Mostly flattened anyways. Good riddance. It was ugly as hell, dated, the inside was underutilized, and the whole area was just a bum magnet in addition to being a major bus center. 

RIP Metro Market.

One thing I thought was kind of funny recently was how a small corner of the now former Metro Center was recently occupied by a bunch of guys who set up a band in the corner window and would blast live music occasionally. I think maybe they also sold waffles? The next life for this downtown location will be a new Metro Center with apartments above the center. 

The new “Pacific Station North” will be replacing the old Metro Center on Pacific Avenue.

Earth Day Celebration in Downtown Santa Cruz

This Saturday, there will be a family friendly Earth Day celebration on Cooper Street in downtown Santa Cruz. This free, event will have activities for kids and an environmentally focused fashion show featuring local kids from the Fashion Teens program. It will have live music from Coffee Zombie Collective, face painting, stilt walkers, and local vendors and educational booths. 

An Excuse to Bake in the Sun

I mean, do people really still celebrate “4/20”? I guess so. It’s not like smoking weed is some big counter cultural protest (or whatever it was before, mostly an excuse to get high with your friends and strangers in public). I’m pretty sure all of the local weed shops are running specials on Saturday. And they’ll be busy. And the kids will probably gather in the meadow at some point (around 4:20PM?) and smoke lots of weed and have a lil day party, before they wander home baked. Please be careful and drive responsibly. The local cops have enough to deal with already. 

Surf City Comic Con Debuts at Capitola Mall

In addition to Earth Day and Weed Day festivities, the Surf City Comic Con also makes it’s debut on Saturday at the Capitola Mall, invading the old Sears building from 10am until 6pm. Admission is $10, kids under 10 get in for free. With 120 different vendors selling everything from comics, toys and video games to tabletop games, art and more. There will also be local food trucks providing grub other than the usual mall food. Good luck and I hope there’s a good turnout! May the force be with them!

Highway 17 Repairs Will Close Lanes Overnight

Overnight repair work on Highway 17 is expected to close one lane of traffic in each direction now through August. Drivers on northbound Highway 17 will cross over and travel in one of the southbound lanes of the highway between Vine Hill Rd. and Sugarloaf Road before going back to the northbound side of the highway. Lane shifts will be effect from 8 pm to 6 am each day. CHP will be on site to assist with traffic control. The closures are expected to last until August.

State Democrats Love Their Homeless Camps

This week, state Democrats voted down a bill that sought to ban homeless encampments near schools, transit stops and other areas throughout California. Despite the fact that cities throughout California are struggling with a large and increasing number of homeless camps, state legislators said they oppose penalizing people who sleep on public property.

Senate Bill 1011 failed in its first committee hearing, with the Public Safety Committee rejecting it. The measure would have made camping within 500 feet of a school, open space or major transit stop a misdemeanor or infraction. It also would have banned camping on public sidewalks if beds were available in local homeless shelters. Seems pretty common sense. Why am I not surprised local and state Democrats reject common sense? Speaking of the State…….

Governor Announces New Round of Homeless Funding

This week, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference announcing nearly $200 million in new state funds to help move people out of homeless encampments and into housing. The Governor also announced new measures that will increase oversight of state homelessness funding to ensure accountability by local jurisdictions. The grants, totaling approximately $192 million, are part of the state’s Encampment Resolution Fund (ERF) grants, which are administered by the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH). 

The city of Santa Cruz will receive about $4 million dollars of this grant money. It does not appear that any other county cities will receive grants, nor will the county receive any grant money. So the city will get another $4M in state money to burn on the homeless. I hope the “new oversite measures” actually work. 

Much Ado About Nothing

Last Wednesday, SCPD responded to a report of a police officer fighting with someone near the Dream Inn at West Cliff and Bay. As the scuffle and resisting arrest played out in public in front of plenty of people, a couple of nosy neighbors from a nearby trailer park decided to insert themselves into the “news” story as witnesses. As they told their rhetorical stories to local news reporters, the reporters just ran with these accounts, which were shared on social media sites like Reddit. SCPD felt compelled to put out a statement it was investigating the incident, in which they had body cam video, where nobody was hurt or injured. And the investigation concluded that no excessive force was used. But it gave certain local gaslighters an excuse to hate the SCPD and make their jobs more difficult.  I know police transparency is important and SCPD has been transparent here. Don’t resist arrest. It’s pretty simple. And don’t believe some of the shit you read on the local “news” either. It was easy enough for me to find out nothing happened in this case. It should be even easier for local reporters. 

Pour One Out for the Dolphin

It was announced this week that due to the damage that the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf sustained in recent storms, the venerable old Dolphin Restaurant at the end of the wharf will have to be demolished in order to rebuild the support structure at the end of the wharf. I think it was there for 61 years. I ate there a couple times, usually sitting outside with friends visiting from out of town. The food was pretty pricy and meh but you couldn’t beat the location. And it was a cute little restaurant. I always wanted to go down there on a stormy winter day and have breakfast (never did).

But what I did like to do was order take out from the little window by the picnic tables, get some fish and chips and sit at the picnic tables and listen to the seals and sea lions honking. Gonna miss that little place. 

The Community Speaks

This week’s question takes us to Capitola, where I asked my friends on Facebook:

“What’s next for the Capitola Mall? How would you like to see it redeveloped?”

Of course, maybe there’s already a plan in place to redevelop the mall (I’ve heard there is). And of course, thisn is just a hypothetical question, as none of our answers will have any real bearing on what happens to the mall in the future. But this is called “The Community Speaks” and we’re speaking! Here’s what some of them suggested:

“I would love to see 1/2 the mall turned into affordable housing for seniors. They could take care of most of their shopping needs in the 1/2 that stays retail without needing to drive or brave the elements during bad weather.”
– Samantha

“Ulta is doing good. Add a Burlington Coat Factory and Pizza My Heart to liven up the place. Add some popular places and the party will get going.Oh and a bowling alley too.”
– Mizlopez

“It’s not about what we want, it’s about what will work. Best case it gets flattened and they build retail and food on the bottom with housing on top. Otherwise it’s going to be a dead mall for the next generation, maybe housing will get put in after a decade but only if the developer can make money or a ton of government money gets thrown at it.”
– Zander

“I think malls are actually on their way to becoming popular again. Open up an arcade in there again(the kids love retro), get some good food in the court and have reasonable rent and it would be successful. Put housing on top of it.
I’m all for it. Anything is better than the giant waste of space it is now”
– Rachael

“The Capitola Mall should be redesigned to house elderly people as a mixed use development. I envision a community garden, coffee shop, wood shop, mechanic station, barber/hair salon and restaurants. That location allows for easy transport to healthcare facilities for emergency or routine care. It’s shameful that one of the greatest generations is left to die on the street alone. These are farm workers, veterans, homemakers, teachers, musicians, first responders, tradesmen/tradeswomen, fisherman, cooks, house cleaners, etc.”
– Melissa

“Outdoor mall. Make Target larger, maybe even put in a Walmart with a grocery store. Newer restaurants, live bands etc. I’m sick of the housing on top of retail, it’s atrocious and the stores never get rented out and there is never enough parking” 
– Julianne

“Navigation center and supportive housing, services for most vulnerable populations. Include supportive employment, workshops, etc”
– Cheryl

“Go cart track”
– Freddie

“Youth basketball/sports courts for local rec leagues with some shopping options still available for parents.”
– Mel

“An outdoor mall with gardens, art, fountains, live music and outdoor dining. Store fronts around the entire outside edge and make the entire center for entertainment and dining.”
– Sarah

Lots of interesting suggestions! Time will tell what happens. 

In My Ear

Just a taste of some of the music I listened to this week. 

I’m a sucker for 70’s music. 

Dave Mason – Sidetracked

New Santa Mierda YouTube Channel!

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  1. Ben Dover it’s such a pleasure that you are back observing how screwed up this town and State really are when it comes to the “homeless industry” which as far as I can tell funds a bunch of non-profits that don’t really fix the problem like bringing back the mental institutions that Reagan got rid of, and locking up the criminals and finding home for the truly needed cases.

  2. You brought back some great memories with music from the 70’s
    Listen to Dave Mason all the time in high school
    Thanks 😎

  3. I guess for the same reasons I had to delete my posts I had on YouTube (that I still have on my phone and would love to send them all to you) you can’t show the true side of Santa Cruz or you’ll have a certain person”lady” shut you down. To me it’s misleading to show the rare occasions that downtown has an organized event that’s kid and family friendly.when on any given day or night downtown you find an unhinged looney or group of looneys harassing people, ranting and raving And or groups of obvious drug addicts parked 4-8 vehicles deep just up to no good but since this is SC it’s the Norm. You should open the comments on your YouTube channel also. Your a hero in my eyes, bums me out PUN intended to see ya not going hard the way you used to especially now that you decide to go on YouTube. Also I always have and always will think that it’s petty to read comments about the superficial issues about SC when the elephant in the room is on another bender. Maybe I should repost my old videos on YouTube now that I’ve moved away and see if that old troll still had power to make me pull my vids.

  4. Hey Ben. I really want to repost the videos I put on YouTube when I did security downtown but I rather let you have them. Get back to me when you can. Thanks

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