State Assembly Bill 1185 was signed into law on September 30, 2020 and is intended to improve relations between California sheriff’s offices and the communities they serve by fostering trust and improving transparency. Under the law, the Inspector General acts as a neutral third party to review documents, evidence, policies and procedures to ensure the thoroughness and fairness of sheriff’s operations. AB1185 also allows for the Inspector General to have subpoena power to ensure that incidents involving use of force, critical incidents, and citizen complaints are investigated thoroughly, accurately, and fairly.
To assess the potential scope of services for an independent Inspector General, County staff researched other jurisdictions including cities, counties and transit agencies both in and outside California. Fifty-two agencies were reviewed.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has been a leader when it comes to fostering transparency and trust with the community, including establishing the Sheriff’s Office Task Force on 21st Century Policing in November 2015, adopting the “Memphis model” of crisis intervention training (including the assistance of mental health specialists to respond to those in crisis), supporting “sanctuary state” legislation to protect undocumented immigrants, supporting third-party review of local law enforcement policies and procedures through the Criminal Justice Council, improving transparency through the use of body-worn cameras and numerous additional steps. Adopting an Inspector General would advance these policies further.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) process would hire an independent Inspector General. The process was informed by the principles and practices garnered in the research as well as by the input received through four community meetings with approximately eighty seven attendees. For example, the RFP includes subpoena power, the ability to initiate independent investigations, automatic investigation of officer involved shootings and in-custody deaths, ability to audit Sheriff Office policies, procedures and training, public reporting and involvement in community outreach.
Container-based sanitation (CBS) systems are an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative to dispose of human waste. The composting toilet method collects human waste and brings it to a centralized composting facility managed by professionals.
Members of the public have consistently asked the Board of Supervisors to legalize composting toilets to speed up the rebuild process after the CZU Fires and reduce the costs of creating new housing in the rural parts of the County. There are several hurdles with state agencies before full legalization will be possible.
The County will discuss a container-based sanitation Pilot proposed by GiveLove, a California-based organization that specializes in the implementation of these systems. They have managed container-based sanitation projects in 7 countries, including Kenya, Haiti, and here in the US, at Standing Rock. GiveLove has proposed a pilot project for Santa Cruz County to serve victims of the CZU Fires. The Pilot would also generate data for state licensing agencies to consider the legalization of composting toilets more generally. Finally, this pilot would prepare our county to be able to provide container-based sanitation services in the aftermath of an earthquake, fire or other natural disaster.
The Local Area Management Plan (LAMP), which creates new requirements for septic systems, is back for another review. The goal of this plan is to reduce water contamination from old and failing septic systems. In particular, the San Lorenzo Valley has a large number of septic systems and groundwater wells located close together with sandy soils that do not provide a lot of filtration.
On the second reading of the ordinance on September 13, 2022, the Board received a number of comments and instructed staff to:
- Include language describing options for addressing groundwater determination other than wet weather testing;
- Allow for avoidance of full penalty if a property owner is addressing a septic system failure identified at the Point of Sale inspection, if they are showing good faith in addressing the problem but cannot resolve it completely within 90 days; and
- Change the date of implementation for the requirement of the Point of Sale inspection to be July 1, 2023 instead of January 1, 2023.
Additionally, staff from Community Development and Infrastructure have requested that language be modified to provide more options for review and approval of slope stability reports and to more clearly specify the types of licensed professionals that are qualified to prepare those reports.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report for Rail Trail Segments 8 & 9 has been released. Segment 8 goes in front of the Boardwalk and Segment 9 goes from the San Lorenzo River Trestle to 17th Ave in Live Oak.
The largest impact identified is the removal of hundreds of mature trees. 381 mature trees would need to be removed to build a trail next to the rail line. These include all of the trees to the right of the tracks in the above picture.
One alternative considered is to remove the tracks and build a trail in their place. Another option considered is to cover up the tracks with fiberglass decking. These alternatives would require the removal of 124 trees - 67% less. However, the report notes that when/if these interim versions of a trail were removed for the re-establishment of rail service, the construction of a trail next to the tracks at that time would result in a net of 404 trees being removed. The two phases of construction would have more impact.
The removal of trees will also adversely affect monarch butterfly habitat. Particularly the removal of eucalyptus near Murray St and the Harbor.
The cost of building the trail next to the rail line for Segments 8 & 9 is estimated at $39.3 million. $34.3 million in grants from the State's Active Transportation Program was applied for. Information is expected by the end of this month about how much we will receive for these next segments of trail.
To view the complete Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for these segments visit this link.
There is a public meeting on the DEIR on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, beginning at 5 PM via remote teleconference:
Click here to join the webinar. Webinar ID: 846 0652 5907
Call in option: +16699006833,,84606525907#
If you are not able to make the meeting, but would like to send in a comment, click on the button to send your comments to Nathan Nguyen at the City of Santa Cruz. Comments are due by Friday November 4th.
A project to replace aging sewer lines on East Cliff Drive and Portola Drive between 12th Ave and 26th Ave began last week and will continue through the end of the month.
Sewer lines along Portola Drive and East Cliff Drive between 12th Avenue and 26th Avenue have reached the end of their service life and this project will proactively replace them in order to prevent overflows and other failures that can harm the environment and lead to sinkholes. Additionally, this project will improve pavement quality and extend pavement longevity along this important transportation corridor.
At times during the project, residents in the area should expect noise, dust, temporary traffic control and detours, and associated traffic delays between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. Access to businesses in the area will be maintained throughout each phase of construction, but, in some instances, access to driveways along impacted roadways may be temporarily blocked during daytime construction hours and sewer service to properties in these areas may be temporarily interrupted. Residents and businesses will receive advance notice for these temporary impacts to access and sewer service in the form of door hangars.
This project is being performed cooperatively between the Santa Cruz County Sanitation District and Santa Cruz County’s Roads Division.
For up-to-date information, visit tinyurl.com/eastcliffdrivesewer for project details and schedules.
Prospect Heights and Highland Firewise Groups are hosting a town hall tomorrow night.
Tuesday, October 18th from 6:30 PM - 8 PM
Delaveaga Elementary School
1145 Morrissey Blvd, Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Please join me, along with Santa Cruz County and City representatives and staff, for a community forum on fire preparation, evacuation, and the future of emergency response in Santa Cruz County.
Tuesday, October 18th - Board of Supervisors Meeting. Starting at 9:00 AM. Agenda. Via Zoom, telephone, and in person at: 701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Tuesday, October 25th - Board of Supervisors Meeting. Starting at 9:00 AM. Via Zoom, telephone, and in person at: 701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Wednesday, November 2nd - Office Hours. From 1 - 3 PM at the Sheriff's Center, 5200 Soquel Ave, located on the ground floor. This an opportunity to discuss your questions and suggestions with me one-on-one.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2022 - Soquel Town Hall. From 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Hybrid Meeting: Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Dr, Soquel, CA 95073 and on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/96708318897
Visit the First District Webpage for information on Town Halls and upcoming events.