This is a response to the “Why Recall” page on the Santa Cruz United Website as of September 2019. (source)
(Claim 1a) “Kept the Ross Camp open even after serious public safety and health impacts, including five deaths.”
Misleading: I voted to reform the site to address health and safety issues along with other Councilmembers. Additionally, I alone could not keep the camp open; it required three other votes so to try and use me as a scapegoat is dishonorable and misleading.
(Claim 1b) “They ignored public safety officials who testified that the camp was a public health crisis. 5 Fatalities, 3 Significant fires and 2 people transported to burn units on separate occasions – from declaration of Fire Chief Jason Hajduk in Federal Court.”
We did not ignore any of the officials which is why I voted to retrofit and reform the campsite.
With regards to the deaths, in 2018 there were 55 reports of people who died while experiencing homelessness ranging from 27 years old to 78 years old. That is three more than 2017 and 18 more than in 2016. In 2018 that averaged 4.58 deaths per month. The Ross Camp operated from November 2018 until May 2019 and had 5 recorded deaths, some of which were from natural causes and not substance use. Anyone dying while living outside is unacceptable, but to suggest that there was a higher rate of death in the camp is misleading. What would be more accurate would be to say that those deaths received media coverage because they were in the camp and were therefore more visible than someone who died under a bridge and was quietly taken to the coroner.
(Claim 1c) “The resulting debacle cost the City nearly $1 million – including resources that were diverted from parks and kids programs.”
It did not cost $1m. This is public information. In a report release August 12th, 2019, City staff from the City Manager’s office in charge of tracing the expenses cite a maximum of $270,000 as a cost to the city with $100,000 of that being reimbursed by the state emergency funds. (see attached images)
the City implemented management services starting in February of 2019 to mitigate those risks. Those management services included: regular refuse removal, sanitation (portable toilets and hand washing stations), fencing to allow continued access to the levee, security provided through First Alarm, wood chip dispersal, and vector control. Homeless Emergency Aid Program dollars were allocated through the Homelessness Action Partnership to reimburse some of the costs associated with management of the Gateway/Ross Encampment. Below is a breakdown of the management costs and reimbursements received: (see attached images)
(Claim 2) “Harassed women on the City Staff. An independent investigation found that Councilmembers Glover and Krohn violated the City’s Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy.”
False and misleading: https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=77385 (pages 6-7)
There was no harassment. Here are the findings directly from the report. Only 1 out of the 7 claims was substantiated, and it was due to a communication issue combined with the mishandling of the conflict by the other party involved, as they did not come to speak to me first before filing a complaint.
- One complaint of a violation of the Administrative Procedure Order Section II #1B, Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy was substantiated.
- Three complaints of Administrative Procedure Order Section II #1B, Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy were not substantiated.
- Three complaints of a violation of City Council Policy 25.2 Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation, and Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy were not substantiated.
(Claim 3) “Councilman Glover proposes new homeless camps and unlimited overnight RV parking in some neighborhoods. A written proposal would allow homeless camps 25 feet from homes, schools, and playgrounds.”
The proposal I brought forward would open up the conversation about distance and proximity to parks, schools, neighborhoods, and property lines based in data-driven results that show they work. Making a proposal and bringing it to my colleagues for discussion is not a reason to recall someone.
(Claim 4) “Floated a crippling transfer tax on local homeowners. Both council members suggested tens of thousands in new taxes on home sales which could hurt home values and harm local residents retirement plans.”
1.5% real estate transfer tax is not “crippling”; it is what Berkeley has and has since generated millions for their city programs and housing development.
13%-15% TOT is not crippling. It makes it so the people coming to enjoy our community pay their fair share to support it.
Bonus unethical content:City Human Resource Director Lisa Murphy
(Claim) “Mocking. belittling, speaking as if interrogating an employee while at the dais, implying staff is hiding or providing false information or is deliberately undermining Councilmembers is not acceptable.”
Inappropriate and unethical: This quote from the HR Director is used out of context and without the permission of the person who said it. She has since sent an official correspondence to Santa Cruz United requesting that they remove it from their website and their mailing materials. As of writing this post they have not removed said quote.