This group has one goal and one goal only: To make the streets of Santa Cruz safe and free from drugs, gangs and abusive behavior. We accept everyone and anyone who want to achieve this goal. We don't care about your race, nationality, color, creed, sexual orientation, age or political leanings. We support the Santa Cruz Police Department. We support our emergency services. We support the Santa Cruz fire department. We are about action. This is the time to TAKE BACK Santa Cruz.1
|P.O. Box 7028, Santa Cruz, CA 95060|
|Dexter & Analicia Lesnowicz Cube, Pamela Comstock, Heather Lesnowicz Babock, Heather's husband Ian Blake Babcock|
Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) is a community group that fights crime and supports the emergency agencies located within the Santa Cruz area. The organization has organized 'positive loitering' events, park clean-ups, a toys for tots drive, and 'night activism'. They have also sponsored talks, including a Santa Cruz City Council candidates forum in 2010. In 2011, the Santa Cruz Sentinel featured TBSC in a series of articles about the significant local newsmakers of 2010, and that article referred to the group's "growing local clout" due to all eight city council candidates having been in attendance at the event.2 Supporters feel that the group effectively fights crime and is an attempt to help improve the quality of life in the area. As they note at the top of their blog: "We are learning what it takes to Take Back Santa Cruz. We are winning."3 In 2011 Analicia Cube, who was listed as a founder of TBSC in a 2011 Good Times article, received a Nextie award from Santa Cruz Next for her involvement in TBSC, and later in the year Take Back Santa Cruz was voted as the best activist group in the 2011 Good Times 'best of' readers poll.
TBSC's positive loitering events are based on similar ones that took place in Chicago in 2009.
Critique of Group
Community Polarization and Surveillance TBSC's actions have created polarization locally, and critics of the group are numerous. At one positive loitering event, a counter-protest was waged against TBSC. One sign carried by the group opposed to TBSC read, "talk to each other, not cops."4 TBSC has made the surveillance of community members (and public places) part of their function. In a May 2010 Santa Cruz Sentinel article, they were described as surveiling the areas around Pogonip, Harvey West Park, and River Street, taking video footage of suspected drug dealers.5 A Sentinel article from July of 2010 describes how a TBSC "camera crew" visited Lighthouse Field with park rangers during a park cleanup to "document" the "problems" there.6 In 2011, Analicia Cube described in an interview how TBSC was, "hiding in bushes and calling cops."12
Facts Vs. Opinion The Lighthouse Field cleanup also raised another important point, are TBSC's actions and concepts based on proven facts or are they more speculative? Members of TBSC advocated for an end to the leash law at the park. Analicia Cube who is a dog walker who stopped walking her dog in the area, was quoted as saying, "Whenever you pull the community out of an area, then this illegal activity is going to flourish," while the State Parks superintendent assigned to the county's beaches, Kirk Lingenfelter said the crime problem there was, "not the result of fewer dogs; it's the result of having a 36-acre field in the middle of West Cliff Drive."6 In 2011, without citing any specific report or study, Analicia Cube called Pogonip, "the biggest heroin distribution center in the state, possibly the country."12 In 2010 TBSC supported, along with other organizations in the community, the building of a bike trail through Pogonip as an effort to fight the heroin problem there. People on the other side of this issue argue that the public bike trail that exists on the San Lorenzo River has not solved the crime problem there. The San Lorenzo River and the trail there has also been the location of multiple TBSC cleanups and positive loitering events.
Do the Numbers Add Up? The way TBSC reports its membership numbers has raised some controversy. At the top of their main website TBSC states that, "TBSC was founded by your community willing to take action against criminal and abusive behavior. Since then, literally thousands of Santa Cruz residents have spoken up with enthusiastic support and a willingness to help realize a vision based on community, inspiration, and action."7 Those involved with TBSC often cite their large Facebook group membership, which maxed out at 5000, as an accurate membership count. In a 2011 article, the Santa Cruz Sentinel described the growth of TBSC in terms of its Facebook membership (A growth of 2,300 to 4,600 members in 20102), but in a Sentinel opinion piece written by TBSC member Heather Babcock in 2010, TBSC's membership was described by her as "more than 15 percent of the community."8 Apparently both the Sentinel and TBSC play loose in reporting the membership numbers, and critics have suggested that not all of the people who joined TBSC's Facebook group are even from Santa Cruz. In 2011, TBSC's Twitter account attracted a mere 8 followers after its first several months in existence.
In 2010 the group Give Back Santa Cruz was founded on Facebook by Wes Modes as "Take Back Santa Cruz for Everyone."9 In the summer of 2011, Take Back Santa Cruz updated their website, adding a content tab labeled "Give Back," that, when clicked, led to a post titled, "Give Back to Santa Cruz," which led to basic information about TBSC.13 Up until that point, the TBSC website had no mention of "giving back."
Emmanuel P. Cube In a 2010 Santa Cruz Indymedia article titled Was Tough-on-Crime Take Back Santa Cruz Founded by a Corporate Criminal?, the article points to two U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website links that implicate an Emmanuel P. Cube in corporate criminal activity, and those writing on Indymedia claim that Emmanuel Cube is also known as Dexter Cube, husband of Analicia Cube and co-founder of TBSC. Critics cite Cube's possibly criminal past as problematic, given his involvement with TBSC.
Disturbing Homeless Camps and Property The discussion in response to the Emmanuel Cube article is lively, and Robert Norse makes some thoughtful observations. His view is that Cube's criminal past is irrelevant; he felt that at issue was TBSC's status as a "functionally anti-homeless group."10 In a 2011 Santa Cruz Indymedia article, Norse goes into detail about how he believes TBSC's actions affect the homeless and compares the process to, "'clean-up's' and 'loiter-in's' in the past which similarly use the language of safety and community while declining to advise their participants not to destroy homeless property and homeless camps."11
Influencing Other Vigilante Related Behavior Locally In July of 2011, A flier was distibuted on the westside of Santa Cruz that "warned" local residents that a house had opened that would be serving people with drug and alcohol related problems. The flier used intolerant language when referring to the people who sought counseling and alleged they were criminals. The flier listed Take Back Santa Cruz as a group to contact.14 TBSC board member Heather Babcock denied the group had any direct involvement.
In an April 10, 2013 Good Times article briefly mentions a story about Frank Smith, in which Smith claims to have been repeatedly harassed and photographed by TBSC members. Specifically he claims that TBSC members have photographed and posted photos of the RV in which he lives onto the TBSC webpage. Further he claimed that a man and a woman accosted him in his vehicle while screaming profanities at him. They told him that he needed to leave town since they paid a lot of money for their house. For their part, though TBSC's code of conduct prohibits vigilante behavior, TBSC admits that there have been threads in which supposedly suspicious RV's are featured and members are allowed and encouraged to surveil people and offer perceptions and analysis as to their suspect's criminality.
In a May 12, 2012 Santa Cruz Sentinel article, it was reported that at an order to show cause hearing, a woman argued that group had posted photos of her vehicle on their Facebook page and made derogatory comments in emails and group newsletters.
That group, Garfield Neighbors, is an affiliate of Santa Cruz Neighbors, focusing on public safety issues in the neighborhood. Members work with business owners, city officials, the police department and other community groups like Take Back Santa Cruz.
A December 11, 2012 article in the Santa Cruz Good Times Magazine titled "Searching for Safety", presented Dylan Greiner's affiliation with Take Back Santa Cruz. An August 19, 2013 article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel titled "SCPD: Probe into surf instructor's lewd acts case could go to the feds" stated the following, "Greiner, owner of Santa Cruz Surf School, was arrested Friday on suspicion of two felony charges of lewd acts with children. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday and remained in Santa Cruz County Jail on Monday in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to jail records."
Questions about who really runs TBSC and how open access is to it. TBSC was founded and is run by a small group of relatives. Analicia Cube is married to Dexter and she is the main spokesperson for the group. Analicia's sister is Heather Babcock, Heather's husband is Ian Babcock. Analicia's cousin is Craig Comstock whose wife is Pamela Comstock who as a result of helping start TBSC was elected as a member of the Santa Cruz City Council. There are no meetings per se for the group, group action is coordinated through both a mailing list and the private/closed FaceBook group. Overall policy and admin of the group seems to be set by the group founders. Though anyone can suggest an idea for the group, the founders and admins have final say about what flies or not, this is a top down organization, their decision is the final one and discussion is often missing.
According to the Internet Archive, on August 26, 2013 Manuel Prado was listed as the Director of Fundraising for Take Back Santa Cruz. Prado is owner of Viva Transcription in Santa Cruz. Manuel's wife is Halimah DeLaine Prado, VP Legal at Google, San Francisco, California.
TBSC Mission statement regarding open membership and diversity of opinion are a farce. TBSC lists in it's mission statement "We accept everyone and anyone who want to achieve this goal. We don't care about your race, nationality, color, creed, sexual orientation, age or political leanings." The claim that they accept everyone and anyone is inaccurate. The Facebook portion of the group is closed. In order to gain access to the group you have to seek approval via a request to the admins. People who have FB profiles that suggest a history of being too liberal or progressive may never have their request acted upon and thus are never accepted into the group. Furthermore, once a member of the Facebook group if you voice an opinion or share a viewpoint that is in opposition to what the group admins want to hear, believe, promote, you can be kicked out of the group. People have been removed and banned from the group for simply suggesting dialogue with other community groups or for asking questions about policies and strategies.
Targeting an innocent man - Kenneth Maffei In February 2013, Santa Cruz was deeply traumatized by the homicide of two police officers while on duty. In the days following, the community mourned and gathered to show support and grieve the loss of two beloved members of the community. A post on TBSC ignited a fury. " So today my wife saw some guy get out of a taxi and take flowers from the memorial.... she called the cops and followed the taxi and asked the passenger where he got the flowers he said that he bought them at the store and paid $55.00 for them. My wife spoke up and said he was lying and that he stole them. The officer called him on his bluff and the guy finally admits that he was going to the shelter down on Coral Street.... the officer arrested him for being drunk in public. This is how we will take back Santa Cruz 1 scumbag at a time> Flood the police with calls and maybe the word will get out that Santa Cruz is not the placed to come for shelter." This approved post launched a tirade of comments many from admin of TBSC and a police officer. The officer announces " The a- hole who did this has been charged with defacing a law enforcement memorial" Analicia Cube writes "We love you" and follows with " A POS of the day" and claims of " we need to start a little public humiliation. Many other quick to judgment comments with assured guilt handed down. Michael Becker writes " this is the level of evil criminal behavior we've had to live with . Well no more , we've had enough. Together we will Take Back Santa Cruz." Analicia Cube quickly posts "We need to pack the court room. This jerk is an excellent example of an out of townerer with a rap sheet who wanders into our town and then has the audacity to abuse our community. I will post it so all can come. If we need a poster child this is it." Several community members take offense to some of the name calling and the fact that a felony may be charged. They are quicky attacked on the thread. A commenter rather prophetically writes " I'm angry about all the crime and violence lately too, but I hope this doesn't turn in to some sort of vigilantism and maybe someone innocent could suffer harm just because maybe he looks "different." To which Analicia Cube comments " No one said anything about vigilantes.This thread is dead ."
Kenneth Maffei served 18 days in jail. He indeed was able to provide a receipt and all charges were dropped. "This case was a classic 'rush to judgment' -- from the arrest, to the high bail (at arrest), to the harsh judgments in the media," Biggam said. "Mr. Maffei has been demonized and has served 18 days in jail for a crime he did not do."Yes, these are difficult and sensitive times in our community, and I understand people's concerns. But we need to address those concerns with facts, not fear, and with fairness, not prejudgments." Maffei was nearby when Baker and Butler were killed by a suspect Feb. 26. He went to the street-side memorial to pay his respects, Biggam said. Another defense attorney, Jack Lamar Jr., came to court with a letter from Erika Hearon of the Davenport Resource Service Center stating Maffei had been a "valuable volunteer" for several years. Biggam said Maffei was not a "transient," as police stated, but has lived in Santa Cruz for 31 years. He was anything but an out of towner. The post regarding the flower thief was quickly removed and no apology was made whatsoever, no review of protocols, no review of approved posts, no discussion or any processing of this egregious error , no attention given to how to prevent this from happening again. A thread began in which some members expressed unhappiness that this man was wrongfully accused. At no time did any of the admin members who commented, Michael Becker, Analicia Cube Samantha Olden , Melanie Premo , Steve Schlicht , ever apologize for their abusive online behavior . The exact dollar amount that was wasted in part because of the public outcry by a small crowd of TBSC followers is not known. The toll on law enforcement, investigators, attorney fees , District Attorney time and resources, court time and 18 days in jail. A photograph of frequent TBSC commenters at the hearing was in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Leaked Comments question role of TBSC in Public Safety Task Force :
Steve Schlict is the Director of Information Technology and Marketing Technology for Take Back Santa Cruz and frequent commenter. He is the principal owner of a Santa Cruz based company , Easy on the Eye specializing in web design, brand management, social media management and marketing communications. Santa Cruz City Council member Cynthia Matthews has hired Steve Schlicht and comments on his work are noted under the testimonials link on the web page. Easy on the Eye Design also manages "Santa Cruz Clean Team" media . Santa Cruz Clean Team in 2013 was noted and video taped harassing a homeless man at his camp site. Steve Schlicht was also a member of the 15 member Public Safety Task Force that was formed in response to perceived safety concerns in the City of Santa Cruz . A member of the task force resigned , leaving the voting membership of the task force to 14, one of whom was Steve Schlicht. A 2013 Report was compiled after 6 months of meetings , expert panelist and educational presentations and the report and recommendations were later sent to the County Board of Supervisors. In July of 2013 Good Times article , comments made by Steve Schlicht in reference to the discovery of a dead body in the San Lorenzo River were sent to City Council members amidst questions about how Mr Schlicht might " not be fit for the public task force." "I'd be fine with junkies dying somewhere else. Outside the County is fine with me." This comment was sent to City Council members amidst questions about how Mr Schlicht might " not be fit for the public task force." Defensive claims that the comment was taken out of context as well as anger that the comments on a "private" page were made public were expressed by Steve Schlicht in the Good Times article. At no time was there an apology to the family of the deceased man, nor any apology to the community, the the task force, or to TBSC for making a comment that could have been seen as an insensitive, mocking the loss of life of an homeless individual. Questions as to how a member of the community that exemplifies this sentiment can hold a position on the task force were never answered. It is noteworthy that numerous citizens applied for this position and were denied.
Alliances with the Santa Cruz Police Department and Deputy Chief Steve Clark:
Take Back Santa Cruz prides themselves on supporting Santa Cruz Police Department and County law enforcement and First Responders. In 2013 on the Santa Cruz Police Blogspot, Deputy Chief Steve Clark and Chief of Police Kevin Vogel are photographed with Samantha Olden, Analicia Cube and Heather Babcock "and a host of Take Backr's " upon donation of $2500 towards the memorial garden for slain Sergeant Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler. The money was raised through "Never Forget " T Shirt sales .This photo op event fell months after the Kenneth Maffei debacle which many community members questioned as a covert showing of support for actions in the community that had vigilante overtones. "Take Back Santa Cruz has always been known for putting action behind their words. We are honored and humbled by your support over the years . Thank you Take Back Santa Cruz." Questions stirred amongst the community as to the level of support the Police Department had for many social media strategies employed by TBSC. TheTBSC Facebook page often contains photographs of anonymous residents , perhaps homeless, perhaps in substance use crisis, mental health crisis, for the purpose of "public shaming." TBSC spokesperson Analicia Cube has publicly supported shaming on the Santa Cruz Police Facebook page dated September 22, 2014. This tactic of public shaming is in question given the mission statement pertaining to "keeping Santa Cruz free from drugs , gangs and abusive behavior." This statement is used to defend the tactic of using non law enforcement released photos, rather using any photo from a member to use public shaming as a means to "clean up our town!" as quoted by Deputy Steve Clark. Steve Clark acted as interim spokesperson for the department following a vacancy left by Zach Friend who was elected to the Board of Supervisors. Deputy Chief Clark was responsible for managing social media which included a blogspot and Facebook page in addition to media representation in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
In 2014 he was the spokesperson for the Police Manager's Union. In 2014 his tactics were called into question during the campaign for Santa Cruz City Council. Weeks before the election , he contacted local new media to make accusatory comments about a candidate, Leonie Sherman, and labeled as an "anarchist" in her involvement in a Seattle WTO protest in 1999 at which time she was arrested for hanging a banner. Steve Clark's method used begs the question , was Steve Clark attempting to smear her reputation, thus affecting the outcome of the election by trying to associate her with riots in Santa Cruz in 2010 that resulted in damages to businesses on Pacific Avenue. According to Steve Clark Ms Sherman was never contacted prior to his statements. Following this publicity and outcry from the community regarding his public comments , Mr Clark was removed as spokesperson for the Manager's Union, as well as media relations. Take Back Santa Cruz admin members we're very complimentary of Steve Clark and subsequently circulated a petition in support of his campaign tactics claiming " Deputy Steve Clark has recently been criticized for speaking out and expressing the Police Management Union's honest opinion. We value his association's frank and knowledgeable assessments and support their continuing community interaction. We value Clark's leadership and the association's helpful and knowledgeable guidance. Deputy Steve Clark is one of the finest , most dedicated officers in our local police department and we are lucky to have someone who cares so much about his community...his honest, sometimes blunt observations and statements are frankly a breath of fresh air in a town that has long tolerated too much misbehavior couple with a lack of accountability for it." The petition to date, garnered less than 200 signatures of a Facebook group of many thousand. With three seats up for election, Richelle Noroyan won by 303 votes . The voter turn out was the lowest on record according to County Clerk Gail Pellerin. The impact Deputy Steve Clark had on the city council race will never be known. The City Council is tasked with oversight of the Police Department.
On November 22, 2013 Google Executive Forrest hayes was found dead on his yacht at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. An investigation reveled he died of a heroin overdose and the he had hired prostitute Alix Tichleman who on surveillance camera is seen injecting Mr. hayes with heroin. On Jan 24, 2015 on a nationally televised crime program, 48 hours, Steve Clark when asked " Is she a cold blooded killer?" he replies " She's a killer and she certainly was cold." Alix Tichleman later plead guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter, and other misdemeanor charges of prostitution and drug possession. In a Santa Cruz Sentinel article her videotaped reaction to a distressed Forrest Hayes is significantly different version to the scene Steve Clark reported . In June 24 2015 a Good Times article titled "Blurred Blue Lines" reviews recent department and community issues with Steve Clark. It is revealed in a local radio show that aired on July 14 that an independent investigation into Steve Clark is ongoing . The investigation is headed up by Fred Hardee , a consultant who is former chief at California State University, Monterey Bay.
In May of 2015 Joyce Blaschke was hired as spokesperson, media relations in charge of Police blog, Nixle alerts and press releases.
Some have long questioned the involvement of Steve Clark and other Police Officers officers in Take Back Santa Cruz. Steve Clark's professionalism, "expression of free speech" as described by the members of the police force as well as TBSC, "tactics of "keeping files" on candidates , making idle threats have come in to question resulting in an inquiry in to whom Steve Clark actually speaks for and represents. It remains to be seen what an independent investigation will reveal. Questions as to the presence of a Council member who is a founding member of TBSC as well family to the Cube/Babcock family arise. Council Member Comstock displays support of the police department by wearing Santa Cruz Police T shirt during the heated Bearcat acquisition public comment thus demonstrating her lack of objectivity and her ability to hear constituent concerns.
- 1http://www.takebacksantacruz.com/about-us, retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- 22010 Newsmakers: Anti-crime group Take Back Santa Cruz grows in ranks, clout, by J.M. Brown, Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2, 2011
- 3http://takebacksantacruz.blogspot.com/, retrieved on February 21, 2011
- 4Third 'positive loitering' event in Santa Cruz stirs debate, by Alia Wilson, Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 27, 2010, retrieved on June 19, 2010
- 5Heroin Highway - Taking Back Harvey West, by J.M. Brown, Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 21, 2010, retrieved on June 19, 2010
- 6Groups collaborate for Lighthouse Field clean-up: Volunteers to shine spotlight on illegal activity, by J.M. Brown, Santa cruz Sentinel, July 8, 2010
- 7http://www.takebacksantacruz.com/, retrieved on February 21, 2011
- 8Heather Babcock: Take Back Santa Cruz focused on making city safer, by Heather Babcock, Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 4, 2010
- 9Give Back Santa Cruz, retrieved on February 20, 2011
- 10http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/02/18649646.php?show_comments=1#18650032, by Robert Norse, Santa Cruz Indymedia, June 6, 2010
- 11Back Again and Stalking the Community in Progressive Garb, by Robert Norse, Santa Cruz Indymedia, February 13, 2011
- 12Community Cleans Up Pogonip, by Alex Hubner, Santa Cruz Patch, August 29, 2011, retrieved on Sept 8, 2011.
- 13http://takebacksantacruz.com/category/give-back/, retrieved on Sept 8, 2011.
- 14Flier ruffles feathers near Westside rehab house, by Stephen Baxter, Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 3, 2011, retrieved on Sept 8, 2011.
- And The Nextie Goes To, by Linda Koffman, Good Times, January 19, 2011
- Was Tough-on-Crime Take Back Santa Cruz Founded by a Corporate Criminal?, by Postive Loiterer, June, 2010
- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-10-20/news/0910200161_1_loitering-uptown-residents Article about positive loitering in Chicago
- Video: Take Back Santa Cruz members discuss their Friday night program "Night Activism"
- Santa Cruz Clean Team
- Community Organizations
- Street Crime
2011-02-20 23:14:59 "Robert Norse makes great observations"? HAHA! Okay, list SC Wiki as another hack site. CHECK! What a joke. Try as you might. TBSC is going to keep working for the safety and peace of ALL people no matter their race, economic status or defining characteristics. We are not going away. Mainly because we are from here. Our families are in the dirt, walking the streets and yet to come. If anyone REALLY want's a definition of TBSC go to an event with your heart and mind open. —220.127.116.11
2011-02-23 17:19:02 Hahaha. Boo hoo. Waaaah. I want my mommy. Hahaha. Go find something real to do losers. I think you just inspired me...yes you did. Thank you! Once again you never disappoint. Weeeeeeeee! —18.104.22.168