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Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real? "Big Joe" Netro and Steve Schlicht Partner Up for Hate
by Peter Green
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
In Santa Cruz, the latest hate blog masquerading as a public safety blog is "Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real". Published on Facebook and Twitter, the blog has gradually been gaining followers since its founding in 2017 by an individual writing anonymously under the pen name "Big Joe 77". Big Joe 77's real name is Joe Netro, and he's a self-described "cop" retired from working 26 years as a correctional officer at Soledad state prison. The blog features reposted crime reports local to the Santa Cruz area, as well as regular "court watch" features in which Netro publishes information gathered from criminal court records. Netro also physically shows up to various defendants' court dates in Santa Cruz Superior Court. Recently, Netro has joined Take Back Santa Cruz member Steve Schlicht's "Santa Mierda Podcast Network", appearing on multiple podcasts.
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Netro, whose full name is Joseph H. Netro, is a homeowner in Santa Cruz who volunteers with the Santa Cruz Police Department. He served as a member of the 2016-17 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury, which issued a controversial, and some say biased, report critical of the county's Syringe Services Program.

Netro's court "reporting" is one-sided and extremely biased. He rarely (or never) reports on the legal arguments put forward by defendants and/or their attorneys. Many of his court reports begin with the same introduction:

"In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

When describing defendants generally, Netro has written that "no one is innocent", and he often chastises defendants for exercising their legal rights. "This shitbird fired his court appointed attorney today. Only in America", Netro wrote about one defendant.

When quoting court records and police reports, Netro often adds the mantra, "These are the facts. And they are undisputed."

When reporting about some individuals appearing in court, Netro titles the post, "Taking out the Garbage: In Court this Week".

Netro also advocates for long prison sentences. He believes defendants should receive the maximum allowable sentences in all cases. Netro believes that mass incarceration achieved through systemic maximum sentencing will solve what he perceives to be many of society's problems.

Netro has been accused of inaccurate reporting and outright defamation multiple times by readers of his blog.

Netro's blog is also a place were hate is fomented; Netro routinely creates bigoted posts that are overtly anti-homeless. He has created a number of racist posts, and the vigilante and/or violent comments made by his readers are left to remain on his sites. Netro openly refuses to remove hate comments.

Readers have left the following comments on photos Netro posted to his blog:

- "Someone should clean this place up. Brooms, shovels, baseball bats" (Comment made about the Heroes Camp)
- "Let the people take [care] of these two fucks. Long boat ride no more problem" (Comment left on a photo of a person accused of a crime)
- "I hope this guy meets an armed citizen that puts him where he belongs....in the ground" (Comment left on a photo of a person accused of a crime)

On Joe Netro's personal Facebook page, one of his friends asked a question about why "transients" couldn't be forcibly "transferred" back to their "place of origin".

Netro responded by posting a picture of a prison work camp, adding "this would work better".

In January, members of the San Lorenzo Valley/Scotts Valley Coalition Against Racism called out Netro for a racist post that has since been removed from the Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real blog.

In a post titled "Same Guy?", Netro posted photos of two individuals side by side and asked readers if they thought they were the "same guy". One photo was a booking photo of a person currently under probation for an ID theft conviction, and the other photo was of an unknown person being sought by Santa Cruz Police for allegedly placing a skimming device on a local ATM machine.

Readers took issue with the fact that the two individuals looked nothing like each other, and additionally the person in the booking photo was a person of color. Many accused Netro of racism.

One reader called Netro's post, "racial profiling at its best".

Another individual left a poor rating in the reviews section of Netro's blog, adding:

"We don’t need a hateful vigilante targeting people of color and falsely accusing people based solely off their past criminal record and his ignorant hunch of them committing future crimes. Bringing up Public Safety Committee Member criminal past (Drew Glover) as an attempt to slander his name and character is a all time low, coincidentally a person of color too. This coward and racist hides behind the alias name Big Joe 77."

Netro eventually removed the post, replacing it with a thank you note to those who played along with his comparison game by taking guesses.

Netro has been accused of racism on social media for other questionable blog posts.

When Netro posted a photo of Santa Cruz City Council Members Chris Krohn and Drew Glover titled "Dumb and Dumber", one individual commented, "Wow, what a non helpful and rather racist post I would say. Hating people who have different experiences than you is not really a point." Council Member Glover, who is one of the first African Americans ever elected to the Santa Cruz City Council, has faced repeated vicious attacks on his character by Joe Netro and Steve Schlicht, and conversely their followers.

Since 2016, Netro has been personally promoting social media posts from the "Santa Mierda" page, which is an anti-homeless/crime blog that is penned anonymously by Steve Schlicht of Take Back Santa Cruz, using the name "Ben Dover". Mierda is Spanish for "shit" and the blog takes the view that daily life is shitty in Santa Cruz in large part due to homeless people. More recently, Netro has appeared on the Santa Mierda podcast, "Unfiltered", as well as other productions of the "Santa Mierda Podcast Network".

The Santa Mierda blog has been called a "rabid anti-homeless website" by one homeless advocate in Santa Cruz, and a hate blog by others. Besides being a member of Take Back Santa Cruz, Steve Schlicht is also one of the group's web designers. Schlicht and Take Back Santa Cruz have been associated with two other hate websites that were created anonymously to wage defamatory personal attacks against local homeless advocates.

Schlicht served for a short period of time on the Santa Cruz Public Safety Task Force, which was a public commission in the City of Santa Cruz. Schlicht is probably best known locally for the statement he made during his time on the task force that he was "fine with junkies dying", which became a public scandal reported on by Indybay and the Santa Cruz Weekly.

Netro's partnership with Steve Schlicht appears to be an effort by the two of them to amplify their voices, which often times relies on for support only a small group of friends within the Take Back Santa Cruz circle. Time will tell what the partnership between Netro and Schlicht will fully entail; both individuals create highly discriminatory and sometimes racist posts to support their extreme political agendas.

Another partnership visible on the "Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real" blog is between Netro and other individuals who have worked in California's prison system.

Netro created a podcast on the Santa Mierda Podcast Network with Melissa Freebairn, a nurse currently employed at Soledad state prison who is also a resident of Santa Cruz. Freebairn shares some of Netro's discriminatory views in relation to the politics of crime and homelessness in Santa Cruz. Their podcast together was critical of the Syringe Services Program, a commonly addressed topic for both of them.

Other prison employees can be seen commenting on Netro's blog, including Frank Wong, who describes himself as a Correctional Lieutenant at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

On Facebook, Joe Netro is connected to a number of Take Back Santa Cruz members, as well as two conservative former city council candidates Ashley Scontriano and Paige Concannon (both Republicans). Concannon is a regular commenter on Netro's blog, sometimes using both of her screen names on Facebook to praise him.

Netro publicly rejected the politics of Rochelle Noroyan during the 2018 election.

As far as partisan politics goes, Netro calls himself a "lifelong Democrat". He endorsed and voted for a Republican for a seat in the state assembly in 2018, however.
§Joe Netro aka Big Joe 77
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
big_joe_77_netro_santa_cruz_ca_keepin_it_real.jpg
Photo: Excerpt from Santa Cruz Police Department Volunteers group photo
http://santacruzpolice.blogspot.com/2018/09/we-are-looking-for-volunteers.html
§Joe Netro aka Big Joe 77
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
joe_netro-big-joe-77_santa_cruz_ca_keepin_it_real.jpg
Photo: Excerpt from 2016-7 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury group photo
http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/Portals/0/County/GrandJury/GJ2017_final/FinalReport2016-17.pdf
§Discriminatory Court Watch
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
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§Heroes Camp Anti-Homeless Reference
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
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§Work camps for homeless people?
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_joe-netro-homeless-work-camp-santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real.jpg
§"Same Guy?" Post
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
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§"This coward and racist hides behin the alias name Big Joe 77"
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-slander-libel-defamation-joe-netro-racism.jpg
§"This is what racism and dehumanization look like in SC County"
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-joe-netro-racism.jpg
§"False accusations and slander"
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
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§"Our" Weekly Dump
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_joe_netro_santa_cruz_ca_keepin_it_real_santa_mierda_weekly_dump_steve_schlicht.jpg
§Joe Netro and Melissa Freebairn on the Santa Mierda Podcast Network
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_joe_netro_melissa_freebairn_santa_cruz_ca_keepin_it_real_syringe.jpg
§Vigilante Comment from Reader Left to Remain
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_rob-gunrunner-santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-vigilante.jpg
§Vigilante Comment from Reader Left to Remain
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_john-green-vigilante-joe-netro-santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-big-77.jpg
§Vigilante Comment from Reader Left to Remain
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_vigilante_santa_cruz.jpg
§Vigilante Comment from Reader Left to Remain
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_santa-cruz-vigilante.jpg
§Rejection of Richelle Noroyan's Candidacy
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
sm_joe-netro-richelle-noroyan-santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-big-77.jpg
§Joe Netro Promotes Himself (and Santa Mierda) in the Third Person
by Peter Green Sunday Mar 3rd, 2019 12:21 PM
sm_joe_netro-big_joe_77-santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-melissa-freebairn.jpg
Joe Netro Promotes Himself, Melissa Freebairn, and Santa Mierda in the Third Person
§Yes for Concannon/No on Noroyan
by Peter Green Tuesday Mar 5th, 2019 9:11 PM
sm_joe_netro_paige_concannon_richelle_noroyan_big_joe_77_rkeepin_eal_santa_cruz.jpg
Another Republican (Paige Concannon) Joe Netro has endorsed for office.
§Netro References Strip-Searching an Inmate at Soledad
by Peter Green Monday Mar 11th, 2019 11:37 AM
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"I once caught an inmate at CTF smuggling garlic cloves concealed in his butt cheeks. I let him go with it, and didn’t tell his cellie."
§SCPD Investigating Officer’s Racial Facebook Comment
by Lauren Hepler, Good Times Wednesday Mar 20th, 2019 4:20 PM
Officer Chris Galli first drew attention for a January post on a conservative Facebook page called “Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin’ It Real” when screenshots of his commentary about an African-American resident of the homeless encampment behind the Ross department store were published on left-leaning news site Indybay. In the exchange, Galli, posting as “Chris Meriekuh,” referred to camp resident and unofficial spokesman Michael Sweatt as, “Good ‘ol dindunuffin Mr. Sweatt”—a phrase used on Reddit and elsewhere after the 2014 Ferguson police brutality protests to mock African-American people who deny committing crimes.

“Yes, it has been brought to my attention, and we have initiated an Internal Affairs investigation into the matter,” Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Mills tells GT. “I can’t comment on the personnel investigation, but I can tell you that we take all those matters seriously.”

The investigation comes as local online political groups, a microcosm of a chaotic national political environment, continue to splinter into increasingly insular corners of the Internet. If and how local law enforcement or other employers will respond to the polarizing rhetoric is the question now confronting Mills and his department.

The “Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin’ It Real” Facebook page is billed as “a humble attempt to make sense of the chaos that is daily life in the city of Santa Cruz.” It consists mostly of detailed crime and court reports compiled by moderator “Big Joe 77,” plus Law & Order-inspired slideshows of mugshots and often-vitriolic comments about people accused of crimes. City spending on homeless services is a frequent target of posters who call Santa Cruz and its elected officials a “shitshow,” and sometimes bestow a “Jackass of the Day” award.

...

As Humboldt County media reported in 2017, Mills took issue with a Humboldt Bay firefighter wearing a “Black Lives Matter” pin on his uniform, though Mills was captured in a photo wearing a “Police Lives Matter” bracelet while on duty.

read more:
§Netro's Comment Following the Publication of the Good Times Article
by Peter Green Thursday Mar 21st, 2019 6:19 PM
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"Jim's comment should be considered. There are those, like the goodtimes, that wish to do harm."
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Joe Netro made another cannibalism reference today, along with a wish of death for a person accused of a crime:

"Chrissy Brown sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. I mentioned to my wife yesterday that there could only be two things Minson wanted to drag that kid back to the Ross Camp: pimp him out or eat him. I'm grateful niether happened. Now I want justice, not plea bargains. I want Minson in a f'n cage for the next 8+ years...or dead."
§Joe Netro aka Big Joe 77
by Peter Green Saturday Apr 13th, 2019 4:45 PM
joe-netro_big-joe-77_santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real_soledad-prison-guard.jpg
Photo: Excerpt from Santa Cruz Police Department Volunteers group photo posted by Chief Andrew Mills
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2182344568452790&set=a.155716017782332&type=3
§Joe Netro aka Big Joe 77
by Peter Green Wednesday May 15th, 2019 5:20 PM
big-joe-77-joe-netro-santa-cruz-ca-keepin-it-real-hate-blog.jpg
Photo: Netro speaking during the pubic comment period at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Meeting on May 14, 2019.

Video (Netro is the first speaker during the Public Comment period): https://santacruzcountyca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1718&MinutesID=1893&FileFormat=doc&Format=Minutes&MediaFileFormat=mpeg4
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Another Cannibal PostPeter GreenMonday Apr 29th, 2019 4:02 PM
Claims of CannibalismPeter GreenThursday Mar 21st, 2019 12:34 AM
Claims of CannibalismPeter GreenThursday Mar 21st, 2019 12:31 AM
Striking Similarity Between Joe Netro and "Michael Collins" of "Santa Cruz Today"Peter GreenMonday Mar 11th, 2019 12:03 PM
Everyone has been convictedTrip WeirMonday Mar 4th, 2019 8:57 AM
The effect of prison on society.IndyRadioSunday Mar 3rd, 2019 10:03 AM
One of Two Reviews Left by Paige ConcannonPeter GreenSunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM
One of Two Reviews Left by Paige ConcannonPeter GreenSunday Mar 3rd, 2019 3:05 AM

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