Regular watchdog readers of "Ben Dover" and his "Weekly Dump" column published by the Santa Mierda Network are acutely aware of his hateful rants levied against homeless people struggling to survive in Santa Cruz. Following Tuesday night's Santa Cruz City Council meeting, however, "Ben" went ballistic. He was reacting to council's decision to locate a new city sanctioned homeless camp downtown at Lot 24 next to Depot Park. Here's the dig for Ben: the homeless camp, once established, will be directly in his neighborhood, and in his backyard, so to speak.
Here are two responses to the city council vote published by "Ben":
"It's not as if the neighbors there aren't already absorbing their fair share of the homeless at the Salvation Army shelter, literally a few blocks away. What the hell Cynthia Mathews? Way to sell out your neighbors."
"This past Tuesday, the Santa Cruz city council decided it was a good idea to move our self perpetuating dumpster fire (also known as Camp Bernal) to a parking lot next to Depot Park. Honestly, I don’t have the patience to list all the various reasons this is all kinds of stupid..."
His reaction has been hateful, but full of irony.
"Ben Dover" is the pen name of Steve Schlicht, who as recently as 2015 was listed as the communications director of Take Back Santa Cruz on their website. Schlicht also designed at least one of city council member Cynthia Mathews' campaign websites.
Using his real name, Steve 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.
Following that disaster with public service, Schlicht retreated into anonymity with the "Ben Dover" persona, even going so far as to call himself "Ben" as he reads his written pieces on the new Santa Mierda podcasts.
In addition to using the Ben Dover persona, Steve Schlicht is also using his real name to oppose the new downtown homeless camp.
"I think the more lawsuits threatened against the city, the more apprehensive the city will get. Two different lawyers have given me indications a lawsuit against the city has legal merit here," he wrote in the Facebook group "Friends of Depot Park Santa Cruz", which was created to oppose the new homeless camp shortly after Tuesday's council meeting.
With this latest advocacy, Schlicht is continuing a pattern where he uses multiple identities to propel his political advocacy, as well as the agenda of Take Back Santa Cruz. Last November Steve Schlicht announced he was working on the city council campaign of self-described "radical republican" Ashley Scontirano. At the same time, he was also endorsing her and talking her up every week as "Ben Dover" through the Santa Mierda blog.
Santa Mierda is a hate blog written not just in support of anti-homelessness, but also gentrification, in the City of Santa Cruz. And now that there will be a homeless camp located in his backyard, we can expect to hear a lot more about it from both "Ben" and Steve.
Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real? "Big Joe" Netro and Steve Schlicht Partner Up for Hate
Bonnie Lipscomb and her cohorts (ie Cynthia Mathews!) have found that Depot Park is a "suitable" site to plop down a drug camp for 50 addicts.
Many in the City of Santa Cruz are breathing a sigh of relief, but what happens in 50 days or so when these folks again turn this site into an uninhabitable pig sty? Complete with human waste, discarded syringes, strewn with bike parts, furniture, stolen tarps, and tons of trash, rats, and communicable diseases!
I'll tell you what happens: Lipscomb will find another site "suitable." Another park. In another part of the city...because that's what this person does! It may be a park near you!
Please consider showing up at Depot Park to support these people. They are hosting a rally from noon to 3pm on Sunday, March 24th...in Depot Park.
The only way to stop this made up person with her made up job is to unite. Together we stand- divided we fall.
Big Joe 77
Event details from Facebook post:
Join your neighbors at Depot Park this Sunday from 12pm to 3pm. This event is a chance to get together, to celebrate the special place the park has in our community, and to discuss its future. Bring your family, bring food, and bring your ideas! If you want to do more to get involved, this will be a great opportunity for you to meet those of us who are organizing plans of action.
A lawyer friend who has been following along gave me the following advice (and graciously allowed me to share it here). If anyone is interested.
"If I was working on getting an injunction against this pending camp I would try to get declarations from the business owners and managers near the Ross Camp. Their declarations would lay out all the damages they've suffered from the encampment being right there. Like Ross having an 800% increase in theft and 600% decrease in sales. Incidents like the guy in the dressing room lighting fire, etc. Get in police logs if possible. Then establish the likelihood that the same thing would happen because it's the same people being moved."
I would also add get the number of calls to service for the current camp location, as well as arrests from that location. All that info can be found or gotten through an FOIA request from the city.