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Coonerty Appointee Bullies County Health Officer
by Santa Cruz News Network
Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
Damon Bruder, Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty's appointee to the County's Syringe Services Program (SSP) Advisory Commission, has made harassing and bullying statements on social media directed at Rachel McCullough-Sanden, an Epidemiologist and HIV Surveillance Coordinator at the County Health Services Agency (HSA). On February 14, a disparaging screen capture of McCullough-Sanden taken from video of a Board of Supervisors meeting was posted to the Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real Facebook page. The photo was featured on the blog along with criticism of the County Health Department for being late in posting the monthly SSP report to the County's website. Commissioner Bruder commented on the photo, saying: "Maybe the daft woman in the photo was removed/demoted? 🤷‍♂️ A couple late reports would almost be an acceptable trade-off, if that were the case..." The February 14 comment wasn't the first time Damon Bruder has made bullying comments aimed at McCullough-Sanden on the blog; he and his domestic (and political) partner Paige Concannon made harassing comments about the County Health Officer in December as well.
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On January 14, the Board of Supervisors appointed Damon Bruder as the Third District appointee to the Syringe Services Program Advisory Commission, for a term to expire April 1, 2024, as recommended by Supervisor Ryan Coonerty. Bruder is an activist and self-professed former drug user who has been known for stridently expressing his beliefs about the Syringe Services Program at Board of Supervisors meetings, long before he was appointed to the SSP advisory commission.

On December 26, the Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real Twitter page used the disparaging photo of Rachel McCullough-Sanden with the following caption in a tweet: "The @sccounty will continue to fail as long as they continue their practice of hiring-employing incompetent persons...like this one".

Damon Bruder typed in response to the tweet: "Absolutely laughable". (see photo)

By including the county's Twitter handle in the tweet, Bruder assured that the County of Santa Cruz Twitter page would get a notification for his response.

Paige Concannon, who is a Santa Cruz County Republican Party Central Committee Member, also tweeted a reply to the Santa Cruz: CA, Keepin' It Real statement about McCullough-Sanden. Concannon tweeted: "I honestly thought that she was a preschool teacher. So many people, including the one next to her, were incredibly embarrassed and mortified by her actions. That was just an observation as a person sitting in the audience!"

Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real, which many call a hate blog, is published by a retired Soledad State Prison guard named Joe Netro, who posts anonymously to the blog as "Big Joe 77". The Syringe Services Program has been one of "Big Joe 77's" primary targets.

According to Joe Netro, he and Supervisor Coonerty have been corresponding through email. On December 30, "Big Joe 77" posted to the Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real Facebook page that Coonerty emailed him for his help on another issue relating to syringe exchange. (see photo)

"Big Joe 77" quoted Coonerty as saying: “Bruce McPherson (District 5) and I plan to bring an item to the Board opposing the HRC [Harm Reduction Coalition] application and will need your help to get a majority of the Board to take a stand on this important issue."

It is not clear if Supervisor Coonerty is aware specifically of Bruder's bullying of Rachel McCullough-Sanden on the blog, however considering the misogynistic and hostile environment at Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real, it is problematic that Coonerty is seeking Netro's "help".

Netro regularly harasses women as part of a pattern of character assassination. It is clear Netro targets women due to a very visible trend in the large number of disparaging photos he has posted of women and their bodies. Netro also posts pictures to disparage women's faces, including side by side comparisons with animals and monsters (see photos).

The women Netro targets are usually involved with syringe exchange services, or homeless advocacy of some sort. Ongoing targets of Netro's include Mimi Hall, the Director of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. Netro has targeted Denise Elerick, of the Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County, with dozens of posts. One post compares Elerick's face with Frankenstein's. In another post, Netro includes a photo of Elerick's back end. Netro has also targeted Alicia Kuhl, the President of the Santa Cruz Chapter of the California Homeless Union, dozens of times. In a video Netro posted to Youtube and Facebook titled "cud," Netro alternates, over and over again, footage of Kuhl's face with that of a horse.

Take Back Santa Cruz (through their Cruz Needles social media account) shared the bullying post targeting Rachel McCullough-Sanden, and often shares other objectionable posts created by "Big Joe 77".
§February 14 Facebook Post
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§December 26 Tweet
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Take Back Santa Cruz Shares the Post
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Damon Bruder, Santa Cruz County Syringe Services Program (SSP) Advisory Commissioner
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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Before he was a commissioner. Bruder speaks to the Board of Supervisors in 2017.
§Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty Seeks "Help" from "Big Joe 77"
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Bullying County Health Officers by "Big Joe 77"
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Bullying County Health Officers by "Big Joe 77"
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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"Big Joe 77" bullies Mimi Hall, the Director of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.
§Misogyny on Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Misogyny on Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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Jane Becker, of Santa Cruz United and Take Back Santa Cruz, joins in.
§Misogyny from "Big Joe 77"
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Misogyny from "Big Joe 77"
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Bruder Posting about Bullying on Social Media
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Mixed Messages from Damon Bruder
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Mixed Messages from Damon Bruder
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 10:48 AM
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§Contacting Supervisor Coonerty
by Santa Cruz News Network Thursday Feb 27th, 2020 11:08 AM
Supervisor Coonerty was contacted through email ryan.coonerty [at] santacruzcounty.us following the publication of this article with questions concerning Bruder's bullying. Santa Cruz News Network awaits his response.
§No response from Supervisor Coonerty
by Santa Cruz News Network Friday Feb 28th, 2020 10:00 AM
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Supervisor Coonerty has not responded to questions through email concerning Bruder's bullying.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Santa Cruz News Network
Friday Feb 28th, 2020 4:39 AM
Rachel McCullough-Sanden was misidentified as Jennifer Herrera in the original version of this article. Santa Cruz News Network apologizes for the error.
by Finnigan
Sunday Mar 1st, 2020 2:33 PM
If we could see the dealings of Coonerty and Matthews as they really are we would be apauled for democracy. Nepotism is rampant here in Santa Cruz. The system has been corrupted for so long it is impossible to unwind.
I once watched Ryan place his daughter on stage at a dance performance celebrating indigenous people of Santa Cruz at the MAH. He literally placed his 5 year old on their stage during their performance... inoccent or aggressive pshyco, No one stopped him. During their performance she was placed on the stage Coonerty is depraved. This town is sickened with scum like this. Are we surprised he is helping to recall progressives and putting hate filled antagonists on boards? The problem is too seeded to combat.
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