VIA – MERCURY NEWS
By Stephen Baxter
SANTA CRUZ — In caves and gaps between the rocks of one of Santa Cruz’s most popular surfing spots at Cowell Beach, two truckloads of trash and heroin waste have been hauled out in recent days.
Dylan Greiner, a 37-year-old surf instructor and owner of Santa Cruz Surf School, said he noticed the black trash bags, food wrappers and syringes on the rocks because he works there daily. He wanted to get the city’s attention, so he tried to contact Mayor Don Lane on Wednesday and posted a comment on the Take Back Santa Cruz Facebook page.
Then someone asked if he had any photos or video of the problem.
“The next morning I had my coffee and took my cellphone and I just decided to hit the film button,” Greiner said.
The result was a 4.4 minute video that showed some of dozens of trash bags, food wrappers and syringes. He uploaded it to YouTube Thursday and sent it to Lane.
It also was posted on the Sentinel’s website and viewed more than 8,000 times.
Later Thursday, he and a few friends collected dozens of pounds of trash and hauled it to the top of the Cowell’s staircase. They found needles and the bottoms of aluminum cans — apparently used to cook heroin.
“It affects everybody,” Greiner said of the trash. “It’s November, I know the rain is only going to get harder and I can envision it going into the ocean.”
After Greiner and his friends Mark Collins, T.J. Magallanes and Greg Sojka took the trash to the dump, there was still some garbage left on the walkway on West Cliff Drive on Friday.
Dylan Greiner and T.J. Magallanes are posting videos on the web and talking to… ( Shmuel Thaler )
Lane said he saw the video Thursday night and activated a parks crew Friday — although city offices were closed.
They hauled away the rest of the debris on Friday and got police involved.
“It’s always good when members of the community identify a problem and let the city know,” Lane said. “There’s that sense of immediacy once that video is up there. We’re doing our best to respond quickly.”
The trash and drug use is similar to a problem that neighbors noted in caves near John Street and West Cliff Drive in June. City leaders said it was unclear if same suspects were involved.
Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said during the summer that patrols are difficult on the rip rap rocks along West Cliff the rocks often are slippery and dark.
One officer broke an ankle on the rocks investigating a separate problem. Police said they have to weigh an officer’s time and safety to do a rock scramble to other calls for service.
“It’s a challenge because these are difficult locations to get to and they’re not visible from above,” Lane said.
Police and city leaders also are looking into sealing a cave…
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