May 25 – 31, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…More on Measure D, How to Vote list, Rite Aid vs. CVS for boosters, farewell Audrey Stanley. GREENSITE…with the latest on the Wharf lawsuit outcome. KROHN…Ballot Recommendations. STEINBRUNER…Dist. 4 candidates’ forum, voting centers, CZU fire survivors, extend fire season, groundwater levels, Joby Aviation, Memorial Day. HAYES…Save The Bees. PATTON…Speaking Of Money (Cryptocurrency). MATLOCK…RELEASING THE KRAKEN AND OTHER NONSENSICAL HYSTERICS. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS…Entire movies on YouTube? No way, who knew?! QUOTES…”Forest Fires”

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REPUBLICAN CARAVAN TO SAN FRANCISCO FOR IKE/RICHARD NIXON. This was on October 8, 1952. Ike ran against Adlai Stevenson and won. Eisenhower was speaking in San Francisco. This was back when Santa Cruz was a guaranteed Republican town.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE   MAY 23
     

STILL MORE ON MEASURE D. It’s been written many times now about how wild and divisive local voters have become on the Rail plus trail issue. We even have former Governor Jerry Brown against it. Which means that it had to be important for him to examine and declare that Measure D would be a disaster.  Governor Jerry Brown stated, 

“NEWSFLASH: Former Gov. Jerry Brown on Greenway’s Measure D: “I strongly recommend voting NO”

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, a global leader in the fight to address climate change, encourages Santa Cruz County voters to reject Greenway’s Measure D. 

“Measure D aims to tear out historic railroad tracks, killing the possibility of carbon free, electric train service in Santa Cruz County. That is really a bad idea, given the congestion on Highway 1 and the increasing danger of greenhouse gasses from more and more cars. Measure D is bad for Santa Cruz and bad for California. I strongly recommend voting NO.” – Jerry Brown, Former California Governor

 Mark Stone, Justin Cummings, Ryan Coonerty, Sandy Brown and dozens of our most notable organizations oppose Measure D. Read the lists here… https://www.nowaygreenway.com/opposed  I’ve never seen or remember such unity and opposition to a piece of legislation.

HOW TO VOTE…WHO TO VOTE FOR!!  After the response from running the how to vote list last week I decided to run it every week until that day!!  I stated last week, “As per usual when our ballots arrive there are so many offices and candidates we’ve never heard of and have not the vaguest idea of their background. I’ve asked good, experienced local political friends to give us a list of the best candidates. Take out your sample ballots and vote the following:

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Governor GAVIN NEWSOM
Lieutenant Governor ELENI KOUNALAKIS
Secretary of State SHIRLEY N. WEBER
Controller STEVE GLAZER
Treasurer FIONA MA
Attorney General ROB BONTA
Insurance Commissioner MARC LEVINE
Member, State Board of Equalization District 2 SALLY J. LIEBER
United States Senator ALEX PADILLA
United States Senator Partial Unexpired Term ALEX PADILLA
United States Representative 19th District JIMMY PANETTA
Member of the State Assembly GAIL PELLERIN
Superintendent of Public Instruction TONY THURMOND
County Supervisor, 3rd District JUSTIN CUMMINGS
County Measures
Measure B Yes
Measure C Yes
Measure D No
Measure E No
Measure F No

There were/are a lot of questions, decisions behind the above list. If you know things we never encountered, please tell me/us at bratton@cruzio.com as rapidly as possible. And the main principle, and deciding thing is to be sure to vote. Democrats are traditionally lazy about voting in these off-season times, just go vote!! Also check out Chris Krohn’s list of candidates and measures we agree on all of them except Ami Chen Mills.

RITE AID AND BOOSTER SHOTS. I’ve been a customer of CVS since they were Long’s Drugstore. More importantly I couldn’t get through their online or in person connections to get my second Covid Booster. A good friend suggested I use Rite Aid…wow, they are fast, polite, eager and efficient and got my shot the very next day…with smiles and a painless poke. Go there, especially if you are due for your second booster.  

GOODBYE AUDREY STANLEY. She was a great force and addition to our community. She created Shakespeare Santa Cruz and was a cheerful good friend. In addition to casting me in the very first Shakespeare S.C. Play King Lear I took her (after much persuasion) to see two Shakespeare Operas…Rossini’s Otello and Verdi’s Macbeth. As she predicted, she had so much negative criticism about all that the operas “left out” that it was a chore. She’ll be sorely missed.

Be sure to tune in to my very newest movie streaming reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange. The “RT’s” after the movie title refer to the Rotten Tomatoes critics scores from 1-100. Rotten Tomatoes is the world’s largest and most respected cinema scoring system.

DOWNTON ABBEY. (Del Mar Theatre). If you are a fan of the tv series as millions are you’ll note a difference when you see the new movie (#2) on a big screen. It’s now about 1926 and talking movies figure into this new plot. As you can guess there are probably a dozen plots running between all our favorite characters and I don’t want to give any spoilers. Go see it, no masks required at The Del Mar.

THE TIME TRAVELERS WIFE. (HBO MAX SERIES). (7.3 IMDB). This mostly light attempt tells the story of two time travelers and their unavoidable destinies. With only the first episode (of 6) it’s impossible to predict where and how it will end BUT it’s diverting and well-acted…and it won’t keep you up all night.

NOW & THEN. (APPLE SERIES). (5.2 IMDB). Miami Florida high schoolers have a graduation night party at the beach. Something terrible, illegal, murderous, happens and the series deals with how the party goers deal with that tragedy in the next 20 years. Nicely acted, great editing, use of ecstasy, blackmail and heavy emotions. Go for it.

THE VALET. (HULU MOVIE). (6.7 IMDB). I could only think of Gwyneth Paltrow and Roberto Beginini as the lookalike stars in this attempt at a comedy. Samara Weaving and Eugenio Derbez act as the valet and the famous movie star share the plot trying to force a laugh or two. Maybe it does poke near fun at the differences between a Latino family and the well to do LA fame world but I couldn’t get one laugh out of it. Go warned.

CANDY. (HULU SERIES) (7.4 IMDB). Jessica Biel is back onscreen and she does a fine job as the Texas mother and mainly the housewife who is somehow involved with the axe murder of her female friend and neighbor. Flashbacks and dreams stretch out too long to keep the mystery and tension necessary to make this series great…but Biel’s acting makes it watchable.

THAR. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB)  A mob versus family drama made and filmed in India. Being an Indian film that means heavy on the posing, even hammy, but beautiful.  Mostly it’s about revenge but that’s almost a spoiler. It’ll keep your attention with the absolutely almost extraterrestrial scenery. 

SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.  

CLARK. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB). This is the nearly unbelievable true story of one of the most notorious bank robbers in history Clark Olofsson. It’s funny, well-acted, nicely produced and a good way to spend those “extra” hours. Bill Skarsgard plays Clark and he’s perfect in the role. It’s all in Sweden and is a positive delight…go for it.

OPERATION MINCEMEAT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) Colin Firth and Jason Isaacs star in this true WWII British spy movie. Author Ian Fleming (James Bond creator) was actually involved and he tells the story of how the British fooled Hitler and Germany into the invasion of Sicily. It goes on too long here and there but the intrigue and plotting and how they kept the plot secret make it worthwhile.

PETITE MAMAN. (Del Mar Theatre) (97 RT) (7.4 IMDB) A sentimental, loving story of a little eight year old girl who‘s grandmother has died. She finds a next door neighbor friend who is her twin or maybe her mother. It’s existential, sentimental, and beautifully told. You’ll probably cry a lot, it’s so much a part of all our lives and our dealing with death.

THE LINCOLN LAWYER. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.6 IMDB). The excellent acting of Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the lawyer makes this a fine, tense, humorous series to view. Doing his attorney practice which he works from his precious collection of Lincoln automobiles we get to watch and become involved in some fascinating cases. Funny, deadly, deep and very much an LA movie you’ll be hypnotized by this one…go for it.  

THE ESSEX SERPENT. (APPLE TV SERIES) (7.0 IMDB)Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes lead off in this poor people’s historic version of the 1890’s Downton Abbey. Claire is convinced that there is an actual sea serpent lurking in the waters off this remote island. There’s plenty of interaction between characters and it’s a way of looking at how we humans deal with things we do and don’t believe in. A fine well directed series).

DEAR EVAN HANSEN. (HBO MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Ben Platt do their very best to make this “musical” very serious. I’ve attended over 300 operas here and overseas and have a soft spot for the sentimental/oft hammy side of a drama. Evan is a high schooler with many mental issues including suicide. It’s heavy but believable. The voices are good ones and remember it’s a musical and like West Side Story it’s got a story to tell in an unusual way.

THE NIGHT HOUSE. (HBO MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB).  A genuinely scary well done ghost/horror film. Rebecca Hall is the school teacher whose husband committed suicide, but just probably. She has dreams, thangs go bump in the night. It’s all in upper New York State near Utica and their lovely home by the lake. Rare to watch an old plot like this and still stay affixed, but you will. 

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MUSIC IN MAY.

We are delighted to announce the return to live performance! Thursday May 26 we offer a free, outdoor community concert at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville 5:30-6:30pm featuring the debut of the Harmony Youth Choir alongside MiM musicians. Join us Friday May 27 and Saturday May 28 at Samper Recital Hall for our main stage events. Both concerts will be later released on our YouTube channel. Go here for concert details…

CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season and Returns to In-Person Concerts on July 24-August 7. Yes, Cristian Macelaru the music director is returning and will be conducting. The concerts will include three world premiere commissions; the live orchestral premiere of Jake Heggie‘s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Benjamin Beilman; and works commemorating women’s suffrage in America and exploring the recent impact of drought and wildfires in the Western United States. Tickets are on sale now!!

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May 23

THE WHARF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

I cannot gaze at this photo of the Municipal Wharf without imagining what it would look like had the community group, Don’t Morph the Wharf! not legally challenged the city’s Wharf Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and won. I took this photo from the top story of the Dream Inn about twelve years ago. At that time, locals’ specials at the Dream Inn cost around $100 a weekday night. A beautiful sunny winter’s day and a once-in-a-lifetime birthday treat.

While I previously have written about the details of Judge Paul Burdick’s ruling in our favor, the lawsuit was not over until the city attorney and city manager signed the Release and Settlement Agreement as directed by city council, waiving the city’s right of appeal, and paying legal costs to petitioner (us) and petitioner’s attorney, Susan Brandt-Hawley, which they recently did. Had the city appealed the ruling, the case would have extended for probably another year with additional cost and no guarantee of a win in our favor. I imagine some council members were eager to appeal, however wiser legal heads probably urged caution since we had a strong case. Considerable money was at stake if they continued to the Appellate level. The decision to cut their losses was a sound one given their weak case and that they were paying with the public’s purse.

What does this win mean? First and most importantly, it means the Wharf Master Plan (WMP) and its EIR are ordered to be set-aside. It does not mean the city won’t try again. That will be up to a future council. My hunch is the city’s Economic Development Department is already discussing this option. They view the Wharf as a cash-cow and have demonstrated little concern with the community’s strong sentiment to preserve the character and working class bent of the historic Wharf. Migratory birds, sea lion viewing holes and extensive public fishing access are in their view expendable and expected to make way for upscale ecotours and boutique commerce. Sure, one aspect of the Wharf is to generate money for the city coffers, and it already does that. I’ve looked into the Wharf budget. It is quite complex, involving 3 different departments (Parks, Fire and Public Works) before you even get to the Economic Development Department which is driving the gentrification machine and appears to be calling the shots. 

We are not, “professional againsters” as a senior Economic Development manager labelled us. Nobody opposes ongoing Wharf maintenance. In fact, it is long overdue. In the writ we supported the city’s moving ahead with certain aspects of the Wharf Master Plan, specifically, fixing the roadway and substrate, replacing 5% of the 4,460 pilings, implementing a new garbage collection system that gets rid of the massive dumpsters which require heavy garbage trucks to drive onto the Wharf, damaging the roadway, plus the provision of more accessible bathrooms. These occupied few pages in the overall WMP but they were there and properly labelled “improvements.” Erecting several 40 feet tall new buildings and blocking migratory birds’ access to nesting sites under the Wharf are not. If maintaining the historic, much-loved Municipal Wharf were indeed the city’s priority, then a Master Plan would have focused on these needed maintenance projects and would not have been contested. 

One of the Plan’s projects we did not contest under CEQA was the relocation of the entry kiosks to 500 feet further down the Wharf on a widened new “entrance” with steel pilings and a big “gateway” sign. There are many problems with such a project. It gets rid of kiosk workers, substitutes them with 12 pay stations scattered along the Wharf, isn’t helpful for the mobility-impaired and “shortens” the Wharf which is of historical uniqueness because of its age and length…one of the 5 longest wooden piers in the world. We did alert the city that we will most likely take this issue up with the Coastal Commission when the city submits it for a CCC permit. Stay tuned.

If the city does decide to pursue another Wharf Master Plan, an alert public needs to be ready and engaged in the CEQA process. One hopes that the city might learn from its “error” this time around. Not only by listening to and respecting community and visitor sentiment that is against significant changes to the character of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf but also by following not circumventing CEQA environmental law. 

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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May 23

BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS

The turnout in Santa Cruz County in the June 3, 2014 election did not reach 35%. The winning candidate for Third District Supervisor received a paltry 6,173 votes, not even enough for a seat on the Santa Cruz city council at the time. But, since it was 76% of the total votes cast, the only other candidate running received 1,781 votes. A winner was declared and there was no November runoff. This single election is likely the best argument I’ve seen while scanning this county’s voter turnout record since June of 1976 when 73.6% of the then 84,034 registered voters voted, for ranked choice voting (RCV).

Last Updated: June 20, 2014 5:49 PM

Registration & Turnout
141,107 Voters
Vote Count     Percent
Vote By Mail / Absentee Reporting Turnout 31,182 22.10%
Precinct Reporting Turnout 17,961 12.73%
Total 49,143 34.83%

Even in 2018, the next gubernatorial year, there were more voters in Santa Cruz County and more of them came out to vote, as newbie governor candidate Gavin Newsom was in the race, but the turnout was less than 50%. 

Registration & Turnout 2018
152,387 Voters
Vote Count Percent
Vote By Mail / Absentee Reporting Turnout 47,612 31.24%
Precinct Reporting Turnout 24,770 16.25%
Total 72,382 47.50%

In 2014, many factors may have contributed to the depressed turnout, but one big one was Jerry Brown’s popularity. He was a shoe-in for governor. Fast-forward to 2022, we also have a popular governor, Newsom, who just beat a recall, so presumably the stage may be set for a super-low turnout like 2014, Brown’s last winning campaign. But I would urge you to think again. Perhaps the great unknown in this June 2022 election is that every voter has been mailed a ballot, and the Greenway Measure is up for a vote. In those past governorship elections, you had to ask for mail-in ballot, or show up at the polls, the old-fashioned way. This year every registered voter has been mailed a ballot. This is the first-ever midterm election in which SC county voters received a mail-in ballot regardless of if they asked for it or not.

If You See Something, Say Something

I’ve been knocking on a good number of doors in the city of Santa Cruz these past couple of months. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in obtaining a sense of what voters are thinking about, or not thinking about. Since June is not November, it takes a while for voters to tune in, to realize there’s an election going on. What most voters I encountered stated, if they had heard about any issue, it was the countywide Measure D, the Greenway trail-only initiative. Most registered voters either brought it up, or when prompted, had an opinion. On the other end of the initiative spectrum, virtually no one was familiar with the city’s Measure E, the direct election of mayor and the partitioning of the city into six voting districts. Since Measure E is likely the most consequential electoral issue about to be decided by city voters, it was clear that not enough information and voter education had taken place. With respect to the trail-only measure, confusion about the actual ballot language was rife in voters I spoke with. In the past, if voters were unsure of what an issue meant, they either voted no, or did not vote on it at all. We’ll see if voters in this election follow that decision-path. My recommendations on all measures follow.

Recommendations for the June 7th Primary ballot

3rd District Supervisor–Ami Chen Mills

Ami Chen Mills
There are many reasons to support Chen Mills, and I offer six here:

  • Commitment to Community. She is a person who has lived here for more than 30 years and has established deep roots in this community. Trained as a journalist, she knows how to do research, think critically, and advocate for the needs of this community’s most vulnerable. Ami Chen Mills is committed to communication and possesses a willingness to work with people she may not agree with, and I have found her to be warm and to never stop smiling!
  • Climate. She has her eyes focused on global warming and the climate chaos now taking place on our planet. In the best sense of the “Think Global, Act Local,” tradition, Chen Mills will look at all county policies through the lens of climate.
  • Homelessness and Houselessness. She has 25 years years of experience in the field of mental health field and was a member of the city’s CACH, Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness. She is well-poised to work on these issues.
  • Affordable Housing. She’s a staunch advocate for affordable housing and understands the city is being steam-rolled by market-rate developers who use Yimby, the “Yes, in My Backyard” group, as cannon fodder in making their oodles of $cash$ on luxury housing (think “density bonuses” here) and as a result, our city gets very few affordable built. Either the county needs to institute a Department of Housing, or direct planning staff to spend 90% of their work hours on affordable housing provider applications from places like Eden, Mercy Housing, and Mid-Peninsula.
  • Addressing CZU Fire Victim’s Needs. This has been a long-standing issue since the CZU Lightning Fire took place now almost two years ago. We need a supervisor who places this issue, along with fire prevention, near the top of the county’s agenda. Chen Mills has made frequent stops in Bonny Doon this past year and is quite familiar with these issues.
  • No on Measure D. As a journalist, Ami Chen Mills went about studying this issue in depth from the first day she announced her candidacy. She knows the issue well and has concluded that we must not bury the tracks and we’ll fulfill our county’s commitment to providing a bike and pedestrian trail along with a functioning rail line.

Ami Chen Mills has also been a courageous advocate of two other initiatives now vying for the November 2022 ballot. She firmly supports both the Empty Homes Tax and is the only candidate who advocates for the Our Downtown, Our Future ballot initiative because it not only makes sense to fulfill the will of the voters in renovating the downtown library, but also it will produce many more units of affordable housing by designating other city lots as housing sites. Of course, the elephant in the room is the climate-killing parking garage. It’s why the city’s Economic Development Director now calls the boondoggle Taj Garage euphemistically, a “mixed use affordable housing project.” George Orwell lives and can be found planning for more climate-busting cement projects inside the walls of city hall!

YES on Measure B–increases hotel and Airbnb tax (all county voters)

There are so many reasons to vote for Measure B, so many unmet needs–homelessness, wild fire protection, paramedics–so many infrastructure issues we need to address. This will tax the people who flock to beautiful Santa Cruz and help foot the bill on some of the necessary upkeep of the place. No one ever did not visit a place because of the hotel tax. (Okay, maybe Jack Benny, but few others.) This measure raises the current hotel tax from 11 cents to 12 cents on the dollar, but more significantly tattoos a community imprint on vacation rental properties, 14%, and sends a message that if our community wishes to maintain environmental and sustainability values we must raise the money. Be on notice City of Santa Cruz, if this passes, you will have data from the community that they support a rise in hotel taxes. The average hotel tax in the United States in 2019 was 13.5% according to a study released in 2020 by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. In the city of Santa Cruz, the hotel tax stands at 11%.

Excerpt from study:

  • Many major tourism destinations, such as Las Vegas at 13.4%; Myrtle Beach and Miami at 13%; Minneapolis at 12.9%; and San Diego at 12.5% are around the national average of 13.3% total hotel tax. Several cities, including Kansas City, MO at 20.4%*; Anaheim, CA at 18.1%*; and San Antonio, TX at 17.6%, require hotel guests to pay far above the national average. 

YES on Measure C–paper cup tax (all county voters)

This allows the county to share in the “existing 0.25 cents charge” with business owners. I was convinced after consulting with a local cafe owner. She said she supports sharing the fee with the county as it will go to addressing several current problems including parks, local beaches, and environmental education.

NO on Measure D–gets rid of a possible future rail line (city voters)

So much information exists about Measure D that you maybe if you do not know you were living out of town this past year or you just don’t look at anything remotely politically charged. And this just in: former California governor Jerry Brown, yes that Jerry Brown, advocates for a NO vote on the “Greenway Initiative Petition.” It just seems to me it is premature to bury the tracks before we have completely exhausted rail, or another type of transportation which might occupy this space along with the bike and pedestrian trail. And by the way, while Greenway spent an ungodly amount of money, and No on Greenway also spent a wad of cash, this initiative cries out for overturning Citizen’s United, instituting publicly financed elections (incentive instead of punish), and putting campaign finance reform on the ballot.

NO on Measure E–complete change in city elections process (city voters)

This initiative calls for the most dramatic changes in our electoral system since perhaps the 1940’s when the current city charter was first drafted. If it passes, this measure will create a directly elected mayor and six districts. All voters will currently turn in their SEVEN city councilmember votes for TWO, the mayor and your district representative. When I walk neighborhoods, this measure was consistently unknown to voters. Enough public education has not been done. Also, why is Ranked Choice Voting, direct election of a “strong” mayor, and campaign finance reform not being considered on the ballot too? Because this measure is a power grab being perpetrated by the current pro-real estate, pro-developer 5-2 city council majority. Don’t believe me, just look at where their campaign money came from when they ran for office, it’s publicly revealed on the city clerk’s web page. Also, see where the money is coming from that finances the candidates for 3rd district supervisor and $$$ behind Greenway here. Good luck friends, choose wisely.

NO on Measure F, sales tax increase (city voters)

Earth to city council: sales taxes are regressive, period. Take a note from the county’s playbook, hotel taxes are popular with voters, insures those who pay them help pay for critical city infrastructure, and the city’s hotel tax is considerably less than the tax in college town Madison, Wi (16%) and amusement park-crazy Anaheim (18%). Stop allowing the hotel industry, real estate industry, and market rate housing industry to run local government. The hotel buck, unfortunately, stops in the Marriot, Hilton, and soon to be (without community protest) Cruz Hotel bank accounts, not the city council’s. NO on this regressive measure.

“It is imperative that we do everything we can today and tomorrow to ensure Jessica Cisneros running for Congress in Texas @JCisnerosTX wins her runoff election tomorrow. I was proud to travel to San Antonio to stand with her on Friday”.

On the campaign trail for Ami Chen Mills, with Lynda Marin who is a masterful campaigner.

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at ckrohn@cruzio.com

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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May 23

GOOD CANDIDATE FORUMS
I attended last week’s South County Candidate Forum in Watsonville, along with about 35 other in-person and 45 online participants, and was really glad I did.  The five candidates seeking the new office of Assembly District 30, created by recent re-districting, were there, as well as the three candidates for County Supervisor District 4.

I was heartened to hear that most all candidates are focusing on the importance of water in our region, but the plan to solve it was simply “give this more money for infrastructure.”  I had hoped to hear more specific information about creative plans and projects.    

I had submitted questions for each panel in advance, as did many others, but somehow there seemed to be a glitch, and moderator Steve Bennett of the Sentinel “ran out of questions” without asking all that had actually been submitted.  Watsonville realtor Renee Mello pointed this out as she stood up and asked the County Supervisor candidates what they might do about allowing large empty commercial complexes, such as the K-Mart in Watsonville, and the Capitola Mall, to be converted to mixed use that would include housing units?  All said they would favor that, with study.  The balance of the time went to Measure D discussion.

Felipe Hernandez seemed to have the best grasp of the big issues, such as the proposed local control of the Watsonville Hospital, transportation issues, and local jobs.  I had a chance to talk with each of the candidates afterward.  Candidate Jimmy Dutra walked away when I asked why the Metro buses couldn’t run right now on the rail.  Felipe Hernandez and Ed Acosta felt it important to pursue.  These two candidates were interested in hearing more about possible historic preservation of the Redman-Hirahara House, the Mills Act that provides tax relief to those who preserve historic property, and the fact that the current County Board of Supervisors rejected a Demolition by Neglect Ordinance sent by their Historic Resources Advisory Commissioners that would protect historic structures from neglect.  

The next day when I happened to see Felipe Hernandez posting one of his campaign signs, he shook my hand and said he had researched the Mills Act and other historic preservation issues, and would fully support them if elected.  Bravo!

In terms of Assembly District 30 Candidates, Vicki Nordren was the only candidate to discuss the problems the CZU Fire Survivors are having in rebuilding.  Both she and candidate John Wizard agree that the permitting process really needs to be streamlined.  

The event was recorded by LookOut staff, but no link has yet been made public. 

Here is their report of the evening.

There was also an earlier North Santa Cruz County Candidate Forum held by the same sponsors (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz County Business Council, Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, and Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce), but I was not able to participate.  Here is the link (thanks to LookOut) to that recorded forum: North Santa Cruz County Candidates Forum — Santa Cruz Works

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

LookOut provides this good collection of recorded video interviews with a wide range of candidates that we all see on our June 7 ballot.

COUNTY MOVES TO NEW VOTE CENTER MODEL

The June 7 Election will feature the County’s rollout of the new 17 Vote Centers, rather than the traditional neighborhood precinct polling places. Santa Cruz County will abide by the Draft Election Administration Plan (EAP), in compliance with the California Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), or Senate Bill (SB) 450 (Allen, 2016) that was signed into law on September 29, 2016, adding Section 4005 to the California Elections Code (EC).  This allowed counties, after receiving approval from their Board of Supervisors, to conduct any election by mail, with certain requirements. 

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors approved our county’s transition to a vote center model on March 22, 2022.

Here is what County Election Officer Tricia Weber stated in the Draft 

“At the time of preparing this EAP, Santa Cruz County is required to have a minimum of 17 votecenters open for four days, including Election Day, and 4 of those 17 vote centers open an additional seven days for a total of 11 days and a minimum of 15 mail ballot drop off locations. These minimum requirements are based on current voter registration totals and California Elections Code requirements. Voters may return their vote-by-mail ballot by mail (no postage required), at a ballot drop off location, or at any vote center.”

Do you think the Voter Centers are in good locations to help support voter participation and valid voting?    Contact info@votescount.org     See page 12 in the EAP for those locations and formulas for consideration, or on the County Election Dept. website: Voting Locations

Note that Watsonville is missing a four-day center except for the City Clerk’s Office.  That is because the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds was going to require $17,000 for the use of facilities.  Election Dept. staff declined.  Consequently, Legal Staff from the State Dept. of Food & Ag, who oversees the State-owned Fairgrounds, paid a visit to their Board and reminded them that the State does not ever charge for election polling use.

ONLY 10% OF THE CZU FIRE SURVIVORS HAVE BEEN ISSUED PERMITS TO REBUILD AND CALFIRE IS THE GATEKEEPER
District 3 County Supervisor candidates need to be jumping into the arena to make public the real problems the CZU Fire Survivors are enduring…causing many to just give up, sell their land and move away.   Time after time, I hear from those who lost everything that the County’s “expedited Permit Recovery Center” is anything but easy to navigate.  Public meetings never include a CalFire presence, yet it is onerous requirements set by CalFire and the State Board of Forestry that are many times causing the block to getting a permit to rebuild homes…for which the property owners continue to pay tax.

Consider this: The Santa Cruz County Community Foundation launched the Fire Response Fund on Aug. 19, 2020, to address relief and long-term recovery efforts, giving more than $1.7 million to residents displaced by the fires. But, CEO Susan True said, “Rebuilding efforts have been stymied by excessive requirements and delays.”

“We have to help people heal and rebuild their lives. We’re doing that case by case, one by one, helping people through this process,” she said. “But there are clearly broken parts of the process, and the overwhelm of all of this is real.”

Santa Cruz County’s new CZU dashboard shows fewer than 10% have been issued rebuilding permits

What can you do to help?  Contact County District Supervisors Ryan Coonerty (he will remain in office until December 31, 2022 and should be doing something worth his salt) and Supervisor Bruce McPherson, and demand that the process be streamlined, permit fees dropped and CalFire show up at community meetings and be held accountable.

Ryan Coonertyryan.coonerty@santacruzcounty.us
Bruce McPhersonbruce.mcpherson@santacruzcounty.us

MAYBE A BETTER WAY TO MANAGE FIRE RISK? EXTEND BURN SEASON?
Would it be better to follow Native American land management practices and regularly burn some areas?  Maybe their intentions were different than what would be the benefit now, but nonetheless, the idea of “Good Fire” is coming full circle.  

UCI-led research recommends extending California’s prescribed burning season

Let’s hold hope that current consolidation efforts of the Branciforte Fire District with Scotts Valley Fire District to possibly include a “Good Fire” Training Hub will move forward.  Contact Scotts Valley Fire Chief Ron Whittle and ask for this.  831-438-0211.

By January 1, 2023, the State Fire Marshal must identify a location for such a training center. Why not Santa Cruz County?

MRI FOR THE EARTH’S GROUNDWATER BASIN SURVEYS
The State is paying for these helicopters to fly over and assess the status of the groundwater basins, especially the troubled ones.  Oddly, the Santa Cruz MidCounty Groundwater Basin Agency does not want this free help.  Why not?

In 2017, the Agency partners (Soquel Creek Water District, City of Santa Cruz Water Dept., Central Water District, and the County of Santa Cruz that represents small water companies and private well owners) paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to have this work done, hiring a Danish contractor to do the work.  Some of those staffers even got an expense-paid trip to Denmark to meet with the contractor.  Wow.

So, why would this agency now refuse the State’s offer to do the work for free, and get a better idea of the groundwater situation…maybe it has improved?  NO, says the agency staff, led principally by Soquel Creek Water District CEO Ron Duncan.  They want to wait until their PureWater Soquel Project is online and pressure-injecting treated wastewater into the groundwater, and then have the helicopter fly over.  

The truth is, the groundwater levels have been steadily improving since 2016, with one or two exceptions where they have just stabilized.  Why not see where the groundwater levels are now, before pressure-injecting treated sewage water …which may not even be necessary?

Maybe it would be found that the incredibly expensive and energy-demanding PureWater Soquel Project is not necessary?  Think about that.

‘MRI for the Earth’ Probes Groundwater from the Air in California – Tool is Able to Send Electromagnetic Signals 1,000 Feet into the Earth’s Subsurface  

JOBY AVIATION GOES BIG

Wow…and it all began in Bonny Doon….

Joby Acquires Avionyx — Santa Cruz Works

A MOMENT OF SILENCE AND GRATITUDE ON MEMORIAL DAY

According to the History.com website, each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.  This commemoration began in 1868 to honor the 600,000-800,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War, with the first ceremony held on May 30 in Arlington National Cemetery where both Union and Confederate soldier were buried.

The tradition of having a moment of silence at 3pm local time to honor those fallen may have begun with an early Memorial Day commemoration organized by a group of formerly enslaved people paying tribute to the Union soldiers who gave their lives for the end of slavery.

Take a moment on May 30 and send gratitude for all those who have passed before us, their sacrifice, and for the good work done, the spirit of which is continually unfolding for our own efforts to preserve and enhance.

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING IN YOUR PAJAMAS.
JUST DO SOMETHING THIS WEEK, AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!

Cheers, Becky

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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May 22

SAVE THE BEES!

As the fields of lupine blossom at higher and higher elevations, other flowers follow in wave after wave of color and design, and the bees dance and hum celebrating each new unfolding.

Bees! There are so many types of bees: mason, bumble, leaf cutter, long horned, orchard…For each of those, there are many species. For instance, there are 10 species of bumble bees in Santa Cruz County. As with most species on Earth, all those bee species are in decline.

Flower Pollination

Bees pollinate flowers. Sure, there are other types of pollinators such as butterflies, moths, and flies. Even some types of mosquitoes and ants pollinate flowers…as do hummingbirds. But, bees are the most important pollinators in general. 

Evolutionarily, bee (and other) pollination gives plants the advantage of shaking up the genetics, helping populations of plants be more resilient to change in climate, disease, and even fluxes in pollinator communities. 

Invasion of the Honeybee 

Honeybees are not native to our area, and yet they are everywhere. They were introduced in the late 1600’s to the United States and then moved around more easily in portable hives in the mid-1700’s. In California, beekeepers earn money by strategically moving large numbers of hive boxes into agricultural areas to perform pollination services. When they aren’t doing that work, they must find areas to put those boxes where there are enough flowers to feed the bees and keep them healthy. Especially in wintertime, coastal areas in California are prized by beekeepers because it is not too cold for flowers; something is bound to be in bloom year-round. At the same time, honeybees have escaped into the wild, becoming naturalized. Swanton’s Jim West has documented a honeybee colony year after year in an old redwood tree for most of his 74 years of life. 

The Good Honeybee

Most of us know about all the good honeybees can do from pollination to honey and wax production. Almond growers in California’s Central Valley have been particularly worried about the ongoing problems with honeybees as they have been reliant on imported bees to pollinate their early-flowering trees so that they will make nuts. With the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, honey and beeswax prices have increased, making us appreciate even more honeybee production. 

The Bad Honeybee

Most people I talk to are unaware of the problems honeybees can cause, including competition with native pollinators, plant community changes, invasive plant species proliferation, and disease vectoring. I was lucky to attend UC Santa Cruz at the same time as the brilliant Dr. Diane Thomson who has studied honeybee and native bee interactions in our area for decades. Her research adds to a growing body of scientific evidence warning us about the negative consequences of honeybees to native bees, with whom they compete. That science has suggested that 20 honeybee boxes rob the food from 2 million native bees. This competition can cause some plant species to be pollinated and not others, shifting the composition of plant communities. And, because honeybees can pollinate some invasive species more than native bees, they can cause bad trouble, like adding momentum to thistle problems. Oh, and by the way….honeybees carry diseases and parasites that can negatively affect native bees. For example, there is a virus that causes bumble bees to have deformed wings – honeybees carry it! 

The Good Native Bees

Native bees are important for pollination, contributing to crop production for humans and food production for wildlife. Dr. Claire Kremen and others have shown that California farms that have a good amount of native bee habitat around them have better crop pollination. Native bees are also essential for pollinating native species of plants, which produce fruit that are important for wildlife. For instance, native bumblebees pollinate manzanita flowers, which produce fruit that is eaten by native foxes and many bird species. Likewise, native bees pollinate coffeeberry bushes that produce fruit eaten by lots of birds, including band tailed pigeons as well as foxes and coyotes. There are many other examples of the natural fruit that is wildlife food made possible by native pollinators.


In the last few decades, Randall Morgan documented the diversity of bees in Santa Cruz County.

What You Can Do

You can help conserve native pollinators by helping do the right thing with nonnative honeybees. The first thing to do is help spread the word about these issues. To learn more, read this publication by The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. That paper has good details about where it is, and isn’t, appropriate for raising honeybees. This caution caught my attention: don’t put hives within 4 miles of “habitats of special value for biodiversity and/or pollinators:” I suggest that this covers most of Santa Cruz County, which has special habitats full of rare pollinators throughout. The plethora of native bee habitats throughout our area would also suggest good potential for gardens and farms to be visited by enough native pollinators to perform enough pollination for the fruits we desire. Besides not placing more honeybees near native habitat, there are other things you can do. 

If you know a beekeeper who wants bees, you might point them in the direction of harvesting bee swarms out of native areas and exporting them to urban or agricultural areas where they can do some good and avoid impacts to native pollinators. Also…read below about avoiding bug zappers and darkening night lighting. Finally, reducing or eliminating pesticide use is also important. One of the biggest threats to native bees (and honeybees!) is neonic pesticides; to learn more and write a letter to California’s decision makers, see this Natural Resources Defense Council webpage.

Bug Zappers

I’ve recently heard about people in our area using ‘bug zappers’ that attract insects to ultraviolet light and then electrocute them with a grid of electrified screen. Anyone buying one of these devices has been scammed: they do not work against biting insects. Instead, they kill a broad range of native insects that might have otherwise performed pollination, controlled pests, or fed birds. On top of that, the owner destroys their own nighttime peace with obnoxious electrocution noise and light. Oh…and speaking of light-

Night Lighting is Bad

Turn off outdoor lighting! Darken your windows. Anything you can do to make for a darker nighttime world will help conserve native insects and pollinators. Find out more with the International Dark-Sky Association. Urge local decision makers to reduce light pollution.

(Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild and whose occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com

Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net

Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com

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May 19

#139 / Speaking About Money

My blog posting yesterday was an effort to discourage any of my friends and followers from “investing” in cryptocurrency. I have family members who seem sorely tempted. I am not so tempted, myself, and that is largely true because when I was quite young my father provided me with a personal copy of Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds. I am, more or less, trying to “pay it forward” by my cautionary words about cryptocurrency.

Incidentally, I wrote the blog posting that was published yesterday before the recent “crash” of the cryptocurrency market. I count the recent news as a pretty good confirmation of the point I was trying to make.

Since I have been “speaking about money,” though, it may be that another warning is also in order. Central Bank Digital Currencies are not quite the same thing as the kind of cryptocurrencies I was talking about in yesterday’s blog post. Still, there are some real dangers involved with Central Bank Digital Currencies, and if you haven’t been paying attention, take a few minutes to get up to speed.

I suggest that you get up to speed by clicking this link, to learn what Charles Eisenstein has to say about Central Bank Digital Currencies. Eisenstein’s commentary is not exactly short, but I think it is worthwhile. If you don’t already know about proposals to move our “money” system to a system based on Central Bank Digital Currencies, you should find out about what is involved. 

Here is a very quick condensation of Eisenstein’s longer explanation

A central bank digital currency essentially allows private individuals and businesses to have accounts at the central bank. It would function just like (and ultimately replace) cash, requiring no intermediary, no bank, no credit card company, and no transaction fee. If I buy a coffee at your cafe, an app or card reader sends a message to automatically credit your account and debit mine. The user experience would be the same as today, but there would be no fee and no lag time. Normally, paying by debit or credit card involves a 3% fee and a day or two for the funds to become available to the seller. 

Now I’ll list some other benefits and advantages of CBDCs. You might notice that with a mere twist of the lens, many of these advantages take on an ominous hue. But let’s start with the positive: 

As mentioned, CBDCs can remove what is essentially a 3% tax on most consumer-level transactions, allowing swift, frictionless transactions and transfers of money. 

Unlike with physical cash, all CBDC transactions would have an electronic record, offering law enforcement a powerful weapon against money laundering, tax evasion, funding of terrorism, and other criminal activity. 

The funds of criminals and terrorists could be instantly frozen, rendering them incapable of doing anything requiring money such as buying an airplane ticket, filling up at a gas station, paying their phone or utility bills, or hiring an attorney. 

CBDCs are programmable, allowing authorities to limit purchases, payments, and income in whatever ways are socially beneficial. For example, all products could have a carbon score, and consumers could be limited in how much they are allowed to buy. Or, if rationing becomes necessary, authorities could impose a weekly limit on food purchases, gas purchases, and so on. 

With programmable currency, citizens could be rewarded for good behavior: for eating right and exercising, for doing good deeds that are reported by others, for staying away from drugs, for staying indoors during a pandemic, and for taking the medications that health authorities recommend. Or they could be penalized for bad behavior. 

Taxation and wealth redistribution could be automated. Universal basic income, welfare payments, stimulus payments, or racial reparations could be implemented algorithmically as long as CBDC accounts were firmly connected with individual’s identities, medical records, racial status, criminal histories, and so forth.

Basically, beyond facilitating transactions, CBDCs offer an unprecedented opportunity for social engineering. Assuming that those in control are beneficent and wise, this is surely a good thing. But if, as many of us now believe, our authorities are foolish, incompetent, corrupt, or are merely fallible human beings incapable of handling too much power, then CBDCs can easily become instruments of totalitarian oppression. They allow authorities:

To freeze the funds not only of terrorists and evil-doers, but dissidents, thought criminals, and scapegoated classes of people. 

To program money so it can only go to approved vendors, corporations, information platforms, and so forth. Those that fail to toe the party line can be “demonetized,” with consequences far beyond what befalls the hapless YouTuber who utters heresies about Covid, Ukraine, climate change, etc. 

Under the guise of rewarding good behavior and penalizing bad, to control every aspect of life so that it conforms to the interests of elite corporate and political institutions. 

To nip in the bud any opposition political movement by demonetizing its leaders and activists, either with no explanation at all, or under flimsy pretexts that their victims would have no way to contest.

It boggles my mind that the public could accept such a momentous transfer of power to central authorities, with nary a whisper of democratic process. Something this significant should require explicit public approval in the form of a referendum, constitutional amendment, or the like, after long and considered public debate. Instead, elites discuss it as if it were an inevitability (emphasis added).

Frequent readers of this blog know that I reject the whole idea of “inevitability.” That said, it is also true that “self-government” is only made real when we get involved in government ourselves

So, be advised – and read the entire Eisenstein piece for more on Central Bank Digital Currencies!

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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May 21

RELEASING THE KRAKEN AND OTHER NONSENSICAL HYSTERICS

It’s already been almost two weeks since one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent U.S. history, in Buffalo, New York. But already, with the funerals getting some coverage in the news, it has slowly disappeared from the radar screens of most Americans, as we examine the shootings that have occurred since the ten were gunned down as they shopped in a local grocery. Or, as we await in fear the appearance of another shooter at a school, a nightclub, or during a drug deal gone wrong on the street. 

The eighteen-year-old racist suspect in Buffalo, was brain-washed with an engine of right-wing terror termed ‘white replacement theory,’ a racist conspiracy narrative which falsely asserts there is an active, ongoing and covert effort to replace white citizens in current white-majority populations. This fear mongering has proliferated in recent years, as demonstrated by the white-supremacist, swastika flags- and torches-bearing marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. You remember the event, after which Trump declared that there were some “very bad people in the group, but you also had fine people – on both sides.” The chanters’ white-nationalist phrase, “You will not replace us!” soon morphed into “Jews will not replace us?”, followed by “Blood and Soil!”, an English-language version of the Nazi “Blut und Boden!”, used by anti-Semitic, racist German nationalists. That day ended with the death of a counter-protester, annihilated by a ‘very bad’ white supremacist as he drove his car at high speed into a crowd. 

The 19th Century ‘Replacement Theory’ has gained traction within the domestic terror and alt-right contingent, a chief proponent being Tucker Carlson of Fox News, who has purportedly fanned the flames over 400 times during his popular propagandafest. Proclaiming his innocence, while feigning ignorance of the term – even in the face of video proof, this darling of the Murdochs, continues to spew his hateful, poisonous tropes to deconstruct our democracy. Democrats need to stop showing restraint in criticizing this issue…there’s no prize in the Cracker Jacks box for doing so…the clock is running down for us as a country!

In other Second Amendment news, the evening preceding the Buffalo massacre, in Milwaukee, three different street shootouts between groups of gun-toting individuals resulted in injuries to over twenty people; and, on the following Sunday in Orange County, California, a politically-motivated shooting by a Chinese immigrant at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church resulted in the death of the pastor who was defending his congregation from the shooter who had chained and super-glued the doors shut, bent on wiping out the entire assembled group. 

According to gunviolencearchive.org, May 1 through 21, the nation has seen 41 shooting incidents, with 39 deaths and 195 injured, an awfully grisly record which can only descend into further chaos, as our institutions lose the control, loyalty and confidence of the population. Then again, we could simply listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene, who feels that those who call for sensical gun control laws need to be more ‘masculine,’ so start packing! No doubts that she feels it would be more ‘feminine’ if women would tuck just a small pistol into their handbag or backpack?

Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, may want to start packing concealed weaponry (as if she hasn’t done so already), if the revelations of her pressure on the body politic to overthrow the government don’t subside. Previous email correspondence (29 exchanges known) with Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, has deteriorated into disclosures that she was heavy into pressuring Arizona state lawmakers to appoint ‘a clean slate of electors’ and set aside Biden’s popular vote victory because of fraud at the ballot box. She urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure, because the responsibility to select electors is yours and yours alone,” which would guarantee individuals loyal to Trump, and not the Constitution, would be seated.

Ginni Thomas encouraged Meadows to hire Sidney Powell for Trump’s legal team in her “Release the Kraken!” shout, believing Powell’s claims of having evidence of election fraud. After a short period on the ‘team’, she was released, with Meadows explaining to Thomas that Powell either ‘had nothing,’ or refused to share the information, to which she could only text (in the manner of husband, Clarence), “Wow!” It has become clear that Justice Thomas’ ten-year record of unquestioning silence on the High Court was because he already knew the answers – decisions were fed to him by his wife beforehand – case closed, no need to ask a question! By December 2020, attorney John Eastman, a former law clerk of Justice Thomas, was publicly pushing state legislators to appoint electors favoring Trump – wonder who recruited him? Turns out that Ginni has control of a Listserv platform connected to her husband’s office which is primarily made up of former Thomas law clerks who are scattered across the country. Talk about contamination!

Two of Ginni’s emails were sent to Arizona House Speaker Russell Bowers, and Arizona state representative Shawnna Bolick, whose husband is Clint Bolick, an associate justice of the Arizona Supreme Court and a former associate of Clarence, who he considers ‘a mentor.’ Word from Bowers’ office is “he did not see, much less read, the vast majority of those messages” sent by Thomas. Bolick on the other hand sent Ginni guidance on how to submit complaints about any of her experiences with voter fraud in Arizona. Kind of makes the Thomas’ claim that their individual work doesn’t cross paths a bit dubious. 

Columnist George Will recently wrote about Ms. Thomas, “The shelves of her mental pantry groan beneath the weight of Trumpian hysterics about the 2020 presidential election having been stolen and the republic’s certain ruination under Joe Biden.” While dismissing her opinions, he goes on to call her “politically, mad as a hatter.” The history of Ginni’s political escapades contain another chapter or two which need to be exposed, so stand back and stand by!

Charles P. Pierce, writing in Esquire, says it best: “This is still the best country ever devised in which to be completely out of your mind, and we are free to believe in nonsense. We are free to act on nonsense. We are free to stand aside and let our fellow citizens who believe in nonsense take up the task of self-government that we are too busy, or too lazy, or too distanced to take up for ourselves.  What we cannot do is walk away from the consequences of believing nonsense.” Hear, hear!

Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email: cornerspot14@yahoo.com
 

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

    “Forest Fires”

“She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful”. 
~Neil Gaiman

“Anyone can see a forest fire. Skill lies in sniffing the first smoke”.
~Robert A. Heinlein

“The forest fires are the worst disaster in California since I was elected”.
~Arnold Schwarzenegger

“The first movie I ever saw was a horror movie. It was Bambi. When that little deer gets caught in a forest fire, I was terrified, but I was also exhilarated.” Stephen King 

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Did you know that you can watch entire movies on YouTube? Here is a documentary I found fascinating. It’s a movie about movie posters! Grab some coffee and sit down and have a watch, I think you’ll enjoy it 🙂


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!
Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com
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May 18 – 24, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…City Council’s illegal meeting on Measure E, How to vote, more No on D, Screeners, and movies, Webmistress’s pick of the week, Live Here Now. GREENSITE…on the Third District Supervisor’s election. KROHN…Santa Cruz Together’s illegal meeting of City Council for measure E. STEINBRUNER…Desal and Pure Water Soquel, water rates going up, Live Oak density, Empty Homes tax. HAYES…Voting for the environment. PATTON…Illegal City Council actions. MATLOCK… MYSTERY FUND DRYING UP AND SMOKIN’ IN THE BOYS ROOM WITH ELON. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”Voting”. Webmistress’ PICK OF THE WEEK…5th Element – it’s been 25 years!

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PRE SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK. 1893. This was just about the time when developer and future mayor Fred Swanton got involved with creating the Boardwalk. Can’t find data on who or what went up in that balloon.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE May 16

GARY PATTON AND CHRIS KROHN & OUR ILLEGAL CITY COUNCIL ACTIONS!! Scroll below and read Gary’s and Chris’s reports on the illegal meeting pushing Measure E. Gary states,” It turns out that four members of the Santa Cruz City Council violated state law as they met with a local pro-development political group, Santa Cruz Together, and discussed issues relating to district elections. The meeting was a clear violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act”. Then we need to determine why our Santa Cruz Scentinel has avoided the issue for all these days.

HOW TO VOTE…WHO TO VOTE FOR!! As per usual when our ballots arrive, there are so many offices and candidates we’ve never heard of and of whose background we haven’t the vaguest idea. I’ve asked good, experienced, local political friends to give us a list of the best candidates. Take out your sample ballots and vote the following:

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Governor GAVIN NEWSOM
Lieutenant Governor ELENI KOUNALAKIS
Secretary of State SHIRLEY N. WEBER
Controller STEVE GLAZER
Treasurer FIONA MA
Attorney General ROB BONTA
Insurance Commissioner MARC LEVINE
Member, State Board of Equalization District 2 SALLY J. LIEBER
United States Senator ALEX PADILLA
United States Senator Partial Unexpired Term ALEX PADILLA
United States Representative 19th District JIMMY PANETTA
Member of the State Assembly GAIL PELLERIN
Superintendent of Public Instruction TONY THURMOND
County Supervisor, 3rd District JUSTIN CUMMINGS
County Measures
Measure B Yes
Measure C Yes
Measure D No
Measure E No
Measure F No

There were/are a lot of questions, decisions behind the above list. If you know things we never encountered, please tell me/us at bratton@cruzio.com as rapidly as possible. And the main principle, and deciding thing is to be sure to vote. Democrats are traditionally lazy about voting in these off-season times, just go vote!!

MORE ON MEASURE D…RAIL AND TRAIL. Like Ryan Coonerty and just about all county residents the slinging fight between pro rail and trail and the money backed pro  Greenway issue seems to have been so overcome with accusations it’s ridiculous. I asked Barry Scott one of the most sane and active pro Rail plus trail organization to bring us up to date. He wrote…

THE BULLIES OF GREENWAY, ANOTHER BUD COLLIGAN CREATION.

Bullying and stalking from some in the Greenway – Trail Only crowd is nothing new but it has reached epic levels this year. What used to be limited to juvenile name-calling has escalated into full blown stalking, doxxing, and false reports to the authorities.

Perhaps worse is that Greenway’s leader, Bud Colligan, is a participant in the hate fest and clearly condones these behaviors.
Bud’s Greenway Measure D spokesman, Jack Brown, is a chief hitman.

Jack works for the self-driving car and truck group Waymo, though he doesn’t admit as much:   On at least one Yes on D contribution file he lists his employer as “founder, take charge and go”, which is just a little side line. Could it be that Waymo, a friend of Koch Industries for their job-killing kochdisruptivetechnologies effort might want to kill railroads and public transit?

All this aside, Jack lives in Rio Del Mar on the Rail Corridor and likes to sport Greenway signs next to his high tech cars and Nest cameras.

Not long ago, Jack captured a FORT board member  making a U-turn and proceeded to post it as a crime to a popular social media platform, including the plate and VIN numbers and description of the driver in the social media post. More recently, Brown tailed the same person in his Tesla, video recording him all the while and later posting the video to a closed Facebook group where the bullies gather to plot their dirty deeds.  Bud Colligan is a member of this anti-transit bullies group, managed by Jack Brown and one of his fake accounts. David Date is one of Greenway’s paid videographers and boy, does he love his camera!
David is infamous for creating crises and recording them and through the magic of editing telling his fictional stories which are invariably designed to insult and deride Rail Trail proponents.

David referred to FORT’s Chair as “some fat chick”, which is in keeping with his style.

One day last year, Chris Krohn hosted a debate between Greenway’s Bud Colligan with Tim Brattan against Kelsey Hill with Barry Scott.

During the radio debate, Bud at one moment launched into his personal attack mode, his own Facebook page includes these, and Kelsey for her tremendous performance on that show became a new target for Bud, Jack, and David.

This nasty crew, whom we already knew are dismissive of Watsonville’s needs “they can come to Santa Cruz by bike, by foot” (Colligan) and “this isn’t the Watsonville Transportation Commission” (Jack Brown), they’ve really gone after local women supporters of rail and trail, most notably Tina Andreatta and Kelsey Hill.

To Kelsey Hill:
Jack Brown: “Kelsey Hill is off her meds.”
David Date: “she looks like shit in her photos”

About Tina Andreatta:
Bud Colligan: “Tina, is your boyfriend an oil lobbyist?”

Jack Brown calls Tina demented, unhinged, hysterical, and worse, posting pictures of her and others to their closed Facebook groups.

Remember, Jack Brown is the official spokesman for Measure D-Yes Greenway and David Date their videographer by his own admission.

Jack’s hateful groups are frequented by Greenway founder Bud Colligan.  The persistence of these hateful online attacks and Bud’s participation in the discussions tell us that Greenway’s campaign has gone from being deceptive to being truly destructive”. 

Go here for the NO ON D list… It is one of the most impressive and uniting list of names I’ve ever seen in our community. 

PICK OF THE WEEK. Every week since the beginning, Gunilla Leavitt (the webmistress of BrattonOnline) picks a great video to view. Scroll below to see her wise, witty, and oft weird choice at the very end of the online report.

Be sure to tune in to my very newest movie streaming reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange. The “RT’s” after the movie title refer to the Rotten Tomatoes critics scores from 1-100. Rotten Tomatoes is the world’s largest and most respected cinema scoring system.

CLARK. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB). This is the nearly unbelievable true story of one of the most notorious bank robbers in history Clark Olofsson. It’s funny, well-acted, nicely produced and a good way to spend those “extra” hours. Bill Skarsgard plays Clark and he’s perfect in the role. It’s all in Sweden and is a positive delight…go for it.

OPERATION MINCEMEAT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) Colin Firth and Jason Isaacs star in this true WWII British spy movie. Author Ian Fleming (James Bond creator) was actually involved and he tells the story of how the British fooled Hitler and Germany into the invasion of Sicily. It goes on too long here and there but the intrigue and plotting and how they kept the plot secret make it worthwhile.

PETITE MAMAN. (Del Mar Theatre) (97 RT) (7.4 IMDB) A sentimental, loving story of a little eight year old girl who‘s grandmother has died. She finds a next door neighbor friend who is her twin or maybe her mother. It’s existential, sentimental, and beautifully told. You’ll probably cry a lot, it’s so much a part of all our lives and our dealing with death.

THE LINCOLN LAWYER. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.6 IMDB). The excellent acting of Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the lawyer makes this a fine, tense, humorous series to view. Doing his attorney practice which he works from his precious collection of Lincoln automobiles we get to watch and become involved in some fascinating cases. Funny, deadly, deep and very much an LA movie you’ll be hypnotized by this one…go for it.  

THE ESSEX SERPENT. (APPLE TV SERIES) (7.0 IMDB)Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes lead off in this poor people’s historic version of the 1890’s Downton Abbey. Claire is convinced that there is an actual sea serpent lurking in the waters off this remote island. There’s plenty of interaction between characters and it’s a way of looking at how we humans deal with things we do and don’t believe in. A fine well directed series).

DEAR EVAN HANSEN. (HBO MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Ben Platt do their very best to make this “musical” very serious. I’ve attended over 300 operas here and overseas and have a soft spot for the sentimental/oft hammy side of a drama. Evan is a high schooler with many mental issues including suicide. It’s heavy but believable. The voices are good ones and remember it’s a musical and like West Side Story it’s got a story to tell in an unusual way.

THE NIGHT HOUSE. (HBO MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB).  A genuinely scary well done ghost/horror film. Rebecca Hall is the school teacher whose husband committed suicide, but just probably. She has dreams, thangs go bump in the night. It’s all in upper New York State near Utica and their lovely home by the lake. Rare to watch an old plot like this and still stay affixed, but you will. 

 SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.  

DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. (DELMAR THEATRE) (76RT). Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams are all back and probably making millions of dollars in this Marvel Comics sequel. There have been 28 Marvel Comic movies in case you’ve lost count. Sam Raimi directed it if that’ll help you decide on viewing. There’s a giant octopus chasing humans down the street and for locals there’s a few minutes of Patrick Stewart pitching a sequel that for sure must feature Charlize Theron who onscreen for 20 seconds 

THE STAIRCASE. (HBO MAX SERIES). Led by Colin Firth and Toni Colette this is one worth your time to view. Toni falls down stairs and dies so the many flashbacks trace her actions to determine if Colin hit her or was she drunk? The detectives uncover many of husband’s hidden secrets and then there’s a movie company who ends up filming his history. There’s 5 children involved and this series will keep you nearly glued to your screen.

YAKAMOZ S-245. (NETFLIX SERIES). (6.1 IMDB). A sci-fi earth disaster movie made in Turkey. A carefully picked deep diving submarine crew come up after a dive to find the earth is being invaded by a yellow cloud. The cloud comes from the sun but what’s behind that?? Only a few episodes released and it’s involving but not gratifying. 

THE PENTAVERATE. (NETFLIX SERIES). Only the most devoted die-hard fans of comic Mike Myers could like this numb nuts series. As usual he plays all 5 parts and it’s about a secret society with names like the “illuminati” or near nonsense like that. There’s sex jokes, fluoride mentions, chem trails and boggling idiocy galore.

SILVERTON SIEGE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.0 IMDB). This is a South African movie and it’s unusual. Three young freedom fighters during a siege happening in 1980 get trapped in a bank with several hostages. Facing supremacist problems from the local and district police the fighters end up demanding actual release of Nelson Mandela from his prison. Some of the area’s government try to help the hostages and their captors and others continue their racial hatred in many other ways. Not as tight and tense as it could have been but intriguing.

UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN. (HULU SERIES). (7.3 IMDB). Andrew Garfield does an excellent job of portraying a Mormon detective in Salt Lake City looking for the brutal murderer of a mother and her baby. Based on a true story, this involves dealing with much of the unusual traditions of Mormonism. As we watch this series unfold we get to view the Mormon view of woman’s equality, how Blacks are treated by Mormons and the general way Mormons deal with government. Worth watching….so far. 

RUMSPRINGA. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.3 IMDB). This is a German movie about a young Amish boy who is sent to Berlin as his passage into adulthood. Poor acting, no laughs and a weird look at the Amish tradition. It does develop a plot centering on the young boy meeting a “hip” German kid of the same age and how their friendship overcomes their differences. A waste of time.

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CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season and Returns to In-Person Concerts on July 24-August 7. Yes, Cristian Macelaru the music director is returning and will be conducting. The concerts will include three world premiere commissions; the live orchestral premiere of Jake Heggie‘s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Benjamin Beilman; and works commemorating women’s suffrage in America and exploring the recent impact of drought and wildfires in the Western United States. Tickets are on sale now!!

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May 16

THREE’S A CROWD

Santa Cruz Works held few surprises. Not being privy to internal discussions, I can only scratch my head and wonder why progressives opposed to pro-development candidate Shebreh Kalantari- Johnson (far right) and critical of some of the votes of Justin Cummings (far left), would “strongly encourage”Amy Chen-Mills (center) to run, all but guaranteeing a win for Kalantari-Johnson by splitting the progressive vote. The hotel sign behind the candidates is likely more ironic than prophetic. 

From Kalantari-Johnson we got the usual substance-free phrases such as “building healthy thriving communities” and “rethink intersectionality” with double-talk such as “you can’t just say ‘you can’t build here’ (to building in fire-prone areas). We have to say where you can build.”  

Her explanation for the housing cost crisis is consistent with that of real-estate and developer interests, blaming the current crisis on decades of slow growth policies rather than on real estate speculation. In her words, “we’ve said no too many times. We have to say yes to housing.” The old “supply and demand” give-away to speculators. 

It should tell you something beyond supply and demand that rents in Santa Cruz rose 20% from 2020 -2021 and home prices jumped 30% in the same year.

Beyond low-income housing, candidate Justin Cummings argued for workforce housing rather than for market rate housing which prompted Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson to opine that the low-income affordable Pacific Station North development underway (current Metro site) would not have been possible without market rate housing. There was no push back on that which was disappointing because it is not accurate. The Pacific Station project was awarded $29.6 million from CA Strategic Growth Council, in other words, state government monies. 

This was an opportunity for candidate Ami Chen-Mills to have input on market-rate housing raising the AMI (Area Medium Income) which increasingly displaces low-income residents, but she did not rise to the occasion. Her memorable line was “I don’t like to take a fixed position.” I appreciated Cummings’ comment that single family homes in Santa Cruz that now are valued at over a million dollars were bought decades ago by teachers, plumbers, maintenance workers now retired, in other words, the workforce at that time. Now the current workforce can’t afford even a tiny apartment. That comment alone gives insight into the problem and the source of the problem. 

I share the disappointment that Cummings does not support keeping and renovating the downtown library in its current location. In that he is indistinguishable from Kalantari-Johnson. This was an opportunity for Chen-Mills to shine in progressive eyes since she supports the Our Downtown Our Future (ODOF) campaign. She covered the issue well until the moderator chimed in that Lot 4 is a parking lot (as opposed to a green plaza). Rather than an informed retort from Chen-Mills that Lot 4 contains multiple heritage trees that can be saved, she replied that ODOF wants to make it into a green plaza. Lack of awareness and missed opportunity.

Since we at home on zoom could submit Q&A I kept typing in “explain your votes on district elections.” I’ve written before that I’m aghast at the Kalantari-Johnson initiated motion at council, which passed 5-2 to choose the worst possible district maps for the city. It is far more serious than the at-large-Mayor (Measure E) vote, although that needs opposing. Map 604, recommended by the consulting demographers and city staff kept the various Latino neighborhoods intact, kept the lower westside intact, kept upper westside intact and kept UCSC with a significant Asian population intact. Map 602, pushed by Kalantari-Johnson splits the upper and lower westside vertically into two districts each containing a half of the lower and half of the upper and fragments the Latino vote into multiple districts in apparent violation of the CA Voting Rights Act. Cummings spelled that out clearly without mincing words and without a personal attack. Kalantari-Johnson’s response later in the forum and in her press- coverage characterized his words as “egregious accusations by my opponent.” Never trust a politician who plays the victim rather than defending their position, no matter how indefensible.

A small aside…I am aware of the use of the term Latinx and why it is used by a tiny fraction of the population. I’ve run it by my Latino friends who happen to be working class and they say “Eso no funciona” or “that doesn’t work” so I follow their lead.

As much as I’d be glad to see the last of Kalantari-Johnson on city council and as much as I have issue with some of Cumming’s votes, I care more about the future of the Third District than that. A vote for Chen-Mills will in my estimation guarantee a win for Kalantari-Johnson. I’ll be voting for Cummings, not only to prevent a win by Kalantari-Johnson but also because Cummings is the more experienced candidate, stands up to staff when it’s called for and has fought hard for some significant policy changes during his term on city council. He is also fluent in Spanish, a big plus for a district with a large Spanish-speaking population. 

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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 May 16

A MEETING MOST FOUL.

On Monday, May 2nd, the group, Santa Cruz Together (SCT) met at 6pm for fundraiser at Eric Stockwell’s wine bar, Stockwell Cellars, on Swift Street on the Westside of Santa Cruz. Four city councilmembers were present at this meeting in which city business was decidedly discussed, a breach of the state’s Brown Act. In addition, it was explained to the group, in earshot of 3rd District Supervisor candidate Shebreh Kalantari Johnson, that “unlimited amounts” of cash could be donated to the SCT political action committee to support “Measure E and Shebreh.” SCT was the group that spearheaded defeating rent control by raising over a million dollars. The group is part reactionary, part Republican, part moderate-Democrat, but always 100% pro-real estate, pro-market rate housing development and anti-houseless. The meeting’s transcript is available here and is full of some political peccadillos, half-truths, and campaign violations that it might be worth a listen. I am placing below some of the more juicy, painful, and ideological remonstrance of this well-heeled swingin’ soiree in today’s column. (note: I’ve edited it for clarity.) Surely, we can come together and provide a few collective dollops of pity for the petty Santa Cruz bourgeoisie. I am not sure that the ghosts of Lee Atwater or Big Daddy Jesse Unruh (“Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”) weren’t lurking somewhere behind the wine barrels inside this old industrial property on Swift Street.

Rogue’s Gallery, Santa Cruz Style

It is a 43-minute and 30-second recording, which local activist, Ann Simonton, recorded live. I have selected parts of the longer transcript and placed them below with the minutes and seconds count where it can be found in the recording. This gathering was a political who’s who in conservative-moderate developer-friendly Surf City circles. Only missing, some of the speakers said out loud, were Hillary Bryant, Kris Reyes (Boardwalk PR guy), and current mayor Sonia Bruner. It is also interesting that Justin Cummings and Drew Glover’s names were spat out, epithet-like, but no one else from the political progressive community was mentioned. “DSA,” Democratic Socialists of America, Santa Cruz, was also used at one point the same way anti-communist rhetoric was used in the 1950’s, to condemn without much discussion.

SPEAKERS

Donna Meyers, Lynn Renshaw, Peter Cook, Shebreh Kalantari Johnson

Lynn Renshaw  00:00

Thank you all for coming. I’m so happy to see so many friendly faces here physically and in person. It means a lot to us. What I’m going to do today is start off by talking about Santa Cruz Together’s direction. And then we have ex-mayor and Councilmember Donna Meyers, who’s going to talk about Measure E, the elected mayor measure. And then we have Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson council member. Councilmember Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson’s running for supervisor. And then Peter Cook and I are going to wrap up…So together, a lot of us have been together on a journey for over four years. SCT (Santa Cruz Together) started with the shock of the Measure M (rent control on the 2018 ballot) emergence. And we successfully built this network and the broader network to defeat it by a very wide margin…After that, many of us witnessed a great deal of chaos and instability in the city generated by the progressive majority, beginning with Shebreh’s opponent (Justin) Cummings, attempting to pass Measure M after we defeated it by a two to one margin. Due to our organized opposition…Cummings backed off passing Measure M…Cummings is Shebreh’s opponent for county supervisor. Take note…We have strong and steadfast leadership with councilmember Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and the (city council) majority that we have in place now…So we’ve built a network of thousands of people that are engaged with a city…And we help them run campaigns. And then we’re also working on campaigns for particular local measures… So, in that light, we’re here to advocate for, yes, on Measure E, the directly elected mayor…We think it’s vitally important to the future of the city. We think it’s critical for improving the leadership of the city. And it doesn’t have a yes campaign. So, we’re stepping in…need some help, and we’re here to provide that help tonight. Okay, and then likewise, in November, we’re likely to run the “No campaign” on the Empty house (Homes) Tax. This is another one of these misguided citizen initiatives put together by the Democratic Socialists (DSA). And it’s overreaching and just as flawed in its own way, as Measure M…the proposal is that it will tax second homes and use the money to tax second homes $6,000 and use the money to fund affordable housing, apartment buildings. But as is the case with most of these things, the devil is in the details. If the law passes, there will be a registry of every homeowner in the city…It’s really a Trojan horse to put in place, a homeowner registered registry and a rental registry. The rental registry was a DSA objective, beginning in 2019. And just like misguided measure M the authors are extreme people, that overreach by drafting a law that includes things like homeowner audits up to once a year requiring three years of documentation, criminal penalties of misdemeanors, for those that are forgetting to report to the city, how much they were home, fines of $1,000 a day, and more. So, the signatures for that citizen initiative were turned in to be certified by the elections. And we will find out if it qualifies in a couple of weeks, we fully expect it to qualify. So that’s another example of a campaign that won’t necessarily have opponents, except us. And we will be prepared to take that on. And we think that with your help, we fully expect (because) it’s so unreasonable. Any well organized campaign can point out just how flawed and ridiculous that proposal is…But tonight, we’re here to focus on the June election…So, let’s all welcome councilmember Donna Meyers, to talk about Measure E, the directly elected mayor…

Donna Meyers 09:08

Thank you, Santa Cruz Together for the invitation tonight to inform you all of Measure E. Okay, I always get these mixed up sorry, “Shall the Santa Cruz city charter be amended to provide for a directly elected at large mayor, six council districts updated rules on term limits and runoff elections.” And you’ll be able to vote yes or no on that. It’s a lot, a mouthful of things that a lot of people, a lot of people sort of maybe don’t completely get. In November of 2022, you will be voting as a member of an actual city district…What this measure would do with relation to that seven-district map is that it would provide for a runoff election for those districts…there would be a June primary similar to the Board of Supervisors…then there would be a November election. So, if you had 10 People running in a district, then the top two if that one didn’t get 50% plus one would move to that November, a runoff election…it does change things up a little bit from what most people are used to usually you would vote for, you know, three candidates or four candidates in the…at large election, it’s going to be different. Now the districts are set, we’re not able to go backwards. We will be voting in districts…the mayor would be elected across all 63,000 residents of the city of Santa Cruz, it would serve as the seventh seat on the city council. We would still have seven seats, but we would have six district seats and one at-large elected mayor… they’re not going to hire the police chief. They’re also not in charge of the budget. The city manager remains in that role…As someone who served in the role of mayor, and I want to recognize Martine Watkins, I know she’s here, she’s been our mayor, I see Lynn Robinson and Cynthia Matthews…and then council members, Renee Golder and Shebreh…it’s definitely worth exploring and taking some time to take a vote on that this time around…now I’m going to introduce Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, my colleague on the city council, and I think a woman that is going to be an amazing supervisor for us in district three…

Shebreh Kalantari Johnson  20:17

Good evening. Thank you all for being here on this beautiful Monday…My name is Shebreh Johnson, and Lynn (Renshaw) earlier talked about journeys in Santa Cruz Together…So I’m not going to give you my whole resume and my CV… I will highlight some of the things that I’ve done in this community to actualize those values of a healthy, strong community…grant writer… policies around cannabis and alcohol…and brought in nonprofits, public sector, county departments, cities to work on important issues…And I’ve been fortunate to have amazing colleagues on the city council, vice mayor Watkins, council member Golder, I don’t know if you’ve met councilmember Golder, former mayor and council member Meyers. Mayor Brunner, who’s not here…Those are the current council members. And then the wisdom and guidance of other former mayors and council members, Cynthia Matthews, Lynn Robinson… Now, Lynn (Renshaw) brought up a couple of policy issues that are important to you. So, I just want to name clearly for you all, I opposed Measure M (rent control, 2018), and I am opposed to the Empty Homes Tax, because I think it’s poor policy…I didn’t support Measure M, and I’m not supporting the Empty Homes tax…I’m honored to have received the endorsement of supervisor Ryan Coonerty, and also to have received the endorsement of Santa Cruz Together and so many other leaders in this community…

Lynn Renshaw  28:26

Peter Cook has also been with us since we’ve started Santa Cruz Together over four years ago.

Peter Cook  28:36

Thank you, Lynn. Thank you, Donna and Shebreh. Quick…I am Peter, the party planner. And I wanted to start off by thanking our hosts Eric and Suzanne Stockwell…How many of you were here for the kickoff for the Measure M campaign? Oh, man, you have not lived if you sit out here… (Drew) Glover and a bunch of crazy people yelling…with a bullhorn. Like, that was an absolutely crazy night (in 2018) and look how far we’ve come…Thank you for coming. I want to just quickly go over what is Santa Cruz Together. As you know, we’re the (not clear?) organization that defeated measure M. 

I’d like to introduce our board…I’m Peter Cook. Our fearless leader is Lynn Renshaw. Our highly, highly experienced political strategist is Kris Reyes, who couldn’t be here tonight…We have our rocket scientists and tech support and Dan Coughlin. And then we have our legal department and Treasurer, and that’d be Brad Brereton… I know everyone wants us to take on all things political in Santa Cruz. But that’s not what we’re doing. We’re focusing on the big-ticket items, and focus on winning those…Measure E and Shebreh…We’re also looking for good (city) council candidates for November to support…

I’m going to miss some people that I wanted to thank and I’m going to skip the people who’ve already been recognized. But I do want to thank David TerrazasHillary Bryant wanted to pass on Hello, everybody. Unfortunately, she could not be here…Carol Fuller from the Democratic Women’s Club…Deborah Elston’s here from Santa Cruz Neighbors…A dear friend of mine, Carol Polhamus

Lynn Renshaw  36:09

That was nice. Thank you, Peter…So we’ve heard from Shebreh. And we’ve heard about “Yes, on measure E.” We need your help. So SCT is working on two mailers that will promote Shebreh’s campaign. And also, Yes on measure E, which we think is important for stronger leadership, better leadership. If you think about measure E, like if you were just the mayor, somebody who only does the job for one year, imagine any other job, or you start it, you’ve never done it before, it’s that significant. And then you get a new one and start all over again. So, we think that’s important for advancing a better quality of leadership in the city…to do this, we’re planning to do Santa Cruz together mailers. The mailers cost $15,000 each. We’re using the same professional firm that we’ve used to produce our mailers and our digital campaigns for all of our successful campaigns. It’s still the case that the best way to reach voters is through mailers. And to some extent, what they say is the candidate or the measures with the most mailers wins, so we’re doing pretty well on that. But tonight, we’re aiming to raise that $10,000, we need to have the funding for the two mailers. And because of our generous donors, tonight, we have a matching grant so we can match donations up to $10,000. Tonight, I myself, I’m going to contribute $500 to chip away at that and to get part of that match. One of the advantages that we have set Santa Cruz Together is a political action network. ( Political Action Committee) And so we don’t have a contribution limit. That said, some quick logistics…we hope that you’ll support us, and checks can be made out to Santa Cruz Together. You can give them to me, you can give them to Brad (Brereton) over here. And if you don’t have a checkbook and you want to make a donation, you can make a donation at Santa Cruz together.com…also, take a Shebreh yard sign and then we’re also going to have yard signs for “Yes On Measure E.” We don’t quite have them yet. We’ll put them up in the next couple of days…I feel like I know 90 percent of the people here…I like that our sense of collective purpose and improving the city, so vote for Shebreh and yes and measure E. I’ll hang around and take questions, Shebreh will take questions. Thanks again everybody for being here”.

“The leaders of the Democratic Party talk a lot about Republican “dark money.” I’m not hearing much, however, about the dark money from billionaires trying to crush the candidacies of three progressive women of color. We must BAN all super PAC money in Democratic primaries.” (May 16)

Another brilliant rendering of speaking truth to power from local artist Russell Brutsche to our Community, he gets the con our community is being sold. (So does Stephen Kessler in his recent piece 

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at ckrohn@cruzio.com

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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May 16

WHEN DOES WATER BECOME TOO EXPENSIVE?
Last week, the Coastal Commission rejected plans for a large desalination plant in Huntington Beach, California chiefly because the water would be too costly for the ratepayers, but also because of damage to marine life.  

Oddly, cost was also the chief concern of the Commissioners in March, 2020 when they approved the PureWater Soquel Project consolidated application.   They approved it anyway, even though Soquel Creek Water District staff could not even answer the question of “How much WILL that water cost?”

[Cal Am not fazed by rejection of SoCal desal]

Strangely, the Commission cared nothing about the contaminants in the brine effluent that the PureWater Soquel Project treatment plant in Live Oak will pump back to the outfall pipe into the Monterey Bay Sanctuary…containing more contaminants than the City’s wastewater effluent supplying the Project, due to disinfection by-products.

And don’t forget that the City’s outfall pipe has a known rupture about 65 feet offshore.

Write the California Coastal Commission and let them know your thoughts about this.  You can refer to Consolidated Development Permit 3-20-0014 approved on March 11, 2020.

You could also write the Santa Cruz City Council and ask when they plan to repair the rupture in the sewage water effluent pipe to make ocean waters healthier for surfers and folks at the beach.

citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com 

Has Soquel Creek Water District done any studies to determine the impacts of their PureWater Soquel Project contaminated brine effluent on marine life?  NOPE.

Write their Board (which includes a number of scientists) and ask them to do this much-needed work.

Board of Directors for Soquel Creek Water District  bod@soquelcreekwater.org  

  • Mail: Board of Directors, P.O. Box 1550, Capitola, CA 95010 
  • District Office: Board of Directors, 5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel, CA 95073

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT RATES WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE
On May 3, the Board considered the 2022/2023 Budget.  It is sobering, largely due to the financial hemorrhage caused by the expensive PureWater Soquel Project.  

Even with the $59 million in government grants, in September 2020 the District had to take out a loan agreement of up to $89 million with the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan program administered by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The District also had to take out a $75 million revolving line of credit with CoBank, ACB in July 2020 to provide cash flow while waiting for the various grant/loan program disbursements.

And more, much more, is needed.

Ratepayers have been conserving water so well that water sales are $2.3 million (12.48%) lower than projected in the finance plan for 2022/23, which effectively negates the 9% annual volumetric rate increases slammed upon customers for the past three years running. 

Monthly service charges are expected to generate $10.4 million in revenue, an increase of $1.1 million from the prior year, primarily as a result of the scheduled rate increase that took effect on January 1, 2022. 

In a depressing nutshell…..

Ending reserves are projected to be lower than the previous year by over $2 million. As operating expenses increase, more money is allocated to the Operating Contingency Reserve. In addition, the cash flow gap between money going out for the PWS project and grant and loan reimbursements coming in has depleted the District’s cash reserves until such time as the project is completed and all funding has been recovered. It is expected that the District’s reserves will begin to rebound one to two years after PWS is completed. In the interim, this is an area to carefully monitor because it does inhibit the District’s ability to provide reserve cash flow for other gap financing or fiscal emergencies.”

(see page 11)

Meanwhile, the new Quail Run Buried Concrete Tank Project remains unbuilt in Aptos, even though the District borrowed money to build it.  

The District got $100,000 from the State for aid to customers who couldn’t pay their bills due to COVID, but there is no plan for ways that poor customers can apply for this help.  The District sold 66.5 Acre-feet in Water Demand Offsets at $55,000/Acre-foot (that’s a total of $3,657,500!!!).  Where is all that money going???  Hmmmm…..

WHY IS THE COUNTY ALLOWING SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT TO USE PUBLIC ROADS AS CONSTRUCTION STAGING SITES?
People who live on the Willowbrook Lane in Aptos have lost most of their much-needed on-street parking, thanks to Soquel Creek Water District’s construction project and the fact that for some reason (likely money), the County is allowing them to stockpile large equipment and supplies right on the public street.

What I want to know is why the District is impeding the public’s use of our thoroughfare by doing all this when they have a 50-year lease on a large parcel from Twin Lakes Baptist Church just down the way, and own a parcel next to the tennis courts at Willowbrook Park, both of which now sit empty. 

Take a look:

Empty Lot next to Cabrillo College Way at Twin Lakes Baptist Church

Soquel Creek Water District is using Willowbrook Lane as a construction staging area, prohibiting on-street parking on both sides of the street.

That’s a pile of asphalt…generally not allowed to be stockpiled on public streets and in the storm drain areas.

If you wonder about this, please contact Mr. Travis Rieber at County Public Works and ask how much (if anything) the County is getting paid to allow this to happen…and why.

Travis Rieber travis.rieber@santacruzcounty.us

WHY IS THE COUNTY POUNDING DENSITY MOSTLY INTO LIVE OAK AND NOT APTOS?
I took a deep breath and dove into the Draft EIR for the County Sustainability Plan and Regulatory Update, and began with Appendix C: Project Growth Assumptions Memorandum.  It’s 12 pages, and outlines how the areas targeted for extremely dense developments were chosen…sort of.  I feel Live Oak is going to be unfairly hit hard with high-density and the quality of life will change drastically for the worse.

Take a look at pages 5 and 6, showing that the economic forecasts (which will be mainly in the medical sector) are focused on mixed use development in the Live Oak area, increasing the ratio of housing vs. commercial to 75% residential (I think it is 50% now).  The industrial jobs got moved out of Live Oak and into South County; does that mean the morning commute will run the opposite direction as it does now?

Here is an interesting gem:

“The locations of these jobs were further refined to reflect mixed-use growth along main street corridors, multimodal corridors, and around future potential transit stations along the Santa Cruz Branch Line, as well as commercial growth in the medical uses around Soquel Drive, and job growth related to the new Workplace Flex (C-3) Zone District, which was assumed to locate around multimodal corridors and in focused areas such as the 41st Avenue/Soquel Drive and 17th Avenue/Santa Cruz Branch Line areas. 

Hmmmm…..

Take a look on pages 6 and 7 at the projected jobs for various areas of the County (according to AMBAG).  The numbers are high for Aptos, second only to Live Oak, but there is not much dense housing planned for Aptos.  How come?

The document is dated October 29, 2020….a bit stale, but shows you just how long Dudek Consultants have been grinding away on this Draft EIR.

Choose a topic that is of interest and meaningful to you, and dive in.

[CEQA Documents Open for Public Review]

Comments are due by May 31, 2022 I think we should all be asking for MORE TIME!

Email EIR Comments here: CEQA-NEPA@santacruzcounty.us 

COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION WILL HOST PUBLIC HEARING ON COUNTY SUSTAINABILITY PLAN AND REGULATORY UPDATES
The County noticed the public about this public hearing in the May 12 Santa Cruz Sentinel (Page A-2) but did not include the information about how to access the May 25 virtual Planning Commission hearing at 9:30am.  

Here is the link that might help a bit

However, the webinar ID is missing, so notify Ms. Stephanie Hansen stephanie.hansen@santacruzcounty.us  and ask that the full access information be posted and re-noticed in the Sentinel.  How can the public participate in this important Public Hearing about what our County will look like in the future if we can’t even access the hearing???

Keep checking here 

WOULD AN EMPTY HOMES TAX REALLY HELP PROVIDE AFFORDABLE RENTAL RELIEF?
With much discussion about a possible Empty Homes Tax in the City of Santa Cruz on this November’s ballot, it is worth researching whether or not such taxation has really helped other cities with their affordable housing problems.  The City of Vancouver is the textbook case, as well as Melbourne.  

According to this article, the cities have indeed collected a lot of money, but that has not helped provide much affordable housing relief.  

Taxing Rich Peoples’ Empty Homes Isn’t Helping the Housing Crisis?

What do you think?

RIO CAFE AND FLATS BISTRO IN RIO DEL MAR HAS NEW OWNERS

Many thanks to my friend, Al, let me know about this change….

“After decades of fun and good times with Cafe Rio and Flats Bistro, the time has come for me to retire! My long-time friends, Sean and Grace Venus, of Venus Spirits and Kitchen will be the new owners.” Jeanne aka Queenie

JUST SAY HELLO
Last week, I organized and /or attended four memorial gatherings. It was sobering. I think the big lesson is to see each day as a wonderful gift, and to greet others walking along the path of life with respect and friendliness. You just never know how much of a difference a friendly “Hello” might make….

MAKE ONE CALL. WRITE ONE LETTER. INSIST ON GETTING ACCESS INFORMATION TO ZOOM PUBLIC HEARINGS SO THAT YOU CAN PARTICIPATE.

MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK AND JUST DO SOMETHING…WITH A SMILE.

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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May 16

VOTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

It’s all Local

Many Santa Cruz County folks are concerned about the environment, but you wouldn’t know it from either the candidates they elect or the state of the local environment, which continues to degrade in many ways that the right elected officials could address. Let’s look at those issues and then consider some questions you might consider before casting your vote.

Endangered Species/Threatened Habitats

Santa Cruz County is tiny but it ranks second in the nation (over San Diego County) for the number and diversity of endangered species. Across many areas of the County, including in incorporated city property, there are threatened and endangered fish, birds, invertebrates, plants, salamanders, and frogs. The Counties and its Cities are also rife with threatened habitats. 

The best leaders are proactive. Government that is proactive with rare species saves the people money, helping to avoid a species slipping into endangerment and the legal wrangling and private property effects that result. Most of our areas’ endangered species are slipping closer to extinction. Each year, more of Santa Cruz County’s rare species qualify for listing as endangered by the State of Federal governments. Every year, the County’s threatened habitats are further developed and degraded.

General plans, parks plans, funding, education/outreach, monitoring, enforcement, and policies and procedures are all areas that politicians could use to help improve the fate of the County’s endangered species and threatened habitats.

Soil Conservation and Water Quality

 Watch the ditches and drainages off of the County’s roads any winter and you will notice chocolate colored sediment soup and rainbow-oily scuzz flowing towards our streams and rivers and then out into the surf of our precious Bay. We are losing our farmland soils and hillsides and spoiling fish habitat. 

Other areas of the country have government personnel monitoring waterways and doing outreach and education. Some District Attorneys enforce clean water laws.

 Light pollution

Other places in the nation have recognized the problem of light pollution and have enacted policies that address this issue.

Climate Change

Transportation, agriculture, and building construction are all areas that County politicians could improve to address climate change. 

These Issues, Which Candidate?

All of the aforementioned issues are major enough that anyone seeking office should have identified approaches they would take to address them. If the issue isn’t on their website, then we should be raising it, and demanding specific, meaningful answers as to what the candidate will do. The answers should not be “I’ll learn about it and, trust me, I’ll do the right thing!”

The Company We Keep

We all recognize that it is impossible for any candidate to be well versed in every issue, but we should also recognize the need for reliable advisors in such cases. You can read lists of endorsements…every candidate has endorsements! But, endorsements fall short with environmental issues. This region has a wealth of intelligent environmental conservation talent; many of these individuals are expert at informing policy. 

My ideal candidate would identify the people who advise them on environmental matters, and the candidate with the best cadre of advisors would get my vote. We should be asking candidates about their track record of seeking advice and who they talk to when faced with the complexities of decisions that impact the environment. I see red flags when candidates answer that they rely on ‘staff,’ ‘staff reports,’ or ‘environmental reports.’ I surveyed our areas’ elected officials a while back asking them about their sources of environmental information and found out that their leading sources were visitor centers or popular press newspapers/magazines! 

Recent Environmental Issues

I presented above a host of issues that politicians have not addressed, but we can also learn about candidates from the issues with which they have been engaged. Two of our supervisorial candidates have been serving on the Santa Cruz City Council. As councilmembers, they both voted to spend significant funding to pursue development of the City’s greenbelt into agricultural buildings and a ten acre fenced farm, reversing a not-too-long ago expensive process that determined that area off limits to such uses due to environmental constraints. That decision gives me pause on either of those candidates. 

Those 2 candidates have also been overseeing the City’s Local Coastal Program update. The draft document they submitted to the Coastal Commission was so severely flawed that it will now take more than a year to negotiate until finalized. The flaws include failure to include previously delineated sensitive habitats as well as critical habitat for endangered species. On the other hand, some areas are mapped as potential sensitive habitat that are not. In each case, the errors seem to be weighted to City revenue or political choices rather than environmental conservation.

 Electable

How about for once we vote for the environment as the priority issue? Voters say they vote for the economy. Traffic or homelessness seem like hot button issues around here, too. Many vote for the seeming ‘electable’ person, even though they don’t fit our own ideals. If there ever was a time on Earth or here in Santa Cruz to vote for the environment first and foremost, it is now. But, our muscles need flexing in this area…we are rusty and our environmental organizations need better support to help us out. 

Can we take a pledge that if a candidate has a specific, well thought out platform that emphasizes the environmental issues I raise above…and lists a cadre of environmental advisors…that they will get our vote? 

Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net

Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com

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May 12

#132 / Another Politician “Pumping Out The Piss” 

Anyone who has read a few of my blog postings knows that I am a pretty big Bob Dylan fan. As an example, on December 31, 2021, as last year came to a close, I titled my blog post, “Last Day (Songs Included),” and I then provided readers with both lyrics and links to the actual music for thirty-plus Bob Dylan songs that I think are particularly worthwhile. I am still listening to that playlist myself as I walk around town. 

Not included in my “Last Day” listing was the song “Pay In Blood.” It’s a good song, with lots of memorable lines, and I like it, but “Pay In Blood” has one verse that has always disturbed me:

Another politician pumping out the piss
Another ragged beggar blowin’ you a kiss
You got the same eyes that your mother does
If only you could prove who your father was

I see “politics” as an honorable and important activity (even “profession”), and since I was classified as a politician for twenty years, and have always been proud of having been a politician, it makes me uncomfortable that Bob Dylan has portrayed “politics” in such an unremittingly negative light in this song. 

Of course, don’t we all know why Bob Dylan would characterize politicians the way he has in “Pay In Blood”? Consider those politicians in Congress who show up in the news every day, spouting off about serious subjects, with their “political” statements reflecting both deliberately-included misinformation, outright lies, stupidity, denials, and statements long-simmered in hypocrisy. Dylan is all too right about those politicians – and there are a lot of them! 

But what about our local politics? As I indicated yesterday, I consider local government to be where “democracy” begins, and I think that local politics is what can sustain our system of democratic self-government. Our local politics is where the people can see evidence that what they do makes a difference. Our local “politicians” should be exemplars of the idea that democracy is, at its core, not only “a local thing,” but a thing that is both worthy and honorable. Maintaining faith in the value of local political engagement, in other words, may be our last, best hope for maintaining and restoring a vital democracy in the United States. 

That’s what I said in my blog posting yesterday, and I truly believe it. We can’t allow our local politics to turn into the kind of politics that is so routinely practiced at the national level – and even at the state level. We can’t permit our local politicians to be “pumping out the piss.” 

By and lare, they aren’t. By and large (with a few exceptions), I think our local politics has been decent, honest, and good. Our local politics has not been – nor has it been seen – as “dirty,” the way our national politics is often so accurately seen. We do not characteristically think about our local politicians as “pumping out the piss.” We need to keep our local politics that way, too. We need to keep it on the “up and up.”

There are, as I said, a few “exceptions” to what I generally think has been an honest and decent politics here in Santa Cruz County. I learned about one such distressing exception yesterday, the same day my blog posting on local democracy was published.

It turns out that four members of the Santa Cruz City Council violated state law as they met with a local pro-development political group, Santa Cruz Together, and discussed issues relating to district elections. 

The meeting was a clear violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act. The Brown Act is the state law that makes it illegal for a majority of any elected body to meet other than in a publicly-noticed meeting when items of governmental business are being discussed. The link I have provided to the law is what the City of Santa Cruz has to say about the Brown Act, and all members of the Santa Cruz City Council definitely know about the Brown Act, and know that it is a violation of the Brown Act for an elected official to show up a non-noticed meeting at which city-related business is going to be discussed, if a majority of the Council will be in attendance. 

Here is a list of the elected officials who didn’t care about the Brown Act, or who thought they could get away with disregarding it: 
 

  • Former Mayor Donna Myers
  • Former Mayor Martine Watkins
  • Council Member Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson
  • Council Member Renee Golder 

Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, who is running for County Supervisor (for the Third District seat I once held), not only participated in this illegal meeting, she also made a campaign speech and then stood by as the leaders of the group informed those in attendance how to avoid the County’s campaign contribution limit ordinance by making purportedly “independent” expenditures which were not, of course, “independent” at all, given that Kalantari-Johnson was right there in the meeting, asking for their support. 

Official complaints to the District Attorney and to the Fair Political Practices Commission are certainly coming. You can listen to a recording of the meeting by clicking the link below. The recording was made by a local resident, Ann Simonton, who was in attendance, and who was deeply concerned about what she saw happening. She has brought to light what the participating Council Members wanted to keep in the dark.

HERE’S ONE QUICK TAKEAWAY FOR THIRD DISTRICT VOTERS: Don’t vote for Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, if you were ever inclined to do so. She qualifies for a Bob Dylan “pumping out the piss” designation.

As for all the Council Members who participated in the meeting, there is another takeaway, too. If we want to keep our local politics honest, and decent, and on the “up and up,” our District Attorney and the FPPC need to take prompt action against any local officials whom they determine have violated the law. 

[ Notable Moments at Meeting
Santa Cruz Together May 2nd 2022
]  

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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May 16

MYSTERY FUND DRYING UP AND SMOKIN’ IN THE BOYS ROOM WITH ELON

Can it be true? The former president isn’t planning to re-COUP the office in 2024? By selling off what was believed to be his only profitable property, Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., he forfeits cash revenue that stood him so well when he occupied the White House just down the street. The sale hints at The Donald‘s economic situation, where he needs short-term cash now, because his online grifting for donations into the Unofficial Mystery Fund, and his declining popularity at weekly rallies around the country just aren’t paying the bills. A successful ‘candidacy’ in 2024 would allow him to continue his abuse of herding guests into his property while in D.C., but this action indicates that he either has no interest in running, or he knows the futility of doing so. Or, he is actually having to pay reputable attorneys up-front for services rendered, in the hopes they can prevent his being fitted for an orange jumpsuit in the coming months. The media, of course, will ignore the implications of this sale, as they continue to hype a Trump run in order to sell advertising. 

Many Republican candidates are vying for The Bratman‘s blessing of his endorsement in support of their election battles, but because of mixed voting results, we are seeing indications of defections, and perhaps a general weakening of respect as 2024 draws closer. The Kingmaker‘s touch fell short in Nebraska, but a victory of sorts in Ohio with J.D. Vance garnering 30% of the Republican vote is a questionable success. Candidates in Pennsylvania and Georgia are still battling it out, with Trump’s chosen, Dr. Mehmet Oz, currently leading as the state party leaders put their support behind radical talk-show host Kathy Barnette in the race for Pennsylvania’s senate seat; Trump’s endorsement of Georgia’s David Perdue is already flatlining against incumbent Governor Brian Kemp for leadership in that state office. Perdue filed a lawsuit against the 2020 election results in hopes that it would fire up the MAGAts, but the judge threw it out, calling it “speculation, conjecture and paranoia,” likening Perdue to a Don Quixote trying to drum up some P.R. Democrats are placing their hopes on Stacey Abrams‘ uphill battle to carry them to victory, though Georgia hasn’t had a Democrat in the governorship since 2003. Even former V.P. Pence is signaling a break with his former boss, Captain Chaos, in endorsing Kemp, saying, “Brian Kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family and people of Georgia!”

Wonder what the heavily-opinionated and religious Pence thinks about Reverend Trump’s interview on the evangelical network, CBN News, when the orange-haloed one claimed to have done more for Christianity, religions of all types than anyone. In 2018, he also boasted, “Nobody’s done more for Christians or evangelicals or frankly religion than I have.” So far, nothing in reference books about Frankly Religion…more later, maybe!

Regardless of what Deadbeat Donny decides to do re 2024, he still wants to carry out his campaign of revenge, by endorsing candidates for state offices such as secretary of state, or those who might be able to influence vote tabulation in future elections. With Elon Musk threatening to take over Twitter and restoring Trump’s account there is the possibility that the Orange Menace could amplify his return, resulting in more confusion and violence in the political landscape. Calling Twitter’s decision to ban Trump “flat-out stupid” brings attention to Musk’s own effort to take command of the social media giant. With Twitter, and Musk’s own Tesla EV enterprise, slumping on Wall Street this past week, the billionaire called a ‘time out’ to allow the market become more stable, though he claims the delay is to verify legitimate users – he says the Twitter deal is still on, but does he really want to dump $44B into a company whose stock has now taken a dive? Twitter’s legal department accuses Musk of violating a non-disclosure agreement by sharing closely held information, but the months-long process is likely to continue; however, if the deal goes south Musk will be liable for a $1B break-up fee for his ill-considered adventure. Better pay attention, so no smokin’ in the boy’s room again, Elon!

Revenge was on the mind of Missouri’s Senator Josh Hawley as he introduced a bill to revoke Disney Corporation‘s copyrights protections – retroactively, with a 56-year term, resulting in immediate expiration of many of those shields. And all because of Disney’s stand against Governor Ron DeSantis‘ ‘don’t say gay’ bill in Florida! Though this move is illegal/unconstitutional for taking of property without compensation – only serving as pandering, political grandstanding –  unless of course, the Supreme Court (The Handmaid, Chief Squish, and the Four Misogynists) raises its head from the slime of the swamp – then, who knows where it goes? The 6-of-9 majority might favor retroactive legislation for punishment, humiliation, and harm against American’s political opinions, by supporting Republican Hawley’s vengeful, petty, Putinesque proposal. 

And, speaking of Putin and his ill-fated and tragic onslaught in Ukraine, the news for him and the Russian people just gets worse. While the Ukrainians are still subjected to daily bombings, missile strikes and other atrocities, they carried out an attack on the invading army as they attempted to cross a river on pontoon bridges, destroying several dozen vehicles, including tanks, and inflicting heavy casualties – well over 400 personnel wounded or killed. One element in the success of Ukraine’s defenses is the insistence of Russian troops on using their cell phones – GPS locations are readily outed as Putin’s soldiers try to call home or surf the internet by connecting to local networks. Stolen iPhones can be located by using the app Find My Phone, so if a phone ends up in the backpack of an invader, they can expect to have an unwelcome visitor come calling. This is a result of the poor planning by Russia’s incompetent generals who failed to see the value of bringing their own network for communications; and besides, the Ukrainian people would be welcoming them with open arms, right? – strewing the ground with sunflowers as they rolled in to ‘liberate’ them. All of which points to the fallacy of Trump’s praise for Putin’s maneuvers, prior to the brutal invasion, as “genius.”

After a visit to Ukraine by a delegation of U.S. senators, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the leader urged President Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, which would lift protections shielding the country from being sued for civil damages. Mitch conveyed to President Zelensky that U.S. support is bipartisan, though several Republicans, notably Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have criticized a $40B aid package for resistance to the Russian invasion. According to Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, Major General Budanov, a coup is underfoot to oust Vladimir Putin, while suggesting that the Russian president may be suffering from blood cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other ailments. Speculation about the despot’s health have been circulating for months, within the international community, some sources being ‘unnamed Russian oligarchs with close ties to Putin.’ 

And, sad news recently with the end of an era – the final Learjet has been delivered, all 3,055 being produced since 1963 in the manufacturing plant in Wichita. If you didn’t get yours, there are still around 2,000 still in service, though a scarce commodity now. The iconic Learjet became a generic term for light business jets, with Frank Sinatra being among the first to purchase one, and earning a mention in songstress Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’, a partial dig at actor Warren Beatty. Learjet’s parent company, Bombardier Defense Group, will concentrate on a midsize aircraft for military operations, with the U.S. Air Force ordering six as part of its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node program – so, at the least, you might consider yourself as a part-owner of the new generation planes. Don’t you, don’t you? 

Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email: cornerspot14@yahoo.com
 

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

    “VOTING”

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.”
~George Jean Nathan

“Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls.”
~Peggy Noonan 

“Here’s the problem: while some folks are frustrated and tuned out and staying home on Election Day, trust me other folks are showing up. Democracy continues with or without you.”
~Michelle Obama 

“If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain.”
~George Carlin

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It is hard to believe that it has been 25 years since 5th Element came out… enjoy Milla Jovovich taking about it in this video from Vogue


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