Blog Archives

December 19, 2018 – January 2, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Holiday Shopping Downtown, Robert Singleton’s pro Dream Inn with YIMBY’s, UCSC’s next chancellor hint, Devcon-Terrazas-Lawlor development. GREENSITE…on Devcon and the last city council meeting of 2018. KROHN…broken computer, adjusted phrases and cumulative Council conundrums. STEINBRUNER…Kaiser Medical Facility impact, Soquel Creek Water Board and deficient EIR, Zach Friend’s $$$ new office, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership facts. PATTON…How to save the world. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. JENSEN…reviews The Favourite. BRATTON…critiques Roma and The Favourite. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…on “Mistletoe”



DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ…PACIFIC AND COOPER STREETS 7:50 AM 1957. So many changes…no Cooper House, Bubble Bakery, Montgomery Ward Catalog Store or Leask’s. Now we have an O Neill’s Surf Shop, Urban Outfitters and Pacific Wave Surf Shop.                                             

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.


DATELINE December 17, 2018

HAPPIEST OF HOLIDAY TIME. Feeling extra gung-ho and super-loyal to Downtown, I did ALL of my holiday shopping at Palace Stationers and Bookshop Santa Cruz. Goodly-sized shopper crowds at both places. What was even more encouraging was the Bookshop had six cash registers going…and everyone smiled nicely!!! Santa Cruz is doing some things right!!

ROBERT SINGLETON REVISITED. As “LinkedIn” states, Robert Singleton is… “The Executive Director of the Santa Cruz County Business Council. He serves as the principal advocate and spokesperson for the organization, and for the business community at large. … Senior Marketing Strategist”. Today, (Monday Dec. 17) BrattonOnline learned…

Robert Singleton was at the developer’s Dream Inn meeting on Dec. 3, and has everybody read about what he did that night, as reported by Jessica York in the Sentinel? None of the city representatives were wearing name tags, but someone recognized Singleton while he was handing out pro Dream Inn project leaflets for the YIMBYS, before the meeting began. Someone confronted him about it, and he rudely told them he could do it if he wants, “you’re wrong to tell me I can’t”. They found a planner to report Singleton’s activities and his attitude. Staff stopped him from handing out more of the YIMBY material that was biased for the project.  At the end of the meeting one of the Clear Court Mobile Home Park people, A. Webb, brought up this problem to Santa Cruz Planning Director Lee Butler and the attendees. Lee Butler told her he would refer the issue to the city attorney, as Webb asked for Robert Singleton to be recused when this comes before the planning commission. It’s been suggested that the Save Santa Cruz Westside people follow up with a letter to the city attorney, and Lee Butler, and others. It has also been actually suggested that they ask for Singleton’s removal from the commission, go for the big pressure point, to assure that we may just get Singleton’s recusal. Last week, a council member told us “the planning commissioners serve at the pleasure of the council members” and they would like to receive a letter about what he did for the YIMBYS. The YIMBYS are a developer-backed “please build anything in anybody’s back yard group”. Looks like more tasks for our NEW city Council!

THE NEXT CHANCELLOR? Lest we forget, George Blumenthal is UCSC’s TENTH chancellor! As we all are very aware, the forces that be are looking for his replacement. While they are “looking”, inside word has it that Executive Vice Chancellor and Campus Provost Marlene Tromp is going to get the job. Don’t mention where you heard this, and act surprised but you can almost bet on it!

DEVCON – LAWLOR –  TERRAZAS TERRABUNDA. I believe terrabunda means “large ugliness” but I couldn’t confirm it online. Just like some of us call it Don Lane’s Bearcat Tank, the plotting, sneaky way the Lawlor Devcon development was pushed through (as the last action our dingbat City Council would fall for) means that the monster that will more than fill that space should forever be named after ex-mayor David Terrazas. Terrazas should go down in the books as our most pro-development mayor in history. We should never forget his closing anti-homeless, pro-developers monument.  Check out this link to Owen Lawlor and Devcon’s acquisition of that Pacific/Laurel/Front Street property.

Better yet…read Gillian Greensite’s Insight on the same topic.

December 17, 2018

Whose side are you on?
The last city council meeting of 2018 was a marathon. Starting at 8:30AM and ending at 6PM with only a half hour break, the intent was clearly to pass as many development issues as possible before a new council was seated that same evening. I arrived at 11 AM for the Devcon Project, the 6 story, mixed use development for Pacific, Laurel and Front streets. The room was already packed with members of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. Sporting black CIA (Carpenters In Action) t-shirts and yellow vests they created a dominating presence.

It was soon clear they were there in strong support for the development. I was there to deliver the Sierra Club position that the city’s claim of CEQA exemption for a project of such height, scale and mass was invalid and press for Bird Safe Design guidelines given the extensive glass in this modern urban building. While I understand self-interest on the part of the Carpenters’ Union, I have long been puzzled by the tendency of many US unions to side with developers or warmongers, without reservation it seems. Australian unions refused to load ships with supplies for the US war on Vietnam to which the Australian government was an ally. To the person sitting next to me I said, “you wouldn’t see unions in Australia out in force for such a development.” The union member sitting in front of me turned around and asked “why not?” I explained that union members in Australia usually side with the have-nots rather than the haves. That there is a proud history of the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) placing “black bans” on projects that would result in the displacement of working folks for the professional class. That in 1973, BLF Union leader Jack Mundey had extended this to “green bans”, joining forces with working class residents and students and refusing to work on projects that carried threats to the environment or to social values or to loss of buildings of heritage, the most famous being the successful, bloody “Save the Rocks” fight. The CIA union member said that was interesting and turned back to watch the council eventually approve the development on a 5-2 vote.

One of the more frustrating things about city council meetings has been that once your minute or 90 seconds of public comment is over, you are required to sit and listen in silence to individual council members’ lengthy statements, including the false and the misleading. The less disciplined in the audience manage a yell or two of protest, quickly nipped in the bud. The more disciplined manage a shaking of the head. Not that long ago, public comment was 3 minutes, individual council members could call on a member of the public to answer a question during council deliberations, and oral communications started promptly at the beginning of the evening session. The current set-up is a slow chipping away at the democratic process, a slide hopefully addressed by the new council majority, including a requirement that Planning Commission meetings (where most of the decisions for developments are hashed out) be televised. The city of Santa Cruz is the only city in the county that does not televise its Planning Commission meetings.

My shake of the head was in response to council member Mathews’ wag of the finger at those of us in the audience who didn’t support the scale, height and density of the Devcon downtown project, since, she lectured, we all understood this density was the trade-off for saving the greenbelt open space lands. Simply untrue. Voting to save the greenbelt was, in Mike Rotkin’s words at the time, “like Mom and apple pie.” Who could oppose it? The overwhelming vote of approval reflected that lack of controversy. Only many years later, as new developments came on the scene was history re-written to include the notion of the trade-off.

My other shake of the head was also for council member Mathews. Her statement that the Devcon project is consistent with the guidelines of the Downtown Recovery Plan (DRP) is simply untrue. The 19 member group of individuals, formed after the earthquake to guide the rebuilding of downtown codified in the DRP that such rebuilding not be tall but be 2 to 3 stories with rare exceptions and be consistent with the scale, feel and architecture of downtown. This directive was cleverly undone by staff and members of the current Planning Commission, who used the iconic 93 feet tall Palomar building as their scale by which to advocate for far taller, more massive, modern generic future projects under their Downtown Plan Amendments. Had their meetings been televised you might have been more interested in this sleight of handiwork.

Fortunately we now have a new city council majority. One that Jack Mundey, still fighting the good fight in Australia for the working class and the environment would likely regard as fellow travelers.

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    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


December 17


(Please note, this is not a standard “English type” composed column. It is an attempt to portray the speed at which issues came at both me and the city Council last week.)

Here goes, I am going toward my inner Kerouac..a type of poem-summary of last week’s Santa Cruz city council meeting because my damn computer screen broke and when your computer screen breaks you can’t go and dot eyes any longer, and and the crossing-tease is all but impossible and paragraphs, Not so possible. It’s a Broken screen column for December 17, 2018…because why? Because it’s a holiday week and it’s probably the best time for a screen to break…it’s the ghost of Steve Jobs you know, alive and well and he appeared when I fell asleep on the couch in the kitchen and while I was slumbering that silvery sleek MacBook Pro crashed onto the wood floor, and at the same time the ghost fills the screen like a like 1000 slivers and now and that’s all there is…it’s sinister, and I think it’s part of Job’s business plan, you know, the slippery machine sliding off something…and I had to go to the Apple Store in Los Gatos, over that hill, and why in Steve Jobs name is there no Apple store in Santa Cruz? I told y’all last week that I would come back to the salient issues that we discussed on the Santa Cruz city council on Dec. 11th and because there were a lot of issues…there was our closed session where litigation abounded but I can’t talk about it, and there was the certification of the elections from this past fall–seems like so long ago now–and a Big Win for Drew Glover and Justin Cummings, and then there was item number 5, the ad hoc budget committee that David Terrazas left us to help hamstring budget decision-making in the future, but he saw it as  his way to deliver budgets that were not complicated, but budgets are always complicated especially when there’s so many needs chasing so few dollars…and we moved right on to the charter amendment committee update,  which the mayor also put on, but there was no time because the agenda was so packed that we had to move onto the next item and it was the year end budget adjustment for fiscal year 2018, which also went on un-talked about because The lifeguard services agreement with the city of Capitola, another complicated agreement, was asked about but not discussed because the jump – Uber bike share program, item number 18, had to issue an update and of course it has to appear as a very successful program with several thousand people riding bikes each week, people are sometimes using the bicycle 5 to 7 times a day whereas in other cities they report usage at two to three times per day…then it was onto the regional transportation commission’s unified Corridor investment study, item number 25, and I’m still wondering if the city Council by endorsing “scenario B,” by way of our public works department, if the council in fact supported highway widening? I left an email for the city attorney and I’m waiting to hear back if that was indeed the case…and then the Owen Lawlor-Devcon project at 100 Laurel St., 205 units of market rate rentals with nary a single affordable unit in the whole building–and it was approved–and I did not, could not, would not vote for it because there will be no affordable units in this 205-unit market rate project…on to item 27, the relocation assistance for this displaced tenants, which was immediately amended by Councilmember Cynthia Mathews to cut out any kind of assistance for displaced tenants…Council agenda item number 28 was homeless services update and was structured to make one’s eyes glaze over and at the end there would still be no 24/7 homeless shelter, not enough Port-a-potty’s or mental health services, but we were informed that we now have a flush fund for homeless services topping $11 million, and it is headed to Santa Cruz county from the state and will be spent  by a group made up of city managers from around the county, but Watsonville and Santa Cruz are really the only cities that provide homeless services, and we need more services–mental health, drug and alcohol addiction treatment, and short term and long term housing… Who speaks for the homeless? We were able to put off the accessory dwelling unit ordinance amendments until January or February when the new council is seated…Speaking of the new council, they were seated at 7 PM last Tuesday night, and Justin Cummings was elected vice mayor! because he had the support of the progressive community, the students, the voters, the tenants, the people who went out and walked precincts for him and Drew Glover and measure M, and it will be an election that will be remembered for a long time in Santa Cruz…

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at

December 17

Last week, the public got a glimpse of the proposed Kaiser Medical Facility for 5940 Soquel Avenue.  There was no formal presentation of the project, but rather multiple stations where people could look at various aspects of it and talk with agents working for the developer, John Swift.  That is when it became clear the five-story medical facility (NOT a hospital) to be located behind Ewing Irrigation and next to Far West Nursery and Beach Comber Mobile Home Park would also include a five-story 700-car parking garage.  

What information did the traffic study conducted by Kimley-Horn provide?  That is still in the works, but the traffic count was only done ONE DAY DURING THE 2-HOUR PEAK AFTERNOON COMMUTE TIME OF 4PM-6PM ON SOQUEL AVENUE FRONTAGE ROAD and used camera technology.  Wow.  How complete and realistic will that study be?  I pointed out that there is NO METRO SERVICE to this area.  The answer was that the developer is discussing this with Metro.  I also pointed out to the daily congestion on Soquel Avenue Frontage Road, a two-lane road.  The response was that CalTrans is planning to widen Highway One in that area in the near future, so that should help.  The Kimley-Horn representative assured me there is a pedestrian/bicycle overpass planned for construction in the near future to serve this area.   I asked him how many of those people who would require medical procedures would ride their bikes to visit Kaiser?  He had no answer, but thought maybe staff would.  

And what about the increased water demand?  And what about the added storm water runoff to an area that already floods regularly in winter storms (I know this because I work in the area).  I saw Santa Cruz County Economic Development Agency Director Barbara Mason in the crowd, so I asked her what the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan had designated for this large acreage?  She said she wasn’t quite sure, but thought is was labeled as an “Under-utilized Area of Opportunity”.  I wonder how the many existing small businesses who rely on the affordable storage and mobile office space currently using the site feel about that?  

Stay tuned for this one.  Here is a photo, in case you missed it last week.  There is nothing shown on searches for the project on Kaiser’s website.

You can register comments and questions at PMB

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)


I like to recharge my soul with walks in the forests and along beaches of our area.  It helps me remember what I love about living here, and counters the negativity of local politics.  I hope you all will do something that feeds your soul and spirits during this season, and take time to be grateful for all positive things around you.  Happy Winter Solstice… it will again be soon time to plant gardens.


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.

Email Becky at



December 13, 2018 #347 / How To Save The World

Malia Wollan has written a column for The New York Times that is the perfect follow-on to my blog posting yesterday. Yesterday, the topic was loneliness. I suggested that in order to combat the political variety of loneliness we are going to have to resuscitate a politics that is based on our personal participation. That mostly means local politics, where we can be the most powerful. I do know something about local politics, having been elected to an important local government office five different times.

In terms of local politics, going door to door is how it’s done. If we consider our “community” to be the relationships we have with others in the place we live, and if we admit that these relationships are vital, and that these relationships actually define “the world” that we most immediately inhabit, then going door to door, as Wollan outlines in her engaging column, is just exactly the way to save it.

Talking to ordinary people. That’s the secret. If you can accept the idea that it is, in fact, “politics” that is going to save us (and what else will?), then more of us need to learn how to go door to door. Wollan’s column gives us “a tip.”

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

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Go even deeper to your hidden place with Ava and her friends with Subconscious Comics…a scroll away!
EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s   ” Now Hiring ” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.

EVENTS. On the third Thursday of every month Munching With Mozart presents a free concert from noon to about 1 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room of the threatened Santa Cruz Main Library. This month it’s…

“Cello Concerto”


Cello Concerto No. 1, a minor op. 33 

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
      Allegro non troppo
      Allegretto con moto
      Tempo Primo

Yosef Feinberg, cello; Marina Thomas, piano 


Grand Waltz and Tarantella, from the ballet Anyuta

Valery Gavrilin  (1939-1999)
Rose Georgi and Marina Thomas, piano duo

That’s.. Thurs., Dec.20. 12:10 -12:50 Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown Branch – Meeting Room

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “I’m not a big fan of filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), so there’s little chance his weird new effort, The Favourite, will appear on my Best Films of 2018 list next week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( But catch up with my full review in this week’s Good Times. And if I don’t see you before then, Happy Holidays to all!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

ROMA. What’s extra perfect about Roma is that you can see it on the theatre screen right now, realize how perfect a film it is, and then go home and watch it again on Netflix. I did exactly that. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) directed this complex self-biography/masterpiece. I’m not sure what’s best… the acting, the photography, or the story. It’s Mexico City in the 1970’s, and we watch the changes in the life of a housekeeper and of the world she lives in. See it, especially if you like award-winning classics.

THE FAVOURITE. A mess of a movie. From the same director who did Lobster, this too is an attempt at comedy with serious stuff thrown in. It’s set in 18th century England, with Queen Elizabeth being wooed by two women. There’s some sneaky modern touches, with lots of “fuck you”s and contemporary actions forced into the plot. It’s either a drama with jokes, or a comedy with tragedies…both attempts fail. On the other hand, it does have Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz doing their best…and they’re great. You might like it. It got a 94 from critics and 60 from real people on RT.

MARIA BY CALLAS. To be fair, I’m an opera fan and have attended over 300 performances so any film lauding Maria Callas would be a hit with me. This documentary compilation of performances, newsreels and interviews is surprisingly great. Her relation with Aristotle Onassis is brutal, touching, and newsworthy. She died aged 53 in 1977. But it’s her acting and singing that made her opera’s most famous character. Go see it then listen to her recordings all over again. I did.

AT ETERNITY’S GATE. Willem Dafoe is the perfect Vincent van Gogh, even with his Wisconsin/New York accent. This film tries very hard to teach us about Vincent’s psychological reasons for painting and answer all questions about his behavior. You’ll learn more about Van Gogh but it looks like no one will ever know if he shot himself or if it was an accident during a scuffle/murder!!

WIDOWS. If you blink you’ll miss Robert Duvall and Liam Neeson, but you’ll see a little of Colin Farrell in a very uneven mess about a bank robbery. Viola Davis is the star of this “heist” movie. She leads two other women in a foolish, trite, impossible robbery caper. It’s not only hard to believe in, or follow, it’s just a re-hash of a million heist films we’ve all seen before.

GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a story we are all too familiar with. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.

CREED II. Sylvester Stallone — now 72 years old — is back again with another Rocky sequel. Like just about every one of Stallone’s four Rocky or Adonis Creed movies…it’s totally predictable. But it’s also exciting. The added depth (if you can call it that) is that once again it’s America versus Russia — and it’s interesting to see Dolph Lundgren again, 30 years later, as Drago’s dad. You won’t fall asleep. It was 1976, and 42 years ago, when Stallone did his first Rocky movie.



UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Jane Mio of San Lorenzo River Mysteries, Sierra club, Parks and Rec. holds forth on Dec.18 talking about river management. Then Fred Geiger gathers up facts about ADU’s and shares some new ideas. The Tuesday after that is Christmas and you know about no Bonline that week! January First 2019 has former County Supervisor Gary Patton looking backwards and forwards politically for the full hour. AND/OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at

Package thieves are getting more and more common; jerks who walk up to your porch and JUST TAKE your delivered boxes!! I think there’s a special place in hell reserved for these people, and every single one of these deserved every speck of glitter they got.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts.  Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.

QUOTES. “Mistletoe”
“You are the happy to my holiday, jingle in my bells, nut to my cracker, fruit to my cake, present under my tree, a wish to my star, home for my holiday, candy to my cane, kiss under the mistletoe, holly to my jolly, winter to my wonderland, ginger to my bread, milk to my cookie, joy to my world, star on my tree, love of my life.” –Unknown
“Mistletoe, the same plant you kiss under at holiday time, may be an effective aid against certain types of cancer”. Chris Kilham
“It’s supposed to be jolly, with mistletoe and holly… and other things ending in olly.” Terry Pratchett,
“What happens under the mistletoe stays under the mistletoe.” Unknown

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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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