Blog Archives

December 25, 2019 – January 8, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…No On Recall news, latest on Errett Church’s hope. GREENSITE… on the UCSC Graduate Students’ Strike. KROHN…City Council thanks, COLA and student strike, more No on Recall STEINBRUNER…Cabrillo College bond, Bob Bosso retires, water rates rise, water with added sewage, Valencia Road barn saved, Aptos Village project, Zach Friend from Mountain View? Campaign signs ready to spread. PATTON…When we can’t trust our Government. EAGAN…Deep Cover and Subconscious Comics. JENSEN…prepares for holidays. BRATTON…I critique Cats and A Hidden Life. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “New Years Eve”

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MISSION AND WATER STREETS (aka Front & Pacific) 1957. That was the famed — and now demolished — McHugh & Bianchi Store, that carried about everything. Now it’s Bank of the West                                                     

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

Russell Brutsche’s “Council Members Games” song.
POSTMODERN JUKEBOX. They are coming to the Rio in February!! Get your tickets here 

DATELINE  December 23

RECALL AND ELECTIONS..

As the Sentinel said last week…

“Former city mayors Katherine Beiers and Don Lane, both historically aligned with the city’s politically progressive factions, are contenders for what would be the remaining nine months of Krohn’s seat. Former progressive mayor Tim Fitzmaurice will face off against recall organizers’ favorite and local teacher Renee Golder for the nearly three years remaining to Glover’s seat. Both Glover and Krohn are considered members of the sitting council’s progressive bloc”. Aside from being a Republican Renee Golder has voted No on M and is supported by Greg Larson, Hilary Bryant, David Terrazas, and Pam Comstock. If those names don’t define which sector of our community they represent you must be very new or uninvolved here. Tim Fitzmaurice on the other hand states on his site…” I have served on many commissions, Bus Board, Transportation, Farmers Market, Criminal Justice, City Schools, Arts Council, among others, and on the City Council (1998 to 2006) as Mayor in 2000-2001. I am married to Laurie Brooks. I have been a union officer, and coached youth soccer and baseball. I teach ethics and writing at UCSC and in state prison near Soledad. I garden, bake bread and write poetry”. 

ERRETT CHURCH & PRESERVING HOPE.
Santa Cruz has seen many preservation battles lost to developers and greed, so this City Council decision is a great victory in preserving an historic landmark. Would this be another City Council display of who supports developers, money and to hell with community? Read on and see. I asked Sue Powell, one of the leaders of Friends of the Circle, to give us her view of the City Council’s action. She wrote… “Update on Community Efforts to Save the Circle Church On Tuesday, December 10, the Santa Cruz City Council voted 4-3 to direct staff to refer the developer-paid historic report for the 111 Errett Circle property to the City’s Historic Preservation Commission for review and to make a formal recommendation to the Council as to whether the site should be listed as a Local Historic Landmark. This is a major victory for community members that have been working for nearly a year to protect the Circle Church from demolition. Since last January, neighbors and friends have gathered over 1000 signatures and have addressed the City Council during Oral Communications many times about our concerns. We have also made presentations to the Historic Preservation Commission, and listened to Commissioners state that they wanted to review the developers’ consultant historic report at a public meeting. They are interested in the historic significance of the site and want to advise the City Council about the adequacy of the historic report. In response to community and HPC concerns, Councilmembers Chris Krohn, Drew Glover, and Sandy Brown requested that an item be placed on the City Council Agenda to refer the issue to the HPC. They submitted an Agenda Report to the Mayor, and the item was placed on the Agenda for December 10. Speakers in favor of the Agenda item included representatives from Friends of the Circles, Karolyn Ronzano and Jennifer Smith from Circles Women’s Coalition, Candace Brown from Save Santa Cruz, and Bruce Thomas from Dufour Neighbors. Santa Cruz City Council Members Chris Krohn, Drew Glover, Sandy Brown, and Justin Cummings voted in favor of the item. 

We expect that the item will be on the Agenda for the Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, January 15.”

December 23rd 2019

Let History Be a Guide

The current UCSC Graduate Students’ strike is a demand for a significant increase in pay for graduate students who work as Teaching Assistants (TA’s) for professors of undergraduate classes. The basis for their demand is that rents in Santa Cruz, whether on or off campus, have risen faster than have annual cost of living increases. Graduate students are quoted as saying they pay over 75% of their monthly paycheck in rent. This is not news in Santa Cruz. What is news is that graduate students are striking to pressure the UCSC administration to act to remedy the situation.

While such a strike is news it is not new. I helped organize a successful strike over rents at UCSC in 1978. It might encourage the current strikers to hear that story.

When we first moved into Family Student Housing (FSH) at UCSC in 1976 (the same housing complex the Administration wants to now bulldoze and build anew, albeit with fewer units, on the East Meadow) the monthly rent was $110. That is not a typo. That was the typical rent at the time for a two- bedroom apartment or house in town as well as on campus. Many rented for less. If I remember correctly, the monthly pay for a TA working 20 hours a week was about $800: a one to seven ratio of rents to paycheck.

Today, the rent for the same 2 bedroom apartment at FSH is $1,767 and the monthly pay for a graduate student working 20 hours a week as a TA is $2,364: a one to one and a third ratio of rents to paycheck. The imbalance is self-evident.

In 1977, the administration proposed raising the FSH rents from $110 a month to $145. We were stunned! Word spread quickly among the residents of the 199 apartments at FSH. We were a fairly tight community and some of us were activists. We had organized and raised funds to build a playground for the children of FSH and many of us belonged to radical groups of the time. We were not about to take a rent increase lying down.

A core group met and after much discussion (decision by consensus was the norm at the time) we decided to assess if the majority of residents would be willing to withhold rents as a protest. They were. Over 90 per cent agreed to put their monthly rent into a collective bank account and withhold paying UCSC until our demand for no rent increase was met. (We also demanded to take over the budget for FSH, which was met and proved to be far more difficult in practice but that’s another story.)

After delivering news of our rent strike to the administration, we asked for a meeting with Chancellor Robert Sinsheimer. Since many of us were spouses of graduate students and with young children, it was decided that a small group with toddlers in tow might illuminate for the Chancellor that our concerns were real.

We decided on an approach that was valid and persuasive: that UCSC was no different from a factory town in that it controlled both wages and housing costs. Given that analogy, if UCSC wanted to raise rents it should also raise wages. Whether this was a convincing argument or whether the Chancellor was eager to usher us and the kids out or both, his decision was that there would be no rent increase for FSH. And most importantly, that FSH would be taken out of the formula whereby new campus housing cost debts were (and are) spread across all current students, the major driver of rent increases on campus and by extension off-campus and an inevitable result of UCSC growth.

Clearly rents have risen at FSH since that time and institutional memory has erased our successful strike. However I believe FSH is still exempt from the new housing debt formula and $1,767 a month for a 2- bedroom apartment is low by current Santa Cruz and UCSC standards. That is not the point. The only relevant point is the rent to pay ratio and by that metric, a significant pay increase for TA’s is more than warranted.

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Correcting the record: I ended last week’s column with a paragraph on the Sierra Club’s ballot for election to the local Executive Committee. I critiqued a flyer being circulated and passed out at a Sierra Club event, which proclaimed the three male candidates as the only ones serious about the climate crisis and by inference, demeaning the two female incumbents. This was not fair. My mistake was assuming the male candidates were distributing the flyer at the event when in fact it was their supporters from FORT (Friends Of the Rail Trail) who were the distributors. That one of the male candidates endorsed the flyer may have led me to make an incorrect assumption. My other mistake was assuming this objectionable flyer was also the campaign mailer the slate of three male candidates sent to all members. The mailer, which arrived after my writing the piece, is not the flyer and is not objectionable. I apologize for these mistakes.

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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December 23

LAST COLUMN OF THE YEAR.
There is so much to be thankful for my friends. My family, a roof over our head, a great community to live in, and of course great people active in the political life of this town. Yes, getting beyond the recall and all that innuendo surrounding it is something, but it pales in comparison to all of the wonderful community members who have stepped up these past months and continue to support the Brand New City Council majority, which took two elections to create. And of course, y’all know it will take winning two more elections–2020 and 2022–to maintain the majority and create some real balance in advocating for the needs of this community. When I write balance, I mean bringing the issues of renters, students, neighborhoods, and local business owners to city hall and implementing policies that support their needs and reflect a fair and transparent local government. Right now, our city seems locked in struggle over Santa Cruz values and who gets to live here. The question before us in the electoral arena is how is the city council going to ensure this is a community that is open, just, and caring, which are all values that made many of us want to live here in the first place.

Cola4All
There’s a minor revolution going on up on the UCSC Hill. Graduate students are on “grade strike” and asking everyone not to cross the “cyber” picket line. Graduate students, over 500, have signed onto a pledge not to turn in their final grades–they of course do a lot of the teaching at UCSC in case you are wondering–until they receive a cost of living increase. The university administration claims the grad union signed a contract and they need to abide by it. Grad students are affiliated with UAW Local 2865. When their current contract was first approved, over 80% of UCSC’s grad students voted no, simply because it costs so much more to live in Santa Cruz than say Riverside or Merced. They are calling this a “wildcat” strike and withholding their labor until a cost of living increase is approved by the UC Regents based in Oakland. The Cola4All Campaign being waged also includes university staff and that is a smart move on the part of grad students so as not to alienate all underpaid workers on campus. Gp here for more information about the strike.

Letter in Support of a COLA for All
The following is a letter of support that I wrote to graduate students and was also endorsed by Councilmember Sandy Brown and Mayor Justin Cummings last Tuesday, the deadline for submitting grades. That deadline came and went and grad students are still on strike as far as I am aware as BrattonOnline.com  goes to press.

Dear Graduate Students,

I bring you greetings and support from Mayor Justin Cummings and Councilmember Sandy Brown. All three of us have been graduate students, two of us here at UCSC, but being a graduate student now in Santa Cruz has never been more difficult. We acknowledge that, we support graduate students, and we support your campaign for a COLA4ALL!

In a recent letter to the campus community, EVC Kletzer wrote that the campus administration is “continuing to develop solutions…in the face of the severe housing crisis.”  It is critical that she share those “solutions” with us and the timeline for implementation. The problem we face is that there is not only a housing shortage in Santa Cruz, but there are also some landlords who are charging too much, including the University. The rent-burden solution for students has to begin with the University. Graduate students along with UCSC staff are facing an extreme rent-burden and the City Council stands ready to work with UCSC to make housing more affordable.

We—Mayor Justin Cummings and councilmembers Sandy Brown and Chris Krohn–believe it is critical that the UCSC administration sit down with graduate student representatives and begin mediating this crisis as soon as possible.  As we all said on the campaign trail, “not all housing is equal” and there is not a “housing” crisis in Santa Cruz, there is an AFFORDABLE housing crisis. We urge the administration to resolve this issue as soon as possible. 

Secondly, we need the UCSC administration to take a longer view and consider drastically lowering dorm fees. For example, an email just went out from the Summer Session office advertising dorm fees at HALF-off for summer session students. If you can do it for summer session students you can do it for all students. 

As city councilmembers, we stand with over 500 graduate students and 400 faculty members in demanding an immediate resolution to this matter. We support the COLA4ALL campaign.  As elected officials wanting to see the best outcome for all, we support a COLA increase and a speedy resolution to this matter. If you would like to call on the auspices of the Mayor and City Council we stand ready to assist in any mediation effort as the resolution to this issue moves forward.

Best,

Chris Krohn
Sandy Brown
Justin Cummings

No Recall Campaign Rolls
Thirty community members showed up last week to walk precincts, organize, make phone calls, and get the No Recall campaign off the ground. The past two weekends Santa Cruz4Bernie has been out canvassing and supporting Bernie Sanders for President, No Recall, Annrae Angel for Judge and Adam Scow for US Representative. It is comforting, consoling, and a real treat to be among active and passionate people who want to change the direction of their local and federal government. 

Here is some information about the No Recall Campaign:

We’ve been raising money, but the shortened timeline of this election makes it even more difficult to get the word out before February 3rd when vote by mail ballots go out, even though Election Day is March 3rd.

Please click here to donate

What are we spending money on?

  • Filing fees and ballot statement—$1650.
  • Two Mailings—$10-$15,000 each
  • Yard signs—$2000
  • Campaign walking pieces—$2000
  • Campaign Coordinator–$2000

As you can see, there is no fat in this budget. We’re hoping to do a couple more walks even though the holidays are upon us. There’s no other choice. You are welcome to join us.  You can sign up here

It would be great if you could go online now and send in a donation today, so we can get the NO RECALL message out to a wider audience. 

StopSantaCruzRecalls.org/donate/

Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way too, here’s the mailing address.

Checks can be made out to:

Committee to Stop the Recalls of Councilmembers Glover & Krohn
P.O. Box 839
Santa Cruz CA 95061

FPPC ID # 1419490

As we approach the New Year, let us reflect on the values Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez puts forward every day. I repeat her tweet from July 16:

Reminder of what people are calling the “radical, extreme-left agenda”:

  • Medicare for All
  • A Living Wage & Labor Rights
  • K-16 schooling, aka Public Colleges
  • 100% Renewable Energy
  • Fixing the pipes in Flint
  • Not Hurting Immigrants
  • Holding Wall Street Accountable 

Aren’t these Santa Cruz Values too?  

(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 ckrohn@cruzio.com

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December 23

TAXES, TAXES, TAXES
Yet another tax for Cabrillo College will be on our ballots in March, 2020.  Measure R would ask you to approve a third bond for Cabrillo College…before we even have the other two paid off.  This proposed $274 Million debt would last for 30 years…wow.  The existing budget allows only 0.37% for maintenance, yet the College claims this new bond is required for critical maintenance projects.   

It would spend $23 Million to buy land in Watsonville to build a new training center for law enforcement and firefighters.  Why expand in Watsonville when the Aptos Campus is available due to current and projected declining enrollment? 

Did you know that parts of Monterey and San Benito Counties are included in the Cabrillo College Assessment boundary?  However, I find it odd that Cabrillo College cannot provide me with an accurate map showing names of roads or boundary delineation.  I will most likely have to consult with the County Assessors.

How many more taxes and tax increases can the people be expected to burden when it is already a struggle  for many to survive?

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT HONORS RETIRING COUNSEL BOB BOSSO’S 50 YEARS 
The District Board presented Mr. Bob Bosso a resolution last week to honor his 50 years of legal expertise and defending the District’s legal interests.  That is a notable accomplishment.  Although I have not enjoyed the court room battles waged by Mr. Bosso against my legal demands that the District simply conduct full environmental analysis of the surface water transfer agreements with the City, and other major violations, I have come to appreciate that he is much better with connecting on a human level than the Best, Best & Krieger counsel who flies up from Riverside.  The District ratepayers have written him a monthly check for $8,000 for his services for a long time.  I wish Mr. Bosso well.  

The District has hired Best, Best & Krieger to take his place.  That firm now sends two attorneys who attend the Board meetings, driving from Walnut Creek. 

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT RATES WILL INCREASE AGAIN IN JANUARY, 2020
If you are a District ratepayer, watch out for yet another rate increase that will pop out on your February, 2020 bill.  This is the second of five years that you will pay a 9% increase for water, and even more than that if your household uses more than 5.99 units of water.  THIS IS HURTING FAMILIES AND IS UNFAIR.  At last week’s meeting, a couple of rate payers testified they have been careful to conserve water, but have multiple people living in the house.  They asked the Board to reconsider the rate increases and be fair. 

Later in the meeting, after the ratepayers had left, Chairman Bruce Daniels scoffed that people who are getting these big bills just use too much water.

Write the Board with your thoughts: Soquel Creek Water District Board bod@soquelcreekwater.org and copy Emma Olin emmao@soquelcreekwater.org  Ask for a written response…they never respond, but do ask.  Maybe the League of Special Districts who keeps handing out the Transparency Awards will take notice. 

WATER TRANSFER VOLUME THROTTLED BACK BUT EXPANDING TO SECOND SERVICE AREA IN MID-COUNTY
Engineer Director Taj Dufour told the Soquel Creek Water District that the water transfers have begun, but the initial transfer amount at the inter-tie connection linking the District’s system with the City’s was letting too much water in too quickly.  The City Water Dept. staff asked the District to throttle the transfer rate back a bit, but the plan is still to send the water to Service Areas 1 and 2, and allow the District’s wells to rest.  You can listen to this explanation beginning at minute 46:03 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDuMNOgYFuY&list=PLo9N9AsVOVvSoD4ukIIU2-1n-SpSLmwFt&index=1 

Write a letter to the Board to support this low-energy demanding regional water management project that will allow groundwater levels to rise naturally and not inject pharmaceuticals into our drinking water.

NOTICE OF APPEAL FILED

Last week, I filed the Notice of Appeal regarding Judge Schmal’s Order to Deny Petition for Writ of Mandate against Soquel Creek Water District for the un-necessary, expensive and environmentally-degrading project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage into the drinking water supply of the MidCounty area.  I also filed a Motion to strike the nearly $2,400 the District wants me to pay for costs that I think are not reasonable or necessary, and certainly not due them.  I am also filing a Motion to disqualify presiding Appellate Division Judge Tim Volkmann, former law partner of Judge Schmal.  The Motion to Strike Costs will be heard on February 7, 2020 by Judge Schmal.  The appeal for the Denial of the Writ will be heard at a future date under a new case #19AP00031 by the Appellate Division, a tribunal of three.

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

SIGNS UP FOR SUPERVISOR 
The yard signs for my campaign for Second District County Supervisor are in and look great!  Please contact me if you would like one or more.  Many thanks to all of you who wrote and asked for one in your yard.  Becky Steinbruner vote4beckysteinbruner@gmail.com  or phone 831-685-2915.

I AIM TO WORK HARD AS YOUR PUBLIC SERVANT AND VOICE OF REASON

My campaign website is under construction, but in a nutshell, here is why I am running for County Supervisor in the Second District.  Above all, I think people deserve a choice at the ballot box.  It is never a healthy situation for democracy when questionable elected representatives are unopposed.

  1. The people in the Second District deserve an elected representative who will respond to their concerns.  The incumbent usually does not answer e-mails or phone calls, unless you are someone who will help him climb his political ladder to higher places.  The rural residents in particular have suffered from lack of representation and responsive public service.  I will work hard to change that.
  2. County Fire and emergency response to the rural areas must be funded from Prop. 172 money that the County receives annually.  Last year, that was $18 million from this permanent statewide half-cent sales tax to help fund emergency response and public safety.  The County Board of Supervisors refuses to give any to fund County Fire protection.  Instead, the rural property owners are currently being asked for a hefty benefit assessment levy.  I feel that protecting the rural areas will also protect the urban interface areas because wildland fire can blow right into the urban areas if conditions are right.  All you have to do is look at what happened in the Santa Rosa and Chico areas during those conflagrations.  Protecting the rural areas also protects the natural beauty and habitats in the County, and also our watersheds. utilities and communications infrastructure that we all rely upon.  
  3. County road repairs are woefully behind schedule.  That needs to change. Storm repairs are just happening now on Eureka Canyon Road from damages in 2011.  Some of the 2016-17 winter repairs may not get funded because the work to get them ready for bid has taken so long, even though the County hired five outside engineering contractors for $25 million to expedite the work, so FEMA and the State Highway Administration may no longer fund the repairs.  I think the Dept. of Public Works needs to be held accountable, and to offer incentives to the staff who get things done efficiently and well.
  4. I would work to negotiate benefit reductions for top level management and apply the savings to the looming CalPERS unfunded benefit debt due to hit in 2020/2021.  County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios has warned the Board that the budget deficit could reach $9 million-$15 Million.
  5. The Grand Jury needs to have more teeth to actually work with the District Attorney to force actions that would remediate the problems brought forth by the investigations.  I would work to make that happen.
  6. I would work to re-establish the Building and Fire Code Appeals Board, which was abolished by the County Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello, and handed to the Board of Supervisors, who are not experts in the field. 
  7. I would reduce appeal fees in general for matters contested by the public.  Currently, one must pay $1200 to appeal a Zoning Administrative matter to the Planning Commission.  If the matter is to go before the Board of Supervisors, one must pay $1800.  The Board always refuses to even take jurisdiction over matters brought before them, in essence, rubber-stamping support for whatever has taken place against the appellant.  In my experience, the Board does not even read the materials presented to them, never asks questions, and just does not care.
  8. I would work to establish a staking and flagging ordinance in this county so that when a building permit is in the works, the applicant must put up flagging to show the dimensions of the proposed building.  Monterey County requires this, and I think we should, too, in order to let people know what is being proposed for their neighborhoods and not have to rely on plan drawings that are difficult to interpret.  This would help communities get involved earlier in the planning process for projects that would affect them.
  9. I would work hard to get funding for the pedestrian/ bicycle over passes in Aptos (Mar Vista)  and for the Pajaro Valley High School students to get built.  Both of these have been promised for nearly decades, but little action to move them forward.  The Mar Vista overpass should be closer to Cabrillo College and Mar Vista School for student safety.
  10. I would work to support building a trail along the rail corridor without disturbing the contaminated soils.  I support leaving the rail open as an option for public transportation, whether with a hydrogen fuel cell technology train, or electric carts, with a strong focus on linking the Watsonville residents with a cost-efficient and practical alternative to a bus system that is stuck in congested traffic and provides no service on holidays.
  11. I would like to consider the possibility of re-tooling the County General Plan, which is still in process of being updated, to include clusters of denser affordable housing along the rail corridor, to encourage and support possible rail uses in the future.
  12. I would work to require County building codes to include double plumbing and water recirculation features to reduce water use.  I would support rainwater catchment systems for landscape uses, and stormwater recharge features when soils support percolation rather than sending polluted water from streets and parking lots to local creeks.
  13. I would add a Youth in Government Commission, with representatives of local high schools and Cabrillo College serving as liaisons with the Board.
  14. I would work to establish the Mills Act in the County to provide owners of historically-significant properties to preserve and maintain them, rather than demolish them, and to receive tax reductions for doing so.
  15. I would work to amend the County Significant Tree Ordinance to protect the historic trees that are important in our communities and that help sequester carbon and provide habitat for wildlife.  I would work to re-forest County-owned areas, such as the monolith at 701 Ocean Street Government Building where all the mature trees were cut down mysteriously and there is no plan to replant them.
  16. I would allow free parking at the County Government Building for the public doing business.  I would work to build a secure parking structure for County staff who work in the court and judicial system and currently face physical threats when accessing the government buildings.
  17. I would hold regular public town hall meetings and constituent meetings at locations and hours that would encourage people to attend and participate in local government.   Despite many people asking for a public town hall meeting regarding the Aptos Village Traffic Improvement Project, the incumbent has refused to hold any such meeting.  Now, the Public Works Dept. has issued a call for bids on the $2.5 million project for the second traffic light at Aptos Creek Road and pave the way for the Aptos Village Project’s Phase 2 subdivision without any public input whatsoever.
  18. I would again allow members of the public to be able to pull items from the Board’s  Consent Agenda and place them on the Regular Agenda for better public discussion.  I would uphold the spirit of the Brown Act and make sure that people who address the Board at meetings are acknowledged and their concerns addressed /clarified.
  19. I would publish a monthly newsletter to keep constituents apprised of events and public hearings, with links to information.  I would try to establish a weekly radio program for call-in discussions and brain-storming solutions to local issues.
  20. I would be honored to work hard as a public servant, with no interest in climbing political ladders to higher places.  I would donate a significant portion of my salary every year to public charity and student scholarships.  I would recommend to the Board that all Supervisors take a pay reduction, but I realistically doubt that would ever fly.

YOU CAN SERVE, TOO
There are many commissions in the County government that need to have people who care and are willing to serve as a liaison between the public and make recommendations to the Board and staff.  Take a look at this long list of commissions, and consider  applying with your Supervisor for a position on one of them!

WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING.  THANK A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE WHO IS DOING A GOOD JOB. Cheers, and Season’s Greetings to All, Becky Steinbruner

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’s running again for Second District County Supervisor.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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December 22
#356 / When You Can’t Trust The U.S. Government


The Wall Street Journal is, I think, a “go-to” source of information for the business class. I don’t qualify in that category, but I read The Wall Street Journal, too. On Friday, November 29, 2019, The Journal ran an article titled, “Boeing’s Next Jet Faces Scrutiny.” I think that the article is, or should be, instructive for American business, which has celebrated, for the most part, the fact that the United States government is increasingly ready to accept business claims about product safety without independently verifying their veracity.

Take Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane as a prime example. The Federal Aviation Administration “delegated” safety checks of the airplane to the manufacturer, which sped the plane into service without additional pilot training, and with what turned out to be a massively defective software system that helped crash two of the planes, killing hundreds of people.

“My bad” Boeing has now admitted.

Well, it turns out that other nations have relied upon the integrity of the FAA, and have heretofore assumed that if the FAA has certified a plane as safe, then the plane is, in fact, safe. That reliance on the United States’ regulatory process has significantly benefitted Boeing.

No more!

If I were a business person in the United States, I would take a lesson from this recent article, and realize that when foreign nations can’t trust the United States government (which more and more, under the current administration, is removing or weakening regulatory reviews of all kinds) the end result, in a global economy, is not “good,” but “bad,” for American business.

I, for one, don’t trust Boeing, period. And, of course, I now don’t trust the FAA, either, having learned that the FAA thinks it is just fine to delegate its responsibilities to the corporations that the FAA is supposed to regulate. I guess I am now going to have to rely on foreign government airplane safety reviews, instead of safety reviews by our own government. And I don’t trust those other governments very much, either. Is the fact that the world can no longer trust the integrity of the United States government good for United States corporations?

I doubt it.

Just a thought for all those corporate types – and all their lobbyists, in every industry, seeking to weaken governmental regulatory reviews! 

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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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS.  Scroll below for yet another Sub Con and a peek way inside our driving forces. 

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Trump forsight and prediction ” 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

LISA JENSEN LINKS. . Lisa’s reviews are at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

CATS. Hard to believe that this insanity of a movie is from a book by T.S. Eliot. It’s even more difficult to acknowledge the amazing stage history of the musical. Judy Dench, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and dozens more stars wore whiskers, and danced and made fools of themselves, only for millions of dollars in salaries. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself refuses to talk about this flop. It got an 18 RT. As a play it has also been playing on stages around the world for 40 years!!! They spent $95 million dollars to make this movie. I wouldn’t see it if I were you. When D.B. and I saw it we were the only two people in the theatre!!!

A HIDDEN LIFE. If and that’s a big IF you are a Terrence Malick fan, you’ll love this masterpiece. Malick directed Paradise, Amazing Grace, The Tree of life, The Knight of Cups, The New World and other lengthy cinematic statements. Hidden Life is almost exactly 3 hours long. It’s totally beautiful, and about a family man who refuses to enter the German army during WWII. I tried to like it, but Malick takes so much screen time to get across his complex internal messages that I lose contact. I predict that future generations will “discover” Malick’s films, and give them the attention he’s not getting from us.

RICHARD JEWELL. Once again right wing conservative Clint Eastwood directs a film with his usual hidden political statements. This time it’s based on a true story about a security guard who discovers a bomb hidden in an Atlanta park in 1996. The FBI decides that the guard planted the bomb himself. Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Kathy Bates do super jobs in the totally exciting movie.  Eastwood twisted the story to have reporter Olivia Wilde swap sex for a tip from FBI guy Jon Hamm. It wasn’t true and folks are really upset that Eastwood made up this indignity. And it’s an exciting movie….go anyways. 96 audience score on RT. 73 RT from critics.

HONEY BOY. This is Shia LaBeouf’s movie. Not only does he star, but he wrote the screenplay and plays his own father’s role. It’s about LaBeouf’s life in show biz and the bad and good influence his dad had, and has, on him. Very few, if any, laughs — but a well done search into what fame and no fortune can do to you. Go for it!

DARK WATERS. You’ll never look at your Teflon or DuPont products the same way after seeing this fine film. Mark Ruffalo plays the real-life attorney who finally wins his case against DuPont, with the political and financial odds stacked 100% in favor of DuPont, the world’s largest chemical company. Just in case you want to stop supporting DuPont, stop using Kevlar, Styrofoam, Corian, Dow Corning, Great Stuff, Prima Green and many more names you can find on their website.

JOJO RABBIT. Centered on Nazi Germany, this is very rare political comedy with funny scenes. A little boy has Adolf Hitler as an invisible buddy. Scarlett Johansson plays the little boy’s mom, and does one of very finest acting jobs, ever. Hitler and the screwed up political/ military scene will make you think of Trump and our own screwed up political/ military scene. A wonderful and rare film, do not miss it!! 

PARASITE. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho outdid his other international screen successes with Parasite. Wikipedia calls it a dark comedy thriller and so do I. It’s winning awards everywhere and deserves them all. There’s brain surgery, murder, basement dwellers, numerous surprises, even some shocks and well worth your seeing it ASAP.

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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. .  I’m taking Christmas Eve (12/24) off from G’vine . New Years Eve (Dec. 31) has surprises as of this printing.. January 7 Kara Guzman and Stephen Baxter from Santa Cruz Local open the show. Then Tandy Beal and Jon Scoville talk about “Scoville Units”. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   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 bratton@cruzio.com 

If you survived Whamageddon (go ahead, google it), this is for you!

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. 

    “New Years Eve”

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” Benjamin Franklin 

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!” Aleister Crowley, 

“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough”. Mark Twain 


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
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