Blog Archives

October 7 – 13, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Imagine Santa Cruz, City council candidates, Felix Street development, State propositions, streamers and films. GREENSITE…Will be back next week. KROHN…Trump and Walter Reed, Council candidates, heart and soul of Santa Cruz, endorsements. STEINBRUNER…Mid County water supply, Soquel Creek management plan, Board Of Supes consent agenda, Safe drinking water? PATTON…Oculus and reality. EAGAN…evergreen Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”PANDEMIC”.  

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SANTA CRUZ’S SEA BEACH HOTEL. This glorious structure stood high atop the hills near our main beach. It was designed to draw those pesky tourists away from Carmel and Monterey. It didn’t work. It burned down in June of 1912.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

SANTA CRUZ MACKEREL FISHING.

PIER /WHARF FISHING IN SANTA CRUZ. 2020.

DATELINE October 5      

REIMAGINE SANTA CRUZ. This group of forward-thinking locals has produced a grand video that says it all about our City Council and the election. It lays out very clearly that Sandy Brown, Kayla Kumar, Kelsey Hill and Alicia Kuhl are the four candidates that will make the proper choices and work hard to keep our city on the right track. Watch it once or twice. Hear what Rick Longinotti and John Hall have to say. Go here… 

THE OTHER COUNCIL CANDIDATES. I wrote last week about Sonja Bruner and many of her Cynthia Mathews supporters. Take a few minutes to check out the websites of Elizabeth Conlan, Maria Cadenas, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Martine Watkins. You’ll see the same pro-growth, to-hell-with-renter’s names. You’ll also see the same pro Taj Library Garage names these are the Chamber of Commerce, Business Council candidates: our community can’t afford to support their way of thinking or voting.

FELIX STREET DEVELOPMENT, BACK AGAIN!! Neighbors and environmentally concerned citizens sent this urgent message last week…

Don’t let developers ram this down our throats. 

Currently over 2,400 + units are proposed (or already approved) in the City of Santa Cruz.  

Planning Department & City Council on a building spree that is not sustainable! 

During the August 25, 2020 City Council Public Hearing many of you made public statements to oppose the project. With a vote of 3 – 2 City Council members (thank you: Cummings, Brown & Beiers) voted to deny an amendment to the City General Plan – which in turn denies the project. 

More than 3,000 people have weighed in to oppose the plan to develop an additional 80 units to already existing 240 at Cypress Point Apartments. 

But, It’s NOT over! Another Public Hearing is scheduled for October 13, 2020.

We are questioning if this is even legal – a vote and action has already been taken – making it even more important for you to attend the meeting (time To Be Announced) on Tuesday Oct. 13 and speak again.

We need to write to the City Council again and let them know that we want the denial vote to stand.    

KEEP SANTA CRUZ DEMOCRATIC

– PLEASE WRITE TODAY –

In addition to above remember that Cynthia Mathews didn’t vote because she owns property in that area. Now we need to watch and see what the Council vote will be on October 13. Additionally ask those pro developer candidates where they stand on the Felix Street farce…let that be just a hint of what they would bring to our oft threatened environment.

STATE PROPOSITIONS. These tricky, often two-faced possible laws baffle me on a regular basis. The secret powers and monies behind them are rarely revealed. N. Wolfe and S. Zunes posted …. “I/we  much appreciate the work of FCLCA (Friends Committee on Legislation of California)    – they explain their reasoning for each one.

FCLCA is a nonpartisan, statewide public interest lobby founded by Quakers in 1952 to advocate for California state laws that are just, compassionate and respectful of the inherent worth of every person.

Prop 14 NO
Prop 15 YES
Prop 16 YES
Prop 17 YES
Prop 18 YES
Prop 19 NO
Prop 20 NO
Prop 21 YES
Prop 22 NO
Prop 23 NO
Prop 24 NO
Prop 25 YES

Over the many decades of voting I can’t recall ever deviating from the Friends committee…so there we are!!!

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I still haven’t been to a movie theatre. The  reviews of current films read poorly, and dealing with the seating, lines, and the improving quality of what’s online hardly makes it seem worthwhile

THE GLORIAS. This bio-pic of Gloria Steinem is a good one. Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander and two more women/girls play her, in this near dreamlike history of the women’s movement and her part in it. Julie Taymor directed, and portrays Gloria as her real mini-skirt, long nails gorgeous self. Timothy Hutton is in it too, but he shouldn’t have been. It has much fantasy, dreams, animation and oddly-placed moves that obscure the important view of women’s equality fights that Steinman was an integral part of. Bette Midler plays Bella Abzug. Watch it, and don’t snicker at the oddball parts

EVIL. The ongoing battle between church and the devil is the point here. A young woman chases ghosts and demons in her dreams, as she tries to outwit her dream like killer fears. Better than average and might even get more serious as the series develops.

EMILY IN PARIS. Lily Collins is Emily. Emily is from Chicago and is sent to Paris as a company rep. The Paris group doesn’t like her and Emily has a rough time adjusting to France. Cute, clever, time consuming, charming, and I imagine the series will be the same.

TEHRAN. It has a 93 on Rotten Tomatoes!! An international spy killer-thriller series. It mixes Iran, Tehran, Jordan, Israel’s internal wars with a young woman’s attempt to steal government high tech secrets. Complex, well acted, and if you can keep up with identities, you can continue forgetting about movie theatres.

FREAKS.  Definitely NOT the classic Tod Browning black and white genuine carnival freaks backstage lives. This new film (2018) is a silly science fiction teenage adventure about a 17 year old girl who has superhuman powers. She searches for her mom, and runs into lots of trouble. Not a great film by any means…but it might take your mind away from the here and now. 


Here’s last week’s visions and beyond 

THE ARTISTS WIFE. Bruce Dern and Lena Olin take on the heavy lead roles in this painfully, near true story of how parts of the Dolby Sound family dealt with the dementia and Alzheimers of old man Ray Dolby. If you’ve ever had to deal with these age old afflictions you know how deep the pain goes. 

CRIMINAL. This is an unusual series that consists of four different story lines on four different websites. There’s Criminal: United Kingdom, Criminal: Germany, Criminal: Spain and Criminal: France. All episodes were filmed in Spain and center on criminals each being questioned and interviewed in exactly the same interrogating room with a very important two-way mirror separating them from the cops and legal team. I’ve watched almost all of the four series, they are clever, well acted, puzzling in a good way and well worth your time.

ENOLA HOLMES. From a series of new books this is a fable about Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes little sister Enola. Enola spelled backwards is of course Alone. Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola and is super, couldn’t be better. It’s light clever, mildly absorbing and if you’ve nothing else going on….go for it.

THE INVISIBLE MAN. This got an amazing 91 on Rotten Tomatoes and I must admit I’m still remembering the tension, the scares, and surprising talents of Elisabeth Moss in the lead. She’s the ex-girlfriend of an optical genius who invented an invisible suit. It sort of looks like a wetsuit with knobs. So basically, he haunts her. The police don’t believe her so she takes matters into her own hands and fights him, wherever he is supposed to be. It’ll take your mind off all the stuff that’s haunting you nowadays, watch it.

THE VOW. 82 ON Rotten Tomatoes is just about what I’d give this documentary. NXIVM is the name of a self awareness, mindfulness group. It has masters and slaves and even branding women members in private places. It’s a documentary but not your average documentary. If you’ve ever belonged to or have thought about joining one like maybe Scientology don’t miss this partial opening of their secret doors.

LAUNDROMAT. How could a movie directed by Stephen Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas be so bad? Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 41! The plot focus is on tax evasion, off shore investments, insurance rip offs, and is way too complex and silly at the same time.

UTOPIA. A big confession here…I turned this on off after about 12 minutes. It’s a teen age space comics attempt at comedy. Poorly acted, no name stars, maybe funny for a nine year old but any nine year olds I’ve ever known

CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT. We’ve never heard much about this 1986 NASA shuttle flight disaster. This is a  four part documentary with J.J. Abrams doing the producing. The NASA flight was done for much needed social approval and a brilliant, pretty, school teacher was included among the astronauts. The Challenger blew up in less than two minutes after it was launched and all the crew perished. The film shows NASA’s faults, details all the worlds  reactions and will teach you some necessary features involved in our space programs.

RATCHED. Named and promoted as a back story to the famed Nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher in Jack Nicolson’s and Ken Kesey’s  “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” book.For some reason the hospital is changed from a military re hab center in Menlo Park where Kesey did time to a spacious retreat in Lucia, which is near Big Sur. Judy Davis, Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon and believe it or not, Sharon Stone are in it. It’s a gruesome movie with such scenes as a doctor hammering an ice pick into a patient’s eye or being given a severed head as a present. The lesbian sub plot is very insensitive, so is the sodomy story…don’t bother.

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME. This is a Netflix thriller set in the town of Knockemstiff, Ohio (a real place). Robert Pattinson (of Twilight fame) plays a knockabout country minister who does bad things to good people. Tom Holland and Bill Skarsgard, and Mia Wasikowska do fine jobs of acting but the plot is predictable, stodgy, and adds nothing to cinema history 

ALIVE. This Korean zombie thriller has absolutely nothing new, exciting or creative in it. People become Zombies by catching a virus (duh!!!). They act and look and stagger like every zombie we’ve ever seen on screen. They bleed a lot and smear the blood on walls, windows, everywhere. A sweet young girl is found by a nice young boy across the huge patio in their apartment building. You know the rest, trust me. 

COAST ELITES is HBO’s masterful so called comedy that centers on our very present trials and tribulations caused by Trump, fires, and solitary confinement in our own homes. Bette Midler starts the series of 5 monologues. It’s new, innovative and immensely thought producing. Watch it, think about it. 

THE SOCIAL DILEMMA. This one hour and 20 minute documentary a Netflix original is so important, good, and timely. It focuses on the control the internet has over us now and the inevitable growth it will take as time goes by. The control goes much deeper than your searching for a toaster on Amazon and seeing toasters pop up on the next 20 screens you open. It’s about how Facebook, Twitter, Google, You Tube and many more. Are controlling how long we watch and how often we click on any site, then selling the data from our views to advertisers. They work hard to change our groups of friends to bring people with similar views together politically, religiously and change our lives in the process. My notes while watching say things like…the future an Utopia or oblivion,  causing a civil war, ruining a global economy, prioritizing what keeps us on our screen, election advertising, existential threat, can’t agree on what is truth, assault on democracy and on and on. Do see this documentary and think about it and us and yourself. … 

RAKE. I’m still enthralled with watching RAKE. It’s one of the most consistent brilliant funny, curious, serious, series I’ve ever seen. It’s a Netflix feature from Australia back in 2010. This week Netflix introduced Charlie Kaufmann’s newest movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”. You need warnings about Kaufmann’s films. Remember “Being John Malkovich”, “Synecdoche, New York” and especially “Eternal Sunshine of the Eternal Mind”. “I’m Thinking” is one of his impressionistic, dreamlike. Psychological adventure voyages. It’ll stay with you for days after

AWAY starring Hillary Swank on HBO. Is a series of Hollywood tripe at its corniest about five very mismatched astronauts on their way to Mars from the moon. The first episode is taut at times when they do some space walking outside their space ship but it’s downhill from there. 

Every Friday morning on KZSC (88.1 fm or live online at KZSC.org) from 8:10 am-8:20 am or thereabouts I present my “B Movie Bratton” segment of short critiques (not reviews) of what’s on our screens of any size. Dangerous Dan Orange hosts the rest of the Bushwhackers B. Club. Tune in this Friday and listen to my critiques 

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October 5

Gillian will be back next week.

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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October 5

“Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.” (Rick speaking to Ilsa in Casablanca)

ON MEANING AND MEANINGLESSNESS.
By most standards, the Cuban missile crisis, Nixon and Watergate, and 9/11 were public affairs touch points in modern political intrigue and catastrophe. By those standards, we have entered into an even more disturbing era with Trump and a daily earth-shattering, near-tragic vignette, often with theatrical overtones. But sometimes real people die like former presidential candidate Herman Cain who passed away after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa, OKLA., while others get infected, as dozens of Trump aids and Secret Service people now pass their days in quarantine. This all begs the question, how many times can we do a double-take during the 24-hour news cycle? How many times can you be startled, baffled, or mystified? How many times can you scrunch up your face and yell, “WTF,” at the TV or computer screen? It is now appearing that the chaos Trump engenders is all part of his plan to remain President. The latest scenes from the Trumpian dystopic reality completely fit his four-year pattern of table-turning on the most vulnerable Americans. His tax-payer financed ride to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center recently, and then two days later he leaves the hospital to limousine past a few cheering supporters waiting outside the hospital grounds is just part of a bad, and dangerous, movie script. How do you spell b-a-f-f-l-i-n-g?

Low-Key City Council Election Campaigns
Now turning from that Trump “crazy world” to our community’s “hill of beans.”Santa Cruz elections are usually a hot-bed of candidate public speaking, door-to-door campaigning, street corner flyer-ing, and campus dorm-storms, but not this year. Covid-19 has upended almost every aspect of our public life. In fact, up until now this has been a rather tepid political campaign season, but by the looks of the biannual yard sign wars, the current Santa Cruz city council campaign is more polarized than any other in recent memory. There are two distinct candidate trios and I have not yet seen any mix ‘n match front lawn sign configurations as in years past. In this unprecedented of years–pandemic, racial justice reckoning, economic melt-down, Trump nastiness–there are nine women candidates all under 50 years-old running for city council. That is also without precedent. There is an either/or atmosphere in town too…SandyBrown-Kelsey Hill-Kayla Kumar vs. BrunnerW**t***s-Kalantari-Johnson.There are four newcomers and two political veterans. If you see any other mix, please let me know, I haven’t. These slates are hard-core. It is the upper Westside real estate, developer, and Take-Backer interests vs. the renter, working-class, environmentalist, Save Santa Cruz big tent progressives. The fight is on.

The Battle is on for the Heart and Soul of this Town
What will Santa Cruz become over the next decade? Silicon Beach, or a thriving village that puts climate and racial justice at the forefront in developing our post-coronavirus economy? Without the students on campus voting as a solid progressive block, it appears that the election is for the real estate conglomerate-types to lose. The ball’s in their court, plain and simple. The REAL progressives will have to pull an election rabbit out of the pandemic hat, and it’s only possible if we vote in numbers that represent our presence here in Surf City. Just like Democrats and progressives nationally, there are simply more students, renters, and working people, than there are of them–realtors, boardwalk owners, and out of town developers. Voting began this week and continues every day until November 3rd. So, get out and VOTE.

A Clear and Present Dangerous Candidate Contrast
Perhaps there has also never been such contrasting endorsements, labor vs. real estate, developer vs. the environment, and CA Apartment Association vs. renters–as there is in the present version of this made by Zoom election known as the Santa Cruz Political Struggle. Just look at who’s endorsed each side, then you decide.

Brown, Hill, and Kumar are endorsed by:

  • SC4Bernie
  • Monterey Central Labor Council
  • UCSC College Democrats
  • Sierra Club
  • Campaign for Sensible Transportation
  • Democratic Socialists of America, SC chapter
  • People’s Democratic Club
  • National Union of Healthcare Workers
  • SEIU 521
  • Mayor Justin Cummings
  • Former Mayors: Jane Weed-Pomerantz, Tim Fitzmaurice, Katherine Beiers, Bruce Van Allen, Chris Krohn, and Celia Scott

Brunner, W*t***s, and Kalantari-Johnson Slate. 

Okay, and here are those who are supporting the candidates representing the owning-class of Santa Cruz:

  • Santa Cruz Together (reactionary astro-turf group that spent over $200k on the recall)
  • Santa Cruz United (step child of SC Together and SC “Forward,” real estate$$$)
  • POA, Police Officer’s Association
  • LOBA, Locally-owned Business Alliance
  • Real Estaters including: Plumlee, Ow, Karon Properties, Cook, Renshaw, et al (they want “their” city back!)
  • Bad “Behind-the-Scenes” Political Actor including: Singleton, Brereton, Renshaw, Reyes, Polhamus, Karon, Dann, they’re all supporting the Brunner, W*t***s, and Kalantari-Johnson slate

Follow the Money…If these lists of supporters for each side aren’t enough, go to the candidate web sites and see 1) who donated, and 2) how many donors live outside of Santa Cruz. Similar to our national scene, local politics is a rather polarized affair and in Santa Cruz those lines of division are pretty clearly the haves vs. everyone else.

The Fourth Candidate
Santa Cruz city voters have FOUR votes for city council. So, who should my fourth vote be? Of the remainder candidates, there’s also a trio of also-rans. In the almighty sign wars, Alicia Kuhl appears to be ahead of both Maria Cadenas and Elizabeth Conlan. But I would not vote for Kuhl just because of that. She is experienced and knowledgeable on issues of housing, houselessness, the environment, and lived experience. While both Conlan and Cadenas are YIMBY-ites (Yes in My Backyard, code for Yes, More$ in the Developers Bank Account), Kuhl fights for housing the most vulnerable. I have been hearing YIMBY’s all-housing-is-equal argument for a few years now, when in fact Santa Cruz does NOT need to build any more market-rate housing for years to come. We need only HUD affordable housing for those living here now, those making less than $70.000 a year. Even with a mandate on developers to include 20% “affordable” units in each development, it still means there will be 80% sky-high unaffordable in the rest of the project. The poor Yimbys who rent become public relations spokespeople for the Swenson-Ley-Devcon development slot machine now looking to ATM-ize our community. By the way, Kuhl has been endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, so she also has real bona fides in the area of greening Santa Cruz with respect to the environment and transportation. Vote Brown-Hill-Kumar-Kuhl for Santa Cruz city council!

“To voters in Michigan, and all across this country: Yes. Your vote matters. In fact, it can be decisive in determining the future of our entire country. Please vote.” (Oct. 5)
(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 to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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October 5

IS THERE REALLY A CRITICAL OVERDRAFT EMERGENCY IN THE MIDCOUNTY WATER SUPPLY?
If there is a groundwater overdraft problem, why hasn’t the County declared an emergency, as Soquel Creek Water District did in 2014?  Maybe there isn’t a critical overdraft emergency.  What if the determination set in the 1980’s by the State, never really supported by scientific analysis, was made to curb growth?  Maybe Soquel Creek Water District wants to keep that “sky-is-falling” mantra, to enable them to rake in higher fees and qualify for grants.  A recent Letter to the Editor in the Sentinel echoed the questions of many in the community: if there is a groundwater overdraft problem, why does Soquel Creek Water District continue to sell new service connections for development projects? (see Letter | Water users added to burdened water system

On the same day, the Sentinel featured a Guest Commentary by Ron Duncan, General Manager for Soquel Creek Water District, responding to that letter,  in which he stated:

“The District is working diligently to address the overdrafting of our groundwater supply and the resulting seawater contamination through our many water conservation programs and our Pure Water Soquel groundwater replenishment project. It is important to note that recent development has not caused the overdraft (created in the 1980s) but could exacerbate it.”

Guest Commentary | Pure Water Soquel addresses water woes

Ron Duncan went on to praise the Water Demand Offset program, but did not divulge that after the District declared the “Groundwater Emergency” in 2014,  the Board approved increasing the Water Demand Offset fees for new hook ups from $18,000/anticipated Acre Foot demand to a whopping $55,000/Acre Foot.  He did not divulge that last year, the Board approved a new smoke-and-mirrors calculation that by installing Smart Meters everywhere, the District could claim unverified water savings of 176 Acre Feet/year, and thereby opened the door to sell even more new hook-ups without any real measurable water reduction.

Hmmmm….

Well, is there really a critical overdraft problem?  What is the basis for that State determination, known a Bulletin 118?  I have been asking that question for a long time, and getting no answers, not even from a Public Records Act request of the State Department of Water Resources, the agency making the determinations.  A hydrologist for Montgomery & Associates mentioned at a MidCounty Groundwater Agency meeting that “the State just accepted what Soquel Creek Water District said was the status.”  

That got me digging.  I found the answer here:

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT AND CENTRAL WATER DISTRICT GROUNDWATER BASIN MANAGEMENT PLAN 2007 

page 14 of Report states:

“Bulletin 118 (DWR, 1975) defined a basin called the Santa Cruz Purisima Formation Highlands which included the area overlying the aquifers from north and east of Santa Cruz to a boundary with the Pajaro Valley as well as a separate basin named Soquel Valley. The 1980 update of Bulletin 118 (DWR, 1980) identified the Santa Cruz-Pajaro Basin, which included both the Sa itnta Cruz Purisima Formation Highlands and Soquel Valley, and was classified as subject to critical conditions of overdraft. This finding, according to Bulletin 118-80, was “at the request of the City of Santa Cruz and a Supervisor of Santa Cruz County”. 

DWR revised Bulletin 118-80 again in 1992 and better defined the boundaries for Soquel Valley, Santa Cruz Purisima Formation Highlands and the Pajaro Valley Basins. It also cited that the Soquel-Aptos area was not subject to critical conditions of overdraft. This finding was primarily based on the Groundwater Management Program and Monitoring that was implemented by SqCWD in 1981. Bulletin 118 was most recently updated in 2003 and includes a written report and supplemental material consisting of individual hydrogeologic descriptions, maps, and GIS compatible data files of each delineated groundwater basin in California. Bulletin 118 (2003), however, still does not clearly and accurately describe the hydrogeologic conditions of the Soquel-Aptos area.” 

[Steinbruner Editorial note: You had better quickly download this Report because it will likely disappear from the District website soon…see further discussion about alteration of website materials]

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

WATSONVILLE WETLAND CURBSIDE NATIVE PLANT SALE

Well, there is nothing like working in your garden to help boost one’s spirits and improve health of all.  Go check out this wonderful plant sale, and support the Watsonville Wetlands stewards at Pajaro Valley High School.

Curbside Native Plant Sale

WRITE ONE (OR TWO) LETTER(S).  MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK BY JUST DOING SOMETHING. 

Cheers, Becky Steinbruner 685-2915….  I welcome your discussion.

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 KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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October 1, 2020
#275 / Better Than Real?

The Wall Street Journal says that Facebook has “a virtual reality hit on its hands.” At least, that is what a recent article is prognosticating in one of its “comments on capitalism,” as I tend to think of the articles that appear in The Journal

Pictured above is a Star Wars fan using an Oculus headset. To be clear, Oculus does not market a light saber, just the headset. According to The Journal, that may be enough. The most recent Journal article hyping the Oculus headset ran on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. It includes a seven-minute video demonstration by a Journal columnist Providing you can slip past the paywall (difficult for me to tell, since I subscribe), you, too, can live in virtual reality. Just click to leave real life behind!

Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. As we all know, Facebook markets a social media platform, defined by software. Oculus markets a piece of physical equipment, the kind of Virtual Reality (VR) headset pictured above.

Why did Facebook buy Oculus? For six years, market analysts have been wondering. The Journal now provides the answer. The latest edition of the Oculus headset is no longer “tethered,” meaning that the headset no longer needs to be attached by a wire to some piece of computing equipment as you use it. That will make a big difference in the appeal of these headsets, says The Wall Street Journal. Facebook/Oculus is going to sell a lot of headsets!

I don’t prognosticate the markets, but I do think that the “untethered” version of a VR headset now does point to something that I am afraid may be transformative – and not in a good way. As we know, from either personal experience of from reading about it, many Facebook users start defining their life and their “friendship” relationships by what happens on Facebook, rather than by what happens IRL (“in real life”). Commentators are rightly concerned about this phenomenon, which is helping to transform our shared social and political world into an individual and private “social media” experience. Reality is being transformed into a “mediated” version of what we used to experience directly, with our physical senses. 

Soon, looking ahead, we will be able truly to “live” outside what we now know as IRL, using the Oculus headset as a replacement for our human eyes. We will walk around looking like bugs. But the eyes of bugs are a mechanism by which insects can perceive the “real” world. Using a VR headset, we humans will be “improving” reality, by mediating what our eyes might otherwise see IRL to a version of reality mediated by Facebook/Oculus.

I, personally, think that the most serious challenge facing us, as human beings, is the challenge of understanding our true place in the “real world.” The World of Nature preexists our existence and activity, and we are, ultimately, completely dependent on the World of Nature. 

Despite this fact, we humans do also inhabit a world that we create for ourselves, a “Human World,” a world that, in the end, is created by what I call “politics.” 

When we start “living” in a world that no longer allows us to experience the World of Nature directly, when we see everything through mediated, digital “eyes” that enhance and transform what is “real” into what we “really” want to see, I think we’re gone.

Yosemite, or a “perfect picture” of Yosemite: which is better? 

I think we need to live IRL/100% – which means we need an accurate understanding of what is happening in the World of Nature, and an understanding of the immense possibilities we can create in our Human World. Headset life attempts to replace that “Natural World” part of reality with a completely human-generated substitute. Take care!

You don’t need to spend $400 and buy a VR headset to experience the reality of both of the two different “worlds” that we simultaneously inhabit. I want to suggest to you that the World of Nature, and our political and social reality, are actually going to be “better,” and better for us, when we experience them directly, rather than through our Facebook/Oculus headsets!

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. 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

    “PANDEMIC”

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”
~Oscar Wilde

“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”
~Pablo Picasso

“To lose patience is to lose the battle.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Maya Angelou 


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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4 Key takeaways from the vice presidential debate, by Robert Reich. Please vote. I’m not a citizen, so I can’t.

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