BRATTON… Measure O…views on, another local movie star, GREENSITE…on the 203O Climate Action Plan. KROHN…will be back next week. STEINBRUNER…County sheriff’s new globe, county septic system costs, county strategic plans, rural living threatened, recycled sewage water. Aptos Creek road detoured. HAYES… Earth management without data. PATTON…Here come the lies. MATLOCK…Coyote inveiglement and a home run in the vineyard. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS’ PICK OF THE WEEK…Henry’s ugly wife… QUOTES…”Clouds”
DATELINE September 19
MEASURE O, VIEWS ON. First of all, in case you haven’t quite made up your mind, go here and you’ll see statements from Kathryn Beiers, Gary Patton, The Sierra Club, The Peoples Democratic Club, and more.
Contractor Lee Brokaw wrote an excellent letter to the Sentinel last week it said: “The greenest building is an existing one, remodeled to meet the desires of the owners. The Taj Garage debate hinges on values, money, and emotional manipulation.
As a contractor with 40 years’ experience, I offer a fact check for the library debate:
• Asbestos abatement, a routine in today’s construction, will occur at the existing library, regardless of remodeling or demolition.
• Asbestos abatement does not represent a large cost and is performed by an environmentally safe process.
The construction of the parking garage will devalue our environment:
• Excavation of 19,000 cubic yards of dirt for the garage, creates a giant hole.
• Keeping that hole dry for workers and the garage after, ground water will need to be pumped during construction and for the life of the building.
• 60,000 cubic yards of concrete, (conservative estimate), will be needed for construction, adding 24 million pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere.
“(1) The initiative presents a better plan for our downtown. (2)The initiative maintains the library in its historic location across the street from City Hall, and kitty corner from the Civic Center. (3) The initiative lets city officials know that they can’t take city money that voters intended to be used for one thing (renovations to our existing library) and use it, instead, for something else (a new parking garage, with other features added on, as needed, to generate the votes on the Council to let the bureaucrats forge ahead). It is OUR downtown. It is OUR future. Let’s vote YES to make that clear!”
Former County Supervisor
“Our library should be beautifully renovated, as we intended when we voted for Measure S. By remaining at its historic location near City Hall and the Civic Auditorium, it allows for possible future expansion. The current renovation layout prioritizes library functions, instead of the mixed-use project which designates space and funds toward a mezzanine lounge, with grand piano and art gallery.Our library should be beautifully renovated, as we intended when we voted for Measure S. By remaining at its historic location near City Hall and the Civic Auditorium, it allows for possible future expansion. The current renovation layout prioritizes library functions, instead of the mixed-use project which designates space and funds toward a mezzanine lounge, with grand piano and art gallery.”
Former Mayor & Retired Librarian
Do go to the website, ourdowntownourfuture.org, and educate yourself on the details of this very important measure!
ANOTHER LOCAL MOVIE STAR!! Last week I wrote about Adam Scott being our only locally born movie star. An avid reader corrected me to remember that Dash Pomerantz was also born here and is an active movie star. Dash was born to longtime friends Jane Weed Pomerantz and Ron Pomerantz. How could we forget that former Santa Cruz City Councilmember Jane actually nursed Dash while she was sitting at the council table!?! It caused great concern and also huge support.
I asked Ron about Dash… he wrote “Proudly, Dash is our son. He’s one bright and hardworking guy with fabulous values and politics. He’s a fine dad with a 1 year old: Frankie. Indeed Dash was born and raised in The Cruz, graduating from Santa Cruz High in 2003. He went to UCSD and graduated in 2007. Then off to LA to seek a career acting in TV and movies. His notable roles have been The Artist, Cold Case, and Castle. COVID severely rattled the industry. Dash recently landed a role in the TV show “Snowfall” as a cop. He will also do a 2 week shoot for a movie next month. Hopefully the breaks will keep coming”.
I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.
SEE HOW THEY RUN. (DEL MAR THEATRE).Sam Rockwell (from Daly City) created a fine British accent and leads this absolutely wonderful comedy thriller. Saoirse Ronan is his accompaniment in this excellent spinoff from the play by Agatha Christie “The Mousetrap” which is still the world’s longest running play. I haven’t laughed so much at a movie in many years. It’s clever, perfectly acted and just good fun.
THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL. (NETFLIX MOVIE). (5.9 IMDB). Set in Rome, Italy in 1975 this tragedy/almost documentary is based on a real happening. Some very rich private school boys play with death and exhibit very dark humor throughout the film. It all leads up to the final minutes of a horrific sex driven act. Absorbing, detailed, it’s slow at times and you’ll almost feel like some peeping tom but it’s difficult to stop watching.
THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST. (PBS 3 PART SERIES). Another Ken Burns masterpiece documentary. This time it uncovers the very embarrassing US history of immigration beginning with the Jews and leading all the way to January 6 and our present day immigrant issues. Hitler, FDR, Lindberg, Hollywood, Henry Ford, are all included and involved. It’s a part of our history and today’s politics that we never hear or talk about. Don’t miss it…it’s available at PBS.
GOLD. (HULU MOVIE) (5.4 IMDB). Zac Efron has never worn such tortured, hard bitten makeup in any movie. He plays one of two guys who accidently find a huge gold boulder in the Australian outback. How they work at trusting and betraying each other is the entire saga. It’s grim, dirty, vicious, and even boring about half way through. You will never guess the ending it’s a complete surprise and watching Zac Efron disintegrate becomes a habit for one and a half hours.
END OF THE ROAD. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (4.7 IMDB). Queen Latifah is the very serious mother who takes her kids from California and hopes to get them to Houston, Texas. On the way they encounter dangerous drug dealers and tons of money. The evil forces are led by a double dealing sheriff played by Beau Bridges (Lloyd Bridges son). Plenty of plot holes and not a very new plot but it does keep you glued just watching for the next hunk of violence.
UNDER HER CONTROL. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (4.8 IMDB). This Spanish thriller has a very domineering woman fashion director who controls and ruins the life of a beautiful and talented girl employee who trusts her. It reaches total melodrama status and has an ending that will make you re-think what motherhood is all about. Be very aware.
SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.
BAD SISTERS. (APPLE PRIME SERIES) (7.8 IMDB). There are five sisters and one of them has a husband who is simply terrible. This British series has laughs, much tension and flashbacks that tell a mysterious and drawn out plot by four of the sisters to eliminate the bad guy. It’s full of surprises, tension and after watching 2 of the 10 episodes I believe it’ll be well worth your time.
DEVIL IN OHIO. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.0 IMDB). Emily Deschanel leads the casting of this puzzling series dealing with the anti-Christ, nearly supernatural back story of a young girl who barely speaks during the first two episodes of this slow moving series. The girl was captive in a cult and the secrets she tries to communicate come very slowly. Well-acted but very slow moving.
LOVING ADULTS. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.4 IMDB). This Danish movie is a very deep dive into marriage and trust and secret sex. There is murder, crimes of passion and a genuine twist that will surprise you about half way through. It’s about how much do we put up with to save our relationships. Go for it, you’ll be mesmerized.
I CAME BY. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). The unforgettable star of this one is Hugh Bonneville the lead actor in Downton Abbey. He’s a powerful leader in London and his home is the target for two taggers who sneak in and paint slogans on the walls. George MacKay whose face you’ll remember is a bad guy tagger is perfect the role. Surprises, tension, cruelty, sadism all add up to a fine film to view. Many surprise and plot twists…don’t miss it.
EVERY LAST SECRET. (HULU MOVIE) (3.3 IMDB). This was Ray Liotta’s almost last movie and he does his usual fine but stylized acting. The plot centers on a 35 year old war veteran who’s suffering from PTSD and he gets very involved with a 17 year old girl who can’t stay away from him. She pursues him in spite of some obvious issues. The plot wanders and it’s difficult to follow especially when it gets into suicide and murder and mental health areas. Don’t expect too much.
TURLOUGH O’CAROLAN CELTIC MUSIC CONCERT.
Turlough O’Carolan was a contemporary of J.S. Bach, O’Carolan (1670-1738) was Ireland’s most famous harper. Though blinded by smallpox at age 18, a patron gave him a harp, a horse and a guide, and he supported himself for 50 years as an itinerant harpist, becoming the most famous of all Celtic composers. Many members of the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival will be performing. Linda Burman-Hall, Director, harpsichord, virginal. Shelley Phillips, harp, Baroque oboes, folk flutes. William Coulter, guitar, bodhran. Robin Petrie, hammered dulcimer Deby Benton Grosjean, traditional fiddle, Baroque violin. John Weed, fiddle and Barry Phillips, on ‘cello. The concert is FREE and will be at 3pm October 9 Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Hall. Here is where to to obtain free tickets
Whether the city of Santa Cruz’s Climate Action Plan 2030, approved and adopted by council at its meeting on September 13th is achievable, with the goal for the city to become carbon neutral by 2035, or is just a feel-good exercise remains to be seen. The 18- month process leading up to the presentation of the Plan to council was impressive in its investment of time and personnel. Under the direction of the city’s Sustainability and Climate Action Manager, Dr. Tiffany Wise-West, the process leading to the Plan involved 50 city staff, 10 interns, a consulting team and 12 equity providers.
I noted last week, the paucity of reference in the Plan to the care and preservation of the city’s remaining heritage trees. I meant to write that it is well understood that big trees inhale carbon dioxide (not carbon, pardon the error) and exhale oxygen, making their preservation a cost-efficient route towards carbon neutrality. Or at least that they should be highlighted along with transitioning to all electric power generation and getting people out of their cars, both more expensive and challenging to achieve. Not only do big trees barely rate a mention in the Plan, but carbon sequestration is not even quantified, according to the Climate Action Manager. That means we cannot track whether we are progressing or regressing in carbon sequestration between now and 2035. A regrettable omission, since 30 heritage trees a month (on average) are permitted to be cut down in the city. It would have been relatively easy to quantify carbon sequestration given that the city obtained a state grant to assess the % of urban tree canopy and that work has been completed. One wonders why this is a significant omission in the Plan.
The photo above, taken on Bay Street earlier this year, is a common fate for big trees in town. I never heard back from the city, the reason for the illegal cutting, but I can guess that it had to do with gentrification, since the cottage and the front yard have been spiffed up and the rest of the butchered tree in the photo long gone.
Much of the Climate Action Plan relies on untested assumptions. One, frequently cited by supporters of density and infill housing is that it will result in people not using cars. Council member Donna Meyers applauded the building of housing downtown, both market rate and affordable since it provides “a more walkable way of life and everything is there.” I hate to be skeptical, however, one can walk the length and breadth of downtown and certainly not find “everything” that newcomers who will rent the high- priced units expect in life. Whether the “affordable” units, most not being designed for families, will make a dent in the numbers of people driving from south county to work in service jobs in tourist Santa Cruz remains to be seen. As I’ve mentioned before, it has never been studied. Whether the rail trail, should it ever come to pass, will make a dent in car commuting numbers is also a guessing game. Given that equity and inclusion were centered in this process, and that 12 equity providers were involved, I was surprised to see under alternative transportation, that people were encouraged to “bike, walk, skateboard or scooter.” A bit of a challenge for some of our mobile elderly.
A centerpiece in the city’s aim to move towards conversion to electrification, besides automobiles, is the phasing out of all gas appliances in residential and commercial properties. That aroused questions and some concern both from the public and from councilmember Renee Golder. The city (and state) has already prohibited gas appliances in new construction which seems reasonable. Existing dwellings and commercial businesses are another story. The Climate Action Manager reassured that this will be a phased approach with incentivization, returning to council with a road map next January. I suggest if you have any gas appliances that you pay attention. As one member of the public cautioned, this may lead to rent increases if landlords are required to replace existing appliances. A red flag went up when the Climate Action Manager said that PG&E is on board for this conversion to electrification by not maintaining existing gas lines. Remember San Bruno?
One question from Councilmember Golder that did not get answered was whether we have the capacity to handle full conversion to electrification. Several speakers from the public pursued this issue saying that “we are not ready for prime time regarding all electric conversion.” That it is “wishful thinking” and “we don’t even have a reliable grid; that it is irresponsible to remove gas before we have an adequate electric grid.”
These are important questions and challenges. The fact that they are not discussed in the 2030 Climate Action Plan; the fact that big trees are largely forgotten; the fact that much of the goals rely on assumptions, suggests there is an agenda here that cries out for greater public scrutiny, despite all the supposed centering of equity and inclusion.
|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.
He’ll be back next week…
Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at email@example.com
Email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT IS THIS?
There are a couple of interesting and unusual local sights causing people to wonder about that are both connected with monitoring natural events. One is the glaringly large white globe now on top of the County Sheriff Center and Emergency Center on Soquel Avenue. This is a new monitoring system that, once calibrated, will shoot microwave beams of energy with a radius of 30 miles to monitor potential storms, and will connect data with other similar Bay Area systems to provide quicker, supposedly more accurate, storm data. The hope is to also include potential wildfire smoke columns in the data.
The X-Band radar equipment housed inside the large white fiberglass globe will spin very quickly. The installation weighs about a ton and is on the roof.
I wonder if the roof was re-enforced for that weight, and if the vibration the spinning radar mechanism will create will affect the integrity of the building and the comfort of the people who work inside? The County taxpayers have already had to fund expensive repairs of that building that included multiple structural repairs of cracking plaster, poorly-sealed windows that leaked, and drainage problems adversely affecting the foundation.
The County initially bought the building from Swenson Builders when construction was complete.
What’s that giant orb in Live Oak?
The facility is not, as some have playfully speculated on neighborhood social media sites such as Nextdoor, a public art project funded by traffic fines, the bottom ball of a snowman, the ball for an oversized game of pingpong, an outdoor shower ball or the potential canvas for a giant beach ball painting.
The second unusual sight is across the Bay in Marina where some observant folks wondered about a large array of antennas going up on the Fort Ord Natural Reserve.
When one of them asked about the purpose of the array, here was the answer:
“The installation that you see at the UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve is known as a Transportable Dynasonde System (TDS). The physicist who is
working on the research is from University of Colorado, Boulder. and selected the site in Marina because of its proximity and clear path to the ocean (and also because it’s hard to find places that let you put up a tower like that! But that’s our business as a reserve that supports research!).
Dr. Nick Zabotin develops remote sensing techniques for the ionosphere and studies of wave processes in the atmosphere. The 100 foot tower and delta antenna send pulses of varying frequencies every two minutes or so, and the dipole array receives reflected signal.
The scientific goal of this deployment is to study long-term correlation between the infragravity waves in the Pacific Ocean and the gravity waves in the thermosphere. North-East Pacific is considered a location of the strongest infragravity wave sources on the Earth and the data obtained in that region would provide a powerful argument for an important role the oceans play in generation of atmospheric gravity waves.
Another benefit from this mission obtains a dataset for studying connections between the ground-level infrasound (both ocean-produced microbaroms and man-made noise) and the ionospheric km-scale irregularities. There are no other Dynasonde-capable instruments on the west coast, so this is an important development for the research.
Dr. Zabotin has put together a webpage that shows readings from the system. The following page has the latest Dynasonde-style ionogram from TDS that is updated automatically
Using that page one can watch the current state of the ionosphere over California and of the system itself. Comparison of the ionogram date and time with the current date and time shown in the top right corner of the page allows one to judge about an operational state of the system. Usually the difference is just the few minutes taken for automated processing.
Dr. Zabotin monitors the transmissions remotely, but visits the reserve from time to time.
For now, the installation is scheduled to remain for 6 months, but there may be an extension in the works. It is definitely not permanent. As you can imagine: permitting, funding, and agreements to use university land like this are not always predictable.”
What is an “infragravity wave” and why study it?
“Infragravity waves are surface gravity waves with frequencies lower than the wind waves – consisting of both wind sea and swell – thus corresponding with the part of the wave spectrum lower than the frequencies directly generated by forcing through the wind.
Infragravity waves generated along the Pacific coast of North America have been observed to propagate transoceanically to Antarctica and there to impinge on the Ross Ice Shelf. Their frequencies more closely couple with the ice shelf natural frequencies and they produce a larger amplitude ice shelf movement than the normal ocean swell of gravity waves. Further, they are not damped by sea ice as normal ocean swell is. As a result, they flex floating ice shelves such as the Ross Ice Shelf; this flexure contributes significantly to the breakup on the ice shelf.”
NEW COUNTY SEPTIC SYSTEM ORDINANCE WOULD CAUSE 40% OF RURAL OWNERS TO INSTALL EXPENSIVE $50,000 – $80,000 SYSTEMS
Last Tuesday’s (9/13) County Board of Supervisors changed course a bit, due to outcry from local realtors, to reconsider their former approval of the new Septic System Ordinance. The matter was actually pulled from the Consent Agenda for public discussion, and followed Regular Agenda item #10.
At issue was the required point-of-sale inspection requirement to convert roughly 40% of the County’s rural properties to expensive alternative mound treatment systems. Supervisor Bruce McPherson admitted it will affect about 700 CZU Fire rebuild projects.
The other hardship the realtors presented was the very quick rollout date of January 1, 2023…just a few months away. They asked for a one-year delay to give all parties a chance to comply, pointing out that the new requirements would demand expert services that are just not readily available for the short timeframe the County had proposed.
That problem had been discussed at the previous Board meeting, but County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Underwood said that when the demand increased here for the experts, they would come (somehow) from elsewhere. The Supervisors did not question the likely financial hardship on such a desperate market at the mercy of a limited number of “experts”.
I pointed out the hardship this new Ordinance would impose on the CZU Fire Survivors, and asked that their rebuild applications be exempted and grandfathered-in to support their recovery. “NOPE”, said County Counsel, because the State would not agree.
The amended new Septic Ordinance, known as the Local Area Mitigation Plan (LAMP) will return to the Board in the near future. Contact the Supervisors with your thoughts:
Board of Supervisors email@example.com
SHOULD WE BE DOING THIS AT ALL?
Kudos to Supervisor Ryan Coonerty who had the courage to question the County Administrative Officer (CAO) Mr. Carlos Palacios’ effectiveness about the County Strategic Plan status update. Staff admitted that after four years of great efforts and expense collecting various data and holding many meetings with all County Dept. staff, PRIMO! has yielded nothing productive.
“Should we really be continuing this?” asked Supervisor Coonerty. Bravo. This is the sentiment I have heard expressed by County staff and the SEIU Shop Steward when speaking to the Board on various issues related to personnel. Some have boldly called it “a stupid waste of time.”
If you ask me, the “customer experience”, as is stated in reference to the public service aspect of the Strategic Plan work, has degraded. Mr. Palacios saw to it that members of the public who take time to participate in these 9am Tuesday Board meetings are barred from pulling Consent Agenda items for public discussion and questioning, and instead must beg a Supervisor to do so (which very rarely gets granted). The public comment time on all matters has been reduced by over 30%, and those who participate remotely are no longer able to send written comments on non-agenda issues during open communication during the meeting and have them be read or included in the record.
IS THE GOAL TO ELIMINATE RURAL RESIDENTS IN THE WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE?
Last Wednesday’s (9/14) County Planning Commission public hearing for the County General Plan Update and Draft Sustainability Plan was nearly day-long. There were a number of County CAO staff participating who weighed in to support the Plan in general.
Mr. Dave Reid, Director of the County’s Office of Response, Recovery & Resilience (OR3) said “this will regulate building and prevent people seeking cheaper housing in the wildland urban interface”. Well, there you have it…the County really wants to discourage people from living in the rural areas and is taking steps to regulate and discourage those who are. Rural living is becoming gentrified, via increased regulations that lead to required expensive actions that only the rich can afford to do.
The Planning Commission meeting went well into the afternoon, with Commissioners asking staff questions. I was very happy to hear Second District Commissioner (and County Supervisor Analyst) Ms. Allyson Violante ask such thoughtful and important questions. She obviously had taken time to read the documents and had many excellent questions that staff promised to “review and get back” to her with answers.
Maybe that happened later in the all-day meeting, but I could not stay in the Zoom, due to other commitments.
The push is on from staff to approve this massive document before it heads to the Board of Supervisors in November. I am glad to see Continued Public Hearings before the Planning Commission will occur this Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9:30am
Please review the material that interests you most and participate. These land use policy changes will drastically change what our County is like for decades to come. I am grateful the Planning staff for adding the virtual access information directly on the Commission agendas to encourage and support public participation.
What I want to know is why all the new Ultra-High Density zoning to promote 45 units/acre (maybe more!) would be located in Pleasure Point, not on a major transportation corridor like the rail line or Highway One???
BRANCIFORTE FIRE BOARD PRESSURED TO RE-EXAMINE SPENDING $50,000 FOR STUDY TO RAISE TAXES
Last Wednesday, Santa Cruz County LAFCO led a virtual public information workshop for Happy Valley residents to provide the status of the merger with Scotts Valley Fire District and to answer questions about the potentially very high new and additional tax to fund their fire station. None of the Fire District Directors was allowed to speak.
The following evening, Branciforte Fire District Board met and discussed the merger status, and were pressured to re-visit their previous decision not to spend $50,000 on a study that will most certainly lead to a weighted vote for a new additional tax for staffing. Amazingly, Board Chair Pat O’Connell would not allow public comment, even though asked to do so.
The matter will be on the October 20 virtual Board agenda. LAFCO is scheduling an in-person informational workshop tentatively on October 1.
If you or someone you know lives in the Branciforte Fire District area, please make sure they know about this important information. In my opinion, the Board should wait for the results of the LAFCO-funded study by AP Triton consultants of Countywide fire protection issues and merger feasibilities, due by the end of this year.
The demand by Scotts Valley Fire to make only the Branciforte Fire property owners pay to keep a station open that would be of mutual benefit to the entire region is wrong. This is just one more nail to drive out low and fixed income people from the rural areas.
COULD BRACKISH WELLS PROVIDE POTABLE WATER USING LESS ENERGY AND WITHOUT THE UNKNOWN CONTAMINANTS IN RECYCLED SEWAGE WATER?
The Soquel Creek Water District failed to consider many good alternatives to their budget-bloating PureWater Soquel Project that will inject treated sewage water into the pristine groundwater the MidCounty area residents rely upon for clean drinking water.
The Board feverishly made the rash decision based on a $50 million funding avenue available, made known to them after one of many expensive staff junkets to Washington, D.C, because competition was less intense.
As a result, the Board voted to streamline the Project, without benefit of much-needed environmental information or alternatives, such as potentially using reverse osmosis to treat brackish well water in the areas of the County where chloride levels may be high, such as Seascape and La Selva Beach.
Had they considered this, the construction and operational costs would be much lower, and with much less damage to the environment and, potentially to the public’s health associated with long-term unknown effects of unregulated contaminants in the sewage water-infused drinking water.
Although the State Water boards and Coastal Commission have made it extremely difficult to extract sea water directly, desalination of inland brackish well water offers a reasonable alternative because it eliminates the environmental marine damage, and costs much less energy to operate.
Further new developments in using graphene electrodes for treating brackish water is encouraging:
“Capacitive Deionisation (CDI) is a low energy process for brackish water desalination. A novel graphene electrode has been developed that increases salt removal efficiency. Improved electrode properties include high specific area, high electrical conductivity, electrochemical stability. and low scaling & fouling propensity.”
MAJOR NIGHT TIME WORK ON SOQUEL DRIVE IN APTOS WILL CLOSE THE ROAD
Beginning this Wednesday (9/21), PG&E will close Soquel Drive in the 9000 block between 10pm and 6am to de-activate a natural gas station node. The work area is next to Freedom Tattoo at 9032 Soquel Drive, and will require replacement of a short section of the natural gas line. I learned about this by calling the PG&E number provided in the Sentinel’s ‘Coast Lines’ on Sept. 19.
Questions? Call 408-472-2845.
MAJOR STATE PARK WORK ON APTOS CREEK ROAD BUT WHY?
My friend, Al, let me know he saw State Parks crews installing a large culvert under Aptos Creek Road recently, and wondered why. I wonder, too. There are confusing signs posted at the site claiming delays this week are related to street light work, but the new large culvert looks to attach to an existing stormwater sewer that dumps into Aptos Creek, not related to any street light. The only street light in that area is located near the Village Glen condominium mail boxes and is non-functional since that HOA voted to stop paying the electric bill.
|Culvert installed under Aptos Creek Road, and leads to existing stormwater drain…is this for Swenson’s Phase 2 Aptos Village Project parking lot drainage???
|How does this comport with a new culvert installation?
|The leftover culvert pipe shows this is meant to handle considerable surface stormwater drainage.
|Here is Swenson’s chain-link fencing encroaching in the roadway of Aptos Creek Road, creating a public hazard.
Write State Parks Operations Superintendent Joe Waltersjoe.firstname.lastname@example.org and ask.
You can also try contacting Second District County Supervisor Zach Friend email@example.com to ask…but don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply. He is generally unresponsive…unless you work for Swenson.
MAKE ONE CALL. WRITE ONE LETTER. PARTICIPATE IN THE COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE COUNTY GENERAL PLAN UPDATE THAT WILL RADICALLY CHANGE HOW OUR COMMUNITIES LOOK AND FEEL.
DO ONE THING THIS WEEK AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.
Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com
EARTH MANAGEMENT WITHOUT DATA
“I don’t need to know anything more. I know all I need to know.” This is how most of the key people around us approach Earth Management. Is that frightening?
Santa Cruz County has a lot of conservation lands, and those lands are critical for our prosperity. 20% of Santa Cruz County is conservation land. We rely on those lands to provide us water, clean air, and geologically stable slopes. Conservation lands also support recreation, giving County residents reprieve and healing. Open space supports life that is intrinsically valuable and will sustain an elevated quality of life for people on this planet for generations to come. Natural area parks attract tourists, fueling an annual $1 billion income for businesses and supporting 14% of local jobs.
Does Park Management Matter?
It matters how conservation lands are managed. If natural areas recreation is mismanaged, studies have shown that wildlife will disappear, degrading parks visitor experience and the quality of life for county residents. In the long term, collectively these declines endanger the future of humans. Poorly managed recreation also makes for less safe and less pleasant parks user experiences. Mismanaged conservation lands result in eroding trails, increasing safety risk for visitors, reducing the water holding capacity of the land, and degrading habitats including filling wetlands and waterways with sediment. When conservation lands managers mismanage fuels, many are endangered by increased fire risk. If they don’t correctly manage timber operations, livestock, or farming on conservation lands, there could be increased fire risk, more spread of pathogens and weeds, erosion, and degradation of plant and animal life. Problems originating on conservation lands are a burden to surrounding landowners who are threatened by fire, weeds, reduced water quality, trespass, and poorly managed wildlife. Conservation lands were often targeted for acquisition to conserve rare species, but if those species aren’t well managed, they will increasingly deserve State or Federal endangered species status; this increases the regulatory burden of private property owners whose land has habitat for those species.
So Little Data…
Very few people make the decisions about how to manage the County’s conservation lands…these folks don’t have the necessary data to inform their decisions…and one wonders whether they want more data. There are fewer than 30 people in decision making roles for all of Santa Cruz County’s conservation lands. None to very few of those people have formal training in conservation lands management. When the folks planning the North Coast section of the Rail Trail were gathering data for recreational use of North Coast parks, they discovered that there were no reliable data for the adjoining 45,000 acres of conservation lands. They couldn’t find data about how many people were using parks where or when. They found no data on the repair status of the infrastructure (parking lots, trails, restrooms, etc.) supporting those parks. Of the dozens of rare and endangered species on that landscape, only a handful have been regularly surveyed so we have no idea of the health of most species’ populations. There are no data on what visitors hope to experience versus what they actually encounter. This leads me to ask…do conservation lands managers want more data…how would we know?
The Elusive Need for Data
The first place one would expect to find conservation lands managers’ expressed data needs is on the web pages of their agencies. For example, California State Parks maintains a statewide ‘natural resource management’ webpage. On that page, the agency curiously notes: “California State Parks…supports scientific studies by universities and other researchers who use state parklands as sites for conducting studies designed to help us understand the ecological health of a park.” Note that this verbiage avoids stating that such research could help inform management. Nowhere on the webpage can you find out how Parks supports science. I have not been able to find a publicly available list of prioritized data needs nor science plans that would help to guide data collection prioritization for any conservation lands managers in the County. The Bureau of Land Management, managers of a sizeable conservation property, Cotoni Coast Dairies, apparently does not intend to complete a science plan, which is mandated for all such National Monument designated lands. With a region rife with research institutions, why would conservation lands managers not outwardly seek assistance with data collection and analysis?
The Few, The Proud
I am reflecting on the many conversations I’ve had with conservation lands managers about their priorities, or lack thereof, for data and analysis to inform their management. Many lament the need for more financial resources to support research within their agency; many have also shown suspicion about research that they do not tightly control. In the most recent conversations, two conservation lands managers told me that they had all the information they needed to manage thousands of acres of Santa Cruz County land. Their swagger suggested that they were experts and that they would notice if there was something awry with their management; if they needed to make any changes, they would know what to do. A few years ago, when another manager claimed something similar in a group with which I was a part, a wise colleague responded that humans have thought they knew the right thing to do for thousands of years only to be eventually proven wrong as science progressed. This know-it-all attitude is reflected in reports and programs such as this publication and another one from a central support organization for State Parks, where it is supposed that it is merely necessary to disseminate ‘best practices’ or to train parks employees to implement ‘tested approaches for management.’
Try to make sense of the following logical framework, which local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conservation lands management leaders have publicly stated. Although BLM has sufficient information to inform their management…the questions they might have for researchers…whatever they might be (not stated/published)…are not expected to overlap with the interests of researchers. But, even if they could find some overlapping interest, researchers would likely not produce information that would be salient for BLM’s management.
A Beacon of Hope
As a stand-out exception to these trends, the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network, a consortium of lands managers working throughout the region, recently completed a data-driven climate adaptation project. But it is not clear if any particular land management agency has officially adopted the project’s findings, which largely either contradict current management or suggest the need for much more study/work before alternate management actions might be considered. So, perhaps there is some hope…
Support What’s Right
Meanwhile, how can we help advocate for better progress with scientific approaches to stewarding the precious conservation lands of Santa Cruz County? Your most likely leverage point is through advocacy organizations. Don’t support an organization that doesn’t align with your values. For instance, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks has a mission that purportedly supports ‘thriving’ parks and ‘conservation’ – support them only if you find that science-based land conservation is a priority. It would be great if other groups were able to help State Parks with their stewardship issues. The California Native Plant Society has a great reputation as having a science-based approach to assisting with conservation lands management through advocacy and partnership. Occasionally, Audubon California will help with such issues. The Nature Conservancy has long been a leader helping other conservation lands managers to be more science-based and data driven with their stewardship work.
As always, please vote for the environment. Ask candidates about how they will help conservation lands managers be more scientific with their approaches to stewardship. These issues touch on elections at every level: city, county, state and federal candidates should all have clear environmental platforms for conservation lands assistance. Hundreds of thousands of acres of Santa Cruz County depend on smart practitioners of Earth Management! Let’s help move that forward.
Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net
Email Grey at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 19 #263 / Here Come The Lies
Jeff Bosshard, pictured, is an attorney (recently retired). He lives in Santa Cruz County and publishes an often daily bulletin on political topics, which he distributes by email. Jeff calls himself a “Freedom Advocate” and labels his emails, “The Freedom View.”*
Jeff and I do not agree, very much, on political issues. One of his recent bulletins (sent out on August 6, 2022) provides an example of how we differ. Jeff’s bulletin was titled, “Here Come The Lies,” and listed seven different “Whoppers” that Jeff says have been promulgated by the Democratic Party for “one reason only,” to “save the Democrat from a well-deserved spanking at election time.”
One of the so-called “Whoppers” that Jeff lists is described as follows:
WHOPPER #7: The sky is falling. Man-made carbon dioxide is polluting our atmosphere and causing our planet to die. Switch to electric cars – powered by carbon based fuels, of course, since no electric grid can sustain our needs. We will never have enough batteries, and the discarded ones will further pollute our soils. There is lots of man-made pollution in and about our world, not the least of which is plastic in our oceans, along with pesticide residues and the like. Yes, our oceans are dying: No ocean, no food, we die. But the oceans are not rising – not an inch in the last 100 years. The hottest day on Earth occurred over ten years ago. The globe is not warming exactly as predicted by the scientists, who will say whatever they are paid to say. And no one can say for sure that all of the heat waves we have endured, along with flash flooding that have destroyed many of our crops, are the result of man-made Carbon emissions.
Anyone who is following my own thoughts about global warming and environmental protection will quickly realize that Jeff and I do not agree about what is happening to our planet – and why. I also don’t really agree that Jeff has properly characterized those other “Whoppers” that he alleges are an electoral plot by Democratic evil doers.
However, let’s focus on the topic of “evil doers” for just a moment. I decided to draw attention to Jeff’s recent emailed bulletin because he heads it off with this quotation:
“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
While I discourage the practice of designating those with whom you disagree as “evil,” I did immediately realize that Jeff’s quotation of Plato, as just presented, actually provides the same advice I am always giving readers of this blog, although I use different words.
As I frequently say, if we want to maintain our system of democratic self-government, we need to get involved ourselves.
Indifference to what happens in the realm of public affairs will always lead to “bad government.”
Whatever our motivation for our indifference and non-participation may be – and I think, quite often, that such “indifference” comes from a sense that our personal participation wouldn’t actually change anything – we each have an equal stake in the lives we live together, and we need to get personally involved in deciding what we should do.
Take it from Plato, or take it from a “Freedom Advocate,” or take it from me!
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 email@example.com
COYOTE INVEIGLEMENT AND A HOME RUN IN THE VINEYARD
While the recent actions by the Coyote governors of Florida, Texas and Arizona in smuggling and shipping human beings from their states to unsuspecting northern cities by bus or plane bears meager resemblance to the Middle Passage of slave-bearing ships unloading their shanghaied, chained and abused cargo onto these shores, a few parallels might be drawn, particularly in the attitudes shown by those governors and their supporters. For this GOP bunch, the lies, cruelty and the malice comprise the whole point of their actions, showing no respect or consideration for those victimized – the deceived pawns or those who must care for the unexpected arrivals. This can be characterized as a vitriolic temper tantrum thrown by those who don’t get their way, or as a poke in the eye of the ‘radical left.’ This sort of malignancy has crept into the party over time, and Trump latched onto it in his first campaign and took it to new depths during his administration, and in particular just recently when he endorsed the philosophies and conspiracy theories of ‘QAnon,’ after which he was seen proudly sporting a ‘Q’ button on his lapel. Our favorite sociopath’s followers of the cultists, the conspiracy theorists, and the children of hate can only spur further despicable actions as we approach the mid-terms, encouraging others to join them.
Niece, Mary Trump, calls her uncle’s increasingly savage and dark rhetoric resulting from his being “pushed over the edge” as a result of being abandoned by his former confederates as they “leave the sinking ship.” Mary says, “When he said that President Biden was calling for violence, he was, as usual, projecting. That was what Donald’s going to be calling for as he gets more and more cornered.” And, we can expect to see that with the above governors and their coterie as they attempt to ‘out-Trump’ DJT. Biden, in his criticism of lunatic MAGAts as semi-fascists, and distinguishing them from traditional Republicans, lit a fire beneath Trump and his semi-fascists. Trump’s lack of self-esteem, his lack of confidence is unrecognized by him and he can only broaden this self-hate to encompass those who oppose him as he makes his final stand while trying to pull down the walls around him…and us.
In true Trump fashion, Florida’s Coyote Governor DeSantis in his depravity, relocated nearly fifty mostly Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard merely to create chaos and crisis, a problem that was only worsened by collusion with the US Department of Homeland Security officials who provided immigration paperwork with false addresses pulled from homeless shelters across the country, then told the kidnapped group that changes could be made upon arrival in “Boston, Massachusetts,” just one of the sadistic lies told to them. The migrants were told jobs, housing and other assistance awaited them, and the local residents were quick to provide food, warm clothing, and temporary shelter, as attorneys attempted to unravel the sickening blanket of falsehoods and illegalities facing them and the unsuspecting, ill-served abductees. The duped migrants, actually flown from San Antonio, TX, might be entitled to protections conferred to those who are victims of crimes.
The hospitality shown the new arrivals by the Martha’s Vineyard community spurred one migrant to record a cellphone message to DeSantis, saying, “Listen, Ron DeSantis, one more Venezuelan speaking here. And, well, just grateful for the little prank you pulled on us. You hit a home run.” Yesica, one of the new arrivals, said, “Oh, goodness. I don’t know what is going to happen to us. The truth is, I am worried. It will be whatever God wishes, no? We’re here now and there is nothing we can do. Not even take a step back.”
Even before using human beings as pawns to protest immigration policies, Florida had been fragmenting its role in sheltering and caring for migrants, especially children. A few months ago the administration of Coyote DeSantis informed the federal government that the state would discontinue its involvement in the federal program that compensates states for sheltering youngsters classified as ‘unaccompanied alien children’ and demanding ‘significant changes’ in policies. DeSantis signed an executive order forbidding the state’s Department of Children and Families renewal of licenses of “any family foster home, residential child-caring agency, or child placing agency” that housed or offered services to undocumented children. He enumerated an abundance of outcomes in not having secured borders, including “crime, drug trafficking, and smuggling, diminished job opportunities and wages for American workers, stresses on the education system and healthcare systems, and the spread of communicable diseases, including the coronavirus.”
The debate on this issue seethed, and the secretary of the DCF, Shevaun Harris, accused the Federal government of running a human trafficking organization by condoning entry of undocumented migrants. Accusing the feds of encouraging mass smuggling of minors across our borders sans parents, she charged, “No government that claimed to care for children would ever tolerate this.” Since several families with younger children were flown to Martha’s Vineyard, we’ll probably not learn if DeSantis and Harris considered separating families a la Trump and AG Jeff Sessions in their infamous acts of uncharitable and inhumane cruelty.
Florida’s religious groups were quick to attack this new policy, since the program had been working well for decades, and they see no justice in blaming and punishing the victims who have left countries with no opportunities, rampant crime, and victimization within the political system. Archbishop Thomas Wenski terms the executive order as “unhelpful and totally untruthful.” Fran Allegra, who headed Our Kids foster care program from 2004 through 2014, calls the former program “an efficient use of tax dollars to humanely treat victimized kids while streamlining the reunification of children and families. The last thing these kids need is to be shoved aside.”
Isabel Vinent, co-executive director of Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes, accuses DeSantis of “pandering” to voters in Iowa and other red states while failing to address the practical concerns of most Floridians. He “is using children, he is using immigrants, he is using asylum seekers to distract from real issues, using his political ambitions to drown out” pressing needs. “This is a war against immigrants, a war against children.”
The two planeloads of human pawns flown to upscale Martha’s Vineyard were part of an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” according to Taryn Fenske, DeSantis‘ communications director, failing to mention that no advance warning was given nor was permission sought to do so. Fenske goes on to say that Florida’s legislature appropriated $12 million to transport ‘illegal immigrants’ from the state, consistent with Federal law. “States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designations as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies,” Fenske goes on to say.
Governor Greg Abbot, the Texas Coyote, began busing thousands of migrants to Washington, DC in April, and recently added Chicago and New York; and following suit, Arizona’s Coyote Governor Doug Ducey began his busing program, also targeting DC. The two are taking notice, no doubt, about Florida’s use of planes as they transport their victims to smaller communities which are less prepared for the incursion, resulting in heavier, more attention-getting media coverage…a MAGA home run!
It is known that the migrants must agree to being transported, signing a waiver indicating that it is a voluntary action, but the legalities are a bit shady, since the promises made regarding assistance, jobs and housing don’t appear on the document. In fact, looking closely at the watermark on the paper reveals a logo of crossed fingers behind a rear torso, and below that is a Churchillian peace sign, albeit missing one finger. President Biden called the political stunt “disrespectful of humanity,” and pro-immigrant group America’s Voice called the flights “racist stunts.” Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, angrily denounced the underhanded relocation with, “They were just literally dumped like human garbage front of the vice-president’s house (the US Naval Observatory). That’s un-Christian, un-Texan, un-American, and something that should not be allowed.”
Glenn Kirschner, on his Justice Matters presentation on YouTube identifies the DeSantis/Abbot actions as a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201, a federal law defining kidnapping by inveiglement: Anyone who unlawfully seizes, confines, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person, except in the case of a minor by the parents thereof. Kirschner further describes those actions as leading astray, enticing by false pretenses, or deceitful means, and not necessarily by force, taking into account the lies of promised jobs, housing, and assistance to include English language lessons.
So if justice hasn’t been visited upon Trump and Sessions for their acts of cruelty, and justice still awaits full prosecution of the J6 insurrectionists, or Trump’s theft of government documents after escaping punishment following two impeachment proceedings, why shouldn’t the Ducey/Abbott/DeSantis axis take a chance, and lend a hand to tear down the walls? After all, it’s only poking the eyes of the ‘libtards’, and humiliating migrants, for the full enjoyment of the MAGAts, while earning points in the mid-terms, or toward the big prize in 2024.
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same. – Woody Guthrie, ‘Deportees’
Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds”.
“Gray skies are just clouds passing over”.
“Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather”.
“When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you literally don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that”.
~Dick Van Dyke
We all know (Right? Everyone knows this?) that Henry VIII had a wife that he was so disappointed with that the marriage was annulled. I recall being taught that he had only ever seen a painted portrait, and he felt deceived once he saw her in person. Either way, here’s an interesting video that tells more of her story, along with a modern recreation of what she might have actually looked like.
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