Blog Archives

April 1 – 7, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON… gives us the scoop… GREENSITE… on Don’t Morph the Wharf!… KROHN… final recall and Corona STEINBRUNER… on Kaiser, water, and closed parks PATTON… on Hannah Arendt Virtual Reading group … EAGAN…Sub Cons and Deep Cover JENSEN… temporarily suspended… QUOTES…”SELF EDUCATION”

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EARLIEST PHOTO OF DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ. This was taken around 1859. It’s of course what we now call Pacific, Front, and Mission streets with that Jamba Juice, US Post office and stuff there now. Back then it was Willow, Front and Main Streets.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

If you haven’t been sent this by at least five different people by now, I’d be surprised. It bears repeating though, so watch it and pass it on. (warning, lyrics contain the f-word)

People get super creative when confined to their homes, it turns out…

STATE OF BRATTON Not yet at 100%, but slowly getting there. Thanks for all the notes, FB’s, emails and calls of support!

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE /KZSC and other NEWS. Ever since June of 2006 I’ve hosted Universal Grapevine. Now with the KZSC virus rules no more than one person can be in a room at the same time. That does make it difficult to interview two (or more guests 0 on air.. So I’m forced to retire the program until something else is possible.

MINIMUM OF MODICUMS. Doesn’t it seem to everyone else that the shutting of the Cabrillo Music Festival for this year is like folding up the town clock and hiding it?


March 30th 2020

DON’T MORPH THE WHARF!

It’s hard to believe it’s not deliberate.


A typical winter wave on the wharf’s westside where the plan is for a walkway 12 feet below wharf deck.

The city staff has just released the long-awaited Wharf Master Plan (WMP) Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) in the middle of a pandemic crisis with all of us under “stay in place” orders, unable to meet in person. The release triggers a CEQA required month of public comment, meaning April, when it is expected our social distancing will continue with no ability to meet with others, nor with council members, nor with council meetings allowing public in-person participation. Doing it online is not a reasonable, alternative if the last online council meeting is any indication.

I wrote to the head of the city Economic Development Department prior to the release of the DEIR requesting that the WMP/DEIR be postponed due to the crisis. The timing seemed ill thought out. Or maybe well thought out. This was my email:

Good morning Bonnie,
In your presentation to council on Tuesday March 24th, I believe you said that the DEIR for the Wharf Master Plan would be released at the end of March with a comment period running through April.

If this is correct (the audio was intermittent and often hard to hear) we urge you to change plans and wait until the coronavirus is well behind us before releasing the DEIR. To release it and have a comment period when the public is unable to meet to discuss and council meetings have no public in person access would be viewed as inappropriate given the circumstances.

It has been a number of years since our legal advice to the city to do an EIR was supported by the city attorney and the council at the time. We have been waiting for 3 years to review the DEIR.

Over two thousand people signed the petition urging the city to conduct an EIR for the Wharf Master Plan. We were pleased the city listened. To use this difficult time of social distancing and ban on public gatherings to release this long-awaited document would not be in good faith.

We would appreciate a response to this request to postpone release of the DEIR until post coronavirus.

I received no reply and the DEIR was released on Monday of this week.

Since I had copied council members on the email I was disappointed that none followed up with the head of Economic Development to support the request for postponement. I had used the official method to reach all council members citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com and assumed that it would reach them. It had reached them… as an un-named attachment at the bottom of an email alerting council in bold red lettering about the closure of city offices. Designed to be overlooked.

In case you have forgotten or weren’t involved with the Wharf Master Plan let me share a reminder. The WMP is a document created by the San Francisco Design Firm ROMA for a cool million dollars paid for mostly by the Federal Government Department of Commerce under the fraudulent claim by the city that the Municipal Wharf sustained significant damage from the tsunami of 2011. The wharf sustained no significant damage, although the Small Craft Harbor did.

You can tell it’s a SF Design team since there is no feel in their Plan for the local history and culture of the Wharf except as branding. It includes 3 new non-commercial buildings of 40-45 feet height, one at the end of the wharf; a covering of the seal lion viewing holes; infilling with two story commercial space on the west side of the wharf; a dock at the south end that could accommodate tenders from cruise ships; a lowered walkway on the west side which shows ignorance of the local waves as pictured. The original engineer for the wharf, built in 1914 spent a year studying the waves, currents and conditions before submitting plans. He must be turning in his grave.

The WMP would have breezed through council approval without proper environmental review had not many folks got involved and protested. We saw and see it as turning our Wharf into Pier 39. Over 2000 people who love the wharf signed a petition protesting the WMP and urged an EIR since among other things, significant nesting migratory birds were left out of the initial limited review (Pigeon Guillemots). Our protest backed up with legal opinion successfully sent it back for an EIR.

We have waited and wondered when the EIR would be released. Dates kept being pushed forward. Optimists amongst us hoped it had been put on the back burner and that the $30 million price tag plus unavoidable environmental impacts were non-starters. Realists should have known that it’s all a question of timing.

With the recall of two council members all but determined and the public excluded from public space, what better time than now to release the DEIR? As a bonus, two other major environmental documents have recently been released: the city Parks Master Plan and the UCSC scoping process for the EIR for future campus growth. All with public comments periods during the coronavirus crisis.

I wish I’d been a fly on the wall when this advantageous timing was discussed behind closed doors.

If you feel as outraged as I, then write to the city manager, the city Economic Development Director and the city council and demand postponement of the Wharf Master Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report. Just don’t use the official council email. It can’t be trusted.

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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Final Recall Results

Close Call
The recall of Councilmember Drew Glover and myself was confirmed according to the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s final March 3rd Primary voting results posted this past Monday. The difference in my case was 507 out of 27,343 votes cast. Looking at these vote tallies it is clear that our community is divided.  It will also become clear once all the required campaign spending paper work is submitted that a lot of money was spent to drive Councilmember Glover and me out of office over political differences around affordable housing, homelessness, and the growth of UCSC. But the ideas, policies, and people we represented are not retreating. 

Not Me, Us
These issues are not only not going away and they are now forcibly being spotlighted and unevenly addressed because the Covid-19 health threat does not differentiate class, race, immigration, or housing status. This recall was never about Glover and Krohn. It was and is about us speaking up for the interests of people usually marginalized in our local politics. It is about who gets to live in Santa Cruz and whether or not this town is for sale. 

People Power v. The Empire
To our hundreds of community members who walked neighborhoods; wrote op-eds and letters to the editor, fundraised, contributed to the Stop the Recalls campaign, and spoke out eloquently and forcefully about the sham recall that just occurred, I say thank you. I am so appreciative of the wisdom, passion, and compassion you brought to bear on these contested political and social issues in of our time. We were armed with reason and fact and we did not waver in standing up for the most vulnerable in this community. We rocked it against tremendous odds. The Santa Cruz not so “Together,” “United,” or “Forward” trio— all various incarnations of the same powerful real estate industry and developer-driven interests–were tough to overcome. Evidence points to the fact that a recall effort by these forces was in the works from Day 1, after the November 2018 election of Glover and now Mayor, Justin Cummings.  Although the final campaign spending reports are not yet in, these groups, or members of these groups, will have far outspent us with their slick mailers, full-page advertisements, and endless Facebook ads. While it was tough to overcome their big bucks, we had People Power and that kept the vote close. 

Divided We Stand
At the end day, the mathematical truth is that a majority of voters who cast ballots in the March election actually did not support the recall. In my case, 53.46% of all voters did NOT choose to recall. (See results below.) That figure speaks volumes in favor of our collective progressive efforts. Although on the surface, the “yes” votes outnumbered the “no” votes by 507, it was the undervote of 2,409 voters—those who voted on other items, but chose NOT to cast their vote in this misleading recall—that perhaps tells the real story. (Note: an “undervote” is when a voter decides to not vote on a certain candidate or ballot measure, but on the same ballot does register votes in other races.) I was heartened and encouraged by these figures and feel honored that my old friend and former city council colleague, Katherine Beiers a marathon runner, far outpaced her rival to win. She will now take my former seat on the city council.  Additionally, there were notable progressive victories that came out of this election, but may not receive much press coverage. Cyndi Dawson, planning commissioner and Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) member, bested long-time pol, Cynthia Mathews as the top vote-getter in the race for seats on the Democratic Central Committee (DCC). Another DSA-er, local activist, and high school science teacher, Stacey Falls also won a seat on the DCC in the third district, which covers most of the city of Santa Cruz. 

Coronavirus 1, Santa Cruz Politics 0
For now, we find ourselves in a very difficult place in Santa Cruz history, and US history. The Covid-19 virus threatens the health and welfare of our community as well as our local and national economy. It is heartening to see so many locals working together to overcome this pandemic. Maybe after it begins to abate we can all take a step back and work together to rebuild Santa Cruz in a way that serves our entire community. I wish the new councilmembers well. Besides rebuilding our local economy there’s several other major issues facing our community: the Wharf Master Plan was just released, the UCSC administration wants to add 10,000 more students, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan is now up for debate, and of course, the ongoing Library-in-a-Garage-atop-the-Farmer’s-Market ongoing saga will continue. With the severe ramifications of the pandemic playing out, and November elections right around the corner, I sincerely hope our community will get some rest and take some time to appreciate our friends and families and our precious natural environment. It’s time to rest and take stock of who we are as a community and where we might be going in this post-virus future.

Results of March 3rd Primary (03-30-20) 

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

(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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UCSC 2040 LONG RANGE DEVELOPMENT PLAN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) ADDITIONAL SCOPING SESSION WILL BE ONLINE
You have another opportunity on April 1, 6pm-8pm, to join a live webcast and comment on the UCSC Long Range Development Plan that would provide on-site housing for increased student enrollment and a percentage of staff.  As I understand it , this does not address the separate plan to put family housing in the expansive meadow.

You can look at the Long Range Development Plan here

You can learn more about the April 1 webcast scoping session here

I wonder what Ms. Morgan Bostic do to help the process? Remember that the County and City of Santa Cruz
approved her new $120,000 job to be County/City liaison (consent item #36 on 1/14/2020 Board agenda) The Board also directed County Planning Director, Ms. Kathy Molloy, to submit comment on the LRDP…that should be interesting.

Here is a link to the UCSC 2005-2020 Long Range Development Plan

Compare them and see what you think.

Make sure you submit comment on the upcoming environmental work to be done for the updated Long Range Development Plan that will guide the UCSC expansion and housing issues through 2040.

SANTA CRUZ CITY ORDERED TO INVESTIGATE AND REPAIR RUPTURED SEWER OUTFALL PIPE
On February 11, 2020, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board sent a letter to the City of Santa Cruz, informing them that they must submit a technical report by May 31, 2020 to address  a ruptured sewer outfall pipe that is leaking treated sewage water to get dumped closer to shore than is allowed.  We should all be cheering, but the surfing community in particular should be happy.

The City of Santa Cruz Sewage Treatment Plant on Bay Avenue has a ruptured pipe that delivers the treated effluent out into the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, causing the effluent to leak out closer to shore.    The City officials have been aware of this problem for a few years.

NEWSFLASH
Due to the COVID-19 shelter in place order, the County of Santa Cruz is extending the public comment period for comments on the scope of this Environmental Impact Report for the Medical Office Building Project until Friday, May 1, 2020 at 5 p.m. Comments may be submitted by email to stephanie.hansen@santacruzcounty.us or to:

Stephanie Hansen, AICP, Principal Planner
Santa Cruz County Planning Department
701 Ocean Street, Fourth Floor
Santa Cruz, California 95060

Agencies and interested members of the public are invited to attend a Public EIR Scoping Meeting on Thursday, April 2, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This meeting will include a brief overview of the EIR process and allow time for oral comments on the scope of the EIR. Due to public health concerns, the scoping meeting will be a web-based video conference that can be accessed via this link

 

Participation without visuals is also possible via telephone using the following dial-in information:

Phone number: 571-317-3122
Access Code: 284-683-261#

The February letter demand that the City perform scuba or remote vehicular inspection of the rupture, submit a detailed description of the rupture, assess the rate of discharge, identify corrective actions with an explanation as to why the repairs will be done in the manner identified, and to provide a detailed schedule of the corrective action to be taken.  This must be submitted to the State by May 31, 2020, or the City could be out of compliance with their permit issued under Order R3-2017-0030, and could face penalties of $10,000/day or if taken to Superior Court, $25,000/day and $25/gallon over 1000 gallon/day leakage.

This is good news and I commend those who wrote to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board about this problem.

FOUR-STORY KAISER MEDICAL FACILITY PROPOSED FOR SOQUEL AVENUE IN LIVE OAK WOULD REMOVE 102 AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS…PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD IS NOW OPEN

The 30-day comment period for this massive project in Live Oak ends April 22, 2020 at 5pm…don’t you think it should be extended by at least 30 days due to the current COVID-19 crisis?  Contact Planner Stephanie Hansen and ask for such: <stephanie.hansen@santacruzcounty.us>

April 2, at 6pm-7:30pm is the Online Public EIR Scoping meeting. 
The access will be via this link

Participation without visuals is also possible via telephone using the following dial-in information:
Phone number 571-317-3122
Access Code: 284-683-261#

Project information is available for review online

Shouldn’t we be insisting that the facility have it’s own micro-grid energy production, as was required for the large medical and dental complex just approved on Capitola Road in Live Oak?

Please take note of the Nissan Auto Dealership documents for 41st Ave./Soquel Drive that got pushed through at the expense of mixed-use housing planned for the spot. Now the County wants to sweep away the planned affordable housing that is zoned for the area of the Kaiser project?

Here are my comments:

Dear Ms. Hansen,
Thank you for this information.   Due to the COVID-19 mandates, and the fact that all libraries, including the Porter Memorial, are closed, and the Capitola Library is still under construction, I feel that an additional 30 days for public comment is reasonable and should be granted.

I have read the document briefly and would like to submit the following comment:

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

CLOSING STATE PARKS…WHERE CAN WE GO?
It is troubling to me that the government’s answer to keeping people safe is to deprive us of the places that will keep our health and spirits strong.  I hope that you are all staying healthy and doing all that you can to boost your immune systems.  Mercury News article

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  PARTICIPATE IN A WEBCAST MEETING.  TAKE A WALK IN THE FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE, AND STAY HEALTHY.

Cheers,
Becky

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor and finished with almost 30% of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2020
#91 / Intellectual Arrogance

I am taking part in the Hannah Arendt Virtual Reading group that meets online each Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific Time). During our nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the Hannah Arendt Center is providing free access to anyone who would like to join. I do encourage my friends to join the group, and to participate (click right here).

This is not the first time I have made this suggestion, and I must report that I am not seeing any familar West Coast faces, or seeing any familiar West Coast names, among the group gathered on these weekly video conference calls. If you are trapped at home anyway, think about going outside your current mindset to explore the wonderful world of Hannah Arendt.

Last Friday, as the Virtual Reading Group studied the “Epilogue” to Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem, it was noted that Hannah Arendt exhibited, in authoring that book, which is probably her most controversial work, what amounts to a kind of “intellectual arrogance.” This sounds like a “bad thing,” right?

In the conversation in the group, it was pointed out that “intellectual arrogance” is perhaps not always such a bad thing. Einstein’s equation, above, should never be disregarded, but when mutual respect undergirds the conversation, it is important that there be at least a few persons in the world who are willing to be so “arrogant” as to advance their own ideas and understandings of what is right and true, despite the fact that they will know in advance, or quickly discover, that their ideas and thoughts have no acceptability whatsoever among the general public.

We make our world by acting together, and we can build on solid rock only if we are willing to “speak truth to power,” and to have the “intellectual arrogance” to insist that our ideas be taken seriously, as we all search for truth.

As I listened to the conversation – and agreed that we must preserve a place for the “intellectual arrogance” that can bring us to the recognition of new truths and new possibilities – I was reminded of my favorite quote from Ugo Betti. Betti was an Italian judge and a playwright. He tells us that WE are important – each one of us. If we truly knew our own importance, we would be strengthened in our resolve to say what we think, and to insist on it, even when everyone we know says we are in error.

Speaking one’s “own mind” can seem like arrogance, sometimes, but if we are willing truly to cross-examine ourselves before we speak, to see if we really do believe that our thoughts are correct, then we need to have the courage to speak up and speak out.

That’s what’s needed, don’t you see? That! …  Everyone is … a very great, very important character! Yes, that’s what we have to tell them up there! Every man must be persuaded – even if he is in rags – that he’s immensely, immensely important!

What is the Virtual Reading Group going to be talking about this coming Friday? On Violence.

Hannah Arendt is worth listening to on that topic, and it’s a topic worth thinking about!

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. Classic peeks inside our secret places…maybe?

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s comic 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 writes about being temporarily suspended, and watching movies on Amazon, Netflix – and everywhere else! Check it out this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (ljo-express.blogspot.com/). Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

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There are so many people out there, corona-ing the hell out of all kinds of songs. If you have some time, jump down the YouTube rabbit hole, you will be entertained. I picked one favorite to show you here 🙂 Oh, and Neil Diamond actually sang and posted “Sweet Caroline” singing “hands, washing hands, don’t touch me and I won’t touch you” 🙂 You’ll find that one if you look 🙂

Self Education

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”
~Isaac Asimov

“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“The most powerful people are the ones who never stop learning.”
~Rejoice Denhere

“To create something new, knowledge is essentially required, but not academic degree.”
~Rajib Lochan Dhibar


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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