Blog Archives

April 10 – 16, 2024

Highlights this week:

Bratton…critiquing films, so you don’t have to…Greensite …Grand Jury things, back next week… Steinbruner…buckle up, there’s a lot…. Hayes… shop local… Patton…in the company of friends… Matlock…splifficated… Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…Conan O’Brien… Quotes….”Resilience”


CABRILLO COMMUNITY COLLEGE, 1974. This great aerial view shows what could have become the Wingspread Development. Developers Hare, Brewer & Kelly tried to build 630 residences, a performing Arts Center, three theaters, stores and more – right here directly across from Cabrillo Community College. Activist Vickie Powell (along with many of us) fought it. The Coastal Commission eventually sided with the citizens, and the space remains as we see it here.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE April 10, 2024

Bruce is getting back to his movie watching! We are starting with 3 different titles for this week, and we’ll see what he works up to with time. Watch this space!

ROAD HOUSE. (6.2 IMDB) Another remake to the ever growing list of trying to make a sure buck on a one time hit. This one has Jake Gyllenhaal replacing Patrick Swayze in the 1989 hit. (Swayze died in 2009!) It’s amazingly violent boxing wise and Jake has some real violence in his past. There’s crime thugs, secret love affairs and not any other reason to see this bloody copy.

RIPLEY. (7.9 IMDB). Again a remake of another near 1999 classic. Andrew Scott (Morarity in the Sherlock Holmes/ Benedict Cumberbatch masterpiece). Dakota Fanning is in it too but it doesn’t matter much. It’s deep, filmed all in black and white and with a plot so twisted, and complex you wouldn’t believe it. Go see this as soon as possible

 SALTBURN.. (7.0 IMDB). A very class conscious drama (also listed as a comedy) about a young student at Oxford who gets completely involved with an odd and driven “upper class” family. There’s romance, mystery. Rosamund Pike has a deeply involved role in his too unreal view of life among the super rich. Don’t give up anything important to watch this one.


Gillian is busy with Grand Jury things, 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    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


I attended the discussion recently held by Mr. Rick Longinotti and Campaign for Sustainable Transportation at the Aptos Library to learn more about the group’s lawsuit against the  the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) regarding the plan for the Aptos area to widen the highway and add bike and pedestrian paths and bridges.  The group is being joined by the local Sierra Club to sue the RTC and ask for an injunction.

There was no alternative analysis included in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR)  for this Segment  12 Project, and the main EIR was invalidated by the Court in Sacramento by the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation group.

According to the  Final EIR, there will be no significant environmental impacts due to the Project!  How can cutting down 1100 trees, many being mature oaks near Aptos Village and towering redwood trees lining Highway One near Aptos Creek not be significant???

Still shocked that the RTC claims this massively destructive project claims to have no significant environmental impact, I was inspired to delve more carefully into the Project’s Revised Final EIR.

page I-41 response to comment from the County Planning and Community Development Dept. Director Stephanie Hansen regarding historic resources that should be considered significant shows the hubris of the RTC

The Historic Property Survey Report, page 5, provided as a technical study in the Environmental Impact Report, comments that a list of multiple properties within the Area of Potential Impact for the project were evaluated and found not eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. 

 However, three of the properties referenced in the list are designated in the County’s Inventory of Historic Resources as historic resources of local significance

* 7992 Soquel Drive, Aptos (Rice House):Assessor’s Parcel Number 039-232-03. Rated National Register-3, eligible in the opinion of the Historic Resources Commission for listing on the National Register. 

* 7996-A Soquel Drive, Aptos (Jose Arano House): Assessor’s Parcel Number 039-232- 01. Rated National Register-4, a property which may become eligible for listing on the National Register if additional research provides a stronger statement of significance, or if the architectural integrity is restored. 

* Southern Pacific Railroad Bridge 36-0011, Hwy 1 Over Aptos Creek, located at the Intersection of Soquel Drive and Spreckels Drive (Aptos Creek Bridge). Rated National Register-3, eligible in the opinion of the Historic Resources Commission for listing on the National Register. 

 These resources have been determined ineligible, as the buildings do not qualify as historical resources in accordance with CCR Title 14 Section 15064.5. The Jose Arano House lacked integrity due to major architectural changes and the Rice House lacked the significance required for listing under any criterion of the National or California registers. 

This is the hubris of the RTC shining brightly to ignore critical resources and fail to protect them.  Sadly, the RTC purchased the two historic structures, and is considering what to do with them once the Segment 12 work is complete.

If this bothers you, please join upcoming events being held by the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation and Sierra Club:
Campaign for Sustainable Transportation | Advocating Alternatives to Auto Dependency

Write the RTC and attend the May 2, 2024 RTC meeting and let the Commission know your thoughts:

Try to imagine an 18-story building next to the iconic Town Clock at Water Street and Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz.  It is hard to believe the City Planning Commission is now considering such a project, filed the day before Election Day with voters considering Measure M and future ability to vote on outrageous building heights like this.

News recently broke that Workbench developers are pushing this project forward, and plan to apply for density bonuses to make the 260-unit that will loom over the City more dense and be awarded multiple concessions…such as more stories, reduced setbacks and minimal parking.

Take a look.

It is notable that Workbench President and Co-Founder Tim Gordin serves on the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission representing District 1, and was appointed by Supervisor Manu Koenig (who incidentally is a licensed real estate agent working under Derek Timm at Montalvo Realty)

Please write your thoughts about the “Clock Tower Center” to the Santa Cruz City Council:

I learned at last week’s City of Santa Cruz Water Commission meeting that a potential plan to use recycled water directly in customer service connections would most likely be limited to customers on the Westside and the University, blending the recycled water with either water from the North Coast streams or water from the Graham Hill drinking water treatment plant.

There could be two ways to get the recycled water: either buy it from Soquel Creek Water District’s PureWater Soquel Project or build an independent recycled water treatment plant that would be owned by the City.  the presenter stated the City would need a parcel of about five acres to build such a plant, and indicated somewhere on the Westside would be most likely.

I took note of the presenter’s statement that such a treatment plant would require a licensed operator present at all times on the site.   That is not at all what Soquel Creek Water District’s $4.5 million annual contract with Jacobs Engineering included.  Instead the contract  will provide a licensed operator on site only Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, with staff on call at other times.  The plant will run itself during those times.  The Board approved that “contract” March 5 but no completed contract was presented…and it did not seem to bother them.  Hmmm….

The City Water Commissioners also received a presentation about a possible desalination project in the future, noting many regulatory approvals that would be necessary.  I pointed out that the Santa Cruz City voters would also have to approve such an energy-intensive project,  per the citizen initiative passed in 2012

Take a moment to listen to the slide presentation from the April 1, 2024 Commission meeting

I attended one of the four “Listening Sessions” the Cannabis Licensing Dept. and County Adminstrative Office (CAO) scheduled at request of the Board of Supervisors last November when significant changes to relevant County code was slipped in on the Consent Agenda.  Oddly, no Listening Session was scheduled for District 3, which includes Santa Cruz, Bonny Doon and Davenport areas.

What a joke these “Listening Sessions” really were because people were given only vague terms to comment upon, without any real background information.

There were about 15 people who attended the Watsonville Session and one on Zoom.  The person on Zoom complained he could not hear anything people in the room were saying, but staff made no changes to help remedy the problem caused by the fact that the only microphone in use was portable, not the one at the podium where the Zoom caller could hear (staff confirmed by only talking at the podium with the caller).

The information staff presented to the audience was so vague as to be confusing.  Here is what we were asked immediately to comment on, with no information as to any propose changes:

  • changes to canopy limits
  • increases to cannabis cultivation area and greenhouses
  • limited retail sale of cannabis goods grown and produced by cultivation licensees at the point of cultivation
  • medicinal, educational and recreational options for onsite consumption
  • an onsite consumption pilot program
  • changes to colocation options for non-retail commercial cannabis

We were asked to comment on the list, dividing the topics into groups of three for discussion of two topics at a time.  The presenter passed around a portable microphone and asked people to comment.  Ms. Melodye Serino, whom I recognized as a Deputy CAO, supposedly wrote the essence of the comments on a large paper presentation tablet but never verbalized what she was writing,and never verified with the speaker that what she wrote matched what they said.  The color of the marker she used to write the comment was very light-colored, and I could not see it from the back table where I was seated.  She did not read the comments at conclusion of the session and because the tablet was put away quickly at the end of the meeting, and I did not have time to review what Ms. Serino had written.

There was no explanation given as to the history of the requirement that these Listening Sessions be held.  Many people remarked that the points shown on the presentation paper were too vague to even comment on and wanted more information.  Staff refused, saying this was just an information-gathering meeting that had been requested by the Board of Supervisors.

When I asked, “What is driving this action?”  People nearby turned and said, “We want to know that, too!”

Melodye Serino, who was writing public comment on a large paper presentation tablet, said it was just something the Board of Supervisors thought should happen.  When I asked if the CAO were behind it, she insisted it was the Board.

One lady in the audience said the Session was because a proposed ordinance had been slipped in on the Consent Agenda, but pulled.  She wanted to know more about why that had happened.  The man presenting the information said he could not stray from the topics the Board had asked be presented to the public, and he pointed to the vague sentences on the presentation paper.

 He did not reference any particular Board of Supervisor meeting where people could research on their own the proceedings leading to the call for the Listening Sessions to be scheduled.  At that point, I had understood it was from something on the January 2024 agenda, but had not been able to find it.  I remembered attending a meeting when the matter was discussed, but could not remember the particular date.

Many people, including the cannabis growers who were there and who said they had attended the meeting in Aptos the night before, talked about the black market in the industry, and wanted more enforcement.  Watsonville City Councilman Lowell Hurst was in the audience, and made this point many times, as did I.

To be honest, the Listening Session I attended was a joke.  I felt it was just something that was being done to check off a box, with no real information ever given to the people attending, and excluded the person on Zoom.

Our meeting was closed abruptly because the room had to be cleared by 7pm.  I asked the man who was the presenter, whom I later learned was the Director of Cannabis Licensing, for his card.  He said he didn’t have one with him, but I could e-mail him any time, and said his name with his title, but the room was so noisy, I could not hear him clearly.

The people should have been given the same parameters presented to the Board for consideration on November 14, 2023 as are reflected in the Minutes:

6.1 DOC-2023-899: Supporting Local Cannabis Cultivators and Promoting Responsible Consumption
Item 26 was pulled from the Consent Agenda; item was added to the Regular Agenda as item number 6.1.
Recommended Actions:
1. The board DID NOT direct the Cannabis Licensing Office and other staff to draft the following amendments to SCCC 13.10, 7.128, 7.130, and any other applicable code and submit it to the Planning Commission for review as soon as possible:
a. Align the canopy limits across zone districts and license classes with their current co-location maximums.
b. Remove the co-location option outlined under the Non-retail commercial

cannabis uses section of county code (SCCC 13.10.650. (C)(3)(I)); and

2. The board DID NOT direct the Cannabis Licensing Office and other staff to suggest ordinances to the Board of Supervisors no later than May 31, 2024, that accomplish the following:
a. Allow cultivators in good standing who have not been the subject of complaints to apply for an additional 2% canopy bonus of the parcel size every year.
b. Allowing CA-zoned parcels, less than 10 acres, to use the entire square footage of established greenhouses for cannabis production.
c. Allow limited retail sales and consumption of cannabis goods grown by the licensee at the point of cultivation, similar to a winery, as outlined in the October
25, 2022, Cannabis Licensing Office 1st Quarter Report.
d. Allow current retail operations the option to have on-site consumption lounges.

First Motion to move the recommended actions made by Supervisor Koenig seconded by Supervisor Hernandez.
Substitute Motion with Additional Direction made by Supervisor Cummings seconded by Supervisor Friend.
Board of Supervisors voted on substitute motion. Substitute motion passed 5-0.

Additional Direction:
Direct the cannabis licensing office to work with stakeholders to explore updates to policies related to the sale, consumption and cultivation of cannabis and return to the Board of Supervisors on or before the second meeting of June 2024 to report back on topics that include but are not limited to changes to canopy limits, increases to cannabis cultivation area and greenhouses, limited retail sale of cannabis goods grown and produced by cultivation licensees at the point of cultivation medicinal, educational and recreational options for onsite consumption, an onsite consumption pilot program, and changes to colocation options for non-retail commercial

Staff from the Santa Cruz County Land Trust are feverishly presenting their ballot initiative and paying signature gatherers to get the necessary 10,000 qualified signatures to qualify for this November’s ballot.  It would only need a simple majority to pass, not the 2/3 majority historically required by Prop. 13.

How can that be?

The Land Trust has footed the bill to have paid signature gathers at many locations, including the Dollar Store in Capitola last week. The initiative needs 10,000 qualified signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot.  Purportedly,  they have over 13,000 signatures now!

Because of a Court decision, known as “the Upland Decision”, such initiatives regarding new taxes can be passed with a simple majority of 50% + 1.
Sarah Newkirk’s presentation to FireSafe Council…they are hungry for grant money…no questions asked except me.  Who would develop the Five Year Plan?  The Oversight Advisory Committee.  Why only 50% + 1 to approve, and not 2/3 for special tax?  Because the BOS is not putting it on the ballot…its the Land Trust.

Who decides what projects are “eligible”?  That is well defined.  How much will County take for admin fees?  1% off the top, then 5% for administering grants (OR3 and Parks)

FireSafe Council approved by voice vote to sign on as an endorser, even though the Board did not have a quorum (one member left but the lady who applies for grants said the by-laws state the Board could vote on the matter because there had been a quorum earlier????)

Does it really cost $36,585.37 per bed for the County’s homeless shelter?  Apparently so!
Santa Cruz County Supervisors approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Monterey County to develop a new low-barrier, service-supported shelter in Watsonville with the purpose of housing those who are currently camping along the Pajaro River levee.

The County of Santa Cruz would allocate $1 million annually from Measure K half-cent sales tax increases to help pay for this new 34-bed shelter, as well as share costs with the City of Santa Cruz to increase the shelter on Coral Street to include a total of 100 beds.

“The initial Framework established a goal of 600 temporary housing beds countywide.  Unstable funding has made this goal untenable. The County and some cities within the County currently contribute around $1.5 million year to support temporary housing options. This funding supports approximately 41 beds per year out of the 600-bed goal.”

Santa Cruz County CA, Agenda Item DOC-2024-258

Well, shelters are good, but what about having permanent or transitional housing instead that gives the individuals or families a place to settle? Tuff Shed Village Constructed For Homeless In Yuba City

Inside One of Oakland’s ‘Tuff Shed’ Homeless Communities | KQED

The Board of Supervisors used to hold Budget hearings near the end of June, before leaving for their July vacations.  This year, the hearings are being held in May.

This years budget is $1,1 billion, claiming to have a balanced general fund of $754.2 million.  The County had to borrow an unprecedented $85 million this month to make ends meet through the end of the fiscal year.  So why does the County Administrative Officer continue to recommend the Board approve more and more major real estate purchases when there is a large deficit, due to $144 million in un-reimbursed expenditures from FEMA and the State?

The County Administrative Officer (CAO) Mr. Palacios, never mentions the facts shown in the proposed 2024-2025 Budget information that expenditures exceed revenues by $73,511,019.  How does the CAO think that is any good way to manage our County’s financial business?
 [County of Santa Cruz’s Financial Reporting Platform]

The online version of this Sentinel article is much shorter than the newspaper print copy, eliminating the long paragraph listing multiple large new real estate purchases and new programs, as well as the discussion of Measure K’s beneficial new half-cent sales tax.   this revenue is anticipated to be $5-$7 million this year, and $10 million annually going forward (the same revenues projected to pour in with Measure G half-cent sales tax increase in 2018, but were much lower, due to online shopping).

Voters should take note that the County is now focusing the Measure K monies to pay for “homeless services, climate resiliency, county parks, road repairs and infrastructure projects.”  

Once again, it is clear that the Board of Supervisors and CAO misrepresented to the voters in March what the sales tax revenue will really be used for “wildfire response and prevention, affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse programs, public safety, roads, parks and recreation, programs to reduce homelessness.”  Santa Cruz County, California, Measure K, Sales and Use Tax Measure (March 2024) Note that it looks again as though NONE of the Measure K monies will benefit local fire agencies, especially not the Santa Cruz County Fire Dept. Volunteers.

Santa Cruz County budget hearings kicking off soon

The March 19 Virtual Public hearings before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was so full, many, like me, were not able to speak because the four-hour time ended, even though people were limited to one minute each.  Now it remains up to the CPUC to decide whether or not to grant AT&T the ability to duck out on Californians who depend on copper landline phone service for reliable communication during power outages and other disasters.

Hundreds speak out at CPUC hearing on AT&T plan to ditch landlines

Take a look at the legal Protest filed by the CPUC Public Advocate Office of the CPUC, arguing against AT&T’s two applications to drop copper landline service.

Stay tuned.

The new Chanticleer bicycle/pedestrian overpass is progressing, looking more like a freeway overpass.   Last week Granite Construction vehicles were actually parked on the overpass, causing me to wonder if the massive structure could allow an ambulance the ability to make a quicker response time to Domincan Hospital when the surface streets are congested to the point of gridlock?

Write Matt Machado, Director of County Public Works, and ask if this could be an emergency access route.  If not, what could be done to make it so?

Matt Machado <>

Last week, I happened to see crews working on the Laurel Street Bridge in Santa Cruz.  I wanted to see if the Cliff Swallows were around, having just arrived from their migration from Argentina to spend the summer here raising their young in mud nests under the bridge.  I did not see any, maybe because of the crews hired by Soquel Creek Water District to install black bird netting on the bridge, supposedly as a mitigation of the large ugly pipes attached to the bridge.  This is the PureWater Soquel Project..bringing treated sewage water from the City’s wastewater treatment plant on California and Bay, to the District’s new treatment plant next to Highway One in Live Oak.

The crew leader said he had been instructed to install the bird netting so the birds don’t poop on the pipeline.  “Well, who cares? I worry the birds are going to get tangled in this netting and get stuck!”  I said.  The man shrugged.

The local Sierra Club recently wrote Soquel Creek Water District about the need for mitigations that would protect the Cliff Swallows, and asked for mitigations and Best Management Plan to restore the Cliff Swallow nesting area (see page 10-12)

The District’s response letter, if you can call it a response, is on page 9, and pretty much dismisses the matter with empty words.

Please write the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and the District’s Board of Directors with your thoughts on installing bird netting over the PureWater Soquel Project conveyance pipes.  Please ask them to stop disrupting Cliff Swallow nesting activity under the bridge by their crews working there.  These birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Act of 1921.

Wesley Stokes <>   
Julia Coombs <
Mandy Culpepper <>
Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors <>



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

Why “Shop Local”

You have probably seen signs, bumper stickers, and the like, extolling the importance of buying from local vendors, but do you? Why? Let’s examine some of the reasons why one might, or why one might not, purchase things locally.

The Buck Stays Here

The main rationale that sticks in my mind is the argument that every dollar spent purchasing from a locally owned store multiplies its benefits as the dollar cycles within the community. The difference from a store owned by out-of-towners is that the local shop owner spends their profits locally; out-of-towners spend their profits somewhere else. The local shopkeeper might spend their profits on entertainment, restaurants, home improvements, art, gardening supplies…and, if they purchase those things again from a locally-owned company, that person also is multiplying the spending benefits by supporting local jobs and local talent. Similarly, each time those shopkeepers make taxable income, those taxes stay within the State and their purchases raise sales tax for local jurisdictions. Out-of-town business owners spend money elsewhere, benefiting other people.

All Politics is Local

Whenever I mention political aspects, know that I think about the politics of protecting the environment. With that in mind, another reason to purchase from locally owned businesses is political. There are plenty of reasons to complain about our local politics, but consider the contrast with many of the other parts of the world and the country – chances are that you’ll conclude that we live in a fairly good place when it comes to protecting the environment.

Local business owners often have outsized political clout, especially when they organize into groups like the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz or through the Chamber of Commerce. When we disagree with the political influence of out-of-town business owners, there is little chance of having an impact without a lot of organizing (there seems to be a real lethargy about such organizing these days!). When a local business owner or association acts politically, locals have a much better possibility of organizing to have stronger influence on those people and their political actions.

When was the last time you saw a locally-owned business displaying controversial political statements? They don’t for the good reason that they are bound to lose clientele/profit. However, there are times when business owners speak out on their beliefs – in public comment on projects, in endorsements to political campaigns, in membership with organizations that make political statements, and in publicly advertised donations to charities. Through those statements, it is possible to know if spending your money at their establishment aligns with your values. Therein lies the rub.

When is it Better to Buy Non-Local?

If locally owned business owners are aligning with politics that don’t match yours, is it better to buy from out-of-town business owners? Chances are good that those non-aligned business owners are picking places to spend their profits that align with their values. For example, local shopkeepers that find environmental protections abhorrent probably support other businesses that feel similarly. Likewise, those same business owners are probably using their profits and time to support political causes to reverse environmental protections. As locally owned businesses disappear, there are fewer choices of where to buy things, so one may quickly run out of choices as one discovers such concerns. What to do?

Whither the Co-Op?

I’m hoping for the resurrection of cooperative buying groups, or ‘co-ops.’ I overheard a visitor recently glancing at New Leaf Market and loudly (and cheerfully) asking others in their group: “is that the local co-op?!” Well, no, Santa Cruz doesn’t have a food buying cooperative. Such organizations take leadership and organization, and that isn’t happening.

Organized Voices

What if those of us who understood the value and power of our spending were to organize? What if there was a campaign to support local business owners who support environmental stewardship? The Certified Green Business network is a bit along the way: have you seen those certificates proudly displayed? Sadly, those certificates don’t mean that the business owner supports environmental protections writ large, just that they adhere to a set of practices: “reducing water use, conserving energy, purchasing recycled content products, eliminating toxic cleaning chemicals, improving worker safety and reducing waste to landfill.” Given those things, it is certainly worth supporting those businesses for their dedication to that program, but more is needed.

There might one day be a coalition of citizens that reviews local business owners for their broad support of environmental protection, informing a powerful network of shoppers that are preferential to spending at those establishments. With the retirement of so many people who care about the environment, maybe someone will see the importance of this project and provide some leadership!

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:

Email Grey at


#97 / In The Company Of Friends

Page Smith was the Founding Provost of UCSC’s Cowell College – and long may his name be both remembered and revered. Page was an historian, who focused on American history, and with particular attention to the revolutionary period. Page was also, profoundly and thoughtfully, concerned about education, as the quotation above indicates. He helped found the “The Penny University,” in Santa Cruz, after he left his teaching position at UCSC.

Page also left behind a legacy, at Cowell College, in the form of a very simple and concise explanation of what education should be all about. It is still remembered, and is featured on the Cowell College web page. I am printing it out, below:

The Pursuit Of Truth, In The Company of Friends

I am not teaching this Quarter, which makes me nostalgic for the last time I was teaching – and that last time was in a classroom at Cowell College, as a matter of fact.

There was a little plaque, right at the bottom of the stairway that led up to the classroom in which I taught my class. The classroom was located on the second floor. The plaque wasn’t very obtrusive, and I only noticed it pretty late in the Quarter, but it spelled out, as a message to contemporary students, Page’s wonderful little statement:

The Pursuit Of Truth, In The Company of Friends

All good things really do require that we pursue them, and make our commitment to them, in “the company of friends.” Politics, as well as education, must be carried out in the company of friends. It won’t be successful unless it is.

If you are as concerned as I am with potential political and related difficulties ahead, don’t forget Page’s advice. It is my advice, too: “Find Some Friends.”

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at



The presumptive GOP presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, is still catching flak for his posting of the video on Truth Social, of a pickup truck’s tailgate with the image of President Biden hog-tied, gagged, and lying in the bed of the truck, in his continuing subtle hints of violence against his detractors. Michael Steele, former chair of the RNC, warned of what’s to come with the cast of characters Trump is assembling for his return to the presidency and a return to power. Steele says, “All hell’s gonna break loose. This is all in and the team will be out and about enforcing a strategy that will take no prisoners and I don’t think people really appreciate exactly what we are going to be in for.” The former president is reportedly talking to Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort who advised him in his 2016 campaign, in addition to campaign consultant Roger Stone who earned a pardon from Trump upon his exit from the Oval Office in 2021. Steele chides Democrats who are “still walking around with their heads someplace other than in this game,” despite the fact that The Don has told us exactly what he wants to do in his second term where he will declare his absolute power. Roger Stone has been a frequent visitor to Mar-a-Lago, as has Paul Manafort who is expected to set up rules control of the GOP convention to ensure a smooth flow with no slippages, or unwanted nominations and controversies.

The state of Ohio threatens to hog-tie Biden with a conflict in the late scheduling of the Democratic Party convention on August 19. According to Ohio Secretary of StateFrank LaRose, a state statute requires certification of candidates nominated by party conventions by August 7, which would be on or before the ninetieth day before the day of the general election. LaRose failed to mention that the RNC in 2020 held its nominating convention in late August of that year in the letter sent to his state’s Democratic Party which read, “I am left to conclude that the Democratic National Committee must either move up its nominating convention, or the Ohio General Assembly must act by May 9, 2024 to create an exception to this statutory requirement.” In a recent opinion piece, Secretary LaRose criticized “cravenly partisan” officials who sought to keep Trump off their state ballots for inciting the J6 insurrection in DC, and warning that the US Supreme Court’s overruling of the Colorado’s Supreme Court’s attempt to disqualify Trump from that state’s ballot did not go far enough because it still allows secretaries of state to block candidates. He wrote, “Fortunately, the US Supreme Court put its foot down on the abuses of authority, but the matter remains unresolved as it relates to non-federal candidates.” The Biden-Harris campaign reports, “We’re monitoring the situation in Ohio and we’re confident that Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states.”

In his radio interview with conservative host Hugh HewittTrump insinuated that Biden uses cocaine, referring to the president’s State of the Union speech when he delivered a notable, fiery message to the nation and before Congress. Trump accused Biden of being “higher than a kite,” and called for him to be “drug-tested” before he will even consider having a debate prior to the election. A baggie of cocaine was discovered in a heavily-trafficked area at the White House last year, and Trump is pointing fingers at both Hunter and his dad as the culprits, though the Secret Service found no evidence linking it to anyone. Hewitt asked Trump if he believes Biden is open to a debate, to which he replied, “I don’t think so, but I hope he does…I think something is going on there, because he was all jacked up at the start of the SOU speech, and did a poor job, and by the end, he was fading fast. There’s something going on there. I want a drug test.” Biden has said that a debate would depend on the former president’s “behavior,” recalling that Trump also asked for a Biden drug test prior to their debates in 2020. RNC chair, Lara Trump, said on Newsmax“Joe Biden needs to be asked multiple questions about a whole host of different things going on in this country and around the world. He has a lot of answers to give the American people. I can only assume he doesn’t have the answers to the questions that he will be asked.”

Trump continues to rail against his legal troubles, particularly after the New York judge scheduled his hush money trial to start on April 15, and in spite of his efforts to postpone the case. His characterization of the scheduling is “election interference” that should not be allowed during a campaign season. Calling the cases against him “ridiculous” and “a shame,” he said, “I don’t know how you can have a trial that’s going on right in the middle of an election. Not fair. It’s not fair at all,” as he blamed President Biden, with no evidence, for pushing the trials forward while taking away as much money as possible from the campaign funds. Trump maintains he has “no problem testifying” in a trial, even as it’s being appealed by his attorneys. Reporters asked if a conviction would derail his reelection bid, with the former president suggesting it could have a positive effect. “It could also make me more popular, because the people know it’s a scam,” which brought forth a Biden campaign statement calling Trump “weak and desperate.” Biden campaign spokesperson, James Singer, commented, “His campaign can’t raise money, he is uninterested in campaigning outside his country club, and every time he opens his mouth, he pushes moderate and suburban voters away with his dangerous agenda. America deserves better than a feeble, confused, and tired Donald Trump.”

MAGA propagandist, Charlie Kirk, of Turning Point USA, refusing to admit that women can think for themselves, has an interesting theory on why young women tend to vote Democratic …birth control pills cause brain damage! To a crowd at a recent church event streamed on Rumble, the far-right web site, he claims the pill “increases depression, anxiety…and suicidal ideation. It creates very angry and bitter young ladies and young women which manifests itself into a political party that is the bitter party. I mean, the Democrat Party is all about ‘bring us your bitterness and, you know, we’ll give you free stuff.” This from a MAGAt whose entire pitch is bitterness! Research shows that the pill affects half a percent, or 1 in 200 women, so Kirk’s bad math demonstrates why he dropped out of community college…sorry, Charlie, your figures are nothing but a MAGA lie! However, these same lies are a part of a disinformation campaign financed by billionaire Peter Thiel, whose teams of messengers falsely claim that hormonal birth control “tricked our bodies into dysfunction and pain,” which according to doctors, is precipitating a health care crisis in fearful women now seeking valid medical advice. MAGA leaders don’t care for birth control as it gives women freedom and opportunities…or as ‘Kinky’ Friedman’s song asserts, “Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in bed!” Kirk and his cohorts are only recapping a typical right-wing deceit of being chivalrous, with the underlying message being that women don’t have the mental capacity to handle freedom, and male control would make them happy.

The angry male population realizes that they have a hard sell, politically and legally, so to hide their sadism, it’s touted as “protecting women” from health risks. The fake science rule book used for decades regarding abortion, with mandatory waiting periods and fallacious claims for ‘medically necessary restrictions’ is mostly fabricated nonsense, but anti-choice advocates are not giving up on their “alternative facts.” US Supreme Court MAGA mouthpieces, Alito and Thomas, are digging into the Victorian Era legislation of the Comstock Act, an 1873 anti-sex law that was never repealed and hasn’t been enforced in decades. Revival of this law is being loudly bandied about in right-wing circles, as a way for a re-elected Donald Trump to unilaterally ban abortion without having too ask GOP congress members to take an unpopular vote to ban abortion. This all-encompassing act ignores details regarding health and safety, as it bans abortion and many aspects of human sexuality from contraception to nudes in art, and forbids shipment of every “obscene, lewd, lasciviousness, indecent, filthy, vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance.” All sex education was outlawed, even for married couples…and no sharing of information! So long MichaelangeloJames Joyce and Anais Nin!

Misogynist Anthony Comstock, responsible for the Act, operated in the same mode as Charlie Kirk does at present. Comstock liked to brag about how many women he had driven to suicide in prosecuting them for aiding others to get reproductive health care or explaining the mechanics of sex to newlyweds; indeed, he gloried in his claim that he had forced 15 women to take their lives within the first five years of the bill’s existence. MAGAts are hesitant to give Comstock much glory, instead expressing a false concern about imaginary damage caused by the pill taken by women who are too dim-witted to be trusted to make rational decisions. Right wingers want women to be punished, which reflects their fears that women are managing quite well with freedom and equality in reality. Male fear and anger is being borne out in the streets of New York City with women being punched in the face at random, an alarming occurrence which may or not be coordinated assaults. The assailants are men of varying races and ages, the victims mostly young and attractive who were just going about their business, talking to friends, reading books or viewing their cell phones. And that may be the impetus for the attack: the angry man is indignant that he isn’t the subject of the woman’s gaze, so he gives her no choice but to look at him, in fear…how dare she concentrate on something apart from his wonderfulness! Simply a tidal wave unleashed by Donald Trump and his MAGA base! MAGA misogynists are having a hissy fit as they attempt to recapture male dominance, but the fear is that women aren’t buckling under to the bullying as they are supposed to do…women owe them nothing for their maleness! This male aggressiveness is pathetic and scary, a last gasp of macho men who are unable to justify their sexism except through thuggish behavior…and women aren’t knuckling under.

On the Palmer ReportBocha Blue writes that the Trump campaign team is rattled that the female electorate cannot stand Donald Trump, and their candidate continues to make himself even more repulsive, discarding any chance he has to make changes. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that female voters are crumbling away from the former president, with almost 60% favoring Biden. In the 2020 election, Biden got 55% of the women’s vote, so we are seeking a shift, in all likelihood, from attitudes over abortion and IVF. Blue sees Trump’s support falling even further as the New York criminal trial exposes (so to speak) the Don’s reported liaison with porn star, Stormy Daniels, after Melania had just given birth to Barron. The campaign team fears that further erosion may occur with Evangelical women who won’t be happy about his infidelity…naah, that ain’t gonna happen…the Orange Messiah must have a reasonable explanation? He is making his misogynistic situation even worse by attacking Fani WillisE. Jean Carroll and Letitia James as his bullying continues on Truth Social, prompting Blue to say, “He might as well be wearing a t-shirt that says, ‘Women Don’t Matter To Me.’” In his arrogance, Trump is ignoring his advisors which may cost him dearly in November…yep, keep chasing those women…away!

And speaking of turned-off females, Melania Trump turned up at a campaign fundraiser in Palm Beach at the home of billionaire John Paulson on Saturday after being a no-show at a Friday event where she was to receive a “Child Advocacy Award.” Her husband accepted the award on her behalf. Some weighed in with their observations that she was “checking the clock”a and had little interest in being at the Saturday event, looking as if “she’s in a hostage video. Blink twice if you need help.” Mike SingtonSenior Executive at NBCUniversal, posted a photo of the Trump couple, writing, “Melania Trump looks thrilled as ever to be with Donald Trump at his fundraiser in Florida last night.” This marks the second public appearance by the former first-lady on the campaign trail, which reportedly raked in over $50M for the Trump coffers. “It took three Democrat presidents to raise $25M, and one president to raise over $50M, Donald J. Trump,” said spokesperson Danielle Alvarez in her statement afterwards. Around 100 wealthy guests showed, paying $250,000 each to be on the “host committee” and up to $824,000 each to serve as “chairman” and earning a seat at Trump’s table at dinner. No word from the fly on the wall who was busy eating ketchup, with no concern about helping his bottom line or protecting democracy.

Luckily, Lauren Boebert wasn’t invited to the fundraiser, and she may be short-changed for all future events after her behavior at a December event headlined by Trump, according to CNN. The servers refused to“bring her any more alcohol” as she had obviously been “over-served,” as in blitzed, tanked, whiffed, or splifficated. Her attempts to take selfies with Trump finally caused his security detail to intervene, telling her to knock it off. CNN’s Kasie Hunt reported, “This is how it went down and I want to remind viewers here that this came a few months after she got in trouble and had to apologize for her conduct at a Denver theater performance of Beetlejuice, getting kicked out for vaping and being loud, all on security footage. There was much than vaping!” MAGATs seem to have lost control of this woman…look on the good side, perhaps.

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:


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 you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.


“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
~Steve Maraboli

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
~Elizabeth Edwards

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
~Gever Tulley

“Grief and resilience live together.”
~Michelle Obama

“Resilience is based on compassion for ourselves as well as compassion for others.”
~Sharon Salzberg


Here’s a cute Conan O’Brien throwback…

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