Blog Archives

April 14 – 20, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Stop UCSC growth, London Nelson’s correction, Cabrilho College’s re-naming, about Soquel’s name, today’s slave owners, Rail plus trail for sure, go back to movie theatres, movie critiques. GREENSITE…on how the Downtown Association sees our future. KROHN…Luxury condos for no one. STEINBRUNER…Trusting Soquel Creek water District?, Bayview Hotel and RTC, State Farm and fireworks, Santa Cruz City and highrise developments, Georgia voting laws. PATTON…The New Left. EAGAN… Deep Cover and Subconscious Comics. QUOTES…”Trains”


SANTA CRUZ RAIL, TRAIL AND BOARDWALK. 1940.  Rails and our community have peacefully and popularly co-existed for well over a hundred years. Extending the rail plus trail all the way from Davenport to Monterey would be perfect for our community and our tourists.                                                    

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


WHEN THE SHW HITS THE FAN re. UCSC. (SHW = Student Housing West)The overcrowding of the campus and Santa Cruz continues. The East Meadow Action Committee works hard and long to spread their work and concerns. Here’s their newest update from April 4.

“In our last update we asked our supporters to write to the UC Regents urging them to pause and consider alternatives before re-authorizing UCSC’s Student Housing West (SHW) proposal. Many people wrote (some of the letters can be found on our website), but to little effect. In fact, all the “public comment” documents, including EMAC’s letter, sent a week earlier, were uploaded to the Regents only the night before the meeting. Given the usual full agenda, it’s hard to imagine these comments were read at all. So much for openness and broad consultation.

The Regents seem to have simply accepted the campus administration’s plan without confronting its flaws or considering the opposition it has stirred up. But this is not a done deal. With your help, we’ve been able to sustain our CEQA litigation, now entering the appeal stage. This keeps the meadow undisturbed at least for another year, raises significant issues with the EIR for this project, and provides a context for ongoing discussion.

The only hitch in the SHW re-approval process was a demand by several important Regents that the University guarantees the affordability of the housing it is building by committing to rents at least 30% below market rates in town. The Chancellor was reluctant to make such a pledge, but to secure approval she finally did. 

It is a commitment that is unlikely to be kept. The cost of construction and long-term bond repayment for the private partner will require a much higher rent. UC has never managed to provide student housing priced below the prevailing market rate, so students have migrated off-campus, a pattern likely to continue. 

This is made clear in a very acute Sierra Club analysis of housing on pp.2-3 of their recent LRDP comment

Past performance also throws serious doubt on the University’s commitment to house on campus almost all of the projected growth in enrollment. 

SHW, in its present form, is unlikely to improve the present housing crisis, either on campus or in the city. Moreover, the administration’s inflexibility has only resulted in delay. We strongly support new student housing, but this is not the best way to deliver what’s needed.

SHW is being pushed forward by an Administration badly advised by UC’s lawyers and unwilling to consider more effective alternatives. The East Meadow portion is particularly misguided and unpopular. There are better ways to begin building much sooner and reduce the risk from opposition and delay.

Several alternatives have been discussed and rejected because of inflated cost estimates. The path we now most favor is one that would correct the original mistake that carelessly off-loaded a portion of the project to the East Meadow. The administration should negotiate with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, as it might have done in Summer 2017, to better protect Red Legged Frog habitat and restore to SHW as much as possible of the original buildable footprint entirely on the West side of campus.  

While pursuing this course, the administration should reactivate the already fully approved housing project behind Crown College (“East Campus Infill”). Its 600 beds would address the crunch on campus more quickly than waiting for the entire massive project to clear all obstacles. By relieving pressure on an artificially constrained building site, these initiatives would make SHW, once again, a truly Westside project. Student residences would be more widely distributed, with a lower profile. And space could be created to buffer the Family Housing and Childcare centers from student life. 

In the current LRDP context, SHW (the largest building project in UCSC’s history) becomes part of a wider public conversation about the overall pace and shape of campus expansion. Pushing ahead with a project that was imagined in a different growth environment and that violates long-established traditions of environmental design will not contribute to the trust needed for a beneficial future relationship between the university and the community. 

The University of California often acts like a steamroller. Can UCSC find a different approach? Unfortunately, the Regents’ recent SHW decision does not augur well for respectful discussions and good-faith negotiation in the coming months. 

With thanks, again, to all our supporters, East Meadow Action Committee 


UCSC’s Long Range Development Plan would allow 28,000 students. (Current enrollment is 18,500). It would add 5.6 million square feet of building space (1.5 times the existing buildings on campus)

Land Use & Transportation Events 

  • April 23, Brown Bag discussion of parking requirements  Register here
  • Sunday, April 25, Forum on UCSC’s Long Range Development Plan   Register here

MORE ON THE TOPIC…The Campaign for Sustainable Transportation sent this public notice… “It’s hard to imagine anything that would have more impact on local housing prices and transportation than UCSC’s growth plan.

Two years ago the UCSC chancellor convened a Community Advisory Group to give input into development of the LRDP. The Group called for a binding commitment to housing 100 percent of new student enrollment. The Long Range Development Plan expresses a goal of housing the new students. Without a legally enforceable mechanism to tie enrollment growth to achievement of housing goals, the goal has no more credibility than the goal of the 1988 LRDP to house 70% of undergraduates, 50% of graduate students and 25% of faculty and staff.  (Currently UCSC houses 53% of its student enrollment. UCSC employs 4700 faculty and staff. Currently there are 239 units of faculty and staff housing on campus.)

On April 25 the Sierra Club and a number of co-sponsors are convening a discussion of what the Long Range Development Plan means for our community, and how to have an influence on UCSC’s growth plan. Register here

For more information; see the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation’s webpage, UCSC Growth.
-Rick Longinotti

LONDON NELSON’S RIGHTFUL NAME SPELLING. By now the City Council will have, and should have, corrected the misspelling of London Nelson’s name. For more than 20 years I’ve been beating the drum to change and correct the name of our community center. Here’s a link to what I wrote in the Metro in September of 1999. There’s a lot more here than just London Nelson…check it out. When you realize that London had three brothers named Canterbury, Cambridge and Marlborough, it should have been obvious. Let’s thank the City Council for the correcting!

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Be sure to watch/Zoom the ongoing series about re-naming Cabrillo College. Dr. Iris Engstrand, a professor from San Diego, gave a presentation on March 18 and said Cabrillo was a man of his time, and not as evil as some have believed. Cabrillo College actually made a public disclaimer zinging her presentation. Read it all here…

This Thursday, April 15, at 6 p.m. retired history Professor Sandy Lydon will give a presentation on just the how and why the name was chosen. All in all, I think this series helps us be aware – or stay aware – of just how much a part of our community the college is. Don’t miss it, or the debate on April 22 at 6 p.m. on the student reactions to the possible name change. 

SPEAKING OF NAMES. On the topic of naming and re-naming, Dr. Martin Rizzo – historian, author and friend – never mentioned on his section of the Cabrillo Re-naming Series what I’ve always thought the “original” name of Soquel was….Osacalles. So I wrote and asked him. He said….

“It appears that the Spanish started to refer to the Uypi people as the Soquel or Zoquel tribe by around 1810. The chief had died in 1805, so I think it is likely that they applied the chief’s name to his people posthumously. 

I do find a mention of a Osocalis village among the San Joaquin Valley Yokuts people who arrived at the mission in later years. 

In the ethnographic studies by Kroeber in the early 1900s, he notes that there is a Sokkel village in modern Soquel. I believe it is likely that he was confused, though it is possible that there was actually a village called that, especially given the linguistic connections of the word itself. 

I have a footnote on this in my forthcoming book on exactly this. It reads:

Soquel’s name is recorded in a variety of spellings: Suquel, Sugert, Suquer, and Suquex. By 1810, Spanish accounts began to call the Uypi tribe the Soquel or Zoquel tribe. The name remains, given to the Rancho property and later the township of Soquel, as well as the modern street that connects the cities of Santa Cruz, Soquel, and Aptos (another tribal name). As pointed out to me by Dean Silvers, the word Soquel may have linguistic connections in addition to those with the Uypi chief. Awaswas-speaking informants told linguist Pinart that the word for the laurel tree, found commonly in the region, is šokkoce or šokoci, Pinart, California Indian Linguistic Records, 17. The Mutsun language has a similar translation, with the word for laurel given as sokkoci or sokco, Warner, Butler, and Geary, Mutsun-English, English-Mutsun Dictionary, 350. There is some speculation in the public about the name Soquel coming from a village site in the area called Osocalis (there is even a distillery by this name in the area which is named for this possible village site). In my research I have not come across Osocalis in reference to this area but do find mention of an Osocalis village in Yokuts territory, which will be mentioned in chapter 4. In any case, it is possible that a village named Osocalis and the Uypi chief both might share linguistic connections with the laurel tree.  

TODAY’S “SLAVERY”? As long as we’re denigrating all past slave owners, lets all guess and predict the future!!! Will our next generation look at all the companies and institutions that pay less than minimum wage today and regard them as “slave owners”? How about the way we treat field workers now? Will we be viewed the same way we now look back at slave owners?

UPDATE ON RAIL INCLUDING TRAIL. A reader/writer sent this important piece on the reporting and manufacturing of the news and developing progress of the Rail PLUS Trail issue.

“I have some serious concerns with the both-sides narrative that is playing out around this issue and the way that media coverage is serving to amplify the very few opinions/voices that are against the project and elevate them in importance to the same level as the large and diverse community of people who have been supporting the project all along.  

Bud Colligan has manufactured a fake controversy around an incredibly popular public transportation project, and bankrolled a candidate and two fake grassroots organizations to push his narrative.  And every time FORT goes on a radio show with these guys, or does a newspaper interview that also carries a quote from them, it amplifies that that false narrative that there are two sides of equal weight. It’s a false equivalence.  

Please see this article to get what I mean“.

Just in case you need reassurance, check out this website and list of supporters of Coast Connect.

More than that, if you still are puzzled by the Rail plus Trail, drive over to the Westside of Santa Cruz on Almar Street. See how perfect and well used the new rail and trail section has become. See also what it has added to the community.

BACK INTO THEATRES AGAIN.  After all those months (years?) of avoiding seeing movies in theatres, I went to the “new” Santa Cruz Cinema last Saturday afternoon. The only changes from the Regal ownership years is that the Pacific Street box-office isn’t open and you buy your ticket online (or pay $1 extra) and then exchange it at the upstairs candy counter. The escalator wasn’t working either, but it’s been out of order many, many times with the previous owners too. I saw Anthony Hopkins in “The Father” in the 50 seat theater 5. With only four other attendees watching, there was no Covid scare. Hopkins and his co-stars Olivia Colman and Rufus Sewell should all be given awards. (see critique below). What is/was completely amazing is how much of a difference it was to see a movie on the big screen in a theater. The extreme concentration, the absolute commitment to never taking your eyes off the screen was surprising. No pauses, no texting, no emails, doorbells, phone calls, and sitting in a reclining easy chair was excellent. You totally center and focus on the screen. In spite of everything, go to a theatre the next time you want to see and remember a movie worth really watching.

Be sure to tune in to my very newest movie streaming 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.

THE FATHER. (Santa Cruz Cinema 9) Theatre 5. (Amazon Prime video, Apple tv)The powers that be should just give Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman their well-deserved Oscars and skip the ceremony. Hopkins is a 83 year old going through all the issues that accompany dementia. Colman is his lenient and patient daughter, who tries to keep him alive and operating. Rufus Sewell and a few other stars act as his maybe-real visions of his life. It’s a sad tale, and you’ve ever known of or lived with this problem first-hand you’ll cringe for at least two hours.  It’s worth your time and patience: see this excellent and deep-diving saga. It has six Oscar nominations, and a 98RT.

TWO DISTANT STRANGERS. (NETFLIX SINGLE) A young black man wakes up, leaves his girlfriend’s apartment, and gets shot by a New York Policeman….99 times! He’s probably dreaming it each time, but the incidents change and remind us of George Floyd’s murder almost every time. It’s haunting, thought-provoking and definitely worth your viewing and thinking. It’s nominated for best live action short film by the Academy. It’s only 29 minutes long!

SNABBA CASH. (NETFLIX SERIES) A vivacious young tech-type woman has big plans for a startup. She needs equally big financing, and goes to her crooked brother-in-law to get his involvement. The movie gets sexual, violent, deathly and complex, and the series goes on and on. It’s a Swedish production and you’ve seen it all before.   

EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES. (HBO SERIES). An absolutely brilliant documentary that details the true and devastating racial history of the United States and the rest of the world. It covers the racism behind MGM musicals, Donald Trump statements, sit-ins, Auschwitz, Selma, Dachau and more racial scenes of horror. Raoul Peck directed it, and Josh Hartnett acts as the returning murderer of slaves and servants. It also pays deserving tribute to Howard Zinn and his history of USA prejudice, “A  People’s History of the United States”. WE should do more than watch this one… we should actually memorize its four episodes. 77RT

HEMINGWAY. (PBS VIDEO APP. SERIES) As The New Yorker stated, this Ken Burns documentary is all about the man behind the legend. There’s largely unknown or little-exposed facts about Earnest, such as his bisexuality identification, his many wives and girlfriends, his repeated concussions from wars, drinking, boating, and beyond. He had to deal with his inherited fear and wish to commit suicide, which he fulfilled at the age of 61. He worked and worried hard to write, finding it no easy task. This documentary brings us the real Earnest Hemingway. If you haven’t read his best books, watch it and make your choice now.

TEMPLANZA. (AMAZON PRIME SERIES) aka “The Vineyard”. It’s dubbed, but I found that you can click out the dubbed in English soundtrack and listen to the original Spanish and watch the English subtitles. Set in 1860 in Veracruz, Mexico and Spain, this is a love affair story involving a young woman torn between her inherited family and problems, and her love for the well-to-do Spaniard who pursues her incessantly.  

WHAT LIES BELOW. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Absolutely a waste of “film” and your time… except there are excellent scenes and ideas scattered throughout this horror movie. Mena Suvari does her usual mugging corny role as she falls in love – and in the water – over her new beau. Her daughter watches in horror as the almost surprising facts are revealed in the closing minutes. It could have been a Hitchcock humdinger, but it isn’t quite.

MADAME CLAUDE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) This is a real story of a madame who ran one of the most successful prostitute businesses in Parism around 1968. There’s much nudity, a lot of sex, and she dealt with politicians, police, and everyday life in a truly unique way. It’s well done, fine acting and certainly worth watching.

THUNDER FORCE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) This woeful attempt at a comedy fails on all levels. The two “stars” Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer mug and goof their way as “Miscreants” through this ill-timed flop. It’s a shame to see Jason Bateman also ruining his reputation by clowning through this loser…avoid it.

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, PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.  

CAUGHT BY A WAVE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). More Santa Cruz type boating and summer adventures at a teen age summer camp. One girl who has muscular Dystrophy falls in love. It’s in Sicily and her boyfriend tries very hard to convince her that he can handle her medical challenges.  It’s a good film but tough to experience such a young and complex love story. The plot is so heavy, you’ll get involved but still their script or acting isn’t quite all it should be. Do watch it. Too new for a Rotten Tomatoes score.

DEADLY ILLUSIONS. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Kristin Davis from Sex and The City tries hard to be a professional author trying to write another best seller. She hires a nanny a very sexy, blonde young nanny who seems to create all sorts of trouble. It has 10RT and deserves it. There aren’t more than two minutes in the movie that you’ll believe or care about. Avoid it.

LOST GIRLS. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Gabriel Byrne co stars in this Long Island New York murder mystery based on a tragically true serial killer’s shocking victories. 73 RT. The mother of an 18 year daughter who was a prostitute is determined to fine that murderer and stop the killer. Gabriel Byrne is the police commissioner who doesn’t help much. It’s moody, spotty acting and even now as the closing credits tell us they haven’t found the killer.

CONCRETE COWBOY. (NETFLIX SINGLE) The world is finding out that in Philadelphia there is now and has been for generations a large African-American Urban Riding club. 79RT. Idris Elba plays the unwilling father of a never do well son who was ordered by the courts to live with his cowboy father. It’s also a war we know about that being developers destroying neighborhoods in the name of low income housing. Colorful, dramatic, predictable, but well worth watching.

KEEPING THE BEES. (NETFLIX SINGLE). A successful young woman leaves her good life in Germany to return to help her very sick mother in Turkey. Her mother is a near legendary bee keeper and dies leaving her daughter to learn all about bees and honey. A sad story, but full of bee lore and fine photography. The daughter has to face a bear and the locals who treat her in some unusual ways. Watch it, you’ll learn a lot about bees and how human they are!!!

QUICKSAND (NETFLIX SERIES). This is a Swedish series about a mass shooting in a grade school classroom. We see part of the shootings and watch as a trial slowly reveals why the 18 year old suspect did the shooting. It got 96 RT. A fine, exciting, well made movie about an all too common an occurrence. 

ULTRAVIOLET. (PRIME VIDEO & NETFLIX SERIES) A very hi tech Polish movie about the murder of a much similar Steve Jobs type genius who is found boiled to death. A beautiful woman returns to her home town to lead some friends into a search to find out not so much who, but how the murder was committed. Fascinating, 96RT. Lots of high tech references and mystery keep us involved. Go for it.

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

April 12

On Tuesday of last week the Downtown Association (DTA) of Santa Cruz held a roundtable zoom on the big scale developments under way, planned or approved for downtown and south of Laurel: developments that will forever change the small town character and class make-up of Santa Cruz. 

Below is a shot of the current corner of Front and Soquel and below that, the 70- foot development proposed for that corner. Well, not just the corner: 530 Front Street will extend halfway down the block. Next to it will be the already approved Front/Riverfront Project of similar mass, only taller at 85 feet.  

Even panel participant, developer Owen Lawlor had to admit the change in the character of the town will be “jarring.” However, as developers tend to do, he found such change to be positive, exciting and different, no doubt thinking of the bottom line. He reminded us of the non-existent issue that Santa Cruz has “suffered from not enough housing at all income levels” and stated as fact the myth that the hundreds of new residents “will live without cars.”

Feel-good jargon was in abundance and buzzwords hummed. Everyone loved that the developments will”reconnect downtown to the river.” The verb “activate” was on everyone’s lips. Transform a quiet river with abundant bird life and “activate” it. Transform a familiar part of downtown or a modest one story building south of Laurel and “activate” it. Bringing in more and more people to shop, buy, consume is the goal. Nothing can be “under-utilized”. This same trend is creeping into our open space lands. Human presence rules and preferably with high priced leisure toys. 

City staff was well represented at the DTA roundtable with a presentation on the new relocated Main Library, which we were told will: “bring positive energy to downtown” and act as an “anchor, bringing in visitors.” If anything screams locals, it is a library. 

Chris Murphy of The Warriors joined the chorus of finding all this development, particularly the transformation of the lower end of Pacific as “exciting”.  The plan for the current site of the Warriors Arena plus the adjacent site is big time. Murphy described a future Arena, plus housing, plus commercial plus retail plus community space and even partnering with the Symphony. Not only will all this “engage the river” he assured us it will “activate the river.” The Seaside Company owns the land. They no doubt will find such development of their former overflow parking lot for employees and UCSC students as welcome and lucrative. The current council move towards re-zoning south of Laurel from 35 feet height limits to 85 feet height limits has big supporters in high places and a significant number of the old guard. Former councilmember Cynthia Mathews was a DTA cheerleader on chat at the zoom.

It’s hard not to be depressed as we lose our town to the highest bidder. More depressing is the fact that all this development, including the token so-called “affordable” units will only raise the Area Medium Income putting even the scarce below market rate units out of reach of the average low-wage service worker. 

The days when we were assured that vocal locals could push back on these generic, outsized developments has gone, overruled by new state housing legislation. Gone also is a council majority critical of bulldozing what is left of Santa Cruz. 

However policies are human constructs not forces of nature. It’s time to show our state legislators and senators (don’t we have one called Laird?) that we care and we are prepared to fight back. It’s time to activate the state halls of power.

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.


April 12


Hundreds more people are expected to find themselves living outside in Santa Cruz in coming months. I was impressed by Keith McHenry’s recent insight into the plight of the houseless in Santa Cruz, so impressed that I am re-printing it here. Check it out.

By Keith McHenry

Santa Cruz City and County officials are struggling to find a legal means to remove the unhoused from sight while not offending their liberal base at the same time. In an attempt to circumvent the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that sweeps are an unconstitutional violation of the Eighth amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment they have spent the last year formulating their “Temporary Outdoor Living Ordinance” (TOLO) set to be revisited by City Council on Tuesday, April 13. As it currently stands people can set up a tent, tarps, blankets and other survival gear from the hours of 8 pm to 8 am on the sidewalks of Mission, Ocean, Water and Soquel Streets and in industrial areas of Seabright, Harvey West and Mission extension. Using the same ploy that the City Manager, Martin Bernal, used to mobilize West Side opposition against any humane solution, tagging Drew Glover with a Depot Park Safe Sleeping Zone, they have mobilized the East side against their already cruel ordinance.

Sweeps, Part II

It is not clear yet what the city and county plans to do as hundreds of people a month find themselves living outside. Local shelters are closing and people will soon be forced from the few provided hotels, sending several hundred into the doorways and along the highways. The city also plans to sweep San Lorenzo Park including the Benchlands temporary managed camp as soon as the COVID emergency is over. Gov. Gavin Newsom says that will be in June.

No Room at the Inn

In the April 5th article in Lookout Santa Cruz, “COVID-spawned budget woes will force shutdown of River Street homeless shelter next month,” county supervisor Ryan Coonerty expresses, “the bigger issue the county will have to solve soon is what to do with hundreds of people in shelters that were expanded during the pandemic — but where federal funding is expected to wind down as the virus-induced crisis begins to ebb this summer and fall”.
Coonerty went on, “I think we have 650 people in shelter for COVID, mostly in motels and others, and you know that funding is disappearing and so in terms of what we’re worried about that continues to be the major issue,” he said.

The Plot Thickens

Adding to the crisis resulting from an end to these marginal accommodations for those unhoused the moratoriums on evictions will end soon causing millions of Americans to live in cramped apartments doubling up with family and friends or even more likely, they will be forced out into the streets seeking shelter in cars or tents. So far there is no plan to pay the back rent or mortgages of nearly 40 million families. That $1,400 check, if it ever arrives, will do little to slow this crisis. Money allocated for rental assistance has been difficult or impossible for many to access. If local officials have any plan at all I worry that it includes shipping everyone to a large managed camp in an unincorporated area of the county.

SC Santa Cruz Brain Drain Trust
An October 10, 2020, article in the Sentinel says “Vice Mayor Donna Meyers, however, called Santa Cruz’s situation “dire,” citing the concentration of 53% of the county’s homeless services located in a city with 23% of the county population. The Santa Cruz City Manager, citing the armory shelter, the county’s Emeline Center complex and the city’s largest homeless shelter at Housing Matters on Coral Street, said that community members are concerned, and appear to be asking that future resources be located elsewhere in the county. When Fred Keeley was facilitator of the city’s “Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness” he asked several of us if we supported a mega Navigation Center, “five or six times larger” than the current Housing Matters site.

The Eviction Crisis, Elsewhere
NPR reports on April, 7, 2021,”We’ve had a failure of leadership that’s going to result in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Texans becoming homeless in relatively short order,” says Mark Melton, who heads up a pro bono team of 175 volunteer lawyers in Dallas. On paper, landlords could still face hefty fines and jail time for violating the CDC rules on evictions. But Melton says in reality there has been virtually no enforcement for landlords who violate the CDC order. He expects a significant number of landlords will now push ahead with evictions.” Melton says, “I think we just stepped off a cliff that we really didn’t want to step off.” As is the case in most states rental assistance is difficult if not impossible to get in South Carolina. Rebecca Liebson writes in the State, “Since the moratorium went into effect, according to court records at least 50,000 evictions have been filed across five of the state’s most populous counties — Richland, Lexington, Horry, Greenville and Charleston. Though there’s no way to tell how many of those tenants will ultimately be forced to vacate their homes, data from the Census Bureau shows that many South Carolinians have serious concerns about losing housing. Nearly 53% of renters said they were very likely or somewhat likely to be forced to leave home due to eviction in the next two months.”

Back at Home

Six people came to me in March and were seeking a safe place to sleep in their car. Sadly, like most people they do not qualify for the City’s Safe Parking Program and are likely to have their vehicles confiscated under the crush of tickets they are now being issued. The Biden administration has not announced the cancellation of rents and mortgages nor are they offering to issue $20,000 checks to everyone who has not been able to pay their housing costs during the past year. The Eviction Lab at Princeton is warning that as many as 40 million Americans are facing eviction. At the same time a luxury condominium building boom is underway. Poor people are being “Red Lined” from their communities and are forced to seek shelter under bridges, doorways on along highways. Tragically everyone could be housed. Bay Area business journalist Aaron Glantz’s book, “Homewreckers,” is about the 2007 housing foreclosure crisis. He provides evidence that property speculators had a strategy that included parking their money in housing that they intended to leave empty. The current wave of building here in Santa Cruz is also likely to sit vacant. The Pacific and Laurel property was already sold to another out of town investor before any construction had begun.

Some History
I was first confronted by the now common use of language to justify the elimination of the homeless in the fall of 1986 in Massachusetts. I had a graphic design business in Kenmore Square, in Boston and I lived in an apartment across the street from my office. The Boston Red Sox were among my Kenmore Square clients. I also volunteered my services to the Kenmore Association, a local civic group organized by local property speculators where they called the people who lived outside in our neighborhood, tramps, vagrants, punks, druggies, transients, vermin, and streetpeople. The October 1986 issue of the association’s newsletter, the Kenmore News, included this: “The Security & Maintenance Committee encourages all KA Members to assume an active role in cleaning up Kenmore Square. In order to prevent the attraction of streetpeople (especially the “rough element,” new to Kenmore Square), following guidelines were suggested at the breakfast meeting… “Please don’t give free food to these streetpeople…”Please lock all dumpsters. Unlocked dumpsters will be cited by the City inspectors and all infractions will be subject to fines. Open dumpsters attract street people looking for collectibles and food…”Please refrain from throwing returnable cans and bottles in public trash receptacles. The streetpeople find Kenmore Square a profitable location for collecting on these cans and bottles… “Start calling the police if certain annoyances persist and keep a record of your calls (i.e. date, time of day and response time).”

Fema Camps?
The decade’s long drum beat of dehumanization maybe coming to its logical conclusion. The time is coming where we are either going to turn our gaze away from the inhumane policies of the property speculators and their employees in government, or we are going to unite against these plans to drive the unhoused into camps. Three decades of the dehumanization of those who cannot afford rent has set the foundation for forced removal of America’s “Useless Eaters.”
We better act now or as the poem of from German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller,
First they came for the homeless, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not homeless.
Then they came for the Mexicans, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Mexican.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for me —
and there was no one left to speak for me.

“On #HolocaustRememberanceDay, we recommit to stopping the cycle of amnesia &violence that spreads white supremacy, anti-Semitism& bigotry in all forms. If we’re to stop history from repeating, we must remember not just what happened but also how it happened. #ItStartedWithWords” (April 8)

Just out walking my Donkey…As(ses) seen on Cooper Street in downtown Santa Cruz last week near the corner of Pacific Avenue.
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at


April 12

Soquel Creek Water District is moving at great speed to shove through their expensive PureWater Soquel Project to inject treated sewage water in to the precious aquifer supplying drinking water for the MidCounty areas.  Repeatedly, staff assures this system would be state-of-the-art, high-tech and have built-in redundancy to halt any problems affecting water quality injected into the groundwater.  

Should we trust them?  It always works on paper, but note local failures at other high-tech facilities that failed grossly yet went un-noticed and un-reported. 

Sunnyvale fined $187,000 after spilling nearly 300,000 gallons of wastewater into San Francisco Bay

Sewage spill closes eight Monterey beaches

Can we trust a District whose Board President assured members of the public, concerned about the PureWater Soquel Project injection well at Twin Lakes Church, that the well would be gravity-fed, not pressure-injected???  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oddly, however, the sections of this video (available on the District website) that used to provide the public testimonies against the Twin Lakes Church Injection Well and Director Daniels’ ludicrous claim it would all be gravity-fed have been removed.  Hmmmmm……

Luckily, a citizen video recorded that same meeting, which captured Bruce Daniels’ misinformation to the public: See minute 1:41:35 “This is not injection, it is gravity feed”.

Now, why do you suppose Soquel Creek Water District would want to censor such valuable public comment and Director response?  Can we trust Soquel Creek Water District to ever be honest with the public if there is a problem with the PureWater Soquel Project???  I just don’t think so.

Right now, California does not allow water municipalities to sell you treated sewage water directly, but that will likely change soon.  Here is your chance to read and comment on the State’s plan to allow Direct Potable Re-Use

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) will accept public comments on the Addendum to A Proposed Framework for Regulating Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) in California, 2nd Edition. The Addendum is an early draft of the anticipated criteria for direct potable reuse. 

PUBLIC WORKSHOP April 22, 2021 – 9:30 a.m. 
As a result of the COVID-19 emergency and the Governor’s Executive Orders to protect public health by limiting public gatherings and requiring social distancing, this meeting will occur solely via remote presence. If you wish to watch the meeting: A webcast will be available here and should be used unless you intend to provide oral comments. If you wish to make an oral comment: additional information about participating telephonically or via the remote meeting solution is  available here.

The State Water Board has prepared an Addendum to A Proposed Framework for Regulating DPR in California, 2nd Edition. The Addendum is an early draft of the anticipated criteria for direct potable reuse for stakeholder review and input. State Water Board Division of Drinking Water (DDW) staff will present an overview of the early draft of the anticipated criteria for DPR and invite the public and interested parties to present oral comments. A quorum of the State Water Board members may attend this workshop and may provide input, pose questions, or provide direction to staff, but no action will be taken. 

The public may review and comment on the Addendum. Written comments on the Addendum are due by 12:00 noon on Friday, June 25, 2021.

Arm-in-arm, the County Public Works Director, Matt Machado, and Barry Swenson Builder reps convinced the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to authorize an illegal taking of the historic Bayview Hotel private crossing….as a Consent Agenda Item on April 1, 2021 meeting.  The RTC and County failed to provide the owner of the Bayview Hotel any advance notice at all that the Resolution approving the taking was on the agenda.  

Matt Machado insists “This is not a taking…we are simply moving the entrance to the Hotel to Parade Street.”  That move will effectively isolate the Bayview Hotel property between the two businesses on either side, decreasing the commercial value and ignoring the 1876 Deed wherein Hotel owner Jose Arano specified the crossing to the Hotel must be kept open in perpetuity. 

This was all made possible by the secret meetings held between Swenson, the County, and the property owner adjacent to the Bayview Hotel, who owns 50% of the crossing.  She sold out to Swenson, and even made agreements to have Swenson pay to pave the driveway portion of the parking lot in front of the Bayview to be more pleasing for her own customers….but all without consent or involvement of the Bayview Hotel owner!

What egregious arrogance by all…and the RTC approved it with Second District Supervisor Zach Friend leading the charge to wave it through on the Consent Agenda to help the Aptos Village Project developers.  Disgusting.

Contact the RTC members with your thoughts! This page has all of their email addresses: Commission Members

Many insurance companies are cancelling policies in rural areas, but State Farm is stepping up to help protect the rural properties instead.  

Local State Farm agent informed me that the contract with a professional private firefighter firm will, at no extra cost to policy holders, provide service to remove combustibles away from structures, clean roof and gutters, seal all vents where embers could lodge and catch the structure on fire, install temporary exterior sprinkler systems, apply fire retardant foam to cover the structure, and patrol the area for spot fires and flare-ups.  

This is good news for rural property owners throughout the nation’s rural areas!

Private wildland firefighting firm contracted to protect State Farm-insured-homes

Santa Cruz County population statistics show a steady decline since 2018: Santa Cruz County, California Population 2021 

So, why is the City of Santa Cruz moving so quickly to erase the character of communities with multiple high-rise behemoths at a time when infrastructure is broken and local officials fret about water shortages?

Take a look at just a few of the most jaw-dropping active projects in the City: Active Planning Applications | City of Santa Cruz. That slide show is incomplete, by the way…click on “W” to see two large projects on Water Street and West Cliff Drive.  

What are these people thinking?  Contact the City Council and ask! Call Santa Cruz City Council: 831-420-5020 . Email submitted to is public record. All City Council email that is general correspondence will be forwarded to individual Councilmembers, City departments as appropriate, and placed in the Central Branch Library Reference Desk for 3 months for public review. All City Council email that pertains to an agenda item will be placed with that agenda item and distributed with the agenda packet, which includes public review at the Central Branch Library. 


    Last week, Nisene Marks State Park entrance on Aptos Creek Road was closed for half a day while paving work happened.  The improvement is wonderful, especially since it occurred in the most hazardous area of the access route.

    Here is a photo: 

    The developers have now posted signs throughout the subdivision to prohibit public parking throughout.  This is only Phase 1…take a look at this photo:

    No one from County Parks seems to know anything about the new metal tree survey tags at the entrance to Aptos Village County Park.  Will they be chopped down by the Swenson developers for the 10′-wide trench the County is providing free of charge to allow parking lot stormwater  effluent to be dumped into Aptos Creek via County Park land?


    How the corporate backlash to Georgia’s new voting law is shaping other fights around the country over access to the polls

    Since when do large corporations get to call the shots on how our country’s population votes?


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 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


April 11
#101 / The New Left

This picture, dated 1964, appeared at the top of an article in The New Yorker on March 22, 2021. The image was provided to the magazine courtesy of the Oakland Tribune Collection and the Oakland Museum of California. Design credit for the illustration was given to Paul Sahre.

What attracted me to the article, besides the picture, which brought that era right back into my immediate consciousness, was this statement, which served as a “sub-headline.” 

The movement inspired young people to believe that they could transform themselves – and America.

In fact, I believed that then, and I still believe it now. And the truth that we can transform ourselves, and America, is not a truth that applies only to “young people,” either.

If you weren’t part of the “New Left” yourself and so don’t really have a clear idea of how it started and what it was all about, I commend that New Yorker article to your attention. The article was written by Louis Menand, a professor at Harvard, and is titled, “The Making of the New Left.”

Not only did I like that sub-headline at the very beginning of Menand’s article, I liked how his article ended, too:

The nation was at a crossroads in the nineteen-sixties. The system did not break, but it did bend. We are at another crossroads today. It can be made to bend again.  

That’s true. I can speak from personal experience. I was there. 

I have only one amendment to Menand’s closing, though. It’s just a one-word change: 

The system did not break, but it did bend. We are at another crossroads today. It MUST be made to bend again.

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


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


“…what thrills me about trains is not their size or their equipment but the fact that they are moving, that they embody a connection between unseen places.”  
~Marianne Wiggins 

“Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.”  Dana Frank, Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California’s Kitsch Monuments 

“A good country is the one in which trains run on time, and carry happy passengers.”
– Mantaranjot Mangat, Plotless

Wayne Brady was in the Chicago production of Hamilton. I had no idea! That man is a genius, and here’s an impromptu improvised song/rap after the show, involving the audience and money! Admire his brilliance 🙂

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

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