Blog Archives

April 20 – 26, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Ami Chen Mills answers, labor votes No on Greenway, Oganookie originale, Eagan’s Head First, streamer reviews, Live Here Now. GREENSITE… Greensite on Measure F. KROHN…Santa Cruz City Council and decorum and democracy. STEINBRUNER… HAYES…Teach your children well, pt. 2. PATTON…The Proud boys Plan. MATLOCK…Frauds, fake news, fundraisers, and freedoms free for all. EAGAN…  Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”Trains”

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DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ…early 1900’s. This parade of horse driven buggies is heading west on Locust street just off Pacific Avenue.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE April 18 

THIRD DISTRICT COUNTY SUPERVISOR RACE.

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Thank you!

If you scroll down to last week’s BrattonOnline (April 13-19) you’ll see Justin Cummings responses to my three issue questions. This week Ami Chen Mills was kind enough to respond to those same questions. It would be illuminating if you readers sent us your interpretations and reactions to their statements. As per usual send them to bratton@cruzio.com 

My questions to Amy stated “I hope you can take the time to answer these three if you were voting tomorrow. Her answers were…

  1. Do you support the creating and building a new library where our Farmers Market now meets?

    No. I support the ballot measure: Our Downtown Our Future. Why? Because it seems to me that several years ago, we could have simply remodeled the current library and we’d have a new library in our civic center “neighborhood” by now. The desire for a city “vanity project” and the mysterious quest for new parking lots–when we do have enough parking downtown–is contraindicated by an ongoing and intensifying climate crisis, which begs us instead to reduce our reliance on automobiles, decrease use of cement/concrete and expand our production (and consumption) of local, organic and specifically regenerative agriculture (which draws carbon out of the atmosphere and into healthy soils), as well as community resiliency and cohesion, which are served by public gathering spaces; and pleasant, spacious, warm and sunny farmer’s markets. Of course, we all love the Magnolia trees. While affordable housing proponents point to the low-income housing that is part of the new “multiplex” designated for this site, Our Downtown Our Future secures several city parking lots for affordable housing at a time when land is far too expensive for developers to want to build affordable housing on private parcels.

    We can build all the fancy new complexes we want, but this will not prevent us from fleeing wildfires, losing homes (911 lost in the CZU complex fire), saltwater intrusion, losing ecosystem and dealing with increased supply chain disruption, including food supplies, as severe weather–storms, droughts, demon winds, hurricanes, intense wildfires, flooding–all impact both transportation and food production. We ignore the climate crisis at our peril. We can create and support a thriving downtown and local business in more eco-friendly and appropriate ways.

  2. How would you vote on measure D? Do you support the Greenway trail program?
    I would vote NO on D. I support a Trail next to the Tracks. I support the trail that is currently being built. My campaign is a co-sponsor of the No Way on Greenway coalition of individuals and groups. I believe we must remain connected to the larger system of statewide tracks in an era in which the automobile must “take a back seat” to mass transit, telecommuting and alternative transit. Even electric cars have an impact.

    For the time being (this immediate moment of Measure D), I support access of Roaring Camp to the tracks along the entire Highway 1 corridor, as well as requests of Fire Stations to be able to use the tracks in event of fires. Fires are one of our number one climate and public safety issues now. This will be the case for some time to come.

    An active light rail along the tracks will be a great boon to what I envision as an agro-eco-tourism industry that we could purposefully, even joyfully!–build here in the County; as well as to the many, many workers who now travel in terrible traffic from South County to jobs in the northern part of the County and back again. The public needs further education on this topic and I would provide that education from my seat on the County Board, along with my considerable activist and advocate energy.

  3. The creating of the Cotoni Coast Dairies National monument will have a huge effect on our North Coast. Have you connected with BLM? What do you foresee as the main effects?

    No, I have not connected with BLM yet. I am first arranging to hike/walk the monument at this time, but so far dates have not worked out. I will be touring the monument, however, very soon–with individuals who are deeply concerned with the impact on species, flora and fauna there. I have heard from North Coast residents they have serious concerns about placement of the parking lot, traffic, traffic safety, road conditions … and I have also heard concerns about creation of mountain biking trails there, without proper environmental/ecological review. I also understand the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band has some rights to the monument for the purposes of native resource gathering, and possibly ceremony. I am concerned about fuel loads there in a forest that abuts a fire-traumatized community. I have been reading the essays of Grey Hayes. But I cannot take a position or stand on all this now, without further research and listening to more parties.

    I would like to share a bit about my process. Process is important, I believe, because new issues always arise, especially at this time of global, national and local calamity, and new info comes in constantly. Sometimes, I come off as a bit “Columbo-esque” … I may be looking dumb :), but I am taking information in, doing research and asking questions. I find that each person has a particular view, and that these views often conflict from one person to the next. I prefer not to make grandiose campaign promises when I feel I do not have all the facts at hand. I also understand that the reality of serving on the Board will introduce factors and roadblocks I cannot even anticipate!

    However, when I have gathered the facts, when I have spoken to enough people, and feel grounded in reality–and when I understand what the roadblocks are and what people’s motives are–I then act with great persistence, persuasiveness and passion. People who know and have worked with me can attest to this. I am also very willing to listen to all parties and stakeholders involved in an issue, even if I may not initially agree with their stance. We need cross-divide listening and dialogue now more than ever.

    Thank you for your time and attention. Whoever you support (and let it be me!), please vote in May and June (ballots will arrive in early May) and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote also!

    Ami Chen Mills… Ami Chen Mills for Santa Cruz County Supervisor, District 3 www.AmiChenMills.com  (650) 424-8984 Ami’s practice, writings, radio shows, YouTube Channel, books, & events calendar: www.amichen.com

     

CUMMINGS MAKES CLEAR. Justin Cummings sent this note Monday afternoon 04/18… 
“I wanted to follow up on the answers to the question related to Measure D printed in last week’s BrattonOnline.com.  To be clear, I am strongly opposed to Measure D, have endorsed No Way Greenway, and the No on D campaign, and have not asked for or taken any money or support from Greenway organizers. Justin”. 

CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL, REPRESENTING NEARLY 80 UNIONS, VOTES TO OPPOSE MEASURE D ie… NO ON GREENWAY.

SANTA CRUZ, CA (Apr. 14, 2022) – At its monthly Delegates Assembly, the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC) delivered a near-unanimous vote to oppose Measure D, the deceptive Greenway initiative that will end all planning for future rail transit, rip up the tracks between Santa Cruz and Watsonville, and strand Roaring Camp Railroads from the national rail network. MBCLC, the local body of the AFL-CIO, represents nearly 80 unions and more than 38,000 working families in the Monterey Bay area.
 

“Measure D fails to meet the needs of working families and local employers who will benefit from the current plan for clean light rail alongside a community trail,” said Daniel Dodge, Sr., president of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council. “Greenway’s Measure D plan will permanently force working families to depend on clogged Highway 1 to travel the length of our county, while doing nothing to address climate change.”

 

MBCLC’s vote to oppose Measure D is a dramatic expansion of labor union opposition to Greenway, which also includes previously announced anti-Measure D votes by the Cabrillo Federation of Teachers and the Monterey/Santa Cruz Building & Construction Trades Council.

 

A partial list (alphabetical) of other organizations opposed to Measure D includes: Equity Transit, Friends of Rail & Trail, GLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz County, Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California (NIAC), Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce, Regeneración — Pájaro Valley Climate Action, Roaring Camp Railroads, San Lorenzo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz County Democratic Party, Santa Cruz YIMBY, Sierra Club and Valley Women’s Club of the San Lorenzo Valley. For a complete list, visit the No Way Greenway website.

 

To learn more about the NO on Measure D/No Way Greenway campaign (FPPC # 1442272), visit www.nowaygreenway.org or find updates on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

THE OGANOOKIE STORY. Oganookie wants you to know that…”Remember Oganookie? This eclectic musical group presided over many ecstatic Saturday nights at the Catalyst and throughout Northern California in the early 70s. It returns for a unique celebration-

“The Oganookie Story”- on Saturday, April 23rd. at 7:30 pm at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. The performance will weave together songs and reflections on the band, its history as both a musical endeavor and a commune in the Santa Cruz mountains. Original members of Oganookie will unite with two younger generations of Oganookie progeny to perform the diverse and original music that made Oganookie one of Santa Cruz’s all-time favorite bands ….If you were a part of that time in Santa Cruz, or curious about the origins of Santa Cruz as a hub of musical innovation and creativity, this is a show not to be missed. Check out the band at oganookie.com. Tickets are available through Snazzy Productions (831) 479-9421 (9am-7pm). 

EAGAN’S HEAD FIRST…Tim Eagan’s graphic novel Head First is looking strong on kickstarter.com. The book (which is based on Tim’s Subconscious Comics) hit its goal in 12 hours. It’s a full-color, hardback featuring the Subcon characters in a single, big story. Backers can choose rewards — including the book itself. In fact, this limited-run version might be your only chance to get a copy of the first edition. Original art from the book also available! Here’s the link! There is only one week left of the campaign. Support your local cartoonist!

CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC NEEDS HOUSING! The Festival relies on volunteer host families to house their wonderful musicians and composers. They truly cannot do this without you! If you have a spare bedroom, guest house, or granny unit that you can offer during the Festival season, July 23–Aug 7, please use the interest form provided here, email them or phone 831.426.6966

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.

ROAR. (APPLE SERIES) (74RT). Single episodes each taking on a segment of women’s place in our lives. Clever, funny, deadly serious, and more than illuminating. Nicole Kidman, Judy Davis, and many equally brilliant stars enact our worst treatment of women today. It’s mother vs. daughter, women on a shelf, black women’s invisibility. Brilliant and well worth watching.

HEIRS TO THE LAND. (NETFLIX SERIES). A Spanish movie full of 14th century costumes and blah acting. Barcelona is full of kingly evils, religious and sacrilegious atrocities and a sad story about a young kid and how he’ll face his future. As mentioned the acting is so staged and phony that you’ll leave after five minutes.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (97RT). A multiverse mess of colliding worlds face Michelle Yeoh in this confusing, super real sci-fi hassle. An unrecognizable Jamie Lee Curtis wears a fat suit and makeup as an IRS agent about to close Michelle’s laundromat. There’s lots of violence, special effects galore, and no one has figured it out yet. 

PARIS 13TH DISTRICT. (84RT). (Del Mar Theatre). It’s in black and white and about love, sex and relationships in Paris. Very sensuous and startling in the treatment of love and connecting. There’s porno and switching partners, and yet some very sincere looks at commitment.  Complex and intriguing and worthwhile. 

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL (NETFLIX SERIES). (59RT) Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery steals every minute she’s on screen in this courtroom drama. It involves the Prime Minister, his friends and a secret past he hides. There’s a charge of rape that gets full time attention and some superior acting and storytelling. Sienna Miller and Rupert Friend do excellent jobs in their roles. Go for it. 

OUTER RANGE. (PRIME SERIES) (73RT). Josh Brolin plays his usual cowboy role in this genuinely original story of an outer space hole being discovered on a Wyoming ranch. It’s about death and his sickle and ownership of land issues. It’s complicated and original enough to keep you binged to the whole series. I liked it. 

BENEDETTA. (HULU SERIES). (86RT) The always dependable Charlotte Rampling is the director of a nunnery in 17th century France. This movie directed by Paul Verhoven is a very sensitive and provocative look at then forbidden lesbian sex. What the back and forth stories of the two young women involved gives us great questions about church and sex and what’s sacred and what’s erotic and normal.  

PROMISED LAND. (HULU SERIES) (100RT). Almost in our back yard we watch the story of Mexican immigrants working on grape vineyards in Sonoma Valley. Actor John Ortiz leads the action involving his gay son, the money driven grape business and the evil padre who adds to the issues. Poor camera work, half terrible acting and non-thinking casting make this one that you can avoid. But the immigrant issues involved need more exposure onscreen and in real life. 

DANCING ON GLASS. (NETFLIX MOVIE). This Spanish ballet drama gives us a lot of focus on the Ballet “Giselle”. A young girl is given the lead role in the ballet and the problems she endures in her personal life and the challenges provided by the ballet school and the director will keep you on your toes almost as long as the ballerina! Besides that all the dancers actually smoke which seems to make a statement. 

WANDER DARKLY. (HULU MOVIE). (75RT). A beautiful Sienna Miller and her husband are killed in a car crash. She comes back to life, but only maybe. Her dreams and illusions are surprising, are very real, and puzzling. Her use of pills, makes us wonder what’s real and it all happens in Los Angeles.

 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 Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.  

THE OUTLAWS. (AMAZON SERIES) (71RT). A Sad disoriented Christopher Walken is one of a few law breakers doing community service as they rehab a facility. It’s half comedy half worthwhile to watch. Poorly acted, dragging, and unbelievable. You’ll end up wondering just how bad Walken is doing health wise.

MOTHERING SUNDAY. (DEL MAR THEATRE).(77RT). A very tender well told story of four British generations and how they dealt with war, love, class and learning. Olivia Colman and Colin Firth both have small but meaningful roles. The skipping between decades becomes challenging to follow but it’s a well-directed, excellent film.

THE BUBBLE. (NETFLIX SERIES). This is a Judd Apatow directed comedy and I have never found any of his work laugh making or worth watching. It’s a takeoff on making a dinosaur thrill movie during covid/mask time. It takes on theater closing, pandemic panic, and David Duchovny must have been desperate to costar in it.  

TOKYO VICE. (HBO MAX SERIES). (85RT). This series could go somewhere intriguing. It stars an American Jewish student new crime reporter for a huge Tokyo newspaper learning just what Japanese mobs like the Yakusa do to stay in power. It’s fast, well written, neatly acted and will keep you involved.

ALL THE OLD KNIVES. (AMAZON PRIME) (MOVIE). (66RT). Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton are the leads in this worn out spy saga. They are ex-lovers and act as CIA agents investigating the hi jacking and crashing of a fully loaded passenger plane. Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Price also appear from time to time while we all try to figure out who in the CIA is leaking info that caused the disaster. We’ve seen this all before.

JULIA. (HBO MAX). (100RT) Sarah Lancashire stars and really stars as Julia Childs in this funny yet very serious bio pic about how Julia created by herself the world famous cooking show. She had much help from her husband and from her dad’s money but it was Julia herself who made it all work. Both as a cook and a singular personality she was amazing. There are other documentaries out now about her but this one will tell you all you need to know.

PACHINKO.(APPLE SERIES) (98RT). A serious movie dealing with the complex history of how Japan took over Korea and the effects it still has on the citizens. It flips back and forth between 1915 and 1989 and contains the worship and respect both countries had and still has for Hirohito. It penetrates into the daughter’s life as she grows and matures and questions how her neighbors have been so humiliated all their lives. Well worth watching.

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JEWEL THEATRE PRESENTS. Playing now through April 24 is “Remains To Be Seen”. Kate Hawley wrote the play and it’s a world premiere. Their program states…Every five years, a group of old drama department friends reunite. This year it’s at Jack and Clare’s and Clare is dreading it. Are these old friends really still friends, or are they just old habits drained over the years of any genuine fondness or rapport? It is certain that everyone will drink too much and Gordon will talk too much and Sissy will bring her damned little dog when she was specifically asked not to. On top of it all, recent widower Stuart is bringing a mysterious new love. What’s happened to their dreams and old ambitions? Good actors as they may have been, they can’t prevent the truth of their lives from making an appearance.  It features Paul Whitworth and Mike Ryan. Go here for tickets and info… 

SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL.
The Festival’s “Music in the Parks, part 2” “Music of Mexico” will feature William Faulkner on Jalisco Harp and the Mariachi Eterno directed by Russell Rodriguez. They’ll be at Laurel Park (London Nelson Comm. Center) on April 30 at 5:30 and May 1, 5:30 at Beach Flats Park. Free admission. 

CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season and Returns to In-Person Concerts 60th Anniversary highlights on July 24-August 7. Yes, Cristian Macelaru the music director is returning and will be conducting. The concerts will include the return to in-person concerts with three world premiere commissions; the live orchestral premiere of Jake Heggie‘s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Benjamin Beilman; and works commemorating women’s suffrage in America and exploring the recent impact of drought and wildfires in the Western United States.

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April 18

FINAGLING SUPPORT FOR MEASURE F

How the lowest paid always get the shaft

On June 7th you will be voting on Measure F. This is a Santa Cruz city council-approved ballot measure to raise the local sales tax by .5% from its current 9.25% to 9.75%. Full disclosure: I am one of three who submitted the ballot argument against the sales tax increase. More on that later. The last sales tax increase was in 2018 when city pensions were cited as the major reason for concern about the city’s fiscal future. The state takes most of the sales tax revenue with the county and the city receiving a smaller percentage. Each quarter cent increase is expected to augment the city budget by $3 million, annually.

 In order to place the Measure on the ballot, council had to declare that the city is in a financial emergency, which they did. To better assess if this is accurate, consider the following item from the most recent city council meeting.

Item 18 on the Consent Agenda was a request for $442,827 to relocate the city’s Finance Department to 1200 Pacific Avenue from its current location where the lease has expired. In 2014, the city undertook a reorganization/refurbishing of city hall space. The Finance Department was expected to move back into city hall, however as stated in the staff report, that was not possible due to “additional space needs for city staff.” I interpret that to mean they hired more people. You may have noticed many new middle and upper management faces over the past few years. 

The almost half a million dollars for the department to relocate is for temporary space. The lease is for 7 years with an option to extend a further 2 years. Out of the total, IT and electrical connections are $60,000 which seems reasonable. The figure that knocked my socks off is the $300,000 for new furniture, far outstripping the cost to lease the building.  Apparently, the existing furniture is anchored to the building and just won’t do. And since there may be supply chain delays an extra $20,000 is also allocated for interim rented furniture. 

I am not one to begrudge nice furniture to cushion the behinds of city bureaucrats but $300,000 seems excessive. At the least it does not pass the sniff test for declaring a budgetary state of emergency.

Back to the ballot measure. With council all on board, the only task left for the city is to convince the public to vote for the tax increase.  As most know, a sales tax is a regressive tax because it disproportionately affects lower income consumers given that rich and poor pay the same amount of tax for the same product. Yes, most groceries, medicines, diapers and feminine hygiene products are exempt as noted in the city’s consultants’ report, which, they claim, “ensures this increase would not burden those with low or fixed incomes when buying essential goods.”  That is true only if low- income folk avoid buying school clothes, household cleansers, shampoo, never eat out and never have to have a car repaired, to mention just a few items that are taxed. 

Then there is the issue of where the money will be allocated if the ballot measure passes? Here’s where it gets sneaky. Measure F is on the ballot as a general tax not a specific tax. The former needs 50% plus 1 to pass. The latter needs 66% plus 1 to pass. In other words, if passed, the money goes into the General Fund since it required only a simple majority to pass. As a general tax It is not legal to specify what it will be spent on. That didn’t stop the ballot supporters from listing all the issues that the consultants determined from polling were popular with potential voters. So, you will see on the ballot a laundry list of where the money can be spent: homelessness, affordable housing, downtown and business support, reduction of wildfire risk, maintenance of city facilities and essential infrastructure such as streets, transit and recreation facilities and prevention of reduction to important city services. One wonders…why wait? Those unaware will assume that the tax increase will be spent on such items and vote yes. The more aware will realize this is a lure. Not that a future council couldn’t vote to spend $6 million on the homeless on top of the $14 million allocated from the state but they also could vote to spend it on new furniture. And what happened to the pension crisis?  

Our ballot language against the ballot measure calls them out on this attempt to mislead the public. We add that a progressive city should not vote for a regressive tax. To counter this unexpected opposition, also on the council’s Consent Agenda, along with the pricy furniture item was a Resolution of Intent. This stated that if Measure F passes, the council intends to spend the money on the afore mentioned list of popular issues. At the end of the Resolution is a note that it is non-binding on future councils. 

I guarantee that between now and election day, such qualifiers will be buried under an avalanche of persuasive, manipulative arguments on why you should support Measure F. As for the low-income? Well, they can eat cake, which is sales tax exempt. 

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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April 18

SOPHOMORIC POWER GRAB?

City Council Decorum, Embarrassment for Democracy
Hold your horses. Katie bar the door. Do my eyes deceive me because we’ve not been down this path before. Few people were on the Santa Cruz council Zoom meeting last Tuesday, April 12, but a momentous and untoward hit to democracy was attempted near the beginning of the meeting by one seemingly indifferent  Mayor, Sonja Bruner who appears to be reading yet another staff recommendation on the video. And this time, staff were clearly putting their toes into political waters, but likely at the behest of a grumpy majority, or tongue-in-cheek, The Fab Five.  In an attempt to muzzle councilmembers Sandy Brown and Justin Cummings, Mayor Bruner set upon a naively dangerous, and politically unsustainable path that defied traditional past council meeting tradition, process, and frankly, meeting comity. It occurred rather mundanely at first, nothing that could be interpreted as an impending cruise-like missile strike aimed directly at thwarting minority councilmember participation and the democratic process. It occurred at the 1hour, 4 minutes and 30 seconds mark of the meeting video, innocuously labeled by the mayor, “regarding meeting efficiency.” I would encourage all readers to have a listen to this ham-fisted Fab Five policy decision, an attempt at a form of political Taylorism.

New Rules
In order for the majority to continue to consolidate their power, and this before the June 6th district elections attempted mayor power grab, the mayor issues new rules. According to a statement read by Bruner, “Council discussion and debate is becoming too drawn and repetitive causing some members of the community to tune out during extended debate,” so “I will be implementing a few changes in the order of proceeding of today’s meeting…after staff presentations, councilmembers will have an opportunity to ask no more than three questions before we move on to questions from the next councilmember.” The process will repeat (after all councilmembers have had an opportunity to ask their three questions) and then councilmembers will be able to ask two questions, the mayor intoned from her prepared script.

After hearing from the public and before any more council questions, “I (mayor) will ask if a councilmember is prepared to the (staff’s) recommended actions…I would ask that amendments and substitute motions to replace the main motion be used sparingly.” (which has long been a councilmember’s prerogative to make)…My goal is really to insure that we have an opportunity to discuss the item in public in an efficient and constructive way.” Another goal she said she wanted to avoid the councilmember “race to be first in line” in making a motion, or the ability of a minority councilmember to get a substitute motion debated and voted upon. These substitute motions often tease out the either the pettiness, staff political views, or sometimes greed involved in the main motion and cause the council majority to actually articulate their political views. After the reading of the Mayor’s prepared statement, councilmembers Brown and Cummings pushed back.

Councilmember Sandy Brown:
First, I want to clarify. Is what I am hearing is that the (staff) motion in the council agenda packet must be made first, or we have to hear a variation on that motion can be made. Is that what I am hearing?

Mayor Bruner:
The intent is to…err…based on past discussions being so broad, is starting from a base of discussion to start with based on the recommended motion and then we can narrow that focus of discussion.

Councilmember Sandy Brown:
So my second question is actually for our city attorney…where are you (on Zoom)? Oh yes, I see you. (His “Hollywood Square” suddenly appears on the screen.) Have these procedural rules been vetted by by your office and is this in compliance with our rules around the rules of Robert’s Rules of Order and all the other regulations that govern the conduct of public meetings?

City Attorney Condotti:
“Yes, this is the product of the discussions that I’ve been having with the Mayor over the course of the past, uh, few meetings, uh, and they are based upon review of our existing meeting rules,” and yes, he said they have been reviewed for conformance of parliamentary procedure as well as rules of the Brown Act…

Councilmember Sandy Brown:
Just again to clarify, those rules allow a body to require that only the recommendation in the published agenda materials can be made and deliberated on prior to trying to make any changes…”

City Attorney Condotti:
That’s not the way I read the rule, Councilmember Brown..”

Councilmember Sandy Brown:
“That’s what I am hearing.”

City Attorney Condotti:
I read the rule saying the mayor will entertain a motion from a councilmember who is prepared to make a motion on the recommended action…the use of substitute motions and amended motions has been, I would say, in the last three or four years become common place on the council…and so I think this is an effort to sort of not restrict, but to keep the debate on a little less adversarial footing. (And this is not political commentary?)

Mayor Bruner:
Councilmember Brown, does that conclude, or answer your question?

Councilmember Sandy Brown:
Well, not really, but I don’t think now is the time to continue the conversation. I’ll…we can follow-up off-line.

Mayor Bruner:
Councilmember Cummings?

Councilmember Justin Cummings:
I guess I would just express that one of the concerns I have, is that given that members of the public don’t have as much engagement with staff, nor do they have, and sometimes they’ll have engagement with councilmembers on a certain item that when these items come to us, if they have concerns, making motions to help address those concerns is how we can work on behalf of the people. Often times staff comes with recommendations we agree with, and often times staff comes with recommendations and we hear from the public and they disagree…and I think that just starting off by only being able to move staff’s recommendation, I think will only create more tension and create more of an adversarial process…and I think it’s going to result in more substitute and amended motions…I guess it would also be helpful to understand if we are going to move to hybrid meetings if this is going to remain the practice…being in person is much different than on-line…

Mayor:
“Thank you Councilmember Cummings. I did want to take this approach today, we can see how this goes. This is an effort for me to respond to a request to have a more efficient meeting without restricting our opportunity as a body…it’s important that we stay focused and stay aligned with meetings…” (???) “And going into in-person hybrid I would hope that councilmembers are in-person in the chambers…I am not trying to radically restrict anything, I’m just trying to create structure to keep us moving as a body and try and be mindful of trying. Does that make sense?” (Nope.)

Next on the zoom transcript you can see first, Martine Watkins, then Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, followed by Donna Meyers supporting the Mayor’s attempt move to essentially muzzle the minority voices on the city council. (Of course Meyers also bemoaned meetings themselves, a “concern for many years,” she said, and “the lateness of our meetings.” Oh my. She essentially said you can vote “no,” on any staff recommendation but just don’t bring up issues because it extends her meetings. Meyers seemed to be accusing Cummings and Brown of filibustering council meetings, and not allowing the majority to get their proper sleep on Tuesday nights, I guess.

Post Mortem
They want “more efficient meetings…” Well Mayor and super-majority, welcome to democracy. Small “d” democratic policy-creation has often been compared with sausage-making. Listening to community voices you disagree with, ones you even think absurd or way off topic, is the stuff of a healthy functioning democratic government. To attempt to limit that discussion will, as Councilmember Cummings stated, only “create more tension and create more of an adversarial process.” On a third hand, the majority can always say, well we got the power now, go out and win some more elections. Yep. And that is just what the opposition is poised to do. The politics of the Fab Five, the current majority, and the money machine they represent (look at their donors$) are poised to oppose both the Empty Homes Tax and the Our Downtown, Our Future initiatives, which now seem headed towards the November ballot. Couple those initiatives with three progressive city council candidates and a 3rd District Supervisor seat coming forward and, just maybe, a progressive, pro-public, politics might reappear to the city council chambers on Center Street and supervisor chambers on Ocean Street. I, for one, will enjoy the extensive give and take of a vibrant and democratic community conversation leading up to this November’s election, but seeking to muzzle councilmembers now does not help and will only lead to even greater confrontation.

“Saddling 46 million Americans with $1.8 trillion in debt for the ‘crime’ of pursuing an education — now that’s a radical idea.” (April 14)

UCSC Students celebrate Chancellor Larive’s exorbitant 30% pay increase in front of her office at Kerr Hall. The student tongue in cheek protest response to the Chancellor’s now half million dollar salary: Let them eat cake, and cake was served. 

 

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at ckrohn@cruzio.com

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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April 18

DEVELOPING SOUTH OF LAUREL WEDNESDAY APRIL 18.

I happened to see the notice below in today’s (April 18) Santa Cruz Sentinel Classified Ads (page B4). Please note that the website provided in the notice is not valid. Here is a working link, complete with a video of Donna Meyers describing a new permanent home for the Warriors, and providing economic vitality.

Join City Planning staff for a first look at draft options for how the area south of Laurel Street might redevelop over the coming decades.  Ask questions, provide feedback, and participate in shaping the future of downtown Santa Cruz!  

WHAT: Open House for Downtown Expansion-South of Laurel
WHEN: Wednesday, April 20th, 5:00-8:00pm Drop in any time!
WHERE: Kaiser Permanente Arena, 140 Front Street

CALFIRE ILLEGALLY REFUSING TO GRANT BUILDING PERMITS FOR CZU FIRE SURVIVORS?
I have heard a disturbing number of stories from people trying to rebuild in the CZU Fire areas that CALFIRE is requiring access improvements that will be required by new Board of Forestry Fire Safe Regulations, but that are not yet signed into law.   Is that legal?? 

Compliance with these demands will be so expensive, many may not ever be able to afford them…and could be prohibited from rebuilding.

Many of the 911 CZU Fire Survivors who lost their homes in that blaze are now at the mercy of CALFIRE to get approval to rebuild their homes.  It is a bitter pill to swallow, since many of those Survivors feel CALFIRE abandoned them in the fire, and even made it more difficult for those who stayed behind to protect and save their neighborhoods.

  I wanted to verify the status of the Board of Forestry Fire Safe Regulations.  The website is abysmal to navigate, but I found nothing.  Because the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) has been an outstanding advocate throughout the hearings related to this issue, I contacted their legislative staff member, Ms. Tracy Rhine, describing what is happening in the CZU Fire area.  Here is her response:

The proposed changes to the Fire Safe regulations are in limbo at the moment. The discussion on the latest revised version was tabled at the March meeting and is not agendized for discussion in April. According the BOF staff, they are still working on making revisions in response to the comments received during the 45-day public comment period.

Additionally, the emergency fire safe regulations expired the beginning of March – so – the current rules in force are those that were in effect in 2020 before the emergency regulations were adopted (the emergency regulations were narrow and provided exemptions from the rules for Accessory Dwelling Units and rebuilds of home lost due to wildfire). In our opinion, those exemptions were not necessary because the standards only apply inside the parameter of the property (for most road standards) for construction on (pre-1991) existing roads. Its more complex than that – but that is the bottom line. What approvals are being held from Calfire? Structural approval?

There is nothing in the law that should at all stop rebuilding/construction. The law is as it was in 2019. Nothing has changed, except that there is a moratorium on BOF issuing certification of ordinances – but that is not necessary, and, Santa Cruz, I believe has previously certified ordinances (or defers to the state fire regs? I’m not familiar as they are not an RCRC member). Tracy Rhine, RCRC.

 So, why is CALFIRE now imposing requirements that are not yet codified into law?   Why isn’t Santa Cruz County a member of the RCRC?   

Write your County Board of Supervisors and ask. 

WHY DID THE COUNTY GIVE THOSE 12 FREE COVID TRAILERS TO PARKS & REC?
The County emptied 12 new trailers of the transitional youth that had been staying in them for COVID, and gave them all to County Parks & Recreation ….for possible office space for programs to serve low-income families.  OFFICE SPACE, at a time when housing is desperately needed by many, including the CZU Fire Survivors????

When COVID hit in 2020, the State of California gifted 12 brand-new travel-trailers to Santa Cruz County for the purpose of providing living quarters for foster and transitional youth to stay in and isolate.  The trailers first went to the Seventh Day Adventist Camp in Soquel, then were moved to the lower Cabrillo College Campus parking lot near the Sheriff sub-station. 

Now they are all gone. 

I asked Chair of the County Board of Supervisors, Manu Koenig, about the fate of those trailers.  Here was his response:

The trailers were transferred to the Parks Department after the Cabrillo site closed. Parks has plans to use the trailers for a mix of programs at different locations, including programming for low-income individuals and families.

I have requested the Board of Supervisors to allocate the trailers to housing the CZU Fire Survivors as they rebuild.  Those folks have to get a permit from the County’s Recovery Permit Center (part of the Office of Response, Recovery & Resilience or “OR3”) to put such a trailer on their own land during the permitting process.  That’s onerous, in my opinion, but in the event people can’t get that blessing, they most certainly could find other places, such as the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds RV Site, to be while wrangling permits and construction.  

Please write the County Board of Supervisors and request these 12 like-new trailers be used for housing CZU Fire Survivors in need.

e-mail the entire Board:  BoardOfSupervisors@santacruzcounty.us

or contact them individually, using the template of first name .. dot ..  last name @santacruzcounty.us

Not sure who your County Supervisor is?  Check here: Board of Supervisors

And…what happened to the youth that had been living in those COVID trailers when the County’s money for the program ended? 

PAJARO VALLEY HEALTH CARE TRUST MEETINGS YOU CAN ATTEND AND ASK QUESTIONS

We all need to be watching how the new non-profit known as the Pajaro Valley Health Care District will work, and where the money is coming from now, and where it will come from in the future if the group buys the Watsonville Community Hospital.  

Last Tuesday’s County Board of Supervisor meeting included an update…$15.5 million is still needed to complete the purchase.  The seller is charging $2.5 million each month to hold the purchase agreement for the non-profit.  The County Board of Supervisors already allocated $5.5 million to this project; of that, $5 million will be used to pay the exorbitant monthly purchase agreement hold fees.   Not bad for a company when it is supposedly bankrupt.   The County will donate the time County Counsel spends doing some of the necessary legal work. 

All this, and not considering how the non-profit will obtain the required operational revenues if the purchase goes through?  Listen to the staff report on the video of the Item #7 update to the Board

Many thanks to Clerk of the Board Stephanie Cabrera, who subsequently provided the link to the Pajaro Valley Heath District Trust Board meetings:

Tune in this Thursday, April 21 at 5pm and participate. 

FIRST DISTRICT TOWN HALL MEETING WAS LIVELY

Nearly 40 local residents attended the First District Supervisor’s Town Hall Hybrid Meeting at Happy Valley School last Thursday (4/14).  I was mistaken in reporting last week that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impending Branciforte Fire District dissolution.  That was not really discussed at all, and in fact, questions about it were fielded to the Fire District Board President Pat O’Connell for outside discussion. 

 What the group did discuss at length was the Jet Noise inaction and EIR (soon to expire), horror stories from residents trying to work with the County Planning Department, and the HomeKey Project on 2838 Park Avenue in Soquel.

A few participants were representing the Subec Lane and Lindsey Lane developments across from the proposed 2838 Park Avenue Homekey Project, making it clear that the lack of parking included in the proposed Project (1/3 space for each of the 36 units) will likely cause problems for their under-parked neighborhood. Many people in the audience, some who work in construction, are upset that the 2838 Park Avenue project was shoved through quickly, without environmental review that other projects are required to have, especially being in a riparian habitat.  They pointed out the units will be prefabricated elsewhere (providing few, if any, local jobs) and installed to become a three-story structure with balconies,  

Supervisor Manu Koenig informed the group that the Project applicant is working out a shared parking agreement with the commercial land owner adjacent that will allow the use of four spaces during the day, and the full use of the commercial parking lot after business hours. 

Will the State award this controversial new-construction project a Project Homekey grant?    The County applied for a $13.5 million grant. 

Generally, those monies have been awarded to purchasing hotels and motels that were used during COVID isolation programs for homeless under Project Roomkey for conversion to permanent housing programs. 

Take a look at the recent round of grant awards

Learn more about this Homekey Program here:

Awards Dashboard | Homekey

What seems to have gone wrong in Soquel is that the public affected, like the Subec and Lindsey Lane communities were not informed or involved, and the lack of environmental review seems completely unfair.

COUNTY DRAFT SUSTAINABILITY PLAN WOULD ALLOW HISTORIC PRESERVATION BUT WITH NO TEETH
Last week’s public meeting to review the Draft County Sustainability Plan regarding agriculture, open space and cultural preservation was disappointing.  There is nothing changing, except vague language that could be interpreted to preserve historic structures IF there were support from the County do so in at some point in the future.  No, the new County Code will NOT include a Demolition by Neglect Ordinance that would require owners of historically-significant properties to at least protect them from chronic decay and demolition by neglect.    

(see page 5-128)

Now, apply this to the Redman-Hirahara Farm in Watsonville.  The property is on the National Historic Registry, yet the County does nothing to make the owners, Elite Development owned by the Tut family, to even tarp the roof of this once-grand home designed by William Weeks.  Redman Hirahara Farmstead – Wikipedia

The Board of Supervisors refused to approve the County Historic Resources Commission’s recommendation to adopt a Demolition by Neglect Ordinance three years ago that would require the building be protected from neglectful demolition. There is also no improvement to the County’s Significant Tree Ordinance…only stating they should be saved “as practicable”. (ARC 1.1 page 5-30

It also removes the language requirement to preserve  the Deer Park Center’s Orchard (see page 5-30, ARC 5.14.4)

I had worried this orchard would be one of the 23 parcels the County staff announced earlier to be re-zoned, but it is not.   Here is that list

You can view last week’s public meeting discussing all this and more here: Sustainability Update Community Meeting#4: Agriculture, Resources, Public Facilities [April 12, 2022]

This week’s public meeting regarding this massive undertaking will review Code Modification and Map Amendments,

and  is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20 and is virtual-only.   

DRAFT EIR FOR SUSTAINABLE SANTA CRUZ COUNTY PLAN AND CODE MODERNIZATION GENERAL PLAN UPDATE NOW AVAILABLE

We will have 45 days to comment on this enormous Draft EIR document. 

(scroll down to the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan)    

Public Comment ends May 31 at 5pm.   Mark your calendar to participate in the May 9, 2022 public meeting, #6 of the line-up  

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY CAO PALACIOS IS PAID MORE THAN PRESIDENT BIDEN?
Back in the reign of Susan Mauriello as County Administrative Officer, she enacted magnificent salary increases for herself and top level County managers.  Her successor, Carlos Palacios, has kept all those wonderful salaries intact, including his own, most of them surpassing that of the U.S. President salary.

Carlos makes more than President of the United States in salary.2

Many thanks to my friend, Al, for sending the information below.  I believe the source is Transparent California: 

Name Carlos J Palacios
Job title County Admin Officer Santa Cruz County, 2020
Regular pay $313,569.86
Overtime pay $0.00
Other pay $12,492.31
Total pay $326,062.17
Benefits $50,779.01
Pension debt $50,467.46

US Presidents’ Salaries During and After Office

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  ASK AN ELECTED OFFICIAL TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, AND DON’T STOP ASKING UNTIL THEY DO AND YOU ARE SATISFIED. 

MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK BY JUST DOING SOMETHING, HOLDING GOVERNMENT LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE AND INSISTING ON TRANSPARENCY.

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 KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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April 17

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL (part 2)

I received lots of great feedback from my column a couple of weeks ago, maybe in part because people resonate with the need for raising our children with love and respect for nature. When we see people damaging nature, we must redouble our efforts to make sure we avoid making new people like that – by reaching out to children, to teach them well. This made me wonder what are core lessons we need for children (and adults!) for being good to nature right here in Santa Cruz. I hope the following is a good start- please send me more ideas for a future, more in depth publication.

News: Apocalypse Cancelled

The most damaging words I hear regularly about nature is how we are doomed. Even generally well-meaning and educated people I know enter into what I call the apocalyptic mindset. You’ve probably heard it…maybe even participated in such a dialogue. It starts with, for example, how can we ever address global warming…it’s such a huge lift…governments aren’t doing anything…oil companies have too much power…people are greedy…the planet is going to be uninhabitable…the human race is going to disappear. This type of conversation seems to always end with ‘the human race is going to disappear,’ sometimes due to disease, sometimes nuclear war, and now sometimes global warming. Maybe we avoid this story with children, saving it for adult conversation, but if you entertain such notions at all, you can bet the children catch on. This story is magical thinking, and the rationale for such stories is beyond my expertise (but, please: ask yourself “why?” if you hear such things). Humans have survived very hard times – through plagues, terrible wars…through ice ages, famines, massive volcanoes, long droughts, etc: it is a safe bet that there will be people around for a very long time…long enough for us to tell a different story, so we think about a longer term presence and the need for earth stewardship. 

A Better Story

The different story is supported by evidence near at hand. Go to Pinnacles National Park and watch a condor soar. Take a whale watching boat and see a blue whale. When you drive across Pacheco Pass or tour Pt. Reyes, see the tule elk. All of these species were ‘doomed’ but people decided that they were worth keeping…we changed our behavior, and they are recovering. The better story is of the inherent compassion of humans and our ability to improve how we live with nature. If your better story has people living alongside elk, whales, condors, and mountain lions in a world with grizzly and polar bears, elephants, giant pandas, and coral reefs, then it will inspire us to work together to make it so.

Stewarding Soil, Air, and Water

There are, of course, other things to teach the children, such as care for soil, water, and the air. The science of soil formation has been taking place on Santa Cruz’ North Coast for a while, so we are fortunate to be proximate to the story of soil, and how incredibly slowly it is created. The Dust Bowl lessons are long forgotten and chemical fertilizers have been hiding the need for soil, but all the same- soil is sacred and everyone should know that soil loss is a terrible thing, that prime agricultural land is precious to conserve, that soil needs stewardship. All children should know where their food comes from. The same goes for water; I wonder how many appreciate where their water comes from and the care that must be taken so that it isn’t contaminated…thanks to government and rules. And, it is similar for the air. That we have good soil, water, and air are again testaments to the good that humans can do when we work together. But, we can all use some education about what we can do to help keep those situations improving. 

For the soil, water and air lessons, here are some field trip ideas. Next winter, go for a walk at Wilder Ranch and see if the soil is covered or if it is washing off into the ocean. Take a trip to Loch Lomond then to an auto repair shop upstream in Ben Lomond; discuss the dangers of petroleum ending up in drinking water. Watch road runoff in ditches next winter and think about what that oily sheen means for water quality and how it might be captured. Stand next to a busy street and smell the air, talk about what is in tail pipe emissions and where that stuff goes and what it does. To have these kinds of conversations might take some homework- how many of us can have informed conversations about these simple and everyday situations? If children knew more about these things, would it help?

Non-Humans 

Children should know about living well with non-human animals. Often, kids are introduced to domesticated animals…and too often they share their parents’ misconceptions about how best to care for and train those pets. Perhaps family time discussing well vetted videos about living with pets is in order. Meat eaters have an obligation to have some honest conversations about how livestock are raised and how they come to the plate. Field trips may be in order on that front. A little more on the wild side is the need for children to understand the host of issues from animals that aren’t domesticated that tag along with human civilization – termites, Argentine ants, roaches, stray cats, rats, mice, pigeons, starlings, etc. Just around the corner is another teaching subject: native wild animals which are doing perhaps too well at adapting to human ecosystems, such as ravens, crows, gulls, jays, raccoons, etc. By learning about these and the invasive animals, perhaps children will learn to be more tidy and perhaps they’ll figure out other ways to mediate the impacts of these species. Into the real wild, children need to learn about the needs of wildlife – for habitat, landscape connectivity, peace, respect, and for the science needed to better plan for conservation.

Children Becoming Citizens

As age appropriate, children will one day be old enough to need education about how the above concepts enter the civic world. They will need to understand how land management agencies do or do not protect open space for wildlife. They will need to understand how clean air and water regulations are promulgated, incentivized, and enforced. And, it would be good to teach them how to critically think about the environmental issues they encounter and how to seek credible information to inform their thinking. Are these issues addressed in schools adequately? How else might we help children to understand these issues so that they are engaged citizens?

Engaging

Nature brings peace, so perhaps the most important lesson for children is how to experience nature. I see families taking talkative strolls with children, but few parents sitting quietly in nature with their young ones. With luck, children should be able to witness a bird building a nest and feeding its young. They should see tadpoles and then tadpoles with legs. We all feel delighted to see a fox or coyote pounce on prey. There’s a fascination to watching the dusky footed wood rat taking a huge mouthful of twigs to its 4′ wide stick home. There are salmon swimming upstream to spawn in nearby creeks during the early winter. Giant whales are lunging into schools of anchovies close to boats that leave every day from local harbors. None of these things are easy to see as chance encounters. Like all good education, it will take some work, but it is worth it. 

The more time we spend with children sharing these types of lessons, the better the chance of future generations saying ‘we are sure glad that people figured out how to restore beavers!’ or ‘wow- look at that tule elk!’ Richer lives and a better planet require us collectively to raise children who are eco-literate. Please do your part, even if you aren’t a parent.

Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net

Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com

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April 11

#101 / The Proud Boys’ Plan

Pictured is Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the “Proud Boys,” which Wikipedia describes as “an American far-right, neo-fascist, and exclusively male organization that promotes and engages in political violence in the United States.”

An article in the March 15, 2022, edition of The New York Times, reporting on criminal charges brought against Tarrio, says that there was a plan to storm other buildings in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. In other words, what happened at the Capitol Building was not just a protest that “got out a little out of hand.” 

A document titled, “1776 Returns” contained a detailed proposal to occupy six House and Senate office buildings, and the Supreme Court, as part of the January 6th effort to prevent the certification of the electoral votes that formalized the election of President Joe Biden. It is not clear, according to the article, who actually wrote the plan, but the Proud Boys seem to have been implicated in wanting to execute it. 

I was struck by one detail, as reported in The Times’ article. Besides suggesting various tactics to help gain control of the designated buildings, the plan even included specific chants, to be employed by the invaders and their supporters, including this one:

“No Trump, No America” 

Suggesting that the essence of our nation’s existence could ever be linked to a single person, is a suggestion that the Preamble of the Constitution needs to be modified. Let’s not forget what it says: 

We, The People…

“I, The President” doesn’t quite capture the democratic idea, does it?

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

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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April 18

FRAUDS, FAKE NEWS, FUNDRAISERS, AND FREEDOMS FREE-FOR-ALL

Well, they just couldn’t take the embarrassment anymore. At last week’s meetings the Republican National Committee voted unanimously to sever its relationship with the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, claiming the group was not responsive to concerns over the 2024 campaign. The commission was set up in 1988 as host of the fall presidential debates, selecting moderators, dates, formats and other details to allow the voting public to get to know the candidates, and issues facing the nation. Even though the CPD attempts to be fair and neutral, Whiner-In-Chief Trump, in both 2016 and 2020, kvetched that they were biased, prompting his campaign’s attempt to influence the moderators being chosen. So, are we to take from this decision that the GOP expects the former prez to announce his candidacy, as they look into “exploring other avenues for candidates to have a free and fair forum for all Americans?” Of course, The Donald could choose to participate in the debate as scheduled, against party concerns, but…nope, not a chance! Who in their deviousness would want to discuss lack of a party platform, cocaine orgies, praises of Putin, voter suppression, and actively working to destroy Medicare, ACA and Social Security? So, take your toys and go home!

Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, in an interview revealed how many Republicans have come to judge Baby Fingers Donnie. They laugh at him and call him a ‘child,’ but only behind his back. Many are sick and tired of rehashing the ‘stolen 2020 election’ and are ready to move on – Joe Biden won! The fear is that BFD will say something detrimental about them and toward their campaigns, as he continues to attack Mitch and other party stalwarts, while making outlandish endorsements for those who praise him. We can only hope that this albatross gets too heavy for the weary necks in his party and he destroys himself with his infantile screams. 

Still remaining in the fold for Trump, are Representatives Boebert, Cawthorn, Gaetz, Gosar, Taylor-Greene, and Jordan, who recently voted with fifty or so of their party colleagues against a House resolution in support of NATO. While the resolution passed 362-63, calling on Biden to strengthen the organization’s commitment to defending democracy, right-wingers don’t show concern for the threats posed by authoritarian regimes, or internal threats against immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and our own democratic institutions. This past week, a January 6 Insurrectionist was found guilty of his crimes in the Capitol, his ‘Trump told me to do it’ defense falling flat before Judge Reggie Walton, who pointed out that we all have free will, and ordering defendant Dustin Thompson be held for sentencing. Walton called Thompson ‘weak-minded,’ while calling the Orange-Lord-of-the-Lies a ‘charlatan,’ – in your face! No back-stabber, this judge. 

Former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows is keeping investigators busy. Previously brought to light were his texts with Virginia Thomas after the 2020 election, now texts with Senator Mike Lee and Representative Chip Roy have turned up, taking place post-election to January 6, though the two reveal cold feet throughout about overturning the election. Also under scrutiny are Meadows’ voting record irregularities, for registering at a ‘fake’ address, resulting in being removed from the voter rolls in North Carolina during an investigation. In August, 2020 while being interviewed on CNN by Jake Tapper, Meadows warned of voter fraud and the inaccuracy of the voter rolls, ‘with people moving around, or dying off.’ When Tapper pointed out that there is no evidence of voter fraud, the Chief of Staff replied, “There’s no evidence that there’s not, either. That’s the definition of fraud, Jake.”  Thanks for helping us make sense of this, Markie!

Another Trumpster acolyte, Herschel Walker, who is running for U.S. Senate against Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, seems to have taken up the bad habits of his chief endorser. The candidate claims to have graduated from college in the top 1% of his class – total fake news, since he didn’t graduate. He says he was the high school class valedictorian – total fake news, as the school didn’t designate valedictorians at the time. As for being owner of the ‘largest upholstery company in the U.S.’ – don’t bother to look it up, because it doesn’t exist. While the former football pro’s playing stats hold up well, it remains to be seen how his political incursion will play out – but, the strategy worked for Trump and Putin and other dreamers, so give the guy an ‘E’ for effort. Perhaps Hersch didn’t notice that many in the small crowd at a recent Trump rally, laughed when the Don claimed to be ‘the most honest human being.’

Georgia Representative Marjorie ‘Gazpacho’ Taylor-Greene continues her charm-school ways under creeping financial duress. A few weeks back it was noted that most of her Congressional salary was lost due to her being fined for not wearing a required mask in chambers, and now we find that her campaign has posted a $314,000 deficit for first quarter 2022, while revising previous overstated contributions downward by over $100,000. Her coffers were supported mostly by small donors, and the campaign was a free spender until the recent downturn, when fundraising expenses were higher than the receipts. Much of her expense goes for hiring security, as she has become a lightning rod for threats due to her outspokenness. Legal fees are a large part of her outlay, hiring high-dollar Trump attorney John Eastman to defend against ‘constitutional concerns’. Note that Eastman himself is under investigation for his involvement in the January 6 riot. Then, a face-slapping joke on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ offended her, so that’s another suit, along with a filing with the Capitol Police for a threat of violence. Disregard her ‘alpha male’ remark regarding Will Smith’s defense of womanhood by slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. And ignore the fact that she has harassed a school shooting survivor, posted a fake picture of her holding a machine gun near lawmakers’ heads, and liked a Facebook post about executing Democrats. Move along folks, nothing to see here. 

Let’s heed a slice of wisdom from Representative Lauren Boebert regarding allergy season. “As allergy season gets underway, I encourage everyone to take their allergy medicines so that my allergy medicines can work. You know it doesn’t work unless everyone takes it.” Timely advice for us all, huh? She may have been tweeting a joke, taunting COVID rules, but then, everything she says is a joke. Breathe deeply! 

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: cornerspot14@yahoo.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

    “TRAINS”

“I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.”
~Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall 

“The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.”
~G.K. Chesterton 

“The aristocrats, if such they could be called, generally hated the whole concept of the train on the basis that it would encourage the lower classes to move about and not always be available.”
~Terry Pratchett, Raising Steam 

“Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.”
~Dana Frank 

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I feel called out by this video… 😀


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