Blog Archives

April 22 – 28, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Our Circle Community Church, KZSC and PSA’s. GREENSITE…Greensite on the illusion of affordable housing. KROHN…is away this week and will return next week. STEINBRUNER…got delayed working on her lawsuit at the law library and missed our deadline. She too will return next week. PATTON…Is Global Warming our doomsday prediction? EAGAN…flying immigrants. JENSEN…about old Easters and chocolate bunnies. BRATTON…I critique High Life, Amazing Grace and Teen Spirit. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “Black Holes”


                                 

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41st and CAPITOLA ROAD 1967. This was before all of us got here and developed everything. That was the Ow family’s King’s Plaza Shopping Center. Then it was Orchard Supply Hardware. Now it’s empty.                                                         

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

JUDY COLLINS & LEONARD COHEN – “Hey, Thats No Way To Say Goodbye” 1976
GEORGE CARLIN ON HOUSELESSNESS. Chris Krohn found this one.

DATELINE April 22, 2019

SAVING OUR CIRCLE CHURCH. John Sears, one of the organizing activists working to Save the Errett Circle Community Church, added a newsletter to their members. You can and should go to their Facebook group. John states, “The Santa Cruz City Planning Department website still shows only a plot plan and they only report on project status at the end of the month so the application process and progress remain opaque. It might be interesting if we organized a field trip to Planning to exercise our rights to view the documents and be informed. If you are interested, let me know.

Our online petition is approaching 250 signatures. Be sure to consider signing it . Search “Change.org Circle Church Santa Cruz CA.” Over the weekend we distributed 500 door hangers in and around the Circles.

Something each of us can do is to talk about Saving the Circle Church property with other folks, comment online, write to the newspapers, release your creative talents towards our goal in poems? songs? paintings?..I posted a comment when asked for our thoughts about this on Nextdoor that read:

“For most of my 42+ years in the Circles 111 Errett Circle has quietly done its job at the heart of the neighborhood. Most of us do not give our own pulsing hearts much thought when she is quietly doing her job but do when she is in trouble. Few people stop to think about, much less articulate what pleasantness and sense of well-being is contributed to our lives in the Circles by having a place that serves as open space, as a Commons, a community center, a place of worship, a place grounding us in history and identity, a monument at the end of our beckoning streets.  In a dense neighborhood of small lots these are not trivial functions.


Until recently it was owned outright by a Church and though ministers came and went exhibiting their stewardship according to their strengths or limitations, the place itself help her steady purpose for the most part, dogs chased balls, kids ran and shouted, once upon a time a bell called, voices raised in song were heard, and freely passing through one might stand a moment gazing from the center down the boulevard to the sea and sky beyond. Much of this location’s nurturing effect is subliminal, like the valuable human thing that draws people to see a sunset from West Cliff. 

Now the property has been, commodified, monetized, sold for a relatively few pieces of silver, and its fate is uncertain. After the awful “outreach” meeting in November in order to deal with my feelings I began to write. I started with a title, “Requiem for a Neighborhood.” It started with a Joni Mitchell lyric…” Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” I hope I never have to finish it.  I do recommend this Ted talk by Mark Lakeman of City Repair in Portland, Oregon to better understand the importance of community sites  such as this one.

Sue Powell, another chief organizer of the Friends of the church, adds “PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION – by clicking on the link below. Neighbors and friends are organizing to preserve the property at 111 Errett Circle as a community center, a spiritual space, and neighborhood commons. Instead of demolition, our vision is to beautify, enliven, and foster this historic space at the heart of our Circles Neighborhood so that it continues to be used for a variety of activities for all generations.

KZSC AND PUBLIC SERVICE SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS. KZSC hasn’t been getting very many PSA’s — i.e. Public Service Announcements. Tell every well-intentioned nonprofit group you know to go to the KZSC website, read the easy PSA rules, and send them in. They are free, and are read many, many times.

RALPH DAVILA’S OWN PRIVATE OXFORD DICTIONARY.

Purloin – an amorous cat
Haiku – doves singing in treetops
Hydrangea – the act of concealing a parks employee
Algorithm – the pulse of he who almost became president.
Harlequin – one of 5 siblings of the same age riding an American motor-cycle. 

April 22, 2019

GRASPING AT STRAWS
Without rent control or government subsidies, truly affordable housing in Santa Cruz is a chimera. That doesn’t stop people from trying to fit this round peg into a square hole. While the attempt is laudable, the assumptions should be subject to careful analysis with evidence that the result will achieve the goal before eliminating zoning, height/density restrictions and parking requirements. Otherwise, not only will the character of Santa Cruz be lost but also the added market rate housing, which raises nearby property values will only further displace lower income workers and families. That much has been demonstrated in studies across the state of the impact of new dense housing on established neighborhoods.

The latest, much-touted solution to fail the test of affordability is ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units). This element rose to the top of the list of the city-sponsored, yearlong discussions on solutions to the “housing crisis.” ADU’s, many argued are “affordable by design”, since they are smaller than the main house on a single-family lot and the land is already available. Sounds reasonable unless you consider that housing is a commodity with profit the bottom line. With bottomless demand by those wanting to move to Santa Cruz plus an ever-expanding UCSC, supply can expand until our neighborhoods are defined by 7 story apartment blocks, yet rents and housing costs will continue in an upward trajectory without price and rent control.

While the state forced cities to relax their restrictions on parking and setbacks for ADU’s, our city went even further down this road. It’s hard to argue against encouraging more ADU’s if one accepts that they will add to the supply of affordable housing. Nevertheless, this re-zoning of single-family areas of the city has not achieved the assumed goal. According to the findings presented at the Planning Commission meeting on 4/18/19, rents for ADU’s currently on the market, range from $2000 to $3500 a month. This is considered an “above moderate” rent level. The biggest unmet need for housing in our community is for low and very low rent levels. So ADU’s do nothing for the most impacted by high housing costs. Yes, they add housing but we don’t need more, we need far lower rents and ADU’s do not contribute to that need.

The city should be applauded for doing research to assess whether assumptions are real or merely claimed. Other suggestions for “affordability” need similar scrutiny.

When 1010 Pacific Avenue was approved by council in 2004 with more than the required affordable units, it was touted as being much needed housing for our teachers, firefighters and police: “workforce housing” in today’s vernacular. With this as the carrot, a variance for increased building height was readily approved by council. But has this housing achieved its professed goal? The nine-month leases suggest student tenants but I could be wrong. Their promotional blurb claims “easy access to CA-17, gets you over the hill to the tech firms of Silicon Valley and other Bay Area destinations” suggesting that local teachers, police and firefighters are not the anticipated tenants. A survey of residents and rents could and should be done.

The most recent proposal that is claimed will lead to more affordable housing is to “unbundle” parking costs from rents, meaning, not require developers to include parking in their buildings or to charge extra for parking if they do include it. A commentary in the Sentinel of 4/22/19 by transportation planner Patrick Siegman asserts that affordability will be the desired result. He cites, interestingly, a tenant at 1010 Pacific who does not own a car and therefore saves $125 a month, which is what 1010 Pacific charges for parking. She is a student and rides the bus to UCSC and walks to downtown shops. What works for a student may not work so well for the “workforce.” Siegman views parking requirements as being outdated from the Eisenhower era rather than a response to a car owning populace. His solution for avoiding the impact on neighborhoods with prices and/or residential parking permits (far fewer than the anticipated cars) is an assumption that needs evidence before eagerly accepted by city planners and council. My commonsense says that a claim of no impact is unlikely as it is unlikely that developers will pass on to their tenants the savings in cost from not having to provide parking or greatly reduced parking.

Recent city recommendations for reduced parking requirements for large developments as well as eliminating parking requirements for all new ADU’S allow for an assessment of the impacts if the city is willing to do the research. Unless new tenants sign a contract that they will not own a car, impacts from unbundling parking are more likely than not to further deteriorate our rapidly impacted neighborhoods while the goal of truly affordable housing remains out of reach.  

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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CHRIS KROHN. Is journeying this week and will return next week.

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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STEINBRUNER STATES. Becky is working on perfecting her lawsuit at the Law Library and couldn’t finish her weekly contribution…she too will return next week.

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.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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April 22, 2019 #112 / What A Guy!

Last Saturday (4/20), Guy McPherson (pictured) came to my home town, Santa Cruz, California. He spoke at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, and his topic was advertised as “Abrupt Climate Change.” Dr. McPherson’s message was not a hopeful one. In fact, I think it is fair to say that McPherson is against any expression of “hope” when we consider global warming and climate change. It is McPherson’s view that there is no hope for us, and that there is nothing we can do, at this point, to prevent the complete extinction of the human race.

McPherson says that it would be wrong for a doctor to tell a patient with a terminal disease that there may be “hope.” That would be a lie. It isn’t going to help. Similarly, it would be wrong for anyone who has studied the issue of climate change to tell people that there is any “hope” that we can do anything that will prevent the total extinction of all life on this planet, including, specifically, the extinction of human life. McPherson sees his job as trying to establish a “Planetary Hospice,” to bring comfort to all of us during these last few years of our lives, which may well be over by 2030. If you click this link you will be able to read an article that makes the argument.

There was some reluctance in the audience to hear this message of absolute hopelessness. For instance, consternation was expressed when Dr. McPherson said that reducing the use of fossil fuels, which are putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, will not actually help us at all. It turns out, he says, that the particulates released by the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels (he called them aerosols) actually help reflect sunlight, and thus reduce global warming. Reducing hydrocarbon emissions will reduce the creation of those aerosols and thus actually speed up global warming, even though the emission of greenhouse gases may be reduced. As Dr. McPherson put it, where the burning of fossil fuels is concerned, “we are damned if we do; we are damned if we don’t.”

The part of Dr. McPherson’s presentation that I liked best was a brief video illustrating the power of the exponential function. From 1975 to 1995, as I worked on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to fight the unconstrained growth then occurring in Santa Cruz County (and considered to be inevitable, by the way), I talked a lot about exponential growth. I referred to a great presentation by UCSC Emeritus Professor Peter Scott, “the bug in the bottle.” Click on the link to read a blog posting of mine from 2010, summarizing Dr. Scott’s illuminating discussion of the exponential function. My blog post mentions greenhouse gas emissions, incidentally.

The video that Dr. McPherson played takes a somewhat different tack, and is well worth watching. It makes the point very well. Once we put processes in motion that are governed by an exponential function, things can quickly get out of hand. The following video makes the point: 

So, are things out of hand where global warming and climate change are concerned? I think so! I am not sold on the idea, however, that the best thing we can all do right now is to drop any effort to reduce our human contributions to global warming, and to turn the entire world into a “Planetary Hospice,” so we can all take our time to give a proper goodbye to all those persons, places, and things we love. That is what Dr. McPherson is prescribing. 

I prefer the prescription suggested by the School Strike 4 Climate and the Extinction Rebellion (both mentioned in my blog post yesterday). Whatever the future may be – and we should remember that “the future’s not ours to see” (que sera, sera) – human activity aimed at revolutionary change will be a lot more satisfying than McPherson’s admonition to get into “hospice mode,” and to forget about preventing human extinction. 

I do agree with Dr. McPherson that we should face the facts. I like what that Extinction Rebellion “Pink Boat” says: “Tell the Truth.”

I we do tell ourselves the truth, we will not indulge in any false hopes that there isn’t a deadly exponential process underway. We should acknowledge that the extincton of human life (and all life) is a real possibility. All that is true. However, without any false hopes whatsoever, it might actually be possible for us to change what we are doing in a way that could end up helping to reduce the coming age of climate change difficulties and disasters. 

I am not ready, personally, to go into a planetary version of “hospice care.” I prefer the idea that we ought to give revolutionary, nonviolent change a chance. 

Let’s see what “Extinction Rebellion” can accomplish.

It’s worth a try! 

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

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Eagan’s weekly visit behind our scenes….scroll below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Sanctuary City Transit” 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.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. Santa Cruz Chamber Players presents “Madness and Music: from Concert to Cabaret” at Christ Lutheran Church in Aptos. That’s Saturday April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday April 28 at 3 p.m. Music by Bach, Schumann, St. Saens, Maconchy and more. Ivan Rosenblum, director and piano. For cost and other information, go to http://www.scchamberplayers.org/

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Nurturing fond memories this holiday week of all the Easter Sundays I spent with Art Boy prepping walls for the kids to paint during the 10 years he created murals with 4th and 5th-graders at elementary schools across the county. Read all about it this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). No baskets full of chocolate bunnies for us — but, boy was it worth it!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

HIGH LIFE. Deep, very deep space, and a bunch of criminals — including Robert Pattinson  and Juliette Binoche — are sentenced to ride in a space ship to the Black Hole for years. This is the long (very long) movie about the crimes they committed before the space ship. Pattinson has become an excellent actor….even with just a few words in his script. What’s sort of cool is that their spaceship isn’t the usual immaculate vessel but is dirty, dusty and old. It’ll keep you interested just trying to figure out what the plot really is.

AMAZING GRACE. Sometime in the mid 50’s three friends and I went to a church in the darkest part of Los Angeles to hear Mahalia Jackson — an amazing experience I’ve never forgotten. Watching Aretha Franklin sing gospel songs in this 1971 documentary doesn’t come close. Gospel is its own art form, and Aretha is and was one of our greatest singers — but there’s something lacking in this film.

TEEN SPIRIT. There is/was a Nirvana song titled “Smells like Teen Spirit”, and this movie does smell like Teen Spirit. It’s almost a Doris Day-style movie about a pretty young farm girl who wants to make it big as a band singer. Elle Fanning does her own singing, which doesn’t matter much. Teen Spirit was — or is — a deodorant, by the way, and Elle Fanning is now 21 years old. CLOSES THURSDAY APRIL 25

TRANSIT. A well deserved 96 on Rotten Tomatoes!!! It’s a complex story of oncoming war with Nazis, Paris, fake documents and questionable time shifts. It’s also a tangled love story but with psychological turn-abouts.  Completely absorbing and intelligent, beautifully acted,and just a little boring in spots…go see it. CLOSES THURSDAY APRIL 25

GLORIA BELL. Julianne Moore and John Turturro are the struggling twosome trying to be a couple in this semi-serious drama set in Los Angeles. Julianne is great as the insecure, horny, pot-smoking single working mother who’s trying hard to find a mate. Turturro is even more confused in his search for a woman to replace his ex-wife, and to help him forget her and the drain she places on him. Good film, very engrossing: Julianne Moore has never been better — and that’s saying a lot. 93 on RT.  CLOSES THURSDAY APRIL 25

MUSTANG. It’s a simple-minded movie about some Nevada State prisoners who turn wild mustangs into saddle broken riding horses to sell at an auction every year. It’s apparently factual. It stars Bruce Dern at his cranky, snarly best teaching the boys/men how to handle themselves and their steeds. Predictable, corny, and will remind you of My Friend Flicka or any other old horse movie.

US.So much of this movie was shot at our Boardwalk and has hundreds of nearly unrecognizable locals in it…you simply have to see it. It’s a socially-aware horror movie with a very complex plot, and truly scary. Jordan Peele— who also directed Get Out— made sure it also contains a serious critique of racial inequality and our attitudes to living “the good life”. It’s disturbing, puzzling, well-acted, and a little better than Lost Boys… but not as good as Harold and Maude. A 94 on Rotten Tomatoes.

PET SEMATARY. A remake that shouldn’t have been remade. John Lithgow is frankly boring as the nervous farmer neighbor. Stephen King’s book was fantastic…as I remember from way back when. The original movie version (1989) had some scary scenes, but avoid this sad copy.

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UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Jane Mio from City Parks & Rec., Sierra Club, Valley Women’s Club talks about the San Lorenzo River issues and survival on April 23. She’s followed by James Clifford organizer & member of the East Meadow Action Committee at UCSC. April 30 has land use attorney Gary Patton discussing the “Save Santa Cruz” organization. Then Rachel Kippen the new ex.dir of the O’Neill Sea Odyssey talks about her job and the Monterey Bay. May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at bratton@cruzio.com

This guy’s great! 😀

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts.  Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.

QUOTES. “BLACK HOLES”

“Do you realize that if you fall into a black hole, you will see the entire future of the Universe unfold in front of you in a matter of moments and you will emerge into another space-time created by the singularity of the black hole you just fell into?” Neil deGrasse Tyson

“The internet to me is kind of like a black hole, and I never really go on it”. Jennifer Lawrence

“Look at the universe! What do you see? An order? Tranquillity? A divine peace? You fool! You ignorant! Over there, galaxies are colliding, suns are exploding, black holes swallowing stars! Now look at the universe again! What do you see? A disorder? Chaos? Anything savage? You see a hell? Now, you see the truth!” . Mehmet Murat ildan


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com


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