Blog Archives

April 22 – 29, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…about The Sentinel, GREENSITE… on Gilda’s Restaurant KROHN…Masks.  STEINBRUNER…Soquel gives water to church not Cabrillo, RTC asking for $1 million, NewLeaf Aptos and Covid.PATTON…Voting Young. EAGAN…Comics and inner views. JENSEN…No new films but check her out.. QUOTES…”Claustrophia”


FULL LENGTH VIRUS MASKS ON PARADE.   Just a little humor in these fairly grim times. This was really our Fourth of July Parade in 1927  Almost at the center you can make out Max Swain’s Unique Theatre. Swain took it over in 1906, He was of course one of Charlie Chaplin’s favorite foils.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email



DATELINE April 20 2020!

SENTINEL COVERAGE AND EMAIL…Last week I mentioned that The Santa Cruz Sentinel hadn’t printed a word about the Easter weekend, arrests, legal action. I received a thoughtful email from  Johnny Croper…take a look.”The lack of reports over the weekend by the Sentinel is probably due to the fact that much of the staff was furloughed and it could be permanent. Elaine Ingalls, Dan Coyro and weekend editor Don Fukui are furloughed while Michael Todd, Julie Jag and Anthony Solis left last year and were not replaced.  That leaves two reporters, one part-time photographer, a sports writer and the managing editor”. Then yesterday Jondi Guma sent a Messenger message re the drastic total and present state of our press. It’s from POYNTER Institute in Florida…check it out….very scary.

It’s sad to watch one of our most important and historical icons failing, and failing so fast. The PRESS, our daily newspapers, have led our country since the late 1700’s. I’ve been a Sentinel subscriber since 1970 except for one little break of a week and a half. Give them the credit they deserve!

April 20th 2020


Long-timers who love the municipal wharf will be sad to hear that Gilda’s restaurant will not re-open when the time comes.

Gilda’s has been my second home for years. My son’s first job was busing at Gilda’s. It was where I drove like a homing pigeon from the emergency room after my John lay dead on the gurney. The hugs of friends at Gilda’s, the workers and patrons were instinctively sought. It is where I go (or went) at least twice a week to connect with friends and enjoy good food at reasonable prices.

Gilda’s is old-school Santa Cruz. Heavily working class, grey hair, some now needing help, most grew up here, surfed here, taught school here and will die here. Most of the cooks, dishwashers and wait staff have worked at Gilda’s for decades.

The rub is that the owners have just said goodbye, thanks and good luck to the staff without even a modest severance check to help ease the financial burden of permanent loss of job. Not even for those who have worked there for decades.
I have a hunch that Gilda Stagnaro were she alive would have insisted the workers receive a check in appreciation for their day-in, day-out hard work. That was her character.

It is no secret the city has long wanted to get rid of Gilda’s restaurant. The head of ROMA, that SF firm paid a million bucks to write the Wharf Master Plan in 2014 said over his slide show when it hit on Gilda’s Restaurant, “We can do better.” That got me out of my seat. I could hear Gilda cheering me on.

The Economic Development Department’s vision is two-story, upscale. This, despite the fact that the most recent wharf restaurant to go out of business permanently was the upscale Splash restaurant. The city seems ignorant of who frequents the wharf. Or maybe they want to change the demographic.

Given this record, it was no surprise that the city refused to play ball with Gilda’s owners when the latter sought a new lease that would allow new owners to keep Gilda’s Restaurant in its current form. It’s no secret that Dino and Malio Stagnaro want out of the business. The only thing standing in the way of their being able to sell and retain Gilda’s as we know and love it was the city’s co-operation. The city gave them the shove.

If you’d like to see how rude the past Mayor Watkins was as she cut off Dino Stagnaro at two minutes as he tried to share his family’s centuries of history on the wharf and the need for the city to approve a lease that would allow willing buyers to continue Gilda’s,
check it out here.

The city senior Economic Development staff must be cheering this news. For the rest of us who love Gilda’s restaurant it is a sad day. For the workers, no thank you check from Gilda’s owners is an insult. Gilda would not approve.

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


April 20


I usually go out every day for a walk, 3-5 miles, so as not to turn into a couch potato. I have been increasingly disturbed by the fact that I see less than 15% of the people I encounter on Pacific Avenue, along West Cliff Drive, and on the San Lorenzo River levy wearing a mask or bandana, which by the way, is now the advice of the Center for Disease Control. Can everyone just wear a mask, and gloves to but at least a mask, if you go out. Masks are becoming quite fashionable and we just might really flatten that curve if we follow the common sense. We are not out of the Covid-19 woods yet and wearing a mask certainly seems to make sense for a few of reasons: 1) it shows respect to everyone, especially our seniors and any grocery store, pharmacy and bank people we may encounter, 2) models good behavior for our young, for our old people, and for the tourists I encountered everywhere the past two weekends; and 3) get us practicing for the inevitable return of the virus in fall or winter. Seven states now require masks including Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey with many cities that have similar population densities to Santa Cruz. It makes sense. Please wear a mask.

Do you know any of these stalwart Santa Cruzans who are now donning masks whenever leaving home? (answers 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


April 20

Part of the deal that Soquel Creek worked out with Twin Lakes Baptist Church regarding the Twin Lakes Church PureWater Soquel Project injection well is to give the Church FREE irrigation water for 50 years.  Wow.

It really is a shame that the District chose the Twin Lakes Baptist Church site instead of the Cabrillo College site, just across the road along Cabrillo College Drive.  Their preference for Twin Lakes Church required that they chop down nearly 20 healthy oak trees at the Twin Lakes Church well site that were likely roosting places for solitary bats, and the District chose to do so during the most lethal time for the bats: winter torpor.  However, just across the street at Cabrillo College, the same well could have been constructed and not required any tree removal.

Also, the District could be paying Cabrillo College the $800/month it will continue to pay for the next two years to Twin Lakes Baptist Churchas rent for the site.  That is separate from the tens-of-thousands of dollars the District gifted to the Church with the waiver of all water demand offset fees for the Church’s new construction project nearby.  And this Prop. 1 publicly-funded injection well agreement could have provided Cabrillo College 50 years of FREE water for irrigating their athletic fields, instead of favoring the private Twin Lakes Baptist Church school’s athletic field irrigation needs.

Does this seem right to you?   Hmmm…..

Some members of the community have observed seeing the District manager at Twin Lakes Baptist Church Sunday services last year.  The District held all of the public hearings at Twin Lakes Church during the EIR process…not at the adjacent public venue, Cabrillo College.

Write the State Water Resources Control Board who generously granted the $50 million Prop. 1 public money for this PureWater Soquel Project and make your thoughts known.

Alyssa Wible <>

Well, after going to a lot of trouble to re-instate the April 21 Board meeting, the General Manager Ron Duncan cancelled it again.


The Board had been scheduled to Approve Issuance of Interim Debt for PureWater Soquel Project Cash Flow

I suppose it does make more sense to combine that with the May 5, 2020 Board meeting, which will feature a Budget WorkshopMake sure you tune in on that meeting, which will most likely be teleconferenced.

Here is your chance to provide your thoughts on yet another expensive study the RTC is doing to yet again continue to do nothing on the rail corridor.  The current study will take one year and cost $1 million!

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


Cheers, Becky Steinbruner

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, and again in 2020, getting 33%.

Email Becky at


FROM GARY A. PATTON  From Gary’s “We Live In A Political World” website…
April 16, 2020
#107 / Hey Kids!
I am not much on celebrity culture, but a recent editorial in The New York Times gave me a reason to track down the facts on Cardi B.

Cardi B, who is pictured above, was born on October 11, 1992, and her birth name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar. She is, for any others who are not really “up” on celebrity culture, a Grammy Award-winning American rapper, social media personality, songwriter, television personality, actress, and former reality star.

The Times has now featured Cardi B as a “Get Out The Vote” champion:

In a hilarious, highly profane rant posted Thursday on Twitter, the 27-year-old rapper went after young people for not delivering for Mr. Sanders. “I’m seeing all over Twitter: ‘I love Bernie. I love Bernie.’ But y’all wasn’t voting. Y’all wasn’t voting!” she scolded. “Now, you know who be voting? Older people.” And on she went about how the nation is facing perilous times, how President Trump is not up to the challenge and how this is no time to be messing around by not voting.

The Times’ own Get Out The Vote effort was an editorial headlined, “Hey, Kids: Get Out There And Vote!” It was accompanied by the image reproduced below.

I am not sure that addressing young people as “kids” is the best way to motivate the behavior that The Times’ is hoping for, but “voting” is definitely a good start on political participation, and on making sure that our democratic form of self-government will endure. If we think self-government is important (this is Cardi B’s point), we do need to get involved ourselves.

Voting is good. It is definitely, in fact critically, important. Cardi B and The New York Times are absolutely right about that, but here’s one more thought.

Voting is important. But it’s just a start!

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

Email Gary at



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

LISA JENSEN LINKS. “The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another victim: the deadline. Without movie, editorial, and social deadlines, how am I supposed to, you know, actually DO anything? Find out just how much of a sloth I’ve become, and compare notes, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


“I think I’m a very solitary person. To actually not be anonymous is a bit claustrophobic for me.”
~Ani DiFranco

“Sharks have a deadly form of claustrophobia. It’s not so much fear of enclosed spaces as it is inability to exist in them. No one knows why. Some say it’s the metal in aquariums that throws their equilibrium off. But whatever it is, big sharks don’t last long in captivity”.
–Neal Shusterman

“I’m a bit claustrophobic, I don’t like crowds, I live by the sea – that’s what I see when I come out of my house in Bridlington.”
-David Hockney

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

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