BRATTON…Rail plus Trail revisited, Streamers & screamers. GREENSITE…Gone camping this week, be back next week. KROHN…Voting rights, again. STEINBRUNER…Pay to park at home, rebuilding in CZU areas, Voting trailer. PATTON…Infrastructure plans. EAGAN…Deep Cover and Subconscious Comics. QUOTES…”The Border”
DATELINE April 5
RAIL AND/OR TRAIL DIVISION. Last week, I expressed the opinion that the Rail and/or Trail plan had split our area environmentalists more than any issue I could remember. One astute reader wrote: “I agree with you that the rail trail proposal is dividing the environmental community more than any prior issue, but I do recall that the development of the park at Arana Gulch pitted two environmental groups against each other: the “get people out of their cars and make it safer to bike to work” crowd, which supported the paved trails, and the Native Plant Society, who felt that it would be worse for the native tarplant than leaving the property undeveloped. As for me, I liked it better before, when you could tramp over the fields and have it mostly to yourself, compared to having paved trails and most of the land fenced off. But that’s not for environmental reasons. I just think it was nicer to visit in those days”.
RAIL AND TRAIL PAUSE. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported, “After three hours of discussion, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission on Thursday continued an agenda item around the business plan for electric passenger rail on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line. During the morning meeting, the RTC staff asked the commissioners to review and provide input on the business plan for the rail option, adopt a resolution accepting that business plan and direct staff to seek federal and/or state funding to complete the first phase of the electric passenger rail project — preliminary engineering and environmental review.
Ultimately, half of the commission voted against approving the business plan while the other half were on board with Commissioner Eduardo Montesino who created the motion and Commissioner Mike Rotkin who propelled it forth to a vote. Commissioners Brown, Greg Caput, Montesino, Rotkin, Schiffrin and chair Aurelio Gonzalez voted for proceeding with planning the implementation of the “locally preferred alternative” of electric passenger rail selected by the commission Feb. 4. Commissioners Jacques Bertrand, Bruce McPherson, Mulhearn, Kristen Petersen, Manu Koenig and Randy Johnson voted against the motion, bringing a more intense discussion around the seriousness of the project.
“Friends of the Rail and Trail saw the tie vote as a delay in further planning and construction of the project. “It is sadly ironic that six commissioners voted to halt progress on local rail service one day after President Biden called for massive investment in public transit, including rail,” Friends of the Rail and Trail President Faina Segal said in an email. “President Biden said he believes that we will one day look back and say, ‘This was the moment that America won the future.’ We can say that those six commissioners gave up today on a better future for transportation in Santa Cruz County.”
In addition to all the above, Barry Scott of Friends of Rail and Trail writes: “The 6-6 tie is frustrating but we’re happy that the business plan comes back to the Commission in May with minor revisions to permit flexibility in the implementation timeline and this could win over a commissioner or two. It seems that commissioners might not all have understood the information in the business plan; that lighter, more affordable technologies would be investigated that could cut construction and operations costs in half.
Caltrans has indicated support to cover costs of up to $17 Million for the next phases of planning: “RTC is working with Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation on options for fully funding the project’s Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Documentation with a combination of state funding sources including the State Rail Assistance (SRA) program, which permits funds to be used to fully fund environmental analysis.”
“The environmental review process provides an in-depth opportunity for the public and government stakeholders to understand and comment on the proposed project. Environmental review provides preliminary design to be completed to 30%.”
Concerned commissioners have questions about costs and ridership; these next steps are designed to get the answers they say they still need… so it’s puzzling, even disturbing, that any of them are willing to shut down the process at this critical juncture.
We urge voters and businesses in the 5th District to contact Bruce McPherson and his RTC alternate Virginia Johnson to reconsider the no vote and to support the business plan resolution which directs RTC staff to work with the Caltrans funds to begin the environmental review and explore funding opportunities.
The resolution seems so simple to understand, making it difficult to comprehend the failure of certain commissioners to support what prior studies and recent surveys indicate is the right thing to do.
NOTE: Watsonville and Santa Cruz city representatives on the RTC are “yes” votes, while the “no” votes come from commissioners representing the relatively more affluent communities of Aptos, Capitola, and Scotts Valley”.
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.
CAUGHT BY A WAVE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). More Santa Cruz-type boating and summer adventures at a teenage summer camp in Sicily. A girl with muscular Dystrophy falls in love, and her boyfriend tries hard to convince her that he can handle her medical challenges. It’s a good film but tough to experience such a young and complex love story. The plot is heavy, you’ll get involved, but still the script and acting isn’t quite all it should be. Do watch it. Too new for a Rotten Tomatoes score.
DEADLY ILLUSIONS. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Kristin Davis from Sex and The City tries hard to be a professional author trying to write another best seller. She hires a nanny — a very sexy, blonde young nanny — who seems to create all sorts of trouble. It has 10RT and deserves it. There aren’t more than two minutes in the movie that you’ll believe or care about. Avoid it.
LOST GIRLS. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Gabriel Byrne co-stars in this Long Island, New York murder mystery based on a tragically true serial killer’s shocking deeds. 73 RT. The mother of an 18 year daughter, who worked as a prostitute, is determined to fine that murderer and stop the killer. Gabriel Byrne is the police commissioner who doesn’t help much. It’s moody, with spotty acting, and the closing credits tell us they haven’t found the killer.
CONCRETE COWBOY. (NETFLIX SINGLE) In Philadelphia there is now, and has been for generations, a large African-American Urban Riding club. 79RT. Idris Elba plays the unwilling father of a never do well son, ordered by the courts to live with his cowboy father. It also features a war we know about — that of developers destroying neighborhoods in the name of low income housing. Colorful, dramatic, predictable, but well worth watching.
KEEPING THE BEES. (NETFLIX SINGLE). A successful young woman leaves her good life in Germany to return to help her very sick mother in Turkey. Her mother is a near legendary bee keeper, and dies leaving her daughter to learn all about bees and honey. A sad story, but full of bee lore and fine photography. The daughter has to face a bear, and locals who treat her in unusual ways. Watch it, you’ll learn a lot about bees and how human they are!!!
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.
QUICKSAND (NETFLIX SERIES). This is a Swedish series about a mass shooting in a grade school classroom. We see part of the shootings and watch as a trial slowly reveals why the 18 year old suspect did the shooting. It got 96 RT. A fine, exciting, well made movie about an all too common an occurrence.
ULTRAVIOLET. (PRIME VIDEO & NETFLIX SERIES) A very hi tech Polish movie about the murder of a much similar Steve Jobs type genius who is found boiled to death. A beautiful woman returns to her home town to lead some friends into a search to find out not so much who, but how the murder was committed. Fascinating, 96RT. Lots of high tech references and mystery keep us involved. Go for it.
WHO KILLED SARA? (NETFLIX SERIES). A nicely timed suspenseful Mexican murder movie .A beautiful young Sara falls from high atop a surfing sail ride and somebody had cut the straps holding her up. Set within a wealthy, highly connected Mexican upper class, the finger of guilt points in many directions.Then it rambles into prison life and the innocent dude who got nabbed for her murder. It’s sad, taut, and intelligent.
BAD TRIP. (NETFLIX SINGLE). 69RT. This is billed as a comedy in the camp of Sacha Baron Cohen. Two guys go on a trip and the camera follows them as they pull gross, obvious pranks on the victims. I found it disgusting, gross, and even insulting. See it at your own risk.
TINA. (HBO DOCUMENTARY) 96RT. When you have a bio movie that stars Tina Turner, Oprah Winfrey, and Angela Bassett you have something worth watching. Her interviews and history deal with the tragedy of her life with Ike Turner and how she pulled herself up and back from that too sad part of her life. She did a concert in Rio to a crowd of 186,000 and also did that Mad Max #3 movie. Tina was and is more than a star she has created a place in our star history that makes her extra special. Don’t miss this one. (She’s 81 years old now!!)
GINNY & GEORGIA. (NETFLIX SERIES). This was intended to be a mother-daughter comedy it isn’t…there’s not one laugh in it. The half black daughter has to live with a gross, over sexed mother who has some secret. The acting is non-existent, the plot is completely unbelievable and it’s best just to avoid it.
SHTISEL. (NETFLIX SERIES). This family drama centering on a very orthodox family living in Jerusalem is as fascinating as it is illuminating. From food to marriages and customs that are hundreds of years old we see and feel the pressures and pleasures of a life lived by tradition. I liked it and am continuing to watch each of the 33 episodes.
THE GIFT. (NETFLIX SERIES) This takes place mostly at Gobekli Tepe a real archaeological site in Anatolia, Turkey that’s actually 7000 years older than Stonehenge! The heroine is a beautiful woman artist from Istanbul who is drawn to the site for mysterious reasons. As an artist she has been painting a design that was found in the ancient site and totally unknown to contemporary eyes. I liked it and watched all of season one.
DEADWIND (NETFLIX SERIES) Another woman detective/police officer with many personal issues story. This woman has two children and her husband died. The issues are very much Santa Cruz issues. A huge construction company from out of town wants to build high priced housing that isn’t environmental. The city council has odd ties to the developers and there’s two violent murders to contend with and solve. I’d recommend it just a little bit.
CALLS. (APPLE TV+) SERIES. Unique, demanding and captivating and 88RT. Each story is told completely with online lines. No actors or places physically to be seen just graphics!! You’ll sit and watch voice squibbles, symbols; all graphic effects tell these tense short dramas. See if you’ll like it I’m still making up my mind.
BEARTOWN. (HBO SERIES). Beartown is the English translation of the Swedish town name Bjornstad where this hockey drama takes place. The drama centers on a returning hockey league player who returns to Beartown to coach a losing kid team. His troubles plus all the interfighting keep this really fascinating and good escapist viewing. Go for it with just a little hesitancy.
PAPER LIVES. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Istanbul is the setting for this upside down saga of a Fagin type paper/garbage collector who has a huge team of homeless guys collecting and selling. Mehmet the leader meets a little boy who leads him into some crazed adventures. The ending will shock and maybe disappoint you but you’ll stay glued to figure it all out.
INVISIBLE CITY. (NETFLIX SERIES) I couldn’t watch this for three reasons. It’s dubbed which means their lips are speaking one language, the movies subtitles translate with different words and the Comcast supertitles give us a third translation…and the acting is bad too.
COVEN. (NETFLIX SINGLE) A very dated, poorly directed, terrible acted story about 1609 Argentina’s witch problem. Six sisters fight and compete to worship the devil. Much chasing in the woods, scratching, bleeding and there’s a guy at the ending that looks like Lawrence Ferlinghetti. There’s no reason to watch this mess. But it has 67RT.
GREENSITE’S INSIGHT. Gillian is camping this week; she’ll be back next week.
|Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association http://darksky.org Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.|
VOTING RIGHTS, AGAIN?
I’ve been thinking a lot about voter suppression this week and how it is being used by the Republican Party in order to maintain their minority rule in several states. I’ve also come to realize that the election of Joe Biden was actually a survival mechanism for the threadbare garment of American sovereignty. It would have been very difficult to live another four years in Trump’s fascism-creep country. His was a government moving inexorably towards authoritarianism, just look at who he admired on the world stage: Victor Orban in Hungry, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, India’s Narendra Modi, and Vladimir Putin of Russia. It is a global creep machine no longer enabled by the American President. I don’t know about you, but every day I breathe a little bit better not hearing The Donald dominate the airwaves.
Voter Suppression, as American as Apple Pie
At this point, it seems totally appropriate to get involved in what I’m calling, the movement against voter suppression (MAVS?), doesn’t it? Making it more difficult to vote is not what we learn in school about American democracy, but our history is indeed replete with examples of those in power seeking to limit the number of people who can vote so that they will stay in power. When the Republicans look into the future these days, they see less and less red if they don’t do something fast, namely yell vote fraud and election security enough times and with enough zeal and those who might stand in the way become fatigued. This is an all hands-on deck not so secret GOP plot to maintain their illegitimate hold on the American system of elections by putting up barriers in front of those who simply want to cast a ballot and election officials who want to count ballots. But, if you look a bit closer at our history, beginning with the Declaration of Independence, voter suppression and rule by the minority has been a mainstay in how the powerful speak their truth to the powerless. At the birth of this nation the founding documents made it clear who could participate and who couldn’t.
“He (the King) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
With the Founding Fathers’ attitudes not towards the Brits, but towards the native inhabitants, how would anyone honestly expect those same white male leaders to embark upon any authentic mission in creating true equality for all?
Voting Rights Again, Post-14th Amendment, Read the Fine Print
Even the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, which were all ratified between 1865 and 1870 in order to level the “equal rights” playing field, but also at the same time, dismissed the voting rights of an entire sex (1865).
“…any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.” (14th amendment, sec. 2) Those amendments made slavery illegal (1865) and “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied…” (1870) It was 50 more years before women, black and white, could legally vote, that coming by way of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. But being black, and a woman, has perhaps been the most difficult place to be in the American emancipation process. I delved this week into the term, “intersectionality.” It was first used in 1989 by legal scholar, Kimberlee Crenshaw. “In other words, the law seemed to forget that black women are both black and female, and thus subject to discrimination on the basis of both race, gender, and often a combination of the two.” Intersectionality can also be looked at as “interlocking systems of oppression.”A wonderful panel discussion on intersectionality led by Law Professor Crenshaw can be seen here. Her law review article, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: a Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” can also be read on-line.
Why am I hitting the voter suppression issue so hard this week? Because Stacey Abrams who is eyeing a run at the Georgia governorship and is leading the charge to empower and bring out thousands of that state’s voters, and has in unprecedented numbers in both the 2020 presidential election, and in the January special election that saw both US Senate seats go to the Democrats and thus yield the current 50-50 tie within this body. Well, the Republican establishment is striking back and it does not look pretty if you believe open and maximal voting is the basis of a beautiful democracy. The New York Times dug deep this past Sunday into Georgia’s recently passed 98-page voting law, “identifying 16 provisions that hamper the right to vote for some Georgians or strip power from state and local elections officials and give it to legislators.” It’s happening in Georgia, but legislation to limit voting is also in the works in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona, places where Joe Biden barely won. In following the historical precedents of the fugitive slave act, the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, the existence of a Senate filibuster, and the post-reconstruction Jim Crow laws, it is evident that there has always been a consistent drum beat in American history toward make it harder for black people to vote. Now, along comes the Republican Georgia legislature continuing this history making it more difficult for “some” Georgians to vote. These legal obstacles to voting that were recently erected in Georgia include offering less time for voters to request an absentee ballot, stricter ID requirements, “essentially” banning mobile (RVs) voting centers, significantly lowering the number of legal ballot drop boxes, making it difficult to extend voting hours if people are waiting in line, and maybe most egregious on the face of it, you can no longer offer food or water to voters waiting in line on a warm or cold Georgia day as the legislature now deems this as “soliciting” votes. The Democrats in Washington, for good reason, are gearing up to pass a federal voting rights bill. All this goes to show what is at stake and that Republicans have become political aliens from an undemocratic planet. They will fight by any means necessary to suppress the vote and avoid the kind of future they see unfolding in most of California for example, where the Republican party is a third party trailing both Democrats and NPPs, No Party Preference.
Don’t Mourn, Organize
There’s a lot to like about the US Constitution and the Amendments to that constitution–“The right of citizens to vote…,” being a principal one, due process, and maintaining a balance act of power between the presidency, congress, and the courts. These precepts are arguably laudable, but it has taken more than 230 years of trying to get it right of creating avenues for people to vote. This past week, as universal suffrage was again under attack in Georgia, the historical remnants of pre-civil war slave catching were on display in a Minneapolis court room. A nation is being brought to a reckoning whether it wants it or not, as ex-cop Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd. If the constitution is a living document, flexible and relevant to today, and all people are created equal in practice and not just theory, why is it that not all have had access to its rights life-support system? Why has the history of democracy in this country always been about the law being tilted in favor of the few? In 1789, when the constitution was approved, it actually only afforded protections to a small percentage of Americans. By that standard, Chauvin might very well walk. While the percentage of citizens with rights has grown, Republicans in Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona are working hard to shrink those numbers. Will the outcome of the Chauvin murder case contract or expand the constitutional notions of equality and fairness? All I know is that voter suppression is real, has been around in this country since the beginning, and if good people fail to confront it, our inaction will only lead down more authoritarian rat holes. We must overcome.
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.
Email Chris at email@example.com
WILL BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MAKE RESIDENTS PAY TO PARK ON STREETS IN FRONT OF THEIR HOMES IN COASTAL AREAS?
Heads up if you live in the coastal zones of the County…you may be required to pay $—–/year to be able to park on the street near your home. The Board of Supervisors will consider this financial hammer on April 13. Let Supervisor Koenig know your thoughts, as he seems to be the one that Public Works has convinced to shepherd what many feel is just a money grab.
Here is a link to join the April 12 pre-Board meeting discussion: District 1
Live Oak Parking Program: Fix it or Scrap it?
The Live Oak Parking Program faces several problems today.
1) Quality of Service. New public coastal access points like Privates Beach have expanded parking impact to Opal Cliffs and other areas currently outside of the parking program boundaries. A warming climate means that beach season is starting earlier and going later. Enforcement has not kept up with this increased demand.
2) Budget Shortfalls. The Program has consistently lost money. It was in the red $42,605 in 2019 and $87,018 in 2020. Funding from the program is currently coming from the County’s General Fund paid for by all county residents.
3) Potential Coastal Act Violations. Coastal Commission staff have notified the County that the current program is interfering with the public’s ability to access the sea and coastal beaches. This is because it provides free parking passes to residents in the program area but akes everyone else pay. This makes the program vulnerable to repeal by the Coastal Commission.
Going forward, the program could be ended entirely. This would let everyone park for free in the area with minimal regulation except by California Highway Patrol. This would eliminate the problems of patchwork enforcement between neighborhoods but lead to greater demand for parking and longer times idling and searching for parking. Alternatively, the Department of Public Works has proposed an updated program as follows:
Program Dates, Days and Hours of Operation
- For the 2021 Season: May 1st – October 31st
- Starting the 2022 Season: March 15th – October 31st
- Program hours of operation will be 11:00am – 5:00pm on weekends and holidays.
- A phased expansion of the program to first fill gaps and then expand to Opal Cliffs. See map below.
- Permits would be $75.00 per season (Public Works has determined this is the minimum cost for the program to meet its goals).
- Hourly rates of $2.00 per hour.
- Digital App to purchase permits and pay for hourly parking.
- There would be no more free permits for residents and vacation rentals.
- Permits would act as digital “hangtags” that can be applied to multiple vehicles as long as only one is on the street at a time.
Use of Revenues
- All citation revenue would stay within the Parking Program for reinvestment in the program and coastal access projects including but not limited to: improved parking conditions, way finding signage, coastal access improvements, maintenance and repair, bike and pedestrian infrastructure along the coastline.
Additional information about the proposal, including recordings of the neighborhood meetings and Q&A are available here: Live Oak Parking Program
To email all five members of the Board of Supervisors at once, you may use firstname.lastname@example.org . Please note, emails that are sent to this address will be added to our Written Correspondence listing or included as comments on appropriate agenda items. Links to email individual supervisors can be found on each supervisor’s webpage.
FREE WEBINARS FOR FIRE SAFETY AND CZU LESSONS LEARNED
Fire Season is around the corner..learn more now about what you can do to protect your home and family. Don’t miss the third session….lessons learned from the CZU Fire.
WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. PARTICIPATE IN A VIRTUAL MEETING IN YOUR PAJAMAS. JUST DO SOMETHING AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
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
#93 / Infrastructure Plans
President Biden and the Democratic Party leadership in Congress are now working actively to pass a massive “infrastructure bill.” Here is how an article in the March 30, 2021, edition of The New York Times presented the situation:
WASHINGTON — Senior Democrats on Monday proposed a tax increase that could partly finance President Biden’s plans to pour trillions of dollars into infrastructure and other new government programs, as party leaders weighed an aggressive strategy to force his spending proposals through Congress over unified Republican opposition.
The moves were the start of a complex effort by Mr. Biden’s allies on Capitol Hill to pave the way for another huge tranche of federal spending after the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that was enacted this month. The president is set to announce this week the details of his budget, including his much-anticipated infrastructure plan.
The Times’ article was illustrated with the picture shown above. The picture made me pause.
I am definitely in favor of repairing and restoring existing infrastructure that is now falling apart (roads, bridges, and public buildings). Constructing new super freeways, however, is not going to be helpful.
Planting trees, working to restore degraded soils, and providing support for transportation modalities that will require us to share rides, not continue our use of individual vehicles as our main method of transportation, is what is called for in this time of global warming.
That’s the kind of infrastructure plan I’d like to see.
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 email@example.com
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.
“The world has only one border. It is called humanity. The differences between us are small compared to our shared humanity. Put humans first”.
“Let borders become sunlight so we traverse this Earth as one nation and drive the darkness out.”
“What does the border look like?” A child’s question. A question whose answer means nothing. There is nothing but border. There is no border.”
Irish names are spelled rather differently from how they are pronounced, at least from our perspective. Having a somewhat unusual name myself, these are endlessly fascinating to me 🙂
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