Blog Archives

August 12 – 18, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…NO new Nissan in Soquel, Community Credit Union moving, Public Bank in Santa Cruz?, Blended Bridges and LONDON Nelson, B Movie Bratton critiques. GREENSITE…on Covid comparisons. KROHN…will be back next week. STEINBRUNER…Supervisors and hosted rentals, County general plan, Sea level rising plans, Historic Resources Commission demolishes history, county COVID policies lacking. PATTON…Beauty and barbed wire. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics, Deep Cover. QUOTES…”PATIENCE”


PROTEST AT RIO DEL MAR BEACH. This was July 13, 1968. The signs say “they took Seacliff “, “God gave us Rio” and so on. What the issues and actions were back then I have little/no idea. Any facts on this somewhat organized protest would be appreciated.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email



DATELINE August 10

NISSAN OPTS OUT OF 41ST AND SOQUEL DEVELOPMENT. County Supervisor John Leopold announced Monday (8/10) that Nissan said they are not going to open a dealership at that corner. He said he’ll keep us up to date on who/whatever does decide to do business there. Concerned citizens aren’t sure if it’s Nissan or Don Gropetti (present Nissan Dealership owner) who decided to give up that corner.

One of the infinite odd features of wearing a mask in public is the almost impossible challenge of recognizing (or ignoring) friends. For example, a masked Ryan Coonerty and I recognized each other at the market through our masks. I realized that the only way that could have happened was by recognizing “male pattern baldness”. No, I don’t know why it isn’t “male baldness pattern”. 

COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION MOVING. Folks at our Santa Cruz Community Credit Union did confirm that they are moving. But they don’t know where to, or why. They cite the apparent unsafety of the large parking lot next door, and employees parking problems. Check out their statement.

OUR COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION AND A PUBLIC BANK. We are seeing and reading more and more enthusiasm and hope in creating a “Public Owned Bank” here in Santa Cruz. Sounds like a perfectly perfect solution to the crazed and unwarranted expending of our deposits to places and causes we don’t like. But I’m trying to learn what the difference is, or would be, between a Public Bank and our Community Credit Union….any explanation would be welcome. 

I got many, many notes and emails last week telling me about a group in Santa Cruz named Blended Bridge. They have a great website: 

Check out their events, past, present and future. Marches, BLM, speak outs, panels, paddle outs, and super enthusiasm and goals. One of their goals is to correct the name of Louden Nelson to LONDON Nelson. The late Phil Reader worked and researched  LONDON’s history for decades. He and I plotted as many ways as possible to get his name spelled correctly. It’s like this….we’ll never know London’s real slave name, but  his “owner” — who named London’s other two fellow slaves Marlbrough and Cambridge — freed him, and he came to Santa Cruz. Let’s hope and help them rename it before the next Juneteenth!!!

Every Friday morning on KZSC (88.1 fm or live online at from 8:10am-8:20am or thereabouts I present my “B Movie Bratton” segment of short critiques (not reviews) of what’s on our screens. Dangerous Dan Orange hosts the rest of the Bushwhackers B. Club. Lately of course those screens are on anything but theatre screens . Tune in this Friday and listen to my critiques of Marcella a British woman detective murder chase. Lenox Hill a documentary that views as a complex medical doctors and patients adventure in that hospital in Greenwich Village..More about Athlete A and sex abuse in the U.S. Gymnastics world. The re-releaseing of classics like “Gone With The Wind”, Shawshank Redemption, Godfather,  and dozens more. Plus the maybe news that the Regal chain will re-open August 21st or maybe August 28. They’ll play old classics like Rocky and Jurassic Park for low cost admission then open with Tenet on Labor Day. Tune in.

August 10

In the early 1980’s I happened to be enjoying lunch alone at India Joze on Center Street when a man at a nearby table introduced himself as Buz Bezore, editor of the Santa Cruz Express. He asked if I would consider writing a feature on “Why I Live in Santa Cruz” as part of a series he was running in that popular weekly alternative newspaper. At the time I had lived in Santa Cruz for a mere seven or eight years and worked at UCSC for three or four as founding director of UCSC Rape Prevention Education. Santa Cruz in those days was a relatively small town. There were no techies, mountain bikes, designer dogs and tourists left town right after Labor Day. Rents were averaging $200 a month for a house. I was surprised to be asked but figured my outspoken work in rape prevention, local politics and efforts to save big trees had attracted sufficient interest to warrant the request. I said yes.

It was no short piece and I worked on it for days. The overall theme I chose was to contrast nostalgia for the country I had left, Australia, with its bluest of blue skies, colorful birds, cobalt seas and warm golden sands with a growing affection for my new home, with its grey fog, cool summers, elusive birds and cold ocean waters. The thread throughout was my growing love for Santa Cruz with its funky buildings, historic beach area, unique neighborhoods, lack of pretension, political activism and a small vibrant UCSC where I could ride my horse to work. I used the platform to critique the Regents’ growth plans for the campus. That earned me an irate response in the form of a personal letter from a reader who instructed me to go back to where I came from and he (I assumed a he since he had chosen to remain anonymous) made the hollow offer of a one-way ticket back to Australia. 

I was thinking about that offer recently when it became clear that during the pandemic and for the first time in 45 years I cannot even visit Australia, despite an Australian passport and citizenship. Only residents can return from overseas and they are required to quarantine for 14 days, now at their own expense. The contrast between Australia and the USA with respect to Covid 19 is stark and there is little to applaud on this side of the Pacific.

As of writing Australia has had 21,000 cases of Covid 19 with 313 deaths in a country the same geographical size as the continental USA with 25 million people concentrated in coastal cities and towns. If you do some simple arithmetic to account for population differences, Australia’s death numbers would be 4,069 if the population were approximately the same as that of the USA, which has 170,000 dead from Covid 19. This is a difference significant enough to ask why and while we know some of the reasons, others are worth considering.

It’s not as though Australia did everything right and early on. They let a cruise ship dock in Sydney and passengers disembark,  the source of early contagion. They were somewhat slow to impose lockdowns and initial shortages in PPP were evident. When the government did act in late March, however, it was coordinated and effective. The Prime Minister who is head of the conservative party summoned a National Cabinet comprised of the various state and territory elected leaders who met daily via secure video-conferencing to deliver a consistent response, informed by the chief Medical officer and coordinated with the state medical officers. Both major parties, usually at each other’s throats, agreed to work together as a united team. Yes, they didn’t have a Trump and those who fear and defer to him but there were other factors involved in their success at controlling the spread of the virus.

Besides international border closures and quarantines, Australian states also closed their borders to personal inter-state travel with few exceptions. There is widespread acceptance and adherence to spatial distancing. Tele-health is popular and acceptance of an app to track exposure is supported rather than feared as a way to do contact tracing. It’s true they don’t have a leader spreading false information and leading by bad example but not all the blame can be pointed in that direction. 

The widespread ignoring of masks, large gatherings and spatial distancing by too many in the USA is more typical of this country than elsewhere. The failure of law enforcement to enforce public health measures sets a dangerous precedent and has contributed to the spread of the virus. Australia has its share of conspiracy nuts and those who don’t believe the virus is serious but their numbers are not large enough to make the difference. The vast majority follows the rules. Those who don’t, get a one thousand dollar fine. With the virus largely contained, although not in the state of Victoria, schools in other states are open. Social gatherings of small groups up to ten are allowed. 

More personally, I was struck by the difference in the scene of a popular surfing beach in Australia with a surfer walking down a marked pathway, alone, to go surfing with no crowds around him, compared to the scene at Cowell Beach last Saturday. Probably 30 people crowded in the parking lot, cheek by jowl, no masks, kids and adults co-mingling with not a ranger or cop in sight. It might have been for a paddle out but the attitude of not taking this pandemic seriously was evident as was the absence of those empowered to curtail such ignorance. Our numbers of dead from Covid 19 reflect poorly upon us.

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.


August 10

Chris will be back 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 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

August 10

I was pleasantly surprised to see the half-page ad in Sunday’s Sentinel (8/9) (page C3) providing proper notice of a crucial public hearing before the Board of Supervisors on August 18.  Usually, this important information is buried in extremely fine print that goes undetected.  However, there is no link provided in the ad that directs the public to the actual proposed changes to County Code 13.10 that are being considered.  The only source provided is “For more information on this subject, contact the Planning Department at 454-3112.  I did so, and left a voice message for Planner Stephanie Hansen.  

The County Planning Department website home page has ZERO information about this critical public hearing scheduled before the Board of Supervisors and is void of any access to the proposed Chapter 13.10 Zoning Regulations.   Here is a link to that section of the Code, but what would be changed?  We simply don’t know.

If the Board of Supervisors and County Planning Dept. Director are sincerely interested having the public weigh in with your opinion regarding the proposed changes in County Code Chapter 13.10, why is there no way to access the actual changes proposed?  Is this yet another chipping away at the extensive Code Modernization that the Planning Dept. rolled out in concept with multiple public meetings in 2015?  Who knows?! 

Contact Planner Stephanie Hansen   454-3112 and the Board of Supervisors 454-2200 and demand the strike-out/underline version of the information be made public now, rather than just the Friday before the August 18 public hearing, in order to provide people ample time to read it, do any necessary research, and submit timely written comment that the Board will then have time to read and consider before the public hearing.

Chairman Greg Caput
Ryan Coonerty
Zach Friend
John Leopold
Bruce McPherson  

The County Planning Department is working with Dudek Consultants to craft the County General Plan and Sustainability Update environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.  NOW is the time to tell the County what you think matters for inclusion in the study….and you only have until August 21 to do it.

Look here, and send your written comments by the deadline. 

It was extended from August 3, but without any further public workshops to explain or describe the importance of the analysis.  Oddly, neither the Planning Department nor the Board of Supervisors wanted the County Commissions on Water, Environment, Fish and Wildlife, Housing, Fire Departments, etc. to get involved with this crucial change to the County’s quality of life planning.  These Commissions did, however, spend an exhaustive amount of energy and time reviewing the proposed County Cannabis Codes recently.  

Does that make sense to you?   Not to me.

Will anticipated sea level rise flood the City of Santa Cruz downtown areas?  How would City planners accommodate that possibility?  Are the multiple massive high-rise developments currently being shoved through during the coronavirus lockdowns be able to handle that if it were to happen? 

Now is your chance to weigh in with your thoughts, but do it now because the public comment period is only open two weeks, August 3-17, and ends next Monday!  The City is providing this interesting interactive virtual town hall meeting

Quick…before the City shuts the door in your face!  Many thanks to the astute reader who sent me this information.  Did you see any notices in local papers or receive any notice in the mail? 

I was shocked to read a recent Sentinel article describing the Santa Cruz City Historic Resources Commission approval to demolish multiple historic buildings in downtown because City Planners had paid no heed to preserving them while developing the downtown plan.

Why did the City allocate no resources to allow any level of consideration or respect for historic preservation?  What will become of the quality of life and neighborhood character that we know and care about? 

Many thanks to Ms. Carmela Weintraub for her thoughtful Letter to the Editor in Sunday’s (8/9/20) Santa Cruz Sentinel:  “I was dismayed to hear that the Santa Cruz City Historic Commission recommended approval for the demolition of buildings on lower Front Street, paving the way for a multitude of buildings along the San Lorenzo River. This is only the beginning of many projects slated for apartments and condos downtown.
My dismay is about the apparent complete lack of connection of the buildings and nearby environments, reflecting neither the character of our town nor the natural habitat of the San Lorenzo River.

In the past, there have been many voices advocating for the look and feel of this City. We have betrayed that role in letting this dense, boxy, modern (?), concrete get past the City bureaucratic process. Now let’s get back to light, lyrical and bright and beautiful, wisely reflecting more of what SC is all about.

Let’s not, quote, “let the wrecking ball loose on own town” again!, end quote.

— Carmella Weintraub, Santa Cruz 

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel’s statements about the coronavirus issues in this County make no sense, and neither do the actions taken by the Board in response that encourage neighbors to turn each other in to authorities.  

I would like to point out the final sentence in the August 6, 2020 Sentinel report 2 New Deaths reported in county on page A1, continuing on page A2.  Gail Newel states: “Transmission methods suggest it is “very unlikely” a person would pick up the virus while out in public, Newel said.  “It’s almost always from a close contact –a family member, an intimate partner or someone with whom the person has gathered.”

So why the mask laws, now punishable by fines instituted by the County Board of Supervisors?

Also, the report mentions the two new deaths were supposedly due to the virus, but on last Friday’s KZSC interview with Gail Newel by Dangerous Dan, she could not provide any details whatsoever about the cause of death of these two new supposed coronavirus mortalities.  

How can she then claim that the two people died because of coronavirus and add them to the County’s statistics, keeping Santa Cruz County on Governor Gavin Newsom’s restrictive ‘Watch List’? 

Also, take a look at the last sentence in this article, also in the August 6 Sentinel.

Bag fees suspended, ‘blue check’ offered to county businesses” that began on page A1 and continued on page A2 

 “Information on how to join the program and the full list of requirements can be found at  Businesses displaying the check but failing to meet guidelines can be reported via email at” 

What on earth is the County thinking?  People can now make life miserable for competing business owners and neighbors, or report them to the County out of sheer malice.  

Many thanks to the reader who sent the following read-it-and-weep comment that points out the seriously incongruent policies Governor Gavin Newsom continues to impose on California, wreaking havoc with peoples’ livelihoods and social well-being.

“This coronavirus is the strangest virus l’ve ever heard of….It’s very dangerous the way it spreads….It is so mysterious the way it lurks in schools, but then dies at Home Depot….It can wreak havoc in churches; praying people are exceptionally vulnerable! Although it’s Mind-boggling how it vanishes when people stand close together holding signs, destroying businesses, homes, property, monuments, etc. Yet, standing to watch a marathon or a concert triggers its wrath. It is sneaky. It can spread when buying clothes at Kohl’s but not at Target. It is non-alcoholic. It can’t spread when you are buying beer. It lives for two days on Amazon boxes, you must wait 48 hours to touch them but It can’t survive on Dunkin Donuts coffee cups, so enjoying a hot cup of joe is safe. It is the most curious thing, how it lives on basketballs, baseball bats and ballet bars, but dies on WWE ropes and Walmart shopping carts. It is spread by hair stylists, dog groomers, and dentists, but not by bank tellers, cashiers, and fast food workers. It’s so smart. It won’t bother the first 10 people but it knows when the 11th person shows up so be careful if that’s you. It even knows what you want vs what you need. If you want a massage or your nails done it is very actively on the prowl and not even a mask can stop it but If you need a plumber, it is weak, and a mask will keep it away. It also seems to be most dangerous after 5:30pm so businesses must start to close before the virus comes out and wreaks havoc upon the populations. Whoever heard of such a smart sneaky virus?!?”
– Author Unknown

From the YouTube video “I have had Enough” by Barricade Garage, 


Because so many people are now isolated and living in fear, our civil liberties are at great risk.  In my opinion, here is a threat coming down the pike:  being in public means proving your virus test and health status, and possible future vaccination status as well.   

COVIPASS technology, is now available to download and carry that information with you to document such proof.  It can be scanned from a distance of 25′.  This technology is supported and possibly funded by Bill Gates, a prime financial backer of COVID-19 vaccine research and ID 2020 technology.  

With UC Czar Janet Napolitano now mandating all UC students be vaccinated with flu shots by November 1, 2020, I think invasive technologies like COVIPASS will likewise become mandatory.  What a slippery slope…..


Cheers, Becky Steinbruner 685-2915   I welcome your discussions.

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


August 6
#219 / This Really Grabbed Me

I saw this photo about a month or so ago, conveyed to me by one of the email bulletins that flow through my inbox. Glen Taylor is the artist who created this. You can learn something about Glen Taylor’s broken-porcelain art work by clicking on this link

Here is a link to Taylor’s personal website

Somehow, the photograph above really grabbed me. I stopped scrolling my emails, and stared at that photo. I tried to think why. Why should this particular artistic creation, which I find horrible to look at, have so completely captured my attention that I literally could not turn away from it? 

I don’t know whether you, my reader, will have the same reaction to Taylor’s art work that I did, but that is the reaction I had. What is depicted is horrible, and I could not turn away from it. 

As I thought about it, I found the answer. Taylor’s art work reminded me of something else, another photograph, another recent photograph, a picture that I just can’t put out of my mind: 

It seems to me that Taylor’s art work is telling us that under that creamy white polish of our high culture, that lovely china from which we eat, each day, and from which we sip our tea, there is a horrible, horrible reality. Taylor’s art reveals a lacerating truth about the massive pain that is hidden under that creamy covering, with all its flowers and flourishes. A similar truth is revealed by the photograph above. 


What do we do when we realize that there is a horrible, hidden truth beneath what we have come to accept as our lovely life? 

First, we do not turn away. We never turn away again. 

Then… we throw out all those dinner plates, fine china all. We throw it all out. 

We have yet to do that, of course, with respect to the realities revealed by the photograph above, the photo that shows us the police killing of George Floyd, with that horrible knee on his neck, the photo that makes clear that there is, in fact, barbed wire beneath the ceramic coating of our social, political, and economic life, and that it is not just the killing of George Floyd that has been revealed, but the killing of so many others, past, present, and continuing.

That is the picture that has grabbed us, that has captured all of our attention, and from which we cannot turn away. 

Once we have seen the barbed wire beneath the surface of what so many have thought was beautiful, we know that we must throw out those flawed and fatal plates. 

We have yet to do that, of course.

But we must. 

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

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Out of the vaults and into the dark, strange world of only you know where. Scroll low down a little.

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


“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
~A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh 

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”

“To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.”
~Criss Jami, Venus in Arms 

“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke 

Maximum nerd happiness achieved 🙂

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:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
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