Blog Archives

August 2 – 8, 2023

Highlights this week:

Bratton…words from Bernie, saw fest note. Greensite…on development bribes. Schendledecker…disability justice, race, and a river levee update. Steinbruner…Cabrillo name, Aptos Village and soil, Drinking water = safe? Hayes…will be back next week. Patton…let’s get political. Matlock…instant credibility with pusillanimous cockroaches. Eagan… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week. Quotes…”Surf”


EARLY SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK. This dates about 1882 and a hot air balloon ascension which doesn’t look too successful.

Additional information always welcome: email
photo credit: Bratton’s private collection.



Look around:

Over the last few days, nearly 2/3 of the population of the United States of America was living under either a flood warning, watch, or a heat advisory. Temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are the highest ever recorded. Wildfires are ravaging parts of Greece. A typhoon has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes in Beijing. And July is on track to be the hottest month in recorded history.

Meanwhile, the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is very clear and it is very foreboding. If the United States, China and the rest of the world do not act extremely aggressively in cutting carbon emissions, our planet will face enormous and irreversible damage.

Let me be clear about that last part: If the entire planet, led by the largest economies in the world — the United States of America and China — does not get its act together, the world that we will be leaving our children and future generations will be increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable.

What makes this issue so difficult and so complicated is that it is a crisis that no individual nation can solve alone for its own people. It is a global crisis. It is an issue that requires the cooperation of every nation on earth. Whether we like it or not, we are all in this together.

Just one example:

Despite the frightening impact of climate change on the United States, highly populated Asian countries are facing even worse challenges. Sea levels on China’s coastline are rising more quickly than the global average. Major cities like Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenzhen are all located along the Chinese coast and could face catastrophic flooding in years to come – creating havoc with the entire Chinese economy. There are projections that Shanghai, a city of 24 million, could be underwater by the end of the century.

Now, the bad news is that developing a mutually beneficial relationship with China to save the future of this planet will not be easy. Sadly, there are “hawks” in both countries who are working hard to create a new cold war.

The good news is that we still have time — the United States, China and other countries around the world — to make the decision to act aggressively in combating climate change and prevent irreparable damage to our country and the planet.

While we must work diligently to foster international cooperation on climate change, we must also do something else. In the United States, and around the world, we must ask a very simple question.

How did we get here? How did we get to a place in time where the health and well-being of the entire planet, and the lives of billions of people, is under enormous threat?

And the answer is not complicated.

The truth is that the scientific community, for many decades, has made it crystal clear that climate change — and all the dangers it poses in terms of drought, floods, and extreme weather disturbances, and disease — is the result of carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry.

As far back as the late 1950s, over 60 years ago, physicist Edward Teller and other scientists were warning executives in the fossil fuel industry that carbon emissions were “contaminating the atmosphere” and causing a “greenhouse effect” that could eventually lead to temperature increases “sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York.” That’s what they were saying 60 years ago!

In 1975, Shell-backed research concluded that increasing atmospheric carbon concentrations could cause global temperature increases that would drive “major climatic climactic changes” and compared the dangers of burning fossil fuels to nuclear waste.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Exxon — now ExxonMobil — conducted extensive research on climate change that predicted current rising temperatures “correctly and skillfully.”

The fossil fuel companies knew.

They knew they were causing global warming and therefore threatening the very existence of the planet.

Yet, in pursuit of profit, fossil fuel executives not only refused to publicly acknowledge what they had learned but, year after year, lied about the existential threat that climate change posed for our planet.

So what happened to the CEOs who betrayed the American people and the global community? Were they fired from their jobs? Were they condemned by pundits on cable television and the editorial boards of major newspapers? Were they prosecuted? Did they go to jail for their crimes?

Nope. Not at all. Not a one of them. These CEOs got rich.

It’s obscene.

When a criminal walks into a store and shoots the clerk behind the counter, we make the moral judgment that this behavior is socially unacceptable, and that the gunman should be punished.

When a public official misuses and steals taxpayer money, we make the moral judgment that the embezzler should lose his job and, perhaps, be incarcerated.

Yet, when fossil fuel executives make calculated decisions that are life-threatening to millions of people — or to the planet — we are told that “it’s just business.”

No. That’s just not acceptable.

That is why, earlier this week, I sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to bring lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry for its longstanding and carefully coordinated campaign to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of massive profits. The letter was co-signed by Senators Merkley, Warren, and Markey.

Like the tobacco industry before them, the actions of ExxonMobil, Shell, and potentially other fossil fuel companies represent a clear violation of federal racketeering laws, truth in advertising laws, consumer protection laws, and potentially other laws – and the Department of Justice must act swiftly to hold them accountable for their unlawful actions.

More than 40 states and municipalities have filed lawsuits that seek to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for their illegal campaign of misinformation around the global crisis of climate change.

The Department of Justice must join the fight and work with partners at the Federal Trade Commission and other law enforcement agencies to file suits against all those who participated in the fossil fuel industry’s illegal conspiracy of lies and deception. The fossil fuel industry must begin to pay for the extraordinary damage they are causing.

Climate change is an existential threat to every person on earth. At every level, in every country, we must work aggressively to save the planet for our kids and future generations.

Let’s go forward together.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

IN CLOSING…AND Before you go…

I think we all understand that if Republicans have control of the White House, the House or the Senate after this election, the chances of accomplishing anything significant with respect to climate, or anything else, becomes virtually non-existent.

Our work rallying and organizing progressives across the country takes resources, but it is important work that must be done. So please:

Can you please make a contribution of $27 — or whatever you can afford — to help our movement elect progressives all across this country who are prepared to treat climate change as the existential threat we know it to be?

If you’ve stored your info with ActBlue, we’ll process your contribution instantly:

FESTIVAL OF THE SAWS.  Last week I wrote here in BrattonOnline about the very first Musical Saw Festival happening in 1979 last week. Someone with initials LCM emailed me to addThe festival was sponsored by KUSP. John Coha and I did the audio/stage work. Almost without exception none of them wanted to be mic-ed. They’d push it out of the way. ?? “. I don’t know who the “I” is, but thanks!

I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie 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.

BARBIE…SECOND VIEWING. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (7.5 IMDB). With the surprising reactions world wide to this Mattel film I had to check it out to see what I had missed. I missed the 160 million dollar plugging that Mattel spent trying to sell all the other non-stereotypical Barbies. They push Doctor Barbies, Supergirl Barbies, Black Barbies, Army Barbies ad infinitum. Mattel’s trying to justify their billions in profit and the movie is still a mess plot wise.

FULL CIRCLE. (MAX SERIES) (6.4 IMDB). It’s difficult to follow the plot of this movie about a screwed up kidnapping that happens in New York City. Thugs actually kidnap the wrong teen ager and his real family goes berserk while the victim fights for his life. The kidnappers aren’t the wisest operators, and you’ll wonder how anyone keeps a check on reality during the police chase.

IRMA VEP. (PRIME SERIES) (6.8 IMDB). The very talented, beautiful and fascinating Alicia Vikander plays an American movie star who goes to Paris to film a re-make of Irma Vep. Irma Vep was actually a classic silent film serial from 1915 and she’s a vampire. There’s laughs, great photography, and a switching type plot that will keep you affixed. We watched the original silent series in Earl Jackson’s film class at UCSC years ago it was excellent…so’s this series, so far.

LAST CALL. (HBO SERIES) (7.7 IMDB). A very serious documentary covering the brutal killings of gay men in and around New York City back in the 1990’s. The credits list Leon Panetta as a member of the cast but after watching the first two episodes we don’t see Leon yet. It’s a dark and unrelenting search for the gay butcher who cuts and dices up each of his murders. It’s also a condemnation of the official legal and New York City Police reaction to the murders because the victims are gay. Well worth watching and thinking about.

ALICE IN BORDERLAND. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.7 IMDB).  An unusual Japanese film from a graphic novel about Tokyo waking up, well three boys waking up to an empty deserted  city. Somehow they are directed to, or forced to, enter a game of finding the right door to escape flaming death in each of these rooms.

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, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.

BARBIE. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (7.6 IMDB)   This lush, lavish so called comedy looks like a zillion dollar advertisement from the Mattel company to sell even more Barbies by re making her image (and Ken’s) into a more contemporary multi sexual/ non sexual image. It broke all known box office records on opening day. It’s foolish, extravagant, and meaningless.

OPPENHEIMER. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (8.8 IMDB). Reviews are all over the place on this one. It’s an excellent dramatized biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer who more or less invented the atomic bomb. He was by all accounts a conflicted man and dreamer. Watch his odd mannerisms and his humanitarian conflicts. Its 3 hours long and full of very deep humane decisions. Cillian Murphy does a great job as Oppenheimer. And you’ll be quite surprised by Robert Downey Jr. and his very straight negative role. Don’t miss it.

HUNTERS. (PRIME SERIES) (7.2 IMDB). Quite a cast including Al Pacino, Carol Kane, and Lena Olin. It tells the stories of Jews who are searching for the Nazis who have escaped Hitler’s Germany and from Austria in 1972. It’s painful, well done and puzzling especially when they suspect that Adolph Hitler is alive and well.

DAHAAD. (PRIME SERIES) (7.6 IMDB). Strange suicides which may be murders, happen in this Indian film. A woman officer who has to deal with much sexual harassment plus the remnants of the caste system is the focal point. It’s almost embarrassing to watch and realize just how relevant and demeaning it still is in India and surrounding all of us today.

JUVENILE JUSTICE. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.9 IMDB). This legal court room drama focuses on a woman judge who doesn’t like children law breakers. She does her own investigating and causes all sorts of hell for doing it. It’s from South Korea and is tense, fine acting, and forces you to re-consider your opinion of our own legal system.

July 31


The intersection pictured above is familiar to most who live on the lower westside of Santa Cruz. It is Bay and Westcliff with a view of the distant hills of the UCSC campus. The trees in the foreground outline the current Dream Inn parking lot, site of the future five story mixed-use project recently approved by the Coastal Commission, which I wrote about last week.

Once this oversized development is built, yet another iconic Santa Cruz view will be lost. I say “oversized” because the site is zoned for three stories not five stories. The extra height, or “density bonus” is what the state government forces us to swallow if a developer earmarks any affordable units for the lowest income categories. That state law might have been easier to digest if our local inclusionary rate (that is, the below-market rate, sometimes called the “affordable” rate) applied to the extra stories allowed by the density bonus. It doesn’t. So, a currently zoned three- story project (no density bonus) with 60 units would require 12 of the total to be affordable and the other 48 could be market-rate, while a five- story project (with density bonus) with say, 90 units would require the same 12 affordable units and 78 market-rate. Seems like the “bonus” is in the developer’s pocket. The Dream Inn parking lot project will have 89 condo units, 10 affordable and 79 market-rate, which gives an inclusionary rate of 11 %, far below what is required by local ordinance, which state law trumps via the density bonus.

When this project went before the city council in 2019 it was by no means a done deal. At that time, city council included four members who were more critical of outsized developments than is the current council majority. Many in the community anticipated that the project may fail to gain the required four votes for approval. However, on the same day council had this item on their agenda, the developers, Ensemble Investments, owners of the Dream Inn and a partner in the La Bahia luxury hotel under construction, offered the city $500,000 for the city’s affordable housing fund should the project be approved. The council vote later that day was 4-3 to approve the project with council member Justin Cummings switching his vote to aye.

You can look at that offer of a half million dollars in several ways. Is it a bribe for aye votes on a controversial project? Or is it a generous offer by a community-minded developer? I regard it as a bribe for votes. The CA Coastal Commission saw it as a generous offer for much-needed affordable housing monies. The test would be if it were offered irrespective of the outcome of the vote. The required ethics course that all council and commission members take at the start of their terms stresses that “appearance” of bias is as unacceptable as actual bias. Offering money on the day of a vote on a big project, if the project is approved, sure gives the appearance of a bribe.

Or take the case of the 130 Center St. project, another outsized project, already approved by council with developer Swenson Builders apparently waiting for better interest rates before starting construction. It already has a name, Calypso, and will be 6 stories due to the state’s density bonus despite the zoned heights of 3 and 4 stories. Here, as for all the big projects approved or under way, the percentage of required affordable units can ignore the additional stories, so the result for this project is 13% affordable rather than the city’s required 20%. (This is the area of town where the city Planning Department is proposing 20 story buildings with an added 12 story option, all being studied in the Environmental Review process anticipated to be released in the Fall).

When Calypso was at the Planning Commission for review and a vote, and some commissioners were questioning the inadequate traffic study and exemption from environmental review, the developer’s agent offered to add 4 more affordable units if the project was not appealed. Despite a commissioner reminding him that it is the public’s right to appeal, that “offer” was sufficient to secure a majority vote for the project. When the group, Santa Cruz Tomorrow deliberated whether to appeal, I was heavily lobbied by a commissioner to not go forward with an appeal because of the 4 extra below market-rate units promised if there were no appeal. All the appeal asked for was a reasonable traffic study and mitigations since the one done by consultants omitted weekends, the time when traffic is heaviest in this area. A similar traffic study omitting weekends is being done for the ambitious, hugely impactful development called the Downtown Extension, the one described above with 20 and 12 story towers. For scale, the one under construction at Front, Laurel and Pacific is 6 stories.

Back to Calypso. Our appeal was heard at city council which was heavily lobbied by hundreds of students in favor of the project, no doubt because the units are all SRO’s or Single Room Occupancy, no good for families, ideal for students, many of whom are supported by wealthy parents. The developer’s agent sulked about the appeal but decided to throw in the 4 units anyway if the project was approved, which it was 7-0.

With bribes passing as generous gifts; with students and building trades supporting every outsized development; with traffic studies not passing the straight-face test; with environmental exemptions handed out like Halloween candy; with state laws shoving local laws aside; with elected representatives believing the fallacy that you can build your way into affordability, the rapid transformation of Santa Cruz into an enclave for the rich with a smattering of cheaper units snapped up by students as they pass low income working families heading out of town seems insurmountable.

The one hope is the initiative aimed for the March ballot. Named, Housing For People, as you have probably read and hopefully signed, it is simple and clear: no heights over current General Plan zoning without a vote of the people (Density bonuses are allowed due to state law. Eighty feet heights downtown and along the river are already approved) That right to vote on height plus 25% inclusionary rates in all projects over 30 units is the full initiative. We will still see outsized projects, but the initiative will temper the enthusiasm for investors and their cheering squads for ever higher, ever denser, everywhere and add more below market rate units. Not enough but more is better.

I’m collecting signatures. If you haven’t yet signed, email me at and I’ll come by with a petition at a time convenient for you. You must be a registered voter at your current address. Don’t leave me empty-handed.

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.


July 31


I’ve been reading the blog of Mia Mingus, an important leader in transformative justice and disability justice (among other things). I started with a transcript of the short speech Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability. Here are a few excerpts that particularly resonated with me, personally and politically:

“Ableism must be included in our analysis of oppression and in our conversations about violence, responses to violence and ending violence. Ableism cuts across all of our movements because ableism dictates how bodies should function against a mythical norm—an able-bodied standard of white supremacy, heterosexism, sexism, economic exploitation, moral/religious beliefs, age and ability. Ableism set the stage for queer and trans people to be institutionalized as mentally disabled; for communities of color to be understood as less capable, smart and intelligent, therefore “naturally” fit for slave labor; for women’s bodies to be used to produce children, when, where and how men needed them; for people with disabilities to be seen as “disposable” in a capitalist and exploitative culture because we are not seen as “productive;” for immigrants to be thought of as a “disease” that we must “cure” because it is “weakening” our country; for violence, cycles of poverty, lack of resources and war to be used as systematic tools to construct disability in communities and entire countries.”

“As the (generational) effects of global capitalism, genocide, violence, oppression and trauma settle into our bodies, we must build new understandings of bodies and gender that can reflect our histories and our resiliency, not our oppressor or our self-shame and loathing. We must shift from a politic of desirability and beauty to a politic of ugly and magnificence. That moves us closer to bodies and movements that disrupt, dismantle, disturb. Bodies and movements ready to throw down and create a different way for all of us, not just some of us.

“Because we all do it. We all run from the ugly. And the farther we run from it, the more we stigmatize it and the more power we give beauty. Our communities are obsessed with being beautiful and gorgeous and hot. What would it mean if we were ugly? What would it mean if we didn’t run from our own ugliness or each other’s? How do we take the sting out of “ugly?” What would it mean to acknowledge our ugliness for all it has given us, how it has shaped our brilliance and taught us about how we never want to make anyone else feel? What would it take for us to be able to risk being ugly, in whatever that means for us. What would happen if we stopped apologizing for our ugly, stopped being ashamed of it?  What if we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking in and shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things that don’t make us magnificent?  

Where is the Ugly in you? What is it trying to teach you?

Photo by Jane Orbuch, meme by Joy Schendledecker

I make a connection between this speech and the second defacement of the Black Lives Matter street mural in front of City Hall, last Saturday evening. It is a sign that we continue to minoritize, racialize, disable, and “other” Black people in our community.

Santa Cruz is founded on white supremacy, genocide, and xenophobia. Some (white) neighbors get VERY touchy and defensive when this is brought up, but it’s objectively true. Repeated defacement of the mural, and mistreatment of BIPOC community members, is evidence of our racist intergenerational inheritance.

My ADHD brain also made a connection between this speech and what has been happening with the San Lorenzo River levee since last December. It has certainly been made more ugly with the clearing of plants and the grouting of animal burrows. The ugliness of bureaucracy led to 150 native plant babies being grouted. It’s an ugliness which is decidedly not magnificent.

We have disabled, colonized, oppressed, exploited, and expropriated our magnificent river for too long. I understand that we have to work with the infrastructure we’ve inherited, that we need to protect people living nearby. AND how can we apply principles of healing justice to respect the magnificence inherent to the river? How can we move away from the bureaucratic violence of capitalism towards holistic ecology and recognition that when we disable the river we disable our ecosystem–which includes ourselves?

Below I am passing on (lightly edited) information from Barbara Riverwoman, who, along with a few others, has been doggedly (and magnificently) following this issue, connecting community members, and sharing information in emails and Jurisdictional Bibliography of San Lorenzo Urban River Flood Control.

I first wrote about this in a February column: Of Consent Agendas and River Levees, Or, Is the San Lorenzo River a Person?

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July 28, 2023

Dear Members of Protect Our River,

I heard officially from Janice Bisgaard in the Public Works Department that the City will be asked to approve the PW Request for Proposal on Tuesday, August 8.

I hope that all our work, as well as the article in Lookout, will stir some interest in the issue – and help encourage people to write letters and show up. We will not stop approval of the RFP, but we must bring more and more public awareness to the many forces at work to destroy our natural environment, including urban green space. This is a good chance to do some public education.

It’s always interesting how a relatively minor misstep–like misdirected grout by an incompetent contractor–will attract public attention to something that is much more seriously flawed. It is powerfully symbolic, though–cement poured on 150 young native plants! Maybe Russ Brutsche can capture this!

Every plant matters!


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July 25, 2023

Hello friends in Sierra Club,

Thank you so much for your interest in protecting the water quality and wildlife habitat of the urban San Lorenzo River. A broad network of support makes so much difference.

I am writing to share the perspective of someone who, as a birder, has been paying careful attention to the flood control policies and practices of the City since 2015, especially on the riverine reach of the levee from Water St. to Highway 1.

I have been engaged with the FEMA certification project since December 2022 when most of us in the environmental community first heard that FEMA was planning to enact a much more aggressive management policy than had been carried out under USACE in the previous decades since the levee was constructed.

Since 2015, I have  monitored the annual flood control work on the levee to verify that the City was complying with the specifications contained in the local governance document San Lorenzo Urban River Project regarding vegetation removal on the inboard side of the river.  In the past, the concern about flooding focused on high waters OVERTOPPING the levee.  As a result, the focus of the management policies emphasized primarily removing large trees from the inboard side of the levee in order to ensure unobstructed flows. Low growing vegetation, especially on the outboard side, was never a consideration in those years because detection of seepage and destabilization of the levee was not a consideration.

In July, 2020 the Army Corps of Engineers turned the management of the levee over to the City of Santa Cruz and gave the City three years to bring its management strategy into line with FEMA guidelines. Although the FEMA guidelines were the same as those of the USACE, FEMA emphasized a much more stringent enforcement policy if the City wanted to continue to qualify for a major 50% discount on FEMA insurance protection.

This situation coincided with the fear of a possible increase in the population of ground squirrels (a diurnal species) and perhaps an equally but less visible increase in the population of nocturnal gophers.

The tunnels of these rodents have indeed, historically, been responsible for destabilizing levee systems. In 2014 a levee collapsed on the Secchia River in Italy due to animal burrows, resulting in flood damage in excess of $500 million (see this link). Some argue that this was caused primarily by lack of maintenance, and others say the hydrology of that river and the San Lorenzo River differ significantly.

In any case, there is no research or documentation to date here in Santa Cruz as to whether or not there is significant destabilization of the levee. So far, the current management policies are based on a feared potential, not a documented reality, as well as an understandable desire for a lower insurance rate.

It is difficult to know how the two new concerns weighed in the balance. Was it a serious concern of the City about increased risk of levee failure that pushed the City to accept unquestioningly the necessity of the environmentally damaging new policies?

Or was it pressure from the City, business community and all property owners in the floodplain, to protect their discounted insurance rates.

Perhaps the city would say a combination. We will probably never know unless MBK Engineering or the City of Santa Cruz releases such information, or reports that there is no documentation.

In any case, an entirely different set of flood control measures were required to protect against a levee collapse, as opposed to protecting against the overtopping of the levee.  The response of the City was to roll out an environmentally damaging method of detecting a possible collapse before it happened. They therefore followed to the letter FEMA guidelines that required a clear line of view of the entire outboard (and inboard) bank in order to spot any seepage, the most reliable predictor of levee failure (also called levee breach or levee collapse). This required the aggressive new policy of removing all vegetation that in any way obscured complete visibility of seepage. It also required, as a complementary policy, that all rodent tunnels be fumigated and filled with grout.

This development set off many alarms among the community concerned about the wildlife habitat on the levee and the water quality of the river. Paramount among the environmental concerns were the possible eradication of two ongoing restoration projects being conducted by the Coastal Watershed Council on the inboard side of the transitional reach, and by the Estuary Project on the outboard side of the estuarine reach. It appeared that both of these restoration projects were seriously threatened by the new directives.

There were no ongoing restoration projects on the riverine reach of the River, but activists identified tens of thousands of square feet of dense native manzanita patches along this reach that possessed a very high wildlife value (nectar in the spring for hummingbirds and pollinating insects, as well as berries in the fall for a range of songbirds). Secondly, the dense woody root system of the manzanita served as excellent erosion control. And, ironically, the dense foliage and root systems of manzanita served as a very effective deterrent to ground squirrels, since not a single ground squirrel cover could be detected in or near the manzanita patches. It was too dense for the squirrels to squeeze through.

The activist group, Protect Our River, communicated by letter and in person with the City about this situation, and proposed several specific variances. But the City went ahead and tore up every inch of the manzanita, leaving wide stretches of disturbed soil, the kind of environment most attractive to burrowing rodents.

(Left) Red-tailed Hawk looking backwards, April 4, 2020, Riverine stretch, San Lorenzo River, Photo by B. Riverwoman;
(Right) Same hawk, about to take flight from willows in the same area. Photo by B. Riverwoman

The priority issues for our group are now:

  • that the City discuss with us the possibility of allowing the manzanita to come back (as it already is beginning to do) since there is no sign of levee destabilization in the areas of manzanita, and in fact the dense patches function as an effective deterrent to ground squirrel occupations of the area.
  • that MBK Engineering and the City of Santa Cruz release any and all information they have regarding the current state of destabilization of the levee due to burrowing animals;
  • that the City seriously consider utilizing electronic imagery to obtain an electronic image of the inside of the levee and possible burrows to verify the extent of tunneling, and;
  • that the City seriously considers nature-based solutions to vegetation management per recent congressional legislation–including the planting of rodent-deterring vegetation like manzanita (and the elimination of rodent-attracting food litter); raptor boxes; and more.

On behalf of our group, Protect Our River, I want to thank the Sierra Club again for taking an interest in this rich urban environment. It is the #14 top birding hotspot in all of Santa Cruz County!

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any comments or questions.


Barbara Riverwoman, (831) 454-0252.

Joy Schendledecker is an artist, parent, and community organizer. She lives on the Westside of Santa Cruz with her husband, two teens, mother in law, and cats. She was a city of Santa Cruz mayoral candidate in 2022. You can email her at:

July 31


The Cabrillo Community College District Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet August 7 to decide on a new name for Cabrillo College.  The Board was scheduled to meet at the Watsonville campus, in a very small room, but luckily changed the location to the main campus in the Horticulture Building.  Never mind that it is not easily accessible for those who may be arriving on the bus, and forget ADA accessibility up that long steep hill above the Campus if you are in a wheelchair.  So much for equality.

But check here to see of maybe the Cabrillo Trustee and President leadership will change their minds and relocate the meeting into one of the performance halls on lower Campus that would be easy for people with mobility issues to attend.

Will the Board consider the generous offer of Theresa and Richard Crocker to donate an extra $1 million to the Cabrillo Foundation if the Trustees do not change the name?   The Crockers are significant benefactors of the College and the Crocker Performing Arts Theater’s namesake, and donated $100,000 in 2007 to support the Dental Hygiene program from closing down.

As backlash over Cabrillo College name change grows, some donors weigh whether to keep giving

Will the College Trustees “take a pause” on the name change fever that has caused so much divisiveness in our Community?  Many donors are considering “pausing” their donations to the College, because the Board ignored the survey results dismissing 80% of the people who responded and did not want the name to change.

Please attend the August 7 Board of Trustees meeting at 6pm, high on the hill above the campus, with very limited parking.


There is a lot of construction happening throughout the County’s roadways, but last week, I was surprised to see a drilling rig in the middle of Soquel Drive near Aptos Village.

One-way traffic at the Aptos Creek Bridge snarled the already-congested Aptos Village area.  Ms. Sarah Christensen, Project Director for the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) confirmed the drilling was related to the Segment 12 Rail Trail work that will include a brand new pedestrian/bicycle bridge over this area of Soquel Drive and Aptos Creek.

I am a bit worried about the impacts of the heavy construction traffic on the 1928 Aptos Creek Bridge.  It bothers me now to see bright orange lines spray-painted on the venerable Bridge, resembling graffiti.

Maybe we should report it?

Keep your eyes on this area for other construction issues.


Construction has begun in the Aptos Village Project Phase 2 area.  Recently, I traveled through Aptos Village Way in the Phase 2 construction area during non-working hours and noted a smell of diesel.  I am aware that there was an Underground Storage Tank (UST) that Swenson crews removed from the north side of the Phase 2 area in 2016.  I personally saw the incident and know that the location Swenson indicated to the County Environmental Health staff at the time, and that was remediated, was not the actual location of the UST.  

Swenson’s crews hauled the tank out right away in the middle of the night and covered up the trench they had hastily created to contain the foul-smelling contents that poured out when the tank was yanked out of the ground.

The Phase 2 construction crew is now doing some excavation in the area near where the UST was located, and where Swenson crews staged the excavated tank in 2016 before hauling it away during the night.

I have respectfully requested that Santa Cruz County Environmental Health monitor the soil work at the Phase 2 construction site on the north side of Aptos Village Way to ensure the public’s health is protected and that any potentially contaminated soils are remediated appropriately.  I urge you to do the same.

While the diesel odor could be from the equipment, parked and not operating,  I believe it would be appropriate for Santa Cruz County Environmental Health staff to monitor the soil disturbances to ensure the soil is not contaminated in this work area, given the history of Swenson’s activity there.

What does Swenson’s contractor do with the soil excavated from there?

Excavation in the Phase 2 area near the existing three-story structure (not shown, but at the right of the excavator) is the true general location of the buried tank illegally removed in 2016.  Maybe it was the fuel tank for the Lam Pon Apple Dryer adjacent, also in Phase 2 area.  Swenson removed that structure’s foundation in 2016 after the tank incident.

What does Swenson’s contractor do with the soil excavated from there?

Please write Santa Cruz County Environmental Health:  Mr. John Gerbrandt and Ms. Sue and ask that their staff monitor the soils to protect public health and safety.

In my opinion, it would be a good idea for Soquel Creek Water District to monitor the groundwater quality at their new Granite Way Well, given it is in the “downstream” flow from the former UST and, according to local hydrologists, groundwater levels are shallow in that area.  I have attempted to alert Soquel Creek Water District Operations staff to this potential contamination, but they are never interested.


What is considered “safe levels” of a carcinogen like Hexavalent Chromium in drinking water?  The State of California is about to finalize a lower level than before, and separate Hexavalent Chromium from other variants (Chromium 3) of the metal that are not as harmful to health.  Under the proposed new rule, all public water systems will have to comply with hexavalent chromium maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 micrograms/L, according to a system size-based compliance schedule or submit a plan for coming into compliance.  The regulations do not apply to private wells.

There are many wells in the La Selva Beach area that have high Chromium levels, often a mixture of the forms.  The Santa Cruz County Water Advisory Commission will hear a presentation on this matter during their hybrid meeting at 4pm on August 2, (immediately following the State public hearing in Sacramento, 1pm-4pm). Take a look at page 16 of the Commission packet to see what some of the hexavalent chromium levels are like in the La Selva area wells.

The new proposed lower limits were adopted by the State Waterboard in 2011, but large water companies cried foul because of high treatment costs, and took the State to Court on the grounds that there had been inadequate analysis of costs. In May 2017, the Superior Court of Sacramento County issued a judgment invalidating the previously-established hexavalent chromium MCL and ordered the State Water Board to adopt a new MCL consistent with Health & Safety Code 116365 to consider treatment feasibility issues.(California Manufacturers and Technology Association, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, Super. Ct., Sacramento County, Case No. 34-2015-80001850.).

This caused some water purveyors, like Soquel Creek Water District, to halt all plans and treatments in process to remove carcinogenic hexavalent chromium from the water they sold to customers until the State could offer the feasibility information the Court required. “Design and installation of a permanent, centralized treatment facility to treat water from Seascape, Bonita and San Andreas wells is placed on hold until the new MCL is established by the State.”

[Soquel Creek Water District: Chromium 6]

Soquel Creek Water District was even charging their customers for a non-existent hexavalent Chromium treatment plant in their tier 4 water rates, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Many thanks to ratepayer Mr. Jon Cole who, as a self-represented litigant, successfully brought legal challenge to that rate fraud, causing Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick to end the District’s charging for that non-existent treatment plant.  Too bad he did not also require the District to refund the money they had collected, too.  

I wonder how that money go spent???  Maybe one of the many trips the management has taken to Washington, D.C. to personally check in with their paid lobbyist about PureWater Soquel Project?


There is now thorough analysis of treatment costs, as can be found in the State Waterboard Rule Making Comment documentation,

The balancing act is weighing the health and safety benefits, mandated by the Clean Water Act, with the treatment costs.

“While many benefits of this regulation are difficult to quantify, improved public health is the primary benefit, which may be experienced as a reduction in the number of cancer cases (up to 12.8 per year) and noncancerous cases (not quantifiable). Although the number of noncancerous cases (liver toxicity, which can occur at hexavalent chromium concentrations above 2 mg/L) cannot be quantified, the 5.5 million people who will see hexavalent chromium concentrations reduced by an average of 32.4% are likely to see related health benefits.”

The State Water Board determined that the economic impact of the proposed regulations would likely exceed $50 million in a 12-month period.

 Based on current monitoring data, it is expected that 5.3 million individuals – approximately 14% of California’s population – would experience water cost increases. For the majority of people (84%), the increases will likely be less than $20 per month. Increases will likely be higher for those served by small PWS. As is the case with most increases in household costs, increases will be more burdensome for individuals for whom such expenses are already a higher proportion of total household expenses.

The State cannot reimburse any treatment costs for schools, pursuant to Article XIIIB, section 6 of the California Constitution.

Actions to comply with the MCL may include blending, the installation of treatment, drilling a new well, consolidation with another PWS, or not using a specific well at all. 

Here are the current and proposed maximum contaminant levels allowed for hexavalent chromium, as well as other existing regulated contaminants.

What’s the best way to remove hexavalent chromium, found to be toxic at even parts/billion? Take a look here.

Any interested person, or their representative, may submit written comments relevant to the proposed regulatory action to the Clerk to the State Water Board. Any written comments pertaining to these proposed regulations, regardless of the method of transmittal, must be received by the Clerk by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on August 4, 2023.

Comments received after this time will not be considered timely.

To facilitate timely identification and review, please identify the action by using the State Water Board regulation package identifier, “SWRCB-DDW-21-003: Hexavalent Chromium MCL” in any written comments.

Written comments may be submitted via any of following methods:

  1. By electronic mail to:;
  2. By facsimile (“fax”) transmission to: (916) 341-5620;

Do weigh in with your thoughts on the matter.




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


July 31

Grey will return next week.

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

Email Grey at


July 26

#207 / Let’s Get Political

The collage presented above comes to you from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It brings together a number of photographs that document the kind of global warming impacts that are being felt all over the world, and right here in the United States of America, as well.

Facing ever more frequent “climate-related” disasters, American property owners are becoming “uninsurable.” Major insurance companies are unwilling to insure against the fire, flooding, drought, tornado, and other impacts that are now, more and more, expected to occur, as the Earth’s climate systems “fight back” against the environmental impacts that human beings have caused by their massive commitment to the virtually unrestrained combustion of hydrocarbon fuels.

Trying to get the United States government to do something significant about our global warming crisis (like radically reducing our continued combustion of hydrocarbon fuels) has proven more than just “difficult.” It seems, in fact, to have been proven virtually “impossible.”

I am a supporter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, which has been working to get Congress to do something meaningful about the global warming crisis since 2007. One of its goals has been to have Congress enact a “carbon tax,” as a way to induce all of us – individually, but corporations, in particular – to burn fewer hydrocarbons. I think it’s fair to say that CCL has not had any significant success in getting Congress to take action.

Since I continue to believe (some would say against the evidence) that it is possible to use “politics” to make real changes in the laws that govern how we conduct ourselves in the human-created world that we most immediately inhabit, what do I conclude when I see the lack of success of the Citizens Climate Lobby?

I do have an answer.

Let’s focus on the word “lobby” in the group’s title, which, I think, can be fairly said to represent the theory on which CCL operates. The premise is that our elected representatives should be “lobbied” to do something effective about a problem that is directly related to our governmental policies – which, then, have impacts on all of us. I actually think CCL has done a pretty effective job of mobilizing citizens, around the country, to learn about and then lobby for, what would likely be an effective governmental strategy to counter the global warming impacts that are pictured in the collage above. We need, says CCL, a “carbon tax,” and that would really help!

But, as already indicated, besides its rather effective organizing effort, aimed at “lobbying” Congress to do what is needed, virtually no success has been achieved.

Maybe – and this is my personal observation – “lobbying” our elected representatives is not the correct mechanism to change our “politics.”

What do I suggest, then?

Well, I think an effective “politics” needs to take citizen self-government seriously, and that absolutely starts with the idea that our elected “representatives” are supposed to “represent” those whom they have been elected to represent. If any specific elected representative is not doing that, then “asking” them to do that is not the right response. The right response is to vote them out of office, and to replace them with someone who will do what we want. “Representatives” who don’t actually do what the voters want, absolutely must be replaced, because they are not, in fact, properly representing the people whom they are supposed to represent.

This statement about political “strategy” is not, really, aimed specifically at the Citizens Climate Lobby. I am using the group’s name to make clear the basic principle involved in every political issue and political effort. Our elected representatives are placed into positions of power because they are supposed to do what we want. They are supposed to “represent” voters. Currently, with respect to virtually every important issue, these representatives mainly represent “money.”

As anyone who has ever been involved in politics will attest, it is extremely difficult to organize voters to take their power seriously , and to throw out of office any elected representive who is not, in fact, doing what a majority of the voters really want. “Difficult,” yes! “Impossible,” no!

MOST voters, everywhere, want to be able to live without global warming disasters devastating their normal lives. MOST voters want a government that starts eliminating, instead of increasing, the economic inequalities that are ever more evident, throughout our society. MOST voters want women to be able to choose to make their own choices about abortion. MOST voters want a system that provides medical care for everyone, and that provides education for everyone, too.

Etc. There are lots of issues on which there is a broad consensus on what we “want.” People have given up on “politics” because those placed into positions of governmental power are not, in fact, actually “representing” those who put them there.

The coming failure of governments to repair and restore vital infrastructure, after disasters, and to prevent the disruption of “norml life” as global warming impacts manifest themselves in sea level rise, droughts, floods, species extinction, and other such impacts, is an example of what is generally the truth. Our current governments, at virtually every level (the federal government level being the worst) are profoundly unrepresentative. Our elected representatives are not doing what the voters who have put them in office want.

Do we care? Or, maybe more accurately, do we care enough to do something about it?

If we do, then there is only one thing that will change the current situation. Ordinary people, everywhere, must decide that what they care about is not going to be addressed through their individual, personal action alone. We are “together” in this life, and our governments are suppost truly to “represent” what the majority wants. Is there, really, a “majority” on some of these important “political” questions? I think the answer is “yes.” But the way to assert the power of that majority will require many more of us to reallocate our time and money, and personal efforts, so as to put representatives into office who actually do “represent” us, and who actually do what we want.

American history provides us some guidance. There really isn’t any alternative to our personal decision to reorient “our lives, and our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to putting into power, in government, “representatives” who will, in fact, truly “represent” us – who will do what we want them to do.

There are, of course, different ideas about what we should, collectively, do. “Politics” is how we make a decision, as a society, about what we truly do want.

With respect to global warming, to return to the specific issue with which I introduced my general comments, the fate of human civilization is what’s at stake, not to mention the plant and animal species that are being pushed towards extinction. So….

Let’s get political!

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

July 31


It wasn’t exactly a Zombie Jamboree in the House chambers recently, but it was a belly-to-belly, nose-to-nose confrontation between Representative Eric Swalwell and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as the bad blood between the two culminated in a scene out of the 1800s, with threats of fisticuffs after the House voted to censure Representative Adam Schiff for being unkind to Former Guy Trump, and to politically harm Schiff’s run for a Senate seat. Following McCarthy’s tedious rise to the speakership, came the removal of Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee, along with unproven GOP accusations of his having a romantic fling with a Chinese spy, raising the temperature of the animosity between the two. The censure vote immediately brought the Democrat side of the House to gather en masse in the well of the floor facing the podium, with shouts of “shame, shame,” as Speaker McCarthy attempted to restore order. After Schiff took his position in the well to have the censure document read to him, McCarthy was unable to do so for several minutes as the vociferous demonstration continued, eventually blurting out in exasperation, “I’ve got all night!”

During this clamorous protest, a voice directed at the speaker stood out, calling him a ‘pusillanimous, gutless coward’ – or, ahem, something to that effect, prompting angry stares from McCarthy toward Swalwell. The following day, McCarthy approached Democrat Swalwell outside of the chambers, saying, “If you ever say something like that to me again, I’m gonna kick the s*** out of you.” Eyes ablaze, nose-to-nose, Swalwell retorted, “You. Are. A. Pusi….,” whereupon McCarthy exited with his pusillanimous wimpyness tucked between his legs. Democrats are exultant about the confrontation and its outcome, believing it’s indicative of the GOP speaker’s empty threats and ultimate weakness. This incident is yet another manifestation of the negatives in our politics, a reflection of society as a whole. And it’s not just the guys, as we saw in the June floor fight between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert with their intra-party squabble and name-calling. Seems to be a battle against the clock on whether the GOP destroys itself before it’s able to destroy the country.

As Andy Borowitz writes in the New Yorker, with new charges being added onto previous charges brought by Prosecutor Jack Smith against Donald Trump, most political experts believe the Former Guy is but a few indictments away from clinching the Republican nomination. With The Don’s felony counts in the double digits, and likewise in voter polls, Ron DeSantis should just go home because he can’t go big. As Borowitz’s fictitious pollster, Harland Dorrinson, says, “For today’s Republican voter, felony counts confer instant credibility, and, by that measure, no other candidate comes close to Trump.” He adds that pressure is on DeSantis “to get indicted for something — and fast. There’s a chance that he could be charged with human trafficking for transporting migrants from the Mexican border to Martha’s Vineyard, but that indictment might be too little, too late.”

At an early July GOP fundraiser, headliner DeSantis was only able to attract 380 ticket buyers, so to prevent echoing in the oversized space and to make the venue look smaller, ‘air walls’ were placed around the room to close off the unfilled seats. His lackluster speech was too familiar to be of any consequence, sounding like a “bar mitzvah speech” to one attendee. Applause occurred when he was introduced and when he was done…hello and goodbye. Some feel it’s too early to write him off, but homeboy Trump has a better footing by a wide margin, even as Governor DeSantis turns further to the right on many issues. However, many in the GOP feel that  “stabbing Trump in the back” in running against the Former Guy has forever damaged his political career.

DeSantis probably could have picked up an indictment if not for a recent law passed by Florida’s legislature, which shields the governor’s travel records from public disclosure. Seems the gov’s state government vehicle was involved in a minor crash in Tennessee as he campaigned for the GOP presidential nomination. So, Florida’s taxpayers only learned that they were contributing to Ron’s ambitions as a result of the accident. State representative, Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, said, “He’s using state resources to boost himself politically. It makes you wonder how often state vehicles and our public employees are being used at out-of-state campaign events.” Poor Ron, having to resort to using state employees to bolster his campaign after firing a multitude of his staff from the sagging fortunes of the campaign thrust. His fall is so dramatic, it’s Kafkaesque as DeSantis has awakened to find himself transformed into a cockroach, a la ‘Metamorphosis.’ Just call him ‘Gregor.’ As Rick Wilson of the Lincoln Project says, “The DeSantis Campaign has developed ‘electile dysfunction.”

DeSantis Campaign filings show over ninety people on the payroll during his first fundraising period, with $12M in the bank, of which $3M must be used only during the general election. The second quarter shows $14M came from donors who gave the maximum legal amount, so two-thirds of his early donors will be unable to give directly to the campaign for the duration. With the campaign gaining little traction, many of the big guns who supported him initially have withheld further donations, and some have switched their loyalties. Little headway has been made to cut into Trump’s big lead in the polls, which will lead to doubling-down in the early voting states, especially Iowa which would be a crucial marker for his candidacy. The ‘Never Back Down’ organization will also focus on the Super Tuesday states, with California slated to see eighty or so organizers hitting the trail soon; but for now, it’s ‘Iowa, Iowa, Iowa.’

Hunter, contributor to Daily Kos, writes that DeSantis is currently on tour in Iowa, on a bus arranged for him by his super PAC as an invited ride-along ‘guest’ independent of his official campaign…he just happened to have some free time to spend with exact dates and locations of the bus! This is a work-around for an otherwise illegal situation. The spitemobile bus is low-slung, perfect for the campaign trail in flatland Iowa, but it could all be undone should it hit a Bud Light bottle discarded on the roadway. For those who wish to either meet or avoid DeSantis, a Google search can locate the bus’s location as it makes the county fair loop around the state.

DeSantis‘ wife, Casey, is seen as a great asset at glad-handing, making Iowa an ideal location for her talents, but Ron himself needs to find his groove, lacking so far. Casey has been called ‘Lady Macbeth’ for the strength she has exhibited in the political arena, with her husband coming to her defense after she was called ‘America’s Karen’ by former Florida Republican congressman, David Jolly on MSNBC. “Casey DeSantis is a fairly compelling political figure in Florida, and now nationally. For many, she’s the brighter side to Florida’s angry governor. For others, she’s become ‘America’s Karen.’ And I think that’s the ultimate disconnect here with a campaign that needs to embrace more constituencies to get to the White House,” Jolly observes.

Aldous J. Pennyfarthing writes that DeSantis initially embraced the COVID19 vaccine rollout, until he decided that living people were ‘too woke,’ thereupon turning against it. Aldous suggests he might work into his campaign speeches, ‘how to get your inheritance early.’ Researchers have found that the gap in excess death rates were larger in counties with lower vaccination rates, with differences in attitudes and uptake among Republican and Democrat voters “may have been factors in the severity and trajectory of the pandemic” in the United States. A Harvard study from December 2022 found that the more control Republicans had, the more likely you were to end up in a pine box. A recent article published by Lancet Regional Health-Americas found that the more conservative the voting records of members of Congress and state legislatures, the higher the age-adjusted COVID mortality rates. Rates were eleven percent higher in states with Republican-controlled governments and twenty-six percent higher in areas where voters lean conservative. You aren’t likely to find that information in any of DeSantis’ campaign literature, the studies exploding the myth that the GOP has ever really cared about human lives…their own or others. As the saying goes, “Nationalism does nothing but teach you to hate people you never met, and to take pride in accomplishments you had no part in.”

Reuters reported a while back that a video shared by the DeSantis campaign attacked Trump’s stance on LGBTQ rights, was scorned by gay Republicans who called it homophobic. It starts off highlighting Trump’s past support for LGBTQ Americans, then contrasts it with clips of commentators attacking the Florida governor’s anti-transgender policies. The Log Cabin Republicans, a group representing LGBTQ conservatives, said the ad ventured into homophobic territory.” Any volunteers to break it to them?

And keeping His Prominence in the news, Elon Musk this week changed the Twitter brand to ‘X.‘ Satirist Andy Borowitz reports that Musk is also changing his name to WTF, “because it fits me better.” The company held a ‘fun name contest’ among employees, as a perk for coming in to the office rather than working from home, enabling them to do cool stuff. The second favorite name voted upon was LMFAO, which presented a strong challenge to WTF, but as long as Elon is happy, everyone is happy.

Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email:


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 you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.


“Live life, one wave at a time.”
~Andrew Pacholyk

“Surfing’s a more profound kind of sport than it looks. When you surf, you learn not to fight the power of nature, even if it gets violent.”    
~Haruki Murakami

“It was all balance. But then, she already knew that from surfing.”  
~Eve Babitz


If you happen to have some scattered about, here’s a DIY video on “Things you can make from old, dead laptops” 🙂

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