Blog Archives

August 23 – 29, 2023

Highlights this week:

Bratton…Schiff info re senate race, movie critiques, Greensite…will be back next week. Schendledecker…recent hate crimes against unhoused people. Steinbruner Hayes…understanding citizenship. Patton…witness statement. Matlock… magic 8 balls, a ginger mint conspiracy, and local calling. Eagan Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress pick of the week. Quotes “Hawaii”


DOWNTOWN BOULDER CREEK 1890’S. This was called Central Avenue and you can see the Alpine House on the right.

Additional information always welcome: email
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

DATELINE August 21


I wrote in this space last week how I favored Adam Schiff for Senate but was (and still am) open to any/all news opinions. Then I got this piece from Stephen Zunes…Aside from being a professor of politics and international Studies at USF (check him out) he’s an author and authority on Middle East policy. He writes…

“The big concern I have about Schiff is in regard to foreign policy.

He was among the rightwing minority of Democrats who voted to authorize the illegal, unnecessary, and predictably disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq. To justify his support, he falsely claimed that Iraq had somehow miraculously reconstituted its nuclear weapons program and was amassing stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons programs, dismissing reports from the UN agencies, arms control journals, think tanks, and others showing otherwise. Recall that 90% of Mideast specialists and 80% of International Relations scholars opposed the invasion, recognizing it would be harm U.S. interests and regional security, but Schiff insisted that Bush & Cheney somehow knew better. Similarly, while the Catholic Church and every mainline Protestant denomination came out against the invasion, Schiff sided with the rightwing fundamentalists in support it. (Personally, I would no more vote for someone who allies with the fundamentalists on war and peace issues than I would someone who allies with them on abortion or LGBTQ rights!)

Schiff has also supported unconditional military aid and arms sales to brutal dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere. He has been a strong supporter of the Israeli and Moroccan occupations. He has rationalized and covered up for war crimes by allied rightwing governments and has even attacked the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and others which have documented systemic human rights violations by U.S. allies.

Indeed, he reminds me of Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson and other Democratic hawks of an earlier era who adopted reasonably liberal domestic policy agendas but allied with rightwing Republicans on foreign affairs. Schiff is certainly well to the right of the vast majority of Democrats when it comes to military spending, Israel/Palestine, arms control, human rights, and other foreign policy issues. What I fear is that if a future President Trump of DeSantis called for invading Iran, Venezuela, or some other oil-rich country, Schiff would support it just as he did with Bush’s invasion of Iraq. And he would certainly continue to vote against Congressional efforts to condition military aid and arms sales to Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other repressive governments.

Fortunately, there are two outstanding Congresswomen who are also running for Senate, both of who take positions much more in line with the majority of Democratic voters on U.S. foreign policy. I really think your readers need to know just how dangerous Schiff’s foreign policy positions are and how out of touch he is with the Democratic rank-and-file regarding human rights, international law, arms control, and related issues”.

Best, Stephen Zunes
Professor of Politics
University of San Francisco

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.

DEPP Vs. HEARD. (NETFLIX SERIES) (4.7 IMDB). Watching all 3 episodes was the guiltiest pleasure I’ve had at a screen in months. I was on Amber Heard’s side against the 60 year old Johnny Depp. And since experts say, “About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of intimate partner violence”. It’s a terrifically spliced together documentary so that we think they were both in court at the same time.  They are both actors and you sense it constantly but do watch it…it’ll take you attention away from almost everything.

KILL BOKSOON. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). She is an assassin and very good at it except that she has a daughter that she loves and who loves her too. It’s a Korean film as so many are these days…and usually they are a cut above

THE BOYS. (PRIME SERIES) (8.7 IMDB). This mess of a takeoff on Marvel Comics has Jack Quaid and a bunch of sillies dressed as Superheroes acting a nutso plot in the real world. Elizabeth Shue is back and is a welcome addition. The rest of the movie isn’t worth your time or rental.

GUILTY MINDS (PRIME SERIES) It takes place mostly in a courtroom in India when a case against a guy who’s like Harvey Weinstein gets charged with and how he handles his case. It’s complex and includes video games even a murder and an abortion. Absorbing but not great.

UNLOCKED. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.4 IMDB).   A Korean movie that centers on cell phones and hi tech murders. One woman loses her cell phone and a very clever killer finds it and uses it to tease and torture her every single move for days.  It’s fast paced, subtle, well-acted and has a surprise ending which is worth watching and waiting for

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.

PAINKILLER. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.4 IMDB).     Mathew Broderick does a perfect job as the reigning head of the Sackler family. As we’ve learned in the last years the Sacklers invented and pushed OxyContin and created Purdue Corporation. OxyContin contains heroin and still the FDA passed on it. An amazing and very true story about how they were finally confronted. The Sacklers are no longer in the Purdue business and they never paid a fine or did time for all the deaths they’ve caused.

HEART OF STONE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) is back with a story that flops miserably. Too much violence, too many car/truck chases and it tries to develop an AI theme involving a girl hacker. No character development so we don’t care or know enough to care about any of the characters. Gal Gadot was once crowned Miss Israel and is herself now worth over 30 million dollars!!

PARADISE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.3 IMDB). A German Sci-fi adventure movie that is complex but intriguing. The AEON corporation sells a treatment that takes years off your life…but at a special price which isn’t made too clear. It’s about class differences and power and sexism too but it doesn’t develop any theme or plot too closely.

HIDDEN STRIKE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.3 IMDB). When you have a 69 year old Jackie Chan who never was a contender for an Oscar, sharing the screen with John Cena who tops almost everyone’s worst actor list together in a stale saga about rescuing employees and nearby civilians from an oil refinery in Iraq you’ve got a genuine flop of a Mad Max Fury Road counterfeit failure. I lost all interest after about a half hour.


Gillian Greensite will 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    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


August 21


My friends, I’m feeling a little down about endemic discrimination and hate in our town and beyond.

This includes: the recent (re)defacement of the BLM mural downtown, diving into the Brave and Free Santa Cruz links (and some of the responses I got to that), the lack of support for a young latinx femme person riding a SC Metro bus, having a queer-femme friend seriously harassed and doxxed online, the mass-shooting murder of a former Santa Cruzan at a queer/trans punk show in Minneapolis, the advertisement of a QAnon-linked film in a local Facebook group that’s meant for mutual aid and resource-sharing, a continued culture of anti-homelessness in Santa Cruz (recent examples to follow), and another death in our jail.

On the other hand, I have gotten a good number of thanks for my Brave and Free column; I’m in conversation with others who are as concerned as me about discrimination, hate, and systemic violence here; and I see others speaking up online and backing each other up. I’m disturbed, but emboldened to continue speaking out and speaking up, even if it might feel risky. I hope you’ll all join me, because as the evergreen union slogan goes, “an injury to one is an injury to all!”

A Few of the Most Recent Assaults Against Unhoused Friends and Neighbors

My friend B and his friend were attacked two Saturday nights ago by a group of 5 young white guys at 2 am on the river levee. B and friend had stopped to look after another unhoused person who needed care. It started with anti-homeless and racialized slurs and demands to clear the pathway–including calling a large Black man “boy” repeatedly. When B and friend stood up for themselves, telling the mob to leave them alone, it escalated to physical assault, including a punch with a rock to B’s temple, causing him to lose sight temporarily (and for it to still be impaired when I saw him 5 days later). Fortunately, the mob left without more major injuries.

K, who has been sleeping in a doorway on the 200 block of Pacific Avenue, was awoken in the middle of the night last week by a man urinating on him and his sleeping bag. K followed the man back into the bar across the street, identified the man to the bartender, and asked him to call the cops for him. He was answered with laughter, and no support or a call to the cops. Aside from the assault, the next day he had to launder all his possessions, which isn’t cheap for someone of limited means.

K has also been denied access to the library because he brings his possessions with him in an old stroller. In his experience, if he leaves his possessions outside of the library, they will be stolen. This means he hasn’t been able to access computers or other resources in a public facility.

V, who herself has been harassed repeatedly, took video of an attack on a Latino man last month at the CVS on Front Street. She got him to the nearby bus stop and cared for his injured ear as best she could.

D, who often stays by Main Beach, has witnessed the aftermath of many attacks on targeted, single, drunk unhoused men. He thinks that it is a group of young white men who do this repeatedly, including video-recording their harassment and assault session. In at least one case, they forced a man to watch the recording of the first assault when they assaulted him at another time.

S reported what he thought might be a new local police tactic: last Thursday morning, police (who arrived in five cars) woke up about 15 people staying in city lot 16, by the downtown library. These residents were men and women in their 50s, who had been told they could stay there (I’m not sure if this was an official or unofficial permission, or who gave it, but that was their understanding). They were threatened with arrest for being on city property and told that they had to leave immediately. Worse, they were told they would be given citations if they took any of their possessions with them. Then all their possessions were deemed abandoned and thrown away.

At other times and places, police allow people to take their things, and wait patiently for them to collect themselves and move on.

People without housing have the right to keep their personal property, Santa Cruz City Police, private property managers, and others continue to discard possessions without storage, violating the constitutional rights of residents. This lack of consistent and legally defensible procedure for respecting the personal property of unhoused people in Santa Cruz is a problem, obviously.

City leaders themselves, including Mayor Keeley; Vice-mayor Golder; councilmembers Watkins, Kalantari-Johnson, Brunner, and Newsome; City Manager Matt Huffaker, and others have stated their support for a city-wide policy of “preventing entrenchment.” Said another way, this is a policy of enforced itinerancy, where individuals are not allowed to stay in one place for more than a few days and communities of unhoused residents are continually disrupted. Unfortunately, these leaders seem to set the tone and standard for the prevailing attitudes towards people without housing, which undermines efforts to alleviate their problems while we work on structural inadequacies.

Science, evidence, and anecdotes tell us that humans need community for survival. We also have decades of research on the connection of housing status to national economic trends and low-income housing supply. These are not new problems, and the various attempts to “solve” homelessness locally have been, and will continue to be, destined to fail as long as the roots of the problem remain the same.

In the meantime, at the very least what the city can do is not make the situation worse with “enforced itinerancy” and destruction of property; and not undermine the efforts of the county, including the Department of Public Health (i.e. by opposing the Harm Reduction Coalition’s needle exchange program).

In my friend B’s first-hand experience, for people without housing, having community equals more safety, both within camps and within the supportive, larger community around it.

He reports that since the Benchlands breakup last fall there has been: more outside harassment and attacks, more in-fighting and stealing, more hunger, more overdoses, more self-destructive behaviors and hopelessness, and more gender-based violence.

He says, “breaking up camps endlessly disrupts communities.”

In K’s experience: designated camps with sanitation work better than not having them at all, and when they’re closed there’s less safety. He flags two concerns: that designated camps need more security to work even better, and the problem is always where to find the land.

So, until we rebuild the local low-income housing that has been lost or underbuilt over the past 50 years, let’s use public property for safe sleeping and parking. And let’s work to shift the false narrative of personal and community failure back to what’s really failed us all: the firmly entrenched and highly successful national project of neoliberalism, with its extraction of wealth from the majority of people to be hoarded for the benefit of the very few.

While many of us disagree with each other (vociferously!) on many of the issues, we may in fact largely be blaming each other for creating problems that are actually rooted elsewhere. While we call each other in to say and do better, locally, let’s also disrupt our cycles of ineffective bickering to work together on bigger system changes that will benefit the vast majority of us, from the most precarious to the comfortably middle-class.

By that I mean: universal health care, federal rent control and tenant protections, reinvesting in non-police community safety and social programs, and public housing, just to name a few. The ordinances that we do pass at the municipal level should be protecting us all from the hoarding of property and wealth by the wealthy, especially global hedge funds, rather than punishing the most vulnerable of our residents. 

In other news

At the Transportation Justice Conference this Saturday, I will be moderating a panel on “Safe Streets First.” Tickets are available with free and donation levels, lunch included.

Xylazine test strips are now available from the Homeless Persons Health Project. I have not been able to confirm yet, but expect that the Santa Cruz County Syringe Services Program and their partner Santa Cruz County Harm Reduction Coalition have or will soon have them too. I’ll keep you posted.

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:


August 21


Swenson Builder is going full-court press with the Phase 2 Aptos Village Project, but causing some real problems for the Community and the environment.  Although earlier presentations to the public had stated there would be a Phase 2A and 2B, it appears that Swenson got a green light from Santa Cruz County Bank to move ahead with development on both sides of Aptos Village Way.

Swenson has now removed on-street parking on Aptos Village Way between Parade Street and Aptos Creek Road, and allows the construction contractor (Durden) to have their crews park on Aptos Creek Road, rather than within the construction area itself.  The photos below were taken last week.

This is the area adjacent to the hillside that Swenson will dedicate to the County for a new park.  Hmmm…  County Parks staff has stated they have no idea what to do with a hillside like that, but never mind…the County waived all developer park fees ($1000/bedroom in the new subdivision) and granted FREE drainage from this Phase 2 area across Aptos Village County Park for Swenson to dump the storm drain effluent into Aptos Creek.  The light-colored soil you see above in the foreground is capping the actual site of the fuel tank Swenson and SCUP crews unearthed in 2016 and hauled away in the middle of the night with some sort of unidentified petroleum material dripping all the way.  Swenson quickly demolished the foundation of the historic Lam Mattison Apple Dryer that likely relied on the fuel to power the hot air for the dryers.

Last week, I stopped in at County Environmental Health Services and talked with the new Director, Mr. Andrew Strador.  He saw no reason for the County to monitor the soils in this area, and was not troubled that Swenson had lied about the true location of the buried fuel tank their crews hauled out in the night.

Maybe the guy with the white helmet is watching for Native American artifacts begin dug up from this State-registered archaeologic site, but maybe not.  Who knows?  Does the County care?  If you care, please file a Public Records Act request with the County Planning Dept. for the reports submitted as part of the mitigation plan approved in 2012.   You might also ask if the 2010 Parking Study the County approved for this Project has been updated?

This is Aptos Creek Road, the gateway to Nisene Marks State Park, and directly across from Aptos Village Park.  There used to be some wonderful concerts in that Park, but that all went away when Swenson barricaded the dirt parking lot along Aptos Creek Road, removing the necessary staging space for the concert support crews and equipment.  Now the road is barely passable, due to encroachment into the paved road, creating narrowed entry to Nisene with a blind corner so motorists heading into the Park can’t see the walkers and bicyclists coming out until they are nearly on the hood of the vehicles.  Quite a bottleneck for emergency response vehicles and hazard for public safety.  If this bothers you, please contact County Public Works Travis Rieber and ask about the overly-greedy encroachment of pavement that Swenson is gobbling and if that is what was planned (and paid for??) with the County.  If the safety hazard bothers you, please contact Central Fire Marshal Mike DeMars and ask about this hazardous congestion for fire and medical response.

Not only is Swenson barricading Aptos Village Way to prevent any public parking, the construction contractor, Durden, is using Aptos Creek Road as a place to park their mobile office and crews.  Note that the mobile office is parked in a red curb area and in front of the fire hydrant that a fire engine would need to access should there be a fire in Nisene Marks State Park or the luxury homes on Mattison Court, on the hill above the Phase 2 Aptos Village Project construction.

I wanted to verify that the Durden mobile office was associated with Swenson’s construction…yep.  There are the plans and proof on the tailgate of the Durden truck (the one parked in the red curb area).  I happened to be at the site at noon, and witnessed construction crews climb into at least three vehicles parked on Aptos Creek Road.  I wonder why they are not being made to park in the construction area, and use the Swenson construction trailer that is on-site?

If this bothers you… please contact County Planner Randall Adams

and Code Compliance Director Matt Johnston


Enrollment is way up at UCSC, according to LookOut Santa Cruz:

From LookOut Santa Cruz;

UC Santa Cruz sent offer letters to more than 43,000 first-year students this year, the largest of any of the nine UC campuses. That number is up nearly 40% from last year, the biggest increase of any UC school. But UCSC is expecting to enroll around just 4,650 first-year students between fall and winter as it juggles a complex confluence of factors that have made it harder to anticipate how many students will ultimately accept admission offers.

Where will all these students live?  I am told by local real estate agents that there are empty rental units in Santa Cruz, but are offered at extremely high rental rates.  The owners are NOT dropping the rent price…I guess they are waiting for the University students to flood in with desperate dollars to crowd the neighborhoods?


The Board approved, as Item #42 on the Consent Agenda, the sale of what the County now determines is “Excess Property” on the Esplanade in Rio del Mar.  The claim is that it is prone to flooding, due to sea level rise.  It always has been prone to flooding, but the County twisted the arm of the former owner of the SeaBreeze Tavern to take it over.  The Parks Dept. Director Jeff Gaffney claimed to a surprised Parks Commissioner that it was a good place to sell concessions to beach visitors.  That did not pan out too well, as the concessionaire contracted rarely showed up.

Agenda Item
DOC-2023-713; Adopt resolution to sell surplus real property located at 105 Esplanade

So, I have to wonder if the County’s declaration to sell this parcel will benefit the new Bay Area developer of the SeaBreeze Tavern area, Omar Billawala ……maybe remove restrictions for a large luxury hotel?

Remember, the County just declared a large parcel of land above the Santa Cruz Harbor as “excess property”, likely to make way for a luxury hotel, as Swenson proposed a few years ago.


The Board of Supervisors approved a $2.3 Million purchase of a 38-acre vacant farm near the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, far-removed from the area’s youth who might make use of the “temporary soccer fields” planned. The staff report states: 


“The Property is approximately 38.54 gross acres located near Watsonville and zoned Commercial Agriculture (CA).  The Property is envisioned as a recreational/ agricultural mixed-use project.  The recreational use would include multiple non-permanent soccer fields, portable restrooms, a natural surface trail, active farming, and agricultural tourism and demonstration for students.  Additionally, the Property has been strategically targeted to address the County’s future emergency response needs due, in part, to its adjoining property line with the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.”

The problem is that according to Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds CEO Zeke Fraser, the County is not talking with the Fairgrounds about that idea….or are they?  I wrote to David Reid, Director of the County’s Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience (OR3) that is supposedly planning the County’s emergency response matters what plans the County is making to bridge the ravine between this new Park and the Fairgrounds for accessibility.  He did not respond.  The only Metro Bus service to the Fairgrounds is on Sundays for the Flea Market, and during the County Fair.

Santa Cruz County CA Agenda Item DOC-2023-724

Join the discussion on Community Matters this Friday, 1pm on Santa Cruz


This is pretty troubling.  See what you think, and offer to help out as a reading mentor, if only in your own family and neighborhood.





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

August 20


I thought I might write this week about how to identify fascism, but then thought of the twist…how best to fight fascism. This builds off of my essay last week – the root of the battle against fascism is compassion. However, it cannot stop there. We need more citizens to be actively engaged in governance! I outline some things that you can do to help below.

Compassion Towards Inactive Citizens

While building compassion, we must also build momentum for change. Last week, I listed a bunch of reasons that we, as individuals, have difficulty acting in any way to help the environment. Earlier, when wondering why more people hadn’t responded to my request to write a short (cut-and-paste, even!) email to help protect Santa Cruz’s wildlife, I wrote about other reasons why I could see that folks weren’t responsive. Here’s a list (compiled from those two essays) of reasons why I think folks have a hard time taking even small steps to respond to local conservation issues that are important:

  • We are creatures of habit living in a difficult world, and behavioral change is a lot of work.
  • It is easy to blame others rather than act ourselves.
  • We are often immersed in bad media, feeding us negativity about the environment, which is disempowering.
  • We have little leisure time, and so no time to learn about conservation priorities, let alone act on them. So, we often say dismissive things like “I hope it turns out okay!” or “Thoughts and prayers!”
  • We have been subjected to a poor educational background and so have little basis for understanding (ecology) or the reasons we should act (civics).

Compassion Towards Ourselves and Future Generations

None of the reasons I list help to make us feel better, or grow into better people…so, to be kind to ourselves, we must do something different. Recently, I suggested that people write a short email asking an official to help protect local wildlife. And, I will do that again, below. Those emails have an impact; they show that someone cares about wildlife conservation. Writing even a brief email to help protect wildlife makes us feel good! And, good public officials know that the first sign of an issue they must resolve is in emails, and those emails can portend more trouble if they don’t act. The media might cover the issue, politicians might get involved and affect their budget, their employees, family members, and friends might start asking them questions about the issue, etc.

Another thing you might do to help is to donate to an environmental conservation organization. Earthjustice is one of the most effective environmental organizations that I’ve experienced with local issues. They are a group of lawyers who fight for the environment, and they are very, very good at their work. Their work protected wildlife at Castle Rock State Park by forcing State Parks to convene scientific advisors to enact measures that will improve their wildlife conservation planning. The Center for Biological Diversity also has an excellent local track record. Their work was essential in forcing the federal government to list the Ohlone tiger beetle as endangered. They have also been active in other endangered species protections locally. The more folks from this area that join and donate to these two organizations, the more that these organizations will be interested in working on local issues. We need them!

Another thing you might do is to talk to someone about the actions above. If we each inspire one other person to take action, environmental conservation momentum will build.

Here’s Something to Do NOW

We need more emails to the State Director Mouritsen of the Bureau of Land Management if we are going to protect wildlife in Santa Cruz. Here’s something to cut-and-paste into an email:

Dear Director Mouritsen,

I care about wildlife and plant conservation on BLM’s Cotoni Coast Dairies property in Santa Cruz County. I write to urge you to help by adding sensitive species found on that property to the State BLM’s sensitive species lists. Only if those species are on the State’s lists will local administrators consider impacts of their management on those species in their analyses and planning for the property. So, I ask that you please:

  • Publish an updated State BLM sensitive wildlife list in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, as mandated by the BLM’s 6840 Special Status Species Manual.
  • Publish an updated State BLM sensitive plant list to include the State ranked 1B plant species documented at Cotoni Coast Dairies, as mandated by the 6840 Manual.

I would appreciate a reply to this email with details about how you intend to address these issues.



Here’s her email address:

Why Do Anything?

I heard from BLM during our last email campaign. They are definitely paying attention to our emails. Santa Cruzans have a long track record of success with environmental campaigns, and we can do this!

Our work on this issue is getting other attention, too. The Wildlife Society is considering advocating for this issue.

If the State BLM adds more sensitive species found at the Cotoni Coast Dairies to their State Sensitive Species lists that will mean that they will receive more funding to manage the property for species conservation. If BLM manages the property for sensitive species conservation, there is a better chance that future generations will enjoy the wildlife we take for granted right now.

I hope you’ll consider writing Director Mouritsen an email. Please let me know if you do:

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


August 20

#232 / David Attenborough’s Witness Statement

Sir David Frederick Attenborough (born May 8, 1926) is pictured above, at the age of ninety-three. Attenborough is a British broadcaster, biologist, natural historian and author. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series that form “the Life collection,” a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth.

In 2020, in collaboration with Netflix, Attenborough wrote, photographed, and presented another film, “A Life On Our Planet.” Attenborough called this film his “Witness Statement.” In this documentary, Attenborough documents what has happened to Planet Earth since Attenborough began his work as a wildlife documentarian. He tells us what he has “witnessed.” It is a heartbreaking story – a story that we know.

Attenborough’s story both begins, and ends, in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Attenborough tells us, as he walks through the deserted city, that nature is now reclaiming it. He tells us that what happened at Chernobyl was a miscalculation; it was a “mistake.” Attenborough’s film documents another such miscalculation and “mistake,” one that has involved the entire planet, and that has extended so long that this mistake is now on the brink of making our entire planet uninhabitable for human beings. This is the heartbreaking story that we know – that virtually everyone knows, and doesn’t want to talk about because it is too painful to do so, and because we think that, by now, there is nothing we can do.

Attenborough’s film, though, is not only a testimony to what he has seen – his “Witness Statement.” It is also a film that tells us how we can restore a right balance between our human civilization and the planet upon which we depend, the blue jewel of the Earth. To me, Attenborough’s presentation on what we can do was as “solid,” and “certain,” as the parts of the film that shows those who watch it what a huge “mistake,” indeed, we have made (and continue to make).

I would like strongly to encourage you to watch Attenborough’s movie.

If you have Netflix, no problem. Click on this link to “Netflix.” I think that should take you to the film. If you do not subscribe to Netflix, I encourage you to seek out another way to watch this film, to stream “A Life On Our Planet” to wherever you are.

Attenborough tells us that the damage that human activities have done to the planet can be reversed within the span of one hundred years – within a lifetime equivalent to the lifetime that Attenborough has spent on Earth. Attenborough includes, specifically, the damage done by human-caused global warming, and he provides specific advice. I think we should believe what he says.

I think we should believe what Attenborough says – and I think we should do what he advises!

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

August 21


Donald Trump, who had planned to show us his Magic 8 Ball’s declaration of his “conclusive and complete exoneration” during a news conference last week, cancelled his appearance upon advice of his legal team. “Rather than releasing the Report on the Rigged & Stolen Georgia 2020 Presidential Election on Monday, my lawyers would prefer putting this, I believe, Irrefutable & Overwhelming evidence of Election Fraud & Irregularities in formal Legal Filings as we fight to dismiss this disgraceful Indictment,” which Stephen Miller, in Trumpspeak 101 fashion, obviously wrote for The Former Guy on Truth Social. Shooting from the hip after the Georgia indictment was announced, Trump ad-libbed that he would use the “major news conference” at his New Jersey golf club to reveal an “almost complete report” for his vindication. His ‘report‘ was not prepared by hotshot investigators or election experts, but by his communication aide, Liz Harrington, whose voice we have heard on the recorded conversation during which Trump brags as he shows top secret military plans for a potential invasion of Iraq. He seems to have forgotten the 60+ court decisions that have cast aside the MAGA attempts to overturn the election around the country…always someone who doesn’t get the word? The rabid MAGA base laps this stuff up, but independent and moderate voters say it’s time to move it along…perhaps by having his tailor take precise measurements to ensure a perfect fit for his orange jumpsuit? It’s certainly imperative by now, as we saw from his Pillsbury Doughboy tux back when he called on Queen Elizabeth.

The federal district judge, Tanya Chutkan, overseeing the Georgia election conspiracy RICO indictment against Trump warned him of the limits to which he can spill publicly any of the evidence as he attempts to recapture the GOP nomination for the presidency. The judge warned that the more “inflammatory” his public statements, there will be a greater urgency to move to trial quickly to combat witness intimidation or sullying the jury pool. Even Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, criticized the Former Guy’s attacks on the integrity of the vote, X-tweeting, “The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. For three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law.” But, The Donald will not be silenced, as he attempts not to prove his innocence of the mounting crime charges, but to harp on the stolen election in the now turgid atmosphere of his own making.

Trump actually cancelled his Magic 8 Ball event after Governor Kemp made his comments, and radio host ? suggested the governor’s opposition to Trump’s accusations may have had some influence on the cancellation. “You saw that he cancelled that press conference saying his lawyers didn’t think it was a good idea? I don’t know when he has done anything because his lawyers thought it was a good idea,” she opined. Kemp’s name weighs heavily in the RICO indictment, with DA Willis citing a phone call from Trump to the governor, as well as several tweets attacking him over the election, as “overt” acts “in furtherance of the conspiracy” to overturn the election. Kemp and Trump, at loggerheads since 2020, resulted in Trump throwing his endorsement to Senator David Perdue in the 2022 governorship primary. Trump’s 2021 statement about Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams, “she might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know the truth,” further inflamed the relationship.

Despite Judge Chutkan’s setting of behavioral boundaries for Trump, he is surely evaluating how far he can push the envelope, weighing whether or not incarceration will boost his standing among the electorate, well beyond the MAGA horde’s support. House arrest would seem to be out of the picture…confinement to a golf resort in Florida is not likely to instill fear in the accused. Detention with no access to the internet agitation ability would likely be the fear factor, which would spur the defense team to ask for a speedier trial. So, lock him up!

Mark Sumner provides an interesting summation, writing on Daily Kos, that the GOP and Representative Gym ‘Shower Monitor’ Jordan in particular, are attempting to break Trump’s crimes down into such small increments that nothing is a crime on its own. He asks: Since when is it a crime to buy a rope, a knife, and a few garbage bags? A guy in Manhattan buys a new burner phone, which later is found to be used to contact female victims, later murdered and abandoned at Gilgo Beach. Another guy rents a Ryder truck in Kansas to drive to Oklahoma City…innocent enough, but Timothy McVeigh then destroyed a building. A neat-freak buys some garbage bags to clean up his residence, later being accused of murdering his wife when an overlooked blood-stained knife was found. Sumner says all three guys would be on the street if the courts used the same standard that Jordan and his colleagues are applying to Trump’s criminal escapades…after all, cyanide is just nitrogen and oxygen, and we gotta breathe. Reducing Trumpian actions to being simple phone calls, tweets and offering legal advice to ensure a legit election process is the gist of their absurdity. After all, since when is it a crime for a doctor to meet with a college athlete, Gym-my-boy?

MSNBC’s Ari Melber, on his The Beat show, has shown a November 5, 2020 video of Trump ally, Roger Stone, dictating a memo to an associate as part of the fake electorate scheme. The video segment is part of a documentary shot by Danish documentarian, Chirstoffer Guildbrandsen, who had followed Stone and his contingent during the 2020 election campaign. But American legal scholar, Laurance Tribe has revealed that such a scheme was in the works as early as February 2019, as shown in the sexual harassment suit against Rudy Giuliani by assistant Noelle Dunphy. She was told by Giuliani that a plan had been prepared in the event that Trump lost his reelection bid, in which he would claim “voter fraud’ and that he had actually won…nineteen months before the election! Indicted in the Georgia case as part of this plan was attorney Kenneth J. Chesebro, a mentee of Tribe, who expressed his disappointment in his student, saying, “He was not making good-faith legal arguments for his client. He was inventing legal fiction that paid no attention to the law and creating a pretext for a conspiracy to steal an election.”

Georgia state law requires that names and addresses of grand jurors be released to boost transparency of the legal process, but already MAGA goons are threatening revenge on them for daring to indict their beloved Golden Calf as seen on a ‘fringe website.’ Trump’s base of violence-minded insurrectionists have posted juror photos, spurring discussions about whether “people need to be outside these people’s houses” or whether it would mean walking into a deep state and media trap. Initially, there was no indication that authorities were taking any actions to protect jurors…maybe that has changed by now. But, we’ll still have these red-hatted militias being the enforcers of their justice, with their sidearms, and showing as much respect for law and order as does TrumpThe Former Guy will go after each juror as surely as he and Giuliani went after poll workers, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, who rigged the Georgia election with a ginger mint.

The saber-rattling following the indictment(s) is now only a part of the shifting political scene, where the radicalized partisans believe violence is necessary to achieve their ends. “The idea that violence is legitimate for political purposes has moved into the mainstream,” says University of Chicago political science professor Robert Pape. “It’s still a minority…But if you’ve got 10 or 15 percent of a community that believes violence is acceptable for some political causes, that just encourages more violence for those causes.” The January 6 coup attempt should serve as a reminder that this country does not have an immunity any more than other nations, and threats against our government and its leaders are heightened in these perilous times. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania, attributes much of this trend to Trump, who was the tough-guy candidate at his rallies in 2016. “Violence and intimidation on the right started following the election cycle in 2016. And so we would see justifications for violence among regular people rising at the election period – 2016, 2018 at Trump’s impeachment – obviously at the different events leading up to certification over January 6. There’s a sense that this violence is increasingly targeted at politics.” Donald J. Trump didn’t change the GOP – he just took off the wraps for a more accurate view.

As Trump prepares to defend himself in the courtrooms of New York, Washington, Georgia and Florida against his alleged crimes, obtaining evidence in Melania’s emails is a target of New York DA Alvin Bragg. A source tells Radar Online that her emails following her husband’s alleged Stormy Daniels escapade might be quite revealing as she shows her anger and possible plans to file for divorce. “She’s likely written emails to counsel asking for guidance on her rights if her husband is convicted on all these charges, and if she should use whatever she knows to squeeze him in divorce court,” says a source close to the Trumps. Previously denied requests to view Melania’s emails, Bragg is still in the hunt. An insider alleges, “Those emails could make Melania relive the entire betrayal again in the public eye. It would also reveal what she knew about the affair along with many other humiliating aspects of her husband’s business and personal life. The emails hang the president out to dry.” In spite of all this, sources say the couple are “on good terms.” 

According to former Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, all the pressure on Trump is likely to make the Former Guy turn against his closest allies. “He’s going to flip on all of them…he never sees himself as the problem, it’s always somebody else, including his wife,” Cohen maintains. “He’s going to turn on his accountant and point the finger; he’s going to say, ‘Don Jr. handled that, Ivanka handled that; Melania, don’t take me. Take Melania,” Cohen predicted. “That’s the kind of guy he is.” We have to admit that Cohen has seen it all, and judging by the recent account that Rudy Giuliani sought some financial relief from Trump to help with legal expenses, only to be turned away, he is likely correct.

A fiendish character approached Trump in New York City, offering to sell him an inexpensive cell phone, claiming it was Satan’s personal hotline, open for calling the Devil at any time. Trump smirked, but bought the phone anyway, and made a call. A five minute conversation convinced Trump to run for President, with a promise of a guaranteed win. Checking later, Trump found the call had cost him $5000, refusing to use the phone ever again. But he ran for President and won! Having no idea what to do in the job, he swallowed his pride and made another call to Satan. The Evil One was happy to be able to assist Trump in all the destructive policies he would later enact in his tenure. Waiting a few minutes, Trump decided to call about the charges. The bill was $5. He asked, “Why the big discount?” “It’s now a local call, sir.”

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:


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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.


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