Blog Archives

August 3 – 9, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON… Joy Schendledecker for mayor, Democrats (some) for Empty Home Tax, I’ve been hacked, film reviews, Live Here Now. GREENSITE…on a trip to Oregon. KROHN…Taxes, again. STEINBRUNER…Downtown growing, Branciforte fire district issues, Rispin Mansion, Capitola City Council meetings, Laurel Street Bridge, Soquel Creek Water District, barrels at the county building? HAYES…Sagebrush Country. PATTON…I am seeing some kind of irony, here. MATLOCK…The plot(s) only thicken – send flowers. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS’ pick of the week. QUOTES…”Tomatoes”

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DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ AUGUST 23, 1967. The north end of Pacific Avenue where Louis Rittenhouse’s Jamba Juice building replaced the historic Tea Cup Bar and Restaurant. Lulu Carpenters Coffee House would be located on the right-hand side, along with that black and depressing 7-story office building next to Bank Of The West.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE August 1

JOY SCHENDLEDECKER FOR OUR “AT LARGE” MAYOR. That was the newest campaign news of the week and so many remarked “she doesn’t have a chance”. Nope, I’d never met her or even noticed her name either. But her decision, plus checking out her friends and supporters convinced me she not only has courage but an excellent set of goals and platforms. Go to her webpage at joyforsantacruz.com. Her commitment to solving our housing and houselessness issues, labor support (unions) and especially the environment make her very unique. Go to her Facebook page here. See her support of the Amah Mutsun, note her No on D friends, her wide support from so many activists. Sure there’ll be more entrants for our new at large mayor but none more enthusiastic and devoted than Joy Schendledecker.

EMPTY HOME TAX. I can’t reveal where or who this email came from but it says a lot.

Wednesday July 27, in a shocking development, the Democratic Central Committee endorsed the Empty Home Tax.  Only 3 DCC members voted to oppose it:  Mathews, Fuller and one other I can’t remember. This will totally fuck up all their door hangers as the Democratic Women’s Club voted a No on the EHT endorsement.

HACKED! It’s been about three days that I’ve been on the receiving end of emails offering rebates, sale items and offers with my own home email address and name as the sender. Do not reply or even open those emails from “Bruce Bratton”. And if you have any suggestions how to stop somebody from using my name please get in touch.

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.

FIRE OF LOVE. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (7.7IMDB). An amazing, beautiful, haunting documentary about a married couple who are volcanologists. They travel around the world climbing to the closest, most dangerous vantage points to study bursting lava and trying to predict the next disaster. It’s surprising how little is known about volcanos, and how much death and destruction they cause every year. Katie and Maurice Kraftt the volcanologists died by being too close to Japan’s Mount Unzen in 1991. If ever a movie required a big screen to really view properly this is it.

TRADING PAINT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (4.4 IMDB) “Trading Paint” means in the dirt track racing at Talladega crashing each other’s racing cars. This botched up simple minded mess has John Travolta (age68) racing against his own son and his long time movie friend from Pulp Fiction Michael Madsen. It’s full of bad acting, has a very forgetful bad ending, and the racing photography isn’t much to look at either. Don’t bother.

SURFACE. (APPLE TV SERIES) (5.5 IMDB) It’s filmed a lot in San Francisco and its always extra fun to see sites you know. Gugu Mbaytha and Oliver Jackson top the cast and the slow moving plot could have been shortened but it is really complex. A young woman was either pushed off a boat or she attempted suicide. She’s having weird dreams and nightmares and is seeing a psychotherapist. Much of it happens in the Sheraton Palace Hotel where I worked as a producer at KCBS so I had an extra attraction. It’s good watching, go for it.

MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (7.5 IMDB). The charming unassuming Lesley Manville is the London based cleaning woman who has a dream of going to Paris and specifically to own a Christian Dior gown. Isabelle Huppert has a small and nasty part of this silly comedy. It’s a feel good movie for sure and we need those more than ever right now. Go for it.

ANYTHINGS POSSIBLE. (PRIME VIDEO MOVIE) (4.7 IMDB) It would be too easy to report that this is a silly, colorful light hearted teen age comedy centering on a Trans girl and her troubles in high school in Pittsburg. Eva Reign does an excellent job in the lead and there are some very deep and involving Tran’s issues dealt with and exposed, in this complex drama.

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 Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.

THE LAST MOVIE STARS. (HBO MAX SERIES) (8.3IMDB).Ethan Hawke directed this six part documentary and looks foolish as he does it. Paul started Newman’s Own in 1982 and I haven’t reached that part of his Santa Cruz connected life yet. But I need to say I’ve never forgotten seeing Paul and his wife Joanne Woodward holding hands and walking on Pacific Avenue near where New Leaf and The Del Mar theatre are today. It’s a worthy series and details his great film career as well as his drinking problems and having love affairs. He was 82 when he died.

THE GRAY MAN. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and good old Billy Bob Thornton are the leads in this terribly violent, plotless, spy drama. It is the most violent, bloody, big budget movie I’ve seen in years. It’s about secret moves by the CIA to kill one of their own members. The plot is actually ruined by the number of car chases and bloody cut throat scenes. Yes, I watched all of it but I’m sorry I did. The ending doesn’t end anything.

NOPE. (DEL MAR THEATRE). A very complex movie. It’s a horror film with flying saucers who visit and spew out whatever they suck up. It all happens on ranchland with cowboys and horses and those skinny flapping balloon figures from used car lots suggesting something. It’s all about suggestion, hints, and deciphering what director Jordan Peele is trying to create. No one has figured the plot out yet so don’t feel bad if you do go.

UMMA. (NETFLIX MOVIE)(4.6 IMDB). Umma means mother in Korean and Sandra Oh tries very hard to lead this horror film both as actor and executive producer.  Delmont Mulrooney is a neighboring bee keeper and Sandra can’t deal with electricity. Aside from that Because of a grave misunderstanding her mother’s ghost comes back very often just to scream and terrify. It’s different but not that different….save your rental fees.

PERSUASION. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.6 IMDB).   Another adaption of a Jane Austin book. This copy is modernized, it has a multi-racial cast and is billed as a romantic comedy. The acting is stylized, awkward, and doesn’t hold together. Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot talks to the camera and makes it watchable but not as much fun as previous versions.

COLLISON, (NETFLIX MOVIE) (3.9 IMDB). A South African film from Johannesburg that has three confusing stories. Father and daughter and their relationship, a teenage girl is kidnapped, and a phony business man deals with his dealers. Amateurish, many, many dialects and poorly assembled. Not worth your time.

DON’T MAKE ME GO. (AMAZON PRIME MOVIE)(6.4 IMDB). John Cho does his best to play the father who learns that he’s dying from a brain tumor. He decides to take his teenage daughter on a long cross country trip to find her mother. It’s billed as a comedy drama but the acting, the plot, and the incredibly slow pace made me turn it off  when they got to Texas….you’re on your own for this one.

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CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season and Returns to In-Person Concerts now through this Sunday August 7. Yes, Cristian Macelaru the music director has returned and will be conducting. The concerts include three world premiere commissions; the live orchestral premiere of Jake Heggie‘s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Benjamin Beilman; and works commemorating women’s suffrage in America and exploring the recent impact of drought and wildfires in the Western United States. Tickets are on sale now!!

39th ANNUAL MUSICAL SAW FESTIVAL. The 39th Annual Musical Saw Festival will be on Sunday August 14 from 10:00 am to 5pm at Roaring Camp in Felton. The world’s greatest saw players come out of the woodwork to join other acoustic musicians in a variety of musical performances. You’ll hear bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, blues, classical, and even show tunes (believe it or not, no heavy metal) throughout the day. Festivities start at 10:00 AM, with spontaneous acoustic jams throughout the day. There’s a Saw-Off competition from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and a Chorus of the Saws at 3:45 PM, with up to 50 saw players trying to play in unison. And for those who want to learn how to play music that really has some teeth in it, there’s a free Musical Saw Workshop at 4:00 PM. The entire event is free, and fun for the whole family. For more information, check out www.sawplayers.org , or  www.roaringcamp.com . Held by the International Musical Saw Association.

SANTA CRUZ ACTORS’ THEATRE & “8 Tens at 8” NEWS. Andre Neu activist and eager arts enthusiast sent this news.” As an active theatre-goer, I figured you’d be interested in hearing that Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre is doing a “reboot” of its “8 Tens at 8” series in early September. After Wilma Marcus Chandler and Andrew Cagllio resigned earlier this year, the company regrouped and has come together to stage what was to go forth before COVID struck. I’ve attached a press release to give details. The new company, headed by Suzanne Schrag, includes quite a few familiar theater folks and seems pretty secure in what they’re doing, Andre

Actors’ Theatre “reboots” 8 Tens production

The Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre, which earlier this year had almost permanently closed its doors, has instead regrouped to produce a live “reboot” of eight selections from of its 8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival. It will restage eight selections from the short play lineup, originally scheduled in January, running at the Actors’ Theatre from Sept. 9 through Oct. 2.  Tickets go on sale Aug. 1.

The presence the COVID-19 outbreak coincided with the resignations of the company’s artistic director, company co-founder, promotion director and board of directors, and led to the cancelling of 8 Tens in January. “However,” said new board president Suzanne Schrag, “we humans are resilient, creative, inventive and communal creatures. It is this spirit that we are re-launching, rejuvenating and rebooting Actors’ Theatre to continue to be a vibrant and vital part of the Santa Cruz Arts community.” A new board of directors has also been assembled and other positions are being filled. All productions will be in the Actors Theatre in the Santa Cruz Art Center, 1001 Center Street. Most of the directors and actors are from the original production scheduled in January.

Actors’ Theatre will continue to follow COVID protocols; masks and proof of vaccination will be required to attend. The Theater has also invested in a high-efficiency electronic air cleaning system that completely refreshes the air in the space every 15 minutes. Meanwhile, a committee of Actors’ Theatre members has read 259 short plays submitted by local, state and nation-wide writers in preparation for the 2023, 8 Tens @ 8 Festival, scheduled for Jan. 18 through Feb. 26, 2023.

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August 1

BETTER, NOT MORE, MANAGEMENT IS KEY

The photo I took of Nigerian athlete Tobi Amusan receiving the gold medal for the 100M Hurdles at the conclusion of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene captured a thrilling start to a week’s camping trip in Oregon and northern CA.  Besides stunning scenery and my first ever visit to and swim in Crater Lake, the week also provided an opportunity for comparisons.

A walk along the Willamette River was surprisingly free of campers and garbage. I wondered aloud how that was achieved given that Eugene has a sizable homeless population. The answer lay just around the corner when we encountered two uniformed men on bikes who were willing to respond to several questions from this curious visitor. They are Park Ambassadors and regularly patrol the river and the city’s open space and parks. While they are not police, their team includes officers dedicated to the city’s parks. They explained that when they come across illegal activity, including off-leash dogs (one of my pet peeves) or garbage or illegal public drug use they chat with the people, ask them to shape up or the next people they will be talking to will be the police. According to the ambassadors, people usually comply. The program has been in operation since 2015 and the positive results are evident. I asked if Eugene was similar to Santa Cruz in that houseless activists regularly oppose efforts to get compliance and the answer was yes. Despite millions of dollars thrown at the same problem in Santa Cruz, we have failed to achieve anything close to what Eugene has achieved. Eugene is almost three times the size of Santa Cruz city yet has only twice the number of sworn officers, so lack of resources is not the answer to our lack of success. In its infinite lack of wisdom, the city council majority voted to end the park ranger program a few years back in one of its budget-cutting cycles and that decision has had the predictable result. City workers share that when they do call the police, officers rarely respond and part-time workers at the city-sanctioned camp say they lack authority, all a set-up for failure. To be generous, maybe the relatively new Homelessness Response Manager and the state-allocated $14 million will lead to visible results but so far, Eugene is far ahead of Santa Cruz in handling this complex problem.

A further positive for Oregon is the lack of a sales tax. Given that ballot Measure F, the attempt by the Santa Cruz city council to raise our sales tax from 9.25% to 9.75% was narrowly defeated by a mere 50 votes and I was one of 3 community members who wrote the ballot argument against the Measure, I was curious to see how Oregon works without such a regressive tax. Would the state parks be well-maintained, for example? The answer is a resounding “yes!”

Not only maintained but campsites are cheaper, hot showers when available are free and bathrooms are spotless. Oregon’s income tax is less than California’s and property taxes similar so somehow Oregon is better at managing its resources.

I came home to read in the Sentinel about the city manager, Matt Huffaker expressing disappointment at the failure of Measure F and how that loss of anticipated funds “puts significant pressure on the City’s capacity to address homelessness.” He added, “those dollars could have gone toward supporting critical services for the community, addressing deferred capital and infrastructure needs to making continued progress on employee compensation.”

With Oregon fresh in my mind, I could only snort, “What rubbish!” If the city needs to squeeze more dollars from everyone including the low-income with a regressive tax to pay its low-income workers a living wage, something is amiss. One explanation can be found at the top management level: there are too many of them and their numbers are ever-increasing.

Not too long ago, the City Manager’s office consisted of a city manager and an assistant to the city manager. Then the assistant was upgraded to Assistant City Manager. Then an Executive Assistant to the City Manager was added. Then a Communications Manager and Public Information Officer was added and added also to the Police, Water and Public Works Departments. Most recently in May a Deputy City Manager position was created, and a further highly paid person added to the bulging upper management level. All these positions will require hefty retirement monies in the near and distant future. Given this context, the city’s effort to squeeze more monies out of the public via a regressive sales tax is reprehensible.

No, I’m not moving to Oregon although my hunch is a few at our Santa Cruz city hall would give me a one-way ticket. The battles ahead over UCSC growth, skyscrapers in a new downtown, commercialization of open space and bloated upper management will be intense. I wouldn’t miss that even for Oregon.

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

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 August 1

TAXES, AGAIN

Measure F, the ugly duckling of a tax measure placed on last June’s ballot by a misinformed, get-money-in-the-budget-quick city council majority, lost by a mere 50 votes. But it lost, and it should never have been on the ballot. It was a regressive sales tax measure and any progressive community should not be supporting such taxes, by definition. Progressives understand that paying taxes increases the general quality of life for all, it can level the playing field in terms of funding local nonprofits that provide services, and also ensure that city parks are accessible, homeless services maintained, a functioning sewer system, and garbage pickup timely. Increasing the sales tax, Measure F, was a mistake from the get-go. The city’s pollster, Gene Bregman, once again asked the wrong questions. Wrong, because along with a city council sub-committee, he refused to ask voters about raising the real estate transfer tax, which is a tax sellers pay when they sell their homes and likely make oodles of money in a sky-high housing market not of their making. Bregman failed to poll locals on significantly raising the tax on Santa Cruz hotel bills too, the transient occupancy tax, a fee usually paid by visitors already with disposable income, not folks living paycheck to paycheck. And what about a tax on the $765 per year A-sticker, which the University charges the owner of each vehicle to park a car which enters campus using the city’s infrastructure—roads, stop lights, signage, GHG reduction program–but receives no compensation? (Have you seen the ingress and egress of traffic on Story and High Streets on a typical university day?)

Case for Raising the Real Estate Transfer Fee (What is this fee?)

Many have bought, speculated, and house-flipped homes in this town because it is not only an enviable place to live, but it turns out real estate is sound investment too. That is, if you have the capital. Most locals do not and this is evidenced in the large number of renters in town, 60%, but in order to help pay for city services, why shouldn’t city coffers share even more in the good luck of those buying and selling homes here? The real estate transfer tax is currently $1.10 per $1000 of the sales price. In other words, a $900,000 home sale in the city of Santa Cruz would yield a $990 fee with half going to the city and the other half to county coffers, $495 each in this case. BUT, if this same home sold in Alameda, Emeryville, or El Cerrito where the transfer tax is $13.10 per $1000, the fee would be $11,790 with the entire $990 going to the respective county, but a healthy $10,800 goes to each of those cities’ general fund budgets that pay for police, fire, parks, and homeless services. In the city of Albany ($15), $13,860 goes to the city. Many towns like Richmond, Berkeley, and San Francisco have progressive real estate transfer taxes, meaning homes of $1 million pay more and ones sold for over $2 million pay even more, so the local municipality not only shares in the windfall of the crazy housing market, but it also channels that money towards paying for city services. HERE is a transfer tax table for the entire state. Seems like only cities considered “progressive” ones have raised their transfer taxes.

Hotel Tax Makes Sense in Tourism Communities

Most tourists are able to tour because they have disposable income. In fact, among the largest California hotel tax rates, 15%, is in arguably the biggest tourism market, Anaheim, i.e. Disneyland. (Turns out, Palo Alto has the state’s highest rate, 15.50%) Higher hotel taxes do not always correlate with politically-progressive cities. Currently, the city of Santa Cruz charges hotel bills an 11% tax, which is an additional $11 on a $100 hotel bill, of course most hotel bills are far greater. Turns out, many tourist cities like Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, and Marina charge more. Other non-tourist cities including Diamond Bar, Culver City, and Inglewood are all at 14%. Currently, a room at the Dream Inn can go for between $600 and $700, but there are none available this Friday night, but Saturday is available for $665 before tax according to their website. City tax is an additional $73.15 (11%). If the hotel tax went to 14%, like many other cities not including Anaheim, that same tax would be $93.10. The 3% additional tax would yield millions more for the Santa Cruz budget and likely  never stop any potential Dream Inn patron from booking a room. Raising the hotel tax is progressive, and a way to fund more city parks, fund more affordable housing, and supplement homeless services as well. HERE is an insightful primer on the collecting of hotel tax.

“The Child Tax Credit cut childhood poverty by 30% and reduced families’ reliance on payday loans — allowing parents to better manage emergency expenses, pay for tutors for their children, and spend more time with them. Economic security programs work.” (July 28)


Judi Grunstra, former librarian and former New Yorker, gave me strict orders, “Chris, go touch the lions (third eye?) in front of the main branch of the public library when you are in NYC. It will bring good luck to Our Downtown, Our Future.” So, I did.

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Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at ckrohn@cruzio.com

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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August 1

IS THAT DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ OR DOWNTOWN SAN JOSE?

Last Thursday (7/28), I happened to see the huge construction crane being installed, and now it resides at Laurel Street and Front Street/Pacific Avenue.  Such a sight is common in San Jose, but not here.  As I watched the action and heard the horns of many near-miss accidents due to lack of traffic management, I had to wonder what the City of Santa Cruz will look like in five years…with not only this seven-story structure now in the works, but also the 17-story structure the City Planning Commission just approved.

A view from Laurel Street Bridge last Thursday at about noon.
Front Street traffic blocked by construction equipment encroaching into street without benefit of traffic control.
Installing the final component of the sky crane at the construction site.
This is the crane and sections parked on Laurel Street, approaching Front Street from Pacific Ave.  No traffic control at any points of the disturbed intersection caused many near-accidents, especially coming from the bridge side.

BRANCIFORTE FIRE DISTRICT BOARD SAID “NO”

Last Thursday evening, the majority of the five-member Branciforte Fire District Board of Directors took the bold action to protect their neighbors from a potentially  huge parcel tax associated with a merger with Scotts Valley Fire District, saying NO to spending nearly $50,000 for a feasibility study that would lead to a rushed and weighted ballot action.

Board members debated that the proposal from SCI consultants was moving too quickly when the majority of those who would be potentially taxed $1500 per parcel annually for fire protection have no idea the action is moving along at break-neck speed.

They also pointed out that Scotts Valley Fire District will gain all assets of the Branciforte Fire District, including the Measure T property tax assessments that help provide revenue for the existing District.

BOARD AGENDA AND MINUTES

The link on the website to the agenda did not (and still does not) function on my computer system, but LAFCO Director Mr. Joe Serrano was kind enough to help me access the virtual meeting:

For your convenience, here is a direct link to the agenda packet

The matter will be continued next month, and likely discussed at the August 3 Santa Cruz County LAFCO meeting.   Stay tuned.

RISPIN MANSION PARK FUNDING APPROVED

Last week, the Capitola City Council was happy to see the Rispin Mansion Park matter before them and quickly approved the use of an additional $30,000 from the General Fund to allow a green light for contractors to submit bids.  The Bids will be opened September 7 and approved in October.  The work should begin next spring and be completed by the fall of 2023.

The new Park, using historically-similar plantings and California natives when possible,  will include ADA-accessible paths, in addition to the one constructed last year with a new bridge over Soquel Creek, to the lower areas of the Park where a new outdoor amphitheater will be built.  The Park will feature a new Bocce Ball Court and a children’s play area.  The Grand Staircase will be restored as will the fountain and reflecting pool, but the water features will become operational at a later date.

The stucco walls flanking Wharf Road will be restored but lowered, with wrought iron fencing added on top to address security concerns neighbors have expressed.  There will also be new lighting installed addressing the same concerns.

Councilman Jacques Bertrand asked the amphitheater’s partial encroachment into the riparian easement for the Creek, but was assured by staff that mitigations have been implemented.  Council woman Kristen Brown confirmed the timeline that will see this Park completed by fall of 2023.    Mayor Sam Storey was glad to see this finally happening after nearly a decade of delay, but grateful for the $756,000 in General Funds that have been spent on the planning and engineering, likely helping to get the State Parks Grant last year for the additional $178,000.

Capitola City Council Agenda Report, Meeting: July 28, 2022

Listen to the discussion here

CAPITOLA CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO BEGIN HOLDING HYBRID MEETINGS ON AUGUST 25

How refreshing to hear the Capitola City Council acknowledge that it is important and valuable to allow the public to present their thoughts in person if they wish.  Hence, after considerable discussion, the Council unanimously voted to begin holding Hybrid meetings at their next meeting on August 25.  Mayor Sam Storey stated, “People want to look us in the eye…there is a lot that gets missed with Zoom……As Mayor, I will be there every meeting.” Council members Kristin Brown and Jacques Bertrand immediately also volunteered.   Staff will return with guidance on how to safely hold the hybrid meetings next month, but for now, it is a go to have at least one and up to three Council members, who will rotate, to be physically present at all meetings unless health conditions change.  “Before COVID, we all were committed to being present at the Council chambers” pointed out Mayor Storey.

CAPITOLA CHARGING RESTAURANT OWNERS FOR OUTDOOR DINING SPACE 

Those lovely outdoor dining spaces in Capitola take up space that the parking meters now miss.  Therefore, all restaurant owners with such outdoor spaces will need to pay a new fee for lost parking revenue and sidewalk maintenance.

Below is the staff report.  The Council unanimously approved the new fee structure.

Background: Since the adoption of Resolution No. 4276 adopting the City’s Fee Schedule for FY 2022-23, the City’s Outdoor Dining Program has received final approval from the California Coastal Commission. The fees associated with the Outdoor Dining Program were not included with the proposed FY 2022-23 fee schedule prior to adoption, primarily due to the timing when staff received the Coastal Commission’s Conditional Certification. In April 2021, the City Council directed staff to develop a program for permanent outdoor dining. Over the next several months, the City Council conducted two public hearings, two public surveys, and provided direction to staff to develop an outdoor dining program. In December 2021 the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1050 establishing an outdoor dining program which received final certification from the California Coastal Commission on July 14, 2022. 

Discussion: In order for the City to recover the costs associated with the Outdoor Dining Program, staff recommends amending the fee schedule to include the following new fees:

  • Revocable Encroachment Permit (one time only): $230 
  • Design Permit for Custom Deck: $1,000 deposit – actual staff time billed against deposit 
  • Outdoor dining space rent (annual): 

 $3,400 per parking space (or partial space) 

 $18/sq. ft. on sidewalks and non-parking areas 

  • Outdoor dining maintenance deposit (one time only): 

 $500 for sidewalk 

 $1,000 for 1-2 parking spaces 

 $1,500 for 3-5 parking spaces

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT CHANGES PLANS TO ATTACH LARGE PIPE TO LAUREL STREET BRIDGE DUE TO PUBLIC PROTEST

Jane Mio, a local environmental steward, raised significant questions to officials regarding the potential adverse impacts of Soquel Creek Water District’s PureWater Soquel Project’s construction plan to attach a 14″ treated sewage water to the Laurel Street Bridge because of the disruption it would cause to the Swallows who nest on and under the bridge.

She never received a response, but happened to speak with a biologist who had been asked to evaluate the validity of her complaint.  The person told her that because of her complaint, it was determined that the construction would be disruptive to the Swallows, a federally-protected migratory bird, and therefore the construction cannot occur on the bridge while the birds are in residence.

Many thanks to Jane Mio for taking action.  Although she was never formally informed of the responses to her complaint, made in the best interest of the wildlife adversely affected by the District’s construction work, she DID make a positive difference.

Thank you, Jane!

MIDCOUNTY GROUNDWATER AGENCY RECEIVES $7.6 MILLION GRANT THAT WILL PARTIALLY BE USED TO PAY FOR SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT’S PROJECT TO INJECT TREATED SEWAGE WATER INTO THE AQUIFER

An undetermined amount of a large State Water Board Grant to the Midcounty Groundwater Agency to support sustaining healthy groundwater levels in the Midcounty area will be used to help Soquel Creek Water District pay for their expensive project to inject potentially contaminated treated sewage water into the aquifer.   While this is not surprising, it is disappointing that the District has failed to present any Final Anti-Degradation Analysis, required by State law, to show this injected water will not harm the high-quality water of the Purisima Aquifer.

The State approved the MidCounty Groundwater Agency’s Sustainability Plan two years ago that made the PureWater Soquel Project a keystone project in their plan to restore and maintain groundwater levels, even though the Project’s three injection wells are not located in the La Selva Beach area where seawater intrusion is reportedly the greatest threat.

Read the list of elements the public money will fund for Soquel Creek Water District’s project on page 25 of the Aptos Times August 1, 2022 issue: Aptos Times: August 1, 2022 — Times Publishing Group, Inc. The article begins on page 19.  I wonder if the photo showing District Project Manager Melanie Mow-Schumacher jumping gleefully into the air is reflective of her appreciation that the District ratepayers are paying her a $1600 monthly bonus while the Project is under construction??

Construction site of PureWater Soquel Project’s Advanced Treatment Facility that will use reverse osmosis “energy hog” technology to remove some, but not all, contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, hormones and other unknown substances from treated sewage water before the District injects it into the aquifer.  This facility is on Soquel Avenue Frontage Road, just across from the County Sheriff Center.

EXCELLENT COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF LOCAL WATER SUPPLIERS IN LAFCO REPORT

Bravo to Director Joe Serrano who just released the very comprehensive Sphere and Service Review that includes evaluation of all local water agencies.

There are a number of recommendations for increasing “Strategic Partnerships” between larger agencies, and for consolidations or annexations of smaller water providers.

You can participate in the LAFCO virtual discussion of this critical document on Wednesday morning, August 3 at 9am.

Here is the link to that 229-page thorough analysis.

The Commission is asked to do this:

Adopt a Resolution (LAFCO No. 2022-11) approving the 2022 Countywide Water Service and Sphere Review with the following terms and conditions: 

  1. Reaffirm the existing spheres of influence for Scotts Valley Water District and San Lorenzo Valley Water District; 
  2. Amend the existing spheres of influence for Central Water District, City of Santa Cruz, City of Watsonville, and Soquel Creek Water District to accurately reflect the areas currently within the agencies’ jurisdiction and/or already being served; 
  3. Adopt a sphere of influence for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency to be coterminous with the Corralitos Basin; 
  4. Adopt a zero sphere of influence for County Service Area 54 and the Reclamation District No. 2049 as a precursor to dissolution; 
  5. Direct the Executive Officer to distribute letters to the small water systems to ensure that they are fulfilling the statutory requirements under Assembly Bill 54; and 
  6. Direct the Executive Officer to distribute a copy of the adopted service and sphere review to the nine water agencies, Monterey LAFCO, San Benito LAFCO, and any other interested or affected parties, including but not limited to the Civil Grand Jury of Santa Cruz County.

Note that for the City of Santa Cruz….

See page 68:

LAFCO Staff Recommendation: The City should explore additional ways to share services and resources with neighboring agencies, including but not limited to nearby water districts.

(Many ratepayers of the Soquel Creek Water District have repeatedly asked for consolidation.)

See page 72:

Proposed Sphere Boundary In January 2019, the Commission amended the City’s sphere to include three nautical miles offshore to reflect the city’s legal limits. In accordance with state law, the sphere boundary should focus on areas that may receive services from the City in the foreseeable future. Based on staff’s analysis, the City provides services outside its city limits, totaling 10,757 parcels (approximately 17,000 acres). These parcels were previously shown in Figure 21 on page 67. 

LAFCO staff is recommending that the sphere boundary be amended to remove the three nautical miles and include the City’s water service area, excluding the areas located within the City of Capitola’s jurisdictional and sphere boundaries. 

This would remove areas of Live Oak, Pleasure Point and Capitola currently being served by Santa Cruz City.  Hmmm… See Page 73 for that proposed map.

Take a look at the map on page 81 and 92, showing the large area that the City of Watsonville serves with potable water.  According to the discussion on page 91, the City has provided water to these 4,700 parcels for a long time, pre-dating LAFCO’s formation in 1963.

The number of small private water systems in the County is quite amazing.  The LAFCO Report explains that under AB 54, these private water systems that are organized as mutuals (customers own a share of the business) are also subject to LAFCO review.  Director Serrano’s Report states he will send letters to all such water mutuals to outline necessary AB 54 compliance requirements and will potentially advise consolidation if adequate water service cannot be provided.

That move to consolidate, in tandem with SB 552’s aggressive push by the State Water Boards for consolidation, is worrisome to me.

LAFCO recommends that all agencies reviewed submit a Plan to address potential consolidations by 2027 for the next Service and Sphere Review.

How many small water mutuals are there included in the Service and Sphere Review?  The Appendix A lists 132 total.

Here are some shown on maps but that overlap with other nearby agency evaluation:

42 near the City of Watsonville (page 94)
43 within the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency jurisdictional boundaries (page 130) many overlapping with the City of Watsonville
41 near the San Lorenzo Valley Water District (page 174)
10 near Scotts Valley Water Agency (page 196)
33 near Soquel Creek Water District (page 220)

The history of the Mountain Charlie Water Works, now County Service Area 54 Summit West Water Mutual is interesting. See page 102.

Page 111 describes the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency:

The municipal, agricultural, and industrial wells are metered and they account for approximately 88% of the total groundwater basin water use. There are approximately 1,100 wells serving the rural residential parcels, which account for approximately 2% of the water use, and the remaining 10% of water use is by delivered water users.

The explanation of the “Delivered Water Zone” and associated Augmentation Charges on pages 112-113 is notable.

This Agency’s jurisdictional boundaries span the Counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito. (See map on page 114.  The Governance Board is a seven-member panel, four of which are elected using a district-based method and:

 “The remaining three directors are separately appointed by Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, and the City of Watsonville. Appointed directors serve two-year terms and must derive at least 51% of their net income from agriculture.”

Note that there is no representation from San Benito County.  That County has a much higher projected growth rate than other local counties, but an overall lower population: (page 115)

“Table 53 shows the anticipated population within PVWMA. The average rate of change for Monterey County is 0.25%, Santa Cruz County is 0.86%, City of Watsonville is 2.78%, and San Benito County is 6.54%.

This Agency, in coordination with the City of Watsonville, built a tertiary water treatment facility that can produce 4,000 Acre-feet/Year of recycled water for agricultural irrigation when blended with other sources. (Page 129)

The College Lake Reclamation District analysis is shocking: (page 138)

“Services and Infrastructure: The District’s sole purpose is to drain the College Lake once a year to allow for farming purposes during the summer season. The District currently uses one weir, a small water damn, to control the flow of water. The District does not provide any other services or has any other infrastructure or facility, as shown in Tables 62 and 63. While the District has been in existence for 102 years, its service operation and overall governance is in disarray.”

All five Board position terms have expired, two of which are vacant, the Board had not met for two years, and County audits of the agency finances for 2011-2015 caused the agency to be put on notice in 2017, with no action taken.  The agency has continued to collect the assessment fees but provide no accounting.

It is a good thing this agency will likely be absorbed by Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency as the College Lake Groundwater Recharge Project moves forward, no longer draining College Lake.

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District analysis is well worth reading, along with this recommendation (page 172):

“LAFCO Staff Recommendation: SLVWD should coordinate with LAFCO to analyze possible annexations and/or sphere amendments to include any mutual water companies or other nearby water systems affected by the recent fires or can no longer provide adequate level of service.”

Analysis of Scotts Valley Water District begins on page 181, and is also worth taking time to read as there are moves afoot for consolidation.

Soquel Creek Water District’s service area will have a real booming population increase, according to page 208:

“It is estimated that SqCWD will serve an approximate population of 47,200 people in 2040.”  That is a 5.06% increase. (This comports with the County’s proposed General Plan Update to locate extremely high-density residential development in Seacliff and Seascape, as well as Live Oak.)

Financial information is shocking: (page 209)

At the end of Fiscal Year 2020-21, total revenue collected was approximately $40 million, representing a 52% increase from the previous year ($26 million in FY 19-20)

Note this on page 217:

Based on staff’s analysis, SqCWD is providing services outside its jurisdiction to 290 parcels through five separate extraterritorial service agreements approved by LAFCO. Figure 79 on page 218 shows the subject parcels receiving services outside SqCWD’s jurisdiction.

 

 LAFCO Staff Recommendation: SqCWD should consider annexing these parcels if the District and the affected landowners determine it would improve the level of service and increase local representation. 

 

Page 219 does not acknowledge past difficulties between Soquel Creek Water District and the City of Santa Cruz, nor does it acknowledge the collaboration currently happening to treat sewage water to inject into the aquifer.

LAFCO Staff Recommendation: SqCWD should explore additional ways to share services and resources with neighboring agencies, including but not limited to nearby water districts. 

 

Again, many District ratepayers have repeatedly asked the District to consolidate with the City of Santa Cruz Water Department for more efficient operation and likely lower rates.  The District’s administration is resistant, even though their rates are the second-highest in the State for a system their size.

SAN LORENZO VALLEY WATER DISTRICT BOARD WILL EVALUATE IMPORTANT EIR THIS THURSDAY EVENING (8/4) IN VIRTUAL MEETING

There is certainly a lot to talk about, with a Draft EIR that includes four possible water sharing scenarios with other neighboring water agencies but is missing a lot of information.  The Board is seemingly being asked to move ahead anyway.  Some of the options would be very expensive.

See Item 10a on the agenda.

At the November 4th, 2021 Board of Directors meeting the Board approved moving ahead with the consultant Rincon Consultants, Inc. under the District Managers purchasing authority of $30,000 to complete an updated project description. The updated project description is shown as exhibit A.
 Within the project description there is bracketed information that needs additional review or further analysis. The remaining information cannot be updated until discussions with the City of Santa Cruz regarding the District’s Loch Lomond allotment are had and further technical analysis and modeling are completed. These data values and missing information will be added as the project moves forward. 

Exhibit B is a tentative schedule for moving the conjunctive use plan EIR forward.

 Next steps include coordinating with the City of Santa Cruz, working with regulatory agencies Agenda: 8.4.22 Item: 10a 5 1 of 23 to begin permitting the associated water diversions, and determining which studies the District will need to pursue to support the EIR. 

Tune in Thursday evening (8/4) at 6:30pm and participate.

WHAT’S IN THOSE BARRELS OF CONTAMINATION AT THE COUNTY BUILDING?

These barrels of contaminated soil securely stored on the sidewalk outside the 701 Ocean Street Government Building caught my attention…
as did these barrels in the basement entry that were not so secured, but full of something.
When I asked a worker about the contents of the barrels, he said the diesel tanks for the County Building’s generator were over-filled and leaked into the soil.  That’s what is in the barrels, with unknown disposal time or location.

I am sorry the expensive diesel was wasted, but glad the contaminated soil got cleaned up.

Do you think you or I could be allowed such leniency?

A LOCAL PIONEER PICNIC THAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING FOR 84 YEARS…MAYBE LONGER

What a delight to attend the Soquel Pioneer Picnic in Pringle Grove last Saturday!  That event has been happening for over 84 years.   The land was given to the community group in the 1930’s by the Merrill family with the condition that the picnic and business meeting occur annually.

The group rents a space within the Porter Memorial Library that showcases Soquel history.

There used to be a functioning water fountain there, but Soquel Creek Water District removed the connection, demanding thousands of dollars for a proper hook-up and a monthly $60 service fee.

Funny, the District did not mind knowingly providing free water to the Aptos Village Project developers for over a year from a renegade service connection on Granite Way.  Hmmm….

A good turnout for the annual picnic, with families describing their roots in Soquel.


Guest Speaker Bert Izant, describing his book about Soquel history “Writings, Memories: Glimpses of Santa Cruz and Soquel from three Pioneer Families”.  He talked a lot about how important baseball had been to him and other local youth, and that the community built a grassy playing field so that Soquel could have their own team in the Little League tournament.  Sadly, he said, the field is now a subdivision. There were many stories told by others about the rich fishing memories on Soquel Creek, catching 8-12 pound Steelhead.

Cheers, Becky


Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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July 31

SAGEBRUSH COUNTRY

Sagebrush is coming into bloom here and across the west, a fascinating group of plants that blanket thousands of acres across California and beyond. You probably won’t be wowed by the flowers (without a hand lens), but the stories behind the plants are fun to learn.

What’s a Sagebrush?

You should know off the bat that, despite its name, sagebrush isn’t a sage, though it is a bush. Sage are mint family plants, sagebrush are sunflower family plants: big difference. Perhaps someone thought there was a similarity in the scent of the leaves. Sagebrush leaves aren’t minty to my nose, though.

Tarragon, wormwood, mugwort (pictured at left), and sagebrushes are in the genus Artemisia. Tarragon doesn’t smell like the other sage brushes growing across California. Like sunflowers, Artemisia has two types of flowers. In the cultivated big yellow sunflowers, you can see hundreds of disk flowers in the center and there is a ring of ray flowers around the outside of the flower head…these have large petals. Now that you know this, next time someone points to a sunflower and says ‘nice flower!’ you can reply, ‘which one?’

Artemisias have odd flower heads with two types of flowers: ‘pistillate’ flowers and ‘disk’ flowers- these are too tiny to see for most people. But, knowing how many disk vs. pistillate flowers is important to figure out if you want to know which species you are looking at if you get out across California much. Luckily, only one thing is called sagebrush around here: California sagebrush.

California Sagebrush

California sagebrush stands make pure stands- gray, velvety slopes from a distance- or creates light green highlights in a sea of darker green shrubs with which it shares space near the coast of Santa Cruz County. Its leaves are wispy and its branches wand-like. This shrub often has multiple trunks and shreddy bark. As they get older, California sagebrush leans this way and that. Little grows in its understory in dense stands, but it can eke out a living on rocky outcrops where it shares space with bright red flowing Indian paintbrush and evening-blossoming spidery-flowered soaproot and a wealth of other species that pop up in such coastal scrubby places.

California sagebrush flower heads nod, and you can barely tell when the flowers are open. Each tiny flower head is less than 5 mm across and contains between 20-40 flowers. When the flower heads are open, the center of each seems a little yellow, but there are no petals. Many people know when this and other sagebrushes are in blossom because their eyes start itching and they sneeze a lot. On the East Coast and Midwest, people are familiar with ‘ragweed’ flowering season in the summer for the allergies those plants trigger. Fewer people understand that sagebrush is causing their postnasal drip. Starting in about 3 weeks, the winds coming into Santa Cruz will carry clouds of sagebrush pollen: get ready!

California Sagebrush Wildlife

There is one California sagebrush-dependent bird, but other birds like hopping around it, too. In southern California, there is a bird that has a tiny range and is so endangered that it has halted development on some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The coastal subspecies of the California gnatcatcher calls coastal sage scrub its sole home…and it needs a lot of California sagebrush to thrive. That bird doesn’t live close to us, but Wrentits seem to like living in coastal scrub. Wrentits are easy to recognize from a distinct call, the male song is likened to a ping pong ball dropping.

Great Basin Sages

The sagebrush you probably first heard about from Western movies or the ‘sagebrush rebellion‘ that helped make Reagan president is called ‘big sagebrush’ aka Artemisia tridentata. Various subspecies of this plant cover more than 14 million acres of land in the Great Basin, including Eastern California. It has smaller, wider leaves than California sagebrush and three lobes of each leaf which is why its species is ‘tridentata.’ It has similarly nondescript flower heads and a similar propensity to make people sneeze, except there might be fewer people downwind and in sneezing distance of this species. There are a number of other sagebrush species in the Great Basin – I recognize silver sagebrush as more silvery and in wetter areas than big sagebrush.

As with the California sagebrush habitat, big sagebrush has its rare bird, the sage grouse. Friends in Eastern California have shown me the tell-tale sign of sage grouse: poop pellets of compacted, half-digested sagebrush leaves (etc.).

Sage in Your Yard

If it doesn’t make you sneeze, our local California sagebrush is a great addition to the landscape. It is quick growing and provides a good short visual screen in little time. For fire safety, you can cut leggy shrubs with dead branches back to the ground and they sprout right back with more lush, vigorous branches. You can also shape them with hedge shears to whatever size you like shy of their maximum of around 4 ½ feet. Once established, plants need no summer water and no fertilizer. It would be more difficult to grow big sagebrush around the Monterey Bay as those plants like to be quite dry and might not make it through our rainier winters.

Your Homework

I hope that you will sidle up to a local sagebrush this summer and look carefully at it, rub it, and smell it. The pendulous flower heads are cute! The scent of sagebrush leaves is heady and memorable. And, the habitat where this plant grows often unveils interesting things. Plus, you might get to hear a wrentit’s unique and distinct song.

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: www.greyhayes.net

Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com

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July 29

#211 / I Am Kind Of Seeing Some Irony, Here

Pictured above is the folded-up James Webb Space Telescope, as it was prepared for mounting on a rocket and for its launch last year at the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. I got the picture from an online version of a New York Times’ article, “No Sign of Martians, but Webb Will Keep Looking.” The online headline is different, as is so often the case.

The first images we have received, now that the new space telescope is operational, are truly awe-inspiring. You can click the link to view them. What I was mainly interested in, though, in The New York Times article, was this description of what scientists are trying to find, using this new hardware:

This month will mark a new chapter in the search for extraterrestrial life, when the most powerful space telescope yet built will start spying on planets that orbit other stars. Astronomers hope that the James Webb Space Telescope will reveal whether some of those planets harbor atmospheres that might support life.

Identifying an atmosphere in another solar system would be remarkable enough. But there is even a chance — albeit tiny — that one of these atmospheres will offer what is known as a biosignature: a signal of life itself.

“I think we will be able to find planets that we think are interesting — you know, good possibilities for life,” said Megan Mansfield, an astronomer at the University of Arizona. “But we won’t necessarily be able to just identify life immediately.”
So far, NASA has spent $10 billion on the James Webb telescope. I suppose that’s not really very much, when we consider that the United States government is spending about $800 billion a year on what is euphemistically called “defense.” In an excellent column in the San Jose Mercury News, Lindsay Koshgarian ably demonstrates how we could vastly improve life on Earth, were we to redirect those funds.

Still, $10 billion is a lot of money to be looking for atmospheric signatures indicating life on exoplanets around stars located in other galaxies, thousands of light years away.

Maybe it’s just me, but I am kind of seeing some irony, here, as we look for life on planets that are light years away while we happen to be living on the only planet in the entire universe where we know that life exists, and where we are in the middle of a massive extinction event – the “Sixth Extinction” – caused by our own human activities.

Am I off base, here, or are you feeling some irony, too?


Another NASA image. No new telescope required.
Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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August 1

THE PLOT(S) ONLY THICKEN – SEND FLOWERS

Seems that we can all probably agree that the recent decision by the Trump Family Trust & Crime Syndicate to put the deceased Ivana Trump out to pasture at the Bedminster, NJ Trump National Golf Club is par for the course. That action for burial of a loved one in itself seems somewhat out of line, but the photos of the dreary gravesite near the first tee showing up on the internet have people shaking their heads in disbelief, calling it disrespectful and bizarre. The bare dirt, sans manicured grass or landscaping, is comparable to a pauper’s gravesite, and even DJT would call it disgusting had it had been done by someone other than him. Hand it to the Gang of Four, however, for remembering to order and place an engraved plaque with Ivana’s name and dates of her existence – a certain and easily removable souvenir for some wanderer’s backpack.

There is some historical background, as reported by NPR in 2012, with the headline ‘Fairway to Heaven,’ that Trump planned to build himself a nineteen-feet high stone mausoleum mid-course, which drew some unfavorable local commentary. His proposal was later expanded to having a cemetery for upwards of a thousand graves, but that plan was dispensed with for a time, calling for a ten-plot private family cemetery. Further refinement of the proposal spelled out a commercial 284-plot cemetery, the Washington Post noting that buyers, presumably avid golfers, “could pay for a kind of eternal membership” to the exclusive club. It is unknown what plans exist for the resting place of the ‘Eternal Donald’, since he has a plot near those of his parents in Jamaica, Queens, but he feels that the mausoleum was a “rational choice.” He is quoted further as saying, “It’s never something you like to think about, but it makes sense. This is such beautiful land, and Bedminster is one of the richest places in the country.” It probably gives the delusional ‘Golden Cheeto’ comfort to believe he’s taking it all with him.

As we drill down into the nitty-gritty of this burial-plot-plot, it turns out to be an attempt at a tax dodge and insulation against future criminal charges. New Jersey exempts cemetery land from all taxes, rates and assessments or personal property taxes, but also business taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes – so potential tax advantages could benefit the family trust in a state noted for high property rates. Brooke Harrington, professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, has looked into these possibilities, calling it a “trifecta of tax avoidance,” adding that the tax code does not stipulate the number of human remains in order to qualify. But, according to the Washington Post, it is unlikely that the 1.5 acre plot would deliver tax exemptions to the full Bedminster course, any break only affecting less than ten acres. But every break counts for one who is taking it with him, and Tin Foil Hat Donny has previously designated the plot as a farm because some on-site trees are turned into mulch for the flower beds. Look for a GoFundMe appeal to buy flowers for Ivana’s spot.

Evidently, the interment had no bearing on the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series at Westminster, where Trump took center stage in the face of criticism, as several top U.S. golfers abandoned the U.S. Golf Association and PGA tours. Especially critical were survivors, friends and families of victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, who are suspicious of the Saudi ties to the plane hijackers. The Tangerine Caligula dismissed the critics who felt he was being insensitive and disrespectful by telling ESPN, “Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately.” AG Merrick Garland and the House J6 Committee seem to be getting to the bottom of one attempted hijacking, however…fingers crossed!

Not content to be offensive about the tourney and with his comments, Trump was blatant in his use of the presidential seal on several items during the tournament. The seal was plastered on towels, golf carts and other souvenir tchotchkes, all in violation of federal law which could convey ‘a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States.’ He is a repeat offender, having used the seal at other Trump properties and golf courses, and in 2018, the Trump Organization ordered golf course tee markers, a violation which could result in imprisonment of ‘not more than six months, a fine, or both,’ punishments rarely dispensed. Last year, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Bedminster Golf Club for using and profiting from the image, saying, “Unlawful use of the presidential seal for commercial purposes is no trivial matter, especially when it involves a former president who is actively challenging the legitimacy of the current president.” Stay tuned.

Senator Josh Hawley is still a victim of finger-pointing mockery as a result of the House J6 Committee video of his flight from the insurrectionists that he helped to inflame with his raised fist salute prior to the invasion of the Capitol. It has been proposed that the American idiom ‘to haul ass’ be changed into ‘to hawley ass.’ Nevertheless, he insists he doesn’t regret his actions in support of the MAGAts, and he thinks it’s a privilege to be attacked by the J6 Committee which has been a boon to his fundraising. He stated in a CNN interview, “This is an attempt to troll…the reason I’m being attacked by the committee is because I’m in their way.” Running coach, Zoe Rom, in The Outsider has a poignant critique of his running style – a stick-man lacking a good forward lean. “Hawley’s torso is straighter than Mike Pence’s freshly cleared search history, possibly due to absence of a spine. He needs lower-core work and/or adherence to any core values. His foot is landing on his heel, well in front of the knee – called ‘overstriding.’ His escalator ride has a shorter stride, great form for efficiency and injury prevention and a clear indicator of one who’s been practicing their footwork by dancing around any form of accountability. His gear, a suit from Brooks Brothers “We’re-Totally-Getting-Away-With-It” Collection prevents range of motion when desperately fleeing the consequences of your own actions – recommend a good pair of split shorts allowing proper knee-drive in a sweat-wicking fabric, perhaps Merino wool which is perfect for sheep-like devotion to a minoritarian movement – and, it’s odor-blocking! Leather wingtips are perfect for trolling climate activists from a Martha’s Vineyard summer cottage, but less effective for escaping the 4Chan mob at your office door. For making a break down a marble hallway, try a shoe with a rubber sole and more breathability. It’s a bad look to be fleeing an insurrection you caused, but if you’re going to do it, at least have the proper form and equipment – the only fate worse than jail time for treason is plantar fasciitis.”

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: cornerspot14@yahoo.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

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

    “Tomatoes”

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad”.
~Brian O’Driscoll

My greatest strength is common sense. I’m really a standard brand – like Campbell’s tomato soup or Baker’s chocolate”.     
~Katharine Hepburn

“I love judging food by its smell and feel and taste. The healthiest tomato isn’t always the perfect one that’s been covered in pesticides”.    
~Sheherazade Goldsmith

 Many of the things the slow food people honor were innovations within historical times. Somebody had to be the first European to eat a tomato.      
~Nathan Myhrvold

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I got to thinking about Nina Hagen the other day for some reason. I found a YouTube of her entire first album (Nina Hagen Band), which I played to death when it came out in 1978. It’s entirely in German, and damn if musical memory isn’t an amazing thing! I found myself singing along to stuff I hadn’t heard since Jr High…

She is known as The Godmother of Punk, was born in East Germany, and has a voice with an incredible range. She is a trained opera singer, somethihng which a lot of people don’t know. Here she is singing Carmen in French, on stage in Copenhagen in 1985. Watch the whole thing, there’s an interview after the song.


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!
Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com
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