Blog Archives

December 20, 2023 – January 3, 2024

Highlights this week:

Bratton…Netflix raising prices, film critiques. Greensite… on the Sixth Cycle Housing Element. Steinbruner…landline phones to vanish, state budget, measure k (1/2 cent tax), CalPERS debt, RTC and Aptos, largest fine in history. Hayes…bicycle humor from Ecuador. Patton…The future. Matlock…bonfires in the land of opportunity. Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week. Quotes….”Rain”.


SANTA CLAUS, LIBERACE’S BROTHER, UNKNOWN ASSISTANT. This was taken May, 9, 1959 in Santa’s Village (up Highway 17). Carl Hansen is Santa Claus and was also more famous as “Hocus Pocus” the magician. Santa’s Village was built in 1955, went bankrupt in 1977, and closed in 1979.

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

DATELINE December 18


NETFLIX RAISING PRICES. I’m not sure if Reed Hastings still lives in Santa Cruz or not but Wikipedia says he does. At any rate, Netflix and Reed are very well off. Here’s what MOVE ON sent out to members….

Sign the petition to tell Netflix to stop the corporate greed and stop raising prices NOW!

Dear MoveOn member and everyone else…

I wanted to make sure you saw this email about Netflix raising prices on subscriptions again despite record profits. Netflix is already implementing these price hikes, with some users now paying up to $22.99 a month when Netflix used to cost only $6.99 when it first started. Enough is enough! We must come together to stop this corporate greed.

Will you sign the petition to demand that Netflix stop the price hikes NOW?

When Netflix first started, it was marketed as an alternative to greedy cable companies that charged outrageous prices, but now Netflix is turning into what they were against, and they’re raking in corporate profits on the backs of working people.

More than 119,000 fellow MoveOn members have already signed the petition to tell Netflix to stop the price hikes. There is power in numbers. Click here to add your name to the petition, and then send it to three friends to spread the word.

P.S. Read the email we sent last month below for more context about Netflix’s corporate greed.

Sign the petition to tell Netflix: Stop the corporate greed, stop raising prices NOW!

Netflix is raising prices on subscriptions again, despite record profits.1

There is no reason that greedy corporations should pay less in taxes than working people, but, in 2021, Netflix paid a tax rate of only 1.1% on $5.3 BILLION in profit, avoiding over $1 billion in taxes.2 Yet still, Netflix raised prices by 10.7% in January of 2022, and now they’re raising their prices again.3 Enough is enough! We must come together to stop this corporate greed.

Will you sign the petition to demand that Netflix stop the price hikes NOW?

Netflix’s newest price increase follows its unpopular and restrictive policy change regarding password sharing, requiring customers to pay an extra $7.99 to share their password with someone outside of their household.4 Netflix needs to know that consumers have the power—and we’re not going to allow them to get rich while they slash services and raise costs.

The reality is, when one streaming giant like Netflix raises its prices, the others often follow. Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, Discovery+, and AMC+ are also raising prices on some of their monthly subscriptions.5 It’s unacceptable.

Click here to sign the petition to demand that Netflix stop raising prices on subscriptions.

 Over the years, many people have ended their traditional cable TV contracts and migrated to streaming services, but the price hikes on these services are quickly becoming unsustainable. Netflix must stop the price hikes NOW.

Netflix is implementing a price hike despite anticipating 5 BILLION dollars in free cash flow, partly due to writers and actors going on strike because Netflix and other streaming giants were refusing to offer them a fair contract.6 So essentially, writers and actors with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) went months without work or pay while Netflix got richer.

It’s corporate greed on the backs of writers, actors, production staff, and Netflix subscribers, plain and simple. It must end. Sign the petition to tell Netflix: Stop the corporate greed, and stop the price hikes on subscriptions, NOW!

The massive wealth inequality that we see between the ultrawealthy and everyday working people is reflected in the entertainment industry too.

Streaming companies like Netflix make BILLIONS of dollars in corporate profits each year and pay top executives hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars combined, while exploiting writers, actors, production staff, and streaming subscribers. This is one of the many reasons why we have to come together to stop these price hikes.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then send it to three friends to spread the word.

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.

WILDERNESS. (PRIME SERIES) (6.3 IMDB). ** There’s this couple in New York City who appear to love each other but she finds out he’s been cheating on her for years and continues to do so even after she confronts him. So it goes on and on with her trying different means of getting revenge. It’s stretched to a series but could have made a neat but troubling movie

ASTEROID CITY. (PRIME MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). * It’s directed by Wes Andersen and has an all-star cast with Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, and more. Like Andersen’s other films its puzzling, mystical, funny, quixotic, and symbolic of something that you won’t quite be sure of. See it just for fun and forget trying to decode it. And no thumbs rating because it’s in a class by itself.

HIGH TIDES. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB). *** A more or less lighthearted Belgian series filmed in the city of KNOKKE in Belgium which will remind anybody of Santa Cruz except that KNOKKE is centuries older. It’s about the wealthy class and their relationship with the poorer working class. Not too subtle or even educating. Lots of cocaine, racial digs and downtime.

REACHER. (PRIME SERIES) (8.1 IMDB).   *** The new Reacher star isn’t puny little Tom Cruise anymore it’s a guy named Alan Ritchson and he’s a hulk of a human and they always aim the camera looking up at him to make him even taller and bigger. There’s an aerial murder and Reacher blends into the local police forces special team to find out who’s doing the other killings.

LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB).  ** An all-star cast with Julie Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon and especially Mahershala Ali as the well-meaning but silent neighbor. The movie loses tension, there’s too much mugging, and the racial theme isn’t carried out to any new degree. It’s about the class system and how we view our neighbors. Don’t hurry.

THE COVENANT. (PRIME MOVIE) (7.5 IMDB). ** Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim play two Army survivors during the war in 2018 Afghanistan. Jake is an interpreter and Dar is wounded so Jake carries him for miles risking both their lives. It’s slow, predictable and mostly USA propaganda. Don’t bother.

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.

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.9 IMDB). **** I stayed up till after midnight to binge watch all six episodes of this absolutely brilliant production. It’s Swedish and tells the story of a teenage girl and her family troubles which lead us into a murder. Be careful of any “spoilers” the ending is very well done and even important. Matter of fact it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen all year!!

SUBURRAETERNA. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.6 IMDB). *** Quite a history of the city of Rome around 20-30 years ago. It’s the complex story of the battles between the Vatican, the local police and the Mafia. Add to that there’s a group who want to build a new coliseum /stadium and among those battles there are the very contemporary protesters. Fascinating and will make you realize how much any/all city governments have the same battles…watch it.

CRIMINAL CODE. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.0 IMDB). *** The police of both countries, Brazil and Paraguay are forced to work together to solve a huge robbery and also a murder. There’s border issues, a secret gang member who poses as a policeman, and the early uses of DNA to track down the suspects.


December 18

Santa Cruz:  The Future

“This is just the beginning” advised the city Planning Director as he presented the Sixth Cycle Housing Element to council on the 12th of December. With few comments and lavish praise for the Director and his team, council unanimously approved the document, launching an ambitious housing growth blueprint for the next eight years.

The number of additional housing units mandated for the city of Santa Cruz by the state agency HCD, Housing and Community Development, is a staggering five times the units mandated for the previous eight- year cycle: 3736 units versus 747 and a far higher increase than for other county cities such as Watsonville or for the county itself.

Few CA cities reached the Fifth Cycle mandated housing goals. Santa Cruz city was among the small six per cent of those that did. Not only reached but exceeded the mandate, especially for the above moderate income housing units. How you view that accomplishment depends on whether you think the more housing the better or whether you think we’ve reached a tipping point of carrying capacity. As for “affordable” housing, to qualify for the Low-Income category, an individual can have an annual income up to $92,500, a number that rises with the rise in the AMI, Area Median Income, a target forever moving upwards as the affluent buy into Santa Cruz.

Nevertheless, the city council enthusiastically accepted the Sixth Cycle with nary an objection or critical comment. Councilmember Sandy Brown did note that the entry regarding Mobile Homes was incorrect, that they are not affordable, and that the entry gave the wrong impression but that was it. Very few members of the public spoke. The majority of the four who spoke were from the housing advocacy group YIMBY. Only one member of the public called the mandated numbers of housing units “excessive” and that the report was being “rubber-stamped” by the council. It was hard to disagree with that assessment. One barrier to a more critically- inclined council is the current practice of council members asking questions of staff and getting answers before the meeting, out of the public arena. So, the community never hears their questions nor the answers. That may be more efficient, but it is less democratic.

One important fact worthy of council comment and discussion yet receiving none was contained in the last paragraph of the Agenda Report. It said, “New housing will increase the City’s tax base, but services provided to new residents generally cause new housing to result in net negative fiscal impacts over the long-term.” My emphasis. For a city about to raise taxes due to a projected long-term budget shortfall, ignoring this fact seems fiscally irresponsible. Yes, the state is mandating this new housing but where is the push-back from our city leaders? Where is the strategy discussion on how to engage the state to demand compensation for their required excessive housing requirements? It was a non-issue.

Many other cities are far more critical of the state’s housing mandates than is the city of Santa Cruz. By contrast, our department heads, and by extension our city council seem to embrace and amplify the mandate to build, baby build. Buried in the long lists of goals, policies and objectives were several entries going above and beyond the requirements.

Consider the following:

  • 1.5e. Present to Council amendments to the City’s ADU regulations regarding owner occupancy to provide greater flexibility to existing and future ADU developments.
  • Policy 3.5 Facilitate new student housing as well as housing for university faculty and staff. My note: this is off-campus housing.
  • 1.6a. Utilize the Planned Development Permit process to facilitate housing development by considering modifications to building setbacks, street standards, lot coverage, lot area, parking and loading, landscaping, open space, uses, and maximum height.
  • 1.3c. Adopt code changes that reduce parking requirements, increase shared parking allowances, and increase off-site parking allowances to further facilitate housing, with the ultimate goal to eliminate parking minimums citywide by January 2028.
  • 1.3g. Adopt zoning changes by January 2027 to align development standards and use allowances with the maximum intensity already allowed under state law, following a comprehensive review. Zoning changes will include heights and lot coverages among other development standards.
  • 6.2d. Adopt an ordinance that expands housing opportunities in single-family zones by amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow the conversion of larger homes to multiple units when doing so would currently exceed limitations on types of housing allowed and would currently exceed density limits.

While this all may be music to YIMBY’s ears, it is a loud raspberry to anyone who has lived in Santa Cruz long enough to wince at this urban high-rise, largely affluent make-over into a new place where long-time truly low- income residents are leaving en masse.

The last words to council from the Planning Director were that all this new housing will mean a “more equitable and more sustainable future.” I have my doubts.

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.


December 18


Heads-up if you still have a traditional landline telephone that works even when the power is out, because the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) may soon approve an application from AT&T to get out of having to provide landline service when there are other modes available.   Response from the CPUC judge is due December 22, and could trigger public hearings in February or March, 2024.  After the hearings conclude, the CPUC would make a determination on AT&T’s application.

All of Santa Cruz County would be affected, as well as many larger areas throughout California.  Take a look at the map

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office at: 1.415.703.1584, email or visit 

This is potentially bad news for rural areas.  Every time the electricity goes out, people will have no telephone service…that’s how it is in my neighborhood now.  Only those with traditional landlines have phone service.

Contact the CPUC Public Advisor with your thoughts.


The State Budget is in worse shape than thought, so batten down the hatches and hold on if you plan to stay in California.   According to a recent report from the State Legislative Analyst, California’s Budget faces a $68 BILLION deficit…much worse that the 2023-24 Budget’s anticipated a $14 billion shortfall.  Based on the report, California will be in the red by $30 BILLION annually for the next few years.

To add to the bad news, state-funded transportation projects are likely to suffer due to an anticipated $5 billion less in gasoline and diesel tax revenue.  I wonder how that will affect Highway One projects in our County?

Here is the analysis from the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) giving a clear summary of the actions the State could take to address this shocking problem:

 The state has several tools available to address part of this deficit, including: 

  • Withdrawing up to $24 billion in reserves 
  • Reducing Proposition 98 spending on education by up to $16.7 billion 
  • Reducing $8-10 billion in one-time spending 
  • Loaning money from various special funds 
  • Increasing state revenues and/or decreasing expenditures 

The LAO projects that the Legislature could rescind or delay roughly $8-10 billion in spending that was included in previous budgets, but which has not yet been spent.  It is currently unclear what programs would be directly impacted, but possibilities include broadband funding, solid waste grants, bond funds, energy programs, and potentially a subset of the $750 million allocated for roughly 500 special “”Legislative Priorities” included in the FY 2023-24 budget. 

The LAO projects that the Legislature could rescind or delay roughly $8-10 billion in spending that was included in previous budgets, but which has not yet been spent.  It is currently unclear what programs would be directly impacted, but possibilities include broadband funding, solid waste grants, bond funds, energy programs, and potentially a subset of the $750 million allocated for roughly 500 special “”Legislative Priorities” included in the FY 2023-24 budget. 

A December 12 Budget Letter declared all State agencies MUST:

  • Avoid entering into new contracts or agreements to lease or purchase equipment, goods, or services
  • Halt all discretionary and non-essential information technology purchases
  • Halt planned vehicle replacements (other than for mission critical and emergency-related vehicles)
  • Minimize the purchase of office supplies and scrutinize subscriptions, training costs, and furniture purchases
  • Cancel plans for non-essential travel and participation in seminars, conferences, and trainings
  • Suspend the annual leave buy-back of accrued vacation or annual leave

The letter notes that exemptions can be made for expenditures to address a declared emergency, provide 24-hour medical care, avoid significant revenue losses, and achieve significant net cost savings


The County Board of Supervisors approved an initiative on December 5 to ask voters to decide on a new half-cent sales tax that will last forever, but is very vague as to how it would be spent.  Just as they did in 2018 with Measure G, the Board again touts “wildland fire” and “emergency and disaster response” as items the Board and County Administrative Officer (CAO) would like you to again believe that would benefit if you vote for it.

This time, the Board’s initiative does not mention “Citizen Oversight”.  Hmmmm…..

It supposedly would raise $10 million annually in future years, but only $5-$7.5 million in 2024-2025 budget year.  The cavalier fiscal analysis tosses out vague $1 million crumbs in the hopes that you will again believe what the money might fund, notably first claiming

“To fund essential Santa Cruz County services, including wildfire response/prevention/recovery ….”

 “The Board has identified Budget Priorities for Fiscal Year 2024-2025 to include $1 million for housing and essential work force retention, $1 million for Countywide homeless services, $1 million to support climate resiliency and County parks, $1 million to fund road repair and infrastructure projects, and an unspecified additional amount for other identified
County services

Notice that the empty promises don’t specifically name “wildland fire” as a beneficiary, but rather it would fund the Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience (OR3) that has become quite bloated since CAO Carlos Palacios, as a “cost-saving measure”, got rid of Ms. Rosemary Anderson, who had with the help of a single staff person, effectively and efficiently done the work as the County Office of Emergency Response Manager in 2020…just in time for the CZU Fire.

Measure K analysis states:

Any revenues raised from Measure K will be placed in the County’s General Fund and may be used for any lawful government purpose. This may include, but is not limited to, items identified in the ballot question such as enhancing wildfire, emergency, and disaster response, prevention, and recovery services; addressing the affordable housing crisis for workforce retention; maintaining and improving neighborhood parks; repairing roads and public facilities; supporting programs to reduce homelessness; and providing other essential services, such as mental health and substance abuse services, and improving public safety.

K – SCCO Sales Tax

What do you think the CAO will really do with that money, if approved????  Read on…


In 2021, CAO Palacios warned the Board of Supervisors that there would be a tide of unfunded CalPERS debt hitting the County budget in 2023 or 2024.  It was a gloomy picture.  However now, in discussions about the need for a new half-cent sales tax as Measure K, the CAO is NOT EVEN MENTIONING THE UNFUNDED CALPERS DEBT LIABILITY ISSUE.

How come?  Well, people are less likely to approve at the ballot box giving the County more money to fund employee’s retirement debt, aren’t they?  Using the tried-and-true “Wildland fire and emergency response” wolf works…..but please don’t fall for this trick again on March 5.

Take a look at the unfunded CalPERS liability looming upon the County

Page 5 of the Actuarial Report for the County in 2022:

“The minimum required employer contribution towards the Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) for this rate plan for FY 2024-25 is $43,290,166.”

So, why is the CAO not talking about this with the Board of Supervisors?  Why isn’t any Supervisor asking????

Contact your Supervisor and ask him about the UAL problem for the County Budget…and how much of Measure K will go to pay for that instead of anything the ballot initiative promises.   831-454-2200

Many thanks to the citizen who informed me about how to access the CalPERS information.


The Board of Supervisors approved Measure K language and want to allow voters in all four incorporated cities in the County to vote on the new COUNTY sales tax.  Hmmm….  they will not pay the tax unless purchasing something in the unincorporated area, and the city in which they live will get no money from Measure K if it is approved.

Does that seem fair?  I don’t think so.

Here is the last sentence of California Tax Code 7285 that brings the Board’s action to question:

The revenues derived from the imposition of a tax pursuant to this section shall only be used for general purposes within the area for which the tax was approved by the qualified voters.

Additional Local Taxes – Section 7285

If one follows the logic of the Board, everyone in the County should also be allowed to vote on Measure L for the City of Santa Cruz sales tax increase that would also fund wildfire preparedness, homelessness, cleaning streams and rivers, and fix roads.

Those issues affect voters in the unincorporated areas, too, don’t they?

I witnessed Judge Volkmann this week as he refused to make an emergency ruling for injunction relief requested by a local citizen to address this incongruity.  “There is no evidence of personal harm or irreparable danger” necessary to grant an injunction, he said, however he had no concern with the pleading.

The petitioner citizen’s attorney argued that the County would potentially save $225,000 in ballot costs by NOT including the voters in city areas.  It would seem that this would qualify as “harm” to County taxpayers, but maybe the Judge felt that the “harm” can be repaired with just getting more money?

It seems to me that allowing city voters to weigh-in on Measure K will dilute the votes of those whom it will affect most.

What do you think?

Please contact your Supervisor and ask him about this.  831-454-2200 or e-mail his first


This is ridiculous.  I think that the turnout to the recent public “open house” was not very good, so the RTC launched this “survey” in order to make a claim there was robust public participation…likely a requirement of the grant funding for the project.

Here is what one person had to say….

What survey?  Instead of choices we get “options” (insignificant options at that) for how the already decided choices will be implemented. I mean, what kind of choice is the little pattern on the “natural” concrete sound walls anyway?  I want an option to vote for NO sound walls,  Why do buses on the side of the road require millions of dollars of sound walls anyway which just make the highway feel like a concrete tunnel………….Does anyone say that the freeway noise will be significantly louder with an auxiliary lane?

Sorry, I think the survey is just another trap so those who already decided on everything can proudly assert that there was “stakeholder and community participation” in the design.

Watch this video and then take a survey. Available until Dec 31

What do YOU think?


How can an appointed land use body waive aside a legal decision of the Court and impose a huge fine on a project they just don’t like?

Aptos HOA fined $4.8 million by state, ordered to open blocked coastal path

It smells like another expensive lawsuit for the HOA.  That is a stench even worse than the Cormorants on the Cement Ship!


Did Supervisors Manu Koenig, Chairman Zach Friend and Bruce McPherson act with inconsistency by last week rejecting a call for a cease fire in the Middle East when they have supported similar Resolutions regarding the Ukraine and Russia?

Last week, the County Board of Supervisors, on a 3/2 vote, refused to approve a Resolution proposed by Supervisor Cummings that would have supported a permanent cease fire between Israel and Palestine.  It was on the Consent Agenda as Item 28, but the Supervisor chambers was filled with people who wanted to testify on the matter, with opinions on both sides represented, but the majority in favor of the action.

“This is about asking for peace.”  said Supervisor Hernandez.  “We are just asking for peace.” said Supervisor Cummings.  But Supervisors Friend, Koenig and McPherson disagreed.

“I just don’t see how we can pass this without it looking like we are taking sides.” said both Zach Friend and Manu Koenig.  They both happen to be Jewish.

So, why did the County Board of Supervisors, which included Zach Friend. Manu Koenig and Bruce McPherson at the time, take sides on March 8, 2022 with a Resolution 79-2022 proclaiming solidarity with Ukraine, and declaring they would welcome and support Ukrainian refugees here in Santa Cruz County?  Supervisor Bruce McPherson made the motion to approve that.

Furthermore, why did Supervisor Manu Koenig issue and sign a Proclamation on August 24, 2023, Honoring the 32nd year of Ukraine Independence?

In my opinion, Supervisors Zach Friend, Manu Koenig and Bruce McPherson acted with real inconsistency.

But, as some members of the public pointed out last week, the County Board of Supervisors should not be issuing Resolutions on International affairs over which they have no control, and urged them to focus on the problems here in the County and State.

You can listen here.

Here is the Analysis of what Supervisor Justin Cummings had requested in Consent Item #28

The call for a ceasefire is grounded in the recognition of the immediate human toll and the imperative for all parties to prioritize dialogue and peace. By formally recognizing the urgent need for a peaceful and permanent resolution to the conflict, the County of Santa Cruz would join a growing number of local jurisdictions in promoting values of international solidarity and humanitarianism and advocating for the well-being of all individuals affected by the conflict. By taking a stance on global issues, local governments contribute to fostering a culture of peace, tolerance, and cooperation within their own communities and beyond.

Would it be better for County Supervisors to host Town Hall meetings locally with Congressional Representatives to discuss international issues of great concern such as what is happening now in Israel and Palestine with the intent that those Representatives would take action in Washington, D.C.?

I think that the good discussion that came forth in the testimony at last week’s Board of Supervisor meeting is an indication that a Town Hall meeting would be a positive and helpful action for the Board to organize in order to address the tension that seems to be growing locally on the horrible situation.

What do you think?


I really want to thank those readers who sent your thoughts to me about my recent article regarding the Chanticleer Overcrossing.  While I did not intend to insinuate that Live Oak does not deserve a bike / pedestrian overcrossing, some did interpret it that way.  I apologize.

What I call into question is the location of it, and the inherent safety problems the chosen location may cause when built.

The Chanticleer / Soquel Avenue Frontage Road intersection is hazardous already.  Motorists on Chanticleer who are trying to turn onto Soquel Avenue Frontage Road have a limited clear line of sight  distance that will be impeded further by the overcrossing structure.  This intersection will also soon be much busier with truck traffic entering and exiting the PureWater Soquel Project sewage water treatment plant on that corner.

I think we will necessarily see a new traffic light at that intersection…but will it take having a pedestrian death to make that happen, such as is the case with Capitola City at Bay Avenue?

And over on the inland side of Chanticleer Avenue, pedestrian and bicyclist access will be absent any sidewalks or bike lanes, and will have to dodge the busy congestion of Grey Bears recycling trucks, forklifts and shoppers looking for a parking place.

Is Chanticleer Avenue the best location?  Of course, it is too late now, but how did this decision get made?

According to one reader, CalTrans identified the location for pedestrian /bicycle overcrossings in study done in 2008 or 2009.  That study also determined there should be an overcrossing at Trevethan, but I don’t think that one is going to get built.

RE: CHANTICLEER PEDESTRIAN OVERCROSSING. Many wonder why the overcrossing is being built there,

It’s the result of a Caltrans study many years ago, which identified this as one of three locations (the others being Mar Vista and Trevathan) for bike/ped overcrossings of Hwy 1. 

RE: why the RTC is not the lead agency on any of these segments of the rail trail.  If you understand it, please drop me a note.

As Rob noted, that was a decision made in conjunction with the MBSST Master Plan when various options for what agency (ies) would be responsible for future construction and maintenance were considered. At that time the RTC had never constructed (or managed construction) of a major transportation project and hence decided not take on that role for the rail trail.

Another reader had this interesting idea:

More generally I really think they missed the boat with their overall approach to Live Oak traffic (or, more to the point, lack of approach.) In my opinion, research should have gone into the possibility of an undercrossing at 17th Avenue for all modes of travel – this could potentially help traffic get on and off the freeway and provide a more direct connection for pedestrians and bikes. 

Many thanks to these and other readers who took time to write me.  I invite you to a discussion Friday, December 29 about this topic on the Santa Cruz “Community Matters” online radio program 2pm-4pm.  Call in at 831-265-5050 to join the discussion.

Many thanks to all readers and contributors!


Happy Holidays…especially Happy Winter Solstice…gardeners take delight in knowing the longer warmer days are on their way!



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



December 17. Even though he’s in Ecuador, Grey had to communicate this,

“I couldn’t help myself. As I was hiking around listening to toucans, watching hummingbirds, getting drizzled on through towering old growth tropical rainforest…the attached idea took over my mind and I had to write it down”.

An Extra-Special Gift this Holiday Season

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Some have doubted the virtual reality mountain biking experience, but after just one hour they can’t get enough. Imagine a futuristic bike gym combined with an immersive virtual reality system involving all the senses. Riders feel the wind in their face, experience shockingly real changes in trail surfaces, have staff-guided customized physical activity designed to reach exercise goals, jump and turn through terrain as technical as they choose, and any wipe outs are both outstandingly realistic and virtually injury-free[1].

The Logical Next Step

Let’s face it: with the equipment mountain bikers use, the cost uncertainties of this type of recreation, and the HIGHLY limited experiences mountain bikers are all facing, our project offers the most exciting new development to hit the sport since its inception.

Already, many mountain bikers are decked out with full helmets and other safety gear. Changing that gear up for a virtual reality outfit not only lightens the load, but adds to agility, and makes for far more immersive environmental experiences.

As trails get more and more crowded, everyone wants to bomb downhill on narrow tracks without worrying about others!

Trails Galore

We’ve got all the favorite trails ready for you or your loved ones. Or why not delve into new adventure dream trails – ones that stretch the imagination. We offer a wide range of choices of environmental settings. We have local rides through exquisitely modeled places that are known and loved. And, our program can put riders into sites rocketing through topography and environments from the farthest reaches of the planet. Each month, we randomly select a suggestion to inform our trail engineers’ next design, so stay tuned for even more…Rad New Trails©!!

[1] Or opt for our minor injury packages with requisite waivers and insurance, still a bargain! This is a popular option for those who regularly injure themselves at the sport and so might otherwise feel something missing. Injuries created by padded devices in controlled settings still carry risk.

Act Now!

This holiday season, give the gift that is guaranteed to keep your loved ones safer, save family money for years to come, and satisfy the most avid mountain bikers’ unending itch for new radical experiences. Purchase a gift package within the next week and save 25%!! Why not get one for the whole family?

BONLINE READERS…I wondered about Grey’s pitch for Rad Sports, he replied… “I’m hoping that the tongue in cheek humor can make a difference”.

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


FROM GARY A. PATTON  From Gary’s “We Live In A Political World” website…

December 13, 2023

#347 / Illiberal Progressives

That is Gerard Baker, pictured. Baker is Editor at Large of The Wall Street Journal. In today’s blog posting, I plan to comment on one of Baker’s columns. The image I have selected to top off today’s blog posting, however, is associated with an older article, published by Politico on February 13, 2017. In that 2017 article (to quote the article itself), Baker “mounted a vigorous defense of his newspaper’s Donald Trump coverage, pushing back aggressively on months of internal criticism that the venerable broadsheet has been too soft on the real estate mogul and reality television star turned 45th president of the United States.”

Whatever may have been the case in 2017, the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal are no longer quite so vigorous in their defense of our 45th president. It appears, in fact, that the newspaper’s commentary on Trump’s recent indictments have led The Wall Street Journal to become at least somewhat aware that Donald J. Trump is an unstable and erratic personality. Those of us who believe that our former president should never be elected to anything, ever again, are hopeful that The Journal is going to take that position, too, and that it will do so explicitly, as the upcoming 2024 presidential campaign takes shape.

Baker himself, however, at least as evidenced in his latest “Free Expression” column, continues to be rather “soft” on Trump. On July 11, 2023, Baker’s column was titled, “Don’t Blame Liberalism for Illiberal Progressives.” In that column, Baker seems to claim that Donald Trump has a meritorious political philosophy “if you squint hard enough.”

What I thought particularly noteworthy in Baker’s recent column, though, was not this comment on Trump. It was Baker’s effort to associate The Wall Street Journal and its political perspectives with “liberalism.” Most people would probably say that there are basically two political perspectives, or polarities. There are “liberals” and there are “conservatives.” There is “the left,” and there is “the right.” At least in the twentieth century, the Republican Party has generally been thought of as the “conservative” party, the party on “the right.” The Democratic Party has generally been thought of as the “liberal” or “progressive” party, the party on “the left.” The Wall Street Journal has been on “the right,” on the “conservative” side, at least as we have formerly characterized its political leanings.

It seems that Baker might want to reframe that characterization. For instance, he wants to convince his readers that those Democratic Party types (I’m one) aren’t “liberals” at all. Liberalism is actually just fine, Baker appears to contend, and “liberal democracy,” in particular, while it is “ailing,” is what we all ought to be striving for. “The left” is attempting to claim “liberalism” for its own, but that is really not the case.

Here are a few of Baker’s latest thoughts, as extracted from this recent column:

There may be something to this [claim that “market extremism” and “pursuing freedom for freedom’s sake” has had bad impacts on our society] but I think it fundamentally misses the much more immediate challenge our ailing liberal democracy faces. It isn’t some inherent flaw in liberalism itself, but a familiar threat from the authoritarian tendency of the left in the West’s political culture. The instinct of so-called progressives to impose statist and collectivist solutions to society’s problems is well established, but in the past decade or so a redefined ideology of progressivism—in cultural and economic terms—has emerged in ways designed to look like an extreme liberalism but which are in fact the direct opposite.

Take the most obvious current battleground in the so-called culture wars—the battle over human sexuality.

On the face of it, this looks like Exhibit A for the case of those who say we have taken liberalism to its most self-destructive point. We have elevated individual choice to the level at which we are told we can actually reject our biological sex, and that this freedom is so expansive that it must be extended to prepubescent children.

But if you dig beneath the rhetorical surface, you see that this isn’t really about extending freedom at all. The real objective here isn’t to emancipate children as young as 10 from the shackles of convention, but to remove parents’ freedom to determine what is best for their children. This effort to undermine the institution of the family serves the larger purpose of transferring authority for children away from parents to the state.

Why do they do this? Because families are obstacles to the left’s ambitions. They are the most important building blocks of genuinely free societies. This conception of the family as an obstacle to the superior will of the collective is rooted in traditional Marxist ideology, not liberalism.

We see the same in the battle over what children are taught in schools. The left’s leading advocates in the media consistently frame the debate on the teaching of radical ideas about sex and race to young children as “book-banning,” conjuring images of brownshirted Republicans gleefully throwing innocuous story books on some giant bonfire. But remember what this is actually about. In one of those rare moments of revelatory candor in political debate, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia in 2021, told Glenn Youngkin, his Republican rival: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

This “It Takes a Village” idea again frames itself as liberal, but it is in fact classically illiberal. It fits also with the modern orthodoxy that we must be indoctrinated to see ourselves not as individuals with agency over our own lives, but merely as scarcely autonomous component members of some larger identity group.

This modern cultural collectivism is accompanied by an ever more aggressive economic collectivism. When Barack Obama memorably told American business leaders “You didn’t build that,” it was a restatement of the subjugation of the idea of individual agency to statist responsibility (emphasis added).

I am increasingly impatient with those who advance the idea that those with whom we disagree are “wrong,” with the corollary being that such persons must be overcome, vanquished, and driven out. There are, of course, different views, but “the truth” is all too often found on “both sides,” not just one. Is it really the case that members of the Democratic Party, or those who have been called “liberals,” or those who are “progressive,” or who are on “the left,” are properly characterized as persons who believe that “statist responsibility” should replace “individual agency”? Is it accurate to say that “leftists” want to “transfer authority for children away from parents to the state”? And, on the other side, could it really be true that those on “the right” want to liberate individuals from all social responsibility and to eliminate any right of “society” to decide what the rules should be for individuals?

Distinctions and differences, when used to segregate and separate us, are totalitarian in their instinct. Our “politics” is not correctly understood to be a “fight” between “left” and “right,” and “right” and “wrong.” “Politics” should be understood as a conversation about what we should do. In that conversation, as we all need to realize, what we decide to do today, we might decide to undo tomorrow. We should welcome our differences. And why? Well, because we might want to consider alternatives, in the future. Seeking to extirpate those with different views is not in our self-interest.

For any readers who would call themselves “liberal,” does that seem right to you?

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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


December 18


Rudy Giuliani got clobbered in court last week to the tune of $148M for defaming the reputations of election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, after he attempted to make them victims of the Big Lie, accusing them of stealing votes from Donald Trump with a Gingermint. Esquire’s Charles Pierce penned the perfect lament for Rudy: “Oh, Rudy. You had so much going for you once. Came September 11, 2021, and everybody forgot what an authoritarian yahoo you always were, how you radicalized the NYPD for your own political advantage, and how your personal life was something out of the Medici papacies. You found redemption in the dust and debris. You could have ridden that out for the rest of your life. But, no. You had to run for president, and Joe Biden murdered your campaign with a single wisecrack. Unchastened, you then hooked your star to a Nazi-curious madman for whom you would do anything, and, as it turned out, you did. I don’t know many people who spurned such an obvious lifetime gravy train in favor of such baroque public self-destruction. America: Land of Opportunity.” “There’s only three things he needs to make a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11,” Biden quipped, “probably the most under qualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency.” Biden’s sarcastic remark about “America’s Mayor” belonging to the “Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight” landed heavily, but not dramatically enough to topple Trump’s Looney Tunes MAGATs. Of course, Rudy says he will fight the jury’s decision as he continues to proclaim his innocence before the cameras. Somebody please make him go away!

Comedian, satirical talk show host, and writer, Ziwe, asked George Santos to be a chat guest on Xwitter earlier this month, to which he agreed. The “bombshell interview” was touted with “Tomorrow, one jokester and a national joke sit across from each other…sure to be explosive.” Ziwe publicized in a teaser for the interview where she asks Santos, “What could we do to get you to go away?” And thanks to a bi-partisan effort in the House of Representatives he packed up and watched them change the locks on his office door. In a sarcastic piece in The New Yorker before Santos met his fate, satirist Andy Borowitz writes: “In an announcement that many in Washington felt was overdue, Representative George Santos said he was resigning from Congress to spend more time with his imaginary family. “As much as I’ve loved this job, it’s taken me away from my kids,” he said. “And to them I say: Blake, Kaylee, Agnes, Skip, Molly, Charlie, Leeann, and Rex, Daddy’s coming home.” He thanked his children for taking care of his many imaginary pets, including a marmot named Jerry and a python named Estelle. As for his future plans, he said that he would be leaving Congress to go back to my first love: being a member of The Beatles. Today is an emotional day for me,” he said. “If I don’t look emotional, it’s because of the Botox.”

Regarding the malady of banning books that has stricken the right-wingers, Walter Einenkel writes in a post on Daily Kos, “At least 25 books are no longer for sale at gift shops at sites overseen by the Texas Historical Commission. Those books include: ‘Roots’ by Alex Haley; ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison; ‘White Rage’ by Carol Anderson; and ‘Stamped from the Beginning’ by Ibram X. Kendi. See a pattern? According to Texas Monthly, a spokesperson for the commission claims the books were culled as the agency transitions to a new ‘point-of-sale software system,’ but internal emails from board member David Gravelle tell a different story. It seems that ‘amateur historian’ and graphic designer, Michelle Haas, is the source of the movement to remove mentions of historical slavery at Texas’s historic sites. Haas began her crusade in 2022, after a visit to the Varner-Hogg plantation just outside of Houston triggered her. She watched an informational video that she felt spent too much time talking about slavery on the plantations and not enough time on the slaveholders. She then started a culture-war organization, the Texas History Trust.”

Haas started her campaign by drawing up lists of books which shouldn’t be available, books mostly by Black authors and/or about slavery, systemic racism, and Black American culture. Gravelle’s emails show his fear of reprisal from the state legislature, recommending immediate steps to “learn the extent of this problem and articulate a remedy, including the source of how this material was approved.” Hardly cowardly at all, eh? Gravelle also cites “the inevitable press” that might result “due to the emotional nature of this national argument” and “it needs to be addressed quickly. And, I mean quickly.” Haas in successive weeks added to her list, objecting to the exhibits at the museum which failed to blame slaves for their victimhood, noting that “the chief torturer was usually one of the slaves”. She and her group also complained about an ‘Afro-vegan cookbook,’ but had no issue with a ‘southern cookbook’ being sold on the premises of a former slave plantation. Historian Michael Phillips told Texas Monthly, “We have an appalling situation. The idea that these books are irrelevant somehow is really striking. To eliminate books about racism at slave plantations sites is like doing an Auschwitz tour and never mentioning antisemitism.”

Texas native, songwriter and recording artist, the late Nancy Griffith, once wrote to the Houston Chronicle and the Austin Chronicle, “I carry with me always the pride and the knowledge that great things have come from my native soil – very few ever return there. Texas is, after all, the only place on earth that actually eats its young.” Griffith compared herself in the letter to the writer, Katherine Anne Porter, who was born in Indian Creek, Texas, but spent most of her life bouncing among bohemian enclaves in places like Greenwich Village and Mexico and Europe. “She too had the wisdom to get the hell out,” wrote Griffith. Kate Cox, the expectant mother who recently sought an abortion for a troubled pregnancy, but was denied by the Texas Supreme Court, probably feels likewise about her state after having to flee to another state to protect her health. Let’s hope she is able to make her way to a better life – somewhere else – after her ordeal.

A few weeks ago, while Texas charmer Ted Cruz was touting his new book, ‘Unwoke: How to Defeat Cultural Marxism in America,’ Jimmy Kimmel during his show, decided to poke fun at the senator’s ‘anti-woke bona fides’ by inviting a drag queen to read excerpts from the book to kids. Trixie Mattel, who originally competed on the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race did the honors, wearing a hot pink jumper and blonde hair. Drag Queen Storytimes are a major flashpoint in the right-wing culture war, and as Jimmy explained to the kids, “Ted’s been out trying to sell the book. His own campaign had to buy thousands of copies of his last book to make the best seller list, so we’re trying to help him with this one.” One excerpt in Cruz’s book drew on criticism from the right for casting Black actor Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel, not impressing the young audience. One child praised both original and the new movie as “good.” Another listener chimed in, “I just want to say right now: the book is boring.” Trixie suggested they skip a page or two, after which one kid said, “Why not just skip the book altogether.” Cruz responded to the skit on Xwitter, saying, “Awesome, thanks for buying NINE copies of my new book,” ignoring the fact that each of the nine kids conspicuously dropped their free book into a trash can as they left the set. On her comedy special, Wanda Sykes offers us a wise, succinct commentary on books, “Until a drag queen walks into a school and beats eight kids to death with a copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ I think you’re focusing on the wrong shit.” Take that, NRA, Texas and all book-burners!

Hunter writes on Daily Kos, “Most of the time Donald Trump exists in one of three states: lying, whining, or threatening someone. Often, it’s all three. He was at it again with an extremely unsubtle threat aimed at Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz: ‘So interesting that the Democrats are looking hard at the Senate races in Missouri and Texas. Josh and Ted must be very careful, stranger things have happened!!!’ As an alleged real estate tycoon who’s allegedly drifted close to the world’s organized crime syndicates over the years, Trump’s choice of language seems very intentional. It’s quite close to that standard mob threat: ‘This is quite a nice business you’ve got here. It’d be a shame if it caught on fire.’ On Xwitter, Ron Filipkowski clued readers in to the likely cause of this newest Trump snit. Neither Hawley nor Cruz have endorsed Trump in the Republican presidential primary, and in a recent interview, Cruz said that he would be ‘staying out of the primaries’ because he was both ‘good friends with Donald Trump’ and ‘good friends with Ron DeSantis,’ a Trump rival.”  We can all visualize Trump saying, “I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!”

Food for thought as the electorate faces yet another Trump candidacy: OK, let’s get this straight. You got defeated for the top job, then you refused to leave, called all your MAGA base to come and vandalize the Capitol, afterwards blaming it on the opposition who actually won the office. Then, on your way out you took confidential documents, got caught, refused to return them, and now you’re running for the job again? Time for us to listen to the words of English writer, poet and playwright, Eden Phillpotts: “The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Indeed, don’t get out-witted by the craziness raining down on us daily!

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


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

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


“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”.
~Roger Miller

“One can find so many pains when the rain is falling”.
~John Steinbeck

“A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in”.
~Frederick the Great


Kathleen Madigan is a great standup comedian. Check her out!

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