Blog Archives

December 21, 2022 – January 3, 2023

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…About Lockheed Martin in our neighborhood, our heritage trees. GREENSITE…on preserving heritage trees: how a city violates its own laws. KROHN…Paul Lee tribute, UCSC strike update, covid making. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek Water district issues, new library, LAFCO agenda, Measure D monies, Board of supes all attend. HAYES…is still on vacation. PATTON…One of the reasons I like Joe. MATLOCK…A major announcement spawns a major announcement. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover WEBMISTRESS’…New Year, as they do in Sweden QUOTES…”CANDLES”


Best and Biggest happy wishes for your Holiday season from BrattonOnliners!!

Standing in back left to right that’s Dale Matlock, Gary Patton, Chris Krohn, Gillian Greensite and Grey Hayes. Seated in front left to right that’s Gunilla Leavitt, Yours truly, Becky Steinbruner and Tim Eagan. We’re going to take next week off to celebrate but we’ll be back before you know (or forget it).

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE December 19

The New York Times reported last week.. WASHINGTON —” The prospect of growing military threats from both China and Russia is driving bipartisan support for a surge in Pentagon spending, setting up another potential boom for weapons makers that is likely to extend beyond the war in Ukraine”. We here in peace loving Santa Cruz should take the time to consider our long time (since 1959) local weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin at 16020 Empire Grade. They make and sell Trident and other missiles.

Let’s hope that our newly elected Third District supervisor Justin Cummings takes a close look at this potential target and much overlooked danger point and keeps us safe. What’s really curious is that no-one, and that means none of us, ever mentions Lockheed and its Bonny Doon closeness and the inherent dangers.

We try to limit the donation pitches to once a month-ish, and here’s the last one for this year. You’ve seen it; none of the writers get paid, but website costs are still a thing. We appreciate your help.

The button below will take you to the secure donation form.

Thank you, and happy holidays!


I’ve copied details from the NY Times and Wikipedia and Lockheed Martin right here…

“Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest military contractor, had booked more than $950 million worth of its own missile military orders from the Pentagon in part to refill stockpiles being used in Ukraine. Lockheed Martin is listed as the largest U.S. government contractor and ranks first for the number of incidents, and fifth for the size of settlements on the ‘contractor misconduct’ database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group. Since 1995, the company has agreed to pay $676.8 million to settle 88 instances of misconduct.

According to the magazine Politico, Lockheed Martin has “a political network that is already the envy of its competitors”, and its contracts enjoy wide bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress thanks to it having “perfected the strategy of spreading jobs on weapons programs in key states and congressional districts”. The company’s 2010 lobbying expenditure by the third quarter was $9.9 million (2009 total: $13.7 million).

Lockheed Martin employs approximately 115,000 employees worldwide, including about 60,000 engineers and scientists as of January 2022.

According to a Lockheed Martin brochure about the Santa Cruz facility, local work projects include the U.S. Navy’s Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. Programs such as Peacekeeper and the space shuttle have been worked on at the Santa Cruz facility in the past, according to the brochure.

OUR HERITAGE TREES. (Don’t miss Gillian Greensite’s report on these trees just a scroll down…) Bob Morgan from “Our Downtown” wrote this “news item”:

On Monday, December 12th, the Parks and Recreation Commission majority denied our appeal of the Lot 4 heritage tree removal permits.

Thank you to the 3 commissioners who voted to uphold our appeal and to honor our Heritage Tree Ordinance: Gillian Greensite, Jane Mio, and Jacob Pollock. Unfortunately, the other 4 commissioners sided with the permit applicants (the developer and City) even though the facts prove the applicants’ actions indeed violated the ordinance. Stay tuned for more tree updates. It’s not over.

To view the full agenda packet, including the appeal documents and written public comment (75% in support of our appeal), see the commission’s webpage. A video recording of the meeting will also be available there soon.

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.

AVATAR: THE WAY OF THE WATER. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (8.1 IMDB). This 3D and 3 hour movie is a technical marvel. The plot and main thrust of the movie is bewildering and pointless. It appears that humans once invaded Pandora and are attempting to invade Pandora again. But Pandora’s tribes fight each other keep trying to make peace. It’s 95% battles and violence and killing with bows and arrows and the latest/future type high tech weapons, which is baffling. Names like Tuk, Lo’ak, Spider, Mo’at, Recom fike and Aoning don’t make the story any easier to follow. It’s funny to actually see Edie Falco from the Sopranos as a general and Sigourney Weaver reassembled as a 14 year old. Rumors have it that are some sequels planned, so be very aware.

AMSTERDAM. (HBO MAX) (6.1 IMDB). It’s billed as a comedy and the actors work hard to make it light but the setting is so serious you can’t forget it. Taylor Swift is purposely pushed under a swift moving car and three friends spend the movie trying to figure out who did it and why. It’s got Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Chris Rock and Anya Taylor Joy all mugging their ways against some neo-Nazis who manage to remind us of Donald Trump followers and their tactics…go for it, you’ll have some laughs.

RECRUIT. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB).If you read ahead on this one it’s listed as a thriller and drama. It isn’t either one it’s a dud, flop, it’s a non-holiday turkey and I couldn’t take more than 20 minutes of the terrible acting, poor photography, and ridiculous story line.

PELOSI IN THE HOUSE. (HBO DOC.). (4.4 IMDB). Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Alexandra had, and still has very exclusive privileges that allowed her to filmher Mom under some life threatening circumstances including the January 6 attack on the White House. Nancy was the speaker of the house and drew some high threats while doing her job. It starts in 2017 when she takes her oath of office, and because Alexandra was there, we see the armed Trump lovers attack in some previously unseen footage. Even if she wasn’t from what we call our home town of San Francisco we can share her fear as she and Mike Pence flee and hide during that Trump war.

THE DROPOUT. (HULU SERIES) (7.5 IMDB). Another very serious and devoted woman’s career is dramatized here as Elizabeth Holmes played by Amanda Seyfried is brought to justice. Elizabeth Holmes is the young woman who invented the Theranos blood testing device that was a scam. William Macy, Bill Irwin, and Sam Waterston portray such figures as Larry Ellison along with Steve Jobs and their dreams of glory and stockpiling mountains of money. It’s well documented, it does drag on a bit as they stretch it into eight episodes but what a story.

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.

WHITE NOISE. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (6.6 IMDB). Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig along with Don Cheadle lead the cast of this so called comedy. It has laughs but at our expense while the director makes great fun of our consumerism, our fear of death, our politics, and our family issues. It is also sad, tragic, and bitter and it’s from a book that I haven’t read. It’s hard to follow the varying numbered parts but you’ll stay with it just to see how it ends. The institution that Driver teaches at is called “College on the Hill” which of course reminds us locals of “City on the Hill”. Go for it, you’ll be puzzled, curious, and dubious.

HARRY & MEGHAN. (NETFLIX SERIES) (3.2 IMDB). As one observer said the Brits pay taxes to keep the Royal Family in their castles and lives. So that justifies why and how the British press has the privilege of maintaining the paparazzi attacks on their lives. Netflix paid $100-150 million $ for the filming rights to this series! These six documentary episodes give us Harry and Meghan Markle’s view of their lives on and under the throne. Meghan the duchess of Sussex was born August 4, 1981 in Canoga Park, California. Yes, there’s quite a bit of Harry’s mom Diana AND the paparazzi.

TELL ME LIES. (HULU SERIES) (6.7 IMDB). A very silly movie about a group of college freshmen girls and how they handle the foolish sorority rules and just why they band together at all. Their names are Pippa, Bree, Macy and so forth. Macy dies in the first episode and the series gets more ridiculous after that.

INSIDE MAN. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.6 IMDB). Stanley Tucci and David Tennant star in this tricky and complex drama. Tucci is a former professor of criminology who is on death row in an Arizona prison because he strangled his wife. But he’s so good a crime investigator that all kinds of people come to him for advice while he’s on death row. There’s even some laughs and centers on examining why we do the seemingly strange things we do.

December 19


Preserving heritage trees in the city of Santa Cruz did not come about by wishful thinking. The effort to save the city’s trees of stature required a vision and much hard work in the early 1970’s by neighborhood activists, in particular Carole De Palma who was ultimately elected to the city council. Her work was furthered by various city council majorities and supported by an environmentally aware community who saw the importance of heritage tree preservation long before it became the norm in neighboring towns. Even today, the county lacks such heritage tree protection outside of the narrow coastal zone in the unincorporated urban areas.

Thus, the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance has a long history. Not nearly as long as most of the trees it aims to protect but long enough to establish precedent, acceptance and compliance. Or so one would think.

The biggest test of the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance is playing out right now as the city clears the deck for its proposed library/garage/ affordable housing project on Lot 4, site of 9 heritage trees growing on this 1.55-acre piece of public property used mainly as a parking lot and current weekly home of the Farmers’ Market.

To understand the depth of the city’s violation of its own tree laws it is important to know some of the basics. Relevant here are the criteria on which a heritage tree can be cut down. Contrary to popular belief, mostly held by people who care little for big trees, it is relatively easy to obtain a permit to cut down a heritage tree in the city of Santa Cruz. We lose approximately 30 heritage trees a month to the axe (according to the last available data). That’s a lot of mature tree loss in a 13 square mile town. Planting a few replacement saplings is no equivalence in terms of carbon sequestration, beauty, habitat, or sense of place.

One of the 3 criteria that allows a heritage tree to be cut down and the only one applicable to the trees on Lot 4 is contained in the Heritage Tree Ordinance Resolution, or Criteria and Standards for removing a heritage tree. It states that a heritage tree can be cut down if:

(3) a construction project design cannot be altered to accommodate existing heritage trees


At this point it is worth looking at the photograph above. These are two of the nine heritage trees growing on Lot 4. They are Liquidambars. How much square footage do you think they occupy? Maybe 200 square feet? Let’s be generous and give them room to grow, protect their roots and allow space for their canopies, so accommodating them may require 500 square feet. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest we allow them 1000 square feet of space.

Lot 4 has a buildable area of 58,000 square feet according to senior planning staff.

The way the Heritage Tree Ordinance Resolution is supposed to work is for the Planning Department or Economic Development Department in this case, to alert developers about the heritage tree requirements and the need to design in such a way as to preserve existing heritage trees. Several organizations, including the Sierra Club had written to the Economic Development director early in 2022 reminding her of the heritage tree preservation requirements when the project design was in its early conceptual stage. The city’s urban forester had also written to the director asking what steps were being taken in the design process to preserve some of the heritage trees? She received no written response according to the public record.

What is not supposed to happen but did, is for a developer (in this case the city) to ignore the heritage tree preservation requirements in their design development and present a final design that covers the entire 58,000 square feet without any trees preserved. And then when challenged by an appeal of the tree removal permit, state that said design cannot accommodate any trees, when they never tried a design to achieve that goal in the first place. A Public Records Request revealed there was no record of the issue of heritage trees ever being discussed among the various parties, save the emails of enquiry listed above.

This charade played out at the last Parks and Recreation Commission hearing on December 12th. Full disclosure…I am a Parks and Recreation (P&R) commissioner and am speaking only for myself here. The agenda item at the commission meeting was a formal appeal of the permit to cut down all the heritage trees on Lot 4, granted by the P&R director. The appeal was filed by many local environmental groups and individuals.

The appeal lost on a 4-3 vote, after time limits and right of rebuttal for the appellant (in the city code) were suspended and changed at the whim of the chair as is her right but displayed a clear bias. The clock was allowed to run out with extra time given to the city planner and a leisurely questions time, mostly allowing the city planner to speak at length with the chair cutting off one of the appellants who attempted to answer a commissioner’s question that was not directed to any person. Deliberation time for commissioners was truncated by the chair for the last ten minutes of the two- hour meeting.

The staff Agenda Report falsely listed there were 3 reasons for granting the tree-removal permit despite a clarification by the city attorney at the beginning of the meeting that criterion (3) above was the only one that applied and that comments should be limited to that criterion. Much time was spent by staff detailing the problems exhibited by the nine heritage trees. By contrast, the city’s consulting arborist, while also noting existing problems, concluded that 5 of the 9 trees were “worth preserving” including the two Liquidambars above, a fact that was never acknowledged by the city. City planning staff adopted a “sky is falling” approach, noting how little of the project could be achieved if all the heritage trees were preserved. No-one was suggesting that all the trees be preserved, but it made for an easy straw man argument.In response to a question of why they were planning for ten thousand feet of commercial space when city council was satisfied with seven thousand (leaving three thousand for the Liquidambars, maybe?) the staff response was they had no intention of scaling that down. Nor apparently were they about to reconsider the space in the library for a ping-pong table, a grand piano, and an art gallery.

It is likely the commission’s decision will be appealed to council. The test for the new mayor and council will be whether they will continue this charade or whether the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance Resolution will be respected and followed, even if that requires a re-set. A re-set is needed only because the right thing was not done in the first place. Should council have the integrity to admit a mistake and do the right thing, the community would still have all the desired aspects of this project, perhaps with a bit of commercial scaled back to the level that council supported PLUS retaining the two trees above as proof that the values of this community and this council, as well as its laws, still protect and preserve its heritage trees.

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 19


Oh, How We Wish the Pandemic Was Over

Paul Albert Lee

Paul Lee was an out-sized figure in the Santa Cruz intellectual, social, philosophical, and do-gooder pond. He was a local who possessed a resume of national import. Not only was Paul a scholar on the works of his mentor Paul Tillich, he wrote a memoir on Alan Chadwick and the organic movement in California, he penned children’s stories, but perhaps most importantly, his life was kind of societal moral compass that continually shone a light on how we treat the most vulnerable among us, namely the homeless and houseless. Paul Lee had an incredible track record in the area of raising awareness, funds, and resources for addressing the needs of homeless people in Santa Cruz County. From being on the original “Citizens Committee for the Homeless” back in the 1970’s to helping start the vital Homeless Garden Project on Shafer Road, Lee’s footprint on this region’s social services was enormous. Paul died on October 18th at his home on Spring Street and he was memorialized this past Sunday by friends, family members, and colleagues at of all places, the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Soquel.

Who’s Who?

Present at the Paul Lee memorial was a who’s who in the philanthropy, philosophy, academia, politics, and social service-provider worlds. Mathematician and counterculture writer, Ralph Abraham remembered when he and Paul protested the Regents and Ronald Reagan’s visit to Santa Cruz in 1968, not long after the ill-fated Democratic National Convention took place in Chicago. Retired Ecology and Evolutionary Biology professor, and expert on Elephant Seals, Bernie LeBouef recounted the day his neighbor Paul brought Timothy Leary by and asked if he had any LSD lying around the house. LeBouef said yes. They were in the form of several tabs he had kept since receiving them from acid guru Augustus Owsley Stanley years before. LeBouef went on to recall the many late-night conversations he and Paul engaged in with former History of Conscious Ph.D. student and Black Panther Minister of Information, Huey P. Newton. Homeless advocate Rowland Rebele recalled vividly the vow he made while Paul lay on his death bed, Rebele told him he would do as much as he could to help address homelessness in Santa Cruz after Paul was gone. Theatre Arts Professor Jim Bierman recounted wistfully and enthusiastically the history of Penny University in all its incarnations, from the powerful triumvirate of Historian Page Smith, Art historian Mary Holmes, and stout-figured Lee himself holding court at the old Café Pergolesi when it was located inside the old Bookshop Santa Cruz, to the final end when only Lee and Bierman presided over the weekly 15-30 students at the Red Church downtown. Filmmaker Eric Thiermann brought tears to everyone when he presented a two-minute version on Paul Lee’s vision of “grace” under a great oak tree adjacent to Schwan Lake. Also present were an array of local luminaries, political and social co-conspirators in Lee’s gentle, persistent, and sometimes rather loud march towards social justice, they included: Gary and Marilyn Patton, Keith McHenry, Ken Foster, Ron Slack, Denise Elerick, Ruth and Nick Royal, Frank Baron, Nigel Sanders-Self, Rachel O’Malley, Bruce Cantz, Danny Sheehan, Brent Adams, Paul’s daughter Jessica Lee, Nada Miljkovic, Rev. Herb Schmidt, Virginia Wolska, Rev. Joel Miller, Richard Baker, Cedric Petty, Ann Thiermann, and Garrett Stephens. Of course, I am remiss, as I have left out over 100 others who celebrated an only-in-Santa-Cruz story of contemplation, action, moral courage and merriment, which was the life of Paul Albert Lee, rascal, sermonizer and mirth-maker without equal. Adios Paul.

UCSC Strike Update

The UC Regents has struck a bargain with the Academic Student Employees (ASE) and Student Researchers (SR) bargaining group’s majority, although the UCSC bargaining team (BT) members all have voted not to ratify this agreement. They are: Jack Davies Unit Chair, UAW 2865; Stefan Yong Recording Secretary, UAW 2865; Jess Fournier; Bargaining Team Alternate, UAW 2865; and Sarah Mason, Bargaining Team Alternate, UAW 2865. Read HERE the statement for a yes vote on the agreement. Read HERE on why members should vote no on the current agreement on the table. There is an obvious divide within these bargaining teams. This latter group, the no-vote bargaining team members. in their statement wrote: “We are Bargaining Team members and alternates who voted against this agreement based on our belief that the UC’s mediated proposals fail to deliver on the major demands of the strike. More importantly, our assessment is that our strike remains very strong, and has unfulfilled potential to extract a better offer from the UC.” While the ASE voted 11-8 in favor, the SR bargainers voted 13-7 for ratification. So the final vote being carried out this week may be close among rank and file members. The vote opened on Monday, Dec. 19 at 8am and will close Friday, Dec. 23 at 5pm, so we may have a result by the end of this week. Many undergrads have not yet received their final fall quarter grades throughout the 10-campus UC system. Whether they are to be filed, or not, by academic workers appears to hinge on this vote’s outcome. Readers can stay up to speed, if Elon Musk does not totally dissolve the Twitter-verse, by following UAW 2865’s Twitter feed and also at UAW 2865 homepage HERE.

How To Protect Ourselves

I have a friend who is now going into his 11th day of testing positive for the Covid virus. He sits alone, away from his family. His wife leaves him care-packages outside a door at a friend’s spare room and texts him when they’ve arrived. He simply took a trip to San Diego to visit his ailing Mom, masking the entire time, except he says, for a brief moment while on board the plane back to San Jose. He removed his mask to sip on a cup of coffee. I can’t help dwell on all the people, parties, and mall-ing I’ve been doing over this time my friend has been isolated. It can happen to any of us, but we can minimize the risks. As much as we do not like masking we inhabit an era of uncontained infection. I’m convinced we are safer with the mask than without it, but it certainly is a social and cosmetic disrupter, which also might help avoid the near two-week alone period that accompanies a positive test. Happy Holidays?!

“Hoping this doesn’t happen, but just in case: it’s been wonderful tweeting with y’all! As a backup, follow me on Instagram, same handle: @AOC – it’s really me there, as it is here.”

Check out the Beat Museum at 540 Broadway near City Lights Bookstore, of course. Lots of memorabilia and displays. At least four woman Beat writers are also given space including Ruth Weiss, Joyce Johnson, Jan Kerouac, and Diane di Prima. Of course, some stuff of Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Corso, Burroughs, and that other Kerouac are there too!

Diego Rivera’s mural painted for the Pan American Exposition in San Francisco in 1940 is not to be missed. It is on loan from SF City College at the SFMOMA and it’s free. Bring your phone because with audio and historical information from Google, prepare to stay for a couple of hours and enjoy this painting and political history by one of our hemisphere’s best muralists.

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 His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at

Email Chris at


December 19


Soquel Creek Water District appears to be collecting millions of dollars in Water Capacity Fees from new customers or those who want to add an ADU, with the purpose of funding Capital improvements that will benefit those who pay the significant fees.  But the District has not spent any on such improvements since 2018, and continues to amass the funds.

Consent Agenda Item 4.6 sweeps this all under the rug, and fails to comply with Government Codes that require outlining how the money…over $4 million…will be spent in the next fiscal year.


Soquel Creek Water District contractors are still working to attach 14″-16″ pipes that will carry pressurized treated sewage water containing chloramine to the Soquel Avenue bridge in Santa Cruz.  If the pipes leak, the chloramine will be toxic to all aquatic life.  Does that concern you?

If so, please write the Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors

Will the work be done by February, when the Cliff Swallows migrate back from Argentina to build their nests and raise their young?


If you travel on Clares Street in Capitola, you no doubt appreciate the recent paving improvement to the pothole-ridden corridor.  If you bicycle between 41st Avenue and Wharf Road, watch out for the three new speed bumps along the way that have not yet been painted to alert folks to their existence.

Three of these speed bumps now on Clares Street between 41st Ave. and Wharf Road…I wonder what the Fire Dept. thinks of these?

I enjoy the very colorful crosswalk on Wharf Road at the new Capitola Library / Rispin Mansion intersection.

Likely this paving was funded by Measure D sales tax money.
Thank goodness, the Water District timed their work so as not to tear up the brand new paving on Clares Street and Wharf Road in Capitola.


If you live in the First or Second Supervisorial Districts and want to help ensure your half-cent countywide sales tax monies for Measure D transportation projects are being spent according to what voters were promised, apply now for the job.

The Measure D Taxpayer Oversight Committee meets to examine the annual audits of the funds,   as was provided in the 2016 ballot measure.

Maybe you can help determine why in June, the County suddenly moved thousands of dollars in Measure D paving for an expensive change order in Aptos Village to help Barry Swenson Builder get their new Parade Street intersection at Soquel Drive readied???

Their meetings are open to the public, so if you can’t be part of the formal Committee, you can still participate.  Sign up for automatic notifications of their meetings via the link above.

Not sure which Supervisorial District is yours?  Take a look at the new map, complete with names of the two new County Supervisors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the County Board of Supervisors upheld their promise to the voters in their 2018 Measure G sales tax increase ballot initiative?  No such integrity…their claim is that the June Budget hearings and website information are good enough.  I don’t agree…and neither did the recent County Grand Jury Report


Many areas of Aptos and Corralitos will be included in the new Pajaro Valley Health Care District and taxed to support the Watsonville Hospital operation in the near future. The public hearing on January 4 at the 9am Wednesday virtual LAFCO meeting may be your only opportunity to have your say about this.

It has all been done backwards, due to the County’s sense of urgency to acquire the hospital.  Only now is the new tax district coming before LAFCO, which normally would be the first step.

Senator John Laird pushed through SB 418 as emergency legislation last February to provide $25 million in state public monies to purchase the Watsonville Hospital, and

in that emergency legislation, also described the boundaries of the new Pajaro Valley Health Care District for future taxation.

The map in the LAFCO agenda packet is difficult to read, but gives an idea of the general boundaries.  It is curious that the southern boundary line overlaps with the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital District service area, and that there are areas of southern Santa Cruz County that are omitted.

Please attend the January 4, 2023 Santa Cruz County LAFCO virtual meeting, or write the Commission with your thoughts.



It was an amazing sight to actually see all five County Supervisors physically present at last Tuesday’s Board meeting morning session at 701 Ocean Street.  That has not happened for nearly three years.

Take a look for yourself, and note the difficult opening by Supervisor Bruce McPherson as he recognized the December 10 passing of Superior Court Judge Paul Marigonda.

Note that Supervisor Zach Friend was again absent in the afternoon session of the Board proceedings when the massive Climate Action Plan presentation occurred.

Also note that all plexiglass barriers between Supervisors and staff members have been removed, but the one at the public speaking podium remains….that is a bit symbolic, don’t you think?


That was the response of Board Chair Manu Koenig last Tuesday when I asked for a staff explanation of item #7 Unified Fee Increases for increases that made no sense to me.  Among others, the use fees for County Parks and community gardens will increase, and the Sheriff Dept. will increase application fees for concealed carry permits from $25 to $474.  How can these increases be justified, especially given the fact that Measure G sales tax monies fund both departments significantly?

Rather than ask any staff to explain, Chair Koenig merely stated that the law prohibits the County from charging any fee that is unreasonable or unfair.

Listen for yourself at minute 44:34 here in Item #7

Hmmmmm… can that be justified at the Planning Dept. counter?


Planning Staff let me know last week that the Kaiser Medical Facility project on Soquel Avenue Frontage Road, due to come before the Board of Supervisors last week, has been postponed for reasons that staff could not divulge.

Keep your eye on this one…it’s a whopper.


Last Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors approved purchase of a large commercial property in Live Oak at 5300 Soquel Avenue, next to the County Sheriff Taj Mahal of 5200, to establish a new Children’s Crisis Residential facility.   The $7,900,000 purchase will be 100% grant-funded, and the Board approved the unanticipated $10,680,958 grant money revenue.

Read more about it in the Staff Report here.

The current property owner, Bay Federal Credit Union, no longer needs the entire second floor for their staff, since they are happily working from home, and agreed to sell directly to the County.

Hopefully, the County Risk Manager will take a hard look at this building before signing off.  The sister building, also constructed by Barry Swenson Builders, has had many, many problems that have cost the taxpayers dearly to repair.  Cracks in the edifice, poor drainage problems, leaking window casements…on and on and on…will this also be a problem at the 5300 Child Crisis Center?

Let’s hope not.  The staff person I spoke with at BayFed was very familiar with the sale transactions, but felt there were no problems with the building.

Maybe Swenson sold the lemon to the County?  Whatever the issues, the County General Fund receives ZERO property tax from 5200 and now 5300 Soquel Avenue.  The latter supplied over $92,000 annually, but that will now disappear.

The good news is that kids in mental crisis won’t be shipped over to Fremont or Napa, Fremont or San Jose.  The bad news is that there is no bus service for families to use to visit their kids housed (hopefully not drugged out of consciousness) in the Crisis Facility that will be run by an independent vendor…there is NO bus service to that area.

What remains to be seen is which independent agency will manage and operate this new Children’s Crisis Center, as staff divulged in the public hearing before the Board of Supervisors.  Let’s hope it is not Telecare, the subject of many public complaints and recent investigations


Is fallowing prime agricultural land the answer to potential future droughts?  The Dept. of Water Resources seems to think so.   Please submit your comments by December 29 as directed below. Take a look at this information, recently posted on the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC): DWR Releases Draft Guidelines for LandFlex Program Aimed at Drought Relief & Protection of Drinking Water

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is offering a new, short-term land fallowing program in certain Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in critically over drafted basins. The goal of the LandFlex Program is to provide immediate drought relief by reducing groundwater use in drought-stricken areas, which will help protect drinking water wells in vulnerable communities.

Under LandFlex, GSAs will work with farmers to identify land to reduce groundwater pumping impacts to nearby dry wells. The program will provide $25 million in block grants to eligible GSAs and farmers will receive financial incentives for each enrolled acre. The program is focused on small and mid-sized farms, with eligibility limited to farmers with a 3-year average Adjusted Gross Income of $2.5 million or less.

For those interested in applying for a LandFlex grant, DWR will host an Applicant Workshop on Thursday, January 19, 2023. To register for the workshop and learn more about the LandFlex program and how to apply, visit

DWR’s draft LandFlex Program Guidelines are available here. The Public Comment period closes on December 29th. Comments may be submitted via email to

For more information or questions, contact RCRC Policy Advocate Sidd Nag.


Consent agenda Item #80 on last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda dropped this little tidbit:

Due to Building Permit requirements, connections to existing infrastructure systems including stormwater, and unforeseen site conditions, the project will need to take on additional project scope resulting in a change to the existing construction contract already in place. With the additional funding recommended in the action above for the construction of a new Aptos Branch Library, the new total project cost (D-B contract plus additional soft costs) would be $14,786,828.

Approve contract change order in the amount of $539,205 for the Design-Build Contract with Bogard Construction for the Aptos Library project, adopt resolution accepting unanticipated revenue in the amount of $101,409 from Libraries Facilities Financial Impact

Of course, the Board approved it without any discussion regarding where the money will come from in the face of a looming Recession.


And yet another major expenditure item was waved through in Consent item 81 last Tuesday….

Approve plans and specifications for the Recovery Center Modular project; set bid opening for 2:15 p.m. February 2, 2023; direct Community Development and Infrastructure to return on or before April 11, 2023, for ratification of the contract award, a

Spending $545,000 for a 10-bed site to have a place for intoxicated men and women to sleep it off?

It seems like it would have been worth discussing the use of the property for a Pallet Shelter Village to provide the homeless some transitional housing.


CalFire has just updated the Fire Severity Risk Map for the entire State, which will influence insurance rates, but likely be a real wake-up call for the areas near urban development.

Type in your address here and find out your new risk level

There will be public hearings next month in every County to give people a chance to ask questions and offer comment.   Here is the information for Santa Cruz County:

County: Santa Cruz Hearing Date & Time: 1/10/23 at 1:30PM
Hearing Location: Ben Lomond Training Center, 13575 Empire Grade. Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Local Contact Person: Frank Rodgers (831) 254-1728

It’s a long journey up to the Ben Lomond Training Center, but well worth your participation.  I assume the conference center at Felton is not large enough to accommodate the crowd expected?

: Take a look at other local hearings here (counties listed alphabetically)

Some questions I have include: What is the data based upon?  How granular is it?


If you haven’t been downtown in Santa Cruz lately, you may be saddened to see this:

I expect the demolition will begin soon to make way for yet another seven to nine story tower.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the County Board of Supervisors upheld their promise to the voters in their 2018 Measure G sales tax increase ballot initiative?  No such integrity…their claim is that the June Budget hearings and website information are good enough.  I don’t agree… and neither did the recent County Grand Jury Report


Happy Holidays and All the Best in the New Year!

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


Grey Hayes is still on vacation…he’ll be back.

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


 December 14

#349 / One Of The Reasons I Like Joe

Joe Biden, pictured, is the President of the United States. The political right, understandably, doesn’t much like Joe. Less understandably, at least to me, is the fact that lots of Democrats, and those on the “Left,” don’t really feel very positive about Joe, either.

Joe, of course, is “old.” That could well be part of it. The picture above, in fact, came from an article titled, “Joe Biden: An Old Man Trying to Lead a Young Country.” “Old” always finds difficulty in whipping up enthusiasm among the “Young.”

Since I am only slightly less “old” than Biden, the “he’s an old man” justification for not liking our current president doesn’t carry much weight with me. While Biden can be a “bumbler,” particularly verbally, I feel about Joe what the voters in Pennsylvania must have felt about John Fetterman, when they voted to elect Fetterman to the United States Senate. Verbal facility is not the only thing that’s important. Character, for instance, counts for a lot.

An article in the November 12, 2022, edition of The New York Times, “Biden and Xi Share Long Relationship Infused With Rising Suspicion,” told a little story about Joe Biden that I found not only endearing, but profoundly moving. Just as I loved what Arthur Miller had to say about our human obligation to try to change the world, I liked what Joe Biden told China’s President, Xi Jinping:

“I was with Xi Jinping in the Tibetan plateau,” Mr. Biden recalled at a fund-raiser in October, reciting a story he has shared at least 13 times this year, according to an analysis of his speeches. “And he turned to me and he said, ‘Can you define America for me?’ This is the God’s truth. He’s repeated it. I said, ‘Yes, one word: possibilities.'”

Anyone who has read my blog postings, on any kind of a consistent basis, will likely remember that “possibility” is my lodestar.

Together, we create the human world in which we most immediately live, and within that world – that world of our own creation – anything is possible! We can (and have, throughout human history) made both our dreams and our nightmares come true.

It is nice to think (as Joe Biden really suggested) that an understanding of “possibility” is a particularly “American” gift to the world. In fact, though, in so many ways, “possibility” is the world’s gift to us.

To all of us. To Americans. To Chinese. To everyone.

I have to say, the fact that Joe Biden recognizes this – and is promoting this understanding of our human situation on the other side of the world – is one of the reasons that I like Joe!

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 19


Well, the J6 House Committee just wrapped up its final meeting, televising a review of previously released footage of that infamous day at the Capitol, including segments of interviews conducted in their month’s long investigation. And, who would have suspected that they might end up referring Hunter Biden to the Justice Department for criminal charges? Nah, that didn’t happen, but if on January 3 the newly seated Republican House has their way that is what will happen.

As had been speculated, the Committee voted to send their recommendation to DOJ prosecutors that former president Trump be charged with four crimes: inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to make a false statement. This action has no legal weight, but is significant in that it is the first time Congress has initiated a referral for a former president.

The Committee revealed that DJT raised about $2.5M between 2020’s Election Day and January 6, 2021, as the Trump camp promoted their claims of election fraud that did not exist, even after 61 lawsuits across the country were thrown out for lack of evidence. Cited were millions of emails sent by the Republican National Committee to supporters, with claims of a ‘rigged’ or ‘stolen election’ which would give power to an ‘illegitimate’ Joe Biden. According to Zoe Lofgren, Trump used these funds in “concerning” ways, such as to “provide or offer employment to witness”…as in bribery?

The House Committee is also referring four GOP House members to the Ethics Committee for ignoring subpoenas: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyRepresentatives Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Andy Biggs. Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, who lost reelection, ignored a subpoena but was not named, though he could still be subject to questioning by the Ethics Committee. The first part of the final report has been released, with Chairman Bennie Thompson saying all ‘non-sensitive’ evidence and transcripts of depositions will be publicly available by year’s end.

The January 6 rallying cry, “Hang Mike Pence” must have slipped out of Pence’s memory bank, because he was quoted as saying, “Congress has no formal role in Justice Department decisions. When it comes to the Justice Department’s decision about bringing charges in the future, I would hope that they would not bring charges against the former President.” Has he donned the mantle of President Gerald Ford? What does ‘Mother’ and the rest of the family think about this, Mikey?

And, curiously, Mr. T had no comment about the criminal referrals, but chose to criticize Biden’s plan to end Title 42, the pandemic era policy that allows the government to expel immigrants quickly. Trump’s suggestion is that recommending “CRIMINAL PENALTIES” for senior officials participating in “the mass release of illegal aliens” be levied. MSNBC even says that the far-right blogs and social media sites are quiet about the J6 Committee recommendations, but we can be sure it’s only the quiet before the storm, because The Don isn’t going anywhere. His base is still with him, and you can bet that they are angry, which only intensifies their aim to get him on the ticket for 2024.

Any House committee hearings we have in 2023 will be digging into Hunter Biden’s laptop, or investigating ‘grooming’ by the LGBTQ community. And look for Steve Bannon and Marjorie Taylor Greene to be smuggling arms from Nicaragua to head up the next Capitol insurrection.

Meanwhile, in the NFT world of digital scams, Little Donnie Dotard is grifting away in his Mar-a-Lago hideaway, his latest “Major Announcement” being that he has absolutely gone off the deep end by issuing digital trading cards. In his announcement, Donnie wrote, “These limited edition cards feature amazing ART of my Life & Career!” The amateurish Photoshopped images depict him playing golf, posing as an astronaut with lasers beaming from his eyes, as a cowboy, ad infinitum. The $99 cost gets the buyer a ‘non-fungible token,’ which exists only in the digital world, and which may be resold at a mark-up, giving Trump another 10% for his coffers per the initial agreement. Trump makes a point of informing buyers that the money does not go to his presidential campaign, but directly into his pocket…to pay for attorneys? Or at least to those who are lucky enough to get paid!

In addition to the $99 NFT, buyers get a raffle ticket, with chances to dine with Trump, golf with Trump, or have a ZOOM meeting with ‘the man, the myth, the legend!’  Aldous J. Pennyfarthing writes in Daily Kos, about the convoluted chain of grifters involved in issuing the NFTs, which makes a good gangster tale in itself. An entity, CIC, was set up earlier this year and holds rights to the imagery and Trump’s name. A group called NFT International, LLC is licensed to distribute – which turns out to be a mailbox at a UPS Store in a Utah strip mall. From there it can be traced to an office building in Wyoming, and finally to a small brick house in Cheyenne, a corporate ‘home’ to scores of business entities, including fraudsters and international criminals.

Aldous goes on to reveal where much of the imagery featuring Trump’s head was stolen (?) – some from Amazon’s website were altered, a Shutterstock image was taken (was it licensed?), a Men’s Wearhouse tux, Scully Leather on Amazon, race driver Charles LeClerk’s body, and on and on. Imagine a tacky post-presidential pursuit, say if Jimmy Carter stopped building houses and started selling fake Rolexes out of his van to approximate what The Don has done. But the grifting will go on and we should look forward with bated breath for his next “Major Announcement.”

Here’s a grift missed by Trump (so far): A phony astronaut scammed a woman into sending him $30,000 (actually 4.4 million yen), which left her heartbroken and broke. The scammer claimed to be a Russian astronaut, stranded on the International Space Station in need of funds to hitch a ride back to Earth. What a guy!

Quite an exciting week to contemplate as we end 2022, so let’s raise a glass as we tiptoe into the next year, hoping for less contentious times and for justice to take a peek outside the blindfold – just this once! Happy New Year!

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.


“My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends – it gives a lovely light!”
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

“How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”
~William Shakespeare

“To light a candle is to cast a shadow”.
~Ursula K. Le Guin

“Sure, jets are fast and economical, but, oh my, what fun we’ve lost and what leisure we’ve sacrificed in the race to efficiency. Somehow, stepping onto a plane and zooming across the United States in a matter of hours doesn’t hold a candle to the dear, old-fashioned train ride.”
~Ginger Rogers


Going into a new year makes me think of celebrating New Year’s back home in Sweden, where I grew up. One of the traditions were watching this skit on TV every year. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Of course, before New Year’s comes Christmas. One of the hardcore (and I mean hardcore – nothing disturbed this, ever!) traditions was watching Donald Duck on TV at 3pm on Christmas Eve. This is the day we celebrate, Christmas Day is just for lounging around and complaining about eating too much. What was watched religiously every year was the “From all of us to all of you” special that Disney did in 1958. Each year there was some addition because of new movies, etc, but the core bits were the same. Here is a link, and you’ll see a few clips of the TV presenter that did this every year for 30 years, Arne Weise. The cartoons start about 2 minutes in. You can also find articles about this phenomenon online, here for example. I swear, I’m not making this up!

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