Blog Archives

February 16 – 22, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Area Democrats against Greenway, money, power behind Greenway, new candidate for third District Supe., Film critiques, Live Here Now. GREENSITE…will be back next week. KROHN…Progressive History, more of & petitions. STEINBRUNER…Death of Aptos post office, Laird’s Bill, Aptos Village review and update, Santa Cruz’s LAFCO, lobbyists and money. HAYES…Dead Wood. PATTON…On To Something. MATLOCK…Shadow Dockets. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”PRESIDENTS DAY”


PASSENGER TRAINS TO DAVENPORT! Back in April 1948 passenger trains ran to Davenport. The rails are still there!

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

                                                                                                                DATELINE February 14


Rarely if almost forever, have we seen such unity supporting any ongoing issue here in Santa Cruz. They sent an email this week and in addition to the Democratic groups uniting to expose Greedway more groups such as Santa Cruz for Bernie, People’s Democratic Club, Sierra Club, are also opposing Greedway’s initiative. Their message stated…

“The NO WAY Greenway campaign today announced four leading Democratic organizations in Santa Cruz County are uniting in opposition to the deceptive Greenway initiative, led by the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party, the Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County, the Mid County Democratic Club and the College Democrats at UC Santa Cruz. 

“The Santa Cruz County Democratic Party emphatically opposes the Greenway initiative,” said Andrew Goldenkranz, chair of the Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee. “We need more transportation options that help people, not fewer. We need more transit options for working people, not fewer. The railbanking concept is a deceptive mask for what it really is: pulling up the rail line and selling it to the highest bidder with no expectation of replacement with rail.” 

“Greenway isn’t actually green. Sure, the Greenway initiative might result in a tree-lined linear park, but it would also derail any possibility of bringing zero-emissions transit to Santa Cruz County, and thus condemn us to continued reliance on cars,” said Rae Hill, vice president of the Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County. “Climate change demands we take real action NOW. Parks are nice, but if we don’t start drastically cutting emissions now, no amount of parks will be able to offset emissions.”   

“The Mid County Democratic Club joins fellow Democrats throughout Santa Cruz County in condemning the terrible and deceptive Greenway initiative, which is designed to create confusion and kills the Coastal Rail Trail that’s under construction today,” said Barry Scott, chair of the Mid County Democratic Club.  

Opposition to the Greenway initiative is growing quickly throughout Santa Cruz County. A partial list of endorsers includes: the Sierra Club; Santa Cruz Climate Action Network; Youth for Climate Justice; Equity Transit; Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Faris Sabbah; Watsonville City Councilmember Lowell Hurst; Santa Cruz City Councilmembers Justin Cummings, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Donna Meyers; Cabrillo College Trustees Christina Cuevas, Felipe Hernandez and Adam Spickler; Santa Cruz County Board of Education Trustee Bruce Van Allen; Santa Cruz City Schools Trustee Deb Tracy-Proulx; and Bill Monning, California State Senate (ret.) Majority Leader Emeritus. To learn more about NO WAY Greenway itself, visit View full list of endorsements and endorse NO WAY Greenway here.  


Jim MacKenzie from the Coastal Rail & Trail sent this description of the issue… “The Seascape Bluffs” — over 100 acres of prime coastal real estate “nestled between the Seascape Greenbelts and Los Barrancos subdivisions” — is currently for sale. And guess what? The Santa Cruz Branch Line rail corridor runs right through that property. Wouldn’t a wide, recreational bike path make an excellent, essentially private, “country club” amenity for any homeowner in what would likely be an exclusive gated community of “beach estates” ($$$) or a luxury resort ($$$) built on this property? And all at public expense! 

If the rail line is railbanked, that’s what could very likely happen — an exclusive seaside development benefitting only a lucky, wealthy few who can afford the land, the views, and the beach access. The RTC, instead of bowing to Greenway’s constant pressure to railbank, should maintain the freight easement to prevent railbanking and subsequent loss of the rail, so that the entire county and visitors can benefit — and enjoy the ocean view — from both electric passenger light rail AND an excellent bicycle-pedestrian trail that is under construction NOW. That’s the current plan. And that’s been the plan since the rail line was purchased by the RTC in 2012.

3RD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR RACE. The list of would be supervisors is growing longer and now Ami Chen Mills-Naim announced today (Feb. 14) on FB that she’s running for 3rd District supervisor, replacing Ryan Coonerty.  She’s listed as mother, author, coach, poet and that she was an investigative reporter for Metro Newspapers in San Jose. She also has a weekly program Unheard Voices on KSQD. Go to  to get more of her details and qualifications.

Be sure to tune in to my very newest movie streaming 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.

ANTLERS. (HBO SINGLE) (5.9 IMDB). It’s supposed to take place in the mythical town of Cispus Oregon. That’s important because the Antlers title refers to the mythical beast known as a wendigo and wendigo’s do eat human flesh. I read someplace that this is an art house horror film and it is. Guillermo Del Toro is one of the producers and the movie is full of serious blood, flesh, little children, and insane humans who only crawl. It’s slow moving and chock full of unbelievable terror, not suspense necessarily, just terror.

DEATH ON THE NILE. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (6.7 IMDB) Directed by Kenneth Branagh and it’s full of stars such as Annette Bening, the now exposed Armie Hammer, Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman, and Russell Brand!! For a plot by Agatha Christie this movie goes way too slowly and lacks cohesion. It does however go into strange detail why and how Hercule Poirot grew and wears that bizarre mustache…if you care.

MAYDAY. (HULU SINGLE) (4.0 IMDB). An odd plot about girls leaving this life and being magically transported to an island where there are teams of women now alive again and fighting against men but using them in their goal of making a perfect world. So for some women they try and actually do make it back to real life in spite of the problems. At least I think that’s the story, I’m not too sure and I wouldn’t dream of re-watching it.

I WANT YOU BACK. (PRIME VIDEO) (6.7 IMDB) This is billed as a romantic comedy and I haven’t seen a romantic comedy in ages that makes me laugh. I’m more of the Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Red Skelton, and George Mendez School of humor. So I watched this one for about 15 minutes and never laughed once.

KIMI. (HBO MAX SINGLE). (6.3 IMDB) Zoe Kravitz is the lead and Steven Soderbergh is the director of this unique thriller. Zoe suffers from agoraphobia and can’t leave her Seattle apartment. She hears what sounds like a brutal murder on a recording she’s developing for her job which is to create and chaperone a Alexa or SIRI device. She has some unusual neighbors sort of in the Rear Window category. They either try to help or kill her and we get to see how she handles them. Good film.

INHERITANCE. (HBO MAX-SINGLE) (5.6 IMDB). The political scene in NYC is seriously invaded by a disappearance. Simon Pegg is the mysterious focus of this survival epic. There’s secret tunnels, chains, and the lead Lily Collins looks so much like AOC you can’t take your eyes off her. Too dramatic and hammy to be great but it’s diverting.

TICK, TICK…BOOM. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (5.6 IMDB). Yes an Oscar nominated musical about and by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton and In The Heights fame. Andrew p– is the star and must be a wonderful musical. I turned it off after about 15 minutes.  Too loud, impersonal, and flashy and it’ll probably win some Academy Awards. 

NEEDLE IN A TIMESTACK. (PRIME SINGLE). (36 RT) (4.6 IMDB). Orlando Bloom and Freida Pinto and some few others suffer through several time shifts in our future world. There’s a romance, then a disappearance, then some violence but not enough of anything to make this worth your time.

THE TINDER SWINDLER. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (7.4IMDB). A very different and unusual documentary about a guy Simon Leviev who still to this day goes on Tinder and dating sites and manages to steal more than $10 million dollars from the not too wealthy women who fall for his promises. Totally absorbing and excellently filmed and “acted” it’ll make you very wary about you next online dating attempt. Don’t miss this one. 

 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, 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.  

SUNDOWN. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (6.6 IMDB) An absolutely gripping, suspenseful, and deep film about a guy much like King Lear who is dealing with life in his own way. Tim Roth shares a little screen time with Charlotte Gainsbourg playing the mystified wife. Acapulco plays a part too, as we watch Roth stare straight ahead as he creates the next questionable phase in his troubled life. Don’t miss it.

REACHER. (PRIME SERIES). Little Scientologist Tom Cruise was terribly miscast in the hugely successful movie series but this new guy Alan Ritchson is 6’5″, weighs 250 pounds and pounds his way through all sorts of mindless adventures. I’ve watched 4 of the 8 episodes and finally figured out that it is completely that mindlessness that makes it viewable and fun. No Sherlock Holmes brainwork here or Agatha Christie suspense just Reacher beating up people who have done wrong. Simpleness personified.

DEAR MOTHER. (NETFLIX SINGLE).(5.8 IMDB). A genuine French comedy. The plot is foolish, the acting is great timing and the plot is absolutely nonsense and it works!! A guy’s heart stops beating and he is told by a therapist/goddess that he has only one way to save his life. Never mind why or how you wouldn’t believe me, watch it and lean French comedy means. And the musical score is by Gabriel Faure which certainly adds a lot.

MY BEST FRIEND ANNE FRANK. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (6.3 IMDB) Hannah Goslar from Amsterdam was Anne Frank’s best friend and the two of them face the German anti-Jewish sweep in 1942. They meet again in a concentration camp and go through the usual girlie things while trying to stay alive during the Holocaust. Touching, sensitive, and very well done.

SUSPICION. (PRIME SERIES) (6.9 IMDB) (55RT). There’s a masked kidnapping of a media big wig’s son. Then too there’s the promise of Uma Thurman having a star role, which she doesn’t. The kidnapping is done on CCTV by thugs wearing masks of British Royalty. It goes viral and the plot is stretched into half hour episodes…I might go back and watch the last few but probably not.

PAM AND TOMMY. (HULU SERIES) (7.7 IMDB) If you watched Pamela Anderson in Baywatch and liked it and her AND if you were a fan of Motley Crue and drummer Tommy Lee this sex filled comedy will be right up your alley. Total nudity, talking penises, frontal plus backal, everything all in one long series. Seth Rogen is the contractor who “accidently” films those two stars having sex and it goes viral. Low brow jokes, crude, vapid, and yet it could possibly take you mind off covid and politics for a few hours.



“THE WEIR” a play directed By Conor McPherson and Directed by Susan Myer Silton. It’s said to “combine a comedic touch with deep resonant themes”. At the Colligan Theatre, in the Tannery Arts Center at 1010 River street. Jan 26 thru Feb 20, 2022. I saw it Sunday matinee at the CxxIGxN theatre and enjoyed it. It’s a bunch of very Irish guys and one woman telling their favorite stories in a very well stocked Irish Bar. It could have and should been deeper as it reveals the depth of each character’s lives and it’s well worth seeing.


February 14, 2022 

Gillian will be back next week.

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


Santa Cruz Political Report by Chris Krohn

 February 14


What Happened to the Radical, or Even Liberal, Santa Cruz Progressive Juggernaut?

You know, the juggernaut that could not lose many elections between 1978 and 2002. Well, the Santa Cruz political barometer was so far to the right in the early days of our Republican city, county, and state representation that when it swung left in the aftermath of UCSC opening in 1965, it looked downright radical to many locals at the time. After Bruce Van Allen and Mike Rotkin won seats on the Santa Cruz city council on a socialist-feminist ticket in 1978, and Lefty lawyer Gary Patton, and public school teachers Ed Borovatz, and Phil Baldwin came together to form a majority on the Board of Supervisors, the jade vase of the conservative political elites was smashed to smithereens. The local progressive train had arrived in a big way. By 1983, when Jane Weed-Pomerantz became Mayor, the Progressives had perhaps reached their pinnacle of ideological difference with Republican Santa Cruz. That is, the gap in political differences between traditional conservatives who were much larger in population then, and the progressive majorities on the city council and board of supervisors was arguably the greatest it ever was in local political history. While there continued to be conservatives on the city council, like local old money-old school Louis Rittenhouse who left office in 1991, their numbers were greatly diminished as a new political era was being defined.

Progressive Ideology and Conservative Retrenchment

What wasn’t built on and developed and land not defiled and placed under asphalt were great wins for the progressives. They hurled political tofu, David-style, at the national Goliath capitalist growth machine and won a lot of battles. These land-use fights became the major achievements of that progressive era, one that lasted about 25 years, but not without some hiccups in sorting out progressive dogma. Open space, open government, pedestrian amenities, and vigorous political debate and protest are all vestiges of what this period unleashed post-UCSC in a suddenly woke Surf City. University thought and action produced a new local theory and practice, and thus pushed out the old guard of a sleepy beach town with political activists who actually wished to place Santa Cruz within a sort of pantheon of politically progressively and socially conscious American cities. Berkeley, Madison, Eugene, Austin and Santa Monica all come to mind. As the progressives kept pushing farther left, it became a schemers vs. dreamer’s scenario when some elements within this same group decided the Progressive Project had gone far enough and that a new middle must somehow be represented. This once-progressive cohort stood their ground and now form a sort of neo-conservative progressive cadre, dubbed by some as a Santa Cruz-type conservative, ones holding anti-war and pro-choice social values, but firmly rooted in the business establishment: pro-university admin., pro-Chamber of Commerce, and pro-Boardwalk. Think of old-guarders like Rotkin and his (tired) use of the term pragmatic politics, and (Cynthia) Matthews’s oft-repeated phrase of her being the only adult in the room. These once-stalwart progressive-types from a different time period have often been willing to sell out Mom and Pop local businesses–Tampico’s, Pergolesi, Stapleton’s, Central Home Supply–to chain-store development like Ross, Pets Mart, and Office Max. Many who’ve stayed true to a kind of Santa Cruz progressive project have lingering questions. Has the old guard changed, or have we? Did they lose that political something, or have I changed my politics? In the age of global climate change, I think we all need to make saving the planet a mainstream issue, but we all know the devil is in the details. Should we be pouring more concrete and cutting ten heritage trees for a parking garage, or reuse and remodel the downtown library where it is and designate a permanent home for the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market on Lot 4? These are community questions. The climate should be at the center of every decision the city makes in the name of the community, like buying only e-vehicles, planting more trees, purchasing less, only purchasing bio-degradable materials, and of course, leveling with the community and letting them know they should be buying less because their avid and aggressive longing to recycle is being met by an unfriendly marketplace for recyclables.

Tangible Progressive-era Victories

It is very difficult to argue that the progressives were not wildly successful. They sought to stop run-away development, promote and preserve the best of ’60’s Hippie laid-back values–peace, love, organic food, respect for the natural environment, ganja–and a slow-growth agenda that yielded up what they wished for, lots of open space. Placing under public wraps the Pogonip, Lighthouse Field, the Moore Creek Uplands, and Wilder Ranch will continue to be seen by generations to come as a golden era in land preservation and a valiant effort to put environmentalism into everyday practice.

Next Week: As the politics money of a developer class seeps into Santa Cruz, what do we have to lose from the closing of the Progressive Era?

Remember, Sign those Petitions if You Haven’t Yet

I continue to call attention to the ballot initiative signature-gathering efforts taking place right now on the streets of Santa Cruz. The Empty Homes Tax (EHT), already popular among voters, seeks to capture the disposable income of the very wealthy people who own more than one home and often leave a second or third one vacant. It’s already the law in the cities of Oakland, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. The other petition is Our Downtown, Our Future (ODOF), represents a significant step in the Santa Cruz era of direct democracy we are now living out. This initiative, if approved, will use library bond money to remodel the downtown library where it currently sits on Church Street and make it part of a true Santa Cruz civic center, maybe even its cornerstone. It also would designate a permanent home for the Farmer’s Market, a local institution that merits this respect given the fact that Santa Cruz is one of the American communities that has helped in define the organic food movement. ODOF also seeks to protect ten heritage trees from being axed and preclude the ugly carbon footprint of a cement parking garage. Perhaps most significantly, this initiative will change the city’s General Plan and prioritize several downtown parking lots as permanent affordable housing sites. Seems to me these two projects represent the best in direct democracy and what the California ballot initiative was created to do way back in 1911. Does direct democracy represent the failure of elected government? Partially. Peter Euben, who taught politics at UCSC for years, used to say, representative democracy is like going to the gym and paying someone to work out for you. That might be the sentiment in-line with the early Greek form of democracy, which Euben studied, but it’s not as practical when you get past a population of more than a couple of thousand voters. There are indeed, big issues, ones that need closer scrutiny, full-on campaigns, and a clear-sounding voice of the electorate. Off-shore oil drilling, desalination, and rent control have all been big ballot issues that Santa Cruzans have weighed in on vigorously. The Empty Homes Tax and Our Downtown, Our Future are also two BIG decisions voters may be asked to opine about this November, as it should be.

“How does it happen that SoFI, a student loan re-financing company, could spend $625 million to put its name on the LA Rams football stadium when 45 million Americans are drowning in $1.8 trillion in student debt? Today would be a good day for the President to cancel student debt.” (Feb. 13)

The tragedy of the houseless, a burnt tent structure along the San Lorenzo River

We have to do better by the homeless…joggers and families who use this critical path also need places to be…Perhaps, it is the 3rd District Supervisor, in representing the city of Santa Cruz and Davenport, who possesses the loudest voice in the community if and when he wants to use it. The current supervisor is leaving office and the seat will be open. Homelessness and houselessness is one of the most critical issues facing the incoming supervisor. There are currently six candidates who say they are running. The filing period to run for supervisor begins this week. Stay tuned.

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

February 14 


Seven years ago this week, Swenson Builder illegally bulldozed the world-famous Post Office Bike Jumps in Aptos Village.  No earth disturbance was to have occurred until Swenson had building permits.  Swenson had NO permits, not even a winter grading permit, which the County would have required of any other developer.

 Swenson’s bulldozer not only destroyed the place local kids had created over many years, providing a healthy outdoor recreational spot for youth who trained and went on to become professional jumpers, it also ripped the heart out of the Aptos Community. 

Many, including myself, wondered how in the world did Swenson ever get County approvals to cram in so much that is so out-of-character for the sleepy Village, with traffic and water woes that seemed impossible to mitigate???    Indeed, it was those burning questions in my broken and traumatized heart that launched my quest into local government…learning how to file Public Records Act requests because government officials were not forthcoming with any answers to my basic questions…”How did this happen?”

Phase One of Swenson’s Aptos Village Project is now built but many stores are still empty.  County taxpayers are baling Swenson out of this financial abyss by paying for expensive space to house the MidCounty Safety Center, which is unused and always closed to the public.  Phase II, which will be even higher density and gobble up even more of the public parking Swenson promised the community and Nisene Marks Park visitors, may begin construction in three phases soon.  

Many in the Aptos Community still shake our heads and ask: “How could the County allow this?”  The answer I have learned is largely…follow the money.

Perhaps the biggest question remaining is this:  When will the world-famous Post Office Bike Jumps get rebuilt for our youth?  Swenson still refuses to hand over the 0.7 acre “Park Parcel” that is a useless hillside for a County Park that the people will have to pay to develop.  That useless piece of land allowed Swenson to avoid having to pay $800-$1000/bedroom in Quimby Act fees to the County for new park development.   

Some deal, don’t you think?


One friend told me about a resident in the Aptos Village Project who is moving out because he simply cannot stand the ridiculous Homeowner’s Association restrictions and expenses.  Another friend sent me information about one of the Aptos Village Project Measure J affordable housing units now on the market.  Is this really “affordable housing”?

$316,933 · 141 Aptos Village Way, Aptos, CA 95003 (Unit 306) — Nextdoor 

Measure J, passed by voters in the late 1970’s when Santa Cruz County was becoming the fastest-growing county in the State, requires 15% of all new development to be deed-restricted as affordable.  Swenson promised 12 units in the Aptos Village Project’s 69 total units would be Measure J affordable units, and got some concessions from the County Planning a result. 

However, what Swenson is really doing is only providing five affordable units in Phase I and supposedly another five in Phase II.  I found it curious, however, that upon searching ownership of all Phase I units, only four were Measure J deed-restricted.  Hmmmm..

Note on page 4 of the Santa Cruz County 2015-2023 Housing Element below that the County Housing Element includes NO low or very-low income affordable units for the Aptos Village Project, and only lists 10 (that violates Measure J’s 15% requirement, doesn’t it?).

[download pdf]

Whether it’s parking, rules, or affordable housing for the jobs the Project was supposed to have provided, Swenson really has done little to carry through on all the empty promises at then-County Supervisor Ellen Pirie’s soiree’s at which few questions the public posed were ever meaningfully answered.  

Current Supervisor Zach Friend has followed her lead, and simply stated “It’s an entitled Project.”  But what would he really know or care, now that he likely spends the majority of his time in Coronado with his family, participating by Zoom only if he has to?


Last Thursday, Central Fire Board received written notice that their excellent Chief Walbridge will retire May 2, 2022.  I am sorry to see him leave, because he has guided the consolidated Fire District well, and has always been respectful, courteous and willing to listen to and work with the public.  

You can read his letter on page 69

The Board met to discuss a number of important issues, including the possible Final Map for the new District-based governance elections.  They chose the Purple II version submitted by the consultants, despite a few members of the public requesting the vote be taken next month to allow for better discussion and consideration of other ideas submitted.  The Board discussed this action at the end of the agenda, rather than immediately following the Final Public Hearing on the matter that took place at the very beginning of the meeting.  Many, including me, could not stay the entire morning and early afternoon to participate in the Board discussion and ultimate action.

[Central FD Elections Redistricting Plan Update]

Oh, well…this will be an interesting change that should provide opportunities for new Board candidates to run and provide better representation…especially in the Soquel Valley District 4.  That will be one seat open for election this November, along with District 5 in Aptos and La Selva Beach areas.  Each Board member will now receive a new laptop and iPhone for Fire District business, at a cost of nearly $9,000 with monthly maintenance fees of about $160, along with monetary compensation for up to four meetings/month.


SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 456, authored by Senator John Laird (D – Santa Cruz).  This bill will require the state to establish a long-term fire-prevention action plan to ensure statewide investments to combat fires are comprehensive, science-based, and utilize complementary partnerships.

“I’d like to thank Governor Newsom for signing SB 456 that will provide a clear pathway toward preventing the largescale devastation to California communities and wildlife that is becoming an annual occurrence in our great state,” notes Laird. “We have the capacity and technology to plan ahead and we must. Our lives and natural resources depend on it.

According to a recent report, California’s Wildlife and Forest Resilience Action Plan, “California is facing a growing forest and wildfire crisis. Decades of fire suppression, coupled with the increasing impacts of climate change, have dramatically increased wildfires’ size and intensity throughout the state.” Wildfires in California are continuing to increase in frequency and intensity, resulting in loss of life and damage to public health, property, infrastructure, and ecosystems. In 2020, wildfires burned more than 4.1 million acres.

“As a legislative body, we work diligently each year to secure investments in the state budget for wildfire prevention and mitigation. We must correspondingly ensure the state is prepared to direct future investments and is held accountable in protecting our communities,” said Laird.

The bill also requires a task force, on or before January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, until January 1, 2048, to submit a report containing specified information, including progress made in achieving the goals and key actions identified in the action plan, to the Legislature

Senate Bill 456 will take effect on January 1, 2022. Governor Newsom’s 2022-2023 budget includes $12.6 million to implement the provisions of four 2021 pieces of interconnected legislation intended to help mitigate the threats of catastrophic wildfire, including Assembly Bill 9 (Wood), Assembly Bill 642 (Friedman), Senate Bill 63 (Stern) and Senate Bill 456 (Laird). 


Last Wednesday, the Santa Cruz County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) met and considered many issues, including an update on the proposed new Pajaro Valley Health Care District. The boundaries for this new tax district were set by the newly-formed non-profit leaders themselves, not really working with LAFCO, as is customary.  LAFCO Director Joe Serrano supports the formation of the new District in the interest of maintaining hospital care for the south Santa Cruz County residents, however wisely has requested that there be measures of performance presented in three years to LAFCO for review.

[Staff Report]

In my opinion, this is critical matter that merits many public hearings at times of the day when the working public who will be affected can participate.  Afterall….we will be asked to pay for it with a new tax, subject to our Prop. 218 vote.


Also discussed at last Wednesday’s LAFCO meeting was Director Serrano’s ambitious work plan for the year, which will include release of his comprehensive examination of performance and service of six local water districts:

Water Districts (6 in total)–The six water districts in Santa Cruz County are the following: Central Water District, Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, Reclamation District (No. 2049), San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Scotts Valley Water District, and Soquel Creek Water District.

Tentative Hearing Date: A service and sphere review for all the water districts is scheduled to be presented to the Commission on August 3

He will also conduct a comprehensive review of the many County Service Area (CSA) special districts for road maintenance, so do contact Mr. Serrano if you live within these areas and have concerns or ideas:

Road CSAs(34 in total)–The 34road-related county service areas districts in Santa Cruz County are the following: CSA 13 (Hutchinson Road), CSA 15 (Huckleberry Woods), CSA 16 (Robak Drive), CSA 17 (Empire Acres), CSA 18 (Whitehouse Canyon), CSA 21 (Westdale), CSA 22 (Kelly Hill), CSA 23 (Old Ranch Road), CSA 24 (Pineridge), CSA 25 (View Point Road), CSA 26 (Hidden Valley), CSA 28 (Lomond Terrace), CSA 30 (Glenwood Acres), CSA 32 (View Circle), CSA 33 (Redwood Drive), CSA 34 (Larsen Road), CSA 35 (Country Estates), CSA 36 (Forest Glen), CSA 37 (Roberts Road), CSA 39 (Reed Street), CSA 40 (Ralston Way), CSA 41 (Loma Prieta Drive), CSA 42 (Sunlit Lane), CSA 43 (Bonita Encino), CSA 44 (Sunbeam Woods), CSA 46 (Pinecrest Drive), CSA 47 (Braemoor Drive), CSA 50 (The Vineyard),CSA 51 (Hopkins Gulch Road), CSA 52 (Upper Pleasant Valley), CSA 55 (Riverdale Park), CSA 56 (Felton Grove), CSA 58 (Ridge Drive), and CSA 59 (McGaffigan Bill Road).

Tentative Hearing Date: A service and sphere review for all the road-related CSAs is scheduled to be presented to the Commission on October 5.   


How strange that the County refuses to support and affiliate with the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), when it would be so simple and serve the rural County interests so well.  The Deputy CAO Ms. Nicole Coburn recently responded to a friend’s query about this, and listed other association affiliations that do not have the rural focus that the RCRC has.   The list also included CapitalEdge and another lobbyist that are very expensive.  Soquel Creek Water District pays CapitalEdge $40,000/year. 

Client Profile: Soquel Creek Water District

Several other Santa Cruz County governmental agencies hire the same agent.

The County of Santa Cruz pays him $80,000/year.

I don’t know how much the membership is, but would bet it is less than $80,000. Take a look at the Principles of the RCRC…it is comprehensive  


Please let the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) know what you think about this by February 25:

Community Input Sought on Aesthetic Features for Highway 1 Auxiliary Lanes Project


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).

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

February 13


Such a negative connotation, the term “Dead Wood.” The phrase makes you think about useless things that get in the way, and, in the terrible capitalist production context, unproductive people. Now, turn your mind away from this type of meaning and think instead of the dead wood of forests or the logs floating along in streams or lakes, log rafts in the ocean, or driftwood piled up on the beach. Dead wood in those contexts is what this essay is about. Why might dead wood be ecologically important or how can it be dangerous, and what should we do about it?

Presenting Food for Woodpeckers and Bears

For some, dead wood is promising. Up on the North Coast, I’ve been hearing the cackling calls of “Woody” (aka pileated) Woodpecker, here on the southern end of its range along the coast. Pileated woodpeckers have been well fed since the Lockheed Fire and are about to have great feasts and lots of homes as a result of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. And, it’s not just the pileated woodpeckers- round here there are also hairy, downy, Nuttall’s and acorn woodpeckers that will also benefit from lots of standing Dead Wood. Flickers will also enjoy lots of pecking space in the dead trees where millions of insects are burrowing through trunk and branch or gathering just under exfoliating bark. 

How much wood would a woodpeckers peck if the wood were specked upon the ground? Not much. But, if we had bears, they would tear that wood apart pronto. There are big, greasy, tasty grubs deep inside decomposing trees, whether they are standing or fallen over, and bears have the nose to sniff them and the paws to get at them. In bear country, you’ll often see shredded dead trees where bears have been foraging. 

Home is Where the Hole Is – Life in the Big Brown Pole

Dead Wood is home to many critters other than the bugs that feast on it. The insects, fungi, and bacteria make the dead wood soft enough to excavate into nest cavities for birds. The list of local nesting birds that need Dead Wood cavities to nest is long (at least 22 species as follows): Western bluebirds, owls- barn, Western screech, Northern saw-whet, Northern pygmy, and spotted… Northern flickers, woodpeckers- hairy, downy, Nuttall’s and acorn…American kestrels, swallows- both violet green and tree…purple martins, ash-throated flycatchers, chestnut backed chickadees, nuthatches: both white-breasted and pygmy…and finally wrens: winter, house, and Bewick’s.  Competing with those native birds for nest cavities are the increasingly burgeoning populations of house sparrows and European starlings. Each of these species has their own particular type of hole, varying in size, habitat, orientation, depth, etc. While the birds are nesting, other critters like cockroaches proliferate amongst the dank nesting material in the hole. After the birds have nested, mice or bats move in.

Home is Where the Hole Is – Life in the Rotting Log

Once the log is on the ground, animals scurry to claim it as territory. My favorite find in a rotting log is a rubber boa, a plain brown snake with an unusually wrinkly skin and blunt head. They really like snuzzling into the crumbliest of rotting wood. Another score when exploring rotting wood is the California salamander, an orange and brown bug-eyed friend that squinches into the spaces between bark and wood on fallen timber. Under the logs, there are still more species of snakes, salamanders, and much more. Back inside especially rotten logs, you can find mouse nests- piles of shredded bark, leaves, or grass tucked away to make an excavated tunnel cozy.

Wood Made Fish Holes

“Logjam” is another term with an unnecessarily unpleasant connotation, somewhat related to “Dead Wood.” Logjams in streams and rivers back up sediment and create waterfalls that carve downwards, creating cooler, deeper pools that fish love. More than that, these chunks of Dead Wood block up streamflow and force flow-carried sediment out of the stream to storage areas in the floodplain. Dead wood moves streams about to scour oxbow pools that are important for frogs, turtles, and salamanders.

Logs A’Hoy

If that Dead Wood isn’t permanently trapped along the stream or river, it ends up in the downstream lake, estuary, or ocean. Picture the lineup of Western pond turtles on a log jutting out into a freshwater lake: that’s their favorite place, basking in the sun ready to drop into the water if they feel unsafe. Logs scattered around an otherwise mud-banked estuary might serve as the solid substrate necessary for oysters and other estuarine organisms. Rafts of logs in the ocean or on rivers are boat hazards before they wash up on beaches. Once on the beach, Dead Wood gets its first nice nickname: ‘driftwood.’ Driftwood on the beach diversifies dunes, creates rare shade and shelter, and captures rafts of seaweed for huge compost piles, fueling insect abundance for foraging shorebirds. I like sitting on driftwood to keep my bottom from getting sandy or wet. Unfortunately, people like to burn up all the driftwood as if it had been just waiting for their bonfires, which create a pall of stinky saltwater smoke downwind.

Burning Log A’Fire

Throughout the fire-scarred forests of California, there are millions of big brown poles waiting to add fuel to the next fires. In the footprint of the Lockheed Fire where the CZU Fire burned, the heat was tremendous, the fire stoked by the Lockheed fire’s Dead Wood. Maybe after a few 10-year interval fires, the Dead Wood will be all cleared out and a forest can regrow more safely. Meanwhile, my hypothesis is that Dead Wood is mostly fuel for the next fire, at least around here.

Smokey the Bear

Now, what if we had bears? Would the log-shredding bears help with the decomposition process and at least somewhat reduce wildfire danger? Maybe that’s what made people think up Smokey the Bear to begin with.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

What’s just the right amount of dead wood? None of the native cavity nesting birds I mentioned are common enough to say we have enough standing dead wood, anywhere. In the streams and rivers, not enough logjamming is a problem for fish; too many logjams in the wrong places are a worry for human infrastructure (bridges, roads). Boaters don’t want any floating logs, at all. My friends the rubber boas need some rotting logs to replace the burned up ones in the CZU fire scar. Is there anything we can do to make sure we have the right amount of dead wood in the right places? Sure there is.

Wouldn’t it be nice if society supported more scientific inquiry? When was the last time you heard this question for a Congressional candidate: ‘How will you work to support funding for ecological science?’ A good answer would include federal funding for the National Science Foundation. Would you consider supporting the candidate with the best answer with your donations and your vote? We need better answers to the Dead Wood questions…and support for organizations like the Coastal Commission, CAL FIRE, parks agencies, land trusts, and state and federal wildlife agencies that integrate the Dead Wood answers into their decision making. It’s not what you thought it was: we all need Dead Wood.

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


February 13

#44 / On To Something


Ezra Klein is a one-time Banana Slug. That means, for any out-of-Santa-Cruz-County readers, that Klein was once a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Currently, Klein is working as an opinion columnist for The New York Times, and as a podcaster on Apple Podcasts. 

On January 16, 2022, The Times’ “Sunday Review” section devoted its entire last page to Klein’s essay, “Steve Bannon Is On to Something.”

Most of us know Bannon, pictured immediately below, as a thuggish associate of former president Donald J. Trump. Bannon remains thuggishly-involved in Republican Party politics, when he is not dodging subpoenas from the Congressional Committee investigating the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 (in which invasion, it appears, he may have had some significant involvement).

So, what is Bannon “on to,” as Klein puts it?

Well, Klein says that Bannon is “on to” the fact that political efforts at the local level are profoundly important. I would like to think that Klein’s appreciation of this political truth might be tied, at least in part, to Klein’s two-year residence in Santa Cruz, but I can’t swear that’s true. My own twenty years as a local government official, in Santa Cruz County, does validate Klein’s insight (and Bannon’s). 


Here is what Klein says in The New York Times (emphasis added): 

Hidalgo didn’t campaign as a firebrand progressive looking to defend Texas from Trump. She won it, she told me, by focusing on what mattered most to her neighbors: the constant flooding of the county, as violent storms kept overwhelming dilapidated infrastructure. “I said, ‘Do you want a community that floods year after year?'” She won, and after she won, she joined with her colleagues to spend $13 million more on election administration and to allow residents to vote at whichever polling place was convenient for them on Election Day, even if it wasn’t the location they’d been assigned. 

Protecting democracy by supporting county supervisors or small-town mayors — particularly ones who fit the politics of more conservative communities — can feel like being diagnosed with heart failure and being told the best thing to do is to double-check your tax returns and those of all your neighbors. 

“If you want to fight for the future of American democracy, you shouldn’t spend all day talking about the future of American democracy,” Wikler said. “These local races that determine the mechanics of American democracy are the ventilation shaft in the Republican death star. These races get zero national attention. They hardly get local attention. Turnout is often lower than 20 percent. That means people who actually engage have a superpower. You, as a single dedicated volunteer, might be able to call and knock on the doors of enough voters to win a local election.” 

Or you can simply win one yourself. That’s what Gabriella Cázares-Kelly did. Cázares-Kelly, a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, agreed to staff a voter registration booth at the community college where she worked, in Pima County, Ariz. She was stunned to hear the stories of her students. “We keep blaming students for not participating, but it’s really complicated to get registered to vote if you don’t have a license, the nearest D.M.V. is an hour and a half away and you don’t own a car,” she told me. 

Cázares-Kelly learned that much of the authority over voter registration fell to an office neither she nor anyone around her knew much about: the County Recorder’s Office, which has authority over records ranging from deeds to voter registrations. It had powers she’d never considered. It could work with the postmaster’s office to put registration forms in tribal postal offices — or not. When it called a voter to verify a ballot and heard an answering machine message in Spanish, it could follow up in Spanish — or not. 

“I started contacting the records office and making suggestions and asking questions,” Cázares-Kelly said. “I did that for a long time, and the previous recorder was not very happy about it. I called so often, the staff began to know me. I didn’t have an interest in running till I heard the previous recorder was going to retire, and then my immediate thought was, ‘What if a white supremacist runs?'” 

So in 2020, Cázares-Kelly ran, and she won. Now she’s the county recorder for a jurisdiction with nearly a million people, and more than 600,000 registered voters, in a swing state. “One thing I was really struck by when I first started getting involved in politics is how much power there is in just showing up to things,” she said. “If you love libraries, libraries have board meetings. Go to the public meeting. See where they’re spending their money. We’re supposed to be participating. If you want to get involved, there’s always a way.” 

So, be advised! Klein and Steve Bannon are definitely “on to something!” 

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

February 14


Last month, a lower court (two out of three being appointed by DJT) struck down a redistricting map drawn up by the Alabama Legislature, which they saw as a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibiting gerrymandering. This state map dilutes the voting power of the black citizens, so naturally, Alabama appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court; and in all likelihood, with the help of Hurricane Weatherwhiner Trump and his black Sharpie, the high court reinstated the legislature’s congressional map by using a ‘shadow docket,’ a temporary order to functionally change a law with no justifiable reason. Characterized as a stay while the court makes a final decision, the new districting will be in effect for at least the 2022 mid-terms, penalizing African-Americans who make up 27% of Alabama’s population. Even though Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the three liberal justices, he has lost control of the court, and the new ‘status quo’ appears to be how the court will eventually decide, as the five majority judges ‘consider’ the issue after a hearing in the new term. Anyone willing to place wagers on the outcome?

The RNC’s statement that the J6 insurrection was nothing more than ‘legitimate political discourse’ has produced a mixture of a Keystone Kops melee, and a stone-faced Buster Keaton attitude as the Banana Republicans try to come to terms with this declaration in support of violence. And, who can forget that as those events were happening on 1/6/21, the RNC released a statement strongly condemning the violence, and that the actions did not represent patriotic acts, but were an attack on our country and its founding principles. What the heck changed in a year? Napping Turtle Mitch McConnell returned to his earlier contention that it was an attempt to forcefully overturn to a legitimately decided election, while Ted Cruz, who recently called the events a ‘terrorist attack’ continues to backpedal, but can’t seem to decide where to land on the issue as he negotiates the slings and arrows of Tucker Carlson and ‘Old Crow’ Mitch. Splitting with DJT, Lindsey Graham says, “Throw the book at the perpetrators.” But then, he accuses the Biden of ‘politicizing’ the one-year anniversary of the happening, in the face of others who lazily maintain, “looked like a typical tourist day in D.C.” You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, so put down that black Sharpie!

With the continuing threats of violence, the taunting of honest political discourse by the gun lovers, many of our military generals warn of future insurrections, and many historians fear an outbreak of civil war, as the fascist element follows its slow-motion plan of a takeover. Even Hitler’s first attempt failed, so, was J6 simply a rehearsal? What are we to make of Marjorie Taylor ‘Gazpacho’ Greene’s ongoing raffles for heavy-duty weaponry, which Tucker Carlson bought into? And, what of the Christmas cards of Reps. Lauren Boebert and Thomas Massie, exhibiting their families as heavily-armed ‘patriots;’ and, Rep. Madison Cawthorn ostentatiously cleaning his gun during a virtual meeting of the Veterans Affairs Committee, being criticized as immature, lacking common sense, and feeling inadequate among the heroes who were on the call? Reminds one of Cheryl Wheeler’s song, ‘Don’t Forget the Guns,’ which has lyrics such as, ‘Bring the pistols, bring the Uzi and the old AR-15, We don’t look for trouble but by golly if we’re in it, it’s nice to know we’re free to blow nine hundred rounds a minute.’

The search is on for purloined papers, taken by the exiting Agent Orange Crime Syndicate as they left the White House prior to the Bidens moving in, fifteen cartons of which were found to be at the Mar-A-Lago bunker. After much negotiating, DJT agreed to release the stolen papers to the National Archives, many of which were marked ‘Secret’ and ‘Top Secret’; but, the kicker is that the ex-prez, was noted for ripping up and trashing any documents that he was done with personally, or throwing them into ‘burn bags.’ never to be seen again. One associate claims that toilets were occasionally clogged from ripped-up documents that Baby Fingers tried to dispose of for whatever reason. Or, as New Yorker writer, Borowitz writes, a customer who purchased a My Pillow duvet found it to be stuffed with White House letters and documents…Mike Lindell strikes again!

So, never forget Trump’s words on 4/4/18 as Chinese President Xi Jinping consolidated his own power, “He’s now president for life. President for life! No, he’s great, and look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday”. And the crime spree continues unabated!

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

    National Presidents Day

falls on the third of February or…Monday February 21st.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.”
~Woodrow Wilson

 “We must work to bind up the wounds of a suffering world — to build an abiding peace, a peace rooted in justice and in law.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
~James Madison


Being a big fan of light (lots of light, ALL the light!!) when you do things inside, I’ve frequently pondered how hard it must have been in, say, medieval times. Candles aren’t great for lighting, and you know poor peasants didn’t have candles, but it turned out they did have other options!

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!
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