Blog Archives

February 9 – 15, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…more on Rail and Trail, film critiques, Live Here Now. GREENSITE…on Woodside, Cougars and SB9. KROHN…Empty Homes Tax, Our Downtown, Our Future. Cal Care. STEINBRUNER…Greenway and Koenig, Soquel Creek Water Decision, recycled ground water, County Re-hab facility, goats and railroads. HAYES… EARLY SPRING FOREST UNDERSTORY BLOSSOMS. PATTON…Lots of Love for Martha Schwartz. MATLOCK…Black History month, Lewis Carrol. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”VALENTINES”

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SANTA CRUZ PUBLIC LIBRARY September 12, 1966. The city tore down our Carnegie Library (one of the 1689 Carnegie built in the USA). As you can almost see it was in the same place as the one that some folks want to rip down again. That’s the once upon a time funeral home across the street, now the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE February 7

RAIL AND TRAIL CONTINUED. There’s been so much back and forth on this issue I wanted to give a new summary. Mark Mesiti-Miller sent this email and I’m hoping more and more folks can see the light at the end of this winding tunnel. 

“I’m hearing a lot of the same old GW (Greenway) baloney talking points these days. As a professional civil engineer with more than 3 decades of experience working on complex public works infrastructure projects, I offer the following:

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COSTS:

It is phenomenal how big the rail line repair costs have suddenly become $20M, $50M, no wait $65M – oh dear that is more money than Measure D will ever raise. 

Never mind that the last actual rail bridge repair project (the bridge over the Pajaro River) was fully, 100% paid by outside funding. Never mind that all the 2017 storm damage repairs that “cost” many millions of dollars are being 100% paid by FEMA. 

It is the same story with the costs of repairing the rail line (never mind that the reported repair costs have never been substantiated). The fact is that while the “cost” of the repairs might actually be $20M – $65M, outside funding will typically cover the lion’s share of the “cost” with the local share of the “cost” being some fraction of the actual cost. Sometimes the local share of the cost is ZERO – to wit the recent Pajaro River rail bridge repair. Sometimes it is more: 5%, 10% even 20% or 25% but it is rarely, for all practical purposes, ever 100%. 

Let’s see how this would work in a hypothetical: Let’s just say repair costs total $50M. Now let’s just say outside funding will only cover 50% of the costs, unlikely but let’s go with it. The local share of the costs of repair are only $25M. Hmmm, now we check our Measure D funded bank account and find we have $70M in the account ($70M is not a made-up figure, but a recently reported figure from the RTC). Truth is, the RTC can easily pay for the needed repairs to the line. 

Lastly, IMO, if the RTC maintains the SCBRL as a “freight” corridor, there will be far more outside funding available to make the repairs than if the line is abandoned and railbanked. 

FOCUS ON THIS:
The fastest way to get the rail trail built and keep all the options open for the future is to build the trail and maintain the rail line as is, more specifically as a freight (and everything else capable) rail line. Anything else sells our future short, jeopardizes our communities’ health and well-being, hurts our children and grandchildren by condemning them to a world full of cars without any attractive alternatives, fails to address (actually sustains and supports) the economic/racial inequity between the 80% brown south county residents who only have HALF the per capita income of the 80% white north county, and actually makes our global warming, GHG emissions worse, much worse.”

Go here for Santa Cruz County Friends of the Rail & Trail, railandtrail.org/ 

Here is the Scotts Valley Rotary view of Rail and Trail…plus  Mark Mesiti-Miller’s qualifications. 

Check out Coast Connect

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.

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.

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 etc.) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.  

CASUSALITY. (PRIME SINGLE). (5.4IMDB). The original title is Causa Lidad and it’s an Argentine production. A beautiful woman is waiting for her date, gets drugged, and hidden inside a nearby hospital where she’s brutalized and mystified. Who has been the guilty kidnapper? One by one everybody in the film is exposed and cleared and the guilty party is so unbelievable you’ll hate it. The film was filmed all in one continuous take so there is that positive note but skip it.

THE WOMAN IN THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW. (NETFLIX SINGLE) (6.5 IMDB). It’s listed as a comedy, crime, drama but more than that it’s a flop as a comedy, crime or drama. I watched all 8 one half hour episodes on a binge and I don’t know why. Maybe because Kristen Bell is fascinating and there are so many cliff hangers but it just never reaches whatever it’s trying to be. Maybe a murder is committed, maybe Kristen is just crazy, or drunk and maybe you have something better to do….go for it! Do note that Glenn Close has a three second appearance at the end which means they are hoping to make a series out of it.

THE FALLOUT. (HBO MAX SINGLE). (7.2 IMDB). This film should be required viewing for any student or parent involved in a school shootout. It starts with two high school girl students in the school bathroom as they hear the dreaded shootings from some gunman. The rest of the film is the effect it has on these two students. There’s the guilt over what could have happened as well as the fear that it could happen again at any moment. Whether or not you’ve been involved this is a film that should be widely watched. 

PARALLEL MOTHERS. Penelope Cruz has made eight films with Pedro Almodovar and this is one of their best. It’s a complex story about two mothers one about 17 years old and Cruz who’s near 40.and the issues they face raising their daughters both born about the same time and in the same place. It’s hard to critique without giving up spoilers. More of Almodovar’s regular stars have featured roles and it’s so well acted, produced and filmed that you really should see it on the big screen.

MY FATHER’S VIOLIN. (NETFLIX SINGLE) (6.2 IMDB). A very old style heart tugging story of a young daughter whose father dies leaving her with her uncle who is a classical violinist. She plays violin too and is just too precious to care about. It’s a Turkish film and has some popular awfully familiar semi classic pieces as background. You could and should fine something else to cry over.

PHOTOCOPIER. (NETFLIX SINGLE) (7.0 IMDB). (100RT) An Indonesian high tech thriller about a high school girl whose nude party photocopier photos go viral. We then watch while she and some friends try to find out who did the deed. It’ involves her acting class who are trying to stage and travel with a performance of Medusa. Much recommended.

FLEE. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (98RT) (8.1RT). An unusual drama that is about half animated, half real about a guy from Afghanistan who is going through therapy. He’s been keeping a secret that I won’t reveal and it’ll keep you on edge and even teary while it’s delivered. It’s deep, revealing and certainly worth your time.

THE GILDED AGE. (HBO MAX SERIES). (81RT). There’s only been one episode released of this series written and directed and copied after the enormously successful Downtown Abbey.

This take place in the upper classes of New York City around 1892. It stars Cynthia Nixon from Sex and The City and Christine Baranski from Momma Mia. We see the usual series opener that quickly hints at all the future dramas involving each of the main characters. I couldn’t buy into it yet, it’s too formal, too stiff, and lacking the personalities that Downtown Abbey had. 

 

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THE JEWEL THEATRE COMPANY presents…

“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.

 

SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL…

The Festival engaged the Baroque opera soprano sensation from Australia who has just relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, Bethany Hill. The concert and talk starts at 6:45 on February 5. It’s her western states American debut! Linda Burman-Hall will be playing harpsichord. Her program, includes Elizabethan lute songs, rarely heard music from the female early Baroque radical composers Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi, haunting Purcell songs and everyone’s favorite, Dido’s Lament. Also we have changed the location, to Messiah Lutheran Church, 801 High Street, close to the main UCSC gate so that we can live cast the in person concert.  A pre-concert talk will be held starting at 6:45, included with the ticket   https://scbaroque.org/ for tickets. 

 

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February 7

PUMA PONDERS ITS PROSPECTS

Way to go Woodside! Whatever the merits of announcing itself exempt from recently enacted Senate Bill 9 by claiming to be habitat for endangered cougars, the attempt by this small town of 5,500 was nixed by CA Attorney General Rob Bonta who declared it illegal with swift action for non-compliance.

SB9 is one of the many recently enacted housing bills signed into law by Governor Newsom. It is widely considered the most controversial since it eliminates single-family zoning. There are some exceptions written into the bill but cougars are not among them.

Where there is currently a single house on a single-family zoned lot, SB9 allows a subdivision of that lot for a total of four houses, with no discretionary review by the local council or planning department. None of the new houses is required to be affordable. All will be market rate. This, despite AP headlines on the Woodside case stating: CA town not exempt from affordable state housing law. If you swallow that misinformation you probably will also tut-tut at the fact that Woodside is wealthy and white. Senator Tony Atkins was the force behind SB9 along with Senator Scott Wiener. Atkins Fact Sheet repeats the claim that the new houses will be affordable. Even a million dollar house is affordable to someone but Atkins statement that such new houses will be affordable to low and moderate-income families is unfounded unless limited to areas such as Barstow. If you believe the extra 3 houses will sell for well below market rate since additional land does not need to be bought, you are forgetting about profit, speculation and equity…not social equity but investment equity.

This legislation was spurred by the success of past legislation encouraging the building of ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units) in single-family neighborhoods. It would help if data were gathered to show whether such housing has achieved affordability goals. Without that data we are left with anecdotal evidence such as from senior city planning staff who said at a recent council hearing on housing issues: “I can’t believe what rents people are asking for ADU’s!” Not an encouraging revelation.

At least Woodside tried to fight back against this real estate-developer-speculator- backed law. At least Gilroy and many other cities have objective standards in place, the sole discretion left in local hands. The city of Santa Cruz has done neither.  

If you live in a single-family home with a single family home on either side of your property and at back you are surrounded by three houses. If you are lucky they are all single story so you have some privacy and sunlight. Now imagine being surrounded by twelve houses on the same square footage of land, which is allowed under SB9 without any input from you. If you are unlucky they are all two-story. Of course you can also jump on the bandwagon since the value of your piece of dirt in Santa Cruz with one house will quadruple with four houses, each selling for over a million dollars. 

The Turner Center at UC Berkeley did a study on the potential impacts of SB9 and concluded that the impact will be minimal since most current owners of single-family homes will not want to add three extra houses on their property. However, 54% of single-family homes in Santa Cruz are non-owner occupied, which means they are largely rentals, generating profit for the owner who might live in town or LA or China. While I may balk at three extra houses on my piece of dirt, if I lived elsewhere and this was investment property, adding an additional three houses would be a lucrative proposition. There is a clause in SB9 for the applicant to sign an affidavit that they will live onsite for 3 years but enforcement is not mentioned and 3 years is not long. Chances are high that in a town with similar demographics to Santa Cruz, the density impacts of this bill will be significant. If you are into density you might ask yourself whether this will make housing more or less affordable and whose interests it serves.

Back to the cougar. I recently attended a zoom presentation from the UCSC Puma Project. Our increasing human intrusion into their territory, crisscrossed by our roads and rail corridors is significantly impacting their breeding viability due to the reduced territorial range and reduced gene pool for offspring success. Even our human voices impact their ease of movement driving them into smaller and smaller territories. Yes we are planning a tunnel on Highway 17 but is it enough?

So far, Newsom’s housing bills have done little more than appease the real estate, developer and building trades’ interests. We cannot build our way into affordability, that much is clear. Only massive state and federal subsidies will lead to affordable housing without the attached market rate add-ons that raise the AMI making real affordability ever more out of reach. Or, as was enacted by New Zealand decades ago, a moratorium on housing as a speculative commodity. The latter would prevent the overbuilding of market rate housing to fill investment portfolios, preserving what’s left of a town’s character and leaving a little breathing room and territory for the cougars. 

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

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February 7  

HISTORY OF SANTA CRUZ PROGRESSIVES, PART II

Sign the Petitions

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 has already been approved by the electorate in the cities of Oakland, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. The other petition is Our Downtown, Our Future (ODOF), also represents a significant step in direct democracy. 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 to make way for the ugly carbon footprint of a cement parking garage, and 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.

The Struggle

At the outset of gathering signatures for these two initiatives, I thought the Empty Homes Tax was a complete slam dunk. I mean, how many people own more than one home, and if they do, how many of them leave it vacant? Very few, but enough to make a difference to those desperately looking to rent in the crazy Surf City housing market. I figured, as I outlined above, the ODOF measure might be too complicated and that people would not sign the petition because of its many moving parts. But what I have been encountering is that many registered voters do indeed want their Farmer’s Market, which they deeply love, given the attention and admiration it deserves, and they don’t want a last-century parking garage. Locals enjoy the shade of the heritage trees during their Wednesday produce shopping strolls through the market and they vote. Somewhat surprisingly, it is very difficult not to find signers of the ODOF petition. It’s not exactly like shooting fish in a barrel, but close. On the other hand, the el loco property rights fringe somehow thinks what they own will be somehow impacted by the EHT initiative. This marginalized group has its origins in the moneyed world we saw come out during the anti-Measure M (rent control) campaign. They are planting divisive anti-government messages that are rippling across the minds of some voters through Facebook and Next Door. Will they raise another $million dollars$ to try to defeat EHT?

Bottom Line

There’s over 38,000 registered voters in the city of Santa Cruz. Both of these campaigns need only 10% of those demos denizens to qualify for the ballot. Of course, some think it’s somehow easy to obtain those signatures, but it’s not. It takes real grit, and some courage, to consistently show up 2, 3, or 4 hours a week at the Farmer’s Market or outside of Shopper’s Corner and Whole Paycheck and talk to people about city issues. I walked a voting precinct this past Saturday that included the infamous, Cypress Point Apartments. “Infamous” because as someone who has worked with college students and heard their struggles about paying rent in this town, this is the one place that rises to near the top of expensive, poor management, won’t fix things in a timely way, and “just ain’t worth it” categories. Consequently, people are always moving in and out. I was buoyed on the signature-gathering tour by hearing stories of what, mostly young people, pay for these rather modest apartments. One couple was forking over $2400 for a studio; another couple, with a third roommate was paying $2800 for a one-bedroom, and finally, there were four registered voters living in a two-bedroom and paying $3200 per month. I write buoyed because I feel that the goals of both these initiatives is to either acquire or build more affordable housing so a place like this one cannot continue to gouge young people during these critical years of their educational lives.  Get involved here and here. Schedule to sign the petitions here and here.

Dark Day for Healthcare in the Golden State:

CalCare Thrown Back into the Toilet

Or under the bus, or wherever else certain state legislators get rid of what they perceive as progressive trash. We are more than two years into a pandemic and the Left Coast lawmakers can’t find the cajones to pass single-payer healthcare. Ash Kalra from San Jose is perhaps the most progressive member of the California State Assembly. Kalra was the chief sponsor, along with a couple of Bay Area heavyweight legislators including David Chiu and Phil Ting of AB 1400, “Guaranteed Health Care for All.” Yes, that bill, single payer/universal healthcare for all Californians. It was going to start here in the Golden State, the we-can-get-it-done chutzpah after it stumbled so badly in the Obamacare discussions when it was called the “Public Insurance Option,” The public option would have had the government competing with private insurers in the marketplace, whereas CalCare actually contemplates replacing private insurers, and maybe that’s why it could not even get one hearing in front of the full assembly.

This bill, the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act, would create the California Guaranteed Health Care for All program, or CalCare, to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. 

Kalra saw he did not have the votes, so he pulled it from the state assembly floor on Jan. 31st. Do legislators care more about disappointing the chamber of commerce or the California Nurses Association? Guess? Kalra plans on bringing it back, but will there be a different outcome? Likely not, and it one of the reasons so many young people are defecting from the Democratic Party, or just not signing up. They check the box labelled, NPP, or “No Party Preference,” when they register to vote. Who wants to a member of a party that is all single-cell protozoans? So many in the current Dem Party are missing spinal columns. By the way, NPP gets checked more often than the R-word on registration forms. Will NPP soon overtake the Dems too? With more votes like this, it very well might. Kalra could’ve gotten a negative assembly floor vote, but likely he did not want to embarrass (?) fellow legislators who are dependent on the American Medical Association, chamber of commerce, and insurance industry largesse. It was a sad day for both the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and for all of us struggling to overcome past healthcare debts and hoping for quality healthcare in the future.

Post script Yes, that “Part II, History of the Santa Cruz Progressives” will have to wait one more week. Seems like actual practice got in the way of theory this week.

“It’s shameful how both parties fight tooth + nail to defend their ability to pump endless public money into militarization. From tanks in police depts. to corrupt military contracts, funding this violence is bipartisan + non-controversial, yet healthcare + housing isn’t. It’s BS.” (Feb. 5)

The above is one of my favorites, ever, by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. She speaks also of the BearCat Tank that the SCPD operates, and who among us will say NO to the local police department?

In Memoriam

Some 75-people gathered on Zoom this past Sunday to remember Sylvia Caras who is pictured (photo by Alex Darocy) above on the steps of the county courthouse supporting the Santa Cruz 11 after they were arrested back in 2012 for occupying a local abandoned bank building on River Street. Sylvia was a much-beloved activist who spoke up for those experiencing homelessness, mental health crises, and human rights violations. She will be missed.

What’s wrong with this picture? I recently received a glossy brochure in a glossy mailer with a glossy button from our liberal U.S. Senator, Alex Padilla. These items will occupy a landfill for a thousand years. What do the Democrats not get about their responsibility and behavior vis-a-vis waste and climate change? Along with Padilla, our earth is also “coming in hot.”

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

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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February 7

SUPERVISOR MANU KOENIG SHOULD HAVE RECUSED HIMSELF FROM GREENWAY PETITION DEBATE  
Chairman Manu Koenig was the Executive Director of Greenway until shortly before launching his 2020 Supervisorial campaign, and he was well-funded by wealthy Greenway proponents.  This was made clear in public testimony, and questioned by Supervisor Greg Caput.  So, why didn’t he recuse himself from the discussion and ultimate vote of the Board on this matter, as a member of the public requested and Supervisor Greg Caput hinted??? 

 Last Tuesday’s County Board of Supervisor debate about what to do with the Greenway Petition included Chairman Manu Koenig’s declaration that “It is high time to put this matter before the voters.”  

Supervisor Zach Friend recused himself immediately from the discussion, because he owns property within 500′ of the rail line.

Ultimately, the vote of 4-0 supported staff reporting back to the Board by March 2 with analysis of the initiative’s potential impacts on land use, housing, infrastructure, parks and schools.  Supervisors McPherson and Coonerty made that motion, citing that the public needs clear information about how the initiative would affect the County General Plan (which has not been updated since 1994, by the way) and the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan, which is still undergoing environmental analysis by Dudek consultants and no Draft EIR has been released. 

 So what will be the measuring stick for staff’s analysis of the Greenway Initiative???  

In my opinion, on March 8, when the Board votes on this matter, Supervisors Manu Koenig and Zach Friend should both recuse themselves from any further action on this matter.  Supervisor Greg Caput clearly stated he is against the Greenway Initiative because it is unfair to the South County residents.  The ultimate vote regarding what to do with the Initiative will require a vote of three Supervisors.  Stay tuned for the unfolding drama…..   

 You can watch last Tuesday’s (Feb.2) debate, which included excellent public comment from many perspectives (click on Item #10) 

NO JUSTICE RENDERED IN SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT DECISION.
Last week, the Judge did not bother to take time to read any of my legal argument and supporting documents that could have saved me from having to borrow hundreds of dollars more than I had to, in order to call off the Soquel Creek Water District’s legal attack on my family member.  I took emergency action in court, submitting the documentation to the Court in advance of the hearing, but the Judge did not review anything, and in fact, asked Soquel Creek Water District’s attorney for her interpretation of the legal question I managed to present in oral argument before he rushed the proceedings to closure.  He agreed with her non-sensical opinion.

The legal issues were: 

1) Is payment marked “paid in full” submitted for an amount that is less than the debt but an administrative error declares is the “remaining balance” is paid and  accepted by the agency legally acceptable as full payment of the debt?  In this case, the District accepted my $50 payment, acknowledged the payment with a statement that I owed $46.45, for a total of $96.45 when their attorney wanted me to pay $3313.00.  I paid the $96.45 and marked “paid in full”, and the District did not dispute or reject the payment.  

2) Can Soquel Creek Water District legally charge me 10% interest on court filing fees ($715 in this case) when the District has never had to pay the filing fees to the Court?

The judge asked the attorney from Soquel Creek Water District what her interpretation of the law that prohibits interest collection on the filing fee for which the District is exempt from paying but has discretion to collect for the Court.  This meant me paying $550 more than I should have had to pay.

The judge admitted he had not seen any of my documentation. 

He ruled I had to pay the maximum amount…$3400.58, in order to immediately call off the impending Soquel Creek Water District’s action to viciously interrogate my family member regarding family finances.  

The Soquel Creek Water District’s attorney (who for a change, participated via Zoom and did not fly up from Riverside for the day for a personal appearance) claimed she did not receive service of my documents, even though she was electronically served them two hours previous (at my cost of $51.36 at FedEx).

The next day, when I questioned the Court Clerk about why the Judge did not receive my documents.  She assured me that he HAD received them, BUT HE HAD NOT TAKEN TIME TO READ HIS E-MAILS BEFORE COMING TO COURT.  

“You got a judgment from the Court, what’s the problem?” she asked?  The problem is that there was no justice allowed me for the matter that could have significantly lowered the amount of money I have had to borrow, in order to protect my family’s health and well-being.  All because Judge Volkmann could not be bothered to read his e-mail before coming into the Court to rule on my emergency request.

At least, I can take comfort in the fact that my family member is not in the hospital with a stress-induced heart attack….and that the $350/hour attorney for Soquel Creek Water District finally chose to appear in Court on Zoom, rather than fly up from Riverside for the day.

However, I really have to wonder why Ron Duncan, General Manager for the District, refused to sign my Receipt of Acknowledgement of Payment when I delivered the $3400.58 money order to his office later in the day?  In fact, he threatened to call the police when I repeatedly asked him to sign.  Isn’t that something???

WHAT HAPPENED IN ORANGE COUNTY GROUNDWATER WHEN RECYCLED WATER WAS INJECTED
When a project similar to the Soquel Creek Water District’s Modified PureWater Soquel Project happened in Orange County, contaminants showed up in the groundwater, including arsenic and carcinogenic NDMA, a disinfection by-product.  The same thing happened in other areas of Northern California.  

Will Soquel Creek Water District cause the groundwater in the MidCounty to also become contaminated?

How will this affect the two small water mutuals (Pine Tree Lane Mutual and Bluff Mutual) and private wells nearby and downstream of the groundwater flow?

One of the many big problems with the Modified PureWater Soquel Project is what will happen when Soquel Creek Water District pressure-injects treated sewage water into the pristine waters of the Purisima Aquifer.  The District to date has released no FINAL Anti-Degradation Analysis of the Project, and refuses to do so, even though such analysis is required by State law. 

District staff boldly state the water injected will meet all state drinking water regulations, but what they do NOT admit is that there are many contaminants, such as carcinogenic NDMA, pharmaceuticals and hormones, that are under investigation but not yet regulated by the State. 

Read more about the problem in Orange County and a study that shows how the problem can be addressed:

Does NDMA Biodegrade at Ground-Water Recharge Facilities?

Read about carcinogenic NDMA found in groundwater in Northern California near projects like the Modified PureWater Soquel Project: 

[NDMA and Other Nitrosamines – Drinking Water Issues]

In 1998 N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was found in a drinking water well in northern California. NDMA was subsequently found elsewhere (including groundwater recharge projects), and also found to be a byproduct of drinking water treatment (see studies). There’s more on the NDMA history page.

Given the NDMA detections associated with drinking water sources and treatment, NDMA is a good candidate for future regulation (i.e., establishment of a drinking water standard, also known as a maximum contaminant level or MCL). 

Informational sheet on NDMA…most labs cannot detect low levels of the contaminant. 

Preliminary analyses suggested that NDMA’s presence in drinking water was related to disinfection processes, but very limited data were available, and often they appeared to be inconclusive. In November 1999, DHS initiated studies with drinking water utilities to investigate the occurrence of NDMA in raw, treated and distributed water, the role water quality and treatment processes may play in the production of NDMA, and the possible extent of NDMA production at various steps in the water treatment process.

In April 2000, the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and the Water Environment Foundation released a Request for Proposal for the study of factors affecting the formation of NDMA in water and occurrence. In May 2000, two wells in Orange County had NDMA at concentrations of approximately 0.03 to 0.04 µg/L, and were taken out of service.

A nearby groundwater recharge operation involving injection of treated wastewater contained NDMA in its injected water. DHS informed the wastewater treatment plant that its activities were impairing groundwater, and directed them to reduce the levels of NDMA accordingly. 

In May 2000, a system in Los Angeles County found NDMA in its groundwater sources at concentrations of 0.032 to 0.076 µg/L, apparently associated with chemicals formerly produced in the aerospace industry. 

In June 2000, a system in Los Angeles County found NDMA at about 0.03 µg/L, apparently related to resins used in water treatment for nitrate removal. In June 2000, also in Los Angeles County, NDMA at concentrations of 0.049 and 0.074 µg/L (duplicates) and 0.091 µg/L was found in treated wastewater that was blended for use as groundwater recharge.

Soquel Creek Water District has been forced to modify the PureWater Soquel Project multiple times because the secondary treated sewage water that will be the supply source has much higher nitrite, ammonia and total organic carbon than was known when the District certified the original Project EIR in 2018.  As a result, those major design changes delayed construction start-up by eight-months.

Here is the EPA information about NDMA, an unregulated contaminant…

Second Unregulated Contaminant Rule

Please write Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors and demand a FINAL AntDegradation Analysis be conducted and publicly released (the 2018 EIR only included a Draft version that has never been finalized for accuracy):

Email: bod@soquelcreekwater.org 

  • Mail: Board of Directors, P.O. Box 1550, Capitola, CA 95010

The groundwater model showing impacts of the injection well at Twin Lakes Church states that if contamination is detected in the monitoring well, the Soquel Creek Water District will provide bottled water to the nearby private well owners and small water mutual customers.  The district changed the location of the monitoring well to the Cabrillo College Drive public right-of-way….but did not publicly release any modification to the groundwater model related to the injected treated sewage water Project.

Here are some photos:

CONTAMINATED WELL WATER AT COUNTY REHAB FACILITY IN WATSONVILLE
Last Tuesday (Feb.2) correspondence to the Board of Supervisors included notification from Michael Beaton, Director of General Services, that the well water serving the County’s Rountree Correctional Rehab Facility (next to the Buena Vista County Dump) is contaminated with PFOA at levels that exceed state drinking water notification levels.

PFOA has been linked to various types of cancer, liver damage and immune system problems:

WebMB: What is PFOA?

The notification level for PFOA is 5.1 parts per trillion. DDW did not find that the levels of PFOA detected at Rountree Correctional Rehab Facility met or exceed the response level for PFOA, which is 10 parts per trillion. 

 The origin of the contaminant in the Sheriff’s Rehab water supply at this time is presently unknown but is being investigated by County staff in collaboration with the State Board Water Resources Control Board and other agencies. Additional information will be provided in the Consumer Confidence Report that will be released next year. Based on the current evaluation of recent human and animal toxicity data, exposure to PFOA and PFOS in tap water over certain levels may result in adverse health effects including hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity, thyroid toxicity, reproductive toxicity, pancreatic and liver cancer. 

Is the County planning to treat the water before the inmates and staff drink it?  We should.
Write your Supervisor and Sheriff Jim Hart to demand it be done.

WILL JOINING THE PLANNING DEPT. WITH PUBLIC WORKS IMPROVE PUBLIC SERVICE?
Why does Santa Cruz County management feel a Public Works and Planning merger to form the Unified Permit Center will improve efficiency and public service when Monterey County’s identical 15-year experiment had to be disbanded because it was just too big?

Last week, the County Board of Supervisors, in “accepting a report”, actually approved merging these two large departments with glowing testimony from Public Works Director Matt Machado that because the two share the fourth floor, they should be one department.  Although no real process changes were outlined, Mr. Machado answered Chairman Manu Koenig’s question about a possible fee Ombudsman with a declaration that there will be a “Unified Permit Center Floor Manager” hired to make sure things go smoothly for the customers.  That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Resident Marilyn Garrett testified that when Monterey County tried this experiment, it had not gone well there, and after 15 years, the departments were separated in 2020.  She urged the Santa Cruz County Supervisors to pause their decision and investigate whether to repeat the same mistake.

[Monterey Herald Article]

Did the Board pay any attention or ask questions of staff?  Nope. Was there a cost/benefit analysis?  Nope.  Was there an estimate of what it will cost to remodel the 4th Floor of the County Building? Nope…that will happen at the June budget hearings.

Will this really improve customer service?  Let’s hope so.

Watch the video of what happened (item #9)

CHANGING THE COUNTY’S PLUMBING CODE TO SUPPORT LOW WATER USAGE
The County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing February 15 to change the County Plumbing codes, changing the Current sizing metrics required of developers to install pipes that exceed the size necessary for modern-day low-flow fixtures and appliances. The development of the Peak Water Demand Calculator (PWDC), referenced in Appendix M of the 2019 California Plumbing Code, fixes this inefficiency. The PWDC accurately forecasts peak water demand in residential buildings, including single and multi-family dwellings, and therefore, Appendix M is proposed for adoption.

Perhaps we can all write to the Board and ask that the plumbing code also include required double plumbing to support higher water conservation practices for new construction.  

MORE REMOTE CAMERAS WATCHING FOR WILDFIRES
This was on the Board of Supervisor Consent Agenda last Tuesday, as Item #30:

As part of the County Settlement agreement with PG&E two new ALERTCamera’s are being installed, the locations for these new cameras will be at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz and at the Watsonville Airport. These two sites will be operational in time for the start of the 2022 fire season.  

Another location that has been identified and funded through a generous donation will be located at the Silver Mountain Winery off Summit Road. This site will likely be operational by the start of the 2022 fire season as well.

 With the addition of these 3 new locations our total number of ALERTWildfire Camera’s inside the County boundary will be 6.  There are more than 7 additional sites that can look into Santa Cruz County.

DOC-2022-114 Accept and file report on ALERTWildfire camera system expansion in Santa Cruz County, direct staff to return on or before June 2022 with continued status update, implementation strategy and budget requirements, as recommended by the Dire

Take a look at the other existing sites. 

ORANGE MAP II?  PURPLE MAP II?  YOUR MAP?
This Thursday (Feb.10) at 9am may be your last chance to weigh in on boundary lines for Central Fire District’s new method for electing the five-member Board of Directors.  It matters because the Board that represents you decides how the money is spent, what the policies are about weed abatement and inspections, and oversees the actions of the Chief. 

It also affects the chances of new people getting on the Board.  There are two seats up for election this November.  

Remember…you don’t have to be an “expert” or a retired firefighter to serve the public on this Board.  Some of the best critical thinking and resulting actions on other similar Boards comes from sincerely-interested and informed people who really care, and are willing to ask questions of staff.  This really benefits the public. 

02/10/22 Board Meeting

GOATS ON THE RAILROAD TRACKS
The Santa Cruz RTC voted to try using goats for vegetation management along the railroad tracks, with a three locations chosen for the pilot project, happening now.

Work will take place February 4 through March 1 in these locations, starting in Aptos:

  • Aptos (Doris Avenue to Sandalwood Drive)
  • Capitola (Coronado Street to Wesley Street)
  • Live Oak (38th Avenue to 17th Avenue)

The work will require use of electric fencing, goat herders, and herding dogs, all of which will also be on the railroad right-of-way.

Goats for vegetation control

Much better than noisy mowing machines and better for clean air!

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER. PARTICIPATE IN ONE MEETING….YOU CAN MAKE A BIGGER DIFFERENCE THAN YOU THINK.

Cheers, Becky

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

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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February 6

EARLY SPRING FOREST UNDERSTORY BLOSSOMS.

If you are observant, the forest’s meandering and dappled light is just now illuminating the beginning of spring’s wildflowers. Patches of bright blue, pure white, pale pink, and startling yellow are the first of the sequence of forest understory flowers that bloom now through August in the Central Coast’s many types of forests.

Hound’s Tongue’s Leaves and Flowers

Perhaps named for the pink, in-rolled first leaves emerging from damp leaf litter, hound’s tongue provides the forest’s tallest and brightest blue bouquets. This is a perennial wildflower most commonly found in sunnier patches in forests with oaks and Douglas firs. It must taste bad because I never see it browsed by deer or rodents. A California wildflower book from 1897 says that ‘in the old days’ people thought you could put the leaves under your feet in your shoes and then dogs wouldn’t bark at you. Many gardeners are familiar with a near look-alike relative, borage. The healthiest plants make many flowers, widely spaced on a branching two-foot-tall inflorescence. Today, I saw bumble bees, honeybees, and hover flies visiting the flowers. Bumble bees were especially numerous, and when they latch onto the flowers, which are much smaller than they are, the whole plant bobs and waves, drawing attention from other pollinators. One plant in a hundred produces light purple-pink blossoms instead of the normal blue. This makes me wonder if we are witnessing the blue era of hound’s tongue…maybe one day eons from now, this species will evolve purple or red flowers.

Hooked Fruit

If they get pollinated, each hound’s tongue flower will make a cluster of 4 fruit that hang tight to the stem until they snag on a passing animal. Starting late Spring, a forest walk will make you clean your clothes, and in that mass of messy seeds pinched from your socks, you might encounter these wild borage seeds. The seeds are oval and fat with just enough hooks to grab onto someone’s fur. These hitchhiking seeds are the species’ way of establishing new patches, reducing competition with the parents. This might be especially useful when new colonies might establish in post fire areas. 

Catapulting Seeds

Another plant starting to bloom in the forest understory catapults its seeds for dispersal. Once ripe, the fleshy pods explode when touched, sending seeds into the air and many feet away. Since I’ve introduced this surprising behavior to many botanists, I’m guessing you’ll also be surprised about which plant has this trick: redwood sorrel! Yes, a plant with which many people are familiar performs this little-known novelty. You’ll have to get good at recognizing a ripe seed pod before you can experience it.

Sparkling Sorrel

With the recent dry, warm weather, redwood sorrel has started to carpet the redwood forest understory with beautiful pink to white blossoms mixed with its lush medium green, 3-leafleted leaves. Come Saint Patrick’s Day, you might purchase sorrel or see it displayed, but you’ll never find a 4-leaved redwood sorrel (really, shamrocks are clovers, and it is possible to find a four-leaved clover!) In full sun on a hot day, redwood sorrel leaves fold down to keep from roasting. But, in the more typical cool dark understory, each leaflet tilts and turns, orienting independently to maximize light capture with the passing sun rays. The flowers open above the leaves and soon there will be so many redwood sorrel flowers that the forest floor will sparkle like the many stars of the night sky.

More White Forest Flowers

Another white to pink early spring forest flower is in full bloom right now, growing on the edge of patches of redwood and out into Douglas fir and oak groves. Milk maids is a relative of cress and has bright 4-petaled flowers, normally quite white (but ones near my house are quite pink). The description of this plant from the aforementioned 1897 book by Mary Parsons ‘The Wild Flowers of California’ deserves quoting:

“What a rapture we always feel over this first blossom of the year! – not only for its own sake, but for the hopes and promises it holds out, the visions it raises of spring, with flower-covered meadows, running brooks, buds swelling everywhere, bird-songs, and air rife with perfumes”

Milk maids is attracting a beautiful butterfly that matches its white flowers. The mustard white butterfly is the earliest butterfly you’ll see…besides the overwintering Monarchs…and you’ll almost certainly see it if you find a big patch of milk maids, upon which it lays its eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will grow up feeding on milkmaid leaves. Once the larvae have pupated and grow into butterflies, they sip nectar from and pollinate milkmaid flowers. In this way, milk maids and mustard white butterflies have a close partnership.

Violá Violets!

The forest violets have started blooming including my favorite, redwood violet, which makes carpets along banks and on steep slopes in many places near Bonny Doon. Redwood violet has bright yellow flowers that, like redwood sorrel, peek up well above a dense mat of leaves. If you look closely, you’ll see tiny dark red lines in the throat of the flower that lead pollinators to seek rewards inside of the flower. Redwood violet leaves are nearly round, except when you find the telltale sign of the butterfly that feeds on them.

Violet Feeding Silverspot Butterflies

Silverspot butterfly larvae carve out semi-circular scallops in redwood violet leaves and, when you see those bite marks, that is likely the only hint that this butterfly larvae is around, because they feed at night! Arboretum Director Ray Collett alerted me about these silverspot butterflies 30 years ago. He had met a butterfly collector who pointed out Bonny Doon silverspot butterflies that matched the endangered Callipe Silverspot previously known only from San Bruno Mountain in South San Francisco. With that tip, a conservation geneticist friend of mine recently hunted our local one for a while but only caught one, which looks promising to be at least closely related to the endangered one, but more work needs to be done. Meanwhile, later in spring, we can be on the lookout for these mysterious and rapidly flying orange butterflies with silver spotted underwings that feed late at night on the beautiful yellow violet carpets of Bonny Doon.

The Parade of Spring

These early spring wildflowers are just the beginning of the succession of wildflowers brightening the shade of our forests. As the days get warmer and longer, each week will bring a new suite of species into bloom. The flowers are stewarded by pollinators in conjunction with mountain lions which chase around the deer enough so not every flower is munched. Human stewardship is helpful, too. We can help not only by controlling invasive forest species (forget-me-not, French broom, periwinkle, etc.) but also by not planting what might be new invasive species, one day. In the future, perhaps we’ll appreciate the native wildflowers enough to propagate them for our gardens. With these native species come a wealth of pollinators including butterflies that rely on native wildflowers for their larval stages. Planned correctly, your forest garden will have a natural succession of flowers, bringing different colors to every season without any additional water and with little need for tending.

Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net

Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com

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February 1

#32 / Lots Of Love For Martha Schwartz

That is Martha Schwartz, pictured. Martha, who was 100 years old, died on January 5, 2022, and I read her obituary on Sunday, January 30th, which is when I learned of her death. I have reproduced the obituary below, and I am providing this link to a “Memory” page, so that any others who knew and loved Martha Schwartz might provide a little story about her, or post a picture, or otherwise help celebrate her wonderful life. 

 

Martha’s obituary says that Martha moved to Santa Cruz County with her husband, Sy (also a great person) in 1976. That was an important year in local politics. Phil Baldwin was elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, representing the First Supervisorial District, which includes Soquel, where Martha lived. In addition, Ed Borovatz, who had been appointed to the Board in 1975, won election in the Fifth Supervisorial District – representing the San Lorenzo Valley. Ed’s opponent was an extreme development advocate, Pat Liberty, whose bicentennial-themed slogan, “Liberty in ’76,” didn’t fool the voters. Phil’s opponent, incumbent Dan Forbus, was another pro-development vote. That 1976 election made a big difference! 

 

Ed, and Phil, and I ended up as a majority of three on our five-member Board, beginning in January 1977. We worked to expand community-based human services, and to prevent the runaway growth that was threatening to turn our North Coast and Pajaro Valley prime farmlands into sprawling subdivisions, and that put water supplies, forests, and landscapes at risk, throughout the entire county. 

 

I am not absolutely positive that Martha was engaged in our local politics in 1976, the year she first appeared in Santa Cruz County – but I bet she was. By 1978, Martha was one of the most active and effective community volunteers engaged in local political action. That year, too, was an important year for local politics. Both Phil Baldwin and Ed Borovatz were recalled, replaced by pro-growth candidates; I was reelected to the Board (becoming a minority of one), and Measure J, our Growth Management referendum measure, was enacted by the voters.

 

I was active in Santa Cruz County politics, as an elected official, for twenty years, from 1975 to 1995. For almost that entire time, Martha Schwartz personally engaged with our local politics, to make a difference for the progressive economic, social, and environmental policies she so strongly supported. 

This was a transformative period for our local community, and Martha Schwartz was a citizen leader during that whole time. I often say that we can’t have an effective system of self-government unless we are willing to get involved ourselves. There is no better example of what that means than Martha Schwartz. 

Martha’s obituary says that Martha lived “a long, full life,” and so she did. That life included her political activism, right here at the local level, which helped transform and sustain our local efforts on behalf of people and the environment. I am so grateful to have crossed paths, in my life, with Martha Schwartz! 

A salute to Martha Schwartz! A salute to the citizen-based politics that is democracy’s only hope!

oooOOOooo

Martha Schwartz
June 17, 1921- January 5, 2022
Santa Cruz, Ca

 

Martha Schwartz, 100, died at home surrounded by family on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. She lived a long, full life, and was healthy, strong and independent almost to the end. Martha was the beloved wife of the late Seymour Schwartz, mother of Renee (Gunnar Knutson) and Barbara Jackel (Stephen), grandmother of Noah (Patricia) and great grandmother of Rose and Lillian.

A hard core New Yorker (if you listened you could still hear traces of a New York accent), she and Seymour moved to Soquel in 1976 to leave the cold winters of New York and to be near their daughter Barbara. They participated in building their own house, where they had a large garden, beautiful views and an early solar energy installation. Martha continued to live there after Seymour’s death in 1994 until she moved to Santa Cruz in 2006.

In the 1960s Martha and a partner opened an art gallery in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. It gave her great pleasure to share her love of art with anyone who walked into the gallery. Martha was passionate about progressive causes, including the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 70s, national elections and, after moving to the Santa Cruz area, local campaigns and causes. You could be pretty sure that if there was a demonstration she would be there.

Martha and Seymour took many Elderhostel trips, and returned with fascinating stories of their travels to England, Russia, Spain, Portugal, France, and China. Martha was always young at heart, and she was rarely ill until her last year. She lived by herself until a few days before her death, and died at home. She did it her way.

There will not be a funeral service. Donations in her memory may be sent to ACLU Foundation of Northern California, attn: Development Department, 39 Drumm Street, San Francisco, CA 94111.

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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February 7

WITH VORPAL SWORDS ON HIGH WE SHALL DISPATCH THE BANDERSNATCH

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Or, month, as the case may be…what, you missed the momentous beginning of Black History Month? The joyous, flag-waving, smiling participants as they hugged their fellow-citizens in recognition of brotherhood in our annual 28 day (sometimes a quadrennial bonus of 29) observance of the significance of black culture and achievement in our country? Don’t despair…half of February still awaits your involvement; also, don’t forget to put a reminder on next year’s calendar for the pivotal kick-off, and invite your family, friends, and neighbors who will thank you.

Although BHM has been celebrated, unofficially, for almost a century, created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 as Negro History Week, it expanded into the entire month, and was established in February 1976 as part of our national fabric, as detailed by naacp.org. Woodson believed that the history and importance of African-Americans was being ignored by the white-power structure, and that a scholarly approach was necessary to educate ALL Americans about the ongoing struggles, and accomplishments, of a shunned populace, but, most of all for the self-respect of the black citizenry. 

Currently of significance, coincidentally, is the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Breyer, and the opportunity for Prez Biden to follow through with his campaign promise to appoint a black woman to sit on the high court. Biden reiterated his commitment, bringing forth the manxome foes – the frumious Bandersnatch, and the Jubjub Bird in the forms of the Racist Right. Joe’s pledge is heralded as the right thing to do, but not The Right’s thing to do, according to Senators Kennedy and Cruz, among others with eyes aflame.

 Ted Cruz found Biden’s promise to be “offensive that 94 percent of Americans are ineligible,” with black women being only 6% of the population. He believes there should be more outrage, but his final point – surprise, surprise – is that “if you are a white guy or a white woman – tough luck!” Okay, Ted, the thermometer says you should be sitting under the borogoves in Cancun by now!

And, prominent insurrectionist and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, claims that Biden’s intent is “typical of a race/gender-obsessed, hard-woke-left administration.” Wow, no doubt, fist raised, chortling in his joy, he goes galumphing back to his tulgey wood.

But, Bess Levin of Vanity Fair describes Senator John Kennedy’s statement as “combining racism, sexism, and WTFism in one fell swoop.” Hear, hear! Down-home John, for the folks back in Louisiana, burbled, “No. 1, I want a nominee who knows a law book from a J.Crew catalog. No. 2, I want a nominee who’s not going to try to rewrite the Constitution every other Thursday to try to advance a ‘woke agenda.'” If the Judiciary Committee, on which the senator serves, has any decency they should just tell him to ‘go sit on that cracker barrel under the Tumtum tree and finish your Co’cola while we take this on.’

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves resurrected the granddaddy of Washington’s current hellish condition, one Newt Gingrich, who proceeded to excuse the January 6 mob in no uncertain terms, and vowed to see the J6 Committee members prosecuted and imprisoned for their improprieties of being “so mean and nasty to innocent people.” He called the committee, “lawbreakers”, but before he could explain his uffish thoughts, his tongue flamed out. 

Gingrich couldn’t have been more pleased after the Republican National Committee, meeting in Salt Lake City, declared that the 1/6/21 attack on the Capitol was nothing more than “legitimate political discourse” (on a voice vote to protect the perps), while censuring Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for daring to participate in the J6 Committee with its heavily Democratic membership, as they attempt to uncover the coverup of the traitorous action. Way beyond the time limit for you to cover up your mouth, Newt!

So, beware the orange-tinted D. Jabberwock Trump, with jaws that bite, the claws that catch the unsuspecting, and let it be known that he/she/it remains in residence at Mar-A-Lago, venturing out with fanfare, spreading the vile words to bring down ~250 years of an experiment in democracy. To negate the work of the J6 Committee, he vows to pardon those being “treated so unfairly,” once he re-soils the office of the President. Attacking former VP Mike Pence as a turncoat for not “overturning the election” by recognizing the phony Trump electors, Baby Fingers is still pointing to his President-For-Life scheme ala Xi Jinping. The Banana Republican Party, a soulless party without a platform, will bend to the will of this Adolf Twitler, to visit his policies of name calling, revenge, destruction, and grifting across the land once again, to the beamish delight of his horned acolytes. 

Nightmarish! Best that we favor the revered words of a civil, higher-minded activist and leader, “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight…..” Those last eight words sound awfully good, huh? And thanks again, MLK!

(With thanks and apologies to Lewis Carroll, who with certainty must have foreseen the inane political scene of current day U.S.A., providing us with the fitting language of Jabberwocky)

Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email: cornerspot14@yahoo.com
 

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

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

    VALENTINES

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.”
~Agatha Christie

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
~Zora Neale Hurston

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
~Maya  Angelou

“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.”
~Joan Crawford 

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If you are anything like me, you love watching figure skating, but can’t tell a Loop from a Lutz from an Axel. Some glorious soul on YouTube set out to fix that. You’re welcome 🙂


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