Blog Archives

January 10 – 16, 2024

Highlights this week:

Bratton…re-run this week Greensite…back next week… Steinbruner…also back next week. Hayes…still in Ecuador. Patton…“Self-Government” And Measure M. Matlock…has said it before… Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week. Quotes….”January”


THE ORIGINAL SANTA CRUZ PUBLIC LIBRARY’S DEATH. This was taken September 12, 1966. Even back then our City Council made stupid decisions. They destroyed this classic library and built the one that all the hooplah is about now. It’s the same location…you can see the once upon a time funeral home complete with incinerator just across Church street.  Now it’s the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.

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

DATELINE January 10, 2024


In short, if enacted by the voters, Measure M will accomplish TWO simple things:

#1.) Require the city to get voter approval before height limits can be raised to allow oversized, high-rise developments anywhere in the city, downtown or in our neighborhoods.

#2.) Increase the number of affordable housing units that big developers must provide, from 20% to 25% for projects of over 30 units, as the City Planning Commission researched and recommended.

Measure M is facing enormous and well-funded opposition from out-of-town developers and their allies.  We NEED your financial assistance now to run a successful campaign. With only 60 days left before we vote on March 5, 2024, the sooner you donate the better. Another incentive to donate soon is we have matching funds.

Our fundraising goal is $50,000. This money will be used for our online presence, campaign materials, advertising, professional assistance and to rally residents to vote.

Make as generous a contribution as you possibly can to help pass Measure M and be part of the future design of Santa Cruz!   TWO ways to donate:

  1. Online with the DONATE button on:
  1. Or Write a check to: “Yes on M”, and call us to pick it up 831-471-7822 or send the check before Feb. 10 to:  
    Yes on M, PO Box 2191, Santa Cruz, Ca. 95063

Partial List of Supporters:

Gary Patton, Former County Supervisor, Environmental Attorney
Katherine Beiers, Former Mayor
Jane Weed-Pomerantz, Former Mayor
Nell Newman, Founder, Newman’s Own Organics, Environmentalist & Biologist
Rick Longinotti, Author, Right to Vote on Desal Initiative
Joseph S. Quigg, Affordable and Market-rate Housing Developer
Frank Barron, Retired Urban Planner
Keresha Durham-Tamba, Bilingual Educator, Environmental-Climate Activist
Hector Marin-Castro, Santa Cruz City Teacher’s Aid and Service Worker
Susan Monheit, Retired State Water Regulator, Environmental Scientist
Steve Bare, Retired High School Teacher, Military Veteran
Laura Lee, Retired Teacher, Corporate Trainer & Facilitator

I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.


(it was at the DEL MAR THEATRE in Sept. 2023, and brand new to HULU now). (6.8 IMDB). Kenneth Branagh
is back with the third in his Hercule Poirot versions of Agatha Christie’s books. Michelle Yeoh and Tina Fey are deadly serious in it too. Branagh moved the plot to Venice in 1947 from Christie’s book “Halloween Party” she first published in 1969. It’s deadly serious, very confusing, and it’s hard to stay interested as Poirot makes his rounds. Not recommended. More than that, three generations of my family watched it last Saturday (12/30) and no one liked it!!

Paul Giamatti is at his very best in this sensitive touching drama of a teacher/guardian at a high class prep school in the 1970’s. His relationship with the boys, one especially is testy, kindly, and nearly unforgettable. He also has out of alignment eyes which he points out. The eyes were false by the way

HOLIDAY IN THE VINEYARDS. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.2 IMDB). ** Probably an age gap, but I didn’t get one laugh from this self-titled comedy. A mother tries to raise her two sons and fend off a salesman from a competing winery. Too much mugging, bad acting, and barely amusing.

A regular working class Brit (it’s a British movie) decides to fight the banking establishment and start a small neighborhood bank. He goes against all Brit tradition and actually succeeds! It’s a true story well-acted by Rory Kinnear

THE FAMILY PLAN. (APPLE TV) (6.3 IMDB). ** A big cast with Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan trying for laughs because it’s listed as a comedy. It all takes place in Buffalo, New York and there’s a lot of former Buffalonians in Santa Cruz. Wahlberg is a former legal and official government assassin trying to raise a family. Nothing great, not the plot which is a century old or the acting.

GWYNETH VS. TERRY (MAX) (5.8 IMDB). *** Just knowing that Gwyneth had amassed a fortune from her Goop makeup world made me curious about what she would be like testifying in court. She and Terry Sanderson, a retired 76 year old Optometrist, collided on the downhill ski slopes in Utah in 2016. The jury declared Sanderson at fault. They both sued each other and it’s at least distracting. Gwyneth is 50 years old and she won one dollar in the settlement.

This semi comedy was filmed between Uruguay and Argentina. A hired housekeeper quits her job and now the head of the household (Norma) has to deal with her two daughters, marijuana, therapy and the rest of her life. Riveting and watchable.

CURRY & CYANIDE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.4 IMDB). ** A documentary from India based on the 2019 “Jolly Joseph” case when a mother was arrested for committing six murders over a 10 year span including her own child! Puzzling, complex and well done. Depressing but watch it.

SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Becky will also be back next week.

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


Jan 8

Contrasting Two Biodiversity Hot Spots

When I can muster it, I travel to the American tropics to experience an even greater degree of species diversity than California. I’d like to share some of what I noticed in the contrasts between the people and places I experienced this December in Ecuador, perhaps the most species rich place on Planet Earth.

Oh, the Riches

One of the most interesting conversations I had while traveling in Ecuador was during the taxi ride back to the airport as I was departing for California. I mentioned to the taxi driver some of the things I’d noticed in Ecuador that contrasted with California. For instance, the roadways were clean – no litter! Also, I hadn’t seen any homelessness during my travels, though I frequented areas where entire people had no obvious means of employment. Everyone I encountered during my 3-week stay had been more than polite – outgoingly kind more like it. And, those with whom I interacted seemed to appreciate and even understand a lot about the biological richness of their country. I told the taxi driver that these things were surprising to me as Ecuador was supposed to be such a poor country. He shook his head and corrected me – Ecuador is a rich country, quoting Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, “Ecuadorians are rare and unique beings: they sleep peacefully in the midst of crisp volcanoes, live poor in the midst of incomparable riches and rejoice with sad music.” He then asked me if the United States was also a rich country, and how well did the people of the USA sleep? I didn’t know quite how to answer. (It turns out that one-in-five US citizens take sleep medication regularly).

Tourism Economy

It is interesting that both Santa Cruz County and the country of Ecuador generate approximately the same amount of cash due to tourism: $1.1 billion annually. It is there that the similarities end. The Beach Boardwalk is the driving force for Santa Cruz County tourism. Experiences in nature are what drives tourists to Ecuador; they go to experience Darwin’s discoveries in the Galapagos Islands or to see the rich jungles, volcanos, mountains, and the plethora of wildlife. Everywhere you go in Ecuador there are lodges hosting people whose destination is Nature. Lodges are gateways to the Parks, and each lodge has a cadre of nature guides trained to help tourists see the richness around them. Nature guides study for years to become certified to lead tours in the parks. The guides I met could identify hundreds of birds by their songs, knew a bit about most of the plants we encountered, could identify tracks in the mud, and could talk about the distribution of species across the country and beyond. There are hundreds and hundreds of such guides in that country, which is the size of Colorado.

What a Contrast!

As I returned home, I wracked my brain to think of a single lodge in the Monterey Bay that caters to nature tourists and has any nature guides at all. The San Francisco Airport toilets were much nastier than the toilets in the Quito airport. Trash litters Highway 1. The homeless population was not sleeping peacefully, though others might have been, back in my hometown of Santa Cruz. I’m not sure how many of my culture were rejoicing, with sad music or otherwise: joyfulness is not a phenomenon I equate with this culture. Certainly, most of us living around the Monterey Bay aren’t living poor, but we, like Ecuador, dwell ‘in the midst of incomparable riches.’

When is a Tourist Just a Tourist?

What does it matter that tourists go to the Boardwalk versus taking a walk with a nature guide? They come, they spend, they go home…its all good for the economy, right?

Between guided hikes at an Ecuadorian lodge at 9,000′ I sat by a fireplace looking through the reading material on the coffee table. There, among giant, full-color books published by the Ecuadorian government about the nation’s biological richness, I saw a magazine published by the American Bird Conservancy. That group, and the Audubon Society are two fairly mainstream conservation groups working to save birds from extinction. Many of the tourists supporting Ecuador’s lodges are birders. There is a natural connection between tourism and conservation. The same cannot be argued about Beach Boardwalk visitors.

So, why isn’t there an economy of immersive nature tourism around the Monterey Bay?

The Thrill Isn’t There and We Just Don’t Care
Thrilling, isn’t it? Roller coasters…rides…the children won’t be bored. Once the children grow up, the adults head overseas to see birds and nature: why not sooner? What is it about Nature that makes experiencing it so family unfriendly?

Even a drive along Highway 1 is so unenthralling as to invite so much littering.

Do we care so little about impressing the tourists, do we have such little pride, that we don’t bother keeping our airport toilets and roadsides clean? Aren’t we richer than that? Or, are we really quite poor?

What would Humboldt say of those currently living around the Monterey Bay? “They are just normal beings: they sleep fitfully in the midst of isolation and crime, living poorly in the midst of incomparable riches and rejoice in violent movies.”

Awake! The Unfolding is Nigh
Now the rain has wetted the green hills, flowers are bursting, birds are singing spring songs, and streams are noisily dancing. The solution is at hand. Toss aside the social media, decline the invitation to the movies, take the trail and saunter. Invite someone to join you, someone with whom you can adventure and discover the amazing life unfolding around the Monterey Bay. First on the list: the manzanitas! A dozen species within a short drive – discover them all, their beautiful bark, their honey-scented flowers with hummingbirds and bumble bees aplenty. Jackrabbits and brush bunnies, roadrunners and quail, coyote and mountain lion tracks around every corner. Need a guide? Sign up for a walk if you can find one: ask me if you can’t. The Monterey Bay’s ecotourist economy and resulting conservation start with you, now and tomorrow. Let’s make Ecuador a sister country to the Monterey Bay – biodiversity hotspots with plenty of inspiration to share.

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


#8 / “Self-Government” And Measure M

Last Saturday, I briefly contrasted “opinion” and “the truth,” noting that we need to understand the difference between them when we start talking about “politics.” According to Hannah Arendt, politics is about “opinion,” and not about “truth.”

Today, before commenting on Measure M, which will be on the ballot this March in the City of Santa Cruz, it strikes me that I might say a word about the difference between “democracy” and “self-government.”

Many people conflate the two. The slide shown above, for instance, taken (and slightely modified) from a slideshow published by the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, seems to imply that “self-government” and “democracy” are equivalent. I would like to suggest to you that they’re not.

“Democracy,” at least the way I believe most people understand the term, is focused on “voting.” Our political choices (about candidates for office, and about various policy matters that may be put before eligible voters for a decision) are made, in a “democratic” system, by the process of allowing people to vote. Usually, a majority of the voters will determine who is elected, or what will be done about the question put to a vote. This is “democracy,” and make no mistake, we definitely need “democracy,” and more of it. Democracy, however, when democracy is equated to “voting,” is not “self-government.” Voting is “necessary” to self-government, but it is not “sufficient.”

When I was a Santa Cruz County Supervisor – quite a few years ago, now – I was a big proponent of “self-government,” and I warned my constituents that we needed to be careful not to set up our government on the basis that we “elect the people, who hire the people, who then run our lives for us.”

In fact, when “democracy” is equated to “voting,” that is exactly what can (and often does) happen. People concerned about the so-called “Deep State” are indicating that a government so configured – a government in which we elect the people, who hire the people, who then run our lives for us – is not a satisfactory way for a self-governing people to make governmental decisions.

Once “the government” becomes those people “hired to run our lives for us” – the planners, the bureaucrats, the City Mangers and the department heads in charge of governmental budgets – those people may not pay any attention at all to those voters who are supposedly in charge of their government. This is definitely what those who are concerned about the “Deep State” assert has happened at the national level, but the same thing happens at every level of our government, including the local level.

When Lincoln said, in the Gettysburg Address, that the Civil War was fought to make certain that a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” will not perish from the earth, Lincoln was not, I’d argue, thinking about a government in which voters “elect the people, who then hire the people, who then run their lives for them.”

That would be a government “for” the people (or at least theoretically so). “Self-government” is something else. It’s something more than voting.

“Self-government” means a government “BY THE PEOPLE,” a government (and politics) in which ordinary people are personally involved.

Lincoln’s statement in the Gettysburg Address implies – in fact, that phrase “says” – that governmental and political activities must be directly carried out by ordinary people. “BY THE PEOPLE.” That means you. That means me. That means us.

WE need to be directly involved in what the government does; we need to know what it’s doing, and we need to allocate our own time in such a way that we can have a direct impact on the governmental actions that are being taken in our name.

“Politics,” in fact, needs to be one of our major commitments. It needs to be a “personal” commitment. Politics demands our time. It demands our money. Politics demands that we take action to ensure that our political institutions reflect and carry forward our most deeply-held concerns.

The patriots who carried out the American Revolution pledged “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” Those are the last words in the Declaration of Independence. All of these need to be mobilized, by us, in the task of self-government.


Measure M is an example of genuine self-government. In the City of Santa Cruz, voters will be asked in March to vote on an initative measure (Measure M) that will allow city voters to decide, themselves, whether height limits will be raised, to permit new taller buildings (12-story buildings, in fact) that are basically twice as high as what current General Plan and Zoning designations will permit.

Those who drafted and circulated the petition have succeeded in putting Measure M on the ballot for a “vote.” A “YES” vote will put the citizens of the City in control over proposed General Plan and Zoning Code provisions that could allow developers to double the height of new development in the South of Laurel area – or perhaps, later on, in the city’s residential neighborhoods. If Measure M passes, it will be because of a democratic vote of the people.

But Measure M involves more than a democratic vote. Thousands of Santa Cruz City residents got personally involved in government and politics, and put Measure M on the ballot. Skeptics, by the way, said “it couldn’t be done.” But Measure M is on the ballot because self-government is still alive and well in the City of Santa Cruz.

Real self-government in the City of Santa Cruz: that is what Measure M represents. Click that link to visit the campaign website. Isn’t genuine self-government what we local residents should be working for? I signed the ballot argument urging a “YES” vote on Measure M. You can get engaged, right now, in the campaign. Click this link to visit the campaign website. Tell your friends and neighbors what you think. Put up a “YES on M” sign. Contact the Measure M campaign. Make a campaign contribution.

Put ordinary people back in charge!

To Subscribe Just Click This Link

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



Ginny Hogan, author of ‘I’m More Dateable than a Plate of Refried Beans,’ writes in her The New Yorker essay, “We don’t even let the person with the most votes win the actual presidential election, so why would a poll matter?” She doesn’t trust polls because Trump is up and then Biden is up, with poll numbers shifting constantly, and if ABC knows something CNN doesn’t, then shouldn’t they share? She says she once conducted her own poll, asking three close friends if she should have her hairdresser give her bangs…even though she has a square face. Even the stylist thought it a bad idea but she trusted polling results of her friends. Of political polls she feels that if the results of an election are predicted in the poll, why should she vote? It’s a waste of her time, and if Taylor Swift isn’t included, why is it a ‘representative poll?’ Why are ‘only‘ five thousand people sampled when more than five thousand vote in the election? So, she doesn’t trust polls, and since her hair was already thin, why did she waste having some hang over her face? Plus, her husband left her…after two years, but it had to be related to the bangs. And, if pollsters are smart enough to predict the future, why are they working in politics…shouldn’t they be retired? It’s creepy enough that samples are taken from people who answer calls from unknown phone numbers. With a margin of error of five percent, polls are usually wrong…why not call it the ‘margin of correctness?’ And, why does ‘poll’ have two ‘L’s, being redundant? Ginny concludes that she is lonely, and getting bangs again may be the solution.

The Nation.weekly says, “The biggest mistake that politicians and pundits make when they try to discern the direction of a presidential race is that they read a single poll and think it’s definitional. But ‘of the 10 most recent polls listed on Real Clear Politics, as of December 29, Biden was leading in three of them and tied in two others,” as reported by national affairs correspondent John Nichols. He maintains there is no reason to celebrate yet, “but if the incumbent continues to focus on the economy and other issues people care about right now, there’s a compelling case Biden’s polling position will improve as the 2024 race unfolds.” Cross your fingers and don’t see your hairdresser just yet!

The former prez continues to post ridiculous videos provided him via his Truth Social media platform and a recent one is certainly cringeworthy, with voiceover proclaiming: “And on June 14th, 1946, God looked down on his plan Paradise, and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So, God gave us Trump.” Did your knees simply give out, or did you fall into place of your own accord? Trump is claiming in his emailed fundraisers that Barack Obama admits Biden will be defeated in ’24, and is therefore stepping up to sabotage the GOP by urging Democrats to register as Republicans so they can cast votes for a RINO who will “get eaten alive by the Democrat Deep State.” However, it seems that any heads-up RINOs have long ago registered as Democrats or Independents.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, on Fox’s Sean Hannity show, discussing the banning of the former prez’s name from ballots in Maine and Colorado, actually said it out loud: “I think it should be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. I have faith in them. You know people like Kavanaugh – who the president fought for, who the president went through hell to get into place – he’ll step up. Those people will step up. Not because they’re pro-Trump, but because they’re pro-law. Because they’re pro-fairness, and the law on this is very clear.” So, there you have it – the quid pro quo. Alina wants everyone to also be aware that her attractiveness is of utmost importance…she can “fake being smart.” On the PBD Podcast hosted by Bryan Cullen, she said, “I don’t think I’d be on TV or sitting here if I didn’t look the way I look. It doesn’t hurt to be good looking.” Cullen commented on why an ‘alpha male’ like Trump would pick her for his $250M fraud case, saying, “He picks a smart, feminine, capable woman.” Habba readily agreed with, “Right.” Xwitter responses were quick to jump into the discussion. “Legally Bland,” said Anthony LoPresti“Sound legal strategy from Trump,” replied @PatriotTakesClay Moser advised Habba to “…start at least faking she’s smart.” And, Chris Herbst paraphrased an old chestnut, “Basically, I’m not a good lawyer, but I play one on TV.” Unknown is whether she likes beer…leave that to Kavanaugh to determine. Clay Bennett’s cartoon depicting a Decision 2024 voting ballot with check boxes for ‘Trump‘ and ‘Or Else‘ seems appropriate here.

Another cartoon worth a mention is one in The Economist portraying the GOP/MAGA elephant presenting Trump with a congratulatory third anniversary Insurrection cake, and asking if he cares to share any thoughts. His reply: “Practice makes perfect.” A Marjorie Taylor Greene book-signing/meet-and-greet planned to take place at The Westgate Resorts in Kissimmee, Florida was cancelled by the resort management when it was found that the event was in reality a commemoration of the third anniversary of the J6 Insurrection. The local Republicans had scheduled it as a book-signing, but the ownership got wind of the intent and simply pulled the plug on it, saying, “Please be advised that Westgate was not made aware of the purpose of this event…[it is] being cancelled and is no longer taking place at our resort.” The Greene camp had no comment, after NBC obtained an invitation billing the happening as an ‘exclusive’ commemoration of the J6 riot, with tickets costing attendees between $45 and $1,000. Democratic state Representative Anna Eskamani deadpanned, “Just another day in Florida. Was really hoping this was a joke when I first saw it.”

Activist and film maker, Michael Moore as well as others, propose that we get involved in promoting commemoration of January 6 as a national holiday, calling it ‘Democracy Day.’ Otherwise, that date is going to be taken over by the MAGA crowd as ‘Saint Donald Trump Day,’ when we will hear nothing but lies, slander, name calling, and whining about a stolen election…and who knows if the Confederate flag will make also make another appearance in the halls of the Capitol building? Plus the resurrection of the Mike Pence Commemorative Gallows? Michael feels this is a day in infamy when we almost lost our democracy, that it should never be forgotten, passing it down to future generations to renew our commitment to liberty, freedom, equality and solidarity. He says, “The Vote is precious, a necessity to create and fulfill the promise of a democracy – and why we must always defend it against any and all enemies, foreign and domestic. Especially domestic!” We should all agree with him, that we are worth it.

Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are increasing their attacks on Trump in the countdown to the GOP caucuses in Iowa, vying for a distant second place behind Toupee Orange and paying less attention to each other. Their hesitancy to go after Trump in their campaigns, beyond criticism for being a no-show at debates, seems faint-hearted at this late date. DeSantis has jumped on Trump for being a flip-flopper, and not following through with promises, and that he carries too much baggage to be a winner. Haley has repeated that Trump was the “right president at the right time, but chaos follows him. And we can’t have a country in disarray and a world on fire and go through four more years of chaos. We won’t survive it.” She feels she is the strongest candidate to face Biden, that the country doesn’t need “another nail-biter of an election” as polls now indicate for a Trump/Biden matchup. Neither candidate has been critical of Trump’s conduct relating to his four indictments, only noting that the charges could bite him in the general election…weeks too late?

Observers believe DeSantis sees Iowa as his last stand, as he has shifted staff to Iowa and increased spending, going all-in for the state. Republican strategist, Ron Bonjean, asks, “Where was this focus months ago? In order to get noticed you’ve got to take on the front-runner, and you’ve got to do it progressively.”  He claims former New Jersey Governor Christie’s approach turned off many GOP primary voters, a backfire from focusing too much at once. Republican strategist, Brian Seitchik says the attacks by Haley and DeSantis are “too little, too late. Trump-lite won’t work…if you want to be king, you’ve got to beat the king.” Seitchik says if Haley can claim second in Iowa and win New Hampshire“We have a legitimate race.”  Waiting for Trump to implode hasn’t happened, therefore the strategy of avoiding confrontation of Trump was impractical. “If the strategy is playing for 2028, or playing for VP, or playing for a Cabinet position, that’s understandable, but if you got into this race 12 months ago with the intention of winning, you had to go after Trump,” Seitchik maintains.

Bocha Blue, in his The Palmer Report post says, “The Clueless Haley, from the beginning had no chance. The only reason for the attention is because the media love a good horse-race, and let’s face it, there ARE NOT good quality Republican candidates to prop up. They tried Ron DeSantis and we saw how that turned out, so let’s try Haley. That move precipitated the deer-in-the-headlights moment when asked about the Civil War.” So what does she do, trying to do damage control over several days? She went T-H-E-R-E! She says to Erin Burnett“I had Black friends growing up.” Xwitter exploded with: “Is she trying to lose?”“Girlfriend, you have truly hit rock bottom.”“Hot damn, she’s a fool.” Blue asks, “Is she subconsciously sabotaging herself, or is she really that clueless?”

Aldous J. Pennyfarthing says, “Vultures have been circling the Florida governor’s purpling presidential corpse for some time now, and for good reason. He’s had trouble connecting with voters, looking like he learned to smile by watching circus chimpanzees getting their backs waxed. He has the charisma of a falafel and none of the spice. His laugh sounds like a 99¢ ringtone with a corrupted file. His top opponent is Donald Trump, an alleged criminal, and that’s a tough hill for any challenger.” The DeSantis campaign and super PAC have spent more than $160M, and spent the better part of 2023 on the road. But, he now says, it may not have been enough to overcome the advantage he believes Trump received from getting indicted four times. “If I could have one thing changed, I wish Trump hadn’t been indicted on any of this stuff. It sucked out a lot of oxygen,” DeSantis told the Christian Broadcasting Network. One DeSantis supporter and donor felt the race was over after the first Trump indictment. Because Republican voters aren’t the most discerning, the perception that he is being unfairly persecuted is a badge of honor for him, rather than a vulnerability which is where DeSantis should have gone, rather than attack Hunter Biden with his fake outrage…duh! So DeSantis was carrying Trump’s water when he should have been waterboarding him the whole time.

Former Florida congressman, David Jolly, says of DeSantis“He started the primary on third base, then stole second. We’ve now witnessed one of the most expensive and embarrassing collapses in Republican history.” Trying to out-Trump Trump was a fatal strategic choice, since he was polling better before he began his campaign…then the voters saw him as he really is. “The idea of a DeSantis was appealing, but the reality of the DeSantis was repellant, “ says Mac Stipanovich, a Florida politics veteran, to HuffPost. “It is telling that his favorite president is Calvin Coolidge, the avatar of anti-charisma in politics.” The Heritage Foundation said of the Republican National Convention of 1924, “It’s generally remembered as the most uninteresting convention in Republican history. Delegates didn’t bother showing up at many of the sessions. The most popular drink was a Keep-Cool-With-Coolidge highball, composed of raw eggs and fruit juice. Will Rogers suggested that the city of Cleveland ‘open up the churches to liven things up a bit.'” But this is a reminder that politics, in the end, is not about drama but about principle, not about charisma but about character. All this was said BEFORE Coolidge was described as ‘the most articulate conservative who ever served as president.’

As for DeSantisSteve Duprey, a former Republican National Committee member told HuffPost“When you come across as a mean person who shows little empathy for the real concerns for citizens, and who always wants to make sure everyone in the room knows you think you are the smartest person there, it doesn’t go over all that well. Focusing on Disney, wokeness, a little hippie college in Sarasota, and an abortion ban out of sync with most of America, instead of the economy, the debt, the border, isn’t a winning formula…other than that, he’s nailing it.” Another anonymous Florida Republican offered, “Who was he? Was he for Trump? Was he against Trump? Was he courting Trump voters? Is he more practical, sensible? Or is he a right-wing nut? I don’t know. But he’s just not likable.” DeSantis’ ‘Make America Florida’ project as a model of right-wing governance was only destined to flame out, never translating to the campaign trail, where he was forced to interact with real people with real concerns. “To me he never looked happy,” an Iowa political operative said. So the biggest obstacle for DeSantis was himself. Pennyfarthing concludes, “Sadly, for Floridians, once he ends his campaign for the White House, he will go back to Florida.”

Perhaps poor Ron can take some solace from this Ariel Elias haiku:

I’ve said it before.
And I will say it again.
I’ve said it before.

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.


“Feeling a little blue in January is normal.”
~Marilu Henner

“Nothing burns like the cold.”
~George R.R. Martin

“Through the chill of December the early winter moans…but it’s that January wind that rattles old bones.”
~John Facenda


I’ve seen a couple of documentaries about the FLDS and Warren Jeffs. This is more intimate, we are being guided around the town by a former FLDS member. He is articulate and pleasant, and very good at explaining all the goings on. It’s definitely worth a watch. Also, check out the channel – this guy interviews a lot of fascinating people.

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!
Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Direct email:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
Cell phone: 831 212-3273
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @