BRATTON…Nervous political hints and some good news. Pacemaker and defibrillator blues. GREENSITE…on the new council and its many issues. KROHN…Council concerns and questions, herding of cats, New Majority. STEINBRUNER…Water for Santa Cruz meetings, Soquel Creek Water District fee increases. Scuttling water transfer with Santa Cruz City, Eshoo’s “home Rule”, Preserving historic buildings. PATTON…more from Hannah Arendt EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. JENSEN…her 5 ½ days at Dominican Hospital. BRATTON…Shoplifters, a great film. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…”Ground Hogs Day”
CAROL CHANNING AND DINAH SHORE.
TEAM DRUMMERS. Don’t ask why I included this, just a curiosity.
ROCKIN’ AND ROLLIN’. Hard to believe folks did that!!
DATELINE January 21, 2019
BAD NEWS OR WHAT? Have you been noticing and reading that a few of our usually Progressive national press pundits are hinting Trump supporters may get him re-elected in 2020? It’s hell and a nightmare to think about. Is that big blue wave still allowing Democrats and liberals a future of good surfing? But in the meantime we’ve now got RAIL PLUS TRAIL.
MISSING A BEAT. I came up short this week on meetings, news events, even movies and concerts. Drs. Ryan Brandt and Dr. Neil Sawhney installed a combination Pacemaker/defibrillator early Wednesday morning and adjusted it again on Thursday morning over in Dominican Hospital. So I missed a few happenings this week. I may be calling a friend or two for some rides…don’t be surprised.
January 21, 2019
THE NEW COUNCIL MAJORITY IMPACTS ALREADY FELT.
Thanks to the new majority of Glover, Cummings, Brown and Krohn’s initiating the item, the community can now watch the proceedings of the city’s Planning Commission on Community TV…sort of fitting. If you thought this a no-brainer…all other cities in the county broadcast their Planning Commissions to the public…you have not felt the chilly reception some of us got when we spoke to this and other issues before the old council majority. This democratic step forward plus oral communications back at the traditional time of 7pm and it feels like change is in the air. It sure puts a spring in my step whenever I have to attend council or a commission whereas before, only a sense of duty dragged my feet down to council chambers.
These items, while important, are minor compared to what the council and new council majority will face in the coming year. Folks are already crying foul over the interim Just Cause eviction ordinance under discussion, despite the fact that it is not the same as Measure M (no rent control board for example) and it is temporary, until an agreed upon ordinance reflecting diverse viewpoints is passed. In talking with friends who own rentals or know people who do, I’ve concluded that with few exceptions, most identify with their self-interest. No surprise there. What is a surprise is how hard it is for them to recognize the difference in status between someone who pays rent to a landlord in order to be housed and someone who owns their own home plus another property (or more) to make money off renters. Privilege is invisible to those who have it.
Another thorny issue, although far less important in the scheme of things, is that of the red Jump bike program. I was unable to attend the community meeting on the issue although it was clear from the Sentinel coverage that people have concerns and many braved the stormy night to express them. The main objection is the ability to leave the bike wherever you want to, which means that sidewalks are blocked, forcing pedestrians and any wheelchair users onto the road. The ability to leave the bike anywhere in the city is a huge incentive and the most likely reason for the success of the program. Calls by the public for requirements to return bikes to hubs, likely will be ignored by city staff and Uber, which owns Jump Bikes. The company says it offers an incentive for returning the bike to a hub, although a frequent Jump Bike user who nearly always returns the bike to a hub told me she has never seen a credit to her account for such diligence. While it’s nice to be able to dump your stuff and have others clean up after you, is this a socially responsible habit to encourage? Parents, schools and cities spend much time and money to foster habits of picking up after oneself: packing your trash; putting dirty clothes in the hamper or better yet, washing them; cleaning up your dog crap; bussing your dishes etc: life’s lessons that make for a community not just a collection of individuals. To encourage the discarding of the red bikes anywhere you please with big white vans and staff to pick them up and return them to a hub encourages an individualistic attitude and an erosion of social responsibility. Since the Jump Bike program is expected to return to council for evaluation after a trial period, we can expect a big turnout.
Other issues that will eventually reach council include the campaign by Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz for more mountain bike trails in Pogonip and the environmental review of Segment 7 Phase 2 of the Rail Trail, which runs from California St. to the wharf roundabout past the Water Treatment Plant. This three quarter of a mile section, slated to cost $10 million and includes an up to 19.5 feet retaining wall plus the removal of many heritage trees, happens to run through a recognized monarch butterfly site near the West Cliff trestle bridge. The city, which does not have a good track record of handling environmental reviews (Wharf Master Plan and Heritage Tree Ordinance as just 2 examples) failed to include reference to the monarch site in its first circulation of an Initial Study so it had to be re-circulated. Comments due by February 7th. This segment of the rail trail is environmentally sensitive and deserves a better evaluation and careful review of alternatives via an EIR rather than the limited Mitigated Negative Declaration.
Then there are the many large downtown development projects that seem to skirt affordability requirements and it’s safe to say, the council will be busy in 2019. And so will we.
|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.|
Jan. 23, 2019
MLK Day in Santa Cruz.
Drew Glover, Chris Krohn, Justin Cummings
Being an Activist vs. Being an Elected Official
Can an elected official continue to be an activist after being elected? I’ve been told no a couple of times by some of our Village Elders. I’ve always carried with me the notion that yes, if you can get elected you can still fight city hall, but from within. It takes time adjusting to being on the inside, but activism does not have to stop.
Watching AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she has recently become a lightning rod example of trying to put activist experience into her elected office affairs. She sometimes livestreams parts of her day. AOC voted for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, but also protested with a group outside her office demanding the speaker create the “Select Committee for a Green New Deal.” A couple of weeks ago AOC voted to fund a Dept. of Homeland Security budget (H.J. Res. 1), which included paying ICE employees during the government shutdown, and she keeps advocating for abolishing ICE too. She also continues to talk about socialism, rare for a US elected official, saying it guarantees “a basic level of dignity.”
Every member of this Brand-New City Council–Glover, Brown, Cummings, Krohn–was elected as an activist. Parsing the nuance between activism and governing is now on the table. Many will say, now you represent everyone in Santa Cruz. While that’s true, it may be nearly next to impossible to achieve. You may want to represent all residents, and you should never cower from meeting people who may not agree with you, or did not vote for you, but you were elected on issues. All Santa Cruz voters will not agree with you on all issues. The issues this council majority stood most firm on during the past two elections were affordable housing, protecting renters, and addressing the homeless crisis. Part of the job of the city council is also to be bridge builders and identify those issues that many can agree upon and move them in the legislative arena.
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.
Email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 21, 2019
“WATER FOR SANTA CRUZ COUNTY” HOSTS THREE EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS
Water for Santa Cruz County wants to make sure people know how to correctly file written protests against water rate increases and to know that there is plenty of water available for the region if only the politicians will cooperate with one another. That is the focus of three educational workshops the group will host at the Aptos Library: Wednesday, Jan. 23, Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Tuesday, Feb. 12, all at 7pm- 8pm.
Soquel Creek Water District is again going after their ratepayers for substantial rate and fee increases, but this time, they want them to agree to a 9% increase ANNUALLY FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. The District needs this money to fund the $90-135 Million project to inject treated sewage water into the aquifer that supplies drinking water for the MidCounty region, but that information is not specifically divulged in the glossy mailer sent to ratepayers. If the cost of financing the project, known as Pure Water Soquel, is included, the cost skyrockets to potentially nearly $200 Million! District rates are already second-highest in the State, according to District financial reports presented to the Board in 2017, and that was before the 17.5% rate increase the District imposed last year. Wow. WRITTEN PROTESTS THAT INCLUDE ADDRESS, PARCEL NUMBER, NAME OF PERSON ON THE ACCOUNT, AND SIGNATURE MUST BE FILED BY THE FEBRUARY 19 RATE HEARING.
Do you think the Board and staff are acting in a manner that is “economically feasible” while supporting “collaboration”? I do not. The District is not acting in conformity with either of those values by shoving through their expensive project to use large amounts of energy to inject treated sewage water into the aquifer that supplies drinking water to the entire MidCounty area, not just Soquel Creek Water District customers.
Apparently the District is getting a bit nervous because at the January 15 Board meeting, Ms. Leslie Strohm, Director of Finances, informed the Board that she is working with State Water Resources Control Board staff to get assistance for low income ratepayers to get financial help with paying their water bill. Until now, the Board has adamantly claimed they could not offer any financial assistance to low or fixed income ratepayers. Interestingly, Ms. Strohm reported that the rate assistance program she is investigating would not credit the water bill, but rather the customer’s electric bill, or give the customer cash or credit on their Visa account, which they could then use to pay their water bill. This would be available for customers who are a household of four and meet federal poverty levels (income of $56,000). For District customers, discounts could be 20%-50% of a bill for up to 12 units of water. Ms. Strohm stated that most of the District’s qualified customers would be eligible for the 50% discount rate….that says a lot, doesn’t it??
Ms. Strohm said she would have to respond to the State by February 1 regarding the District’s interest in participating in the program. If you are a Soquel Creek Water District customer, please write to Ms. Leslie Strohm email@example.com and ask that the District pursue this program to get help for low income residents. I have already talked with many elderly fixed-income customers who struggle to pay their water bills now.
Attend the Water for Santa Cruz County workshops and learn more about the real and affordable possibilities for regional water management using existing infrastructure to solve water storage and supplies for our future. Learn more here: www.waterforsantacruz.com
Cheers, Becky Steinbruner
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.
Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com
Jan. 19 / Arendt On Trump
Timothy Shenk is a co-editor of Dissent and a fellow at New America. He is currently writing an intellectual history of American democracy and has recently published an article titled, “Hannah Arendt’s Answer to Paul Berman on the Contemporary American Left.” Shenk’s article was highlighted in a recent edition of Amor Mundi, the weekly blog published by The Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. Here is what Shenk has to say about how a study of the Nazi past might help to explain our current political reality:
If you want to understand American politics today, the single best source might be page 334 of Hannah Arendt’s masterpiece, The Origins of Totalitarianism. …
After running through a brief history of modern Europe, Arendt’s narrative brings her to one of the most puzzling questions of the interwar period: Why were vulgar demagogues peddling ridiculous doctrines able to turn millions of people against the liberal order? She had, by then, already discussed the psychology of what she sniffily referred to as “the mob,” and now turned her attention to totalitarianism’s attractions for the elite. What especially interested Arendt, who turned 27 the year Hitler became chancellor of Germany, was its appeal for younger intellectuals.
Her answer centered on the failings of the status quo. “What the defenders of liberalism and humanism overlook,” she observed, was that it had become “easier to accept patently absurd propositions than the old truths which had become pious banalities.” Why was that? Well, people had eyes. They could see that elites who proclaimed themselves champions of civilization were “parading publicly virtues which [they] not only did not possess in private and business life, but actually held in contempt.” Everybody knew the whole thing was a joke, except for the great men who bought into their own propaganda. Confronted with this hypocrisy, “it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest.” Sure, the alternative was farcical, but at least everyone would be able to stop mouthing the same old lies, and that offered a kind of liberation.
I think the phenomenon outlined by Shenk is precisely what has allowed Donald J. Trump to rise to the top of our American politics, and why it is far from certain that he won’t be elected to a second term in 2020.
Americans, I believe, are deeply committed to the kind of democracy that I like to call “self-government,” a political system in which the government is both “of” and “by” the people, as well as being “for” them. Being able to participate in this kind of government, more even than economic success, is what I think constitutes the “American Dream.”
When people see our political “leaders” mouthing the words, while lining their own personal and political pockets, and kowtowing to the corporate interests that siphon off the wealth of the nation into their personal and corporate bank accounts, they loathe the hypocrisy of “the system,” and are more than ready to celebrate leaders that openly display their “cruely, disregard of human values, and general amorality.” Perversely, it is such “leaders,” and our current president is among their number, who seem more credible and honest than the so-called “honest politicians” who denounce our president, but who in fact are not all that different.
Shenk is on to something. I would say that the lessons for today are two:
- Read Hannah Arendt
- Do something about it! Self-government does still work.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Scroll below for secret scenes and driving forces, with our deeply committed friends.
EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep State Plot” 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.
“RED VELVET, THE PLAY”. The Jewel Theatre Company, Santa Cruz’s only full time professional theatre company presents Lolita Chakrabarti’s play Red Velvet from January 23-February 17 at the Colligan Theatre in the Tannery. It’s about the backstage world of London in the early 1800’s. The play is Othello and the lead gets sick and a black actor from America is about to take his place as the black Othello!! Go to https://www.jeweltheatre.net/red-velvet for more data and tickets.
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Fate does not like to be tempted. She’s always ready to smack you with some new, unforeseen obstacle. Find out what she had in store for me last week — including a 5 1/2 -day escapade at Dominican, and a guest appearance from my Spirit Guide — this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com/).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.
SHOPLIFTERS. Famed and great Japanese film director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film about an impoverished makeshift family won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. And it earned a 99! On Rotten Tomatoes. A very poor family “adopts” a cruelly-treated little girl, and gives her sensitive and true family love — while teaching her to shoplift to stay alive. The relationships and bonds of love are a bit confusing (and near boring) yet it’ll rip your tears out and maybe even cry. Not your standard Hollywood saga…but a piece of cinematic art.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. A 94 on Rotten Tomatoes, Golden Globes and Oscar talk, this is a deeply moving story about a black Harlem family in the 70’s, facing the very real race problems that remain with us all. James Baldwin wrote the book, and the Beale Street reference is only to drive home the fact that time and equality haven’t changed. Rape, pregnancy, mother’s love, are combined with super acting to wrench hidden feelings from all of us. Don’t miss this excellent film.
ROMA. What’s extra perfect about Roma is that you can see it on the theatre screen right now, realize how perfect a film it is, and then go home and watch it again on Netflix. I did exactly that. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) directed this complex self-biography/masterpiece. I’m not sure what’s best… the acting, the photography, or the story. It’s Mexico City in the 1970’s, and we watch the changes in the life of a housekeeper and of the world she lives in. See it, especially if you like award-winning classics.
ON THE BASIS OF SEX. If you saw the recent documentary “RBG” there’s no reason to see this nearly religious tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But she is a lot prettier in this version. We know by now that RBG is some kind of saint and that she had a lung problem a few weeks ago. Felicity Jones is a British actress and manages to sound about 80% American with just some New Yorker accent that flips on and off. It’s sort of a mix between Joan of Arc and Mary Poppins
BEN IS BACK. Julia Roberts does one of her very best roles in this controlling Mom dealing with her addict son. Lucas Hedges also captures the rest of the screen as the remorseful son who is earnestly trying hard to stay “clean”. A very hard biting drama, and probably has been a true story many thousands of times. Go see the movie. VICE. Not a GREAT movie but an important one. Christian Bale is completely unrecognizable as Dick Cheney and his performance is for sure Oscar-worthy. I had no idea how evil and powerful Cheney became working under and on top of George W. Bush. It is a scary movie and lacks continuity but politics fans need to see it.
FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?
WELCOME TO MARWEN. Poor reviews like a 28 on RT, but I liked it much more than they did. It’s “based on a true story” about a guy who got severely beaten by thugs and lost his memory…completely. So he re-creates a new world populated with Barbie and Ken dolls. Steve Carell plays Mark Hogancamp, the real life sufferer who still lives in up-state New York. Since the movie is about a mentally de-ranged guy it too is disturbingly directed. It’s complex, confused and really involving as well as hypnotic. CLOSES THURSDAY, JANUARY 17
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS. Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie play strong and competing would be queens in this costume drama set around the 16th century. It’s a battle between the two great actresses over the throne. It’s full of Catholicism, cruelty, cunnilingus, and other controversial topics. It’s way over done and certainly doesn’t add much too cinematic history.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS. This is a NEW Mary Poppins movie. Emily Blunt is no Julie Andrews and if you’re old enough to remember seeing the 1964 original you’ll realize just how wonderful it was. There’s not a single memorable song in this take, there’s no purity, innocence, or genuinely creative additions to the 54 year old original. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep added just to give it hype. Meryl Streep is sort of the Ed Winn character but she’s not as good.
BIRD BOX. Sandra Bullock stars in this dystopian melodrama. Invisible aliens attack earth and if you look at them you’ll have to commit suicide!! I saw this on Netflix, it’s brand new in limited release and who knows of it’ll ever go wall to wall in theatre. It’s a mish mash of time periods as Sandra takes two children on a blindfolded row boat trip to escape these invaders. The ending ??? It doesn’t have one exactly, as our heroes stay over at a school for the blind and stare at the sky. The photography is fine, the acting is pretty good, but none of it makes sense.
GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a story we are all too familiar with. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. . Julie James talks about Jewel Theatre’s new play Red Velvet on January 15. Then Celia and Peter Scott talk about Campaign For Sustainable Transportation. Phil Collins from New Music Works discusses their Feb. 2 concert featuring Terry Riley, piano and Sarah Cahill on January 22. Following Phil will be Attorney Bill Parkin and Ron Pomerantz talking about the lawsuit against the City and developer Owen Lawlor. John Laird discusses his plans to run for Bill Monning’s State Senate Seat on January 29, then Bill Raney talks about his new book, “Beatniks, North Beach in the 60’s”. Linda Burman-Hall discusses the full season of The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival on Feb. 5 followed by UCSC Math prof. Ralph Abraham with news of his two new books on the Hip History of Santa Cruz. Ellen Grace O’Brian talks about her book, ” Jewel Of Abundance” on February 12. Authors and Publishers Doug and Rachel Abrams discuss their new book on finding, maintaining relationships “Eight Dates” OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here… http://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at email@example.com
Stephen Colbert breaks it down…
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts. Such a wide range of folks such as Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.
QUOTES. “GROUND HOGS DAY.”
“The groundhog is like most other prophets; it delivers its prediction and then disappears”. Bill Vaughn
“Old Groundhog stretched in his leafy bed.
He turned over slowly and then he said,
“I wonder if spring is on the way,
I’ll go and check the weather today…” Author Unknown, “Groundhog Day”
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring”. George Santayana
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