Blog Archives

January 31 – February 6, 2024

Highlights this week:

Bratton…more throwback Greensite…on new development: losing our way… Steinbruner…reminder: protest the Soquel Creek Water District rate hike, and County Fair . Hayes…on stuff… Patton…book recommendation… Matlock…bad to the bone… Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week. Quotes….”Rain”


UCSC STUDENT VIGIL AGAINST TUITION May 18, 1967. Sure, that’s then California Governor Ronald Reagan visiting the UCSC campus. I’m betting that is Vernon Berlin who started KSCO radio holding the microphone on the left. History knows what Reagan thought of students.

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

DATELINE January 31, 2024

UPDATE ON BRUCE Bruce is still on the mend. For more details, or to just say hi and get better, you can email him at I think he has a tablet so he can read email.
[Note: broken email link should be fixed, copy and paste if it still doesn’t work -Webmistress]

The archives are rich with material, so I went in and grabbed some more.


[Dateline MARCH 2015]

HIGHWAY 17 SIX, part 2. One thing we can agree on is that Governor Jerry Brown, the UC Regents and UC president Janet Napolitano won’t change tuition by one cent for months. Even then, it may increase.The HIGHWAY 17 SIX are receiving tremendous support for their blocking of Highway 17 protest. They have a Civil Rights attorney Dan Siegel who used to be legal advisor to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. He resigned from that office because of her use of police against the Occupy Oakland Movement. We should all agree that our California education system is terrible and ranks near the bottom of most lists. We should also agree that more than ever we need to provide our kids with better and better education….just to compete on the career/ job market. We need to agree that a $5000 top is a sufficient tuition for any California resident. Those Highway 17 Six fought hard, gave up a lot and are being incredibly brave for their cause of fighting the UC tuition increase and police violence. Back in the day (1957-65) when I was a UC Berkeley student and card carrying member of SLATE at the UC Berkeley Campus and later sat inside UC Berkeley’s Sproul Hall with Joan Baez and Tom Luddy who showed his collection of silent films on the hallway walls, we heard Mario Savio say, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” It was 1965 when Martin Luther King Jr. said, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” I think those brave Highway 17 Six and thousands of University of California students need to think bigger.

[BACK TO THE CURRENT TIMELINE What happened with this? As far as I know, the Hwy 17 Six got 6-month jail sentences. -Webmistress ]

There is still time to donate, funds are needed by Febrary 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

Bruce will be back with movie reviews as soon as he’s had a chance to write more!


January 29th 2024

Losing Our Way

Photo by Katie C.

Driving to meet a friend for dinner at a downtown restaurant on a recent Saturday evening, I followed a familiar route. It was raining heavily; visibility was poor, and I missed the Cedar Street left turn off Laurel. “Never mind I’ll turn at Pacific” I thought. What happened next was a strange, disorienting experience. With that new tall, block-length building looming ahead through the rain and glare of headlights, I did not recognize where I was. My brain tried to make sense of the unfamiliar surroundings with one part knowing it should be Pacific Avenue and another part rejecting that fact. The familiar Liquor store sign and low-rise Pacific Avenue landmarks were lost in the mass of the new high-rise. I turned left, still unsure where I was. Such is the loss of a sense of place, what writer Rebecca Solnit calls a sixth sense.

Urban planner Edward T. McMahon writes: “A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, social, and environmental – that provide meaning to a location. Sense of place is what makes one city or town different from another, but sense of place is also what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about.”

He adds, “If I have learned anything from my career in urban planning, it is this: a community’s appeal drives economic prosperity. I have also learned that, while change is inevitable, the destruction of a community’s unique character and identity is not. Progress does not demand degraded surroundings. Communities can grow without destroying the things that people love.” Edward T. McMahon, UrbanLand April 4, 2012.

Granted, few would defend the former Taco Bell and Bonesio’s Liquor Store as “charming”. Nonetheless they are/were a familiar part of the fabric of our town. For those who have lived here for a while, they embodied the same character as the Broken Egg and the Fun Spot, both razed for a parking garage and a parking lot respectively, hardly pluses on the “charming” scale.  While a Taco Bell is not unique, it was at least on the working-class end of the gentrification scale. Not only are we losing a sense of place, we are losing the working class character of Santa Cruz along with the working class itself. This class shift is readily seen on the far west side of town. It will soon become evident along Water Street and Soquel on the Eastside as older low-rise long-time businesses are bulldozed, replaced with new, mixed-use high-rise generics, eradicating the last remnants of character and familiarity, let alone the businesses themselves. I can hear the scoffing from some newbies who either profit from this transformation or have no internalized sense of place. That, or they have swallowed the party line of “we need more housing” without examining the class impacts of just adding a bigger supply of mostly market-rate housing.

Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to read the Mayor’s Message in last Sunday’s Sentinel. Randy Johnson is the Mayor of Scotts Valley. His words are the first I’ve heard from a local politician that are overtly critical of the heavy hand of the state dictating to local communities just what they shall build with no leeway for local control. Sure, we have heard other local politicians tell us that we have no more local land-use control due to state mandates, but it is spoken in the tone of resignation, never as push-back. In contrast, Mayor Johnson is outspoken and sticks up for his town. In response to an out-of-state developer who informed Johnson that he, the developer intended to use the “builder’s remedy” to build a multi-level 200-plus unit project on a small city lot, Mayor Johnson writes, “So the outcome of the State’s housing directive is that a Midwest Company, a thousand miles away has more control over our city’s future than its citizens do. That’s wrong.” The mayor continues, “I would propose a ‘city’s remedy’ where the state rethinks its ‘one-size-fits-all’ position on how to meet the state’s housing needs. Every community is unique. The integrity of local control must be trusted. We should work in a spirit of cooperation and find balanced and workable solutions that set up cities and counties for success. To do otherwise condemns us to a path of confusion, skepticism, and distrust that serves no-one and compromises our future.” There is more but you get the picture. A political leader fighting for the character and identity of his city. How inspiring!

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.


Last Thursday, the District held a Rate Study webinar that was a repeat of what the Raftelis consultants had presented to the Board in December to convince them to approve the drastic changes to fixed service fees and rates over the next four years.

 Customers can  send written protest to be received by February 20 but not once did any of the District staff say that people could protest and how to do that.  The District rate increase mailer gave very little fine-print space to that either.
Here is where to learn more about protesting these drastic rate changes that are really going to hit the low water users the hardest.

The consultant had been running the meeting, but General Manager Ron Duncan took over to try to answer the good questions that people were posting in the chat box.  He took alot of time saying very  little before turning the questions over to Ms. Strohm or Ms. Schumacher, the new Assistant Manager.

The shocking thing that he did say is that “everybody’s water rates go up because people conserve.”

He must have been referencing the claim at the October 17, 2023 Board meeting by Finance Director Leslie Strohm that “we’re in this situation due to a  $11,000,000 shortfall in water sales revenues.”

The truth is  the cost of the PureWater Soquel Project has ballooned and even the $95million received in grants is not enough to pay the actual $200,000,000 construction cost or the projected annual operating cost of the treatment facility that has doubled to $5,500,000 annually.

The extravagant $1000/month bonus for Ms. Strohm that the Board approved at behest of General Manager Ron Duncan, made retroactive to when the Project began and that will continue until it is completed, certainly has not helped the financial health of the District.  Melanie Schmacher, the Project’s outreach coordinator (recently made Assistant Manager) gets a $1,600/month bonus, and Taj DuFour, Engineering Director, gets $1,000/month bonus.

Now, with the impending rate changes, most low-water users will see their bills increase by about $30/month while those who use alot of water may see decreases.  Does that make sense?

Ms. Schumacher answered one such question last Thursday.

When the PureWater Soquel Project was getting started in 2019, the District was not sure it would get grants to fund construction, so the Tier 2 rate were made five times higher than Tier 2 to pay for it.  Now that the Project is close to becoming operational (maybe this fall), everybody will benefit by the protection to the groundwater basin by injecting 1500 AcreFeet of treated sewage water annually into the groundwater, so everybody must pay their fair share.

At that point, the Raftelis rate consultant jumped in and assured the audience that the current rate changes and tier restructuring “will have a smoothing effect” over what the last rate changes caused.


The District has removed the video links to the rate increase discussions the Board had with Raftelis rate consultants on November 6, 2018 (the same meeting where they approved the Twin Lakes Church injection well project before the EIR for the PureWater Soquel Project was even certified).

The last time the Board raised rates, Ms. Strohm recommended that the Board review District revenues and expenses annually to determine if the rate increases were still necessary.  That has never happened.

Former Director Bruce Daniels even publicly stated that if the District were awarded the anticipated $50 million grant for the PureWater Soquel Project, the Board would lower the rates.  Well, the District staff purports to have gotten about $95 million, but the rates never were adjusted, and are now drastically going up 10% this year, and 12% annually thereafter for three years.

If you or anyone you know is a customer of Soquel Creek Water District,  and do not agree with the proposed dramatic rate changes, please send written protest.  It must be received by the February 20 public hearing.

You can find the protest template here

Last Tuesday, the Fairgrounds Board met to approve a number of things the new CEO has put before them.  That included a Contract with the Fairgrounds Foundation that will provide FREE RENT for that less-than transparent fundraising group’s office and storage.

Hmmm…can the State gift that to a non-profit?

Take a look at the murky deal the new CEO made with the Fairgrounds Foundation, and that somehow did not even raise an eyebrow by the Fair Board members (some were missing) before approval.

There is NO list of “Assets” that the State-owned Fairgrounds will be paying $12 to rent, and in exchange, allow the Fairgrounds Foundation a gift of free office and storage space on the grounds:

3. Rent. 
In consideration of the lease of the Assets as provided herein, Fairgrounds agrees to pay the Foundation an annual rental amount of Twelve Dollars($12.00) due and payable on the first day of each calendar year during the Lease term, commencing on January 1st, 2024.

4. Use of Grounds. 
In consideration of the lease of the Assets outlined herein, Fairgrounds commits to furnishing the Foundation with office and storage space. The extent and placement of the provided space will be determined solely by Fairgrounds.
(page 209)

This is not transparent.  No list of “Assets” the State is renting from the Foundation, no explanation of the $12 rent amount the State is paying to the Foundation, and no value provided for the office and storage space the State is providing the Foundation for free.

All this, after a State audit in 2022 that uncovered many significant and troubling financial and policy matters that led to then-CEO Dave Kegebein getting fired.

But wait….it gets worse…..

It was shocking to me last Tuesday to hear Ms. Kitiyama report to the Fair Board on behalf of the Ag History Project that Dave Kegebein is the organization’s new Executive Director.

This is the same Dave Kegebein who the Fair Board fired in October, 2022 for embezzling alot of money and many other concerning actions.   This is the same person who now continues to arrogantly command other tenants at the Fairgrounds to do his bidding.

Take a look at the Compliance Audit and ask yourself if you would trust to allow such a person around and be actively involved in major financial and policy issues:

The new CEO is seemingly a puppet for all of this….so nothing has changed.  In fact, in my opinion, transparency is worse.  And the Fair Board asks virtually no questions.

Also reported at last Tuesday’s Fair Board meeting was that an unknown group decided this year’s September 11-15 Fair theme will be “Pioneer Days and Modern Ways”.

There will be a 200-drone light show each night, with tickets sold to those who want seats in the grandstand to watch it and listen to the musical accompaniment.

Parking fees are going up $5/vehicle, but you might get a deal if you carpool with others.  Those details are still being worked out.

Stay tuned.

Last week, Swenson crews connected the large stormwater drain pipe up in the Aptos Village Park so that all the parking lot, street and rooftop stormwater will now flow into Aptos Creek.

I wonder how this will affect the water quality for those steelhead and coho salmon trying to make their way back upstream to spawn?  Do you think California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife have approved this?

Write and ask: Wesley Stokes <> and Serena Stumpf <>

Take a look at the hillside disturbance and pipe that is above ground in Aptos Village Park below.

Digging up the road in Aptos Village Park for the stormwater drain pipe.

It is amazing to see the construction moving along on towering mixed use subdivision of Aptos Village Project Phase 2.  The buildings will be three-stories tall, and seemingly with minimal setbacks from the hazardously-narrow Aptos Village Way.

The last amended design I saw was to minimize or eliminate landscaping and space between the structures, and parking was seemingly inadequate.  All parking on Aptos Village Way for businesses in the Phase 1 area is now prohibited, due to construction traffic…or something.

This towering construction is happening on both sides of Aptos Village Way and all parking is prohibited.  Swenson promised the public there would be parking for Nisene Marks Park users…but where?

The parking study for the Project was inaccurate, to say the least.  But it doesn’t matter now…most of the office and retail spaces are vacant.

According to librarians at the Capitola Library, the newly-constructed Aptos Library is due to open February 5.

It is good to see the construction chainlink fencing gone, and the lights on inside.





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

Appreciate Your Stuff, and Get Less of It

After reading this sentence, look around and ask yourself: where did all this stuff come from? We surround ourselves with stuff. A significant part of some people’s mental focus is about acquiring more stuff, comparing prices of stuff, comparing their stuff to other people’s stuff, and figuring out how to get rid of their old, broken, or worn-out stuff.  Stuff is both underappreciated and overconsumed.

The Story of Stuff

If you haven’t watched it yet, or if it’s been a while, I urge you to take 7 minutes out of your day, right now, and watch Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff. It is brilliant and hopefully will inspire you to change your relationship with stuff. Here’s a funny question to ask your friends or family members: “Do you like stuff?” It is a worthy question. Some people unabashedly exclaim “YES!” Others not so much. Some people deny liking stuff altogether.

House Stuff

There is a lot of important stuff around you. Housing is critical for everyone. A house is where people put their stuff and it is where they gain shelter from the elements, safety from other people, wild animals, unleashed dogs, etc. Most people around here who live in homes live in a ‘stick built’ house that is sheathed inside with drywall and outside with plywood then something else over that. I once had visitors from France who watched a renovation next door and awkwardly asked, “Is that a historic home that they are renovating?” I said, “No, that’s how we build things.” They laughed a bunch saying that in France they never build with wood, only metal framing, which lasts so much longer and doesn’t burn. They were incredulous. Wood is grown. Metal is mined. Construction wood is sequestered carbon. Metal is high energy carbon release. Metal lasts longer and is recyclable. The trade-offs between those two types of stuff are interesting when considering building. Where did the wood in your home come from? If it is an old home, perhaps it is old growth redwood from these very mountains. If it is newer, the lumber probably came from clear cut forests in the pacific northwest or Canada. Where did your drywall come from? It was mined. Check out this big hole in the California desert where gypsum is mined and then turned into drywall. This giant mine is appropriately named ‘Plaster City, California‘ and makes more than half the drywall in the country. Most people who build houses don’t ask many questions about the ecological footprint of their house ingredients. Do you want an affordable home, or not? Asking for more sustainable products is going to cost you more! By building affordable homes that are built with traditional products, we are passing on some enormous costs to future generations. Poor forest management is filling streams with sediment, destroying fisheries, causing life threatening landslides, destabilizing economies and communities built around more sustainable forest management. Gypsum mining has caused surface- and groundwater contamination, erosion, and permanently removes wildlife habitat.

Other Stuff

Outside of the bones and skin of your home, there’s lots of stuff inside the house: where did it come from, how long will it last, what happens to it when it gets old and breaks? So much around us is made of fiber. Carpets, towels, furniture coverings, sheets, curtains, clothes…woven and stitched together fibers. How many of us consider the source of those fibers? Personally, I like my fibers to be biodegradable and organically grown, but I have paid a lot for that choice, and it has not always possible to find. Cotton that is not organically grown is a synthetic fertilizer and pesticide-intensive crop…not something I want to support or surround my body with either with clothes or in sheets and towels. When such things wear out, it used to be that Goodwill would take the worn-out stuff and sell it as rag cloth, which was recycled. I’m not sure that occurs anymore. One could compost pure cotton cloth after it has outlived its value as rags. Rag cotton has at times been recycled as insulation for homes, a replacement for (mined) fiberglass insulation. Wool is another natural fiber. Watch carefully when selecting natural fibers because too often they are augmented with various plastic fibers, which degrade into microplastics and are barely if at all recyclable. What does one do with those plastic fibers and the myriad of plastics found in other stuff which is similarly not recyclable?


A friend suggests visiting “away.” One “away” is at the end of Dimeo Lane on the North Coast of Santa Cruz County. When you throw things ‘away’ the place it goes is actually a landfill. Interesting word, ‘landfill.’ Like it was empty before? Sacrifice zone is one way to put it. “Drainage basin destroying, methane belching, seemingly contained long-term pollutant blob requiring intergenerational expense allocation” is the more honest thing to call it. That’s where your old stuff goes. As Annie Leonard points out in the film I linked you to above, most ‘stuff’ has been carefully planned for obsolescence. In other words, it breaks according to plan. And, when most stuff breaks, there is nothing to be done with it except throwing it ‘away.’ Most stuff is such an amalgamation of materials that it is impossible under the current regulatory environment to recycle. That’s our fault: we don’t care enough to vote for people who prioritize solutions to this problem.


Until policies require that all ‘stuff’ lasts longer and is completely recyclable, the solution to the problem of stuff is to buy less of it, focusing on buying only the stuff that we need, and making sure that what we buy isn’t bad stuff…it lasts, its creation hasn’t poisoned the environment, its obsolescence is appropriately long, and its disposal creates life instead of death. In the 1980’s someone figured that the transaction cost of exchanging a dollar bill in purchase burned a liter of crude oil, so just plain spending less is a good thing for the planet. Saving money is good: few people appreciate that their money is their time and that we don’t really have that much time…for our loved ones…for our own enjoyment. When considering buying something, ask yourself: do I really need this? Like 3 times. If we really need something, then we must ask ourselves ‘is this bad stuff?’ Like 3 times. The specific questions to determine if something is Bad Stuff are: How was it made, what’s it made of, how long will it last, where will it end up when it’s no longer useful? Maybe we should carry a card with these questions to take out and read before our purchases. Oh, that’s no fun! (can you imagine yourself or your shopping partner saying that?). Is shopping fun? It will be a deeper kind of fun with this line of questioning. We are changing the world when we avoid buying stuff and when we only buy Good Stuff. Be that change.

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


#33 / Is Our Land A Beast To Be Bought And Sold?

Trudy Wischemann, who sometimes goes by “woodworker,” writes columns for a couple of newspapers published in California’s Central Valley, The Foothills Sun-Gazette and The Mid-Valley Times. Her thoughts come to the public under the title, “Notes From Home,” and I recommend them to you.

Thanks to Wischemann, I have become acquainted with Gerald Haslam, who is pictured above. Haslam was a  writer, and he was also an emeritus professor of literature at Sonoma State University. He died in 2021. Clicking the next link will take you to Wikipedia page devoted to Haslam.

And let me give you another link to click, as well. Clicking on the following link will take you to a website maintained by the University of Nevada Press, and give you an opportunity to buy this book by Haslam:

I am recommending you do that – or that you hunt the book down in your local library and read about the Central Valley, and about the people who have lived there in the past, and who live there now.

When I worked for the Planning and Conservation League, based in Sacramento, I traveled through the Central Valley on a weekly basis, commuting to and from “home,” in Santa Cruz, California, on the coast. I learned very little about the Central Valley as I passed through it. Haslam’s book has helped increase my understanding.

This specific blog posting, coming to you in early February 2024, was stimulated by a particular line in one of the essays contained in The Other California, a book I finished reading right before the end of last year.

The familiar vista of the Sacramento Valley from an airplane reveals more than a physical contrast. Obvious are roads, canals and fence lines slashing below, straight and measured geometry assignments. Equally obvious is the lurching course of a great river, feeder streams squiggling into it like a mad artist’s doodling.

Less obvious when viewing those features from above is that they represent opposing visions of the place. The canals, the roads, the fence lines are proprietary, profane reflections of contemporary American beliefs; the streams are familiar and sacred reflections of Native American assumptions.

In what sense profane? The Valley was not the ancestral home of Europeans; they had no enduring link to it, so it was in no way sacrosanct. Moreover, they assumed theologically that nature was somehow the enemy of people – a beast to be domesticated, bought and sold (emphasis added).

Those of us who have been concerned by what is sometimes called “land use,” will understand what Haslam is talking about, suggesting that the lands we inhabit can be seen as “a beast to be bought and sold.” Haslam’s writings celebrate both of the realities he urges us to consider – the “sacrosanct” reality of the natural world and the “profane” reality of the “human world” we have carved out from the “world of nature.” Haslam’s writings, which are poetically expressed, teach us about the right relationship of these “two worlds” that we call home.

The words you are reading here – for anyone who is reading them – are posted to a blog that I maintain, “We Live In A Political World.” Each daily entry in that blog is preceded by this introduction:

We live, simultaneously, in two different worlds. Ultimately, we live in the World of Nature, a world that we did not create and the world upon which all life depends. Most immediately, we inhabit a “human world” that we create ourselves. Because our human world is the result of our own choices and actions, we can say, quite properly, that we live, most immediately, in a “political world.” In this blog, I hope to explore the interaction of these two worlds that we call home.

For those, like me, who were born in California, who call California “home,” Haslam’s writings are essential. They speak to all of us who want thoughtfully to consider what it means to live here, and to take seriously our obligations to this place, and to those who live here with us.

While Haslam does call us to our obligations, he reminds us, also, how right it is joyously to celebrate the good fortune that has called us to be alive, right here, in California, right now.

Gerald Haslam: recommended!

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



Money, money, money problems seem to be raising ugliness within the GOP ranks of late. It’s reported that the Biden campaign has been out-raising the Trump campaign, and the DNC has raised massive amounts of cash compared to the RNC, much of which is rumored to be going into Trump’s coffers toward his legal woes. As the RNC heads toward the bottom, a vote is to be held to authorize a line of credit, thanks to Citizen Trump, who is tanking this major political party’s funds. Totally apropos, since he has tanked almost everything in his own business history before running the nation aground during his term in office. The Grand Old Party won’t see the light of day again with his involvement, and to paraphrase Hillary Clinton“Trump has written several books, but they all seem to end with Chapter Eleven!” Last one out the door, please turn out the lights!

The nonchalance over funds seems to have the GOP approaching the nation’s budgetary impasse with the same stubborn laxity, with House Speaker Johnson relinquishing control of the House Clown Car to the Talibangelicals. They cancelled votes on two party-line funding bills, a transportation bill was pulled due to resistance to cuts to he Amtrak budget, and a financials services bill was wrenched thanks to the MAGAts attempts to pack it with anti-abortion legislation. “I don’t think the Lord Jesus himself could manage this group,” groused Texas Representative Troy Nehls“We’re ungovernable.” The Republicans spent days in finally selecting Speaker Johnson, but it brings them no closer to a cohesive majority, and the DNC is having a field day gleaning ammo for the upcoming campaign ads. This looks like a job for fund-raiser extraordinaire/high-wire artist George Santos…or, Kevin McCarthy, who at least proved his worth in that capacity before being run out of town.

GOPers need not look to our former prez, Donald Trump, for any assistance at refilling the coffers with his online grifting expected to edge into constant begging for his base to buoy up this poor, Constitiution-battered billionaire(?)/millionaire(?)/average joe(?) victim of Biden’s DOJ. It should take only a century or two to save his butt at the rate the meter is adding with each court appearance. Trump’s bragging during his deposition in the bank fraud trial came back to haunt him in the E. Jean Carroll defamation suit, as Carroll’s attorney made good use of the information he blurted at that time to inflate his net worth, his words used to convince the 9-member jury that he could afford to be penalized heavily to put a stop to his slandering of Carroll. Trump, in comparing his brand’s worth to that of Coca-Cola, said with puffed chest and Mussolini chin jut, “In my case, I know it’s billions and billions and billions of dollars, with the brand name alone valued at $2.9B or even $3B. I wrote a book recently and it sold through the roof! It’s all brand value. We have a lot of cash, we have great assets.”  At one point he gloated about the secondary market for his ‘collectible’ digital trading cards, “some selling for $82K apiece.” He also claimed that the Mar-a-Lago estate could be worth as much as $1.5B, but Palm Beach property appraisers give it a range of $1.8- to $28-million. It likely will be worth more upon change of the name to Carroll-a-Lago. Circulating on the internet currently is a Photo-shopped image of Trump Tower with new shiny gold letters reading E. Jean Carroll Tower…let’s run that one by Mr. T!

Journalist David Cay Johnston, author of the 2016 biography entitled ‘The Making of Donald Trump,’ feels that Trump’s mouth could never back off attacking E. Jean in hopes of a gigantic jury award in order to complain to his base that, “It’s a New York jury”, code for un-Christian and non-White, which his base will eat right up but will not serve to reach the supporters he really needs. Last year’s sexual abuse and defaming verdict against Trump resulted in a $5M award, which Johnston says he never expects to pay, but he also doesn’t believe he will ever see the inside of prison cell. The Don’s Truth Social network had postings critical of Carroll all during the second trial, and along with his Bad Boy immaturity during his presence in court, he was assured of a massive penalty by the observant jurors. Now, he’s faced with another quandary…$83.3M worth. Beyond criticizing the outcome of the trial, Truth Social has gone silent about E. Jean, likely because his caretakers have wrested his cell phone away from him. Bill Palmer on his The Palmer Report, asks, “Did his handlers take his account away from him? Is he passed out face down in a bowl of Cheeto dust? If Trump decides to keep attacking Carroll, it’s just going to cost him even more money…she can circle back for additional damages and sanctions if Trump can’t stop himself.”

Palmer accuses the media of trying to decipher whatever new move Trump makes, analyzing what, and why, it’s being done, when it has no coherency…only sheer stupidity. Then, as they peer into the dark hole which this stable genius has dug himself into, they ooh! and aah! that Trump finally has us right where he wants us. Flaunting his invincibility throughout the Carroll trial proved to be his downfall with the nine jurors, and perhaps it will stifle complaints that ‘Trump gets away with everything.’ Had he been gagged and tied to his chair, perhaps the new award simply would have been another $5M forfeiture. No doubt, Trump’s keepers told him to cease running his mouth following his first loss, but he’s either too far gone cognitively to understand how much harm he was doing to himself by continuing to attack, or he’s too far gone psychologically to care how much harm he was inviting to himself. In either case, he continues hiring the worst attorneys while insisting on defense schemes that are guaranteed to fail, all the while attacking judges, their staffs, and the court system in its entirety.

Posting a bond of $5M to file an appeal on the first trial occurred with minimum whining, but how does he post $83.3M to appeal the second verdict? It’s debatable whether or not he has that much cash on hand, and his PAC is stretched from paying his legal fees, at least the bills that even get paid. Absent an appeal, he must pay Carroll, a lengthy process involving having assets taken from him – a procedure that he is unable to prevent. Carroll was only interested in vindication, not money, and she has proven her patience in the years-long process to see justice. Trump stands to lose another $370M resulting from the New York civil fraud trial…ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching! Trump’s assets have wings! And, before we forget, a New York state judge recently ordered Trump to pay nearly $400K in legal fees to The New York Times and three Times reporters after dismissal of a suit he brought in 2021, an “insidious plot” to obtain his tax records he charged. Revelations that he wasn’t the self-made billionaire he claimed to be, that most of his wealth was derived from his parents or from tax-dodging, even as his businesses bled money. State Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed ruled that Trump’s claims “fail as a matter of constitutional law.” Hey, don’t that judge know the Orangeman don’t need no stinkin’ constitution?

Judge Arthur Engoron, in the New York civil fraud case against Trump, has new information to consider in his decision about financial penalties to be levied, regarding a $50M mystery debt related to the Trump Organization’s Chicago tower and an intercompany loan. Former federal judge Barbara Jones, the court-appointed monitor in the Trump fraud case, provided information that indicates the former president lied knowingly and repeatedly on his federal financial disclosures about a major loan that never existed, evading a possible $48M in income. Her information in a letter to Engoron says the filings contain inconsistencies and errors, but the company has been cooperative in the investigation. “When I inquired about this loan, I was informed that there are no loan agreements that memorialize the loan, but that it was a loan that was believed to be between Donald J. Trump , individually, and Chicago Unit Acquisition for $48M,” Jones wrote in reference to the name of Trump’s LLC holding the debt. She added, “In recent discussions with the Trump Organization, it indicated that it has determined that this loan never existed and would be removed from any upcoming forms submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, and would be removed from subsequent versions of the firm’s financial statements.”

Alan Garten, chief legal counsel for the Trump Organization, told The Daily Beast that her claim is inaccurate and the loan did in fact exist, which will be addressed in court. Garten insists that not only does the loan exist, but that it is money owed to Trump after a loan to the LLC. However, in an October filing, it was stated that Trump owes the LLC upwards of $50M, in the form of a ‘springing loan,’ a loan with unfavorable terms to the borrower. In 2016, Trump confirmed this arrangement to The New York Times, having bought back the loan form a “group of banks several years ago,” and that he had preferred to keep the debt on the books, while paying interest to himself from a practically worthless LLC. In the interview, Trump said, “We don’t assess any value to it because we don’t care. I have the mortgage. That is all there is…very simple…I am the bank.” It seems that a ‘practically worthless’ LLC with a $50M credit on its books would be worth at least that much! Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in D.C. remarked, “Assuming the court filing is correct, Trump would appear to have intentionally and repeatedly broken the law. Personal financial disclosures attest under penalty of law that information submitted is true…Trump had to know that the Chicago business never loaned him the money.” The Trumpmeister will surely be blaming the accountants and attorneys and others for any blunders. Watch out, EricJunior and Ivanka!

In a January 26 bankruptcy filing, former Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, listed a claim against his former boss over unpaid legal fees, stating the amount as “undetermined.” The initial December ’23 bankruptcy filing came after a federal judge ordered him to “immediately” pay more than $148M to defamed election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. In a series of unsuccessful lawsuits, Giuliani attempted to contest, and overturn, the 2020 election results in favor of Trump. The New York Times reported in August 2023 that, “Mr. Trump has never explicitly told Mr. Giuliani why he is effectively stiffing him, but the former president has pointed out that he lost the cases related to the election.” Also reported is that the Trumpster told his aides that he didn’t wish to see Giuliani get “a dime” unless he succeeded, and noted that $340K had previously been paid by the Save America PAC to assist with some of Rudy’s debt. Giuliani’s new filing also lists an “undetermined” amount owed him under “Joseph Biden Defamation Action,” a suit filed in October when Biden used the term “Russian pawn” in reference to the former NYC mayor…supposedly costing him “millions and millions of dollars” in lost clientele. In the category ‘tax refunds owed to you’ is listed “Overpayment of taxes from The Mask Singer” in 2022 amounting to over $10K, when he appeared on the TV show, The Masked Singer while singing ‘Bad to the Bone.’ The Donald probably smirked dramatically over that telecast.

While Giuliani managed to raise over $700K from just 13 donors , per an FEC filing, to help with legal fees after the court ruling, he was left with about $180K cash on hand after settling a half-million dollars of his legal fees. Rudy has always insinuated that he has “insurance” against Trump when the need arises, so does he have the courage to actually pull that trigger, now that he is in such dire straits? He once referenced that he and Trump would go down together, spurring Trump to host a too-little-too-late fundraiser, but with this new bankruptcy filing, he is hoping those who have claims against him will now go after Trump. This is an unlikely scenario, since The Don is begging for Divine Intervention to bail him out. This can only become more complex! Poor Rudy laments that he failed to save for retirement, failing to apply for any benefits and foregoing the pension, and “giving back to the city I love…although I would like to take it now. I don’t know how to go about it.” Hire a competent attorney, Rudy!

On his show recently, Seth Meyers showed a snapshot of a stunned-looking Giuliani, comparing it to “the state of American politics right now.” But, “If we really wanted to accurately represent America in 2024, we’d replace the stars on the flag with Rudy’s eyes.” Adding, “Good luck sleeping tonight!”

But, take heart from cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”

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.


The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
~Dolly Parton

“Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder.” Swedish saying that means “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.”
~ Gunilla

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~Mae West

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
~Frank A. Clark


Last week was West Coast Swing, this week it’s slam poetry! This young man, Demetri Manabat, is fantastic. This piece goes places you do not expect at first. Take a listen (for optimal clarity, turn on the subtitles!) and then go give him a follow.

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