Blog Archives

July 20 – 26, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Expanding Highway 1 with HOV lanes, more on Donna Meyers, Cotoni Coast National park, stinky plant, Streamers and screamers, Jewel theatre critique, Live Here Now. GREENSITE…Santa Cruz city growth tops the state. KROHN…the University again, growth, the regents, oversized vehicles. STEINBRUNER…County Fire Dept, CZU fires, Pleasure Point highrises, tiny houses ordinance, historic resources, Villa de Branciforte, Aptos Natural Food Store for sale, the Webb telescope sightings. HAYES… Toyon. PATTON…Stanford’s Billion Dollar Climate School. MATLOCK…Rumors, reality, rationale, and repulsiveness. EAGAN… WEBMISTRESS…Alice Barker, 1940s Harlem dancer. QUOTES…”BRIDGES”


CEDAR AND LOCUST STREETS ca. 1920. This shows the Hotel Santa Cruz now with the added Red Room & Bar. Literary Guillotine (204 Locust) would be just on the left and I think that the Schooner Realty house 1015 (Cedar) is here too. Little Shanghai and the parking garage is now at the bottom right.

Additional information always welcome: email


Rick Longinotti heading the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation very happily sent out the following press release… 

Lawsuit Against Hwy 1 EIR Prevails
On July 12, 2022, the Sacramento Superior Court ruled in favor of the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation and the Sierra Club and against Caltrans, finding that the Caltrans Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the expansion of Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County is inadequate. The decision states, “The Court orders that CalTrans’ approval of the Tier I Project and the EIR shall be set aside, and that CalTrans shall recirculate a revised DEIR for public review and comment.”  (ruling attached)  

Rick Longinotti, chair of the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation (CFST), responded to the decision, “This decision means our Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) has an opportunity to reconsider transportation strategies other than the pie-in-the sky notion that it will build HOV lanes from Santa Cruz to Watsonville, which an RTC report admits is unfunded until ‘after 2035’.  What people do not realize is that the RTC has no effective plan to offer commuters who are stuck in traffic.”  
The only component of the Highway 1 expansion project that can be funded is auxiliary lanes (exit-only lanes) from Santa Cruz to State Park Dr.   The Caltrans EIR for the next auxiliary lane segment, from Soquel Ave to 41st Ave. estimates, “the auxiliary lane alternative would slightly worsen traffic operations in the southbound peak commute hour”.   
“Why would we build auxiliary lanes that offer no safety or congestion benefit, when we could spend the money offering real alternatives to being stuck in traffic?” asks Longinotti.
CFST is asking, among other things, that the RTC convert their plan to build auxiliary lanes to a bus-only lane on the shoulder of the highway. The RTC’s current plan is to run buses in the proposed auxiliary lanes, where, like everyone else, they will be stuck in traffic. A dedicated bus lane project would offer a substantial number of commuters a viable alternative to sitting stuck in traffic, and not worsen the evening commute.
If Caltrans still wants to proceed with the project, it will be required re-circulate a draft EIR for public review. The new EIR will need to conform to recent state legislation, SB 743, requiring mitigation of projects that increase vehicle miles traveled, the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in the state. “That could be an insurmountable barrier for a highway expansion project. Rather than keep pushing an unsustainable project that doesn’t solve congestion, we’re asking the RTC to engage in community dialogue about funding solutions that work,” explains Longinotti”. It’s dedication and hard work like Rick’s and the entire CFST that keeps our community as alert and as progressive and protected as it is…thanks Rick and all of CFST.

DONNA MEYERS FOLLOW UP. Last week I announced that our former mayor Donna Meyers and current city council person is going to move to Carmel probably after her term is up on December 12.  I also tried to guess which local “press” would interview her about the reasons she’s leaving. She’s lived here a long time, headed a number of organizations. As California Local states…. “Donna Meyers first won her seat on the Santa Cruz City Council in 2018, running on a message of climate resiliency for the city. Meyers became the first openly lesbian mayor in the city’s history when she was named to the position in November 2020. Meyers spent the better part of two decades working on coastal management and conservation, having served as the director of conservation programs for the Big Sur Land Trust and the executive director of the Coastal Watershed Council. She lives with her wife and two dogs in Santa Cruz”. So will we find out if she’s mad, just tired of politics, health reasons, what??   

COTONI COAST DAIRIES PLOT AND PLAN. I’ve been more than concerned about our great environmental gift ever since Pres Obama declared it a National Park. BLM has been slowly creating new changes to the land which make it an even larger, more permanent threat to the land and our North Coast community. Friends of the North Coast organization realizes some of the issues. Go here to check in with Friends of The North Coast… 

Here’s what Dr. Jacob Pollock, ecological researcher specializing in ecological monitoring, design and analysis stated at a recent community presentation…

“I hope today to impress upon you that the BLM monitoring plan for Cotoni Coast Dairies is inadequate. It’s overly vague, too general, and is not based on the latest science. In simple terms, it is lacking.

First, it is lacking in a baseline knowledge of what it is supposed to be protected. You can’t know what has changed if you don’t know where you started.

Second, it is lacking any monitoring of the specific protected species or objects of the monument. You can’t see what has changed if you don’t look at the things you care about.

Third, it is lacking any monitoring of the specific causes of impacts. You can’t know why things change if you don’t look at the stressors.

Fourth, it is lacking in science based management informed by monitoring results. You can’t fix what has changed if you don’t decide how much changes too much, and if you don’t learn from mistakes.

I also want to impress upon you that BLM is refusing to do effective monitoring and refusing to obtain adequate baseline data. The BLM monitoring plan, biological monitoring plan states, quote, monitoring protocols for each species discussed in the proclamation is not recommended or proposed.

Also, at a community meeting in Bonny Doon, Central Coast Field Manager Ben Blum, in a discussion about baseline monitoring, left everyone feeling powerless and unheard by proclaiming that baseline monitoring is not necessarily a prerequisite before we would open the property to the public. And that’s where I think we are going to have to disagree”


Lincoln Taiz formerly professor at UCSC is now hopeful that as many of us as possible get to see and smell the rare Titan Arum plant at UCSC’ s Greenhouse he sent this…EXCITING NEWS! Our Titan Arum plant (Amorphophallus titanum) is getting ready to flower for the first time after growing for ten years in the UCSC Greenhouse. It will be on display at the UCSC Arboretum and we hope as many of you as possible will come to see it. I strongly recommend coming several times over the next two weeks to see it at several stages of opening. There is a window of 12-24 hours just as it opens when it gives off a terrible stench (hence its common name ‘corpse flower’) which attracts pollinators like dung beetles and flies. At the same time the giant spadix heats up to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a process called thermogenesis. The heating helps to volatilize the odor molecules. If you’ve seen photos of this plant in flower you know how huge it can grow. It’s not a single flower but an inflorescence containing hundreds of flowers. The male flowers are at the top of the spadix and the female flowers at the bottom. The huge leafy structure that surrounds the spadix is called a spathe. DON’T MISS IT. THIS IS A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO WITNESS A VERY EXOTIC BOTANICAL PHENOMENON RIGHT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. COME EARLY, COME OFTEN! IT WILL BE LOCATED IN THE PATIO BETWEEN THE ARBORETUM OFFICE AND THE CLASSROOM BUILDING.

Check out their frequently updated Instagram on the right

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. 

BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE. (Also known as “FIRE” online) Del Mar Theatre. (6.9 IMDB) Juliette Binoche has never been better than this movie, and that’s saying a lot because she’s always marvelous. It’s very French and goes deep into the past lives and loves between two sets of exes dealing with how to stay friends. It’ll cut deep into your own past relationship issues and aside from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf I can’t remember any drama going this complex and realistic.

HOUSE OF GUCCI. (PRIME VIDEO MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB) Such a cast…Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, and also Salma Hayek!! Such a notable and based on truth story about the Gucci family and fashion clothes industry but it comes off as silly and half dramatic. There’s even a murder, much double dealing, heavy mugging and unreal makeup on some of the cast. It’s imposable to tell what the famous director Ridley Scott had in mind other than making viewers cringe every 20 seconds. Watch only if necessary. 

FOR JOJO. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (3.7 IMDB). A sad German saga dealing with the relationship between two women who have been very close since they were kids in Berlin. Jojo falls in love and wants to marry a black guy and Paula just loses it. Their histories could have been better exposed but it’s intense and worth watching.

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.(NETFLIX SERIES) (8.3 IMDB). Author and UC Berkeley professor Michael Pollan wrote HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND in 2018. Now he produced this four part series centering on four psychedelic drugs and how they can change your personality and your life. Episode 1 is about LSD and its history, episode 2 centers on Psilocybin, episode 3 hits home and features Santa Cruz’s own Rick Doblin founder of MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) talking about MDMA or Ecstasy. The last episode focuses on Mescaline. You’ll see Ram Dass, Stewart Brand, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, and the influence psychedelics had on the very founding of Silicon Valley. Huge advances both legally and scientifically have been made proving the usefulness of these hallucinogens and this documentary is as entertaining as it is thoughtful. 

CENTAUR. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.3 IMDB) This is a Spanish movie about a superbike racer, which really means motorcycles like Kawasaki’s and Hondas. It seems like hours of track racing and that’s fairly exciting. Then he gets into trouble with big time drug/mafia types and he has to run the drugs using his racing motor bike. It’s a poor copy of a plot and should only be watched by track fans only.

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.  

THOR:  LOVE and THUNDER. (Del Mar Theatre) I’m not going to see, let alone review this mess. Marvel super hero films don’t qualify in my definition of cinema, even if Natalie Portman is in it.

BLACK BIRD. (APPLE SERIES) (8.5 IMDB) Ray Liotta’s last film and it’s a good one. Greg Kinnear and Taron Egerton also star in this former cop who’s now in jail and gets offered freedom IF he’ll go to another prison to secretly question and get a confession from another felon. It’s a bit hammy and slow moving but watchable.

HELLO GOODBYE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. (NEFLIX MOVIE) (4.7 IMDB) It is billed as a “teen movie” and I thought it would be a switch from all the heavy serious films I usually watch. I wouldn’t advise any teen I know to see this mess. Maybe or possibly kids under 10 could possibly like it. Stay warned.

AV THE HUNT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.5 IMDB). A dark, depressing view of violence against women. It’s a Turkish movie and has superior photography but it’s a pointless tirade against the tribal, traditional sex prejudice that is rampant and never ending. Mostly implausible and has a plot that needed more work. 

THE TURNING POINT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). A robber hides in a nice guy’s apartment and they become unbelievably good friends. Many cinema zingers in this Italian pseudo comedy/drama. Not very funny, not very plausible and poor acting too. Don’t waste your time, and warn any sensible friends too.

THE WRATH OF GOD. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.7 IMDB). This excellent Argentine movie makes a mystery out of a famous author’s connection to the murders he writes about. Those murders all center on a beautiful former employee of his. Believable, tense, absorbing and good viewing. 


JEWEL THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS. Their current production is “Deathtrap” which was Broadway’s longest running comedy-thriller play.  Tense, funny, and it was for me at least in the top three plays I’ve seen at the Jewel, and I’ve seen almost all of them. The written play by Ira Levin who also wrote Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, and The Boys From Brazil is at near genius level. The acting and Jewel Theatre production is shocking, good fun and amazing. It’s at the Colligan Theatre and runs from now through July 31st. Call 831 425-7506 or go to 

CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season and Returns to In-Person Concerts on July 24-August 7. Yes, Cristian Macelaru the music director is returning and will be conducting. The concerts will include three world premiere commissions; the live orchestral premiere of Jake Heggie‘s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Benjamin Beilman; and works commemorating women’s suffrage in America and exploring the recent impact of drought and wildfires in the Western United States. Tickets are on sale now!! 

39 th ANNUAL MUSICAL SAW FESTIVAL. The 39th Annual Musical Saw Festival will be on Sunday August 14 from 10:00 am to 5pm at Roaring Camp in Felton. The world’s greatest saw players come out of the woodwork to join other acoustic musicians in a variety of musical performances. You’ll hear bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, blues, classical, and even show tunes (believe it or not, no heavy metal) throughout the day. Festivities start at 10:00 AM, with spontaneous acoustic jams throughout the day. There’s a Saw-Off competition from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and a Chorus of the Saws at 3:45 PM, with up to 50 saw players trying to play in unison. And for those who want to learn how to play music that really has some teeth in it, there’s a free Musical Saw Workshop at 4:00 PM. The entire event is free, and fun for the whole family. For more information, check out , or . Held by the International Musical Saw Association.  

July 18


With its natural beauty, mild climate and hitherto small-town appeal, Santa Cruz has long been a desirable place to visit. Now it is a desirable place to live for an influx of newcomers who can afford it. The recent population increase of the city is bucking CA state trends and breaking all records.

While the growth of Santa Cruz city is not a new phenomenon, the scale and speed of recent growth is unprecedented. The city, like the state of CA has almost doubled in size since I arrived in 1975. Most of the growth of the city during that period has been due to a massive increase in student numbers from 5,000 to close to 20,000 with a projected further growth to 28,000 with commensurate increases in staff and faculty.

Now, for the first time CA is experiencing a net loss of population. A recent Mercury News article by reporter George Avalos on the loss of CA’s population to other states included a breakdown of cities with figures for population losses and for some, mostly smaller cities, modest gains. San Jose fell below a million in population for the first time since 2013 and San Francisco dropped 3%.  On the other side of the equation, Sunnyvale had an increase of 0.6%, Santa Clara had an increase of 0.8% and Berkeley increased by 2.7%. So far, nothing startling until I read the following paragraph:

Of statewide note: One of the biggest population gainers among California cities in 2021 was Santa Cruz. The seaside municipality added 6,481 people, an increase of 11.3% from the year before, for a new total of 64,075 residents.

That caught my attention. Suddenly everything made sense. Development money is flowing into Santa Cruz with new projects emanating from the city Planning and Economic Development Departments almost weekly. The Downtown Extension project with a projected 1600 units of housing in buildings up to 17 stories in height is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The impetus for such growth, apart from UCSC, is the new ability to work from home for predominantly high-income workers. In former days, if you wanted a high-paying job in San Jose and live in Santa Cruz you had to drive over the hill. No longer. 

While local population growth is nothing new, its current scale and impact should be better addressed by the community and its leaders. In the 1970’s, Santa Cruz County was growing in population at twice the CA rate. Thanks to the 1978 voter Initiative Measure J and the work of Gary Patton and others, growth management and 15% below-market rate housing were codified into new developments. Pro-growth advocates have maligned Patton ever since, placing the blame for the ever-increasing cost of housing and rents on those trying to preserve what’s left of the character of Santa Cruz as though real-estate speculation is only a spectator rather than the key player in the game.

To be sure, new state housing laws, a pro-growth Planning Department, a pro-growth council majority, a growing UCSC, a bottomless pit of wealthy people wanting to live in Santa Cruz and billions in real-estate investment monies make the current Goliath loom larger with David’s stone seemingly shrunk to a pebble. However, it also looked grim in the 1970’s and people did not give up. We need to start by debunking the pro-growth jargon and false narratives. 

At every project hearing, the developer’s representative trots out the same old story about how Santa Cruz needs more housing. Only true if you are thinking of those well-off people who want to move to Santa Cruz, who of course are the ones the developer is thinking about. In two years, by the end of the current cycle, the city will have built its share of regionally required housing and exceeded its market rate share. We do not have a housing crisis: we have a cost of housing crisis and no amount of building other than 100% affordable housing will change that. If you listen to the pro-growth crowd, all the new housing will be for people already living here: the students, the single professionals, the downsizers. Don’t buy it.

Another version of the same theme is that we need to provide workforce housing for our teachers, fire-fighters, and police. If so, how come 1010 Pacific, specifically earmarked for that segment of the workforce ended up as student housing? What about the scores of lower income workers who are cooks, janitors, dishwashers, maids or receptionists who are being displaced as rents rise with the ever-increasing AMI (Area Median Income) due to all the newcomers with high salaries? That alone should be a moral argument against any new market rate housing. 

Then there’s the old saw: growth is going to happen, it’s best to plan for it rather than it being unplanned. This one is a word trickster and is usually trotted out by people who make or have made their living from the housing market. No building is going to spring up “unplanned”. It doesn’t work that way. What this really means is “let’s build for the people who want to come and live here. Otherwise, they may go somewhere else.” 

Another common attack is: “You’ve got your piece of paradise, now you don’t want anyone else to live here.” That has been used successfully by the UCSC administration over the past two decades to tamper down students’ arguments against further campus growth.  

The response to both is to ignore the guilt trip and focus on the need for an honest appraisal of the impacts of unlimited future growth. Both at UCSC and in town. While historically CEQA has been the tool to evaluate environmental impacts of growth, it is under attack with State Senator Scott Wiener and other pro-housing activists working to limit and weaken its oversight. 

In the same vein, many of the new projects in town are determined by the Planning Department to be CEQA exempt. 

What is needed and what we don’t yet have is a Planning Department, a city manager and city council that are more concerned with the big picture impacts of such growth and less with just smoothing the way for its implementation. If the town’s population has increased 11% in one year, what are the future impacts of continued growth at this rate on schools, water supply, sewage system, landfill, roads and traffic, housing costs, especially rents, access to medical facilities, overcrowding of parks, beaches, and open space? Who will service the consumption needs of all these new affluent people? How far will the workers need to travel? Where is the land to build new facilities? These and other questions need to be posed and answered. Not just “is this good for business?”

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.


 July 18


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mario Savio. I’m reading a book about the 1960’s, Subversives, the FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power, by Seth Rosenfeld. Remarkably, Mario stood on the roof of a police car in the fall of 1964 in front of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley. Of course, he removed his shoes. Jack Weinberg, a recent UC graduate was inside the police car having just been arrested for political tabling near the intersection of Telegraph and Bancroft. Savio, courageously and without thinking about how it might affect his future career, called out the UC Regents for censoring students and acting like a corporation. Some say, the Free Speech Movement was born that day. Documentarian Harvey Richards notes in his video of that time, “The interlocking connections between the members of the Board of Regents and economic power structure of the state became a matter of public concern.” Well, they still are, and even more money is at stake. Savio was wildly successful in putting Berkeley on the map as a place where people cared about speech and were willing to stand up to Regential overreach. On Oct. 2, 1964 some 800 UC Berkeley students were arrested for occupying Sproul Hall, the main administration building on campus. Those arrests turned the university community in favor of student demands. It had the same affect when UCSC graduate students went out on a wildcat strike in February of 2020 and the Regents sent in cops from all over to bash future professorial brains. It was not pretty, but what it proved is that UC is vulnerable when students and the community organize.

UC, Incorporated

The protests of the 1960’s did not keep the UC Regents in their cage. They have turned former President, Clark Kerr’s dream of a multiversity, into a full-fledged corporation, leaving its young people in debt and graduate students still disenchanted because of rent and the high numbers of students they are expected to teach. Beginning with the UCSC graduate student grade-strike of 2019 and amidst undergraduate cries of “Cops off campus,” the Regents have failed to not only bring down the price of housing on campus, but in fact are acting in ways that cause rents to rise all over Santa Cruz and make student less safe and secure. University students will be the working and professional people of the future. Why is tuition so high? Why does it cost both an arm, and a leg, to live on campus? I have written before about how the university drives up rents in the local housing market, but it bears repeating as the 19,500 student 2005 LRDP-approved glass ceiling may be broken this fall and even more enthusiastic and bright-eyed young people will descend upon Surf City and slam right up against the absurd cost of housing wall. But, what the UC Regents has not done before is purchase off-campus market-rate housing in the city of Santa Cruz. It is true, they own the University Town Center building on Pacific Avenue where students live, but it was not previously rented out in the community housing rental market. What seems apparent from paperwork I have seen, but neither confirmed nor denied by three separate university spokespeople, is that the 168-unit Hilltop Apartments at 363 Western Drive was purchased for $117 million by an entity at 1111 Franklin Street in the city of Oakland, which happens to be the office of the UC Regents (8th floor). If anyone has additional information about this purchase and is willing to share it, please contact me at


Along with the news concerning this sale that broke in this column and in radio interviews, the residents at the Hilltop Apartments have been organizing. They sent a letter to the management company, Greystar, asking them to back off on issuing 60-day notices. I was told by a resident that the organizing worked and the company has since rescinded the notices. Don’t mourn, organize!

The People 2, City of Santa Cruz 0

Coming off a narrow, but loudly reverberating defeat of a half-cent sales tax measure by Santa Cruz voters, the city council took it on the chin again as the California Coastal Commission expressed dismay for its “Oversized Vehicle Ordinance,” and said on the record that it was lacked clarity and their findings were: “substantial issue found, de novo hearing continued.” The staff report included this zinger: 

In terms of environmental justice, staff has concluded that unsheltered individuals that use an oversized vehicle as a place to sleep at night constitute an environmental justice community to which the Coastal Act’s environmental justice provisions and the Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy apply. 

This seems to be what advocates have been arguing all along. Pity the poor city attorney’s office after hearing from commission staff that they just have not made the case for discarding certain city residents from their living spaces. This means, the ordinance that was going to criminalize people for sleeping in their vehicles because it’s so expensive to buy a house or even pay rent in this town, cannot be enforced in the coastal zone pending a further hearing. Read all about it HERE. This is good news for the one hundred-plus people who live in their vehicles within the coastal zone in Santa Cruz, an area which is essentially presided over by the California Coastal Commission’s rules. Can you say, “Amen” for the 1976 California Coastal Act?” Amen. Also, three cheers for the appellants, the ACLU and Santa Cruz Cares.

“We must put an end to the unauthorized and unconstitutional involvement of U.S. Armed Forces in the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen and Congress must take back its authority over war.” (July 14)

The Piano Man is back and can be found on Pacific Avenue outside of Verve coffee house. Thanks much to Lisa Sprinkle and Jeb Purucker, owners of the Tabby Cat café for storing the piano when not being played on The Avenue.

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

Email Chris at


July 18


A friend let me know last week that her neighborhood’s safety in Marin County improved with work performed FOR FREE by F.I.R.E. Foundry crews.  Why can’t we follow this model in Santa Cruz County?

The Fire Innovation, Recruitment and Education (F.I.R.E.) Program is the result of collaborative work between the Marin County Fire agencies, California Conservation Corps, and educational institutions that include Stanford University. Recruits are 18-30 years of age, are paid $18-$20/hour, and gain valuable emergency responder skills and education.  The community wins, too.

Initiative to Reduce Wildfire Risk Also Creates Career Pathways

Here is the F.I.R.E. Foundry Program Objective: “To establish a science and technology-savvy, community-oriented wildfire prevention workforce, by providing job training and skills development for underserved, underrepresented and underfunded community members in Marin County and the surrounding Bay Area.”

Write to the Santa Cruz County Fire Dept. Advisory Commission (FDAC) and also the County Board of Supervisors to ask that this program model be implemented here in Santa Cruz County.

FDAC Administrative Clerk Melissa Scalia <>

Board of Supervisors 

You can also speak directly to the Commission this Wednesday, July 20 at 4pm.  Here is a link to the FDAC website where you can find the virtual meeting agenda.  FDAC

Remind the County Supervisors they need to allocate some of the money promised to voters in the 2018 Measure G ballot to add a new 1/2 cent sales tax to help fund fire and emergency response.  To date, ZERO dollars brought in by Measure G approval have funded any fire agency. After all, they have to answer to the Grand Jury investigation and report.


Mountain Community Theater produced a 90-minute film “The CZU Fire In Their Own Words—Fighting Fires, Losing Homes, and Rebuilding Community” to raise funds for the local volunteer fire departments and the Community Foundation Fire Recovery Fund.

The first screening happened last Friday at the Zayante Fire Station, but you will have another chance to go on August 7, 1pm at Park Hall in Ben Lomond (9400 Mill Street).

Admission is free, with a suggested $10 donation.

If you were able to go to the screening last Friday, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

The second video just released on the topic is about Big Basin State Park and the CZU Fire recovery. It’s about 11 minutes long, and is available here:

Watch: New video explores massive wildfire at Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the forest’s recovery

Although he could not get to Big Basin State Park in time, State Archaeologist Mark Hylkema raced with other Parks staff to save historic documents from other treasured places in the face of the CZU Fire.  You can read about that here


Recently, County Planning Commissioner Rachel Dann stated “This is the biggest land use change our County has seen in 40 years, but not many people seem to be aware of it.”  She was talking about the Draft Santa Cruz County Sustainability Policies and General Plan Update, first presented to the Commission on May 25, 2022 in Item #6: Santa Cruz County Planning Department

To a large extent, Commissioner Dann is right.

However, it is encouraging to see that a group of astute neighbors in Pleasure Point ARE AWARE, they have organized and are keeping their seats at the Planning Dept. table to do all they can in a constructive way to protect their Community’s character.

My friends Al and Patti sent me this information highlighting “Save Pleasure Point”:

Pleasure Point is not a place for high rises: Rezone our neighborhood the right way 

This thoughtful group painstakingly reviewed the Santa Cruz County Draft Sustainability Plan and Regulatory Updates over the course of nine intense days.  They put together their comments and sent them in early, because they have seen the County’s deadlines for doing so can be somewhat mysterious and misleading.

Their comments really hone in on the inappropriate plan to re-zone Pleasure Point to put this neighborhood in the cross-hairs of ultra-dense development when it is already challenged with traffic congestion, and is at the far-end of 41st Avenue corridor connection to Highway One.  

Shouldn’t those ultra-dense developments be located closer to the main Highway One corridor…or enable passenger rail opportunities along the rail corridor?

A few years ago, I attended some of the Pleasure Point community meetings when the Planning Dept. and Supervisor John Leopold were pretending to be interested in the public’s opinion of their proposed Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor Plan.  No one wanted to reduce the number of lanes on Portola Drive, but that is what ended up in the Plan approved by the Board of Supervisors. 

Read the comment card input for the two public meetings held, and you’ll find that the proposed Santa Cruz County Draft Sustainability and General Plan Updates ignores what the people wanted.

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)


I remember when this store first opened in 1990, and it is sad to see it struggling now.  It is officially for sale, so I hope the business will survive.  Many thanks to my friend, Al, who sent me this post from social media sent out just a few days ago:

William D. Mar Vista

Re: APTOS NATURAL FOODS It is sad to announce that ANF is for sale. My brother is the owner and he suffered a TBI about 2-weeks after he bought the store in 2015. Unfortunately, the management he had put in place in 2015, tried to get him to change his will and did other nefarious/dubious things that caused a separation. My brother replaced him with new management that ran it into the ground. I tried to help, but I have my own company and now my own clients are starting to suffer. I cannot continue to help him and now he wants out. I do not have any ownership, however, I have power of attorney, which has its own limitations. So, if you would like to chat about buying ANF or know of someone who may be interested in getting a landmark store at bottom-dollar pricing, please PM me and I will send my contact info so we can have a phone or Zoom conversation. Please help me spread the word… you can do that by sharing this post and chatting this up in your network of friends. Thank you!! W  7506 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA


On a sad note, Kenneth Coale, who, with his wife Susan, organized and led the County Equine Evacuation effort, passed away suddenly last week due to complications caused by an aortic dissection.  He was volunteering on a local horse event, providing amateur radio communication public service, when the problem occurred.  He was a wonderfully kind soul who led the animal evacuation effort during the CZU Fire.  He co-authored many interesting scientific papers in the field of marine science  and worked to improve local policing operational procedures and behavioral health trainings after the tragic killing of Sean Arlt in Santa Cruz City in 2016.  

Kenneth was kind, intelligent and witty…I will miss him greatly.


WATCH LIVE: Stunning new images from James Webb Space Telescope offer fuller picture of our universe

These amazingly beautiful images from the James Webb telescope that NASA released last week should give us all pause to wonder about our place in the big picture of Life. 

Many thanks to my friend, Al, for sending this lovely image.  Each dot is a galaxy.  Here is a video explaining these amazing images (begin at minute 52:00):





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

July 18


There’s an important plant showing off right now. Cast your eyes across our hillsides or hike deep in the ravines, and you may catch a glimpse of large multi-trunked treelike shrubs festooned with bright white blossoms. In December, these plants will be weighted with bright red berries, just in time for the holidays. Branches with berries were as popular as wild gleaned holiday décor that Californians had to pass laws to prohibit harvesting in the early 1900’s. This big shrub or at times small tree is called “toyon,” Hollywood, or Christmas berry.

Madrone-like Different Apple

The plant’s genus name “Heteromeles” means ‘different apple’ (“hetero” translates as ‘different’ and “meles” references the apple genus ‘Malus’), which makes sense because this super shrub is related to apples, which are also in the rose family. You can see why it is a rose relative if you examine the small flowers and find that they are five-petaled, like wild roses. I captured a photo of a honeybee visiting Toyon flowers (note the attractive red leaves in the background). Like roses (and apples!) the flowers have an alluring scent…some say like Hawthorn – but, does anyone know how to describe hawthorn smell?? Oh, so much to learn…in Nature, there’s always more to learn.

More plant name etymology…as we already covered the secrets behind the genus name. Botanists often play most playfully with “plant nomenclature.” As a profession, they might be the punniest. This shrub-tree’s species name is “arbutifolia” referring to the shape of the leaves, which are like leaves in the genus Arbutus, which includes our native madrones. I recognize that the overall leaf shape fits and that the leaves are extremely waxy like madrone leaves. But, Toyon leaves are a darker green and have little teeth on their margins, unlike madrones. Nevertheless, if you cut branches of this plant for the holidays, you’ll get both a dark green ‘holly-like’ leaf color as well as the bright red distinctly holly-like berries- a fine combination.

Do We Eat Them?

Yes, we do eat them. The original people of this land made delicious food out of Toyon berries. The name Toyon is a Spanish-era mispronunciation of the native peoples’ name “totcon.” There is a problem, though…when ripe, the seeds are full of cyanide, so one must process the berries to get rid of that poison. I don’t know anyone who has done that work, and I leave the berries for the birds.

What Else Do We Do with Toyon?

Toyon wood is epically useful but little known these days. Know anyone with a toyon wood anything? Native peoples used the wood for poles, arrows, bows, pegs, pestles, frames for furniture, bowls, etc. 

Nowadays we use the plant in restoration and habitat management. The birds, pollinators, and mammals like it a lot- a prime candidate for restoration in many ecosystems.

Wildlife Food

Wildlife worship at the Toyon many times a year. Now, when the shrub trees are in bloom, they vibrate with pollinator noises in all octaves. Being one of the only early summer abundant sources of pollen and nectar, Toyon is the go-to nectar bar for a wide variety of buzzing floral resource collectors. The distinct drone of European honeybees emanates from the flowering canopy, joined by the high whine of numerous flies and the deeper tones of larger native bees. And then there are fruit…

The fruit take a long time to mature, a long wait until berries are ripe and delicious, but as with the good fortune of early summer flowers, the fruit arrives at a time when few other such foods are available. One of my favorite wintertime visitors, flocks of noisy cedar waxwings descend on a toyon and feast joyously on the berries. The amazing photo is copyright by Creative Commons and is by Flickr user Becky Matsubara. Robins, too, regular fruit eaters, gulp them down. I’m not sure how coyotes reach the Toyon fruit around here, often too high to reach. If there were bears still around, they would feast on Toyon berries, probably tearing off limbs that bore berries too high for their reach. All of these critters disperse Toyon seeds with their poop. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a waxwing-dispersed toyon sprouting up in your home’s vicinity…or, if an open space near you doesn’t sport crowns of Hollywood stars…there’s always a chance to plant them!

Landscaping with Toyon

Toyon is a great landscape and restoration plant when you want a large, resilient, and wildlife friendly shrub. The species isn’t the fastest growing, but it is quick enough! After 10 years, you can count on a 12′ tall, 10′ diameter plant with a full round crown chock full of flowers. What you can’t count on is a full canopy of leaves…or red berries…it seems that those only occur on the driest of sites – mine get mildewy leaves that fall off readily and the berries turn moldy black in many years. The flowers, though, consistently appear in larger and larger bee-covered masses. Count on multiple trunks with smooth grayish bark that are easily pruned up to be more fire safe. If there is a fire, you can count on Toyon to bound back with new sprouts so perhaps once established a shrub can live a very long time. Another bonus- although Toyon is ostensibly evergreen, it does shed its leaves a few at a time…and as those leaves get ready to shed they turn a bright and beautiful red.

I took this photo of a 10 year old toyon just today, high above Davenport – in bloom and very lush looking.

Your Task

Your homework, should you decide to take my advice, is to spot the Toyon. There really aren’t that many trees or near tree shrubs to learn in our area, and this one is a great one to add to your repertoire of local knowledge. Where will you go to find this species???

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


July 18


Venture capitalist John Doerr, and his wife, Ann (both pictured above on Stanford’s Inner Quad), have given $1.1 billion to Stanford University, to set up a new school on the campus that will be devoted to the study of climate change and its solutions. 

This “Climate School,” as both the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle have called it, will officially be named the “Doerr School of Sustainability.” Incidentally, this is not our nation’s first “Climate School.” Columbia University also has one, and Columbia just calls it the “Columbia Climate School.” As far as I can tell, there weren’t any billion-dollar donors around when Columbia set up its program, which probably explains why plain-old “Climate School” was good enough for Columbia.

I think it is a very good thing that our best institutions of higher education are now trying to focus on the need to combat global warming and the associated climate changes that are putting human civilization – and tens of thousands of living species – in extreme peril. Anyone reading one or more of my recent blog postings – like the one you can read by clicking this link – would certainly know this.

So, thank you John and Ann Doerr – but with a significant footnote! Providing economic resources to have the “best and the brightest” of our educators work on ways to avoid the global warming catastrophe that we can so plainly see coming is definitely a good thing. What is NOT so good is the proposal to accept financial support and contributions from the fossil fuel industry. According to an opinion column published in The Stanford Daily, that is exactly what is happening

I have another comment about Stanford’s new “Climate School” curriculum, too. Here is what The San Francisco Chronicle says about that, in the news story linked above:

The School of Sustainability will open Sept. 1 with 90 Stanford faculty coming from other departments with 60 positions to be added later, the university said. The initial push will be in four areas: energy systems, climate, sustainable development and environmental justice. 

The first students will come over from the existing school of earth sciences, which will be folded into the new school, along with its faculty. 

Undergraduates may declare majors in disciplines to include the oceans, civil and environmental engineering, climate science, and global and environmental policy. There will be an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree along with master’s and doctorate degrees. The first degrees will be conferred in June 2023. 

It appears to me that Stanford and the Doerrs are treating the global warming problem as, mainly, a “technical” problem, a problem that can be achieved by working on “the science,” with efforts aimed, mainly, at “engineering” solutions. 

I would like to suggest that this is an inadequate way to approach the global warming problem, which is a “human” problem even more than it is a scientific or engineering problem. Where are the faculty from education, sociology, philosophy, history, economics, literature, anthropology, psychology, religion, and politics?

We will not be able to “engineer” ourselves out of the crisis we have created. We are going to have to transform how we conduct ourselves as human beings, in the face of the climate crisis we have brought down upon both the human and natural worlds. Engineers and scientists are needed, certainly, but those in the humanities and social sciences must be called to the task, as well. The crisis we face is truly an “all hands on deck” situation. We need a fully “interdisciplinary” approach. 

Ultimately, what we most need is a type of “metanoia,” a complete transformation of all of our expectations. Our current ecological footprints are several Earths over the limit (the limit is one). We won’t be able to survive the coming catastrophe unless we can “do the math.” 

In this case, however, “doing the math” is not a problem for engineers, it is a human problem. That makes it, also, a spiritual problem, and (let me make it clear) a POLITICAL problem.

Ultimately, we are totally dependent on the World of Nature (that is the “one” world that the earth sciences students know about). 

Most immediately, however, we live in a political world, and our key challenge is the political one, not the engineering one. 

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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

July 18


Our self-named “favorite President” must be running low on grifting cash from his online criminal activity…he’s touting an upcoming announcement for his media transcribers who oblige him by heralding a possible fall announcement for a third run at the presidency. Wowie…stand back and stand by with plenty of snacks, a bucket o’chicken, and your red MAGA hat! According to the Washington Post, two ‘unnamed advisors’ are hinting at a September ride down the golden escalator for the candidacy statement. In doing so, he would be ignoring GOP wishes to at least hold off until after the mid-term elections, to prevent the divisiveness this might bring, not to mention poor results for GOP contenders. Some GOP strategists worry that such an early announcement would play into the hands of Democrats who would attempt to use the vote as referendum on some of the extreme foundations of his base. 

Though Agent Orange has been ‘leaking’ the same rumor for months, we can bet (careful where you place that money) that his coffers are swelling once again with responses to his daily blasts for more…too much is never enough, according to niece, Mary Trump. But, what is the likelihood that will really be a participant? Some are saying that his mind is too far gone, and the reason his handlers are limiting his public appearances…though one emergence is one too many it seems. We can only hope that a run will be hindered by his senility, and court appearances before the Department of Justice and the Georgia bail hearings. The Dems are hoping for a mendacious, but desperate Trump campaign where he falls on his face, as they make a referendum of Baby Finger’s toxic unpopularity while tying the GOP to his criminality. Nevertheless, Democratic candidates have their work cut out for them. 

We can only hope that Republicans continue to produce daily horror stories and gaffes, with the assistance of the U.S. Supreme Court, of course. Idiots like Congressman (Coach) GYM nasium Jordan, Ron Johnson, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert (former Shooter’s Grill & Botulism owner), and Marjorie (Hooked on Phonics) Taylor Greene will be great assets for the Dems. Nefarious proponents of The Big Lie have won over 100 GOP primaries across the country, according the the Washington Post, as they attempt to take positions such as County Clerk, Secretary of State, or on elections boards to gain a foothold for controlling elections. Recently, a GOP-led commission in a New Mexico county refused to certify the results of a fair election until intervention of the state supreme court, an ugly example of actions the power-seeking election deniers are ready and willing to initiate. ‘The Onion’ newspaper reports that a Republican platform plank will propose that schools, to save money, should eliminate teaching the past tense in English classes. 

Congresswoman Liz Cheney, closed the last J6 Committee hearing with words of warning about witness tampering, saying that an upcoming witness had received a phone call from Amnesty Donald, considered a bombshell by some. Newsmax host Greg Kelly asserted that the former Prez surely wouldn’t have made such a call…could have merely been a “butt call.” While the witness declined the call after recognizing the phone number, they alerted an attorney who then informed the Select Committee, the chair passing it on to DOJ. As for Kelly’s “butt dial” remark, one commenter pointed out that the posterior of The Donald would have rendered the phone inoperable before a call could be completed. Look for a resurrection of terms such as, ‘Benghazi’, ‘Hillary’s emails’, or even the old chestnut, ‘Obama’s birth certificate’ in the coming days. ‘Hunter Biden’ will obviously gather multiple usages. 

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, President Biden, to highlight the dangers of the ruling, told of a ten-year-old Ohio girl, who was raped and was forced to travel to Indiana in order to terminate her pregnancy. The deniers immediately launched their criticisms, one of whom was Ohio Attorney General David Yost who suggested it was not “likely” that such a crime took place, making himself available to media sources to crow about it, while lobbing this national talking point upon a child-victim. Jim Bopp, the general counsel for the anti-abortion group, National Right to Life, felt carrying to term would have been the proper decision, “as many women rape-victims have, to their benefit.” Jim failed to note that this concerned a ten-year-old? Congressman Jim Jordan tweeted that Biden had lied, then quietly scrubbed the message upon the arrest of the rapist. What, no apology, Gym? Even Ohio AG Yost issued a statement that it “appeared to be true.”

A Republican candidate running for Virginia state representative, Yesli Vega, made the most nonsensical and outrageous statement regarding rape by criticizing the Left, and hawking her law enforcement career, by babbling, “…there’s so much going on in the body. I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, seen any studies…Because it’s not something that’s happening organically. You’re forcing it. The individual, the male, is doing it as quickly – it’s not like, you know – and so I can see why there is truth to that. It’s unfortunate.” Got that? A vote for Yesli is a vote for nonsensical decision-making. 

But, Fox News’s Jesse Watters, after calling the story a hoax, credited his show with assisting in apprehending the rapist, an undocumented immigrant, by “covering the story heavily, and putting pressure toward ‘seeing that justice is being served’.” Watters covered the news in several segments, while sowing doubt with interviews and emphasizing the unverifiable elements, which privacy laws concerning minors prevented him from knowing. Jesse, a wingman of Fox News colleague, Tucker Carlson, didn’t apologize after taking credit for the arrest, and went on to demonize immigrants, and villainizing the abortion doctor by continually running her photo during his airtime. 

Bocha Blue writes in the Palmer Report, that we now have a “Manchurian Court”, a la the book and movie, ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’ Blue refers us to a ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine article which describes how Peggy Nienaber of Liberty Counsel, was overheard on a ‘hot mic’, claiming to be frequently praying with “certain Supreme Court justices…those that like us to pray with them.” Liberty Counsel is a frequent visitor to the Court, often arguing cases before them. The group, founded in 1989, is a 501 tax-exempt organization that engages in litigation related to evangelical Christian values. Chairman Mathew Staver, and president Anita L. Staver, a married couple, are both attorneys. They employ 38 people, and are headquartered in Maitland, FL and have revenue of $5.57 million annually, with expenses of $5.26 million, according to a 2015 report. According to Nienaber, they actually pray inside the court with those out-of-control justices who will participate as they chip away at America’s foundation. This should scare the hell out of any American…so vote! This must stop!

U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York believes our runaway Supreme Court is out of control, and in particular after his last opinion, Clarence Thomas, who he classifies as a hater. He writes that Justice Thomas hates civil rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, marital rights, equal protection under the law, liberty and justice for all, and free elections. Undoubtedly, Co-Justice Ginni Thomas concurs. 

In a New York Times editorial, Adam Liptak, says that with its relentless move to the right, this Supreme Court is the most conservative since 1931. The last time the rate of conservative decisions came close to the present court’s decisions, was in 2005, Chief Justice John Roberts first term. Since that year, the court tended to have a mix of decisions based on the differences in ideology of the members. Since Justice Barrett’s appointment, that dynamic has become quite different and lopsided, what Justice Sotomayor calls “a restless and newly constituted court,” with the three remaining liberals saying the court has replaced reason with power. “The Supreme Court went a lot farther a lot faster than I expected it to this term,” said Tara Leigh Grove, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Despite a Gallup Poll showing the court’s public approval rating in a dive, this group isn’t slowing down as they approach decisions on affirmative action, voting rights and same-sex marriage starting in the October term beginning. Hold onto your hats…and not the MAGA ones! 

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:


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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 hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn”.
~David Russell

“If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man”.  
~James Dean

“What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal”.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

“A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it”.
~Oscar Levant


You will forgive me if I’ve posted this before… It is so absolutely wholesome. Alice Barker was a dancer in Harlem in the 1940s, and this video shows her in a nursing home at age 102, being shown videos from her performing days, videos that she had never seen before. She passed away in 2016 at 103, and enjoyed a tremendous amount of attention, fanmail, and notoriety in her last couple of years.

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