Blog Archives

July 28 – August 3, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Update on Rail plus Trail news, Circle Church Property plea, Grandson’s room?, Moving Storage recommendation. GREENSITE…Paying Lip Service to the climate crisis. KROHN…. End of Fiscal Year, part 2. STEINBRUNER…Goodbye Zach Friend?, No Water for farmers, no cleanup at 1500 Capitola Road! PATTON…Laser guided bombs. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”Gravity”.


ESTIVAL FESTIVALS 1988 (above) & 1989(below). As marketing director for the Downtown Association back three or more decades ago (and just before our 1989 earthquake) I put together two Estival Festivals. (Estival is an adjective meaning “summer”). These were free afternoon performances from 1-5 pm.In 1888 the Estival stage was in middle of Cathcart Street about where Toadal Fitness is now. In 1989 we blocked off Cooper Street and held it there. It was designed to bring folks to downtown as per the Association’s function. It would take paragraphs and column inches to identify the performers in the two photos. Look for entertainers from the Cabrillo Music Festival, Warmth, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Kuumbwa Jazz center, Santa Cruz County Symphony, Mountain Community Theatre, New Music Works, Rainbow Ensemble, Santa Cruz Youth Ballet, Tandy Beal Dance Company, Miriam Ellis, Lile Cruse, Ross Gibson, Michael Horne, Michael Stamp, Don McCaslin, me with my clipboard, and so many more.                                                 

photo credit: courtesy of Neighborhood Moving Services…see below
Additional information always welcome: email


RAIL AND TRAIL UPDATE. The ongoing debate between the forces who want Rail AND Trail versus the trail only group seems to get more complex and detailed every week. I asked Barry Scott one of the leaders of the pro Rail and Trail community to give us an easy to understand where and how the situation stands now. He wrote… 

What now, Greenway?  
Backstory: The Greenway idea has lost every single battle in the form of reasoned public study comparing a recreational trail to actual public transit, most notably the Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis.

So what did Greenway do? 
Last year they put ran their Executive Director Manu Koenig against John Leopold to become Supervisor of District One, making for one of twelve votes on the RTC.

District 2 Supervisor Zach Friend is recused from making decisions related to the rail corridor because his Seacliff home is a couple hundred feet from the rail line. 
For years, RTC votes for District 2 have been made by Patrick Mulhearn, Zach’s alternate, but this month Patrick moved to take a position in North Carolina, and early this month the Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of Dr. Robert Quinn as Mulhearn’s replacement.  Quinn was until recently a member of the Greenway Board of Directors.  

Now two of twelve RTC votes will be made by Greenway insiders but Greenway still has a problem:  Their proposal for a trail-only conversion of the rail corridor is entirely inconsistent with local and regional long term transportation plans to which the rail line is essential.

What to do?  Rewrite the County General Plan and to this using the ballot initiative process.  Enter the “Yes- Greenway” petition, circulating now and advocating for rewriting rail transit right out of our guiding and properly created public documents.

Launched at a time in our state and nation’s history when rail transit stands to see significant funding, and two months before the planned battery-electric streetcar demonstration, Greenway is choosing the nuclear option: tear up years of planning.

12,000 signatures might put this measure on the ballot and if successful the Santa Cruz County General Plan would be drastically modified to serve Greenway’s agenda and kill any hope of public transit on our rail line.

Petitions for ballot initiatives are notorious for their deceptive language and the Yes-Greenway petition being circulated is no exception.

The initiative summary claims that the initiative will preserve future rail options through “railbanking”, but they don’t tell you that they’ll gut future rail options from our county documents.
Approval of this measure would rewrite the County General Plan and remove all of the sections that preserve our invaluable rail line and encourage development of public transit plans for the county and the region.

Say goodbye to these essential regional transportation plans and policies if the initiative is adopted:
“To preserve and protect the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Railway (owned by RTC), for availability to carry freight, for possible future passenger rail transportation.”

“Identify land use policies which will support future passenger rail use and prepare recommendations for General Plan and LCP Land Use Plan amendments at such time passenger rail use is approved and funded.

“Participate in planning and consider funding for fixed guideway/rail service in the Santa Cruz/Watsonville corridor.”

“If initiated by the RTC or other agencies, participate in a Santa Cruz to Los Gatos rail study and an around the hill recreational and commuter or passenger rail service study.”

Not only does this initiative kill the rail line and rail transit possibilities, it would likely result in costly delays in implementation of the Coastal Rail Trail, already under construction.

Want to help?  Say NO to the Yes-Greenway petition and initiative and alert your friends and family to keep the rail transit plans alive and reject the no-transit plans of Greenway.
Sign up with FORT and Coast Connect, join them in opposition to the Greenway Initiative here.

If you want even more clarification than Barry’s views and news go here.

DEMOLISHING THE CIRCLE CHURCH. A last minute plea was emailed 7/26 from the Save the Circles group. It says…
“We’ve been offline for a while, but we’ve got a plan to move forward with buying the church. The owners have submitted their final plan to the city and demolition looks set to commence this autumn.

We have a few groups that would like to partner with the community to make an offer to the church. Each of the groups would like to keep the church property as is, i.e. rent to a small congregation and a few small community groups. In order for those groups to make a large offer to the owners we need to show our support in terms of pledges.
Click here to open the Save the Circles Pledge Form

If you would like to make an anonymous pledge please email . There is no obligation for you to fulfill your pledge, but please only submit amounts that you intend to support if the property purchase goes through. Feel free to share the form with anyone you know in the community that can make a pledge, BIG or SMALL.

HEART OF THE WESTSIDE NEWS. Demolishing the Church at Church Circle is a near possibility. Freya Sands who also lives near there wrote this plea to the developers/realtors…

“Dear Realtors, I saw that there is a house for sale near my house.  Please read the following:
It has come to my attention that there are various homes for sale on the Westside of Santa Cruz. Some are very close to the Circle Church at 111 Errett Circle.  If the plans that have apparently been approved go forward, the church will be demolished and there will be some degree of disruption of the neighborhood for an undetermined about of time.  If I understand properly, the sellers of properties on the Westside should disclose this situation to prospective buyers. It will have an effect on the quality of life here for a long time and it will certainly change the feeling of open space at the center of our neighborhood forever.  In addition, it may have an impact on property values.  Please use this as a note of consciousness about quality of our area and our city”.  

GRANDSON’S FUTURE ROOM? Yet another plea/request for my grandson Henry’s need to find a room. He’s been accepted to UCSC and will major in environmental Studies, and he’s quiet, well-mannered and trustworthy. Let me know ASAP. Or call him at (650) 804-6842.

NEIGHBORHOOD MOVING & TRANSPORT. All of the above photos and historical data were given to me from Mike Carballo. Mike owns and operates Neighborhood Moving &Transport Services. As he says he generates work from the referrals of clients who have benefited from my services and tell their friends. He also receives work from businesses that refer him to their clients as a trusted in house moving service. He’s been in Santa Cruz for decades and likes to work with seniors too. He’s honest, responsive and knows what to do with all those things you’ve been trying to find the best place to move them to or from. Call him at (831) 588-1741 or email at  

Be sure to tune in to my very newest movie streaming reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.

THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (53RT). A genuine love drama. It stars Felicity Jones and Shailene Woodley. I mean to say it’s a real weeper and full of twists in time and in emotions. Two sets of lovers set about forty years apart and the search for happiness by a journalist who is determined to find out why neither relationship worked. It’s a tear jerker of the first class and if you like weepers go for it. Yes, I liked it.

EXIT PLAN. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE). An insurance investigator checks in to a very special hotel in Denmark exclusively inhabited for patients who make their own plans on dying. Then he too realizes that he’s dying from a tumor. It’s an excellently told and deep and depressing story about assisted suicide. Full of time and personality shifts you’ll be transported into moments thinking about your own demise. Watch it when you’re in a good mood only.

JOLT. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE). Kate Beckinsale and Stanley Tucci are the leads in this almost comic book, action, sci fi thriller. It’s fun to watch as Kate has electric chargers strapped to her chest to shock her into proper behavior in case she gets too violent.(35RT). It’s a B-movie and diverting if you need it nowadays but you’ll forget 98% of it in minutes.

GUILTY. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (60RT). An Indian flick in many ways. They use the #MeToo theme and I’m not sure why. It’s about a young girl who accuses her lover of sexually abusing her. It’s how she handles the reporting and going public with the sex charges that make up the plot. Ultimately it lacks focus and purpose but it is sincere. Watch it only when “necessary”.

THE COOK OF CASTAMAR (or) LA COCINERA DE CASTAMAR.  (NETFLIX SERIES). A 12 episode Spanish extravaganza about a young maid who, in the 1720 Barcelona works her way up from lowly kitchen help to a loving position helping the lord of the castle in every way. She has claustrophobia but manages to change her entire world. Fascinating, well-acted, beautiful photography and worth your time.

100 FOOT WAVE. (HBO MAX. SERIES). Even if you never touch the ocean, surfing is a part of our lives in Santa Cruz. This documentary exposes the business of professional big wave surfing. They’ve found a place in Nazare, Portugal where the waves actually reach 100 foot heights. These professionals show us the many serious techniques involved in tow-ins, rescues, and just the art of riding these monsters. It details how the surfers dealt with the political powers in Nazare so everyone would make serious money. Go for it you’ll learn a lot about surfing no matter how good or indifferent you are. 

SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, PBS) 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.  

McCARTNEY 3, 2, 1. (HULU SERIES). If you have ever enjoyed anything by The Beatles you’ll love this perfectly produced 6 episodes of interviews with Paul McCartney by music producer Rick Rubin. (95RT) How the Beatles began, how they created some of their greatest hits. Their business and fun times, their influences such as The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Little Richard. McCartney’s very nice, unaffected and friendly. Watch it and be ready to sing along. 

SCHMIGADOON! (APPLE TV+ SERIES). Alan Cumming is fun to watch in this parody of the 1940’s musicals. Numerous ensemble dance numbers all “inspired” by Oklahoma, South Pacific, and the greatest MGM spectaculars. Watch it just for fun, there’s no comparison to the originals and no depth to the plot of two people in love on a hiking trip being trapped in this musical kingdom. (88RT) 

PEARL. (PRIME VIDEO.SINGLE). (57RT). Anthony LaPaglia plays the mysterious father that has to take care of his newly found 15 year old daughter. Her mother was shot by her boyfriend so she has to give up a way of life and also take charge of her grandmother who drinks too much. It’ll keep your attention, not the greatest acting but it still works.

MANDALORIAN. (DISNEY +) SERIES. It’s been nominated for an Emmy series award so I watched three episodes to see what the fuss is/was about. (8.8 IMDB) It’s Star Wars carried far beyond the original intent. We see the new Yoda baby who we learn is not the same as old Yoda in later/newer Star Wars sagas. It’s full of great effects, middling plot lines and centers on the ongoing mission of the Mandalorian to find the best place for baby Yoda. If you need escape and loved Star Wars go for it, by all means.

GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (69RT). It isn’t promoted as a comedy but it’s a semi funny parody of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction. Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino are librarians who run a gun filled library. But it’s really a mother and daughter saga with Mom teaching the daughter how to be a surviving hit woman for top gangsters. The acting is stylized, dramatic and odd. Go warned if you rent this one.

LAST SUMMER. (NETFLIX SINGLE). This film takes place in 1997 and in Bodrum which is in Turkey. Bodrum is a well to do beach town, more expensive than Santa Cruz. Teen age love in all its cuteness, wildness, jealousies, and of course sex are the topics for almost two hours. I’ll spoil the ending by saying that there isn’t one!!! But it’s a diverting flick to waste your time on.

HASEEN DILLRUBA. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (50RT). A very Indian production complete with Bollywood songs and dances and silliness. There’s a wife who is suspected of murdering her husband. The police are convinced and it drags on dealing with the problems of arranged, traditional Indian marriages. The husband was a jerk as we watch, but then come an ending which will knock you off your sofa. All in all watch it IF you like movies from India. 

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

July 26

If ever there was an example of the city of Santa Cruz leaders paying lip service to the climate crisis it is evidenced in last week’s felling of the grove of eucalyptus trees pictured below, at the Highway 9- Highway 1 intersection to make way for highway widening. A lone redwood on the south side was also sacrificed on the altar of the automobile. 

Also sacrificed is Central Home Supply, a local business in that spot for the past 45 years.  While this is a Caltrans project, it had to go before the city council for approval. At the council hearing in March 2019, CHS co-owner Rusty Santee strongly objected to the city’s destroying his business through forced eminent domain. With Krohn and Glover absent from the meeting, the vote was unanimous to move forward with the eminent domain process. 

The issue came before council again in May 2020. The vote was 5-2 with Council members Katherine Beiers and Sandy Brown voting against approving the project. Council member Beiers captured the sentiments of community members present with the words: 

“This project never made sense to me. We talk about following the data all the time as it relates to the corona virus, but we do not pay attention to the data when it comes to these projects and the climate.”

At a time when every large tree should be regarded as critical to the survival of life on earth, city leaders treat them with as much concern as a used Kleenex. These trees, now gone, didn’t rate a mention from the project advocates. The widening of the highway, the destruction of the trees, the forced removal of a long-time local business, all subsumed under that Orwellian term “improvements.”

A large tree sequesters approximately two tons of carbon and adds to that each year. The same tree expels oxygen which, it should be obvious is critical for our survival.  Trees and humans share a beautiful symbiosis: we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide: trees inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. A sapling planted today will take around 80 years to reach the size of some of the trees in this grove and in the process will sequester a fraction of the carbon that was stored in the grove and added to each year. The positive effects of the 500 saplings planted by the city over the past 2 years under a Caltrans grant have all but been wiped out with the felling of this grove of trees.

The grove was a favorite for raptors and a variety of nesting birds. Bird nesting season lasts until September 1st.  Various agencies had to sign off on this project.  How was approval given to cut in the middle of nesting season? And if a biologist did inspect the grove, even with the best of binoculars, was every branch of every tree visible and accurately evaluated for nests, including the tiny ones? And in the unlikely event that there were no nests present now, what about next year when the birds return to find no trees but only more cars, trucks and asphalt? They can’t just move nearby. Birds are territorial.  At least Central Home Supply got some money as compensation for forced removal. The birds get nothing. 

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 26 

Last week, if you remember, I was able to retrace last year’s city fiscal money trail only up to November, simply because the trail is so wide and the money so plentiful. Yes, lots of money for fences, police overtime, city gas-guzzling vehicles, asphalt, and $200k-plus salaries for all department heads. When it comes to making inroads into the climate emergency, the homeless crisis, the affordable housing catastrophe, or the opaque nature of city council deliberations and decision-making, our city is not faring well, fiscally or otherwise. While the number one issue, the climate, is a minor lip-service one-off for this city bureaucracy, talk of building a parking garage, spending $500k consulting fees to rezone downtown to make it larger, and turning the current Santa Cruz Community Credit Union property into a boutique hotel, well, those are all within reach for a compliant city council. When the seemingly intractable capitalist road projects wear down the best of our Santa Cruz activists, may I remind you, we have been here before. Perhaps, we have not seen the sheer number of market-rate behemoths coming our way before, nor the dire effects of climate change which were not as far along, but we have faced long odds before. Remember, we have a greenbelt around the city; there are not 10,000 homes on Wilder Ranch or a convention hotel on Lighthouse Field; there is Tannery Arts housing and studio spaces; the Del Mar theatre did not go the way of luxury housing; we have a bicycle lane on Pacific Avenue; and we have successfully done public-private housing that included more than 25% affordable at 1010 Pacific Ave. and at 1240 Shaffer Road. We can turn back the current forces of greed and shape a more livable and environmentally respectful community. We must not let up.

Last December I reported:
The law firm, “Atchison, Barisone & (Tony) Condotti, A Professional Corporation,” handles city attorney services for the city of Santa Cruz. They scored big in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan world this past year. They received $275,200, for 16 employees, from the Feds according to a July report by Gerben Law. [Law firms that received PPP loans]  I have to wonder if the city is paying them any less than the $1 million-plus they shelled out last year for “legal services” to fight the Ross Camp lawsuit and politically tar and feather Drew Glover among other expenses. Remember the now discredited attorney Reed Gallogly’s remarks on Drew Glover, “drug lover” in court? I doubt Covid-19 affects that contract. To city attorney Condotti’s credit, he did quickly dispense of Gallogly’s services. [Embattled Deputy Santa Cruz City Attorney to resign]. On another side note, Penrose, Chun, & Gorman LLP, a Santa Cruz firm, also received PPP loans totaling $166,282 according to the same web site. Grunsky Law Firm PC of Watsonville received $520,484 covering their 27 employees. These were three firms among the 14,363 law firms receiving PPP loans of $150,000 or more.

Tony Condotti still leads the law firm that represents the city of Santa Cruz. The same law firm John Barisone and his father-in-law, Rod Atchison, have owned for 57 years. They’ve represented the city since 1964. That’s longer than UCSC has been around; longer than Bookshop Santa Cruz; even longer than Robert Norse has been getting under the political thin skin of Santa Cruz city councilmembers. The city budget passed in July. This city attorney’s budget, Tony Condotti’s budget, says nothing, zero, nada on what tax-payer money is spent on. Condotti’s been asked multiple times in the past by councilmembers to include information about what he spends money on, to itemize spending items, to inform the council and public on where the precious tax-payer dollars go. So far, he has not complied. Only the city manager and city attorney answer to the seven members of the city council, a majority has the power to hire and fire these two positions. In Fiscal 2020, the adopted budget was $1.47 million, but the city attorney received $1.81 million. In fiscal 2021, the adopted budget was $1.6 million, but real spending on the city attorney’s office was again, $1.81 million. Why the overspending? Clearly, more city council oversite is needed with respect to the city attorney’s lax budget preparations and overspending.

Owen Who? Back in December of 2020 I also wrote the following tidbit: “Mr. Owen Lawlor (self-employed/Real Estate, (Zip code: 95060) $250 to Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee Inc. on 06/30/2007″ 

Owen Lawlor is riding high and continues to mastermind the “Selling of Santa Cruz.” He has evidently been instrumental in doing the bait and switch housing into a boutique hotel on the site of the current Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. Plainly, someone has no shame. Santa Cruz, we are being played by upstart real estate fixer.

Just sayin’!

Campus Growth Machine
In April, the UC Regents rejected the East Meadow Action Committee’s request not to build on the iconic East Meadow. But bulldozers will not be out in the meadow anytime soon as a law suit is currently precluding any construction on that site. While this project is on hold, what is the university administration doing to house its new students? UC recently issued a press release stating that the largest number of new students ever will be coming to campus, and therefore coming to the community of Santa Cruz, this fall, some 6,100. Weather report for fall: blue skies and warm with a nary a chance of finding rental housing.

“We’ve got 10 days, Ohio!

Time to get to work: Nina Turner for Congress. (July 24) 

I am going with my December 2020 pic of the week because nothing has changed…we can still get Medicare for all if these 15 House of Representative members decide they will withhold all their votes until it is done. They all supported it, now they need to bring it forward and vote on it. 

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. Krohn was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. That term ended when the development empire struck back with luxury condo developer money combined with the real estate industry’s largesse. They paid to recall Krohn and Drew Glover from the Santa Cruz city council in 2019.

Email Chris at

July 26

Last week, news announced the departure of Tina Friend, the newly-hired Scotts Valley City Manager and wife of Second District County Supervisor Zach Friend, to take a job in southern California.  Such fanfare causes me to predict this will soon lead to an early departure by Supervisor Zach Friend, for family reasons, before his term is up in 2024.  

Coronado names Tina Friend as new city manager

Patrick Mulhearn, long time and very capable analyst to Supervisor Zach Friend, left that job in June.  The new analyst is Mr. Kieran Kelly, who apparently came with experience in serving as analyst in Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager’s office.  

Maybe Zach Friend wants to exit before another election and suffer the embarrassment former Supervisor John Leopold did with defeat at the polls.  Maybe he wants to exit politics for a while to enable his hiring with the likes of YardArm Technology, which he already serves as an advisor on the Board.

Whatever the case, I predict big changes in the County’s Second District Representation.  

According to my understanding from a discussion awhile back with Santa Cruz County Elections Manager, if Supervisor Friend were to exit before the end of his term, the Governor would appoint a replacement to act as Supervisor until another Special Election could take place.

Consider the information below:

The Foundation For Ethical Behavior
Executive Order 12674

Thomas Jefferson enunciated the basic principle of public service.  “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.”  This sentiment has been expressed by numerous others, over time becoming the familiar principle “Public service is a public trust.”

To ensure public confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, Executive Order 12674 (as amended) forms the framework for the ethical behavior required and expected of all Federal employees.  As a condition of public service, you are expected to adhere to these fundamental principles of ethical behavior:

  • Public service is a public trust, requiring you to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.
  • You shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the conscientious performance of duty.
  • You shall not engage in financial transactions using non-public Government information or allow improper use of such information to further any private interest.
  • You shall not, except pursuant to such reasonable exceptions as are provided by regulation, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by your agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of your duties.
  • You shall make no unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the Government.
  • You shall put forth an honest effort in the performance of your duties.
  • You shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking or negotiating for employment, that conflict with your official Government duties and responsibilities.
  • You shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.
  • You shall satisfy in good faith your obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those such as Federal, state, or local taxes that are imposed by law.
  • You shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.
  • You shall not use your public office for private gain.
  • You shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.
  • You shall protect and conserve Federal Property and shall not use it for other than authorized activity.
  • You shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that you are violating the law, the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (5 C.F.R. § part 2635), DOI Supplemental ethics regulations, or Executive Order 12674.

Think about this for a while, then watch what happens in the Second District (and Third District, as well).  For those who may be curious, I do not plan to run for County Supervisor.

The State Water Resources Control Board voted last Friday to curtail all agricultural water extraction in the San Joaquin Valley in order to preserve domestic water supplies for Southern California.  The Board will officially vote on this drastic measure August 3, so they need to hear from you now.

California moves to cut off water to thousands of farmers, as drought dries up rivers

What about conservation measures?  You can take a look at the Water board Conservation data dashboard and see for yourself what various water municipalities are reporting: Water Conservation Portal – Conservation Reporting | California State Water Resources Control Board

Since 2014-2015, the State Water board has required all water providers with over 3,000 customers to report conservation data.  In the 2014-2015 drought, Southern California residents actually increased their water usage while others in the State conserved significant amounts, and mostly have not returned to pre-2014 water usage levels.

That may still be the case now: The Truth About the California Water Crisis –

What will farmers do this summer as their crops wither and no food goes to market?  What will we do with less food available?  Do you think the price of food will go up?  

Contact the State Regional Water Resources Control Board and participate in their August 3 meeting: [State Water board August 3-4 virtual meeting agenda]

Here is something interesting to think about:

“Per capita daily water consumption was 108 gallons in 2014. It was 92 gallons last year.

Water use had been slowly improving since the 1975-76 drought ended in all sectors in California from farming and industrial uses to residential. The biggest gains have been from more targeted water applications in agriculture were scarcity and cost are driving factors to residential use.

The residential tricks have been everything from mandating low-flow shower heads to more efficient toilets and washing machines. Those efforts picked up steam in part thanks to the two subsequent drought periods between 1976 and 2012.

What made the biggest impact the last time around is a movement toward native landscaping that is more drought tolerant as well as other forms of xeriscape landscaping.  In Southern California alone 160 million square feet of grass was replaced with less thirsty landscaping.

Turf removal — specifically of non-functioning grass at office complexes, in landscape areas around the entrance streets to subdivisions, and even in front yards where lawns are for looks and no other purpose — represents the biggest potential source of water use reduction without slashing farm output needed to feed people or forcing urban water rationing.

To understand why this is a big issue for the Central Valley all you have to do is look at the numbers.

Based on the latest numbers, the Bay Area per capita residential daily water use is 72 gallons, it’s 86 gallons in Southern California, and in the Central Valley stretching between Redding and Bakersfield depending upon the city or town it’s between 125 and 136 gallons.

The difference is clearly driven by climate and development patterns.”

They’re ‘moo-ving’ from California as drought continues to tighten its grip

“In Los Angeles, people have been hearing about the dangers of drought for decades. But in this land of infinity pools and backyard putting greens — better suited for rattlesnakes and scrub — water never seems to run out.”

Water shortages: Why some Californians are running out in 2021 and others aren’t.

For an interesting discussion about farms vs. lawns, take a look at this: [10 Things to Know About California Water Use]

Meanwhile, take pride in the stellar water conservation practices in Santa Cruz County…and contact the State Water Resources Control Board soon.

Work continues at breakneck pace to build the new medical and dental clinics at 1500 Capitola Road, without any sign of cleaning up the serious contamination in the soil or groundwater.  Here are some photos.

Ask Supervisor Manu Koenig about why no clean-up is happening here.  The PCE contaminant is volatile and carcinogenic.  Manu Koenig  




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 22

#203/Laser-Guided Bombs

Pictured above is a laser-guided bomb. If you click this link, you can see a ten minute tutorial on how to launch a laser-guided bomb. Good luck with that! I didn’t much understand any of the instructions, but I was suitably impressed with the destructive impact of the bomb once it was released. 

You might wonder why I was scouting out how to launch a laser-guided bomb (LGB for short). Basically, I was following up on a recent article in Consortium News, which was titled, “Arms Sales: What Americans Know About Bombs Dropped in Our Name.” 

I knew nothing! But here is what I learned: 

At some point before the summer of 2018, an arms deal from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia was sealed and delivered. A 227kg laser-guided bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of many thousands, was part of that sale. 

On Aug 9, 2018, one of those Lockheed Martin bombs was dropped on a school bus full of Yemeni children. They were on their way to a field trip when their lives came to a sudden end. Amidst shock and grief, their loved ones would learn that Lockheed Martin was responsible for creating the bomb that murdered their children…. 

While Lockheed Martin profited from the death of 40 Yemeni children that day, top United States weapons companies continue to sell weapons to repressive regimes around the world, killing countless more people in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and more. And in many cases, the United States public has no idea this is being done in our name to benefit the largest private companies in the world. 

Now, the newest $735 million in precision-guided weapons that are being sold to Israel are destined to have a similar fate. The news about this sale broke in the midst of Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza that killed over 200 Palestinians. When Israel attacks Gaza, it does so with U.S.-made bombs and warplanes…. 

According to our own law, the United States should not be sending weapons to countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia (among others). Technically, doing so goes against the Foreign Assistance Act, which is one of the main laws governing weapons sales. 

Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act says that weapons sold by the United States cannot be used for human rights violations. When Saudi Arabia dropped that Lockheed Martin bomb on those Yemeni kids, no argument could be made for “legitimate self defense.” 

When the primary target of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen are weddings, funerals, schools, and residential neighborhoods in Sanaa, the United States has no legitimate justification for their use of U.S. manufactured weapons. When Israel uses Boeing joint direct attack munitions to level residential buildings and international media sites, they are not doing so out of “legitimate self defense.” 

In this day and age where videos of U.S. allies committing war crimes are readily available on Twitter or Instagram, no one can claim that they don’t know what U.S.-made weapons are used for around the world.

The article in Consortium News spends a good bit of time discussing how arms sales might be disallowed on an individual basis. It is hard to do it that way, that’s clear, so the article mentions how procedures might be changed, to let Members of Congress have a better chance to intervene to prevent individual arms sales.

Good idea, sure, but how about a more direct solution?

NO international arms sales, period. How’s that for an idea?

Professing its commitment to peace (as the United States government so often does) is not really consistent with allowing American arms manufacturers to provide sophisticated weapons that end up blowing apart wedding, funerals, and school field trips. 

NO international arms sales, period. Seems like a simple solution. I think I remember a Bob Dylan song about that! 

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


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


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