Blog Archives

July 8 – 14, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Davenport and Odwalla and the old barn, back to drive-ins? Sonya Renee Taylor. “B” movie notes. GREENSITE…on the Library decision. KROHN…sources of news, streaming and the ads and $, tearing down statues. STEINBRUNER…Recall Gov. Newsom 2020, Swenson project accident, rail trail and RTC, 908 Ocean street, General Plan density and permits. PATTON…about return to normal. JENSEN…stuck at home. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES… “Masks”


SANTA CRUZ PUBLIC LIBRARY. That’s Minerva Waterman, the head librarian, pictured on the opening day of April 14,1904. Andrew Carnegie gave the city a huge sum and the library lasted until 1966.                                                        

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email




ODE TO ODWALLA AND DAVENPORT. Coca-Cola dumping Odwalla juices is a very big deal. Millions of dollars involved with all that folding of health drinks. Only once could I find any reference to Davenport being a second home to the founding of Odwalla. Looks like Half Moon Bay was the first and the third place they moved to. While in Davenport, they were right across Highway One to a great classic old barn. That barn has been collapsing for decades now — but thanks to Joanna Miller, will be restored to its original size and shape.

DRIVING OUT DRIVE-INS?  J. Grunstra sent a note… “Here is a link to an article about drive-ins still operating. Our short-sighted local government eliminated our drive-in years ago. I did get to go to a movie there when I moved here about 30 years ago.”

The perfect place to go out while you’re social distancing.

Be sure to not miss Gary Patton’s column, just a few turns downward. He talks about and quotes Sonya Renee Taylor. Sonya is a energetic, brilliant exciting poet. Her quote “We will not go back to normal” should be engraved nearly everywhere. Read it and see if you agree. Sonya Renee Taylor

 “B” MOVIE BRATTON. Every Friday morning on KZSC (88.1 fm or live online at from 8:10am-8:20am or thereabouts I present my “B Movie Bratton” segment of short critiques (not reviews) of what’s on our screens.I’ll be revealing some free streaming sources instead of the $9.99 and up to 14.99 per monthly sites. KANOPY is a link that connects with our Santa Cruz Public Library and has earned great applause. Cold Case Hammarskjold is a superior documentary about the possible virus based African conspiracy that killed Hammarskjold in 1961. He was Secretary General of the United Nations. Also watch for the new Peacock on about July 16. The streaming device is owned by NBC and Comcast.  In the meantime go back and check out near classics such as District 9, Then too, there’s the new version of “Brave New World” being released soon.

July 6

It was a sad day when a 4-2 city council vote approved tearing down the current downtown library and building a new one on the site of the Farmers Market, complete with a 5 story parking garage. The deck was stacked from the beginning and the decision a fait accompli. To give the appearance of a fair game, the “house” had to conduct a sham public process and sweeten the pot with some affordable housing. Creating a recall mountain out of a molehill sealed the deal.

Public opinion throughout clearly favored a remodeled library and opposed a five-story parking garage/library combo. Creating the illusion of support for a brand new library in a new location involved some sleight of hand as well as some good old-fashioned “public be damned” slaps in the face.  

With the passage of Measure S, a Library Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Library Advisory Commissioners set about to ostensibly gather public opinion about options for the Downtown library.  There are valid and accepted ways of doing such research. The way chosen by the Steering Committee in my estimation was not one of them. It was modeled on the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation whose advice was to “turn outward” which the Institute says means to “ask crucial questions that get at the heart of what community members desire for their town.”  The premise of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries Strategic Plan, based on this model was quoted as, “we should start with the community and find out its priorities, passions, and values and then figure out where the Library can fit in.” (my bold).

This is a clever methodology that can be (and was) used to justify the sought for result. My priorities, passions and values for the town may or may not have relevance for a library but they are broad enough to be tailored to fit your library/garage goals. Sure enough, the various community conversations, surveys and open houses documented that the cost of housing and traffic were seen as major obstacles in our town. How convenient, that a new library will be sited under a parking garage with a sprinkling of affordable housing thrown in.

The various focus groups with teens revealed that their biggest dislike regarding the current library is/was the many people who hang out at the library entrance and who are intimidating/off-putting to the teens. Other than that, most had good things to say about the current library. Tearing down the current library and building a new one under a garage or next to a garage won’t solve that social problem.

Perhaps the most manipulative of the myriad forms of seeking the community’s opinion was that surveys nowhere asked whether the surveyed supported the library torn down and rebuilt elsewhere. It was a non-issue.  Not one question. Doesn’t get much lower than that. Oh wait, yes it does! At the final public hearing of the Downtown Library Advisory Committee, the committee voted on the options (favoring the library/garage option) and only then held public comment. 

The library director made no bones from the outset about her desire for a tear down/new/garage/ library. So much for listening to the community. Renovating the existing library could fit into the Measure S budget without some frills such as a separate teen room, additional toilets and landscaping. With a teen center and a Boys and Girls Club close by, that omission did not seem too big of a compromise.

I’ve expressed before my feeling for the unique civic center of our town with its Civic Auditorium, City Hall and Public Library. All have a history and impart a sense of place. That newcomers in power lack this sense of place is perhaps forgivable. To impose that shortcoming on the community and ignore the majority is less so. 

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 6

Wealth of Information

“Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality.”
–Adam Smith, author of the Wealth of Nations

Where to Begin
Living in an age of full information access can be overwhelming. I often ask undergraduate students where do you go for information, news in particular. How do you stay informed about the world outside of your bubble?, is usually the way I phrase it. The usual responses are Reddit, Instagram, Google and Facebook newsfeeds, and “my mom (or dad) sends me stuff” or the often-stated, “word of mouth.” Of course, sprinkled in are the usual media suspects too: The New York Times, Daily Show, Wall Street Journal, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, NPR, and the Washington Post. Not surprisingly, the John Oliver Show is becoming the fastest growing response to the question: How do you get your News? among college students in SC. We have always known that rich people have spent great resources in obtaining the best information in order to make more money. Now that information is more dispersed and defused, most of us have access to most of the information previously reserved to the domain of the upper class. But is this an over-abundance of information? Where does one start in sorting it out? What sources–intellectual, journalistic, and visual–should we ventureinto? I always remember what my politics professor, Peter Euben, used to say, “Chris, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, but not all are equal.” Former US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was perhaps a bit less crass: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. The question becomes how do we marshal the best “facts” in order to have an informed opinion?

Embarrassment of Riches
We are truly living in a golden age of TV and journalism resources now available to so many. Even if you only had YouTube that would be plenty in order to stay informed, entertained, and stimulated creatively. The fact that anyone can do Live Streaming and practice some of the tools of journalism and reach sizeable audiences is a testament to how much for-profit news corporations are being edged out of the news business. This is one of the reasons they have turned towards harvesting our personal data and selling it to advertisers. Whereas the owners of media used to sell ads to the businesses, now they sell user information. For example, the main printed section of today’s New York Times has very few paid advertisements any more, but unlike its on-line version where they can track you better, the cost of the hardcopy has sky-rocketed. At the end of the day for the reader, viewer, and consumer of news and information it comes down to how do I spend my limited time in getting most informed while exposing myself to the bare minimum of the dreaded machine-gunning of commercial culture, i.e. ads?

What I’ve Been Seeing and Hearing Lately, the Short List

  1. “…this Fourth of July is yours, not mine…” Frederick Douglas’s Fourth of July Speech read by his Great, great…grandchildren.

    The full-text of this momentous Douglas speech is here 

  2. 13th is an exploration of racial inequality by a very sensitive and insightful director, Ava DuVernay. Could this be a new vision for America? Netflix has put it up on YouTube for free.
  3. New Yorker Writer, Luke Mogelson, earns the trust of several protesters–locals–unlike the outside agitator myth floated by many elected officials in Minneapolis and elsewhere, and he is allowed to hang with them during some of the most tumultuous days and nights of street demonstrations during the days following the murder of George Floyd. Mogelson’s piece is called, “The Heart of the Uprising in Minneapolis.”
  4. Martin Luther King’s words are invoked a lot lately. He had a lot to say about the issue of police and economics and justice and equality in these not so United States of America. He has been elevated to an ethereal place by many white people, but only since his death. Many of his speeches, radical then and likely now too, have been preserved and can be downloaded. I greatly admire his establishment-sanctioned, I Have a Dream Speech, but this one, Why I Oppose the Vietnam War given at a church in Harlem, goes much further in calling for radical restructuring and redirecting of American resources, much like the Defund movement today.
  5. Since the Covid-19 invasion, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah has been on fire. The lockdown format really suits his brand of comedy, or he has just made due and grown into the pandemic. This particular 22-minute interview with five police reform activists is awfully insightful and informative. The strong voices ofJosie Duffy Rice (lawyer for the Justice Collaborative), Patrisse Cullors (Co-founder of Black Lives Matter), Sam Sinyangwe (Hate Can’t Wait), Mychal Denzel Smith (Type Media Center), and Alex Vitale (book, The Ending of Policing) are all featured. Have a look…

Tearing Down Statues

Seems like the “New World” patriots tore down their share of statues too. Here is one account of a King George III statue that bit the dust during the early days of the first American Revolution.

[Bowling Green] was originally the centre of sports for colonists, and has been the scene of many stirring events. The iron railing which now surrounds it was set up in 1771, having been imported from England to enclose a lead equestrian statue of King George III. On the posts of the fence were representations of heads of members of the Royal family. In 1776, during the Revolution, the statue was dragged down and molded into bullets, and where the iron heads were knocked from the posts the fracture can still be seen.

–From Charles Hemstreet’s, Guide to Lower Manhattan (1899)

Bernie’s Tweet of the Week–( try and wrap your mind around this one!)

“Politicians and the corporate media won’t discuss it much but over the past 30 years the wealth of the top 1% has gone up by $22.65 trillion, while the wealth of the bottom 50% has gone down by $776 billion. This growing wealth inequality is a moral obscenity.” (June 5)

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at

July 6 

The City of Santa Cruz is also moving forward on many massive projects.   The largest is the 908 Ocean Street Project that would put a four-story building nearly the length of the city block, and add 398+ small units (400-650SF each) along with commercial mixed-use.  The developer held a virtual public meeting on June 24 that was a real eye-opener.  Here is a link to the materials on the City website

The building would be four stories along the length of Ocean Street, stepping down to three stories in the center of the structure, and down to two-stories along May Avenue, because of the narrowness of the street.  

There are a total of 487 parking spaces provided in an underground parking garage, but parking may not be assigned to units, so nearby streets may see overflow parking issues.   May Avenue would have to handle all traffic exiting the underground parking garage for any vehicles not exiting the right-turn-only egress onto Ocean Street.

There were many good questions from the audience about traffic, parking, bicycle accommodations, and exactly how many units will be dedicated to affordable housing.  The Planner, Ms. Clara Stanger, seemed a bit new to the area, but invited people to send her further questions: 

Clara Stanger  or call her at 420-5247.  

I urge you all to look at the plans and reports for this massive project and send in questions/comments. According to Ms. Stanger and the developer, there will be an Environmental Impact review that includes a traffic study

Here are the questions I sent:

  • The soils report describes the need to remove the upper 20′ of OSHA solid Type C, which are the least-stable soils, and also remove 12″-18″ of the native soils.  How will this significant and potentially adverse traffic impact to Ocean Street be mitigated?  Will there be Native American observers or archaeological observers on site during earth disturbance work?  I request that this be required.
  • Will there be testing for soil contamination at the site?  Considering the industrial uses there since 1887, it would be necessary to know for proper environmental protection mitigations regarding dust control, proper soil disposal site, and potential contaminated de-watering effluent disposal. 
  • How would the noise and diesel fumes of the construction and massive excavation activity be mitigated so as to reduce negative impact to the surrounding residential neighborhoods? 
  • In the soils report, (6.5.2) I read that because the groundwater level is so high (5′ below ground surface in October, 2019), it will be necessary to de-water the excavation site.  According to the soils report, this could cause subsidence at nearby properties.  How will this problem be addressed? 
  • Given the soil impermeability in the area, how will this Project meet the requirement to keep 100% of storm water runoff on-site.  I noted last winter that the construction site remained  “ponded” for a very long time after winter rains. 
  • The soils report states in the event of an earthquake, there is high to very-high risk of liquefaction at the site, an anticipated 2/3″-5″ in lateral spreading, and a high risk of ground rupture.  Because of these serious risks, would it not be in the public safety interest to request a variance from the City to NOT be required to build four-stories high along Ocean Street, as the developer said was required due to the width of Ocean Street? 
  • Will the historic structure at 130 Hubbard be preserved?  Also, it is unclear if Marianne’s Ice Cream Shop will be left intact.  Can you please clarify that? 
  • The information on the City Planning Dept. website states this Project would have 408 units, but the developer stated at the public meeting in June that there would be 398 Single Occupancy Units (SOU).  It was also mentioned there would 132 studio apartments.  What is the actual number?  How many would be for-sale units?  How many would be rentals?
  • Will these units be double-plumbed for maximum water conservation?
  • The developer stated the units would be “solar-ready” but no solar panels would be included in the construction.  This is counter to the City’s goal to be sustainable.  This Project needs to include a micro-grid power generation ability, similar to the County’s 1500 Capitola Road project.
  • Will the construction work give priority to local construction companies who hire union workers only?
  • It was unclear during the presentation in June if there will be 20% of the units deeded for affordable housing, and if there would be any housing dedicated to low and very-low income residents.  Can you please clarify that issue?
  • Since tenants in this Project would be encouraged to bicycle, will there be bike lanes added to Ocean Street?  Will there be an additional traffic light necessary at the ingress/egress access points to this large development?
  • Can you please provide the City Code that states that developments composed of Single Occupancy Units are exempt from the density limits as defined in the City General Plan limit for the Ocean Street Corridor?
  • Will there be any space dedicated to landscaping and trees that are to scale with the multiple storied-structure to provide shade and cooling? 

Mark your calendar for July 21, 6pm -7:30 pm for a public meeting held remotely that will explain what the County General Plan update could look like, allowing much denser and taller buildings throughout the unincorporated areas, how the rules would be changed to allow it, and the permitting procedures changes to move it all quickly through at the will of developers.

Public Comment on this phase of environmental analysis opened July 1, and apparently will end August 3.  See the link to County EIR’s below.

The County Planning Department has not posted any notice that I have seen to date regarding this massive change to what the unincorporated County will look like and changes in the County Codes to allow it.  By chance, I found the information on this link, buried at the very bottom of the Planning Dept. website, and listed under information about the four-story medical building and 700-car parking garage project proposed for Live Oak. 

The County Planning Dept. has not updated the General Plan since 1994.  The current update, known as Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan, was approved by the Board in concept in 2014 and has languished in the Planning Dept. with annual promises to the Board that the environmental review would get underway soon.  Earlier this year, the Board hired Dudek consultants for about $500,000 to do the work.  

What you see on the link provided is from Dudek…but why is the County seemingly keeping it a secret from the public?  

Contact Planner Stephanie Hansen   and ask about how this critical information will be noticed to the general public. 

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

At a time when history is being demolished in this country, a property owner in Davenport recognizes the value of rehabilitating and preserving a local historic resource.  Ms. Joanna Miller owns the property at the southern edge of Davenport, where one currently sees an old barn that has fallen down over the years. 

Rather than demolishing what remains of the Box Factory, Ms. Miller applied with the County Historic Resources Commission for input on her plan to rehabilitate the barn, as an important facet of Davenport’s agricultural history. 

“The intention of the property owner, working with state expert contractor and specialist in Historic American Timber Framing Karl Bareis, is to reconstruct the barn, restoring its structural integrity and character-defining architectural features using traditional construction methods, and reusing original materials in the reconstruction. The restored barn would once again stand as an iconic building in Davenport that would support a contemporary commercial use, contributing to the historic character and economic vitality of Davenport. Once the building has been restored, the property owner intends to apply to designate the property, recognizing the structure as a historic resource worthy of preservation for future generations.” 

Read more about the good work proposed in Item #7C of the July 6 County Historic Resources Commission agenda here

Thank you, Joanna Miller!


Cheers, Becky Steinbruner 831-685-2915 I welcome your discussion. 

 (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).

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

Email Becky at


July 2
#184 / Minneapolis, MN

Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A global pandemic and a police murder of a Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, George Floyd, has upset all our routines. We have been shaken out of patterns that we might have told ourselves were “normal,” but that were not actually “normal” at all. Or certainly not “tolerable.” Certainly not “acceptable.” What we considered “normal” has been disrupted, and we should not, now, be searching for some way to restore things to the way they were before the murder of George Floyd, and before a novel coronavirus stripped naked and showed us the fundamental instability and inadequacy of our society and economy.

Instead of seeking to return to a “normal that never was,” let us take seriously the words of Sonya Renee Taylor, as seen below. Her admonition is printed in very “big letters,” intended, no doubt, to help us see her message. This gigantic mural is an accurate statement of the challenge we must meet. Issues of racial injustice, economic inequality, health care insecurity, a global pandemic, and the global warming crisis that puts both the Natural World and our own human civilization in peril, demand that we must “stitch a new garment” in which to dress ourselves both individually and collectively.

What Tayor tells us we have to do is a “tall order.” As I said in my blog posting on June 30, 2020, “I don’t think that there is any clear path.” There are no easy answers. To confront the multiple challenges before us, we must “start taking steps now, halting, difficult, sometimes mistaken, unproved steps, untried – we must take every step we can think of.”

I was immensely pleased to see that Minneapolis, Minnesota is, in fact, “trying” to make the kind of fundamental changes that are necessary. City officials are talking about “dismantling” the City’s police force. In the meantime, the ordinary citizens of Minneapolis are “trying” some things on their own. They are experimenting. They are trying to act directly, as citizens, not waiting for government bureaucrats and elected officials to tell them what to do. Direct citizen action is a laboratory of democracy, and is an antidote to despair.

The New York Times reports that “A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege.” Blocks from where George Floyd drew his last breaths, residents have vowed to avoid the police to protect people of color.

This story is worth reading. A local neighborhood has determined, as a neighborhood, that no one in the neighborhood will call in the police to deal with community problems:

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Ms. Albers, who is white, and many of her progressive neighbors have vowed to avoid calling law enforcement into their community. Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger. 

This policy is proving difficult to maintain, but what is encouraging is that concerned neighbors are deciding, for themselves, some things that they can “try” to do, to deal with a police crisis that is all too apparent in Minneapolis. 

Wherever we live, we need to get ready to start experimenting, too. 

When there is no “normal” to which we can return, we need to do something “new.” 

In Minneapolis, at least some neighorhoods have received this message, and are acting accordingly!

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

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Did you ever see that cheesy, ’50’s sci-fi movie, The Leech Woman? (And why would you?) That’s kind of who I feel like these days, sheltering in place, but no longer able to drive, and so dependent on my intrepid friends to do my shopping for me. How weird is it to be a non-driver in our rampant car culture? Find out this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ).” Lisa had been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

The Original Hamilton cast answers questions from Twitter. I’m obsessed with Hamilton, now that I’ve finally been able to see it. And by “see”, I mean watch 5 times in 5 days, lol!


“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.” 
~Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind 

“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” 
~André Berthiaume 

“I believe in my mask– The man I made up is me
I believe in my dance– And my destiny”

~Sam Shepard

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

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