Blog Archives

June 10 – 16, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Chris Krohn wins vote, library garage problem, deep space vision. GREENSITE…on George Floyd. KROHN…defund police, police budget, return the Bear Cat, getting back to work. STEINBRUNER…Bolinas and Covid tests, COVID violations, another stop light in Aptos, 90 year old dangerous Aptos bridge, purewater Soquel. PATTON…about Bernie Sanders. EAGANSubconscious Comics and Deep Cover. JENSEN…laid off at Good times QUOTES…”June”

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AERIAL VIEW LIGHTHOUSE POINT 1961. Do note all the developable property, and Neary Lagoon. All this, and no University — just the boardwalk to attract visitors and enormous growth.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

Scary animal scenes.

PIPE DREAMS PLUS. i HAVEN’T SEEN ONE OF THESE IN YEARS.THEY’RE GREAT!

DATELINE June 8 

CHRIS KROHN WINS VOTE! Santa Cruz for Bernie conducted a poll among their extensive membership asking which candidates are the most qualified to represent Bernie and our District at the Democratic National Convention, August 17-21. The candidates who received the highest approval from our members, taking into account a balance of self-identified gender as required by Democratic Party rules, are: 

  • Christopher Krohn (M)
  • Mary Hsia-Coron (F)
  • Shawn Orgel-Olson (M)
  • Rojina Bozorgnia (F)

This release was adapted from one sent by the Santa Cruz for Bernie team. 

Members made their choices in the poll to after reviewing questionnaires submitted by the candidates, which are posted at sc4b.org/dnc

LIBRARY GARAGE DEBATE. Bob Morgan, Sierra Club, Executive Committee member and Transportation Chair, sent the following information to us. He’s also active in the Campaign For Sustainable Transportation and Downtown Commons Advocates. 

“The Santa Cruz City Council’s Downtown Library Subcommittee is scheduled to make a recommendation to the City Council within two weeks about moving ahead with a large development project on Parking Lot 4, the location of the Farmer’s Market and Antique Faire and the largest unbuilt public space Downtown. The project is contentious and fraught with unknowns, notably the necessity of adding a 400 car garage in the project to the City’s current parking inventory–something consultants say is unwarranted (and exorbitantly expensive), the viable means for its financing, and the construction of an unspecified number of housing units at both market rate pricing and affordably priced.   What is known is that Measure S funds will be used to finance a new library in this mixed-use facility, instead of renovating the current library at its present location, the reason Santa Cruz voters approved the Measure, based on conceptual drawings produced in the 2014 Library Facilities Master Plan. 

The Sierra Club, Downtown Commons Advocates, Don’t Bury the Library, and the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, among other advocacy groups, urge you to write the City Council today and let them know that a project of this magnitude, a multistory concrete massing stretching from Lincoln to Cathcart along Cedar Street  will forever alter the hope for a walkable, pedestrian and bike friendly Cedar Street. The building will replace public space, the potential for a community Commons, one anchored by art, music and dance festivals, and our Farmers’ Market and Antique Faire. That dynamic vision will be bulldozed over. Please write today. citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com.

MORE LIBRARY GARAGE DEBATE. Here’s some more fact-loaded statements on the Library Garage, this time from Rick Longinotti. Rick is a leader of the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation.

“If you’ve been following the campaign by City staff and their allies to build a library-in-a-garage-now-with-housing, you’ll be familiar with way staff have sought to manufacture consent for this project. The playbook is as old as oligarchy, but political scientists call the modern edition, Decide, Announce, Defend
Here’s how D.A.D. has played out in Santa Cruz:  

Sometime in 2016 the City Manager decided that building a beautiful legacy library could be accomplished by making the library a tenant in a parking structure financed by parking revenues.

  • At a City Council meeting in December, 2016, City staff introduced architects they had hired without Council approval, presenting preliminary plans and cost estimates for the parking garage. Staff did not announce the conclusions (from three parking consultants they hired in 2015) that there are more cost-effective measures to address parking demand.
  • Ever since, City staff have been defending building the garage, placing themselves outside the consensus of modern transportation planning on how to address parking demand.

You may recall a similar process take place in the City’s campaign for desalination. They even hired a public relations consultant to promote…er, inform the public, about the project. In all fairness, the public process around desalination did involve Council deliberation. But deliberation is undermined by false information. The Council believed then Water Director Bill Kocher, that it would take 20 years to win state approval allowing exchange of water with neighboring districts. With a new legal opinion that it would take just 2 years to get water rights, the Water Supply Advisory Committee found water transfers to be preferable to desalination. That little piece of misinformation played a big role in the waste of $14 million in ratepayer money studying desalination.

There’s been plenty of misinformation defending the garage project. Perhaps the most unethical was when City staff represented their projection of a future parking deficit as resulting from the Nelson\Nygaard parking demand model. They failed to say that when Nelson\Nygaard ran their model, the results showed a sizeable parking surplus, indicating that a parking garage was not necessary. (See An Honest Consultant)

City staff have still not invited Nelson\Nygaard to present their Downtown Parking Strategic Plan to the City Council, as called for in the contract. Now the responsibility rests with the City Council. Would you please sign this letter to the Council telling them that public trust hinges on whether they examine the Nelson\Nygaard report and respond to its conclusions. If that link doesn’t work, send your email to CityCouncil@cityofsantacruz.com.

Thank you!
-Rick

PS. Staff added a carrot to the garage-library project: affordable housing. The sad irony is that parking revenue represents the largest potential source of local dollars that could be used as a match for state and federal funds for affordable housing. The $87 million in debt service saved from not building a garage dwarfs the $3 million in the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Go here to read more https://garagealternatives.org 

WHERE ARE WE? A PROFOUND LOOK AT US!

Marcia McDougal sent this beautiful, inspirational vision. Take a minute or two and think us over…again.

This excerpt from Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot” (1994) was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan’s suggestion, by Voyager 1 on Feb 14, 1990. The earth is shown from a distance of about 6 billion km (3.7 billion miles). Voyager 1 had completed its primary mission, and as leaving the Solar System when, at the request of Carl Sagan, it was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around, and take one last photo of Earth across a great expanse of space. The attached video’s accompanying words spoken by Sagan, and written almost 24 years ago, are still relevant today. Sensitively felt, brilliantly said.


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June 8

MAKING CONNECTIONS.
The full impact of the global explosion of protest over the murder of George Floyd is as yet unknown. The hope is for significant and lasting change in police department operations and a reckoning with racism that leads to shifts in consciousness with new policies for economic and social justice. Lasting social change is rarely easy and often unpredictable. Events will change. The direction is up for grabs. 

Just as the TV series Roots, based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Alex Haley shifted the conscience and consciousness of the nation over slavery (most of us white folks were/are ignorant) so the video in 2020 of a white cop nonchalantly exerting the full weight of his body for almost nine minutes on the jugular veins of an unarmed, handcuffed, prone black man, pleading for his life, while other cops looked on, indelibly captured the centuries of police brutality towards black men. One can only mourn for the countless other black men and women who suffered similar and worse fates without the world looking on and demanding justice. 

During this decade, along with a pandemic, we have lived through or participated in many movements for social change: The Occupy movement of 2011, the legalization of gay marriage in 2015, the #Me Too movement of 2017 and the focus on climate change inspired by Greta Thunberg in 2018. All have had a significant impact both on individual lives and social norms.  None however has toppled the system, nor much disrupted the lifestyles and global decision-making of those at the top. Individuals such as Harvey Weinstein have been toppled from their pedestal but the capitalist system of accumulation of wealth for the few and exploitation of workers has only deepened over this decade.

The goal of a world at peace, with all people living up to their potential, consuming enough to enjoy life without mindless consumption, with the natural world protected as we scale down our population numbers and live within our planet’s means is not a short campaign. And its success depends on every move we make right now. 

Vandalizing businesses and defacing property won’t win friends and influence people and we need both. Without overly concentrating on the actions of a few idiots and detracting from the main issue, I think we miss a chance to make critical connections if we didn’t notice that the vast majority committing property violence was male. News outlets didn’t mention it. This tendency to erase gender when examining violence, whether it be rape or war or police brutality will hold us back from solutions. The dehumanization of George Floyd by the male police officer was long in the making. It started with the first messages heard at the dinner table that instilled racism and violence in a young boy. That is, if there was a dinner table. The same messages hurled across the playground at school, matched with sexist and homophobic insults and reinforced by bullying if a young boy didn’t go along. Pumped up by the media. All embodied in an economic system geared for the very rich that loves divisions in the masses. We are so busy fighting among ourselves it keeps us from looking up and saying, “Hey!  How come I work hard for a small salary, pay taxes and you guys on your yachts and twelve mansions don’t pay a dime?”

To make matters worse we are steeped in assigning guilt and blame as the first attempt at communication across the issues. Label J.K. Rowling as a TERF (transgender exclusionary radical feminist) feel self-satisfied having accomplished nothing.  

If this pivotal, historical moment for which George Floyd gave his life is to have any meaning, any lasting impact towards a more just future we need to do better than in-group put-downs. I say to male partners of a loved one who is raped when they want to kill the guy, “perhaps you are thinking only of the insult to your pride…if you want to help you need to ask your partner what they need from you.” If we are to enlarge this movement to make significant change, as we (hopefully) connect across issues we would do well to ask of each other, “what do you need from me?” 

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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June 9

BLACK LIVES MATTER
We won’t stop until the @MayorOfLA supports a #PeoplesBudgetLA that will #DefundThePolice. We’ll see you in the streets!

–Tweeted June 8 by Black Lives Matter-LA

“Defund the Police”
Black Lives Matter is leading a game-changing social revolution urging residents everywhere to start in their home cities and look into restructuring, and defunding, their own police departments. What I am hearing from the national debate is that it is not necessarily individual officers and departments that are so bad, but the police culture is itself is inherently toxic. How officers are trained, equipped, and deployed really matters. The origins of American-style policing have their roots in slave owners’ desires to get back their property and so hired groups to enforce slave recovery even before the “Fugitive Slave Law” came into being in 1850. From the Library of Congress web site, the “slave law” was “A bill to amend the act entitled, An act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters.” (https://www.loc.gov/resource/rbpe.33700200/?st=text) The most recent Time Magazinereported on the current nationwide police budget defunding efforts. Journalist Olivia B. Waxman writes, “In the South, however, the economics that drove the creation of police forces were centered not on the protection of shipping interests but on the preservation of the slavery system. Some of the primary policing institutions there were the slave patrols tasked with chasing down runaways and preventing slave revolts…”(https://time.com/4779112/police-history-origins/)

Status of the Santa Cruz Police Budget
Almost 30% of the city of Santa Cruz’s budget now pays for the police department. That figure is from of the “adopted” 2020 general fund budget of $107 million. That is, just over $30 million goes to the fund police. The overall budget, which includes “enterprise funds,” like water, garbage, recycling pickup, and sewage for fiscal year 2020 is $264 million. Enterprise funds are areas of the budget which generate their own resources through the bills residents pay. Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Planning, Finance, Economic Development and the City Manager’s office make up the bulk of discretionary funding decisions made by the city council. It is important to note that while the police budget has risen by 20% since 2018, the overall general fund budget has only gone up 11.2% during that same period. Admittedly, residents ask the police to do a lot that includes often addressing homeless service coordination, being aliaison for our huge visitor community, and providing frontline counseling among other needs. During a city council meeting last year, the Santa Cruz chief of police said up to 60% of his budget goes for enforcement around the various homeless issues that persist in Surf City. Now that a national discussion of “defunding” the police has begun, perhaps Santa Cruz can take steps to move money from the police department and put it towards fundingthe needs of the social and human services sectors.

“When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is ‘invest in the resources that our communities need.”

–Alicia Garza, founder of Black Lives Matter, on NBC, Meet the Press

Why Not?
Why not lop off part of the police budget and create a Department of Health and Human Services (as the city of Berkeley did several years ago)? It would certainly alleviate a lot of the sociology and psychology work law enforcement officers are now asked to engage in. Why not plan to demilitarize the police department? Send the Bear Cat tank back to Homeland Security, eliminate any purchases of military weaponry, require every sworn officer to spend 40% of their time on a bicycle, increase the number of unarmed community service officer hires and decrease the more expensive sworn officer employees, and finally, revamp the entire police training manual as Minneapolis is looking to do. What if $10 million out (30%) of the current $30 million police budget was devoted to homeless services and getting folks off the streets and into programs whichdeal directly with mental health and substance abuse issues? It is a telling, sad, and startling detail that two out of the four officers involved in the Minneapolis police murder were trained by the same cop, Derek Chauvin, who placed himself so tragically on the neck of George Floyd. Talk about the foxes being in charge of the hen house?!? Incidentally, as the New York City Council debates cutting $1 billion of its $6 billion budget, a majority, of the Minneapolis city council, 9 of 13 members, “pledged to dismantle” that city’s police department and start over (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52960227) while Los Angeles Mayor, Gil Garcetti is proposing to cut $150 million out of the LAPD budget. Now these are the signs of change and reform that people from Staten Island (Eric Garner) to Ferguson (Michael Brown), to Georgia (Ahmaud Arbery) and Louisville (Breonna Taylor) might welcome.

What It Will Take to Get Us Back to Work

Source:  safejobchecklist.org

How does your workplace rate?

  1. The right personal protective equipment (PPE)

    To keep the COVID virus out of your body and to keep you from spreading it to anyone else, every worker needs a supply of gloves and masks. Front line workers who know they are being exposed to people who may be sick need impermeable gowns, properly fitted respirators and face shields or goggles too.
  2. Hand washing time and facilities

    The time and the facilities to wash and dry your hands several times during your shift and a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol to use in between.
  3. Social Distancing

    Work stations that allow six feet between you and the people around you or sneeze guards if you need to be any closer and other adaptations like staggered shift and break times and job descriptions that allow you to keep away from other workers and the public.
  4. Cleaning and disinfecting

    Work stations, shared tools and electronics, bathrooms and locker and break rooms are sanitized, and deep cleaning is done after known exposure.
  5. Wellness rules

    Enforced rules that send people home, preferably before they enter the workplace, if they feel sick or have a fever or test positive for COVID and benefits that allow people to stay home, with pay, if they or a family member feel sick.
  6. The right to speak up

    Ways to provide suggestions or raise concerns about workplace safety and health without fear of retaliation.
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“We need to work from the ground up to transform our society. It’s clear we cannot wait any longer to act forcefully and boldly to root out systemic racism and police violence. And when we act together, we win.” (June 8) 
(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 ckrohn@cruzio.com

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June 8

COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DEMAND SPEAKERS WEAR MASKS, EVEN IF IT POSES A HEALTH RISK
Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors used the County Health Officer’s Face Covering Order to impose censorship and as a result, imposed a real risk to my health.  Right now, I am required to take medication that is causing me some difficulties with breathing under stress.  I explained this before speaking without a mask during the Public Comment Period. The Board muted me without warning.

Later, during another item, I again testified again without a mask and explained that I could not wear a mask for health reasons.  Within seconds, the Board muted me again.  I protested, and pulled the mask on.  The Chairman of the Board said “Okay, let her speak”.   Within a minute,  I nearly passed out while attempting to finish my testimony.  It was horrible.  A lady asked the sheriff in the room if there was oxygen available to help me recover.  “No” he said, and stayed put on the other side of the room.

After about 15 minutes, when I had recovered a bit, the deputy walked over and asked if I wanted an ambulance to come.  I refused.  Then, he offered to open the door to help me leave.  Still shaky, I accepted and left the building.  It took about 15 minutes outside in the fresh air to feel strong enough to get to my car, but I was still light-headed and nauseated.

That afternoon, I wrote to County Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel, to ask that the Board of Supervisors not mandate people with health problems to wear masks when speaking.  She has not responded.  Ms. Susan Galloway, the Clerk of the Board, responded that everyone has to wear a mask, and there are no exceptions.   I responded, pointing out Paragraph #12 on page 3 of the Health Officer’s Order describes  an exemption for those whom wearing a mask would pose a health risk. (read the actual order here)

 How ironic that when the country is in a state of disarray because of a murder in which the victim said “I can’t breathe!” that my same remarks to the Board went unheeded.

Here is the link to the video.

Item 5 Public Comment

  • Minute 39:43  5th Floor comments
  • Minute 58:00 Basement comments
  • Minute 1:01:20  My comment begins, re: Special Board meeting problems
  • Minute 1:03:30  I was muted for not wearing a face mask
  • Minute 6:24  Supervisor Leopold asks that I be cleared away from microphone
  • Minute 1:09:53  end of public comments

Item 7 New Code that will help business owners, but other “by right” changes that the Planning Dept. has been wanting to get through since 2015 but has been stalled with required environmental analysis to get it passed.  It will go to Planning Commission next month, and back to the Board in August.

  • Minute 1:47:29 begin public comment from basement
  • Minute  1:53:54 I begin comment 
  • Minute 1:54:10  I was muted for not wearing a face mask
  • Minute 1:55:13 I was allowed to speak, wearing face mask
  • Minute 156:55  I got dizzy, nauseated and had to sit
  • Minute 1:57:00 Supervisor Leopold instructs to move me away from the microphone “We can still hear her.”
  • Minute 2:01:00 end of comment.

In reviewing this video, I really have to wonder who is really running the Board of Supervisor meetings…it does not appear to be Chairman Caput.

Please write the County Health Officer and ask that she inform the Board of Supervisors that her Facial Covering Order should not be used to impose censorship of the public.

Gail Newel gail.newel@santacruzcounty.us
Chairman of the Board Greg Caputgreg.caput@santacruzcounty.us
Supervisor Ryan Coonertyryan.coonerty@santacruzcounty.us
Zach Friendzach.friend@santacruzcounty.us
John Leopoldjohn.leopold@santacruzcounty.us
Bruce McPherson bruce.mcpherson@santacruzcounty.us   

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

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  STUDY YOUR RIGHTS AND DEMAND THAT OFFICIALS UPHOLD THEM.  TAKE A WALK IN THE FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE AND BE WELL.

Cheers, Becky Steinbruner

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

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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 June 2, 
#154 / Quick, Form A Circle! Ready, Fire, Aim!

Over the weekend, a friend sent me a blog posting by Russell Dobular, who is the owner and artistic director at Endtimes Productions. Dobular headlined his posting as follows: “Democracy is Broken: Why 51% of Sanders Supporters are Considering a 3rd Party.” Dobular doesn’t directly say that he is one of those who plans not to vote for the Democratic Party nominee (if the nominee isn’t Bernie Sanders), but I gather that he is heading in that direction.

I am not! And as far as I know, Bernie Sanders isn’t, either!

Make no mistake, I am a very strong and dedicated Bernie Sanders supporter, and I have been a Bernie Sanders supporter since 2016. I was an alternate delegate for Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and I have offered to serve as a Sanders delegate this time around, too. I also think that Dobular makes some extremely valid criticisms of the Democratic Party. However, you would be wrong to count me as a person who is considering voting for a third party in November. I plan to vote for the Democrat.

The headline I have chosen for my own blog posting, today, suggests why that is so. I have conflated, in my headline, two sayings that epitomize a type of politics that, when put into practice, has the exact opposite effect from the effect that those engaged in the political activity desire.

The Democratic Party has often been called a “Circular Firing Squad.” Clearly, a circular firing squad is not a very effective way to vanquish and eliminate whatever enemy the Democratic Party might have in mind. Another well-known description of how politics should not be done is summed up in the “Ready, Fire, Aim” maxim. Again, being a bit too quick on the trigger is unually counterproductive where serious politics is concerned. 

Our political system is set up, currently, to ensure that voters have two choices, Democrat or Republican. One big problem, and one of the main reasons that lots of people hate politics, is that the two parties are generally more alike than different. Both of them pander to money, the big corporations and the ultra-wealthy. That is definitely not good. However, the parties are not identical, and this time around it is clear that a vote that makes it more likely for the Republican Party to win is a vote for Donald Trump. And that is a vote that is perilous in the extreme – perilous in almost every possible way.

I will keep working for genuine self-government and democracy in the United States, but when I get a binary choice this year, I know what choice is the least bad!

I am not going to be a part of a circular firing squad. I am also going to take aim before I fire.

A recent email from SantaCruz4Bernie asked a question about how progressive Bernie Sanders supporters should relate to the Democratic Party. Here’s how that email put it: “I think the correct answer to the question, ‘Should we work within the Democratic Party or outside of it?’ Is Yes, Both.”

That sounds right to me.

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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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 TimEagan.com 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 has been suspended indefinitely at Good Times. She was writing for them for 45 years. She’s working on another piece to post but it hasn’t gone up yet. She says, ” Mostly I’m working on my next book, which was due to the publisher about 2 years ago, but I’ve been a little distracted since then!”

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I have watched this on loop at least 5 times. This guy’s awesome.

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    “JUNE”

“June falls asleep upon her bier of flowers; In vain are dewdrops sprinkled o’er her, In vain would fond winds fan her back to life, Her hours are numbered on the floral dial.”  
~Lucy Larcom

“Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
~Pablo Neruda

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
~Dr. Seuss 


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

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com

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