Bratton…community television, Lani Faulkner for supervisor, goodbye Michael Griggs, and movie critiques. Greensite…on West Cliff Drive consultants’ road show. Schendledecker…taxes and democracy. Steinbruner…Cabrillo names, Cabrillo housing, Aptos Village mess, Supes budget meetings, county fire budget? Hayes…city coyotes. Patton…mind reader. Matlock…boxes of innocence, sympathy for the jokers. Eagan… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS’…pick of the week: dirty, dirty rugs… Quotes “Fathers”
DATELINE June 12
OUR COMMUNITY TELEVISION??? It seems like it’s time we get an explanation explaining why our three channels 25, 26, 27 are so out of date, content and interest. Aside from the few hours we get from Classic Arts Showcase and yet read even that is available 24 hours per day we still get these ancient years old studio takes that are decades old…and of little interest. Are they out of volunteers? Did the county cut their money so severely? Television is a primary source of our news today and to have our three channels so dysfunctional is nearly dangerous. We deserve a huge change and a genuine explanation.
LANI FAULKNER FOR SUPERVISOR. I’ve been informed that Lani Faulkner candidate for First District supervisor has an excellent campaign going with bunches of followers. More than that over 120 folks came to her celebration at De Laveaga Park last week. This will be a supervisor race to watch and learn from, yes Manu Koenig will be re-running.
GOODBYE TO MICHAEL GRIGGS. Andy Griggs who was Michael Griggs brother, sent this. Both Michael and Andy Griggs were huge contributors to our theatre life here in Santa Cruz. Both of them were and are seriously missed when they moved.
“Many of you know that my brother, Michael Griggs, passed away in January. I have appreciated the messages of condolences and support, as well as requests about a memorial. Here is that information:
Michael Griggs was a visionary – a talented director, producer, administrator and actor. He made a mark wherever he worked, and built a far-ranging community of friends, colleagues and collaborators in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, CA; Portland, OR; Omaha, NE; and internationally.
His passion for and dedication to theatre and performance was amazing. He readily shared that passion with all, even during difficult personal times. And he embraced life with humanity and care—always being there for friends, family, and the larger community. And so we celebrate his life!
If you were one of the many touched by Michael’s life, we would love for you to attend in-person in Portland or online for his Celebration of Life on June 19th at 7PM PST. You can register for either type of ticket using this link to eventbrite.
In lieu of flowers, and acknowledging Michael’s generosity and support of many national and international causes and organizations, we suggest three options for giving:
2) Buy a tree (or part of one) in Michael’s name at Dragonflyhill Desert Farm in the Coachella Valley of California
3) Make a donation in Michael’s name to the charity of your choice.”
I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. On the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.
SHE SAID. (AMAZON MOVIE) (7.2 IMDB). I wish I had more thumbs to give this detailed “near documentary” of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases. The film failed miserably at the box-office, but won awards all over the world. Two New York Times women reporters (one played by Carey Mulligan the other by Zoe Kazan) pursue Weinstein leads all over the world. Ashley Judd, one of Harvey’s victims appears in it and acts her part. 82 women have come out revealing their having been raped by Weinstein. He’s now serving a 23 year sentence
In what used to be the Erie County jail in New York State, it’s now called the Wende Correctional Facility. Go for it.
LOVE & DEATH. (MAX SERIES) (7.2 IMDB). Based on a true story out of Texas in 1980 this saga centers on a married couple and the male is played by Jesse Plemons, unfortunately. Being very truthful I’m admitting that I can’t watch Plemons in any role he’s been in. He’s slimy and reminds me all too much of Trump. He has an unhappy wife played by Elizabeth Olsen. There’s nothing believable between/within this couple and it’s just another murder plot like the million we’ve seen before.
THE CROWDED ROOM. (APPLE TV) (7.0 IMDB). Tom Holland does a deep and superior job of acting along with Amanda Seyfried. It takes place in Manhattan in 1979 and deals with D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorders). Two murders happen and we get to watch Holland attempt to explain and examine his life before the killings. Only 3 episodes so far, and it’s all good.
HEARTLAND. (NETFLIX SERIES) (8.5 IMDB). It’s been running 15 seasons so I watched a few episodes. It’s corny, mostly poor acting, trite and all about a family’s inter relationships which were boring and we’ve seen it in hundreds of movies before. Avoid at all costs.
TO LESLIE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.1 IMDB). Andrea Riseborough is the roughed up, downtrodden former winner of a $ 190,000 dollar lottery who has spent it all on booze, drugs and a very loose way of life. We watch her trying to retain some semblance of her former life and consistently failing. Allison Janney and Marc Maron are of no help to her. The twists, and shocks to her system are devastating, sad and very realistic and human. Watch it but not when you need laughs.
SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.
BLACKBERRY. (PRIME VIDEO) (7.6 IMDB). This is a half true story based on the very real history of the early history of the smartphone. It’s also half funny and cringe producing displaying the relationships of the people involved in the success and failure of that pre-iPhone device. Somehow because it all happens in Canada gives it an extra dimension, but it needed more than that.
REALITY. (MAX MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). .Sydney Sweeney portrays Reality Winner which is the real name of the former FBI translator agent who released classified information relating to the 2016 election. That information connected Trump and Russia and caused all sorts of hell. It’s about how the FBI controlled and conducted her interrogation. An excellent and yet disturbing expose and it’s an adaptation of a play. Go for it.
THE FAMILY. (NETFLIX MOVIE) ( ? IMDB). A well done and rather long saga dealing with the Yakusa or Japanese version of the Mafia. It centers on one young guy and his violent upbringing. He goes to prison for 14 years and returns to learn that the Yakusa and all of his community and day dreams have changed. Toughing, nicely photographed and worth watching.
FIREFLY LANE. (NETFLIX SEWRIES) (7.6 IMDB). Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke act as two best friends who support each other through their lives. They’ve got the usual set of issues and family scenes to re-act to but it’s too full of mugging and age old clichés to make a good series. The two actresses/actors aren’t professional enough to lift the series into the watchable category. Don’t go there.
QUEEN CHARLOTTE. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.1 IMDB). This totally fictitious take on history has unbelievably re-cast the court and especially the marriage of King George of England with a half black cast. It’s listed as a prequel to the Bridgerton series, and I’ve never watched a minute of Bridgerton. Being extra cute and quaint it centers on the wedding gown. It does credit to no one involved, and you needn’t be either.
Just Fix It!
A June 11th letter in the Sentinel titled City ignoring dangerous Eastside traffic issues details the ongoing problems faced by that side of town with trucks, commuters and tourists using Eastside neighborhood streets as cut throughs. Efforts over the years to have the city respond with even a stop sign have apparently been ignored. The letter writer draws attention to the swift city response to recent traffic calming on the Westside, viewed as favoritism. The reality is far more insidious.
The photo above is a part of the three sections of West Cliff Drive severely damaged by the January 2023 storms. One stretch is now closed to traffic with another stretch reduced to one-way as the city engineers seek federal grants to repair the damage. A major challenge to be sure but well within city Public Works engineering capabilities. The closures have necessitated the diversion of West Cliff car traffic onto neighborhood streets with Oxford Way being the most heavily impacted. In response to neighbors’ concerns, the city has closed Oxford Way to through traffic as a “traffic calming” measure. As soon as repairs are made, West Cliff Drive can be fully opened, car traffic will have no reason to divert through the neighborhoods and life can continue as before, inconvenient for the duration but not forever. One would think that’s the end of the story except it isn’t.
The city has been holding numerous public meetings on the topic of West Cliff Drive, attended by senior city staff and a team of consultants. I attended two of the three public meetings. The latest, a zoom meeting, repeated in-person the following evening, had three senior staff in attendance, including the Assistant City Manager and five consultants. That’s correct. Five consultants.
By whom and when was it decided that fixing the damage to West Cliff Drive, an engineering problem, needed a concentration of senior city management staff and a team of consultants? The consulting firm is Farallon Strategies, self-described as a “catalytic partner” whose byline is “Creating and accelerating transformative change.” They have been in existence since, wait for it, 2020.
Contrast these well-publicized meetings (not required) held outside of work hours with ample opportunity for discussion and comments, with the one poorly publicized meeting for the Wharf Master Plan draft, partial EIR (required) held during workhours, one day before the deadline for comments. Most of the time taken up by the project manager’s presentation with little time remaining for questions which were directed to the Q & A function. And the city wonders why the public lacks trust. Maybe they should hire consultants to help figure it out.
There are key words in the West Cliff consultants’ vocabulary that thinly veil the actual city agenda. The title, “Envision West Cliff” has nothing to do with fixing damage; the buzz words, “resiliency, inclusion and accessibility” make an appearance as does “climate change,” despite the meteorological community’s conclusion that the storms were not climate change-driven; West Cliff Drive is referred to as a “global attraction” and “economic driver”. When funding is mentioned, it is “recovery and further programmatic development.” The guided question for the breakout groups, “how do you think the community will use West Cliff 50 years from now? attracted what you might expect from such a question. I hope the consultants don’t think tracking our answers to their select questions has any validity. Note to city, for some of us, curiously, the functions did not work so our input was not tallied.
The most revealing of the city’s true intent is their labelling the one-way car traffic section as a “one way pilot.” If the one-way section were simply an unfortunate, temporary situation until the damaged roadway and path are fixed, then the word ‘pilot’ would not be included. That it is included and has been from the beginning is a clear indication of their aim to turn West Cliff into a one-way, money-making, recreation destination or as the Farallon consultants would say, “accelerating transformative change.” Other new labels are simply incorrect. Staff and consultants now call West Cliff Drive an “arterial road”, which it certainly is not.
In this context “traffic calming” is like offering an aspirin after you hit someone on the head with a shovel. That it scored high on participants’ list of priorities shows how easily we are misled with jargon and hidden agendas. As George Orwell wrote in 1946, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful…and to give appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
|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.
TAXES AND DEMOCRACY
So here’s a thing with majoritarian decision-making: if there’s a win with 50+1, that means there could be 49 losers. And if a bunch of the electorate doesn’t show up, or abstains, then it could be a definitively minority decision. Having a ? threshold is better, for sure, when some kind of progressive ranked-choice voting isn’t possible or appropriate. At least then a larger proportion of voters can claim a win, with losers being a smaller marginalized group.
Whether it’s our families, workplaces, local organizing groups, or governance on any scale, when we marginalize close to half of voters, we aren’t even close to consensus, and we all but guarantee entrenchment of polarized positions and oppositional tactics. Consent and agency are key to decent relationships.
Inadequate or rushed public consultation sets us up for a disengaged electorate, and the relentless grind of surviving under capitalism makes it nearly impossible for many to participate.
I haven’t been able to attend any of the meetings about the proposed “Affordable Workforce Housing Revenue Measure.” They weren’t advertised with a lot of notice, and the first two were not available to join remotely. The third one was hybrid (and translated), but there’s not currently a recording on the project’s page.
Fortunately, I am getting notes from a number of attendees, so I’m not totally out of the loop. I’ve been told that two more meetings have been added, but they are not listed on the project page.
Here’s a copy of the draft measure, which also is not on the city’s page.
A couple of things in the draft measure stand out to me. The first is this “small print” that debt isn’t off the table:
- The People now wish to submit a revenue measure to the qualified electors of the City at a 2024 election for the purpose of generating revenues, including through bonded indebtedness secured by the revenue measure, to be spent on increasing the availability of affordable workforce housing and the prevention of homelessness within the City.
The second is the regressive (and mathematically complex) nature of the parcel tax calculations:
- For owners of all Single-Family Residential Parcels, the tax shall be at the annual rate of ninety-five dollars ($95) per Parcel.
- For owners of all Multiple Residential Unit Parcels, the tax shall be at the annual rate of sixty-five dollars ($65) per occupied Residential Unit.
- The tax for Non-Residential Parcels, other than Residential Hotels and Transient Hotels as specified in subsection (b)4., below, is calculated using both frontage and square footage measurements to determine total single family residential unit equivalents (SFE). A frontage of eighty (80) feet for a commercial institutional parcel, for example, is equal to one (1) single family residential unit equivalent. (See matrix.) An area of six thousand four hundred (6,400) square feet for the commercial institutional parcel is equal to one (1) single family residential unit equivalent. For tall buildings (more than five (5) stories), the single-family residential unit equivalent computation also includes one (1) single family residential unit equivalent for every five thousand (5,000) square feet of net rentable area. The tax is the annual rate of ninety-five dollars ($95) multiplied by the total number of single-family residential unit equivalents (determined by the frontage and square footage).
I understand that the rationale for exploring/initiating this revenue measure from the council and then handing it over to citizens for signature gathering is to help the process along, and so that it can pass more easily. I also understand that the rush to put it on the March ballot (now a summer special election with a close to $200,000 price tag) is to get it on the books before a November 2024 state ballot initiative potentially raises the citizen tax initiative threshold to ?. (Side note: as I reported in last week’s column, we may have to put this measure to the vote again if that state measure passes anyway.) So how about we slow it down a little more and put it on the November ballot with everything else, when we can expect decent voter turnout?
I have to say, while I agree that we need to find funds from all over the place to fortify our Affordable Housing Trust Fund, I’m not very enthusiastic about this measure, or the process as it’s happening.
For this initiative to use significant public funds to get to the petition-signing phase, while genuine citizen initiatives are self-funded and organized at often incredible personal and community cost, feels, well, disingenuous and manipulative. It’s unfair.
This is a regressive, not progressive, tax. If it were being written as a more progressive parcel tax, where larger, for-profit buildings pay a fair share, I’d be more supportive.
As I said every time Mayor Keeley brought up his housing bond in forums, I think increasing (well, instituting) our Property Transfer Tax would both raise substantially more money, and would at least charge a premium to these massive corporations and hedge funds that are hyper-financializing and manipulating our housing market. Check out how we compare to other California cities (clue: we’re really missing out!).
The bitter fight against the Empty Home Tax last year (and Rent Control in 2018), largely funded by the California Apartment Association via Santa Cruz Together, showed us who wants to maintain power over property in Santa Cruz, and who is willing to aid and abet them.
I’d like to see Santa Cruz Together pledge not to take any more funds from the California Apartment Association (or similar) and to work with the entire community, in truly grassroots ways, to find better solutions for renter protections, truly affordable housing, and a generally more stable local housing market. As long as they continue to take in these massive amounts of money to fund their pet candidates and oppose truly grassroots initiatives, they are skewing our community ecosystem away from democracy and towards plutocracy.
The reluctance of Mayor Fred Keeley to stand up to those powers leads me to think that he’s either with them or is unwilling to rally the community to oppose them.
In last week’s column, I left out a major reason to engage with the Democratic Party: Labor. Grassroots, local labor organizing is truly essential. So is connecting with big labor orgs that are involved with and influencing local politics–to learn what their workers need, what policies they want, what abuses are happening in workplaces. Those big labor orgs are working with the Dems, so it’s a no-brainer to meet them there. Solidarity Forever!
|Joy Schendledecker is an artist, parent, and community organizer. She lives on the Westside of Santa Cruz with her husband, two teens, mother in law, and cats. She was a city of Santa Cruz mayoral candidate in 2022. You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PUBLIC MEETINGS TO DISCUSS CHANGING CABRILLO COLLEGE NAME…HOW ABOUT “NONE OF THE ABOVE”?
Just last week, I received notice from Cabrillo College President Mr. Matt Wetstein that there will be three public meetings to graciously allow the taxpaying public an opportunity to place colored dots and sticky notes next to their favorite of five new possible names for Cabrillo Community College, as selected by their Name Exploration Committee. Wow. After respondents to the earlier Community Survey overwhelming said “DON’T CHANGE THE NAME”.
Here is the update:
We are reaching a point where a set of 5 proposed names have been identified as finalists, and I wanted to make a personal invitation to you to attend one of our upcoming community meetings to learn about and discuss the proposed names. The dates, locations, and times of the meetings are listed below:
- Wednesday, June 14, Aptos campus, Room 1001 Visual and Performing Arts, 6:00 pm
- Wednesday, June 28, Watsonville Center, Room A-130, 6:00 pm
- Wednesday, July 12, Felton, Felton Branch Library, 6:00 pm
I hope one of these dates works with your schedule. If not, I hope you will reach out with your thoughts on the proposed names. Look for media coverage on the names, especially around June 12th and 13th. You may also visit our Name Exploration Webpage for information and updates.
LARGE HOUSING PROJECT FOR CABRILLO COLLEGE CAMPUS LIKELY WILL NOT HAVE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR CEQA
A Community member contacted me last week, wondering why I had not been at a recent public meeting about the proposed 624-bed student housing project proposed for Cabrillo College? He said attendance was shockingly sparse. Maybe no one knew it was happening? There was nothing about it on the College website, and nothing in local print media.
My friend told me the Project will not undergo an EIR analysis, but instead relies on one that was done in 1999. The College is instead using an Addendum evaluation which does not require any public hearings or formal public comment procedures. Usually, this is the avenue an agency takes when they want to make changes that are supposed to be minor and move quickly through the CEQA process to save time and money but is always at the expense of the public’s participation. (Soquel Creek Water District is a prime example with the major modifications to their PureWater Soquel Project going through two Addendums as major design modifications were required.)
Also, in order to help fund the Project, it will be shared with UCSC for student housing.
I wrote Cabrillo College to ask about the status of the CEQA process, and the timeline for approvals. Below is President Matt Wetstein’s response:
Thanks for reaching out to us about the Cabrillo Housing Project.
The college has a website that has been created in conjunction with the June 5 community forum that contains information on the project.
Invitations for the June 5 meeting were sent to households between Park Avenue and State Park Drive that are near the college’s campus.
If you visit the new website, you can access the draft Environmental Impact Report Addendum that has been developed for the project. The College’s environmental consultant is QuadKnopf. The EIR supplement route is available to us because there are not substantial impacts envisioned from the project that go beyond what is in our master plan EIR that is filed with the state clearinghouse. One element still under study is the traffic and trip mile impact that might come from UCSC students residing on our campus. We hope to have that component completed by the end of the summer.
One note — the EIR Addendum is rather long (3,169 pages with appendices — 100 pages for the top level summaries). You can download it from the site listed above.
The Addendum to the EIR is an information item on the Board of Trustee Agenda June 12. The public portion of the meeting starts at 5:45 pm at the Horticulture Center.
We will take the completed EIR Supplement to the Board later this summer, after the traffic impact analysis is completed.
NO substantial impacts envisioned since this was examined in 1999? What about water? What about sewer capacities? What about cumulative impacts on top of the new 6th Cycle Regional Housing Number Allocations (RHNA) that mandate the County build 4,634 new units in the unincorporated area in the next eight years?
Keep your eye on this and send your written comment to the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees c/o Ms. Ronnette Smithcamp email@example.com
APTOS VILLAGE IS ABOUT TO BECOME AN EVEN BIGGER MESS
Last week, Barry Swenson Builder blocked all parking along Aptos Village Way between Aptos Creek Road and Parade Street in anticipation of beginning construction on the incredibly-dense and tall Phase 2 Aptos Village Project., and decorated the chain link fence with “NO PARKING” signs. It created a mess last weekend for customers of businesses in the Phase 1 development, a charity fundraising event happening at Aptos Village Park, and visitors to Nisene Marks State Park…all of which have been promised “unlimited parking” by Barry Swenson VP Jessie Nichol during public hearings years ago on the Project benefits.
Last Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors approved by consent (Item #73) to accept the Parade Street improvements in Aptos Village, allowing the gateway to the Aptos Village Project to formally open. It also means Barry Swenson will close the historic crossing to the Bayview Hotel and Trout Gulch Crossing businesses.
I wonder if Swenson will pay for the damages resulting from accidents that are sure to occur at this ridiculous intersection, or if, like the cost of much of the work done to accommodate this development, the taxpayers will be left holding the bag? Call Supervisor Zach Friend and ask that the County require parking on at least one side of the already-to-narrow Aptos Village Way be restored. (831) 454-2200.
Here is the view of Aptos Village Way approaching the Phase 1 Aptos Village Project subdivision. Swenson Builders has not allowed parking on the left side because Project Manager Mr. Jesse Bristow said there was no sidewalk. The fencing on the right got installed last week, drastically reducing parking in the Aptos Village area.
Can you see the tall weeds on the hillside behind the “NO PARKING” sign? It’s a fire hazard that Swenson ignores every year.
APTOS ONCE AGAIN HAS LOCALLY-OWNED NATURAL FOOD STORE
I am so glad Aptos Foods is open in the Aptos Center (7506 Soquel Drive, across from the new library construction site) because it is owned by local people, Julie Kellman and Dan Hunt, who also own Seascape Foods. They have renovated the space and decorated it with colorful murals, have a well-stocked inventory with focus on locally-sourced items and organic produce.
Please support this locally-owned store. New Leaf Market in Aptos Village Project is owned by a large offshore Asian investment corporation.
COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS COMPLETE BUDGET HEARINGS
Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved budgets for many departments, but provided the public with no information about those numbers and how they got them. I sent a Cure and Correct Letter to the Board, asking that this be remedied. NO response.
Last Friday, I visited the lobby of the Clerk of the Board to see if the Budget is available there in print. It is not.
If this worries you, please contact the Board of Supervisors! Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org and call: 831-454-2200. Whenever I call, I am always told that “None of the Supervisors are available”, but maybe you will have better luck getting through to your elected representative when you call.
CENTRAL FIRE DISTRICT UNFUNDED PENSION DEBT IS GROWING, ALONG WITH ALL OTHER PUBLIC AGENCIES
Last Thursday, the Central Fire Protection District Board of Directors heard a presentation by CalPERS advisor Mr. Ira Summer. Even though Central Fire District financial staff have been very diligent about prepaying the Pension Debt accumulating because CalPERS investments are not doing as well as planned, the debt liability was $60 million as of June 30, 2022, much higher than anticipated. In the next five years, the District’s contributions will increase by 50% and hold at that level for 10 years.
It was a gloomy report, coupled with the very real recession we face, but at least the District is publicly addressing the debt burden whereas the County of Santa Cruz CAO Carlos Palacios is not.
You can listen to the meeting’s presentations and discussion here (Mr. Summer’s presentation is first on the agenda)
COUNTY FIRE BUDGET STILL UNKNOWN
The Board of Supervisors failed to recess during their Regular Meeting last Tuesday to take action as the Board of Directors for Santa Cruz County Fire Department, approving assessment increases for the properties within County Service Areas 4 (Pajaro Dunes) and 48 (all other areas of the unincorporated properties not included in other local fire district boundaries), This was Regular Item #12.
Consider adoption of resolutions confirming the previously established benefit assessment rates for County Service Areas (CSAs) 4, Pajaro Dunes, and CSA 48, County Fire; adopt resolutions setting a public hearing on June 27, 2023, on the proposed…
The Board approved a 5.6% increase for CSA 48, and a 4% capped increase for CSA 48 2020 Special Benefit Assessment Tax because it was capped at 4% in the Engineers Report associated with that illegal ballot action in 2020.
How can the Board approve rate increases without a contract with CalFire? This document is yet to be seen.
IT IS AMAZING WHAT GETS HIDDEN ON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISOR CONSENT AGENDAS
Although items on the Board of Supervisor Meeting Consent Agenda is, by definition, supposed to include non-controversial and small dollar actions, what gets hidden there is far from that definition. In my opinion, it is done to not only hide important issues that likely are controversial and to relegate a maximum of two minutes to the public to ask questions about these issues that would, as a regular agenda item provide a staff presentation and single topic discussion (another 2-minute limit for the public).
Take a look at what was hidden in last Tuesday’s Consent Agenda:
#24 Allowing delayed re-payment to the County for the Pajaro Valley Health Care District and Watsonville Hospital acquisition:
In March 2023, the PVHCD staff engaged with the County and community partners in conversations to improve the PVHCD cash position during the ongoing transition of hospital operations. County staff determined that by revisiting the repayment term of the short-term loan agreement from a lump sum to six (6) payments, PVHCD could smooth the cash flow obligation, giving the new district relief. The attached amendment to the loan agreement extends the term to December 2025. Payments will be made in increments of $500,000, with a final payment of $100,000, with the first payment due in June 2023. Staff is also recommending an amendment of the agreement to reflect the actual amount of money borrowed ($2.6M rather than an amount not-to-exceed $3M).
#32 Create Guidelines for County Employee Use of Artificial Intelligence Platforms (how secure will that Digital Wallet information be that Supervisor Zach Friend is pushing to achieve, supposedly all donated by HUMBL Consultants???)
While it remains to be seen if Congress will develop meaningful regulations for AI products, it makes sense for the County of Santa Cruz to adopt a set of standards to ensure the responsible use of AI by county employees. AI tools can provide many benefits to county departments by assisting with research, improving written communications, developing templates for job postings, among many other potential uses. The County also has an obligation to protect the data of residents, promote transparency, and guard against discrimination. Creating a formal policy on usage would help ensure this important tool is available but guardrails and protections are in place.
Accordingly, the County should adopt an AI policy that addresses (but is not limited to) the following issues:
- Data Privacy and security – AI systems must protect user privacy and county employees should refrain from sharing protected data until the systems are determined to be operating in compliance with HIPAA and other data protection laws.
- Transparency – These systems should be explainable to users.
- Accountability – AI products should be subject to regular audits and evaluations to ensure they are operating appropriately.
- Fairness and bias – AI systems should be designed and used in a fair and unbiased manner. The technology should not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or other protected classes.
- Informed consent – Users should be provided with clear information about AI systems and their capabilities, with the ability to opt out of using the technology.
- Responsible use – This technology should be used in an ethical manner.
The purpose is to allow the County Administrative Officer and/or designees the ability to create a policy that meets these general objectives but also provide flexibility to evolve as the capabilities continue to evolve.
#36 Directing County staff to write Director of California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to Transfer Ownership of Greyhound Rock to the County of Santa Cruz.
Greyhound Rock is an important visitor destination on the north coast of the County owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) but managed and maintained by the County at its own expense for over 60 years. Although the County historically had operating agreements with CDFW, there has been no operating agreement with CDFW for over ten years.
Recently, the Parks Department developed a proposal to use a portion of the property as a self-sustaining low cost/impact overnight accommodation site to provide outdoor educational programs that would serve low-income disadvantaged youth, and school groups throughout the region (attachment 1).
A transfer of ownership of this site would greatly reduce complications associated with needing approvals by an additional agency when attempting to get permits and funding, which would help expedite our efforts to provide safe access to our coast.
#71 Update Guidelines for Engineering Geologic and Geotechnical Investigations and Publish Reports
The changes to the guidelines from the previous guidelines include updating references to the 2022 California Building Code; updating provisions regarding soils report waivers; adding guidance regarding Tiny Homes of Wheels; and updating guidance on when a soils report is required.
#73 Accepting Aptos Village Project Developers Parade Street at-grade Private Railroad Crossing and Annual $20,000 Payment to County for Maintenance (will the County taxpayers be held liable for any accidents at this new crossing?)
This project involves the construction of a new railroad crossing with a crossing warning system, at the Soquel Drive and Parade Street intersection.
Although Commercial Association and Mixed-Use Association are obligated, as successors in interest to Swenson Builders, to maintain the Parade Street Crossing, they lack the technical expertise and staffing to operate and maintain the Parade Street Crossing. The County agrees to inspect, maintain, repair and operate the Parade Street Crossing pursuant to the CPUC Order and this Agreement.
The Funding and Maintenance Agreement will allow for County maintenance, repair, and replacement of improvements and equipment necessary for operation of the Parade Street Crossing.
The parties estimate that the annual cost of maintenance for the Parade Street Crossing will be $20,000. The Commercial Association and Mixed-Use Association shall annually deposit, or shall cause to be deposited annually, the total sum of $20,000 (Annual Deposit) for maintenance and repair of the Parade Street Crossing.
#86 Retroactive Approval of $350,655.91 for Additional Engineering Services for Soquel Drive Buffered Bike Lane Project (extra work done two years ago but never approved for cost overrun)
Additional items of work were required during the final design of the project. Additional topographic surveys were required because of additional retaining wall areas for sidewalks and newly constructed water valves in the street. Additional boundary surveys were required to establish the right of way lines because of the lack of existing monumentation. Additional potholing for utilities were required because of maps provided by the utilities had potential conflicts with planned sidewalks, retaining walls and storm drains. Additional right of way services were required because of an increase in the number of acquisitions. After the 100% plans were completed, there were numerous changes because of requests from utility companies and public utilities that required significant changes to the design in several locations.
These additional items of work necessitate an amendment in contract services with Mark Thomas (approved on June 8, 2021) CDI (that’s the Public Works and Planning Dept.) should have returned to the Board earlier for an amendment to the contract; however staff was focused on an expedited design process and delayed processing an amendment to the contract. CDI has successfully met the design schedule and this board item seeks to retroactively amend the agreement with Mark Thomas.
Well….I think you get the idea…WATCH THOSE CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS!!!! And ask your elected Supervisors to make these important issues more public and transparent, or at least start holding Town Hall meetings in their Districts again. Supervisor Manu Koenig is the only Supervisor holding regular Town Hall Meetings.
COLLEGE LAKE GROUNDWATER RECHARGE PROJECT IN THE WORKS FOR PAJARO VALLEY
Last Friday, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency officially kicked off the large groundwater recharge project at College Lake, near the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. College Lake will no longer be drained to allow farming there, but instead will be a source of water to treat and sell to farmers in the areas near the Pajaro Dunes area where private ag wells extract groundwater for irrigation. You can see the work happening now on Holohan Road near Green Valley Road in Watsonville.
Here is the view from Holohan Road in Watsonville. The water from College Lake will be used for agriculture. irrigation closer to the beach areas, in lieu of pumping groundwater.
SAVING SEEDS OF NATIVE PLANTS FOR RESTORING FIRE AND FLOOD DAMAGES
Whenever I walk in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I see the remnants of past attempts to stabilize our local slopes, evidenced by the massive ropes of Algerian Ivy burdening the native forests. Luckily, other means are available for helping the land to heal, and the Resource Conservation District (RCD) is available to help https://www.rcdsantacruz.org/
Where can we find those seeds of hope for restoring the damaged areas with native plants? Take a look at this interesting source, recently featured in the San Jose Mercury News
Give them a call: 530-662-6847 https://www.hedgerowfarms.com/
Staff told me that Superior HydroSeeding in Watsonville is a big customer, but Hedgerow Farms staff can help private land owners to design restoration projects and supply appropriate native seeds.
WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. ATTEND ONE PUBLIC MEETING AND ASK QUESTIONS.
MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK BY JUST DOING SOMETHING.
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 KI6TKB@yahoo.com
Across the United States, wild dogs are adapting to human-transformed Nature in ways that some find unpleasant. I am consistently asked ‘are you a dog person, or a cat person?’ I like Nature, and that dog-cat dichotomy is an interesting one even with wild organisms.
Public Opinions about Wild Dogs
A recent local television news report about wild coyotes threatening outdoor pets is an interesting thing to watch. Viewing it, I wondered if the anti-Nature people interviewed represent any sizeable fraction of the local population. And, based on local elections, I suspect they do.
One interviewed person says, “we’re scared to leave our animals in our own yards.” With that statement, we see a widespread misunderstanding about property rights. People who “own” property in the USA are granted certain property rights, but those rights do not extend to the ability to impact wildlife however they desire. Wildlife are owned by society, not individuals.
Another anti-Nature person interviewed hopes: “if there would be a way that we could find a balance to live with the coyotes, so that they don’t go after our pets.” Beware the term ‘balance’ when applied to Nature! We see this term bandied about by businesses funding the outdoor recreation lobby and echoed by the public parks managers, who want us to accept their version of “balancing” recreational uses with Nature conservation. In each case the word ‘balance’ is code for killing wildlife. And, in each case, on purpose or by ignorance, this rhetoric is, in the short-term, anti-species, in the medium-term racist, and in the longer-term, anti-human. We need all species to live. As species slip towards extinction, it is the poor and underrepresented that suffer first. With the disappearance of each species, the human condition worsens. At some point, the services provided for ‘free’ by Nature will no longer support human society as we know it.
There is one other misconception in the interview: that all domestic cats are someone’s pets. Feral cats are very numerous and, along with the ‘subsidized predators’ of cat pets, present a tremendous and ongoing threat to wildlife. That threat is somewhat abated by coyotes.
Coyotes keep natural areas freer of domestic cats, benefiting Nature thereby benefiting humans. Drs. Kevin Crooks and Michael Soulè (once a professor at our local University, UCSC) researched the effects of habitat connectivity in Southern California and found that natural areas that were interconnected and allowed coyotes access were more likely to have native bird species. This became known as ‘meso-predator release,’ – coyotes predate, and reduce populations of, smaller native carnivores (skunk, raccoon, grey fox) as well as invasive carnivores (opossum, cat), which would otherwise negatively affect native songbirds. In the United States alone, domestic cats which are not kept indoors kill up to 6 billion wild birds and 22.3 billion native mammals annually. Note the word ‘billion.’
With coyotes, songbirds and native mammals stand a greater chance of survival. Birds play crucial roles in stitching together Nature and thereby improving the plight of humans.
The studies about the beneficial ecological effects of larger carnivores go beyond the coyote. Dr. Chris Wilmers at UCSC has been a leader in researching and publishing about the effects of large carnivores on ecosystems. His and many other researchers’ findings echo the results of Drs. Kevin Crooks and Michael Soulè in showing that larger carnivore populations reduce unnaturally high mesopredator populations, to the benefit of many other wildlife species. Dr. Wilmers’ recent findings suggests that mountain lion conservation may even reduce human exposure to Lyme disease.
What to Do
Those of us who care about wildlife have a lot of work to do. Pro-wildlife people represent the vast majority of US citizens, but in this democracy we are contending with another growing majority: pet owners. It is interesting to note some statistics presented recently by Forbes: pet owners are a majority of the US population (66%); more people are “dog people’ rather than “cat people;” pet ownership is growing; it is expensive to own a pet, and; more wealthy people are more likely to own pets. Likely, many pet owners are also wildlife lovers, so we can work together for both goals.
At the most basic level, wildlife supporters must help other citizens to understand and appreciate that wild animals have the right to roam freely across ‘our’ private property. Wildlife are not owned, but the government has certain powers to manage them. As conservationists in a democracy, it is our imperative to work with government to guide that management.
Where coyotes roam, they reduce the population of domestic cats. Part of that is that coyote cat predation has led more people to increasingly keep their domestic pet cats indoors. We can urge people to keep their pets indoors or, if outdoors, to keep their pets on leash. These are inexpensive and effective solutions.
In an era where many people across the planet are actively destroying Nature and killing all wild animals, we should celebrate that we have wild dogs roaming into our urban areas. Please retell the stories in this article. Spread the word about the benefits of coyotes and other large predators. The negative press news story that I mentioned at the beginning of this article began with a citizen contacting KSBW: pro-Nature people need also to contact the media to cover their perspectives…try to figure out how those will be eye-catching and newsworthy, and reach out as much as you can!
Also…as always…vote for the environment! Now that we have some contenders for the next election cycle, it is a good time to reach out to ask them what their stances are for environmental conservation. Lots of folks asking early will help candidates pay attention to Nature and cogitate on their positions.
Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net
Email Grey at email@example.com
#160 / Mind Reader
Artificial Intelligence (or A.I., to use the terminology that is ever more frequently employed) is definitely the “next big thing.” Some are prophesying doom. To get an informed take on why we should be worried, click that link, above – the one mentioning “doom” – for a video from the makers of “The Social Dilemma.”
Big businesses, let it be said, are apparently not that worried about our A.I. future. They are, increasingly, “all in.” If that brings you any comfort, just remember that the giant oil companies profess not to be worried, either, about the fact that our continued combustion of hydrocarbon fuels might put our human civilization in peril – or even end all life on the planet. If everyone starts getting worried, that could really undermine their business model!
In early May, The New York Times published an article that was titled, “A.I. to Read Your Mind Is Up Next.” That, of course, is the hard copy version. The online headline will differ. If you can skate past the paywall, the link I have provided should take you right there. Here are a couple of pertinent paragraphs:
In a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the researchers described an A.I. that could translate the private thoughts of human subjects by analyzing fMRI scans, which measure the flow of blood to different regions in the brain.
Already, researchers have developed language-decoding methods to pick up the attempted speech of people who have lost the ability to speak, and to allow paralyzed people to write while just thinking of writing. But the new language decoder is one of the first to not rely on implants. In the study, it was able to turn a person’s imagined speech into actual speech and, when subjects were shown silent films, it could generate relatively accurate descriptions of what was happening onscreen (emphasis added).
Those reading this blog posting may, or may not, have heard about (or even read) what was once a rather famous book, Man A Machine, by Julien Offray de La Mettrie. I still have a copy of the book on my shelves – and my underlining proves that I definitely read it. In fact, I remember it rather well. As Wikipedia tells us (click the link to the title), “de La Mettrie extends Descartes’ argument that animals are mere automatons, or machines, to human beings.”
I did decline, when I read the book – and I still decline – de La Mettrie’s invitation to consider that human beings are actually just “machines.” Think about it, though; that is exactly what the concept of “Artificial Intelligence” invites us to do. The idea that “intelligence” (see definition below) is nothing more than mechanical manipulations of information, done super fast, is to suck out the marrow from the bones of our glory, leaving only structural sticks behind.
The capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
I have no doubt that we can invent ways to make inanimate and unliving, mechanical processes duplicate the “intellectual products” that we, and our intelligence, have learned how to produce ourselves. ChatGPT may well be able to write a senior thesis, using the prodigious power of computers to pull examples and analogues from the entire written, oral, and visual products of human civilization.
But for whom are these artificially conjured products produced? For some human being, somewhere.
That is their only value, and I am suggesting that you shouldn’t believe it when someone invites you to equate your human existence with what a machine can accomplish (and particularly when you are told that the machine can do it better than you can).
Human beings are NOT “machines.” When we start thinking that we are, that is when we begin denying exactly what is most precious and unique in the fact of our existence. That is when we begin turning a divine mystery (and destiny) into a complex conjugation of computer code. That is when we start selling ourselves short!
If you think that that equating ourselves to a machine is ever going to work out alright – in the human world that we have created (and in the World of Nature, which we most emphatically did not create) – then I just say, “Good Luck!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
BOXES OF INNOCENCE, SYMPATHY FOR THE JOKERS
Busy news week, huh? Former presidential candidate and right-wing TV evangelist on his Christian Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson, died at 93 years of age. His toxic cultural views were instrumental in empowering the religious right to its current influence within the Republican Party, as he blamed America’s woes on our sinful citizens. Abortion, divorce, gay sex, secular humanism – all led to the wrath of his almighty god who then visited us with hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, plagues from Africa…the list goes on. Robertson had a world vision for the spread of his evangelism and it is said there was hardly any right-wing despot or death squad he didn’t like, and he was quick to buy into their lies as long as they held a Bible in one hand, pressuring US hawks to intervene in Latin America. On his The 700 Club broadcast in 2010, he blamed the Haiti earthquake on a pact with the devil, when Haitians “got together and swore a pact,” promising to serve Satan if he freed them from French rule. The revolt against the French was actually against slavery, but Robertson’s support of the status quo fit right in with his concept of the Cosmic Patriarch demanding obedience of slaves to masters, women to men, and Americans to Bible-Thumpers. Jeet Heer writes in The Nation that Robertson’s lasting legacy is that he was able to make God seem terrible, the Smiter-In-Chief.
Author and investigative journalist, Greg Palast, called Robertson “just another Southern-fried Elmer Gantry with a slick line of Lordy-Jesus hoodoo, and who with his hot-line to God could hypnotize a couple of million American goobers into turning over their bank accounts for sulphur-scented investments from China to the Congo.” The evidence of having broken a number of commandments handed down by the Highest Authority, the IRS, constantly required his utmost penance. In 1990, Robertson’s cable network was sold to Rupert Murdoch for $1.82 billion, and since it had spun off as a for-profit corporation seven years earlier, Reverend Pat held the controlling interest. He donated hundreds of millions to both Christian Broadcast Network and what is now Regent University, which still burdened him with a heavy load of cash to carry through the eye of The Needle, on camelback or not. Palast says he was no hayseed huckster, but a worldly man of wealth and taste, and as The Rolling Stones sang in Sympathy for the Devil, “Pleased to meet you! Hope you guess my name! But, what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game, woo who, oh yeah!”
Another casualty we can mark off is the death of Unabomber Theodore ‘Ted’ J. Kaczynski at the age of 81, found dead in his federal prison medical center in Butner, NC. He was found guilty of attacking academics, businesspeople and random civilians with his homemade bombs from 1978 to 1995, during which time he killed three and injured 23 – none with which he was acquainted, in his war against the modern social order. As it was revealed, his targets were not randomly chosen but were specific individuals he associated with technology, the destroyers of nature. His violent spree, resulting in the longest and costliest manhunt in modern history, initially was diagnosed by psychologists who saw in his writing evidence of schizophrenia; and, after he insisted on defending himself in court, lawyers called this further evidence of his insanity as a demented serial killer with the fanaticism of a terrorist. He went from being a Harvard-trained genius in mathematics, to the University of Michigan, to being an associate professor at UC Berkeley, then dropping out from civilization, to a lonely boy recluse rural Montana, to being an infamous murderer. Living in his remote shack with no running water, reading by light of his homemade candles, he survived by living on wild rabbits and a small garden. His capture came with assistance of his brother, David, who saw the similarities in Ted’s manifesto and earlier writings, and he was able to assist the FBI in raiding the Montana cabin. After his capture by the FBI, the details of his ideology were revealed in the previously released 35,000 word manifesto, and were the subject of debate by commentators, some of whom took seriously his justification of his actions and the ideas that he claimed were his inspiration, as he tried to save humanity from itself. David’s $1M reward was given to families of the bombing victims to aid in their recovery from the tragedies.
In 2021, the upstart global golf tour funded by the Saudis Public Investment Fund disrupted the world of golf in signing players who defected from the PGA Tour, with Commissioner Jay Monahan refusing to associate with the organization called LIV Golf, and refusing to allow players who crossed the line from playing in the PGA. At the time, he made references to the 9/11 event with finger-pointing to Saudi involvement, and to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, along with known human rights abuses. His ego had obviously been thrown for a loop, so he framed the PGA to be seen as morally upright; but, hypocrisy has won out with the recent announcement of a merger of the two organizations. Howls of protest immediately arose, but money talks, and the Saudi Fund has infinite resources. Monahan has glossed over his previous comments, calling the merger a positive for the world of golf, with a willingness to “accept criticisms…but circumstances change.” Championship golfer, Phil Mickelson, who had earlier abandoned the PGA for LIV, had commented to a journalist at the time that his new bosses were “scary mo……..rs,…we know they killed Khashoggi.” And, also many prisoners with mass executions in 2010, Phil, accompanied by a crackdown on women’s rights.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Ron Wyden, called Monahan’s move, “hypocritical, and a shameless cash grab” that would meet challenges on Capitol Hill. Prominent in any discussions in Congress will be the PGA Tour’s federal tax exemption, with the introduction by Representative John Garamendi’s ‘No Corporate Tax Exemption for Professional Sports Act.’ He commented, “The notion that the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund would pay zero dollars in taxes on their blood money and potentially make billions of dollars in profits while countless American families pay their fair share while struggling to make ends meet is ludicrous.” Wyden is concerned that US officials need to consider if the deal gives the Saudi regime improper control of US real estate. Senior fellow and intelligence analyst, Bruce Reidel, of the Brookings Institution raises concerns that a foreign power could influence our politics. Emily Kilcrease of the Center for New American Security says, “It’s not evident to me at this point what they can do with the PGA Tour that would raise the level of a national security risk. Obviously, they’re engaging in this because they’re trying to sport wash or kind of deflect attention from their human rights abuses.”
Needless to say, The Former Guy praised the merger on Truth Social, saying, “Great news from LIV golf. A big, beautiful, and glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf. Congrats to all!!!” His personally owned golf courses are a major part to the LIV Tour, and his family has also been tied to lucrative deals with the Saudis. The Associated Press reported in November that a Saudi real estate company had signed an agreement with the Trump Organization for more than $1B for use of the Trump name on its hotel, golf course and villas. Notable is Trump’s son-in-law’s receipt of a $2B investment into his own investment firm, after Trump left the White House. Bruce Reidel comments on the Saudi royal family, “They make no secret that they prefer Trump and his family to Biden.” President Biden had previously pledged to make the crown prince a ‘pariah’ over the Khashoggi killing, and gas prices soared last year showing the delicacy of this relationship. Biden then vowed consequence in response to the oil cuts, prompting the prince to say privately, “I will not deal with the US administration anymore,” promising major economic consequences for Washington.
Without a doubt, last week’s bombshell was the indictment we’ve all been waiting for as DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith laid out the charges against former President Trump and one of his lackeys, Walt Nauta, for mishandling secret government documents and obstructing federal investigators…37 counts in 49 pages for which he had to answer in a Tuesday court appearance. Although he had known this was coming for days, our Tangerine Caligula had to had to have the limelight by announcing the pending indictment the day before it was dropped, all the while proclaiming his innocence and blaming his perceived enemies for the ‘witch hunt.’ He condemned his critics as “Communists, Marxists, and Radical Left Lunatics,” and denounced Special Counsel Jack Smith a “deranged psycho.” The action prompted a deluge of angry commentary online and in spoken remarks from his base. Kari Lake, still disputing her Arizona election loss, said to a GOP group, “If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me and you’re going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. Most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat. That’s a public service announcement.”
The support for Trump in light of his 37 counts astounds the rational mind! Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan – all moved to tears (well, Lindsey anyway…he cries over anything except cruel abuse)! Even former Attorney General Barr, in an attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of the public, says that the case is clear cut and Trump is in trouble. Has anyone of these fascists read the charges? Do they have a clue about what’s going on? It’s clear that Trump doesn’t realize his jeopardy, as seen by his carousel turnover of D-level of attorneys. Satirist Andy Borowitz writes that, “Guest who dined at Mar-a-Lago after January, 2021, wondered why their menus featured missile sites of the United States and its allies…some assuming they were specials or themes. The hard to read menus irritated one dinner guest, who found it difficult to climb over boxes to get to her table.” And have you seen anything trashier than the bathroom chandelier? These next few (we hope) weeks will undoubtably be fraught with danger, fireworks and drama as we approach the trial date set by Trumper Judge Aileen Cannon – unless they were able to oust her from being involved after her previously dismal favoritism in the case. The GOP has degenerated into a seedy organization of debauchery, populated by Trump cultists, fascist-leaning Christians, gun nuts, flat-earthers and outright White racists, supported by corporate America, and unrestrained capitalists. Anti-unionists represented by the billionaires of Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Starbuck’s have arisen to fight a newly awakened labor force, yet prominent facets of the party adhere to anti-science ignorance and willful know-nothingness led by the Boebert, Greene, Kennedy faction. Allegations of electoral fraud and rigged vote counting, in counties held hostage by Republican machinery, and mostly by Whining White males, sounds their pitiful refrain…sorry, Kari Lake!
Trump hasn’t, and isn’t, expected to drop out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination, but he actually said he might be willing to cut a plea deal with the Department of Justice if “they pay me some damages.” This is a big joke, but it appears Trump wasn’t attempting a joke. His impression that this is a civil case with monetary damages to be considered…a negotiable matter instead of a criminal trial, but instead of paying him to go away, the system is going to put him away. Maybe he thinks the GOP will pay him to exit the race instead of having to support a federal prisoner on the ticket. Jokers abound all around. Are you laughing yet?
Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email: email@example.com.
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.
“Someone once said that every man is trying to live up to his father’s expectations or make up for their father’s mistakes….”
“I think my mom put it best. She said, ‘Little girls soften their daddy’s hearts.'”
“The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.”
“What I’ve learned as a father is that the most important thing in the world is listening. It’s not about trying to be right.”
“The biggest lesson for my kids is that they know they are the most important things I have. No matter what is going on in my life, your kids are forever.”
I swear, I wish I had this kind of equipment (and space to use it!). I wonder if it’s as rewarding of a job as the tik-tok videos make it out to be… 🙂
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