Blog Archives

June 16 – 22, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…North Coast Ocean property for sale, Santa Cruz Fire Issues, Goodbye Scott MacClelland. GREENSITE…on tourism: Juneau and Santa Cruz. KROHN… keep fighting to preserve the downtown Farmer’s Market STEINBRUNER… Big new Kaiser medical facility PATTON…Legacy: Help Wanted. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES… “Oceans”

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“GAL USHERETTES” AT SANTA CRUZ’S WRIGLEY PLANT. The old photo credit calls them “Gal Usherettes”. It was taken April 26, 1955. The plant was built in 1955 and operated until 1996. It was located next to the rail line where it received and shipped its 40 million sticks of gum daily.                     
                                       
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE June 14

NORTH COASTAL PROPERTY FOR SALE.
I’d planned for months to ask if anyone thinks the current County Board of Supervisors and our Santa Cruz City Council would today approve the 10,000 homes and full development of The Wilder property that we prevented back in 1969 and was then turned into Wilder State Park. Now we have a similar threat. The Dreyfus Group headed by Michael Dreyfus has put 214 acres of our North Coast up for sale. This coastal property lies between Wilder Ranch and the Long Marine Lab (Seymour Discovery Center). It’s right there with DeAnza Mobile Home Park, Natural Bridges, and Grey Whale Ranch. Its only one hour from Silicon Valley where Dreyfus is based. Go to the website, watch the video, it’s called California Coast Retreat…  

Note the appeal to use the property as an “entertainment center”! Maybe that means a heliport for Jeff Bezos or a new Beach Boardwalk? At any rate, I did some research about the California Coastal Commission and found “The Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction regulates land use within a defined “coastal zone” extending inland up to five miles, it has the authority to control construction of any type, including buildings, housing, roads, as well as fire and erosion abatement structures, and can issue fines for unapproved construction. It has been called the single most powerful land-use authority in the United States, due to its purview over vast environmental assets and extremely valuable real estate”.

No matter what, we need to keep abreast of what’s happening to this part of our County and community. The Land Trust should be aware, bike groups who use bike trails should watch out, we all need to be very ready for just about anything. Look again at the Dreyfus/Sothebey projects around the USA….would we want to be any part of those? 

SANTA CRUZ FIRE ISSUES. Becky Steinbruner wrote about the Grand Jury report on our city’s fire issues last week. For anyone who missed it… go here to read it. We’re facing a big and threatening fire season and need all the info we can get. 

GOODBYE SCOTT MacCLELLAND. Scott was a longtime friend, we met way back in the early ‘70’s at dozens of musical events. He got me the role of program host at KBOQ back in 1985. His official obituary says, “Michael Scott MacClelland took his final breath the afternoon of June 6, 2021. His wife of 53 years, Judy, his daughter, Rebecca, and son, Joshua, were by his side. Born in Los Angeles in 1942 and spending his youth there and in San Diego, Scott found his love for classical music as a teen. He met Judy, who had arrived in Coronado from Kansas to teach high school French, at a lecture and the rest is history. They were married with Judy’s father, an Episcopal priest, officiating and enjoyed a reception at the Hotel del Coronado. From there they spent a short time in Redwood City then landed on the Monterey Peninsula in 1972 where Scott made a career in classical music and the arts as a radio announcer, program director, critic, teacher, writer, and publisher”. All of the Arts and Music in the Monterey Bay area will miss him very much. 

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

TENTACLES. (HULU SINGLE). So there’s this homeless guy in LA who gets his girlfriend Tara to move into his parent’s old house. And she’s really a monster who makes snakes crawl out of his ears and mouth. There are so many of these women turned monster movies I’m surprised there isn’t more rejection of the basic plot. Skip this one too as long as you are at it.

THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT. (58RT) Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson have made careers out of Conjuring movies. This one (of three) actually has some very scary scenes even though we’re watching at home. Somebody said it’s like The Exorcist with more ghosts. It sticks to the investigating of ghosts as usual and there are not many twists and turns, but it’ll take your mind of your masks and being in public again.

LISEY’S STORY. (APPLE TV SERIES) (55RT). This brand new series is from Stephen King’s best seller and stars Julienne Moore plus Clive Owen. He’s a famous novel writer who was shot in a crowd scene and Julienne keeps remembering past events that have curious twists. It’ll remind you of John Lennon’s death and I’d predict that the remaining series will be well worth watching.

DOMINA. (PRIME VIDEO SERIES). (86RT) This was actually filmed in Rome in July 2020.It’s all about the friends and enemies of Julius Caesar and what happened after his assassination. They are all there in 44BC, Nero, Cicero, Cassius, Antigone, and more. It lacks any dignity that a Roman Government would have had plus they use the fuck word every 20 seconds, which is more than odd and out of date. Language authorities tell us that the word fuck was not used until 1475 AD. It could have been another Game of Thrones which it tries hard to copy but fails in its contemporary language and acting.

WHITSTABLE PEARL. (PRIME VIDEO SERIES) Another mysterious death/maybe murder involving a woman detective. (88RT). Filmed in Whitstable, England. She runs a restaurant plus a detective agency. A much loved guy is found drowned and mysteriously tied to a boats anchor. The detective faces all kinds of odds and obstacles as she works to find out who actually did murder him. I’ll again predict that this new series works out well. Go for it

PANIC. (AMAZON PRIME SERIES) Teen age high school action thriller that has mostly 20 and 30 year olds playing the parts. The “kids” create a literally death defying night of dangerous stunts. It all happens in Carp, Texas ( a fictional town) and some stunts are genuinely scary. Each episode ends right at the critical moment when the teen is about to do the stunt. You won’t learn anything but you’ll stop thinking about masks for a while. (68RT) 

HERSELF. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE). A very distraught mother of two daughters splits from her very abusive husband and works hard to build herself a new house from ground up. He’s a genuine psycho and he’ll never change, probably!! So it’s her story, a very Irish story (filmed in Ireland) touching, heartfelt, well-acted, not too significant but go for it.

 SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.  

UNDINE. (PRIME VIDEO SINGLE). Based on a mermaid type myth this love story gone wrong takes place in Berlin. Undine is a guide in a city institution and is in love with a guy who can’t ever leave her without dying. It rambles on and on underwater and on land but goes nowhere worth watching. It got an undeserving 89RT. You choose but I’ll bet you won’t stay with it all the way though.

THE LAST THING HE WANTED. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Ben Affleck has a small part in this boring saga. Anne Hathaway and Willem Dafoe help carry the plot which comes from Joan Didion’s novel. Anne is a secret reporter working in Costa Rica in 1984 trying to get the goods on a big time power figure. Loose script, and obvious ending. Avoid it. 

SHE. (NETFLIX SERIES). A beautiful and unhappily married Hindi woman in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is a part time police employee. She’s pressured to pose as a prostitute to trap a big time drug king. Her sister is a college student and her husband is a drunk. She gets into much trouble and then begins to realize that she’s very human and capable of falling in love. It’s twisted and complex and develops slowly over the episodes but watch it anyway. 

TO THE LAKE. (NETFLIX SERIES). It has a rare 100RT rating!!! A terrible and almost familiar pandemic hits Moscow. The city is blocked off and victims have eyes that are white! We follow a very split family that goes through many relationship issues as well as trying to escape the white eyed victims. There’s an autistic son, an extra cute daughter all running and avoiding their enemies. They end up in a refuge ship!! You’ll think constantly about the Covid scene we are living in. Go for it.

I’M YOUR WOMAN (AMAZON PRIME SERIES). A double dealing husband brings home a new baby and then he disappears. The wife then has to go on the run with some thug to hide from husband’s would be killers. The plot thickens and thins and twists beyond belief. Not a great series and I lost track after about three episodes. (81RT)

TREEHOUSE (HULU SINGLE). Remember that you have to watch or skip ads on HULU.
A hugely successful chef/restaurateur is also a womanizer. One of his “dates” committed suicide and her sister and women friends give him drugs and they become witches. They do almost drive him permanently insane. It’ll remind you of the Windsor Mayor Foppoli and his Winery and all the sexual charges against him. And it’s very poorly acted too.

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June 14

NORTH TO ALASKA
The old saying that you can take the person out of politics but you can’t take politics out of the person came to mind on my recent trip to Alaska’s Inside Passage. Delighted to escape at least for a while the endless local political battles, the mountains of environmental documents, the tedious city council zoom meetings, I looked forward to 7 days of internet-free adventures on a small boat with 45 passengers and crew exploring fiords, seeing glaciers while they last, surrounded by nothing except nature at its most wild and spectacular. I was not disappointed. 

With mandatory full Covid vaccinations and a negative test 3 days prior to sailing for all passengers and crew, we were a Covid free bubble and soon enjoyed the simple pleasures of maskless conversation and close encounters of the human kind.


Leaving Margerie Glacier, Inside Passage, Alaska

The trip started and ended in Juneau, the capital of Alaska although you would not expect that given its population of 32,000, about the size of Santa Cruz when I arrived here in 1975.  

The first indication of a political battle in progress was signs in shop windows exclaiming “Don’t Sign the Petition! Curious about what people were being exhorted to not sign it did not take long to discover that a group of locals was circulating a petition to limit the size, capacity and time in port of cruise ships in Juneau. The group, named Cruise Control had a few days left out of a 30-day time limit to gather 3,000 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot in this Charter city. I already felt at home. 

I was mindful at every turn of how blessed I was to have had this trip postponed from last year due to Covid. This year, for the first time ever and probably never again, it was possible to explore Juneau and experience the Inside Passage with a complete absence of large cruise ships and all that they entail. The wharf that runs the length of the Juneau waterfront was un-crowded. The shops that were open had few customers. Many restaurants were closed. The hikers on the trails into the mountains were locals. At sea we saw no other boats except one small fishing boat since it was too early for salmon season. I could only imagine the difference that over a million additional visitors in massive cruise ships would make. 

An argument can be made that it is selfish to want fewer people just as it’s a bit bizarre to complain about “all this traffic!” when one is also in a car. However, numbers matter. One cruise ship can unload two thousand passengers whereas the boat I was on unloaded forty-five. A UCSC of ten thousand students, or even the current nineteen thousand, has a different impact than the University’s projected growth to twenty eight thousand students. Size matters. I felt less sympathetic towards the Juneau local shopkeepers for their lack of buying customers when I learned that the ones closed are owned by the Cruise Lines.

The Juneau petition failed to gather the necessary signatures by the due date. The tourist industry and the Cruise Lines breathed a sigh of relief. Most locals who engaged with me on the topic sided with the tourist industry. They bought the line that the economy depended on big cruise ships. When I pushed a bit and said that it’s a question of balance…that maybe a few less would still maintain a healthy economy while not losing the charm of Juneau they granted that point. Juneau’s economy is still fairly diversified with a robust fishing processing industry and as the capital, a robust (one might claim bloated) employment in civil service. 

Having experienced Juneau and the Inside Passage with no cruise ships, plus the beauty of the snow covered mountains after a record winter snowfall I probably would not make a return visit after the cruise ships return. 

As I sat in Santa Cruz’s beach-bound traffic on Saturday with all roads jammed with visitors I wondered how much more the tourist industry, the Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Economic Development Department can cram into this small town before the law of diminishing returns comes into play. Certainly the impact on locals is of no concern to them. While not at all begrudging the hard-working folks from over the hill wanting to come to the beach, I note it’s the affluent tourists that are being courted and the working class discouraged. Turn the Wharf into an eco-tourist destination; end support for Woodies on the Wharf; bulldoze the funky old familiar restaurants and shops; upgrade with mixed-use high-rise developments along the river selling craft beers and high-end edibles. How long before cruise ships shatter the unbroken line of the blue horizon? 

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 14

IF YOU WANT A FRIEND IN WASHINGTON, GET A DOG.

Dog-Day Afternoon

My dog, Jester, was part-Dachshund, part-Chihuahua, and part Chocolate Lab, but we settled on calling him a San Francisco Retriever shortly after retrieving him as a stray from an animal shelter in the Mission.  On a warm, windy, clear-blue Sunday morning this week he left us. It was at the beginning of his nineteenth year, quite a run for such a carefree spirit and small dog who enjoyed impersonating a much larger one. Jester was quite a prize for two young girls, one about the same size as he when we got him. They adored the SF Retriever, perhaps too much sometimes, running their hands over and over his brow and banging their heads against his snout. At times, it seemed tormenting, but Jester seemed to like it all, his tail wagging constantly like a propeller starting up on one of those WWI planes. Is he about to take off I wondered? Through holiday parties dressed up as Santa, to the Halloween pumpkin costumes and being pushed along Pacific Avenue in our old stroller, he was quite the sight. Jester also attended neighborhood meetings, a few city council meetings, and was even allowed into closed session one time when he was sick and couldn’t stay home. Oh, the state secrets contained in that canine’s head when it touched down Sunday for the final time atop his favorite blanket! He simply refused to eat or drink anything in the closing days of his demise. Should we take him to the animal hospital? He whimpered only once or twice, but showed no outward signs of physical pain, while his last functioning eye still blinked his own brand of dog love. He knew what that was, and I and the rest of the family knew too. While it was difficult to watch, it was the right place for Rachel and me to be, next to Jester. It had been a good run, but passing his empty bed these last couple of days, and him not there, well, that’s been tough. Longing, through habit, now gives way to loneliness. He was a member of the family, a friendly face when the world had turned sour, a Covid-less being you could cuddle with when fears of the disease were too overwhelming. He listened well, and on occasion barked back advice, and if I understood his bark I blinked my eyes and he would blink back reflecting that sense of, ‘okay, he finally gets it,’ without rolling his eyes as some fellow humans might do. We buried Jester under our pomegranate tree wrapped in a white sheet and lying in a US postal box. Rachel remarked that we were mailing him off to a better place.

Real Marvel Heroes to the Rescue:

Campaign for Sustainable Transportation (CFST), Downtown Commons Advocates (DCA), Don’t Bury the Library (DBTL)

These groups are formidable, in and of themselves, but when joining forces, they can cause the powers that be–the city manager, public works director, planning director, and economic development director–to lose a bit of sleep. Those combined municipal forces have begun a search and destroy mission like few I have seen before in this town. It’s an unrelenting, take-no-prisoners approach in the world of bureaucratic-political Jiu jitsu. The vision these three community groups have laid before the community appears to be three-fold. DBTL‘s simply demands that Measure S funds approved by Santa Cruz voters to remodel the existing downtown library that has been at the Church and Locust site for more than one hundred years be used for that purpose. The remodel could open up its front door to city hall across the street and form anchors on a great small-town civic plaza, both would in-turn be shouldered by the civic auditorium and the stately columns of the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church. CFST is opposed, as I believe most Santa Cruzans are, to any more last century cement garages, and the group is advocating for at least 150 units of affordable housing on Lot 7, behind Chianti’s restaurant on Front Street. Finally, DCA has a grand vision of a downtown park–preserve the heritage trees and create a permanent home for the Farmer’s market. Altogether, it is quite a grand vision that these three groups, along with the Sierra Club and SC Climate Action Network have been fighting pitched political battles with city staff requesting a more transparent process that allows the community to be first in the planning process. The struggle to preserve history, protect heritage trees, and save our Farmer’s Market’s current location continues.

Empire Strikes Back
On June 8th, Elizabeth Smith, Communications Manager for the city of Santa Cruz issued a press release: “City Selects Affordable Housing Partner for Library Mixed Use Project and Double Units to Up to 107.” This big, bad opposition has had an effect. The city keeps upping he number of affordable units, which means they are finally getting the point, but it’s where they want to build them that’s the problem. Another, huge bright spot in this press release is that there is no mention of the 5-story garage. It would appear the city has heeded the climate change community’s admonitions as well as the goals of their own Climate Action Plan, and they are abandoning the idea of building a garage on Lot 4. Or are they? Is it another PR move to placate some, while deemphasizing the housing for automobiles? Mayor Donna Meyers, fake housing advocate Tim Willoughby who touts market rate under guise of affordable, and non-profit Eden Housing are all prominently featured in the city’s press release. No comments from public works or economic development were included as they have been most identified with the calamitous garage project. Could some city staff finally be getting it and are moving away from cars and towards designing projects for the people who live here now? Stay tuned.

No More Garages: The Initiative Process
Let’s ask the voters what they think. Pretty soon, a ballot initiative may be gathering signatures for a Nov. 2022 ballot measure that advocates for what many Santa Cruzans favor: saving the current location of the Downtown Farmer’s Market; keeping the library in its existing space along Center and Church streets; not building any new multi-level parking garages; and finally, ask voters to approve using any excess parking revenue funds to assist in the development of affordable housing. Now that’s a tall order, but this town has gone BIG before. We defeated a costly desalination proposal; approved acquisition of greenbelt lands including the Pogonip and the Moore Creek Uplands; and voted to tax ourselves to support public schools more than once. Vote yes on the Green Initiative and sign the petition!

“We have an obligation to do the most we can for working people, civil rights, and the planet with the power people have entrusted to us. We should lower the age for Medicare, roll back voter suppression, and create millions of jobs w/ infrastructure that combats climate change.” (June 13)


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

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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June 14

COUNTY PARKS …ANY MONEY IS GOOD MONEY, EVEN IF IT MAKES NO SENSE AND VIOLATES COUNTY CODE PROTECTING COASTAL PRAIRIE HABITAT?
Sadly, the County Parks Commission was not allowed to vote on the proposed Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) off-site mitigation tree planting at the Anna Jean Cummings Park that would convert precious Coastal Prairie habitat (protected by County Code) into a riparian area that will require irrigation.  The item was before the Parks Commissioners at the request of Supervisor Manu Koenig, but Parks Director Gaffney made it an informational item, not an action item.  When Commissioners and the public expressed concern and frustration that the deal had all been made without their knowledge, Mr. Gaffney explained that former Supervisor John Leopold and his Parks Commissioner Mariah Roberts had known about it all along. 

Ms. Roberts, now leading the Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks, spoke that any money for parks is good money and was grateful for the $40,000 annual payments that the RTC will make for five years to the Parks Dept. as part of the Highway 1 mitigation of widening in the Arana Rodeo Gulch riparian area.  

Contact Supervisor Manu Koenig with your thoughts.  manu.koenig@santacruzcounty.us,  831-454-2200

PUBLIC COMMENT NOW OPEN FOR NEW LARGE KAISER MEDICAL COMPLEX AND FOUR STORY PARKING GARAGE IN LIVE OAK
How will a four-story medical facility that will be open 8am-8pm but with certain services offered during longer hours affect the traffic on the Soquel Avenue Frontage Road, which is already heavily congested during commute hours with Live Oak residents and businesses trying to avoid 41st Avenue snarls?  

Take a look at the Draft EIR, now available for public comment until August 9, and weigh in with your thoughts.

CEQA Documents Open for Public Review

Start with the Executive Summary, which lists Impacts and Mitigations; (my comments are bolded)

Page ES-18 and ES-19: 
Impact GEO-7. The project site overlies Pleistocene-era marine terrace deposits, a geologic unit with high paleontological sensitivity. Ground disturbance has the potential to disturb intact fossils. This impact would be less than significant with implementation of mitigation to identify and preserve potential fossil resources.  

Paleontological Monitoring. All grading and excavation that would involve disturbance below the existing grade, in areas where native soils would be encountered, shall be monitored on a full-time basis by a qualified paleontological monitor. Should no fossils be observed during the first 50 percent of such excavations, paleontological monitoring could be reduced to weekly spot-checking under the discretion of the qualified paleontologist. Monitoring shall be conducted by a qualified paleontological monitor, who is defined as an individual who has experience with collection and salvage of paleontological resources.

This is good news, if the paleontological monitor pays attention, rather than staring at a cell phone all the time at a distance…think Aptos Village Project and Swenson’s mess.

PAGE ES-20:
Impact GHG-1. The project would not generate new, ongoing sources of GHG emissions that would have a direct or indirect significant impact on the environment. This impact would be less than significant.  Not mitigation required.

What??? How can installing a four-story 700+ parking garage not be anticipating any increase to Greenhouse Gas Emission???  Wouldn’t adding in local bus service to the new medical facility be a good idea, and a reasonable mitigation??? Dig into the EIR further at page 341 to see the bad news that does not appear to get any better with mitigations.

Page ES-20:  
Impact HAZ-2. Construction and operations on the project site could cause exposure to existing contamination on site. Impacts would be less than significant with mitigation incorporate

HAZ-2 Mitigations: 
HAZ-2c Site Remediation. Prior to construction of the project, additional hazardous material site evaluations shall be implemented, per the recommendations included in the Phase II ESA dated October 25, 2018, by Terracon, following removal of existing barriers to full site access: Conduct further evaluation of the location and conditions of the suspected drain and sump. Access the interior portions of the site with hand sampling / limited access equipment to facilitate soil sampling of TPH, VOC, and lead within the site tenant operation areas. Conduct additional surface soil sampling in the vicinity of boring SV10 and inaccessible portions of the site, including tenants who perform landscaping operations, to evaluate the presence or absence of organochlorine pesticides. Evaluate groundwater for the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons and solvents. Advance a minimum of two deep soil borings using hollow-stem auger drilling equipment to a depth of 75 feet below ground surface. Investigate soil vapor in the interior of the tenant operation areas. 

I am glad Kaiser is paying attention.  Soquel Creek Water District Board member Lather raised this concern about PureWater Soquel Project’s wastewater treatment facility that will be a couple of blocks away from the medical facility…she was ignored, and the EIR lacked any attention to it.

Page ES-22:
Impact HAZ-3. The project site is located within one-quarter mile of an existing school, and demolition of existing uses could emit airborne asbestos or lead. Impacts would be less than significant with incorporation of mitigation.  

Implementation of mitigation measure HAZ-2a, below, is required. 

HAZ-2a Asbestos and Lead. Pursuant to Cal/OSHA regulations, each structure constructed before 1978 within the project site shall inspected by a qualified environmental specialist for the presence of ACMs and LBPs prior to obtaining a demolition permit from the County of Santa Cruz Planning Department.

I am glad Kaiser cares about following the law regarding notification of nearby schools…Soquel Creek Water District’s PureWater Soquel Project a couple of blocks away arrogantly did not notify any such school, and will have multiple large storage tanks of hazardous chemicals on site.

Page ES-23:
Impact HWQ-1. Project operation could result in polluted runoff and contamination of downstream waterbodies and thus violate water quality standards or waste discharge requirements. Impacts would be less than significant with mitigation. 

HWQ-1 Operations and Maintenance Agreement. Prior to completion and issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the proposed project, an Operational and Maintenance Agreement with the County of Santa Cruz shall be prepared. This agreement shall be recorded against the property with the County Recorder’s Office and shall be binding on all subsequent owners of the property. This Maintenance Agreement shall remain in place for the life of the project. The maintenance agreement shall set forth a schedule of maintenance tasks, to be performed by the medical building maintenance staff, which are required for safe and efficient function of the on-site stormwater treatment and detention facilities. It shall also specify procedures for yearly inspections and record keeping of inspections, maintenance and repairs performed. Operation and Maintenance Agreement shall conform to all the requirements outlined in the County of Santa Cruz Design Criteria.

Page ES-24:
Impact LU-2. Based on the current project, if approved by the County the proposed project would be substantially consistent with applicable land use policies of the County of Santa Cruz 1994 General Plan, and would not conflict with land use policies that are in effect to avoid or mitigate environmental effects on environment and natural resources. Therefore, impacts would be less than significant.

Really?  What about the impact of erasing a previous Affordable Housing Overlay District on the site that was supposed to provide 102 affordable residential units?  Where will those be built now?  Shouldn’t that be discussed in Mitigations??

Page ES-29:
Impact UTIL-4. The proposed project would not generate solid waste in excess of State or local standards, or in excess of the capacity of local infrastructure, including the Buena Vista Landfill. The proposed project would not impair the attainment of solid waste reduction goals and would comply with Federal, State, and local statutes and regulations related to solid waste. Impacts would be less than significant.  No mitigation required.

Really??? What about all the medical waste???

Page ES-29:
Cumulative Impacts. Collectively, reasonably foreseeable future development and growth in the water service area would generate demand that exceeds supply such that the City would need to develop new or additional water supplies. The development and timing of new or additional water supplies are unknown at this time. Development of water supplies could result in significant environmental impacts. Accordingly, the cumulative impact would be potentially significant and unavoidable. The proposed project would contribute to total water demand, and thus potential water shortages in the future alongside other development and growth in the service area. Therefore, the proposed project would contribute to the significant and unavoidable cumulative impact.

No mitigation is available or feasible to implement.  Impact is significant and unavoidable.

Really?? What about double-plumbing to recycle water internally, or rainwater catchment for landscaping?

NOW ABOUT THOSE TRAFFIC PROBLEMS???

Take a look at the study in Section 4.14, and begin on page 4.14.24 of the document (page 341):

No study intersections would degrade from acceptable LOS to unacceptable LOS under the Existing Plus Project conditions. 

However, as shown in Table 4.14-6, the following intersections would continue to operate at an unacceptable LOS based on applicable standards under Existing Plus Project conditions:

  • Soquel Drive & Paul Sweet Road/Highway 1 On-Off Ramps (AM & PM Peaks) 
  • Soquel Avenue/40th Avenue & Gross Road (PM Peak) 
  • 41st Avenue & Gross Road (AM & PM Peaks) 
  • Brommer Street & 30th Avenue (PM Peak)

As previously noted, the Existing Plus Project conditions presented in Table 4.14-6 do not account for proposed roadway and intersection modifications. The conditions in Table 4.14-6 also do not account for other future planned roadway improvements and modifications that are separate and not associated with the proposed project. 

As described in Section 2.5.7, Roadway and Road Frontage Improvements, the proposed project includes installing a diagonal diverter at the intersection of Soquel Avenue/40th Avenue & Gross Road. The diverter would extend from the northwest corner of the intersection to the southeast corner. The diverter would be designed to prevent cut-through traffic on Gross Road through the residential neighborhood to the east along Gross Road. The diverter would also eliminate the congestion caused by the four-way stop currently in place at the intersection. With the diverter, all movements at the intersection would be uncontrolled; therefore, no delay would be attributed to this intersection. 

According to the Transportation Impact and Operational Analysis, with the proposed intersection improvement, traffic deficiencies at the intersection resulting from the proposed project trips would be eliminated.  (Really?? You can make anything work on paper, right?)

Additionally, according to the Transportation Impact and Operational Analysis, with the proposed intersection improvement, the travel time from Soquel Drive and Rodeo Gulch Road to the southbound Highway 1 on-ramp would decrease by approximately 44 percent. (Huh?? That intersection is on the other side of Highway 1 and would seemingly not apply to the Kaiser Medical traffic.)

As described in Section 2.5.7, Roadway and Road Frontage Improvements, the proposed project includes installing overhead signs and roadway markings at the intersection of 41st Avenue & Gross Road. The signs and markings would improve lane selection and use on the eastbound approach of Gross Road. The lane selection would be for southbound Highway 1 and northbound Highway 1 movements. A physical barrier would be installed between the limit line, which is the white line that appears across the street before an intersection or crosswalk, and the divergence of the Highway 1 southbound on-ramp on 41st Avenue to prevent vehicles from jumping the queue for southbound on-ramp traffic. 

In addition, the City of Capitola received a grant to install an adaptive signal system along 41st Avenue and this intersection is included in its implementation plan. The adaptive signal system would provide better coordination of traffic flow along the corridor because it measures real time vehicular demand and proportions/adjusts signal timing. (But what will the developer do to mitigate those 700+ cars and supply trucks associated with this massive development?)

Read this important EIR and submit your comments and concerns

PUBLIC MEETING JUNE 23 RE: NEW COUNTY SEPTIC SYSTEM PLANS AND EXPENSIVE NEW REQUIREMENTS 
The second draft of the Santa Cruz County Local Area Management Plan (LAMP) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems is available for public comment. This matters tremendously to rural dwellers on septic systems, especially those rebuilding in the CZU Fire area.  Nearly all new building would require alternative mound systems costing $50,000 – $85,000 and annual County inspections and large fees.

A virtual public meeting will be held Wednesday, June 23, 5:30 – 7:00 pm. This meeting will be conducted as a video conference with a call-in option. A link and call-in information will be posted on this web site

Comments are due on July 11, 2021. 


CRANE ACCIDENT AT SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT’S PUREWATER SOQUEL PROJECT SITE CLOSED THE ROAD BUT WENT UNREPORTED
Last Friday, June 11, Soquel Creek Water District’s construction contractor building a new sewage lift station on Soquel Avenue Frontage Road tipped a crane over and blocked the road.  I was shocked to learn that neither the construction crew nor the Water District reported the accident, failing to address a fuel spill at the site or to provide traffic control for those who had to detour at the closure points of 17th Avenue and also Chanticleer Avenue.  Take a look at the attached photos.  

How can the public trust that Soquel Creek Water District will be transparent and accountable about other problems that arise as this three-year Modified PureWater Soquel Project progresses?  The District itself is in charge of making sure that the mitigations are met, monitored and enforced.  What could go wrong?  

The problem is that none of the mitigations regard the actual operation of the disgusting project that will cause multiple large tanks of hazardous chemicals to be transported, stored and used near three schools (but the District  failed to notify them), and will send effluent containing toxic chloramine that would likely kill all aquatic life if it leaks into the San Lorenzo River and multiple other stream crossings between the four-mile pressurized pipe journey to the Chanticleer wastewater treatment plant.

How can anyone trust Soquel Creek Water District or their contractors to do the right thing?

Contact the Board with your thoughts: <bod@soquelcreekwater.org> and copy Emma Olin <emmao@soquelcreekwater.org>

No traffic control here…

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

AND QUICKLY…..

What will these local Mayors discuss???  Will it be Woke?

Four Mayors Joint Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, June 17, 2021 – 6:00pm

(link is external)

Join Capitola’s Mayor Brooks, along with Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers, Watsonville Mayor Jimmy Dutra, and Scotts Valley Mayor Derek Timm for a virtual town hall meeting and regional community update! We are pleased to announce that this event is hosted by Thomas Sage Pedersen of the Speak for Change (link is external) podcast. 

Watch on FaceBook Live *you do not need a Facebook account for this option*

To Join Zoom: 

follow this link.
Meeting ID: 837 3683 5797
Passcode: 846437
-OR-
Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 837 3683 5797
Passcode: 846437

MAKE ONE CALL. WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING AND ASK QUESTIONS (NO, IT’S NOT COMPLAINING…IT’S HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE).

MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE BY JUST DOING SOMETHING.

Cheers, Becky

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

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June 13

#164 / Legacy: Help Wanted! 

Recently, I visited an old college friend who now lives, during the winter months, in Sonoita, Arizona. During the rest of the year my friend lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where his children are located. Given the connections that Duluth has to Bob Dylan, I think I’ll have to make a visit up there, too, but I went down to Arizona for a few days, at the end of May, just to keep my friend company during the last part of his Winter sojourn this year.

Vegetation is sparse in Sonoita (and so is water, even more so than in California in this year of our mega-drought). In Sonoita, the winds blow, ferociously, for extended periods, and the total population is something like 800 people. Most of those who live in Sonoita are ranchers of one sort or another, or work in the few restaurants, motels, and retail stores – or are Border Patrol agents. Attending a woman’s barrel-racing event was the major entertainment on tap. Dinner was pizza at the “Velvet Elvis” restaurant in nearby Patagonia. Our main expedition was a visit to the “Trump Wall” in Nogales, which is right on the Mexican border, and which is the county seat of Santa Cruz County, Arizona. The picture below shows what that “Trump Wall” looks like. I will make no personal comment on what our former president said was “that beautiful wall.” Like Fox News puts it: you decide:

There are not too many people in Sonoita who want to discuss the “Great Decisions” questions or other such topics. My friend was pretty much starved for good discussion, and he produced an agenda of suggested discussion topics for my visit that contained thirty-three listings. One of these was “legacy.”

As I indicated at the outset, my friend is an “old” friend – and that is in both senses of the word. At this stage in our lives we are both “old,” chronologically, and my friend is thinking about the implications of that. He’s not trying to “duck” the issue, and neither am I. “Legacy” means what will we leave behind us, when we’re gone. Children and grandchildren figure significantly into the picture, of course, but so do questions about who will remember us, and for what reasons. My friend has had a notable career, and remains very active in work with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and with the Quaker Universalist Fellowship – and with Voices From The Border. What about my legacy, he asked. 

Well, I said, I am hoping to be remembered for my time on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors (twenty years, from 1975 to 1995), during which time I think Santa Cruz County exemplified what is possible when locally-based democratic self-government is alive and active. I donated 120 file boxes of my supervisorial records to the University of California, Santa Cruz Library, and an index to these records is available, online, under the following title: “The Gary Patton Political Papers.” I have a few other “legacy” type offerings available online, too, listed in the lefthand column of this blog. I told my friend that my hope was that someone, sometime, would write up a history of the politics of Santa Cruz County, from 1970 to the end of the 20th Century, because what happened in our community was truly extraordinary. 

At this point, my friend suggested that I should actively seek out someone to do exactly that. I said I thought I really couldn’t pay for that work! He suggested (being a great volunteer himself) that I should look for a volunteer. 

Well, that is an idea, and while I have no great expectations, why not? Getting a qualified person to volunteer to do that history is a long-shot idea that could work out – given that anything is possible, as I am fond of saying. 

Readers should consider this blog posting as a “help wanted” bulletin. Anyone who wants to do a great graduate thesis, ultimately publishable, I am sure, or who would otherwise like to write up the history of this extraordinary period in our local history, with lots of lessons applicable elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. There is an important story to be told, I am certain of that. 

As an alternative, I suggest subscribing to this blog. In a way, I am trying to do that “legacy” thing on my own account, right here!

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

    Oceans

Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
~Gandhi 

Advice from the Ocean:
Be shore of yourself.
Come out of your shell.
Take time to relax and coast.
Avoid pier pressure.
Sea life’s beauty.
Don’t get tide down.
Make waves!

~Author Unknown 

The sea is a desert of waves, A wilderness of water.  
~Langston Hughes

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I MEANT TO DO THAT!!! 😀 This one is my favorite, so many awesome saves in one little video!


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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