Blog Archives

June 24 – 30, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Tear down the Statue of Liberty, Mt Rushmore, change Washington, thank Stephen Kessler, LONDON Nelson and Juneteenth 2021. GREENSITE…with more on trees. KROHN…Black Lives matter, Drew Glover Perspective, Berkeley in the 70’s. STEINBRUNER…908 Ocean Street development, Soquel Creek’s consultants, Pred Pol, Coonerty and Z.Friend, County Budget, Aptos Village traffic issues, Grand Jury report. PATTON…The New Deal. EAGAN…Deep Cover and Subconscious Comix. QUOTES…”Statues”.


WALT DISNEY AT THE BOARDWALK. This is one of my favorite historical photos. Taken in 1962 it shows Uncle Walt sucking on a cigarette as the Boardwalk staff show him the Rail Car ride. Friends who worked with and for Disney tell me that Walt also swore a lot, and was not a friendly fellow to be around.
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


PAUL WINCHELL & JERRY MAHONEY. Old time ventriloquists.


TEAR DOWN THE STATUE OF LIBERTY & MOUNT RUSHMORE ! The Statue of Liberty was a joint effort between the United States and France. The sculptor was French. As we all know (or can find out by checking Wikipedia), France was a major slave-holding country. Wikipedia says: “The exact number of Africans, free or enslaved, in eighteenth century France is not known, but the highest rough estimates suggest that there were between 4,000 to 5,000 entering and leaving the country throughout the century.” If you know our history, you’ll remember that Mount Rushmore was sculpted on land taken from the Dakota Sioux after a very long legal battle. So let’s take down Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham L. Couldn’t we just re-write the statue plaques to tell their slave-related roles? Does it honestly change our history if we continue hiding these former heroes? While we’re at it, wouldn’t it be appropriate and very timely today to change the city and State name and everything else named WASHINGTON? He owned slaves, as we all know!!!

KESSLER AND MATHEWS. We should all be very grateful to Stephen Kessler for writing his revealing, true, proven, terrible history of Cynthia Mathews’ backroom deal career in our Santa Cruz City Council. Thanks as well to The Santa Cruz Sentinel for printing it.. If you have any doubts at all about Mathew’s shady council work, ask a present or former city council member.

JUNETEENTH AND LONDON NELSON. How many times in and around our “enlightened” city or county did you hear the name of our most noted early Black “hero” London Nelson? Some few residents might and should recall that London Nelson was one of three slaves owned by the Nelson family. We’ll never know their African slave names, but Nelson named his two fellow slaves Marlborough and Cambridge Nelson. London Nelson was a favorite among the local school children, and he left his entire life savings to them. Somebody read his name incorrectly and made the “n” into an “u” and it’ became nearly permanent. You can check out all of this by simply Googling “London Nelson Santa Cruz”. Mobile Ranger’s site says, “all records prior to 1930 refer to him as London Nelson”. 

One of the best sources of the full story is Good Times in 2013. Check it out for yourself. How about a big and deserved Juneteenth Celebration next year, when our City Council could vote to correct London’s name mistake on the LONDON Nelson Community Center and anywhere else? 

BUSHWHACKERS BREAKFAST CLUB. Every Friday morning on KZSC (88.1 fm or live online at from 8:10am-8:20am or thereabouts, I present my “B Movie Bratton” segment of short critiques (not reviews) of what’s on our screens. Dangerous Dan Orange hosts the rest of the Bushwhackers B. Club. Lately of course those screens are on anything but theatre screens. Tune in this Friday and learn about HBO’s new series Perry Mason. and soon to be classics like The Lighthouse, Silence of The Lambs, District 9, and various attempts at cinema history.

June 22

First the good news: The memorial tree for William Reed at Branciforte Middle School will be allowed to keep on living. The SCC School Board had a change of heart. Thanks to any and all who wrote in support of the effort.

Now the bad news:  The tall beautiful tree at the site of the proposed Dream Inn mega-project is dying. It is the closest tree in the photo. I have written about this tree before. I appealed its removal (for a driveway) and two other proposed big tree removals to the CA Coastal Commission. I am one of many appellants. (Appeals not yet heard, possibly July). Others appealed the height and towering impact of the project on the next-door low-income mobile home park residents. The project will create a wind tunnel, pedestrian nightmare and block this last glimpse of the mountains from the sea along West Cliff Drive. 

I took the photo October 2019. Within the last month the tree has rapidly declined in health with its needles suddenly turning brown. The city arborist gives it no chance for survival. I admit to an initial suspicion of foul play: tree to be removed; on appeal; sudden decline. However on reading the consulting arborist’s report for this tree, suspicion turned to outrage.

This project will remove all but five of the fifty -five trees on the property, which is a parking lot and was, before its demolition, the Sisters Hospital. The consulting arborist for the project assessed all the trees and gave a profile for each. For this Canary Island pine he determined its structure as good and its health as fair. He noted the presence of red turpentine beetles, which attack conifers that are suffering from drought stress, here due to lack of mulch, lack of watering and the sandy soil around the tree swept bare. He added: “the damage can typically be stopped by irrigating the tree.” With the warning that: “I predict this tree will be dead in a year if no irrigation is provided or if the irrigation is insufficient.”  May 8th 2018.  

Two years ago the property owner/developer and the city Planning Department were made aware that this tree needed water to survive the beetle infestation or it would die. They did nothing. After all, why bother? We’ll be getting rid of it anyway. Get rid of that pesky appeal over the tree as well. As of writing and under pressure to do something, the Dream Inn manager is installing a drip line and mulch for the tree.  Most likely two years too late. It will be with a heavy heart that if I pass by this spot for the 45th year there will be a gap where a tall tree once grew save human indifference, greed and neglect.

Then foul play: November 2019 I wrote the Capitola City Council regarding the Capitola Town Square Conceptual Review, which was on their agenda for discussion. This project would demolish Capitola Mall into housing plus limited retail. I wrote regarding the trees. I’ve long admired the white gums dotted over the Mall’s parking lots. Someone had good taste! They are lovely trees and although some are badly pruned they still are good-looking trees giving us oxygen, shade and storing carbon dioxide. I asked that the trees not be cut down but relocated within the new footprint, a big expense that a big developer can afford. I attached a photo (included here) taken a few years prior on a trip to the Mall and Sears when I stopped to enjoy the tree. I included it in my email as an example of the trees in question. Imagine my surprise a week or so after the meeting when I happened to pass by the Mall on Capitola Road and saw or rather didn’t see the tree. The bastards had cut it down. 

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


June 22 

Drew Glover was a spirited and spirit-filled Santa Cruzan whose recall from office should not have happened. He was elected with a plurality of votes in 2018, 10,972. But he needed a majority of votes in this past March 3rd recall election. Even though Glover received more votes in the recall–11,796–he was still cast out of office. So, let’s see if I have this right, Glover received more votes and a significantly higher percentage of total votes in 2020 than in 2018. In over two years in office Drew actually grew his voter base by over 800! That is a positive testament to his time in office given that his politics are about inclusivity and representing the underrepresented–students, renters, houseless–and that is not necessarily shared in all quarters of Surf City.

His Name is Drew Glover, Presente!
Glover grew up in Santa Cruz. He graduated from Harbor High and was president of his senior class. He studied feminist studies at Cabrillo College and was a member of the United Nations Association board. His Mom was a UCSC graduate and until her untimely death in 2016 was probably his closest friend. He worked alongside a plethora of UCSC students too. In only two years and 5 months on the city council Glover was able to bring in over two dozen interns and expose them to the process of local policy making. One of Drew’s passions was police reform. When he was finally appointed to the city council’s Public Safety Committee earlier this year he brought with him a relentless agenda. At the time of his ouster from office he was pushing for a Surveillance ordinance that would protect locals from overzealous police spying; he was organizing with others to put into place a Human Rights Commission; and Glover fought mightily for a managed camp ground, which now has been put in place by the city and county as a result of the tragedy of Covid-19. But Glover had a plan to create a real “managed” campground, one that drew from the experiences and wisdom of houseless people, past and present. He was also instrumental in advocating for the city’s CACH, the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness. The CACH has now been thrown onto the ash heap of the work of two past other homeless committees. Great work, but no thanks say callus city administrators. The current CACH made sound and timely endorsements of sensible programs only to be undermined by the now Czar-like authority of city manager, Martin Bernal, who unceremoniously dissolved it this past month. In addition, Glover was a yes vote on the city’s purchase of a homeless navigation center on Coral Street, but alas this too has been undermined by anti-houseless and anti-Glover forces. The deal was called off last week. The city will NOT be buying the Seaborg property after eight months of intense negotiation. It is clear, for the price of half a luxury condominium moneyed interests were able to drive a Santa Cruz true homie from office. 

SAVE TREES AND THE FARMER’S MARKET! Here is just one of at least eleven heritage trees that will likely be cut down to make way for parking garage. We cannot let this happen. My 19-year old daughter is in the tree and has been climbing it since she was 8.

What Has Santa Cruz Lost?
Over two-hundred thousand dollars was spent to tar, feather, smite, defame and dislodge a true fighter for social justice and friend of the working class too. His absence has not gone unnoticed over these past months. In recent weeks, there has been a fervent effort to turn back what the previous progressive council was doing, after all, Glover was the fourth vote and developers, real estate interests, and a few racists wanted him out of office. The library-in-a-garage project, a Glover NO vote, is on the cusp of becoming a reality despite the overwhelming lack of community support. This is a project Glover was vocal about because approving it will likely ax at least 11 heritage trees and displace the community’s beloved Farmer’s Market. A wall of market-rate condos is also poised to be built along Front Street. Its six to seven stories will tower over the San Lorenzo River ecosystem from Soquel Avenue to Laurel Street. There will be scant, if any; affordable units built in these intensely profit-driven developments. Glover was an obstacle for developers in their path to making Silicon Beach a reality. He wanted housing for Santa Cruzans who lived here now, not second home buyers from over the hill. He understood this. In addition, he was an environmentalist who spent several years on a project acknowledging the importance of bees, their demise, and how we could bring them back. His Project Pollinate worked with young people to study the importance of bees on our eco-system. Another reason he opposed the towering 6-story parking garage on Cedar Street was the detrimental effects it will bring to our city while sending the wrong message to young people that a car-centric town is somehow okay.If Drew was still on the council he would also be supporting, and likely help lead, many of the Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place over the last two weeks in Santa Cruz. He was an African-American voice on the city council for the underrepresented. 

History Lesson from Berkeley in the 1970’s
Clearly, we have lost an important civic champion in Drew Glover. He, along with the current mayor, were the very first two Black men ever elected to the Santa Cruz city council. The following article was penned by Judge D’Army Bailey. He was only the second African-American ever elected to the Berkeley city council. Bailey was also recalled after a couple years in office by similar forces that came after Drew Glover. I bring this to your attention because so much in this life repeats itself. Rodney King in 1992 and George Floyd in 2020. D’Army Bailey in 1973 and Drew Glover in 2020. This community has much to learn.

Tuesday September 23, 2003

Reprinted from the Berkeley Daily Planet

Californians appear condemned to repeat history because they refuse to learn from it. I shake my head as the Berkeley recall of 30 years ago repeats itself on a statewide level.  

I became the only person ever recalled from the City Council in Berkeley, and one of the few—if not only—black ever recalled in California history on Aug. 21, 1973. No one learned from the Berkeley experience that recalls start with those who lost the election and always play on the fears of a nervous populace. Moreover, recalls allow 25 percent or less of the voters in the last election to force an elected official to get a majority of the votes in his/her defense. This means that even though as many as 49 percent of those voting may favor the targeted officeholder, without a majority he or she loses-—and the minority which started the fight wins. The Berkeley recall began with the partnership of the liberal left and the Berkeley Black Caucus. A native of Memphis, I had finished my law degree at Yale University, moved to California to work for Legal Services and joined the Caucus. Flush with success of electing black Congressman Ron Dellums, the Caucus ran a coalition slate of blacks, whites and women in the April 1971 city elections. I was tapped as part of the coalition.  

Our campaign platform included the creation of jobs with top priorities to minorities and women, expanded housing and child care programs, extended recreational facilities, and liberal juvenile justice policies. I promised quite clearly that I would serve the interests of the black community. Berkeley’s business and conservative and moderate leaders were far from unified in the Council elections. But on the day after the election, the defeated conservatives and moderates announced a recall against our coalition. The strategies later became to recall Bailey and effectively neutralize the other black council member. 

As a Councilman, I challenged the city’s racial fairness in Berkeley City government. In my two and a half years the city hired its first black city manager and city attorney, passed an affirmative action program, increased blacks in police and fire, and gave the all-black garbage workers an accelerated wage increase to help them achieve parity. We opposed the Vietnam War and blocked a shopping mall development at the Berkeley Marina. 

Conservatives and the business community mobilized their recall petition drive. The recall petition charged that I refused to compromise at council meetings; filibustered; and staged outbursts that caused the council to break up in disarray. They charged I disparaged the image of established black leaders, and introduced race into the politics of Berkeley. With financial support from businesses and relentless backing from the Berkeley Daily Gazette, Bailey recall went on the ballot. My financial backers became a subject of great interest-even reporter Mike Wallace pressed me on Sixty Minutes to reveal my financial sources. I was funded primarily by a discreet, progressive family who did not wish to be identified and not, as charged, by the CIA or Communists. 

I had many supporters: Congressman Dellums, who was heavily reliant on the white left, made some statements against the recall; Legendary Longshoreman leader Harry Bridges who understood the divisive implication of recall. My main support came from those who elected me in the first place —the black community and white activists who supported black political self-determination. 

Others came. Medgar Ever’s widow, Myrlie Evers and Jesse Jackson took to the streets of Berkeley for me. My fellow lawyers in National Bar Association took an unprecedented Convention vote denouncing the recall as “violating of Councilman Bailey’s constitutional right of free speech.” Black activist Angela Davis wrote that the recall’s “motivation is fundamentally racist and anti-democratic….D’Army’s seat was won by a coalition of voters who demanded representation, not for big business, but for the people.” The recallers’ main strategy was to make it appear that the 25 percent black population wanted me out. That strategy failed. I won every black precinct. But the conservatives weren’t really interested in what the blacks thought. I was beaten in the almost all-white, upper income Berkeley Hills where turnout was substantial. 

The recall group manipulated the timing of the recall election to occur in the summer when most of the Berkeley college students were away. Though that may not have affected the ultimate outcome, it reflected the recallers’ cynical attempt to disenfranchise a large segment of the city’s voters. Later Berkeley banned special elections in the summer. Californians failed to grasp the lessons from this Berkeley slice of history and now they are doomed to repeat them.  

For the past thirteen years D’Army Bailey has served as an elected State Circuit Judge in Memphis, Tenn. He is Tennessee’s designated founder of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.(Note: Judge Bailey died on July 12, 2015. NY Times Obituary)

“A few days ago, temperatures within the Arctic Circle topped 100 degrees, shattering records. With so many unprecedented crises facing this nation and the world, we must never lose sight of the biggest existential threat facing the planet: climate change.” (June 22)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at

June 22

I hope your calendars were marked for Wednesday, June 24, 6:30 pm public hearing for the massive development proposed for 908 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz.

I happened to see tell-tale white signs on all buildings in the Ocean Street area between Marianne’s Ice Cream Shop and Togo’s.  In passing, it was impossible to read these 11″ x 17″ signs with small print, but it made me realize that some action regarding the enormous development proposed for the site is afoot.   I have seen nothing about it in the Sentinel.

Sure enough, an internet search yielded this information: JUNE 24 PUBLIC HEARING FOR 908 OCEAN STREET MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT, 6:30PM

Here is a link to a March, 2019 article by Sentinel Reporter Ms. Jessica York, discussing the project.  Back then, it stated 333 housing units and mixed use, but now, the City Planning Dept. states there would be 408 units.

Wondering about other massive development projects that are barreling along during COVID restrictions? There are plenty.  Take a look here.

Here is a summary of General Plan Housing Element showing the status of several large developments planned for Santa Cruz, some of which include demolition of historic buildings on the City registry:

Make sure to scroll down and view the condos planned for the Pogonip area, as well as the Upper Crust Apartments at 2415 Mission.  The list goes on and on…


City Newsroom | City of Santa Cruz 

You might find the City’s 2016-2023 Housing Element Report of interest, especially page 21, showing largest employers, and page 81, showing the Regional Housing Number Allocation (RHNA) required by the state for shouldering statewide housing needs. 

Note that the deficit in low income housing projects is great.  So why has the City Council allowed so many recent large developers to not include any affordable housing in their projects???  Is there ever any actual proof that “it just won’t pencil out” if affordable housing is required?  The answer is NO.


Last week, Soquel Creek Water District Board approved contracts for NINE consultants to help them shove forward their expensive plan to inject treated sewage water into the drinking water supply of all MidCounty residents. 

I was happy to hear Director Jaffe question the amount of their continued contract with Capital Edge lobby firm in Washington, D.C. for $133,500.  “They won’t be showing us around Washington now,” he said.  General Manager Ron Duncan agreed that the plan for yet another staff and Director glad-hand and sight-seeing trip has been cancelled because of COVID, but somehow the hefty sum is still necessary, with possible adjustments.

Chairman Bruce Daniels felt the   $5,674,385 contract with Brown & Caldwell engineering consultant was largely unnecessary because the individual components of the PureWater Soquel Project have been awarded to design-build contractors who are doing the engineering for those respective projects, so why pay Brown and Caldwell when they are not involved?  Staff assured him they need to pay this exorbitant sum just have somebody look over the plans these other licensed contractors might come up with.  What???  Isn’t that the job of the highly-paid District Engineering Director Taj Dufour and all the other staff engineers?  

If you are a Soquel Creek Water District customer, you should be worried. Take a look at page 87 and wonder how you will ever be able to pay this debt burden


Here’s some GOOD news…

This good partnership, funded federally, would have ended June 10, but just got extended to July 10.

I am very grateful to Santa Cruz County Director of Human Services, Mr. Randy Morris, for working with his staff to quickly put in place the necessary structure for the “Great Plates Delivered” program to partner with local restaurants to deliver free healthy meals to with those who are medically fragile and are sheltering-in-place.   Governor Newsom’s announcement of the program was a surprise to everyone, and had a very short window for eligibility.  Most counties let the money go, but Mr. Morris worked hard with his staff to get Santa Cruz County approved.  

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

The common response when asking a question of local government staff is “it’s on our website”, but the answers and information are often not always easy to find or are non-existent.

The Grand Jury released a report last week, “The Tangled Web” , that details the problems the public has to endure in order to navigate the broken website links and stale information that is common. 

Take a look at the Sentinel’s report by Nicholas Ibarra

Here are links to the 2019-2020 Grand Jury Investigation Reports Forthcoming:

Many thanks to the Grand Jury volunteers who have given so much of their time and energy to shed light on these problems. 


Happy Summer Solstice, 

Becky Steinbruner 831-685-2915 

I welcome discussion.

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

Email Becky at


 June 18
#170 / So, What Would You Call It?

You probably all remember what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called his program to restore our economy in the midst of the Great Depression: 


Assuming you knew that, what do you think we should we call President Donald J. Trump’s program to revive our economy as the nation struggles economically with the coronavirus pandemic?

Study the facts below, which I have gleaned from the July 2020 edition of In These Times. When you have reviewed that list, you can see what I call the Trump Administration program. I bet you’ll agree that I have the perfect name for it.


“Bailouts By The Numbers” 
(July 2020 edition of In These Times):

  • $500 Billion from the initial coronavirus relief bill, aka the CARES Act, was dedicated to large corporations. 
  • $300 Billion was allocated to the $1,200 stimulus checks. 
  • $4 Trillion (or more) is actually available to big business, as the Federal Reserve can lend $10 for every $1 is receives from the Treasury.
  • 70% of the $350 billion earmarked for small businesses went to large corporations.
  • $10 Billion in fees went to banks for processing the loans.
  • 10% of workers at any business that takes CARES Act loans can still be laid off.
  • 15members of Congress (or their spouses) own Boeing stock.
  • 82% of CARES Act tax reform benefits those making more than $1 million, saving millionaires $70 billion in 2020.  

Here’s my suggestion for a name for the Donald J. Trump program:


It is important to recognize that The New Deal was not anywhere near what we should accept as “perfect.” Systemic racism did exist within the program

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

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

Seth Meyers takes a closer look at President Trump and his allies on Fox News doubling down on racism as the strategy for his re-election.


“The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.”
~William Lloyd Garrison 

“We are sometimes so happy, and never in our lives have we known more unhappiness. It’s as if we were working together on the same statue, cutting it out of each other’s misery. But I don’t even know the design.”
~Graham Greene, The End of the Affair 

“What can you learn from a statue? You can learn to stay calm whatever happens!” 
~Mehmet Murat ildan 

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

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