Blog Archives

June 3 – 9, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…the Worst of Times. Plea for rental/housesitting. GREENSITE… A System Failure. KROHN…George Floyd March in Santa Cruz, City Council progressive changes, recall votes, district elections, Circle Church voting. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek district and the Brown Act and a deficit, Santa Cruz water rates to increase, Illegal closures  and openings, measure D, library news. PATTON…Stopping the machine. EAGAN…new book to be available soon. JENSEN…she’s also working on a new book. QUOTES…”REVOLUTION”


SANTA CRUZ MUNICIPAL WHARF 1890. That’s the Sea Beach Hotel up in the far right. It opened in 1890. It was an attempt to attract the wealthier tourists from Carmel and Monterey to Santa Cruz. Obviously it didn’t work.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE. One of Spike Jones very special pieces.

HAWAIIAN WAR CHANT. Another Spike Jones specialty.


THE WORST OF TIMES. Even to say “you can feel it in the air” has new meaning. Where are we now? A terrified community? A world afraid, fearful and getting worse with each headline? A President who threatens to use the militancy to handle the protests… Where is it going? What are we in for? What can we do? We all have friends and relatives in the protest areas, and still there’s no way we can help stop any of it. There’s the next election, but what about tomorrow? The fear and worry we are sharing are melting the COVID Pandemic and the racial George Floyd into one malignant fear. But where else in the world would you rather be? Thank about that one.


I asked last week if any of you know of rentals or house sitting situations, as both my daughters are interested in spending more time in Santa Cruz. Plus, they are a great help to and for me.  Any leads greatly appreciated.  Email me at

MISSING JOE BLACKMAN. Joe gave me — and us — a lot of great info and material for this blog. He was a wonderful friend to many friends of mine. We will all miss him. He died Sunday, May 31.

TIM EAGAN’S NEW BOOK! Artist Tim Eagan sends… “For anyone who missed my blog this week, let me say again that I have begun work on “Head First, A Comic Novel.” Subconscious Comics will be at the core of the book, and you can witness bits of the creative process as it unfolds on my Instagram account, called “timeagancartoons.” I predict one and a half to two years before this full-color, high end production rolls off the presses.


June 1

The slogan for the Covid-19 era, “We are all in this together” obscures the stark difference in impact on those who are outside the social safety net of unemployment insurance and federal aid. That is, those who are undocumented, without the protection offered under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The latter are able to obtain Social Security numbers and therefore receive unemployment and stimulus checks. The former receive nothing. Many have lost their jobs since the low-income service sector particularly restaurants have closed, or offer only take-out, which means fewer workers at reduced hours. Many pay taxes, with a Tax ID, which is not recognized for state or federal help during this (or any) crisis.

Since I have close friends in this situation I am more concerned than if they were just a category of people in need. I turned first to our city council to see what assistance was available. The response from the Mayor included a number #211 to call. I shared that with my friends. They called and called and called without ever being able to connect. I urged them to keep trying. They did, with the same result. The number for rent assistance, which our city has contributed to, asks you to leave a number for a return call, which my friends did multiple times a day with never a return call.

Then came the good news that Governor Newsom had allocated monies for undocumented workers, $500 for each adult. Not a princely sum but enough for almost a third of one month’s rent. The funds to be distributed through the Community Action Board. The first day CAB’s phone lines crashed due to the volume of calls. There was no way of knowing the reason for no phone connection so I reached out to Assemblyperson Mark Stone’s office. His assistant informed me of the problem which they were hastening to fix, hopefully by the next day. I shared this with my friends. The next day, a message on the line, in English only, urged callers to try again. That was a week ago. My friends have tried multiple times every day with the same result. The message is a constant, try again. And again and again and again, with never a connection. I leave you to imagine the added stress caused by this non-functioning system. 

My friends know many in Santa Cruz in the same situation and those friends have a wide circle of friends. Nobody knows anyone who has received this money from the state via the Community Action Board. 

Frustrated I again contacted Mark Stone’s office with a suggestion: the Community Action Board is incapable of handling this distribution of funds. Therefore distribute some of the funds via the Tax ID # which the state has on file since these folks pay state (and federal) taxes. That would leave a smaller group for CAB to handle. The response so far is that the legislature doesn’t handle the distribution of funds. I left a message on Mark Stones message board with the assurance that he reads every one. I have not yet received a response.

While some in the community can rest easy thinking the less fortunate are being taken care of and some are fuming that undocumented workers are getting any relief, despite their paying taxes, the reality is that my friends and the wider community of such workers are getting nothing. What a failure on behalf of the local and state governments and the non-profit industrial complex. I am outraged!

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 1


That was a March!

May you live in interesting times…are you kidding me?! By my count, over 5000 marched through Santa Cruz on Sunday to memorialize the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, while three (!) of his colleague cops looked on. It was a large gathering for Surf City. The largest political protest march was the Woman’s March of 2017 when 14-15,000 paraded downtown. In 1995, there was the “No Nukes” demonstration and concert” drawing more than 8,000 attendees and featuring musicians Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Graham Nash at San Lorenzo Park.” So, by those previous standards, Sunday’s weaving and bobbing heads on Ocean Street, snaking around to Soquel Avenue, crossing Pacific and the spontaneous rally in front of the Center Street police station was a bit more modest, but its significance echoed loudly across the county’s pandemic landscape and registered deeply in the annals of the city’s political history. Spontaneous, peaceful, and uninhibited the march was likely led by the Millennials (1980-94) and GenZ (1995-2012) generation of activists. Given the mayhem and fallout from the police killing in Minnesota there just seemed to be a local collective, doesn’t this suck, but we just have to be out here, what else can we do? Collective feelings of rage, ambivalence, alienation, and the need to be with other humans and vent for a couple of hours were all reasons to be in the street. While Santa Cruz saw none of the property destruction and looting that was rife in Oakland and San Francisco, there was a report that the SCPD chief sent SC officers to Oakland to assist OPD in addressing their protesters. (I wonder if this is what local protesters would’ve wanted from their kneeling police chief? See SC Sentinel, Sun. May 31)

Why So Much Rage and Property Destruction?
After seeing the CNN building facade destroyed by protesters in video footage taken from inside the building and police who were held at bay for hours in their own Southern California police station I am taking a pause. This is all moving so fast. The La Mesa standoff is chronicled in an the hour-by-hour video compilation that ended in two banks–Union and Chase–being completely burnt to the ground. I am simply in awe of the sheer volatility and daring on the part of Protesters.

 If you look at these two videos there are no “hit and run” tactics being used. Protesters appear to be locked in, standing tall in the face of heavily armed police who are not timid in using their weapons against unarmed demonstrators. Of course, a few of the protesters can be seen throwing heavy objects including some large pieces of concrete and water bottles at the police lines. In some cases, protesters can also be seen hurling the police’s own tear-gas canisters and unexploded flash-bang grenades back at the cops. If you have one hour, I urge you to watch how the Battle of La Mesa unfolds. It is a large-ish suburb east of San Diego, but it could be Anywhere USA. Evidently, the day before the battle took place an unarmed man was roughed up by police and arrested while waiting for a friend at the Grossmont Center trolley stop near San Diego. This incident was perhaps in the minds of many protesters going into what would end up being a fiery and property destructive day of outrage. If you have only a minute, check out this rather shocking attack on protesters by NYC police using their squad cars to ram people.  

What a Difference a Couple of Progressive Votes Make
Santa Cruz City council politics have changed. The Recall election shifted the council vote from a 4-3 progressive majority to a 4-3 pro-real estate and pro-commercial construction majority. This new group is also moving in the direction of less public input as well. If you were in doubt before the March 3rd election as to where this new majority might go, simply peruse the city council’s “meeting minutes” approvals at the beginning of each council agenda. There is access here: , and scroll down. This is where the casual consumer of council action can go to see how their team did if you are keeping score at home.

1) Minutes of April 28 meeting:

a) “The Council received a report from the City Attorney on threatened litigation under the California Voting Rights Act and voted unanimously to direct the City Attorney’s office to enter into settlement negotiations with the Plaintiff’s attorney, and return to Council at a future meeting with a resolution to move to district elections for the November, 2022 election.” The previous city council would’ve voted to at least go to court and not roll over to this rightwing effort led by a known Republican “intellectual” operative, Lanny Ebenstein.

2) Minutes of May 12 meeting:

  1. a) 111 Errett Circle–Past city council would have given direction that this Circle Church property project offer greater affordability and full payment of in-lieu fees at a minimum if development was to take place.

3) From minutes of May 26 meeting

  1. a) Motion carriedto: Approve the plans and specifications for the Highway 1/9 Intersection Improvements (c400805) and authorize staff to advertise for bids. Approve the Construction Management Services Request for Qualifications and advertise for proposals.” This project will spend over $5 million to widen an intersection in the middle of a pandemic when traffic counts have harkened back to the 1980’s, and while the Santa Cruz electorate continues to move into a greener future and away from reliance on single-occupancy vehicles. Go figure.

“A lot of ppl are asking abt policy solutions. Here are a few:

  1. Ask your mayor & city council for strong Citizen Review Boards
  2. Budgets. They’re powerful. Find your city’s police budget. Compare that to the school & housing budget. More $ in fmr school-to-prison pipeline
  3. What does mental healthcare look like in your city? Too often our prisons are used to discard ppl struggling w mental health, housing. Invest in the latter. 
  4. Healthcare, living wage, housing & education guarantees. Without them we feed the cycle. What are your ideas?” (May 30)
(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 1

I think the Soquel Creek Water District Board violated the Ralph M. Brown Act by discussing the salary increase for General Manager Ron Duncan while in Closed Session on May 19, 2020.  They posted no video of the meeting to report actions taken in Closed Session.  There are no draft minutes of the meeting for the public to see in the subsequent June 2 meeting agenda.  However, it is evident in Consent Agenda Item 4.6 that the Board approved a higher-than-COLA salary increase in renewing Ron Duncan’s contract to $222,939.64/year plus benefits (projected to increase by 12%)

This violates the Ralph M. Brown Act. 

It also really makes me wonder how the Board can claim any fiduciary accountability to grant a hefty pay raise at a time when their Finance Director has warned of a $1.1 million deficit, and the American Water Works Association has warned that water utilities could see a 16.9% financial impact from COVID-19, and unemployment in Santa Cruz County could reach as high as 19% by summer (this is all from the District’s OWN 2020/21 Budget Summary) (see page 25, and the Budget at page 55)

Write the Board of Directors and ask  them to justify their actions. Soquel Creek Water District,  and copy Board Clerk Emma Olin   

What in the world are they they thinking?   Or perhaps a better question might be…Who do they think they are???

The City Water Commission has been hearing presentations from Raftelis Consultants recently regarding different ways to structure another rate increase.  It is expected that another rate increase will be proposed to the rate payers by this fall.  Under Prop 218, the increase must be sent to ratepayers but the increase will pass automatically unless 50% +1 protest votes from qualified ratepayers is received.  That level of participation is really difficult to accomplish.

Raftelis Consultants is the same group that pulled the wool over the ratepayers’ eyes for Soquel Creek Water District’s draconian rate increases to pay for injecting treated sewage water into the drinking water for MidCounty folks.

The City Water Commissioners will consider this issue again at their June 1 meeting.

Unfortunately, those meetings are usually not recorded, but they might be now that meetings are held via Zoom.  Write City Water Director Rosemary Menard and ask that all Water Commission meetings be recorded and archived.  This thoughtful Commission makes significant decisions that affect the water use policy throughout the County, affecting everyone.Rosemary Menard 

I am grateful that Chairman of the Board Greg Caput called a Special Board Meeting last Friday to ask the Board to approve the Attestation Application for Variance with the State’s economic recovery plan, and begin allowing County businesses to open sooner but with safety precautions.  Supervisor Caput was the only Supervisor physically present in the Board Chambers, with all others participating remotely.

However, Supervisors Zach Friend and Ryan Coonerty once again refused to allow their images to be shown on the meeting screen, as if they continue to want to hide from the public.  Maybe because the hair and eye lash salons have been closed for so long, Zach and Ryan just don’t feel like being seen???  Gee, who knows, but in the interest of government transparency and accountability, they need to show the public that they really are paying attention during those Board meetings, or at least verify that the voice heard voting on important issues is really coming from them. It was encouraging to see about 50 people show up at the meeting, many providing eloquent testimony.

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



Becky Steinbruner


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

Email Becky at


May 31
#152 / One More Time For The Vietnam Generation 

If you instantly recognize this picture, you are probably one of the members of the “Vietnam Generation” to whom I am particularly addressing today’s blog post. For those who don’t recognize the picture, this is Mario Savio, standing on top of a car in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza. 

As Wikipedia reports, Savio was “an American activist and a key member in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. He is most famous for his passionate speeches, especially the ‘put your bodies upon the gears’ address given at Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley on December 2, 1964.” I have reproduced the full text of Savio’s speech at the end of this posting. You can also listen to an audio/video recording of the speech by clicking this link

I was in my fourth year at Stanford University when Savio gave that speech. I recognized the picture instantly. Savio’s call to “put your bodies upon the gears” was an appeal that spoke directly to me. I heeded that call, four years later, when I voluntarily gave up my then-student deferment and refused induction into the armed forces in Oakland, California. Many in the “Vietnam Generation” changed their lives sometime during this period, from 1964 to 1968. Savio’s speech wasn’t the only reason, of course; there was a lot going on, but this speech did epitomize the kind of response that many in that “Vietnam Generation” felt was necessary, to stop what one of Bob Dylan’s albums called a “World Gone Wrong.” 

Some who “put their bodies upon the gears” in the 1960s and early 1970s died or were mangled. Many did not suffer such consequences. I certainly didn’t. I came back to law school, got my JD, passed the California Bar Exam, went to Theological Seminary in New York City for a year, became a general practitioner in Santa Cruz, California, got elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, served for twenty years in that position, headed up two wonderfrul nonprofit organizations, and then ended up (right now) teaching undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

So far, at least, I have not told the students in my classes to “put their bodies upon the gears,” but sometimes I am tempted to do that. The world is still going wrong. Really, really wrong! 

Instead of exhorting young students to do something about that fact, I am starting to think that it is really my turn to do something – our turn, really, those who might self-identify as the “Vietnam Generation,” as I am calling it here. Savio’s speech still echoes for me, and I am thinking that it might be the moment to spend some of my remaining time trying to do what that “Vietnam Generation” did not accomplish before.

Despite our efforts in the 1960s and 1970s, neither racism, nor militarism, nor economic injustice has disappeared. In fact, they are “surging,” to use the language of the coronavirus pandemic. In the 1960s there was a “surge” towards racial and economic justice, towards a world at peace, and those who might self-identify as members of the “Vietnam Generation” should be proud of our efforts to confront and counteract the “operation of the machine.” 

But… The machine grinds on, and now the entire Natural World is at peril. Our situation is worse than when Savio made his speech. So, pay attention to this, the famous part: 

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!

Every day, I am feeling more and more that way. It could be time for those who can self-identify as the “Vietnam Generation,” those who responded to Savio in 1964, and to others like him, to make  one more effort to make the machine stop.


“You know, I just wanna say one brief thing about something the previous speaker said. I didn’t wanna spend too much time on that ’cause I don’t think it’s important enough. But one thing is worth considering.

He’s the — He’s the nominal head of an organization supposedly representative of the undergraduates. Whereas in fact under the current director it derives — its authority is delegated power from the Administration. It’s totally unrepresentative of the graduate students and TAs.

But he made the following statement (I quote): “I would ask all those who are not definitely committed to the Free Speech Movement  cause to stay away from demonstration.” Alright, now listen to this: “For all upper division students who are interested in alleviating the TA shortage problem, I would encourage you to offer your services to Department Chairmen and Advisors.” That has two things: A strike breaker and a fink. 

I’d like to say — like to say one other thing about a union problem. Upstairs you may have noticed they’re ready on the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall, Locals 40 and 127 of the Painters Union are painting the inside of the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall. Now, apparently that action had been planned some time in the past. I’ve tried to contact those unions. Unfortunately — and [it] tears my heart out — they’re as bureaucratized as the Administration. It’s difficult to get through to anyone in authority there. Very sad. We’re still — We’re still making an attempt. Those people up there have no desire to interfere with what we’re doing. I would ask that they be considered and that they not be heckled in any way. And I think that — you know — while there’s unfortunately no sense of — no sense of solidarity at this point between unions and students, there at least need be no — you know — excessively hard feelings between the two groups.

Now, there are at least two ways in which sit-ins and civil disobedience and whatever — least two major ways in which it can occur. One, when a law exists, is promulgated, which is totally unacceptable to people and they violate it again and again and again till it’s rescinded, appealed. Alright, but there’s another way. There’s another way. Sometimes, the form of the law is such as to render impossible its effective violation — as a method to have it repealed. Sometimes, the grievances of people are more — extend more — to more than just the law, extend to a whole mode of arbitrary power, a whole mode of arbitrary exercise of arbitrary power.

And that’s what we have here. We have an autocracy which — which runs this university. It’s managed. We were told the following: If President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn’t he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received — from a well-meaning liberal — was the following: He said, “Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his Board of Directors?” That’s the answer.

Well I ask you to consider — if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the Board of Directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I tell you something — the faculty are a bunch of employees and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw materials that don’t mean to be — have any process upon us. Don’t mean to be made into any product! Don’t mean — Don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings!

And that — that brings me to the second mode of civil disobedience. There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all!! (emphasis added)

That doesn’t mean — I know it will be interpreted to mean, unfortunately, by the bigots who run The Examiner, for example — That doesn’t mean that you have to break anything. One thousand people sitting down some place, not letting anybody by, not [letting] anything happen, can stop any machine, including this machine! And it will stop!!

We’re gonna do the following — and the greater the number of people, the safer they’ll be and the more effective it will be. We’re going, once again, to march up to the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall. And we’re gonna conduct our lives for awhile in the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall. We’ll show movies, for example. We tried to get Un Chant d’Amour and [they] shut them off. Unfortunately, that’s tied up in the court because of a lot of squeamish moral mothers for a moral America and other people on the outside. The same people who get all their ideas out of the San Francisco Examiner. Sad, sad. But, Mr. Landau — Mr. Landau has gotten us some other films.

Likewise, we’ll do something — we’ll do something which hasn’t occurred at this University in a good long time! We’re going to have real classes up there! They’re gonna be freedom schools conducted up there! We’re going to have classes on [the] 1st and 14th amendments!! We’re gonna spend our time learning about the things this University is afraid that we know! We’re going to learn about freedom up there, and we’re going to learn by doing!!

Now, we’ve had some good, long rallies. [Rally organizers inform Savio that Joan Baez has arrived.] Just one moment. We’ve had some good, long rallies. And I think I’m sicker of rallies than anyone else here. She’s not going to be long. I’d like to introduce one last person — one last person before we enter Sproul Hall. Yeah. And the person is Joan Baez.

Joan Baez, On The Steps of Sproul Hall, 1964

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. More classic and wildly funny views into our almost hidden psyches.

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

LISA JENSEN LINKS. . Lisa writes: “After my 187 years in journalism, I can still pretty much figure out what does or doesn’t work in a movie. But I’m all at sea confronted with the unwieldy text of my own next book! Find out how much I’m missing my beta reader — and what I plan to do about it — this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

Leave it to Trevor Noah to succinctly break everything down. These 18 minutes are well spent.



“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship”.
~George Orwell 

“You don’t have a peaceful revolution. You don’t have a turn-the-cheek revolution. There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution”.
~Malcolm X

“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
~George Orwell 

The United States was born in revolution and nurtured by struggle. Throughout our history, the American people have befriended and supported all those who seek independence and a better way of life.
~Robert Kennedy 

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