Blog Archives

March 17 – 23, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…More about Cabrilho, Cabrio and Cabrillo, Rail Trail phone survey, vaccine shot potential, movie reviews. GREENSITE…Yet Another Development: More Is Not Better. KROHN…Will be back next week. STEINBRUNER…Riverfront Development building appeals, septic systems in CZU area problems, Soquel Creek Water rates to increase. PATTON…Persistence book by Pat Bakalian. EAGAN…Deep Cover and Subconscious Comics. QUOTES… “DAYLIGHT SAVINGS”


CABRILHO COLLEGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION 1962. Cabrillo became a community college in 1959, in Watsonville. It has a quite a “changing” history. Now it’s a discussion topic because of plans to build student housing on campus… one of the very few community colleges to even consider such a thing.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


CABRILHO NAME AGAIN. Last week I plugged the Cabrillo College Name Exploration Committee’s events. The Committee’s ability to publicize its efforts seem to be non-existent, as no one I know has even heard of this community effort and event. So I’m repeating this “NEWS” about our local community college.

CABRILHO BY ANY OTHER NAME! There’s a huge amount of interest in the name, and even the intentions, of the Cabrillo College institution. There is a Name Exploration Subcommittee in existence. They are staging three online events in the next few weeks to canvass community opinions on the name of our local college. Plus, there’s the talk of building student housing for the college – very rare for a community college in California. On March 18, at 6pm, Dr. Iris Engstrand – a retired professor from San Diego – will talk on “Who Was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo”. We can Zoom it here. My guess is that, being from San Diego, she’ll claim Juan Cabrillo was Spanish (born, raised in Spain) She claims to have proof from a book by Wendy Kramer that he was born there, and not in Portugal – which a book written in 1986 by Harry Kelsey claimed to prove. If you go to Wikipedia, you’ll see that it presents both sides of his birthplace issue. Next on the Name Exploration Subcommittee’s series is retired professor Sandy Lydon, who’ll talk on “How and Why Cabrillo College got its name”. That’s on April 15 at 6 p.m. I talked to Sandy and he’s got the full story on the local angle. Don’t miss this one; it’s full of surprises and area tidbits you’ve never heard. To round it all off at 6 p.m. on April 22 there’ll be a student debate on “Should Cabrillo College Change its Name?” If they do ever change the name, my suggestion in now and has been that they change it to Harrison. That’s of course after Lou Harrison, our world-famous composer… or maybe Wormhoudt after Mardi Wormhoudt, or Patton, after our devoted office-holder Gary Patton. But those names would probably cause some fuss too.

RAIL TRAIL PHONE SURVEY. There’s big money and sneaky plans behind the folks who want to rip out our rails. I got a so-called “phone interview survey” from them last week. They wanted to know if and how often I vote, and asked how I’d vote on which of the many phrases they want to put on a ballot. Why the money interests are supporting rail removal, is a question I can’t figure out. If any of you readers know who’s behind this, let me know…please.

VACCINE SAME FOR SECOND SHOT? I asked the folks who gave me my second Pfizer shot last week (and a few doctors, too) if the contents of shot number two are the same as the first bottle? I still can’t get or find a definitive answer. Any word or words from your sources?

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,

CHERRY. (APPLE + SINGLE) Tom Holland not just walks but struts away with acting honors in this deep, beautifully-structured movie. Too many critics only see the plot, missing the creativity, freshness and cinematography. A young Ohio boy nearly of age has severe doubts about his future, and joins the Army. He goes to war in Iraq, coming back with PTSD and a drug addiction that he ends up sharing with his dutiful wife. The Russo Brothers directed it, if that helps convince you. It’s very much worth your time – not least because of the score, which includes Verdi and Puccini.

DOGWASHERS. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Set in Columbia, this is a murder and mayhem flick centered on the thugs and toughies that guard the drug lords. One of them has a low sperm count, and it goes downhill from there. Dogwashers is slang for lowly thug employee/slave. Avoid it and don’t talk about it either. 

THE ONE. (NETFLIX SERIES). I must state this is the first series that I nearly binge-watched completely. Partly in the future, some tricky researchers find a way to match all of us to our identical DNA partner for life. Sort of 23 and Me, Part Two. There’s a murder, much lying, very good acting, a nice plot and enough twists and turns to make you wonder if you’d ever sign up for such a pairing… and who it would be. 8 episodes and don’t miss it.

MOXIE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Amy Poehler directed – and appears in – this unfunny mess. A high school teenager decides to secretly publish a booklet that gets her in plenty of trouble. The school admin and her friends start to condemn the zine… but change their minds. Boring, pointless, poorly acted and providing no reason to watch. You shouldn’t care, but Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s son Patrick is in it.

HERSELF. (AMAZON PRIME) Single. The heartbreaking and emotional story (saga) of a mother of two who has a battering husband. They split, and she decides to build a house herself. The neighbors help while she also works at a hotel as a maid. It is an emotional supportive movie and gives great points to this brave woman. It’ll also make you realize just how much prejudice there is everywhere in this world. Well worth your time and tears. 93 on RT.

THE CHOSEN ONE. (NETFLIX SERIES) Not worth watching this poorly-dubbed trip into a Chosen One Cult in Brazil. Oddly enough, it’s about three doctors who are sent by WHO into the jungle to vaccinate the locals against some other pandemic (it was filmed in 2019). The locals worship a handsome dude who fools the WHO staff, and leads the tribes straight into hell. Watch it at your own risk.

THE TRIAL. (NETFLIX SERIES). This is an Italian series… in every way. After a 17 year old girl is murdered, a female investigator is assigned to the case. Complex and well done, this will keep you glued to your screen. Suspicions run every which way, and high-dealing politicos are seriously involved. Go for it.

NEVANKA (NETFLIX SERIES). The very timely documentary of a woman explaining and revealing all the reasons she outted the mayor of her small town, who pursued her beyond all reasonable doubt. It happened in 2001 in Spain and we get to see and understand the pain and the point of view of female sex victims. Watch it with friends, you’ll have great discussions.

SUPERMAN AND LOIS. Beware of (AMAZON PRIME VIDEO) It sends you to an ad-packed streaming source named “CW”. Nearly the same old Superman lore…Smallville, Metropolis, The Daily Planet and the ever-evil Lothar. Clark Kent is now a bedraggled father of young sons, and maintains a three day facial hair growth. Nothing new or worthwhile, avoid it. 

COMING 2 AMERICA. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE) A huge disappointment. Eddie Murphy is a very good actor, his goofy, funny side is just as great and believable as his tragic side but this movie is just not funny. The cast is stupendous starring James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Gladys Knight and Arsenio Hall. But the humor is beneath human level, it’s trite, gross, simple minded and boring. 

CRAZY ABOUT HER. (NETFLIX SINGLE). This is a Spanish comedy but it’ll teach all of us more about our treatment of psychiatric patients than any film ever. A guy meets a girl in a bar falls in love, finds out she’s a mental patient, and declares himself equally crazy to get back to her and gets admitted to her ward. Few laughs but deep to watch. A 76 on RT.

SENTINELLE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) A French film about a woman soldier in Syria who gets sent back home to France where she becomes part of a anti terrorist local army. She’s battle weary, takes drugs, and goes near crazy. Her sister gets raped by a diplomat and she goes after him with a vengeance. It’s a violent, brutal movie that is well paced and nicely photographed. You won’t forget it. 

SISYPHUS:The Myth. (NETFLIX SERIES) This is from South Korea and is well worth watching. A young, rich, genius CEO tries to find out why and how his older brother died. He’s involved in an incredibly tense airplane crash that his genius talents and he survives. Through some odd time travel that’s only a bit awkward he manages with his woman from outer space to survive. It’ll hold your attention because it moves extra fast and isn’t too logical.

LOVE (ft. MARRIAGE & DIVORCE) (NETFLIX SERIES). I don’t know what that “ft.” means but it must be important. There’s plenty of music in this South Korean series. Three couples who are married to women who work on a radio show. Each marriage has its own problems and the women have to deal with their hubbies and vice versa. You’ll recognize and cringe when you watch how they develop and almost solve each of them. Nor fun but tempting viewing. 

MURDER AMONG THE MORMONS. (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY SERIES). It’s a totally fascinating history that involves the unbelievable Joseph Smith history of the Mormon church. The focus is on Mark Hofmann the world’s greatest forger and what and how he forged the historical documents that detailed and changed the legendary start of that church. It’s also about how he killed two people to guarantee the sale of his forgeries. If you’ve ever had Mormon friends (I have) send them to this one. Hoffman is still in prison, unbelievable and well done.

DICKINSON. (APPLE SERIES) Emily Dickinson was an early American poet in case you missed her. This series is sparkly, lively, and tuneful and spins out of time periods often. It’s creative, diverting, cutesy, and contains opium, death and rock music. It’s not what you’d expect, and I’m working on making it watchable.

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

March 15


The above is a rendition of the latest in a growing number of 6 and 7 story proposed new developments in the city of Santa Cruz, currently at the Planning Department stage. Named Calypso, Ancient Greek for “to cover, to conceal, to hide, to deceive” this one from developer Barry Swenson takes advantage of all that Senate Bill 35 (Wiener 2017) has to offer in terms of density bonuses, streamlined approval and reduced parking.

The site is 130 Center St., where two small businesses are located, a Hertz Rent-a-Car and an Auto Body Shop, almost opposite Depot Park and the soccer fields. 

The carrot in this case is the inclusion, required under SB 35, of 10% of units (23 out of 233) at the Very Low Income level, that is, for those making less than $62,000 a year for a family of four. A further 8 units are for Medium Income earners, those making less than $132,000 a year for a family of four. The other 202 units will be market rate.

The folks I know at the VLI level work two jobs at $15 an hour, which is about $15,000 a year. They have children. The units at Calypso do nothing for their affordable housing needs. 

All of the units in this proposed development are SRO’s or Single Room Occupancy, that is, a unit from 40 to 140 square feet for one individual with shared kitchen, fridge and bathroom outside of their SRO. Some may have a microwave and small fridge but you get the picture… student dorms. This is how UCSC in their comments on whether an additional 10 thousand students would impact off- campus housing could claim, well not really.

While SB 35 has all but taken local control over land-use decisions out of our hands, there are choices and issues with this one that are worth getting out of bed for. Developer Swenson has offered the city two models. One is the above. The other is a 3-story model with 155 SRO’s and the same percentage of Very Low Income units. Many communities limit heights of new development to 3 stories to keep a balance, retain at least a sense of human scale if not a sense of place as the old familiar businesses are bulldozed for the generic new. Three stories are preferable to six.

Every new development has impacts far beyond the provision of market rate housing even with the obligatory small percentage of affordable units. Whether traffic, water use, overcrowding of parks, open space and facilities, more is not necessarily better. The mantra of “we need more housing” is mindless when each new development makes living here more expensive by attracting the more affluent newcomers who generate the need for more low-income service workers who cannot compete for the pittance of affordable offerings and are forced to find housing further and further away. More housing raises the Area Medium Income on which the VLI rates are set. The deceptive need for more housing was used last week by the CA Coastal Commission to support the mammoth new development on the San Lorenzo River and is used by YIMBY’s (Yes In Your Back Yard) at every hearing. 

In this case the developer is offering a choice. It is up to us to convince the staff at the Planning Department, the Planning Commissioners and ultimately the elected city council members of the wisdom of the smaller choice. 

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.


March 15, 2021

Chris will be back next week.

(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

March 15


Here is what the Sentinel reported about last week’s Coastal Commission hearing of Ron Pomerantz’s appeal of the seven-story mammoth the City approved next to the River: Coastal Commission rejects Riverfront project appeal in Santa Cruz

“Several members of the public tried to speak on the matter but found themselves unable. They did not give public testimonies during the city’s review of the project permit, therefore the commission could not hear their testimonies during the appeal.

Only one public commenter was qualified to comment during the appeal. Kyle Kelley, another Santa Cruz local, urged the commission to reject the appeal, as the city is in need of more housing.”

Quite honestly, I think the Coastal Commission committed censorship and hope this will be appealed. 


Last Tuesday’s County Board of Supervisors received the shocking update from Environmental Health Dept. staff that thousands of rural parcels will be affected by the impending new septic system regulations that will require Alternative Mound Systems when built or sold.  

These systems cost an average of $55,000-$75,000 and require hefty annual County inspection fees.  Staff informed the Board the revised Draft plan will likely be reviewed again in June by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Santa Cruz County is the only county in this agency’s jurisdiction that has not yet achieved an approved Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP).  The State granted a few extensions to get it done, but Santa Cruz County staff did not comply.  

As a result, the State has taken over issuance of all septic permit applications for any but very routine…meaning greater expense and long delays in processing.

Write your thoughts about this and ask to receive automatic notifications about this:

Marilyn Underwood
Mimi Hall

Also, contact your County Supervisor: 831-454-2200

See Consent Agenda Item #32:

DOC-2021-182 Accept and file report on the County of Santa Cruz Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP) for permitting and managing septic systems, as recommended by the Director of Health Services – Santa Cruz County,

The LAMP and proposed Code amendments (Appendix A) can be viewed here


The proposed LAMP and related ordinance amendments represent substantial changes to the requirements for permitting OWTS (Onsite Wastewater Systems)  in Santa Cruz County. These are summarized in the attachment – Significant Changes in Proposed LAMP from 2016 Standard. Following are some of the key changes (and the estimated number of affected parcels):

  • Minimum groundwater separation for replacement systems will increase from 1-3 feet to 5-8 feet unless enhanced treatment is used (3000-4000 parcels impacted).
  • All new and replacement systems in fast percolating sandy soils throughout the county will require enhanced treatment with nitrogen removal (1500-3000 parcels impacted).
  • Enhanced treatment will be required for replacement of all seepage pits (2000 parcels impacted).
  • Maximum trench depth for replacement systems will decrease from 10 feet to 4 feet unless enhanced treatment is used. This will affect parcels with clay surface soils or other constraints that limit dispersal area (2000-3000 parcels impacted).
  • System repairs may no longer be designed by a contractor, but will be designed by a qualified professional, who also must conduct required soil and percolation testing.
  • All OWTS will be evaluated at the time of property transfer, including system condition, permitted status, performance, and likely requirements for future upgrades. Those that have deferred installation of enhanced treatment will have to do so at that time.

The tighter requirements for conventional systems will require a much greater use of enhanced treatment systems where the new conventional standards cannot be met. It is estimated that the percentage of permits requiring enhanced treatment will increase from 16% to 30-50%.

Some of the proposed LAMP requirements are mandated by the State OWTS policy, but a number of the provisions are being required to provide consistency among the LAMPs already adopted by the Regional Board for other counties in the Central Coast Region. However, HSA staff will continue to work with Regional Board staff and present to the Regional Board further justification for provisions that are more specific for unique conditions in Santa Cruz County.


Last year, the County pushed through a Special Benefit Assessment for all properties in a large portion of the County and charged a new and additional tax to defend homes and barns from fire.  Over 1000 of those structures burned, but the County seems to want to continue charging the people for protecting them anyway, at the rate of nearly $150/structure.

Tune in Wednesday, March 17 at 4pm-6pm for the County Fire Dept. Advisory Commission meeting and listen to General Services Director Michael Beaton explain the County’s thinking.

Sadly, Mr. Beaton has instituted a new policy for these meetings that prohibits public comment on any agenda item until the very end of the meeting, after the Commission has taken action on every agenda item.  I think he needs a refresher on the Brown Act.  Shockingly, County Counsel Justin Graham enforces this policy of public gag-order.

However, if enough people protest to your County Supervisor, this could improve.  Demand that those who lost their homes in the CZU Fire are not required to continue the CSA 48 Special Benefit Assessment fee to defend it from fire (a new annual fee of about $150/structure)

Greg Caput
Ryan Coonerty
Zach Friend
Manu Koenig
Bruce McPherson



The State Board of Forestry is moving quickly to finalize a Draft Fire Safe Regulation rule making plan that would cause lengthy delays, significant expenses, and make it nearly impossible to obtain building permit approval from CalFire in many areas destroyed by the CZU Fires.

March 22 (1pm-5pm) will be the final opportunity to really make a difference in what regulations the Board will consider for final approval on April 6-7.  Supposedly, that approved Plan would have a 30-45 day comment period, but often, little gets changed at that point.

Here is the link to next Monday’s agenda: Welcome to Meeting Agendas and Annual Schedules

Fax: (916) 653-0989
U.S. mail: Board of Forestry and Fire Protection 
PO Box 944246 
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

All written materials shall be due no later than 12:00 p.m. on March 17, 2021.  Written materials submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

This is serious.  Call and write.  Contact your County Supervisor (454-2200) and let them know your thoughts.

Here is what the Rural Counties Representatives of California (RCRC) published last week on the matter:

On Thursday, the Board of Forestry (BOF) noticed a special meeting to discuss and possibly approve its Fire Safe Regulations proposal for submission to the Office of Administrative Law.  Once the proposed rulemaking is published in the Regulatory Notice Register, the formal 45-day public comment period will begin.  It is anticipated that a revised draft of the proposal will be released prior to the BOF meeting.

The current proposal, released February 8th, continues to include language that preludes all development on roads that fail to meet specified standards.  These “no-build” areas apply to the construction of Accessory Dwelling units and wildfire rebuilds.

The State Fire Safe regulations set forth basic wildfire protection standards for development in the State Responsibility Area and, beginning July 1, 2021, the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones of the Local Responsibility Area.  RCRC, along with the California State Association of Counties and the Urban Counties of California, submitted comments to the BOF on the revised proposal, outlining the extremely detrimental impacts the new regulations will have in all areas of that state, but particularly in rural areas.

For updates from the BOF on the Fire Safe Regulations and other activities of the BOF Resource Protection Committee, subscribe to email updates here.   And, for more information, please contact Tracy Rhine.

Board of Forestry Update and Special Meeting Notice | Rural Counties


1) Soquel Creek Water District Board is launching a new fact-finding mission (and yet another expensive consultant contract) to prepare for ANOTHER RATE INCREASE TO BEGIN IN 2024.  The existing five-year annual 9%/year rate increase slams on customers will run out in 2023.

2) Soquel Creek Water District Board will approve a $34.5 million Agreement for the five-mile long pipeline project to send pressurized treated sewage water effluent from Santa Cruz to a new plant next to the County Sheriff Center in Live Oak.   However, none of the exhibits showing plans for environmental mitigations and monitoring are included in the document.  

I find it curious that in the Agreement’s TABLE OF CONTENTS, all entries are listed as being on page 2 (See pages 39-42 in Attachment 1).

Is this a mistake, or is the $34.5 Million Amended and Restated Design-Build Agreement for the Conveyance Infrastructure Project of the PureWater Soquel Program really prepared and finalized for Board approval? 

It doesn’t seem like it is…but that won’t stop the Board from issuing a $34.5 million rubber stamp of approval.  

They will always just raise the rates again….and again…and again.


Cheers, Becky 685-2915

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


March 14 
#73 / Persistence

Persistence, Pat Bakalian

Pat Bakalian, pictured, has written a very nice book, Persistence: The Power To Make Change. Pat’s book is a “Memoir,” filled with stories of her family life, and with personal recollections from Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, and detailing her forays from Santa Cruz, to San Francisco, and all around the country, and even to China – not to mention her long-ago recollections of a girlhood sojourn in Switzerland.

A lot of of Pat’s memoir is about “politics,” how ordinary people can change the world. I already knew how this can be done – from my personal experience, and because I do know Pat. I found her book nostalgic, since I did know quite a bit (but not everything) about the track she charted in her memoir, from her involvement in politics at the local level to her activism at the state, and national level. Pat traversed that entire route, and she says it’s a story of “one woman’s evolution from shy girl to feminist political activist.” 

Quite an evolution! Did Pat’s memoir make me feel nostalgic? Yes it did – but it’s not just a trip into nostalgia. It’s inspiring, too!


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


“I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year”.
~Victor Borge

“An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.” 
~Winston Churchill  

“Daylight time, a monstrosity in timekeeping.”
~Harry S. Truman

“Daylight saving time: Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”

I think I may have posted this once before, a long time ago. It bears repeating, however.

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:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @


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