Blog Archives

March 2 – 8, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Our S.C. Chamber opposes Greenway, Town clock and Food Not Bombs, Ami Chen Mills’ party. Watching the war, Live Here Now. Movie critiques. GREENSITE…will return next week. KROHN… War, redistricting and petitions in that order. STEINBRUNER…Aptos Library and salvage, Purewater Soquel, Soquel Creek Water District. HAYES…The Land, Remembering. PATTON…We will not let you beat our children. MATLOCK…The Ukraine and “oh give me land lots of land”. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”Wharves”


OUR SANTA CRUZ WHARF 1906. That’s Steve Ghio with the cap holding a 50 pound deep sea bass. And that’s Steve Canepa holding the fish basket on the right. Its history and traditions like this that makes the preservation of our wharf so vital to our community.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


We have been reading and seeing the arguments and supporters of Bud Colligan’s and Manu Koenig’s Greenway Plot for months now. WE saw and shared the many Democrat groups in the county that are opposed to the Greenway scheme*. Now this last week it was announced that the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce has studied, dissected, and came to the conclusion that they too are opposed to Greenway.
Take a few minutes and read the Chamber’s own press release which gives good insight to the long range plans for our County’s future…

*Democrat groups also opposed to Greenway…Santa Cruz for Bernie, People’s Democratic Club, as well as the Sierra Club! Their message stated…”The NO WAY Greenway campaign today announced four leading Democratic organizations in Santa Cruz County are uniting in opposition to the deceptive Greenway initiative, led by the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party, the Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County, the Mid County Democratic Club and the College Democrats at UC Santa Cruz. 

WATCHING THE WAR. For those locals subscribing to Comcast (and that’s a majority) I sure suggest that you watch Ukraine news on the BBC channel 167, and CSPAN channel 22. Watching the BBC especially gives us a slightly different perspective than good “old” CNN channel 56 or MSNBC channel 60. Just following Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the House of Commons in sessions helps us realize that it isn’t just the United States working on the Russia issue.

TOWN CLOCK & FOOD NOT BOMBS LOCATION. Once again the City of Santa Cruz or more directly the City Council of Santa Cruz continues to show its unfeeling, uncaring and mean treatment of our homeless and hungry residents. Putting pressure and legal force to move “Food Not Bombs” from delivering and sharing their daily meals at the Town Clock is a very real insight into the hearts and minds of our elected officials. Why some/any official group can’t sit down with Keith McHenry who is very likable, kind and pleasant and come up with a location that will work is beyond comprehension. It reflects so poorly on our city to keep pressuring Food Not Bombs.

AMI CHEN MILLS PARTY. There’ll be quite a runoff in June to see just which candidate for the 3rd District supervisor’s seat. Ami threw a backyard party last Saturday (2/26) to kick off her campaign. The usual suspects were there. Nora Hochman gave the fund raising pitch, Adam Scow talked about her campaign aims, and then folks like Gail Page, Lee Brokaw, Joe Jordan, Barbara Riverwoman, and Bob Morgan chummed around. There were about 50 in attendance. Fred Keeley was there and so were Ron Pomerantz and Jane Weed Pomerantz who are throwing a party for Justin Cummings for Supervisor next Saturday March 5. Chris Krohn and Rachel O’Malley circulated and helped spread the word. Ami talked about not wanting the Farmers Market site used for a new library, she’s NO on Greenway right now but is looking into it. Many folks at her party talked about Shebreh Kalantari-Johnsons big developer money sources behind her campaign. 

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.

RESTLESS. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.7 IMDB). A very shady, questionable French police lieutenant gets involved with an even shadier, illegal drug mob. Violent, bloody, complex and still fast paced enough to keep you glued to the screen. Being French it’s tough to analyze the plot twists which are many.

NO EXIT. (HULU MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). I believe that a lot more of this plot was based on Jean Paul Sartre’s play in the 1940’s then has been noticed. A young girl addict leaves a AA meeting and gets stranded in a Sacramento Highway Patrol office during a very bad blizzard. She’s stuck there with some awfully suspicious characters and a kidnapped little girl. What she does and what they do to her makes a tense and somewhat confusing adventure.

FERIA: THE DARKEST NIGHT. (NETFLIX SERIES) (5.7 IMDB). This is a Spanish thriller that clues us in to a religious cult that was next to bloodthirsty. Two teen age daughters find out that their parents were cult members and were very involved in the deaths of 23 local members in a very deep and dark mine. And the mine and nearby waters have a viscous and nearly invisible snake like monster. Its rapid moving and well photographed and tight.

THE RHYTHM SECTION. (PRIME MOVIE) (5.7 IMDB). Jude Law is in it along with Blake Lively so there’s two good reasons to view this one. Car chases, many grappling and griping fight scenes, and it’s about a woman’s search to find out who or which mob planted a bomb on a plane that crashed killing her parents. It flips from London to Spain to Scotland, and New York and Marseilles so it’s a challenge to keep track. Agin it’s a fine diversion

BOOK OF LOVE. (PRIME MOVIE) (5.5 IMDB). It starts off in London and an inexperienced author with a failing new book. Suddenly we’re in Mexico where his book has had a very sexy translation by a very sexy translator. Their relationship follows exactly what you’d expect and there are some good laughs and pre used corn along the way. It could just possibly take your mind off The Ukraine for a brief spell.

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

BIGBUG. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (5.5 IMDB). A laughable, funny very French film! It’s silly beyond belief and I laughed a lot. Sometime in the later part of this century some French families get trapped in their own house because the robots and androids internet electrical system goes haywire. The visuals are incredible, the plot is as I mentioned, very French. The director Jean-Pierre Jeunet also directed “Amelie” and “The City of Lost Children” so you know this has to be worth watching. 

INVENTING ANNA. (NETFLIX SERIES). (6.8 IMDB). This is promoted as being the almost true story of Anna Delvey who impersonated being a daughter of a very rich German billionaire. She becomes the center of New York City society. Julia Garner is the lead and she does a perfect job of getting you to really dislike her from all angles. Maybe she was really Anna Sorokin and if you watch all the episodes you’ll find out. It has some corny misplaced acting that changes the seriousness but go for it anyway.

CHOSEN. (NETFLIX SERIES) (4.3 IMDB). This Danish series is super thoughtful fun to watch. Well-acted and neatly scripted it’s about a teen age girl exposes the fact that the famed town meteor that crashed there 17 years ago is a fake. She seems destined to change her community before it changes her. The plot is intriguing, the photography is near perfect.

RULES OF THE GAME. (HULU SERIES) (6.0 IMDB). A deep, dark British film centering on a futuristic high tech corporation and the secrets behind the growth of that company. A new HR woman keeps digging deeper and deeper into the cover-ups and alienates almost everyone at the agency. It’s taut, tight, and tremendous ad you won’t be able to guess the outcome.  

SEVERANCE. (APPLE SERIES) (8.2 IMDB) Santa Cruz’s own AND ONLY born and bred movie star Adam Scott leads the well-chosen cast. Watch while the employees of the Lumon Corporation are altered so that they can’t remember anything that happens inside the building when they go home and vice versa. There was a murder many years before and something is covering it up. Highly watchable, enjoyable and not predictable. Subud’s own Patricia Arquette and John Turturro add depth to this twisted plot.

THE KINGS MAN. (HBO MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB). Ralph Fiennes returns in this third attempt to make a good film taken from a comic book origin. Charles Dance acts his usual neatness but even he can’t save the overdone hammy attempt at a comedic/tragic/over staged so called drama. It’s not funny enough even though it contains Ivan Rasputin, King George, and Kaiser Wilhelm.  

THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. (Del Mar Theatre) (7.9 IMDB). Along with two Oscar nominations this is one fine movie. There are genuine laughs plus some painful scenes when we watch this near 30 year old woman go through the changes and questions that face her while being in and out of love. It’s a Norwegian film and the fifth one directed by Joachim Trier. You’ll recognize each and nearly every one of the dilemmas she faces in her bohemian social circle. Don’t miss it.

THE PRIVILEGE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (4.6 IMDB). A new German movie that goes deep into pharma corporations and making bad prescriptions. Teen agers deal with and are victimized by live worms in each pill for starters. In even gets into replacing souls in dying bodies. It’s well made but not a great movie. There’s a strong flash at the end that they are planning and hoping for a sequel. 


JEWEL THEATRE’S NEXT PRODUCTION. Playing from March 30 through April 24 will be “Remains To Be Seen”. Kate Hawley wrote the play and it’s a world premiere. Their program states…Every five years a group of old drama department friends reunite. This year it’s at Jack and Clare’s and Clare is dreading it. Are these old friends really still friends, or are they just old habits drained over the years of any genuine fondness or rapport? It is certain that everyone will drink too much and Gordon will talk too much and Sissy will bring her damned little dog when she was specifically asked not to. On top of it all, recent widower Stuart is bringing a mysterious new love. What’s happened to their dreams and old ambitions? Good actors as they may have been, they can’t prevent the truth of their lives from making an appearance.  It features Paul Whitworth and Mike Ryan. G

o here for tickets and info… 


Gillian will be back next week.

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.


February 28 


Russian War on Ukraine

It is difficult to not dwell on what appears to be a very outdated way of creating change, i.e. tanks and bombs and guns. War is as outdated as your friend who still listens to cassette tapes because the sound quality is better; or advertising the need to smoke cigarettes in order to be cool; or bubbling in forms with a pencil you don’t have and haven’t used in a decade; or perhaps today, war is as antiquated as building a five-story cement parking garage and cutting down 10 heritage trees on one of the last remaining open lots in the city of Santa Cruz. War in the twenty-first century is an anachronism, but can it ever be fully extinguished? The Russian government’s war on the Ukraine is at the top of your mind this week. How did it come to pass that the country of Russia has come to invade Ukraine and what does it mean for Santa Cruz, or California, or US politics going forward? I am sure it will be good for the President’s approval ratings, war always is. The price of gasoline and natural gas will rise. China will benefit with increased exports to Russia as the European Union, Canada, and the US will probably all embargo trade. And most assuredly, young Russians and Ukrainians will die…for what? I’ve been looking for that indefatigable peace person who seemed to be everywhere in the ’80’s and ’90’s, Ruth Hunter. She passed away during the US war in Afghanistan in 2018 at the ripe age of 102. She always showed up to the Town Clock or to a local march, or to the big ones in Oakland and San Francisco. I was looking for her yesterday. Who will now show up for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine? What politician has the cajones to say enough, “ain’t gonna study war no more,” and lay ole Vladimir Putin and his ilk down by that eternal riverside?

War, what is good for? Absolutely nothing…the point of it absolutely blows my mind…it cannot give life, it can only take it away.
–Edwin Starr, “War” (1970)

Redistricting and Direct Election of a Santa Cruz Mayor

Stop the presses (Stop the silicon chips?)! In a 5-2 vote by the pro-real estate, pro-market rate development city council, an infamous measure is likely headed to the June ballot. This last-minute measure designates six council districts and an at-large Mayor, if approved by voters. It will markedly alter a system that’s been in place at least since the 1950’s, at-large elections. It was supposed to remedy a problem of LatinX representation on the city council. There is no district that has been created in the most recent rendering of election maps that makes a majority LatinX district. If the council affirms last week’s action at their next March 8th meeting, which they must do by law, it will make it to the ballot unless of course, word gets out, spreads like the CZU Lightening Fire, and city resident’s weigh-in and ask to be involved in this BIG, city charter-altering decision. Residents need an opportunity to speak, not only at the ballot box, but in the town square–city hall chambers–as well. You can find these new districts here, as part of a clunky computer map that’s on the city’s web site. Kara Meyberg Guzman offers a credible report of the council meeting here. She quotes Councilmember Martine Watkins as saying, “Ultimately this recommendation really puts the decision before our voters to decide ultimately how they want to see the city move forward with regards to having a directly-elected mayor with six districts as opposed to seven districts only.” What Watkins is leaving out is what about community input into what exactly is going onto the ballot itself? In some cities, keeping at-large elections and just adding Ranked Choice Voting was enough to avoid a law suit and level the candidate playing field. Why not here too?

Walking and Talking to Voters

The Empty Homes Tax and Our Downtown, Our Future initiatives are certainly gathering up enormous data from local voters by simply walking around town and asking them how they are doing. Over 100 people have been walking neighborhoods, sitting at tables outside of Shopper’s Corner and the Downtown Farmer’s Market, as well as talking to their friends and neighbors about these two consequential initiatives. What is clear is that most people, if they are home when their door is knocked on, will likely sign both petitions which are destined for the November 2022 ballot. These two initiatives will help fund affordable housing (EHT) and designate sites where affordable units must be built (ODOF). I have personally gotten more than 100 signatures for the two initiatives so far and I find the Our Downtown, Our Future measure an easier one for registered voters to grasp, whereas several people I encountered wanted more information about the EHT, probably because the word “tax” is emblazoned on its name, and that’s okay. Informed voters are definitely better voters. The EHT will affect very few people because very few people own a home, let alone two or three. Even if you own two or three houses, what this initiative is seeking to clamp down on is leaving any home in Santa Cruz unoccupied. Either rent it, sell it, live in it, or pay the $6,000 tax each year. Interestingly, there is quite a bit of disposable income out there in Oakland and Vancouver, Canada for paying the tax. Many second and third homeowners in those cities where this tax exists, just do not want to rent it out, so they pay the fee to leave it vacant. That will be the case in Santa Cruz for many too, as we live next to a Silicon Valley that is boiling over in excess dollars and the real estate is a lucrative place to park the extra dough$. So, tell your friends, sign the Empty Homes Tax and Our Downtown, Our Future petitions. The market rate housing people may hate for it, but groups like SC4Bernie, People’s Democratic Club, Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, the Sierra Club, and SC Climate Action Network all might just give you a big hug! And isn’t that nice. You can even call the phone numbers on the above web sites and someone will come to your house with the petition for you to sign. Thanks for participating in democracy and our right to petition our government for a redress of grievances.

“I stand in solidarity with the 1,300 workers at the Hershey’s factory in Virginia who are voting to join a union after the company made a $1.47 billion profit last year. I say to Hershey’s: Stop the union busting. Stop the intimidation. Treat your workers with dignity & respect.” (Feb. 28)

Political symbolism is everythingAmi Chen Mills is out of the gate and running for 3rd District Supervisor, which encompasses most of the city of Santa Cruz, Bonny Doon, and Davenport. Here she is pictured with former Supervisor, Assembly member, and SC County Treasurer, Fred Keeley, who dropped by for her campaign kickoff for some fun and food…and to hear the speeches, of course.


Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at

Email Chris at


February 27


A recent Good Times article praises $1 million fundraising effort for Aptos Library, under “Realizing the Promise” banner, but makes no mention of the $1.45 million County Supervisor Zach Friend promised to meet funding needs.  How come?  Did that money disappear?

[Santa Cruz Public Libraries Surpass Fundraising Goal]   

Here is the January 26, 2020 Times Publishing report about how Supervisor Friend announced the County Board of Supervisors approval of an additional $1.45 Million to bail out the financially-burdened Aptos Library rebuild project:

[Updates on Common County Questions]

by Zach Friend

“As we begin 2020 I wanted to provide an update on some of the more common requests for updates we receive. If you need any additional information, feel free to call me or stop by my office hours in Aptos, Corralitos, Watsonville and Seascape.

What is the status of the Aptos and La Selva Library Remodels?

As part of the voter-approved Measure S, varying funding is available to update libraries across the county.

Recently, we secured additional funding to fully address the needs at the Aptos Branch. Specifically, the Board of Supervisors approved an additional $1.45 million from the Library Fund for the Aptos Branch, which ensures that this location, used by many as a regional branch in our district, will have the funds necessary (even with the increased construction costs over the last year) to do the upgrades necessary to meet the public visioning process.

The County and the Library held a community meeting to discuss options for the library recently and work is expected to begin this year. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors approved the contract with C2 Builders to perform the La Selva Library Branch work.

Overall, $1.7 million has been allocated to this project, which is already underway. Both of these branches will be receiving the first significant upgrades in over a generation.”

Here is a summary of the Board of Supervisor actions about that:

On December 10, 2019, the Board approved Consent Agenda Item #33, which gave an additional $1,445,739 to enable the construction of a new Aptos Branch Library, for a total project cost not to exceed $14,143,419.  This was at the request of Ms. Nemitz, then-Director of Santa Cruz Public Libraries, to the County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios in a letter dated November 1, 2019.  That approval gutted the 30% Library Reserve account that the Board approved to be kept on December 12, 2017.  

“The current budget for the Aptos Branch Library project is $12,697,680. If approved by the Board, distributing an additional $1,445,739 from the County Library Fund would establish a new budget of $14,143,419 to build a 10,700 square foot facility that meets project goals.”

You can read that explanation and letter here

I attended the public meeting when Supervisor Zach Friend claimed credit for accomplishing this additional funding.  He received a loud round of applause when he announced it.  So, why doesn’t the Good Times article mention it now, being a known avid Friend proponent? 

Did CAO Palacios take the money away for some other purpose???

The Good Times report also makes NO mention of $593,000 donation to the Aptos Library Project from the Betty Ledyard Estate  

The Aptos Library Project, much like the new Capitola Library, seems to be a bottomless pit for funds, with little transparency to the public…..


Will any of the large wooden beams and other valuable materials be salvaged when Bogard Construction demolishes the Aptos Library?   Representatives of the Project’s design firm said doing so would add additional cost. 

I understand that salvage efforts add expense to the construction project.   However, salvage must occur because Santa Cruz County requires that at least 50% of construction and demolition materials be recycled, in order to reduce the amount of solid waste going into the local landfill, and also to be in compliance with the State’s CALGreen Construction and Demolition mandates codified by the Governor’s approval of SB 1374 on September 12, 2002.

CalRecycle Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling

[SB-1374 Solid waste]

Let’s hope this week’s multiple countywide fire department trainings in the old library will not damage and degrade the quality of the wood that could be recycled. 

Contact Library Director Yolande Wilburn, Project Manager Damon,  and County Supervisor Zach Friend  (maybe he’ll respond from Coronado…he’s not in Santa Cruz much anymore). 

Soquel Creek Water District is ripping up many major roadways, causing disruptions for many.  Avoid Laurel Street, Soquel Avenue Frontage Road and Kennedy Drive in Capitola.  This will go on for the next year….

This equipment is usually blocking Laurel and causing detours, but is shown parked here gobbling up Mimi De Marta Dog Park.

Soquel Creek Water District was responsible for also getting the Food Not Bombs folks evicted on extremely short notice from Lot 27, shown below as a construction staging area (in addition to the Mimi De Marta staging area just across the River….

In the meantime…Soquel Creek Water District has yet to provide a Final Anti-Degradation Analysis proving injecting their treated sewage water will not degrade the water quality, and California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife still claims no knowledge of the Project that crosses the San Lorenzo River and multiple other riparian areas.


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

February 27


There are so many memories around us: not just our own memories, but the memories of millions of others. Such memories are precious and, if we are to survive, we must respect all of them, but learning that respect will not be easy.

Non-Human Memories

There is a heartbroken tree in Costa Rica living with the memory of gomphotheres, elephant-like animals now long extinct. For the last 11,000 years, calabash trees cast their fruit onto the ground in hopes of the return of gomphotheres. Without gomphotheres, they will never see children.

Salmon long for the flow of streams beyond their reach, valiantly swimming upstream, making extraordinary and powerful leaps until they encounter a surprising obstacle.  A dam without a fish ladder or a badly installed road culvert are Big Surprises: free running streams are deep in each salmon’s memory – they want to return to their homes. 

Throughout the Santa Cruz area, families of golden crowned sparrows huddle together through the long cold nights in the same patch of bushes that their great, great, great, great grandparents called home. They celebrate the memory of that cozy patch of shrubs as their babies hatch in Alaska, and they raise children to be fat and happy with the promise of that specific Santa Cruz home.

Memories Extinguished or Alive

How do human memories play across this same landscape? How do we build and pass on enriching memories, so that our children’s children’s children enjoy a richer, regenerated landscape?

History is thick with cultural displacement. Crying people have been driven from the place of their memories into the places of other peoples’ rich history. Industrious, adventurous, or barbaric people weasel or force their way into other peoples’ lands. New stories and memories unfold, and, sometimes in violent transition we lose precious memories. How priceless would it be to still hear the local tribes’ stories of this place, of their families, and their tribes?

Do You Remember?

Three hundred years ago, herds of tule elk grazed the Pogonip’s prairies. Two hundred years ago, it was normal to catch salmon in the San Lorenzo River. Two decades ago, the County’s last burrowing owl was born in a ground squirrel burrow at UCSC. A decade ago, the last of Soquel’s population of Ohlone tiger beetles died in the last fragment of meadow above the also now gone drive-in movie theater. Three years ago, Big Basin had massive moist stands of old growth redwood trees surrounded by a historic visitor’s center. Almost everyone reading this holds the last memory, but I’m betting no one reading this recalls the other stories. 

The degraded state of Nature around us quickly becomes normal. The Native Peoples’ land is now ‘ours.’ The lack of elk, salmon, and tiger beetles doesn’t cross anyone’s minds as surprising. A generation or two from now, people might not expect to visit an ancient redwood anywhere near here.

Shifting baselines

This phenomenon is called “shifting baselines,” and it is not only acceptable but embraced by cultures that have been deeply separated from Nature. Such acceptance is good for business and, therefore, politics. Locally that acceptance is apparent in many places. For instance, Santa Cruz City Parks opposes restoring the recently disappeared Ohlone tiger beetle at Pogonip greenbelt…a project that would cost nothing to local taxpayers.

Years ago, Santa Cruz County adopted a rule to protect wildlife and plants that are unique in our area. The County hired scientists to create lists of these species, and these lists were published and required as reference in any proposed development. Those lists were “forgotten” and now not enforced.

I can’t recall where I read this sarcastic mantra for a model employee: “I don’t like music or art or books. The Boss’ jokes are funny. I like things just the way they are.” Maybe this is funny enough to serve as an easy to remember warning. Poor education leads to bad humor and accepting things just the way they are is dangerous. Shifting baselines are a big problem unless we figure out something quick, something we have yet to discover.

Every Day We Write the Book 

If future generations are to enjoy a rich natural world, we had better start respecting two types of people that everyone, everywhere once understood are very important: “scientists of living in this place” and “living in this place teachers.”

Around this region, the Amah Mutsun are relearning how we might better live with all that is here, in this place. So are a very few others. Randy Morgan and Dean Taylor are recently departed…both treasure troves of information about how we might better live with this land. Bill Davilla, Suzanne Schettler, Jim West, and Jodi McGraw are still with us- all with incredibly deep knowledge of, and experience with, our local ecosystems. Do you recognize these names? Are you following the work of our local tribe? In the most hopeful scenario, everyone living in the area would be participating with these people, who are key to regenerating this place, restoring healthy wildlife and clean water for future generations. They are the “scientists of living in this place.”

There is also a movement of “living in this place teachers.” The Santa Cruz Natural History Museum and the UCSC Arboretum are teaching others about the local natural history, featuring restoration lessons, illustrating how we might better live in this place. They deserve more support.

The Politics of Natural History

There is an upcoming election for Fourth District Supervisor in our County. Ideally, we will vote for the one who can easily name their advisors who are “scientists of living in this place” and who have the best strategy for building the movement of “living in this place teachers.”

The California Coastal Commission has 3 official staff people whose jobs are “scientists of living in this place.” What a concept! Maybe other government bodies should have these positions.

Let’s carefully watch politicians and reject those who move in the wrong direction. Beware of politicians that reject past environmental progress, such as those who already are spending taxpayer money to ‘take another look’ at the huge central meadow at Pogonip to see if it might be developed. It wasn’t that long ago that Santa Cruz begged the State for funding to protect the Pogonip, and then hundreds of people participated in a very involved planning process to ensure permanent protection of Pogonip’s iconic meadows. Together, we can reject the dangers of the shifting baseline and plan rather for restoration and regeneration of the natural world.

Calabash Dreaming…

Gomphotheres are extinct, but Daniel Janzen manifested the calabash’s dream. Given peace and stability, each of Earth’s regions will birth their own “scientists of living in this place.” Daniel Janzen is one of those people in the incredibly biodiverse tropical dry forest of northwestern Costa Rica. Dr. Janzen could start telling you how to live in that place today and not stop his story for at least five years. He has taught hundreds of people and has a legacy of well-taught stewards, park managers, neighbors, fire fighters, conservationists, and biologists. He deduced that horses are a new way for calabash trees to have babies. Horses, like gomphotheres of yesteryear, can sense the tasty pulp inside the calabash’s hard seed coat. So, they simply break it open with their hooves…freeing the seeds to make new trees. 

What Next?

This tropical story seems far away, but stories like this are all around us with people just as genius. Sports enthusiasts know how to root for something. People have a strong sense of political identity. Now is the time for us also to have an environmental identity. This is a non-partisan issue, there are no teams, and we all need to participate if this is to work.

How will we know if this is working? We will stop extinguishing memories and start building more and more complex stories, a new mythology, of living in this place. We will increasingly respect the memories of golden crowned sparrows, salmon, and elk. We will support tribal relearning. Our current sense of land ownership will evolve. Each year, more elected officials will reflect this evolution.

Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at:

Email Grey at


 February 27

#58 / We Will Not Let You Beat Our Children


My headline for this blog posting comes from an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Why Ukrainians Are Prepared to Fight,” authored by  Dr. Marci Shore, an Associate Professor of History at Yale University, and the author of The Ukrainian Night: An Intimate History of Revolution, published by Yale University Press in 2018. In this article, Dr. Shore told about her contact with two young women in Ukraine whom she knows:

As Vladimir Putin was ostentatiously amassing troops on the border, I … sent an email to two journalist friends in Kyiv:

“Ia s vami,” I wrote in Russian. I’m with you. 

“We’re always mobilized,” one wrote back, “and ready to work, whatever comes.” 

These women are still young, yet between them they have covered war and revolution in their own country, Belarus, Egypt and Iraq. Born around the time of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, they come from a country that has been through a lot. 

During World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution and the civil war that followed, Kyiv was occupied by five different armies. In the 1930s, Stalin engineered a famine that killed more than three and a half million Ukrainians. Then came the Great Terror, World War II, Nazi occupation, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, mass deportation to the Gulag, nuclear catastrophe. When the U.S.S.R. dissolved in 1991, Russia became its successor state; Ukraine and 13 other constituent Soviet Republics became newly independent states. In Ukraine, years of corruption, gangsterism and oligarchy followed. 

In 2004, the former Soviet republics in the Baltics—Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania—joined both the European Union and NATO. By then it was clear that a Russia ruled by Mr. Putin would resist any attempt by Ukraine (a country with a population more than seven times that of all three Baltic states combined) to follow their path. In that year’s Ukrainian presidential election, the Kremlin supported Viktor Yanukovych —a criminal with robbery convictions, who used election fraud and dioxin poisoning of his chief opponent to claim victory. In protest, thousands of Ukrainian citizens gathered on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv’s Independence Square, in what became known as the Orange Revolution.

For three weeks they froze, resolutely—and victoriously. New elections the following month brought their preferred, westward-leaning candidate to the presidency. But the Orange Revolution’s victory was ephemeral. The new president proved a disappointment. Mr. Yanukovych reappeared to run again in 2010—this time assisted by a slick Washington PR agent named Paul Manafort, who gave Mr. Yanukovych a makeover—haircut, clothes, body language—and coached him on how to scare Ukrainian Russian-speakers with threats that Ukrainian nationalists would persecute them. (Ukraine is a bilingual country, and Ukrainian and Russian are like Spanish and Italian, related but distinct.) The coaching was effective. 

Under Mr. Yanukovych, Ukraine was bound to the Kremlin, and the country’s resources flowed largely to the president and his inner circle of oligarchs. A younger generation, born after the fall of the Soviet Union, looked to the prospect of EU membership for the horizon of their future. Then, in November 2013, under pressure from Mr. Putin, Mr. Yanukovych abruptly declined to sign a long-anticipated association agreement with the EU. 

Thousands went out to the Maidan once again. They were largely students, young people who felt as if their future had been torn from their hands. They weren’t interested in ethnic differences or language politics. They were interested in Europe’s being open to them. Their slogan was “Ukraine is Europe.” 

Mr. Yanukovych sent riot police to beat them. It appeared that he was counting on the terrified parents to pull their children off the streets. But he miscalculated: Instead the parents joined their children there. At one point more than a half million people were on the streets of Kyiv, now with the slogan: “We will not let you beat our children.” All winter they stayed on the Maidan (emphasis added).


Professor Shore’s article says that this spirit is still alive, and that the citizens of Ukraine will simply not surrender to the current Russian aggression. A friend of mine, who works for a technology company that employs a number of Ukrainians, has told me the same thing. 

In her article in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Shore says this: 

At present, every third Ukrainian is prepared to resist a Russian invasion with armed force. An additional 21% are prepared to organize civil resistance. In any case, Russia has been engaging in a war with Ukraine for the past eight years. My journalist friends … are readers of Chekhov and know that it is axiomatic that once a gun appears on the stage, the director must see that it is fired before the end of the last act. Mr. Putin has arranged very many guns on the stage. What choice is there but to be “ready to work, whatever comes”?  

I am hoping that Professor Shore and my friend are correct! But here is one other thing about Dr. Shore’s article….  

In what I am sure many readers might think of as a “detour” into philosophy, not really that relevant to what is happening, right now, in Ukraine, Dr. Shore injects a meditation on “the present”:

Philosophers have long struggled with how to think about the present, which cannot be grasped because it has no duration. For Jean-Paul Sartre, the present was the border between facticity—what simply is, what has happened and cannot be changed—and transcendence, an opening to go beyond what and who one has been until this moment. Revolution illuminates this border. It is as if, in Blanche’s words from “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “You suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow.”

Those who have been reading my blog with some consistency might remember a blog posting from June 2020, “Something Pretty Profound.” Hannah Arendt’s book, Between Past And Future, talks, as does Dr. Shore, about “the present.” It is “now,” in the present, that we discover that while we would like to “observe,” and to “comment,” and to place ourselves in the role of “spectator upon history,” that we find that this will not, in fact, do. 

It is now, right now, in the present, that every consequential decision must be made. The present is the place that requires us to act.  

In Ukraine, right now, brave men and women are taking action against authoritarian force. Let us celebrate their action – and their message, because their action speaks, and what they are saying must be a message that we hear, ourselves. We must understand that their action sends a message that applies to all persons, in all places, as well as to those fighting against aggression in Ukraine: 

We Will Not Let You Beat Our Children

This is to say that we, we who are alive now, in the present, and who are, willing or unwilling, trustees for the future, will not now bow down to force, and let our future be determined by power. Instead, as William Faulkner told us in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, we shall not only “endure.” We shall – we must – “prevail.” 

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

February 28

“O, Give me land, lots o’land, under starry skies above….”

The valiant fight by the Ukrainian people continues as we speak, to the utter dismay of Russia’s President Putin, whose invading force has supposedly been slowed, even while unleashing tremendous firepower as it destroys property and lives, and sends lines of refugees streaming into neighboring countries. Europe had been slow to step up, but an upsurge of solidarity has arisen worldwide, with mass demonstrations and a flow of weaponry crossing into the besieged country. President Biden and other world leaders have followed up on threats to curtail Russian commerce, with banking, oil and natural gas being the initial targets. Germany has openly pledged to send anti-tank weapons to combat that destructive arm of the Russian forces, and who’s to say that the U.S. isn’t arming the resistance with power reminiscent of its history of providing the Taliban with the means to fight the Russians in Afghanistan?

Quick to arise after the evil puppet-master Putin set his dogs upon his neighboring country, was the Puppet-Agent-of-Orange, Donald BoneSpurs, pronouncing his old friend a ‘genius’ for his ‘brilliance’ as a peace-keeper by sending his military into Ukraine. Or, perhaps he meant ‘peach-keeper,’ confusing it with his bottle of self-tanning lotion. At any rate, the tritons and harpies delegation of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Marjorie Taylor Greene, FoxNews, DJT Jr. and others, soon joined in to also look the other way in support of Putin’s preparatory attempt toward resurrecting the glory of the old Russian Empire, while establishing his own ‘legacy’. Trump’s remarks sparked a minor firestorm, which led him to do a half-hearted pivot of his praise at this past weekend’s CPAC convention in Orlando, by saying the action should not have been undertaken by Putin, and if only DJT had been properly seated in the Oval Office, this could have been avoided, and Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, blah, blah and blah. Come on, BS, who’s your Vladdy?!

Fox’s Tucker Carlson, suggested that Putin isn’t such a bad dude, because of all the things he DIDN’T do, such as making fentanyl, trying to eliminate Christianity, or eating dogs, while maintaining these are fair statements. Jimmy Kimmel on his show, was not having TC’s outrageous commentary, saying, “So, in order for you to despise a man who murders his rivals, who murders and poisons people, and is actively trying to destabilize our country, he has to do something to you personally. He has to eat your dog. Thanks for your dumb opinion, Tuck, but we want to see the tape Putin has of YOU.” Stephen Colbert came up this week with the best new name for Trump: “SupercallousfragileracistsexistnaziPotus!” Treasure the mental image of the former-guy silhouetted across the face of the moon riding his broom.

Despite the destruction and human suffering, the invasion has many elements of a Peter Sellers movie, pointing to the unpreparedness of the Russian supply lines and the inexperienced soldiers who fell for Putin’s insistence that they were only participating in ‘maneuvers’ over the past few weeks. Looking forward to seeing footage of the Russian vehicle which ran out of gas, the occupants abandoning the machine to find a gas station, so to speak. In their absence, a band of Roma tow the vehicle away with their tractor. 

After Der Gropenfuehrer was banned from his favored social media sites, and the failure of his blog, ‘From the Desk of Donald Trump’ (having a twenty-nine day run due to low readership), America has been graced with ‘Truth Social,’ called ‘America’s Big Tent’, and a ‘free-speech haven,’ DJT’s own social media site! The Presidents Day launch would have been better suited for a debut on April 1, with free clown noses for the first 100 signups. Even after clogging the email boxes of recipients 20 times a day with his ever-present grifting messages and come-ons, the launch was a slow-starter, plagued with glitches, and a promise by CEO Devin Nunes to be in full operation by the end of March. Still, the Trumpster claims it is the number one app on Apple’s app store, with over 500,000 signing on. Anybody out there know Tim Cook? We need to straighten this out!

Canada has finally quelled the trucker protests re COVID rules, mostly populated by a few big rigs, numerous pick-up trucks, assorted autos, and a few 1968 AMC Pacers (the car that could be quickly converted into a hot tub by removing the body from the chassis). By blocking roads and bridges linking Canada with the US, the protesters seriously impacted commerce, causing lost wages, curtailing supply lines for automakers, who were seeing delayed production anyway in not having a dependable supply of computer chips for new cars. So, for the future, no ‘smart cars’ with AI on our highways…the technology of a ’91 Plymouth Voyager will suffice. Cheering them on were Senators Rand and Cruz, and Governor DeSantis, who invited and encouraged American truckers to emulate the actions of the Canada protest to ‘clog things up’…nothing like chaos and confusion to win over the electorate. Washington, D.C. police are blocking off critical thoroughfares or rerouting traffic in anticipation of a threatened trucker protest enroute from the West Coast to disrupt Biden’s State of the Union speech, but shortages of Russian petrol may inhibit the action. 

With the relaxation of COVID restrictions, the truckers may have to come up with another cause célèbre. ‘Read my lips’ takes on a whole new meaning in our changed world. One person had hesitation about returning to a maskless life because they had developed a habit of mouthing “Go to Hell” to irritating people, now it may have consequences. Yet another had followed all directives in getting vaxxed, boosted, and staying masked, or isolated, but thinking that after all is said and done, his salvation may have been the plastic-encased four-leaf clover on his keychain. Bummer! 

Lift a flag and a glass for the Ukrainians, and stay safe!

Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email:


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

QUOTES. “Wharves”

“It is better to go down on the great seas which human hearts were made to sail than to rot at the wharves in ignoble anchorage”.  Hamilton Wright Mabie 

“To survive, you had to steer your course midstream, where the water was deepest and ran fastest, that you had to paddle fast, as fast as you could to stay there to stay still in the rushing current because the price of failure was to be washed up on the beach or dashed to pieces on the wharves.  Melanie McGrath 

“It is the ship at the wharf, not the ship at sea that rots fastest.” Orison Swett Marden,


The series of 60 second docs has had some real gems. Check this guy out 🙂

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