Blog Archives

March 25 – 31, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON… gives us the scoop… GREENSITE… with a Quarantine Story… KROHN… has the week off STEINBRUNER… courts, Aptos, and Soquel Water PATTON… on Facebook and Trump … EAGAN…Sub Cons and Deep Cover JENSEN… watching movies on Amazon… UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…”STAYING HOME”


“THREE WAY” TRAFFIC ON PACIFIC (1925-28). Note the cars PARKED on both sides of Pacific Avenue and a parade of cabins on trucks going down themiddle of the street. You can also see the then County Bank Building at Cooper and Pacific and all the men wearing hats!!! That’s of course our Town Clock sitting in its’ original location atop the IOOF Hall.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

Learn things! For free!

Another plus side of all this shelter in place – craft projects!

THESE ARE THE BEST OF TIMES. Folks always say that when they aren’t sure what and where it’s turning. The old World War 2 movies they’re showing that dangers from the skies are really bad. The virus stalking and blowing around the world is teaching us a lot about our selves and crises. A larger danger than Trump? It didn’t seem possible and now we have just about half as much to worry about ‘That’s not counting what the dinosaurs had to face just those few ages.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Your notes, FB’s, emails and calls of support have been wonderful. I’m still under the superhuman efforts of my daughters to regain stability and breathe near normally..see you soon..

March 23rd. 2020


Unless you are sick with the covid virus, are a first responder, or have lost your low-paying jobs and cannot collect unemployment due to immigrant status, this new life on stay-at-home orders is not that difficult. With grocery, liquor and cannabis stores open, walking encouraged and springtime blooming, can you really complain?  Here’s a quarantine story for perspective.

In 1948 when I was three years old, my family left England for Australia on the SS Orontes, (pictured) a voyage of around 40 days. My father worked for Shell Oil as a driller, work that took him to Burma, Assam, Ecuador and finally, Australia. Three is a bit young to retain clear memories and mine of the voyage are scant. I recall the lip of a rogue wave visible from the dining room porthole with shouts and screams so it must have been unusual. There are fleeting images of men dressed as women, lathered up, throwing each other into the swimming pool and a man with crown and trident: the seafaring ritual for crossing the Equator. At the port of call in Colombo, Sri Lanka, a long walk up a steep hill to a tiny gift shop where my father allowed my sister and I to choose small, wood carved elephants. Mine is black, ebony, is missing its tusks and half a foreleg and is something I’d probably grab if quick evacuation were imminent. 

I have no idea when I became sick on the voyage. It was pre-vaccine measles, a nasty virus affecting mostly children under five with significant complications including encephalitis and can be fatal. A vaccine was not available until the 1960’s. I can only imagine the scene as we docked in Australia after a long sea voyage, immigrants to a new country and I’m whisked away to a quarantine hospital for three weeks. No visitors allowed. I do remember that quarantine hospital or at least a few images are etched. I was held in a concrete basement in a bed not a cot. The only other inmate was a baby, old enough to stand and hold onto the bars of the cot, which it shook continuously. I was annoyed and wished it would stop while feeling sorry for it. I said, “it will be alright” and then felt silly since it couldn’t understand. I hadn’t yet learned about tone. I recall our being left alone for what seemed like days and then the baby was gone. One’s sense of time is subjective so after what seemed like an eternity, a nurse took me by the hand and led me up a long ramp with sunlight at the end. Ah the sunlight! And there a car with my parents, who I hadn’t expected to see again. 

I’m grateful to scientists who produce vaccines that protect us from viruses that used to kill. Those who fear vaccines may never have dealt with a serious viral illness pre-vaccine as we are now facing with Covid-19. While medical science will find a vaccine that allows us to face down this virus, others are in the wings. In the interregnum, a good time to assess our global priorities, as class injustice is laid bare and consumption gluttony for a time put on hold.

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.


Chris Krohn is off this week. He will return 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 the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at

Thank you to the readers who kindly pointed out my error in last week’s column wherein I stated that it looked like the Cabrillo College Measure R Bond proposal had not failed to gain the required 55% voter approval.  That was my error, and I apologize.

To be clear, Measure R did not pass because to date has only received 52.55%, and needed 55%.

Election Results

Soquel Creek Water District Board has shown a pattern of holding Board meetings on Election Night at unorthodox locations, and not always providing video for the public to witness the critical decisions approved.  Recently, on March 3, the Board approved the $6.2 Million contract for the Phase 1 design/build work for their expensive and unnecessary (in the informed opinions of hundreds)  project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the drinking water supply for the MidCounty. The meeting was held in the Cabrillo College Horticulture classroom.  District staff announced that the meeting was being recorded, as had been requested by the public (me).  There were nine Project consultants in the audience, one member of the District’s Water Supply Standing Committee, and one member of the general public…me.

During the public comment regarding the Project, during the two minutes I was allowed, I was reading from the legal Declaration of Ron Duncan, General Manager of the District, filed in Santa Cruz Superior Court on February 20, 2019, but ran out of time.  I asked for one more minute, but Chairman Bruce Daniels refused.  I continued reading the final sentence of the Declaration but District staff unplugged the electricity to my microphone.  

It is possible that unplugging the electrical cord also affected the video process, because now, Board Clerk Emma Olin informs me that “due to technical problems, the March 3 Board meeting video is not available.”

What was so offensive to the ears of the Board that caused staff to unplug my microphone?  I was reading Ron Duncan’s sworn declaration (page 6) stating “The bond requirement for the liquidation of funds under Prop 1 is that qualified projects must be constructed and on-line by spring, 2023.  The last date for disbursement of Prop. 1 grant monies is February 29, 2020, thus all project work must be completed by February 29, 2020 or the District would be required to surrender the $50 million.”

How, then could the Board be approving the $6.2 Million Design/Build work for the Project on March 3, 2020 and not have to surrender the $50 million grant….if what Ron Duncan claimed, under penalty of perjury, were true?

Take a look at Item 7.2 that begins on page 33 of the agenda packet and is described in the Presentation.

So, we should all be asking the State Department of Water Resources if they plan to require Soquel Creek Water District to surrender the $50 million grant.

Maybe that is why the Board also voted to take yet another trip to Washington, D.C. this June to lobby for more federal money.  Ratepayers will foot this bill, along with the $45,000 annual contract for the Capital Edge lobbyist they are also paying to do this very work for the second year in a row.

Wow.  Maybe the Board will take some nice pictures and at least give the ratepayers a slide show when they return.

Incidentally, it was on Election Night on November 6, 2018 that the Board held a meeting at Community Foundation and approved the rate increases necessary to pay for the expensive PureWater Soquel Project, as well as the Twin Lakes Church Pilot Injection Well for the Project….all before the Board certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved the PureWater Soquel Project on December 18, 2018.  Isn’t that amazing?

(I am glad the District did video this meeting, although for a long time, they had posted a blurry screen of a May 6, 2018 meeting in it’s place.  I am happy they corrected that error.)

These are strange times, and for those who depend on public transit to go grocery shopping and attend appointments, things will get more complicated, but at least riding the bus will be free.

Take a look here

Monterey County Transit has adopted the same policies.

It is shocking to read that the California Judicial Council issued a mandate on March 18 causing not only Santa Cruz County Courts to declare court holiday and reduce services, but most all counties in the state as well.
Here is the link to the Mandate issued, and
here is a link to updates for all counties in the state.


Chairman of the Coastal Commission, Steve Padilla, who presided over the March 11-13 meetings in Scotts Valley, has been hospitalized and placed on a respirator due to coronavirus infection. Those from the area who attended these meetings to speak about the Soquel Creek Water District’s PureWater Soquel Project and also the City of Santa Cruz beach camping issues were exposed needlessly due to the Commission’s decision to hold the meeting “with precautions”.

Send good thoughts to Chairman Padilla and all those who now are in quarantine.

At the time of this writing, the County Board of Supervisors is planning to hold a regular meeting in the 5th floor Board Chambers, with seemingly no precautionary measures noted on any County websites for remote participation by members of the public ordered to shelter in place and respecting a ban on public gatherings.  WHY?


“To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health has determined that all non-essential gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until further guidance is issued by the California Department of Public Health.”

Perhaps the consent agenda items such as #48 are the reason for pushing through an ill-advised public meeting.  This nod of the Supervisors would approve a $2,850,387 contract with Anderson Pacific from Santa Clara to put in a new traffic light at the Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive intersection, while also eliminating the bike lane from there to the bridge, several parking places belonging to the pub next to the bridge as well as several parking places along Soquel Drive in front of the existing businesses in the Aptos Village.  The taxpayers will also fund adding a dedicated turn lane on Soquel Drive to accommodate the Aptos Village Project subdivision’s gateway entrance from Parade Street.    The traffic light at Aptos Creek Road just happens to be a condition of the Aptos Village Project subdivision Phase 2 that the Board approved in January on the consent agenda, without any discussion whatsoever.

What is curious is that the Board will approve the “unanticipated revenue” of $3,437,000 to fund the Project, with a claim that $2,887,000 will come from the Regional Transportation Commission’s (RTC) Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) revenue awarded.  The curious thing is that the RTC only awarded the County $400,000 for the Aptos Village Traffic Improvement Phase 2 Project.

One wonders how much of this bill the Aptos Village Project developers are paying?  I have asked Public Works for information but as of this writing, have received no answers.    I have also asked Supervisor Zach Friend to pull the Consent item and place it on Regular agenda for better public discussion…no response.  Hmmmm……


Consent agenda Item #47 will happily re-start the Mar Visa Bike/Ped Overpass Project that has languished for 20 years, but would disregard the will of the public about where it should be built in order to provide the safest route for elementary school kids.  The plan seems to keep to the original idea of crossing Highway One at the Mar Vista Drive area, and would take away parking from the local residents and perhaps the Aptos Grange, while causing students to have to cross Soquel Drive multiple times in order to get to Mar Vista Elementary School.

A citizens committee met with the consultant about three years ago and unanimously recommended the overpass be located closer to Cabrillo College athletic fields, bringing a pathway to Soquel Drive along the creek bank.   The group felt that this would  provide a safer, more direct route to the elementary school, as well as Cabrillo College.  There could be protected or even a separate bike path along McGregor Drive to safely link the Seacliff neighborhood to the overpass along undeveloped land near New Brighton State Beach lands and provide a safe bike and pedestrian link that would be well-used.

The agreements in Consent Agenda Item #47 that the Board will approve with a single nod (let’s hope they are awake) would transfer the Project to the County Department of Public Works to manage the money that the RTC has budgeted for the work, and CalTrans will handle all the environmental analysis.  The public can look forward to only two (meaningless) Open House comment sessions along the way as the Scope of Work agreement already states there will be a Mitigated Negative Declaration declared after some analysis that focuses mostly on how to handle the removal of parking spaces on Mar Vista Drive.

Contact the County Board of Supervisors and let them know your thoughts:
Chairman Greg Caput <>
Ryan Coonerty<>
Zach Friend <>
John Leopold <>
Bruce McPherson<>


Happy Spring,

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 and finished with almost 30% of the votes.

Email Becky at


#85 / Perils Of Prediction

I enjoyed a recent article in The New Republic, “The Political Media’s Blurred Reality.” The article made (legitimate) fun of the various media pundits who have been covering the current presidential race, specifically including Rachel Maddow, who seems to be a favorite of the liberals and the Democrats. I am, as you might deduce from this somewhat catty remark, not a big fan.

At any rate, The New Republic article points out the hazards of “pack journalism,” and I think it is right on target. My point in passing on the article is simply to remind my readers of a point I make quite consistently: it is not our assignment, in life, to “observe,” and to “predict.”

There is nothing wrong with informed observation, and with becoming “informed spectators.” But if we begin to believe that this is our main assignment, and that this is what we are mainly supposed to do as our democratic homework, we have profoundly mistaken our mission.

Ours is not the task of good “observation,” which is what all those pundits do, to whom (The New Republic says) we all tend to pander.

No. Our task is to think, talk, and act!

Forget about “prediction.” Self-government begins when we begin to get involved in both individual and collective action ourselves.

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. Classic peeks inside our secret places…maybe?

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s comic 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 writes about an Amazon original film just released, called Blow the Man Down. Check it out this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.



UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only and archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Peter Klotz-Chamberlin from the Resource Center for Non Violence guests on February 4. After which Nancy Macy who is  Environmental Committee Chair of the Valley Womens Club talks about PG&E and other problems. Jean Brocklebank and Michael Lewis will talk about our Santa Cruz Public library issues on Feb 11. Distinguished Artists Series founder John Orlando and pianist Lembit Beecher guest on March 3. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at 

Hey, you’re home, might as well redo your bathroom?

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts. Such a wide range of folks such as Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011. 

Staying Home

I’m a home girl. I like to stay home.
~Faith Hill

I’m a very lazy, stay-at-home kind of girl.
~Jerry Hall

To be an ideal guest, stay at home.
~E. W. Howe

Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there.
~Phillips Brooks

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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