Blog Archives

March 3 – 9, 2021

Highlights this week:BRATTON…Ant solutions, Manu Koenig issues, Regal correction, Ferlinghetti in Santa Cruz. GREENSITE…on UCSC Growth: It’s the 11th Hour. KROHN…Where was Jimmy Panetta, $15 minimum wage, homelessness blues. STEINBRUNER…Rebuilding rule changes, fire insurance coverage, renegade firefighters, Swenson closes parking, Soquel Water transfer. PATTON…Green New Deal. EAGAN…classic Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES… “March”


RONALD REAGAN SPEAKING IN OUR CIVIC AUDITORIUM. This was October 8, 1966. Ronnie was running against Pat Brown, and beat him. He became president in 1981.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


ANT SOLUTIONS…LITERALLY! I am humbled, amazed, and very grateful by the response to my plea for ways to get rid of my ant problem in last week’s BrattonOnline. Phone calls and emails all had detailed instructions on how to get rid of those tiny devils. By far the most mentioned weapon was Borax, in one form or another. Then again, Rita Darling told me about peppermint oil, peroxide, or cayenne pepper. Cinnamon seems to repel them, she said. Many, many touted buying Terro, a liquid bait sold at local stores or even Amazon. Terro too contains Borax. Here are some of the many battle strategies.

Matthew Werner sent…With ants, as with rats, mice, & roaches… it is us or them. My solution is to mix some Twenty Mule Team Borax powder with water, add a little sugar, pour some into an old salsa container with a couple holes punched high on the sides, and place it as close to where the ants are entering your domicile as you can. Ants will feed on the stuff, bring it back to the colony, and wipe themselves out. Gets your clothes clean too.

Dean Quarnstrom contributed…Years ago, I discovered an easy solution to keeping the ant population home invasion issue under some modicum of sensible warfare control. I would find the spot where the most ants entered my home, then put an easy-to-access bowl or dish filled with white sugar mixed with water to feed the invaders nearby on the floor.  The ants quickly learned and passed along this new source of sweetened water data to the invading army population, and the ants quit searching any further for what they wanted.  It worked like a charm, and our lives returned to a blissful co-existence, and ecological sanity…except, of course, for how negatively the climate was affected by the amount of fossil energy needed to create the white sugar most preferred by the home invaders. Food, Not Bombs.

Debbie Bulger adds…You can kill ants with Orange Guard, a spray product sold in many grocery stores and hardware stores. It is non-poisonous to humans. The active ingredient is an orange peel extract (d-Limonene) Additionally you can make a saturated solution of 2 teaspoons of boric acid, 2 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in about a cup of warm water. The boric acid is available in drugstores or garden stores. The ants make a beeline for the cup containing this cocktail and carry the mixture back to their nest. After a while, they no longer come—-until the next time. These tiny Argentine Ants are not native to California.

Dorene Blake forwarded… New York Times; Best Ant Killer

Ron Sandidge sent…Consumer Reports: How to get rid of ants in the house

We’ll keep up this battle. If you too have ideas, let me know. Ant season isn’t over yet, I assume.

MANU KOENIG, COUNTY SUPERVISOR. Reports are coming in faster than ever that Koenig keeps sloughing off requests, changes, and any moves he doesn’t like. He claims that he won’t respond or move to action because too many of his supporters disagree. He’s got a lot to learn. Most of us are still wondering how he got elected in the first place.

REGAL THEATER CORRECTION. Last week in talking about the closure of the Regal 9 Cinema I wrote that it opened in 1985.  Matthew Werner read it and corrected it…. “While it is sad to learn that the big 9 theater is closing, I felt compelled to point out that it was a product of the post Loma Prieta earthquake rebuild of the “Pacific Garden Mall”, and so could not have opened in 1985. Probably you meant 1995, eh?” He’s right of course. It just seems like the Regal was here nearly forever.

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI AND SANTA CRUZ. It’s surprising that with all the tributes and memorial poetry that Lawrence Ferlinghetti has been receiving that there’s been no mention of his many, many retreats for years to Santa Cruz. I won’t mention her name, but a very good friend of his who lives on Ocean View had Lawrence visiting here to hide from his public persona for years. I only met him once, in the Davenport Collectibles shop about five years ago.

I’m not “printing” these critiques in any special order. There seems to be so very few that are what I’d call GREAT movies anymore. Besides that, I keep fighting the urge and financial demand of coughing up another $15.99 per month to rent from one more streaming outlet.

DICKINSON. (APPLE SERIES) Emily Dickinson was an early American poet ,in case you missed her. This series is sparkly, lively, 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.

THE GIRL ON A TRAIN. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Taking place in India, complete with a few non-essential Bollywood musical numbers, this is still a murder mystery. A young woman watches what she thinks is a disappearance of another woman. She finds more than she was looking for and you should too…avoid this one.

TELL ME YOUR SECRETS. (AMAZON PRIME SERIES). Three very different people, each with their own plot and purpose, make this a complex movie. As their stories unfold we find a serial killer, a sex offender and all sorts of complexities. Not Oscar winner or even Golden Globe material, but it’ll keep you glued for a few takes.

CAPITANI. (NETFLIX SERIES) Filmed in Luxembourg, this one is already due for a second season. Luc Capitani is a police inspector with the job of looking for the murderer of the 14 year old, whosetwin sister, has also vanished. It takes place in a small town where everybody knows everybody, and everything that happens in it. They won’t cooperate with Capitani who along with a beautiful assistant has issues of his own. A good one, and worth your time, by all means.

WALKER. (CW SERIES) This is a remake of an earlier Walker, Texas Ranger series. Do not watch or even search for it. Especially don’t link up with CW and be forced to watch their ads. The acting in Walker is terrible. The lead looks like Chris Krohn. Walker goes away for his town for a year and comes back to get involved in some dopey plot that makes little sense. Avoid at all costs.

RED DOT. ( NETFLIX SINGLE) A genuinely tense Swedish movie – almost Hitchcockian at moments. A young married couple with relationship problems, and a baby on the way, decide to go camping in vast snow country. They accidently anger some townspeople, and we learn more about their own past later as they become targets of these crazed racially-prejudiced locals. Not great, but you stay fixated almost all the way through it.

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, 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.

TIGER. (HBO) This is a two part documentary on HBO that tells us, or reminds us of all the troubles Tiger Woods has faced in his golfing career. His sex life, his injuries, his children, his completely domineering father; it’s all in this expose. Still we watch and admire Tiger for the way he’s survived. Completely riveting and revealing. Watch it quickly while HBO is still featuring it.

I CARE A LOT.(NETFLIX SINGLE) When you watch Rosamund Pike,  Peter Dinklage and Dianne Wiest in what’s called a dark comedy you know you’ll like it. Rosamund plays a wheeling, dealing, crooked professional senior citizen guardian. She exists to bilk seniors out of their savings. She works with a senior home named Berkshire Oaks that looks suspiciously like our Dominican Oaks. You’ll think about it long after it’s finished.

BEHIND HER EYES.(NETFLIX SERIES) 63 RT. A married psychiatrist who’s got several problems of his own and isn’t very likable anyways has an affair with his beautiful younger secretary who has a daughter. It’s needlessly complex and very hard to like anyone in the cast. Don’t use your next to last dollar to rent this one.

ALLEN V. FARROW.(HBO SERIES) 85 RT. Woody Allen has made several great movies in his career. He also played pretty good clarinet. I met him a few times when he’d sit in with Turk Murphy’s band in San Francisco and I was living in Turk’s hotel at the time. Mia Farrow pulls out all the stops in this documentary and her daughter Dylan tells us what it was like being raised with a deviant like Woody for a father. Episode 2 begins with Woody’s taking naked photos of his adopted daughter Soon-Yi and how she handled it. Sad, disturbing, revealing and engrossing and you’ll be sorry you know this much about Allen….but there he is…or was. Watch it every Sunday night on our local Comcast HBO. Woody gets even more perverse in the second episode!

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. (AMC SERIES) A pretty time walker goes back to 1590’s England and meets Sir Walter Raleigh among other characters. She denies she’s a time traveler even though she’s the only one without a British accent. She joins a vampire partner and they work out answers to age old mysteries. Good fun and diverting but no award winning from this one.

CB STRIKE.(HBO MAX SERIES) J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) wrote this private detective chase puzzle. Cormoran Strike is the private eye who is missing one foot. He and his beautiful partner get mixed up with other love affairs and other crimes. Tom Burke plays Strike. The acting is fine, the photography is very well done and if you love detective plots this one will hold you well through the first episode. That’s all that has been released so far.

CLARICE.(CBS SERIES) This movie tries to tell us about the young agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster)who dealt with Hannibal Lecter back in 1993. It is baffling to see how she’s treated by her superior officers in the police force and how she deals with them. Clarice has many deep seated problems of her own and the movie is complicated but you’ll stick with it.

CRIME SCENE:THE VANISHING AT THE CECIL HOTEL.(NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY SERIES). Los Angelinos know that the Cecil Hotel is a real place. It’d now called “Stay In Main” hotel. It has 700 rooms and is in the worst part of the city. It’s notorious for the suicides, rapists, murders, dealers and other missing people over the last 100 years. Ron Howard directed this documentary and it’s well worth watching. 46RT.

A VIGILANTE  (NETFLIX SINGLE) Olivia Wilde gives her all as she plays an abused woman who spends her life trying to help other such victims. It’s tense, very depressing as it keeps revealing deeper and deeper issues among each woman in the movie. There’s a murder and some chases and watch it even today’s reality can’t be that bad.

TO ALL THE BOYS: ALWAYS AND FOREVER.(NETFLIX SERIES). It’s alight hearted romp containing all teen agers doing silly things. It’s known as a romantic comedy. Waiting to get into Stanford one girl has many problems relating to her favorite boy toy. She goes to New York and has more adventures…if you care. I didn’t .

SQUARED LOVE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Wikipedia and I both call this a Polish comedy.  It takes place in Warsaw. So there’s a guy who meets and falls in love with a very sexy pinup fashion model. We know on the other hand that she’s really at heart a grade school teacher. It’s in the same ballpark as Call My Agent. Good fun actually but you’ll spend extra time suspending your disbelief.

MALCOLM AND MARIE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Zendaya the co star of this movie is from Oakland. She and John David Washington plus a few friends filmed this in a “glass house” in Carmel during the pandemic and did a super job. The plot involves John a filmmaker who has just received a great review of his new film in the LA Times arguing throughout the entire film with Zendaya. Their fights are our fights, their issues are our issues and it’s an excellent movie. 59RT

ADU.(NETFLIX SINGLE).Some poor director decisions make the weaving of three almost totally unrelated stories into one heartwarming movie. Adu is a little boy who has to escape his warlike Africa hometown. Another story centers on the conflicting feelings of border guards. The most involved saga deals with illegal elephant ivory tusks and a father/daughter entanglement. It’s a fine movie but hard to follow.

FIREFLY LANE (NETFLIX SERIES) a 48 on RT. Katherine Heigl and her BFF Sarah Chalke go through some show biz type plots and make this a pretty ditzy movie. There are laughs and cute twists but nothing, absolutely nothing here that you’ll remember while you’re looking for a new mask to wear later today.

BLISS. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE) I’m giving up trying to figure out the plot of this one. Owen Wilson gets fired from his job and meets Salma Hayek and it goes sci-fi and nonsense from there on. Local fans should watch for Joshua Leonard son of Bob and Joann Leonard of Watsonville, he plays Cameron. The movie switches from realities to fantasies and back again. You’ll probably give up long before it’s over….don’t worry about it. 81 RT

SOMEONE HAS TO DIE.(3 PART Netflix Series). Set in Spain in the 1950’s during Franco’s rule this is a genuine period piece. It centers on Spain’s prejudices against Mexico and any immigrants from there. It goes on to make a spy movie about which of the boys are gay and how to disown them. After those two themes it ends on secret sex between two families and who is genuinely faithful to their marriage vows. A very heavy handed, serious movie. Watch it.

LADY AND THE DALE. (HBO SERIES) This nearly unbelievable documentary has a 100 RT. It’s the result of executive directing by the Duplass brothers which makes any movie near great to begin with. Jerry Dean Michael was a con artist from birth. He later changed his name to Elizabeth Carmichael a Trans woman and managed to convince a lot of the world that the motorcycle with two tires in front would change the world. See it as soon as possible, great fun betwixt the grimaces.

RADIOACTIVE.(AMAZON PRIME Single) The lovely and effervescent Rosamund Pike plays the Polish born Marie Curie. This pointless drama includes Curie’s secret love affair, it adds her belief in the occult and as a movie it is beautifully filmed. Curie also was the first woman to win the Noble Prize. It lacks a driving force in spite of showing us Curie’s fight against sexism, and from ethnic prejudice. I’d give it a 5 out of 10 if I was giving anything.

PALMER. (APPLE TV+ Single)The big deal here is that it stars Justin Timberlake as Palmer who was a football star in high school but then got sent to prison. He returns back to his hometown and becomes a full time parent to a gay little 7 year old boy. Many sobs later Palmer settles into his leading role and it’s fairly predictable. Watch it if you want to feel good about something.

BELOW ZERO (NETFLIX Single)  A Spanish film about the trailer that is transporting prisoners from one prison to another. The trailer is stopped by spiked tires and a long search among the prisoners for one in particular. Which prisoner, and why him is the main plot. It’s tense, exciting, and nearly believable. Don’t miss it for sure! It was number one on Netflix a week ago!!!

THE DIG. (NETFLIX SINGLE) You can’t beat the pairing of Britain’s Carey Mulligan and Ralph (“Rafe”) Fiennes in this 1939 setting that centers on the excavation of an Anglo-Saxon burial ship named Sutton Hoo from the seventh century. British Museum’s battle over the rights to own and move the ship and Mulligan fights them. Brilliant, absorbing, great scenic splendor and never better acting. See this one as soon as possible. Checking upon this I read… The 27 meter long Anglo-Saxon ship from Sutton Hoo no longer exists. It was made of oak and after 1,300 years in the acidic soil, it rotted away leaving only its ‘ghost’ imprinted in the sand. The movie never deals with this fact making us believe that the wooden ship itself was three dimensional.

 LOSING ALICE.(APPLE + Series) It’s filmed and set in contemporary Israel. A woman film director is facing getting older while raising three daughters and living with her husband who’s a famous movie star. Much sensitive game playing between them as they deal with a beautiful young screen writer who wedges her way between and amongst them. A first class movie, with fine directing, good camera work and a plot that will keep you completely involved. Don’t avoid it. It has a 71 on Rotten Tomatoes.

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI. (APPLE + SINGLE)Try to imagine an intimate get together with Muhammed Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown from the NFL in 1964. Their shared and unshared reactions to the racial issues of their time is amazingly realistic and educational. It has a 98 on RT and deserves it. It’s an adaption of the play and shows the sensitive, delicate reactions to racial prejudice. Watch it and think about the genius behind Regina King’s first big time director achievements

THE RIPPER. (NETFLIX Series) There was a mass murderer in London in the late 1970’s and early 80’s who patterned his killings after the famed Jack the Ripper the century before (1888) . This documentary is not only well done but it centers on the very poor and later exposed police investigations. A real change in online viewing… it’s perfectly assembled, logically developed and surprising in the exposing the lousy job the police and other authorities did in the decades they tried to catch The Ripper. The real Jack the Ripper (1888)  was never caught even though he’d sent letters to the police.

PIECES OF A WOMAN. (NETFLIX SINGLE) This movie is just a bit corny and cute but it’ll grab you in many different ways. A young couple has a baby with the help of a midwife. The baby dies and the plot thickens around the midwife and mom’s mother. The mother is well played by Ellen Burstyn. You could guess the ending but I’m not going to help you. If you need to shed a tear or two during these sad times go for it. I liked it a lot.

LUPIN. (NETFLIX SERIES). A neatly twisted robbery plot of Marie Antoinette’s necklace from the Louvre. There’s revenge, politics (French politics) and many, many Louvre scenes. The plot is complex enough to keep you glued to your viewing device for all seven episodes. What is outstanding is that the acting is excellent and believable. Reader Judi Grunstra writes…” In your blurb about the Netflix show “Lupin,” you say there are 7 episodes.  There are only 5 (more to come in a 2nd season)”.

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND. (HBO MAX SINGLE) Staten Island like New Jersey has a nutty and not too good a reputation around the New York City area. Marisa Tomei does a great job as mother to a bunch of teen agers trying to grow up on the island. Steve Buscemi has a bit part too. The boy’s hopes, dreams, smoking weed, and trying to face their predictable future make this a near tear jerker, I recommend it.


March 1.


Much has been written and spoken about the University of California’s plan to expand the UCSC campus to add 10 thousand additional students to the current 18 thousand, plus 5 thousand additional faculty and staff. The plan includes new buildings to take development from the current 2 million assignable square feet (ASF) to 5 million ASF including building on the meadow west of Empire Grade (ocean side and UCSC owned) and eventually the North campus. Any new housing planned is for the additional students and a small percentage of faculty and staff.  As always, half of the student body (plus most faculty and staff) will be competing for off-campus housing, only it will be half of 28 thousand rather than half of the current 18 thousand, plus faculty and staff.  The city of Santa Cruz made it clear in its vote on Measure U, which passed with a 77% percent majority, that this relatively small community cannot handle any more UCSC growth. This cry for relief has been brushed-off by the UC decision-makers since the city has no legal power over UCSC or the UC system. But we do have political power. It’s up to us whether and how we use it.

In response to UCSC’s Notice of Preparation, in advance of circulating its draft Environmental Impact Report, there were 20 written comments from a variety of state departments and community organizations plus comments from 85 individuals. Not bad but a fraction of what is needed to catch a Regent’s eye.

So this is to encourage one and all to write a comment on the DEIR by the due date. If you have time the full document is here.

If you have little time, the short summaries and pithy comments on the website of the City/County Task Force on UCSC Growth under the capable hands of Advocate Morgan Bostic at is a great resource. The table below on how to make your comments effective is helpful.

Contacting city and county elected officials and urging them to do all in their power to influence the legislators and Regents is critical. They have our mandate.

Don’t sit this one out.

Public Review
The Draft EIR has been released for a 60-day review period, beginning on Thursday, January 7, 2021 and concluding on Monday, March 8, 2021. Written comments on the EIR will be accepted anytime during the EIR review period. Please state “LRDP EIR Comments” in the subject line, and send your electronic responses via email to by 5:00 pm on Monday, March 8, 2021.

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 1

A group of 23 progressive and courageous and creative congress members wrote a letter to Vice-President Kamala Harris dated March 1, 2021 urging her to put the $15 minimum wage back into$1.9 trillion stimulus package previously passed by the House of Representatives, but stalled in the US Senate. Seems like there is this “non-partisan parliamentarian” position who dots i’s and crosses t’s on what can and can’t be approved to be voted on by the Senate. The position is occupied by one Elizabeth MacDonough. VP Harris can move the $15 an hour provision forward by including it in the stimulus bill and by not recognizing the “point of order” procedure, should it come up, when the Senate votes on the measure. It is all within their rules. The letter states in part,

“This has significant historical precedent. In 1967, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey disregarded the Parliamentarian’s advice while pushing to reduce the filibuster threshold from two-thirds of those present to three-fifths. Vice President Humphrey did the same again in 1969. “Ultimately, Republican Vice President Nelson D. Rockefeller partnered with future Vice President Walter Mondale and succeeded in 1975 while again refuting the parliamentarian.

For the last twelve years, working Americans have struggled to get by under a federal minimum wage that remains stuck at $7.25 per hour. Since its establishment in 1938 as part of the New Deal, the federal minimum wage has never gone this long without a boost. In fact, its purchasing power has fallen by nearly twenty-five percent due to inflation since its last increase in 2009. As you know, this policy has disproportionately hurt women and Black and Brown workers. Women make up nearly sixty percent of hourly workers making less than $15 per hour despite comprising only fifty percent of the overall hourly workforce. The disparate impact is even starker among Black and Brown workers, who make up only thirty-six percent of the hourly workforce yet work in nearly half of all jobs earning less than $15 per hour.”

Where Was Jimmy (Panetta)?
Those congress members who signed onto the letter, unfortunately, did not include Santa Cruz’s representative in congress, James Varni Panetta, Jimmy. It is becoming clearer and clearer how the 20th congressional district is being left in the moderate and middle of the road dust in how we are represented in the 117th congress. Who are among the 23 urging VP Harris to push forward one of Joe Biden’s signature 2020 campaign issues, a $15 minimum wage? Three-quarters of “The Squad”–Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib–signed it. Old liberals Ike Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, Mark DeSaulnier from the Bay Area, and Alan Lowenthal from Long Beach are all there. Real lefties, if there are real lefties in the US Congress, are there in the form of Barbara Lee from Berkeley, Chuy Garcia from Chicago, and Primila Jayapal from Seattle. And the recently elected Black Lives Matter candidates signed on too: New Yorkers Richie Torres, Mondaire Jones, and Jamaal Bowman, and of course, St. Louis’s Cori Bush was there too, but I still wonder, where was our Jimmy? If you want to see the entire letter and who signed, go here.

Stuck Inside Homelessness with the Santa Cruz City Council Blues Again
Last Tuesday (Feb. 23rd), the Santa Cruz city council was in session past 1am. discussing, debating, and delineating all the places houseless people cannot lay their weary head. The council failed miserably to actually define anywhere homeless people can actually be and by default issued a de facto deportation order. It was yet another quick passing of that historically hot political football, the homeless. It is an issue most pro-real estate and pro-market rate condo developer councilmembers would rather not deal with, so they usually tacitly turn over their policy powers to the city manager. But, when forced to make a decision under the harsh light of Zoom, they invariably stumble and fall, usually in trying to protect the haves from the have-nots. If the 5-person pro-real estate city council could, they would segregate all of the homeless from the city, not allowing homelessness anywhere inside of the Shaffer Road and 7th Ave. city boundaries. But the Supreme Court of the United States says they cannot do that. That court allowed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Martin vs. Boise to stand. In the Ninth District, which Santa Cruz is a part; you cannot criminalize homelessness when adequate shelter does not exist. From my read of the recent city council ordinance, the city attorney is performing legal gymnastics in order to get around both the San Jose judge’s more recent decision and the 2019 Martin v. Boise case as well. See you in court counselor!

It was in the spirit of need and crisis that a group met this past Saturday in an emergency session to discuss possible responses to the city council’s euphemistically-named “Outdoor Living Ordinance.” I know, they can’t be serious with that name. So, the brainstorm was on Saturday with some 35 of us on a mid-afternoon Zoom call, blue sky and a 70-degree temperature outside. What did the ad hoc group come up with? Here’s a partial list of some of the 50-plus brain storm ideas:

  • help organize the movement and storage of houseless camper’s property;
  • lobby councilmembers for a managed camp near downtown, one managed by the residents;
  • communicate closely with local media in order to tell the stories of the houseless–most are local and most are not “homeless by choice;”
  • Explore legal avenues…Is this ordinance contravening the Federal judge’s order which currently allows campers to stay in San Lorenzo Park? Or, is it just a means of intimidation?
  • Continue to independently live stream city council meetings and allow listeners to post comments as an organizing tool;
  • Organize a Town Hall on houselessness hosted by UCSC students and local progressives;
  • Identify downtown businesses who oppose this anti-homeless ordinance;
  • advocate that the ACLU of Northern California intervene and file a law suit;
  • Organize vaccinations for all campers who want to be vaccinated;
  • Demand to be heard at next city council meeting, as dozens of speakers were shut down by the mayor at the Feb. 23rd council session;
  • Make a video highlighting the voices of the houseless;
  • Challenge NextDoor as an unauthorized, non-registered political action committee;
  • advocate for “social housing;”
  • establishing and maintaining a social housing fund by increasing the real estate transfer tax and the hotel tax as well as creating a vacancy tax on all vacant units in the city of Santa Cruz.
“Any person who thinks that a $15 minimum wage is the ‘crazy socialist agenda’ is living in a dystopian capitalist nightmare.” (Feb. 28 on the Mehdi Hason Show)

Mobile on Pacific Avenue…If the recent city council decision to not allow the houseless to be anywhere in Santa Cruz, we can look forward to more mobile campers on the Avenue.
(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
Last week, the Board of Forestry held a webinar inviting Board and public comment on proposed new rules that could make rebuilding in fire-damaged areas prohibitively expensive for many.

This Wednesday, March 3, the Board will “button up” the accelerated Fire Safe Regulations that, in my opinion, will prohibit rebuilding for many average property owners, due to the restrictive road improvements CalFire would require.  Depending on Board action this week, local jurisdictions may have little ability to have discretionary control over much.

Article II Section 1273.05.02 “Built Roads”  Parts (a) and (b) of this section apply to fire rebuilds.

This refers to existing roads that are substandard.  If the road is below the fire safety threshold, NO building would be allowed until the road is improved.  The intention of the Board of Forestry (BOF) is that there are many roads unsafe for construction to occur, and it would be irresponsible to allow development dependent on such unsafe roads.

Proposed new rules:

  • a)substandard roads (less than 14′ wide) must be improved to include sections of road where it is  14′ wide for a distance of 22′ but it is yet to be determined how frequent those turnout sections must be installed.
  • b)substandard roads with areas where the road grade is greater than 20% have yet to be determined what length of the road that grade would be allowed.

If there are ADU’s involved, this rule would be applicable to rebuild areas and wildfire rebuild areas.

Here is the link to the Board of Forestry website.  Click on Committee agendas for March 2 if you see this in time, and on Full Board agendas for March 3 meeting.

According to Ms. Edith Hannigan, Land Use Policy Specialist for the Board of Forestry, the rule making is being accelerated by SB 901 which amended Public Resources Code 4090.  I have read the law, and do not see anything that compels such haste over broad applications during a time when much of California is trying to rebuild from devastating fires.

Send written comment to Chief Matt Dias and participate in these virtual meetings this week if you can.

Insurance companies are cancelling policies in the rural areas of Santa Cruz County at an alarming rate.

California Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara, has just proposed new rules that would require insurance companies to provide the fire risk assessment score upon request.  That will hold the insurance industry much more accountable for justifying policy cancellation, and acknowledge any mitigations possible.

California Commissioner Wants Rate Transparency Rules for Wildfire Risk

The Insurance Commissioner has asked that people report cancellations to their office.  It helps them track the growing problem and develop solutions.

Resources to Help Recent Wildfire Victims

These reports are updated with the information gathered via complaints about cancellations: Wildfire Availability and Affordability Report

Revised Appendix D to Availability and Affordability Report

Resources to Help Recent Wildfire Victims

California Commissioner Wants Rate Transparency Rules for Wildfire Risk Please contact the Insurance Commissioner’s Ombudsman office with questions: Jon Fernandez

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


Cheers, Becky Steinbruner, (831) 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
February 28
#59 / More On That “Green New Deal” Idea

On January 28th, I pointed out that not everyone is completely sold on the “Green New Deal.” Of course, the oil companies don’t like it, but I was talking about “sincere environmentalists.” There are a number of such environmental critics, who express concern that our modern civilization will attempt to solve the so-called “climate problem” with the same kind of high-tech tools that we have deployed to deal with other social and economic problems, and that what is needed, actually, is something like “degrowth.”

I ran across another article that makes a related point, with the focus being, in this case, on who might be expected to implement the “Green New Deal.”

Jack Delaney, writing in CounterPunch+, puts it this way:

While a handful of elected officials recognize the gravity and push for a Green New Deal (GND) — that rightfully strives to curtail carbon-intensive economic growth — it must also be recognized that the GND is only an initial step. The GND hints at contradictions within the U.S. economy and outlines a transition to alleviate some of these contradictions, yet it is a mere jumping-off point and a framework that leaves questions regarding its implementation.

What are those “contradictions” mentioned by Delaney? What is he getting at? I will let him spell out his argument, himself:

The current mode of production and distribution — of private ownership motivated by unlimited growth and profits — is incompatible with ensuring the survival of humanity, serving the common interest, and staving off ecological collapse. To effectively limit the destructive tendencies of a system based on carbon-intensive growth, mitigate economic contradictions, and reverse course from impending ecological collapse, a bold conversation offering implementation with explicit class politics is urgently needed from GND champions.

GND supporters — Congressional, amongst the public, and media — must begin to look at how to achieve the resolution’s goals and consider the ideological framework of the GND’s implementation… As the clock ticks down and the urgency to correct climate change draws near, the GND’s future implementation cannot rely on rudderless ideological appeasement to the market (emphasis added).

In California, arguably a bold leader in efforts to combat global warming, the promise of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 has been transmogrified into a so-called “Cap and Trade” system of “market mechanisms” that allow major carbon-emitting industries to pay money to the state, instead of actually reducing emissions that they could, technologically speaking, eliminate.

THAT is what Delaney is talking about. He is absolutely right!

In other words, we have a bigger job ahead of us than we might have expected. Not only do we need to rework our entire economic system, aiming to eliminate the combustion of fossil fuels by the earliest possible time, we need to rework our political and economic system, too, so that we don’t let corporations transfer to the government their responsibility to make the maximum reductions technically possible. I am hoping that there will be a real effort, in California, to make that happen.

We know what the alternatives are, if we don’t succeed!

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 www.gapatton.netEmail 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.


“POOR MARCH. It is the HOMELIEST month of the year. Most of it is MUD, Every Imaginable Form of MUD, and what isn’t MUD in March is ugly late-season SNOW falling onto the ground in filthy muddy heaps that look like PILES of DIRTY LAUNDRY.”
~Vivian Swift.

“It was an overcast day, but the cloudy weather did not detract from the signs of spring that were evident all around them. It was the second week in March, and the official start of the season was just a couple of weeks away. The magnolia trees had already bloomed, and tulips, daffodils, and wildflowers were shooting up all around the convent’s gardens.”
~Rosanna Chiofalo.

“It was a bright spring morning, full of promise. Most travelers are familiar with this kind of weather- when the wind blows westward and warm but the ground still chills the soles of your feet, when the tree buds have begun to unfurl and scent the air with secret springtime madness- and they know those days are made for leaving.”
~Alix E. Harrow,

Ok, I love James Corden, and I have a soft spot for Prince Harry…


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