Blog Archives

May 1 – 7, 2024

Highlights this week:

Bratton… is back!…Greensite …Gillian will soon return with her regular weekly piece… Steinbruner…Charter cities and counties, Soquel Creek Water…. Hayes… Advocates for Wildlife Protection: Where?… Patton… How We Think And What We Do… Matlock… back soon… Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…Quotes….”May”


ARMED FORCES DAY PARADE MAY 17, 1952. Pacific Avenue and Church and Cooper Street back in the day when our police and City Officials encouraged community events like parades, Just about the only remaining recognizable landmark in view here is the old Santa Cruz County Bank (now Pacific Wave). The IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) building is still there and contains Artisans, Heavenly Couture and Shoe Fetish. Also note the parade is marching South, not northward to Mission Street. They reversed parade directions back in the day”.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email


OUR PRECIOUS NORTH COAST & COTONI STATE PARK. It is very surprising to me that more public outcry and negative reactions haven’t been leveled against the soon to open Cotoni Coast state park up near Davenport. Thanks to Grey Hayes I was able to get a very brief hint of what’s going on now up there and what are the expectations. Trail work is going on right now and as per usual there are the usual hassles and out and out fights between the horse trail enthusiasts and all the types of wheeled bike riders who change trails with each ride. State park producers claim that they will opening the huge parking lot in the next fall. Right now they are waiting for appeals which they know will be coming forth.

As it says on their BLM website…. Cotoni-Coast Dairies is an onshore unit of the California Coastal National Monument. Near Davenport in Santa Cruz County, Cotoni-Coast Dairies extends from the steep slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the marine coastal terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Vibrant riparian areas follow along stream corridors, with red alder and arroyo willow forests dominating the vegetative community. Beyond supporting riparian and wetland communities, Cotoni-Coast Dairies’ waterways provide important habitat for androgynous and freshwater fish as well as water for the city of Santa Cruz and surrounding communities.

Cotoni-Coast Dairies was donated to the BLM in 2014 by The Trust for Public Land. The property is distinguished by broad marine terraces separated by six forested, perennial streams that flow from the Santa Cruz Mountains into the Pacific Ocean. The area supports a wide variety of habitats and wildlife, including coho salmon, steel head trout, California red-legged frogs, mule deer and mountain lions. A phased approach to recreation development will help protect the property’s sensitive biological and cultural resources. The plan identifies half the area as core habitat for fish and wildlife that will have limited recreational access.

What this National Monument will do for our local Highway 1 traffic, what it’ll do to the feeling and character of Davenport is beyond our guessing. We can only wish that we had done even more to prevent this National monument from becoming more of a traditional monument to all and everything that has died in making this the deadly monument it will become.

GOING TO MAUI? Daughter Jennifer Bratton, award-winning former Santa Cruzan, has two available dates on her time shares on Maui. They are July 13 -20 at the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas in Lahaina which has some beautiful lagoon style pools and another availability also at the Westin, which will be the great New Year’s week December 28-January 4, 2025. They won’t last long!


Check-in: Sat, Jul 13, 2024
Check-out: Sat, Jul 20, 2024


Check-in: Sat, Dec 28, 2024
Check-out: Sat, Jan 4, 2025

Go ahead amd click for all the details, these are a really good deal! You can ask questions or book right from the website!

FRANKLIN. Apple Series (7.01IMDB)* Michael Douglas does a half convincing job as an older version (70) of Benjamin Franklin in this politic filled boring movie. Noah Jupe is his young boyfriend. It’s full of twists, romance, and a lot of the script is in French so you’ll be watching subtitles more than usual. Not recommended.

UPGRADED. AMAZON Movie. (6.1IMDB) ** Listed as a comedy I thought I’d try finding something to laugh at in this lengthy half interesting vehicle. Marisa Tomei plays a driven manager of an art investment company in London that auctions off “masterpieces”. Lena Olin is back in her usual tempestuous bossy role and has always been a favorite of mine so all in all there are a few smiles and near laughs… so do watch this one.

SOUND OF FREEDOM. PRIME Movie. (7.61 IMDB) *** The story centers on child abuse and the pedophiles who run the children’s sex trafficking between Honduras, Columbia, and South America. The actual statistics are horrible and run into millions of children annually. The movie stat3es that there are more slaves today than there ever were even during the time we had slavery in the USA It’s still not a great film but it does get the message across.

STOLEN. NETFLIX Movie (5.6 IMDB)** In northern Sweden / Lapland there’s a settlement of islanders who raise reindeer as a way of life. They are known as Sami and are treated as racially and inhumanly as any minority ever has. This is a drama about a deer kill that brings out the worst in this isolated community. Watch it but be prepared to squirm.

BABY REINDEER. (Netflix Series) (8.2 IMDB) *** A cute and cuddly title for a British series from a book written about a true story. There’s a bartender who doubles his life as a standup comic. He becomes stalked, really stalked by a hefty woman who doesn’t give up. They go to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and have quite a weird time. It’s neurotic but well worth watching.

FALLOUT. Amazon (8.6 IMDB). * You’ll probably recognize and try hard to remember Kyle McLachlan who has a small part in this ridiculous, violent, near satire of an atomic attack on Hollywood in 200 years from now. There’s long scenes of mindless murders and just plain script flips of a plot that never makes sense… don’t go here.

LAKE ERIE MURDERS. MAX (7.1 IMDB) *** Being from Buffalo, New York I hoped this was filmed there but nope Lake Erie borders on four states and parts of Canada. It’s a documentary and is also referred to as Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic. Amy was only 10 in 1989 and the murder is still unsolved to this day. Dozens of interviews with possible kidnappers, yes they found her body but have never found enough proof or evidence to convict anyone. Go for it but don’t expect any satisfactory ending.

CROOKS. Netflix Series (7.0 IMDB). **- A German film made mostly in Berlin. Taking a deep look, after much thought, it’s a deep look at the psychological makeup of two gangs of bank robbers with their opposing points on what life is all about. They both get involved in a very complex robbery, not of jewels as we are led to believe, but of a very valuable coin. It really centers on one robber who wants to go straight, but is tricked into helping the two gangs. Complex, tricky, well done and well worth puzzling through.

ONE DAY. Netflix Series (8.1 IMDB). *** Let’s face it every one of us has had or will have had deep meaningful relationships. This series is titled a comedy by Netflix but you’ll go much deeper than a laugh watching this introspective, meaningful insight.  Two people meet on their graduation night and we all spend the rest of the story watching what go through, NOT being together but keeping each other in their thoughts, and hearts. You’ll be forced to project and identify with many moments in this beautifully produced drama, except for the ending. Don’t miss it.

SHIRLEY.  Netflix Movie. (6.3 IMDB) *** If you’re into politics, which most of us are, you’ll be delighted to watch this saga about Shirley Chisholm’s role in the 1972 presidential campaign. Chisholm was the first black USA congresswoman and was elected in 1966. But this movie is all about her 1972 run for president and takes us back to those very different political times. We see Huey Newton, George Wallace and other sad reminders of the Vietnam War. She lost to Richard Nixon and Regina King does an amazing job of portraying Shirley.

ROAD HOUSE. (6.2 IMDB) Another remake to the ever growing list of trying to make a sure buck on a one time hit. This one has Jake Gyllenhaal replacing Patrick Swayze in the 1989 hit. (Swayze died in 2009!) It’s amazingly violent boxing wise and Jake has some real violence in his past. There’s crime thugs, secret love affairs and not any other reason to see this bloody copy.

RIPLEY. (7.9 IMDB). Again a remake of another near 1999 classic. Andrew Scott (Morarity in the Sherlock Holmes/ Benedict Cumberbatch masterpiece). Dakota Fanning is in it too but it doesn’t matter much. It’s deep, filmed all in black and white and with a plot so twisted, and complex you wouldn’t believe it. Go see this as soon as possible

 SALTBURN.. (7.0 IMDB). A very class conscious drama (also listed as a comedy) about a young student at Oxford who gets completely involved with an odd and driven “upper class” family. There’s romance, mystery. Rosamund Pike has a deeply involved role in his too unreal view of life among the super rich. Don’t give up anything important to watch this one.


Gillian is still busy, but assures us she’ll be back soon!

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.


This week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin ruled that SB 9, which allowed ministerial approval of lot splits to create new separate parcels is unconstitutional because there is no assurance that it would ensure access to affordable housing and is too broad, thereby interfering with local government.

Five charter cities (Redondo Beach, Torrance, Carson, Whittier and Del Mar) filed  the petition for writ of mandate (asking the State to follow the law) against the State of California Attorney General Rob Bonta,   Their petition was granted.
Read the Judge’s opinion here

What is a Charter City?  It is a self-governing provision of the California Constitution recognizing HOME RULE…that local government knows best what is needed and conduct their own business and affairs.

What might this mean for cities in Santa Cruz County?  Take a look at the list of 121 Charter Cities in the State…Santa Cruz and Watsonville are on the list

Well….what about Charter Counties?

Charter counties:

  • have a limited degree of “home rule” authority that may provide for the election, compensation, terms, removal, and salary of the governing board
  • for the election or appointment (except the sheriff, district attorney, and assessor who must be elected), compensation, terms, and removal of all county officers
  • for the powers and duties of all officers
  • consolidation and segregation of county offices.
  • does not give county officials extra authority over local regulations, revenue-raising abilities, budgetary decisions, or intergovernmental relations.

Charter Counties: Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Tehama

Two Types of California Counties – What are They?

General Law is one type of California county. The other type is Charter. There are currently 45 general law counties and 13 charter counties. A county may adopt, amend, or repeal a charter with majority vote approval. A new charter or the amendment or repeal of an existing charter may be proposed by the Board of Supervisors, a charter commission, or an initiative petition. The provisions of a charter are the law of the state and have the force and effect of legislative enactments.

Here is the link to SB 9, signed by Governor Newsom on September 19, 2021

Want to learn more about how you can join people in our Community who are really tired of State mandates taking away more and more local control of our cities and County? Check out the Catalysts for Local Control, a very well-organized group of people who really care about what is happening in our Communities

Catalysts Institute for Local Control

The California Supreme Court will hear attorneys for Governor Newsom and the legislature and the Secretary of State Shirley Weber present oral arguments May 8 at 9am regarding whether or not a ballot measure, “The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act”, that has qualified for the November, 2024 election will be allowed to stay on the ballot for us to vote upon it. Case No. S281977 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA [pdf]

If approved by the voters, it would repair the result of the State Supreme Court’s ruling in 2017 (California Cannabis Collective vs. City of Upland) allowing that when a special tax is put on the ballot by the voters (not the government leaders), it can be approved with a simple majority, rather than the 2/3 approval required if the government puts it on the ballot.

Governor Newsom and legislators have filed this suit in an effort to strike the initiative from the November, 2024 ballot entirely.

We will have an opportunity to listen to the legal argument in the State’s high court regarding whether we, as voters, will be allowed to vote this November on an important tax correction matter.  You can watch this on Wednesday, May 8 at 9am. Here is the link to the Supreme Court Oral Argument website (Case S281977)

This affects Santa Cruz voters because this November, the Land Trust will have an initiative (their paid signature gatherers obtained the necessary 10,000 qualified signatures) on the County ballot to tax all parcels in the County $87 in perpetuity, to fund “the Santa Cruz County Clean Water and Wildfire Protection Act” and it could be approved by a simple majority because it is not being placed on the ballot by the County (in theory).  Such tax measures placed on the ballot by the County would require a 2/3 super-majority to pass.

The County would, however, profit by taking 1% off the top for administration costs, and the County Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience (OR3) would take 5% for administering the grants to local groups, such as the Land Trust, and also to the County itself, and the four incorporated cities.

Here is the link to the Upland case analysis

About 20% of State Farm Insurance Company’s 72,000 non-renewal notices are in Santa Cruz County.   Are you worried about getting cancelled by your insurance company?  Have you already been cancelled? You certainly are not alone.

Consider attending this May 14 free event and learn what to do and not do.

All are invited to the Community Wildfire Preparedness Workshop hosted by the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of Scotts Valley.

A representative from California Insurance Commissioner Lara’s office to discuss homeowner’s insurance and answer questions. 

For more details and to register for the event, use this link:

Community Wildfire Preparedness Workshop – Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce

Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors heard a presentation about the North Coast Facilities Plan, the culmination of a few years-worth of Community meetings and consultant fees.  What caught my attention was that the County will be responsible for a multi-use trail on Cement Plant Road in Davenport, and that it is of high priority on the list of things to do.

This trail was supposed to be built by Swenson Builders as part of their closing the private at-grade railroad crossing to nearby Warenella Road.  That crossing was selected by the County as one of two such private at-grade railroad crossings that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered closed in order to approve Swenson’s new private at-grade railroad crossing for Parade Street entry to the Aptos Village Project.

When I pointed this out at the Board meeting, County Park Planner Mr. Robert Tidmore said that was the first he had heard of the deal.  That’s when Public Works Director Matt Machado stepped up and explained that the County was going to make Swenson pay for the multi-use trail on Cement Plant Road as a mitigation for closing the Warenella Crossing, but decided not to when County staff was able to work out a different way to close the crossing by just removing the railroad tracks.

Wasn’t that nice of them?

So, now the taxpayers are on the hook for the work that Swenson was supposed to do.  Don’t expect this trail to happen any time soon.  Swenson representatives let me know a few years ago that it was going to be very expensive for them because of the large eucalyptus trees that are so close to the rough-and-tumble Cement Plant Road.

However….this trail is of high priority now, because the North Coast Facilities Plan states it is imperative for access to the North Coast parks,  and the Plan will be administered by Santa Cruz County Parks Dept.   The Land Trust has a new Special Parcel Tax that we will see on the ballot in November that might grab money from your wallet for a grant (administered by the County) to pay for Swenson’s path if approved.

Last Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisor chamber was full and overflowing with people wanting to weigh-in on the Supervisors revoking their former Resolution snubbing $68 million to fund the rail and trail project (Segments 10 and 11) through MidCounty.  Item 17, the last  on the Board’s April 30 agenda, went long, but the two Supervisors who had voted March 26 to reject the project due to funding shortfalls, agreed to sign on in support.

Supervisor Bruce McPherson said he felt his vote against the project had helped bring forth better information, and that if Measure D money were going to be moved around to help fund the Segment 10 and 11 project, the voters should have an opportunity to weigh in on that happening.

Supervisor Koenig said “It’s a hell of a project to take on at a time when the County has no money, but I will not stand in the way of it happening.”  The audience cheered.

Watch the proceedings here, clicking on “Item 17” to go directly to the item

Supervisor Justin Cummings wanted to know why the Board of Supervisors is not allowed to see the applications of the 127 non-profits who are asking for a piece of the $4.5 million CORE Investments that County taxpayer monies dole out annually for various purposes, but predominantly health care services locally?  The answer County Health Services staff gave was that it was better to allow all decision-making to be done by a selected panel of “experts”, but that the Supervisors would be allowed to see the applications after the awards were final.

“I was told a group was rejected because they didn’t have a good application, but when I asked to see their application, I was told “NO”.  That doesn’t lend well to informed decision-making for the Board” he explained.

Staff assured him that there will be about $660,000 saved for the Supervisors to award to non-profits at their discretion, but held fast to the secretive panel decisions on whose applications are accepted.  Oddly, if an application has been rejected once, the agency may not be eligible to apply again.

I was glad to see Supervisor Cummings hold his ground and be the lone dissenting vote on Item 16 CORE Investment awards. You can watch the discussion here (click on Item 16)

Yet another business in the Aptos Village Project is closing…Doon to Earth Winery…because the rent is just too high now.  Looming adjacent to the historic Bayview Hotel, the building is owned by Aptos Ventures (Pete Testorff and Joe Appenrodt) and the rest of the disgusting mess behind that is owned by Swenson Builders.

Purportedly, Cafe Cruz owners investigated moving into the Phase 1 area of the Aptos Village Project, seeking to have some outdoor dining space on the “Village Green” (aka astro-turf) plaza where Penny Ice Creamery and New Leaf Market both have outdoor seating,   Swenson refused to allow Cafe Cruz outdoor dining area, so no deal.

So much for the vibrant space former County Supervisor Ellen Pirie crowed about when the Aptos Village Project was getting shoved through, against the wishes of the local residents.

Gee, it is s good thing for Swenson that the Santa Cruz MidCounty Sheriff’s Safety Center (housing Supervisor Zach Friend’s office)  has a 15-year lease in the Phase I ghetto…our tax dollars are likely keeping Swenson somewhat above water financially.  Isn’t that heart-warming?


Recently, the Sierra Club of Santa Cruz wrote Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors to point out the problems the Garney construction crews were causing at the Laurel Street Bridge, disrupting the migratory Cliff Swallows and their nesting under the bridge.  The District basically blew the Sierra Club off, and the crews continued to work, painting the large pipes now attached to both sides of the bridge and installing bird netting over them so the birds don’t nest or poop on their precious poopwater-filled pipes.

Well, the crews seem to have finished, and the Cliff Swallows are busily building nests.  It is a thing of beauty to watch the large flock fly in unison over the San Lorenzo River and swoop gracefully up under the bridge.  So far, they seem to avoid getting tangled in the bird netting, but last week, I saw a humming bird repeatedly visiting the face of the netting….that was worrisome.

Supposedly, a biologist hired by the “so-what” Water District is monitoring the site.  The sandwich board poster on site in the past has explained this, and given the contact information for Ethan Martin, the Project foreman.

This week, however, I spotted the sign thrown down under the bridge.  Maybe the biologist used it as a skim board to go out on the River to observe the Cliff Swallow nesting progress and forgot to put it back where the public could read it?


Please write the Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors with your thoughts on the PureWater Soquel Project and  bird netting attachment on the pipeline on Laurel Street Bridge:  Board of Directors <>  and Ethan Martin <>

If you travel on Soquel Drive in Aptos near the new library, you can’t help but notice the on-going construction happening daily with inherent lane closures.  This work is part of a 5.6 mile long project on Soquel Drive between State Park Drive and the Dominican Hospital area to add buffered bike lanes and new sidewalks. The crews are also installing fiber-optic cable underground.

Cabrillo College students and visitors will lose all on-street parking on Soquel Drive…that will all go away to make room for the buffered bike lanes.

The work will likely take another year to complete, but will hopefully be a good safety improvement for pedestrians and bicyclists.

By the way, the 91X bus shown on the website is now operational again, as the 90X

Demolition is underway at the former site of the Metro Station downtown, making room for a new station with housing incorporated.

The closure of the METRO Pacific Station is the first step in a two-year project to redevelop the property into a vibrant, community hub featuring 126 units of affordable housing along with retail, office space, and onsite transit services. The new mixed-use complex is slated to reopen in February 2026.

It will be five stories tall, with 22 bus bays.

Metro Station demolition in progress….

With more construction happening across the way on Front Street…

That side of the Front Street will be a seven-story mixed-use development

The quaint and quirky Downtown Santa Cruz is fading fast at the jaws of the wrecking crews and a City Council that is eager to rubber stamp towering buildings without character, resembling San Jose more and more.

Many roads in our County have potholes that are sometimes hard to avoid and cause hazardous driving in order to avoid them.  Do you have a “favorite” one that you wish the County would repair?

County Public Works crews are very responsive to reports of such problems, if you take the time to report them. Here is the link to the Problem Report Form




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


Advocates for Wildlife Protection: Where?

When was the last time you heard about someone advocating for wildlife protection in our region? Who was it? Why?

I am disturbed by the lack of advocates for wildlife protection and I wonder why that might be. Here are some reflections.

A Plea for Help
Occasionally, I find a need to call out for help for wildlife protection advocacy. My most recent call for assistance was a seeming ‘no brainer.’ There was a clear need for wildlife advocates to ask the State of California office of the US Bureau of Land Management to consider a science-supported update of their statewide sensitive wildlife species list. The one BLM has been using doesn’t protect a bunch of State listed wildlife species, as it should. And, the BLM is required to work with our State Wildlife agency to do just that. This is one of the most straightforward issues I’ve faced: the facts are easy to illustrate and quick to research. And so, I reached out to the obvious pro-wildlife advocacy organizations. Who comes to mind when I say that? Pause, don’t read on…think: who would that be?

The Sierra Club
If you are a pro-wildlife advocate, the Sierra Club seems a great place to work. Well, it could use some help. My pleas to the Santa Cruz Group of the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club went unanswered. The one or two in the group who are apt to answer such requests are totally stretched. A while back, the local club was taken over by the pro-bicycle lobby, a group that has little regard for wildlife conservation. It should be telling that Santa Cruz doesn’t even have its own Sierra Club chapter: the local one is a sub-group of the Ventana Chapter, based in Monterey where most of the pro-environmental activism has been traditionally located.

The Wildlife Society, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
Another far flung chapter of an organization that is supposed to represent Santa Cruz County’s wildlife conservation concerns is the SF Bay Chapter of the Wildlife Society. Unlike the Sierra Club, this Chapter did return my queries. However, after a long wait they wrote me that they were uncomfortable advocating for this issue. They actually told me that they weren’t an advocacy organization, despite their website saying that they “work to ensure that wildlife and habitats are conserved” by “advocating for effective wildlife policy and law.” It seems like whoever is active in the organization right now is uncomfortable being advocates. Luckily, their parent organization was a much better help.

The Western Section of the Wildlife Society
Even more far flung than the SF Bay Chapter, the Western Section of the Wildlife Society was a great help. Their leadership, though obviously overworked, were enthusiastic and helpful with the straightforward request for assistance. They did due diligence and had adult conversations about the need for advocacy and wrote an amazingly strong letter on the issue. If you want to support a good (local?) organization for wildlife advocacy, this is a logical choice. Unfortunately, they probably won’t be proactively monitoring our local situation and helping out without us asking.

Audubon Society
Not so far flung, the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is very active and quite influential…just over the hill. When approached, their overworked volunteers can sometimes be enticed to help with local conservation. I have to give them a call on this one.

Land Trusts
The Land Trust of Santa Cruz, Sempervirens Fund, Save the Redwoods League, Peninsula Open Space Trust and others…clearly all competing with one another with no unified messages or strategy for region-wide wildlife conservation. Instead, they are as likely to be public-forward with pitches for increased recreation in natural areas, which runs counter to wildlife conservation. With this contradiction, none of these organizations are able to build credible coalitions to advocate for wildlife conservation.

Wildlife Biologists
I have long approached local wildlife biologists for assistance, with mixed results. This time, I reached out to a few and was surprised. What I was asking experts to do was to do a bit of analysis  so that their opinions about adding species to the BLM’s list were well supported. A handful of wildlife biologists said that they would consider advocating for this cause, but only if paid for their time for analysis. One biologist, Jacob Pollock, stepped up as a volunteer. Dr. Pollock is a steadfast advocate for science-supported wildlife conservation. He has an inquisitive mind and powerful analytical abilities. He deserves recognition and thanks for his wildlife conservation volunteerism. This is apparently quite rare. He will shortly offer up a methodological approach to updating the BLM’s State Special Status Wildlife Species list with an example from a statewide analysis of the rarity of American badger, including BLM’s contribution to its recovery.

The rarity of such volunteers was recently emphasized when a community organization contacted me to speak at a public forum considering a potentially wildlife-impacting regulation. I couldn’t speak and couldn’t think of another wildlife advocate to do that speaking engagement. Have you seen an inspirational wildlife conservation advocate who regularly speaks to local threats to wildlife and solutions for conservation?

Why So Few?
What has created this dearth of local wildlife advocates? We have no reliable analysis about what has happened. One day, maybe I’ll find the time to do some investigative work about what went on with the local Sierra Club. Meanwhile, I suggest that mere intelligent leadership in our community would result in that person getting elected to the Santa Cruz Group. However, that person would be lonely without a couple or three more such people to make a majority vote happen in favor of wildlife…and, a group of such volunteers would be necessary to pick up the workload for responsible advocacy.

Cost of living might have something to do with the situation. The Monterey Bay area is very expensive to live in, so wildlife biologists must work hard to pay their bills, leaving no time for volunteer work. And, when professional wildlife biologists do advocacy, they threaten some of their employment opportunities, so there’s further disincentive.

Parallels with Environmental Educators
If there are any social scientists out there, read my column from last week and compare the notes with this week’s – I think there are parallels. Besides wildlife biologists, why are so few environmental educators meshing conservation advocacy with their work?  Is it likewise the threat to income? Or, is there something cultural going on here? There might be some redundancy with this issue as perhaps a large number of environmental educators are also wildlife biologists.

What Are We To Do?
I heard recently that progressives might be getting some funding to support a revitalization to allow improved political campaigns in Santa Cruz. Perhaps there is a similar need in wildlife advocacy. It does seem that we need a new organization to advocate for wildlife in our region. How would one go about setting it up for success? I imagine it starts with funding the set up and also creating an endowment for some staff positions. The mission would need to be building a supportive, diverse, and active public. I am looking for such change.

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


#121 / How We Think And What We Do

I have previously given my opinion (with recognition to my mother) that “comparisons are odious.” I have contended that the best way to think about things is not by comparing one thing to another, and then picking out the one you like best.

Good advice bears repeating. Therefore, let me provide you with another example of what I do not think is a good way to contemplate important public policy issues. Previously, I contended that trying to compare “capitalism” with “socialism,” picking out the “best” system, was a flawed approach. Here, the comparison I want to draw to your attention is between “progressive” politics and “conservative” politics. This is the choice discussed in a recent edition of The New York Times’ “The Morning” newsletter, by David Leonhardt. Here is his opening salvo from the newsletter published on April 25, 2024, which was titled, “Chaos and Oppression.”

Arnold Kling, an economist, published a book a decade ago that offered a way to think about the core difference between progressives and conservatives. Progressives, Kling wrote, see the world as a struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed, and they try to help the oppressed. Conservatives see the world as a struggle between civilization and barbarism — between order and chaos — and they try to protect civilization…

The debate over pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia and other universities has become an example. If you want to understand why university leaders are finding the situation so hard to resolve, Kling’s dichotomy is useful: The central question for colleges is whether to prioritize the preservation of order or the desire of students to denounce oppression.

According to this way of discussing the issue, colleges need to face the “central question,” and pick a side. The choice is whether to “denounce oppression” or to seek “the preservation of order.” Another way to evaluate the two options, according to Leonhardt, is to pick either “chaos” or “oppression.”

If we approach the world as a series of binary choices, and think our job, as we seek to govern ourselves, is to “pick a side,” we will exclude from consideration anything new, or creative, and we’ll be the losers!

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


Dale will be back!

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.


“May is the month of expectation, the month of wishes, the month of hope.”
~Emily Brontë

“May is the most beautiful month of the year, a month alive with warm color. The flowers and trees are in full bloom, and even the sun joins this rhapsody be emitting warmer rays.”
~Lillian Berliner

“Among the changing months, May stands confest the sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed.”
~James Thomson

“I thought that spring must last forevermore; For I was young and loved, and it was May.”
~Vera Brittain


Discussion on Morning Mika about what a second Trump term would look like, and Governor Noem shooting her animals…

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