Blog Archives

May 10 – 16, 2023

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…welcome to Santa Cruz sign, Ironsides and Raymond Burr, Chris Strachwitz, movies. GREENSITE… on the Wharf Master Plan is back, unchanged. SCHENDLEDECKER…taking a short vacation. STEINBRUNER…heritage redwoods, Aptos village parking, CalFire emergency reserves, dense housing, granny units. history fair 5/13. HAYES…the land we encounter. PATTON…Look at me. MATLOCK…return to brazile, blurry memories, blurry photos, radioactive mickey. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover WEBMISTRESS’…pick of the week, on bees. QUOTES…”BEES”


MARK ABBOTT MEMORIAL LIGHTHOUSE, May 5, 1967. Mark Abbott was killed in a surfing accident on February 28 1965. His parents Chuck and Esther Abbott who did a lot for our community hired Milt Macken contractor to build this lighthouse. It became a surfing Museum in May 1986.

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

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APPROACHING SANTA CRUZ. Shenanigans were pulled and plots were thick when the entrance to the “main gateway” at Ocean Street and Highway 17 were designed and erected a few decades ago.  Pros and cons flew everywhere and somehow that blue and gold dime store artifact got erected. Go here to take the survey and vote..

There’s more info about this by calling 831 420-5156 or emailing

We’re gonna have to live with this decision for years, so let’s pitch in.

CHRIS STRACHWITZ. Just a very fond and saddening farewell to my long time fellow UC Berkeley student and close friend Chris Strachwitz. Chris was the force and founder of Arhoolie Records. Chris would take me to all sorts of nightclubs in Oakland and San Francisco to hear the newest and best of emerging jazz and folk music. We shared great respect and love for the music of George Lewis and his Ragtime Jazz band. He is already missed.

IRONSIDES. Big thanks to Tom Noddy and Jeff Wagner and more for pointing out that I erred in my movie review of the Perry Mason TV program stating that Raymond Burr once played Mason the lawyer while in a wheelchair. He didn’t, Raymond Burr played detective Robert T. Ironsides while in a wheelchair in the Ironsides series. When he was Perry Mason he lasted 9 seasons…it was a big hit.

I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.

THE DIPLOMAT. (NETFLIX SERIES) (8.2 IMDB) Rufus Sewell is enough of a reason to watch this series. Oddly enough it’s all about diplomats and diplomacy. Rufus was a diplomat and now he’s married to a new ambassador. She’s leading the international discussions about how to deal with some countries killing attack on a warship that killed 41 troops. Keri Russell is Rufus’ wife and the focal point and the diplomacy wears thin after the first three episodes. Don’t expect much excitement or relevance.

SILO. (APPLE TV) (8.4 IMDB).    David Oyelowo is one lead in this neatly structured science fiction puzzle. More than 10, 000 people are living in a giant underground silo. The silo has been there for over 140 years. They can see out one specific window…or can they?  Tim Robbins has a mysterious governing role to play here. It’s well done, puzzling and many episodes yet to be released.

TICKET TO PARADISE. (AMAZON PRIME MOVIE). (6.1 IMDB).   This gazillion dollar star flick has been out and around for over a year and even with George Clooney and Julia Roberts starring in it…it didn’t do well. The two of them were married once had a daughter and became bitter enemies. Now the daughter is living in Bali and wants to marry a handsome young local seaweed farmer. George and Julia try to stop the marriage and we get a fine view of Balinese culture and scenery. It’s diverting at best and gets more and more cheesy as the almost two hours drag on.

EXTRAPOLATIONS. (APPLE TV) (5.9 IMDB) This is eight separate stories, very separate movies, centering on the earth and how the universe will change our lives as a result of the nearly infinite changes to the earth. Actors including Meryl Streep, Tobey Maguire, Forest Whitaker, and Heather Graham all have small roles portraying humans whose lives are changed in the thirty three years that’s highlighted. Serious and well done, but few laughs.

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

SHOWING UP. (DEL MAR THEATRE MOVIE).(7.2 IMDB).     It’s odd to see Michelle Williams without her cutesy blond short cut and dimples but she plays a very plain young woman sculptor in this baffling look into a sculptor’s daily life. No real drama except what we imagine in seeing the relationship between the one foot tall sculptures and the artist herself. Mostly boring especially if you know any or many clay workers.

POLITE SOCIETY. (DEL MAR THEATRE MOVIE).   It’s a British film about two Pakistani sisters and their struggles to get through a marriage ceremony. Corny, trite, full of martial arts and way overused comic plots that haven’t been funny in decades. The almost perfect would be groom/doctor secretly plans on cloning and the movie goes on and on…don’t go.

GHOSTED. (APPLE TV MOVIE) (5.8 IMDB).   Chris Evans and Ana de Armas headline this way too cute comedy /romance. She’s a secret spy and Adrien Brody does manage to add some viable screen time. It’s all been seen and screened many times before and the would be plot escaped me just moments after it finished.

CITADEL. (AMAZON PRIME SERIES) (6.5 IMDB).   Stanley Tucci is who and what you’ll watch in this action drama. A huge train wreck starts it off and it’s all an unbelievable trek into supposedly competing spy groups and their past, present and future targets. It has every cliché we’ve seen in spy movies for nearly 100 years

PERRY MASON. (HBO SERIES) (7.6 IMDB).   If you’re old enough to remember chunky but brilliant Raymond Burr as Perry forget all that. This skinny Perry Mason is a defense attorney in Los Angeles 1932 and there’s a savage murder of a child on the Angel’s Flight railway. John Lithgow is Mason’s friend and foil and Erle Stanley Gardner is the author of course. Look a likes like Aimee Semple McPherson and Fatty Arbuckle add fun and even depth. Diverting and worth viewing.

ROUGH DIAMONDS. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB).    A Belgian movie that centers and holds on the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Antwerp. The opening is terrifying and the conflicts between religion and culture and life in this century are very involving. Then there’s the world famed Antwerp diamond business which keeps the tension high. Don’t miss it.

C.B. STRIKE. (HBO SERIES) (7.9 IMDB).    A war vet Cormoran Strike is the weird name that this now one legged detective has. He’s got a partner and together they work to solve the murder of a beautiful model. J.K. Rowling is the secret author behind the C.B. Strike series. One character looks and acts like Santa Cruz’s own Maia Foreman.

May 8


As most of the community is aware, the 2021 final decision and ruling by Judge Paul Burdick on Don’t Morph The Wharf! v City of Santa Cruz and City Council was in the former’s favor. The city was ordered by the judge to set aside its EIR and Wharf Master Plan except for aspects the community group did not contest under CEQA: namely a relocated entrance gate and east promenade expansion, as well as structural improvements to the road, pilings, garbage collection and accessible bathrooms. The group reserved the right to address the shortcomings of the gate relocation to the CA Coastal Commission (CCC). Neither the Wharf Master Plan nor EIR require CCC approval but some items, such as the gate relocation require a CCC permit.

As ordered by Judge Burdick, the city was to set aside the 2020 EIR and Wharf Master Plan. If subsequently the city decided to embark on a revised EIR then it was required to address the Judge’s Statement of Decision which was substantive, despite the city and city attorney’s efforts to minimize its import.

Apparently, the city has opted for believing the required revisions are minor and released its self-described Recirculated Partial Draft EIR on April 17th, 2023. The community has until May 31st to respond, with a city-imposed caveat, reprinted below:

During this period, reviewers may submit written comments on the Recirculated Partial Draft EIR related only to the revised EIR sections included in this document. All other sections of the Draft EIR, dated March 2020 and Final EIR, dated September 2022, remain unchanged and are not subject to recirculation or additional public comment. (highlight added)

Such limiting of public comment is not in order. The city cannot limit what the public can comment on in a revised EIR.

You can read the revised document here.

In this new iteration, nothing has changed from the 2020 Wharf Master Plan and EIR, with its three 40- feet tall buildings, including the much-despised Landmark building at the southern end blocking the views of Monterey Bay. These, plus the ill-advised western walkway, attached with new pilings below deck to the old west side pilings so that tops of heads, chatter and activity will transform the aesthetics of the historic pilings as shown in the photo and intrude on the serene view from the Wharf restaurants, let alone the ability of the migratory birds to return to their nests under the Wharf.

The 2020 Wharf Master Plan generated vigorous, vocal opposition from not only the Santa Cruz community but also from out of state Wharf visitors. One measure of the opposition was the 2500 signatures on the Don’t Morph the Wharf! petition gathered over a two- and- a half- week period. Another was the scores of letters to council and speakers at the hearings, united in their opposition to what was being proposed in the Wharf Master Plan. Unfortunately, the city Economic Development Department did not correct its inadequate EIR so the only recourse for the community was to collect resources and sue, which it did…and won. Since the city outsources CEQA legal representation, the cost to the public purse was arguably three quarters of a million dollars or more.

The most important part of preserving our historic Wharf is its structural integrity. Don’t Morph the Wharf! gave its support for the city to move forward on that front. It is not surprising, although disappointing that in this new EIR the city states it has no plans to address the garbage collection issue, the single most impactful issue in terms of maintenance costs and wear and tear on the Wharf according to their Engineering Report. While economic vitality is important, that goal can be achieved without turning the Wharf into a Pier 39. Not to mention the unstated agenda of changing the class make-up of the folks who fish from and enjoy the current Wharf.

So here we go again. I’ve read the new, truncated revised EIR. I’m no lawyer but I can spot the weak spots that leave the city open to another legal challenge. If the city were listening to the public, it would come back with a significantly scaled down Wharf Master Plan. That it didn’t, is a measure of how it views the public. Let’s show the city again what this public wants for its historic Municipal Wharf!

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.


May 8.

Joy’s taking a short vacation.

Joy Schendledecker is an artist, parent, and community organizer. She lives on the Westside of Santa Cruz with her husband, two teens, mother in law, and cats. She was a city of Santa Cruz mayoral candidate in 2022. You can email her at:

May 8


Last Thursday (5/4), I attended the in-person Public Hearing held at the Rio Sands Motel in Aptos to learn more about the proposed Highway One widening and construction of the Monterey Bay Scenic Coastal Rail Trail in Aptos Village.   It was very well-attended, but unfortunately, there was no formal staff presentation of the project, instead providing only multiple stations for people to visit, in an “Open House” format.  People were given handouts, and display boards to use for their own attempts to understand the Project and how it might affect them.  The din was so great, people had to yell to be heard, which only added to the cacophony, and no one but the immediate people benefitted by any of this haphazard information exchange.

One staff member even told me there was no Draft EIR available in the room to look through, but I was later shown one at the Environmental Station.

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is the lead agency on this Project, due to begin construction in 2025.

Most of the heritage trees you see in this photo of Highway One Southbound in the Aptos Creek area would be removed.  Staff was not clear about the ratio of replacement trees to be planted, or even where they would be planted.

The 14′ wide Rail Trail in Aptos Village would require removing all the parking you see in front of the Bayview Hotel and Trout Gulch Crossing (where Caroline’s Thrift Store is located) as well as relocating the electrical box you see in the foreground that controls the railroad crossing arms for Parade Street.  This will exacerbate the existing parking problems in Aptos Village.

Here is the link to the documents for this Project

Public Comment is due by June 2 at 5pm.

Why would the Rail Trail will be connected to new stairs at Spreckles Drive, and also Aptos Village County Park…with lots of mature trees getting cut down to do that, when the access is easy and already available from nearby Aptos Creek Road?  Will removing the front area of the Bayview Hotel parking area cause it to be removed from the National Historic Registry?  Will the increase in unpermeable surfaces incraedase contaminated stormwater funoff into Aptos Creek, a known to have coho salmon migrations?  Couldn’t that stormwater be filtered for trash removal and groundwater recharge in local biofiltered ponds?


Last week, the County Fire Dept. Advisory Commission (FDAC) held a Special Meeting in order to discuss and, essentially rubber stamp a one-year contract with CALFIRE to provide training for the County Fire Volunteers and provide emergency response to the rural areas during non-fire season.  Once again, members of the public were only allowed a total of 3 minutes to comment at the very start of the meeting on all items on the agenda and not on the agenda, and were  prohibited from commenting on the proposed one-year contract and County Fire Dept. Budget after the presentation had been made.

It was smoke and mirrors, and I feel the County General Services Manager Mr. Michael Beaton was not familiar at all with the material, and is not working in the public’s best interest to secure the best deal for property owners. CALFIRE Chief Nate Armstrong insisted there can be no three-year contract issued, which the public was told in 2020 was a cost-saving measure made possible by the new large fire tax County Service Area 48 Fire Dept. voters had just approved.

Mr. Beaton attempted to convince the Commissioners that CALFIRE’s willingness to reduce the number of months considered non-fire season months (which are determined by environmental conditions, not politically) from seven to five would be a tremendous cost savings, and make the smoke and mirrors all look fine when this comes to the Board of Supervisors next week in the Budget Hearings (being held very early and significantly shortened).

Take a look at County Fire Dept. website…a work in progress, with little information regarding finances:

Santa Cruz County Fire Department

Who knows why this is even posted, supposedly as the Budget?

It is my understanding that there will be a Regular FDAC meeting again later this month, on May 17 at 4pm.  Attend if you are able and ask for not only financial accountability but also a County Fire Dept. 2020 CZU Fire After Action Review to help plan for future emergency responses.  CALFIRE refused to do one…but the County Fire Volunteers deserve to provide their assessments of that disaster and how to improve things for next time.  Maybe next time, CALFIRE should not instruct the Volunteers to “just go home”.


Last week, the County Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) met to hear updates on the County’s progress to address housing issues.  I could not attend the meeting, but happened to see the staff member in charge, Ms. Tracy Cunningham, in the hallway later.

When I asked about the progress of the new Citizen and Stakeholder Committees meeting to make recommendations to the Planning Dept. and Board of Supervisors about where to re-zone for high-density affordable housing mandated by the State, she told me about the just-released online tool Balancing Act Consultants developed for greater public input on the issue.

See what you think of this tool.  I find it obfuscates real and meaningful public input because it gives little information about which “aged shopping centers” would be repurposed, gives little choice as to density levels, and neglects to include many potential areas that could be developed in smaller cluster housing units.

There is also no information as to how the County has determined there are parcels existing that could provide 2,934 new units, or why the County requires an additional 464 new units as a buffer to the 4,634 new units the State is mandating be built in the unincorporated area within the next eight years.

It also leaves out the rural areas completely.

Ms. Cunningham told me the two select Committees would be meeting soon in parallel, and presenting their recommendations to the Planning Commission in the near future.

Here are some other interesting informational issues presented to the HAC last week:


New Affordable Rental Housing in Live Oak:

Bienestar Flyer, English

Bienestar Flyer, Spanish

Santa Cruz County ADU Incentives Program:

How to apply, in English 
How to apply, en español 

Contact Ms. Tracy Cunningham to receive notification of future HAC meetings: Tracy Cunningham

How will the County keep track of what is maintained as “affordable” housing???  Is this creating just another level of government?

Here is the link to the Planning Commission website, where all of this will land before going to the County Board of Supervisors this fall.

Note that two of the Commissioners (Allyson Violante and Andy Schiffrin) also serve as analysts to County Supervisors…do you think that is right?


Maybe the County hopes more property owners will add Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) to their parcels and help provide housing…and not Vacation Rentals. Here is some information about a new incentive program that is partnering with a non-profit Hello Housing consultant team, paid for by the County that is now offering a program administrator called “HelloADU”.

The application states property owners need only submit information about their parcel to the design team to receive a list of what is and is not possible to do.  Applications close July 31, 2023.  Likely, Ms. Tracy Cunningham, mentioned above, can provide answers to your questions about this opportunity.

Here is what the County Planning Dept. recently sent out: Program applications are available in English and Spanish here for qualified homeowners in unincorporated areas of the county.

Does your firm provide design and/or contracting services, or any other services involved in ADU development in Santa Cruz County?  If so, please join our ADU professional registry here:
Professionals | HelloADU

To stay informed, subscribe to a newsletter here.

At long last, the Branciforte Library remodel is complete and the popular Seabright neighborhood library will re-open this Saturday, May 13.  The celebration activities are set for 10am-2pm.  I hope the map of Branciforte County is still posted there…not many people would otherwise know Santa Cruz County began as Branciforte County otherwise.

Branciforte Branch Library set for grand reopening after two years


Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about local history and why it matters to preserve our cultural resources. [Eventbrite ticket link]


Cheers, Becky

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at

May 8


What if there never was any wilderness? What if the story of Adam and Eve is a myth about a legendary distant wilderness, before humans were human, before animals created homes?

What if the land we encounter has always been tended by humans?

And, what if wildlife, clean running streams, pollinators, badger and fish, all need us to do that tending?

How might that change your relationship with Nature? How might that change your notions of the importance of stewardship for Mother Earth?

In My Travels

In my travels to jungles to experience Earth’s biodiversity, I find the handiwork of humans, even deep in parks. In the Andean cloud forest, on the sides of Machu Pichu, the fog clears, and the bright sun reveals the corduroy of ancient agricultural terraces across impossibly steep slopes for miles around. A guide points to hidden complex irrigation systems that kept these farmed terraces watered. On one such hillside, I discover oca plants, Oxalis tuberosa, with their buttery sweet starchy roots; these were as important a food to the Inca as potatoes. Still they hang on.

In the mountains overlooking the Caribbean on Costa Rica’s coast, I followed red and yellow variegated leaves through dense thickets after passing through a tropical-tree shaded cacao plantation. We discover a mango tree and then a patch of bananas, and then more seemingly wild forest. Along this variegated leaf-marked trail, we find a couple rubber trees scarred from tapping 50 years ago. Finally after 6 hours of hiking, the crow of a rooster, the barking of a handful of dogs, and a clearing announces my arrival at an Indian outpost, the closest one to ‘town.’

A little North, on Belize’s low coastal plain, I am guided to ‘wild’ cacao plants deep in the rainforest. It takes hours of blazing hot, sweat drenched bug-bothered hiking through dense forest to get to the first few cacaos. Along the way, on the river floodplain in a fallen tree light gap, I find diverse hot pepper plants, some with blindingly hot spherical fruit, some elongated and a little sweeter. The hill in the distance is being explored as a jungle-covered pyramid and archeological site. A giant ceiba tree we pass is cherished by the local Mayans as a bridge between the spiritual and physical worlds.

Back In the Santa Cruz Mountains

What if the expansive coastal prairies, hazelnut and buckeye groves, old growth redwood stands, patches of endangered Santa Cruz tarplant, and diversely colored iris clusters are not ‘natural?’ What if they are legacies of Native American stewardship? My eyes were once more open to that kind of encounter when traveling out of the country. Now, I am starting to look at my home landscape with the same kind of curiosity.

Coastal Prairies and Endangered Tarplant

Salads of clover greens, nourishing seed cakes of red maids, sweet roasted bulbs…the prairies grew a valued diversity of foods. Digging sticks were used to remove the bigger tasty bulbs, aerating propagation beds for the following year’s bulbs. Small groups carried baskets of seeds for restoration following correctly timed prairie fires. On a few occasions, tarplant seed traded from the Central Valley is carefully sprinkled into wetter parts of the coastal meadows in hopes of providing a favorite tasty and nutritious snack.

The earliest logbooks of Old World peoples traveling along this coast described extensive coastal prairies, all burned. For generations, the dominant cultural belief of the invading people denied Indians the advanced intelligence that they clearly practiced in tending the land. Kat Anderson, who researches and writes about the complexity and expansiveness of Native Peoples’ land care, is slowly helping our culture to overcome such ignorance. She and I still encounter well educated people who have difficulty believing that the native peoples ever managed entire landscapes like these expansive coastal prairies. None of those grasslands would have been open, grassy ecosystems without regular burning, tree and shrub removal, and a wealth of other tending practices that we still must (re-)learn. Check out any patch of coastal prairie that isn’t burned, grazed, or mowed, and you’ll see it closing in from trees and shrubs: it takes just a few years.

Those coastal prairies have many rare native annual wildflowers; Santa Cruz tarplant is an especially endangered species that is barely hanging on in a few last places. Tarplants produce protein rich seeds, a staple food of the indigenous peoples of California who developed efficient techniques for harvesting large numbers of the seeds involving specialized harvesting and tote baskets. The Santa Cruz tarplant is a recently speciated taxon, a species that evolved over just the last 12,000 years – a time frame allowing for native peoples to have played an important role in its creation.

A crowd working with State Parks and the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association, including members of local tribes, walk drip torches, starting a blaze through the grassland at Wilder Ranch. Needlegrass stands proliferate. 5th generation ranchers guide cattle through pasture gates, tinker with water troughs and maintain fences. The next spring there are immense stands of lupines, native clovers, sheets of white popcornflower, and patches of Santa Cruz tarplant.

How is it important to you that we have coastal prairies? Do you enjoy the soaring of hawks and eagles across the Monterey Bay? Are the stunning poppy displays this spring inspiring? Have you considered that prairies can help slow the spread of catastrophic wildfires, making them less intense and dangerous?

Hazelnut and Buckeye Groves and Iris Gardens

Cracking the hard shells from hazelnuts in midsummer revealed a smooth pale nut: roasted or raw, it was a valued delicacy. The second year after burning an individual hazelnut bush, the long flexuous stems are now ready for making baskets or fish traps. Hazelnut groves must have been replanted and tended, some bushes for nuts, some for baskets. Nearby were similarly tended buckeye groves, producing nuts that were leached of toxins and ground into flour on the same grinding stones used for acorns. But, acorns were less predictable with some years yielding poor crops.

In the understory of oaks, buckeye, and hazelnut were mats of native iris plants. Each spring, vast displays of iris flowers were picked to decorate costumes for spring ritual dances. The best colored iris plants were marked and propagated the following winter. Iris beds responded well to periodic low intensity ground fires, throwing up many more blossoms and longer leaves that were a favorite for making twine and rope.

Nuts! When I find hazelnut and buckeye, if I look around enough, I’ll find remnants of Indian camps or village sites. Dark soil pitched up from gophers reveals flakes of abalone and clam or trail/road clearing reveals some flakes of worked chert. I have planted both species: they aren’t difficult to grow. Once established, they don’t seem to die. Our hedgerow of hazelnuts was only 10 years old when the 2020 fire swept through and roasted them. The following year, those hazelnut bushes rebounded vigorously; 3 years later, they are bigger than ever. This is the first year that they will make nuts. Almost all of the buckeye trees in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire footprint now have 6′ tall new stems; they will flower and make nuts in a few more years.

That 2020 fire cleared the ground for a resurgence of native iris. People throughout Bonny Doon have been reporting a surprising array of flower colors, including unexpected blues, emanating from what is supposed to be a single species (Iris fernaldii).

A Western gray squirrel forages under the canopy of an ancient hazelnut grove for one of the very few nuts produced this year. The hazelnut bushes have few leaves and few stems, the shade from the dense, young Douglas firs too much for their liking. At the base of a nearby bank, piles of buckeye fruits lie among dry leaves. The forest floor is criss-cross strewn with dead branches from the windy winter, adding dangerously to the fuel load for future wildfires. Iris leaves poke up between this array of cast off branches, a single iris seed pod rattles in the afternoon breeze.

Old Growth Redwood

It took special attention to burn understory of the groves of giant redwoods. After the fires, prized morels sprung up in the spring to be followed by Prince mushrooms in the summer. The peaceful trees provided shade and peace in the hot summer. The towering trees sometimes lost easily gathered branches for firewood.

Redwoods appear in the pollen record of a local lake near Big Basin State Park around 12,000 years ago. This is the time that the native people were tending the land with fire. In the wake of their fires, the bare soil would have provided the right conditions for redwood seedlings to establish, but from where did those seeds blow? Redwood seeds do not travel far on their own. Over the last two thousand years, native peoples burned the redwood forests every 4-6 years. This was often enough to burn up the thick duff and branches while keeping the understory more open, without crowding shrubs and small trees that could add to the danger wildfires posed to the ancient trees.

Across the scar of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, a few people struggle to clean up the fuels around the remaining redwoods. They hope to save the remaining big trees from the next wildfire, now more dangerous than ever from the immense fuel loading of hundreds of fire-killed trees. Meanwhile, prescribed fires are beginning to be lit in the understories of redwoods once again.


If you believed in wilderness before reading this, did I change your thinking about how you see this landscape? Do you believe that humans are responsible for our diverse prairies, for Santa Cruz tarplant itself, for forming groves of hazelnuts and buckeye, for creating iris beds and a diversity of iris flower colors and for stands of old growth redwood? If you are not convinced, what evidence would you need to change your point of view? Who would you trust to provide or deliver that information? Please let me know.

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


May 6

#126 / Look At Me!!!

The picture above is from the March 28, 2023, edition of The Wall Street Journal. Ann-Marie Alcántara, in her article on “Why People Are Getting More Disruptive At Concerts,” tells us that:

Concert season is in full swing, with Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and other artists dominating calendars in the coming months. But a new villain is hurting the experience for many: superfans seeking five minutes of social-media fame.

Homemade signs, screaming teenagers and bouncing beach balls aren’t new to concerts. What has changed is that, largely thanks to TikTok, any moment of a concert can go viral. More fans are trying to force that moment to happen with wild shenanigans, annoying noises or demands on artists to play unusual songs.

That desire to create a quick piece of content to share online has become a buzzkill for everybody else at the show.

I think that there is a human desire – in fact, a genuine human need – to “be seen,” to be recognized. We can validate the fact, and importance, of our own existence by the recognition we get from others. I have no claim to any great expertise in psychology; however, I think that this is a well-recognized psychological truth. Our individual ability to function, and to succeed, depends, to some significant degree, to the fact that our existence and actions are “recognized” by others (and hopefully recognized in some “positive” way).

Is, however, the “recognition” we might receive “online,” on “the internet,” actually the kind of validation that can sustain and ultimately support us, fragile individuals that we are? Is TikTok really the road to the kind of recognition that we seek? That’s the question that came to my mind as I read Ann-Marie Alcántara’s article in The Wall Street Journal. Another article, in the next day’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, raised the question again. That article, “There’s Money Behind The Camera on TikTok,” suggests that the road to the kind of recognition that can sustain a person’s sense of self-worth may best be found “behind” the camera, not in front of it.

I want to suggest – and, remember, I make no claim for any expertise in psychology – that the kind of personal “validation” and “recognition” we need to maintain our sense of personal worth, thus freeing us to be creative and successful in whatever we seek to do, is best obtained by interactions with “real people,” in “real life,” doing “real things” that we, and others, believe are important.

My views about this, I hope, cause no surprise. I don’t advise looking for validation by creating “viral videos.” I recommend “talking to strangers” and getting involved, with others, in movements for social, economic, and political change.

This is just a suggestion!

Instead of “Look at me,” How about, “look at US!” Look what we’re doing, together, to change the world.

That could be pretty impressive! Working with others, to change the political realities that define the world in which we actually live, can provide a genuine sense of validation and self-satisfaction.

Take it from me. I am speaking from personal experience!

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

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May 8


Donna Brazile, chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, the year of Donald Trump’s presidential election, is telling Democrats to “wake up” in light of a new national poll showing President Biden’s approval ratings in a downward slide. A Washington Post-ABC News showed a 6% difference at the beginning of May compared to early figures in 2023, his job approval taking the hit. With inflation continuing to plague the economy only 18% in the poll ‘strongly approve’ his efforts.
Brazile also points to the poll figures which show the former president beating Biden by 6%, with a favorable preference of 44% to 38%.

“It’s sobering in the sense that the coalition that elected Joe Biden, with the historic numbers that we saw in 2020, that coalition right now is fragmented. That should concern them,” she said. Brazile cautioned the White House in commenting on the slow, low profile mode of the campaign, saying she has serious concerns about his ability to reach voters. “They’re still unable to get a real good, strong message to the American people not just on their accomplishments but where they want to take the country. And so while the Republicans are operating on fumes, the Democrats are operating on policies. If they are unable to make this campaign from the bottom up and talk to the people where they are, its’ going to be a struggle,” she added.

One Democratic strategist described Biden’s plan to do a “really subtle launch” which is a “reflection of the type of candidate he is, but also the stage of his life he’s in.” The launch video was to be a focus, getting over 12 million views, with an outreach to over 5,000 key stakeholders in the Biden coalition; the first week Biden met with donors, had campaign engagements with the Biden-Harris 2020 volunteer community, followed by a handful of public and campaign-related events. Press Secretary Jean-Pierre told reporters he’s had “internal meetings in the Oval Office to discuss issues that matter to the American people.” The campaign has yet to release any significant fundraising figures, which is probably concerning to Donna Brazile. 

frontrunner Trump is calling “Crooked Joe Biden’s” launch a disaster and hearing “crickets” about fundraising, suggesting that Biden can’t compete with his outstanding grassroots donors. Others in the GOP suggest Biden isn’t strong enough to hit the trail and do a big reelection event. “He launched. He didn’t do a rally. So they’re going to hide him,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Democrats argue that there is no need for Biden to usurp Trump’s spotlight this early in the game, letting the Former Guy’s legal troubles get the attention they deserve. Just let Trump be Trump, as THEY say! Campaigning against an opponent clad in an orange jumpsuit is probably the easiest solution. After all, it is a reelection, no need for drama eighteen months out from an election without a sure opponent, so let the president be the president to show his relevancy to the voters…WE say!

On ‘The Warning with Steve Schmidt,’ Steve launches into CNN and its New Hampshire town hall interview, “either featuring or starring Donald Trump,” and questioning the validity of David Zaslav’s declaring it “the new CNN.” Schmidt goes on to say, “The distinction between featuring Trump in a town hall, and one starring him is not semantic. It is elemental. Should the town hall simply feature Trump then it is possible the new CNN will trend towards journalism. That would be good. If it stars Donald Trump, it would harken the renewal of a dismal partnership, and place CNN in a business arrangement with Trump along his shady axis of partnerships, including Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf, NewsMax, Fox News and Tucker Carlson. The distinction matters in a world in which Fox News has been exposed as the most corrupt news organization in American history. Beyond the moment to moment malfeasance, dishonesty, racism, xenophobia and gaslighting, Bret Baier, Rupert Murdoch’s hard news bard, has been unmasked. He is a conman, not a news man. He lies for profit. He misleads to please the fragile sensibilities of his radical audience. This is the model that CNN has been encouraged to pursue by one of America’s richest and most powerful men.” 

Steve points out that a few years ago, John Malone, the largest shareholder in Warner Bros. Discovery, made critical comments about CNN, and cited Fox News as a model the network might wish to follow, saying, “Fox News, in my opinion, has followed an interesting trajectory of trying to have news news, I mean some actual journalism, embedded in a program schedule of all opinions. And I think they’ve been relatively successful with a service like Bret Baier, and Brit Hume before him, that try to distinguish news from opinion. I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing.”

Schmidt asks,“What exactly is a new CNN, and what will it become? A departure from the reality show ethic would be in the public interest and an unalloyed societal good. Perhaps it will become a news network again. There is certainly a great deal of open space to pursue and amplify ethical journalism. This is among the most corrupt eras of American history. Muckraking is the antidote to the corrupt access model. Partnering with the powerful to communicate to the masses isn’t journalism. It is propaganda. Accountability against the public interest is what this moment requires. Can CNN deliver?” That will certainly be something to watch for after the Trump appearance!

And speaking of Trump appearances, he declined to show up to testify in his defense on the final day of the E. Jean Carroll trial, formally confirming his intent after being given a last chance deadline by the trial judge. The former misogynist/president had teased that he would be in the courtroom, will find it difficult to appeal the verdict which is unlikely to be in his favor, and his trying to run out the clock on all his trials simply isn’t working in his favor as he continues to lose appeal after appeal. Although under the law he will be able to appeal, Carroll isn’t in it for the money, only vindication, to have Prima Donald branded as a rapist…exactly what she wants.

The Don has continually insisted E. Jean “isn’t my type,” so why would he be attracted to her for any reason? Plus, he never met the woman…didn’t know who she is, blah-blah, so why is she doing this to him? Telling was his video deposition shown at the trial, recording when he was shown a photo picturing him with Marla Maples, his wife at the time, and E. Jean Carroll…in happier times. Asked to identify those in the photo, he identified Carroll as his wife…“not my type,” eh? Informed of his mistake, he offered, “picture is kind of blurry”NOT blurry, dude!

Yet another case of mistaken identity this week involved Senator Ted Cruz in his response to the announced candidacy for his seat by Texas’ US Representative Colin Allred, a former NFL player with the Tennessee Titans. Cruz immediately in a fundraising text to his supporters revealed news of Allred’s launch for his Senate seat, along with a photo of his competitor. Only problem being…Teddy Boy uploaded a photo of New York DA Alvin Bragg instead of Colin Allred. Was his face all-red in this faux pas? It certainly had huevos rancheros dripping down his chin, so it might be time for a quick one to Cancun…see if your daughter and her friends are up for some face-saving assistance, Mr. C!

In Fulton County Georgia’s criminal probe, headed by DA Fani Willis, we’ve learned that eight fake electors/co-conspirators in the attempt to overturn the election results in that state have agreed to flip evidence in return for immunity deals. This would seem to seal the deal against Donnie Dotard, but defeatist hysteria within the media want you to believe he is invincible, and one news outlet thinks these eight fake electors may not know enough to be relevant. However, immunity deals aren’t handed out frivolously, and somewhere within the investigation is revealed the process, and results, where useful information has been found.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith is continuing quietly in his multi-pronged investigation into Trump’s criminality, and when former VP Mike Pence showed up to testify, Smith was in the room when it happened, indicating the importance of the testimony of one who was in the room when it happened in the Trump years. Bocha Blue’s name for Smith, ‘Wolfman Jack,’ indicates his belief that the prosecutor is as “tough as nails and wouldn’t know a cowardly moment if he saw it,” as he pursues his quarry, rarely missing in the chase. In the stolen documents case Smith has a Mar-a-Lago insider, probably several if the truth be known, who has testified along with photos regarding the storage and movement of the purloined documents boxes…The Don has to be trembling in his Gucci boots. And the Justice Department continues to sentence many of the key players from the January Insurrection, so things are moving, even as we await the Really Big Show.

Last week’s conviction of leader Enrique Tarrio and three other ‘Proud Boys’ of seditious conspiracy for their involvement in the J6 Insurrection should be an ominous sign for that ilk. The 1861 law states that “if two or more persons conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” It was concluded that Tarrio was guilty of those crimes, conceding that his physical absence from Washington, DC was not a factor. Are you paying attention, Donnie Johnny T.? It is pointed out that prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi, convicted Charles Manson of murder…nothing to do with seditious conspiracy, of course…even though he wasn’t at the scene of the Tate-Labianca murders, but his plans were carried out by his followers as he commanded. So, even though Trump wasn’t physically present in the Capitol building, defacing paintings and scribbling on random computer screens with his black Sharpie, there is precedent…an inevitability that the Former Guy is liable in the extreme with all of the insurrectionists acting in his name, and probably didn’t even know Enrique Tarrio existed.

In absentia, Trump raises his ugliness again, this time in the personage of Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seeking final approval of the Trump-era EPA’s condoning the use of radioactive phosphogypsum in Florida’s roads. Conservation groups across the Southeastern states are urging RonDe to veto the bill allowing ‘demonstration road projects’ to use the toxic byproduct of the fertilizer industry, which has accumulated one billion tons stored in 25 ‘gypstacks’ in Florida. These stacks are hundreds of acres wide and hundreds of feet tall…far more material than could be stored in the closets of Mar-a-Lago and could probably fill several notorious Florida sinkholes. The current Environmental Protection Agency prohibits the use of phosphate waste as it poses an unacceptable risk to road construction workers, public health and the environment. Florida’s Department of Transportation would be instructed to complete a feasibility study on use of this material with a short timeline and a completion date of April 1, 2024. “No environmentally conscious governor worth his salt would ever sign a bill into law approving roadbuilding with radioactive materials,” says Rachael Curran, attorney with People for Protecting Peace River. “Even the fast-tracked ‘study’ contemplated by this industry-sponsored bill would create harm because that involves a full-scale project that would have very real, very detrimental impacts to the environment and health of Floridians, especially road-construction crews.” One can’t help but think this might be a part of DeSantis’ revenge-factor thrust at Disney. In the meantime, it might be wise to stay off the roads leading to Disney World and its environs.

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.


“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
~David Foster Wallace.

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
~Ray Bradbury.

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.”
~John Muir


We just got two beehives! You would not catch me dead doing this kind of stuff though, I am way too afraid of them! 🙂

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