Blog Archives

May 13 – 19, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Hail Satan!, KZSC Pledge drive. GREENSITE…on support your neighbors! The proposed development at 916 Seabright Ave…KROHN…City Budget, Parks master plan, 800 cars for Public Works, Skypark Sale, Library Garage. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek Water District secrets and awards, Twin Lakes Church killing trees, 916 Seabright avenue approaching ugliness of 9 units & 2400 sq.ft. each! PATTON…tribute to Pat Mcormick and LAFCO. EAGAN…mustard on the species. JENSEN…reviews Tolkien. BRATTON…critiques Red Joan, Tolkien and Hail Satan? UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “MONKEYS”


                                 

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1111 PACIFIC AVENUE. Built in 1908, converted in 1989.  Once upon a time it was this Hotel Metropole, then later it was Hal Morris’ Plaza Books — and then Logos Books. Now it’s been empty for months, waiting for that non-profit brewery to open.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

PETE SEEGER SINGS AND TALKS ABOUT MALVINA REYNOLDS AND WOMEN.

How to Play The Bones. I still have the set of bones my grandfather played on the vaudeville stage. Yes, I can play them!!!

DATELINE May 13, 2019

HAIL SATAN? The movie (FULL DISCLOSURE) I’ll admit that it’s rare (if ever) that I open with a movie review but Hail Satan! really got to me. I’ve been looking for at least three weeks for my own Anton La Vey personally-signed membership card to his Satanic Church in San Francisco. I’ll post it when I find it. I knew Anton for years through my producer/director days at KCBS (CBS) and at KGO (ABC). My Goodtime Washboard 3 Trio even played at one of his Black Masses. Anton was a very funny guy, full of fun and with a super sense of humor! It’s not too widely-known but one of his jobs was playing the organ at the Long Beach Pike (Boardwalk/amusement park). He’s only given a few seconds in this documentary about some activists who use Satan to help break the religious stranglehold that Christianity has on our government. These Satanists mostly want equal time or equal display of symbols beside the Christian one. GO SEE THIS FILM… you’ll think about the message for at least days on end! Yes. There’s a Santa Cruz Satanic Chapter that gets brief screen time. It has a 96 on RT!!! It’s also an excellent example of the power of the people when they organize!!!

  • KZSC PLEDGE DRIVE. Next Tuesday May 21st is the KZSC Pledge Drive. One way or the other it’s the way they judge popularity of the programs. Please, if I’ve ever interviewed you or friends of yours, consider donating some cash to the drive. It is of course my “Universal Grapevine” program at 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday nights. Call 459-2811 to talk to somebody and be sure to give my program UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE name…otherwise the pledge goes to general funds. You also can go online, but I’m not sure how to direct the pledge to Universal Grapevine. I wouldn’t be asking if it didn’t matter, and thank you so very much. There’s a message on their website… KZSC is a student-run, community-based, non-commercial, educational public radio station teaches media making and non-profit management.
  • The University of California does not fund KZSC; KZSC receives 32% of our support from student donations; another 32% comes from renting out space on our broadcast tower to other radio stations and cell phone companies; the rest comes from our semiannual on-air fundraiser, local businesses underwriting, and, of course, You! (the listener).
  • KZSC airs alternative viewpoints to those found on commercial/mainstream stations. Honesty, balance, and sensitivity fuels our creative and educational endeavors.
  • KZSC strives for completeness in news coverage, conscientiously providing unbiased and fair reporting on all events and topics. We have a newsroom covering the Monterey Bay–made by locals for locals!
  • KZSC provides access in a non-discriminatory, progressive fashion to those traditionally underrepresented in the media, including but not limited to women, cultural, ethnic, and racial minorities, people of various sexual orientations, seniors, youth, children, and the disabled.
  • KZSC is dedicated to serving the public interest, serving as a mouthpiece on air for the community it serves and represents.
  • KZSC does not sell promotional advertising spots or accept payola of any kind. Anything you hear on-air is curated content by our lovely disc-jockeys and fiercely independent, local news editors.
  • KZSC was first known as KRUZ.  Forty-nine years later, KZSC broadcasts at 20,000 watts, reaching 3 million people in Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties!

#Give2KZSC today – or you can call 831-459 2811to make your donation by phone!  

MAY 13

FILL ‘ER UP


It’s no secret that Santa Cruz is a lucrative market for housing speculators. Despite rising building and material costs, current artificially high land values are a developers’ dream.  Shedding crocodile tears over the “housing crisis, “self-interested stakeholders urge approval of all manner of new large developments that are rapidly changing the character of Santa Cruz while paradoxically worsening the housing cost crisis.

It is not too late to weigh in on the latest of these out of scale developments. Thursday, May 16th, the city Planning Commission will discuss and vote on a proposed 9-unit development at 916 Seabright Avenue. A duplex and one single family home currently on the site are proposed to be demolished to make way for 9 three story townhouses with an average height of 30 feet (mid-way roofline, actual height 36 feet). This row of nine 2000 square foot units stretches almost the length of a football field. Nearby neighbors are rightfully disturbed at the scale of the development that will loom over nearby small cottages, taking away privacy and the small- scale character of the Seabright area. Their flyer summarizes the impact and concerns.

For those who profess to a belief that we need “lots more housing” which includes the Sentinel editorial board, the YIMBY group, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, local Chamber of Commerce and SC County Business Council, there’s no downside to such developments. If we had a map of where they all live its likely none is impacted by this or the many other large-scale recent housing developments already approved or in the works. It’s also likely they are positioned to make money from an influx of well-off newcomers, either directly or indirectly.

Let’s put to rest once and for all the notion that “lots more housing” will lead to lower rents and/or housing costs. That model may work in some contexts but not in 2019 Santa Cruz.  We are in a housing vice-grip between the wealth of Silicon Valley and an expanding UCSC. Both represent essentially unlimited demand. Were there a moratorium on UCSC growth with a scale back to ten thousand students plus a downturn in the economy impacting the high tech Bay area industry then maybe supply and demand might become a relevant model but that is not in the foreseeable future. Unless we don’t care if our established neighborhoods are morphed into rows of expensive high-rise apartment buildings (the YIMBY goal), our only option is to organize and demand that the General Plan goal of protecting the character of established neighborhoods be followed.  Such efforts will be decried by the stakeholders and mischaracterized as catering to NIMBY types, usually described as old, white, elitists standing in the way of progress and affordable housing. That description does not match the demographics of our long-time neighborhoods. Well, maybe old and white is descriptive but not pejorative. Apart from higher income areas such as the upper westside, most of the lower westside and eastside neighborhoods are still comprised of lower and moderate- income families. While gentrification is rapidly changing these demographics with small cottages torn down and replaced with large expensive houses marketed as second homes for the wealthy, these newcomers are not the neighbors getting organized. The folks getting organized are long-term residents, mostly working or middle-class, or now retired who refuse to let their neighborhoods be lost to such out of scale developments that do nothing to alleviate the housing cost crisis and in fact tend to make it worse.

One of the nine units proposed for 916 Seabright will be “affordable” under the city’s Inclusionary Ordinance. The rest will be market rate. “Affordable” here is defined as 80% of the area medium income, which for a family of four is $98,000. I don’t profess to know all current income scales but that still seems unaffordable for the city’s janitors, cooks, cleaners and perhaps even teachers. The rents for the other eight units are likely to be comparable to other units recently built on Seabright, which rent for $4,600 a month.

Worse than simply being expensive, such new dense developments have been shown to displace lower income rental families by raising the value of nearby properties, putting pressure on the owners to sell, bulldoze and capitalize on the high income demand for infill housing in Santa Cruz. So the very people we pay lip service to wanting to protect are the first to be sacrificed. Make no mistake, such density and scale will soon be coming to your neighborhood should Senator Scott Wiener’s bills pass the state legislature.  In the meantime, show some solidarity by supporting the neighbors’ efforts to keep the scale, character and whatever’s left of the affordability of the Seabright neighborhood. When it’s your turn, they will be there.

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  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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May 13

THE CITY BUDGET, PART ii

OMG, We’re Going Back to the City Budget

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to speak about the budget. You were terrific! There will be a couple more days to come out and advocate too, possibly May 28 and June 11. I will let you know. The bureaucrats with their large bureaucrat bats sought to lure, then herd, the city council cats into a kind of budgetary compliance. Fire and brimstone PERS payment schedules surround Surf City like fun-loving bands of wanna-be surfers camped on the outskirts of town. They’re just waiting to invade Steamer Lane once locals let down their guard. These retirement benefit payments represent a deep abyss where the city shovels in millions each year, and nothing grows but the budget hole. With this in mind the current council is keenly aware of city staff concerns and priorities. I wondered if there was any room for the council to offer alternatives to staff’s budget, which as filled with more code enforcers, images of widened bridges over the San Lorenzo, more low-paid First Alarm guards, and hardly a word about climate mitigations, or even climate change. (BTW, the Parks Master Plan, which appears to be a blue print for damn the climate change pabulum, full steam ahead with more mountain bike paths and $750k worth of water for the golf course (I kid you not) was sent back to look at the environmental effects of the plan’s actions, i.e. carry out an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), or be sued. (This was a win for the environment and at least one positive outcome that occurred this past week. In politics you have to celebrate the wins!)

Progressive City Budget
Yes, you heard that right, the city council pushed back on the staff budget and made some suggestions of their own.  Councilmember Sandy Brown passed around a list of funding priorities to be included: Women’s Self-Defense classes: $20k; Tenant legal services: $60k; Project Homeless Connect: $5k; Janus: $5,400; Foster Grandparents program: $5k; Meals on Wheels: $12k; funding for aUCSC-LRDP advocate position to help enforce the results of voter-approved Measure U: $60k; opening the Harvey West Pool year-round: $400k; and a long-awaited item, budgeting for City Council Assistants: $175k. Now that’s starting to look like a progressive city budget! I would like to say all of these items were embraced unanimously by a progressive council, andflew through on a 7-0 vote. But instead I will say, it sailed through on a 4-3 vote. (Surprise!) Another thorny issue discussed was the future of the brutish, nasty, mean, and short Rental Inspection Ordinance (RIO), which did result in a 7-0 vote. Similar to the now discredited Library-Garage fiasco, el RIO was also never fully vetted by the community and it has left a trail of disaffected and disempowered renters as well as irate landlords along the now long Santa Cruz housing trail of tears.(Apologies here to our Native American brothers and sisters.) The council voted unanimously to have the Planning Director, Lee Butler, bring back information on what a revamped and reformed ordinance might look like, one that puts the needs of tenants first.


Now You see it….now you don’t. Ross Camp Before and after…is it really better this way?

In Other Budget Issues…questions were raised with Police, Parks and Rec., and Public Works over their vehicle purchases and gasoline/diesel budgets. You could hear a pin drop shortly after a Public Works spokesperson lauded the department’s efforts at buying Nissan Leafs (6) and Toyota Priuses (12). Why? He was asked, how many vehicles does the Santa Cruz Public Works Department operate? Oh, around 800, he said. (pin drop time) EIGHT HUNDRED vehicles?!? That means around 2.5% of Public Work’s entire city fleet is electric or hybrid. Almost 11% of all vehicles purchased in California last year were EVs. Wow. Upon further inquiry, the council found that the police department has zero electric cars, and Parks and Rec. possesses far too many monster F-150 pickup trucks. Where does the climate change buck stop I wonder? The recent UN report that was issued last week on potential species loss was being chilled by the whirring new air conditioning system down at city hall council chambers. A wake-up call that the ice caps are melting and the ocean is knocking at the Santa Cruz door has already been issued, and it is certainly within our means to do more mitigating now with respect to the impending future effects of climate disruption. And vehicle purchases are just the tip of this melting iceberg. Where in the city budget is the city council owning up to the awesome responsibility of confronting climate change? There is still time for this council to look at its budget and perform a climate analysis and audit…i.e. identify the low hanging fruit like vehicle purchases, not installing any more air conditioning in city buildings, putting a hold on building more parking garages, and we could plant 2019 trees in 2019. Putting solar on the roof of every new home and every city-owned building, installing electric charging stations throughout the city, and revamping building codes so that all new construction is Leeds certified might take a bit longer, but we desperately need a plan, now. Kyoto, Paris, last week’s UN report, the time to act it now. How is Santa Cruz doing?

Wait, There’s Time
During the course of this Wednesday’s 10am-6:30pm budget deliberations, if I have this right, the deficit went from $1.9 million to $3.2 million then back down to $1.6 million even with the council ad-ons. But, as Yogi Berra might’ve put it, the budget “ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The extremely narrow window to pass the budget that the Finance Director and City Manager built appeared to grow wider throughout the day. At first, some councilmembers thought Wednesday’s meeting would be the only forum to intensely parse the budget, but it turns out May 14th, May 28th, and June 11th could all be additional sessions to discuss city finances. We have more breathing space to receive public input, have councilmember conversations, and put forward additional motions to discuss and debate. There’s time.

What’s on the City Council Meeting Agenda This Week

Four significant issues are of note on this week’s city council agenda:

  1. From the city council’s closed session agenda, it appears that a discussion will take place under “Real Property Negotiations.” Under negotiation: Skypark sale.” This property, located inside the city of Scotts Valley, was once the Santa Cruz Airport.
  2. Climate Action Plan Annual Report” will be issued by Climate Action Task Force Coordinator, Dr. Tiffany Wise-West. This couldn’t come to the council too soon given the UN report referred to above and our torpid budget considerations in the area of climate mitigation. Tiffany, help us, guide us, tell us what to do.
  3. Proposal by the Transportation and Public Works Commission to extend their yearly meeting schedule from six meetings per year to ten. Wow, am I impressed that a group of commissioners voted on a measure to have more meetings. How commendable is that! This is an especially important resolution since this group was once two commissions and each commission had 10-12 meetings each year. So, for the commission to go to 10 meetings, it’s still only half the amount from pre-recession days, a time when the city had to cut back because of less resources. I applaud these commissioners. Unfortunately, our city staff recommendation is to not have more meetings and stay with the current six meetings per year. I look forward to a robust council discussion on this one.
  4. Surprise! Library-Garage is back on the agenda. The item suggests that three councilmembers form a subcommittee and come up with a recommendation that might jump start this project, or shelve the garage, or create a permanent home for the Farmer’s Market where it is, and/or remodel the current library using both the Measure S voter-approved funds of around $28 million and supplementing that money with another $10 million from the city’s Parking Fund. Now that would be progress.
“Nearly half a million-people sitting in jail haven’t been convicted of any crime—simply because many accused of a crime can’t afford bail. We must end cash bail as part of reforming our entire criminal justice system.” (May 13)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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May 13

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT KEPT IT SECRET…BUT WHY?
As predicted, the Board of Directors of Soquel Creek Water District voted to lock ratepayers into spending an exorbitant amount of money to acquire the property at 2505 Chanticleer Avenue to shove forward the plan to inject treated sewage water into the MidCounty drinking water supply.  The terms of the deal were not made public until the moment the meeting began last Tuesday.  I think that violated the Brown Act, even though the District’s lawyer, who flew in from Riverside to fight my court action that morning in an effort to block the secret agreement, disagreed.  Unfortunately, Judge Burdick, who ruled on the ex parte action, agreed with the District’s high-powered lawyer.

My question, however, is why did the District feel they had to keep the terms of the agreement SECRET from the public, and take such unprecedented action to approve it instantly and with Director Bruce Jaffe missing to question the matter?  Only Director Rachel Lather voted against approving the Purchase Option Agreement that locks the ratepayers into spending $3.2 Million for the roughly one-acre parcel when the Lam Estate appraised inventory price  (District ratepayers paid for that appraisal, by the way) is $2,347,000, and will legally bind them to pay $5,000/month for seven of the 12 months of the term, in addition to all costs of surveying, archaeologic assessments, soil contaminant testing and remediation, abandonment of existing wells and septic tanks,  and other critical issues that were never considered in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) evaluations.   

Something just smells really bad here.   Read on for action you can take…..

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT AWARDED TWO TRANSPARENCY EXCELLENCE AWARDS???!!!!!!!!
That’s right, folks, a man from the California Special Districts Association, Mr. Steven Nascimento, drove all the way from Sacramento last Tuesday to formally present two awards of Excellence in Transparency to the Soquel Creek Water District.  However, because the Board’s Closed Session to discuss the shady goings-on regarding the Chanticleer Avenue property was held at the beginning of the meeting, I had the rich opportunity to talk with Mr. Nascimento about what this District is REALLY like.

You can contact him, too, and tell him what you think of the District: Steven Nascimento stevenn@csda.net209-681-4466

I asked him first about the criteria for the awards he was going to be presenting.  It turns out that it all depends on the website, holding a certain number of outreach events, and making sure the staff and Directors are versed in the Brown Act (imagine that!).  General Manager Ron Duncan got an award because he had completed a certain online course.  

I suggested that the face of the District on paper is quite different from the way in which they actually treat the public and conduct business.  I used the example of the evening agenda’s secret Purchase Option Agreement and the fact that there were several Live Oak residents in the audience who were very much against the Pure Water Soquel Project being put in their backyard when they had no input at all in the Project’s environmental review process.   I suggested to Mr. Nascimento that he watch some of the District’s Board meetings….the ones on YouTube from Community Television, not the ones on Vimeo that show up once in awhile that the videographer for Community TV says are from the District itself and are puzzling.

He could maybe watch Director Bruce Daniels tell a ratepayer who had asked a question but not received any response from the Board or staff that “You can ask all the questions you want, but you cannot demand any answers!”   

WOW.  Some excellence in transparency, don’t you think?  Please contact Mr. Nascimento with YOUR thoughts.

TWIN LAKES CHURCH WANTS TO CUT DOWN MORE TREES TO BUILD LARGE TWO-STORY COFFEE HOUSE
This plan would cut down a total of 34 oaks and Liquid amber trees on the corner to make room for a new structure that is very curious. According to very-difficult-to-access-and-read signs at the site, Planner Randall Adams will decide whether to approve this plan on or about May 27.  Send comments to him at Randall Adams or call 454-3218.   Here is the link for the plans for Application 181300 (APN 037-251-19)

Trees in this area are known to be habitat for endangered solitary roosting bats.

Soquel Creek Water District cut down 19 oak trees nearby last January on the Twin Lakes Church property on Cabrillo College Drive and is paying $800/month rent for three years for the new well space.  After that, the Church gets 3.5 Acre Feet/Year FREE WATER FOR 50 YEARS, and a WAIVER of Water Demand Offset requirements (value of $55,000/AF) for a new 1600SF residence.   I suppose the lucrative deals with Soquel Creek Water District have provided the Twin Lakes Church the revenue to move forward with plans for this large 6,292SF two-story coffee house on the corner of Cabrillo College Drive.

I think it is odd, however, that the main entrance to the coffee house includes two metal roll-up doors, and that the intended use for the large area on the second floor is not labeled.  I also wonder why the southern side of the proposed building facing the ocean (and the freeway) is completely void of windows or doors?

Make sure you send comments to Mr. Adams…..the trees and endangered bats will be very grateful. 

DOES THIS REALLY BLEND WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTER???  BIG PLANS FOR 916 SEABRIGHT AVENUE
Planners call it “infill”, but it really means cramming in dense development and changing the character of neighborhoods, usually not for the better, and with little regard for concerns of the people who live in the area.  It is happening all over the County at a dizzying rate, with one of the recent projects now on the table for 916 Seabright Avenue.   Nine 2,400 SF units, 36′ tall, crammed into a space in a quiet neighborhood which would have reduced setbacks and little landscaping.  What about parking? What about water and traffic?  What about the loss of privacy the existing residents would suffer due to a solid three-story structure, nearly the length of a football field, sitting pretty much on the property boundary?

UGH!

Attend the Thursday, May 16, 7pm Planning Commission hearing and voice your thoughts on this project.  The Commission meets in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers and will consider the proposed 914/916 Seabright Avenue Project in a public hearing as Item #5.  Here is the link to the agenda materials

Send written comments to Santa Cruz City Planning Commission cityplan@cityofsantacruz.com

LIBRARY NEWS…DOWNTOWN, GARFIELD AND BRANCIFORTE BRANCHES WILL SEE BIG CHANGES 
It seems that all branches of the libraries have big projects in the works.  Make note of these public workshops:

DOWNTOWN LIBRARY PLAN AGAIN BEFORE CITY COUNCIL THIS TUESDAY, MAY 14, 5pm (see alert at the end of this post).

Garfield Park Library: May 15, 7pm-8:15pm at Circle Church Gymnasium (111 Errett Circle)

 Branciforte  Library: May 22, 6:30pm-7:45pm

Here is the latest alert bulletin from “Don’t Bury the Library!”  founder… Jean Brocklebank:

Dear Friends,
We have just read the official agenda report prepared by Justin Cummings and submitted by Donna Meyers and Cynthia Matthews.

It is waaaaaaay different than what was in the email from Donna Meyers this morning. We need to change our letter writing campaign to be in support of the recommended motion, which the council will vote on.

What to do:  

  1. Read the report that is attached to this letter or go online to the City Council Meetings Page and click on the agenda icon, then read the agenda report that way.
  2. Then, send an email (citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com) in support of the recommended motion, which is:

RECOMMENDATION: Motion to put on hold the decision to proceed with a Downtown Library project and to convene a Council Subcommittee composed of Councilmembers Cummings, Meyers, and Brown to investigate alternatives, in collaboration with Library staff and the interested community, and return with a recommendation no later than October 2019.

Be positive in your emails … please!!! We want them to include DBTL (Don’t Bury The Library) (stakeholder) in the collaboration work of the committee they will form.

Jean
P.S. The agenda item is 28. Downtown Library Project and will occur about 5:00 pm. 

 Here is the link to the Council agenda; the Library issue is Item #28 

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND ONE PUBLIC MEETING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.  BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!

Cheers, Becky Steinbruner

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.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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BLUES SONG AROUND THE WORLD by KEB MO..

SEND ME NEAT AND FUNNY THINGS FROM AROUND THE WEB. Ralph Davila sent this beautiful creation You can too, email me at bratton@cruzio.com


May 11 #131 / A Pat On The Back

Pat McCormick (pictured), has recently retired as the Executive Officer of the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission, commonly called LAFCO. An exceptionally nice celebration of Pat’s thirty-eight years of service was held during the regular LAFCO meeting on May 1, 2019

You can check the Santa Cruz County LAFCO website next month, to see what the Minutes say about that May 1st meeting. Those Minutes may be a bit longer than usual! The Board of Supervisors Chambers in the Santa Cruz County Governmental Center were packed, with people having come from all over California to voice their appreciation for the contributions that Pat McCormick has made to good land use planning and good government. Pat has had an impact not only locally but literally throughout the entire state – and he got nothing but well-deserved rave reviews from everyone who showed up to salute his contributions. 

Most of the folks in the room, of course, were from Santa Cruz County, and they hailed from deep in the Fifth Supervisorial District to the precincts of the Pajaro Valley, down south in the Fourth Supervisorial District. Former Second District Supervisor Robley Levy was there, and made exceptionally heartfelt remarks about how Pat and LAFCO had helped save South County agriculture. Current Second District County Supervisor Zach Friend commended Pat for his professionalism. First District Supervisor John Leopold joined in the chorus of those celebrating Pat’s contributions, and though I no longer have a formal role representing the Third Supervisorial District, I also testified to the incredibly important work that Pat has done to preserve and protect all that is best in Santa Cruz County. All districts covered, in other words!

LAFCO is a little-known and little-understood agency established by state law, one major purpose of which is to “stop sprawl.” As expressed more formally in the Cortese–Knox–Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, which is the most recent edition of this incredibly important state law, which was initially enacted in the 1960’s, the purpose of LAFCO is to “encourage orderly growth and development which are essential to the social, fiscal, and economic well-being of the state.”

I have seen the power of LAFCO up close and personal, having served on our local LAFCO for many years, representing the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, and having served, also, as a Member of the CALAFCO Board of Directors. Without a doubt, LAFCO has prevented the kind of urban sprawl in Santa Cruz County that turned Santa Clara County from orchards and farms, the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” into the Silicon Valley we know today. Santa Cruz County made a different choice, which I think was the right one, and it wouldn’t have been possible without LAFCO and Pat McCormick.

The tributes to Pat documented his encyclopedic knowledge of LAFCO law, and of all other laws relating to California local government. He was thanked for his personal generosity, and celebrated for his ability effortlessly to marshal knowledge of arcane provisions of state law. In this, Pat typically relied not only on his personal memory, always at the ready, but also on the multiple pieces of paper, or digital files, that Pat was always able to produce at almost a moment’s notice. Pat’s ability to work with everyone, right in the midst of extremely flammable political controversies, was emphasized by almost everyone who testified. 

As earlier indicated, I joined in the long line of those who thanked Pat McCormick for his work, and I thought I should document, here, my deep appreciation for Pat’s service to both Santa Cruz County and to the State of California. As I was leaving the podium, Pat jokingly asked me why I hadn’t made any reference to the most recently-named Nobel Laureate in Literature (a certain Mr. Bob Dylan, for those not quite up to speed on the actions of the Swedish Academy). Pat was obviously aware of my appreciation of Bob Dylan’s insightful lyrics and moving music, and the thought came to me that I really should end this blog-based tribute with some sort of Dylan reference.

Since one of the persons appearing at the May 1st meeting quoted some song lyrics that Pat had written himself, it strikes me that a few lyrical licks, right here, using some Dylan-inspired music for the tune, is probably in order. Thus, I invite you to sing along with this single-verse song, to get some idea of Pat McCormick’s contributions to Santa Cruz County. (The lyrics are intended to be sung to the tune of “Up To Me“): 

“Up To LAFCO

Everything was going from bad to worse 
Developers were making the call. 
The future of the county was up for grabs 
And it was looking like a lot of sprawl. 
Somebody said, they said it with a laugh, 
There had to be a different way. 
This LAFCO guy, his name was Pat, 
He was going to save the day….  
(Continue… for thirty-eight years)

Many thanks to Pat McCormick. And there is another Dylan song that also comes to mind:I’ll Remember You!

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.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Note the invasion & revelation of your inner self at Tim’s Subconscious Comics.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Our species with mustard” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.

Munching With Mozart presents Pirates of Penzance at the Santa Cruz Library, May 16, 2019 12:10-1:00 in the Central Branch threatened Downtown Library’s upstairs `Meeting Room. Students in the UCSC music department will perform excerpts from UCSC Opera’s spring production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.  They’ll be accompanied by Michael Blackburn, the assistant music director. 

THE MIRIAM ELLIS INTERNATIONAL PLAYHOUSE (MEIP).
The 19th season of the Miriam Ellis International Playhouse (MEIP) will feature short, fully-staged theater pieces in 4 languages, with English super-titles, on May 17, 18, 19, at 8:00 PM at the Stevenson Event Center, UCSC. In Japanese, Tales of the Service Industry will be directed by Sakae Fujita; Spanish will offer El delental blanco (The White Apron), Carolina Castillo-Trelles directing. Chinese will present Butterfly Lovers, directed by Ting-Ting Wu, while French students will perform On fait le marché avec Papa (Shopping with Papa), directed by Miriam Ellis and Renée Cailloux. Free admission; parking is $5.00. The public is cordially invited to attend. More at language.ucsc.edu.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “It’s not a portrait of the artist writing in a fever of inspiration. Instead, the beloved fantasy author is depicted as a man of very methodical, intersecting obsessions in Tolkien, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

HAIL SATAN ! (FULL DISCLOSURE) I’ve been looking for at least three weeks for my Anton La Vey signed membership card to his Satanic Church in San Francisco. I’ll post it when I find it. I knew Anton for years through my producer/director days at KCBS (CBS) and at KGO (ABC) . My Goodtime Washboard 3 Trio even played at one of his Black Masses. Anton was a very funny guy, full of fun and with a super sense of humor! It’s not too widely-known but one of his jobs was playing the organ at the Long Beach Pike (Boardwalk/amusement park). He’s only given a few seconds in this documentary about some activists who use Satan to help break the religious stranglehold that Christianity has on our government. These Satanists mostly want equal time or equal display of symbols beside the Christian one. GO SEE THIS FILM…you’ll think about the message for at least days on end! Yes. There’s a Santa Cruz Satanic Chapter that also gets brief screen time.

TOLKIEN. On major disappointment watching this film is that we still don’t know how to pronounce “TOLKIEN”. Is it Toll-keen, Toll-kine or Toll-kin? The various actors all seem to pronounce it in at least those 3 ways. Probably it’s Tol-kin because that’s the way Nicholas Hoult (who plays TOL-kin) says it. More than that, we do learn — as some of us suspected — that Tolkien was strongly influenced to create the Hobbit or Lord Of The Ring world by watching Wagner’s Ring Cycle as a young man. Do go warned…the film contains absolutely none of his Hobbit creations. It’s all about his life before he’s famous. Also note that the all English cast speaks British much of the time and is hard to understand

RED JOAN. Dame Judi Dench (now a very active 85 years old) plays the real life Joan Stanley. Joan decided back in WWII days to give the atomic bomb secrets to the Russians. She thought that it would stop every country from actually using the bomb. Obviously she was wrong, and we (the USA) used it to kill millions. Dench is of course great in this small part, but the film drags on and on, with many, many flashbacks and time jumps — which get boring.  

LONG SHOT. Pairing Charlize Theron with Seth Rogen is as improbable as having Rogen play the part of a presidential advisor/speech writer in the first place. This movie is full of “fuck you’s”, masturbation topics, and just gross filth. Theron plays the role of a presidential candidate and the movie is merely gross, not clever…or funny.

MUSTANG. It’s a simple minded movie about some Nevada State prisoners who turn wild mustangs into saddle broken riding horses to sell at an auction every year. It’s apparently factual. It stars Bruce Dern at his cranky, snarly best teaching the boys/men how to handle themselves and their steeds. Predictable, corny, and will remind you of My Friend Flicka or any other old horse movie.

CHAPERONE. A dull, Hollywood story about one of the most exciting, beautiful, talented actresses ever….Louise Brooks. Elizabeth McGovern plays a straight, up tight, dull chaperone. Haley Lu Richardson who plays Louise Brooks looks and acts absolutely nothing like her. This is a movie from a novel that was “based on facts”.  But based on facts….you should stay home and try Mindfulness, if you haven’t already.   CLOSES THURSDAY, MAY 16

AMAZING GRACE. Sometime in the mid 50’s three friends and I went to a church in the darkest part of Los Angeles to hear Mahalia Jackson, an amazing  experience I’ve never forgotten. Watching Aretha Franklin sing gospel songs in this 1971 documentary doesn’t come close. Gospel is it’d own art form and Aretha is and was one of our greatest singers but there’s something lacking in this film.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Over 2 billion dollars at the opening weekend box office!!! A world record-shattering Marvel-Disney experience. It’s too much for me to critique. Even were I to accept all the other world characters that inhabit this Marvel–Disney franchise, Rocket the wise talking raccoonwouldeb a step too far. The rest of the cast could be — and are — contained in Wagner’s Ring operas, Greek and Roman legends and dozens of comic books throughout the last 60 years. Like most successful movies today, this one is full of violence, hatred, bloodshed. I’m sorry I saw it, andyou know if you’ll like it, so there you are!!! I should add that there are cameos by Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Natalie Portman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Redford, Tom Hiddleston and probably more but it doesn’t matter. Oh yes, it got a 95 on RT.

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UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Dr. Shawna Riddle (PAMF) returns to discuss vaccinations plus many current health issues in our community on May 14 and she’s followed by Sarah Leonard from MHCAN Mental Health Client Action Network center..  May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. Then Scott McGilvray from Water For Santa Cruz talks about our water issues and solutions.Winners from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s annual Short Story Contest read their works on May 28. Kara Meyberg Guzman and Stephen Baxter from “Santa Cruz Local” are guests on June 14. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at bratton@cruzio.com

Atlas Obscura puts out some really interesting videos.

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

QUOTES. “MONKEYS”

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys“. James Goldsmith
“When you’re dealing with monkeys, you’ve got to expect some wrenches”. Alvah Bessie
“There’s a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they’d eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn’t true” Ian Hart


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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
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