Blog Archives

May 19 – 25, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Supervisor Soufflé cont., RTC and Highway One, John Tuck’s Going Away Party, Grandson repeat plea. GREENSITE…on a Sense of Place. KROHN…Chris Krohn is away this week. He’ll be back next week. STEINBRUNER… Salvage the beams from Aptos Library! PATTON…Crypto Mania. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover QUOTES…”STORMS”

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CAPITOLA, CIRCA 1913. Here we see in this Ole Ravnos photo a trolley crossing the trestle. In the same time frame, the Southern Pacific Railroad used the same trestle. According to Carolyn Swift’s book, Ravnos staged the boats and the locals – just for the photos.  
                                       
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE May 17 

SUPERVISOR SOUFFLE (“SOUP” WAS GETTING COLD). Last week I mentioned that Rachel Dann was rumored to run for Third district supervisor. After diligent stealth, I learned that she’s not going to run…and that’s final. The most frequent negative reaction I saw was that everyone I connected had hopes that Ed Porter wouldn’t run. He would probably draw just enough votes from qualified candidates to make our lives miserable. Martine Watkins has been mentioned many times, but I repeat that she doesn’t live in the third district. Donna Meyers seems to still have the most talked-about lead. 

THE RTC & WIDENING HIGHWAY ONE. Rick Longinotti, the hard-working head of the Campaign For Sustainable Transportation, sent out a letter last week. In it he explains the Regional Transportation Commission’s sad plan to widen Highway One, and why it can’t work. He also talks about the lawsuit the Campaign has created to stop future widening. Read his letter…take some action and help save our County community.

“Amid all the sound and fury over the future of the rail corridor, the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation has been quietly working to transform our County’s policy to widen Highway 1. You can help this quiet work succeed. 

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC)  and Caltrans intend to double the lanes on Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Watsonville  (Adding a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) Lane and an auxiliary lane in each direction.)  In 2004, voters decisively rejected a sales tax measure for highway expansion. But transportation leaders went back to the voters in 2016, this time with a sales tax measure that limited the Highway 1 allocation to 22% of proceeds. That’s only enough to put a down payment on the project: four miles of auxiliary lanes from Santa Cruz to Aptos. In fact, the RTC’s Unified Corridors Investment Study (2019) says the project “will require seeking a significant level of funding at a time when state and federal funding for highway capacity increasing projects is extremely limited and therefore will not likely be implemented until after 2035.”

Though the project’s completion is extremely doubtful, continuing to spend money on pieces of the project will have no benefit in congestion relief or highway safety, according to the Caltrans EIR. It’s a waste of precious local funding that could finance better transit and safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The only thing standing in the way of the next step in highway expansion is our lawsuit. Our lawsuit recognizes the empirical evidence: widening highways doesn’t reduce traffic congestion beyond the short run. Our lawsuit points out that none of the transit alternatives to highway expansion were examined by the EIR—not bus-on-shoulder; not transit on the rail corridor; nor increased transit frequency. 

If we stop going down the highway expansion path, we can fund an alternative in the short term that would work for many commuters who now take Highway 1: express buses traveling in bus-only lanes on the shoulder of the highway. (The RTC’s plan is to run buses in the auxiliary lanes, mixed with other traffic. See my 11 minute video explanation of bus-on-shoulder on Highway 1)

We have to raise just $9000 more to pay our attorney. Please help by Donating online  Or mail checks to Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, PO Box 7927, Santa Cruz, 95061. For a tax deductible donation, make your check out to Sierra Club Foundation, with “Caltrans Litigation Project” in the memo. This lawsuit could have statewide significance in sending Caltrans a message that it needs to follow Governor Newsom’s Executive Order to align transportation spending with the state’s climate goals.
Thank you!

-Rick Longinotti

UPDATE/CORRECTION ABOUT WINGSPREAD DEVELOPMENT. Pat McCormick (former head of LAFCO) was kind enough to send me the “news” that the 66 acre development slated for the property across the Highway from Cabrillo College was NOT defeated due to the Coastal Commission, as I had remembered and written. It was voted on, and defeated, by a County Referendum. And again it was a huge community issue back then (June 1988), led devotedly and nervously by Vickie Powell

JOHN TUCK’S FAREWELL PARTY. Plans are racing along for John Tuck’s wake. All his friends are invited. It’ll be Saturday, June 5th – starting at noon. Wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt and go to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 6401 Freedom Blvd. Aptos, Calif. 95003.

GRANDSON PLEA! I received some good advice but not one real offer for a place that my grandson Henry can live when he becomes an UCSC student in the fall. He’s willing and able to finesse money and any paper work necessary. He’s majoring in Environmental Science and is simply brilliant, if I do say so. He’s also just about expert at wood-working and is looking for a job starting now or anytime…let me know if you hear of anything. 

Be sure to tune in to my very newest movie streaming 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.

OXYGENE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). A French movie that opens with a woman trapped in a sealed cryogenic unit. (90RT) Lots of tech talk with her monitor/captor on screen… she’s trapped with no information given on how, or why, she’s in this sure death situation. The camera never leaves her through the entire film, and she (Melanie Laurent) is a great actress. A taut, absorbing and excellent movie. The ending is surprising, near logical, and well worth watching.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Amy Adams, Gary Oldman plus Julienne Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh can’t save this poor copy of Hitchcock’s and Jimmy Stewart’s classic “Rear Window”. (29RT). The woman spies and photographs her neighbors across her busy 121st Street apartment in NYC. She maybe watches a murder… or is she too high on her meds? That’s the entire plodding plot, and it would be a shame to waste your time on this one.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. (AMAZON SERIES) A well done story of how the underground developed after terrible tragedies. A young black woman escapes her Georgia plantation life, and goes from place to place seeking a peaceful life. Sad, hugely budgeted and  don’t miss it. (96RT)

HALSTON. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (77RT). Don’t confuse this documentary with the acted version starring Ewan McGregor. It stars Halston himself in a very big way, and his life of designing fabrics for the rich and famous. He created Jackie Kennedy’s pill box hat, and led the way for world fashion for decades. He was gay, used drugs, and influenced fashions all over the world. Later in his life he decided to sell out to J.C. Penney in a stupefying move that cost him his exclusivity. He died from AIDS in San Francisco. Watch this one even if you don’t follow fashion…you’ll learn a lot.

MILESTONE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). (100 RT.) This is about a Hindi truck driver with a very bad back, and is a deep dive into the working class and the intricate wheelings and dealings required just to cope and stay alive. His wife’s family claims he owes them money, and he works even harder and longer to solve that problem. Excellent movie, go for it!!

MR.JONES. (HULU SINGLE). A Polish film dealing with the Soviet Union ,and especially Stalin, in the 1930’s. James Norton – an actor we’ve seen in almost everything lately – plays the real life Gareth Jones, a journalist who uncovers the truth about the miserable and hidden terrible state of the Ukraine under Stalin. FDR, George Orwell and Lloyd George are all in it. Don’t miss it, it’s a piece of world history that brings us up to date for some of the action today.

FATMA. (NETFLIX SERIES). An intelligent young cleaning lady goes on a long and twisted and surprising search for her missing husband. He might be in prison, or… anywhere. She gets confused, and desperate and shoots somebody. What’s worse, she avoids all blame for the murder – and by accident shoots another guy. Involving, curious, and yes, diverting!

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

ABOUT ENDLESSNESS. (APPLE SINGLE) Truly a great movie by the noted director Roy Andersson who also created “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”. This is a collection of more than 35 almost unrelated scenes of people doing things. Sometimes a couple is floating in midair other scenes show us people just sitting and watching clouds. Andersson is a rare cinema genius and Endless is not a movie for beginners or folks who only like fun movies. It’s a classic and well worth your philosophizing.

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN. (APPLE SINGLE) Carey Mulligan, dimples and all makes this deep, rewarding, and perfectly acted movie grand. Her friend was raped and we watch with surprise, wonder and patience how Mulligan takes revenge on the rapist. It had five nominations for Academy Awards, some Golden Globe nominations too and there’s many, many twists and turns before an ending that you’ll remember for a long time. 

THE INNOCENT. (NETFLIX SERIES). Starting with a nun committing suicide by jumping from a window we watch as a police detective develops it into a murder case. The blonde detective has a hair style just like Becca Reed of our CCTV Santa Cruz. It’s full of doubts, police corruption, favoritism, and just plain determinism and it is absorbing. Go for it.

AND TOMORROW THE ENTIRE WORLD. (NETFLIX SINGLE). An idealistic, naïve young woman law student joins the Mannheim, Germany branch of the Antifa to fight the neo-Nazis. It consists of much legal civil rights angles, very much political organizing and street protests that seem so local it’s hard to look away. It’s left versus right only it’s the neo Nazis that are our equivalent of the January 6th movement. Protestors should love this one.

HER MOTHERS’ KILLER. (NETFLIX SERIES). A long, drawn account of a beautiful, intelligent very political woman who spends the second phase of her life in revenge mode. Grand acting, well directed and slowly moving through very many episodes. After working for the mayor of Mexico City she takes that experience and goes after the president of Colombia helping to run his campaign. I couldn’t fine the exact number of seasons or episodes but latch on to it, it’ll row on you.

WE CHILDREN FROM BANHOF ZOO. (AMAZON PRIME SERIES) Set in the 1970’s in Berlin. The main character is a beautiful teen age girl who gets involved with sex, drugs and rock and roll (specifically David Bowie). Her teen age friends experiment with serious drugs heroin, LSD, and anything they can find. It’s really a seething picture of that time in Berlin when the entire Germany was trying to find itself and grow. Stay with it, well worth contemplating.

MARE OF EASTTOWN. (HBO SERIES) (91RT). Kate Winslet is a Pennsylvania detective who has to wade through a very tightly knit small town to solve a murder. She’s got many, many problems of her own and it’s a fine way to spend your waking or sleeping moments. Highly recommended. 

THE PAINTED BIRD. (HULU SINGLE) In my many, many years of film classes at UCSC and at UC Berkeley I have rarely if ever seen a film as great as Painted Bird. It ranks right up there with Tarkovsky, Bergman, and some of Kurosawa’s very best. It’s a very grim, serious, deep movie centering on Nazi Germany and the life of a young Jewish boy who creates his own path through the war years. It’s from the book by Jerzy Kozinski written back in 1965, and the book was equally awesome and well done. To sum up, I haven’t seen a movie this perfect in ten years!!!  

PARASITE. (HULU & AMAZON PRIME SINGLE) I’d seen this South Korean film with a 98 RT back in an actual movie theatre in 2019. I fell asleep then and vowed I’d watch it again. It’s billed as a black comedy thriller and I didn’t laugh once. Critics around the world hailed it as an almost perfect movie…I still found it boring and insulting. It’s bloody, cruel, demeaning and very disrespectful of the homeless. It also won best foreign film at the Academy, when it beat The Painted Bird.

WANDER. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE). Aaron Eckhardt carries this crazed intro-spection into the world of conspiracy and does his best work. Tommy Lee Jones appears now and then as Eckhardt’s radio co-host and conspirator. There’s theories and journeys into implanting transmitters into immigrants, more adventures into tunnels under the earth, and some superficial tributes to local American Indian tribes. You wouldn’t miss much if you miss this one.

TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE) Film fans will know that this is another (#6) in the Tom Clancy series. Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck have played Clancy before. Heavy, heavy action, a lot of blood, and all within and under the U.S. Navy Seals protection. There’s anti-Russian maneuvers, secret Washington, D.C. material, and Guy Pearce deals with a Syria political issue. You can miss this one and no-one would be the wiser.  

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

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May 17

A SENSE OF PLACE

The first round of demolition of familiar businesses is now happening on Pacific and Front streets. This shoving aside is to clear the way for a modern six-story mixed-use structure extending half the length of the block. The photo above shows the remains of Santa Cruz Glass, Mumbai Delights and the Salvation Army store. The Haber building next door is next in line for the wrecking ball and bulldozer. This is how we lose a sense of place. My heart sinks as I survey destruction where once stood solid, modest buildings with well-loved small businesses, which won’t return. This is just the beginning. Many more downtown demolitions are in the works. First downtown, then south of Laurel, then along Soquel, Water, Ocean and Mission. Over a year ago I wrote a piece on the meaning of a sense of place. It seems a fitting time to update it and share again as our sense of place is being reduced to rubble and carted off to the dump.  

San Francisco essayist and author Rebecca Solnit has a quote that resonates with me. She writes: “Sense of place is the 6th sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” A sense to be acknowledged, fostered and not trivialized it would seem. 

For me, a sense of place includes all of nature that is familiar as well as structures that have some history and longevity and are of human scale. In the natural world, it includes the weather patterns, the ocean tides, the changing beach profiles, the trees and migratory birds to name a few. It takes time for these to become an internal compass. When I first arrived in Santa Cruz in 1975 I had yet to internalize a sense of place. The birds were sparse compared to Australia, the water cold, and what was this stuff called fog? Yes it was objectively pretty but it was not yet a part of me that I would fight to defend. That would soon change.

“Oh you’re the tree lady!” is a frequent bemused comment when I’m introduced to someone new. I say “yes” and think, “I wouldn’t need that identity if you bastards cared more for big trees.” The number of big trees, especially cypress and eucalyptus that graced the lower Westside in the 1970’s was prodigious, with many close to a century in age. Now all but a few have been cut down. Gone with them are the owls and hawks. Bearing witness to their removal is not easy and I feel the needle of my compass de-center with each death.  

A sense of place is personal and to each their own. Many prefer a city with bright lights, hustle and bustle. Fortunately for them, no one is working to knock down the tall buildings, turn off the lights and plant trees. My preferred sense of place has sunshine, trees and skies dominant, with human buildings small and reflecting a past age. Unfortunately for me, there are those who are working to knock down the old buildings, yank out the trees and urbanize the town, destroying my sense of place and imposing their own. That others have done this before to indigenous peoples does not make it more tolerable.  

I didn’t come to Santa Cruz, look around and decide I’d prefer it if the town were bigger, more upscale and then set about to achieve that vision. I allowed Santa Cruz to reach into my heart and build a sense of place for me. Not so the new urbanites. Where I see familiarity and feel comfort in the small-scale businesses on Pacific, Soquel, Water, Mission and Front streets they see “underutilized space,” “dated buildings” and apparently feel nothing in their heart. An example of lack of a sense of Santa Cruz place was when the head of ROMA, the San Francisco firm hired for a million bucks to write up the Wharf Master Plan, which is planned to morph the Wharf into an unrecognizable upscale tourist destination, said over his power point: “And here’s Gilda’s (mispronouncing the name)… not awful but we can do better.” My internal compass swung wildly at that insult. If Santa Cruz is in the heart, then the Wharf and Gilda’s are its center.  

The city’s Economic Development Department and Planning Department are central players in this transformation of Santa Cruz city with developers courted to sit at the table as they figure out how to make the most money out of urbanizing the town.  That most don’t live in the city helps explain their surprise that some of us care about the old buildings and familiar places. Accusing us of “nostalgia” is a cheap shot at dismissing a sense of place that is Solnit’s sixth sense. Destroying our sense of place is like tearing out our eyes. 

Tearing down the modest buildings on Pacific and Front Streets is but the first in a long list of transformative city planning projects. The passion that motivates some residents to try to stop this destruction of our sense of place wells up from a deep and sacred place. It should not be underestimated.  

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 17.

Chris Krohn is away this week, he’ll be back next week. 

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. Krohn was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. That term ended when the development empire struck back with luxury condo developer money combined with the real estate industry’s largesse. They paid to recall Krohn and Drew Glover from the Santa Cruz city council in 2019.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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May 17

REVISION OF SUPERVISOR SALARIES TIED TO JUDGES SALARY
I had not found the information presented to the Board in April when this was initially discussed.  Judges salaries are higher than information I had found (not on Transparent California) so in reality, the Supervisors will not take a significant salary decrease, as I had reported last week. My apologies.  The good news is that the Supervisors will no longer be voting on their own salary increases.  Thanks again to Supervisor Greg Caput.

Below is the information from an earlier Board agenda that I had not found last week:

BACKGROUND:
Historically, the Board of Supervisors’ salary increases were linked to the salary of judges based on Government Code 68203 which in turn ties judicial increases to the average percentage salary increase for California state employees.  Specifically, the County Code articulated that board members would receive 45% of judicial increases when effectuated.  In December of 1997, this linkage was eliminated by the Board of Supervisors when deep budget constraints were looming. Additionally, language was incorporated to permit a board member to waive salary increases and divert funds back to the County or a charitable organization. Although the Board’s actions were well intended, the ordinance struck out language that provided an objective external standard and replaced it with what can be perceived as the power to decide one’s own salary. 

With the elimination of the tie to judicial increases in 1997, Board salaries are predicated on salary recommendations based on the consumer price index, comparisons with other public agencies, or internal alignment based off of negotiations with bargaining units. Board salaries are considered at the conclusion of the Middle Management and Executive Management negotiations cycle, which occur every 2-3 years depending on the length of multi-year agreements, which are common for the managerial groups. Many Counties throughout the state link their Board compensation to that of Superior Court Judges. Some do it as a fixed percentage (such as 75 percent) of what Superior Court Judges make and others simply connect it directly (meaning they receive 100 percent of the Superior Court Judge salary).

ANALYSIS:
Each year the Judicial Council addresses pay adjustments in or around July resulting in a percentage increase to the existing judicial salary scales.  This item proposes modifications to County Code Section 2.02.060 that reestablishes linkage to judicial salary increases by incorporating language that maintains the Board of Supervisors’ salary at 62% of the salary for Superior Court Judges.  Currently the Superior Court Judge salary is $214,601 compared to the Board of Supervisors’ salary of $134,698 which is 62% of the judges published salary.  Traditionally the Judicial Council releases salary information annually, but the actual date may vary year to year.  In order to establish a consistent process for the salary review, we propose that the Board of Supervisors consider an annual review during budget hearings to consider salary changes based on the available pay information at that time from the Judicial Council.

COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO ALLOCATE $53 MILLION FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WINDFALL
A pile of money has descended upon the County, but how will it be spent?  Claims re-imbursing the County tax assessor for $5,200 postage costs; $30,000 in unspecified “special services”, $1,036,642 to the CAO for sick leave; $1,142,537 for Parks Dept. COVID issues; $105,830 to the Sheriff Dept. for unspecified janitorial services….it goes on and on in the 11 Resolutions that the Board will dole out at the feeding trough on Tuesday, May 18, as Item #17 on the Consent Agenda!

How will our society ever pay this trillion-dollar debt the federal government has created?
[ Agenda Item DOC-2021-420]

Consider this staff report:

The County of Santa Cruz will receive $53,068,442 in ARPA funding with half in May 2021 and the second half no earlier than May 2022. Based on the legislation, the County can recover an estimated 28.4 million in revenue losses, $21.9 million of which would remain in the General Fund, $5.3 million would cover Health Services Agency clinic losses, and $1.2 million would cover Highway Gas Tax revenue losses. The remaining amount will fund $24.7 million in recommended COVID-19 related expenditures. Of this set of expenditure programs, $10,110,030 is being recommended to accept and appropriate in the FY 2020-21 Budget. In anticipation of FEMA funding being obligated to the County’s various emergency claims, the recommended resolutions outline $9,768,587 in FEMA funding to HSA for the ongoing public health response and $20,386,351 for shelter and care operations to HSD related to COVID-19. Additionally, the resolutions outline $3,593,772 in funding from Cal OES and $53,450 in Park and Recreation Fees. Therefore, the recommended actions accept and appropriate a total of $43,912,190 from ARPA, FEMA, Cal OES, and Park and Recreation Fees in the FY 2020-21 Budget.

THREE-STORY PARKING GARAGE AND EXPANSION COMING FOR DOMINICAN HOSPITAL
There will be a public hearing on June 8 before the County Board of Supervisors to consider a revision to the Dominican Hospital District to include 85,000 sq.f. expansion and a new three-story parking garage bordering Soquel Drive.  (see Consent Agenda Item #37)
[ Agenda Item DOC-2021-437]

Think about that, along with the proposed new four-story Kaiser Medical Facility across the freeway in the same area, and the attendant 700 car four-story parking garage.  It seems a big market for sick people is on the horizon.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get a local Trauma Center so people don’t have to pay for expensive helicopter rides to the Santa Clara Valley?  

NEW DATA FOR 1500 CAPITOLA ROAD CONTAMINATION …WHERE?
I received this notice for new information regarding the contamination of the 1500 Capitola Road MidPen Housing, Dientes and low-cost Medical Clinic development.  But I could not find the report…maybe you can. I wrote the two officials who are overseeing the soil and groundwater contamination issues, which will NOT be cleaned up, as the development goes forward.  No news yet.

(Brattonote…1500 Capitola Road is/was the site of the historic Robert Merriman House).

Development at Capitola Road (T10000014098) – Capitola Road, SANTA CRUZ –  GeoTracker   

  • Site Assessment Report – Data Submittal Package: Soil Vapor, Groundwater and Soil Sample Results – Expedited Site Characterization for an Imminent Multi-Use Development– Date Activity Completed: 4/16/2020 

APTOS LIBRARY WILL CLOSE JUNE 11 FOR DEMOLITION…WILL THOSE LARGE WOODEN BEAMS BE SALVAGED?
According to a recent message from Santa Cruz Libraries Director Susan Nemitz, the many massive wooden beams in the Aptos Library will be salvaged.  That is good news. It would be a good idea if others contact Ms. Nemitz to ensure this happens. 

Susan Nemitz: nemitzs@santacruzpl.org (831) 427-7700 x 7611
The new Capitola library is due to open June 15. 

AND QUICKLY……

1) June 8 Public Hearing set for County Board of Supervisor to hear updates regarding developers paying in-lieu fees for park development.  Remember that this is how the County waived Swenson’s Park Development Fees ($1000/bedroom) in the Aptos Village Project and provided FREE storm water drainage easement across the Aptos Village County Park land to dump the parking lot water on the bank above Aptos Creek.  The money the County would have received, had the CAO, Assistant Planning Director and Supervisor Ellen Pirie not cut a backroom deal, would have paid for renovations to the County Park and maybe even some improved trails that local residents are working hard to beg for funding now to do.  What made the deal happen?  Swenson donated a 0.71 acre steep hillside to the County as an “active recreation park parcel”.  The County Parks staff who visited the site a few years ago said they had no idea how it could be used for such a use, but it is up to the County to figure it out and fund it 100%.  (Consent Agenda Item #36):

Schedule a public hearing on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, beginning at 9:00 AM or thereafter, to consider: changes to Santa Cruz County Code sections 15.01 and 13.03.050 regarding Parkland Dedication and In-Lieu Fees, additions of section 15.03 regarding P

2) THEY KNOW HOW TO STOP MEGAFIRES…WHY WON’T ANYONE LISTEN?
If you are concerned about the future of California’s rural and suburban areas burning, I think you will find this article of interest

PLEASURE POINT COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR POP-UP 
Pop-up demonstration coming to Portola Drive!

Dear Community Member,  

Today we are reaching out to those of you on the Pleasure Point Community Meetings list with an update on implementing the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor Study (“Study”), and to let you know about an upcoming temporary pop-up demonstration project on Portola Drive to try out key streetscape concepts for the Corridor!

As directed by the Board of Supervisors, County Planning staff is incorporating the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor Study (“Study”) into the Sustainability Update. The purpose of the Sustainability Update is to implement new General Plan policies and update the County Code to support more sustainable communities, including the community of Pleasure Point. We anticipate releasing draft Sustainability Update documents and the Draft EIR this fall, and holding community meetings beginning in the late fall/winter. We will notify all those on the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor meeting list of these meetings. You can visit the Sustainability Update Webpage for more information. Meanwhile, Planning staff continues to apply the Guiding Design Principles in the Study to all new commercial projects in the Commercial Corridor.

The streetscape concepts are also an important part of the Community Vision for the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor. Key concepts include redesigning the portion of Portola Drive in the Corridor to improve safety and convenience for all users, with one driving lane in each direction and a center turn lane, more street trees, wider sidewalks, improved pedestrian crossings, and safer bike lanes. The key streetscape concepts will be moving forward as part of the Santa Cruz County Active Transportation Plan (ATP).

From June 25 to July 21, the County will be trying out key streetscape concepts for the Corridor in a temporary pop-up installation on Portola Drive between 36th and 41st Avenues. The pop-up demonstration introduces protected bike lanes, and includes some other minor variations from the detailed Streetscape Concepts presented in the Study which are identified in the Pop-up infrastructure FAQs. The pop-up provides an opportunity for the community to try out key concepts for the streetscape and provide feedback to the County. The pop-up will help to position the County for future funding, to help ensure that the Community Vision for the Corridor becomes a reality. Stay tuned for an email from Ecology Action with more information. 

For questions regarding the Pleasure Point Study implementation, contact Annie Murphy at Annie.Murphy@santacruzcounty.us.

For additional information on the Pop-up installation or the Active Transportation Plan, contact Amelia Conlen with Ecology Action: aconlen@ecoact.org
 
Thank you for your active participation in Community Planning!
 
Sincerely, Annie Murphy
Senior Planner, Sustainability and Special Projects
Santa Cruz County Planning Department

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A VIRUAL PUBLIC HEARING IN YOUR PAJAMAS.  JUST DO SOMETHING…YOU CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!

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 KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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May 12

#132 / Crypto Mania

On April 15, 2021, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal published articles about cryptocurrency.

The Times’ article was titled (in the hard copy edition), “A Coming-Out Party For Cryptocurrency.” The Wall Street Journal’s article was titled (again, in the hard copy edition), “Coinbase IPO Mints a Billionaire.” 

Both articles referenced the fact that Coinbase, a cryptocurrency-trading company, was the first of such cryptocurrency companies to “go public,” selling stock to whatever members of the public might want to buy it. Lots of people did want to buy that stock, as it turned out, and the thirty-eight year old founder of the company, Brian Armstrong, instantly became one of “the wealthiest people in the world,” as The Wall Street Journal put it.

Don’t you just love to read about the rich and famous? Lots of people obviously do!

The New York Times’ article kicked off its coverage of the event this way: 

Digital currency, once mocked as a tool for criminals and reckless speculators, is sliding into the mainstream. 

Traditional banks are helping investors put their money into cryptocurrency funds. Companies like Tesla and Square are hoarding Bitcoin. And celebrities are leading the way in a digital-art spending spree using a technology called an NFT

On Wednesday, digital or cryptocurrencies took their biggest step yet toward wider acceptance when Coinbase, a start-up that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, went public. Coinbase shares began trading at $381 each, up 52 percent from a reference price of $250, eventually closing at $328.28. That gave the company a valuation of $85.7 billion based on all its outstanding shares, more than 10 times higher than Coinbase’s last private valuation. 

Call it crypto’s coming-out party. Coinbase, based in San Francisco, is the first major cryptocurrency start-up to go public on a U.S. stock market. It did so at a valuation that rivaled that of Airbnb and Facebook when they went public. 

Cryptocurrency advocates — many of whom expect the technology to upend the global financial system — are celebrating the watershed as vindication of their long-held belief in their cause’s potential. 

Coinbase’s listing answers the question “Is crypto a real thing?” said Bradley Tusk, a venture capital investor whose firm, Tusk Venture Partners, backed Coinbase. “Any industry that can launch an I.P.O. of this size is without a doubt a real thing, and it’s proven by the market.”

I remain among those thinking that digital currencies should continue to be linked in our minds to reckless speculation and potential criminal conduct. With apologies to Mr. Tusk, I don’t think that “the market” is always the best way to discern what is “real” and what is an illusion. I have my doubts! 

Maybe this is because my father took me aside, at a young age, and thrust a book into my hands, and told me to read it: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds, by Charles MacKay. If some authoritative person in your life hasn’t done the same thing to you, please let me step into that void, and urge you to read MacKay’s book. Bernie Madoff recently died in prison, at age eighty-two. That news made the papers on April 14th, the day before the Coinbase story. Madoff had cheated thousands with his seemingly solid Ponzi scheme. His victims had definitely NOT read MacKay’s book!

Cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by anyone (like a bank, or a country), and invite speculation. Putting one’s money into this form is done because of an expectation that the value of the money will increase in value – and increase significantly, way beyond what normal interest would bring. 

Why should the money invested in cryptocurrencies increase in value you might ask? Good question. If you have $1,000 in hundred dollar bills in a locked drawer in your desk, you do not expect that you will find $2,000 there when you check the drawer next month. BUT… you do expect that the $1,000 will still be there. With cryptocurrencies, these expectations are completely reversed. People investing in cryptocurrencies expect their value to go up, and yet they know that it is also quite true that their value may diminish, or even that their investment may have disappeared entirely, by the next time they look.

Of course, people like to visit casinos, Las Vegas, and the racetrack, and to place their bets there. I just think it’s important that we all recognize what’s going on!

Besides the fact that I am clearly a stodgy and conservative person where the investment of money is concerned, there is another problem with cryptocurrencies that I believe is of critical importance. This aspect of the matter was highlighted in another New York Times’ article on April 15th. That article was titled, “Though the Money’s Digital, The Energy Impact Is Real.” Here’s a quick summary:

The stock market debut of Coinbase, a start-up that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is a watershed moment for digital money. 

It also threatens to lock in a technology with an astonishing environmental footprint. 

Cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology, which relies on specialized computers racing to solve complex equations, making quintillions of attempts a second to verify transactions. It’s that practice, called “cryptomining,” that makes the currencies so energy-intensive. 

Researchers at Cambridge University estimate that mining Bitcoin, the most popular blockchain-based currency, uses more electricity than entire countries like Argentina do. 

“All this accounts for so little of the world’s total transactions, yet has the carbon footprint of entire countries. So imagine it taking off — it’ll ruin the planet,” said Camilo Mora, a climate scientist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (emphasis added).

Read MacKay’s book, and start taking global warming seriously! That’s my advice. 

I am pretty sure my father would have agreed. I know Bill Maher does!

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. 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 TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

    STORMS

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine”. 
~Morris West

“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them”?  
~Rose Kennedy

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore”.
~Vincent Van Gogh

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Have I got a treat for you this week! As soon as I saw his name was Nils, I knew he was from Sweden 😀 Bianca is from Italy, and they dance together fantastically! Do check them out!


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

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

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
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