Blog Archives

May 24 – 30, 2023

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Kaiser Permanente’s decision, Ed Porter memory, movies. GREENSITE…on losing the sense of place that is Santa Cruz.  SCHENDLEDECKER…May updates, oversized vehicles. STEINBRUNER…Kaiser Permanente’s Taj Mahal doomed, housing elements, Soquel Creek water district issues, Memorial Day. HAYES…on a brief vacation. PATTON…Ron DeSantis and punishment. MATLOCK…avoid clichés like the plague. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover WEBMISTRESS’…pick of the week. QUOTES…”Memorial Day”


KING AND MISSION STREET June 7, 1957.  This was the Grand Opening of Carl’s Flying A Gas Station…complete with clown. It’s now the site of Five Gables Dentistry.                                                     

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


KAISER’S RETREAT. Kaiser announced its change of intentions about opening a new facility next to Highway One. Rick Longinotti co-chair of Campaign For Sensible Transportation released an announcement this am. that covers the entire news. I’m re-printing it here with a link to the Campaign so hopefully you’ll become involved with all the issues and forward moves they maintain.

“The Sentinel reports that Kaiser pulled out of its plan to build a large office building and 730 space parking garage on the frontage road on the ocean side of Hwy 1 near Chanticleer Ave. Kaiser’s explanation is that growth of other facilities in Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz make the project unnecessary. Maybe there’s another reason. That’s Henry Kaiser in the above photo driving a bus that Kaiser built. Maybe Henry’s ghost was perturbed that the Kaiser facility was proposed over a mile from the nearest bus stop. Evidently Kaiser expected all its patients and workers to arrive by car. (Hence the reason for building a parking garage that would be 50% larger than the next largest garage in the County.)

I’d like to think that the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation had something to do with Kaiser finding a different path forward. Along with the Sierra Club we wrote comments on the Draft EIR for this project, pointing out that Kaiser could locate on a large vacant lot at the corner of Soquel Dr. and Thurber Lane, in the General Plan’s Medical District, on a transit corridor. The final EIR was supposed to be published in summer of 2022. Maybe the EIR team couldn’t figure out how to spin the proposed Kaiser location as environmentally preferred. Maybe our organization’s successful lawsuit against Caltrans let Kaiser know we could hold them accountable. Or maybe Kaiser realized that promoting auto dependency doesn’t help people thrive.
Whatever the reason, let’s celebrate that our community has another chance to follow planned new development where transit is frequent (as called for in the General Plan).


May 8

Ed Porter: Teacher, Mentor, and Policy-maker

Remember Why You Live in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz lost one of its most selfless, reliable, and outspoken public servants in the early morning hours of April 28th. Former City Councilmember, Santa Cruz High teacher, and Lockheed engineer, Ed Porter, died from a series of medical complications after suffering a fall in his home. He was 78 years old. Porter lived for more than 40 years in a stucco house at the end of Lighthouse Avenue adjacent to one of the open-space trophies of Santa Cruz’s epic progressive era, Lighthouse Field. He surrounded his home with lots of trees– pines and live oaks—because he believed in maintaining a vibrant urban forest. After taking early retirement from Lockheed Missile and Space Division as a senior engineer, he taught about computers at Santa Cruz High from 1979-2011. Ed was an environmentalist, humanitarian, mentor, and public policy wonk who was involved in some of the most ambitious and legendary Santa Cruz local political issues, the ones that would shape this community’s progressive agenda, and legacy, for years to come.

Ed Porter was elected to the Santa Cruz city council at the beginning of the millennium and became embroiled in some of this community’s most contentious issues like mobile home rent control, the fight for a living wage, and the struggle to save the Homeless Garden Project. While a councilmember, Porter delivered key votes in saving the Del Mar Theater on Pacific Ave. and to transform Salz Tannery into an arts and affordable housing complex. It was his council votes too that brought home a skate park, senior housing on Gualt Street, increased homeless services funding, and the Beach Street 2-way bike lane. Of course, his earlier neighborhood activist efforts were key in the development of Lighthouse Field Park.

During his second run for council in 2004 he edged out both former councilmembers Mark Primack and Scott Kennedy and won the fourth council seat in that election. Porter often credited his winning margin to his former S.C. High students who were able to survive the tight housing market. Ed was never one to shy away from a just political fight. In 2005, for example, Ed went head-to-head with then-Mayor, Mike Rotkin, in dueling opinion pieces in the fight over what the Dream Inn would become. Among Ed’s numerous reasons for opposing this former massive hotel project proposal was the impact on the next door residents of Clearview Court mobile home park, the “inadequate traffic plan,” and most significantly, “the project did not conform to our General Plan…” And guess what? Porter prevailed in helping protect our community’s beach front from a 6-level parking garage and convention hotel!

Edward Benson Porter, Jr., was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 4, 1944. He attended the University of Detroit High School and graduated from the Detroit Electronics Institute of Technology with a degree in electronics. Porter left Michigan when he was 21 and headed for Sunnyvale. He moved to Santa Cruz in 1974.  His father, Edward Benson Porter, Sr. (1910-1985) was born in Idaho and his mother, Winifred Mary Heinrich Porter (1917-2011) was a Detroiter. Ed was a Santa Cruz resident for almost 50 years, and he once wrote, “Living along the Pacific Ocean was my dream since I was six years old!” He often said that Country Joe McDonald’s song, “Paradise With an Ocean View,” was about him living in Surf City. Porter is survived by two loving sisters, Dona M. Porter of Chicago, Illinois and Patricia Porter of Portland, Oregon, ten cousins, and more than 30 local Santa Cruz friends who sat next to his bedside during his final days.

Right up until the time of death, Ed was a fierce critic of the market-rate high-rise housing that has often left behind middle-class locals and our community’s homeless. He was a consistent voice for affordable housing, alternative transportation, and environmental protection. Porter was a member of the People’s Democratic Club, an ardent advocate for Personal Rapid Transit, an avid photographer, and often could be seen on weekends at the Watsonville airport, either teaching flying or piloting his own Cessna 150 high above the community he loved. Involved until the end in local political campaigns, Ed supported and campaigned for winning candidates, Councilmember Sandy Brown and Supervisor Justin Cummings.

“Remember Why You Live in Santa Cruz” was Ed’s campaign slogan the second time he ran for city council and it should give us all pause to consider what it means amidst the current atmosphere of hyper-development. Porter will be remembered as someone who cared deeply about this community and who developed from neighborhood activist to elected official, and made a difference.

A memorial mass for Ed Porter is scheduled for Saturday, June 3rd at 1:00 p.m. at Shrine of St. Joseph, 544 West Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz.

Read Ed’s own words about Santa Cruz

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.

MASTER GARDENER. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (6.5 IMDB). A complex, involved, and very symbolic plot about a gardener (Joel Edgerton) with a history who works for a wealthy, temperamental rich land owner (Sigourney Weaver) and has visions and deep memories of his past life. The Proud Boys, Trump, Hitler, and more threats to peace are on, and in the gardener’s memories and conscience and he relates to the plants in his care as solutions.

THE MURDERS AT THE WHITE HOUSE FARM. (HBO MAX SERIES) (7.4 IMDB).   I binged watched all six episodes of this tangled British mystery, it’s that suspenseful. In 1985 five family members were shot and died and it’s a true story. Who did it, why, and even how it was done is surprising. It lags a bit by episode 4 but it’s well done and thoughtful go for it.

MRS. CHATTERJEE VS. NORWAY. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.4 IMDB). This is an unbelievably true story centering on the cruelty and evil was the government of Norway treats a young mother from India. They took her two children for 3 years of fighting based on some cultural differences between the two countries such as eating and family beliefs. Finally India’s government steps in and helps her. Fine viewing.

A MAN CALLED OTTO. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.5 IMDB).  Tom Hanks and his real life son Truman play the leads in this sad saga of an old man facing old age. Hanks is really only 67 years old and that adds to the mystery of why he’s so grumpy and almost commits suicide four times in this thin view of aging. The plot is variable but Hanks is always worth watching.

THE MOTHER. (NETFLIX MOVIE)  (5.5 IMDB).  Quite a cast of names such as Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Gael Garcia Bernal, and even Edie Falco are in it! Full of car chases, violence and tripe from 1000’s of cheap action flicks. It’s the FBI vs Jennifer who is trying to protect her daughter and the plot gets worse and worser!!

THE TERMINAL LIST. (AMAZON SERIES) (7.9 IMDB). Chris Pratt takes the part of a Navy Seal officer whose troops were ambushed during a secret mission in Syria. He suffers from shell shock/concussion and the search for the unknown enemy is a good one. The movie is believable, well-acted, nicely photographed and even mysterious. Go for it. (re-print from July 6, 2022)

HIGH DESERT. (APPLE TV SERIES) (6.5 IMDB). It’s billed as a comedy but watching Patricia Arquette attempting to be as funny as Jennifer Coolidge was in White Lotus is more depressing than laughable. Matt Dillon and Bernadette Peters try hard for any possible laughs and fail miserably. The plot has Patricia’s mother dying and how Patricia deals with it and tries to make a living in Yucca Valley first as a stripper, then she becomes a private investigator. No laughs, no plot, no fun.

WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS. (HBO MAX SERIES) (6.7 IMDB).   This is rare, it’s listed as a drama, as a history, and a biography because it’s actually based on the true story of the Watergate break-ins as intended by President Richard Milhous Nixon. Woody Harrelson is E. Howard Hunt and Justin Theroux is G. Gordon Liddy. Domhall Gleeson is John Dean and they all do credible jobs as the would be thieves who try at least four separate times to get the contents of a desk drawer that President Nixon believes will expose Daniel Elsberg. It’s full of laughs, impossible happenings and another history lesson for political followers.

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.


Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candace Bergen and Mary Steenburgen are back again from their 2018 version of the Book Club and it and they all flop miserably. These gawking, hammy, gaping old women in their 70’s go to Italy and try desperately try to get laughs. Not a one of them compares with Lucille Ball‘s comic ability. There’s no plot, no logic, no interest in where they posing…or positioning. Don’t go.

CITY ON FIRE. (APPLE TV SERIES) (7.5 IMDB).   It’s the Fourth of July 2003 at Central Park in New York City and there’s been a murder. It’s well-paced and deals with many, many issues such as drugs, family structure, cocaine, mushrooms and the differences between the rich and poor classes…whether we like it or not.

MANIFEST. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.1 IMDB). A very curious plot that has a commercial airliner in 2013 vanish from the sky (and earth) for five years. What’s curious and nearly believable, is that it’s exciting and involving to watch. What happens to families and relationships and just everyday occurrences become quite possible and even probable! Watch it and wonder.

DEAD RINGERS. (AMAZON SERIES) (6.4 IMDB). Rachel Weisz plays both lead roles of twin sisters and the camera and makeup crews will leave you spell bound watching how they both appear together so often on camera. They are gynecologists who want to open a birthing center and as you could expect they have a very hidden and illegal motive and plan behind their plotting. Go for it.



Returning home along Front Street on Tuesday I witnessed the jaws of death delivering the final blow to the building that once housed one of my favorite local businesses, University Copy. A stranger paused as I took the photo, and we exchanged a few words of shared sadness. Tom, University Copy owner had vacated months ago when his lease was ended. Despite its being empty, whenever I passed by, the building still evoked pleasant memories of animated political conversations with Tom when I picked up my copying job. Such are the dynamics of a sense of place provided by time, familiar buildings, and small, local, long-time business owners and staff. Few such businesses will survive the big building frenzy that is devouring the heart and soul of Santa Cruz.

The pat response to such feelings for a sense of place usually goes along the lines of “change is inevitable;” “it’s going to happen anyway, get used to it;” “it’s just nostalgia, get over it” and some more derogatory. There’s no way to counter such dismissiveness; you either feel a sense of place or you don’t. I was a strong supporter of keeping the downtown library in its current location (and would never have voted for Measure S had I known of the hidden agenda to tear it down). There is a deep feeling of belonging when I go to the library with the handsome city hall building opposite and the Civic Auditorium kitty corner. Forty years of memories congealed in a building exert a strong tug of meaning, at least for me and others who feel the same way.

We are probably outnumbered. Newbies haven’t had time to develop a sense of place. Student activists want housing at whatever height without pause for thought for the cost or impact. YIMBY’s are developers in sheep’s clothing. Sacramento has its boot on our neck. City Planning caters to developers. City council never found the spine to challenge any mandate from the state.

Some of us have been sounding the alarm for several years, ever since the then Planning Commission and City Council abandoned the 3-story height limits for downtown as codified in the Downtown Recovery Plan. The decision-making bodies raised the height limits to 7 and 8 stories while keeping a straight face as they declared such changes were in keeping with the original Plan. Then the state density bonus kicked in. Again, with a straight face, this state law means that new developments must be granted extra height over the zoned limit if they offer a smaller percentage of affordable units of the total than would be required in the lower height under our existing laws!

As the large building at Laurel, Front and Pacific is nearing its full height and others such as the 90- foot tall, 276- unit development at Front and Soquel are coming into focus, the impacts of these and the scores of other new high- rise developments (Ocean St, Mission St. Water St. south of Laurel St.) are starting to hit the news. The recent discussion in online Lookout is whether Santa Cruz can retain its character, uniqueness and small- town charm as the new buildings rise above the former skyline. That’s an easy answer. No, it won’t.

Local architect Mark Primack is quoted in Lookout as saying, “When you focus only on aesthetics, you’re missing the point of what makes a city a great city, or town a great town. The point is that it’s people who make a town a great town. It’s the enterprising people who are there and the lives that they’re living. That’s what makes a town interesting.” I found this a very strange comment from an architect.

The small towns that most find appealing and even the big cities that attract, probably have a range of people not so different from Santa Cruz. What sets the gems aside is what has been savored over time and protected from over- development. In Sydney in the 1970’s, developers wanted to bulldoze the historic area known as The Rocks and replace with new high rises. Many were outraged but it was the Unions that stopped the destruction by refusing to work on the site. So, The Rocks was saved and today is a lively destination and tourist attraction.

As each familiar building and business is bulldozed, as stately trees are ripped out to make way for the mass of the new buildings, as the view of the mountains from the sea is lost to the high rises, so the sense of place in Santa Cruz diminishes until it is a mere speck in memory and the mind’s eye.

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 22


The problem with vacations is that you have to work twice as hard, for twice as long, to catch up after! So apologies in advance that the next few columns may be a little disjointed, between my lovely city break, family life, other work, and going to the CA Democratic Convention with notable Santa Cruzans next weekend (I am one of the Assembly District Delegates (ADDs) for Assembly District 28 this year.)

You may have seen that Reggie Meisler and I held an Affordable Housing Month event at the intersection of Delaware and Shaffer last Saturday. It was well attended by both housed and unhoused residents from the neighborhood, as well as students and community members from around the county. A group from the adjacent De Anza Mobile Home Park planned a protest, perhaps misunderstanding our event as a protest itself.

We weren’t able to make our full presentation because some participants wanted to engage differently. While there were a few upset comments, from multiple perspectives, I think we actually managed to have productive conversations as a larger group and in clusters at the end. There were also supportive De Anza residents there, who thanked us for coming out to speak about the issues and made a point to let me know that they were not part of the protest and supported the provision of services for people living in vehicles on the far west side in the absence of adequate housing and official safe parking programs.

I appreciate that there are some valid concerns about people living in vehicles, similar to people living in tents or completely unsheltered wherever they can find a spot (as well as illegal and nuisance behaviors of visitors to the area and housed residents). I feel strongly that we must care for all members of our community as they struggle to survive as best they can in this nationwide affordable housing emergency. While some of us disagree on the best approaches, the more we can work together on what we DO agree on, the better the outcomes will be for all of us. A couple of attendees documented the session (or at least parts of it), which I will share if they become publicly available.

Vice Mayor Renee Golder did attend (though I don’t think she stayed for the whole thing). At one point I was asked why we focus so much attention on the city, rather than on the county, to provide services. When I answered that we focus on the city, and opposing the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance in particular, because the city had introduced this ordinance and the county did not, I detected a scoff and derisive comments from our vice mayor. While it is true that Santa Cruz County does regulate overnight recreational vehicle parking and overnight parking on county roads and parking lots, and they require paid permits of residents via the sheriff’s office, they do not have an ordinance like this one, which targets people living in vehicles so obviously.

It also doesn’t make the county’s regulations just or unworthy of attention and alteration at some point.

City Council recently voted to pursue Mayor Keeley’s proposed housing bond with a series of public engagements:

Santa Cruz, CA [May 11, 2023] – Community members will have the opportunity to provide input and support in the creation of an affordable workforce housing bond or revenue measure through three community workshops called “Creating the Bond.” These workshops are aimed at allowing community members to be involved in the process and provide feedback and input on the details of the proposed revenue measure.

All three workshops will be facilitated by the Council Revenue and Budget Committee, and community members are encouraged to attend and provide their input. The workshops will provide a framework for gathering input and support from community members on the creation of an affordable workforce housing bond or revenue measure.

The workshops will take place on the following dates at the Santa Cruz Police Department Community Room located at 155 Center St. In Santa Cruz:

Workshop #1: Informational Session – May 18, 2023, 5:30-7:00pm

Workshop #2: Polling Briefing and Planning – May 25, 2023, 5:30-7:00pm

Workshop #3: Finalization and Next Steps – May 31, 2023, 5:30-7:00pm

This all feels very rushed to me, too rushed for busy community members to really get the info and engage meaningfully. There is not currently a recording of last week’s informational session on the city webpage, further limiting engagement. Thankfully, Max Chun did a write up in Lookout that is not behind the paywall at the time of this writing. I appreciate the reported comment by Rafa Sonnenfeld that, “We’ve mostly talked about property taxes, but there are other sorts of taxes that the city could consider, like property transfer taxes, for example,” he said. “What are the size of the potential housing subsidies we could potentially get from different tax options, basically.” During my mayoral campaign I argued that increasing our Real Estate Transfer Tax would be a better, more equitable way to raise revenue for affordable housing and related social services.

According to Lee Brokaw, there will likely be an initiative on the 2024 state ballot that increases the approval threshold for voter-initiated tax increases from 50+1 to ?. This may undermine Mayor Keeley’s effort to initiate this affordable housing bond within city governance but transfer the process to a citizen’s group for an easier pass at the polls, or it may mean that if the state initiative passes and so does ours (with less than ? for it) we may have to re-do the election. I don’t fully understand this potential, and complex, issue yet, but feel it’s important to pass on the information.

Tuesday’s regular city council meeting agenda includes completion of the Housing Matters Hygiene Bay, an update on West Cliff work and  “roadmap” community review kick-off. A “Library Incident Report” addendum summary sheet to the agenda shows that “incidents” at the downtown library have skyrocketed. There’s no information on the quality of the incidents, just numbers, but it seems cause for concern for patrons, workers, and those causing whatever these incidents may be. I’d like to hear from workers what support they need to be safe on the job.

There was a special council meeting for budget presentations, Wednesday, May 24th. I’ve just given the packet a cursory view, with my reading of the overall numbers below:

Fiscal Year 2024 Proposed Budget

City Attorney up

City Council up

City Manager up

Economic Development way up (housing)

Finance flat

Fire up

Human Resources flat

Information Technology flat

Library flat

Parks and Recreation up

Planning and Community Development up

Police up significantly

Public Works up

Water up

The May 9th regular city council meeting was jam-packed with important issues and discussions worth watching bits of: the Homelessness Response Quarterly Update, Pogonip post-sweeps /cleanup contract, Coral Street Revisioning tensions, the introduction of the “Affordable Workforce Housing Bond,” and the Police Independent Auditor Report (VERY troubling).

There was a Santa Cruz Police Military Equipment Virtual Community Meeting May 16th, which I hope will be available online soon.

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 22


Last week, Kaiser sent out a notice that the plan to build an enormous new Medical Facility and four-story parking garage at 5940 Soquel Avenue Frontage Road has been officially swept off the table.  The reason given is that Kaiser plans to instead continue to expand services with partnerships at other local medical facilities.    This would include the Watsonville Hospital, where the organization already has an agreement to provide Kaiser patients service under the Kaiser plan.

Somehow, I suspect there is more to the story than meets the eye here.  I think the County needs the land at 5940 Soquel Avenue to move forward with its original zoned use as dense affordable housing as a specially-designated Zone identified when the Redevelopment Agency handled it.  The County is in trouble with the State if the updated Housing Element cannot be approved by the end of this year, and prove that the Regional Housing Number Allocation (RHNA) mandating nearly 5,000 new units will be built within the next eight years can be accomplished, receiving the blessing of the State Dept. of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

I also think this is related to the agreement that the County Board of Supervisors approved recently to allow Kaiser a sweet deal to pay a lot less than the other hospital providers for the percentage of uninsured patient care costs.  Dominican Hospital representatives and other local health care representatives protested that deal, but the Board approved it anyway.


Keep your eye on this project.  The bottom line is what infrastructure will happen to support anything that is built at 5940 Soquel Avenue, which has no bus service, and no sidewalks to help people get there.

Below is the notice from Kaiser, sent last week via Mail Chimp to those who have requested updates on the project:

Update from Kaiser Permanente on the 5940 Soquel Avenue Project

Kaiser Permanente is committed to Santa Cruz County, and as part of that commitment, we continue to explore ways to expand our specialty care offerings throughout the region. As part of our assessment of how to best serve our members and deliver high-quality, affordable health care, we have re-evaluated the proposed project at 5940 Soquel Avenue and determined that we no longer intend to occupy this property.

Going forward, we plan to continue expanding services throughout the County while thoughtfully considering the dynamic, local health care industry and the access needs of our community.


I continue to try to understand why the new RHNA mandates are more than triple the mandated build allocation of the Fifth Cycle.  It is not an easy dig.  I recently invited Ms. Heather Adamson, Planning Director of the Associated Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) as a guest on a weekly online radio program that I co-host to explain the mystery.  She let the listening audience know that there was a new methodology used that considered social economic justice in the forefront, and that cities and counties where there are more affluence were specifically targeted for higher numbers.  The thought is that everyone should be able to live where they want, regardless of the historic cost of doing so.

It was shocking that Ms. Adamson said the condition and availability of infrastructure levels serving the areas is not considered, and the RHNA Plan is exempt from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review.  She said it also had to do with recent legislation, mandating higher levels of affordable housing to be built.

“What if we just say NO?” I asked.

She replied that the local jurisdictions would lose all chance of federal and state funding for transportation and planning projects, and developers would be allowed to invoke “Builder’s Remedy” and basically build whatever they want.

Wow.  That is a mighty big stick.

I continue to research this problem, and hope you will send me your thoughts.

What about the quality of life?  What about environmental impacts?

Here are some links to information I have found that you might also find useful.  This is a big deal, and I am really worried for the health, beauty and quality of life for our Communities.

Feel free to listen in every Friday on the “Community Matters” online radio program, 1pm-3pm, on Santa Cruz Voice

The Executive Order —-

The list of States who are participating


AMBAG and the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) will host periodic webinars for local jurisdiction elected officials and staff to assist in the preparation of its 6th Cycle Housing Elements.

6th Cycle Housing Element Technical Assistance: Governmental & Non-Governmental Constraints – April 24, 2023

AMBAG & HCD staff held a webinar for local jurisdiction planning/housing staff in the AMBAG region on the Governmental & Non-Governmental requirements for the 6th Cycle Housing Elements.  To view a recording of this webinar, please click here

6th Cycle Housing Element Technical Assistance: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing – March 27, 2023

AMBAG & HCD staff held a webinar for local jurisdiction planning/housing staff in the AMBAG region on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requirements for the 6th Cycle Housing Elements.  To view a recording of this webinar, please click here

6th Cycle Housing Element Technical Assistance: Site Inventory – February 27, 2023

AMBAG & HCD staff held a webinar for local jurisdiction planning/housing staff in the AMBAG region on the sites inventory requirements for the 6th Cycle Housing Elements.  To view the recording of this webinar, please click here.

Introduction to 6th Cycle Housing Elements Webinar – March 29, 2022

AMBAG & the HCD staff held a webinar for local elected officials and local jurisdiction planning/housing staff in the AMBAG region on the 6th Cycle Housing Elements. This introductory webinar discussed the new state requirements for 6th Cycle Housing Elements and offer insight on how to prepare to start your 6th Cycle Housing Elements.  To view a recording of this webinar please click here.

For more information and additional housing element tools from HCD

Regional Housing Planning | Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments


On February 7, 2023, the Board of Directors for Soquel Creek Water District decided to end the policy to make developers pay $55,000/AcreFoot of water anticipated for new development because the aquifer was in critical overdraft. What made them change their mind on this expensive program enacted in 2003 and fees increased dramatically in 2016?

I could not attend that meeting then because storms knocked out our electricity and phone service, and I happened to have a suffered a concussion.  The District had not uploaded the video recording of this particular meeting until now. Link here. The owner of the video does not allow embedding on another site.

Item 7.2 begins at Minute 3:30.  Staff’s explanation and justification is fascinating, but Board members’ discussion is very illuminating.

The problem the Board faced was that the District has sold all but 3.9 Acre/Feet available according to their aquifer recharge studies, so would have to come up with a new conservation project to justify continued collection of the expensive fees.

It has little to do with the real status of the aquifer now.  Of course, they hold their intention to inject treated sewage water into the aquifer as a nebulous panacea, but that PureWater Soquel Project has been delayed for many reasons, and will not be on line until late 2024 or even longer.

So, how can the District justify continuing to sell new water service connections if the aquifer is still in critical overdraft?

Listen to this video to better understand the thought-processes of the District.  It never really was about trying to improve the aquifer but rather about getting more money.  Now, with some questioning the legality of the practice that portends to be an obstacle to the County’s rapid growth under State-mandated RHNA building, the District does not want to spend the money to develop any viable conservation programs that would not happen without collecting the $55,000/AcreFoot Water Demand Offset fees.

“At minute 53:50, Water Conservation Staff Specialist Ms. Flock admitted it would be difficult…”I don’t know what would generate enough water savings to justify it.”  That followed Director Tom LaHue’s statement that it would take lots of money to re-do the factors to legally justify continuing to collect the Offset fees at Minute 50:10.

Director Bruce Jaffe wondered at Minute 46:45 about how it would be fair to developers who have recently paid the hefty $55,000/acre-foot Water Demand Offset fee but suddenly, new developers won’t have to?

He worried at minute 43:00 if the recharge from PureWater Soquel will actually be enough?

I hope to listen to the complete recording and hope you do, too.  Please let me know your thoughts.


Last week’s Soquel Creek Water District Board meeting was a hybrid format, with in-person meeting resuming at the Capitola City Council chambers.  I arrived a few minutes after 6pm, thinking that the Closed Session would be first, as is customary in the remote meetings.  It turned out that the order of the meetings have changed, with Closed Session again at the end of the meeting.

I encourage Soquel Creek Water District customers to again attend these in-person meetings at 6pm on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.  These folks need to be held accountable.

Here are some interesting projects I learned the District is doing:

Utility Relocation in Conjunction with the County’s Buffered Bike Lane Improvement Project on Soquel Drive.  The District is guest in County Right of Way and needs to move utilities to accommodate a new storm drain various sidewalk improvements:

1.12″ Mainline relocation at Soquel Dr. and Mar Vista Dr.2.Hydrant Relocation on Soquel Dr near Mar Vista Dr. 3.6 air release valve relocations on Soquel Dr. and Soquel Ave.4.Raising ~25 Meter and valve boxes.

San Andreas Rd. Main Extension for Renaissance High School (Pajaro Valley Unified School District)

  1. LAFCO annexation required.
  2. The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and Weber, Hayes & Associates (WHA) are supporting PVUSD on funding application, LAFCO annexation, and engineering services for water main extension and service installation.

iii. Conditional Will Serve letter pending.

  1. Documentation showing District commitment to consolidation and authorization for applicant to act on behalf of the District will be presented to Board.
  2. District will be the lead agency for CEQA16.

Moosehead Dr. Main Replacement

  1. Pending confirmation of $1.416 Budget Bill
  2. CalTrans and County are coordinating to design a realignment of Moosehead Dr to be out of the CalTrans ROW. Coordination is scheduled for July 202317.City of Capitola Roundabout at Capitola Ave. & Bay Ave. intersection i. Staff is coordinating with the City for accommodating improvements which include a fire hydrant relocation and valve box adjustments.18.County of Santa Cruz Coastal Rail Trail at 41st Ave. RR crossing Staff is coordinating with the County for water line crossing conflicts

Water Distribution Model

  1. Staff is working with Akel Engineering to update the District’s hydraulic model. The most current model was last updated in 2014 and is missing key infrastructure upgrades from the last decade of CIP projects.
  2. $60k was budgeted for FY22/23

iii.  Additional funding is available through a state DWR grant through the MGA. This model will be used in the optimization study to evaluate how the Distribution system can accommodate redistribution of pumping in SqCWD’s system and evaluate the hydraulics of water transfers as they relate to the overall groundwater basin management scenarios.


Memorial Day is a time to reflect and recognized those who died while protecting our freedoms.  Take a moment to do so.

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.


The Housing Element identifies policies and programs to meet existing and projected housing needs for the urban unincorporated areas of the County. 

May 31:    Virtual Meeting Via Zoom 5:30-7:00 pm
Zoom Link

June 28:  Watsonville Civic Plaza ~ 275 Main St., 4th Floor,
Watsonville, 5:30-7:00 pm (Food will be provided)


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 22

Grey had a rough workweek and will be back next week.

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 15

#135 / Ron DeSantis Is Taking On The Eighth

The title of my blog posting today refers to the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Click the link if you’d like to refresh your recollection of what the Eighth Amendment provides. Most importantly, the Eighth Amendment prohibits the United States Government (and now state governments, too) from imposing “cruel and unusual” punishments on any criminal offender.

If your son or daughter goes into Target and shoplifts, it is the Eighth Amendment that makes sure that the government doesn’t cut off your child’s hand, in order to punish this behavior. The United States Supreme Court has also held, definitively, in Kennedy v. Louisiana, that imposing the death penalty on a criminal offender, when the crime does not intentionally cause the victim’s death, violates the Eighth Amendment.

Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida (pictured above), doesn’t think that this is the way things ought to go. He is backing a piece of legislation that would directly challenge the decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana, and would, therefore, permit (and perhaps even encourage) the United States Supreme Court to broaden the scope of the death penalty.

Clicking this link will take you to a news story about this effort, which was published in the online magazine, Slate. As the article says:

When asked late last month if the bill is unconstitutional, Rep. Baker [a Florida legislator] responded that “fifteen years of wrongly decided case law is not persuasive” to her. She previously argued that Kennedy is ripe for reconsideration because the majority’s decision was not “based on any law” and did not point to any statute or constitutional provision for its basis but was, instead, based on the majority’s “independent judgment.” That statement is far from accurate. As testimony for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers clarified at the committee hearing, the majority decision in Kennedy was grounded in the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Of course, the legislators’ blatant disregard for precedent undermines the bedrock of our court system—the theory of stare decisis. Worse, legislation attacking precedent undermines our system of government, which is grounded on a separation of powers. When state Rep. Michael Gottlieb asked in a committee hearing late last month if this bill poses separation of powers issues, Rep. Baker said no, though offered no support for her position. Yet, these efforts deliberately undercut the long-standing work of the judiciary in an effort to achieve political gain

I believe that the concerns outlined in the article, and presented in the quotation, above, are absolutely valid. When unelected members of the Supreme Court start acting like a Legislature, this is an attack on the “bedrock” of our court system.

I do have another point I’d like readers to consider, as well. Is it actually ever appropriate to react to bad behavior by killing the offender?

I am suggesting, “No.”

If you are thinking, “Yes,” then think again about that shoplifting son or daughter of yours. There is one way to make sure, with absolute certainty, that your kids won’t ever violate the law again, once they have violated it once.

Kill ’em if they do!

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at

May 22


Not sure where you might find the sign-up sheet, but according to, Russia is floating the idea of building a village for US and Canadian ex-pats who are tired of liberal ideology as Russia seeks to position itself as a bastion for “traditional” moral values. The project is supposedly approved…no further details at this time…but, around 200 families have expressed interest, wishing to run away from the North American cultural climate. These curiosity-seekers have no Russian roots – most are Catholics who “strongly believe in the prediction that Russia will remain the only Christian country in the world.” The cost of the new 2024 construction will be borne by the conservative settlers, located near Moscow in the suburbs according to immigration lawyer, Timur Beslangurov. Vladimir Putin signed a decree in September warning of a “battle for cultural supremacy” with global ramifications and cautioned of “the aggressive imposition of neoliberal views by a number of states,” as the country defends and spreads conservative views.

A contributor to Daily Kos cautions those families, saying they need to consider that Russian Orthodox traditionalists will have a dim view of their Catholic beliefs, which dates back to the Great Schism of 1054 AD. These American/Canadian right-wingers will be horrified at the Muslim population, having left countries with 1.1 percent (USA) and 4.9 percent (Canada) populations, taking up residence in a Russia that has a 12 percent Muslim citizenry. As if that’s not enough to dissuade them, they will find that Russia doesn’t have a Second Amendment, so no more stockpiling of their arsenals of military grade weapons to overthrow the secular government. Minor roadblocks might be the lack of indoor plumbing and flush toilets. The only candidate allowed on the city ballot for mayor will be Steven Segal…maybe Trump. But hey! Let’s give these folks some assistance by starting a GoFund Me drive to send them to a better place. Donald Trump already has a head start with his effort…calling it Truth Social, its octopus arms reaching into several entities, so don’t answer his appeals for funds. With any luck, perhaps DOJ can revoke his passport allowing more time for his orange jumpsuit fitting.

Of interest to the Former Guy is a US Eleventh Appeals Court ruling that overturns the death sentence of an inmate sentenced for a murder in 1997, unless the US Supreme Court overturns the appeal filed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. Previously the murderer was determined to have “significant deficits in social/interpersonal skills, self-direction, independent home living, and functional academics,” therefore violating the Eighth Amendment against punishing a person with intellectual disabilities. Sounds vaguely familiar, eh? AG Marshall argues that the man’s IQ scores have consistently placed his IQ above that of an intellectually disadvantaged person, making his death sentence both just and constitutional. This is of relevance to The Don since the US Eleventh has jurisdiction over Alabama, Georgia and Florida… and who knows when one might glean some form of security provided by the Eighth Amendment?

A cautionary note for the above applicants: due to US sanctions against Russia, their Foreign Ministry announced that it was banning 500 Americans from entering the country, including Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert, and former ambassadors to Russia. No direct complaints were specified, but offenses included spreading Russophobia, arms supplies to Ukraine, and officials “who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called storming of the Capitol.” The ministry also denied a US request for consular access to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March, charged with espionage. That denial was a response to this country for denying visas to Russian journalists who wanted to cover Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit in April. To those ex-pat emigrants, be forewarned that luggage should not contain autographed photos, books, essays, posters, bumper stickers or mementos related to those named on the dreaded List of 500, or Gershkovich’s cell will be awfully crowded.

Russia’s list makes it explicit that Putin is shamelessly aligning himself with Trump and the MAGA-GOP and against those who dare to block the movement’s attempt to overthrow our democracy. Listed is Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensberger, who couldn’t seem to find “11,780 votes” for Trump’s Georgia victory, and Capitol Police officer, Michael Byrd, who shot Ashli Babbitt during her House of Representatives chamber assault. Adoption by MAGA trolls of the language and dictums that enabled Putin to overcome representative democracy, and by Hungary’s Viktor Orbán (hero of Tucker Carlson), endears this bunch of swamp dwellers to Mr. P., who in 2019 declared liberal democracy “obsolete.” Praise of Trump by both Putin and Orbán, especially in light of his pushback against the support of Ukraine by our government, further encourages the demonization of our values, with dismantling of social programs resulting in concentration of wealth and power to a small, dominant group which rejects equality.

Unclear at this time is whether MAGA maniac and Big Lie pusher Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is on the List of 500…the Russian Ministry is likely reading his new book, ‘Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs,’ and gleaning information from the reviews before making a decision. Waxing poetic about manhood by one who was photographed raising his fist in support of the gathered rioters in DC on J6, later being videoed running for his life in the halls of Congress, seems a bit out of place. But, if you know a budding misogynist this might be just the ticket for his library! We can’t forget that DC police officer, Michael Fanone, in his anger after being attacked and injured while defending the Capitol that fateful day, called Hawley a “bitch” upon viewing the videos of his fist-raising and subsequent running like the wind through the building. Reviewers of ‘Manhood’ have not been kind: “I hear they’re making the book out of glass to make it as fragile as his ‘masculinity,” and, “I understand this is a terrific running program, but I also understand he’s a lumberjack and he’s OK.” One reviewer simply posted a photoshopped rework of the cover, making it read ‘Man In A Hood.’ It must be made clear that Josh has a long history of defending white supremacist values…when he was fifteen years old he wrote an early anti-woke piece defending the militias tied to the Oklahoma City bombing. The Guardian reviewer, Lloyd Green, calls him a “Neo-confederate at war with modernity, with a God-given right to be heard.” Add to that, ‘a puke-inducing creepy little punk,’ along with anything else that Officer Fanone wishes to toss into the mix.

Alabama’s rocks-for-brains/Publisher’s Clearing House Senator Tommy Tuberville is sure to favor Putin’s 500 list as he continues to withhold his approval of 200 promotions for military personnel, posing a clear risk for US military readiness. His beef is over a Pentagon policy, initiated in February, providing travel reimbursements and leave for service members to seek abortions out-of-state. Tommy has asked Defense Secretary Austin to rescind this policy, and until it happens he will stand in the doorway, preventing the unanimous consent process to award promotions. Senate Majority Leader Schumer could bring nominations to the floor individually…all 200 of them…requiring votes for each nominee which would eat valuable time to accomplish. Austin defends the policy, acknowledging female service personnel may live in areas lacking adequate care or limitations for reproductive health. However, Tuberville stands by his tweet, “No matter how much disinformation Democrats spread, I will continue to stand up to the most politicized Pentagon in American history.”

After the Trump verdict in the E. Jean Carroll case, Senator Tuberville was so disgusted he remarked that he was ready to vote for the Former Guy TWICE! On the same day, Tommy-boy? He charges President Biden with trying to destroy America by weeding from our military the Nazis, extremists, and white nationalists. Reporters asked him whether those white nationalists, bigots, idiots and misogynists should be in uniform, he shot back, “They call them that, I call them Americans! They just don’t fit Joe Biden’s agenda!” His office later tried to clarify that he was only expressing his skepticism that white nationalists exist in the ranks of the military.

Musician/iconoclast Frank Zappa, in an interview five years before his death in 1993, said, “…when the dogma becomes legislation, that’s when you have danger. I have this horrible fear that the United States could wind its way toward being a fascist theocracy.” Joan Baez, in a New Yorker interview by Amanda Petrusich, agrees that we seem to be tumbling backwards, everything related to propaganda, lying, business, money and power. She says liberals don’t know how to talk, as opposed to MAGA-talk…“Build a wall”, “lock her up”…three words that are simple to remember. Biden, on the other hand, is a “lovely person, who talks for an hour, but you don’t remember anything said.” She tells of meeting a young man in the 1980s who said of the ’60s, “Man, you had it all back then. You had the war, you had the glue, man.” His idealization of that time was centered basically on Beatles, Dylan, Woodstock, the music, the civil rights marches and war protests, not thinking of the danger had a young man been plunked onto a ship headed for Vietnam. She agrees that there was a ten-year period where “we had everything,” then John Lennon was killed and everyone wondered, “Who’s gonna write the next ‘Imagine?” “Well, nobody,” she answers. It might be music or something else, but what will recreate those feeling we had? She goes on to say, “We had that feeling when Obama ran for office. When he ran, not when he was in. You can’t do shit once you’re in office. But that was a moment where people felt an idea of what we had back then.” In a more ominous, cautionary note she observed, “Back then, we sat at lunch counters as an example of what nonviolent action could accomplish, because we were brave on the front lines. I think courage is contagious, but violence is really contagious…easier than nonviolent action. If someone shoots something up, well, the police shoot him, of course. It’s just a given. What kind of insanity is that?”

Speaking of insanity, Qasim Rashid, Esq. posts on Twitter: Every MAGA defense of Donald Trump boils down to these three options – 1) Trump didn’t say or do that, 2) If he did, it wasn’t illegal, 3) If it was illegal, then Biden did the same thing too. Facts don’t matter. Spike Milligan posts, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, which is just long enough to be president of the United States.”

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.


“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
~Joseph Campbell.

“Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps”.       
~Emily Potter

 “He loves his country best who strives to make it best”.       
~Robert G. Ingersoll


It’s been a long week. Here’s some feel-good about a pet bird, who’s rather remarkable 🙂

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