BRATTON…More on Measure D, How to Vote list, Rite Aid vs. CVS for boosters, farewell Audrey Stanley. GREENSITE…with the latest on the Wharf lawsuit outcome. KROHN…Ballot Recommendations. STEINBRUNER…Dist. 4 candidates’ forum, voting centers, CZU fire survivors, extend fire season, groundwater levels, Joby Aviation, Memorial Day. HAYES…Save The Bees. PATTON…Speaking Of Money (Cryptocurrency). MATLOCK…RELEASING THE KRAKEN AND OTHER NONSENSICAL HYSTERICS. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS…Entire movies on YouTube? No way, who knew?! QUOTES…”Forest Fires”
DATELINE MAY 23
STILL MORE ON MEASURE D. It’s been written many times now about how wild and divisive local voters have become on the Rail plus trail issue. We even have former Governor Jerry Brown against it. Which means that it had to be important for him to examine and declare that Measure D would be a disaster. Governor Jerry Brown stated,
“NEWSFLASH: Former Gov. Jerry Brown on Greenway’s Measure D: “I strongly recommend voting NO”
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, a global leader in the fight to address climate change, encourages Santa Cruz County voters to reject Greenway’s Measure D.
“Measure D aims to tear out historic railroad tracks, killing the possibility of carbon free, electric train service in Santa Cruz County. That is really a bad idea, given the congestion on Highway 1 and the increasing danger of greenhouse gasses from more and more cars. Measure D is bad for Santa Cruz and bad for California. I strongly recommend voting NO.” – Jerry Brown, Former California Governor
Mark Stone, Justin Cummings, Ryan Coonerty, Sandy Brown and dozens of our most notable organizations oppose Measure D. Read the lists here… https://www.nowaygreenway.com/opposed I’ve never seen or remember such unity and opposition to a piece of legislation.
HOW TO VOTE…WHO TO VOTE FOR!! After the response from running the how to vote list last week I decided to run it every week until that day!! I stated last week, “As per usual when our ballots arrive there are so many offices and candidates we’ve never heard of and have not the vaguest idea of their background. I’ve asked good, experienced local political friends to give us a list of the best candidates. Take out your sample ballots and vote the following:
|Secretary of State
|SHIRLEY N. WEBER
|Member, State Board of Equalization District 2
|SALLY J. LIEBER
|United States Senator
|United States Senator Partial Unexpired Term
|United States Representative 19th District
|Member of the State Assembly
|Superintendent of Public Instruction
|County Supervisor, 3rd District
There were/are a lot of questions, decisions behind the above list. If you know things we never encountered, please tell me/us at firstname.lastname@example.org as rapidly as possible. And the main principle, and deciding thing is to be sure to vote. Democrats are traditionally lazy about voting in these off-season times, just go vote!! Also check out Chris Krohn’s list of candidates and measures we agree on all of them except Ami Chen Mills.
RITE AID AND BOOSTER SHOTS. I’ve been a customer of CVS since they were Long’s Drugstore. More importantly I couldn’t get through their online or in person connections to get my second Covid Booster. A good friend suggested I use Rite Aid…wow, they are fast, polite, eager and efficient and got my shot the very next day…with smiles and a painless poke. Go there, especially if you are due for your second booster.
GOODBYE AUDREY STANLEY. She was a great force and addition to our community. She created Shakespeare Santa Cruz and was a cheerful good friend. In addition to casting me in the very first Shakespeare S.C. Play King Lear I took her (after much persuasion) to see two Shakespeare Operas…Rossini’s Otello and Verdi’s Macbeth. As she predicted, she had so much negative criticism about all that the operas “left out” that it was a chore. She’ll be sorely missed.
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. The “RT’s” after the movie title refer to the Rotten Tomatoes critics scores from 1-100. Rotten Tomatoes is the world’s largest and most respected cinema scoring system.
DOWNTON ABBEY. (Del Mar Theatre). If you are a fan of the tv series as millions are you’ll note a difference when you see the new movie (#2) on a big screen. It’s now about 1926 and talking movies figure into this new plot. As you can guess there are probably a dozen plots running between all our favorite characters and I don’t want to give any spoilers. Go see it, no masks required at The Del Mar.
THE TIME TRAVELERS WIFE. (HBO MAX SERIES). (7.3 IMDB). This mostly light attempt tells the story of two time travelers and their unavoidable destinies. With only the first episode (of 6) it’s impossible to predict where and how it will end BUT it’s diverting and well-acted…and it won’t keep you up all night.
NOW & THEN. (APPLE SERIES). (5.2 IMDB). Miami Florida high schoolers have a graduation night party at the beach. Something terrible, illegal, murderous, happens and the series deals with how the party goers deal with that tragedy in the next 20 years. Nicely acted, great editing, use of ecstasy, blackmail and heavy emotions. Go for it.
THE VALET. (HULU MOVIE). (6.7 IMDB). I could only think of Gwyneth Paltrow and Roberto Beginini as the lookalike stars in this attempt at a comedy. Samara Weaving and Eugenio Derbez act as the valet and the famous movie star share the plot trying to force a laugh or two. Maybe it does poke near fun at the differences between a Latino family and the well to do LA fame world but I couldn’t get one laugh out of it. Go warned.
CANDY. (HULU SERIES) (7.4 IMDB). Jessica Biel is back onscreen and she does a fine job as the Texas mother and mainly the housewife who is somehow involved with the axe murder of her female friend and neighbor. Flashbacks and dreams stretch out too long to keep the mystery and tension necessary to make this series great…but Biel’s acting makes it watchable.
THAR. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB) A mob versus family drama made and filmed in India. Being an Indian film that means heavy on the posing, even hammy, but beautiful. Mostly it’s about revenge but that’s almost a spoiler. It’ll keep your attention with the absolutely almost extraterrestrial scenery.
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 Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.
CLARK. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB). This is the nearly unbelievable true story of one of the most notorious bank robbers in history Clark Olofsson. It’s funny, well-acted, nicely produced and a good way to spend those “extra” hours. Bill Skarsgard plays Clark and he’s perfect in the role. It’s all in Sweden and is a positive delight…go for it.
OPERATION MINCEMEAT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) Colin Firth and Jason Isaacs star in this true WWII British spy movie. Author Ian Fleming (James Bond creator) was actually involved and he tells the story of how the British fooled Hitler and Germany into the invasion of Sicily. It goes on too long here and there but the intrigue and plotting and how they kept the plot secret make it worthwhile.
PETITE MAMAN. (Del Mar Theatre) (97 RT) (7.4 IMDB) A sentimental, loving story of a little eight year old girl who‘s grandmother has died. She finds a next door neighbor friend who is her twin or maybe her mother. It’s existential, sentimental, and beautifully told. You’ll probably cry a lot, it’s so much a part of all our lives and our dealing with death.
THE LINCOLN LAWYER. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.6 IMDB). The excellent acting of Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the lawyer makes this a fine, tense, humorous series to view. Doing his attorney practice which he works from his precious collection of Lincoln automobiles we get to watch and become involved in some fascinating cases. Funny, deadly, deep and very much an LA movie you’ll be hypnotized by this one…go for it.
THE ESSEX SERPENT. (APPLE TV SERIES) (7.0 IMDB)Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes lead off in this poor people’s historic version of the 1890’s Downton Abbey. Claire is convinced that there is an actual sea serpent lurking in the waters off this remote island. There’s plenty of interaction between characters and it’s a way of looking at how we humans deal with things we do and don’t believe in. A fine well directed series).
DEAR EVAN HANSEN. (HBO MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Ben Platt do their very best to make this “musical” very serious. I’ve attended over 300 operas here and overseas and have a soft spot for the sentimental/oft hammy side of a drama. Evan is a high schooler with many mental issues including suicide. It’s heavy but believable. The voices are good ones and remember it’s a musical and like West Side Story it’s got a story to tell in an unusual way.
THE NIGHT HOUSE. (HBO MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB). A genuinely scary well done ghost/horror film. Rebecca Hall is the school teacher whose husband committed suicide, but just probably. She has dreams, thangs go bump in the night. It’s all in upper New York State near Utica and their lovely home by the lake. Rare to watch an old plot like this and still stay affixed, but you will.
MUSIC IN MAY.
We are delighted to announce the return to live performance! Thursday May 26 we offer a free, outdoor community concert at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville 5:30-6:30pm featuring the debut of the Harmony Youth Choir alongside MiM musicians. Join us Friday May 27 and Saturday May 28 at Samper Recital Hall for our main stage events. Both concerts will be later released on our YouTube channel. Go here for concert details…
CABRILHO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season and Returns to In-Person Concerts on July 24-August 7. Yes, Cristian Macelaru the music director is returning and will be conducting. The concerts will include three world premiere commissions; the live orchestral premiere of Jake Heggie‘s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Benjamin Beilman; and works commemorating women’s suffrage in America and exploring the recent impact of drought and wildfires in the Western United States. Tickets are on sale now!!
THE WHARF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.
I cannot gaze at this photo of the Municipal Wharf without imagining what it would look like had the community group, Don’t Morph the Wharf! not legally challenged the city’s Wharf Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and won. I took this photo from the top story of the Dream Inn about twelve years ago. At that time, locals’ specials at the Dream Inn cost around $100 a weekday night. A beautiful sunny winter’s day and a once-in-a-lifetime birthday treat.
While I previously have written about the details of Judge Paul Burdick’s ruling in our favor, the lawsuit was not over until the city attorney and city manager signed the Release and Settlement Agreement as directed by city council, waiving the city’s right of appeal, and paying legal costs to petitioner (us) and petitioner’s attorney, Susan Brandt-Hawley, which they recently did. Had the city appealed the ruling, the case would have extended for probably another year with additional cost and no guarantee of a win in our favor. I imagine some council members were eager to appeal, however wiser legal heads probably urged caution since we had a strong case. Considerable money was at stake if they continued to the Appellate level. The decision to cut their losses was a sound one given their weak case and that they were paying with the public’s purse.
What does this win mean? First and most importantly, it means the Wharf Master Plan (WMP) and its EIR are ordered to be set-aside. It does not mean the city won’t try again. That will be up to a future council. My hunch is the city’s Economic Development Department is already discussing this option. They view the Wharf as a cash-cow and have demonstrated little concern with the community’s strong sentiment to preserve the character and working class bent of the historic Wharf. Migratory birds, sea lion viewing holes and extensive public fishing access are in their view expendable and expected to make way for upscale ecotours and boutique commerce. Sure, one aspect of the Wharf is to generate money for the city coffers, and it already does that. I’ve looked into the Wharf budget. It is quite complex, involving 3 different departments (Parks, Fire and Public Works) before you even get to the Economic Development Department which is driving the gentrification machine and appears to be calling the shots.
We are not, “professional againsters” as a senior Economic Development manager labelled us. Nobody opposes ongoing Wharf maintenance. In fact, it is long overdue. In the writ we supported the city’s moving ahead with certain aspects of the Wharf Master Plan, specifically, fixing the roadway and substrate, replacing 5% of the 4,460 pilings, implementing a new garbage collection system that gets rid of the massive dumpsters which require heavy garbage trucks to drive onto the Wharf, damaging the roadway, plus the provision of more accessible bathrooms. These occupied few pages in the overall WMP but they were there and properly labelled “improvements.” Erecting several 40 feet tall new buildings and blocking migratory birds’ access to nesting sites under the Wharf are not. If maintaining the historic, much-loved Municipal Wharf were indeed the city’s priority, then a Master Plan would have focused on these needed maintenance projects and would not have been contested.
One of the Plan’s projects we did not contest under CEQA was the relocation of the entry kiosks to 500 feet further down the Wharf on a widened new “entrance” with steel pilings and a big “gateway” sign. There are many problems with such a project. It gets rid of kiosk workers, substitutes them with 12 pay stations scattered along the Wharf, isn’t helpful for the mobility-impaired and “shortens” the Wharf which is of historical uniqueness because of its age and length…one of the 5 longest wooden piers in the world. We did alert the city that we will most likely take this issue up with the Coastal Commission when the city submits it for a CCC permit. Stay tuned.
If the city does decide to pursue another Wharf Master Plan, an alert public needs to be ready and engaged in the CEQA process. One hopes that the city might learn from its “error” this time around. Not only by listening to and respecting community and visitor sentiment that is against significant changes to the character of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf but also by following not circumventing CEQA environmental law.
|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.
The turnout in Santa Cruz County in the June 3, 2014 election did not reach 35%. The winning candidate for Third District Supervisor received a paltry 6,173 votes, not even enough for a seat on the Santa Cruz city council at the time. But, since it was 76% of the total votes cast, the only other candidate running received 1,781 votes. A winner was declared and there was no November runoff. This single election is likely the best argument I’ve seen while scanning this county’s voter turnout record since June of 1976 when 73.6% of the then 84,034 registered voters voted, for ranked choice voting (RCV).
Last Updated: June 20, 2014 5:49 PM
|Registration & Turnout
|Vote By Mail / Absentee Reporting Turnout
|Precinct Reporting Turnout
Even in 2018, the next gubernatorial year, there were more voters in Santa Cruz County and more of them came out to vote, as newbie governor candidate Gavin Newsom was in the race, but the turnout was less than 50%.
|Registration & Turnout 2018
|Vote By Mail / Absentee Reporting Turnout
|Precinct Reporting Turnout
In 2014, many factors may have contributed to the depressed turnout, but one big one was Jerry Brown’s popularity. He was a shoe-in for governor. Fast-forward to 2022, we also have a popular governor, Newsom, who just beat a recall, so presumably the stage may be set for a super-low turnout like 2014, Brown’s last winning campaign. But I would urge you to think again. Perhaps the great unknown in this June 2022 election is that every voter has been mailed a ballot, and the Greenway Measure is up for a vote. In those past governorship elections, you had to ask for mail-in ballot, or show up at the polls, the old-fashioned way. This year every registered voter has been mailed a ballot. This is the first-ever midterm election in which SC county voters received a mail-in ballot regardless of if they asked for it or not.
If You See Something, Say Something
I’ve been knocking on a good number of doors in the city of Santa Cruz these past couple of months. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in obtaining a sense of what voters are thinking about, or not thinking about. Since June is not November, it takes a while for voters to tune in, to realize there’s an election going on. What most voters I encountered stated, if they had heard about any issue, it was the countywide Measure D, the Greenway trail-only initiative. Most registered voters either brought it up, or when prompted, had an opinion. On the other end of the initiative spectrum, virtually no one was familiar with the city’s Measure E, the direct election of mayor and the partitioning of the city into six voting districts. Since Measure E is likely the most consequential electoral issue about to be decided by city voters, it was clear that not enough information and voter education had taken place. With respect to the trail-only measure, confusion about the actual ballot language was rife in voters I spoke with. In the past, if voters were unsure of what an issue meant, they either voted no, or did not vote on it at all. We’ll see if voters in this election follow that decision-path. My recommendations on all measures follow.
Recommendations for the June 7th Primary ballot
3rd District Supervisor–Ami Chen Mills
Ami Chen Mills
There are many reasons to support Chen Mills, and I offer six here:
- Commitment to Community. She is a person who has lived here for more than 30 years and has established deep roots in this community. Trained as a journalist, she knows how to do research, think critically, and advocate for the needs of this community’s most vulnerable. Ami Chen Mills is committed to communication and possesses a willingness to work with people she may not agree with, and I have found her to be warm and to never stop smiling!
- Climate. She has her eyes focused on global warming and the climate chaos now taking place on our planet. In the best sense of the “Think Global, Act Local,” tradition, Chen Mills will look at all county policies through the lens of climate.
- Homelessness and Houselessness. She has 25 years years of experience in the field of mental health field and was a member of the city’s CACH, Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness. She is well-poised to work on these issues.
- Affordable Housing. She’s a staunch advocate for affordable housing and understands the city is being steam-rolled by market-rate developers who use Yimby, the “Yes, in My Backyard” group, as cannon fodder in making their oodles of $cash$ on luxury housing (think “density bonuses” here) and as a result, our city gets very few affordable built. Either the county needs to institute a Department of Housing, or direct planning staff to spend 90% of their work hours on affordable housing provider applications from places like Eden, Mercy Housing, and Mid-Peninsula.
- Addressing CZU Fire Victim’s Needs. This has been a long-standing issue since the CZU Lightning Fire took place now almost two years ago. We need a supervisor who places this issue, along with fire prevention, near the top of the county’s agenda. Chen Mills has made frequent stops in Bonny Doon this past year and is quite familiar with these issues.
- No on Measure D. As a journalist, Ami Chen Mills went about studying this issue in depth from the first day she announced her candidacy. She knows the issue well and has concluded that we must not bury the tracks and we’ll fulfill our county’s commitment to providing a bike and pedestrian trail along with a functioning rail line.
Ami Chen Mills has also been a courageous advocate of two other initiatives now vying for the November 2022 ballot. She firmly supports both the Empty Homes Tax and is the only candidate who advocates for the Our Downtown, Our Future ballot initiative because it not only makes sense to fulfill the will of the voters in renovating the downtown library, but also it will produce many more units of affordable housing by designating other city lots as housing sites. Of course, the elephant in the room is the climate-killing parking garage. It’s why the city’s Economic Development Director now calls the boondoggle Taj Garage euphemistically, a “mixed use affordable housing project.” George Orwell lives and can be found planning for more climate-busting cement projects inside the walls of city hall!
YES on Measure B–increases hotel and Airbnb tax (all county voters)
There are so many reasons to vote for Measure B, so many unmet needs–homelessness, wild fire protection, paramedics–so many infrastructure issues we need to address. This will tax the people who flock to beautiful Santa Cruz and help foot the bill on some of the necessary upkeep of the place. No one ever did not visit a place because of the hotel tax. (Okay, maybe Jack Benny, but few others.) This measure raises the current hotel tax from 11 cents to 12 cents on the dollar, but more significantly tattoos a community imprint on vacation rental properties, 14%, and sends a message that if our community wishes to maintain environmental and sustainability values we must raise the money. Be on notice City of Santa Cruz, if this passes, you will have data from the community that they support a rise in hotel taxes. The average hotel tax in the United States in 2019 was 13.5% according to a study released in 2020 by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. In the city of Santa Cruz, the hotel tax stands at 11%.
Excerpt from study:
- Many major tourism destinations, such as Las Vegas at 13.4%; Myrtle Beach and Miami at 13%; Minneapolis at 12.9%; and San Diego at 12.5% are around the national average of 13.3% total hotel tax. Several cities, including Kansas City, MO at 20.4%*; Anaheim, CA at 18.1%*; and San Antonio, TX at 17.6%, require hotel guests to pay far above the national average.
YES on Measure C–paper cup tax (all county voters)
This allows the county to share in the “existing 0.25 cents charge” with business owners. I was convinced after consulting with a local cafe owner. She said she supports sharing the fee with the county as it will go to addressing several current problems including parks, local beaches, and environmental education.
NO on Measure D–gets rid of a possible future rail line (county voters)
So much information exists about Measure D that if you do not know, maybe you were living out of the area this past year, or you just don’t look at anything remotely politically charged? And this just in: former California governor Jerry Brown, yes that Jerry Brown, advocates for a NO vote on the “Greenway Initiative Petition.” It just seems to me it is premature to bury the tracks before we have completely exhausted rail, or another type of transportation which might occupy this space along with the bike and pedestrian trail. And by the way, while Greenway spent an ungodly amount of money, and No on Greenway also spent a wad of cash, this initiative cries out for overturning Citizen’s United, instituting publicly financed elections (incentive instead of punish), and putting campaign finance reform on the ballot.
NO on Measure E–complete change in city elections process (city voters)
This initiative calls for the most dramatic changes in our electoral system since perhaps the 1940’s when the current city charter was first drafted. If it passes, this measure will create a directly elected mayor and six districts. All voters will currently turn in their SEVEN city councilmember votes for TWO, the mayor and your district representative. When I walk neighborhoods, this measure was consistently unknown to voters. Enough public education has not been done. Also, why is Ranked Choice Voting, direct election of a “strong” mayor, and campaign finance reform not being considered on the ballot too? Because this measure is a power grab being perpetrated by the current pro-real estate, pro-developer 5-2 city council majority. Don’t believe me, just look at where their campaign money came from when they ran for office, it’s publicly revealed on the city clerk’s web page. Also, see where the money is coming from that finances the candidates for 3rd district supervisor and $$$ behind Greenway here. Good luck friends, choose wisely.
NO on Measure F, sales tax increase (city voters)
Earth to city council: sales taxes are regressive, period. Take a note from the county’s playbook, hotel taxes are popular with voters, insures those who pay them help pay for critical city infrastructure, and the city’s hotel tax is considerably less than the tax in college town Madison, Wi (16%) and amusement park-crazy Anaheim (18%). Stop allowing the hotel industry, real estate industry, and market rate housing industry to run local government. The hotel buck, unfortunately, stops in the Marriot, Hilton, and soon to be (without community protest) Cruz Hotel bank accounts, not the city council’s. NO on this regressive measure.
On the campaign trail for Ami Chen Mills, with Lynda Marin who is a masterful campaigner.
Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at email@example.com
Email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
GOOD CANDIDATE FORUMS
I attended last week’s South County Candidate Forum in Watsonville, along with about 35 other in-person and 45 online participants, and was really glad I did. The five candidates seeking the new office of Assembly District 30, created by recent re-districting, were there, as well as the three candidates for County Supervisor District 4.
I was heartened to hear that most all candidates are focusing on the importance of water in our region, but the plan to solve it was simply “give this more money for infrastructure.” I had hoped to hear more specific information about creative plans and projects.
I had submitted questions for each panel in advance, as did many others, but somehow there seemed to be a glitch, and moderator Steve Bennett of the Sentinel “ran out of questions” without asking all that had actually been submitted. Watsonville realtor Renee Mello pointed this out as she stood up and asked the County Supervisor candidates what they might do about allowing large empty commercial complexes, such as the K-Mart in Watsonville, and the Capitola Mall, to be converted to mixed use that would include housing units? All said they would favor that, with study. The balance of the time went to Measure D discussion.
Felipe Hernandez seemed to have the best grasp of the big issues, such as the proposed local control of the Watsonville Hospital, transportation issues, and local jobs. I had a chance to talk with each of the candidates afterward. Candidate Jimmy Dutra walked away when I asked why the Metro buses couldn’t run right now on the rail. Felipe Hernandez and Ed Acosta felt it important to pursue. These two candidates were interested in hearing more about possible historic preservation of the Redman-Hirahara House, the Mills Act that provides tax relief to those who preserve historic property, and the fact that the current County Board of Supervisors rejected a Demolition by Neglect Ordinance sent by their Historic Resources Advisory Commissioners that would protect historic structures from neglect.
The next day when I happened to see Felipe Hernandez posting one of his campaign signs, he shook my hand and said he had researched the Mills Act and other historic preservation issues, and would fully support them if elected. Bravo!
In terms of Assembly District 30 Candidates, Vicki Nordren was the only candidate to discuss the problems the CZU Fire Survivors are having in rebuilding. Both she and candidate John Wizard agree that the permitting process really needs to be streamlined.
The event was recorded by LookOut staff, but no link has yet been made public.
There was also an earlier North Santa Cruz County Candidate Forum held by the same sponsors (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz County Business Council, Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, and Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce), but I was not able to participate. Here is the link (thanks to LookOut) to that recorded forum: North Santa Cruz County Candidates Forum — Santa Cruz Works
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.
COUNTY MOVES TO NEW VOTE CENTER MODEL
The June 7 Election will feature the County’s rollout of the new 17 Vote Centers, rather than the traditional neighborhood precinct polling places. Santa Cruz County will abide by the Draft Election Administration Plan (EAP), in compliance with the California Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), or Senate Bill (SB) 450 (Allen, 2016) that was signed into law on September 29, 2016, adding Section 4005 to the California Elections Code (EC). This allowed counties, after receiving approval from their Board of Supervisors, to conduct any election by mail, with certain requirements.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors approved our county’s transition to a vote center model on March 22, 2022.
Here is what County Election Officer Tricia Weber stated in the Draft
“At the time of preparing this EAP, Santa Cruz County is required to have a minimum of 17 votecenters open for four days, including Election Day, and 4 of those 17 vote centers open an additional seven days for a total of 11 days and a minimum of 15 mail ballot drop off locations. These minimum requirements are based on current voter registration totals and California Elections Code requirements. Voters may return their vote-by-mail ballot by mail (no postage required), at a ballot drop off location, or at any vote center.”
Do you think the Voter Centers are in good locations to help support voter participation and valid voting? Contact email@example.com See page 12 in the EAP for those locations and formulas for consideration, or on the County Election Dept. website: Voting Locations
Note that Watsonville is missing a four-day center except for the City Clerk’s Office. That is because the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds was going to require $17,000 for the use of facilities. Election Dept. staff declined. Consequently, Legal Staff from the State Dept. of Food & Ag, who oversees the State-owned Fairgrounds, paid a visit to their Board and reminded them that the State does not ever charge for election polling use.
ONLY 10% OF THE CZU FIRE SURVIVORS HAVE BEEN ISSUED PERMITS TO REBUILD AND CALFIRE IS THE GATEKEEPER
District 3 County Supervisor candidates need to be jumping into the arena to make public the real problems the CZU Fire Survivors are enduring…causing many to just give up, sell their land and move away. Time after time, I hear from those who lost everything that the County’s “expedited Permit Recovery Center” is anything but easy to navigate. Public meetings never include a CalFire presence, yet it is onerous requirements set by CalFire and the State Board of Forestry that are many times causing the block to getting a permit to rebuild homes…for which the property owners continue to pay tax.
Consider this: The Santa Cruz County Community Foundation launched the Fire Response Fund on Aug. 19, 2020, to address relief and long-term recovery efforts, giving more than $1.7 million to residents displaced by the fires. But, CEO Susan True said, “Rebuilding efforts have been stymied by excessive requirements and delays.”
“We have to help people heal and rebuild their lives. We’re doing that case by case, one by one, helping people through this process,” she said. “But there are clearly broken parts of the process, and the overwhelm of all of this is real.”
What can you do to help? Contact County District Supervisors Ryan Coonerty (he will remain in office until December 31, 2022 and should be doing something worth his salt) and Supervisor Bruce McPherson, and demand that the process be streamlined, permit fees dropped and CalFire show up at community meetings and be held accountable.
MAYBE A BETTER WAY TO MANAGE FIRE RISK? EXTEND BURN SEASON?
Would it be better to follow Native American land management practices and regularly burn some areas? Maybe their intentions were different than what would be the benefit now, but nonetheless, the idea of “Good Fire” is coming full circle.
Let’s hold hope that current consolidation efforts of the Branciforte Fire District with Scotts Valley Fire District to possibly include a “Good Fire” Training Hub will move forward. Contact Scotts Valley Fire Chief Ron Whittle and ask for this. 831-438-0211.
By January 1, 2023, the State Fire Marshal must identify a location for such a training center. Why not Santa Cruz County?
MRI FOR THE EARTH’S GROUNDWATER BASIN SURVEYS
The State is paying for these helicopters to fly over and assess the status of the groundwater basins, especially the troubled ones. Oddly, the Santa Cruz MidCounty Groundwater Basin Agency does not want this free help. Why not?
In 2017, the Agency partners (Soquel Creek Water District, City of Santa Cruz Water Dept., Central Water District, and the County of Santa Cruz that represents small water companies and private well owners) paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to have this work done, hiring a Danish contractor to do the work. Some of those staffers even got an expense-paid trip to Denmark to meet with the contractor. Wow.
So, why would this agency now refuse the State’s offer to do the work for free, and get a better idea of the groundwater situation…maybe it has improved? NO, says the agency staff, led principally by Soquel Creek Water District CEO Ron Duncan. They want to wait until their PureWater Soquel Project is online and pressure-injecting treated wastewater into the groundwater, and then have the helicopter fly over.
The truth is, the groundwater levels have been steadily improving since 2016, with one or two exceptions where they have just stabilized. Why not see where the groundwater levels are now, before pressure-injecting treated sewage water …which may not even be necessary?
Maybe it would be found that the incredibly expensive and energy-demanding PureWater Soquel Project is not necessary? Think about that.
JOBY AVIATION GOES BIG
Wow…and it all began in Bonny Doon….
A MOMENT OF SILENCE AND GRATITUDE ON MEMORIAL DAY
According to the History.com website, each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. This commemoration began in 1868 to honor the 600,000-800,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War, with the first ceremony held on May 30 in Arlington National Cemetery where both Union and Confederate soldier were buried.
The tradition of having a moment of silence at 3pm local time to honor those fallen may have begun with an early Memorial Day commemoration organized by a group of formerly enslaved people paying tribute to the Union soldiers who gave their lives for the end of slavery.
Take a moment on May 30 and send gratitude for all those who have passed before us, their sacrifice, and for the good work done, the spirit of which is continually unfolding for our own efforts to preserve and enhance.
WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING IN YOUR PAJAMAS.
JUST DO SOMETHING THIS WEEK, AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!
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
SAVE THE BEES!
As the fields of lupine blossom at higher and higher elevations, other flowers follow in wave after wave of color and design, and the bees dance and hum celebrating each new unfolding.
Bees! There are so many types of bees: mason, bumble, leaf cutter, long horned, orchard…For each of those, there are many species. For instance, there are 10 species of bumble bees in Santa Cruz County. As with most species on Earth, all those bee species are in decline.
Bees pollinate flowers. Sure, there are other types of pollinators such as butterflies, moths, and flies. Even some types of mosquitoes and ants pollinate flowers…as do hummingbirds. But, bees are the most important pollinators in general.
Evolutionarily, bee (and other) pollination gives plants the advantage of shaking up the genetics, helping populations of plants be more resilient to change in climate, disease, and even fluxes in pollinator communities.
Invasion of the Honeybee
Honeybees are not native to our area, and yet they are everywhere. They were introduced in the late 1600’s to the United States and then moved around more easily in portable hives in the mid-1700’s. In California, beekeepers earn money by strategically moving large numbers of hive boxes into agricultural areas to perform pollination services. When they aren’t doing that work, they must find areas to put those boxes where there are enough flowers to feed the bees and keep them healthy. Especially in wintertime, coastal areas in California are prized by beekeepers because it is not too cold for flowers; something is bound to be in bloom year-round. At the same time, honeybees have escaped into the wild, becoming naturalized. Swanton’s Jim West has documented a honeybee colony year after year in an old redwood tree for most of his 74 years of life.
The Good Honeybee
Most of us know about all the good honeybees can do from pollination to honey and wax production. Almond growers in California’s Central Valley have been particularly worried about the ongoing problems with honeybees as they have been reliant on imported bees to pollinate their early-flowering trees so that they will make nuts. With the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, honey and beeswax prices have increased, making us appreciate even more honeybee production.
The Bad Honeybee
Most people I talk to are unaware of the problems honeybees can cause, including competition with native pollinators, plant community changes, invasive plant species proliferation, and disease vectoring. I was lucky to attend UC Santa Cruz at the same time as the brilliant Dr. Diane Thomson who has studied honeybee and native bee interactions in our area for decades. Her research adds to a growing body of scientific evidence warning us about the negative consequences of honeybees to native bees, with whom they compete. That science has suggested that 20 honeybee boxes rob the food from 2 million native bees. This competition can cause some plant species to be pollinated and not others, shifting the composition of plant communities. And, because honeybees can pollinate some invasive species more than native bees, they can cause bad trouble, like adding momentum to thistle problems. Oh, and by the way….honeybees carry diseases and parasites that can negatively affect native bees. For example, there is a virus that causes bumble bees to have deformed wings – honeybees carry it!
The Good Native Bees
Native bees are important for pollination, contributing to crop production for humans and food production for wildlife. Dr. Claire Kremen and others have shown that California farms that have a good amount of native bee habitat around them have better crop pollination. Native bees are also essential for pollinating native species of plants, which produce fruit that are important for wildlife. For instance, native bumblebees pollinate manzanita flowers, which produce fruit that is eaten by native foxes and many bird species. Likewise, native bees pollinate coffeeberry bushes that produce fruit eaten by lots of birds, including band tailed pigeons as well as foxes and coyotes. There are many other examples of the natural fruit that is wildlife food made possible by native pollinators.
In the last few decades, Randall Morgan documented the diversity of bees in Santa Cruz County.
What You Can Do
You can help conserve native pollinators by helping do the right thing with nonnative honeybees. The first thing to do is help spread the word about these issues. To learn more, read this publication by The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. That paper has good details about where it is, and isn’t, appropriate for raising honeybees. This caution caught my attention: don’t put hives within 4 miles of “habitats of special value for biodiversity and/or pollinators:” I suggest that this covers most of Santa Cruz County, which has special habitats full of rare pollinators throughout. The plethora of native bee habitats throughout our area would also suggest good potential for gardens and farms to be visited by enough native pollinators to perform enough pollination for the fruits we desire. Besides not placing more honeybees near native habitat, there are other things you can do.
If you know a beekeeper who wants bees, you might point them in the direction of harvesting bee swarms out of native areas and exporting them to urban or agricultural areas where they can do some good and avoid impacts to native pollinators. Also…read below about avoiding bug zappers and darkening night lighting. Finally, reducing or eliminating pesticide use is also important. One of the biggest threats to native bees (and honeybees!) is neonic pesticides; to learn more and write a letter to California’s decision makers, see this Natural Resources Defense Council webpage.
I’ve recently heard about people in our area using ‘bug zappers’ that attract insects to ultraviolet light and then electrocute them with a grid of electrified screen. Anyone buying one of these devices has been scammed: they do not work against biting insects. Instead, they kill a broad range of native insects that might have otherwise performed pollination, controlled pests, or fed birds. On top of that, the owner destroys their own nighttime peace with obnoxious electrocution noise and light. Oh…and speaking of light-
Night Lighting is Bad
Turn off outdoor lighting! Darken your windows. Anything you can do to make for a darker nighttime world will help conserve native insects and pollinators. Find out more with the International Dark-Sky Association. Urge local decision makers to reduce light pollution.
(Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild and whose 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. Email Grey at firstname.lastname@example.org
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: www.greyhayes.net
Email Grey at email@example.com
My blog posting yesterday was an effort to discourage any of my friends and followers from “investing” in cryptocurrency. I have family members who seem sorely tempted. I am not so tempted, myself, and that is largely true because when I was quite young my father provided me with a personal copy of Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds. I am, more or less, trying to “pay it forward” by my cautionary words about cryptocurrency.
Incidentally, I wrote the blog posting that was published yesterday before the recent “crash” of the cryptocurrency market. I count the recent news as a pretty good confirmation of the point I was trying to make.
Since I have been “speaking about money,” though, it may be that another warning is also in order. Central Bank Digital Currencies are not quite the same thing as the kind of cryptocurrencies I was talking about in yesterday’s blog post. Still, there are some real dangers involved with Central Bank Digital Currencies, and if you haven’t been paying attention, take a few minutes to get up to speed.
I suggest that you get up to speed by clicking this link, to learn what Charles Eisenstein has to say about Central Bank Digital Currencies. Eisenstein’s commentary is not exactly short, but I think it is worthwhile. If you don’t already know about proposals to move our “money” system to a system based on Central Bank Digital Currencies, you should find out about what is involved.
Here is a very quick condensation of Eisenstein’s longer explanation:
A central bank digital currency essentially allows private individuals and businesses to have accounts at the central bank. It would function just like (and ultimately replace) cash, requiring no intermediary, no bank, no credit card company, and no transaction fee. If I buy a coffee at your cafe, an app or card reader sends a message to automatically credit your account and debit mine. The user experience would be the same as today, but there would be no fee and no lag time. Normally, paying by debit or credit card involves a 3% fee and a day or two for the funds to become available to the seller.
Now I’ll list some other benefits and advantages of CBDCs. You might notice that with a mere twist of the lens, many of these advantages take on an ominous hue. But let’s start with the positive:
As mentioned, CBDCs can remove what is essentially a 3% tax on most consumer-level transactions, allowing swift, frictionless transactions and transfers of money.
Unlike with physical cash, all CBDC transactions would have an electronic record, offering law enforcement a powerful weapon against money laundering, tax evasion, funding of terrorism, and other criminal activity.
The funds of criminals and terrorists could be instantly frozen, rendering them incapable of doing anything requiring money such as buying an airplane ticket, filling up at a gas station, paying their phone or utility bills, or hiring an attorney.
CBDCs are programmable, allowing authorities to limit purchases, payments, and income in whatever ways are socially beneficial. For example, all products could have a carbon score, and consumers could be limited in how much they are allowed to buy. Or, if rationing becomes necessary, authorities could impose a weekly limit on food purchases, gas purchases, and so on.
With programmable currency, citizens could be rewarded for good behavior: for eating right and exercising, for doing good deeds that are reported by others, for staying away from drugs, for staying indoors during a pandemic, and for taking the medications that health authorities recommend. Or they could be penalized for bad behavior.
Taxation and wealth redistribution could be automated. Universal basic income, welfare payments, stimulus payments, or racial reparations could be implemented algorithmically as long as CBDC accounts were firmly connected with individual’s identities, medical records, racial status, criminal histories, and so forth.
Basically, beyond facilitating transactions, CBDCs offer an unprecedented opportunity for social engineering. Assuming that those in control are beneficent and wise, this is surely a good thing. But if, as many of us now believe, our authorities are foolish, incompetent, corrupt, or are merely fallible human beings incapable of handling too much power, then CBDCs can easily become instruments of totalitarian oppression. They allow authorities:
To freeze the funds not only of terrorists and evil-doers, but dissidents, thought criminals, and scapegoated classes of people.
To program money so it can only go to approved vendors, corporations, information platforms, and so forth. Those that fail to toe the party line can be “demonetized,” with consequences far beyond what befalls the hapless YouTuber who utters heresies about Covid, Ukraine, climate change, etc.
Under the guise of rewarding good behavior and penalizing bad, to control every aspect of life so that it conforms to the interests of elite corporate and political institutions.
To nip in the bud any opposition political movement by demonetizing its leaders and activists, either with no explanation at all, or under flimsy pretexts that their victims would have no way to contest.
It boggles my mind that the public could accept such a momentous transfer of power to central authorities, with nary a whisper of democratic process. Something this significant should require explicit public approval in the form of a referendum, constitutional amendment, or the like, after long and considered public debate. Instead, elites discuss it as if it were an inevitability (emphasis added).
Frequent readers of this blog know that I reject the whole idea of “inevitability.” That said, it is also true that “self-government” is only made real when we get involved in government ourselves.
So, be advised – and read the entire Eisenstein piece for more on Central Bank Digital Currencies!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
RELEASING THE KRAKEN AND OTHER NONSENSICAL HYSTERICS
It’s already been almost two weeks since one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent U.S. history, in Buffalo, New York. But already, with the funerals getting some coverage in the news, it has slowly disappeared from the radar screens of most Americans, as we examine the shootings that have occurred since the ten were gunned down as they shopped in a local grocery. Or, as we await in fear the appearance of another shooter at a school, a nightclub, or during a drug deal gone wrong on the street.
The eighteen-year-old racist suspect in Buffalo, was brain-washed with an engine of right-wing terror termed ‘white replacement theory,’ a racist conspiracy narrative which falsely asserts there is an active, ongoing and covert effort to replace white citizens in current white-majority populations. This fear mongering has proliferated in recent years, as demonstrated by the white-supremacist, swastika flags- and torches-bearing marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. You remember the event, after which Trump declared that there were some “very bad people in the group, but you also had fine people – on both sides.” The chanters’ white-nationalist phrase, “You will not replace us!” soon morphed into “Jews will not replace us?”, followed by “Blood and Soil!”, an English-language version of the Nazi “Blut und Boden!”, used by anti-Semitic, racist German nationalists. That day ended with the death of a counter-protester, annihilated by a ‘very bad’ white supremacist as he drove his car at high speed into a crowd.
The 19th Century ‘Replacement Theory’ has gained traction within the domestic terror and alt-right contingent, a chief proponent being Tucker Carlson of Fox News, who has purportedly fanned the flames over 400 times during his popular propagandafest. Proclaiming his innocence, while feigning ignorance of the term – even in the face of video proof, this darling of the Murdochs, continues to spew his hateful, poisonous tropes to deconstruct our democracy. Democrats need to stop showing restraint in criticizing this issue…there’s no prize in the Cracker Jacks box for doing so…the clock is running down for us as a country!
In other Second Amendment news, the evening preceding the Buffalo massacre, in Milwaukee, three different street shootouts between groups of gun-toting individuals resulted in injuries to over twenty people; and, on the following Sunday in Orange County, California, a politically-motivated shooting by a Chinese immigrant at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church resulted in the death of the pastor who was defending his congregation from the shooter who had chained and super-glued the doors shut, bent on wiping out the entire assembled group.
According to gunviolencearchive.org, May 1 through 21, the nation has seen 41 shooting incidents, with 39 deaths and 195 injured, an awfully grisly record which can only descend into further chaos, as our institutions lose the control, loyalty and confidence of the population. Then again, we could simply listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene, who feels that those who call for sensical gun control laws need to be more ‘masculine,’ so start packing! No doubts that she feels it would be more ‘feminine’ if women would tuck just a small pistol into their handbag or backpack?
Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, may want to start packing concealed weaponry (as if she hasn’t done so already), if the revelations of her pressure on the body politic to overthrow the government don’t subside. Previous email correspondence (29 exchanges known) with Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, has deteriorated into disclosures that she was heavy into pressuring Arizona state lawmakers to appoint ‘a clean slate of electors’ and set aside Biden’s popular vote victory because of fraud at the ballot box. She urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure, because the responsibility to select electors is yours and yours alone,” which would guarantee individuals loyal to Trump, and not the Constitution, would be seated.
Ginni Thomas encouraged Meadows to hire Sidney Powell for Trump’s legal team in her “Release the Kraken!” shout, believing Powell’s claims of having evidence of election fraud. After a short period on the ‘team’, she was released, with Meadows explaining to Thomas that Powell either ‘had nothing,’ or refused to share the information, to which she could only text (in the manner of husband, Clarence), “Wow!” It has become clear that Justice Thomas’ ten-year record of unquestioning silence on the High Court was because he already knew the answers – decisions were fed to him by his wife beforehand – case closed, no need to ask a question! By December 2020, attorney John Eastman, a former law clerk of Justice Thomas, was publicly pushing state legislators to appoint electors favoring Trump – wonder who recruited him? Turns out that Ginni has control of a Listserv platform connected to her husband’s office which is primarily made up of former Thomas law clerks who are scattered across the country. Talk about contamination!
Two of Ginni’s emails were sent to Arizona House Speaker Russell Bowers, and Arizona state representative Shawnna Bolick, whose husband is Clint Bolick, an associate justice of the Arizona Supreme Court and a former associate of Clarence, who he considers ‘a mentor.’ Word from Bowers’ office is “he did not see, much less read, the vast majority of those messages” sent by Thomas. Bolick on the other hand sent Ginni guidance on how to submit complaints about any of her experiences with voter fraud in Arizona. Kind of makes the Thomas’ claim that their individual work doesn’t cross paths a bit dubious.
Columnist George Will recently wrote about Ms. Thomas, “The shelves of her mental pantry groan beneath the weight of Trumpian hysterics about the 2020 presidential election having been stolen and the republic’s certain ruination under Joe Biden.” While dismissing her opinions, he goes on to call her “politically, mad as a hatter.” The history of Ginni’s political escapades contain another chapter or two which need to be exposed, so stand back and stand by!
Charles P. Pierce, writing in Esquire, says it best: “This is still the best country ever devised in which to be completely out of your mind, and we are free to believe in nonsense. We are free to act on nonsense. We are free to stand aside and let our fellow citizens who believe in nonsense take up the task of self-government that we are too busy, or too lazy, or too distanced to take up for ourselves. What we cannot do is walk away from the consequences of believing nonsense.” Hear, hear!
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: email@example.com.
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.
“She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful”.
“Anyone can see a forest fire. Skill lies in sniffing the first smoke”.
~Robert A. Heinlein
“The forest fires are the worst disaster in California since I was elected”.
“The first movie I ever saw was a horror movie. It was Bambi. When that little deer gets caught in a forest fire, I was terrified, but I was also exhilarated.” Stephen King
Did you know that you can watch entire movies on YouTube? Here is a documentary I found fascinating. It’s a movie about movie posters! Grab some coffee and sit down and have a watch, I think you’ll enjoy it 🙂
Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ firstname.lastname@example.org