Blog Archives

May 29 – June 4, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…About UCSC Student issues, Dream Inn Development. GREENSITE… on UCSC Stadium lights’ impact on the community. KROHN…Kitchen cabinet support, cannabis tax, $60k federal dollars, City Budget, City Council help. STEINBRUNER…Retiring the American flag, Central Water district, treated sewage water. PATTON…Experts about Trump winning. EAGAN…First step for women. JENSEN…The White Crow. BRATTON…I critique Photograph, The White Crow, Booksmart. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “June”



CAPITOLA’S “GAY 90’S” CELEBRATION. This was July 2, 1950. Remember when communities had so many parades, celebrations, festivals? Those were better times. Now it’s too dangerous to bring us together!                                             

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Trip to Santa Cruz 1938. A repeat but well worth it!

A walk down Pacific Avenue in 2011. Michael Schmidt shot this one.


UCSC’S REAL PROBLEMS. There is a terrible gulf between UCSC and the Santa Cruz community — and I’m pointing at both students and faculty. It’s the same at most of the other campuses. Last week (May 23) CITY ON A HILL PRESS created a special issue titled BASIC NEEDS. These needs, seven in all, were headed by State of Student Mental Health. #2. Waiting for Water. #3. Managing your money. #4. Increased Demand, decreased quality #5. Houselessness and hygiene #6. Self-care tips, and #7. Party like a slug. Here’s a link to the special issue. It’s not easy to find all the topics… and you’ll learn a lot about our current student’s issues as they face “higher education”. Here’s the general link to all the other campus coverings…

What it’s really talking about are today’s students facing very overcrowded classrooms, poor connections with their teachers, lousy food conditions, miserable transportation problems, jammed up study areas, and then there’s facing an almost lifelong tuition debt. A major point to think about is NOT to project our student lives and times onto today’s student scene…they’ve got it much more difficult.

DREAM INN DEVELOPMENT. The Save Santa Cruz Westside Organization is up in arms about whether or not an EIR be required for the Dream Inn project (at West Cliff and Bay)? They say this is critical, and are very concerned that the City is NOT requiring an EIR on such a massive project. The project has still not moved forward to the Planning Commission but could soon….no-one seems to know much on it, or what the delay is. Their Facebook page says: Did you know that the owners of the Dream Inn, Ensemble, a Southern California developer, are proposing a 2 story underground garage as a part of their project at West Cliff and Bay Streets? We are concerned about disrupting the ground that close to the cliffs, as well as the high water table at that location! According to their reports, the water table starts at 12 feet below the surface there and they are planning on excavating over 25 feet! Go here to catch up and keep up with the Dream Inn disaster in the making.

May 27


Members of the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA (International Dark-sky Association) recently met with the UCSC director of OPERS (Office of Physical Education, Recreation and Sports) regarding the severe, negative, impact of the new stadium floodlights lit up at night until 9pm on the lower East Field, projecting massive beams of light throughout the community for a relative handful of students.

I was one of the two IDA representatives to meet with the director. We came away with the distinct feeling that we had not been heard; that the impact of the lights on the community was of little concern; that the impact of the lights on nocturnal owls and other forest creatures was noted but not persuasive. Not too different from the administration’s reaction to the massive outpouring of opposition to the proposal to build on the pristine East Meadow for a total of 140 housing units plus daycare.

These portable stadium lights, powered by diesel fuel (8.5 gallons per hour) were donated in 2017 by an alumnus. This past year they were used for approximately 13 hours a week in the fall, serving a total of 526 students and 6 hours a week in winter, serving 78 students, all members of either the rugby club or two intramural sports.

Although the lights have been in operation only since 2017 and photos of the far-reaching impact of their glare made available to the director, her parting words and written statement were, “We must be able to offer programs and accommodate clubs after dark especially during the winter months.”  This, despite the fact that students have had no such stadium lights since the campus opened over 50 years ago ( and none wanted) and have managed until now to arrange their schedules to practice and play club sports during daylight hours. This, despite the director’s own observation that OPERS’ east fields are deserted in the morning hours, since students tend to be late risers unless they have early classes. Perhaps the lights make it more convenient but at what cost to the wildlife and the broader Santa Cruz community that lies at the feet of the campus?

As is evident in the photographs, the lights impact the whole community from the westside of Santa Cruz to Capitola, to Highway One coming from Watsonville. Their glare from 3 miles away is similar to a car’s headlights at 20 feet away. Were this only aesthetic that would be bad enough. But light pollution in the form of glare and sky-glow affects more than losing our ability to see stars and planets. Evidence is growing that such light pollution affects our health, our ability to sleep, disrupts the hormones across a spectrum of fauna and affects the growth of vegetation and trees. Despite knowing this science and professing to love the natural environment, the director is planning to increase the usage of the lights for a future kickball league on Friday nights.  She was upfront that our concerns and photos are being used to make the case for permanent high stadium lights on the lower East field. Since stadium lights are exempt from Title 24 that mandates state compliance with set lighting standards, and IDA recommendations are only that, if the money can be raised, stadium lights will join fraternities and building on an iconic meadow as the new UCSC, abandoning its original philosophy of providing a world class education while caring for the land and the creatures that live there.

These stadium lights contradict the goals of the campus Sustainability Plan, which aims for carbon neutrality by 2025. It includes a quote from the Chancellor: Sustainability is in our DNA here at UC Santa Cruz. It is integral to our research, teaching and public service mission, and essential to our future.” So much for that.

Fiat Lux takes on a whole new meaning. Take a look at bigger versions of these photos on our Facebook page.

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 27

Community Support Group
I don’t know what I would do without a “kitchen cabinet.” They are the eyes, ears, and hands that assist me in most aspects of my city council life. This steering committee is comprised of 33 local residents from a variety of backgrounds including teaching, law, journalism, healthcare, accounting, business, and former councilmembers. Collectively they probably have close to 400 years of experience in Santa Cruz politics. About half that number–various groupings of the 33–usually attend our Saturday afternoon pre-Tuesday city council meeting review of the council agenda. Interests in this group vary widely, but usually reflect the overall agenda thrust of Councilmembers Sandy Brown and myself. That is, our views and votes on the environment, traffic problems, advocacy for affordable housing, and support for labor do not simply come out of recent dream therapy treatments, or the latest Sentinel editorial. These issues–eco bus passes for all downtown employees, separating the library from the garage, increasing pay to those at the bottom, making UCSC contribute significantly for the city-wide effects it’s growth machine has on our residents before accepting more students–all do not emanate from our own interior thoughts. They come through a continual process of checking-in with the community, making sure that when you’re barreling up a difficult hill and look behind you there are actually friends, neighbors and political comrades providing rearguard support. Without a kitchen cabinet, there is a tendency for an elected official to become unmoored to the principles and ethics of serving, and that might just lead to becoming unhinged as well.

What Happened Around the Real Kitchen Table?
This past Saturday’s “sensational seventeen” showed up around a real kitchen table on the Westside, and went to work. Did the “Bay and King streetlights project” conform to International Dark-sky Association guidelines? Did we even need a left-turn signal at that intersection? With respect to the “Emergency Sewer Repair at Chestnut and Laurel,” is the city using “climate clean” building materials? There’s a new state bill being put forward listing these products and recommending (mandating?) their use by cities. Why was the “Sole Source Vendor and Power Purchase Agreement for Corporation Yard Solar Upgrade Project” sole source? Seems like our current solar projects are a boon to the city’s electric power purchases, but what if purchasing is better than leasing, or vice versa? What to do with the extra CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) $60k Fed dollars that were added to the half million grant the city already possesses? Why not lower the Cannabis tax even more than the currently recommended rate of 8% to 5%…perhaps we could go to 3% and that would be more in line with helping the local business owners of this nascent industry? These are just some of the city issues our kitchen cabinet helped us wrestle with in preparing for the May 28th city council meeting, but in all seriousness, city councilmembers also need even more analytical assistance.

The City of Santa Cruz proposed budget this year is $262.6 million (2019 proposed) and funds more than 800 employees. The proposed budget for the County of Santa Cruz is $777 million (2018) ( ) and it supports almost 2500 employees. Then, the overall budget of UC Santa Cruz is $722 million(2015-16, most recent on-line version, likely more now) with the total number of academic and non-academic employees at 8,832.  In addition, each Supervisor has a budget for two assistants and along with their own salaries, including benefits, it costs about $400,000 according to figures for 2017 at the Transparent California web site. Now, I won’t even get started on the budgets of the UCSC Chancellor, and the one dozen vice chancellors and their staffs. They are enormous. But my point here is that paying people to do research, field phone calls and answer emails, look into constituent issues, and generally make the elected official more visible and available to the public is usually a wise investment in shaping effective public policy. Currently, each city councilmember is without such help. Therefore, in comparing my time on the city council from 1998-2002 up until now, I can safely say that the workload for councilmembers has changed. The number of issues has grown and the expectations of residents have also grown, not to mention the total number of people living in Surf City has also grown during that time.

Real City Council Assistance
Currently, the city’s “Principle Management Analyst” position is vacant. The person who occupied that position was paid $152,000 in salary and benefits in 2017. When it was filled, this person, with the best intentions, sought to do public policy analysis for six councilmembers and the mayor, an impossible job on the face of it, right? What I am calling for in the current budget is to not re-hire this position and use the savings to fund assistance to each councilmember. That is, put this money into a fund and have councilmembers draw on it and hire both professional policy and clerical help. Currently, councilmembers are trying hard to keep their heads above the incoming emails, new bills coming out of Sacramento weekly, attending community meetings they are asked to be present at, and also participating and being in attendance at the various committees and subcommittees we are assigned to. Providing actual council assistance in this form would be a real game-changer as one of my Kitchen Cabineteers remarked recently. It surely would not make that group of volunteer advisors any less valuable. In fact, it would strengthen every aspect of the councilmember’s task list and help achieve a more manageable workload.

“5 Principles in the Green New Deal: 1. Go Big 2. Be Specific 3. Set Deadlines 4. Let Them Sue (aka, “Don’t Flinch”) 5. Make Floors, Not Ceilings.” (May 27)


(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at

May 27


I spent some time over the Memorial Day Weekend cleaning up the World War I Veteran Memorial marker on Freedom Boulevard in Aptos.  I respect the courage of those who have given their lives defending this great country, and all the freedoms afforded by the Constitution.  In this society of lifestyles based on disposable items, I wondered how I should respectfully dispose of the faded and torn American flags that I removed from the Memorial Garden?

I found it interesting that the recommended method is to respectfully cut the flag into four pieces, preserving the star-filled blue field that signifies the importance of union of all 50 states, and burn the pieces in a private and dignified way.

Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration Day, began after the Civil War, to pay tribute to all those military personnel who perished.   It was first observed on May 5, 1866, then moved to May 30 in 1868 by proclamation of General John Logan, leader of the Northern Civil War Veterans, to strew flowers upon the graves of those who died in military service during the battles and “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”  The first Decoration Day (termed such as it did not mark the anniversary of any particular battle) at Arlington National Cemetery brought forth 5,000 people who decorated the 20,000 graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.    The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in US history.

In 1968, Congress declared Memorial Day to be observed on the last Monday of May in order to create a federal three-day holiday for federal workers.  It became an official federal holiday in 1971.  

Don’t forget to also thank those veterans who are still here with us…many of them homeless and on the streets.

Thanks to the Central Water District General Manager, Ralph Bracamonte, and the Board of Directors, all residents of the MidCounty area can learn more this Thursday about the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) that will soon be rolled out as a “done deal” to the public.  Mark your calendar for Thursday, May 30, 5pm-7pm at the Central Water District Office (400 Cox Road in Aptos).  This event is open to everyone, and will provide an opportunity for you to provide your input on the GSP that will dictate how much water gets used, and who will pay.  While the GSP is supposed to be unbiased, modeling for the Plan has been strongly biased to support the Soquel Creek Water District’s project to pump millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the aquifer (aka Pure Water Soquel Project). 

Learn more about the MidCounty Groundwater Agency here. Note that the final chance for residents to weigh-in on the GSP is at the June 19 meeting for the Advisory Committee….aside from Central Water District efforts, there will be no other outreach before the Plan is voted upon!

Also on May 30, 6:30pm-8:30pm, at the Live Oak Grange on 17th Avenue, the District will attempt to make up for lack of public outreach to the residents of Live Oak when the Pure Water Soquel Project EIR was underway.  Now the Project is approved, the EIR certified, AND THE DISTRICT IS BEING SUED.

Attend if you can, and protest! 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.

Email Becky at

May 25, 2019 #145 / The Experts Say 60%

According to Joe Garofoli, who hosts a podcast and writes the “It’s All Political” column in The San Francisco Chronicle, one “expert” political observer says that “President Trump could easily win re-election.” The “expert” cited by Garofoli is Matt Morrison. Because The Chronicle has a formidable paywall, it’s not certain that a reader of this blog posting will be able to see Garofoli’s May 24th column by clicking this link, but that link is where Garofoli’s column can be found. Here is a brief excerpt:

Matt Morrison has spent a lot of time over the past two years talking to working-class voters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he’s got a message for those who don’t get out of the West Coast blue bubble much: President Trump could easily win re-election. 

“If nothing were to change from today, I would give him a better-than-likely probability of being re-elected and winning pretty clear majorities in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin,” said Morrison. He leads the labor-funded Working America, a group that advocates for and has done deep research on working-class voters, including interviewing 5,000 people in focus groups in those states and elsewhere. 

Morrison believes that despite Trump’s tough-talking rhetoric, he hasn’t been good for working-class voters. While the stock market gains have benefited wealthier Americans, wage growth for most workers hasn’t kept pace with the rise in the economy. Yet Trump remains popular among white voters in Rust Belt states.

Garofoli also quotes Massachusetts Democratic Representative Seth Moulton to the same effect. Moulton puts Trump’s current chances at 60%.

Why do I mention these “experts?” I mention them because I believe that amost everyone who is hoping that President Trump will not be reelected next year has vastly underrated him, and it’s irritating. I truly believe that it is critically important to beat Donald Trump when he runs for reelection in 2020. But to do that, I believe a candidate (and that candidate’s party) has to express some admiration for our current president. Just as a “concession” in an argumentative essay almost always strengthens the argument of the person who makes the concession, so conceding that Trump is doing some things that the people want is an important part of running a campaign against him.

The “political class” is out of favor with the American people (and for good reason). To capture the presidency, a successful candidate will have to be “against” the political class (not of it). That’s my view. Trump’s strength is that he is on the side of those who “deplore” the political class. That’s his main appeal to the voters.

Running against the personal and political failings of our current president will not be enough.

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


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Hidden Surprises galore, check out the classic Subconscious Comics just below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” One large step for women” 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.

HIDDEN VALLEY STRING ORCHESTRA. This magnificent 16 piece orchestra gets up our way from Carmel Valley about twice per year. Don’t miss them.  The program is as follows: Air and Dance by Delius, Romance by Finzi, Nocturne by Dvorak, Adagietto by Mahler, Slow movement from quartet by Zimbalist and Serenade by Karlowicz. They’ll be playing June 1st at 2:30 at Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley and locally June 2nd at 2pm at Peace United Church 900 High Street in Santa Cruz. Please buy tickets in advance at

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Suffering post-partum angst after Game of Thrones? Enter the less brutal, but no less epic fantasy books of Robin Hobb, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). On the movie front, Ukranian dancer Oleg Ivenko doesn’t quite have the same fire, but he captures the questing artistic spirit of the legendary Rudolf Nureyev, the role he plays in The White Crow, reviewed in this week’s Good Times!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

WHITE CROW. Rudolf Nureyev has got to be the most famous male ballet dancer (danseur noble, ballerina) of all time (well, there’s also Baryshnikov (still alive) and Nijinsky of course). Nureyev appears to be a jerk in this movie from a book, but the big deal is/was that in 1961 he defected from Russia, where he lived and trained all his life, and moved to fame and fortune in England and the USA. That took more than courage. The movie lacks the intensity to bring you into it, however, or to inspire the care and curiosity that the story deserves. I can’t find any info on the Nureyev documentary that Landmark had shown us for a few weeks, and I guess they must have pulled it when this one became available. It’s gotta be better than White Crow.

PHOTOGRAPH. An intense inter-family drama set in the street lives of Mumbai. A photograph leads the plot through religious family problems and the challenges of existing in today’s world. Slow moving but you’ll stay with it.

BOOKSMART. A surprising 98 on RT. This comedy about two smart high school girlfriends on their last night before graduation escaped me completely. I’m so removed from high schoolers today that I couldn’t relate or follow any part of their adventures. It is, however, feminist, brave, clever, even sexual and rapid-moving.

TRIAL BY FIRE. Once again Laura Dern turns in an excellent performance as one of the few who believe the innocence of a young stud who was accused of setting the fire that killed his children in their beds. It’ll be near impossible to not know the outcome of this sad but true story but plan on seeing it and NOT reading the reviews. (additional note) I could drive you nearly nuts but try watching the Netflix documentary “Ted Bundy Tapes” the same day you watch Trial by Fire. Let me know what your reaction was.

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

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

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

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

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

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



UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. The three top winners from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s annual Short Story Contest read their works on May 28. No BrattonOnline issued the week of June 3…my birthday and a trip to Mar Vista instead. Julie Phillips will be telling us about threats to the Tule Elk on June 11. Kara Meyberg Guzman and Stephen Baxter from “Santa Cruz Local” news organization are guests on June 14. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here   You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at

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


“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them”. Aldo Leopold
Top of Form
And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days”.  James Russell Lowell
“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”  Dr. Seuss

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