Blog Archives

May 3 – 9, 2023

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…UC unfair to students and workers, another May Day. GREENSITE…on west cliff opportunism. SCHENDLEDECKER…there’s no escaping plastic smog. STEINBRUNER…Highway 1 bike lanes, businesses into housing, grant $ and homeless, budget hearings, history fair in Felton. HAYES…Our snakes. PATTON…Only the lonely. MATLOCK…slippin’ and a-slidin’ through the court systems. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover WEBMISTRESS’…pick of the week. QUOTES…”The Universe”


FISHING ON THE SAN LORENZO RIVER. This was opening of steelhead season December 8, 1940. It’s over by Murray Street on East Cliff Drive.

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


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA UNFAIR TO STUDENTS. Long time tech genius Patrick Casey sent this startling link and news about,The school pumped billions into a Blackstone real estate fund eager to evict tenants and jack up student rents in the midst of a major housing crisis”. . Read about how two of UC’s Board of regent’s members have ties to this Blackstone fund. Read even more about “the company and its executives spent $5.6 million to kill California ballot initiatives that would have expanded rent control in the state”. Also from Lever News…”UC’s pension system is fairly unique in that workers have no power over how investment decisions are made. All decisions are made by the regents, which are appointed by the California governor for 12-year terms’. It continues…” Effectively, University of California (UC) is funneling cash into privatized student housing and corporate landlords — doubling down on a controversial investment strategy that comes with a massive layer of fees and Wall Street profits — instead of doing its part to address a growing housing crisis, one that affects its students and employees.  Now, in a nearly unprecedented coordinated intervention, the university’s labor unions — representing 110,000 workers — have called on UC to divest itself not just from the university’s holdings in the Blackstone real estate fund, but all of the university’s $6.5 billion invested in Blackstone holdings’.

“Essentially UC is investing in a corporation that further drives UC’s own workers’ housing insecurity,” said Kathryn Lybarger, the President of AFSCME Local 3299, which represents blue collar and health care workers at the University of California. “The bottom line is that people’s housing should not be a basis for making a profit, especially when it’s a public institution like UC. We’re demanding they divest and it’s on the scale of divesting from South Africa in the ‘80s. We’re talking about housing as a human right, not as an investing opportunity.” The entire article in Lever news is well worth reading and I hope the above excerpts encourage you to get the rest of their reporting.

AN INTRODUCTION…Lever News used to be the Daily Poster and is run by some former Bernie Sanders advisors, check out the rest of their staff and articles. Read Lever News too and learn how Nancy Pelosi has worked for years to help the business of hospitals stop Medicare for all coverage!!

MAY DAY AND….??? Now that 420 doesn’t seem like a hugely popular day to celebrate some of us got to wondering why May Day is such a huge and even international holiday.

Sure it started legally with the beginnings of summer with a May pole and dancing with flowers. That was in Russia in the Roman Days. Germany celebrated Walpurgisnacht the night before May 1st. In the USA it was (and almost forgotten now) International Workers Day (Tom Scribner made a big deal out of it with an extra margarita at Lulu Carpenters). Santa Cruz needs to create another celebratory day…maybe to recognize that the tourists are coming in 30 days?

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.

SHOWING UP. (DEL MAR THEATRE MOVIE).(7.2 IMDB). It’s odd to see Michelle Williams without her cutesy blond short cut and dimples but she plays a very plain young woman sculptor in this baffling look into a sculptor’s daily life. No real drama except what we imagine in seeing the relationship between the one foot tall sculptures and the artist herself. Mostly boring especially if you know any or many clay workers.

POLITE SOCIETY. (DEL MAR THEATRE MOVIE). It’s a British film about two Pakistani sisters and their struggles to get through a marriage ceremony. Corny, trite, full of martial arts and way overused comic plots that haven’t been funny in decades. The would be groom/doctor secretly plans on cloning and the movie goes on and on…don’t go.

GHOSTED. (APPLE TV MOVIE) (5.8 IMDB). Chris Evans and Ana de Armas headline this way too cute comedy /romance. She’s a secret spy and Adrien Brody does manage to add some viable screen time. It’s all been seen and screened many times before and the would be plot escaped me just moments after it finished.

CITADEL. (AMAZON PRIME SERIES) (6.5 IMDB). Stanley Tucci is who and what you’ll watch in this action drama. A huge train wreck starts it off and it’s all an unbelievable trek into supposedly competing spy groups and their past, present and future targets. It has every cliché we’ve seen in spy movies for nearly 100 years

PERRY MASON. (HBO SERIES) (7.6 IMDB). If you’re old enough to remember Raymond Burr in a wheelchair as Perry….forget all that. This Perry Mason is a defense attorney in Los Angeles 1932 and there’s a savage murder of a child on the Angel’s Flight railway. John Lithgow is Mason’s friend and foil and Erle Stanley Gardner is the author of course. Look a likes like Aimee Semple McPherson and Fatty Arbuckle add fun and even depth. Diverting and worth viewing.

ROUGH DIAMONDS. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.5 IMDB).   A Belgian movie that centers and holds on the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Antwerp. The opening is terrifying and the conflicts between religion and culture and life in this century are very involving. Then there’s the world famed Antwerp diamond business which keeps the tension high. Don’t miss it.

C.B. STRIKE. (HBO SERIES) (7.9 IMDB).   A war vet Cormoran Strike is the weird name that this now one legged detective has. He’s got a partner and together they work to solve the murder of a beautiful model. J.K. Rowling is the secret author behind the C.B. Strike series. One character looks and acts like Santa Cruz’s own Maia Foreman.

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.

CHEVALIER. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). A genuine period piece complete with gorgeous costumes about the almost totally unknown true story of Joseph Bologne a black violinist/composer who was Mozart’s contemporary. He was given the title of Chevalier de Saint Georges and served and performed under Marie Antoinette. It’s a bit much of typical Hollywood spectacle but it does help the world acknowledge the genius of this unknown musician/composer. Go for it.

DROPS OF GOD. (APPLE TV SERIES) (8.3 IMDB). A rather far-fetched story adapted from a manga (graphic novel) is about a wealthy wine collector who dies and leaves his gazillion dollar wine collection to the winner of a wine tasting. It’s his estranged daughter and a wine expert who must compete. Lots of wine talk and much delving into the lives of Dad, daughter, and the Japanese wine expert. Maybe if you really like wines you’ll savor this one…but no hurry.

RAIN DOGS. (HBO MAX SERIES) (6.8 IMDB).   An odd but well done dramedy that centers on a poor momma trying her best to raise her daughter when the world just seems against them. All involved are in the destitute poor world and just their struggles are well worth watching. It is however gross and crude in certain scenes but overall it’s a fine way to spend your time.

THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME. (APPLE TV SERIES) (7.0 IMDB)    If you’ve ever OR never been to the Sausalito house boat “city” this is a must see. Jennifer Garner heads the cast as a mom whose nicely behaved husband suddenly disappears from his failing tech business. So Mother Garner and the stepdaughter work hard to not just survive but to find out where Dad disappeared to. Excellent series so far!!

ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED. (HBO MAX) (7.6 IMDB). A very detailed and well done documentary about the Sackler family. That’s the family who made millions if not billions from their Purdue Pharma Company that produced and sold OxyContin. Aside from their obvious payoffs to the world of art, to date over 100,000 have died from overdosing on OxyContin and their earlier product Valium. It’s not exciting even dull at times when they get close to dull and unlikeable Sackler family members. It’ll probably make you wonder how our American system allows financial wars and victories like this.

THE LAST KINGDOM: THESEVEN KINGS MUST DIE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.1 IMDB). Another attempt to copy the enormous success of Game Of Thrones (2011) this super violent costume epic dates back to the reuniting of England around 866 to 878. That’s when the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons fought tooth and claw. Early Denmark fits in there too, but there’s no depth to any character and you really won’t care about what happens to anyone in the cross over plots.

QUEENMAKER. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.8 IMDB). This Korean film is a very serious critique on not just the political but the fashion, and the marketing, and the business of sex in Seoul, Korea. There’s blackmail, suicide, and double crossing and it’s a very well made movie. There’s a mayor involved and the exposing of what went on and continues to go on behind that particular office. Well worth watching.

May 1

West Cliff Opportunism

If you’ve been following the drama of West Cliff Drive, the January severe storm damage, the various city zooms and most recently the public meeting at London Nelson center, you can be forgiven if you have been taken in by the hype. It is well-coordinated, well-funded and slick.

Let’s sweep the deck of hype for a moment and lay out the actual scene. The big storms in January heavily impacted West Cliff Drive, undermining, and collapsing the path and roadway in three areas, according to Public Works senior engineering staff. The damaged areas were originally armored with rip rap but that barrier against the ocean waves had not been maintained since the 1990’s, hence its failure. Other areas with recent rip rap in good condition withstood the big waves and high tides, showing that such techniques to preserve the path and road do indeed work, according to the city engineers. Public Works has applied for grants from FEMA and from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to fix the damage, including the damaged culvert at Bethany Curve. Rather than replacing the old rip rap they are proposing an alternative with pilings and an infill wall that they feel will be more favorably viewed by the CA Coastal Commission. In other words, they are moving ahead with fixing the damage and restoring the road and path to its pre-damaged condition. The job will take some months, some disruption, and a lot of work but it is all pretty straightforward. This could be the end of the tale except for…the hype.

At the London Nelson meeting, Public Works had a small area in the back of one room where you could talk with the engineers and learn about the progress to fix the damaged sections described above. Most of the room and the other two rooms were like a parallel universe where facts were ignored and jargon ruled.

The city manager led off the evening with a spirited endorsement of the need for “a long-term vision for this global asset” and that “the time to act is now!” Similar to other presenters he never actually explained why we need a long-term vision nor the rush to develop one. Nor did he mention the work of the engineers to fix the damaged areas so the road can be opened again. In fact, no presenters acknowledged Public Works. It seemed acknowledging that the road can and will be fixed got in the way of the new narrative.

This new narrative exists independently from fixing the road. After the city manager’s “the time to act is now!” rallying cry, which was not referring to fixing the damage, we heard from the consulting firm, Farallon Strategies. Yes, yet another consulting firm who we were told is a “benefit corporation” helping non-profits such as Save the Waves. Time to connect the dots. The CEO of Save the Waves non-profit, whom the city council chose to replace me on the Parks & Recreation Commission is also one of the leaders in the new group Save West Cliff, formed after the storm damage. This CEO, now a Parks Commissioner also has a 2021 MOU with the city of Santa Cruz which states, “to reap economic rewards and invest in surfing; to quantify the economic contribution associated with Santa Cruz’s quality surf environment”. Regarding West Cliff, the MOU states it will “undertake an economic evaluation study” with Huntington Beach used as a shining example of bringing in $55 million and 375,000 attendees as host of the US Open of Surfing. Got the picture? The hype is all about money. How to frame the damage to West Cliff Drive to serve a hidden agenda. That alone explains the disconnect between fixing the damage and the drama that is being orchestrated to exploit it: why Public Works was sent to the back of the room while the hypesters occupied the limelight.

The consultant from Farallon Strategies spoke of “re-narrating” past decisions on West Cliff Drive. That sounded ominous. He spoke of the need to create a “shared understanding” and “shared narrative”; “aligning vision” and “creating “staff consistency.”  Toe the line or else.

The next presentation was from the leader of Save West Cliff, the new group filled with big names and big purses including the aforementioned CEO of Save the Waves. We were treated to some cool historic maps of West Cliff, all designed to fit the new narrative. This was achieved by omitting some facts and fabricating others. The historic maps showed the retreat of West Cliff from the forces of nature over the past century. As old timers know, the retreat has been significant and has removed many of the rock formations that once better protected the shoreline. However, the presenter’s claim that “all protection we had is gone” is chicken little-esque and incorrect. Perhaps all natural protection is gone but (I can hear a faint engineering voice from the back room) the use of armoring has successfully secured the current path alignment since it was installed, except where such armoring has not been maintained.

No doubt we will be subjected to more meetings where “re-narrating” will be fine- tuned before this all goes to city council. There will be much handwringing over climate change despite the fact that such storms as we experienced in January are not a new normal according to climate experts. I expect equity and inclusion will make an appearance at some stage. Meanwhile the truth gets harder and harder to see, drowned out in a deluge of hype. The agenda of Save West Cliff so far is not clear and where articulated, is couched in feel good generalities. At some point, when a critical mass of people has adopted the aligned vision and shared narrative, the group will make its agenda evident. I’ll lay odds it involves turning West Cliff into a cash cow. Tastefully done of course.

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 1


This is what I read with my morning coffee today: Plastic is already in blood, breast milk, and placentas. Now it may be in our brains. I try not to share too much news like this, because it is just so depressing, horrifying, and overwhelming.

It seems like Santa Cruzans overall think that we live in a very special place–if not a pristine ecological reserve, at least a very clean and environmentally aware community. The wellness industry sells us the idea that we can be “clean” and healthy in our homes and bodies if we just do all the right things, but…

Folks, I have news for you: most of us are complicit in our own environmental catastrophes, one way or another. Maybe we can’t see them as obviously as we can in other places, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t producing, and using, petro-plastics in amounts large enough to poison every living thing here.

Here are just three examples of our participation in a global toxic economy:

Chemical weapons in Santa Cruz Police Department’s arsenal. Thanks to AB 481 requiring disclosure of military equipment, we know what they keep in stock, including highly toxic tear gas. Now we need to know if the equipment is truly justified, not according to SCPD’s logic, but the community’s. We must stop investing in chemical weapons that are not even used, requiring disposal as hazardous waste when replaced every five years.

Wetsuits are toxic. I am thinking of developing a proposal for a new Sister City: Reserve, Louisiana. This historic Black town in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley is home to Pontchartrain Works, the only facility in the US that makes (incredibly toxic) chloroprene, the main component in neoprene. Neoprene is most dangerous at its production site, but also in its degradation through wear-and-tear. Santa Cruz is inextricably linked to Reserve through our surfing history and communities, commerce, culture, and our stated values of supporting Black Lives Matter and Environmental Justice.

The military-industrial complex. Since 1957, Lockheed Martin on Empire Grade has assembled and tested weapons like trident missiles. All munitions like this have petro-chemical ingredients that are highly toxic and persistent in the environment. I heard that they were planning to close in the next few years, but they’re recently and actively hiring for management and manual positions and I don’t find any announcement of closure online.

What’s got me thinking about this, making these connections, right now?

For five (or ten?) years I’ve been keeping tabs on what I call the vertically-integrated petro-plastics industry, as it relates to my long-standing interest in plastics, toxins, waste streams, infrastructures, and chronic illness. Virtually all of the plastic material ever made and still being made is petroleum based. Virtually all of that plastic is still in the environment. This includes a majority of the textiles we use. It is part of our invisible carbon emissions as well as a visible manifestation of them. We can see macroplastics larger than 5mm and we know they’re a problem in all sorts of ways. We generally cannot see the majority of microplastics and microfibers, let alone nanoplastics, and yet they’re ubiquitous, amounting to a kind of plastic smog that pervades land, air, water, and biological bodies.

Over the past six months I’ve been looking at the microcosm, and the micro-watershed, of Neary Lagoon. Neary Lagoon is interesting to me, and a lot of other people, as a site of colonization, agro-industrial use, waste infrastructure, and biodiversity. Hopefully what I’m doing with my research, art, and now a workshop, is synthesizing these disciplines and bringing them to the arts context for diverse audiences.

I’ve printed maps of the small waterways on the Westside that feed the Lagoon, and have begun to walk them, photographing and picking up plastics. I’ve been finding reasonably accessible, non-laboratory methods for seeing microplastics and microfibers—pieces under 5mm–with polarization, fluorescence, and digital microscopes. At the same time, I’m learning about the industrial history of this area, land use, current research and policy on plastic pollution in the bay.

Macro- and micro-plastics photographed in Jordan Gulch: degraded bottlecap filled with organic matter (L) and styrofoam debris (R) (photos by me)

City documents say Neary Lagoon is a remnant of the San Lorenzo River, which historically migrated back and forth across the flats between here and what is now Jessie Street Marsh. But clearly it is fed by all these freshwater springs and creeks, and before being filled for a railroad to reach the old pier next to the wharf, it was tidal and briny. There are now pumps to maintain one-way water flow.

What will happen to this lagoon and the wastewater treatment plant as sea level inevitably rises? How will the ecosystem change as it returns to brine? Should we restore it to brine now instead of continuing to cut it off? It must be a sink for petro-plastics and petro-pollution that runs off our roads into the untreated storm drains all over the neighborhoods. Car tire particles are amongst the worst microplastic pollutants found in Monterey Bay. Is there monitoring and research being done on those pollutants in the Lagoon?

Industry diagram on plastics in automotive components

Just a fraction of plastic debris from recent (frequent) car accidents at Bay and Escalona (photo by me)

I’ve also been assembling a dossier to share my research, which is available to all.

I’m already thinking about how to improve this workshop for Part 2, June 10th, 11am-1pm. That one will be part of Laurie Palmer’s Landing project, also funded by the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Department. I very much appreciate the support to continue this project. We’ll meet again at the Chestnut Street entrance to Neary Lagoon.

Thanks to everyone who came to Neary Lagoon Through a Different Lens, Part 1! Part of Martabel Wasserman’s Refocusing Ecology series, funded by City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Department

We looked at a big map of the micro-watershed of Neary Lagoon and one of its main feeders, Bay Avenue Creek. We talked history, municipal infrastructure, plastics, and greenwashing. We walked a little bit. We looked at very small pieces of plastic and microfibers with black light, polarization, macro lenses, and digital microscopes. (photo by Martabel Wasserman)

Many thanks to Martabel Wasserman for creating this Refocusing Ecology Workshop Series, the rest of the Ecosocialist Working Group, Blaize Wilkerson for her fabulous walking tours of Santa Cruz and Aulinta, Kathryn Mintz and the CityArts Commissioners for leading the funding of CARD projects, Researchers Anonymous members for graciously giving me advice and information, Clive Bagshaw for sharing his microplastics and microscope knowledge with me, and finally to Jorge, the head landscaper of The Villages at UCSC, for taking me on an impromptu and very informative hike up Jordan Gulch.

As individuals, we can Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, and Repair, as much as we can given our capacities. And we must support the city and county as they continue to join other municipalities and the state in legal battles against petro-plastics corporations. Banning this or that single-use plastic thing might be better than doing nothing. But even if all of us do all of that, we’re not going to escape our toxic legacies or the global petro-plastic climate crisis. To be clear, the military-industrial complex is, and always has been, largely about plastics via the vertically-integrated petroleum industry. Until we find even more ways to de-power that huge machine, we’re screwed.

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 1


The Draft EIR to widen Highway One between State Park Drive and Freedom Boulevard and create a 16′-wide pedestrian and bicycle trail adjacent to the railroad tracks is open for public comment until June 2.  This includes plans to add structures to the two trestles over Aptos Creek.  Please participate if you can.

Here is an interesting video of the model:


Many are eyeing the Capitola Mall on 41st Avenue for a possible housing conversion project.  Will it be feasible?

When it comes to a similar question for the City of San Francisco, the answer is NO.  A recent summary of analysis by a group known as SPUR just released their findings on that question for San Francisco’s conversion of the empty Financial District area into residential units, following similar models in Calgary, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C..

S.F.’s empty office space could hold 11,000 new homes — but only with City Hall’s help, report says

The report states that the City would have to remove the developer fees associated with requiring 75sf of open space/unit, waive the current requirement that 21.5% of the development be allocated to affordable inclusionary housing, and “loosening” the environmental analysis required by making approvals ministerial, and thereby exempt from CEQA. The analysis assumes all units are 650SF.

Here is a link to the SPUR summary

What are the issues that may be problematic for converting the Capitola Mall to residential space?  Likely, many of the same economic woes stated in the SPUR report, but add in infrastructure and water.

Take a look at the architects rendering last presented

That plan would include 637 residential units, a theater and commercial venues.

Are there legislators working to provide economic incentives for revitalization projects like this?  State Senator Anna Caballero’s SB 6 “Middle Class Housing Act”, which would fast-track the creation of walkable infill development and make it easier to turn land zoned for commercial uses into housing. was signed by the Governor on Sept. 28, 2022.  Other similar bills, AB 115 by Assembly member Richard Bloom, failed approval, as did AB 15 introduced by Senator Anthony Portantino that would have incentivized converting empty big box stores into workforce housing.

So, the problem of how to meet the staggering mandates issued by the State in the sixth cycle of Regional Housing Allocation Numbers (RHNA) is notable not only for Capitola, but all municipalities in California:

AMBAG as a whole was assigned 10,043 units in the last cycle by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, but has faced a tripling of the figure to 33,274 in the cycle beginning in 2023 and ending in 2031. As a result, over a nine-month period, AMBAG formulated its allocation methodologies to break the total and designate it across several cities.

Despite Capitola’s population only representing 1.4% of the total population for the region AMBAG represents, it received 4% of all housing units or 1,336 units. Capitola was saddled with an increased allocation because it is considered a high resource jurisdiction with a racially concentrated area of affluence; those two elements were weighted the highest within AMBAG’s formula selected Jan. 12. Because of the formula, Santa Cruz County and its cities will have to produce a total of 12,979 units — a discovery the Sentinel first reported

[Capitola to seek out consultant to help with next RHNA cycle allocation]


The County just received $6.63 million dollars in federal grant money to help solve the homeless problem.  Remember the $10 million the County received about three years ago…did it make a difference?  Only to the non-profits who are happily enjoying what appears to be a  new industry in Santa Cruz County, and can belly-up to the grant fund trough indefinitely to serve their own interests.  When will we see something actually happen to change the situation?  Don’t hold your breath.

From Sup. Koenig’s office:

The County of Santa Cruz Housing for Health Division announced that homeless services projects across Santa Cruz County have been awarded $6.63 million in federal grant funding, representing the largest competitive federal Continuum of Care (CoC) allocation in County history.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded all 21 projects that were submitted from Santa Cruz County. This includes three new projects: Housing Matters’ permanent supportive housing project at 801 River Street, as well as Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center and Monarch Services, programs that provide refuge to domestic violence survivors.


The Consent Agenda on the County Board of Supervisor meeting agendas are often where significant actions are buried / hidden.  Take a look at these April 25 consent items


Consent Item #22


Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 3731(b), provides that the sale of property by the tax collector may be rescinded by the Board of Supervisors if a hearing is scheduled and notification is provided to the purchaser of the property or a successor in interest. There is no codified process or current policy for how this hearing and consideration of the rescission should occur. In order for the Board to ascertain all the facts and consider whether the property should not have been sold, the Board may schedule a hearing to consider testimony and documentation related to this matter. The next available regular meeting agenda for such hearing is June 27, 2023.


Financial Impact

The total direct cost of the contracts associated with this board item is $14,996,700. Eligible costs will be reimbursed by FEMA at 75% and by FHWA at 88.53%, and Cal OES will reimburse 75% of the remaining eligible costs.  The total reimbursement from all agencies is estimated at $13,582,193. The estimated local match and ineligible cost  portion is estimated at $3,214,111 and will be paid with SB1 funds and General Fund contributions.


Financial Impact

The total project costs including design and construction is estimated to be $28,594,130.  The 2020 Solutions for Congested Corridors Program (SCCP) will provide $16,463,000. The County General Fund is estimated to provide $3,720,765.  SB1 funds, the Regional Surface Transportation Program Exchange (RSTPX), the City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District will provide the balance.


I happened to see a Legal Notice in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, alerting the public to the dates for the County of Santa Cruz Budget Hearings. The Board has calendared May 30 and May 31 at 9am to consider the 2023-2024 Budget, and June 13 at 1:30pm for the last day revision approvals.

Usually, the Budget Hearings begin in mid to late June, and are held over the course of three or four days, allowing the Supervisors and the public the opportunity to thoughtfully read and digest the massive document and to allow for Department staff to make presentations about their budgetary needs and accountability.

No wonder Supervisor Justin Cummings asked for more time to publicly consider the financial situation of the County, for public benefit as well as his own.  You might recall that Supervisor Zach Friend shot that good idea down very quickly, “because some of us may have scheduled other activities for that time frame.”

The County’s economic future is clouded and uncertain, but CAO Carlos Palacios continues to push the Board to make more and larger real estate purchases to build his empire.

Major assumptions in balancing the FY 2023-24 proposed budget include a 1% decline in sales tax, a slow-down in growth in certain property tax transfer revenues, and collection of up to $14.5 million of the $67 million in outstanding FEMA obligations that would be used to restore and strengthen reserves. The budget assumes normalized cost increases for wages and benefits, increasing facility capital investments towards a recommended long-range target of approximately 1% of total General Fund expenditures, and budgetary reliance on available fund balance of $12.2 million.

Stay tuned…and get ready for an interesting Budget process.  Participate as much as you can.


Don’t miss this great event and the opportunity to learn more about the history of our grand County.  This year, the event will be in the San Lorenzo Valley, at the Felton Community Center (6191 Highway 9) beginning at 1pm. In the past, this Fair has taken place in downtown Santa Cruz. It’s free, so bring your family and friends.




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 1


As with most species, we have a wealth of snakes in the Monterey Bay region, and I want to help you to know them…and to encourage a young person to become a wildlife biologist.

April is Snake Month But May….

April is usually the month that you can see the most snakes. With the weather this year, it seems the snakes waited a little while so maybe May will also be rich with snake sightings. Most people I know see snakes crossing roads and trails. Too many people see snakes that were killed by vehicles on roads. Not many people get the opportunity to walk off trail to see snakes. If you can get out to off trail, you might walk with a few friends side-by-side in a line through a meadow- an efficient way to see snakes. Another place most folks aren’t afforded to look is along bodies of water. A foray along the edge of a marsh or pond will likely net a snake sighting. And yet another unusual activity is a good way to see snakes: turn over ‘cover’ – logs, boards, bark, tin roofing, or anything else that is big enough and has touched ground enough to provide a hiding place for snakes. The rule is to put that piece of cover back gently and exactly like you found it. Looking for snakes is a good way to get in touch with wild nature around here, and it is also a viable and fascinating career. There aren’t enough local wildlife biologists: can you name one? We need to encourage more children to seek careers in wildlife conservation. There are a variety of nice jobs for people who know their snake ecology.

Wildlife Careers

I’ll briefly outline the places one might work as a wildlife biologist, and then I’ll get to discussing what cool snakes there are around here. Parks and other conservation lands agencies employ ecologists to help conserve wildlife. There is also an abundance of ecologists working in research around the Monterey Bay. College and University wildlife careers come with teaching and research while jobs at other research institutions might not have the same teaching roles. There are also careers just doing outreach: think folks in museums, aquaria, on whale watching boats, and leading tours on land. Because of the environmental laws in our nation and in California in particular, there are a host of jobs as consultants, either in private business or as advisors working with Resource Conservation Districts or other such entities. While wildlife ecologists might not earn as much money as engineers, doctors, or lawyers, I know many who love their work and are leaving amazing legacies for future generations: peregrine falcons or condors that would otherwise have gone extinct, restored ponds hosting rare California red-legged frogs and tiger salamanders, wildlife corridors that support the movement of badgers and cougars, and many other such things. Next time a child or young adult mentions a love of birds, mammals, reptiles, or any wildlife, I hope that you will pause a moment and tell them how amazing it would be if they sought a career in wildlife biology. Perhaps they will be the ones to help conserve our rarest local snake, the San Francisco gartersnake.

Snake List

Here’s the list of the 12 local snakes:

  • San Francisco gartersnake
  • Santa Cruz gartersnake
  • California red-sided gartersnake
  • Coast gartersnake
  • Gopher snake
  • Northern Pacific rattlesnake
  • Ring-necked snake
  • California king snake
  • California mountain king snake
  • Forest sharp-tailed snake
  • Northern rubber boa
  • Wester yellow-bellied racer

Seeing Snakes

How many of these snakes have you seen? Traveling as I do through grasslands, I see gopher snakes every week. I once had a dog that for some reason wanted to gently pick up ring necked snakes in the forest. Now, I only see forest snakes (rubber boas, ring necked, and sharp-tailed snakes) when I go with a gaggle of folks doing surveys. There used to be more rubber boas on the north coast before the 2020 fire- a lot of them and other forest snakes must have died in that conflagration.

The Most Beautiful Snake

I don’t get around water much, but when I do, I have always seen gartersnakes and then I have to remember how to tell them apart. Your location matters if you are trying to see San Francisco gartersnake. That endangered species has never been documented south of Waddell Creek, but you supposedly can find them from Año Nuevo north and east to the urbanized areas. It ought to be called the San Mateo County gartersnake at this point, but maybe someone has seen one in the many wetlands of San Francisco. I include them here because they do occur on the northern boundary of the Monterey Bay, which is around Pigeon Point. The San Francisco gartersnake with its blue, yellow, and red stripes has been called the most beautiful snake in the world.

Santa Cruz’ Gartersnake

We have a namesake gartersnake which is much plainer, the Santa Cruz gartersnake. This one like most gartersnakes has a dark blackish background and a single yellow or orangish line down its back. This species overlaps a lot with the San Francisco gartersnake but its range extends south to Watsonville.

The coast gartersnake is midway in coloration between the colorful San Francisco gartersnake and the not so colorful Santa Cruz gartersnake. This one has the gold line down its back but also has a red checks down its side, mixed with browns and blacks.

Smelly Snake

I like garter snakes for their smell. When you pick them up, they emit a ‘foul musk odor’ – apparently a defense. The smell washes right off, it is water soluble.

Handling Snakes

I don’t recommend picking up snakes unless you know what you are doing. If you are older than 16, you shouldn’t handle them without a fishing permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. If you do handle a snake, even the non-venomous ones might bite you. If they bite, you have to let them stay attached to you until they let go: if you pull away, you could dislocate their jaws. It is no fun to have to watch a snake chew on you until it is done. Some snakes, like mountain king snakes, have razor sharp teeth that will then make you bleed a bunch after they chew awhile.

Snake Summary

Remember please to encourage young people to pursue careers in wildlife conservation. If you have a place for someone to live more affordably, you might pitch in for conservation by advertising it for a wildlife expert. Whatever you do, I hope you can appreciate our area more – our amazing snake diversity is just another example of how special our region is. Let’s conserve it!

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


FROM GARY A. PATTON  From Gary’s “We Live In A Political World” website…

April 28

#118 / Only The Lonely

If you click that video link, above, you will hear the incomparable Roy Orbison sing “Only The Lonely.” Click that link to the title if you’d like to read the lyrics.

Marta Zaraska, a Polish-Canadian science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Scientific American, Spectrum, The Atlantic, Discover, and other publications, has written an article in the online magazine Quanta, in which she claims that “feelings of loneliness prompt changes in the brain that further isolate people from social contact.”

I am absolutely prepared to believe it, and I am not at all surprised to learn that there are genuine physical manifestations, deep inside our brains, associated with the sense of isolation and loneliness that can sometimes overwhelm us.

Speaking individually, we need to be aware when such feelings of loneliness start to creep up on us, or even when they presume to attack us “full frontal.” If and when that happens, we can (and need to) take steps to confront and deal with these feelings, because loneliness is dangerous, both to ourselves and to others.

Speaking from a social, or collective, perspective, let’s all remember that we are not, actually, just a bunch of isolated individuals. We are, as I repeatedly claim, “together in this.” This is more than a pious wish. I am convinced that it is, in fact, a profound truth about our human condition.

May I suggest that both “talking to strangers” and our active engagement in politics are helpful and effective ways to combat loneliness and all of its deleterious individual and social impacts?

That’s true – and I am convinced of it. I am speaking from personal experience, too. My engagement with “strangers,” with people whom I didn’t know, in the fight to “Save Lighthouse Field,” transformed my life. It certainly changed the future of the City of Santa Cruz, and Santa Cruz County. Click here for a reference to a publication of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History that includes my personal account of what we did!

Political engagement? Yes! If you want to fight loneliness, my advice is to get personally and politically involved!

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 1


The US Extreme Court continues to muddy the waters even more as they sink lower in the depths of public opinion. Last week all nine spoke as one as they responded to the heavy criticism of late, saying no fix is needed if it isn’t broken, on the subject of their lack of a code of ethics. Justice Clarence Thomas, along with Associate Justice Ginny Thomas, lit up the internet with their complicity in the Big Lie endeavors of the Trumpsters; which then slid into the charges of undeclared gifts and favors from benefactor Harlan Crow who also has a suspect property deal festering in the background. Charles Geyh, an Indiana University law professor and legal ethics expert says all the details given out this week were outlined by Chief Justice Roberts a decade ago: the justices will set their own rules and police themselves, just in case you missed it the first time, so pay attention!

Next up, the lingering story about the Chief Justice’s wife, Jane, being paid millions of dollars for placing attorneys at organizations – a legit enough vocation –  although some have had cases being decided by the high court, a slippery ethics matter? A former colleague of Jane Roberts has provided reports to both congress and the justice department as she seeks an inquiry, claiming that the Chief Justice has “potential ethics issues.” 

Justice Neil Gorsuch made his recent debut over a property deal that occurred nine days after his court confirmation, selling a Colorado property, along with two partners, to the head of law firm Greenberg Traurig which occasionally has cases before the court. Gorsuch’s 20% stake in the property netted him between $250,001 to $500,000 as noted in his financial report, but he declined to disclose the name of the purchaser. Under federal law, justices are required to file annual disclosures, but are not required to follow any binding ethics code. Should they have ethical questions, the justices simply discuss it among themselves…simple and quick, no? Legal ethics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Kathleen Clark, views the problem “that the justices have not been subjected to basic accountability that just about everybody else in the federal government has to comply with.” Regarding Roberts‘ two-page letter issued this week, Clark says she sees “a failure to grapple with the fundamental problem of lack of accountability…the justices seem to be utterly clueless about the problem they have…they’re in a bubble apparently.”

The recent revelations has spurred calls for reform and last Wednesday Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Independent Senator Angus King announced legislation that would require the Supreme Court to create a code of conduct and appoint an official to oversee potential conflicts and public outcry. Additionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Court ethics reform. And just to keep the heat on Justice Kavanaugh, it was just disclosed that Senator Charles Grassley had possibly omitted key evidence during that justice’s confirmation hearing in 2018 which led to a botched investigation by the FBI regarding sexual assault allegations, results of a further investigation to be released by the Justice Department by year’s end.

The Tucker Carlson/Fox News breakup continues to resonate as we await word of Carlson’s next landing place, and to see what a miraculous turnaround Fox exhibits after casting off their demon…get real, nothing changes with them! Bocha Blue in a Palmer Report piece writes that the lesson here for Tuck-Tuck is that power is not eternal, nobody is immune from the hubris effect. Once hubris claws its way into one’s soul, anything can happen…ask Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly or Donald Trump. Blue says, “Tucker Carlson thought he WAS Fox news – its mouth and its soul. But there are millions of mouths out there, and the fox has no soul. Tucker is finding out the hard way that he is already yesterday’s news.” Perhaps MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow summed it up best: “You don’t get to call football games on TV for the NFL. You don’t lead hundred-year-long Messianic religious revivals. You don’t persuade Americans to start tanning their testicles en masse,” referring to a Carlson segment pitching a potential solution to lowered testosterone levels in American men.

Dumping Tucker devalued Fox’s stock by more than half a billion dollars, which shows the ratings and revenue quotient his show held, yet Fox carried out the deed fully knowing what was in store for them. Bill Palmer feels that possible scandalous information over and above the Dominion settlement, Carlson’s emails, or pending lawsuits by former staff and investors have nothing to do with the firing of their biggest cash cow. Highly profitable cable news hosts don’t get fired unless they suddenly become unprofitable or are about to become unprofitable, so there’s more to the story. The Daily Beast’s senior editor, Andrew Kirell, feels that Carlson’s ‘bigger than Fox’ attitude has permeated other hosts and that other heads will roll after the recent firing has settled a bit.

The juggernaut of court actions against the Former Guy roll along, with E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit against Trump garnering attention last week. While civil trials don’t result in ‘guilty/not guilty’ verdicts the jury could find that The Donald raped Carroll 23 years ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, and is responsible for damages, shackling him with the term ‘rapist,’ a blow to his ego and perhaps devastating politically. Bill Palmer writes, “The thing is we keep hearing how such an outcome to this trial will have ‘no impact’ on Trump’s base, who will keep worshipping him forever. My response to that is a simple one: who cares? In terms of political process, the cretins in Trump’s base are simply not relevant.” He feels that since their votes are locked in anyway, they are 100% irrelevant, since they don’t influence those outside their own ranks, and unable to determine the outcome of any election alone. That base is a disturbing creep show, not a relevant political force now and never was…having no influence in his 2016 victory and unable to show up in enough force to sway the 2020 election, with a pitiful 55% in GOP polls currently. Both of Trump’s opponents in the elections received millions more votes than he, but all across the media spectrum attention is directed toward ‘Trump’s base,’ and not ‘Hillary’s base’ or ‘Biden’s base,’ while pretending those factions don’t exist. The path to winning elections is to see that the base is locked in and will turn out, and then focusing on persuadable voters outside the base. Let’s hope the electorate is paying attention, as well as the jury for E. Jean Carroll!

Georgia’s Fulton County DA Fani Willis released news that movement will be announced perhaps as early as July in the investigation into election interference by the ‘Big Lie’ advocates and maybe an indictment of Trump. She has advised law enforcement to make plans for disruptions and public protests, so it must be big! It appears her investigation is being delayed as cooperation seems to be improving as several ‘fake electors’ are taking advantage of immunity deals, having seen the handwriting on the wall. Trump is assuredly prepared to throw up as many roadblocks as he can muster, but that process is finite…no running out the clock to his heart’s content. Willis probably wanted to get this case behind her before election season, but even with the flippers coming forward, she must feel that those can be included in time to move toward a conviction.

Manhattan’s DA Alvin Bragg was up against a different clock, leading him to make his move to indict the former prez, and while that is true in special prosecutor Jack Smith’s case, criminal charges taking place in federal court will move much more quickly than most state courts. Bill Palmer feels that the “doomsday hype” about courts not having enough time to put The Trumpster on trial prior to the election are simply empty attempts to get retweets…thank you very much Elon Musk.

In the case of DA Bragg, he is still under a siege of sorts by Representative ‘Gym’ Jordan as he attempts to prove that this is all about a political witch-hunt to get Trump. Jordan sought to have materials turned over to his committee and was told to “go pound sand,” so he subpoenaed Mark Pomerantz to be subjected to questioning, following his resignation from the DA’s office, and the subsequent publishing of a book, entitled ‘People vs. Donald Trump…An Inside Account.’ Pomerantz came out of retirement to join DA Cyrus Vance’s team to look into Trump’s business practices and after investigating for a year and concluding that an indictment was in order, ala former mob boss, John J. Gotti, DA Vance left that office to be succeeded by Bragg, who was less enthusiastic about an indictment initially. Pomerantz left, wrote his book under a hailstorm of criticism for revealing aspects of the case, but insists he had not jeopardized pursuit of prosecution, whereupon Bragg initiated a civil case that does not include criminal penalties.

Bragg appealed to the courts to disallow a Pomerantz appearance on May 12 before Jordan’s committee, but later withdrew the appeal to open up the way in Jordan’s favor. The congressman’s charge that political motivation energizes the indictment is going to be a disappointment for him, since Pomerantz’s letter of resignation explains the root of his frustration and why he left the Manhattan team. He felt there was “evidence sufficient to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” and further stating that The Don was “guilty of numerous felony violations” making it doubtful that benefit will accrue to Jordan’s so-called investigation. As a former prosecutor, Pomerantz wanted charges to be filed, and Bragg was seemingly not motivated. According to Glenn Kirschner of ‘Justice Matters,’ Jordan is way out of his league in questioning someone of prosecutor Pomerantz’s status and that he will be chewed up and spat out directly back into the Trump Clown Car. Kirschner asks: “Who’s ready to see Pomerantz verbally tap dance all over Jim Jordan’s head?” as he raises his hand with a devilish smile.

We are reminded by Glenn that Jordan ‘blew off’ the very subpoenas to testify that he is now issuing, and makes a suggestion that his committee be renamed “the Congressional Committee to aid and abet Donald Trump.” ‘Do as I say and not as I do,’ eh ‘Gym-bo?’ Present at the testimony will be the DA’s General Counsel to shut down any improper questioning that might jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation, so Jordan with no power to override refusals to answer questions is facing a brick wall.

The ‘Prove Mike Wrong Challenge’ has come to a semi-satisfying conclusion after a computer forensics expert submitted his report disproving that My Pillow B.S.-artist Mike Lindell failed to produce data showing evidence of foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election. Mikey’s embarrassing “Cyber Symposium” held in South Dakota in August 2021 attempted to show the existence of packet data, but the data scrolling on his big screen had no relation to election data; but, the contest judges, including one of Lindell’s attorneys, declined to pay the $5 million offered to prove the data as invalid. Robert Zeidman, who proved it was a scam, then filed for arbitration under the contest rules with both parties presenting their evidence in January. Finally, in April, the three arbitrators ruled against Mr. My Pillow, saying he had to pay the five mil as promised. Stupid, egotistical, and untrustworthy Mikey has no intention of forking it over, as he doubles down, and it will likely end up in court. With this much at stake we can expect to see Donald Trump try to worm his way into this fray for yet another handout.

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.

“The Universe”

“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.”    
~Ray Bradbury

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”        
~Arthur C. Clarke

 “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”              
~Albert Einstein


Single dads don’t always have it easy. This guy is great though!

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