Blog Archives

May 5 – 11, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Koch brothers and “our” Greenway anti-train pressure, soupy supervisor race starting, Good Rail plus Trail news. GREENSITE…on West Cliff Drive Management Plan. KROHN…Santa Cruz rent too high, pay too low. STEINBRUNER…Seabreeze Tavern demolished, closing Bayview Hotel crossing, Aptos Village History, Soquel Creek Annexing customers, Oakland homeless and COB houses. PATTON…More on Disasters. EAGAN…New Deep Cover and more classic Subconscious Comics. QUOTES… “TRAINS”

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THE JUPITER ENGINE. 1878. Another part of our area’s railroad history. This engine was owned and operated by the Santa Cruz Railroad Company. It now resides in the Smithsonian Institute, and has been there since 1976.
                                       
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE May 3

THE KOCH BROTHERS AND THE GREENWAY ANTI TRAIN CAMPAIGN.
At the all-out May Day celebration at Tom Scribner’s statue last Saturday, a regular BrattonOnline reader told me about the financing of our local Greenway “movement” that is working so hard to stop any Rail and Trail. After going to the international site, I see the Koch Brothers headquarters is located in Wichita, Kansas. Then I scoured the media and found that the The Santa Cruz Sentinel published this… “It did not make sense that a rich organization, Greenway, would suddenly appear in our community with one purpose: kill rail-with-trail planned for almost 20 years when groundbreaking is within months. Especially when the current rail-trail plan essentially builds one half of the Greenway “concept plan” with walk and bike use beginning so soon. Bud Colligan, Miles Reiter and William Ow financially backed the Capitola initiative to undermine the current rail-trail project. It makes no sense to scrap this plan and start from scratch. Then I read June articles in New York Times and LA Times, which outlined how Koch brother’s organization is winning through removing rails against communities’ desires to keep them. The big money backing removing rails is “Americans for Prosperity”, a Koch-financed conservative group. Koch companies produce gasoline, asphalt, seat belts, tires and other automotive parts. I wonder if our local individuals are being used by the Kochs.

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MONTHLY-ISH PITCH

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I got further into this and found this in the New York Times…

NEW YORK TIMES…

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country

The Kochs’ opposition to transit spending stems from their longstanding free-market, libertarian philosophy. It also dovetails with their financial interests, which benefit from automobiles and highways. One of the mainstay companies of Koch Industries, the Kochs’ conglomerate, is a major producer of gasoline and asphalt, and also makes seatbelts, tires and other automotive parts. Even as Americans for Prosperity opposes public investment in transit, it supports spending tax money on highways and road”. In only temporary conclusion we can see that Colligan et al have huge money behind them and their campaign to stop any/all attempts to bring Rail and Trail to our community.

BEST RAIL TRAIL NEWS. So, new last week are three area Democratic clubs and two city councils voted to support Rail and Trail then add these to the Coastal Commission, TAMC, AMBAG, Caltrans, Sierra Club, et al. and the word and support is still growing.

SUPERVISOR SOUP. Now Ryan Coonerty has announced thathe’s not running again for County Supervisor, the political pot is boiling with candidates, guesses, fears and dreams. We have yet to hear from the usual suspects such as Cynthia Mathews, Mike Rotkin, Don Lane, Ed Porter, Hilary Bryant or Richelle Naroyan. With their miserable record as council veterans, there should be little support for that possibility. Greg Larson and Robert Singleton have such anti-women issues that a campaign would make them even more vulnerable. Existing city council “veterans” such as Donna Meyers, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, Martine Watkins, and Justin Cummings must be doing much county-based research right about now. Chris Krohn is busy calculating the same possibilities as his last run for County Supervisor in 2006. For now, that leaves us guessing as to which candidates will get support from Bud Colligan and/or Fred Keeley. The money and hidden backgrounds behind those two names could mean a lot. This leaves us with Sandy Brown, who has been doing an excellent job on the council. Will she decide to join in that higher tension…we’ll see. Cyndi Dawson, marine biologist and County Democratic Central committee member, has worked hard to unify the third district and would have good support. The name that came up more often than anyone’s — with tons of positive hope — is Gail Pellerin, our former Santa Cruz County Clerk. Gail has an incredible record of County-wide wheeling and dealing. She knows how the county works, and has proven over and over that she can deal positively with our local community. This will be a very long (more than a year or two) race….stay tuned.

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

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

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

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

THE MOSQUITO COAST. (APPLE TV SERIES). I haven’t watched enough of this series to make any sense of it, but it’s about a brilliant inventor who flees to Mexico with his family and runs into much trouble with the Government. Some focus is on his invention to turn oil into energy, which seems logical. (48RT). The FBI keep trailing the family, and let me know if you watch any more of this one.

THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY. (HULU SINGLE) I am more than obliged, I’m delighted to say I had two visits with Billie Holiday herself. One was at The Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958, when she was sitting near a fountain at her hotel. I asked her where she was appearing next, she tiredly replied “I don’t know honey, it’s just wherever they booked me”. The other time was in about 1956 when she was singing at a bar on Hollywood Boulevard, across the street from the Pantages theatre. I watched and listened to her through at least two sets. This movie goes into enormous detail about how J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI were obsessed with jailing her, to stop her singing “Strange Fruit” – one of her many big hits. (55RT) Andra Day does her own vocals as the lead, and it’s worth watching.

NOMADLAND. (HULU SINGLE) By now everyone knows that Frances McDormand got an Oscar for best actress, and Nomadland got “Best Picture”. MC Dormand has a friend David Straithairn as she wanders like a nomad around the country side. Chloe Zhao directed, and she does show genius. It’s a sad, moody movie and makes us think about the homeless, the pioneers and the wanderers, and how they view the world. A few minutes shows McDormand working in an Amazon plant, which is surprising and real. It’s nowhere as good as The Painted Bird, but certainly great to watch Frances McDormand.

CLINICAL. (NETFLIX SINGLE). This is a deep, twisted, drop into the lives of a few folks with complex psychological problems. The main character is the psychiatrist herself, who only reveals her issues to her analyst. Another had an accident and wears a skin deep mask, which is horrible in every sense. We later find out why, and how, he got into that truck accident – and that’s sick too. I can’t advise or recommend this one.

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

THE PROMISE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Recent headlines talked about the anniversary of the slaughtering of  1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish Empire. This is a 2016 huge big budget movie starring Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale, Tom Hollander, Jean Reno and James Cromwell. They added a silly, complex, unnecessary love triangle, and it doesn’t help. Given Turkey’s continuing refusal to admit to this genocide it makes for an interesting, involving, educational few hours of a movie. Watch it, if you didn’t a few years ago. 

STOWAWAY. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Three astronauts are on their way to Mars for a two year exploratory mission. It’s not clear how but a technician has stowed away behind an upper panel. Toni Colette and Anna Kendrick are in charge. There’s an extra amount of climbing around outside the capsule, and other thefts from 2001 that do not match up. And It’s better than this year’s Oscar so called ceremony. Metacritic gives it a 62.

THE SOUL. (NETFLIX SINGLE) Do not confuse this with the animated “Soul”, that was up for best animated feature at the Academy last Sunday. This occult science fiction unnecessary saga takes place in Saigon where a rich billionaire was bludgeoned to death with a beautifully carved brass scepter. There are many sigils carved into walls and doors. (I looked up “sigil” it means a seal, occult magical sign). The unearthing of clues and the cause of his death will keep you mystified.

ROMEO AND JULIET. (PBS-KQED-GREAT PERFORMANCES). Sure you’ve seen Romeo and Juliet before, probably many times but this production is a definite keeper. It’s London’s National Theatre production which was done under all the Covid rules. You’ll cry and sigh all over again as you watch those sonnets between the star crossed lovers. Fresh, illuminating, and  another reminder why Shakespeare was and is, the greatest writer ever born.

SYNCHRONIC. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Two paramedics face the problems of drug trips and reality. Then there’s the issue of obtaining more of the drug called SYCHRONIC and where is it being manufactured. It’s all in New Orleans and the bayou. Good cast, exciting and even mysterious.

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

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN FIREFLIES? (NETFLIX SINGLE). A light almost interracial comedy set in Istanbul somewhere around 1968. Two families deal with the problem of a near crazed, half cute bride to be and can she find happiness with her chosen beau. It’s all told in flashback as the bride, now grandmother reveals all the secrets neither family knew about. 

RIDE OR DIE. (NETFLIX SINGLE). A Japanese story about two young Japanese lesbians. They are deeply in love. So much that one of them kills the other’s husband, as a favor. They then debate throughout the rest of the movie whether or not to die together! Very, very sexy, much nudity, and terribly difficult to make any sense out of because they giggle, scream and cry a lot.

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May 3.

Adapt and Manage

At its last meeting, city council voted to accept the West Cliff Drive Adaptation and Management Plan. This Plan, developed over the past year by a team of consultants, city Climate Action and Public Works staff, a Technical Advisory Committee (I was a volunteer member) was funded by a $343,000 Caltrans grant with a matching city $44,000 plus $200,000 from the CA Coastal Commission with a match of $82,000 from the city.

In the words of the Agenda Report: The purpose of the West Cliff Drive Adaptation and Management Plan: a Public Works Plan was to develop a set of scientifically-informed, community-informed coastal management projects for the near-term 10 to 15 year time horizon and document the community’s current vision for the next 80 years of adaptation. This lays the groundwork to prepare the City for adapting to the inevitable future of accelerated coastal erosion and increasing vulnerabilities to the Santa Cruz community. Worthwhile goals.

From the outset I was alert to the possibility of hidden agendas. It is no secret that some people would love to see West Cliff closed to all traffic or reduced to one lane of traffic. It is a given that such a lane closure would have a massive traffic impact on the lower Westside. It is probably unpopular with tourists and visitors as well as the frail. A drive each way along West Cliff is a rare delight for many of our most vulnerable visitors and locals. Since there are alternatives to lane closure should future erosion necessitate moving the path, I wanted to make sure those alternatives were not buried. 

One alternative is to remove parking on the inland side of West Cliff and slightly narrow the road to historical (and still legal) widths to allow for a reinstated path further from the bluff when and where necessary, while retaining a two-way road. This was Al Mitchell’s written suggestion a year before he died. Sound advice from he of Mitchell’s Cove fame. 

Another alternative is to claim the 5-foot easement that exists the length of West Cliff and remove the inland sidewalk that is little used. The consultants included that alternative but it was never presented to the public with the same fanfare as was closing one lane. With respect to erosion, other than the sinkhole from a few years back, it seemed to me that the causes were more connected to activity and stability on top of the bluff rather than to rising sea levels. At each opportunity for input I offered those comments. 

While the lower Westside was largely unaware that their future quality of life was about to be presented to council, the organized transportation activists were fully aware. A letter from the chair of the Transportation and Public Works Commission to city council urged the council to not wait for future erosion to consider closing one lane of West Cliff Drive but to begin that process now. Writing such a letter as chair of a commission that has yet to hold public hearings on this controversial issue is most likely an ethics violation of the Fair Political Practices Act but I’ll leave that to the city to evaluate. His letter included the following comment:

“There will be reasonable neighborhood pushback about the traffic impacts. This can be adequately mitigated by making it less inviting to drive through the neighborhoods with traffic calming and street diversions. The circulation plan should focus on moving auto traffic back to Mission Street, again with traffic calming along the way.” 
Chair, city Transportation Commission.

“Reasonable neighborhood pushback” is the understatement of the year. No amount of “traffic calming” and “street diversions” could adequately address the impact of diverting thousands of West Cliff cars off the Drive and onto selected streets. As for “moving the auto traffic back to Mission Street” I’ll leave that to your imagination to evaluate. 

Picking up on the Commission chair’s letter, the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation sent out an email blast that generated 51 letters to council urging them to follow the chair’s recommendation and begin the process to close West Cliff to one-way traffic now. Some of the letter writers are friends and colleagues whom I respect so I concluded that they just hadn’t thought through the consequences of such an action and were unaware of alternatives. 

There must have been a behind the scenes scrambling since none of the letter writers except the commission chair spoke at the hearing, staff hastened to assure council that the Plan did not include Alternative 2, closing West Cliff to one-way traffic….for now…and that any future actions in that regard would be a lengthy public process. I did note that council member Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson made a point of saying such discussions should include the whole community. I took that to mean, include opinions from those not affected by such an action.

In the meantime, be aware that the city is applying for a grant to connect the new rail/trail bike path with West Cliff Drive along Swanton Blvd. and Natural Bridges Drive. This has the potential to add hundreds of additional bikes to West Cliff Drive especially as the rail/trail is expanded to Davenport. While we all love our bikes and trails, there is such a thing as carrying capacity. Overwhelm West Cliff bike path and the pressure to close one lane of traffic is magnified. Hidden and not so hidden agendas. 

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association  http://darksky.org Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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May 3.

Forced to Flee, This Inn is Closed

SANTA CRUZ: RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH AND THE PAY IS TOO DAMN LOW

I have a radio show, Talk of the Bay, on Tuesday’s on KSQD at 5pm. Last week’s show was about those who’ve been forced out of town because they’re not able to pay the rent, or weren’t willing to work the number of hours it required to be a tenant. All of them wanted to stay, but felt they had to leave. Scott Graham is a carpenter in his 60’s. He lived for many years in a white clapboard fixer upper on Maple Street behind the London Nelson Community Center. The house likely would not have passed the city’s rental inspection ordinance, but he lived in it anyway for over two decades. Graham’s is a story well-known to Santa Cruz renters, many of whom are suddenly displaced. The parent or grandparent dies and a son or daughter comes in from Hoboken or Pasadena or Healdsburg and immediately upends the lives of the renter, demands everyone leave, and then sells the home to the highest bidder. Graham abandoned Santa Cruz a few months ago. He bought a house-trailer in Humboldt County where he now resides. Did Santa Cruz actually abandon him? Natalya Jackson is a single mom who lived in Surf City for six years while pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics. She found community within graduate student life. Upon becoming an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter, she joined the steering committee of SC4Bernie. Jackson told me she and her daughter would love to have stayed here, but rent was the biggest obstacle. As a teaching assistant at UC Santa Cruz she made $21,000 a year. Her rent for a studio apartment in Soquel was around $18,000 a year she said. It did not make sense to stay in Santa Cruz. Reached at her new home in Tacoma, Washington, Jackson said she is living in a two-bedroom apartment and got a job teaching math at a local college. She says she now pays less than half the rent she paid for that studio in Soquel. Bob Guzley is the former principal of the Delta School, which is located on the Cabrillo College campus (or is the Ohlone College?). The children of his former landlord sold the ramshackle, but cozy home in Seabright where he was living to developers. It became another tear-down. Now, the lot is packed with a few market rate town homes which Guzley could never afford. He moved first Phoenix then to Chico and is now planning on moving to Flagstaff, Arizona.

Demographics of Santa Cruz
The Census Reporter offers details on the demographics of Santa Cruz from 2019. Santa Cruz County has a population of 273,213. The median age is 38.5 with 56% of residents checking the box for “white/Caucasian.” The per capita income in the county is $46,714 for an individual, that’s about 20% higher than California as a whole. The income for a “household,” two or more people’s income combined, is $89,269, about 10% greater than the state average. There are 97, 710 households and 107,137 units of housing in the county. Sixty-percent of the occupied units are owner-occupied, while 9% of the total number of housing units, about 9,600, are vacant. If that is true, it sounds astounding. How many of those units are in the city of Santa Cruz I wonder? There are likely no more than 5,000 houseless people in this county and with over 9600 units of vacant housing, maybe we do have the solution to homelessness within our grasp after all.

Forced Out
The following is poignant and bittersweet, but a common anecdote about living in one of the half dozen costliest cities on earth. It is a story written by a former Santa Cruz resident, Jessica, who was forced out by high housing cost. She was invited to be on the radio show, but was traveling at the time. She is finding that there is actually life elsewhere, far from the Santa Cruz coastline. It is lightly edited.

I lived in Santa Cruz from 2014 until 2019. Sometime near the end of my stay in the city, I moved into one half of a duplex on Laurel Street with my partner and three other housemates. For one bedroom in that smallish duplex, my partner and I paid roughly $600, each! We shared a tiny closet and a room with one electrical outlet. The windows were not weather-proofed and had no caulking, whatsoever. Our room ($1200 total) was one of four bedrooms, which altogether totaled $3,450 per month in rent. Our house was just one half of the duplex, mind you. The carpet was so old, every time we used a vacuum cleaner, the carpet strands would come undone and break the vacuum. We probably had five vacuums in the house and I don’t think ANY of them worked by the end! The tile flooring, and I’m not even really sure it was tile, was so damaged that no matter how often you mopped it, it never looked clean. The house had mold, water leaks, and a Victorian claw foot tub that I was convinced would fall through the second floor into my housemates’ pantry-sized bedroom at any moment. I still get chest pains from whatever lived inside the paint of that house. 

Despite all of this, and for a long time, I felt lucky to live there. Lucky only because we found a place where enough of us could live without feeling TOO overcrowded and we were able to split the rent into something that was manageable. I felt lucky because others who I knew were living in tents in their friend’s backyards, or paying the same amount to live in someone’s closet. Or, in some cases, I found friends paying twice as much to live in worse conditions.

Eventually, my partner and I split ways and moved back to our families because we agreed that housing in Santa Cruz was unsustainable for us. I miss Santa Cruz and the community I made there over the years, and for the most part, when I think about my housing experience there, I can’t think of anything profound to say about it. I’m simply overwhelmed with both the grief of having to say goodbye to the friends and family I made there, and the relief that I was able to escape the situation. I’ve heard many similar stories from other people who have had to leave Santa Cruz, by their own choice, or not. I’m not sure that I can really write much more because it still hurts to think about.  

“Not enough credit is given to the countless activists, organizers, and advocates whose relentless work is why we are even hearing anything about universal childcare, white supremacy as terrorism, labor, and living wages tonight. Yet we cannot stop until it’s done. Keep going.” (April 28, Tweeted out immediately after Joe Biden’s “state of the union” message.) 

Grant Wilson reading from local author, rabble-rouser, and IWW member, Tom Scribner’s work. (Bruce Bratton, wearing a brown hat, is gazing forlornly at the statue of Tom and looking for the next great Santa Cruz Revolution.)
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(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. Krohn was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. That term ended when the development empire struck back with luxury condo developer money combined with the real estate industry’s largesse. They paid to recall Krohn and Drew Glover from the Santa Cruz city council in 2019.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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May 3.


BREAKING NEWS: I watched the demolition of the Seabreeze Tavern this morning. It did not take long. Historic lathe and plaster fell in big chunks as the massive jaws of the demolition machine grabbed and tore away ….the end of an era. I took binoculars, hoping to see if there were any buried treasures, but it was a mass of splintered wood and plaster.

SEABREEZE TAVERN DECLARED UNSAFE FOR EMERGENCY DEMOLITION, BUT ENGINEER WAS NOT LICENSED?
I visited the Seabreeze Tavern site on Monday morning because I had unconfirmed information that it was going to be demolished.  There was Ms. Annie Murphy, County Planner who wrangles from the Historic Resources Commission the important approvals the County Planning Dept. needs to push through projects desired by developers.  She was pleading with the developer’s demolition rep. to try to save the historic windows and wrought iron railings.  The guy had many excuses as to why it likely would not happen. 

The Seabreeze Tavern is scheduled for demolition Tuesday, May 4.  Another death knell for historic preservation of a key link to the past…the Seabreeze Tavern being the final remaining element of the Rafael Castro hotel and Aptos Land Company era of building Rio del Mar. 

Why did the County accept an “engineering analysis” from a Bay Area developer who claimed to be  a licensed engineer, but gave no license number or real business name on his report?

The County Planning Dept. staff convinced the Historic Resources Commission on April 5 that the historic Seabreeze Tavern on the Rio del Mar Esplanade is structurally unsafe and merited, based on the developer’s vague half-page “engineer analysis” , an emergency demolition permit.  Planners and the County Building Official claimed, that preservation is not possible. 

Here are the serious questions that neither County Planning Director Kathy Molloy nor Building Official Martin Heaney have answered:

I) The Engineer’s Report

a) There is minimal information shown to substantiate the claims that the building is unstable.  Photos claiming lack of a roof, but that show some roof rafters still intact, are vague and provide little information.  The report describes the stucco separating, but there is no photo to document the claim.

b) Mr. Voong, the engineer who submitted the analysis to the County, does not seem to be a licensed engineer, and does not provide any professional license number in his report. Internet searches for his company yield only that he is an unlicensed developer in the San Francisco area.   

c) The report has many vague and poorly-worded statements.  Such highly-educated professionals are expected to submit professional-quality reports, but this report is unacceptable.

The Staff report states (page 2): “Based upon the findings and analysis from the engineer and several site inspections….”  however, there were  no substantiated findings or valid analysis submitted. 

II) Claims of preservation/ repair being infeasible are not substantiated and the Staff Report failed to include a Special Inspections Report, as required by County Code 16.42.060.

16.42.060 Development procedures for designated historic resources.

(A)    Applications for Historic Review. Applications for historic resource preservation plan approval or sign review shall be filed with the Planning Department in accordance with the procedures of SCCC 18.10.223, and the administrative application requirements as established by the Historic Resources Commission.

(B)    Demolition and Relocation.

(1)    Application Requirements. For projects involving demolition of the historic structure, or involving relocation of an historical structure, the application submittal shall also include:

(a)    A special inspections report from the County Planning Department on the condition of the structure; and

(b)    An historical documentation report prepared according to guidelines established by the Historic Resources Commission. The report shall contain the following:

(i)    Information which supports the claim that preservation is not feasible due to the deteriorated condition of the structure or object, or would create exceptional hardship, or is necessary to alleviate a dangerous condition.

(ii)    Provisions to preserve the historic values of the structure or object by documentation and/or preservation of artifacts and building materials.

(c)    Provisions to offer the structure to the general public for removal or dismantling for salvage at no cost or remuneration to the applicant. The availability of the structure shall be advertised by means of an one-eighth-page display ad in a paper of general circulation in the County of Santa Cruz, at least twice during a 30-day period. The advertisement shall include the address at which the structure proposed for demolition is located, information as to how arrangements can be made for relocation (through moving or dismantling) of the structure proposed for demolition, and the date after which a demolition permit may be issued. Evidence of this publication must be submitted prior to issuance of a demolition permit. This is not applicable to projects involving the relocation of the historic resource on the same site.

(2)    Processing. Demolition applications shall be processed as follows:

(a)    The complete demolition of the entirety of a landmark or contributing resource shall require a public hearing and recommendation by the Historic Resources Commission and a public hearing and final action by the Board of Supervisors.

III.  There has been no public hearing and final action by the Board of Supervisors, as is required by County Code 16.42.060(B)(2)(a)

Santa Cruz County, CA

Even though the historic Seabreeze Tavern may be rubble in the landfill by the time you are reading this, please write the Planning Dept. Director and the County Building Official and ask for their explanation of the suspicious fire that began in the back ally of the Seabreeze Tavern, leading to the acceptance of a questionable report claiming nothing could be preserved.  

And also ask if the County is planning to sell the “surplus property” adjacent to this developer.  It is important to remember that the County seized this lot from the former Seabreeze Tavern owner, used taxpayer money from the Parks Dept. budget to make substantial improvements and have a contractor show up once in a while to sell hot dogs, and then quickly declared it “surplus property” immediately after the suspicious Seabreeze Tavern fire. 

Ask for the following information that should have been required for an emergency demolition permit but was missing:

  1. a) Mr. Voong’s P.E. license number, 
  2. b) Professional analysis and data of testing to determine structural instability, 
  3. c) Special Inspections Report to verify that repair and restoration are infeasible, 
  4. d) Special Inspections Report of Planning Dept. detailing the condition of the structure, and 
  5. e) The proposed date of the public hearing and final action by the Board of Supervisors.

Kathy Molloy <kathy.molloy@santacruzcounty.us>
Martin Heaney <martin.heaney@santacruzcounty.us>
Santa Cruz County Historic Resources Commission c/o Annie Murphy <annie.murphy@santacruzcounty.us

The whole deal smells really rotten…..

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AND QUICKLY…..

  1. OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS AB 339
    This bill recognizes the value of maintaining virtual public meetings, but would require the agency to provide in-person comment ability.  It would also ensure that the public could comment on agenda items until the item is closed.  That would hopefully require Soquel Creek Water District to stop requiring people who want to testify to have to ask permission to do so  hours in advance of any meeting.

  2. OAKLAND HOMELESS BUILD COB HOUSES
    Here is a great idea that the people themselves have instituted…COB houses, made of clay, straw and bits of wire or old nails for rebar-like strength, Santa Cruz County could use this type of resourceful grassroots leadership.  Please write the City Councils and County Board of Supervisors and ask them to support and fund a COB village.

    Homeless Oaklanders bring hot showers, medical care and a pizza oven to their encampment

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING WITH YOUR CAT SLEEPING ON YOUR LAP. 

MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK AND JUST DO SOMETHING. 

Cheers, Becky

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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 May 1
#121 / More On Disasters

“Collapsology,” though it may be a “neologism,” as Wikipedia tells us, is giving us a name for a real thing. How Everything Can Collapse has certainly convinced me of that. The subtitle of that book, by the way, is “A Manual For Our Times.” I recommend it!

As I wrote yesterday, when disasters strike, the monkeys of Puerto Rico can give us some guidance. However, many may bridle at the thought that we ought to be taking advice and guidance from a bunch of monkeys.

Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens, the authors of How Everything Can Collapse, actually do concur that the monkeys are right, and that building broader and more tolerant social networks is exactly the right thing to do in the face of disaster. Their book, however, doesn’t put this advice into the form of an admonition about what we “ought to do.” Instead of a prescription, the book provides description, and says that we (like the monkeys) actually do the right thing when disasters strike, and become more cooperative and collaborative: 

After a catastrophe, i.e., an event that suspends normal activities and threatens or causes serious damage to a broad community, most human beings behave in extraordinarily altruistic, calm and composed ways…. Decades of meticulous sociological research on behavior in disasters, from the bombings of World War II to floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and storms across the continent and around the world, have demonstrated this….  The image of human beings as selfish and panic-stricken in times of disaster is not at all corroborated by the facts…. The overwhelming majority of those involved remain calm, help each other and get organized. In fact, individuals seek security first and foremost, so they’re not inclined to violence and are unlikely to do wrong to their fellows. In sum, behaviour associated with competitiveness and aggression is set aside in a general upsurge of feeling where all “I’s” instantly become “we’s” with a force that nothing seems to stop. [pp. 150-151]

If this is a verifiable sociological and anthropological truth – and I am pretty much convinced that it is – the main problem we have right now is making sure that everyone understands that the disaster is present, that it has already occurred – that the crisis is NOW. 

Perhaps the pandemic, with which we still grapple, may help us to understand. 

Ojalá!

Until that news does come down the wire, and the message gets through, Servigne and Stevens leave us with some words from Gary Snyder. I will do just the same: 

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
The steep climb of everything, going up,
up, as we all go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

Gary Snyder, Turtle Island, 1974 

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

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

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    TRAINS

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction”.    Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

“Life is like a train station, people come and go all the time, but the ones that wait for the train with you are the ones that are worth keeping in it”. Unknown 

“Don’t let the train of enthusiasm run through the station so fast that people can’t get on board”.    H V Morton

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I love IKEA, and I love making new things out of things they have already. Here are 4 IKEA DYI hacks. Enjoy!


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

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

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com

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