Blog Archives

May 8 – 14, 2024

Highlights this week:

Bratton… is back!…Greensite …Grand Jury server Gillian will soon return… Steinbruner…Water, water, water…. Hayes…What Do I Want for Wildlife? … Patton… Signature lines… Matlock…Dependence of democracy on the First Amendment … Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…Quotes….”Birthdays”


CIVIL RIGHTS SYMPATHY MARCH. March 13, 1965. Back in 1965 this was probably 98% of the Santa Cruz Democrats. It was at the corner of Lincoln and Center Streets according to the street sign. I believe Herb and Ellie Foster are in there someplace and so is Norm Lezin but I can’t find them.

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


MORE ON UCSC. Just to keep a certain perspective, UCSC received 83,415 applications for students, last year they received 79,000. That gives you some idea of just how popular that campus is. Even more important is to realize that UCSC offered admission to 43,159 students. In case you forgot, the city of Santa Cruz is stated to have 59,946 residents.

WAMM UPDATE. Ben Rice, noted attorney wrote to Bonline and stated… “We are putting together a WAMM medicine giveaway to members on the date of the city council’s next meeting, May 14th, at 4 p.m. If the council reverses the findings of the Planning Department and Commission and won’t let WAMM and a dispensary operate at the site, WAMM will close. Val Corral has put all her resources into this move and will not be able to continue.” Ben added later that county council Dana Mcrae has joined the WAMM movement, and he forwarded a statement by Senator John Laird who wrote in an opinion piece…

“Why do I write about this today? WAMM is a partner in an application for a cannabis dispensary in the former Emily’s Bakery in Santa Cruz. They invested their savings in bringing the property up to speed for this use, and met all the city requirements and made it through the permit process. The application was appealed to the Planning Commission, which voted 5-2 to approve the application. It will now be in front of the City Council on May 14. It is a simple act of fairness to approve this application, since they invested their savings, played by the existing rules, and would quite likely go broke as individuals and an organization if it is not approved.

I am loathe to express an opinion on any local planning matter, particularly since I deal with my share of controversies at the state level. But I have always had a special place in my heart for those who stood up in a challenging time, when many did not. I could not live with myself if I remained silent about their history and the fairness in this matter.

It is the local school district that has pushed to not approve this application. I sympathize with some concerns. Last year I authored legislation to require a pamphlet on cannabis to be distributed to first-time buyers, and a second bill to allow for easier access to illegal grows for the state water board, now that there is a legal process for cannabis. With former Assembly member Mark Stone, I previously authored a successful bill to set up common testing standards for laboratories that test cannabis before its sale. When voters approved the initiative for legalization, it is now up to us to make the system work.

WAMM’s application has adhered to the current city rules, and most of the fears about this location apply to other locations that pre-exist in Santa Cruz. I hope that the history of WAMM will count for something in the process. They stood up for people in need when not many others were standing up for them. I hope that people stand up for them now”.


State Sen. John Laird represents our 17th District.

[Bruce is changing his work/play schedule and will have more flicks for us next week. ~Webmistress]

SUGAR. Apple series (7.8 IMDB) *** A genuine Hollywood movie about Hollywood. It stars Colin Farrell who does an excellent job in this absurd exploration of improvable plots. They throw in many, many cuts from classic Hollywood films in B&W and color. James Cromwell plays a legendary producer whose granddaughter is missing. It’s fun to watch especially when you try to match the old footage with the current confusing action.

FRANKLIN. Apple Series (7.01IMDB)* Michael Douglas does a half convincing job as an older version (70) of Benjamin Franklin in this politic filled boring movie. Noah Jupe is his young boyfriend. It’s full of twists, romance, and a lot of the script is in French so you’ll be watching subtitles more than usual. Not recommended.

UPGRADED. AMAZON Movie. (6.1IMDB) ** Listed as a comedy I thought I’d try finding something to laugh at in this lengthy half interesting vehicle. Marisa Tomei plays a driven manager of an art investment company in London that auctions off “masterpieces”. Lena Olin is back in her usual tempestuous bossy role and has always been a favorite of mine so all in all there are a few smiles and near laughs… so do watch this one.

SOUND OF FREEDOM. PRIME Movie. (7.61 IMDB) *** The story centers on child abuse and the pedophiles who run the children’s sex trafficking between Honduras, Columbia, and South America. The actual statistics are horrible and run into millions of children annually. The movie stat3es that there are more slaves today than there ever were even during the time we had slavery in the USA It’s still not a great film but it does get the message across.

STOLEN. NETFLIX Movie (5.6 IMDB)** In northern Sweden / Lapland there’s a settlement of islanders who raise reindeer as a way of life. They are known as Sami and are treated as racially and inhumanly as any minority ever has. This is a drama about a deer kill that brings out the worst in this isolated community. Watch it but be prepared to squirm.

BABY REINDEER. (Netflix Series) (8.2 IMDB) *** A cute and cuddly title for a British series from a book written about a true story. There’s a bartender who doubles his life as a standup comic. He becomes stalked, really stalked by a hefty woman who doesn’t give up. They go to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and have quite a weird time. It’s neurotic but well worth watching.

FALLOUT. Amazon (8.6 IMDB). * You’ll probably recognize and try hard to remember Kyle McLachlan who has a small part in this ridiculous, violent, near satire of an atomic attack on Hollywood in 200 years from now. There’s long scenes of mindless murders and just plain script flips of a plot that never makes sense… don’t go here.

LAKE ERIE MURDERS. MAX (7.1 IMDB) *** Being from Buffalo, New York I hoped this was filmed there but nope Lake Erie borders on four states and parts of Canada. It’s a documentary and is also referred to as Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic. Amy was only 10 in 1989 and the murder is still unsolved to this day. Dozens of interviews with possible kidnappers, yes they found her body but have never found enough proof or evidence to convict anyone. Go for it but don’t expect any satisfactory ending.

CROOKS. Netflix Series (7.0 IMDB). **- A German film made mostly in Berlin. Taking a deep look, after much thought, it’s a deep look at the psychological makeup of two gangs of bank robbers with their opposing points on what life is all about. They both get involved in a very complex robbery, not of jewels as we are led to believe, but of a very valuable coin. It really centers on one robber who wants to go straight, but is tricked into helping the two gangs. Complex, tricky, well done and well worth puzzling through.

ONE DAY. Netflix Series (8.1 IMDB). *** Let’s face it every one of us has had or will have had deep meaningful relationships. This series is titled a comedy by Netflix but you’ll go much deeper than a laugh watching this introspective, meaningful insight.  Two people meet on their graduation night and we all spend the rest of the story watching what go through, NOT being together but keeping each other in their thoughts, and hearts. You’ll be forced to project and identify with many moments in this beautifully produced drama, except for the ending. Don’t miss it.

SHIRLEY.  Netflix Movie. (6.3 IMDB) *** If you’re into politics, which most of us are, you’ll be delighted to watch this saga about Shirley Chisholm’s role in the 1972 presidential campaign. Chisholm was the first black USA congresswoman and was elected in 1966. But this movie is all about her 1972 run for president and takes us back to those very different political times. We see Huey Newton, George Wallace and other sad reminders of the Vietnam War. She lost to Richard Nixon and Regina King does an amazing job of portraying Shirley.


Gillian has taxing Grand Jury duties, but assures us she’ll be back soon!

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.


Hold on…another round of rate increases for your City of Santa Cruz water will be coming soon, with studies beginning in 2026.

The City’s Water Advisory Commission heard the preliminary Water Dept. Budget presentation at their meeting last Monday evening (Item #6).  The debt service on the many projects being undertaken is staggering.   Over 83% of the Capital Improvement Project costs are debt-funded, totaling $310 million.

The projects will allow the City to take more water from the San Lorenzo River when it is available and store the water in the aquifer for later use.   It is responsible use of surface water, making sure to leave plenty in the River.  In fact, the City will be required to pay nearly $500,000 for monitoring the River levels and reporting that data, once the Water Rights Project is finalized, allowing the City to send water from the River to other nearby water agencies, such as Scotts Valley and Soquel Creek Water District.

The second big cost increase is for staff salaries and benefits.  Three new jobs will be added for electronic billing and customer service…gone is the job called “conservation specialist”.  This somehow does not seem to comport with the 2014 Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC) recommendation that conservation be the primary means of helping the City meet water demands and a clean supply of water, does it?  Nope…the staff has decided that “we can’t conserve our way out of this” and now embraces the likes of either buying treated sewage water from Soquel Creek Water District’s “Pure” Water Soquel Project, or building a similar treatment facility somewhere on the Westside, being dependent on massive amounts of energy consumption and chemical supplies.

This all means, according to staff, that in 2026 another round of rate increases will begin with studies.

I think it is time for the City of Santa Cruz Water Dept. and Soquel Creek Water District to consolidate, sharing water and sharing debt burden over a larger population, thereby helping to reduce the looming debt service per capita.

What do you think?

Write the Santa Cruz City Council.  They will be finalizing the City Water Budget June 11. Santa Cruz City Council <>

The Santa Cruz City Water Advisory Commission received a report from  Mr. Cameron Tana, hydrologist for Montgomery & Associates, regarding the Water Optimization Analysis…how to best use the water in collaboration with Soquel Creek Water District.  This long-awaited computer AI modeled report was funded in part by a $7.6 million grant from the State Water Resources Dept. to help figure out what needs to be done to meet anticipated water demand during prolonged drought.

(See Item 5 for Staff Report, but the presentation slides were not available on the City website at the time of this writing)

The report was interesting, pointing out that the City water planners use a different climate model than the MidCounty Groundwater Agency, producing different results and recommendations.  It bothered me that only one possible scenario would make use of the existing water supply intertie between the City and Soquel Creek Water District to send treated surface water in wet years to the District, allowing their production wells to rest and the groundwater levels to rise passively by reduced pumping.

 Hmmm…that would make sense and take alot less energy and chemicals to achieve, and with likely better quality water.

Instead, the Water Optimization groups and Montgomery & Associates (on the payroll of Soquel Creek Water District)  recommends increasing the production of PureWater Soquel Project treated sewage water from currently-planned 1500 AcreFeet/Year to 1900-2100 AcreFeet /Year and adding a fourth pressure injection well near the Research Park area of Soquel and another near the Capitola Mall.   Mr. Tana stated the study is still in progress, but the injected sewage water would help the City’s production wells and raise the groundwater levels in the  Purisima Aquifer.

But wait a minute…the Research Park area of Soquel and 41st Avenue of Capitola are not where Soquel Creek Water District claims there is threat of saltwater intrusion due to overdraft.  The high chloride levels purportedly indicative of seawater intrusion are in the Seascape area.  How can this Water Optimization analysis make sense???  Hmmm….

The City Water Advisory Commissioners asked a few questions…Would the City sell the treated  surface rainwater to Soquel Creek Water  District rather than use it to inject it into the aquifer for storage and later use by the City?  Mr. Tana replied that the PureWater Soquel Project treated sewage water injection would help the City’s production wells.  Could it be possible that there would not be enough sewage water to supply the entire area’s drinking water needs?  The answer was that it is possible all of the area’s sewage water could be processed for either direct drinking or blending with surface water and stored in the tanks near Bay Avenue and  UCSC.   The Commission Chair wanted to know how best to maintain a  good relationship with the District, since the City could be dependent upon the District’s treated sewage water injection during dry years?  The answer was to continue regular meetings and data sharing of the City’s Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) pilot project in the Research Park area of Soquel.

I suggested it is time to consider consolidation of the City of Santa Cruz Water Dept. and Soquel Creek Water District to regionally manage the water that we have, and not inject the PureWater Soquel Project treated sewage water into the groundwater, thereby contaminating and degrading the water quality.  I asked about how the Water Optimization models verified the required holding times of the injected sewage water, as is required by the State?

 No answers.

 I asked what had changed in Mr. Tana’s hydraulic modeling because in 2018, his work showed that if the City injected potable water (ASR) and the District injected treated sewage water concurrently, water would flow to the surface near the injection wells, but that had not been mentioned in the Water Optimization report.  No answer.   Hmmm….

The Soquel Creek Water District Board will also receive the Water Optimization report at their May 7 meeting (Item 7.3)

Stay tuned.

Amazingly, the Soquel Creek Water District Office is under construction for the third time.  The District website alerts all ratepayers that the Office is closed May 3-10 for construction


I have learned that when governing agencies want to hide something significant and potentially controversial, the matter gets tucked away on the consent agenda, avoiding focused staff reports and public discussion.  It appears that is the aim of the Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors and staff by placing the ten-year contract with Jacobs Engineers and CH2M Hill to operate the “at-risk” PureWater Soquel sewage water treatment plant in Live Oak that could inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the pristine groundwater and drinking water supply for the midcounty.

Take a look at Consent Agenda item 4.5:

Adopt Resolution 24-07 to Reaffirm and Ratify, Pursuant To The Previously Certified Pure
Water Soquel Environmental Impact Report And Previously Adopted Agenda, Entering into a
Service Contract for Operation and Maintenance At-Risk Services for the Pure Water Soquel
Advanced Water Purification Facility

Agenda (watch out…the agenda is over 2600 pages!)

What is the District hiding?  Maybe it is that they failed to inform themselves and the public on March 5, 2024 when the Board somehow thought it would be acceptable to approve this incredibly important contract without actually seeing the complete contract, and not allowing the public to see it either.

The March 5 version stated the complete set of documents could be viewed at the District Office, with General Manager Ron Duncan being the custodian of the records.  Well, I asked for an appointment to review them and was denied.  A few people, including  me, filed Public Records Act requests to obtain the documents.  The District gave one person documents that were corrupted and incomplete.  The District responded to me that the materials would be ready in six weeks, and when that date arrived, instructed me that the Board would review the documents on May 7 but failed to provide them.

So, what is “at-risk” operations, relative to the PureWater Soquel Project treatment plant and three pressure injection wells?  Treating secondary treated sewage water and removing some contaminants while creating more related to disinfection by-products…Hmmmm…..

The incomplete contract with CH2M Hill and Jacobs Engineering the asleep-at-the-wheel Board approved without ever seeing the actual contract on March 5, 2024 allowed freshly-trained certified operators to actually be in the treatment plant Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.  The rest of the time, the place will run on auto-pilot, with people on-call.

In 2018, this same scenario caused millions of gallons of raw sewage to flow into the Monterey Bay…because no one was there at the treatment plant in Marina to monitor things, and the “redundant warning system” failed to notify anyone.

If you have thoughts about the way Soquel Creek Water District is handling operations that will potentially foul the drinking water for the Midcounty area, please write the Board <> and consider writing a Letter to the Editor of your favorite local news media.

The District’s arrogance and seeming malfeasance is shocking.

In 2019, County Fish & Wildlife Advisory Commission wrote a letter to the County Board of Supervisors to extend protection of large heritage trees to include areas on the mountain side of Highway One, not just the Coastal Zone (aka, the coastal side of Highway One).  Supervisor Bruce McPherson had  responded that he felt the request could interfere with  CalFire’s jurisdiction and timber harvesting.

Last week, the County Fish & Wildlife Commission discussed this matter with CalFire Unit Chief Rich Sampson.  They crafted language that addressed Supervisor McPherson’s concerns, and will bring try to send a letter of recommendations for the June 11 Board meeting correspondence.

There was good discussion regarding allowing exemptions for permitting when there are dead and dying trees, noting that many bird species rely on such trees for habitat.  There was also an exemption for non-native trees, such as eucalyptus.  I asked about the removal of eucalyptus on Trabing Road that was prohibited after the 2009 Trabing Fire.  Chief Sampson did not respond.

Here is the current County of Santa Cruz Significant Tree Protection code.

Please contact your County Supervisor with your thoughts.  Why would large trees only need protection in the Coastal Zone and not the entire County?

There has not been not much public comment coming along on the new Cotoni-Coast Dairy National Monument, even though the BLM has let it be known that a very large parking lot will open near Davenport within a year after the Monument opens.  What will this mean for the small town of Davenport?  What will it mean for sensitive habitat areas when throngs of people who are out of touch with nature go tromping hither and yon?

The County’s Fish & Wildlife Advisory Commission letter to Board of Supervisors recommended that the Board ask the BLM to update the threatened species list, otherwise, they won’t, and there will be no protection or considerations provided to sensitive habitats.
(See #n in April 30 Correspondence)

Take a look at the project.  Even though public comment period closed April 19, please send written comment if you can.

For the first time since 2019, the Museum of Art and History (MAH) will hold a Blue Plaque Award ceremony this Saturday, May 11, 1pm-2:30pm.  The event is free and will be held at the MAH, next to the Octagon Museum in downtown Santa Cruz.

Fifty years ago, the County began honoring historically-significant structures countywide with the Blue Plaque Award.  Unlike State or County Historic Designation, it does not restrict a property owner’s ability to change the structure, but does promote and incentivize a sense of pride and respect for those properties that are at least 50 years old and have some significant quality or history.

Pajaronian: Historic Blue Plaque Awards named

If you have a candidate for next year’s Blue Plaque Award consideration, nominate it!

On Saturday, May 18, noon -5pm, you can learn more about the history of where you live and work by attending the County History Fair.  This year, the event will be at the Santa Cruz Mission.  It’s free and lots of fun to know more about the connections to the County’s rich past that still influences us in subtle ways.

This Saturday, May 11, join the fun with your fancy words and help support the Santa Cruz County Law Library.  Walk-ins welcome, 9am-noon in Room 70 of the County Government Building (701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz).

The Law Library is an incredible resource that helps many people understand the law and to defend themselves and others for public benefit. See details for the Scrabble Tournament




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


What Do I Want for Wildlife?
We might ask ourselves, “What do I want?” This important reflective question is a good one and becomes even more poignant in those moments of realization that we have limited time on Earth. There’s a fairly malignantly overused neural pathway of “What do I want?” used for shopping and consumption, but let’s try to dismiss that one and turn our focus on another. “What do I want” from the world around me, the world less likely to be affected by my purchases? For instance, ask yourself what do I want my experience to be when I go for a walk, or what do I want from the natural world: for the forests and streams? What do I want for wildlife? What do I want for my family and friends…for my neighbors…for my community? As we look outside of ourselves and express our desires for the larger world, we encounter our social potential: what can we do as members of a community? How can we influence the world to be a better place? Most people know that we influence those closest to us the most and come to know our circle of influence better with age. Some people work to broaden their circle of influence, some to narrow it. If we feel frustration towards the state of the world, we might explore politics at the local level to see how we grow our influence to make a better world. How does this work for what we want from Nature?

I Want Healthy Wildlife Populations
The majority of Americans want wildlife to thrive, to know that humans are well stewarding, even restoring, wildlife populations: this is something with which both liberals and conservatives agree. As I’ve addressed many times in this column before, that sentiment largely lacks evidence in local politics. Our City and County elected officials fail almost every time they are given a choice to better protect wildlife. We live in an area with a very high number of rare and endangered species, and those are only protected because State and Federal officials step in to enforce protections. How can this be the case with the local legacy of environmentalism and environmental education?

The “Teach Them and They Will Care” Fallacy
While people may say “I want healthy wildlife populations!” they apparently favor the sentiment of “I want money” as they keep electing pro-business officials who (mistakenly) believe that environmental protection comes at unacceptable costs to social welfare. And still, the local environmental education community unanimously embraces the fallacy that if you teach them about the environment, they will care enough to protect it. The corollary fallacy is ‘if you give them access to nature, they will care about nature and so nature will be protected.’ These are convenient fallacies because both allow the environmental education and trail building communities to raise funding from the wealthy, pro-business elite; that funding is crucial to keeping their organizations operable. With the “carrot or the stick” dichotomy for environmental protection, there goes the carrot. What about the stick?

Environmental Protection has Become Non-Local
Over the past 20 years, local environmental protection owes much to State and Federal legal ‘sticks.’ Twenty years ago, we made headway with environmental battles via the Coastal Commission’s authority to protect sensitive habitats at Terrace Point, the University, on City Greenbelt lands, and in State Parks. That agency has since abandoned its environmental protection arm, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have since helped protect what they could from a federal perspective. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has only occasionally helped protect the environment on the Monterey Bay, more commonly turning a blind eye to environmental impacts that are clearly within their jurisdiction. However, even so, CDFW has done more than local authorities to protect wildlife. In short, we apparently respond more positively to ‘sticks’ than ‘carrots’ when it comes to caring for wildlife around the Monterey Bay. Ask yourself if this approach aligns with your political beliefs? Do you want more State and Federal enforcement of wildlife protections? Or, would you rather believe that people only need ‘carrots’ to do the right thing for protecting wildlife? If the latter, how do you see things changing, socially or politically, to make that happen? If the former, how is it that you are actively supporting State and Federal agencies who are using sticks to protect wildlife?

Uh-Oh, Wildlife Protections in State Parks?
A while back, Californians realized that State Parks needed better planning to protect wildlife. And so, politicians created a rule that every park must have a plan that addresses wildlife protection, even specifying that those plans have what is called a carrying capacity analysis. Carrying capacity analysis defines an approach to determining how to design park access so that wildlife populations remain healthy. Locally, because of repeated negotiations with environmentalists, State Parks has evolved its approach to such analyses, though they have more recently apparently given up on creating plans for parks, altogether. The General Plan for Castle Rock State Park illustrates how landscape architects very badly approached their mandate for good carrying capacity analysis. In that plan, planners who were inadequately trained in wildlife protection sharpened their crayons and shaded huge bubbles across the park, vaguely labeled as high, medium, and low intensity use. This vague and unenforceable planning conveniently allowed unbridled access everywhere. Now, visitors are degrading very rare wildlife habitat associated with rock outcrops and regionally unique wildlife habitat associated with a black oak forest. Because of the terrible approach outlined in the General Plan, an environmental non-profit was able to construct a visitor center in close proximity to these very sensitive wildlife habitats.

A Curious Evolution
Realizing that people wanted State Parks to do more for wildlife protection, the more recent General Plan for Big Basin State Park improved a smidge on their carrying capacity analysis. That plan well reflects the modern principles of analyzing carrying capacity for wildlife protection, but curiously falls very much short of being meaningful. The Big Basin plan rightly says that it is important to address negative impacts of visitors on wildlife by defining science-based thresholds which would be monitored and, if surpassed, would trigger management actions. However, the plan then (very curiously) fails to define such thresholds.

Aiding and Abetting
The same environmental group that built a visitor center precisely where it would be most likely to negatively impact the most sensitive wildlife habitat at Castle Rock State Park is now proudly advertising a similar approach at Big Basin. Instead of helping the People get what they want (wildlife protection), they are doing a great job of raising capital to support their organization through a campaign of increasing access to Big Basin without a viable method of protecting wildlife at that park. In such a way, the organization illustrates its embrace of the fallacy that increased access somehow increases wildlife protection. As you might suspect, this same organization also embraces the fallacy that milktoast environmental education somehow increases wildlife protection. They are funding the interpretive signs for the planned entrance at Cotoni Coast Dairies; the signs, no doubt, will fail to provide visitors with either the inspiration or information needed for them to take meaningful actions to improve the Bureau of Land Management’s stewardship of wildlife at that park. Wait and see.

What Do You Want?
As you consider Big Basin State Park, Castle Rock State Park, or Cotoni Coast Dairies, ask yourself ‘what do I want for the wildlife of these parks?’ How would you know that you are getting what you want? In no case will you, or the managers of those parks ever know…unless things drastically change. That change will only occur if enough of the right people decide that what they want is important enough to act. In the meantime, please know that all visitor use of parks causes negative impacts to wildlife. If we want to conserve wildlife in parks, it will take a new level of dedication of parks managers to perform adequate carrying capacity analysis, monitoring, and adaptive management. That dedication will only occur with the ‘sticks’ that are luckily available to the citizens who are willing to use them.

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


#130 / Signature Lines

That guy pictured above, Lee Brokaw, is someone whom I would call a “community activist.” Lee resides in my own hometown, Santa Cruz, California. He’s a general contractor, too, which background often informs his public engagements. You can click right here, for instance, to see what Lee has to say about the quality and sustainability of newly constructed downtown buildings in Santa Cruz.

Coming, as I do, from a tradition of “environmental activism,” with a particular focus on “Growth Management,” I am not used to finding general contractors who have similar political views. In fact, I am not so sure that Lee and I would always come down on exactly the same side on the kind of issues with which I tend to get involved. Lee is, though, definitely someone who wants our local community to be “in charge” of its own future – and of its own present! We are definitely in agreement on that!

I was pleased to learn that Lee liked one of my blog postings from the middle of last March, which was titled, “Answering An Important Question.”

What was that important question, to which I suggested I might have a good answer? Here is how I put that question in my blog posting:

“Why do the rich have so much power?”

I answered the question as follows:

“The rich have so much power because the rest of us don’t use our own.”

Lee sent me a message, suggesting that I should use that response as a “signature line” on the emails I send – just to be sure, I suppose, that I don’t forget what I said, and to remind others to think about that topic themselves.

That’s a pretty good idea, and anyone who would like to append my question and/or response to their own emails is certainly invited to do so.

Lee himself, I note, has now incorporated my statement into his own signature line. Credit to Lee for his decision to employ the following, three-part closure to the emails he dispatches. They go out widely, and they go out often!

“Things are the way they are because filthy rich people think they don’t have enough money” – M. Lee Brokaw

“The rich have so much power because the rest of us don’t use our own” – Gary Patton

“Activism keeps me young.” – Jane Fonda, 82 years old

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



Surely you all celebrated the Congressional decreed National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of the month, despite the Constitution’s First Amendment demand that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” A groundswell of Christian Nationalism in 1952 brought this about, along with a National Prayer Breakfast and the adoption of “under God” being added to the Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God We Trust” becoming the national motto, which is also stamped on our metal currency. The Reverend Billy Graham provided the dynamics for these changes, with POTUS annually issuing a proclamation for recognition of the NDP. A scattering of local and state governments also recognize the day, which purports to welcome all participants, yet ostracizes the nonreligious, those who don’t pray and most religious minorities, making it clear historically and rhetorically that it’s a Christian observance. Graham’s pomposity was a call to Christian Nationalism, saying, “Our nation was founded upon God, religion and the church. Christ, through his men, directed the affairs of this Nation for many years. We have dropped our pilot, the Lord Jesus Christ.” A side note: Tennessee’s US RepresentativePercy Priest, introduced the bill that resulted in 36 USC § 119 proclaiming the day of prayer, while crediting Reverend Graham, but clouding his Nationalism in ecumenicalism…which the Rev did not do.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force, with its militaristic sword-and-shield graphic, is in the vanguard of the day’s activities emphasizes Nationalism with their 2024 prayer, “Jesus, we profess our faith in You. Lead us forward to dispel the darkness and bring light throughout the Church, Family, Education, Business, Military, Government, and Arts, Entertainment, and Media.” Task Force president, Kathy Banzell, wrote this prayer, and is author of her book, ‘Prayer Warrior: The Battle Plan to Victory.’ A pernicious element of Christian Nationalism called ‘dominionism’ references in the prayer, the Seven Mountains Mandate, a demand that adherents take dominion over seven “mountains” or spheres of sway in our society. The Washington Post’s columnist, Kate Cohen, wrote, “We shouldn’t ignore it. We should get rid of it.” “Our government should not be involved in telling our citizens when or how to pray, or that they should pray at all, our democracy depends on it,” writes Rachel K. Laser of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Arizona’s extremist Republican Senate candidate, Kari Lake, recently told a crowd, “We are going to put on the armor of God. And maybe strap on a Glock on the side just in case.” What? No prayer to start off the violence? She is blatantly manipulating Christianity for political and personal gain, with religious website Faithful America naming her a top Christian-Nationalist False Prophet in 2022, as she continues to undermine our electoral system, promoting conspiracy theories and propping up MAGA and Trump. Lake’s referencing “the armor of God” appears in the New Testament’s Ephesians 6 as a metaphor for spiritual strength, not a call to arms but to spreading a message of peace. But the far-right, clergy as well as politicians, insist on misusing the verse to motivate warfare toward the opposition, threatening to kill lawmakers and judges, while calling for the nullification of the 2020 presidential election. The New York Times wrote of Lake’s encouragement of violence, “Political violence experts say that even if aggressive language by high-profile individuals does not directly end in physical harm, it creates a dangerous atmosphere in which the idea of violence becomes more accepted, especially if such rhetoric is left unchecked.”

Billy Graham is quoted as saying, “I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” He got that right, but his religious blindness and science-denial led him to believe the Bible would solve racism and poverty, being grounded in apocalyptic prophecy. Then his embrace of both Nixon and Reagan opened the entryway for the hard right’s takeover of Republican politics…enter the son, Franklin GrahamThe Critical Mind writes on Daily Kos, that father Billy was a mensch compared to Franklin. TCM says, “Conservative evangelicals say they agree. They will not stop bleating about the 10 Commandments, moral absolutism, family values, and leading ‘a good Christian life.’ So when Franklin Graham implores his tribe to pray for Trump, I would expect the rest of the message to demand that Trump repent his sins – and take time away from public life to work on his faith and his relationship with his Savior to become born again into God’s grace in the expectation of eternal salvation. Just kidding. This sanctimonious hypocrite has no shame.” Trump only wants to be borne again…to the Oval Office! After all, Graham, like Trump, is blaming everything on political enemies who are creating this legal peril. The prosecutors, the judges, the grand jury all share the blame! Graham implores, “I’m not asking you to vote for him – I’m asking you to pray for him.” That’s the ticket…pray away the rape and defamation, the business fraud, the charity fraud, the educational fraud, and we may as well pray that all the little people stiffed by Trump over the years receive manna from heaven. Trump would be happier if we all just bought a bunch of his Bibles…get one for Mom when you buy one of Melania’s exclusive $245 Mother’s Day necklaces. Prey for money!

Axios released a leaked audio of the RNC/MAGA cult’s two-day confab at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, with the Orange Leader discussing the traits and strengths of his possible running mates who were out in force to parade their wares as an added bonus before the assembled donors. Trump took the stage to the recording of the national anthem by the ‘J6 Prison Choir,’ or as it is known to most MAGAs, ‘The Biden Administration Hostage Choir.’ The former president’s 90-minute tirade attacked Biden and his “Gestapo administration” as he rehashed the indignity of having to endure his unfair trials and the 88 felony charges across four different jurisdictions…with an extra helping of the 2020 “election fraud” thrown onto the plates of the luncheon attendees. Trump’s use of Nazi-like language seemed to go over just fine with the donors, being met with applause, especially when daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, presented him with a plaque commemorating the triumph of the ‘J6 Choir’ on the Billboard music charts. MAGAman introduced the auditioning wannabe running mates, revealing that they all had one extremely important trait in common – they really, really like him…and, a prerequisite, they all agree that acceptance of the upcoming election depends on the “fairness of the outcome.” Stand back and stand by!

Wearing her Sunday best as she paraded her bonafides at Mar-a-Lago was South Dakota’s Kristi Noem from “one of America’s top rectangular states,” as Aldous J. Pennyfarthing describes her, having added to her résumé, “capricious dog killer.” Noem endured quite a week after revealing in her new book that she gunned down her “untrainable” 14-month-old hunting dog, Cricket, after it attacked the neighbor’s chickens. There it is in black and white, an example of her grit, determination and wisdom, which was her only recourse when Cricket spoiled a pheasant hunt by her excitement having a great adventure chasing the birds and doing dog stuff. Speculation was that her braggadocio had destroyed the possibility of her ever becoming considered a VP selection, but there she was rubbing elbows with dog-hater Trump in spite of her cruelty, her reprehensible audition evidently meeting his approval. Noem says she had tried an electronic collar to train Cricket to no avail…“I hated that dog…she was dangerous to anyone she came in contact with and was less than worthless as a hunting dog.” The solution was to take her to the killing field of a gravel pit which only stimulated her blood lust. The “nasty and mean” family goat made her list because the “smelly, disgusting, musky, rancid” male goat chased her children, knocking them down and ruining their clothes. Back to the gravel pit! Tied to a stake, the goat caused her to miss the first shot, so she had to boot-scoot back to her pick-’em up truck for another shotgun shell to dispatch the animal. Pennyfarthing is drawn to his conclusion: “This is exactly the kind of cruelty GOP voters want. And they’re increasingly bad at hiding it.” The Onion was quick to capitalize on Noem’s doggy tale with this headline: “Kristi Noem Euthanizes Son After Disappointing Basketball Season. ‘I hated that kid,’ she is quoted as saying.”

Not so confident about Noem’s favorability is, which posted: “It’s been a rough week for South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who until recently looked like a strong contender for Trump’s #2 on the GOP ticket. In the midst of a PR tour she surely hoped would be a victory lap of sorts, hyping the release of her new memoir, ‘No Going Back,’ Noem has spent the last several days, well, going back, feebly defending the indefensible – she once shot and killed a puppy because it was a poor hunting dog – and haplessly trying to explain away the unexplainable – she invented a fantastical story about once meeting and ‘staring down’ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But wait, there’s more! Noem also wrote in her career-killing autobiography that her first priority should she ever make it into the White House would be to personally put down President Biden’s dog, Commander. Looks like Noem will have plenty of time to work on volume two of her life story, ‘No Going Forward.'”

Let’s not forget those GOP dog stories that are still in circulation: Who can forget Richard Nixon and Checkers? Or Seamus who rode on the roof of Mitt Romney’s car for a 12-hour road trip? Then there’s Florida governor Rick Scott’s adopted dog, Reagan, which was abandoned in 2012 for doing dog stuff. And Ronald Reagan’s dog – famous for humping Ed Meese’s leg? Two guys were walking their leashed dogs on a hot day when they passed a bar, so one suggests they pop in for a cold one. The other reminds him of health laws, believing it was improbable that dogs would be accepted inside. Determined, the first guy tells his companion to wait and watch. Adjusting his sunglasses, he walks into the bar with his dog and is immediately told to leave…no dogs! The guy protests that he is blind and has a seeing-eye dog, which gets him an apology, a beer, and a water dish for the dog from the bartender. The second guy, encouraged, tries the same tactic, whereupon the bartender tries to bounce him. The guy responds, “Hey, can’t you see I’m blind? This is my guide dog!” Response from the bartender is quick, “Guide dog? That’s a chihuahua!” Momentarily taken aback, the guy says in disbelief, “What?? They gave me a chihuahua??”

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.


“…go, shawty. It’s your birthday. We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday.”
~50 Cent

“Inside every older person is a younger person—wondering what the hell happened.”
~Jennifer Yane

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~Brigitte Bardot

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~John Lennon

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~Eleanor Roosevelt


Caroline Rhea is really funny 🙂

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