Blog Archives

November 1 – November 7, 2023

Highlights this week:

Bratton…Democratic Socialists of America and Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Chamber Players second concert. Greensite…is preparing for Thursday’s Wharf hearing (11/02) at the Planning Commission and will be back next week. Steinbruner…Pellerin’s bills, Aptos radio tower property, Watsonville airport runway, Aptos village. Hayes…This is fall. Patton….The one state solution. Matlock…Interest – free manna from heaven with a martini. EaganSubconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week. Quotes “Holidays”


NEW HIGHWAY 9 RIVER STREET INTERSECTION IN 1956. An amazing photo showing the new highway, The Tannery in lower right, CPDES hall center right, and the baseball field, the Sashmill far left, new San Lorenzo bridge in lower center. No Harvey West Park, and UCSC’s future site way up at the right.

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

DATELINE October 30

(this is from their latest mailer)

The local DSA internal elections for 2023/24 are here.  Elections have been moved to November to support the Executive Committee time for the transition. The Election Committee has developed the following as a self-nomination process. Please note the dates. Only members in good standing can run for office and vote in the election. You can check your membership status here.   If you are not currently a member and need to apply, or if your dues are lapsed, there are dues waivers available any who request it.

Donate to BrattonOnline

BrattonOnline is a work of passion, with varying contributors around the core of Bruce (obviously) and Gunilla, who have been doing this since 2003.

That’s 20 years!

We don’t get paid, but there are costs associated with running a website. If you want to pitch in, we are ever so grateful!!

The button below will take you to the secure donation form.


Nominations opened on Wednesday, October 25th:. Please use this Google form to submit your nomination/statement.

Saturday, November 4th: General Meeting – Last call for nominations. Google form closes and voting begins (for competitive committee seats). Voting will be held at the hybrid General Meeting in-person and online.  

If you are not sure about throwing your hat in the ring, you can ask to attend Executive Committee meetings to see if it is something you would like to be involved in, and you can find a description of the offices here. If you want to nominate someone else, the Elections Committee is asking that you please coordinate with them so they can submit their written statement through the Google form prior to voting at the general meeting.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS CONCERT. Their Concert #2 is titled Love and Thunder: A Road through Impressionism. It’s happening Saturday, November 4, 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 5, 3:00 pm. It’ll feature Chia-Lin Yang, Concert Director and piano; Elbert Tsai, violin; and Brady Anderson, cello. They’ll play Piano trios by Debussy and Brahms. Go here to get tickets and info

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.

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (8.1 IMDB).**You can find as many great and positive reviews for Martin Scorsese’s newest creation as there are negative ones. This is the biggie for Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and even John Lithgow plus a very heavy Brendan Fraser. It’s the sad and tragic story of how the Osage Indians who lived and worked and settled on the oil rich lands of Oklahoma were murdered and cheated of their lands by the invading white so called settlers. It’s also three and a half hours long and has some very long scenes that drop/lose the important plot. See it just for the depressing history lesson.

PAIN HUSTLERS. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.4 IMDB). *If you’ve ever wondered whether your Doctor gets hush money for prescribing your medicines this pseudo-documentary movie won’t solve your problem. Emily Blunt, Chris Evans and Andy Garcia do ok acting jobs in this not too subtle take-off on the Sackler family and OxyPharma/Fentanyl disaster. It’s all about hustling Doctors by any/all means to sell pharmaceuticals ie…Opioids. It’s centered in Florida in 2011 but it could still be happening. Not great, but involving.

ANATOMY OF A FALL. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (7.9 IMDB) *I dozed off once or twice during the 150 minutes this mysterious crime movie runs. A guy/husband/father falls accidentally, or maybe was pushed off a third floor of a vacation cabin and dies. There’s a blind son and a grieving wife to suspect were involved and complex plus numerous courtroom scenes to keep you involved. It’s complex, involving and an ending you can’t forget.

ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.6 IMDB).**A Polish movie about some kids making a movie. Friends since childhood, these teenagers fall in love and go through hell including a drowning. There’s all sorts of relationship issues between these youngsters and it’ll keep your attention…at least through the first three episodes.

BURNING BETRAYAL. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (3.9 IMDB). *A Brazilian movie about marriage and sexual loyalty. The lead actress looks very much like Anya Taylor Joy but she’s a better actress. There’s courtroom scenes galore and even motorcycle club parties with women involved. The sex scenes are numerous and well done…if you like sex scenes, but mostly it’s boring.

FLASHBACK. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (4.9 IMDB). * This quickie is only 16 minutes long and that’s enough. A Yoga teacher goes through a series of flashbacks through her earlier ages. There’s time zones and unusual memories that we don’t know are real or not. There’s also a character named Doctor Bones who adds very little to this fragmented plot.

CREATURE. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.7 IMDB).* This fantasy is based on the genuine Frankenstein plot…but you wouldn’t know it until 3 episodes into it. A father and son run a clinic and there’s demons and a dog named Darwin running around. The acting is hammy and the plot takes place in Istanbul. It says the plot centers on life and death and can life be created in a monster form. Confusing and not worth watching.

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.

BODIES. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.3 IMDB).**** Four bodies in four different eras or is it one body and four eras? This tight, tense, well-acted, big budget movie will keep you glued through all episodes. It’s from a graphic novel but you wouldn’t know it. 1943, 2053, 1891 etc. Is the body still alive? Are the four detectives related? Great questions and puzzling answers…don’t miss it.

OLD DADS. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.4 IMDB).* It’s billed as a comedy but I didn’t laugh once. 3 long time old friends share racial slurs, share tempers, marriage failures and even get fired together. Bobby Carnavale never was and still isn’t a favorite actor for me…so skip this one.

30 COINS. (HBO SERIES) (7.1 IMDB). A mysterious voice over kept me from watching very much of this one. It’s in Geneva, Switzerland and a cow gives birth to a perfect human baby! The main character is a priest in a small town in Spain. He owns some rare coins which may be haunted. Watch it if the sound track works for you.

LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY. (APPLE TV SERIES) (7.9 IMDB). * Brie Larson the actress/actor is almost too pretty to have any serious problems…even in this drama. She gets fired and decide to host a tv cooking program to teach special menus to her audience. She gets involved with coupling issues, racial problems, and has bad sex with a doctor. After that a dog narrates episode 3! Your choice!!

THE CONFERENCE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.9 IMDB).*** A very scary Swedish horror movie about developers trying to create shopping center (with an IKEA store in it) in a community in Finland that doesn’t know how it will affect their community. It goes from deep dark murder to nearly slapstick laughs. It’s well made from any angle and worth watching.

BLANQUITA. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB). *** A movie from Chile with a plot that centers on the sad life of a young girl who was raped, abused, and molested at a very early age. She decides to testify against the senator who was one of the guilty men. She gets guidance and help from a priest. It’s based on a real case and she gets vast media attention which causes both good and evil results.

PACTO DE SILENCIO/ “PACT OF SILENCE”. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.8 IMDB).* A successful media executive woman in Mexico goes on a deep and personal search to find the mother who abandoned her when she was born. She discovers four women who might be that possible mom.  Very dramatic, maybe too dramatic and it contains plenty of hidden issues.


Gillian is preparing for Thursday’s Wharf hearing (11/02) at the Planning Commission and will be back next week.

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.


October 30


Remarkably, first-year Assemblywoman Gail Pellerin had 10 of her bills signed into law by the Governor.

AB 969 makes it illegal to hand count ballots, and interestingly, “This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.”

Should the State control how County Election Clerks and local governance decide to run their elections, restricting what they can do rather than enabling a variety of good options?

The law now reads:


(a) An elections official shall not conduct a manual vote count pursuant to this article or Article 6 (commencing with Section 15290) in any election unless that manual count is conducted pursuant to a plan approved by the Secretary of State. A manual count plan shall be consistent with the regulations adopted by the Secretary of State regarding manual vote counts. The Secretary of State shall prepare a template of a manual count plan that an elections official may use to assist in meeting this requirement.

SEC. 2.

Section 15270.2 is added to the Elections Code, to read:


The Secretary of State shall adopt regulations regarding manual vote counts.

SEC. 6.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

In order to ensure that county elections officials know what voting system they will be using, particularly with the upcoming 2024 March Presidential Primary, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.

AB-969 Elections: voting systems.

Write Assemblywoman Pellerin with your thoughts.


Last Wednesday, during a public hearing, the County Planning Commission discussed the possible parcels to be re-zoned for dense infill development in order to satisfy the State Housing and Community Development (HCD) zeal to force all municipalities to show evidence in updated Housing Element planning documents that massive numbers of housing units will be built or face losing all discretionary control of local land use decisions.

The HCD had just returned a few pages of comments on the County’s draft Housing Element update.  The bulk of the staff report focused on a 13-acre parcel in Aptos near State Park Drive and Highway One, formerly a small golf course, and until recently, featured three large metal towers that served as radio antennae. The County now plans to fit 403 housing units there, and also preserve about 2 acres of open space.  Commissioners wondered what the property owner intended to do?  I found it odd that County Planners said they had no contact with the property owner, and that there were no applications for permits related to the parcel.

During public testimony, many people from the nearby Seacliff Mobile Home Park on Mar Vista Drive testified that no one from the County had contacted them about this large project (403 units) going in on the narrow Mar Vista Drive that is already congested with overflow parking, and has no sidewalks.

A man who said he was the real estate agent for the parcel declared that the property had been for sale for a while, there were no offers, due in part to the County’s unknown actions in rezoning and some past problems.

The final speaker was the property owner himself.  He described how he and his brother bought the land long ago because it was all zoned multi-family housing.  However, in the 1990’s the County suddenly zoned it to be Open Space, with no notice to him and his brother.  He described that he had met with then-Supervisor Ellen Pirie and protested what he considered an illegal taking.  Purportedly, Ms. Pirie’s reply was: “Well, sue us.”

Now that the County is again talking about rezoning his property, he asked the Planning Commission to restore the multi-family zoning to the full parcel.

At that point, Planning Commissioner Chair Renee Shepherd cut off the man’s microphone and told him that his two minutes were up.  “What?!” the man replied.  “Your two minutes are up.  That’s all the time anyone gets here.” replied Chair Shepherd.  “Well.  That’s really too bad.” the owner said, shaking his head and walking away. No other Commissioners or Planning Staff asked for the owner to be able to return to the podium in order to answer questions that came up about the parcel later.

Isn’t that amazing?

You can listen to the recording of that meeting by clicking October 25 agenda and the recording button.

The documents are all there for you to read, too.  I hope you will do so, even though the main document is 866 pages, because the County’s actions will forever change the landscape and quality of life in Santa Cruz County as we know it.  The Planning staff is now hoping to add 6,000 units in the next eight years, even though the State mandate requirement is 4,634…”It is a conservative buffer” staff assured Commissioners.

You can read the comments that HCD sent in response to the County’s Draft Housing Element update here, in the third piece of Correspondence.

Commissioner Violante asked why there was no strikeout and underline editing shown in the document to indicate what changes staff had already made in response to the HCD comments.  Staff replied that the Excel document platform does not support doing that.  She also asked what parcels had been removed from the list of potential re-zone lots, as staff had stated in their presentations because it was not clear in the document?  Staff assured her they will provide a highlighted version to the Commissioners…but what about the public???


A friend sent me this excellent tutorial that explains how Starlink Internet Communications works, but doesn’t hide behind the math.


She also asked about including a range of densities for various parcels, rather than a hard number, based on various unknown factors influencing how densely some lots could be developed.  Staff replied that they cannot change projections now because “HCD will not look upon it favorably.”

Commissioner Andy Schiffrin asked about impacts of density bonuses available to developers that would increase density even more.  He asked that the percentage of affordable units be increased from 15% to 20% because the actual percentage of very low income housing units ultimately gets diluted when developers are able to get such concessions.  He pointed out that the City of Santa Cruz has a 20% affordability requirement.  He stressed that the County should approve fees, not developers.

Planning Dept. Staff Stephanie Hansen stated that the Board of Supervisors “was happy with 15% affordable requirement, and instead voted to accept the Plan as recommended, but to do a Nexis study” to determine if it is necessary to increase the percentage in the future.  She made NO mention of the split vote of the Board on that issue, and that Supervisor Manu Koenig felt changing the percentage would not be wise because it could delay HCD approval.  Supervisors Justin Cummings and Felipe Hernandez did not vote in favor of approving the recommendation, and had wanted to increase the percentage of affordable units to 20%.

Planner Stephanie Hansen did not mention this at all, but Commissioner Schiffrin added “Well, I thought it was a 3-2 vote.”

Commissioner Schiffrin persisted: “Well, we are an advisory body to the Board, so we can make a recommendation that they increase the affordable housing percentage to 20%.  We make independent recommendations.  The Board can accept or reject them.”

The next opportunity for you and others to hear more about the County’s Housing Element update and impending actions will be the Board of Supervisors meeting November 14.  Attend if you can, and share the information with others.

Watch here for the agenda by the Friday before that meeting


The Watsonville City Council is debating whether or not to close down the alternate cross runway at the Watsonville Airport to allow for more housing to be built closer to the airport.  Given the strong safety need for pilots to use that cross runway for safe take-off and landing under certain weather conditions, and the fact that our County has historically relied on the Airport for emergency supplies in disasters, is the Watsonville City Council really thinking about the long-term public safety of the population at large, or their own fervor to satisfy the State building mandates?

A pilot friend of mine explained that had the family who crashed into the medical offices near the hospital in 2011 would have used the cross runway instead, that accident would likely not have happened.  What would pilots in the future have as an alternate for take-off and landing in the future if the Watsonville City Council erases that cross runway?

Please write the Watsonville City Council with your thoughts about any action to remove potential emergency uses of the Airport. Their next meeting is November 14 at 4:30pm in the Council Chambers on top of the parking garage at 275 Main Street. Check in with the Watsonville Airport Advisory Commission and urge them to make a strong recommendation to the Council to keep both important runways


Well, even though the County has declared it is now into the rain season (post October 15) and all earth disturbance must have a winter grading permit and install erosion control measures, none of that is happening at the Aptos Village Park lawn and Aptos Creek riparian corridor.  Please scroll to the end of this Blog and take a look at some photos from last week that include deep trenching vulnerable to wildlife, the public and their dogs.

I wrote to County Parks Director Jeff Gaffney, County Supervisor Zach Friend, and County Public Works Director Matt Machado to ask if there is a winter grading permit in place, whether Native American observers are on site (I saw none, but did speak with a “soils guy” from Archaeologic Resource Management (ARM) known as the “developer’s archaeologist”), and why there was no erosion control in the massive soil disturbance near Aptos Creek?

Not one of them answered. The quality of the lawn has been destroyed, along with the irrigation system.  Will Swenson repair all that damage to this popular County-owned park?

Has Fish and Wildlife approved dumping parking lot stormwater from the Phase 2 Aptos Village Project into Aptos Creek, known for having clean water for steelhead trout and maybe even Coho salmon?

Write Serena Stumpf with Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, and her Supervisor Wesley and ask.

Maybe you will have better luck with these local public servants than I did:

Jeff Gaffney
Matt Machado
Zach Friend




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

October 29


The short days and chill nights have arrived, and there is much more about Nature’s Fall to take a moment to appreciate.

Mediterranean Fall

Mediterranean fall is the transition between the hot, dry season and the cool, wet season. We must thank the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and a variety of other factors for the lack of summer rainfall in much of California, including right here on the Central Coast. Mediterranean spots are very rare on Planet Earth, and their unique climates make for very interesting, species-diverse places. The “rainfall season” starts October 1st. If you manage property, your target date to be prepared for significant rain is October 15: if you are prepared by that date, you will almost always be in time for the first big storm.

Now is Dry

The rain-carrying wintertime storms are starting to sneak our way, but we aren’t quite there. Meanwhile, it is the driest time of year. The tiny rains we’ve seen so far have only wet the soil surface; the soil is bone dry as deep as it goes over most of our landscape. The last significant rains were from a storm that ended on May 3rd and, prior to that, a wetter storm on March 21st!

To Wet Things

The first significant rain is one inch of precipitation, which usually wets the soil enough that it won’t dry out again until Spring. Although there are many soil types across our region, one of the dominant ones is sandy loam. Each inch of rain saturates about 1 foot of soil. I count the inches and imagine the soil getting saturated deeper and deeper, eventually pouring through to the bedrock and recharging the water table, raising the level of groundwater, feeding the springs, streams, and rivers.

When it Keeps Raining

If we are fortunate enough to have a rainy winter, the rain brings so much life. First comes the petrichor, the smell of the newly soaked ground, a chemical that has been shown to be akin to cedar scent, but you know it when you smell it. Fungus gatherers delight in the seasonal parade of edible treats from boletes to oyster mushrooms to chanterelles (and many more). The mosses and lichens brighten, coating and dangling from every limb of every tree. The dust settles and the seeds produced last Spring start to germinate, the golden hills blushing with green.

Fall Bugs

The dry summer means few biting insects, but there are lots of other interesting insects around in Fall. Over the summer, dragonflies went through metamorphosis in streams and ponds and now the young adults are hunting in the uplands, far from their watery birthing places. Watch for them in meadows, over farms, and even in towns. They are gobbling up flying insects, including the rafts of flying ants that came out when it rained a bit a week or so ago.


Each of the first rains triggers some insect or another to explode. This last rain produced millions of flying ants on the North Coast. The air was thick with them as they floated on the breeze, more like tiny butterflies than the bees that they are closely related to. One of these early rains will also trigger termites to fly. Both ants and termites nurture winged males and females that disperse to new territories. Different species seem to prefer to take wing with different cues.

Rain Beetles

Another insect flies with the first rains: rain beetles. These are extremely hard to see, but especially rewarding. Many of us celebrate the season’s first significant storm by going outside and getting soaking wet. Rain beetles are no exception. The male beetles make a loud humming-buzz as they seem to float around during the first big storm of the season, right at dusk, and always near chaparral with manzanitas and pines.


The first rain obliterates the very annoying canyon flies but also sets in motion the birthing of the season’s first mosquitoes. Canyon flies, aka ‘face flies,’ are the miniature flies that invade your eyes and ears and somehow make it into your throats, hack hack! They like the dry summer and even that last small rain made them disappear. However, whenever the soil gets wet, the soil-borne mosquitoes will hatch.

Newts and Salamanders Ahoy!

The first big storm also brings out amphibians. And here’s something you can do to help. I believe we are all pretty attuned to the first big rainfall, either by following the weather report or relying on a friend that does. As the forecast settles on the first storm of the season, stock up on your groceries and cancel your evening appointments. You’ll be safer and the critters that move around for the first deluge won’t die under your vehicle’s tires. Newts and salamanders await the first big rain and then they move around at night. They’ve been holed up in some burrow complex, pacing back and forth all summer eating beetles and grubs along a set of tunnels they have become quite familiar with. The night with the downpour means that they can move out of that familiar territory towards their breeding pools. And, move they do: in mass, across roads, in straight lines to their favorite pond.

First Flush

The first few rains also set loose a host of pollutants that have been concentrating during the dry season. Another reason to not drive on those first few nights of the Big Rain is that the roads are particularly slippery due to the concentration of oils that have leaked out of cars and plastered themselves to the roadways. After making the roadway treacherously slippery, those vehicle fluids then wash into the streams and rivers and flow out to the ocean. I have a habit of looking at the water flowing down the sides of roads in the City of Santa Cruz during the first rains and noting the continuous normally iridescent, oil sheen that is destined to the San Lorenzo and our precious Bay….so sad. If it is your job or you have any means of cleaning up the roads or other pollutant areas for that first flush of rain, I wish you luck in preparing for that, which is right around the corner. This also means you must pay attention if you have made any bare soil by gardening or farming- sediment loss is soil loss, and soils are a non-renewable resources, taking a long, long time to create.

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


October 28

#301 / The One State Solution

Yesterday’s New York Times, as it was delivered to my doorstep in hard copy form, carried a column by David Brooks, entitled, “Searching for Humanity in the Middle East.” That’s Brooks, pictured above.

To me, at least, Brooks’ column made a plea for the kind of politics that I wrote about in this blog yesterday, in a blog posting I called, “Lead Like Lincoln.” Quoting Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep, I featured one of the rules that Inskeep contends was key to Abraham Lincoln’s political leadership: “Lincoln didn’t tell his supporters they were morally superior to the other side.”

Brooks’ column – which I advise you to read, if you can do it, understanding that The Times may well have fortified itself with a paywall that might make it difficult or impossible for non-subscribers to see what Brooks said – gives us Brooks’ thought that “the Israel-Gaza conflict has pushed us closer to nihilism.” It seems to me that Brooks’ commentary reflects the kind of vision that Lincoln brought to the Civil War, and that Inskeep highlighted in the quotation I have replayed above.

Brooks’ column is not, I guess, totally “despairing,” but his evaluation of where we are, as we “search for humanity in the Middle East,” is not exactly optimistic about where the world is headed. Here are Brooks’ final words, in his column from yesterday:

It feels as if we’re teetering between universalist worldviews that recognize our common humanity and tribal worldviews in which others are just animals to be annihilated. What Israel does next will influence what worldview prevails in the 21st century.

Brooks, in other words, seems to acknowledge that the situation in the Middle East (and around the world, as people “pick sides”) reflects the exact opposite of what Abraham Lincoln proclaims is needed.

Brook’s column (again, I advise you to read it in its entirety, if you can) discusses three “paradigms” that he says have collapsed, or have come close to collapsing, this past month, as events in Israel/Gaza have unfolded. Here is the “third conceptual paradigm” that Brooks says has become “shaky”:

The third conceptual paradigm under threat is the one I have generally used to organize how I see the Middle East conflict — the two-state paradigm. This paradigm is based on the notion that this conflict will end when there are two states with two peoples living side by side. People like me see events in the Middle East as tactical moves each side is taking to secure the best eventual outcome for themselves.

After this month’s events, several assumptions underlying this worldview seem shaky: that most people on each side will eventually come to accept the legitimacy of the other’s existence; that Palestinian leaders would rather devote their budgets to economic development than perpetual genocidal holy war; that the cause of peace is advanced when Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories; that Hamas can be contained until a negotiated settlement is achieved; that extremists on both sides will eventually be marginalized so that peacemakers can do their work.

Those of us who see the conflict through this two-state framing may be relying on lenses that distort our vision, so we see the sort of Middle East that existed two decades ago, not the one that exists today.

In fact, and this is what Lincoln’s admonition recognizes, we are living in “one world,” and we must find some way to do that. The idea that we can successfully live in different “states,” each state hating the other, is an illusion.

As Israel was created, after World War II, Hannah Arendt argued for a “One State” solution. Abraham Lincoln would have been on her side, I think. After all, that is what our Civil War was all about. It seems to me that Brooks, as a longtime observer of the politics of the Middle East, has arrived at the same destination as Hannah Arendt. Perhaps we should all get to that understanding (and quickly, too) and start figuring out how to make it work.

The alternatives to doing so, which include a worldwide nuclear conflagration, are not attractive. 

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

October 30


The Great GOP Presidential Candidate Shakedown has begun! Former Trump VP Mike Pence announced he has suspended his campaign, with Steve Schmidt on his The Warning blog declaring Pence “a hollow man with an appetite for the prerequisites of power and the perks that come along with it.” Mikey declared from the start in 2015 that he was “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” even as he followed his President through all the division and malice that were the earmarks of the administration. He was enamored of the perceived power, the mansion, helicopter, Air Force 2, the fanfare and motorcades, the perks that solidified his place in the American pantheon, as he stuck by Trump’s side throughout the embarrassments, and defiling of the Constitution. He was declared anathema by the MAGATs when he refused to do Trump’s bidding, showing his disloyalty by declining to delay the electoral college vote count on that momentous January 6; and, while he did his duty during that insane insurrection, Schmidt says, “The single issue that defined Mike Pence’s service was disloyalty – disloyalty towards decency, humanity, and patriotism. He served a cruel cause with a cold heart. He well and truly tried to ride the tiger in pursuit of power – only to wind up inside…I hope the photo albums were worth it. My generation will be cleaning up this disaster for the rest of our lives.”

So, who’s next? Tim Scott is making a big play for one dollar donations in order to qualify for a place in the next GOP candidate debate, but his name may be de-listed soon, along with those of Larry Elder, Will Hurd, Perry Johnson and Francis Suarez. Some lesser lights are hanging in there, but why and for how long? Nikki Haley, while far beneath front-runner Donald Trump in the polls, has a heated competition with Ron DeSantis as her poll numbers now exceed his. Vivek Ramaswamy seems to be spending most of his time with both feet in his mouth, so who knows where he ends up? They all seem to be waving their hands in the air at the Trump Train in hopes of validating their relevancy as worthy second bananas. There’s always somebody that doesn’t get the message…the reason you don’t believe you have been lied to and brainwashed, is because you have been lied to and brainwashed…simple as that!

A couple of weeks ago most of us in California got the Earthquake Early Warning signal on our cell phones, but some instead got the worthy message, ‘SUPREME COURT BACK IN SESSION!’ No doubt this was spurred by the ongoing grifting revelations regarding Justice Clarence Thomas and his consort, Ginni ‘Imelda‘ Thomas. Their never-ending ‘handful of gimme, and a mouthful of much-obliged’ addiction continues to obligate them to their sugar daddies instead of to the American public and the Constitution. What’s it this time? The Senate Democrats have discovered Thomas never paid back in full a quarter-million-dollar-plus loan from ‘a friend’ to buy a high-end recreational vehicle in 1999. The five year term saw the Thomas twins paying only the interest of about $20K annually before the term was extended to ten years. The Senate committee concluded that the loan was never paid in full and none of the principal was satisfied, though other documentation is being sought to conclude their findings.

Health care executive, Anthony Welters, who was the cash-cow for the loan has written a note, dated November 2008, indicated he was seeking no further payments because he believed Thomas’ annual payments exceeded the total purchase price of the Prevost Marathon Le Mirage XL RV. Talk about mirages! The nine years of interest payments would still leave about an $87K shortfall for the total loan amount which at this juncture should be considered taxable income for the Justice, a figure which seems to be suspiciously missing from his 2008 financial disclosure report. The ethics lapses in Thomas’ ‘gimme’ lifestyle continue to mount, further damaging the public’s opinions of government officials, and in this case, the Supreme Court’s which has been mum on the many disclosures. Our citizenry would be much obliged if the Thomases would just come clean instead of letting the situation fester…show us the documentation of your compliance, your innocence…where are the receipts? If Senator Robert Menendez and his wife are being taken to task over their indiscretions, why not Clarence and Ginni?

It is said that Vladimir Putin bought American…he purchased one Trump and got the whole Republican party for free! And now he has the added bonus of a House Speaker in Louisiana’s Mike Johnson, hand-picked enthusiastically by none other than Mr. Trump himself. The House had a close call when it came reasonably close to electing Gym Jordan to the position, but the GOP thought better and elected a guy who will wear a suit jacket instead. Johnson is known as an ‘election denier.’ But it goes much deeper, since he supported a Texas group’s bid to overturn the election while working in conjunction with others to overturn electoral college votes in four swing states. Prior to his four term stint in Congress, Johnson was a senior lawyer and national spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative group which opposes abortion, same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights. In what has now become a familiar hardcore Christian nationalist formulation, Johnson touted during his 2016 Congressional race, “I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a lifelong conservative, constitutional law attorney and a small business owner in that order, and I think that order is important. I have been called to legal ministry and I’ve been out on the front lines of the ‘culture war’ defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage, and other ideals like these when they’ve been under assault.”

Meidas Touch calls out the new Speaker, an opponent of gun control legislation, for blaming the recent mass shootings in Maine on both teaching evolution and abortion. Speaking at the Christian Center in Shreveport in 2016, he said that a “series of cultural shifts” in this country, led by ‘elites’ and ‘academics’ back in the 1930s who endorsed Charles Darwin’s theories erased the influence of Christian thinking and creationism from society. His religious fundamentalism marks his life and career, and he advocates for return of prayer in public schools, as he derides the “so-called separation of church and state” on the House floor, arguing that our nation’s founders did not establish the separation to prevent religion from influencing government, but rather to impede the government from restricting the influence and free exercise of religion.

Trump’s newly christened (CHRIST-ened?) lackey’s resemblance to Clark Kent may serve to conceal his full nut-job MAGAness, but we shouldn’t be fooled…he is a full-on, rabid election denier, a Bible-thumper who will bash your head in with his holy book if you don’t follow his brand of worship and his interpretation of the First Amendment. He fits in with the GOP brand very well with his denial of climate-change while getting big bucks from the oil and gas companies, is against raising the federal minimum wage, and is in the forefront of the drive to cut Social SecurityMedicare and Medicaid. So, did the House Circus get what they wanted out of their inept procedure of selecting a new leader? Mike who? Obviously, not by a long shot! Remember…93% of the House GOP voted against dumping Kevin McCarthy, who was an effective party fund raiser. Now they have a powerless, unproven nobody who has already started an irritating glut of an email campaign to introduce himself…and oh, can you send money?

What it all boils down to is that the Republican House will continue to be run by committees, each in their own tiny enclaves, doing what they wish with nobody to stop them. Speaker Johnson can take whatever position he wants on a whole range of issues, but he will be bulldozed by the committee chairs who know what they are doing, and who have the power and influence to do so, leaving Johnson’s crown perilously askew. Next up? Think the GOP might come up with someone who believes in democracy, rather than one who believes he is being ordained by his god? That would be manna from heaven! Kind of reminds one of the statement by Charles de Gaulle, “How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?”

The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz couldn’t let the ascendance of Mike Johnson pass by without some of his humor: In a stirring acceptance speech after being elected Speaker of the House, Representative Mike Johnson vowed to be “the greatest Speaker of the seventeenth century. For years, time travel was the stuff of science fiction,” he said. “Now as I take this majestic nation back four hundred years, I will make that dream a reality.” Noting that LGBTQ and women’s rights would be subject to his review, he said that he would also be taking a “hard look at some other so-called innovations, such as electricity and soap. My message to the American people is simple: I work for thee,” he said. When a reporter pointed out that there was no such thing as a Speaker of the House in the seventeenth century, Johnson replied, “I see you’ve been reading history books. Enjoy them while you can.”

And what we’ve all been waiting for, the promise of Artificial Intelligence: A guy goes into a bar that has a robot bartender and orders a martini. The robot brings him the best martini ever, and asks the man, “What’s your IQ?” A bit taken aback, nevertheless he answers, “168.” The robot then proceeds to discuss physics, space exploration, and medical technology. The guy leaves, but remaining curious, he goes back to the bar and orders another martini. With a great martini in hand, the robot asks him again, “What’s your IQ?” This time the guy answers, “100,” which prompts the robot to talk about NASCAR, Budweiser, and John Deere tractors. Exiting the bar, the guy’s curiosity is further aroused, so he goes back inside, orders a martini, and is met with the same question, “What’s your IQ?” This time he answers, “Oh, about 50,” and with that the robot moves in closer and says, “Isn’t it terrible the way Biden stole the election?”

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.


“During the first 13 centuries after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, no one thought of setting up a crèche to celebrate Christmas. The pre-eminent Christian holiday was Easter, not Christmas”.     
~Nancy Pearcey

“The holidays make her feel as if she’s supposed to be in a cuddle, since everybody else suddenly seems paired off, like mittens, slippers or AA batteries.”       
~Gina Barreca

“Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa.”
~Bart Simpson.

“Once again, we come to the holiday season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”
~Dave Barry


DID YOU KNOW? is a “Social Studies Podcast” on YouTube. I’m not sure when podcasts went from being audio to being video, but I’ve seen a LOT of the lately…

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:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
Cell phone: 831 212-3273
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @

Posted in Weekly Articles | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *