Blog Archives

November 18 – 24, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Development crunch and River Front, more about DeCinzo, Scanners, screamers and movies. GREENSITE…on results of hearing on the Wharf Master Plan. KROHN…Manu and Leopold and money, number of votes mystery, follow many monies, whose money was it? STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek Water Districts use of Trump tactics, County rebuilds CZU permits, debris flow in CZU areas, County and Covid expenses, Leopold says build anyway, Live Oak and Kaiser Clinic, George Washington and the bust in Watsonville. PATTON…A slight disagreement and party definitions. EAGAN…Classic Subconscious Comics and more Deep Cover opinions QUOTES…” CLAUSTROPHOBIA” 

...

APTOS TRAIN STATION 1910. Plenty of room for rail plus trail! 

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE November 16
     
DEVELOPMENT CRUSH. Guesses and predictions are running wild with the new Santa Cruz City Council election results. Covid is now encouraging Silicon Valley’s push to work from home, and so more of San Jose and Palo Alto are seeking homes here. In case you’ve lost track of just how many projects are currently happening, check this out…

Especially note the 418, 428, 440, 504, 508 Front Street project. It has/had so many illegal problems that it was sent back. It’s called the River Front Development. As Ron Pomerantz noted… “The River Front development decision was delayed for 1 month due to a late letter received by the Council from the Coastal Commission (CCC). The letter turned the meeting upside down. With Staff leading the way developers thought it would be a slam dunk in their favor. The letter bodes favorably for our 190 West Cliff appeals”. I’m predicting that Council votes on “affordable housing” requirements for developments will fall both ways with this new council. They just don’t seem to be capable to steer clear of Martin Bernal, our City Manager, and his pro-growth movement.

De CINZO STORY CONTINUED. So many notes, letters and articles online about DeCinzo’s take on John Leopold that I wrote a note to Jacob Pierce at Good Times about my longterm wheeling’s and dealings with DeCinzo. I said…

I too had quite a run with DeCinzo, and re-ran his cartoons in BrattonOnline for years…for free, with his approval. He pulled his cartoons from my site because I was “trying to edit them”!!! It was true, I and I still have all of them – including the ones I tried to soften. He drew many that were anti-homeless, anti-catholic, or anti-religion, and sometimes I actually whited out his labels. I couldn’t print such prejudice in my column. Stephen was/is also near paranoid about being seen in public. Never would he allow a photo taken. I had to call him by a fake name if a friend of mine would join us at coffee when I would introduce him. I think that Christina Waters tried to take a photo of us while we were at Lulu Carpenters… whew!!!

...

I still haven’t been to a movie theatre. The reviews of current films read poorly, and dealing with the seating, lines, and the improving quality of what’s online hardly makes it seem worthwhile

CROWN. I binge-watched almost all of the new fourth season of Crown last Sunday, and loved it. Margaret Thatcher, The Falkland Islands, and of course Princess Diana make for exciting and involving viewing. Super acting and gorgeous photography make it even better. It’s odd and curious how Americans remain so hooked on and fascinated by England’s hierarchy. Not one in a thousand of us could tell you who runs Canada or Mexico, but Elizabeth’s and Diana’s secrets just never stop hooking us in. By all means view this Netflix series.   

INDUSTRY. A young black student from NYC goes to London to handle a job with a huge financial institution. She competes, challenges, loses, and wins against her fellow young employees. Well written, great acting, extra fast moving with little script padding. It’s on HBO and got an 78 on Rotten Tomatoes for its first episode. 

MINIONS OF MIDAS. If you are a fan or follower of Werner Hertzog (Fitzcarraldo, Heart of Glass, Lessons of Darkness) you won’t be surprised to know this new “documentary” of his involves visitors from outer space. Herzog and crew travel the earth finding bits and pieces of meteorites millimeters across to craters measuring miles across that have some traces of outer space creation. This movie makes a strong case for extraterrestrial life, and for the idea that we have been ignoring messages from way out there. Good to watch.   

PERDIDA. A three-year-old daughter is kidnapped in Colombia. Her father searches the underworld and prisons for 13 years to find the kidnapper. Her mother flits through high Bogota society to find the drug lord who caused the crime. Good movie, sharp, quick, well acted. 

THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. This earned a 100 on Rotten Tomatoes, and deserved it. It’s from a novel about an orphan who learns chess from the janitor. She takes pills to cause phantom chess games, drinks, and in spite of all her weaknesses she manages to take on and beat almost every world champion. You don’t need to know chess to enjoy it.

THE HATER. A Polish movie about a young boy who loves the tech world and becomes an internet hacking genius of the wrong kind. He gets more and more involved in politics and infiltrates/hacks bad things into campaigns. It ends in tragedy but is well worth watching. 

THE ENDLESS TRENCH. Based on true stories, this covers Franco’s takeover of Spain in their civil war, circa 1936. For many reasons – like pacificism – many Spaniards went into hiding for as long as 30 years. They lived in narrow fake-walled rooms and dealt with keeping their families together. Good movie, and certainly shocks us into realizing just how similar and political our lives are today.  

CHAMBERS. A young girl is murdered. Her friend’s mother played by Uma Thurman (with an new eye job) works to find out why it happened. It’s lengthy, boring, supernatural, and full of horror attempts. Netflix cancelled the second season, which is only fitting.

THE LIBERATORS. In 1945 US Army soldiers – all from Oklahoma- start a journey from Sicily through France and Italy up to Germany to help end WW2. It’s done in “Trioscope”, which is a strange combination of animation and live action. I didn’t like Trioscope, and stopped watching after about 10 minutes.

SARAH COOPER: EVERYTHINGS FINE. Sarah is an online sensational comedienne. She pulls off her great Trump lip-synching, and is just totally fun to watch. Ben Stiller, Jon Hamm, and Marisa Tomei all get in on it. She also takes on Mr. Pillow, Melania Trump, Qanon and all in 49 minutes. We need more laughs like this. 

SECRETS OF THE SAQQARA TOMB. A straight documentary about how archeology works. It digs around a pharaoh’s tomb and will teach you much more about archeology than you thought you knew. It’s a change from what we “normally” watch.

ROGUE CITY. A genuine French (Marseilles) crooked cop movie starring Jean Reno and Claudia Cardinale. Gangs, drugs, and switching timelines make it a bit difficult to follow who is cheating who…and it’s good. 

THE UNDOING. (HBO) Nicole Kidman and a older looking and very serious Hugh Grant take the leads as a gorgeous psychiatrist who’s married to a kind and empathetic doctor. They have a rather plain looking daughter who has a beautiful girlfriend. Everything’s fine until a murder happens. Being HBO this takes weeks to watch and the first three episodes look good so far.

HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR. A young girl is hired to be a governess in this mystery based on Henry James book, “Turn Of The Screw”. She sees shadows and spirits and it stumbles along from there. Not much has been changed from any old mansion scary story. You can and should find something better elsewhere. 

WHAT DID JACK DO? This oddity created, starring and directed by David Lynch is worth about 17 minutes of your time…that’s the full length of it. Lynch plays a cigarette smoking detective interrogating a capuchin or orangutan monkey. The monkey may have committed a murder. It’s pure David Lynch nutty like Eraserhead. I didn’t like it at all, but it’s only 17 minutes. 

 DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM. We’ll never see an off-screen minute of Dolly Parton. She’s always on and always surprising. She’s written over 3000 songs, she’s 74 years old, been married 30 years and this documentary is wonderful whether you are a fan or not. Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin love her and talk about their friendship when they made “9 to 5”. Click on it.  

OUTPOST. Is an almost documentary made from a book about an American army Outpost stationed in a valley surrounded by Taliban snipers in 2006. It’s all war, little background, much bloodshed, tension, perfectly edited and another way to escape the boredom and questions from sitting in our houses wearing masks.

RITA. Rita is a Danish private school teacher with two children. Her daughter is dyslexic and her son is gay. Rita is completely fascinating you’ll never stop wondering what she’ll do or fail at next. She sleeps with almost everybody and argues with an anarchistic bravado. Watch it and her. 

BORAT: SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM. Supposedly a follow up to Sasha Baron Cohen’s earlier Borat movie. I copied some adjectives from other critics that I agree with…repugnant, filthy, incestuous, shocking, crude, cringing, appalling, harsh, repellent, menstrual and more. It also has a very strange actual scene with Rudy Giuliani and another with Tom Hanks that I’ll never figure out. Do not watch this mess.

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. This new movie written and directed by Aaron Sorkin is a fascinating movie , a good movie BUT it simply isn’t an honest look at what happened at the trial of the Chicago 7. Characters are added, romances are hinted at and Eddie Redmayne’s role as Tom Hayden is simply off base. Senator Bill Monning sent me a critique of the movie by Rennie Davis who is/was part of the 7. Former Santa Cruz Mayor Chris Krohn sent me another political reaction from the Berkeley Barb. They agree that this movie really adds a lightness and Hollywood touches to a very important civil rights stepping stone. Watch it but be very aware. I’m also proud to tell you that on October 30, 2008 our then State Assemblyman Bill Monning (now Senator) brought Tom Hayden to my KZSC radio program Universal Grapevine. We didn’t talk about his marriage to Jane Fonda and the movie doesn’t touch it either.   

BORGEN. I started watching this series months ago, it’s one of the finest series I’ve seen. Now the world’s critics and audiences are catching up on it. Here’s what I wrote back on Feb. 5…

Borgen translates as “the castle” in Danish, and I must tell you that I’ve been totally immersed in this three season iTunes saga since my daughter Hillary found and recommended it. It’s the story of a woman who becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. If you like politics and wonder what a politician’s life is like, forget any American versions and watch this instead. The show started in 2010, and from what I hear it won’t go past the third series. Forget “Veep”, “House of Cards”, “The West Wing” and the rest… Borgen is far superior. I’d give you your money back IF and etc….but it would be too much trouble, and you’ll love it too. Now there’s talk of a fourth episode to be released in 2021 with the original cast and on Netflix.

THE OLD GUARD. Charlize Theron was a big hit in Mad Max: Fury Road and she plays the same tough, unstoppable warrior in this one. A brutal, violent fantasy Theron heads a group of four immortals who travel through many centuries looking for a missing time traveler. They go through Morocco, the crusades, a crucifixion, but it’s well done and provides escape from our equally challenging times. 

YOUNG WALLENDER. Wallender is/was a very popular Swedish series started back in 2008 starring Kenneth Branagh and this new addition takes us back to Kurt Wallender’s beginnings as a police officer in his very first case. Wallender tries to stop a guy from exploding a grenade in a victim’s mouth, if that gives you any idea. I’m betting that this series will remain excellent.

CALL MY AGENT. There might be a problem in finding this one under that title on Netflix, if so try “Dix Pour Cent”. Billed as a comedy it centers on the lives of the talent agents and stars who work at a famous show biz agency in Paris. Tempers, jokes, love affairs, and much talent all get very mixed and still it’s almost riveting.

OCTOBER FEST: BEER AND BLOOD. Set in Munich, Germany in 1900 this focuses on a plot from a wealthy brewmeister to take over the stalls, stands and profits that another brewmeister has held for decades at the Octoberfest. Families get in fights, daughters fall in love with the wrong people and it’s a major film. Great acting, photography, and effects.  

THE GLORIAS. This bio-pic of Gloria Steinem is a good one. Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander and two more women/girls play her in this near dream like history of the womens’ movement and her part in it. Julie Taymor directed it and does portray Gloria as her real mini-skirt, long nails gorgeous self. Timothy Hutton is in it too nut he shouldn’t have been. It has much fantasy, dreams, animation and oddly placed moves that obscure the important view of women’s equality fights that Steinman was an integral part of. Bette Midler plays Bella Abzug. Watch it, and don’t snicker at the odd ball parts

EMILY IN PARIS. Lily Collins is Emily. Emily is from Chicago and is sent to Paris as a company rep. The Paris group doesn’t like her and Emily has a rough time adjusting to France. Cute, clever, time consuming, charming, and I imagine the series will be the same.

TEHRAN. It has a 93 on Rotten Tomatoes!! An international spy killer-thrill series. It mixes Iran, Tehran, Jordan, Israel’s internal wars with a young woman’s attempt to steal government high tech secrets. Complex, well acted, and if you can keep up with identities, you can continue forgetting about movie theatres.

THE ARTISTS WIFE. Bruce Dern and Lena Olin take on the heavy lead roles in this painfully, near true story of how parts of the Dolby Sound family dealt with the dementia and Alzheimers of old man Ray Dolby. If you’ve ever had to deal with these age old afflictions you know how deep the pain goes. 

CRIMINAL. This is an unusual series that consists of four different story lines on four different websites. There’s Criminal: United Kingdom, Criminal: Germany, Criminal: Spain and Criminal: France. All episodes were filmed in Spain and center on criminals each being questioned and interviewed in exactly the same interrogating room with a very important two-way mirror separating them from the cops and legal team. I’ve watched almost all of the four series, they are clever, well acted, puzzling in a good way and well worth your time.

THE INVISIBLE MAN. This got an amazing 91 on Rotten Tomatoes and I must admit I’m still remembering the tension, the scares, and surprising talents of Elisabeth Moss in the lead. She’s the ex-girlfriend of an optical genius who invented an invisible suit. It sort of looks like a wetsuit with knobs. So basically, he haunts her. The police don’t believe her so she takes matters into her own hands and fights him, wherever he is supposed to be. It’ll take your mind off all the stuff that’s haunting you nowadays, watch it.

THE VOW. 82 ON Rotten Tomatoes is just about what I’d give this documentary. NXIVM is the name of a self awareness, mindfulness group. It has masters and slaves and even branding women members in private places. It’s a documentary but not your average documentary. If you’ve ever belonged to or have thought about joining one like maybe Scientology don’t miss this partial opening of their secret doors. Just a few weeks ago (Nov.2) Keith Raniere, the real life leader was sentenced to 120 years in prison.

CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT. We’ve never heard much about this 1986 NASA shuttle flight disaster. This is a four part documentary with J.J. Abrams doing the producing. The NASA flight was done for much needed social approval and a brilliant, pretty, school teacher was included among the astronauts. The Challenger blew up in less than two minutes after it was launched and all the crew perished. The film shows NASA’s faults, details all the worlds reactions and will teach you some necessary features involved in our space programs.

RATCHED. Named and promoted as a back story to the famed Nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher in Jack Nicolson’s and Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” book.For some reason the hospital is changed from a military re hab center in Menlo Park where Kesey did time to a spacious retreat in Lucia, which is near Big Sur. Judy Davis, Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon and believe it or not, Sharon Stone are in it. It’s a gruesome movie with such scenes as a doctor hammering an ice pick into a patient’s eye or being given a severed head as a present. The lesbian sub plot is very insensitive, so is the sodomy story…don’t bother.

THE SOCIAL DILEMMA. This one hour and 20 minute documentary a Netflix original is so important, good, and timely. It focuses on the control the internet has over us now and the inevitable growth it will take as time goes by. The control goes much deeper than your searching for a toaster on Amazon and seeing toasters pop up on the next 20 screens you open. It’s about how Facebook, Twitter, Google, You Tube and many more. Are controlling how long we watch and how often we click on any site, then selling the data from our views to advertisers. They work hard to change our groups of friends to bring people with similar views together politically, religiously and change our lives in the process. My notes while watching say things like…the future and Utopia or oblivion, causing a civil war, ruining a global economy, prioritizing what keeps us on our screen, election advertising, existential threat, can’t agree on what is truth, assault on democracy and on and on. Do see this documentary and think about it and us and yourself. … 

RAKE. I’m still enthralled with watching RAKE. It’s one of the most consistent brilliant funny, curious, serious, series I’ve ever seen. It’s a Netflix feature from Australia back in 2010. This week Netflix introduced Charlie Kaufmann’s newest movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”. You need warnings about Kaufmann’s films. Remember “Being John Malkovich”, “Synecdoche, New York” and especially “Eternal Sunshine of the Eternal Mind”. “I’m Thinking” is one of his impressionistic, dreamlike. Psychological adventure voyages. It’ll stay with you for days after.

LAUNDROMAT. How could a movie directed by Stephen Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas be so bad? Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 41! The plot focus is on tax evasion, off shore investments; insurance rip offs, and is way too complex and silly at the same time.

...
November 16

MASTER PLANNING
Those who follow city council or read the Sentinel know that the public hearing on the Wharf Master Plan and its EIR was continued to Tuesday November 24th by unanimous council vote. The spark for the continuation was a letter sent to council from attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley, representing the community group Don’t Morph the Wharf! of which I am a member. Ms. Brandt-Hawley represents public-interest groups in preservation issues statewide. With razor sharp CEQA legal analysis she dissected and challenged the city’s conclusions of “no or less than significant” environmental impacts of the many changes that the public has decried. Changes such as three new proposed 40 feet tall hollow buildings that are out of scale with the current Wharf profile, the largest of which would cover the sea lion viewing holes.

Some council members had apparently failed to check their inboxes and missed seeing the email with the attorney’s letter attached. The email plus letter was sent individually to all council members plus to the general council email address, dated 1:43 PM Monday November 9th. There were no bounce backs.

At the hearing the following evening there were numerous complaints from council members about late letters, that it was sent to only three of them, that they hadn’t received it until Tuesday etc. Council member Golder opined that the letter was “a last ditch effort to stop something by somebody who’s not happy about it.” That “somebody” is over 2600 signers of an online petition, two hundred hard copy petitioners, the vast majority of the many individual emails plus community environmental groups. Supporters are few: city management staff; the city attorney; the Wharf manager; Dan Haifley, formerly of O’Neill Sea Odyssey; the General Manager of the Dream Inn; the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. Haifley previously publicly supported the Boardwalk in its effort to get approval for the 70 feet tall Double Shot ride that environmentalists (unsuccessfully) challenged. Also in support it seems, is the council majority. 

The Mayor twice ignored my request to meet and discuss the issue. Most council members seem to have been hoodwinked by staff’s insistence that there is an urgency to pass the WMP so grants can be applied for to save the Wharf from imminent failure. Without this Plan they say, no grants can be applied for. Without grants, they say they can’t fix the Wharf. Then why take 4 years to complete an EIR? What about amending the Plan, take out the parts the community hates, get the community behind you and go for the grants! No one is opposed to fixing the road and other needed maintenance. It’s the conflation of basic maintenance with new development that is the deceit. Council seems too overworked to notice. Or maybe some helped develop it. I did find council member Mathew’s lament over all the work that’s gone into this Plan and EIR and the time it took etc. to be disingenuous. Consultants did the work. The time delay was because they knew there was strong opposition to the Wharf Master Plan. They did an EIR only because we protested the lack of one in 2016 and Susan Brandt-Hawley wrote them a letter. They know they lied on their federal grant proposal to get Disaster Relief funds for the non-existent “severe damage” from the tsunami and then diverted those funds to the SF design firm ROMA to come up with this citified make-over of our Wharf and now they are exploiting Covid-19 to zoom it through.  

I was surprised the city attorney indicated his approval for the WMP. I don’t recall a city attorney ever giving anything but a legal opinion to council. He labeled it an “exciting time for the city and making it a more enjoyable place.” His justification to move the issue to a closed session at council member Mathew’s urging was to misquote Ms. Brandt-Hawley’s letter. According to him she wrote: “there are alternatives that may avoid the possible threat of litigation.” In fact what she wrote was: “Further, an alternative that eliminates the Western Walkway and the Landmark Building and reduces the height of new construction to 30 feet is feasible, meets fundamental project objectives, and would reduce or avoid significant impacts as mandated by CEQA.” You can read her letter here… [pdf] 

Equally questionable is for city staff to write an op-ed for the Sentinel promoting the project, as did the Wharf Manager. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? 

Next stop November 24th. It’s not too late to write. Just don’t trust the council general email (there’s a peeve all by itself). Council needs to know that the public gets to see the Agenda Report only a few days before the meeting. They should expect letters coming in on Monday and be prepared to carefully read them and be thoughtful in their considerations. Some council members need that reminder.

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.
...

November 16

Manu vs. Leopold

Koenig’s 1st District Margin of Victory, Is it really just about the $$$?
There will be much head-scratching as to how 1st District Supervisor-elect, Manu Koenig, won with almost 18,000 votes and by the healthiest of margins, 57%, over 12-year incumbent John Leopold’s 43%. What gives? The precinct totals are not yet in, but it would appear that Koenig ran strong in Live Oak and most other parts of district. Was it the TV commercials (Effective TV Advertising, NY, NY $7,998)? The constant Facebook ads? Could it have been the sheer number of small and large signs, many clearly posted outside the 1st Districts’ voting boundaries? Or, did he win on the issues? Koenig was a loud “trail only” candidate, he was supported by a swath of environmentalists as a result of Leopold’s approval of a Nissan dealership deal on 41st Avenue and support of Measure D where it includes money for widening Hwy. 1. Koenig also vocally supported legalizing “tiny homes” and decoupling parking requirements from new housing construction. What’s clear is that 1st District voters wanted some kind of change, but exactly what kind of change may not yet be so easy to decipher other than simply anti-incumbent fever?.

Past as Prologue
In 2016, a total of 132,165 votes were cast in Santa Cruz County. Hillary Clinton won 73% of county votes for President vs. Donald Trump’s 17%. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson the same year each captured about three and a half percent of the vote. With no 3rd party candidates running strong in 2020, Joe Biden received 78.5% to Trump’s 18.5%. Although Trump received about 4,000 more votes this time around, Biden topped Clinton’s total by more than 18,000 votes countywide. As my colleague, Bruce Bratton noted last week, the increase in total votes cast for Trump in Santa Cruz county is not only mind-boggling, it’s downright depressing. But, did it have anything to do with Manu Koenig’s run-away vote totals over John Leopold? We won’t know for sure until the precinct totals are analyzed, so it would be pure conjecture now, but that is what we do here. What is interesting is that the total number of votes cast in the 1st District run-off between Koenig and Leopold in 2020 will likely top 34,000. Remember, Leopold won in the June primary in 2016 with almost 80% of the vote and avoided a general election by winning a majority. Only 18,527 1st District votes were cast in that election. Same thing occurred in 2012 with Leopold winning almost 70% of votes in the primary and again, avoided a run-off. Okay, I looked back to 2008 data too when the highest percentage of county voters ever came out to vote for Barack Obama, and John Leopold. He bested Betty Danner in the run-off that year by more than 2,000 votes. BUT, a total of 22,609 ballots were cast in the general election run-off. Santa Cruz has not grown by 33% since then, but it would seem that the number of 1st district voters have grown significantly.

So, What Happened?
Many pundits are saying the US electorate may be moving politically leftward. Can we say that the big D, Democratic Party has moved to the left on national issues, or simply made leftish issues more mainstream? Democrats now seem to be supporting raising the minimum wage, healthcare for all, free State college tuition, and decarceration. The fact that these issues seem to appeal to most voters may mean that only the center of the party has shifted. Perhaps, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t as leftist as the media makes them out to be. On another hand, I know John Leopold supported Elizabeth Warren for President in the primary, and probably still does. I am not sure who Koenig supported. Not having the precinct results on the state propositions, it may be difficult to decipher if the 1st District shifted to the center or to the left sans Leopold. Was Koenig able to out-progressive Leopold’s progressive record while taking special interest money, some of it from the rightwing, and became the all-things-to-all-voters candidate? Time will tell. Perhaps the election of Drew Glover and Justin Cummings while Measure M, rent control, was on the ballot could be somewhat akin to this situation. After all, there were some shock waves across the Santa Cruz body politic, but it was not completely unexpected. Leopold, as a progressive, losing by 14 points when the most voters ever came out to vote in the 2020 general election gives local election observers pause. I would argue the outcome of the 1st District election is perhaps one of the greatest political surprises we’ve seen in Santa Cruz County politics in a very long time. Is Koenig more progressive than Leopold? Most mainstream progressives would think not, and Santa Cruz county voted in favor, with most other generally progressive coastal counties, of Prop.’s 15, 16, 17, 18m and 21, and against Prop. 22. While dissecting the result of this election will take some more time, it is clear the county’s political center has moved, but which way, is still out of focus.

Follow the Money, 
On the Oct. 30th financial disclosure Form 460, which the “Manu Koenig for Santa Cruz County Supervisor 2020” submitted, he had raised an eye-popping $150,462. In the last days before this form was due, some outsider money flowed in: $500 from Lewis Wolff (Los Angeles), he owns Wolff Urban Management LLC and former managing partner of the Oakland A’s; $500 from Christopher Booth (Oakland), Office Manager of Thornhill Property Services; $500 from Kim Hansen (Pleasanton) KMV Properties; and $500 from John Kawamoto (Foster City). Earlier he received other money from outside the district: $500 donated by Anthony Murabito (Campbell) tech patent Attorney; $500 from Ann Vaudagna (San Jose) Property Manager; $500 from Louise Stephens (San Francisco); $300 donation by Christian Guevara (Manhattan, NY) lawyer in commercial litigation;$1000 from Janice and David La Velle (San Jose) Property Management; and $1400 from James, Lynn, and James S. Vaudagna (San Jose) Property Management.

Non-Real Estate Money for Manu
Lest the Manu supporters say I am cherry-picking, $500 donations also came in big from outside of the real estate/property management class as well: Dick Peixoto of Lakeside Organics, John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies, Douglas Booth (Berkeley) architect, Chris Ippisch (Hercules,CA)Unemployed, Stefano Corazza (Larkspur, CA) Adobe Systems VP, Patrick Fitz (Watsonville) Fitz Fresh Mushrooms, Blair Paterson (Truckee, CA) Unemployed, Louise Stephens (San Francisco) Strategy KCI, and Sarah and Hassan Beykpour($1,000) (Littleton, Co.) both Unemployed. Go here.

Money Addendum
Taken together, those political donations equal a whopping $11,000 of money from outside the 1st District. I did not mention the significant amount of developer and real estate money from Santa Cruz County itself that was pitched in to support Koenig’s candidacy. Oh yeah, buckle, yup, Santa Cruz real estate-minded uber-wealthy Louis Rittenhouse, Ted Burke, William Ow, and Karl Rice all gave generously to the now 1st District’s new Sheriff in town, Manu Koenig. On a side note, it is interesting that the “direct marketing services and direct mail services” of Maverick Mailing, LLC, owned by Peter Glynn, was again used as the business of choice by not only Manu’s tens of thousands of dollars, but by the anti-Measure M campaign, the March Recall, Martine W*t***s, Cynthia Mathews, and Donna Meyers campaigns too. What is that about?

Next Week, Where Did the Leopold Cash Come From?
As of the Oct. 29th deadline, John Leopold raised even more than Koenig’s over-flowing political treasure chest. Leopold reported taking in $176,039, around $25k more than Manu garnered. The combined totals of well over $300k is some serious money for a Supervisor’s race.(Anybody remember higher campaign spending in a Supe’s race than this?) Two things that stood out on Leopold’s 460s: Cleansweep Campaign consultants of Berkeley were paid at least $30k, and Amber Jones of Santa Cruz received $10,000 both without noting anything under “Description of Payment” on the form submitted to the County Clerk.

“We should also push for tuition-free public colleges to avoid this huge debt bubble from financially decimating ppl every generation. It’s one of the easiest progressive policies to “pay for,” w/ multiple avenues from a Wall St transaction tax to an ultra-wealth tax to cover it.” (Nov. 16)

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

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

...
November 16

DISGUSTING MAILER SENT BY SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT BOARD INCUMBENTS….TAKE TWO
Unfortunbately, last week’s photo of the shocking postcard sent out right before Election Day by Bruce Daniels and Tom LaHue of the Soquel Creek Water District Board didn’t show up properly in the column, so here it is again!

COUNTY WILL HIRE PERMIT PROCESSING CONSULTANT FOR $6.3 MILLION TO EXPEDITE CZU REBUILD PERMITS
Beginning as early as November 30, people who lost their homes in the CZU Fire could apply for a permit to rebuild their homes and receive a building permit within 10 days. The consultant team, 4Leaf, will set up shop as the Recovery Permit Center in the 701 Ocean Street County Government Building’s basement Community Room (aka the cafeteria).  

 “All services will be expedited. 4Leaf will provide most pre-permit clearance and plan review services for Environmental Health, Public Works, the Planning Department and the three fire agencies with authority in the burn area, in order to integrate delivery of service for the various agencies with a role in the permit process. 4Leaf is well positioned to perform technical reviews and to address additional services as needs arise. 4Leaf will track the progress of applications from pre-application through final inspection. The contract specifies seven business days for initial permit review and one to three days for building inspections, depending on the volume of inspection requests in the system.”

Read all about this in Item #13 on the November 17 Board of Supervisor meeting agenda. 

The 4Leaf consultants and Recovery Permit Center will accept only CZU Fire permit processing. Everyone else has to go through the usual painful process with the County Planning Department.  The Staff report states the County Planning Dept. issues 20-40 single family home permits per year. Hopefully, the Planning Dept. Director Kathy Molloy will observe what the 4Leaf folks do, and put it to practice for the Planning Dept. to help other permit seekers.   

Board to review recovery permitting process, fees
On Tuesday, November 17, the Board of Supervisors will review a proposal for expediting permitting for rebuilding that includes hiring a specialized consulting firm to streamline the process, which requires approvals across multiple departments. The Board will also hear initial plans for how to regulate temporary structures and rebuilding on sites where there were unpermitted structures. We also will consider a reduction in some rebuilding fees to ease the burden on property owners. Read more about the proposed expediting permitting process, as well as the overall rebuilding regulations and fee proposal.  

WILL SANTA CRUZ COUNTY MODEL SHASTA COUNTY TO DETERMINE WHAT CODES THOSE IN CZU FIRE AREA WILL BE REQUIRED TO MEET?
The County Board of Supervisors will consider how best to meet the needs of over 1500 residents of the CZU Fire area who lost homes and other structures as they begin to rebuild. As many as 10% of those have been deemed built without permit, some from the 1950’s or earlier..  

Will those people now have to rebuild structures meeting current codes or will alternate building methods deemed safe and habitable be accepted? Item #14 on the November 17 Board agenda includes code from Shasta County. I find it refreshing that the code begins with purpose that references the California Constitution Article 1 Section 1, namely that:

ARTICLE I DECLARATION OF RIGHTS [SECTION 1 – SEC. 32]
(Article 1 adopted 1879.)
SECTION 1.
All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

(Sec. 1 added Nov. 5, 1974, by Proposition 7. Resolution Chapter 90, 1974.)

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CONS§ionNum=SECTION%201.&article=I

Furthermore, the Shasta County codes, amended after the 2018 Carr Fire, recognize the value of “supporting the use of alternative construction design, materials and methods that protect the environment, improve economic viability of sustainable construction, and affordability of construction improvements, increase participation and consumer protection through promoting lawful construction activity, enhance owner equity in the improvements of property and provide minimum requirements for the protection of life, limb, health, property, safety and welfare of the general public and the owners and occupants of Limited Density Owner-built Rural Dwellings and appurtenant structures.” (Section A3) These purposes thereby support the finding that “This ordinance will facilitate the availability of affordable, owner-built homes which are essential to the continued health and welfare of the residents of these rural areas.” (Section B1)

Contact your Supervisor with your thoughts:

While you are at it, encourage the Board to re-instate the Building and Fire Code Appeals Board that existed for a short time, composed of local construction trade professionals that reviewed appeals for alternative designs and materials. The County CAO Susan Mauriello stomped on that and handed the job over to the Board of Supervisors, who are not at all involved in the building trades other than seeking their votes.  

Newly-elected Manu Koenig publicly stated he will re-instate the Building and Fire Code Appeals Board when he is seated in office. That will be excellent, but he will need support of two other Supervisors, so start now with your letters and phone calls. 

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)

WATSONVILLE CITY PARKS & REC COMMISSION VOTES TO REMOVE GEORGE WASHINGTON BUST FROM CIVIC PLAZA
Even though over 60% of the more than 1200 people who participated in an online survey voted to keep the bust of George Washington in the Civic Plaza, the Watsonville Parks & Recreation Commission voted to recommend to the City Council that it be moved. The matter is scheduled to go before the Council sometime in January, 2021 after the new members are seated.

Read the good Pajaronian article and Letter to the Editor below and let the Watsonville City Council know your thoughts.

Parks Commission recommends removal of Washington bust | The Pajaronian
Letter | Shock over decision to remove Washington bust  
Watsonville City Council

CALFIRE ANNOUNCES FIRE SEASON IN EFFECT THROUGH DECEMBER 27
This means that we all need to be doing what we can to improve fire defensible space and home hardening throughout our communities. Take a look at the FireSafe Santa Cruz County website for some excellent information and to sign up for free chipping service for next year.

WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK…JUST DO SOMETHING.

Cheers,

Becky
831-685-2915 – I welcome your discussion

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

...

November 16 #321 / A Slight Disagreement

Back on October 23, 2020, prior to the election, The Wall Street Journal ran a column by Ted Van Dyk, whom The Journal identifies as the author of Heroes, Hacks and Fools: Memoirs From The Political Inside. Just to make sure that we fully understand exactly where Van Dyk comes from, The Journal further tells us that Van Dyk is someone who was “active in Democratic national policy and politics for 40 years.”

Van Dyk’s column was titled, “Can Biden Restrain the Democratic Party’s Left?” A pull quote, printed in bold and large type, emphasized Van Dyk’s main thesis: 

Voters don’t want radical new policies but sensible, unifying leadership and an end to angry polarization. 

I am pretty much in agreement with Van Dyk’s judgment, as presented above. The American people, as I think the election has demonstrated, would like our president to work to unify the country, not divide it. The country is also well and truly tired of the angry polarization that has been made into an art form by Donald J. Trump. “Radical” changes are not what people voted for, either. They are hoping for “normal,” for basic good government and a qualified and competent administration that makes progress on the challenges that face us, and that helps us realize our greatest opportunities.

While I largely agree with the general sentiment expressed in Van Dyk’s pull quote, I do have a slight disagreement with what I think both Van Dyk and The Journal were hoping to do with this particular column. The Wall Street Journal really objects to “socialism” (as the newspaper would define it) and has no good thing to say about “The Squad,” pictured above, who are known for their efforts in Congress to achieve more progressive policies – the kind of policies that The Journal calls “radical.” By running the Van Dyk column, I think The Journal was hoping to persuade readers (and our next president) that the nation should pursue a policy program not unlike that supported by The Wall Street Journal itself. 

In my opinion, that is not why voters elected Joe Biden instead of reelecting Donald J. Trump. I think the voters well understand that we need unity, and an end to the politics of anger and polarization that President Trump has helped promote. But I also think that the voters understand the overwhelming challenge of the pandemic, and are looking for very aggressive action by the federal government to deal with this challenge. I also think that voters want action not only on the health front, but action to make sure that our economy supports ordinary people – and not just the billionaires. I think that’s what the voters expect from the Democrats and President Biden.

I also think the voters are ready, willing, and prepared to find ways to deliver on the promises made in The Declaration of Independence – the ones that say that all persons are “created equal,” and that every one of us is possessed of the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some might think it would be “radical” to take real steps, right now, to end the continuing injustice whose origins are in slavery. To the contrary, I think the country is ready for steps to end racial injustice, in the arena of criminal justice, and in our economy, and in every other way possible way.

Finally, I think the American people expect our next administration to take the dramatic steps needed to reduce carbon emissions and to make what has been called a “Green New Deal” the center of a new national policy to address global warming, which is truly an existential danger to us all.

The Wall Street Journal is almost certainly not going support policies like those I just listed, but I firmly believe that the American people will. Thus, I do think that The Journal and I have a slight disagreement. We do need an end to angry polarization and divisiveness – as The Journal says – but the way to achieve unity, and to restore a common and broadly agreed-upon national purpose, is for our next president to help bring us all together to deal with massive income inequality, racial injustice, and the danger of global warming. Dealing with the global pandemic – also a priority, of course – is a good way to “warm up” for those even greater challenges. 

And greater opportunities. Let’s not forget that! 

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

...
...

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

    “Claustrophobia”

“It’s very claustrophobic to live a life which is not really how you wanted to live. You are forcing yourself to be quiet and behave like someone you are not”.
~Taapsee Pannu

“Playing the same role over and over makes me feel claustrophobic sometimes and smaller than I am”.
~Kerry Bishe

I like to be in a huis clos, as the French say – in one place. It’s something that in general can create a bit of claustrophobia. But for me, claustrophobia becomes almost immediately claustrophilia. I love it”!
~Bernardo Bertolucci 

[Back by popular demand! Thanks so much for asking! 🙂 //Gunilla//]

I’ve always had a hard time connecting with what historical figures actually looked like. Marble sculptures and old paintings can only show so much. Apparently I’m not the only one; this graphic designer has used her Photoshop skills to bring historical figures to modern life. Worth watching, for sure!


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

Posted in Weekly Articles | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.