Blog Archives

November 25 – December 1, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Masks and some serious questions, CAHOOTS and meaning, movie critiques. GREENSITE…words to council for the hearing on the Wharf Master Plan. KROHN…Joe Biden appointments ,Bernie and cabinet members, Manu and Leopold money and sources. STEINBRUNER…Huge development at 831 Water Street. PATTON…Schrodinger’s Cat. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. QUOTES…”SNEEZES”

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EASTSIDE SANTA CRUZ “KIDS PARADE”. October 20, 1950. It’s Soquel Avenue between Pine and Pennsylvania Streets. Wicklund’s Photo Store was there, along with Saffron, and Western Appliance. Way back on the left you can almost see The Rio Theatre.                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE November 23

MASKS…SAVING WHO FROM WHAT? 
It’s looking more and more like masks are just about a way of life now. New declarations appear to be telling us that they will be part of our lives at least into next year. With that in mind, I’ve got questions — ones even going to lots of internet sources haven’t provided definitive answers to. Are our friends who choose not to wear masks spreading Covid to others, or are they just choosing to not protect themselves? Are the clinical-looking paper masks that our doctors have been wearing for years more OR less efficient than cloth ones? Are the cloth masks better than the paper ones, even the artsy crafty fashionable ones that have some political statement? If so, then how many layers/thicknesses must the cloth ones have? What does the 95 rating have to do with it, and how can that grade be assured when you strap one on? How often must we wash the cloth ones, and do they require disinfectant? 

CAHOOTS. Action is underway to help change the relationship between our local police and the Santa Cruz community. For too long the public has been regarded as subservient to whatever and however our police force acts and reacts to events and actions by our neighbors.  Representatives from The Democratic Socialists of America are holding meetings, asking for support and looking for new ways to interact with the police that are also in hopefully new agreements with our city council, especially our “new” city council, and the County Board of Supervisors. Go here to sign a petition on re-imagining public safety… Think about the the infinite times you’ve suppressed your gut reactions to arrests, shootings, brute force, lack of communication with our police and with our sheriff’s department. Watch for and Zoom in on the next meeting of the Democratic Socialists; go here… to find the next meeting of the group that focuses on your major interests and concerns.

FRONT STREET-RIVER STREET DEVELOPMENT. Plans for developer Owen Lawlor’s plot to build 175 residential condos in 7 story buildings from 418 to 508 River Street along the river keep moving, above and below ground. Ron Pomerantz and Shelley Hatch are involved in a lawsuit to hopefully change all of above. They wrote an “op ed” to the Sentinel. It wasn’t printed. They sent to me…here it is.

“More huge projects await that intensify high-density development without adequate public transparency and conversation.                                     

High drama was witnessed by Zoom attendees on November 10th as the City Council and staff responded to a last minute letter from the California Coastal Commission (CCC) regarding the hearing for the 418 Front Street River Front development that will loom large over the coastal resources of the San Lorenzo River. Councilmember Cynthia Mathews led the charge with a disdainful attack on the CCC as “unprofessional, insulting, offensive, obnoxious, and disrespectful “, with Councilmember Renee Golder following on her heels with “this is super insulting to us.”                             

Let’s examine which entity deserves those harsh accusations. The letter reveals that this was not a last minute attempt to change or add conditions. The letter addressed previously discussed and established conditions the CCC would support in order to keep the project within Local Coastal Plan guidelines. The City and the CCC worked closely together to update and finalize our Local Coastal Plan in 2018. Since then the CCC provided guidance to the City on this massive and out of scale project in hopes of striking a balance between protecting coastal resources and providing critically needed housing.   

The CCC letter states that the City chose to ignore recommendations communicated over the past two years and outlined in a December 16, 2019 letter to the City’s Planning and Community Development  Department. In their recent letter, the CCC did not offer new information but reiterated unheeded information.

A City councilmember’s choice to spew the words “insulting, offensive, obnoxious, and disrespectful” at the CCC when the city’s own decision to ignore prior guidelines of the CCC was far more unprofessional and irresponsible than a last minute letter. The CCC had no choice but to send their letter because that is their charge and responsibility. Residents are accustomed to being ignored by the City Council, but disregarding and insulting the Coastal Commission is never advisable.   

The disbelief over the letter reminded us of all the projects foisted on us that could’ve been improved if input from residents was duly considered. But not listening and then declaring unprofessionalism by others is rather hypocritical, especially from a City that has pushed too many staff driven loser projects. A few to note: a hotel and convention center at Lighthouse Field, twin 16-story towers on Frederick Street, a twin city to Santa Cruz at Wilder Ranch, the 6-story parking structure and conference center across from the Dream Inn, and the Desalination plant. More huge projects await that intensify high-density development without adequate public transparency and conversation.                                         

The Coastal Commission letter professionally lays out how City staff allowed the developer to exceed …”those Local Coastal Plan guidelines established maximum heights by over 60%, and maximum allowed upper floor dimensions by up to 40%.”…”  Later the CCC states, “…the proposed project is inconsistent with the Local Coastal Plan’s requirement on maximum height, number of floors, top floor proportional relationship, and required setbacks and we recommend that it be reduced to meet the requirements of the Local Coastal Plan.” Another issue addressed was the paltry number of affordable units, 20 out of 175, even though the CCC had already allowed for enormous increases in height and density. 40-year old Measure O’s vote of the people requires a minimum of 26 affordable units for River Front. The City’s Planning Commission justified and recommended 35 affordable units. The City and the developer are avoiding providing the necessary number of affordable units to accompany those increases.      

We recommend that you read the Coastal Commission letter of November 10th. The staff and Council have again been put on notice to comply with the CCC’s requests or face the consequences. Participate in this matter to learn if the staff and Council listen to the CCC and our concerned Community”.

Week after week and now month after month… and 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

THE LIFE AHEAD. To see Sophia Loren at age 86, and see her looking like she’s 86 is a treat. She plays a holocaust survivor who acts as mother to some children of prostitutes. Her interaction with a Senegalese 14 year old boy is a neat piece of cinema, and it’s directed by her son Edourdo Ponti. 

THE MAN WITHOUT GRAVITY. Another Italian near-fable about a baby that’s born and then floats to the ceiling attached to his umbilical cord. What he does with his life, and his decisions about letting the world know he floats, make for a near masterpiece. Not too near Italian classics like “Life Is Beautiful” or “Amarcord”, but it’s still fun to think about.

VIRGIN RIVER. A young woman answers an ad for a nurse in a “Northern California” small country town. She becomes the target of a Marine vet with PTSD. Then they find a baby in a basket on a doorstep, and who is the real mother becomes a focal point. The former town Doctor makes it near impossible for anyone to be happy… and so on. It was actually filmed in Vancouver. The second season is about ready to stream.

THE 12TH MAN. The 12th Man is one of twelve Norwegian resistance soldiers who plan to blow up their Nazi invaders. The Nazis kill eleven, and the final brave survivor becomes the target of a Nazi general. The very most loyal locals help hide the man, who suffers terribly from ice, rain, and bullets — and he makes it finally and safely back to Sweden. Fine film (or movie) and it’s based on a true story.  

HAPPY AS LAZZARO. Another Italian near-fable centering on a young teenager raised on an illegal sharecropper tobacco farm. He leaves the farm, gets into accidents, befriends another  young boy and they become firm friends. But Lazzaro falls down a cliff and wakes up 10 years later. It’s impossible to tell you the plot here, see it, enjoy it — and try to explain it to your friends!

New Idea. The movies below are not ranked in any particular order. I’ve eliminated some of the most boring, time wasting flops…enjoy what’s left!!

CROWN. I binged-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 Britain’s 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 a 78 on Rotten Tomatoes for its first episode. 

FIREBALL: VISITORS FROM DARKER WORLDS. 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 QUEENS 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 a terrible but watchable tragedy and is well worth watching. 

THE ENDLESS TRENCH. Based on some very 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 all those years. Good movie, and certainly shocks us into realizing just how similar and political our lives are today.  

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.

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 son 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. 

 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.  

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.

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.

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 NXIVM 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.

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November 23

WORDS TO COUNCIL FOR THE WHARF MASTER PLAN HEARING.

Good evening Mayor Cummings and City Council. My name is Gillian Greensite. I am representing the group, Don’t Morph The Wharf!

Let’s be clear. The community is FOR maintaining the Wharf so it will last another century. Fixing the road, repairing the shear panel and replacing pilings as needed are strongly supported. What the community is AGAINST is changing the current character; the feel; the aesthetics of the Wharf. Changing its place in our heart.

Besides a thirty three percent increase in commercial space, the Plan proposes three new 40 feet tall buildings which are nothing more than hollow boxes. They could be much lower, though whatever their height, their function is to shield people from the ocean breeze, the out at sea experience that the Wharf now provides. One, the massive 6000 square feet Landmark Building at the southern end will cover the five sea lion viewing holes with no replacement sites defined in the Plan. The lowered western walkway will ruin the aesthetics of the historic pilings and displace migratory birds. The Plan significantly reduces the usable areas for fishing. It turns fishing areas into conflicting use areas. 

At every hearing, staff has said that this Plan is just a vision, a guide…that it will not necessarily come to pass.  That as each project comes up there will be opportunity for public input. Experience has shown that once a Plan is approved, future projects mirror the Plan. If public input so far has barely moved the needle for the Wharf Master Plan, it is unlikely to do so for individual projects.

We are told that grants to fix the Wharf’s road, shear panel and ongoing maintenance can be leveraged only if new construction is included. However the Wharf is a unique historic structure. Grants are available to renovate such structures without requiring new construction to alter the historic character.  And if grantors do prefer a Master Plan and EIR you will soon have both if the community’s voices are reflected in an amended Plan. 

We are told the Wharf is losing money. That the new commercial and tourist attractions will generate the capital to keep the Wharf fiscally sound. However during budget hearings, a department head said and I quote, “the Wharf breaks even.” If you want to augment the Wharf budget, give the considerable monies from parking fees to the Wharf rather than to the General Fund. This was suggested in the Engineering Report. 

What is driving this Plan is a desire to change the class character of Wharf visitors. To attract the more affluent to spend money on upscale restaurants and boat tours rather than fishing with their coolers next to their vehicles, gazing at the sea lions and using the public toilets that the Landmark building will displace. The city refused to renew the lease for Ernie’s Bait shop, now closed, a popular low-income eating spot, located in the footprint of the proposed Landmark Building. 

Council, you can do better than to accept this unpopular Wharf Master Plan and its deficient EIR.  Draft a revised Master Plan that reflects what the community will support; remove the Landmark building, the lowered western walkway and keep heights for new construction at or below 30 feet. That still leaves the majority of the Plan’s proposed Projects intact. Re-circulate an amended EIR. In the meantime, get busy applying for grants to fix the maintenance that has been neglected since 2016.  

It’s amazing how smoothly things can go when you work with the community rather than against it. 

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

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November 23

PROGRESSIVE DREAM TEAM
It will be instructive to see if Joe Biden cements a tendency toward ruling from either the center-right image in his cabinet choices, or will he appoint progressives, not only because they united around his nomination and helped get him elected, but because they offer hope and a future for the Democratic Party. Recently, two left of center groups, The Sunrise Movement and the Justice Democrats, unveiled their choices for cabinet positions, and they are pulling no punches. It is a list of nominees (climatemandate.org) that has been assembled using the rubric, “Climate Cabinet Criteria:”

  1. No ties to fossil fuel companies or corporate lobbyists;
  2. Cabinet should be representative of America; and
  3. Fights with the urgency that climate crisis demands.

The Envelope Please
Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont has already made known that he would not turn down a nomination for Labor Secretary, if it had something of “a portfolio,” meaning if he was able to pursue a pro-working-class agenda–expansion of labor unions, a $15 minimum wage (as Florida voters recently passed), enforcing worker-protection labor laws that are already on the books, initiating a national childcare program for working families, and advocating for expanded healthcare for all workers and their families. These groups also support Massachusetts’ Senator Elizabeth Warren for Treasury Secretary. She’s also made it known she’s interested. There are 13 cabinet members altogether and filling out the Progressive Dream Team are the following nominees, a cabinet that looks like America:

  • Rep. Barbara Lee of California for secretary of state
  • Keith Ellison, attorney general of Minnesota, for attorney general
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, one of the four congresswomen known as the Squad, for secretary of housing and urban development
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for secretary of health and human services
  • Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico for secretary of the interior
  • Rep. Chuy García of Illinois for secretary of transportation
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine for secretary of agriculture
  • Economist Joseph Stiglitz for director of the National Economic Council
  • Darrick Hamilton, an economist and the executive director of the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University, for chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Mustafa Ali, vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Missing Nominee: Director of Homeland Security
  • The Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats also urge Joe Biden to create a new position, White House Office of Climate Mobilization, answerable directly to the President. Their top nominee is Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for that position.

Final Question: Will Joe Biden make this be his FDR moment and can we, and will we as a national movement, make Biden a real progressive President? (Useful website: climatemandate.org)

First District Campaign Spending, Part II
Last week I ran through a list of moneyed special interests–real estate, developers, tech–and local individuals–Ow’s, Rittenhouse’s, Canfield’s, Colligan’s, Reiter’s–who supported the winning candidacy of Manu Koenig, the new 1st District Supervisor in Santa Cruz. Time, issues, and votes will tell if these contributors will have influence, but what about the end of the 12-year era of Supervisor John Leopold? Who supported him and who will presumably lose something as a result of his ouster? As reported out on the Form 460, each candidate’s financial disclosure form, Koenig raised so far $150,462 (a final report is still due), and Leopold (https://netfile.com/Connect2/api/public/image/194038999 ), taking in $175,039 through Oct. 29. Those donating to the “Friends of John Leopold-Supervisor 2020” campaign would appear on the surface to be from more local issue-oriented contributors. People like Paul Shoellhamer ($250) who has been working closely with saving the East Meadow on the campus of UCSC; Peter Klotz-Chamberlin ($125) of the Resource Center for Non-Violence; affordable housing advocate Ron Pomerantz ($208) who opposes luxury condos; UCSC professors’ Craig Haney ($250) and Craig Reinarman ($500) who are both active in criminal justice reform efforts; environmental attorneys Jonathon Witwer ($600) and Bill Parkin $250); organic cannabis Farmers, Garrett Badano ($500) of Watsonville, and Ashlee Mills($900) and Angus Mills ($900) of Corralitos; SC4Bernie treasurer, Jeffrey Smedberg ($250); homeless services advocate Jim Weller ($450); environmentalist Shalom Compost ($350);and Campaign for Sustainable Transportation advocate Michael Saint ($300). But Leopold certainly has his share of out of town developer and real estate money too, including: Developer Gary Filizetti ($500) of Milpitas who works at Devcon Construction; Realtor Terrence Leary ($500) of Los Gatos; Property Manager Geoffrey Flavell ($1,000) of Cupertino; Devcon Project Engineer Chris Clark ($500) of Los Gatos; Architect Evan Thayer ($500) of Portola Valley ; and also, locally, Realtor Barbara Palmer ($350)and retired engineer and pro-development lightening rod Mark Mesiti-Miller ($1,000). Labor unions kicked in for Leopold too: SEIU 521 ($1000); Political Action League ($1,500) of Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades; IBEW Local 234 PAC ($234), and SEIU United Healthcare Workers West Pac ($200) of Los Angeles.

Political Glitterati
In addition, Leopold had virtually the entire Santa Cruz county political establishment behind him including U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, State Senator Bill Monning, Assembly member Mark Stone, 3rd District Supervisor Ryan Coonerty, and most of the Santa Cruz City Council. That’s a lot of local fire-power. I have to believe folks are still scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong for the Political Glitterati. Was it Manu-messaging? Leopold’s 12-year incumbency? New voters in the 1st District? I heard one of the more plausible reasons Koenig won, because every registered Californian received a ballot by mail. That simple fact may be that universal mail-in balloting just might’ve brought out the kind of voters who were never previously engaged, were looking for change, and were affected positively by Koenig’s massive advertising effort and a candidate who appealed more to a demographic of younger infrequent voters. Or was it the visibility of homeless people on the streets of Santa Cruz and an inability of Leopold to project to voters that he cared and had a plan to address the vulnerable? Koenig seemed to portray himself more often as the candidate who would address this issue.

Big Money Winner
The big money winner from the Leopold campaign’s largesse would appear to be “Cleansweep Campaigns” located in Berkeley according to the candidate’s Form 460, but their web site offers a San Francisco address. It is owned by Michael Terris and Barry Barnes, formerly Terris, Barnes and Walters. The website includes this: “No firm can match the creative appeal of our mail, and this is critical as voters are inundated with images and messages all day long.”There were several payments made to Cleansweep Campaigns, looks like around seven totaling around $77,500 according to the campaign’s financial statement.

Footnotes/Addendum

  1. Peter Glynn. I heard from a couple of people that it may have appeared I was attacking Mr. Glynn of Maverick Mailing LLC. If so, I apologize. My only intent was to put it up on the radar screen, bring some sunshine to the subject and find out why certain political campaigns run with Maverick as the Koenig campaign employed, and other candidates go with Community Printers as Leopold did. Some of the responses I received were that Maverick does small batches quickly, and “the quality of his work is professional and meticulous.”
  2. I placed Shadow Brook restaurant owner, Ted Burke, among the “uber-wealthy” of Santa Cruz. He is not. He writes in an email that he owns two houses, is part-owner of an apartment building where his employees reside, and he does not own the building where his restaurant is located. Okay Ted, fair enough.
  3. I hear through the political grapevine that Bud Colligan, after helping orchestrate Manu Koenig’s successful supervisorial victory, now has his sights set on the 4th District seat that Greg Caput currently occupies and has indicated he will likely be retiring from in 2022.
  4. The $10,000 payment that appeared on Leopold’s Oct. 29 Form 460 went to Amber Jones, who was his campaign manager.
We must never ‘normalize’ authoritarianism. In ways that would’ve been beyond belief a few years ago, Trump and his team, through outrageous lies and conspiracy theories, are undermining American democracy. They must not and will not succeed.” (Nov.22 )
(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

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HOW WILL THESE TWO MASSIVE FIVE-STORY BUILDINGS WITH A LARGE ROOFTOP BAR FIT THE CHARACTER OF THE BRANCIFORTE NEIGHBORHOOD?

The quiet neighborhood of Branciforte and Belvedere Terrace wonder how the City could ever consider a project that would forever steal their backyard privacy, winter sunshine and peaceful residential quality of life.  Yet, the City has just accepted a pre-application for the 831 Water Street Project that would allow two massive mixed-use structures, both five-stories tall, with a 2,229 SF bar and lounge on the roof overlooking their homes.  Read on…

The 831 Water Street Project would add 151 residential units, all but two as studios and one-bedroom units, and 8,947 SF in ground-level retail.  Parking would be underground, with a double-level of “stackers” but would only provide a total of 141 parking spaces total.

Where would employees, shoppers and rooftop bar clientele likely park?  You guessed it…the neighborhoods on Belvedere Terrace and surrounding bouroughs.

How would you like having a solid five story-high wall of apartment dwellers staring into your peaceful backyard and home?  How would you like to hear the raucous whoops of rooftop bar patrons until 2am every night?

Other issues not mentioned in the Project documents include significant historic cultural resources on the site associated with Villa de Branciforte adobes.  In 1797, that area of Santa Cruz was one of only three secular communities in California.  It was the Sparnish attempt to build a settlement that would protect against encroachment by Russians, French or English colonizers, but not be affiliated with the Santa Cruz Mission across the river.


The Spanish government gave retired soldiers free adobes to live there in Villa de Branciforte.  Only one adobe survives, at the corner of Brancirforte and Goss, but the foundations of the others are buried, potentially in the area of the proposed massive 831 Water Street Project.

The proposed 831 Water Street Project architecture is very modernistic, and reflects nothing of the significant historic place of Villa de Branciforte.

Have you noticed the natural spring water coming from the rock cliff in this area on Water Street year round?  How would an underground parking garage handle this?

Please take a look at this unimaginable 831 Water Street Project and send your thoughts to Planner Mike Ferry.

Plan for 831 Water Street

Contact Information:
Senior Planner: Mike Ferry
(831) 420-5116; mferry@cityofsantacruz.com

SANTA CRUZ CITY COUNCIL TO APPROVE FREE RENT FOR   SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT FOR PUREWATER SOQUEL PROJECT SEWAGE TREATMENT SPACE
Soquel Creek Water District hopes to build two sewage water treatment plants at the City Wastewater Treatment Plant and the City Council will likely grant FREE RENT for the space.  Isn’t that cozy?

Soquel Creek Water District wants to then pump this effluent five miles away to yet another expensive and energy-hogging treatment facility next to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Center on Chanticleer and Soquel Avenue.  From there, the effluent, with added disinfection by-products, would be pumped to three sites in Aptos where the stuff would be pressure-injected 700′-900′ deep into the aquifer.  Don’t worry…the District plans to pump that effluent out and sell it to customers to drink.

Take a look at the documents here and let the City Council and arrogant Soquel Creek Water District Board know your thoughts.
You can find the part about FREE RENT on page 3 of the Lease Agreement:

4.3 Rent. Pursuant to Section 7.2.1 of the Interagency and Project Agreement, Landlord shall lease the Premises without monetary rent ($0) as a partial recognition of the value that PWS provides to the Landlord and greater community.

Many of the documents supposedly in Attachments are missing, including where the recently-included 9,300 gallon above-ground storage tank of caustic chemicals would be located.

View Meeting – OnBase Agenda Online – Consent Agenda Item #18

Santa Cruz City Council <citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com>
Soquel Creek Water District <bod@soquelcreekwater.org>

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT JUST WANTS TO AVOID NOTIFYING SCHOOLS OF NEARBY HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS
If you live or work near  Santa Cruz High School, Westside neighborhoods, or major tourist areas near the Dream Inn, you need to know that Soquel Creek Water District plans to install a 9,300 gallon above-ground storage tank of caustic sodium hydroxide in your area and is doing their best to keep you from knowing about it.

It was shocking last Tuesday when the Soquel Creek Water District Board approved major changes to the proposed PureWater Soquel Project treatment plant that would add a 9,300 gallon above-ground tank of caustic hazardous chemicals as well as multiple large totes of other hazardous chemicals at the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on Bay and California Avenues.   Rather than following the requirements of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and issue for public review a Subsequent Environmental  Impact Report (EIR) analyzing potential significant hazards associated, the Board instead approved an “Addendum” to the already-shoddy and inadequate EIR.  This sneaky route allows NO PUBLIC COMMENT beyond the perfunctory 2-minutes allowed at the Board meeting.

I attempted to provide thorough comment, and requested a Subsequent EIR be done.    Board President Bruce Daniels muted me during mid-sentence with no warning.

Item 7.2 on the agenda involves adopting an Addendum to the certified Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Project, due to modifications.  As an Addendum, the environmental analysis of these major changes are not subject to a public comment period, but are merely attached to the Final EIR that was certified in December, 2018.

The change that should be of greatest concern to schools, offices, and anyone living near the Chanticleer site (directly opposite the County Sheriff Center) in Live Oak, and the existing Santa Cruz City Waste Water Treament Plant on Bay and California in Santa Cruz is the NUMEROUS LARGE ABOVE-GROUND HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL STORAGE TANKS ON BOTH SITES.

Consider this:

1) The Santa Cruz City Waste Water Treatment Plant
To accommodate this treatment approach, a revised treatment facility would include a new chemical storage area within the SC WWTF’s existing ferric chloride chemical area. Walls would be added in the existing containment area to create separate containment areas for each of the treatment chemicals. The new chemicals include one 9,300-gallon tank for sodium hydroxide and one 1,500-gallon tank for liquid ammonium sulfate

(page 56 of the Board packet)

2) The Chanticleer Site
The original proposed chemical storage area would be revised to include four above ground tanks; one 5,800-gallon tank for sodium hypochlorite, one 1,500-gallon tank for sodium hydroxide, one 3,500-gallon tank for sodium bisulfite, one 1,500-gallon tank for Liquid Ammonium Sulfate, and one 16,000-gallon tank for calcium hydroxide. In addition, the chemical storage area would include numerous storage totes, including two 330-gallon totes for citric acid, two 330-gallon totes for sulfuric acid, two 330 gallon totes for threshold inhibitor storage, and two 330 gallon totes of hydrogen peroxide. In addition, a carbon dioxide feed system would also be located adjacent to the chemical storage area. The chemicals are hazardous and would be stored in an area with secondary containment.

(page 59 of Board packet: Board Packet

Both sites are within 1/4 mile of a school.  The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires any project to notifiy all schools within 1/4 mile with written notification 30 days in advance of approving an EIR when hazardous chemicals will be stored on the project site.  The District did not do this for the Final Project EIR, so it is very possible that the area schools have not been notified of this significant change in the Project that will add multiple above-ground storage tanks to their neighborhoods.

Please write the Soquel Creek WAter District Board and demand a Subsequent EIR be done for this significant revision to the PureWater Soquel Project.  <bod@soquelcreekwater.org>

How could the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Sierra Club ever have endorsed Bruce Daniels and Tom LaHue as candidates for the District’s Board???

APTOS VILLAGE GETTING YET ANOTHER TRAFFIC LIGHT
You and I are paying for the Aptos Village Traffic Improvement Project Phase 2B that is adding a second traffic light in Aptos Village  as a mitigation for Swenson Builder’s large development there.  The new traffic light at Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive will give the green light to Swenson’s Phase 2 dense three-story mixed-use development.

You and I are also paying for adding a dedicated turn lane on Soquel Drive that Swenson Builders gateway entry from Parade Street to their ghetto.  Swenson is supposed to pay for the actual crossing over the railroad tracks, adding the same crossing arm and warning infrastructure as you and I paid to put at Aptos Creek Road and Trout Gulch Road.

The Santa Cruz County Public Works Dept. is acting on behalf of the Swenson Builders as public agent with plans to declare eminent domain action against the business owners of the Bayview Hotel and Trout Gulch Crossing who own the land under the private crossing to Soquel Drive in front of their businesses.  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made closing that private crossing a condition of granting Swenson’s request for the new private Parade Street crossing to Soquel Drive.  Do you smell a cozy back-room deal?

The contractor you and I are paying to install the Aptos Creek Road traffic light, Anderson Pacific, is busy now ripping out the old railroad tracks and ballast.  It is unclear where they are taking the highly-contaminated soils.  Hopefully, the work will get done and sealed up before the winter rains wash the contaminated dust into Aptos Creek.

Anderson Pacific and subcontractors are staging equipment and materials on Swenson’s Phase 2 Project area.  I would bet there are cozy deals with the County as well, although the County’s Project Manager, Cristina Crocker, has assured me the County has no information regarding what, if anything, Anderson Pacific is paying Swenson for the space.  In the end, you and I will pay that sum as part of the Project cost.

This project lies within a known 35-acre archaeologic prehistoric site,

CA-SCR-222 located at the Aptos Village Project area. It is unknown if the County is requiring Anderson Pacific to have a Native American observor there as major excavation for drainage and railroad work occurs.

The site was not even mentioned in the Aptos Village Project environmental Initial Study that led to the County awarding Barry Swenson Builders a CEQA Negative Declaration…no significant impacts.  Assistant Director at the Planning Dept., Wanda Williams, made sure of it so that “it would not break the deal.”

The only Project mitigation for traffic impacts is the two traffic lights that you and I are paying for.

Write Public Works Director Matt Machado <matt.machado@santacruzcounty.us> with your thoughts about the traffic lights, eminent domain, and excavation in a pre-historic archaeological site.

Read more about the work you and I are paying for here: Aptos Village Improvement

WHY IS GOVERNOR NEWSOM SPENDING $734 MILLION TO REFURBISH HIS OFFICE?
When Governor Newsom is asking all State and local government departments to cut back budgets and do without, he approved spending $734 MILLION to remodel the area of the Capitol that houses his office. Read about that here: California’s Gavin Newsom blows $734 million on office refurbishment in the midst of a budget crisis – The Resurgent

Are you seeing an odd pattern here? “Everyone trim your budgets (except me).  Everyone refrain from large parties and gatherings (except me).  Figure out your own kids’ online learning (except me, because my kids are in private school).”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 hypocrisies show arrogance

And now, he is issuing edicts dictating how many people we can invite over for Thanksgiving, that we must all eat outside, but be gathered for no longer than 2 hours???
New rules for gatherings

A WONDERFUL ADDITION IN RANCHO DEL MAR SHOPPING CENTER
It is a delight to have Wonderland Toys now open in the Rancho del Mar Shopping Center in Aptos!  This great shop just opened, having relocated from the former spot at 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive.
Wonderland Toys and Classroom Resources

Go check it out, and support this and other small, privately-woned samll businesses with your shopping.

APTOS LIBRARY FINALLY OPENS FOR LIMITED PUBLIC USE AGAIN
Here is the latest good news from Aptos Librarian Heather Pereira:
We are hoping to open the Capitola branch in March. 

We are now offering a Computer Lab at the Aptos library. A computer can be used on the following days/times:
Monday, 1-5
Tuesday, 1-5
Wednesday, 10-2
Thursday, 1-5 
Friday, 12-4

MANY THANKS TO MICHAEL LEWIS FOR EXCELLENT WORK
I recently learned about and subscribed to “Santa Cruz Week Review”, the great weekly compendium of local government meetings and items of particular potential interest.  Michael Lewis puts this together every week, with hours of research, for the benefit of the people affected by the government actions. 
I really appreciate his good work, and urge you to sign up

MAKE ONE CALL.  WARITE ONE LETTER.  STAND UP FOR WHAT  IS RIGHT.   BE THANKFUL AND COMPASSIONATE, AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

Cheers,
Becky Steinbruner
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

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November 17
#322 / Tell Me More About That Cat

I have always enjoyed thinking about physics – not that I have ever really understood physics, of course. For one thing, there is way too much math involved! 

Early on, I wanted to pursue a career in science, but that dream died in high school. I am pretty sure it was during my junior year in high school that I just about flunked out of a course called PSSC Physics. I don’t remember what the “PSSC” stood for, but it was a brand new course, informed by educational reform efforts of the era. PSSC Physics was way beyond my scope. I didn’t do too well at the brand-new and reformed version of math they introduced that year, either. 

In college, a couple of my best friends were physics students who went on to pursue graduate degrees. I waved goodbye to my friends, and to physics, when I went off to law school, but I have always been a “wannabe.” That’s why I read non-technical articles about physics when they come to my attention. 

On Sunday, June 28, 2020, an article in The New York Times Magazine did come to my attention. In the hard copy version, the article was titled: “The Quantum Mechanic,” with this additional information provided on the title page: “For a century, quantum theory has reigned as physics orthodoxy. The Italian physicist Angelo Bassi is certain that it is not the full story – and that experiments will finally prove it.” 

Online – and I have provided a link – the article is called, “The Rebel Physicist on the Hunt for a Better Story Than Quantum Mechanics.” I recommend the article to those with any kind of interest in physics, at all.

Bassi (and he is in agreement with Einstein on this point) believes that there is an objective reality that is independent of human activity and measurement, and that it will be possible for human beings, someday, to use human language clearly to describe that reality. Perhaps surprisingly (for those who don’t follow non-scientific articles about physics), this is a distinctly minority view: 

The standard take on quantum mechanics suggests … that a complete understanding of even the objective, physical world is beyond science’s reach, since it’s impossible to translate into words how the theory’s math relates to the world we live in. 

Bassi, a 47-year-old theoretical physicist at the University of Trieste, in northeastern Italy, is prominent among a tiny minority of rebels in the discipline who reject this conclusion.

I have very mixed feelings about the debate that is discussed in this article. I have read about it quite a bit, in other articles, though I doubt that I have ever fully understood what I have read. Still, I hope that I do understand at least the broad contours of the arguments on each side. 

First, how could I ever think that Einstein might be fundamentally wrong about the nature of the physical universe? The article quotes Einstein as “pointedly asking one colleague if he truly believed that the moon wasn’t there when no one was looking.” I think it’s there! Whether we look at it or not. 

On the other hand, the predictive powers of Quantum Physics are impressive, and there is something I like, philosophically, about the idea that the ultimate nature of the Natural World (the world that we do not create) is beyond our ability ever fully to describe, and that the realities that we observe in the Natural World (including cats, alive or dead) depend in some fundamental way on our own observations. 

I think, perhaps because I don’t really understand physics, that I come down firmly on both sides of the debate. There IS an objective physical reality, the Natural World, which exists independently of our examination and description. However, the Creation is a mystery, and our presence in it is one of the greatest mysteries of all. To know everything about it would be the key to control it, and that’s why we keep trying to acquire some sort of final and definitive knowledge about the structure of the Natural World and how that world works. 

While our human impulse to control everything is well known (with that impulse having many positive features), it is my opinion that we should devote our main efforts to creating and controlling the “human world” that is totally subject to our human actions, and that our role with the World of Nature should be mainly to “wonder” at that world, and to seek to understand it in the service of wonder, and not as a means to make that world susceptible to our technical command. 

But as I say, maybe I don’t really understand what the physicists are talking about, and what they are trying to achieve. It seems to me that what we know, so far, indicates that we are, truly, “entangled” in a reality that is beyond our ultimate knowing.

If that is true, and I think it really is true, I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. 

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

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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

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

    “SNEEZES”

“I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness”.
~James Thurber 

“Be able to sneeze without sounding ridiculous. That means neither stifling yourself or spraying your immediate vicinity”.
~Marilyn vos Savant 

 “Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?”
~Jean Kerr 

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

We are moving everything around and really fighting with organization at our house. This guy has some nice no-nonsense ideas!


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

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

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

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