Blog Archives

October 11 – 17, 2023

Highlights this week:

Bratton… Peoples Democratic Club of Santa Cruz, Chamber Players. Greensite…will be back next week, really. Steinbruner LAFCO, Soquel Creek Water District, Aptos Village, and more… Hayes…slowing down or rushing? Patton…Yellow Knife…Matlock…imaginary lightning strikes and high standards. Eagan …Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week: Drunk History on Halloween… Quotes… “Spiderwebs” 


SANTA CRUZ BEACH & BOARDWALK 1940. This photo contains plenty of long ago history, By squinting you can see what used to be Opera Island over by the east parking lot in the San Lorenzo River. Note too The Casa Del Rey Hotel later turned into a senior center later razed rapidly (1989) by Charlie Canfield /Boardwalk to get FEMA earthquake money. Of course you notice the pier running out from the Boardwalk. Then there’s The La Bahia Hotel.  

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

DATELINE October 9

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC CLUB. With new energy the folks at the Peoples Democratic Club of Santa Cruz (PDC) reconvened last Saturday after the covid lull. I got there and was delighted to see Brian Murtha and others so eager to get their political wisdom back online and into the voting booths.  Check here, and even though it’s not quite up to date it’s the reconnection that works.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. Present their concert #1 of this season titled Music of Hope. It features Rebecca Jackson, violin…Jessica Chang, viola… Samantha Cho, piano…  Katie Youn, cello & concert director. They will be performing music by Brahms, Enescu, Mahler, Nazaykinskaya, Shaw, Simon, and Wie on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 7:30 PM and SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 3:00 PM. As usual the concert will be at Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive, in Aptos… uphill from the CHP Headquarters. The four women players are part of “SAGE, a musician’s collective appearing with the Santa Cruz Chamber Players for the first time, will perform music that paints a vivid portrait of the emotional consequences that the pandemic has had on us all. The concert begins with works about COVID-19 by SF composer, educator, and performer Jungyoon Wie and Composer-in-Residence at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Carlos Simon. Also featured is Caroline Shaw’s Limestone and Felt, which Shaw writes, “may represent two opposing ways we experience history and design our own present”, and Polina Nazakinskya’s Hope. The program, which includes Mahler’s Piano Quartet, Enescu’s Aubade for String Trio, and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in c minor, creates an astounding vision of our shared experience—one that transcends boundaries and inspires hope! Go here for tickets and data. Once again, that’s SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 7:30 PM and SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 3:00 PM.

MUNCHING WITH MOZART & FRIENDS. This free concert series happens every third Friday in the upstairs meeting room of the Downtown Library. This will be Music for Violin and Piano with Brian Johnston, violin and Vlada Volkova-Moran, piano. That’s Friday October 20 at about 12 noon.

I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.

BECKHAM. (NETFLIX SERIES) (8.5 IMDB). Not being a soccer or “football” fan as they call it in England, I had little idea of who David Beckham was…or is. He’s the greatest soccer star to ever make it bigtime. This excellent documentary takes us through his entire life from total 100% fame and love to absolute hell and disgust from every soccer fan in the world. He marries a Spice Girl, worries about kidnapping, and restores his fame and reputation after making a terrible mistake in one of his games. Go For it.

KHUFIYA. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.2 IMDB). This slow moving movie deals with the Pakistan vs. India war. It drifts from the spy driven plot and has many of the musical minutes that India movies keep inserting. There’s lung cancer, possible lesbian love the CIA, Osama Bin Laden and it still drags.

THE WONDERFUL STORY OF HENRY SUGAR. (NETFLIX MOVIES) (7.5 IMDB) (new addition) **** Wes Andersen took four stories by Roald Dahl and made simply fabulous and totally engrossing movies from them. First there’s “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” (39 minutes) which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley and Dev Patel. Immediately next on Netflix is “The Rat Catcher” (6.7 IMDB) featuring Rupert Friend and Ralph Fiennes. Licorice lovers should heed advance warnings on that one! Then there’s “The Swan” (18 minutes) (6.9 IMDB). Again starring Rupert Friend and Ralph Fiennes, The Swan deals and nearly faces some gruesome facets of human depravity…added as the fourth of the Dahl & Anderson group is POISON. (17 MINUTES). (6.9 IMDB). This short movie has all the casts of the previous films. Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. It’s an impossible and intense story with Cumberbatch in a hospital bed with the possibility of a poisonous snake lying in wait on his stomach. Go for the four of these by all means.

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

FORGOTTEN LOVE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.6 IMDB). *** A well-meaning and nearly famous doctor / professor who lost his memory after an attack on the street by some thugs spends his days inundated by friends and neighbors who need his doctoring. It’s a sad unveiling of the difference between the rich and the poor. A bit corny and predictable but magnetic and you’ll stay with it.

SONG OF THE BANDITS. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.2IMDB). **   An unusual slice of history when the Japanese attacked and murdered more than 5000 Koreans in 1915. This movie comes across almost like our westerns when the cowboys murdered our Indians. It’s fast moving, much blood and the violence is almost in the comedy department. Worth checking out.

THURSDAYS WIDOW. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.01 IMDB). ** This production has a point to make and it’s aimed at the differences or maybe the similarities between the rich and the poor. It all happens in Mexico and throws in plastic surgery, lots of politics and bold statements against the hired help. It will result in your thinking about the class differences you’ve seen in your lifetime.

October 9

Will be back next week.

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

October 9

Last Wednesday, the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) gave the green light for Renaissance High School on San Andreas Road to purchase water from Soquel Creek Water District under an Extra-Territorial Agreement. That means the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the Water District can move forward quickly to install necessary pipes and equipment to supply the students and staff water that is not so high in Chromium 6, a carcinogen, and not have to formally annex the parcel to the District’s service boundaries. The process is much faster, and less expensive.

My question to the Commission was why the Agreement does not also include the adjacent KOA Campground, also on a private well and likely having issues with Chromium 6 levels. It is the nature of the groundwater in that area of the Aromas Red Sands Aquifer, and LAFCO’ s report last year had recommended Soquel Creek Water District provide service to Renaissance High School and the KOA Campground.

No one on the Commission addressed my question.

It was interesting that LAFCO approved one other such Extra-Territorial Agreement in the Scotts Valley area for sewer connection to a parcel in the Manana Woods area subdivision.

Previously, LAFCO has approved such agreements for expediency and the areas later were annexed.

Last Wednesday, the Santa Cruz County LAFCO also finalized the dissolution of the Branciforte Fire District, moving the annexation of that area with Scotts Valley Fire District. This means the residents of Happy Valley area will hand over all assets (their fire station, fire engines, equipment, land) as well as property tax assessments, the Measure T special tax they approved in 2016 to fund equipment for their fire station, and also a $500,000 gift by the Barnes Family Trust. It remains to be seen what level of control or reprentation the residents within the Branciforte Fire District boundaries will have once the merger (aka “reorganization”) is finalized.

Right now, CalPERS is reviewing the cost analysis. Despite assurances to the Commissioners from LAFCO’s Director, no request had been made by Scotts Valley Fire to obtain the analysis that is critical to the Branciforte Fire staff being hired on to Scotts Valley Fire responders.

For the second time, I have notified the Commissioners that critical documents, such as Resolutions, have erroneous dates and inaccurate information.

The LAFCO Director has made a habit of not including my correspondence on this matter available to the Commissioners or onn the website until the very morning of their meetings. This in fact happened at the October 4 meeting, when Commissioners only learned about the fact that the September 27, 2023 Protest Hearing for the Brancifortte Fire Reorganization was changed at the very last moment to be virtual only, and the LAFCO office at 701 Ocean Street location stated in mailed notices to residents was closed and not accessible. I know this…because I was locked out.

None of that seems to bother the Commissioners. With few exceptions by Commissioner Roger Anderson, the group is a Rubber Stamp, No Questions Asked Club.

Why does this matter? Keep your eye on many upcoming consolidations in the County regarding hospital, fire and water services.
Ask questions and verify the information.

Last week’s Santa Cruz City Water Commission meeting was really encouraging. Staff provided excellent presentations about the various cpital improvement projects the City is undertaking that will really support sharing water with neighboring water agencies when it is plentiful, and storing it in the groundwater reservoirs for use when needed. Along with conservation incentives, this is exactly what the Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC) and civic-minded folks such as Rick Longinotti, Scott McGilvray, Jerry Paul and many others have asked for since 2013 when the desalination project fell by the wayside due to high energy demand inherent.

It is encouraging to see this all in action now with the amazing projects the City of Santa Cruz is doing.

View the presentations here: View Meeting – OnBase Agenda Online

View Meeting – OnBase Agenda Online
The Santa Cruz Mid-County Regional Water Optimization Study, which will provide information about how water can be regionally-managed, is fully grant funded through a $7.6 milion gift to the MidCounty Groundwater Agency from the California DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program.

The results are due to be public any day now, having been earlier promised for the City’s Water Commission meeting last week, but was not on the agenda. However, a recent comment by Soquel creek Water District Boardmember Bruce Jaffe last month makes it clear that the results will be of great interest: “PureWater Soquel will benefit things in other ways…” Hmmm…

What remains to be seen is whether other players, such as Soquel Creek Water District, will come onboard with the regional use of rainwater, or cling steadfastly to the expensive highly-energy demanding PureWater Soquel Project treated sewage water?

Sadly, last winter, when rainwater was so plentiful, Soquel Creek Water District did not even ask to purchase potable surface water from the City of Santa Cruz via the existing intertie, even though they could have, under the terms of the Agreement in place. When quizzed why not, District staff reported they “just did not have the resources to manage” the water transfer project. Hmmm…


The Board of Directors approved pay raises all around for everyone last week, and agreed with the General Manager Ron Duncan that, in addition to his Assistant Manager, Melanie Mow-Schmacher, he needs an Associate Manager to help out with “all things PureWater Soquel” treated sewage water injection into the aquifer. The Board also approved a 4.5% top-of-the-rate salary raise for Mr. Duncan, too! See items 7.2-7.5, beginning on page 33

It seems the District has unlimited funds, even in the face of the looming huge debt and skyrocketing operational costs when PureWater Soquel Project comes online next year. But wait! Another round of rate increases is scheduled to come to the Board next month on the November 21 agenda, right before Thanksgiving when many people likely won’t be paying close attention.

Stay tuned…

Last week, staff from County Environmental Health let the County Water Advisory Commission know that big changes are in store for the County’s Commissions. The Board of Supervisors are due to review the County Administrative Officer’s plan to drastically change the Commissions on November 14. Two that are staffed by Environmental Health Dept. staff will be axed.

Will this be an improvement for the people, or a move by the CAO to further exclude us? Stay tuned.

Aptos Village Phase 2 under way [Santa Cruz Sentinel] County District Supervisor Zach Friend gave a glowing report of the work happening to build solid three-story buildings on both sides of Aptos Village Way in the Aptos Village. What he did not say is that the area is already so congested, traffic snarls are a common occurrence,Swenson reduced the number of affordable Measure J units from 12 to 10, and the parking promised is virtually nil.

Supervisor Friend is well aware of all this, as his office sits in the high-rent zone of the Project…the County financially bailed Swenson out with a 15-year lease for the MidCounty Safety Center, which is rarely open and whose meeting room can only accommodate 10 people…not exactly a Townhall Meeting venue for Zach.

And what about the County Park land? Ridiculous! Take a look in the photo below at the steep hillside above Swenson’s Phase 2 mess. County Parks staff are on record as admitting they have NO IDEA how this land could be used for a park, let alone the “active recreation” use it was supposed to provide the Community at the insistence of the Planning Commission in response to the world-famous Post Office Bike Jumps being bulldozed. Not to worry…the County gifted Swenson FREE drainage easement from teh Phase 2 parking lot and roof stormwater into the Aptos Village Park, and WAIVED PARK DEVELOPMENT FEES ($1000/bedroom for the 69 units anticipated).

Take a look at the”new county park land” behind these workers…the hillside behind the huge retaining wall. Do any of these workers look like they may be monitoring the excavation in this known Native American archaeological site? That is one of the project’s Conditions of Permit Approval. Hmmm….
Write Matt Machado and ask why Swenson is not including Native American observers for all earth disturbance, as they are required to do.

Last week, Swenson closed Aptos Village Way, the main access for the area through the Village, aside from Soquel Drive. Not only did it cause more traffic congestion within the area, it removed alot of the parking that Swenson has promised the people, including for Nisene Marks State Park.

Write Supervisor Zach Friend with your thoughts Zach Friend <>. Maybe he will respond.

October 17, 1989 is a memorable day for those who were here and in the Bay Area, and experience the Loma Prieta Earthquake. On that note, and with respect to all other natural disasters that are possible, sign up with the County’s new CruzAware emergency notification platform to receive information in many modes:

After the floods last winter, many residents say they did not receive notice of impending floodwater risk and evacuation warnings. The old notification system, CodeRed, did not allow for digital text messaging on social media. Hopefully, the new CruzAware system will.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to test the system’s effectiveness before it is actually needed? The Office of REsponse, Recovery and Resilience (OR3) is responsible for this operational alert system. Any FireWise Communities can arrange such a test. Mine did last Sunday and we discovered quite a few glitches that hopefully will be resolved soon.

However, I have to wonder if having a Countywide test , similar to what occurred on a national level October 4, might be a better solution? Contact David Reid, Director of OR3, and request this if you think it is important. David Reid <> Note the new e-mail template.

I really enjoyed the conversational interview last Saturday with George Ow and Sandy Lydon, sponsored by the Santa cruz Public Library and held at Project 418 on River Street in Santa Cruz. If you have not read “Chinese Gold”, you need to do so. The book has been reprinted in English and Chinese.

Go see the great exhibit “CHINESE PIONEERS: Power and Politics in Exclusion Era Photographs” that is happening now through November 12 at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum (6299 Gushee Street, Felton).

This Friday (2pm-4pm) log onto Santa Cruz online radio and listen to Ms. Veronica Elsea giving us all a better perspective on how to regard blind and sight-impaired people using white canes (National White Cane Safety Awareness Day is October 15). The second hour, Mr. Brian Peoples, Director of TRAIL NOW, will help us all understand what could be done on the railroad corridor.

Join the conversations!


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

Email Becky at

October 9


So much environmental degradation seems to be due to our rushing around. How can we best slow down? Each of us can do our part in creating the Great Slowdown that we need to sustain the planet.

Save More, Buy Less

The first and easiest way to help the Great Slowdown is to stop buying so much Stuff. If you haven’t watched the Story of Stuff in a while, or not at all, DO IT NOW. This 21-minute video is compelling, fun, and has changed more lives than many a 20-some minute experience otherwise. I think it’s worth watching regularly, perhaps in October just before the stuff-a-thon holiday season besets our culture.

If you listen to the news, you will understand how important buying stuff is for our unsustainable economy. “Inflation is up, but ‘luckily’ consumer spending is cooking right along, otherwise our economy would be hosed.” A president once said in a national crisis, something like, “Just keep buying stuff!” Time is money, and by spending your money on useless crap, you are wasting your time, carelessly throwing away your life, and helping to wreck the planet. A few years ago, someone did a calculation and the transaction cost of each dollar spent was a liter of oil. I’m betting its worse now. Save a buck, keep a liter of oil from burning up.

Stop Rushing at Work

There is so much pressure to do more at work, but is that really helping anything? Chances are good that the more we rush, the worse off the planet is. How about we slow down? Carefully watch those who rush around with their work: why are they doing that? I’m betting that they mostly want to impress people, get others to work harder, or they are avoiding problems at home or something they might better be doing for Real Good.

The labor movement has something called ‘working by the book,’ which we might emulate to improve the planet. What is absolutely necessary to do with your work? What does the job description say? What are the metrics for success? Often, organizations keep the productivity targets elusive, to keep everyone guessing or trying to push for more. On the other hand, if productivity targets are defined, ask yourself if they are set too high. If so, it might be time to work with your colleagues to reduce them to something more manageable.

Slowing down at work is part of the solution, part of the Great Slowdown.

Working for the Planet

The capitalist system mostly asks each worker to create efficiencies that are bad for the planet. As we learn to care more for the planet, we will find ways to sneak improvements into the workplace that will help Earth. Is there a way to reduce driving, material transport, waste? Does your workplace purchase recycled paper, organic foods, and other eco-friendly products? Maybe there’s a sustainability policy on your business’ horizon.

Beware the Fakes

If you see potential greenwashing, ask about it! I recently asked a seemingly eco-conscious caterer what they meant by “gourmet sandwiches, made from the finest local ingredients” and it turned out that they used very mainstream factory-farmed meats and conventionally grown produce distributed from warehouses far away. They soon thereafter changed their menu language. That was the third time I was able to affect that kind of change. Do we choose places that are true to their word about their products? How do we know if we don’t ask? Why would they be true to their word if folks never asked?

Buy Green

The list of businesses that are truly green is getting smaller, not larger in Santa Cruz. There are fewer restaurants serving local, organic foods than there were a few years ago. Local grocery stores are sliding further from, not closer to, sustainability. I suspect all of this is because people are not pursuing green purchases.

Keep Your Keel

How easy it is to go with the flow, but is that truly the best thing for the planet? There is a concept called ‘slippage‘ where environmental policies are interpreted in ways that slip away from the intent of the policy, usually with negative environmental consequence. If your work entails intersection with environmental policies, it is time to ask how you can help interpret those to environmental benefit, not environmental degradation. It is time also to ask what is the greatest good you can do with your work, focusing on the issues of greatest impact for environmental improvement. As I’ve said in prior posts, the metric should be species conservation: how can our work best affect that outcome? The answers are usually easy to arrive at.

Beware of False Dichotomies

Those who are most invested in slippage often use false dichotomies. Parks managers often note that they have a difficult dual mandate: to provide for public recreational access while conserving wildlife. For a large portion of Santa Cruz County, managers are leaning heavily on this false dichotomy to ‘sell’ the concept that it’s just fine for our wildlife to disappear because of their mismanagement. Trails erode tons of sediment into streams and wetlands, trash litters our beautiful beaches, and graffiti proliferates on sea cliffs because of the slippage that is embraced by the poor logic presented by parks managers’ adoption of their false dichotomies.

Parks Management Slippage

Many of these parks’ managers use other forms of slippage. The California Public Resources Code says this about State Parks: “Following classification or reclassification of a unit by the State Park and Recreation Commission, and prior to the development of any new facilities in any previously classified unit, the department shall prepare a general plan or revise any existing plan for the unit.” Look at the North Coast beaches, and Gray Whale Ranch…and, enter slippage: none of those have general plans, and all have ‘new facilities.’ I’m sure that someone, somewhere can provide some beautiful logic about how that can be possible. Has someone said ‘if anyone asks just tell them we never “classified or reclassified” those “units” and they were never “previously classified” (hardy-har-har-har, that’ll get ’em).‘ Anyone in their right mind would know that the responsible thing to do would be to create a general plan before opening a park, and that’s what was meant by that part of the Resources Code. Meanwhile, we must all ask WHY are these precious places opened to visitation without a plan to conserve wildlife on those spectacularly biodiverse places?? If you work for State Parks, you must ask yourself what place you have played in allowing such things to happen and how you might reverse this slippage. If you work for other land conservation organizations, you might have similar things to ponder: do you hold a false dichotomy promulgated by those with anti-conservation agendas? Do you serve Earth or Greed? If you are torn and in doubt, maybe it’s time to slow down and ‘work by the book.’ It might be better if you embrace the Great Slowdown in your job while you increasingly help others become aware of slippage.

Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at:

Email Grey at


October 6

#279 / Yellowknife

Today’s brief blog post can best be understood as a follow-up to yesterday’s brief blog post. The “generalization” advanced yesterday was that there is no longer any ability to engage in “away living,” if there ever was any such ability. The truth of that observation was reinforced for me by a message from Bill McKibben, which I received the day after actually writing my October 5th blog posting.

The picture above shows a line of people waiting for evacuation from Yellow Knife, Canada, which was mentioned by McKibben in his August 18, 2023, statement. That statement was titled, “An Ever-Smaller Board On Which To Play The Human Game.”

As McKibben wrote near the end of August, Yellow Knife was threatened with the kind of destruction visited on Lahaina, Maui earlier in the month. Things don’t look too dire in the photo above, but McKibben’s statement was accompanied by the following image, which does look a lot like the photos we saw as fire descended upon Lahaina:

Here is the specific statement by McKibben that captured my attention:

It’s important—in this year that has seen global warming come fully to life—to describe accurately what’s happening on our planet. And one key thing is: the number of places humans can safely live is now shrinking (emphasis in original).

In yesterday’s blog posting, I included an image of Earth from space. If you can’t visualize it, you can revisit that image by clicking right here. We’re in this together, now more than ever.

Just one more reminder, this one coming from Yellow Knife, Canada!

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

Email Gary at

October 9


Steven Lauter, columnist for the LA Times, said it: “The problem wasn’t McCarthy.” In his view, the former speaker let his bad habit of making promises he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, keep. With both political parties distrusting him he was removed from his position as Speaker of the House with the solidarity votes of Democrats and the eight rebels led by Representative Matt Gaetz. Recent Speakers Boehner and Ryan had their own unpleasant experiences, with Kevin McCarthy establishing a first, becoming the only Speaker removed by a vote of the House of Representatives. Lauter thinks that Victim #4 awaits a similar fate, and Andrew Glassman, congressional expert at Georgetown University says, “Someone will get 217 votes, but I’m not sure that the Republican conference is governable.” A Speaker is given significant authority, with real power emerging only with the individual’s ability to incorporate the the will of the House majority, presently not a coherent attribute, so symbolically  it’s just a guy holding a wooden gavel waiting for lightning to strike. Mary Trump observed: ” Kevin McCarthy served as speaker for approximately 27 Scaramuccis.”

Several weeks ago, McCarthy reported that the House GOP was “in a good place” on the spending bill, but their closed door sessions came up with nothing, listening to Trump instead of Speaker McCarthy. As Politico commented, “McCarthy is being chopped into pieces, and he doesn’t even know it.” Shirley Kennedy in The Palmer Report wrote, “Several Republicans refused to go along with McCarthy’s defense spending bill, being joined by Democrats. One can only wonder if he now regrets repeatedly giving in to the far-right members of his party, who now seem to be holding their power and Donald Trump over his head…these people are bending to an imaginary god who has no power. They believe, however, that their power is in supporting him, but what will they do when he is convicted of the myriad crimes with which he has been charged? They even attempt to cover for him.” She goes on to say that when asked about the former president’s demand to shut the government down, “McCarthy replied, ‘He only wants to “hold the line” and “pass appropriate bills.” Please. “Trump has no idea what bills are appropriate. He’s not in the same position as the many people who voted these clowns into office, and he could care less about any of them. Similarly, McCarthy doesn’t care either.” Kevin McCarthy now finds himself in the belly of the beast that he tried to ride.

The Speaker was able to muster enough support from Democrats and Republicans to pass a spending bill, avoiding a government shutdown, but Gaetz then mounted his campaign to remove McCarthy from the speakership, accusing him of collusion with the dreaded Dems. Kevin took the challenge, telling Matt to “bring it on,” to “get it behind us and start governing.” While assuming that he had strong party support, McCarthy accused the Florida representative of showboating to distract from his own problems, such as his accusations of ethics violations of misconduct, drug use, and other allegations. In leading the successful drive to oust McCarthy, Gaetz has stirred some Republicans toward even bolder steps to hold him accountable, even expelling him from Congress. Bring it on, huh, Matty!?

The New Yorker’s political satire columnist, Andy Borowitz, writes that, “House Republicans have convened an emergency meeting to determine who must sit next to Representative Matt Gaetz going forward. Members of the conference had hoped to take a week off after the grueling ordeal of ousting Kevin McCarthy, but the matter of who would be forced to sit next to Gaetz ‘had to be settled,’ one GOP congressperson said. ‘Colleagues have declared that, if they are required to sit next to Matt, they will retire from politics instead,’ the legislator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. ‘We could lose our majority over this.’ Republicans’ hopes that they had found a willing seat mate for Gaetz collapsed when Representative Lauren Boebert flatly refused the assignment. ‘Even I have standards,’ she reportedly said.”

Doing his part in spouting for the media, Matt Gaetz, is/was an advocate of the GOP’s impeachment of President Biden until he said too much. However, the foredoomed attempt was based on phony ‘evidence,’ or as it turns out no evidence at all. A generic House hearing was held, but votes to hold an actual impeachment inquiry disappeared along with the ‘evidence.’ As Bill Palmer writes, “Matt Gaetz is in way over his head. He doesn’t understand how to create allies within his own House Republican caucus. He doesn’t understand messaging. He thinks politicians get things done by running their mouths in front of cameras, and doesn’t understand that actual political muscle is flexed behind the scenes. So of course Gaetz got caught on camera admitting that his own party’s agenda is illegitimate. He’s that idiot.”

Steven Pastis in his Pearls Before Swine comic strip: Pig visits Wise Ass on the Hill and asks, “Oh, Wise Ass..for an immigrant to become a citizen and be able to vote, do they have to take a test?” Wise Ass answers, “Yes, a civics test.” Pig then asks, “Why do they have to do that?” Wise Ass answers, “Because if you’re gonna help us choose our elected officials you have to be knowledgeable,” whereupon Pig queries, ” Do the elected officials need to take a test?” And Wise Ass blows him away with, “No, they can be total morons.” Pig journeys down the hill and meets Rat, telling him, “The more I know the less I understand.” Amen to that!

McCarthy was only concerned about his precious speakership, with no idea on how to lead, and because of the agreements he made to get elected, he got tossed out on his ear. One is reminded of a description written by Roald Dahl of Henry Sugar, his character in the short story, ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’: “Men like Henry Sugar are to be found drifting like seaweed all over the world. They can be seen especially in London, New York, Paris, Nassau, Montego Bay, Cannes, and San Tropez. They are not particularly bad men, but they are not good men either. They are of no particular importance; they’re simply part of the decoration.”

Immediately following Kev’s dismissal, the maneuvering began to stick another victim in the seat, bringing up the names of Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim (Gym) Jordan. Endorsements are accumulating, not the least of which, is The Don’s praise for Jordan who has been a Trumper since day one. Scalise, who has called himself “David Duke without the baggage,” made a brief foray to secure backing in January, so a path to success may not arise on this go around, either. Jordan, not an ’empty suit’ but more of an ’empty shirt’ with the sleeves rolled up, may not have the support, not being able to rally the troops around his extreme conservatism, with Democrats readying themselves to pounce in light of the controversy surrounding Jordan’s years as an Ohio State wrestling coach. His baggage has become a target to be brought front and center, and Democrats will make it headline news again. Newcomer, Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, and chairman of the Republican Study Committee has been discussed as a possibility because he may have new approaches to doing things instead of sticking to same slog that has bogged down the GOP for years. Jordan was the founding member of the confrontational House Freedom Caucus, and was a leader in pushing out former Speaker Boehner, who calls Gym a “legislative terrorist.”

The campaigning preceded last Tuesday’s candidate forum, followed by Wednesday’s planned vote in the GOP conference on a nominee for the position. The Dems nominated Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in the event the House majority was unable to coalesce around a candidate. McCarthy ally, Garret Graves of Louisiana, recalled the four days it took to elect Kevin, saying it would require “some divine intervention” to wrap it up quickly. Some Republicans have floated the idea of making The Former Guy a nominee, after which he said he might consider it as a temporary position to be a “unifier” and “if necessary,” but his focus is winning the presidential nomination where he sees dismissal of all charges against him.

So, all of the above can only serve as background as this is being written, and everything may still be contentiously up in the air, disputable, open to doubt or perhaps settled, at least temporarily, by the time this is posted. With the urgency in the flare up between Israel and Hamas, the leaderless House GOP has brought up the possibility of reseating Kevin McCarthy, as this state of war may need their actions sooner rather than later. Initially, Kevin was “aware and grateful” of the suggestion but was not engaged in any discussion or negotiations. Lawmakers were also considering giving clearer powers to acting Speaker Pro Tempore, Patrick McHenry, for the short term or electing him outright, both unprecedented moves. Representative Mark Alford of Missouri posted on X, “We are paralyzed as a body. World events dictate urgency.”

Conservative radio host, Hugh Hewitt, asked McCarthy if he would serve as Speaker again should a deadlock result in the tumultuous body, to which he responded, “Look, the conference will make that decision. I’m still a member. I’m going to continue to fight and act. Whatever the conference wants, I will do. I think we need to be strong. I think we need to be united. The eight (conference members who voted against him), in my view, don’t look to be – it was a personal thing.” After losing his position he said he would not run again, as he reminded the press that the vast majority of the House GOP voted for him to remain in the post. Where does/did the GOP land in this continuing debacle? Poet and musician, Patti Smith says, “We go through life. We shed our skins. We become ourselves.” We can only hope the House has shed enough skin to benefit the rest of us.

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Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email:


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

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


“The spider’s web: She finds an innocuous corner in which to spin her web. The longer the web takes, the more fabulous its construction. She has no need to chase. She sits quietly, her patience a consummate force; she waits for her prey to come to her on their own, and then she ensnares them, injects them with venom, rendering them unable to escape. Spiders – so needed and yet so misunderstood.”
~Donna Lynn Hope

“The greatest artist and web-designer ever is indeed a spider!”    
~Munia Khan

“What was building a web but a gustatory expression of hope?”  
~Adrian Tchaikovsky

“Spider webs are images of the nonlinear, of the many directions in which something might go, the many sources for it.”
~Rebecca Solnit


Drunk History on the birth of Halloween as we know it…

Check out the entire drunk history series, they are pretty hilarious and educational all at the same time.

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