Blog Archives

October 12 – 18, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…still another voice on measures 26 and 27, Fred Keeley is where?, David Kegebein deserves it, J.M. Brown and Bruce McPherson help? GREENSITE…Will be back next week. KROHN…more about money, money on measure O and N. STEINBRUNER…City water issues, local coho salmon, charging station locations, Last Chance road future, helicopter flights, Mill Creek Dam removal. HAYES…Managing Pogonip. PATTON…A Relentless Western Narrative. MATLOCK…bowling,Tony Szechuan, and a perfect call. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS…pick of the week is comedian Leanne Morgan QUOTES…”EARTHQUAKES” (our local 33rd anniversary is Oct.17!)


EARLY DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ, 1859. Long timers will recognize this intersection as Front Street meeting Pacific Avenue, or a view of the future Jamba Juice Corner. Back then it was Front Street and Willow, not Pacific.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

Dateline October 10


I’ve written and included even more than two sides to voting on Measures 26 and 27. After last week I figured we’d heard and read it all, then Tony Russomanno sent an email. “Who’s Tony?” some newcomers might ask… well, Tony Russomanno was a radio and TV news reporter for 40 years until his retirement in 2007. Aside from being an early member of the Gay Liberation Front following the Stonewall riots while he was in college, Tony abstained from all political activity until after he retired from journalism. Since then, he joined the Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee, served as vice chair, was a California delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and was recently reelected to the committee’s executive board as well as a delegate to the state Democratic Party. He has lived in Santa Cruz since 1982.

Tony writes…”Regarding the two gambling initiatives, Proposition 26 is only marginally better than Prop 27, but they should both be defeated. Under the 2018 US Supreme Court decision, states may legalize sports betting. They are not required to do so.

Prop 26 permits sports betting and other gambling only in-person, and only in casinos on tribal land. Prop 27 permits online and mobile phone gambling. 26 is mainly supported by tribes; 27 is mainly supported by card rooms and out of state gambling interests.

However, sponsors of 26 and 27 are disingenuous in how much of the gambling money goes to good causes. In both 26 and 27, about 90% (or a little less) goes to the house. State Senator John Laird told a meeting of the Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County that if both 26 and 27 are defeated, it would probably then fall to the legislature to write a bill. In that case, Laird said the bill could specify, for example, no more than 50% going to the house.

It is a measure of the corporate interest in expanded California gambling, especially Prop 27’s online and mobile gambling provisions, that long-time news and talk radio leader KGO abruptly dropped their news/talk format this week and teased a switch to programs focused on sports gambling”. Tony Russomanno


Gave $500 to support the “New” library, $500 against Measure O, he supports the Warriors new stadium along with George Ow and The Seaside Company. Hard to support him as a mayor candidate when his interests are so varying.

FIRING DAVID KEGEBEIN. It’s been reported that David Kegebein the “Santa Cruz County” Fair Grounds manager has been fired. As I’ve stated before it’s not the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds it’s the State Of California’s 14th district agricultural association’s fairgrounds and it’s really controlled by the State, not the County. As a former treasurer of the Fair Grounds I can tell you, and so will another former member of the Fair board, that David Kegebein most certainly is guilty of all the illegal money ($38,000) misused, $6000 in food purchases $4671 at stores plus travel expenses. David’s dad, John Kegebein, was the Fair manager for many years and David grew up fighting him and trying to take over the Fairgrounds. He was arrogant, controlling, greedy, loud, and obnoxious and a problem to all of us on the board as well as his handling of family issues.

AIDE TO BRUCE McPHERSON? If you try to stay on top of local issues you’ll know that the presence/attendance of our County Board of supervisors in person at so many meetings has become an issue. I just learned that J.M. Brown, County Supervisor McPherson’s assistant actually lives in Sacramento! What kind and how much aid and research can he be doing from Sacramento? Be sure and ask him IF he ever comes to town anymore!

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.

LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB). Mila Kunis has created an excellent lead role in this deep, fascinating, complex story. Her history is a mystery that unfolds slowly and painfully. It’s about sexual abuse and the dangers in revealing the tragedy to the public. Her shame, her privacy, her civil rights and how we the public react are the chapters in this generational expose. An excellent movie.

HARRINGAN’S PHONE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.0 IMDB). It’s usually a pleasure to watch Donald Sutherland starring in any movie or TV show. In this one he plays the part of a very rich old man who has retired in a mansion in Maine. He’s hired a young neighbor boy to read classic books to him once a week. The friendship they develop is deep and lasts until after he dies. It’s from a short story by Stephen King. Well worth watching.

LAST SEEN ALIVE. LAST SEEN ALIVE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.6 IMDB).The familiar face of Gerard Butler takes the lead in this tantalizing, puzzling tiresome chase movie. Butler who plays a wealthy real estate developer and his wife had an argument and she disappears soon afterwards. The entire movie is about his chasing and gunning for her kidnapper.

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.

 THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER. (APPLE MOVIE) (6.7 IMDB). Familiar faces such as Bill Murray and Russell Crowe back up Zac Efron in this simply foolish film. It’s a true story about a guy (Zefron) decides to actually go to Vietnam while the war is very much happening and deliver some beer to his former neighbors who are fighting there. It’s not funny, not serious, and it does cast the CIA in a very doubtful role. A pointless movie.

LOU. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.1 IMDB). Allison Janney is onscreen full time as the secret CIA agent with a history. Grim, and taking place during Regan’s reign it tells the very bitter story of a family gone bad and how they implicate each other. It remains tight, curious, involving and worth watching.

NITRAM (HULU MOVIE) (7.2 IMDB). A very Australian movie with familiar faced Judy Davis doing her best as the mother of a mass murderer. It’s the entire life story of this guy who plots and plans the largest mass murder in Port Arthur. Well done, and allows us into what could be the cause of so many mass murderings we experience today.

BLONDE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (5.9 IMDB). Ana de Armas from movies such as Knives Out, and No Time To Die plays Marilyn Monroe and Adrien Brody acts nicely as Arthur Miller, Bobby Cannavale grumps his way as Joe DiMaggio. Then there’s actual footage of Tony Curtis, George Sanders and many more actors from Norma Jeane’s original films. It’s a very dramatic version taken from Joyce Carol Oates book. Oates says that it shouldn’t be taken as an accurate biography and the movie shouldn’t be taken too seriously either.


Go here quickly to get details on an appearance by Qwanqwa on this Thursday October 13 that features Santa Cruz’s own Kaethe Hostetter. The site says, “QWANQWA is a supergroup of musicians from the baddest ensembles of Addis Ababa. Brought together by a shared passion for the power of Ethiopian music, this group shines an experimentalism based in the virtuosity of rooted traditions. With swirling masinko (one-stringed fiddle), wah-wah-violin, bass krar boom, and the unstoppable rhythm of heavy kebero (goat-skin drum) beats, powerful traditional lead African diva vocals, QWANQWA keeps the people wrapped in celebratory attention. After making a splash at world-renowned festivals Roskilde and WOMEX, and after three European tours, this world-traveling ensemble is hitting the road for a MacArthur Foundation backed Debut US tour in 2022. The ensemble was founded in 2012 by American violinist Kaethe Hostetter, who first worked in Ethiopian music as a founding member of critically-acclaimed Debo Band. Since relocating to Addis in 2009, she has participated in numerous exploratory and professional projects, as she honed her sound and immersed herself further into the culture of her surroundings. In this sense, QWANQWA, the Amharic word for “language,” is a project creating dialogues between cultures. Current members of QWANQWA are Endris Hassen (masinko), Kaethe Hostetter (violin), Bubu Teklemariam (bass krar), Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), and Misale Legesse (kebero)”.


Kristin Garbeff, Concert Director and Cello will be performing their Music From Leipzig: Works by Bach and Schumann concerts on Sat, Oct 15, 7:30 PM and Sunday October 16 at the Christ Lutheran Church • Aptos, CA. Leipzig, Germany has been the center for Western art music for over 800 years. This concert features music composed in Leipzig by two composers who spent much of their life in the city, Johann Sebastian Bach and Robert Schumann. The program opens with Bach’s Goldberg Variations beautifully arranged for string trio by Dmitry Sitkovetsky, followed by Bach’s late solo keyboard work, Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825. Closing the program is Robert Schumann’s intimate Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47, and the last work written during his “Year of Chamber Music” in 1842.

Goldberg Variations for String Trio (abridged), BWV 988

  1. S. Bach (1685-1750) arr. Sitkovetsky

Partita No. 1 in B-Flat Major, BWV 825 J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47 Robert Schumann (1810-1856)  For tickets and more info


October 10

Gillian 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 10


More Money

Today’s column is devoted to the continuing uneven and unequal trail of campaign cash being donated to candidates and Measures on this November’s ballot. The city is awash in money emanating from the many places that have a stake in making sure maximum development takes place with minimum governmental oversite. As I write these words, the Santa Cruz County elections office is busy organizing and sending out our ballots. You should be receiving one this week. If you are in doubt of where your ballot is, please consult this site. Then, after you have cast your mail-in ballot, you can track it here and see when it is actually counted.

Candidate and Measure Financial Statements

If you would like to see all of the financial statements from all candidates and Measures go HERE. The site is arcane and difficult to maneuver around on. When you land on the site, scroll down to the bottom of the page, past all the “search” BS, which is not helpful at all. Start with the “General Election 11/08/2022” page and click on it. A drop-down menu will appear for “Candidates,” “Measures,” “Independent Expenditures,” and “FPPC 497 Contributions.” When you click on each one, there are other choices for city council, board of supervisors, and Mayor, as well as for Measures N and O. When you get to the measures pages, you have to scroll down to “Filings by Opponents,” and then you will arrive at those donations against the measure. All of these make for interesting reading if you want to know who is paying for the best government money can buy. I have bolded the names of people who appear on the two measures, No on N and No on O, as well as on mayoral candidate Fred Keeley’s financial disclosure statement.

Donations to DEFEAT Measure O, “Our Downtown, Our Future.” So far, $99,056 has been contributed. Here is a list of donations:

  • $12,500 Santa Cruz Seaside Co.
  • $10,000 Green Valley Corporation (Barry Swenson Builder) San Jose, California
  • $5,000 from SCFS Ventures LLC, is a limited liability company located at 612 Spring St. SC, in the name of Owen Lawlor
  • $5,000 from 201 Front St. LLC, also a company located at 612 Spring St., SC, in the name of Owen Lawlor
  • $5,000 Devcon Construction Inc., Milpitas, California
  • $5,000 Reuben Helick, Commercial Real Estate Agent, Aptos, California
  • $5,000 Santa Cruz Dream Inn
  • $2,500 Roberta Hunter, Wavecrest Wealth Management
  • $2,500 Pacific Union Housing Group LLC., Moraga California
  • $2,500 Pacific Union Partners Inc., Moraga, California
  • $2,500 SC Cedar Street Apartment LP, Moraga, California
  • $2,500 Caleb Baskin, Baskin and Fowler, Santa Cruz, real estate attorneys
  • $2,500 Shige Honjo, Vice President Nest Labs Inc., San Francisco
  • $1,500 Case Swenson, President of Green Valley Corp, Monte Sereno, California
  • $1,500 Cynthia Mathews, “retired”
  • $500 from Fred Keeley, mayoral candidate
  • $500 from “Coonerty for Supervisor 2018″ (?)
  • $400 from Brad Brereton, treasurer for “Santa Cruz Together”

According to financial statement filed with the city clerk, the No on O group spent $16,750 on polling to see which anti-O message was stronger; $18,000 was paid to Terris and Barnes a San Francisco political consultant; and $15,000 more went to a Santa Cruz consulting group, Miller-Maxfield.

Donations to No on Measure N, Tax Empty Houses to fund affordable housing, as of Oct. 5th were $133,538. The donors were mostly from real estate:

  • $5,000 Beach Hotel Partners LLC, Long Beach, California
  • $29,900 California Association of Realtors, Los Angeles
  • $1,000 Karon Properties, Santa Cruz and $720 more from “Karon Family Farm, Co.”
  • $2,100 from Richard Moe, “developer”
  • $1002 from Krista Cook, realtor
  • $1,000 from Jill Escher, real estate investor, San Jose
  • $1,500 from Brad Brereton “Owner/Lawyer” Brereton, Mohamed, Terrazas LLP
  • $20,000 California Association of Realtors
  • $1,000 from Ken Carlson, “Investor”
  • $1,000 from John Burroughs, Santa Cruz County Bank
  • $1,003 from Hallie Richmond, Property Manager, Surf City Rentals Inc.
  • $1,000 from Barton Pecchenino, BDG Properties, Fresno, California
  • $1,000 from Katherine Peterson, El Dorado Hills, California
  • $10,000 Santa Cruz Seaside Company

Fred Keeley for Mayor. My mother always talked about “the company you keep.” Although $100, or $250, or even $400 is unlikely to buy a candidate, this candidate for mayor seems to hang with a lot of realtors and developers. At this critical moment in Santa Cruz history, do we want someone who is taking collectively, a lot of money from people who are looking to make some gold off of Surf City?

  • Owen Lawlor, $400, Land-use (fixer)
  • Conrad Garner, $250, Home Builder, Mission Viejo, California
  • Tyson Sayles, $250 Ensemble Investments (Dream Inn high-rise in parking lot), Long Beach
  • David Terrazas, $250, Brereton, Mohamed, Terrazas LLP
  • Ted Balestreri, $250, Cannery Row Company and Inns of Monterey
  • Coonerty for Supervisor 2018, $250
  • John Burroughs, $250
  • Warren Penniman, $100, Realtor
  • Krista Cook, $100, Realtor
  • Derek Tim, $250, Broker for Montalvo Homes and Estates, Scotts Valley
  • Casey Beyer, $100, Executive Director SC Chamber of Commerce
  • John Swift, $250, developer
  • Michael Didonato, $250, Property Manager
  • Craig French, $250, developer
  • Douglas Ley, $250, Redtree Properties
  • Barbara Palmer, $250, Realtor, Bailey Properties, Aptos.
  • Lori Giuliani, $250, Property Manager, Aptos
  • Joseph Quigg, developer
  • Lee Slaff, $100, Commercial Real Estate Broker, Scotts Valley
  • Geraldine Zaballos, $100, “Landlord”
  • Steven Allen, $250, Real Estate Broker
  • Caleb Baskin, $250, Real Estate attorney
  • Brad Brereton, $250, Brereton, Mohamed, and Terrazas

According to California Form 460, Keeley for Mayor has paid Miller-Maxfield $9,100 and Henderson Promotions of Red Bank, New Jersey, $5,994.

No, Howard Schultz. When you fire 120 Starbucks union leaders, shut down pro-union shops & engage in union busting you do not “love” Starbucks workers. If you truly respected the workers at Starbucks, sit down with them and negotiate a fair first contract as the law requires. (Oct. 8)

Bonus Bernie…as he discusses midterm elections, think about upcoming Santa Cruz elections too how we are facing very significant watershed moment here, in Surf City. “The midterm election in just a few weeks will, to a significant degree, determine the future of the United States of America. I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes about why.” Go here to listen to Bernie.

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at

Email Chris at


October 10


Last week, the County Water Advisory Commission approved the County’s Draft Drought Response and Outreach Plan that could affect many small water systems and private domestic wells.  Public Comment will close THIS Friday, October 14.

DRAFT Santa Cruz County Drought Response and Outreach Plan for Domestic Wells and Small Water Systems

This has come about in response to the State law, known as SB 552 that requires all counties to submit a plan for drought preparedness, and includes recommendations for consolidations and metering requirements.

 The Plan must include a discussion of the following: 

  1. Consolidations for existing water systems and domestic wells. 
  2. Domestic well drinking water mitigation programs. 
  3. Provision of emergency and interim drinking water solutions. 
  4. An analysis of the steps necessary to implement the plan. 
  5. An analysis of local, state, and federal funding sources available to implement the plan

Oddly, the video recordings of the Working Group meetings, wherein the good discussions of what the recommendations should be, have all been removed from the SB 552 Working Group website.

I had asked for the recordings to be posted for public benefit.  They were.  But now are gone.

The Draft Plan has some issues that concern me.

I really worry about the County forcing consolidations of small water systems that do not meet the State’s criteria for “troubled” to mean not having a lot of cash banked ahead in reserves.  The Working Group discussed this issue thoroughly, but the Draft DROP plan does not really address it.

The Working Group’s frank discussion that the State SB 552 one-size-fits-all requirements does not fit Santa Cruz County is missing from the recommendations.  Also missing is language reflecting the repeated request by some of the Working Group members and small water system operators who participated that consolidation of small water systems and private domestic wells is not a goal here or to be necessarily encouraged.

And now that the video recordings have been removed from the Working Group’s website, no one can know what really was said or recommended for this final Plan.

The map on page 11, showing areas of the county most vulnerable to wells going dry or suffering contamination during drought includes Bonny Doon, Summit, Harmon Gulch, Lockhart Gulch and Casserly Road areas, although there is no source given for this information.  The map does not show areas of Soquel Creek Water District where there are problems with toxic Chromium 6 and 1, 2, 3 -TCP, or the ammonia contamination in the Soquel area’s O’Neill Ranch Well.

The figure on page 13 showing indicators of Disadvantaged Communities that would be most adversely affected by long-term drought is impossible to read, however, the accompanying text on the preceding page explains:

” …the staff referenced DWR maps (2018) showing locations of Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) within the County. DACs are defined in Water Code 79505.5 as a community with an annual median household income (MHI) that is less than 80% of the statewide annual median household income, or $56,982. A severely disadvantaged community is defined by MHI below 60% of the statewide average, or $43,737 (2022). As shown in Figure 3, the DAC communities that are dependent on domestic wells are mostly in South County, including many of the areas surrounding the City of Watsonville such as Interlaken, Freedom, Corralitos, La Selva Beach, Larkin Valley and other rural neighborhoods. These areas also coincide with areas of high risk to water supply and water quality impacts (Due to high risk of impacts to water supply and water quality, and socioeconomic vulnerability, these communities are likely among the most vulnerable to drought-related impacts to domestic wells in Santa Cruz County. “

I really don’t understand how anyone could consider Larkin Valley a Disadvantaged Community, with all the large mansions and horse farms there, and this does not exactly comport with the State Water Quality Control Board’s designation of Disadvantage Communities, issued on January 29, 2021:

The list of Santa Cruz Disadvantaged Communities listed in Item 7, Attachment #1.

Santa Cruz County Specific Census Tract or Block Group Areas:

  • Amesti
  • Capitola
  • Davenport
  • Santa Cruz
  • Soquel
  • Twin Lakes
  • Watsonville

It also differs from information presented in documentation for the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board on the Agenda for this Friday, October 14 regarding the Pajaro Basin

Senate Bill 552 Compliance

Please read the Draft Plan that will affect many small water systems and private domestic wells in the County, and submit your comments by 5PM on October 14th. Comments can be sent to Denice Barnes


Last week’s County Water Advisory Commission learned that the State-funded helicopter flight surveys to determine groundwater levels will happen in this area next month.  The study will include the Pajaro Valley Basin, Mid County Basin and the Santa Margarita Basin, but will not fly over residential areas.

It will be very interesting to see how the groundwater levels have changed in the Mid

County Basin since 2017, when the MidCounty Groundwater Agency hired the Danish Rambol consultants to do this work.

Curious about this technology and the State’s program?  Take a look here and keep your eye to the skies next month.


Last Monday (10/3), the Santa Cruz City Water Commission heard a lengthy report about drought and the economics of possible supply sources.  I was shocked to hear potential revenues of over $1million due to penalties the City would impose for using more water than allotted and for customers who might not be able to pay their water bills.

See the documentation beginning on page 13 of the Agenda Packet, item #3.  The public was not allowed to speak until the very end of the two and a half hour item in which multiple consultants presented information.  Commissioners were allowed to ask questions and posit comments without any restriction, after which the consultants were excused and logged off the meeting.

There were only two members of the public who waited and wanted to speak.  I was one of them, and quickly used up my 3 minutes with many more questions unanswered.  No extra time allowed.

Of interest was the presenter who lumped desalination project data along with direct potable reuse DPR) data.  The other public member who waited about 150 minutes to ask one question wanted to know what “DPR” meant and why it was combined with Desal?  Water Director Ms. Menard answered the question because the consultant who had presented the information was long gone.  She said it was because the two use similar technology: Desal has to remove salt and DPR has to remove many contaminants found in the sewage water that is the supply source.

Take a look at the Agenda Packet and let me know your thoughts.

Unfortunately, none of the slide presentations used by the many consultants is posted on the City Water Commission website.

Please write and ask that they be posted this week.  The Commission will meet again on the first Monday of November via Zoom.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all slide presentations on the continued topic of City Water Supply projects were posted in advance of that meeting?  Contact Katy Fitzgerald<>


Staff members from Santa Cruz City Water Dept.  who attended last week’s County Water Advisory Commission stated that recently, young Coho Salmon fry have been found in Laguna Creek (for the third year) and surprisingly, in Majors Creek.  These two North Coast Santa Cruz County streams are doing well, even in the drought.  Hooray!


Earlier this year, Central Fire District Board voted to change over to district-based elections, having always had at-large Board elections before. The newly-created District 5 includes everyone on the ocean-side of Highway One from New Brighton Beach to south of La Selva Beach.  Here is the map for the new District #5, currently up for election with two candidates

Watch for a Candidate Forum for Denise Miller and Michael Hushaw.

What do they think about vegetation management projects in their areas to reduce fire risks?  What about the AMR contract and staffing problems?


Do you drive an electric car and have thoughts about where charging stations are needed? Weigh in with your thoughts here. I would like to see some in the Aptos Village Project, and the Aptos Post Office.


One of the oldest dams in the Santa Cruz Mountains was removed, with consent of CEMEX, and perhaps Lockheed Martin.  After the CZU Fire destroyed the water supply line on Mills Creek, CEMEX agreed to pay for restoring the water line, and agreed to allow the Sempervirens Fund to remove the historic Mills Creek Dam.

Sempervirens got a $550,000 grant to demolish the dam, and it was done last year.

Now, the area will be managed by five California tribes, with a $3.6 million state grant.  According to Yahoo News:

“The tribes will rely on their traditional knowledge to protect more than 200 miles of coastline in the state, as climate change and human activity have impacted the vast area.

Some of the tribes’ work will include monitoring salmon after the removal of a century-old defunct dam in the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains and testing for toxins in shellfish, while also educating future generations on traditional practices.”

California tribes will manage, protect state coastal areas Five California tribes will reclaim their right to manage coastal land significant to their history under a first-in-the-nation program backed with $3.6 million in state money.

The dam has already been removed: NEWS: Mill Creek Dam Removed in Santa Cruz Mountains – Sempervirens Fund

Here is a link to the 1889 dam’s information, showing Lockheed-Martin’s involvement

What lingers in my mind is the Sempervirens Fund push in 2015 for “The Great Park”.  At the time, private land was circled in red.  Now, following the CZU Fire, whose boundaries closely match that of the CZU Fire, many whose homes were destroyed are being told by CalFire and the County that they will never be allowed to rebuild.

It seems the Sempervirens Fund group is getting their Great Park after all.


This Wednesday, the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District (RCD) will likely approve a contract for $398,585.09 with Steve Barnes Excavation for implementation of the Last Chance Road Forest Health Project.

Residents struggling to rebuild after the CZU Fire tore through their community are delighted that Steve Barnes got this contract to do work on the lands to improve forest rehabilitation while mindfully not ruining the fragile Last Chance Road.

Board Meeting Documents | RCD of Santa Cruz County There is a public meeting of the Board of Directors on the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm, unless otherwise posted.

Tune in this Wednesday evening and ask!

October 12, 2022

6:30pm – 8:00pm

Location: Online. Launch web meeting.
By phone 1-(669)-900-6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 708-386-048, Meeting Password: 599600


Here are two interesting pieces of information:

Infrastructure?  What infrastructure?



Cheers, Becky

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 10


I recently came across my 1998 copy of the Pogonip Master Plan and was inspired to share with you some inspiration and interesting tidbits. I find Santa Cruz’ Pogonip Greenbelt an amazingly beautiful place that renews my energy, fuels my curiosity, and, each visit, shows me something new. It is so nice to keep going back to the same places for the last 33 years…to check out favorite trees, familiar meadows, patches of fleeting wildflowers that return each spring, and ancient woodrat houses. Behind this natural beauty is a web of relationships mediated by the City of Santa Cruz Parks Department and guided by the Pogonip Master Plan.

Our Pogonip Vision

In 1991, the Pogonip Task Force formulated the following vision statement for the Pogonip Greenbelt:

Pogonip is a place to be appreciated for its natural beauty, habitat value and serenity, in contrast to the built environment. Pogonip should provide the community with education and recreation opportunities that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

Weighing the Vision

Since 1991 and the subsequent adoption of the Pogonip Master Plan, how have we done with stewardship of this amazing 640-acre greenbelt? In short, we don’t know. There are publicly available monitoring reports for anyone to understand how ‘habitat value’ has fared or whether people find ‘serenity’ by visiting there. The City’s Pogonip webpage for some reason posts a link to a private recreational organization’s article on the property, which suggests avoiding areas due to dangerous heroin dealers- that doesn’t sound serene to me. We do know that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so judging whether or not that part of the vision statement has been realized is too subjective.

The second part of the vision statement emphasizes sustainability, but nowhere in the document are there any metrics for judging how sustainability might be monitored. One would assume that environmental sustainability metrics for recreational opportunities would include at least soil erosion, wildlife disturbance, and invasive species or pathogen spread.

Updating the Vision

Nearly 30 years later, in 2020 the City created the more recent and very poorly done “Santa Cruz Parks Master Plan 2030” which well reflects the changing nature of City politics…to business-minded anti-environmental politicians. This plan emphasizes Park ‘assets’ – trails other types of development potential of the property – somehow overlooking sensitive habitats that were clearly delineated in the Pogonip Master Plan. It does not provide an updated vision or any new data to help us understand how well Pogonip is faring.

Don’t Yell ‘FIRE!’

The Pogonip Master Plan rightly acknowledges the importance of managing the property for wildfire, prescribing an array of management activities. Search “Pogonip Fire” on the internet and you’ll be able to peruse the many recent fires in that greenbelt. Here’s a list of the 9 easy to find ones:

·        July 14, 2009 – unknown acres ·        July 23, 2021 – ½ acre
·        July 13, 2015 – 3 acres ·        October 15, 2021 – 2 acres
·        November 7, 2018 – ? acres ·        October 16, 2021 – 2 fires, ? acres
·        June 20, 2020 – 2 acres ·        June 4, 2022 – ½ acre
·        November 8, 2020 – 1 acre

Pretty Neat Map

Here’s a map of from the 1998 Master Plan – it has a lot of interesting things on it. First, it illustrates the ways the City was planning on managing the property for fire. Along fire roads, every 10 years the City was going to thin and prune limbs. They were also going to do prescribed burns, mow and graze. They haven’t grazed or done any prescribed fire…and the mowing hasn’t been nearly that extensive.

It is also interesting to note that there are wetlands mapped in the Upper Main Meadow…right where leaders of the Homeless Garden Project have said that there weren’t any wetlands.

Pogonip and You

This greenbelt property deserves your attention. I advise you to visit and enjoy it – there is a lot going on with wildlife, views, and amazing smells of autumn. You can join the occasional volunteer days to help do restoration- one is coming up on October 29 (email me if you’re interested)! Also, why not ask your City Council members what’s going on with the studies in the Lower Main Meadow- the area slated for the Homeless Garden Project; there were going to be lead contamination studies and a development plan by the Garden folks. Also, you might ask the City what they are doing to assure that the property is safer for fire: why don’t they graze or do prescribed fire…what about more mowing? Finally, wouldn’t it be nice to get periodic updates from Parks on the state of our Greenbelt, including how environmentally sustainable recreation is being managed…and whether the habitat values are improving or degrading?

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 7

#281/ A Relentless Western Narrative

The world is on the edge of nuclear catastrophe in no small part because of the failure of Western political leaders to be forthright about the causes of the escalating global conflicts. The relentless Western narrative that the West is noble while Russia and China are evil is simple-minded and extraordinarily dangerous. It is an attempt to manipulate public opinion, not to deal with very real and pressing diplomacy.

The essential narrative of the West is built into U.S. national security strategy. The core U.S. idea is that China and Russia are implacable foes that are “attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” These countries are, according to the U.S., “determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”

The quotation above comes from an article first published in Common Dreams, and then republished by Consortium News on August 24, 2022. As it appeared in Common Dreams, the article, by Jeffrey Sachs, was titled, “The West’s Dangerously Simple-Minded Narrative About Russia and China.” What Sachs is saying is not unrelated to what I said in my blog posting published yesterday.

My attention was particularly attracted to Sachs’ article because I recently attended a terrific dinner party – getting together with some old friends – but a dinner party that was marred, in my estimation, when one of the old friends launched into an unrestrained denunciation of China, asserting that China is, truly, an Evil Empire, outrageously and unscrupulously dedicated to one thing only, achieving total world domination, and replacing the United States as the world’s protector and advocate for freedom and prosperity for everyone.

Many were the claims made against China, in this denunciation by my friend, but the one that seemed most extreme, at least to me, was the assertion by my friend that the fentanyl/opioid crisis in our country was, actually, the result of a series of evil actions by China, intended to undermine the social integrity of our nation, and to kill Americans.

Really, I had never heard this theory before, but it turns out that this is an explanation of our drug crisis that has attracted significant support in the United State Congress. My research revealed that on September 6, 2018, the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, by way of its Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a meeting that began with the following introductory remarks by Congress Member Christopher H. Smith, Chair of the Subcommittee. (You can click right here for a transcript of the entire hearing.)

I want to, first of all, thank all of our witnesses including our very distinguished witnesses from the administration, one, for your tremendous work that you are doing in this opioid crisis, and secondly, for taking the time out here to provide expert testimony. We do have a second panel of experts who will follow, so this, I think, will be a very enlightening and hopefully motivating hearing on what do we do next, and of course to go very deeply into the nature of the problem and how it has been exacerbated almost from month to month it is getting worse as we all know. Chinese made fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is killing Americans, more than 29,000 in 2017 alone. We must hold the Chinese Government accountable. Kirsten Madison, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs will testify today that China is a, quote,  “primary source of illicit synthetic drugs coming to the United States” (emphasis added).

I love my friend, who I think is a very good person, but I don’t agree with the perspective on China that he propounded at that dinner party. I think Sachs has a better handle on how we ought to view our relationship with both Russia and China. There is, indeed, a “relentless” narrative (clearly one that is persuasive to my friend) that suggests that both Russia and China are implacable foes of our country, and that both nations are “attempting to erode American security and prosperity…”

Instead of buying into this “relentless narrative,” I suggest that we pay attention to Sachs’ observation that:

It’s past time that the U.S. recognized the true sources of security: internal social cohesion and responsible cooperation with the rest of the world.

Since developing internal social cohesion and establishing responsible cooperation with the rest of the world is the only way we have any chance of being successful in preventing nuclear holocaust, and in overcoming the destruction that global warming and climate change are wreaking upon the world, I think it is pretty important that we get with this program soon.

Like, immediately!

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 10


He just can’t let it go! Former Guy Trump in Nevada on Sunday bragged to the crowd that the largest rally he’s ever seen was when he spoke to the assembled mob on January 6, 2021…and the media never acknowledges it, or the devotion shown to him. Of course, “they were only there to protest a rigged and stolen election” Yadda-yadda-yadda! He went on to defend his “perfect call” to the Secretary of State in Georgia, urging him to look into voting irregularities and to come up with enough votes to throw the state’s electoral votes into his column. “It was perfect, with six or seven or eight lawyers present…no sign of anger or outrage expressed…I assumed it was taped. Everybody was happy, but long afterwards the subject came up”…with tape being exposed, along with accusations of election interference.

This “perfect call” tirade then led to his redundant fulminations against Bill Clinton and Hillary, Barack HUSSEIN Obama and… wait for it…President George Herbert Walker Bush! Trump claims that Bush took “millions of documents, storing them in a former bowling alley/Chinese restaurant, with broken windows and a broken front door…other than that, it was secure.” Asking why GHWB was not prosecuted, he offered no other basis for this accusation. He is likely referencing a 1994 report that a future site at the University of Texas for a Presidential Library and Museum was being considered. And yes, it was an old bowling alley with some part of a Chinese kitchen being considered.

Trump’s harangue produced a stinging response via Twitter from former presidential wannabe and Bush’s son, Jeb Bush. “I am so confused,” he said. “My dad enjoyed a good Chinese meal and enjoyed the challenge of a 7/10 split. What the heck is up with you?”

Despite his being able to hold regular rallies around the country in support of MAGA candidates, his legal woes are nipping at his heels. The fraud lawsuit announced by State of New York AG Letitia James against the Trump Crime Family was the climax of a civil investigation beginning in 2019. Financial data filings reveal that over $1M has been spent this year fighting the charges. Those dollars have come from Trump’s ‘Save America PAC’ which takes in donations from MAGATs across the nation according to the Federal Election Commission. Designated a ‘Leadership PAC’, it can use money to pay expenses that may not be funded by campaign committees, primarily personal travel or leadership expenses. Leadership? They need to look a little deeper on that!

The website called ‘Save America’s Joint Fundraising Committee’ contributes to both ‘Save America’ and a second Trump PAC, ‘Make America Great Again,’ with no mention of legal bills, saying only that “the future of our country is at stake and President Trump is calling on all Patriots to join his fight to Save America.” Of the $1.12M spent, more than $942,000 has been paid to the legal firm of Alina Habba, a New Jersey based attorney and spokesperson for DJT. New York attorney, Alan Fuertas, was paid almost $185,000 for representing Don, Jr., Ivanka, and Eric in the fraud case. An Arizona contributing donor says the use of money to fund lawsuits is no big deal. “In my opinion, he can do whatever he wants with the money. The non-stop nonsense and antics being conducted by the Democrats on a man who no longer holds political office shows the extent to which the Democrats are willing to go to persecute a political opponent. Not to mention, it shows how much the Democrats and other Washington insiders fear Mr. Trump”

Trump racked up over $3.8M in legal fees following the FBI search of his Mara-Lago, most going to a nearby legal firm. Lesser amounts were paid to lawyers dealing with his many legal problems, including the aforementioned Georgia investigation into election tampering. The legality of these expenditures is left up to the Electoral Commission to decide if the expense is ‘personal’ or whether it would exist ‘irrespective of a person’s status as a candidate or officeholder, in which case the money can be used.”

A campaign finance expert at DC-based non-profit Campaign Legal Center says that a real problem with campaign law is that some expenses fall into a grey area, allowing personal usage, such as personal travel, dining out or staying in expensive hotels. And, in the case of The Former Guy, his assortment of legal complications only clutter the gray area even more. And we all know how rich he is…“I’m really rich!” he says as he avoids his debts and obligations. You pay for it, suckers! The Republican National Committee has stepped up to fund some of those legal obligations, even in the NY AG’s investigation, but after the MaraLago ‘raid’, the RNC stepped back on forking out on his bills, and went on to say it would completely discontinue doing so should he make a formal announcement regarding his 2024 presidential candidacy, even though the committee is free to use its funds as it chooses.

Recently the National Republican Senatorial Committee has cut TV budgets in some of the most prominent US Senate races, due to the fact that a terrible crop of candidates aren’t pulling their weight in fundraising, with some blame laid at Trump’s toxic feet. Cutting ad buys is not something one would expect to see at this juncture in campaign season, especially in high-profile races. Belt tightening and doling out stingy amounts is causing some GOP strategists to demand an audit according to the Washington Post. Accumulating $12M in American Express credit card debt, and spending only $23M on TV ads shows that a huge dollar amount being collected is flying out the door. Heading the NRSC is Republican Senator Rick Scott, who notoriously defrauded Medicaid out of a few billion when he was a health care industry CEO at Columbia/HCA in 1997. That didn’t seem to dissuade Florida voters from selecting him as their governor from 2011 to 2019, after which he ran for US Senator when term limits pushed him out of state office, allowing Ron DeSantis to fill that seat. Florida! Florida! Florida! Will you ever learn? Anyway, has DJT been raiding that piggy-bank as well?

The Orange One can’t seem to keep his hands off things that are, “Mine, mine, mine.” Jimmy Kimmel had a great comment lately about the ExPrez, joking, “It’s weird that a person who barely reads would even want (to steal) documents. It’s like finding out your dog collects stamps.”  

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.


October 17 is the 33rd anniversary of our very own Santa Cruz Earthquake!

“I was awakened by a tremendous earthquake, and though I had never before enjoyed a storm of this sort, the strange thrilling motion could not be mistaken, and I ran out of my cabin, both glad and frightened, shouting, “A noble earthquake! A noble earthquake” feeling sure I was going to learn something.”
~John Muir, The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir’s Greatest Adventures

“Once you have been in an earthquake you know, even if you survive without a scratch, that like a stroke in the heart, it remains in the earth’s breast, horribly potential, always promising to return, to hit you again, with an even more devastating force.”
~Salman Rushdie

“Nature has a myriad of weapons to combat human arrogance.”
~Wayne Gerard Trotman

“Earth is saving itself from humans.
Have you noticed it’s been fighting back with earthquakes?”

~Nitya Prakash


Leanne is one of my favorite current comedians. You can find tons of her videos on YouTube, but here’s one to start you off. Watch her full special on daughters, it’s hysterical!

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