Blog Archives

October 28 – 3, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Library garage issue, Leopold not Manu, Prop.23 dialysis clinics, about Becky Steinbruner, Pivot on the Pandemic, streamers and screeners. GREENSITE… A Wharf Built on Lies Cannot Stand. KROHN…Voting on president, city council, props. and Leopold. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Water Board, Pure water, water bill workshop, Fire districts, San Lorenzo Water District, Geo. Washington bust, National Debt. PATTON…this Revolutionary moment EAGAN…Deep Cover and Subconscious Comics. QUOTES…Halloween

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DAVENPORT’S TRAIN STATION. April 25,1948. Tourists and locals came and went easily to visit and live in Davenport, by the Southern Pacific train. They can – and will  -do this daily when the trail and rail gets finished.                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

DATELINE October 26

VOTE FOR OUR LIVES. There is no doubt that our voting in this Tuesday’s election will be a life changing outcome. The results will determine every aspect of our futures in the United States…and around the world. We know the world is watching and waiting to see how our powerful nation will deal with the insanity that Trump has caused. The future of Covid, equality, racism, hatred, and our everyday existence hangs in this balance. The least we can do is vote. We can do more by calling our Democrat friends and relatives back east or wherever and get them to vote on Tuesday. Tell any Republican people you know about their special voting day which is Wednesday November 4. All kidding aside even though our Santa Cruz votes will be mostly for Biden we need to send as strong a message as possible. Besides that you’ll feel better

LIBRARY TAJ GARAGE PROJECT. This project has so many flaws. Still the City powers and Cynthia Mathews are pushing and dealing for it. Here’s what Peter Scott from Campaign for Sustainable Transportation wrote… 

Dear Mayor Cummings and City Council members,
I’m writing to urge you to think seriously about examining alternatives to the proposed “mixed use” project on Lot 4, now listed as Item 30 on the agenda for October 27. That is the new library and parking garage combination proposed for the Cedar and Cathcart Streets. 

That project is similar to projects that were proposed in the central downtown areas of both Davis, California and Portland, Oregon.  Each of those projects was similarly controversial, and
each of those projects was abandoned by a narrow majority of the respective City Councils.

Instead, in both instances, a decision was made to create a true community commons, or gathering place.  Now Davis has its Farmers Market, and Portland has its “Pioneer Courthouse Square”. Both of those have turned out to be highly successful endeavors, much loved by both residents of those communities and visitors.

I feel strongly that our City of Santa Cruz should follow their lead.  I understand that it will be difficult, at this late stage, to counter the recommendations of your staff, but I hope you will show us the way.  Our community will be rewarded, and, I expect, will become better united. I think I speak for a majority of our City’s residents and visitors.
Sincerely,
     — Peter Scott, Campaign for Sustainable Transportation.

DIALYSIS CLINICS AND YES ON PROP. 23. I asked for info and feedback and elucidation on that complex Prop.23. Here’s what Catherine O’Kelly wrote.
Hello, Bruce~ Thank you for asking for our take on Prop. 23.  I was stunned to see an e-mail from a progressive group saying to Vote Yes on Prop 23!    They were quoting the State Democratic leadership and the Friends as saying to vote YES on 23! I was very upset about this and asked them to retract, because the Friends support the NO VOTE ON PROP 23!  (They got it wrong and I asked them to retract, but they didn’t.)

I live in a senior complex.   My next door neighbor is on dialysis three times a week.   She only has to drive a few miles to the local clinic.   She is terrified….their clinic is already slated for closure!   But a NO vote will STOP the very few owners of every clinic in the State from closing clinics. Who started this?   From the owners standpoint, they want to close many local clinics, and having a MEDICAL DOCTOR  (MD) in every clinic means they would get the green light to close, saving lots of money!    However, there are not enough doctors specializing in renal care in the State or the whole country, meaning very few clinics will be able to remain open.   (The PA’s and RN’s are fully qualified!)

The other antagonist is the SEIU, the service employees union who have closed highways and the entrances to UCSC in the past to stump for higher pay to graduate student TA’s.   Bruce, you know all about them.   They can be vicious to get their way.   They want to “organize” clinic employees.  In this case, damn the sick people!!   There is no way out for people on dialysis!   They get it regularly, or they die.   That is NOT hyperbole!   They die!   And how can the elderly (most but certainly not all) patients be able to travel 30 or more miles to the nearest city if they no longer drive? Hopefully, enough patients in those TV ads (they are real patients, BTW) have swayed voters to ignore the “suggestions” that we vote yes.   I tell everyone I know, to please vote NO!   Thanks for the opportunity to attempt to clarify this terrible situation.

LEOPOLD NOT MANU. I’ve known John Leopold as a friend and as an elected official for decades. We disagreed on a couple of issues, but he’s far and away a better choice for supervisor than Manu. Manu’s supporters and source of campaign money are obviously from developers and investors who expect great profits from his victory. Manu’s reasons for destroying our rail system should be obvious cause to never vote for him – but the huge difference in awareness, intelligence, and just plain experience should also be enough to give John Leopold an overwhelming majority of our votes.

STEINBRUNER POPULARITY. I’d overlooked Becky Steinbruner’s campaign for County Supervisor this year. She ran again, and we didn’t hear enough about her shoestring campaign. She got 20 percent of the vote in 2016, but this year she got a third of the vote.  

PIVOT IN THE PANDEMIC. Pivot is a long time fashion-fun-designer driven group of mostly locals who stage wild and original fashion shows. They sent this release… Pivot: The Art of Fashion is excited to announce the premiere of Pivot in the Pandemic, a film version of Pivot’s one of a kind art and fashion extravaganzas. In keeping with pandemic protocols, this Saturday, November 7 & Sunday, November 8 year’s show will be screened at the newly opened Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Drive-In. 

Pivot: The Art of Fashion showcases handmade garments by cutting-edge fashion designers, and artist’s concept driven, wearable art pieces in live runway events, photo shoots and now the movie, Pivot in the Pandemic. Pivot’s shows typically include a diverse mix of age, gender, size and ethnicity – inspiring a broad range of what defines beauty and who might wear exquisite and interesting clothing. During this time of Covid, natural disasters and deep division in our country we all need art more than ever… art that challenges us, art that makes us laugh and art that takes our breath away. Pivot in the Pandemic is all that.

Among the artists and designers featured in the film are designers IB Bayo, Ellen Brook, Lily Marotto, Ruby Roxanne Designs and artists Charlotte Kruk and Rose Sellery. This year’s show also includes several middle school and high school students who received awards at this year’s FashionTeens Santa Cruz. Stunning, innovative and diverse, Pivot’s shows bring audiences to their feet in raucous applause and roaring for more.

Pivot’s producers, Rose Sellery and Tina Brown, have over 20 years’ experience in the art and fashion industry, which helps them create lush events, along with opportunities and support for their participants. Many of the artists and designers they work with have been featured in major publications and their work has been shown as far away as New Zealand and in numerous fashion shows including San Francisco Fashion Week, LA Style Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, as well as in both group and solo exhibitions in the throughout California, New York and Europe. 

PHOTOS: Please see photo credits below. Additional images are available upon request.    
Contact: t.brown.pivot@gmail.com
Pivot: The Art of Fashion – http://pivot-artfashion.comalifornia 
The number of vehicles is limited. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the gate.
Date: Saturday, November 7 & Sunday, November 8
Tickets: pivot-pandemic.bpt.me
Gates Open: 6:00pm – Movie Premiere 7:00pm
Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Drive-In 
400 Beach Street, River St. parking lot, Santa Cruz, CA

I have stated this in the last few weeks and repeat… 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. Plus the indoor coughing and sneezing in an audience that may not be wearing masks just doesn’t add up to much fun.

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

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

TO THE LAKE. Made and filmed in Moscow, by and for Russian audiences, with subtitles. A mysterious plague hits Moscow and nearly everybody wears masks. Victims turn into zombies, drool, bite, and smear blood everywhere, as usual. Two fighting families get in cars and share drastic tragedies while on the road. You’ve seen all this before many times, except this is a Russian copy of the zombie flicks.

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. 

REBECCA. Laurence Olivier and Alfred Hitchcock made the original flick from Daphne du Maurier’s short story, and it was better than this dull and vapid version. Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas just lack the depth and interest of the original. Don’t bother.

ON THE ROCKS. Bill Murray just walks through this movie, not seeming to know he’s being filmed. No acting, no emoting, no feeling and it’s probably his idea of a style. He’s a rich domineering father who controls and almost totally ruins his daughter’s interracial marriage. Boring in the extreme.

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.


From good AND NEAR GREAT  to awful (in that order)

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. This new movie written and directed by Aaron Sorkin is not just superior but it’s important too. The most important role has Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden. Then there’s Sasha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman and even a smaller part with Michael Keaton as U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. The 7 were defendants being tried for more than six months in Chicago for  causing riots, conspiracy and more at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. It’s a sad and realistic look at our court system, our politics, democracy and police tactics all of which takes us right up to our present times. Don’t miss it. I’m also proud to tell you that on October 30, 2008 our then State Assemblyman Bill Monning (now Senator) brought Tom Hayden to my KZSC radio program Universal Grapevine. We didn’t talk about his marriage to Jane Fonda and the movie doesn’t touch it either.   

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

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

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

THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR. No big name stars this is a genuine haunted house movie. It’s based on a Henry James short story and you’ll some great James lines like the Turning of the Screw as the ghosts haunt the manor now located in Northern California!

SOCIAL DISTANCE. Note that this is NOT Social Dilemma . Social Distance is a brand new movie centered and laying out the problems of living in these Covid/Trump times. It’s a series of near interviews with alcoholics, funerals, masks, care givers, baby sitting…you name it. Well done but it’s no escape from today…it just makes you think about what’s going on for all of us.

LA REVOLUTION. A Netflix original this series is very realistically set in France in 1787. Love, torture, voodoo, royalty, castles and all sorts of mischief. Go for it.

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.  

DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD. A no holds barred documentary by the documentarian/photogrtapher who’s father is dying from Alzheimer’s and dementia. I’m not sure if it’s cruel or empathetic but if you’ve ever had to live and/or care for a relative/ friend with these ailments you know how painful it can be. No laughs, no solutions just a sharing of the negative dread of old age. Go warned.   

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

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

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

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

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

ENOLA HOLMES. From a series of new books this is a fable about Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes little sister Enola. Enola spelled backwards is of course Alone. Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola and is super, couldn’t be better. It’s light clever, mildly absorbing and if you’ve nothing else going on….go for it.

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.

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 an 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.

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME. This is a Netflix thriller set in the town of Knockemstiff, Ohio (a real place). Robert Pattinson (of Twilight fame) plays a knockabout country minister who does bad things to good people. Tom Holland and Bill Skarsgard, and Mia Wasikowska do fine jobs of acting but the plot is predictable, stodgy, and adds nothing to cinema history 

COAST ELITES is HBO’s masterful so called comedy that centers on our very present trials and tribulations caused by Trump, fires, and solitary confinement in our own homes. Bette Midler starts the series of 5 monologues. It’s new, innovative and immensely thought producing. Watch it, think about it. 

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

GOOD MORNING VERONICA. Don’t bother with this Netflix mess. Hackneyed, trite, poorly acted, a waste of your time. 

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October 26

A WHARF BUILT ON LIES CANNOT STAND
Unfortunately the word lie is used loosely, sometimes just for drama, so when an actual government lie is uncovered, the tendency is to shrug it off with a don’t they all lie? retort. Well, no they don’t. When I write that Santa Cruz city staff lied to the federal Department of Commerce on their Wharf grant application I am being precise. And their lie should worry you.

We are a relatively small town of 65,000. We know our local political leaders on a first name basis and sometimes as neighbors. Most know the names of the Department heads and other senior staff, some who have worked for the city for decades. We may disagree vehemently with positions taken by staff for council deliberation, we spot the slick ways staff slant issues, we note the manipulations of surveys, we challenge poorly done environmental reviews… but dealing with outright lies? Not in my experience. Not until the Wharf Master Plan.

To illustrate the difference between distortions, manipulations and lies and why that difference is important, the downtown library issue is a good example. It is clear that the city manager, the library head and now the majority of city council favor relocating the library to a five story garage, housing, mixed-use complex, taking over a potential public commons and killing beautiful magnolia trees in the process. The community voice is largely opposed to the project and has suggested creative ways to achieve the common good, including affordable housing while renovating the current library. The manipulation started with the downtown library survey, conducted at the beginning of the project. Not one question in the survey about relocating the library. That would have allowed community input into the most controversial aspect of the project and a basis for decision -making, always a risky undertaking if you are in power and have an agenda. Some have claimed the city lied to the public. That Measure S did not spell out the option of relocating the library, only its renovation.  However the text of the Measure includes words such as construction and build as well as renovate. So while the city was probably hoping no one would notice those words and ask questions, the city was still on the side of truth, fragile as that may be.

The Wharf Master Plan by contrast is based on a bald faced lie. There’s no shortage of attendant manipulation, distortion and shoddy environmental review but at its heart it’s a lie by the city to obtain federal grant funds by fraud. That is a qualitative difference and the community ignores it at our peril.

When the tsunami waves washed ashore at Cowell Beach in 2011 I was on the cliff above, watching the phenomenon of the sea level rising and falling about 5 times like a speeded-up film of the highest and lowest tides.  You can see a video of this rare event here

It was a balmy day with gentle waves, a few surfers out and all calm at the south end of the Wharf.

By contrast, the Small Craft Harbor suffered significant damage from the tsunami due to the water’s compression at the narrow harbor entrance and boats tied on short lines to the docks. 

When the Wharf Master Plan was making the rounds of the various commissions in 2014 and I happened to be at one of them, I had a gut level reaction against this slickly gentrified makeover Plan for the historic Municipal Wharf with the lead consultant saying of Gilda’s, we can do better. When I caught wind of the city’s claims of damage from the tsunami as the basis for the already obtained federal grant, I did not believe it given what I had observed. My faith in the city was such that I thought it must be incorrect information. So I made a Freedom of Information Act request, that vital tool for rooting out government corruption thanks to the decade’s long work of John Moss, a Democrat from Sacramento, elected in 1952 who was also responsible for the Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 and the Federal Privacy Act of 1974.  President Johnson reluctantly signed the FOIA in 1966.

After poring over piles of emails, documents, letters and forms I uncovered the lie: the city’s words captured in the entry: The Wharf was severely damaged by the March 2011 tsunami natural disaster. On this basis the city was awarded $850,000 in federal monies with $170,000 required contribution from the city Parks and Recreation budget.

Unless the city is held accountable for lying to obtain money by fraud, there will no doubt be more in the future. If the unpopular Wharf Master Plan goes forward with staff continuing to lie to council and if council rubber-stamps the Plan, then they too are party to the lie. If we have sunk this low at the local level of a small progressive town, we should not throw stones at the liars in higher places.

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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October 26

VOTE!

Although voting began October 5th, next Tuesday, November 3rd is the day it finally ends. Will America’s four-year nightmare of Trump end? It is looking better each day, but we still must vote and encourage everyone we know to VOTE! As we all are keenly aware, ballot-counting will continue well through the month and by law, the results will be sent to the California Secretary of State no more than 30 days after election day. I’ve been walking neighborhoods for the Sandy Brown, Kayla Kumar, Kelsey Hill, and Alicia Kuhl city council campaigns with many other supporters. What we encounter is that at least upwards to 60% of the voters have already voted. Even with Covid-19 running its course, this election may very well turn out the most voting Santa Cruzans ever! For those who have not yet voted, here is my guide to the elections. I am not taking a side on everything on the ballot, but only what I believe are significant issues to Santa Cruzans and ones that are being serious contested.

Top of the Ticket

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

I am not a fan of Joe Biden. I ran as a Bernie Sanders delegate, but I did cast my vote for Joe. Why? One, because I want to see him win the popular vote so overwhelmingly that Donald Trump and his ilk can by no means second-guess the election results. Trump refuses to disavow his previous statements to only accept election results if he wins. That is totally unacceptable. I have been working with others to get the word out about a potential post-election coup by this administration. We are encouraging people to take a pledge to stand up and support every vote being counted in every state. Here is where the pledge can be found. Please sign it and be ready post-Nov. 3rd. And two, I want the Bernie-AOC agenda to be incorporated into a Biden-Harris administration–universal college, Medicare for all, childcare for all, and alternatives to prison–being most important. Where will they get the money? By taxing millionaires and billionaires and also cutting the Defense/War Dept. budget.

Santa Cruz City Council

  • Kelsey Hill
  • Kayla Kumar
  • Alica Kuhl
  • Sandy Brown

It is clear who the slates are that are running and what they represent. I support Brown, Kumar, Hill, and Kuhl because they support and are supported by the labor community, and by the Democratic Socialists of America/Santa Cruz, the People’s Democratic Club, the UCSC College Democrats, SC4Bernie, and almost every other progressive group in Surf City. In addition, the most important issue after addressing the post-Covid-19 financial picture is to squash, obliterate, disavow, and put to rest the building of a 5-story parking garage on the current site of the Farmer’s Market. It is one of the worst projects I have seen come along ever, in the city of Santa Cruz. All four of these candidates do NOT, as far as I know, support this misguided project. 

First District Supervisor

  • John Leopold

This is not the 3rd District, Santa Cruz City, but the 1st District, which is a small portion of the city and mostly the Live Oak area. It is important to the city of Santa Cruz to return John Leopold to this seat. John has disappointed progressives on three issues. He supports: Highway 1 widening (measure D), the Nissan dealership at 41st and Soquel, and a proposed Kaiser 700-space parking lot along Hwy. 1. In addition, it is my experience that all supervisors could step it up in terms of working with the city of Santa Cruz in resolving issues around homelessness. John has been good at working with his constituents, supporting alternative transportation and affordable housing projects, and speaking out on issues of the misuse of ICE, fracking, and Trumpian overreach. His opponent is supported by some of the most wealthy individuals in this county whose only goal seems to be eliminating any potential for a county commuter train. There are too many issues coming at supervisors, Leopold is a hard worker and he’s very involved in his day job. This election has likely been a challenging test of his 1st District representation. I believe he will learn much from this experience and return as a better Supe. 

State Propositions

  • YES, on Proposition 15, Fairer property tax assessments on businesses in support of public schools
  • YES, on Proposition 16, Affirmative Action, repeals the backwards looking Prop. 209, approved by voters in 1996
  • YES, on Proposition 17, Restores the right to vote to people convicted of felonies who are now on parole
  • YES, on Proposition 18, of course, allow 17-year olds to vote in primary elections if they turn 18 by the following general election
  • NO, on Proposition 20, we need to really rethink prison and incarceration, no roll backs!
  • YES, on Proposition 21, allows cities to expand the number of units covered by rent control
  • NO, on Proposition 22, just follow the money; this is the most expensive proposition in state history, funded mainly be Uber and Lyft. Workers have rights, NO on 22!

This tweet responds to Trump’s recent comment in Pennsylvania about whether AOC went to college:

“I could say yes, but who cares? Plenty of people without college degrees could run this country better than Trump ever has. As much as GOP cry about ‘elites,’ they’re the ones who constantly mock food service workers, people w/o degrees, etc as dumb. It’s classist & disgusting.” (Oct. 26)


(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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October 26

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT CUSTOMERS DESERVE BETTER LEADERSHIP
The customers of Soquel Creek Water District really deserve new leadership that will take a fresh look at the water supply issues in Santa Cruz County.  Corrie Kates and Maria Marsilio will bring decades of experience in collaborating with neighboring water agencies on project improvements and the discipline to stay within budget.  They will address the ever-increasing rates the current Board has approved, burdening ratepayers with five years of annual 9% increases even though they are conserving all that they can.  Families cannot possibly avoid the Tier 2 rates that are five times higher. 

Incumbents have been on the Board for 17-20 years.  It is time for a change in leadership that will be responsive to the struggling families and seniors, address serious environmental problems of PureWater Soquel, and begin better transparency to all. 

Studies by Carollo Engineer have shown that a number of contaminants cannot be completely removed by the energy-intensive purification process but since these contaminants are not regulated by the State, Soquel Creek Water District plans to inject the treated sewage water into the groundwater drinking water supply anyway. 

* Chairman Bruce Daniels wrote this in response to a citizen’s question as to why the District continued to pump and sell water known to have high levels of the carcinogen 1,2,3-TCP to Seascape and La Selva Beach customers:

“If a well is unused for even 12 months, then the State DWR declares that
the well is abandoned and mandates that it be destroyed. Given how many
millions of dollars we have invested in that one well and therefore how
many millions we would need to spend to replace that well, then we can
not risk its loss.”

Upon the State adoption of a new lower level of regulated allowance of the carcinogen, Soquel Creek Water district removed the contaminated Country Club Well off line but has since re-instated it as a “stand-by well’ and will pump and sell this  water to customers if needed. 

* With that attitude, can people trust the District to stop PureWater Soquel operations if something goes wrong? 

Incumbent Bruce Daniels also stated misinformation that the PureWater Injection test well at Twin lakes Church would be gravity-fed but in truth, the Board changed the Project to use a massive diesel generator that fouled the air for students and staff at the schools nearby. (see explanation of item 6.2 and 6.3

The Board, with Bruce Daniels as Chair and Tom LaHue as Vice-Chair, approved this critical injection well project even before certifying the PureWater Soquel Project EIR. 

Customers cannot afford to keep incumbents Bruce Daniels or Tom LaHue on the Board of Directors for Soquel Creek Water District.  They do not want to be forced to drink expensive sewage water with unknown and potentially toxic contaminants.  Customers can no longer trust these two to be transparent.

It’s Time for a Change! Vote for Corrie Kates and Maria Marsilio https://katesandmarsilio.com 

JOINT PUC AND STATE WATER BOARD WORKSHOP TO HELP PEOPLE WHO CAN’T AFFORD THEIR WATER BILLS
The coronavirus shutdown has put so many people out of work that the State has issued orders to utilities mandating that no customers can have their service shut off due to lack of payment. What will the State do to address this continued problem?  Listen in on the joint Public Utilities Commission and State Water Board workshop October 30 to find out. Joint CPUC Agenda  

More and more people cannot pay their expensive water, with Soquel Creek Water District being a case in point.  Since the Board approved raising rates 9%/year for five years, and re-structuring a questionable tier level to pay for the expensive PureWater Soquel Project, customers who used to have $80/month water bills now have $300+ bills for the same usage levels.

How can people handle this much longer? 

Under the Low Income Ratepayer Assistance Program, District customers could qualify for the maximum credit allowance of 50% when the District implements yet another 9% rate increase on January 1, 2021.  This increase will be the third such increase, and two more are planned by 2023.  Families are now receiving water bills of $300+/month, even though they are following strict conservation practices.

Below is the status summary of this action that Soquel Creek Water District Finance Director Ms. Leslie Strohm has included in every staff report, but without any action taken by the Board to encourage forward movement on achieving any financial relief for customers.

See page 14 of October 20, 2020 Soquel Creek Water District Board Agenda

Aid for Low Income Customers – 

Since the Board has expressed an interest in ways to help low income customers with their water bills, it is noted that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted Resolution No. 2016-0010 which has a section for potential future programs to assist low-income customers with paying water rates. Assembly Bill (AB) 401 (Dodd, 2015), referred to as the Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Act, requires the State Water Board, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and the State Board of Equalization, to have developed a plan, no later than January 1, 2018, to fund and implement the Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program. The Act required the State Water Board to report to the Legislature no later than February 1, 2018, on its findings regarding the program’s feasibility, financial stability, and desired structure, and include any recommendations for legislative action. The final report on AB 401 was published in February 2020 and recommends a state-wide program that utilizes three different methods to assist customers with paying their water bills. 

The first method would be to offer a direct credit on the customer’s water bill with the amount of the credit determined by how much individual water agencies charge single family residential customers for 6 hundred cubic feet (CCF) of water (4,488 gallons). If the bill for 6 CCF of water is less than $62 the proposed credit is 20% of the water bill. If the bill for 6 CCF is between $62 and $83 the credit would be 35% of the water bill, and if the bill for 6 CCF is greater than $83 the proposed credit is 50% of the water bill. Currently the District charges $82.71 for 6 CCF of water, which would require low income customers to receive a 35% credit on the water bill if the SWRCB’s recommendations are implemented. Future rate increases would place the District in the 50% credit category. What is not certain at this time is whether each agency can adapt their billing practices to deliver the credit directly on the water bill or whether an alternate delivery method through the PG&E CARE program or CalFRESH is feasible.

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

CAN GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BUST STAY IN THE WATSONVILLE PUBLIC PARK?
What will become of American history?  Are we doomed to forget our heritage and the lessons learned? Tune in on the November Watsonville City Parks and Recreation Commission meeting and comment.

Washington statue going to Watsonville Parks Commission | The Pajaronian

Washington statue going to Watsonville Parks Commission | The Pajaronian
The Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission will have a tough decision on its hands at its Nov. 3 meeting, a…

“Parks and Community Services Director Nick Calubaquib at a Tuesday night virtual town hall revealed the results of a month-long online survey that asked the community for opinions and suggestions regarding the statue. Calubaquib said the City received more than 1,200 responses to the survey and that roughly 60% of respondents wanted the bust to stay. About 35% of respondents wanted it removed, and the rest were indifferent.

Only roughly 500 respondents were confirmed by the City as Watsonville residents, according to Calubaquib. Responses from Watsonville residents mirrored those of all respondents, Calubaquib said, as 59% of residents wanted it to stay.”

Check for the date of the next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting when Commissioners will be expected to submit recommendations for the City Council.  The Pajaronian states the meeting will be November 3, but the Commission normally would meet November 2. The November agenda is not available at the time of this writing.  

AND NOW, SOMETHING REALLY FRIGHTENING FOR HALLOWEEN…THE NATIONAL DEBT…
Take a look at this real-time U.S. debt clock and information about how much we are each signed up to pay, whether we can or not.  The Government’s coronavirus payouts are causing financial hemorrhage.

Real Time US National Debt Clock | USA Debt Clock.com  

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING AND DEMAND ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK BY JUST DOING SOMETHING. 

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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October 24, 2020
#298 / What Would You Do (If You Weren’t Afraid)?

The picture above comes from an article in the August 23, 2020, edition of The New York Times. Online, the article is titled, “The Office Will Never Be The Same (That’s probably a good thing).”  

I always read The Times in the hard copy version. In its print edition, The Times titled this article, “The Revolution In The Way We Work (Luckily, the office will never be the same).”

Frankly, while I am interested in what sort of changes might be happening (or could happen) in the workplace, what caught my attention when I saw the article was mostly the picture, reproduced above. Plus the use of the world “Revolution,” of course. 

We are now in a “revolutionary” moment – and not just in terms of how we relate to our workplaces. We are in the midst of a revolutionary situation; pandemics, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires proclaim that. And so do our politics. 

Many things have brought us here, but don’t we all know that this is true? We are, truly, in a “revolutionary” situation. 

In revolutionary moments, we know (lots of us know) that the world can be changed, or to use a non-passive construction, that we can change the world. 

In fact, it is always the case that we can change the world. Our ability, individually, to do something new, and unexpected, something never known or done before, is an ever-present reality of our human existence. Our ability, collectively, to determine the shape and character of our human world is always the essence of our existential situation. 

I have no doubt that we are in a revolutionary moment, and I think that this revolutionary moment will extend beyond the upcoming election, and whatever comes after, whatever that election brings us. 

So, we all need to start thinking about what we would do (if we were not afraid).  

At another revolutionary moment in our United States history, our then president told us that, 

the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 

Let us assume that he was right. 

That opens up quite a lot of possibilities, doesn’t it?  

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

    HALLOWEEN

and there’s a full moon on Halloween Night!

The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.  
~Paula Curan 

Halloween shadows played upon the walls of the houses. In the sky the Halloween moon raced in and out of the clouds. The Halloween wind was blowing, not a blasting of wind but a right-sized swelling, falling, and gushing of wind. It was a lovely and exciting night, exactly the kind of night Halloween should be.
~Eleanor Estes, The Witch Family 

Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.
~Ichabod Crane,
Sleepy Hollow


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

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
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