Blog Archives

October 5 – 11, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…tribal gambling measures, another local star, dialysis clinics proposition. GREENSITE…on Measure O and Downtown Expansion. KROHN… a follow-up on following the money. STEINBRUNER…city sewage plant and UV treatment, city water needs study and maybe desal, CZU fire issues remain, county land use policies, grand jury and Live Oak library, church receives free water. HAYES… comparing District 3 north county supervisor candidate’s platforms on the environment. PATTON…a new world begins. MATLOCK…fear factor for the fidos. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS’ pick of the week takes us back to the 70s QUOTES…”FULL MOON”


In 1880 Rose Aichberg, daughter of famed photographer Christian Aichberg, stood in front of Holy Cross church. She was later elected Santa Cruz County supervisor and was only the second woman in California to be elected to that position.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

THOSE TRIBAL GAMBLING MEASURES. I wrote in this very space last week…”Its mind boggling to have to watch so many of the very expensive TV ads for measures 26 and 27. After much debating and seeking of the truth behind their promises I’m voting NO on 26 and YES on 27″. Then Nanlouise Wolfe sent this note…

“Hi Bruce,

Not sure how you decided which measure to vote for but the Friends (Quaker) Committee on Legislation 0f California suggests the opposite and explains in detail why:

  (they also go into detail on the other ballot issues)

Proposition 26: Allows In-Person Roulette, Dice Games, Sports Wagering on Tribal Lands. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Recommendation: YES.

Proposition 27: Allows Online and Mobile Sports Wagering Outside Tribal Lands. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Recommendation: NO.

Big gambling interests are competing on the ballot this year following a 2018 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a federal prohibition on sports betting. The stakes are high. As of this writing, the campaigns have spent a record $350 million to blanket the airwaves with ads both for and against Propositions 26 and 27. Propositions 26 and 27 are competing with one another. If both initiatives pass, the one that receives more votes would become law and the courts would have to sort out which pieces would prevail. Proposition 26 would allow federally recognized Native American tribes to operate roulette, dice games and sports wagering on tribal lands. It also allows on-site sports wagering at four privately operated horse-racing tracks. Proposition 27 would allow the larger gambling companies and tribes with state compacts to offer online and mobile sports betting. It also creates a new state trust fund based on 10 percent of sports bets less certain expenses, with 85 percent of the fund’s revenues to address homelessness, mental health and gambling addiction and 15 percent to tribes that do not participate in online sports betting. A new regulatory agency would be created within the state Department of Justice.

FCLCA’s position regarding tribal gaming is complex. FCLCA endorses Friends’ traditional opposition to gambling on moral grounds. Gambling is addictive to some, and families may become destitute because of gambling. While we continue to bear testimony against gambling, we do not feel it is right to impose our will on sovereign Native American nations. We recognize that legalized sports betting is now an inevitable reality.

Under Proposition 26, it would be regulated by compacts between Native American tribes and the State of California, and it would only be conducted in person at facilities where gambling already occurs.

Proposition 27 has the potential to turn every online gadget into a gambling device, which would entice more people to gamble and would be harder to regulate. While it would be great to have to have additional funds to address homelessness and mental health, Friends have never believed it is right to fund other programs with gambling revenues. The real winners under Proposition 27 are the large gaming interests.

FCLCA is taking a harm reduction approach. If Proposition 26 receives more votes than Proposition 27, it could prevent the worst elements of Proposition 27 from taking effect. FCLCA recommends a YES vote on Proposition 26 and a NO vote on Proposition 27″. ~Nanlouise Wolfe

She has presented a deep and dividing difference….any other opinions? Go here to read Cal Matters points of view.

ANOTHER LOCAL HOLLYWOOD STAR. As per usual I love and even like to receive your comments, corrections and news. Just email A long time reader sent this last week…. “The costumes for the current hit movie Don’t Worry Darling, directed by and starring Olivia Wilde, were done by Arianne Phillips, who grew up in Santa Cruz and has become a powerhouse costume designer and stylist in Hollywood and beyond”. She was born in NYC.

DIALYSIS CLINICS –YES on PROP 29. The California Democratic Party and The California Labor Foundation support a YES vote on Prop. 29. It’s about requiring dialysis clinics to have a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on site. . Go here to read why we should vote YES on 29

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.

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 murdering’s 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.

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 OUTFIT. (AMAZON PRIME MOVIE) (7.1 IMDB). It’s a delight to critique a movie as good as this one. Mark Rylance (a familiar British face) is the very serious lead in this 1956 Chicago mob war movie. He’s become a tailor/cutter and allows his shop to be shared with the local mob members. The pacing is good the acting is superb, and it’s all done within the tailors shop. Download this by all means.

GOODNIGHT MOMMY. (AMAZON PRIME MOVIE) (5.6 IMDB). Naomi Watts wears a complete head mask through almost all of this mystery. She has twin sons (actually played by twins) and they too want to see why she’s wearing that coverage. They begin to doubt that she’s their real mom and the plot thins not thickens here. The ending might just surprise you if you haven’t seen the other movies based on the same script. Watch it with care and patience.

DON’T WORRY DARLING. (DEL MAR THEATRE). (6.2 IMDB). This much hyped movie directed by and starring Olivia Wilde is a less than wonderful mix of Stepford Wives and The Truman Show. There’s a super tight and isolated “perfect community” where the husbands all drive to some secret work while the wives maintain a forced happiness. Florence Pugh does a superior job of acting while Olivia mugs her way through the faked image. You’ll stay glued to it just to see what the mystery is/was all about…but few if any awards will be given here.

FATHER STU. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.5 IMDB). Mark Wahlberg grins and mugs his way through this true to life story of a boxer named Stuart Long who decides to not just give up women and his life as usual to become a Roman Catholic priest. Mel Gibson plays his drunken, mean father and Malcolm McDowell from Clockwork Orange is Wahlberg’s spiritual teacher! Even if it’s true his saga is difficult to believe. Yet the closing credits have photos and statements from the real life of the hero. Be very aware, it’s hammy and very religious.

PLAZA CATEDRAL. (NETFLIX MOVIE). (7.1IMDB). A well to do Mexican architect/saleswoman gets very involved with a street kid who teases and begs her for money. She lost her own child years ago and has trouble adjusting to her husband and life in general. It’s near perfect acting by these two leads and the photography is excellent too. In very real life the young star who plays the kid was murdered just days after the film was finished.



Turlough O’Carolan was a contemporary of J.S. Bach, O’Carolan (1670-1738) was Ireland’s most famous harper. Though blinded by smallpox at age 18, a patron gave him a harp, a horse and a guide, and he supported himself for 50 years as an itinerant harpist, becoming the most famous of all Celtic composers. Many members of the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival will be performing. Linda Burman-Hall, Director, harpsichord, virginal. Shelley Phillips, harp, Baroque oboes, folk flutes. William Coulter, guitar, bodhran. Robin Petrie, hammered dulcimer Deby Benton Grosjean, traditional fiddle, Baroque violin. John Weed, fiddle and Barry Phillips, on ‘cello. The concert is FREE and will be at 3pm October 9 Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Hall. The link to obtain free tickets is here.


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 3


Last week I wrote on the proposed library/parking garage/housing project that, if it comes to pass, will dramatically change the character of Santa Cruz with building heights and mass way out of scale, with the library ripped from its historic location, forever losing a sense of place, with the loss of the last bit of open space downtown that if saved has enormous potential for a public plaza. I referred to Measure O in passing and may have inadvertently left an incorrect impression of who supports which side. Measure O, which I strongly, actively support is a yes vote to keep the library in its current location and spend the millions raised from us taxpayers on what we thought we were voting for in Measure S, namely the library’s renovation in its current location. It is hypocritical for the opponents of Measure O to have as their tag line, “Don’t be Fooled” when it was we who were fooled to vote for a library renovation measure while the hidden agenda was to move it. So Yes! on Measure O. The website is full of excellent information on the Measure,  and you can find it here.

The pace with which our city’s current Planning and Economic Development Departments are pushing significant project after project onto the community is unprecedented in my 47 years in Santa Cruz. While some projects are driven by new state housing laws, many appear driven by a new planning direction in which upper- level management dismiss as quaint nostalgia what many of us love about Santa Cruz; view the small- scale businesses and cottages as “underutilized space” and regard anything older than 50 years as “past its useful life.” Out of this context emerged the Downtown Expansion Project, the boundaries of which are depicted above in red. This newly imagined downtown extension will dwarf the 8-story height of a relocated library project with building heights proposed in the 15 to 17 story range!

When projects are simply lines on paper it is difficult to imagine their visual impact. Unhelpfully, our Planning Department has balked at repeated requests to use story poles which outline height and mass of proposed projects and are used by many city Planning Departments, but not ours, to give some measure of what is being proposed. To get a sense of scale, go look at the new building under construction at Laurel, Front and Pacific which is still going up in height. At completion it will be six stories. By comparison the tallest building in the Downtown Expansion area will be three times as high. A new Warriors Arena is part of the project, to be funded out of profits from the skyscrapers. You can bet that any below market rate housing will be a small fraction of the 1600 units planned. That number of units will translate into at least 4000 new residents, squeezed into a bottleneck between Laurel Street and the beach area, the main tourist thoroughfare to the Boardwalk and the beach. To make matters worse, new state law no longer requires traffic congestion to be studied as an impact. A perfect storm in the making.

Most residents of Santa Cruz are probably unaware of the scope and scale of this project. We are at the relative beginning of the process. The step currently being taken by the city is to evaluate the legally required environmental impacts under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). This link describes the project and if you scroll to the bottom, it gives all you need to submit a comment on what should be included in a draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report). It is not the occasion to express your feelings about the project. Of course, you can, but the response will be “not relevant.” That opportunity will come later. So, Aesthetics, Biological Resources, Transportation, Emergency Response, Soils and Geology are some of the categories that are relevant. This is spelled out in the link. October 17th is the deadline for comments about what should be included in the draft EIR. Also look at the Project Objectives. One glaring omission is that of preserving existing neighborhoods which are predominantly low-income renters. That objective needs inclusion and study. Another is congestion, which must be studied in this local context despite the shift in emphasis to VMT, Vehicle Miles Travelled.

One objective that is always on the city’s playbook is “to connect the downtown to the beach.” You don’t need a deep class analysis to recognize that the folks who go to the beach are a different demographic from those who go downtown. Just take a walk on the beach! Chasing that pie in the sky has been codified into the city’s General Plan and it has resulted only in creating gridlock at both roundabouts on summer weekends. I doubt it has lured even one beachgoer to say to the kids, “Hey, look, there’s downtown. Let’s go to Abbott Square!

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 3


How to Buy an Election

I am updating my past two columns in the discussion around money in the Measures O, “Our Downtown, Our Future,” and Measure N, tax empty homes to create more affordable housing, races. The money trail took another turn for the worse this past week as the “No on O” contingent of real estate and corporate developer money pushed their totals closer to the $100,000 mark with more than a month to go, while “Yes on O” team raised around $30,000, mostly from grass roots contributors. The high rollers in the bid to defeat a measure that will develop a town commons and build significantly more affordable housing, are generally those who have a financial stake in several downtown building sites. And by the way, the No on O campaign has so far has spent a bundle of money on consulting, almost as much as Yes on O has raised, $29,300 on consulting fees. No on O paid San Francisco consultant “Clean Sweep Campaigns, Inc.,” a total of $18,000; local consultant Miller Maxfield, $15,000; former Lookout reporter turned “Campaign Coordinator,” Grace Stetson, $2.450; and a polling firm in Oakland, $2,375. This can all be accessed here at the Santa Cruz City Clerk’s website if you want to see for yourself.

Who’s Who Shelling Out $Dough$ Against Measure O

Folks who would like to remain nameless are:

  • $5,000 from “SCFS Ventures LLC,” another of Owen Lawlor’sshell” companies (but they can’t hide so easily any more). I use the term shell company for SCFS Ventures LLC because the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Form 497 filing with the city clerk only lists the LLC owned by Lawlor, but it does not list his name. Forming an LLC, or Limited Liability Company is done to shield your personal assets, presumably from law suits.
  • Pacific Union Housing Group LLC of Moraga, Ca, $2500.
  • Pacific Union Partners, Inc. of Moraga, Ca., $2500
  • SC Cedar Street Apartments, LP, also of Moraga, Ca., $2500
  • Santa Cruz Seaside Co., aka Karl Rice and Charles Canfield…they dropped in a whopping $12,500!
  • Case Swenson of Monte Sereno, Green Corporation, $1,500, to go along with a previous $10,000 donation as the corporation
  • Owen Lawlor’s 201 Front St. SC LLC, $5,000
  • Ruben Helick, Commercial Real Estate Agent, $5,000
  • Santa Cruz Dream Inn…under what name?…$5,000

Some individuals representing No on O:

  • Roberta “Birdie” Hunter of “Wavecrest Wealth Management” investment firm
  • “Power couple” Mark Mesiti-Miller and Donna Murphy, $2,000
  • Realtor and Santa Cruz “Together” bundler, Lynn Renshaw, $500
  • Developer Craig Rowell, $500
  • Growing real Estate entrepreneur and former SC city councilmember, Cynthia Mathews, $1,500
  • Mayoral, take-no-sides-in-the-Measure-O-debate, candidate, Fred Keeley, $500
  • Real estate attorney, Caleb Baskin, $2,500
  • Gary Filizetti of Devcon Construction, Inc., $500 to go along with the company’s $5,000
  • Coonerty for Supervisor, $500
  • Casey Protti and Bookshop, $500
  • Don Lane, former SC Councilmember, $725

Brother, Can You Spare An Empty Home?

That’s quite a chunk of change. It wasn’t long ago that the No on the Our Downtown, Our Future Measure was far out in front in the campaign cash race, but No on the affordable housing tax has picked up steam and jetted ahead. One developer-real estate grouping trying to see who can say the louder NO, I guess.

OMG, Somebody Sound the Alarm!

Twenty-nine thousand and nine hundred dollars. $29,900. It was reported on October 3, 2022 and it’s likely one of the largest single donations that has ever been recorded in Santa Cruz campaign history. This big check came into the “No on the Empty Homes Tax” coffers, you guessed right again, from the uber-deep-pocket cash caves of the California Association of Realtors. The capitalist money spigot is turning into a firehouse of campaign cash to defeat the reasonable Measure N, the affordable housing tax on homes that sit empty in the city of Santa Cruz. All this money seems to go through the group, Santa Cruz Together. Their treasurer Brad Brereton appears to administer the fund along with Renshaw. As of September 30, the No on N campaign had raised $98,638, but with the additional $29,900 reported a couple of days later, that figure balloons to $128,538 raised to do the unthinkable, defeat a rather meagre, but sensible, affordable housing ballot measure. This money by the California Association of Realtors is in addition to an earlier money-dump they made of $20,000. So far, No on N has spent much less than No on O on consultants. No on N is clocking in at $10,428 given to another SF campaign consulting firm called “Rally Campaigns.”

Who Wants to Defeat Measure N?

The corporate interests:

  • Santa Cruz Seaside Co., aka Karl Rice and Charles Canfield, $10,000
  • Karon Properties, Inc., $1,000
  • Locust Street LLC, $350
  • Bailey Properties (real estate) $2,500


  • Realtor, Richard Moe, $$2,150
  • Landlord, Darius Mohesin, $500
  • Brooks Property Manager Rossana Bruni, $300
  • Multi-property owner and property manager, Dorothy Eller, $1,500
  • Lynn Renshaw, AGAIN, $1,500
  • Realtor, Caren Spencer, $500
  • Property Manager, Hallie Richmond, $1,003
  • Real Estate attorney, Brad Brereton, $1,500
  • Investor, Louie Rittenhouse, $500
  • Market-rate Housing Fixer, Owen Lawlor, $250
  • Kristina Horn, $500

Some Simple Ways We Can Fix Our Political System

  • Ban all corporate contributions to the Democratic Party Convention and all related committees, and as President he would ban all corporate donations for inaugural events and cap individual donations at $500.
  • Abolish the now-worthless FEC and replace it with the Federal Election Administration, a true law enforcement agency originally proposed by former Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold.
  • Enacting mandatory public financing laws for all federal elections.
  • Updating and strengthen the Federal Election Campaign Act to return to a system of mandatory public funding for National Party Conventions.
  • Passing a Constitutional Amendment that makes clear that money is not speech and corporations are not people.

–Bernie Sanders platform for getting $money$ out of politics

“Forcing poor and working class people to give birth against their will, against their consent, against their ability to provide for themselves or their child is a profound economic issue. This is the future MAGA Republicans are fighting for.” (Tweeted Sep 30)

A real David staring down Goliath story…

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 3


I happened to see that the Santa Cruz City Council accepted a Report of Completion for the new Ultra Violet (UV) Treatment facility at the sewage treatment plant at 110 California Street, next to Neary Lagoon.  That is really good news.  The Regional Water Quality Control Board had been waving a stick at the City for problems with the old UV disinfection system, leading to higher than allowed contamination levels dumping into the Pacific Ocean outfall pipe (which has a leak).

The project cost?

FISCAL IMPACT: The total project cost was $3,597,524. This project was funded a Capital Investment Program (CIP) project (WWTF – Ultraviolet Disinfection System Replacement (c401504). There is no impact to the General Fund.

This was all presented in the September 13, 2022 Santa Cruz City Council Consent Agenda Item #23


The drought has revived discussion about water supplies, and I hear desalination mentioned more.  The Santa Cruz City Council received an update on the blueprint for projects to fund that will address the City’s water needs on September 13, approving a fourth change order to the analysis being done by Kennedy Jenks consultants to help steer the City’s efforts and money toward what will be the best water supply sources for the future.

What might they consider?  Desalination is still on the board, but not a priority.

Stay tuned for this November when the Council will hear the final version of the Water Future Initiative, currently being vetted by the City Water Commission, setting the foundation for long-term water supply projects to get started and comply with the citizen-based Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC) recommendations made in 2014 after the people just said NO to desalination’s energy hog technology in favor of focused conservation and water sharing with neighboring water agencies.


There are still so many unanswered questions about how  and why the CZU Lightning Complex Fire went awry to destroy over 900 homes, claim a life, and forever traumatize thousands of people in our County, and now the County refusing to issue permits and barring the majority of these people any ability to rebuild.

CalFire refused to do an After Action Review to examine anything, or benefit by recognizing mistakes as well as successes that would help improve training and operations for the next disaster.

This is not the only case of a large government agency that is broken and dysfunctional but refuses to address actions in disasters that did not work for the benefit of the people and the environment.  Take a look at this recent 60-Minutes interview regarding the Caldor Fire:

Evidence shows U.S. Forest Service mismanagement contributed to California wildfire | 60 Minutes

Why are these large government agencies refusing to be accountable?  Their actions are arguably criminal.

What is an After Action Review? Take a look at what the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) has to say

In this reference listed, the author includes Tips for Conducting Effective After Action Reviews, defining it as a “simple powerful tool enabling them [emergency response agencies] to continuously learn from their daily experiences”.  At the conclusion of the article, there are Tips for Conducting AARS (After Action Reviews).

The question remains: Why has CalFire refused to do this and rejected any involvement by the well-trained and competent Santa Cruz County Fire Department volunteers who possess valuable local knowledge?  At this point, our only hope for an effective Review and improved emergency response is the County Civil Grand Jury.

 Please contact them.


Coming our way on November 15, the Board of Supervisors will take a first look at the major land use policies and County General Plan Update that will guide what our communities look and feel like for decades to come.

The County Planning Commissioners were under pressure to work feverishly and complete their review of the County Sustainability Update, General Plan Update, and the Draft EIR for it all.  They crossed that finish line on September 21, but we have yet to see their many recommendations in print. You can listen to the audio recording of that long meeting here, and have some idea, although staff had discretion on a number of items.

This is a big deal.

Please take time to listen to the September 21 Planning Commission recording.  Contact the Supervisors with your thoughts at:

 You can find the original documents here.

Choose a topic that interests you most and read it.  Talk with your friends and neighbors about their thoughts.

We cannot be silent on this critical issue that will affect us all for generations to come.

This is a current photo of downtown Santa Cruz, but would be common in Pleasure Point under the current proposed County General Plan Update to allow 45-80 units / acre.


The Grand Jury released some excellent reports, including results of investigating misrepresentation and use of Measure S Library funds: “How a Community Center Became a Library”. 2022-3 Measure S Report

“The Annex (currently being constructed) is about one mile from the existing Live Oak Branch Library. The Annex is, in essence, a collection of study and education spaces with publicly available computers and internet that will be managed by County Parks staff. Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) will not have librarians or books for loan at this location.

The Grand Jury has concluded that the Annex is an expansion of the Live Oak Community Center and not an expansion of the Live Oak Branch Library. Following the State’s elimination of redevelopment agencies, County Parks was left without a ready source of capital funds needed to complete the vision of the Community Center. Measure S filled the void. The Grand Jury recommends that the County Board of Supervisors reassess its decision to use Measure S funds to improve the Live Oak Community Center and restore the voters’ trust.

Remember this problem as you consider how to vote on bond measures this November.

Here are some photos of the “Library” construction happening right now to enlarge the Simpkins Swim Center Community Center:
The entrance to Simpkins Swim Center. Entrance to existing Community Center and construction of new “Library” that will have no books or library staff.


Great progress has been made at the 1500 Capitola Road Dientes and Medical Clinics, and now the multiple three-story apartments are under construction where 57 affordable units will be.  The question is:  Will the Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System (VIMS) that requires constant pressure at the foundation and utility ports work when the electricity goes out, or in a seismic disaster?

  Will the tenants even know about all this?

The County does not seem to care, and did not want to do any real remediation to remove the source of the PCE contamination at the former dry cleaning business adjacent.  The plume of contamination is also in the groundwater and should be at least monitored…but is it?  Nope.

Take a look at the photos below.  Note the large fan in operation with an open door, after all work crews had left the site.  This is likely necessary for the safety of the workers.
This photo is taken from the highly-contaminated side of the parcel, showing Dientes Clinic and apartments under construction. Here is the other side of that Dientes Clinic and the quad where three interpretive panels will go, recognizing the historic Merriman House and Robert Merriman’s importance as the key character in ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ by Ernest Hemingway.  
This high-volume fan was operating at high speed with the door ajar, long after crews had left. The Community Garden space on the side of the parcel opposite the PCE contamination.  Will it be healthy for kids and their families to grow food here?


The Soquel Creek Water District ratepayers are gifting FREE water for 50 years to irrigate athletic fields at Twin Lakes Baptist Church in Aptos, where the District Manager is a member of the congregation. Meanwhile, Anna Jean Cummings Park play areas are parched and brown because the water is just too expensive.

Is Soquel Creek Water District planning to provide any irrigation uses for the recycled water project currently under construction?  NOPE.

Does any of this seem right to you?

The photo on the right: Crews are working to significantly expand the Twin Lakes Baptist Church private school athletic fields that will benefit by having FREE water for 50 years, thanks to Soquel Creek Water District ratepayers and public tax monies building the PureWater Soquel Project.


The Soquel Creek Water District has resumed work on the Laurel Street Bridge crossing the San Lorenzo River to attach a 14″ pipe that will contain pressurized treated sewage water that will have high levels of chloramine, toxic to all aquatic life.  There will also be a 6″ pipe attached that will contain pressurized concentrated waste “brine” returning from the PureWater Soquel treatment plant in Live Oak, and will contain toxic disinfection byproducts in addition to the contaminants removed from the treated sewage water.

The work was delayed last spring, thanks to the excellent work by Ms. Jane Mio, who pointed out to California Fish & Wildlife biologists that the construction on the Laurel Street Bridge would disrupt the migratory Cliff Swallows nesting there.  Thankfully, the District had to halt their work.  None of this was ever evaluated in the Project EIR certified by the District in December, 2018 or addressed in either the 2020 or 2021 Environmental Addendums, neither of which was released for public comment.

Many thanks to Good Citizen Ms. Jane Mio for protecting the migratory Cliff Swallows who come every year from Argentina to raise their young under the Laurel Street Bridge in Santa Cruz.



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 2


In the past, you may recall I urged you to vote for the environment…first and foremost. We are soon to be faced with a vote for District 3 Supervisor between Justin Cummings and Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson: what are we to do if we vote primarily for the environment?

Published Platforms

You might turn to the candidates’ webpages for what they suggest are their environmental platforms.

Shebreh’s website has a single note about her environmental stance: “As a Santa Cruz City Councilmember, Shebreh is a leading voice for today’s most pressing needs” and then a list of those ‘pressing needs’ that includes the phrase “environmental stewardship.” That’s it!

Justin’s website has a lot more mention of the environment including:

  • his broad suggestion that he will “help us forge a sustainable path forward for our environment”
  • and a few specifics where he says:
    • “We will put climate change mitigation at the forefront, continue working to reach net zero CO2 emissions, and mitigate the negative human impacts on our forests, beaches, and ocean habitats.”
    • “We will fight to protect our neighborhoods from over development, which means we will need to fight State efforts to strip local communities of land use planning decision making.”


It is worth perusing the candidates’ websites for endorsements by leaders in activism for local environmental protections. On the whole, it appears that Justin wins strongly.

Peter Scott as well as Alec and Claudia Webster endorse Justin; there are just a couple of names that stand out on Justin’s endorsement list as having been on the wrong side of environmental issues. On the other hand, there are no local environmental activist leaders on the list endorsing Shebreh…but, there are quite a few names that have been strongly on the wrong side of environmental issues. For what it’s worth, according to Justin’s website the Sierra Club has apparently endorsed him, though their website has no confirmation as such. Curiously, Sam Farr who accomplished so much for the local environment as congressman, has endorsed both Shebreh and Justin. None of the board members of local environmental activist organizations (Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society, Valley Women’s Club, and Save our Shores) endorsed either candidate except Alli Webster, Chair of the local Surfrider chapter who endorsed Justin.

Other Means of Vetting Environmental Records

We can sleuth a little about the candidates from things they’ve said or done. Here are some comparisons:


From what I can find published, Shebreh would represent a big change for what the District 3 Supervisorial representative has meant for supporting carefully planned development in the rural areas of Santa Cruz’ North County. Justin appears to represent more of the history of this position…proceeding cautiously and focusing growth closer to the already more densely built areas. Items that stand out are Shebreh’s worrisome stridency that you ‘can’t build anywhere’ and Justin’s ludicrous notion that the cement plant should/can support a significant amount of affordable housing. I do like Justin’s stance that we should fight the State’s efforts to override local control on development: not sure how that would work, though…and he doesn’t detail that.

Shebreh Justin
She describes the County Planning Department, thus: “entrenched culture that is very outdated” He suggests that maybe we can redevelop the Davenport cement plant to include affordable housing

She wants to “Change Zoning ordinance” to allow “expediting and removing barriers to building backyard ADUs.”

He has said that we need to “protect our neighborhoods from over development, which means we will need to fight State efforts to strip local communities of land use planning decision making”

She has said that “we can’t do any kind of development anywhere.”

She has defended her record by describing herself as a “100% yes” vote on housing projects that have come before the council.


Climate Change

Both candidates have strong histories of supporting measures to address climate change. Shebreh has repeatedly noted her support for the local Climate Action Plan as well as specific support for renewable energy. Justin says that we need to put “climate change mitigation at the forefront, continue working to reach net zero CO2 emissions.


The candidates vary on addressing UCSC growth. You can find evidence that Shebreh has focused on reducing traffic to UCSC whereas Justin says he will “continue working to hold the University accountable for its growth and impact.

Other Things

Cannabis Cultivation

I worked with a committee on the cannabis cultivation ordinance for the County and will emphasize for the record the importance of Shebreh’s support for that committee’s recommendations, which resulted in District 3 receiving the best controls for cannabis cultivation of anywhere in the County. She was articulate, hard-working, and a good listener during that process. Some of the concerns were environmental, so she scores well on this front.

Parks and Land Management

Justin has promised to work “to address the impacts of Cotoni Coast Dairies Monument,” an increasingly important issue, though one which is not isolated to that particular open space: given his education, it is surprising that he singles that one spot out when visitor use to parks and the associated issues are much broader. Shebreh then is perhaps better, though too vague, in saying she will focus on “maintaining our county beaches, parks and open spaces.”

I will note that both candidates cast very troubling votes in favor of developing the main meadow at the Pogonip greenbelt into a farm program, including parking lots and buildings – despite those developments being prohibited by a lengthy environmental review and related long term plans. This was particularly troubling coming from Justin, who should know better.

Now to November

Given my summary, I hope that you will help draw out more environmental platforms from these two candidates. There is scant information from either candidate- especially scant in the specifics of what they can and will do to protect species, wildlife habitats, clean water, and open space for future generations.

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


September 28 #272 / A New World Begins

I picked up my copy of A New World Begins, authored by Jeremy Popkin, from one of the many “little free libraries” that I visit as I walk around Santa Cruz, California. If you want to read this book yourself (and particularly if you like to underline your books, as I do, so you can’t just take the book out from the library), you may have to buy it at a bookstore. Popkin’s book is long, at 561 pages before the Acknowledgments and the Index, and I thought it was quite a rewarding read.

Before I picked up the book and took it home with me, I more or less credited myself with knowing pretty much anything worth knowing about the French Revolution. After all, I was a history major in college, and I spent six months in France as an undergraduate student. I took a course touching on French history from Gavin Langmuir, a famous historian who taught at Stanford, and I have a book by Robert Fawtier on my bookshelves – The Capetian Kings of France. Besides, I read A Tale of Two Cities long ago, not to mention On Revolution, in which Hannah Arendt gives her take on the French Revolution. What more could you need?

Nonetheless, since the book was essentially brand new, and since I am a history student, I picked up the book and took it home. As it turns out, I didn’t know that much about the French Revolution.

  • I was truly unaware of the extent to which women were empowered by the French Revolution.
  • I did not really understand how profoundly egalitarian the revolution was.
  • I didn’t fully appreciate how the revolution so significantly eliminated the influence of the Catholic Church.
  • I hadn’t known how important the French Revolution was in ending slavery worldwide, and particularly in the Americas.
  • I didn’t really know, either, how Napoleon’s dictatorship was related to the French Revolution, to which it marked an end.
  • .. (this part I had some idea about), Popkin’s book made me realize – even more than A Tale of Two Cities – how truly ghastly can be the results when a group of persons, chosen to represent the people, have unchecked and limitless power, when there are no “checks and balances” built in, and when governmental institutions are designed to facilitate the “democratic” use of government power. Without any effective check against governmental power, the revolution produced what was so properly called “The Terror,” and that “Terror” was terrible, indeed.

Reading Popkin’s book made me think, a lot, about the state of our own government, society, economy, and politics, here in the United States. Contemplate this discussion, from Page 497 in Popkin’s book:

Where it faced defeat, the Directory told its supporters to claim that legal procedures were being violated; they were then to create a schism by walking out of the electoral assemblies and forming their own rival group. Even when the breakaway assembly had many fewer participants than the original one, the government’s loyalists in the councils would pronounce its candidates legally elected.

Does that ring a bell? Does the date, January 6, 2021, come to mind?

William Faulkner is famously known to have said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Pick up Popkin’s book, and read all about 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

Email Gary at

October 3


As we belly up to the gas pump to face increases in price yet again, after experiencing a short span of reductions, Meidas Touch on YouTube has brought to our attention a bit of history about which we should be made aware, or reminded about if memories have faded. Looking back into the days of yesteryear, May of 2017 to be exact, it seems that a joint venture by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell, dba Motiva Enterprises, was experiencing a bit of instability in their relationship at the Port Arthur, Texas refining plant. The refinery, the largest in the US was considered the crown jewel for domestic oil production, processing 600,000 barrels daily.

As reported by CNN Business at the time, the Aramco/Motiva breakup prompted Texas state regulators and the Trump administration to grant Aramco 100% ownership of the facility which went on to record a $48B profit in this year’s second quarter, boosted with tax breaks that average blue collar workers are suffering under to fill the pockets of Saudis and wheeling/dealing MAGATs. Along with its proprietary rights, Aramco was given 24 distribution terminals with an exclusive right to sell Shell-branded gasoline and diesel in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the eastern half of Texas and a majority of Florida. It also allows Aramco to send more Saudi crude oil into the US for refining to serve domestic motorists.

CNN Business reported that the Saudi kingdom in that period was battered with a bloated budget and low oil prices, yet they slashed taxes for Aramco to arrest concern over the oil giant’s market evaluation. Donald Trump, during his 2016 presidential campaign trumpeted that this country should be more energy independent while threatening to halt imports from Arab countries over their lack of commitment in fighting ISIS. Soon after Trump was sworn in as president, relations improved after a visit from Saudi prince, Mohammed bin Salman. They must have kissed and made up, though The Don never mentioned an exchange of love letters. However, it should be kept in the mix that son-in-law, Jared Kushner, recently secured a $2B investment for his private equity firm, Affinity Partners, from the main Saudi wealth fund upon the prince’s insistence, and over the objections of the fund’s advisors. Nothing to see here, folks…move along!

The fund’s advisors objections included the inexperience of Jared’s firm, the possibility of the kingdom’s high risk of loss, a proposed asset fee that seemed excessive, and a public relations risk from Kushner’s ties to DJT. Many speculate the investment is payback for support given by the Trump administration, and Kushner, in the uproar precipitated by the murder of reporter Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, but a takeover of the Texas refinery and its billions in profits couldn’t have hurt. For certain there is no fear of Trump and his minions by the Prince who possesses his own fear factor.

And speaking of fear, we’ll go to the head groveler in the Trump universe, Senator Ted Cruz. When asked by a Texas reporter why Republicans are so hesitant to criticize the former president, he offered, “It’s a number of things. If someone criticizes him, he turns around and punches them in the face.” And, Ted and Heidi are both still suffering the after-effects of being punched during the lead-up to the 2016 election…and, he keeps asking for it, “Oh, please, I’ve turned the other cheek…may I bend over for you?!” George W. Bush maintained in his election speeches that he was “a uniter, not a divider.” Trump blatantly divides, humiliates, and conquers to thoroughly dominate as evidenced by the hush within Republican circles in criticisms of The Orange One. A prime example was prominent on the Sunday news shows, in the person of Senator Rick Scott of Florida when he was asked about comments Trump made in his Friday speech in Pennsylvania. Trump had suggested that “Mitch McConnell has a death wish for supporting Democrat-sponsored legislation,” as he went on to make derogatory statements about Elaine Chao, Mitch’s wife, who he referred to as “China-loving Coco Chow.” On his Truth Social website, the former prez referred to McConnell as a “broken down hack politician” and to Chao as “crazy.” News show moderators could never get a straight answer form Senator Scott as to whether those comments were inappropriate and dangerous, with racial overtones. He answered all the questions that he wished he were asked, never addressing Fear Leader’s indiscretions. Poor Rick, in attempting to ward off the monicker of RINO became a FIDO, asking for his squeaky toy.

Still up in the air is a merger between Trump’s Truth Social and Digital World Acquisition Corporation, with an upcoming stockholder vote on October 10 to approve an extension of the merger deadline. A similar vote in September failed to amass the required 65% investor support. The CEO of the shell company set to take Trump Media and Technology Group public than invested $2.8M from his company, Arc Global Investments II to prevent liquidation for the moment. Mr. T had threatened to squelch the deal to go public, while using his own money to finance the venture. “Who knows? In any event, I don’t need financing, I’m really rich! Private company anyone??,” he wrote in a post to his site. Currently, the deal must take place by December, but a successful shareholder vote would extend it by a year. One problem is that committed investors are no longer contractually obliged to provide the money with the passing of the September deadline, and $138M has already been withdrawn by nervous investors. Plus, the two companies are under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible communications violations prior to the merger, and who can predict where the legal troubles and investigation against Trump himself will lead? However, if anyone cares to invest, Devin Nunes will be glad to assist. Let us know how that goes!

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.


There’s a full moon on Sunday Oct.9. Take note…

“If you can, get rid of all your stupid money and career ambitions and sit on the beach on a quiet night and watch the full moon! You’ve been running around all your life and you missed the real beauties of this world! Now focus on these true treasures of life!”
~Mehmet Murat ildan

“In the night when the moon is large, the world spreads blue in every direction.”
~Lynda Barr

“In my darkness you appeared like a full moon with silvery lights of love.”
~Debasish Mridha


Back to…simpler times? I have to say, I love it ALL… the outfits, the music, the set pieces… After watching this, I fell into a massive rabbit hole of old Osmonds videos, and now I know more Osmond history than you can shake a stick at. The Osmonds were huge in Sweden when I was a kid in the 70s, so that was fun 🙂

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