Bratton…UCSC rankings and status, Munching with Mozart concerts.Greensite…on heritage tree loss and the appeal process. Steinbruner…Pajaro River problems, Cummings vs. Koenig and housing, Laird and zoom meetings, Bayview Hotel entrance. Hayes…a fine legacy. Patton…what do we need to do now? Matlock…snarking acquittals-r-us and loyalty oaths. Eagan… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week: why are funerals so expensive?! Quotes…”Earthquakes”
DATELINE September 18
UCSC’s PLACE IN THE WORLD. U.S. News & World Report did a study/survey of colleges last week and there are some surprises. In addition to the surprises there’s a lot to consider when we are so often forced to deal with our very important neighbor…and attraction. To cut to the chase…UCSC came in at #82. “UC Berkeley came in at #15 nationally, tying with UCLA. UC Davis was #28. They reported, “University of California, Santa Cruz is a public institution that was founded in 1965. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 17,502 (fall 2022), and the campus size is 2,000 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. University of California, Santa Cruz’s ranking in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #82. Its in-state tuition and fees are $15,288; out-of-state tuition and fees are $47,862. Go here to get the full impact of that report…
MUNCHING WITH MOZART RETURNS. Due to covid Munching With Mozart & Friends took a 3 year break and resumed its concerts last Friday. Carol Panofsky leads and emcees the concerts which are held every third Friday from 12:10 to about 1 p.m. Last Friday more than 80 people (mostly masked) jammed into the upstairs meeting room in the Downtown library. We heard Music For Piano Solo performed by Ziyue (Amy) Zeng a 17 year old piano master. She played Bach, Prokofiev, Beethoven and Franz Lizst and was absolutely wonderful. Check your calendars for October 20, November 17 and December 15 for the next concerts.
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.
EL CONDE. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). A surprising re-take and reversion and political commentary on Augusto Pinochet’s public and private life. It was made in Chile and they call it a comedy. They have Pinochet being first born in 1776 and still being on earth as a 250 year old vampire. It parallels his actual political and personal history adding the vampire secret, and we get to watch blood drinking from a blender many times. It’s “filmed” in black and white which really adds to the desired mood. Note… Augusto Pinochet was leader of the military junta that overthrew the socialist government of President Salvador Allende of Chile in 1973.
A HAUNTING IN VENICE. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (6.8 IMDB). Kenneth Branagh is back with the third in his Hercule Poirot versions of Agatha Christie’s books. Michelle Yeoh and Tina Fey are deadly serious in it too. Branagh moved the plot to Venice in 1947 from Christie’s book “Halloween Party” she first published in 1969. It’s deadly serious, very confusing, and it’s hard to stay interested as Poirot makes his rounds. Not recommended.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.9 IMDB) An overly cute teen ager love story about two kids who fall in love at the airport as they depart to two different locations. Some critic called it a cheesy rom com and I agree. It’s silly, trite, and brings in a cancer drama to give it some validity. Not worth watching.
INSIDE. (PRIME MOVIE) (5.5 IMDB).It’s good fun to see Willem Dafoe back on screen. This time he’s a specialized art thief who flies in a helicopter and gets trapped in a penthouse in New York City that he was robbing. Because he’s a thief he can’t call or hope for help. He tries climbing, stacking furniture…nothing works. Dafoe is a fine actor and its good fun to watch his many attempts to escape.
JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES. (MAX MOVIE). (7.6 IMDB). This 1975 movie was just re-discovered and 480 movie critics from the Sight and Sound magazine (which is part of The British Film Institute) have stated that Jeanne Dielman is the greatest film of all time. Many, many critics around the world agree. Its three and a half hours long and was directed by a woman director Chantal Akerman. It covers three days in the life of a widowed mother and her son and takes place in Brussels. There’s almost no dialogue, the camera never moves from left to right, and it’s definitely worth watching.
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 Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. (MAX SERIES) (7.2 IMDB) It takes place in 1910 New Orleans and Storyville to be exact. The acting is stylized, the scenes are overly dramatic, and it’s not that kind of vampire. This is about a three way gay love affair and will it work? Much sex, booze, and posing. Roger Ebert called it cheesy, he’s right.
A TIME CALLED YOU (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.4 IMDB). An involved Korean series that I really got caught up in. There’s a plane crash and a girl’s boyfriend dies…or did he? His girlfriend travels back in time to 1998 several times or does she? Maybe she’s actually in 1998?? It’s touching, well-acted and fleeting…don’t miss it.
WHO IS ERIN CARTER? (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.4 IMDB). There’s a hold up in a super market and a killing. But little tension, slow moving, little sympathy for anyone and everyone involved. Spain, Mexico and Britain all get involved but save your time and credit and forget Erin Carter.
SITTING IN BARS WITH CAKE. (PRIME MOVIE) (6.7 IMDB). It’s a lot of LA with plenty of bars with girlfriends getting the brilliant idea of making cakes and bringing them to bars to grab the guy’s attention. Bette Midler is legally in the film but there’s no good reason for her rare appearances. There’s a father with cancer, drinking, anger, a brain tumor, shouting and lots of making out. No reason to watch this one.
ONE PIECE. (NETFLIX SERIES) (8.5 IMDB). Another attempt by a studio to combine live action fantasy with animation. It’s into the pirate world and back again. The actors and voices are as good as you can expect when you’re dealing with a two world set-up like this one. Maybe if you’re aged 5 to 12 you might be thrilled but otherwise it’s too cute and not intelligent enough. It’s only been season one so far…maybe they’ll tighten it up and add tension and better jokes….so go warned.
INVASION. (APPLE SERIES) (6.1 IMDB). Long time movie goers will recognize Sam Neill as the sheriff in this invasion of earth movie. All sorts of clues and warnings that aliens are coming but it’s not very exciting. Much of it is in the telling and re telling of individual’s personal history and their reaction to the invasion. It’s mostly nothing you/we haven’t seen before.
LOSING OUR HERITAGE
The Coast Redwood pictured above lives at the corner of Walnut and Lincoln streets, near the High School. Its life hangs in the balance as humans tussle over its fate. The property owner of the adjacent fifties-style apartment building, when advised by the city that the sidewalk was needing repairs, applied for, and was granted a permit for the tree’s removal by the director of Parks and Recreation, based on the findings of the city arborist. The section of the Resolution cited to allow this heritage tree to be cut down is Criteria and Standards 1: The heritage tree has or is likely to have, an adverse effect upon the structural integrity of a building, utility or public or private right of way.”
The public has the right to appeal a tree removal permit, so long as that action is taken within ten calendar days of the granting of the permit. The notice of a tree removal permit is posted onsite. One problem with this arrangement is that you have to live near or be passing by the site to know that a heritage tree is about to have its life ended. The city has no online list of pending heritage tree removal permits available for review.
Two days ago, I passed by the lovely tree pictured below. Whenever I see such a tree posting my heart sinks because I know what it means. Either the appeal period is over and it’s a done deal, as I found out later is the case for this tree, or I have to consider going through the arduous appeal process, pay the fee and invariably lose. The real loser is the tree. However, our lives and that of the birds are diminished with each heritage tree eradicated. Plus, that much less oxygen enters the atmosphere and eventually, more carbon dioxide, depending on the method of disposal of the tree. Grinding a downed tree into mulch is very popular these days. Short of fire, that is the fastest way to release carbon.
The typeface on the posting for the liquidambar was so small I couldn’t read it without stepping onto the property which I will not do. A long time ago, trying (unsuccessfully) to save a beautiful cypress tree via the appeal process, I and the then mayor walked up to the property door, knocked, and asked the tenant if we could look at the tree which was in the back yard. She said yes, we did and after a brief inspection, left. A few days later, a friend called me at work to say the property owner was on the radio accusing me and the mayor of trespassing. So, I avoid stepping onto private property.
The Coast Redwood was appealed to the Parks and Recreation Commission. I am no longer a commissioner, despite being eligible for a second term and unanimously elected as vice chair for the previous year by fellow commissioners. Council member Scott Newsome passed me over for the head of the non-profit Save the Waves Coalition, which has an MOU with the city, is interested in economic opportunities along West Cliff Drive and the city has donated money to the non-profit.
I attended the Redwood tree appeal hearing at the Parks & Recreation commission on August 14th. The usual format for an appeal is a staff report followed by fifteen minutes for the appellant, fifteen minutes for the applicant, public comment, five minutes rebuttal only for the appellant since that party has the burden of proof, then hearing body deliberation and vote. Not in this case.
The chair allowed five minutes for each side’s presentation and five minutes rebuttal for each side. Very unusual. The commission vote was three to two against the appeal. The appellants were young residents of Santa Cruz. They spoke compellingly, without hyperbole or unrealistic assertions. Despite their losing the appeal, my hopes for humanity were raised by their caring and involvement.
I just heard that this tree’s life sentence is not yet determined. The commission’s decision has been appealed to the city council. I assume but do not know that the appellants are the same.
The date for the new Redwood tree appeal is September 26th, at city council.
Your support would be welcome. It’s a tough issue since the tree is close to the house and there is impact to the sidewalk and the building’s low brick facade which appears superficial. Around the corner from the tree the foundation has a crack, which may or may not be tree root related and can be filled. If the growth of this ten-foot diameter tree is very slow, it is likely the apartment building will be torn down and rebuilt before any further impact is likely. The property owner’s civil engineer did not offer substantial evidence of structural integrity damage but did conclude there was some. The report appeared cursory, at least to me and apparently also to two commissioners.
Well-meaning but unrealistic clamors by members of the public to “save the tree, tear down the building!” will not get votes. Yes, the tree was here first but people’s property is not just expendable. I suggest an independent engineering inspection, paid for out of the city’s tree fund, with far more rigor and detail that has yet been made available. This tree, and all our fast-disappearing heritage trees (about thirty a month) deserve at least that much attention prior to being sentenced to death.
|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.|
GUT AND AMEND TO THE RESCUE
It never ceases to amaze me what elected representatives can do to help when there is a will and a need. Known as “gut and amend”, a representative can completely change (“gut”) the entire content of a piece of legislation that has cleared many committee reviews and is close to completion, and the new “amended” legislation that nowhere near represents what has been reviewed continues to quickly sail on to the Governor’s desk for approval. Voila! It is done.
Here is what has happened locally to completely sidestep environmental reviews that would have been needed to repair the Pajaro River levee:
“California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, whose district includes the Pajaro Valley, originally proposed Assembly Bill 876 in February focused on record-keeping related to certain child fatalities. On Aug. 29, with the end of the session less than three weeks away and the Feb. 17 deadline to submit new bills long passed, Rivas completely overhauled AB 876 to focus on expediting the Pajaro River levee repairs.”
The bill would allow the project to skip the California Environmental Quality Act requirements, a notoriously lengthy and expensive permitting process that can often add years to a project. When I spoke to Mark Strudley, executive director of the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency, a couple weeks ago, he said the ability to get a pass on the state’s environmental permitting requirements plays a central role in starting the project in 2024.
FOUR TO SIX STORY BUILDINGS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD…THE FEVERISH PACE TO RUBBERSTAMP A NEW COUNTY HOUSING ELEMENT WITH SUPERVISOR KOENIG NIXING INCREASED AFFORDABTILITY REQUIREMENTS.
Last Tuesday, following staff reports on the proposed County Housing Element to ensure compliance with State mandates, Supervisor Justin Cummings wanted to increase the percentage of affordable housing required in new projects to be 25% in larger projects and to address affordability issues related to wage gaps of residents.
However, Supervisor Manu Koenig refused to allow that language to be added as a friendly amendment to his motion to rubberstamp staff recommendations. Why?
Unfounded fears of scaring away developers with higher affordable housing percentages being required was addressed during public comment by Sandy Brown, who spoke on her own behalf and not as a representative of the Santa Cruz City Council on which she serves. She said the number of applications for building increased after the City increased inclusionary affordability percentages in 2019 to 20% (from 15%).
“The timeline to get this approved is too quick to allow any slowdown this could add.” Supervisor Koenig said. Planner Suzanne Ise agreed that it would “not reflect well on the county if we are late” in getting the State Housing & Community Development (HCD) approval.
Supervisors Bruce McPherson and Zach Friend went along with the move to stonewall increased affordable housing requirements. Supervisor Friend was mostly upset that the 13-acre former Par 3 Golf Course on Mar Vista Drive in his district is targeted for inclusionary affordable housing, that may not include senior housing focus or open space. (Is he thinking about the postage stamp “Village Green” of AstroTurf he supports in the Aptos Village Project?)
It was refreshing that Supervisor Justin Cummings persisted: “I feel strongly about this, so I am going to make a substitute motion that this change be added,” Again, the three Supervisors voted NO, leaving only Supervisors Cummings and Felipe Hernandez supporting increasing percentages of affordable housing required.
Supervisor Koenig said “We disagree on the cause (of the affordable housing shortage). It’s due to restrictions on developers. Adding an increase to required inclusionary percentages burdens developers.”
Having been stomped on, Supervisor Koenig’s motion to accept staff recommendations, with some nod to Supervisor Friend’s concerns, was then approved unanimously. Hmmm…
Click on item #9 on the agenda to listen to the presentations and discussions. Supervisor Friend’s questioning about the Par 3 golf course property begins about minute 1:50, but things are quite out of synch in terms of speaker and image. Sandy Brown’s presentation is at minute 2:04.
My question about why the County declared the 38 acres at 7th and Brommer as “excess property” to sell rather than retain it for affordable housing projects never got answered (minute 2:12) and no one answered my question about the defunct Kaiser Medical Center project that is zoned for 102 affordable units (minute 2:11)
Supervisor Justin Cummings begins advocating increasing affordable housing requirements at minute 2:17:10 with concerns that Nexis studies the County would require to identify locations of affordable units could take up to five years to complete.
What does all this mean for the quality of life in our County, and for private property rights?
I had attended the County Housing Advisory Commission meeting the week previous, and gathered some interesting information.
“Every parcel we have identified will be developed.” said County Planner Ms. Ise. What’s more, the County will require the applicant to build at least 75% of the minimum building requirement the planners have established.
Where are all these locations?
The parking lot at Seascape Golf Course, Par 3 Golf in Aptos, areas across from Rancho del Mar in Aptos, the farmland in Soquel, many places in Pleasure Point considered “under-utilized” and will be re-zoned to dense infill development..
Attend the County Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, September 27 at 9:30am review of the proposed Housing Element update and rezoning, and get your thoughts included:
Write the Commission c/o Nicholas Brown Nicholas.Brown@santacruzcountyca.gov
NEW COUNTY E-MAIL TEMPLATE FOR YOUR CORRESPONDENCE
About two weeks ago, Santa Cruz County government e-mail templates changed, supposedly just so our County would be consistent with the templates other counties in the state area using. I searched for a Press Release about this but found none. County Public Information Officer Jason Hoppin said there had not been any press release, but it was posted on the County’s website. He said the federal government is encouraging all government agencies to use the .gov domain name. Although he wasn’t exactly sure why, he thought it might be more secure, and likely would encourage grant funding opportunities.
WHAT IS HE THINKING?
State Senator John Laird’s proposed SB 544 would restrict the public’s access to powerful State-level representatives when they meet by requiring the meetings to be in-person only half the time. It would reduce the public’s accessibility because those who make policy at state commissions and boards would not actually have to be there in person to see and even know if they were listening.
This harkens back to the County Board of Supervisors meetings during COVID, when for over two years, we did not see the images of Supervisors Zach Friend or Ryan Coonerty on the meeting portal screens, and had no idea if they were even in the room of their remote locations during discussions on critical budget items affecting us all.
This SB 544 just landed on Governor Newsom’s desk. Contact him and voice your opposition:
Phone: (916) 445-2841
STUDYING THE ROCKY SHORELINES WITH LIDAR
SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT SEEKING RUBBER-STAMP APPROVALS OF FUTURE RATE INCREASES
Soquel Creek Water District is planning to raise rates yet again, having hand-picked a group to show bobbleheads support of whatever the District staff feeds them, yet provide glowing support for rate jumps again. This was described in the District’s newsletter,
“Quick Sips” (because that’s all the water rate payers can afford?)
Raftelis Consultants did this five years ago to craftily raise rates to support the PureWater Soquel Project before the Board had even approved the Project’s Draft EIR.
The District formed a Water Rates Advisory Committee comprised of customers, board members and staff to work with Raftelis Financial Consultants to develop new water rates. The advisory committee has learned how water rates are created and have provided insight into the best ways to inform customers about any upcoming rate changes. Looking ahead, they will focus on a 10-year finance plan and rates necessary to support investment in critical infrastructure, operation of the water system and replenishment of the groundwater basin. A public rates hearing is anticipated for February 2024. Customers will be invited to attend and will receive notifications of any potential rate changes. Stay tuned for more updates.
COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ CLOSES BAYVIEW HOTEL ENTRANCE
The County of Santa Cruz closed the entrance to the historic Bayview Hotel last week with ugly orange plastic barricades. The County has been the lead in getting the approvals required from the CPUC to get Swenson’s new Parade Street entrance to Soquel Drive. The CPUC regulates new private railroad crossings and doesn’t like them. The Commission approved the County’s request for Parade Street if they closed two other such private at=grade rail crossings. The County arbitrarily chose the entrance to the historic Bayview Hotel, and a crossing in Davenport known as the Warrenella Road crossing. Swenson was supposed to improve Cement Plant Road to cyclist and pedestrian traffic as a mitigation, but when that became too expensive, the improvements were cancelled, and the County successfully lobbied the CPUC to back off on closing the Warrenella Crossing.
Last week, Swenson removed the bright orange barricades that had been plopped there when Parade Street got opened. The Bayview Hotel parking lot did get some much-needed paving, and now the former driveway entrance to the Hotel is gone. How will the surface drainage directed from Soquel Drive onto the railroad track area get drained? It is often a pond in the big winter storms. Write Public Works Director Matt Machado and ask. firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is what the entrance to historic Bayview Hotel looks like now, with an asphalt curb along Soquel Drive’s bike lane.
WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. JUST DO SOMETHING THIS WEEK, AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
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
A FINE LEGACY.
How do we leave a good legacy that will benefit future generations in a world of uncertainty? Some suggest well – raised children are a sure bet, but with that this humble must demur. We must however try
A World of Uncertainty
We live in extraordinary, unprecedented times. Humans have built a remarkable global civilization with a burgeoning population. To survive, we are in a race to shed polluting fossil fuels. But, we have no idea if and how we can replace all that petroleum has provided to fuel population growth and the civilizing of landscapes. No matter what superficial form of government seems to be in place, the “oilogarchy” is deeply entrenched, exercising economic and political control. For evidence, just watch US politics: both parties’ have an inability to act in the expeditious way that the vast majority of citizens know to be necessary. And so, life, including human life, on Earth will likely become much more difficult for the next several hundred years. Of course, we should rise up and protest as if life itself depends on it, but there are other tangible things we can do to make the world more habitable for future generations.
Species and Ecosystem Restoration
There are a variety of activities you can partake in to help restore species and ecosystems, which humans will increasingly rely on for their wellbeing. As global warming creates climate chaos, and as humans increasingly falter without boosts from cheap petro-supplies, species diversity and resilient ecosystems will become more closely tied to better standards of living.
Oil and Water
For an example, let’s consider water. Some suggest oil and water don’t mix, but the two are closely intertwined over most of the world. We might suppose that the role petroleum plays in repairing, creating, and powering our water supply will be replaced by some renewable energy supply in the future. Plastic pipes will be made from hemp, renewable energy will power our pumps, electric vehicles will transport the legions of water district workers who maintain water systems, etc. However, when rain comes in torrential bursts or not at all, we will rely on very well-tended ecosystems to absorb and meter out rainfall so that we can benefit from more dependable surface or groundwater supplies.
For another example, let’s consider erosion. The stability of our infrastructure- homes, utility lines, roads, dams, communication towers, airports, etc., depends on more than just good geological anchors: that stability is deeply dependent on functioning ecosystems. Species hold our stuff together. On the coast and along rivers and streams, species protect shorelines. On hillsides, in the mountains and on the plains, species hold the land in place. Without a wealth of species supported by resilient ecosystems, everything will come unzipped – gullies, floods, landslides…infrastructure collapse. At the same time, the bared soil will start to blow and dust storms will become more frequent, destroying engines, burying buildings and roads, and darkening the sky.
Restoration Means Now
The species that currently perform best at the “holding the soil in place” function are likely not the ones that will do best in a hundred years, given the rapidly changing climate. So, we must conserve every species, and plan to allow species migration through a healthy landscape of resilient ecosystems. Right now, this very year, we must quickly turn increasingly to restoration of the land because we have degraded too many places already. You can help by volunteering with the many habitat restoration projects in our area, taking better care of your land, voting for politicians that support ecological restoration and land care, spreading the word, and/or giving money to groups that are making a difference. Many people are joining this movement, we are making a difference, and we need more help.
Bye-Bye Soil, Hello Agricultural Substrate
Since World War 2, agricultural systems have become increasingly intertwined with petroleum at great expense to the soil that humans rely on for sustenance. Petroleum-fueled mechanical cultivation has destabilized billions of tons of soil which has already washed or blown away due to recklessness. You can watch it happening, still: in the Salinas and Pajaro valleys and along Santa Cruz’ North Coast watch the soil blow or wash away, depending on the season. At the same time, cheap fertilizers and expedient pesticides have been made possible by petroleum and the application of these have destroyed ecosystems that once sustained and built topsoil. Farmers for years have acted like soil is just a substrate, something to hold a plant in place long enough to harvest a crop. And so, most agricultural land is highly degraded and production is increasingly and deeply dependent on the supply of petroleum. While we can, there is a great opportunity to build the kind of soil health that will be necessary to feed humans when petroleum-subsidized fertilizers become too expensive, and the human population is still larger than it is now.
Healthy agricultural soils can retain more water, provide plants more dependable nutrition, and stabilize pest outbreaks. So, why would a farmer not create more healthy soils? There are two main reasons. First, investing in healthy soil reduces profits. For example, using cover crops to cover and build the soil during the rainy season means the loss of one or more potential harvests. That also drives up food costs, which then helps to create the second reason: mandates for soil health are politically difficult. The good news is that you can help with both of these conundrums.
You Can Help Create Healthy Soil
We all purchase groceries, and the choices we make can help support soil stewardship. Already, the organic agriculture movement has been growing and makes a difference for soil health. Certified organic agriculture requires farmers to find alternatives to pesticides and fertilizers that are synthesized from petroleum. In ‘conventional’ agriculture, novel petro-created compounds working alone or as a mixed concoction are released into agricultural systems without analysis on long-term soil health. Organic farmers more often rely on soil health as a means of production, and the higher cost of those products reflects that investment. Some tell me that they can’t afford organic foods, but discussions reveal that they are unwilling to make more basic food choices, preferring to rely on processed foods or meat that are especially more expensive when certified organic. Going organic may mean dietary changes that might be more healthy, anyway.
Besides using the power of your purse to support farmers who build soil health, you might more directly create healthy soils in community orchards or gardens. You can volunteer in a school garden which has the added benefit of helping children better understand soil health and healthy foods. You might also support, by volunteering or donations, organizations that are working to improve soil health on agricultural lands.
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: www.greyhayes.net
Email Grey at email@example.com
#259 / What Do We Need To Do Now?
I don’t really know too much about Pauline P. Schneider. If you click the link to her name, and read about her, you will then know exactly as much as I know. Though I don’t really know her, I received a posting she made on her Substack blog about a month or so ago. I thought it was worth passing along. Schneider’s blog posting is also where I got the image I am using above. The blog posting that captured my attention was titled, “When Nations Drown/Burn.”
On the very same day I read Schneider’s blog posting, I got a bulletin from Tom Engelhardt, who was writing on the same topic, in “TomDispatch.” Both Schneider and Engelhardt were focusing on global warming. Engelhardt put it this way:
Hey, who knows? It could be the Gulf Stream collapsing or the planet eternally breaking heat records. But whatever the specifics, we’re living it right now, not in the next century, the next decade, or even next year. You couldn’t miss it — at least so you might think — if you were living in the sweltering Southwest; especially in broiling, record-setting Phoenix with 30 straight days of temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit; or in flaming Greece or western China on the day the temperature hit 126 degrees Fahrenheit or sweltering, blazing Algeria when the temperature reached an almost unimaginable 135 (yes, 135!) degrees Fahrenheit; not to speak of broiling Canada with its more than 1,000 fires now burning (a figure that still seems to be rising by the week) and its 29 million acres already flamed out; and don’t forget Italy’s 1,400 fires; or Florida’s hot-tub-style seawater, which recently hit an unheard-of 101-plus degrees Fahrenheit. And though I’m still writing this as the month is ending, July is more or less guaranteed to set the record for the hottest month in history. And don’t assume that “record” will stand for long, either.
Who even remembers that this June was the hottest since records have been kept or that July 6th was the hottest day in recorded history (and July 3rd through 6th, the hottest four days ever)? And don’t be surprised if 2023 ends up setting a record for the hottest year or assume that such a record will last long on a planet where the previous eight years were the warmest ever. And if I’m already boring you, then one thing is guaranteed: you’re going to be bored out of your mind in the years to come.
Englehardt provides a link to a New York Times’ article, in making his claim that temperatures in Algeria reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit during July. Schneider doesn’t provide any link, but her blog posting claims that temperatures reached 154 degrees Fahrenheit in Iran.
What Schneider does propose (that Englehardt doesn’t) is a list of specific ideas of what we should do about the kind of catastrophic temperatures that are now being experienced, almost everywhere, on Planet Earth. Here is Schneider’s list, copied from her blog:
What to do?
- Birth control, sterilization, and abortion should be free and readily available globally. Yes, even in Texas.
- ALL Nations should decommission nuclear power plants immediately. They cannot be operated safely in a normal climate, even less so in a smouldering climate.
- All militaries and their weapons of mass destruction should be immediately repurposed and decommissioned as well. Same reason as for nuke plants above.
- The IPCC scientists should be publicly horsewhipped for minimizing the climate crisis since Reagan (Ronnie Raygun). Even though that was the purpose of their creation-to minimize the crisis, & defuse any positive climate activism. Thank you Heartland Institute for helping to murder the planet. Kevin Hester explains that in detail. https://kevinhester.live/2021/09/06/its-time-to-acknowledge-the-spectacular-success-of-the-ipcc/.
- Any and all pseudo “Green” and “sustainable” energies should be called out for their lies and misinformation. Electric cars, solar and wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, are all NOT green, nor sustainable. They all require MASSIVE amounts of fossil fuels, mining, transportation, and a secure grid-tied infrastructure. Few nations have that, and the US especially lacks a secure infrastructure of any kind. Thanks Heartland Institute for helping to ruin our infrastructure with your greed-based, inhumane policies.
- Finally, as we (most of us) recognize the existential crisis we are facing, billionaires should be banned from speaking, or having any public presence, or holding public office. There should be no billionaires to begin with, that is an obscenity of capitalism and has led to the destruction of our only home. They are welcome to leave and go to Mars. Today is good.
- Societal changes:
All humans must be treated with dignity and compassion as we begin to exit this existence. This is simple. Basic needs met for all: housing, food, medical care, safety. We MUST end the houseless/homeless crisis in the US. We MUST provide universal healthcare for all. We MUST ensure our poorest have a basic living income. We MUST have sane gun control in the US (like other nations do) to ensure safe neighborhoods, schools, parks, and shopping areas.
There are some problems with Schneider’s list of recommended actions (particularly if you believe that individuals should continue to enjoy the kind of constitutional rights about which Schneider seems little concerned).
That said….. I think this is what Schneider is trying to convey: (1) We need to take immediate and effective action to stop contributing to the processes that have driven and are still driving the catastrophic global warming that both Schneider and Engelhardt describe; (2) We need to take immediate and effective action to mitigate and reverse those processes, to the greatest degree we possibly can; and (3) We need to take immediate and effective action to make radical, real changes to how we conduct our lives and structure our economy and society.
Anyone disagree that we need to do those things? If not, if we are all in agreement that we need to take the kind of immediate and effective actions outlined in the preceding paragraph, I would like to suggest that we focus on those two words, “radical” and “real.”
Making radical and real changes in how we do everything. That is what we need to do now!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
SNARKING ACQUITTALS-R-US AND LOYALTY OATHS
The attempt by the Texas GOP to clean up its party fell short, as the Texas Senate acquitted their state attorney general of all charges following his corruption trial, not only echoing the thrust of the national organization, but showing its ability to be one of the most extreme bodies in the country. In defense of Ken Paxton during the impeachment proceedings, Texas representative, John Smithee said, “Today it could be General Paxton, and tomorrow it could be you.” In other words, Texas is fighting for all of us, just as Trump is standing strong between THEM and US! Paxton has been a vehement supporter of the former president, calling Biden’s 2020 presidential victory an “overthrow” by pulling off a coup to take away Trump’s ‘rightful place’ in the Oval Office. The Texas GOP is noted for a 2022 resolution designating Biden “an illegitimate and acting president,” implying that he won’t long be occupying his unearned seat and might be removed at will. As Ruth Ben-Giat on her Lucid/substack.com site says, “The logic of corruption also matters here. The GOP has embraced the methods and values of authoritarianism. It now depends on propaganda (the ‘Big Lie’), intimidation, and corruption – election denial being a form of corruption – for its identity and to maintain itself in power. In particular, it is a party that has remade itself in Trump’s image, with the goal of protecting the corrupt, and, the criminal dictating its actions.”
The New Yorker magazine’s snarky contributor, Andy Borowitz, writes “thousands of hardened criminals poured into Texas over the weekend after learning how easy it is to secure an acquittal there. Interstate freeways were reportedly backed up for miles as acquittal-seeking perpetrators sought to put down roots in soft-on-crime Texas. Harland Dorrinson, a self-styled recidivist who has been convicted in Ohio, Missouri, and Wisconsin, said that he was heading to the Lone Star State because, ‘in Texas, no one is below the law. An acquittal is yours for the asking if you’re white, male, and nefarious. I check all the boxes’. When told that one must also be elected as a Republican in order to qualify for Texas’ special “conviction exemption,” the career criminal was unfazed, noting that “even Greg Abbott” managed to do that.”
As Carl Gibson writes on Nation of Change, “Despite four criminal indictments totaling 91 felony charges, two impeachments, 26 women with sexual misconduct allegations, and arguably an act of sedition, and an attempt to incite a civil war, Donald Trump remains the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. What the indictment of Trump and 18 other Republican operatives, many being longtime acolytes of GOP causes, by a Fulton County grand jury truly shows that the Republican Party goes far beyond Trump.” He goes on to say that if an indictment within the Democratic Party occurred it would likely doom the individual’s career, with Trump it has only raised his polling position, despite charges in three separate jurisdictions. Should this not be regarded as a sign that the party is morally bankrupt and rotten to the core? Georgia’s RICO statute specifies that each co-conspirator in the case is equally liable, each facing up to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years’ prison time. DA Fani Willis has said the guilty will not be able to serve less than five years, or be able to substitute time served with probation. Gibson feels that Trump is merely a byproduct of an increasingly criminal political party, with Eastman, Clark and Chesebro shouldering as much guilt in the plot to use fake electors to subvert the election; and while the GOP’s base has frowned upon dissent within its ranks, criminal accountability may finally be coming for operatives and elected officials.
Many in the GOP believe that Trump’s position at the top of the Republican ticket spells political disaster, with a loss of the US House, giving Democrats full control of Congress. Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan who testified before DA Willis‘ grand jury, expressed his belief that a Trump nomination would be a big mistake, comparing his candidacy to that of the failed Herschel Walker campaign. “We didn’t ask who was the best leader. We didn’t ask who had the best resume. Unfortunately, Republicans looked around to see who Trump supported, and he was a famous football player, and so he became our nominee and now we’re paying the price.” Former GOP Congressman Will Hurd of Texas admonishes Trump as being toxic to the Republican Party as a whole, and his nomination “gives the 2024 election to Joe Biden.” Other shoes may drop since Jack Smith’s grand jury is still active as it meets in the DC courthouse, continuing investigations of other individuals, pointing to unindicted co-conspirators who may face the music. And of course, we all are waiting with bated breath over Fani Willis‘ pointing to the 30 other unnamed co-conspirators in her Georgia case…the fun rolls onward. However, Carl Gibson says that it the GOP stays electorally competitive, democracy may remain in peril for years to come.
Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer who shares some of his criminal charges for attempted election subversion, now says she will not vote for this “malignant narcissist” who can’t admit his mistakes, and his tendency to simply say he’s never done anything wrong. Ellis also has a show on American Family Radio, a rightwing evangelical network run by American Family Association, a non-profit that describes itself as having been “on the frontlines of America’s culture war” since 1977. Her charges of violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering laws, while soliciting violation of an oath by a public officer, resulted in being granted $100,000 bail after her not-guilty plea. Her claims of being a constitutional lawyer have been widely doubted, though she served as a former counsel for the Thomas More Society, a conservative Catholic group, being sought out by Trump after he saw a television commentary by her. She rose in prominence to become part of what she termed an “elite strike force team” working to overturn Trump’s defeat by Biden, then being signed by Family Radio late last year. On a recent show, she spoke with rightwing host Steve Deace, who said, “Before that man needs to be president again…[to] escape the quote-unquote, ‘witch-hunts,’ that man needs Jesus again because…his ambitions would be fueled by showing some self-awareness. And he won’t do it because he can’t admit, ‘I’m not God’.” Ellis agreed with Deace, commenting, “I have great love for him personally. And the total idolatry that I’m seeing from some of his supporters that are unwilling to put the constitution and the country and the conservative principles above their love for a star is really troubling. As Christians we need to take this very seriously and understand where we are putting our vote.” Ellis was censured by a Colorado judge in March for her spouting falsehoods about the 2020 election, and she has been criticized for hateful comments about the mass shooting at the Club Q gay nightclub, in addition to showing a cruel video concerning a Mitch McConnell hospitalization. Curiously, Ellis tore into Trump in 2016, calling him an “idiot and a bully” unable to “handle criticism” before making a complete turnaround to back him. True to form, the former prez chose not to fund her defense or fund any of his co-defendants, which spurred suggestions that she could flip on him in her testimony.
An attempt to keep Trump off Colorado’s state ballot in 2024 in a suit initiated by a group of voters was filed several weeks ago, related to his role in the J6 riots, arguing that he should be barred under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. A particular section prohibits anyone who has “previously taken an oath” to uphold the Constitution, who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office again. The suit was filed by six Republican, and other unaffiliated state voters, by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility, which asked the court to rule it “improper and a breach or neglect of duty” for Secretary of State Jena Griswold to allow Trump’s name on future ballots. Griswold said she hoped “this case will provide guidance to election officials on Trump’s eligibility as a candidate for office.” Florida, on the other hand, just voted to abandon a rule adopted earlier this year which would require all 2024 GOP presidential candidates to pledge support to the eventual nominee should they want to be placed on the state’s March 19 primary ballots. The winner in that revision is none other than former President Donald Trump, who has loudly refused to sign any such commitment, and a slap in the face to early signer, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Loyalty pledges have become an issue in the GOP as they attempt to unify the party behind one candidate in 2024. For instance, to appear on the first candidate debate stage in Milwaukee, individuals had to sign the pledge; but, although Trump refused to sign he also refused to appear to debate, keeping peace in the family for the present, anarchy averted.
Andy Borowitz strikes again with his revelation that “in order to qualify for the next nationally televised debate, Republican Presidential candidates must sign a pledge to go to prison in place of Donald J. Trump…confirmed by the Republican National Committee. Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chairperson, said that agreeing to serve hard time for Trump was ‘the only way’ that GOP candidates could prove their loyalty to the party. As for whether Trump had been asked to sign a pledge to go to prison for any of his Republican rivals who might become convicted of a crime, McDaniel said, ‘Absolutely not. He’s very busy these days, and we didn’t want to bother him.’ Nearly all of the GOP contenders immediately agreed to sign the pledge, with the exception of Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson, the latter of whom said he preferred to be ‘hog-tied.’ ‘I’m sorry to hear that Asa feels that way,’ McDaniel said. ‘Being asked to go to prison in place of Donald Trump is an honor that only comes around only four or five times in a lifetime.’ In a related matter, the RNC chair confirmed that none of the candidates had agreed to go to prison in place of Senator Lindsey Graham.”
CNN’s conservative commentator, S.E. Cupp, on her ‘The Lead‘ broadcast, says don’t expect Trump’s rivals to start seriously attacking him anytime soon. She notes Chris Christie’s, Asa Hutchinson’s and Texas’ Will Hurd’s blasts at the former president, but others have been stingy with any criticism. “The problem is, for these people to implicate Trump, they also have to implicate his voters. None are willing to say, ‘Listen white nationalists, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, we don’t want you. The Republican Party is not your safe space. You will not find comfort in a Nikki Haley administration’. They won’t say that because they all still want to win and they all still think they’re going to get Trump voters if they don’t swing at Trump more vigorously.” Her reality check is, “They are not going to win the cult of Trump over. It’s just not going to happen. There’s only one of him for a reason.” Right! We can only wish that were true…there’s a bunch more in the wings waiting to step into his tiny shoes!
It’s been reported that Melania Trump has rejected several requests from her husband to join him in his campaign appearances, though he claims he has been keeping her away and that she will accompany him soon, saying, “She’s a private person, a great person, and a very confident person and she loves our country very much.” He certainly has the “best words,” eh? To this assertion to Kristen Welker on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Trump added, “And, honestly, I like to keep her away from it. It’s so nasty and so mean.” The New York Times in July reported that she’s told friends she feels betrayed by staffers and friends during her time in the White House, but still supports and believes in the relevancy of her husband’s candidacy, while steering clear of any of his court appearances. As his legal woes accumulate, PR experts say she should “keep her distance, but plan an escape route,” before the legal complexities worsen. The easiest option for her is to claim she has to spend time with Barron, or doing charity work, being busy with anything for which she can’t be faulted, and The Donald isn’t going to make an issue of it. Amid the various rumors about their marriage is that it is merely a transactional union with an iron-clad prenup, making son, Barron, the big hang-up in their relationship, especially with any rumored breakup.
One of Trump’s fanatical backers last week was unceremoniously ejected from the Buell Theater in Denver after she was accused of vaping, singing, recording the show and being generally disruptive during the performance, along with her companion, Quinn Gallagher. Representative Lauren Boebert, who has been quietly dating Gallagher for a few months, denied they were causing a disturbance, just simply enjoying the musical, ‘Beetlejuice.’ Being warned about their behavior during an intermission after several complaints, they were finally escorted out following additional accusations of being too frisky…but not before Boebert tried to ‘pull rank’ and threaten the ushers and other theater personnel. Her campaign manager verified that the couple were shown the exit, but tried to sugar-coat the circumstances, before encouraging the public to see the zany and raucous show for themselves. Boebert is seen on video honoring the various theater workers with one-finger salutes on her way out, holding Quinn’s hand as she twirled around. Gallagher, a Democrat, is a co-owner of the Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen, where they previously staged “a winter Wonderland Burlesque & Drag Show,” per an invitation for the event during Aspen Gay Ski Week – “an evening of cocktails, appetizers, and laughs.” Perhaps Boebert should apply for a position at Hooch because Adam Frisch is campaigning hard for her congressional seat in an attempt to remove the “unneeded distraction in her district.”
After Joe Biden moved into the White House, he questioned why he had always seen two Army soldiers standing near a Rose Garden bench as if they were guarding it. He approached them, asking why they were assigned to this duty. They weren’t knowledgeable, but thought it was some kind of tradition. Biden then called former President Trump, who told him it must have been a tradition that he simply had kept in place. A call to former President Obama garnered a similar answer; then a call to George W. Bush questioning the presence of the guards provided the answer. “What?! Is the paint still wet?!” he responded.
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: email@example.com.
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.
“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake”.
“I will remember this day for the rest of my life. There is nothing you can say. It’s just like you won the match after the earthquake and it just feels great”.
“We want a story that starts out with an earthquake and works its way up to a climax”.
I have played you videos of hers before, but that’s not stopping me. Her name is Caitlin, and she’s great! Watch this video on the cost of funerals…
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