Blog Archives

September 24 – 30, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…MAH — much more stuff, Supervisor McFurson, GREENSITE…on Santa Cruz drops the ball for Rape Survivors. Krohn…will be back next week. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek Water rates, drinking water contamination, MidCounty Groundwater Agency news, Kaisers new 5 story plan, county losing population, Nissan dealership on Oct.22, County budget questions. PATTON…about Watchbirds and Facebook. EAGAN…Deep Cover & Subconscious Comics. JENSEN…reviews Downton Abbey. BRATTON…I critique Downton Abbey, Ad Astra and Aquarela . UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “October”.



THE “MIGHTY” SAN LORENZO RIVER. March 18, 1966. There are so many folks involved in caring for our river, forever trying to bring it back to its previously healthy condition. This photo show the power not of the river, but of the Army Corps of Engineers — who as you see, work hard to control it and take the nature out if it.                                                     

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

SANTA CRUZ  2015. No awards for his one…but note the many changes in four years!

DATELINE September 23

OPENING MAH’S DOORS. It is very gratifying to receive so many helpful ideas, support and a willingness to do whatever can be done to help straighten out the directorship and money problems of our Museum of Art and History. Unfortunately, local pressures keep these revelations anonymous. Let’s hope that our Art and History County Museum will soon be set straight and aimed at the future. It was gratifying to read Jake Pierce’s Good Times take on the problem. It was glossy and probably well-intentioned. In answer to many questions, yes, Nina Simon does still live here, and has created another organization with some involved inner connections.

Here’s an important letter thanking Wayne Palmer for his courage in opening the areas that are plaguing so much of MAH’s existence.

Dear Wayne , MAH and History Forum Members —

Thank you for courageously standing up for the future of the MAH. I am writing as an individual MAH and active member with an intense lifetime involvement in arts and humanities education.

A great many energetic and diverse individuals, — including artists, historians, volunteers and donors — have worked long and hard to bring the MAH into existence and to sustain it for our community.

The concerns about curatorial issues, social justice, aesthetic judgments, local vs global topics, and the representation of diversity are all vitality important (and sometimes emotional) discussions that need to be ongoing.

But 501(c)(3)s must operate with financial and other records available for viewing, and financial decisions made openly by the Board. But recent Annual Financial Reports seem to be unavailable.

I’m concerned the current path may risk suspension of federal and/or state non-profit status due to non-compliance with normal and standard non-profit operating requirements.

The most basic next step is for the MAH to return to fully standard operation as a legal 501(c)(3) immediately

By-Laws may need to be strengthened to mandate clear communication between all stake-holders and to prevent future lapses in this and other areas.

To restore the confidence of those who have given previously (and encourage future gifts), all donors must be given [or restored to] the public acknowledgement that was promised at the time of their gift. 

Thank you to Wayne for coordinating this massive effort to get things back on track”  That’s the attitude of so many MAH members and supporters..

ANOTHER MAH SUPPORTER. This letter is also from a serious, long-time involved MAH member… The letter was titled “Chutzpah”, and most of it was taken from the MAH website so I’m including the opening which stated“Just unreal! So on the official MAH website under “our Story” we get 3 paragraphs about La Niña (Simon) and even a big plug for her new entity.  Especially the last sentence!!!!! “Our story” of the museum, not really!! And no mention of founding directors, actually no mention of anyone except La Niña, even though her tenure was only 6 years out of all those decades”.

FINANCIAL QUESTIONS. We read on the MAH website and on Nina’s Of/By/For all website that… “OF/BY/FOR ALL is a nonprofit organization fiscally-sponsored by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History“. Another MAH member wrote in to ask… “So is there a line item on MAH financials that shows how much “fiscal” support they give to Nina’s pet project, of/by/for/all? I’m sure the MAH Exec. Comm knows, but no one else?” 

GOOD MAH IDEA. Reader and activist Joe Blackman has a good idea. He wrote…  “Just a thought about MAH — would it make any sense for the Board to invite the history and art depts. at Cabrillo and UCSC, plus Arts Council, plus Tannery folk, to discuss and recommend a future for MAH, and how it could fulfill the purposes for which it was intended?” 

SUPERVISOR BRUCE “MC FURSON” NOT “MC  FEAR-son”. Even the emcee of last week’s History Forum at the MAH on 9/18 pronounced Bruce McPherson’s name wrong. It’s Mc Furson!! There’s NO A in McPherson. I attended the history forum, and got to see many, many old time friends. One little note was that at the end of McPherson’s talk about the history of The Sentinel, he added that History people and Art people “come from different cultures”. But also a very positive announcement was made at the History Forum, and Marla Novo tells us that Sandy Lydon received the History Forum’s “historian of the year” award. It’s now called “The Sandy Lydon Award for Exemplary Contribution to Local History.”

ARMISTICE 100 SANTA CRUZ. This is a video by LB Johnson, our local filmmaker. I haven’t seen it and just wanted to pass on the details she sent me. It is an official selection at the 2019 Santa Cruz Film Festival. Its 56 minute screening takes place on Saturday, October 12 at 4:45 pm, at the Tannery. Armistice100 Santa Cruz honors the 100 years since the end of WW1, and documents the local Veterans for Peace and other peace groups’ efforts to educate about the November 11, 1918 Armistice, what it means and how we can revive the much-needed message of peace in our world. 

Garza letter re hanging 

Sept. 23

I was surprised to read in the Sentinel (9/18/19) that a woman who reported a possible drug-facilitated sexual assault after drinking at the Red Restaurant and Bar in downtown Santa Cruz had to travel to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for a forensic exam. Surprised, shocked and angry! How did Santa Cruz lose its status since the mid 1980’s as a leader in providing trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) as part of the nation’s first Sexual Assault Response Team? (SART). As one of the founders of the SART/SANE program, if I am just learning about this situation from the daily newspaper, what does that say about where this fits into the community’s priorities? Why has this increased trauma for rape survivors been allowed to continue a year after it was supposed to be remedied, according to a sergeant interviewed in a 2017 Sentinel article I found in the archives? Where’s the attention from city leaders, the call for action, the public outrage?

Many people worked hard to bring the SART model to fruition in Santa Cruz. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s it was well recognized that reporting a rape to the police was only the beginning of an often long, arduous, re-traumatizing experience. In those days, a forensic exam to collect evidence after rape was performed by emergency room physicians who had no training in rape response and little or no training on how to collect evidence for a criminal investigation. Survivors shared horror stories of male doctors lecturing them on why they shouldn’t have been drinking, or out late at night or any variety of victim-blaming comments as they roughly combed pubic hairs for evidence and performed internal examinations. Those who had been raped had to wait their turn in crowded emergency rooms.

By chance, attending a conference of the California Sexual Assault Investigators Association in the 1980’s, I learned of a program in San Luis Obispo where a nurse trained in gathering evidence after rape was the sole person responsible for conducting forensic exams. Excited at the possibilities for a far more sensitive response for rape survivors, I shared the SLO model at a follow-up conference in Santa Cruz. Then District Attorney Art Danner was in the audience and strongly supported the idea. With input from the local Rape Crisis Center and a conference bringing together nurses organized by the city Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, the SART/SANE program was launched in 1985. 

Santa Cruz became the model for the rest of the country. A special examining room was set up at Dominican Hospital. Instead of waiting hours in a crowded emergency room, survivors were seen immediately and in a private, supportive space. Advocates from the local Rape Crisis Center, now called Monarch Services, as well as the police or a sheriff’s deputy accompanied the survivor and followed up after the exam. State law required the exam to be free. For decades I shared this model as an encouragement for those willing to report rape. Apparently for the past two years, a person traumatized by rape has to endure a 7 to 8 hours process, a doubling of the previous time and a shuffling between institutions. The police interview takes place at Dominican and the forensic exam takes place in San Jose. 

“We got to a place where it became really hard to provide the service,” Sergeant Clark said in an interview in 2017, adding “there are plans to bring the response team exams back to Santa Cruz County clinical space in September 2018.” That was a year ago. 

There have been other rape stories and reports involving the Red Room. All were apparently drug facilitated beyond alcohol. I became aware of them when chair of the city Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women in 2005, before my re-appointment was blocked by council members Mike Rotkin and Cynthia Mathews. They would say the reason was my inability to work well with staff (sounds a bit like Krohn and Glover). I would say it was my bringing to light the inadequate response to rape by city police with the data showing Santa Cruz city to have one of the highest rates of rape in the state, especially rapes by strangers as well as one of the lowest arrest rates and investigations, with rare exceptions, either non-existent or poorly conducted.

Fourteen years later, with a new police chief, I hope the response has improved. That the SART/SANE program, once the shining light for Santa Cruz and a source of reassurance for rape survivors has been dysfunctional for two years does not inspire confidence. 

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.


September 23.

Chris Krohn will return next week.

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at


September 23

Sign the Online Protest Petition to voice your upset over the outrageous new Soquel Creek Water District rates that are pounding the budgets of families and fixed-income customers that were already struggling to pay their water bills.  Now, no matter how hard they work to conserve water, families with any more than one child are receiving whopping water bills because they used more than the allotted 50 gallons/day and appreciate a small amount of cooling garden greenery that supports a healthy wildlife habitat.

Join over 250 others who have signed the online petition to protest the unfair rate increases that hurt familes

Consider running for a place on the Board next November.  Tom LaHue and Bruce Daniels are up for re-election and really need to be replaced by ratepayers who will bring common sense and a respectful attitude toward the public.

Do these Board members really need to have multiple paid trips to Washington, D.C. to shake hands with federal grantors when there is already a $45,000 lobbyist contracted to do that work?   They also traveled to Denmark to talk with the company that did the 2017 helicopter study of the salt water interface. Board members are paid $350-$500/month (last reported in 2014) and receive health care benefits. 


Soquel Creek Water District Board members did not respond to the public’s questions last Tuesday about the consumer confidence problem when Director Bruce Daniels stated economic reasons for why the District kept pumping from the Country Club Well even though they knew the water contained levels of a carcinogen nearly three times the limit that was soon to be set by the State.  

The Board members and staff dismissed as “misinformation” the questions from the public about water transfers from Santa Cruz City rather than injecting treated sewage water into the aquifer, and wondered how chemotherapy drugs could be removed? 

I read the following at the Board meeting and asked for a response…nothing.

From: Bruce Daniels
To: Becky Steinbruner
Cc: Ron Duncan

Sent: Thursday, June 8, 2017, 06:12:13 PM UTC

Subject: Re: Stop Country Club Well Production Now re: TCP Contamination Problem

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

On 6/8/17 1:38 AM, Becky Steinbruner wrote:
> Dear Mr. Duncan,
> Thank you for responding to my concerns regarding 1,2, 3-TCP contamination of the District’s Country Club Well.
> My question remains:  why put ANY of this polluted water in the potable drinking water supply for your customers to drink?  If the well is supplying such a small amount, why not just eliminate it entirely and improve the safe quality of the water you sell?
> Please respond.
> Sincerely,
> Becky Steinbruner 

Last Thursday, the MidCounty Groundwater Agency Board voted to allow Chairman Tom LaHue (Soquel Creek Water District) to choose a Committee that will review all comment submitted on the Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan  and decide whether to respond to them or and if any have merit.  

Although the letter was not made public, the Board members lamented receiving a three-page comment letter from the Nature Conservancy that seemed to be rather critical of the Plan.  The Board will reconvene in November and adopt the Final Plan to send to the State in December.   I hope the Board will make all comment submitted verbatim available to the public.  I also hope that the private well representatives will have a voice on the Comment Review Committee.

I was surprised to see that the County Supervisors will consider (well, approve) a consent agenda item #47 to authorize a Request for Proposal (RFP) to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the massive Kaiser Medical Complex at 5940 Soquel Avenue.  I thought the County would declare that project categorically CEQA Exempt like all the other large projects on the table.

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

With so much happening at once, it is easy to become overwhelmed but it is important to


Cheers, Becky Steinbruner

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.

Email Becky at

September 20 #263 / I Am A Watchbird, Watching YOU*

Facebook will soon be marketing a new streaming device, codename “Ripley.” Reportedly, this new Portal TV will be available for purchase during the holiday season, and it’s going to have a unique, Facebook feature. As you watch TV, the device will be watching you!

I found about this new Facebook product in a bulletin sent by Privacy Blog. If you care about your privacy (and many don’t), you might want to sign up to receive your own Privacy Blog advisories. I teach a course called “Privacy, Technology, And Freedom,” so I follow the “privacy” topic as a kind of work assignment. 

“Given Facebook’s appalling history of spying on its users,” says Privacy Blog, “do you REALLY want this device in your home? If so,” Privacy Blog suggests, “you might as well also leave your front door unlocked all the time.”

Of course, Privacy Blog may just be overly suspicious. According to an article published in the business section of yesterday’s San Jose Mercury News, Facebook is assuring its prospective customers that there is no problem at all. “Don’t worry,” says Facebook, “the Portal TV’s camera and microphone can be turned off with a tap.” 

*You have to be pretty old, I think, to remember the phrase I have used as the title for this blog post. I do qualify. I was exposed to both Highlights For Children and The Ladies’ Home Journal when I was quite young. My mother definitely let me know about the Watchbird that was watching me. 

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


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. See the funniest and most profound look inside our sneaky personalities. Scroll below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s system shattering views 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 

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “What’s badder than Rambo and more spectacular than Brad Pitt in outer space? Surprise! It’s the genteel folk of Downton Abbey, who elegantly trounced the competition at the box office this weekend before those other movies even knew they were in a race. Do you have to be a Downton nerd to enjoy it? Find out this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

DOWNTOWN ABBEY. With an audience score of 96, you can’t go wrong. It topped Rambo and Ad Astra, and earned $31 million in its opening weekend. I have no way of knowing if those few people who didn’t watch all or most of the Downton Abbey TV years will love as much as we devotees did. Same cast, and the plot is centered about the King and Queen of England coming to visit the Abbey. There’s a clash between the Abbey staff and the service crew that the Queen brings with her. It’s grand fun to see all our long-time screen friends again. We know so much about each character. Don’t miss the big screen version.

AD ASTRA. Brad Pitt is much more than his usual cute self in this 2001-type space adventure. Film critics liked it more than “audience” on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics gave it 83, audience gave it 45! Tommy Lee Jones plays Brad’s mysterious and missing father, and Donald Sutherland has a bit part. It’s a serious film about humans, genetics, space, dying, and it’s worth every bit of admission. See it soon.

AQUARELA. The impact of this Russian film devoted to water hits you about 5 minutes from the end. It’s as staggering and unusual as Koyaanisqatsi. Waterfalls, ponds, floods, frozen lakes, icebergs and rolling oceans will give you a new respect for global warming, and mother nature. There’s not a word of spoken voiceover — but the visual content which was filmed with extra frames per second. See it with an open mind, AND HURRY!!!  CLOSES THURSDAY, SEPT. 26.

OFFICIAL SECRETS Keira Knightley heads the cast along with Ralph Fiennes and this is a winner of a whistle blower true story. This young woman has to decide whether to expose a confidential letter that shows the USA and Britain involved in the illegal start of the Iraq war. The acting, plot, reality and quality of this movie make it one of my top favorites of the year.

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE. With an audience rating of 99 on Rotten Tomatoes it’s gotta be good…or great! Her politics, talent, integrity plus an amazing voice makes her truly unique in the field of music. She mastered many styles, never gave up and is dying of Parkinson’s right now! Her Mexican heritage, time with Gov. Jerry Brown and sheer guts will keep you surprised as you learn so much about her. 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. The more movies you’ve seen in your lifetime the more you’ll like Quentin Tarantino’s latest. With Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in the leads and it all happening in L.A. in 1969 it almost can’t miss. Slightly under the cuteness of the relationship between Pitt and DiCaprio is knowing that the film ends with the Manson Family killings of Sharon Tate and four other characters at the house that she shared with her husband, Roman Polanski. Add Al Pacino for about two minutes to all of that and you’ll be forced to like it.

BRITTANY RUNS THE MARATHON. Actress Jillian Bell plays Brittany and I could not like Jillian Bell no matter how hard I tried. In real life Jillian even lost a lot of weight so she could give a better performance, I didn’t care. As promised she doe run the NY marathon …no she doesn’t win it. The movie is supposed to be a comedy I didn’t laugh once. 



UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. September 24 has John Hall and Karen Simmons updating us on The Downtown Commons Advocates and their plans. Following John, Nancy Macy from the San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club talks about PG&E and the tree removal issue. October 1 Jessica Burns and Robert Morgan lay out the program and plans for the  Transportation Justice Conference at Cabrillo College happening on Oct.5.  OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here   You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at 

Funny, funny! 🙂

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts. Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011. 


“Let’s spark up October and make it better than September”. unknown

“October is the opal month of the year. It is the month of glory, of ripeness. It is the picture-month”. Henry Ward Beecher

“I wish that every day was Saturday and every month was October.” Charmaine J. Forde 

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
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