Bratton….housing for people, hidden valley concert. Greensite…on the Wharf and the Historic Preservation Commission. Steinbruner…Santa Cruz wastewater, Renaissance High school well, few CZU fire survivors, housing developments. Hayes…how change happens. Patton…streets without buses. Matlock…king kong house party and nerfs on meet the frass. Eagan…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress…pick of the week. Quotes…”October”
DATELINE September 25
HOUSING FOR PEOPLE. There’s a deadline on getting enough signatures to get this on the ballot and what it will accomplish is more than necessary… it’s vital. Go to housingforpeople.org to get all the details but just remember it will increase the affordable housing ratio to 25% and it’ll give us a chance to stop the super tall buildings (12 + stories) that developers now cram through our easy to please city government. It’ll give our community a chance to vote on whether or not the buildings provide a human and reasonable percentage of affordable units. As the website says, “The citizens deserve a right to vote when builders want to break the current height limits”. It also states…” If you want to maintain our diversity by increasing low-income housing, so family members, low and moderate wage earners, youth and elders can continue to live here, sign our initiative!”
One reader sent the following summary/plea … Housing for People- NOT unaffordable towers! The ballot initiative will implement TWO important things:
- Take back our right to vote on height and density when developers exceed the current zoning limits.
- And it will increase the affordable housing ratio to at least 25% in all new developments of 30 units or more.
- The Santa Cruz City Council shall not adopt amendments to the City’s General Plan or Zoning Ordinance that increase the allowable height limits or Floor Area Ratios (F.A.R.) for development projects, which are greater than the height limits and F.A.R. in effect in the City’s General Plan as of June 1, 2023 (or the earliest date allowed by law), without a prior vote of the people approving the proposed increase.
- The inclusionary (affordable) housing requirements shall be increased from the existing 20% to at least 25% for developments with 30 or more housing units.
HIDDEN VALLEY STRING ORCHESTRA Sixteen of Northern California’s finest string players. In the early tradition, the orchestra will perform without a conductor. Prepared under the direction of concertmaster, Roy Malan. Comprising sixteen of Northern California’s most talented and accomplished string players, the String Orchestra of Hidden Valley debuted to acclaim in November 2014. Lyn Bronson of Peninsula Reviews said of the String Orchestra’s debut, “A gorgeous performance. Every section . . . a perfect jewel.”
Two Aquarelles by Frederick Delius
Intermezzo by Franz Schreker
The Peninsula Suite by Nancy Bloomer Deussen
Romance by Gerald Finzi
Serenade by Antonin Dvorak
TWO CONCERTS, TWO LOCATIONS:
The doors open 30 minutes before the performance. Reception with the musicians will immediately follow both performances.
Friday September 29 at 7:30 PM
Hidden Valley Theatre
104 W. Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley CA 93924
Saturday September 30 at 4:00 PM
Peace United Church
900 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$100 Patron, $25 General Admission, $10 Student
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.
INFAMY. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.1 IMDB). A movie from Poland that hammers on us the terrible local prejudices against the area Gypsies. There’s a 17 year old girl who has to face the hatred and pain in being a minority. It’s a simple movie with lots of amateur mugging and posing, but it does get the point across.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A HEARTBREAK. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (4.0 IMDB). They list it as a comedy drama and it sure is both. This woman author tries hard to write her book. Then her dad dies and returns to help her write the book. So yes there are laughs/snickers but she’s 34 years old so we do lose patience with her.
SUSPECT X. (NETFLIX SERIES) (NO IMDB YET). Her husband disappears but he was an evil sort and this film from India makes quite a story out of it. She has a math teacher as a neighbor, he’s loved by all and helps her hide the truths behind the husband’s disappearance from the police. It’s a bit overdone and heavy, but worthwhile.
BURNING BODY. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.7 IMDB). A policeman is found burned to death in his own police car. The acting is well done and it’s done mostly in Spanish and in Barcelona.
It’s based on a true and well known case that happened a few years ago. It’s mostly centered on the woman or women in his life and is worthwhile 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.
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.
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.
PRESERVING OUR HISTORY
There are times when a picture is worth a thousand words as the adage says. Such was the case at the recent monthly meeting of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. The meeting’s agenda included a public hearing on the recently released Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Wharf Master Plan and the Plan itself. The recommendation in the Agenda Report from staff was that the commission recommend to the city council, approval for both. This hearing was the first of three commission hearings prior to the issue going to city council at the end of November.
If you had no idea the Wharf Master Plan, with its unpopular forty feet tall new buildings and much increased commercial was back, you can be forgiven. Throughout this long process from the first FEIR in 2020 the city has failed to give their widely unpopular make-over of the Wharf the publicity it deserves. The city’s public notice in the Sentinel of the release of the current FEIR in early September was buried in the Real Estate section, with no city seal, under a public notice from the county, with county seal. The required public hearing on the draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was held one day before the end of the comment period, by zoom during working hours with few attendees since few knew it was happening.
You may recall that the city was taken to court by the community group, Don’t Morph the Wharf! over inadequacies in the city’s 2020 environmental review for the Wharf Master Plan. The Court ruled against the city and in the community group’s favor. The Court ruling was that the city must rescind both the EIR and the Wharf Master Plan. Thus began a new process. However, the city decided to recirculate for public review only a portion of the original Plan and EIR, allowing comments only on that new Recreation portion and not responding to comments outside of that portion.
EIR’s are required to include a study of Alternatives, including a No-Build Alternative. Alternative 2- The Modified Project, included in the 2020 EIR, got rid of the lowered Western Walkway (more on that in a moment) and reduced the height of the three new buildings from forty-five to forty feet. The city stated that Alternative 2 (a less environmentally impactful alternative) met all project objectives but they did not state the basis for not adopting it. The Court’s ruling included that the city had not provided evidence for non-adoption of Alternative 2 and required that the issue be addressed. At the Historic Preservation commission hearing, under the one slide referencing the Court Ruling, Alternative 2 was included as bullet point three in the slide show presented by the city’s Asset Manager in charge of the project. No commentary added.
The photo above, in my view, beautifully captures the essence of this historical structure. The city’s hired historical consultant for the 2020 EIR wrote that the historical portion of the 1914 Municipal Wharf lies in its 4500 wooden pilings. Its length (longest on the Pacific Coast and one of five longest in the world) and unique shape at the southern end are usually added to that list of unique features.
Take a moment to absorb the feeling and character of the Wharf captured in the photo. There is for me much beauty in the uninterrupted flow of dark pilings, curving at the southern end to lessen the impact of winter waves. It is said that Master Engineer Brunnier, who went on to design and build many iconic San Francisco structures, spent a year on Beach Hill observing the waves, wind and currents before designing the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.
The proposed lowered Western Walkway would bisect the pilings eight feet below deck with an add-on made of different materials, for about half the length in the photo, starting roughly on the left. The Walkway would bring people, bustle, noise, and movement into this scene. For me, and others, this is transformative. In prepping for my comments at the Historic Preservation Commission I decided to print and hand out this photo.
The effect was electric. Hence the adage. All commissioners present “got” the impact. The chair waved the photo aloft stating that had they been given this photo they would have objected sooner, or words to that effect. Unfortunately, staff did not clarify that they could vote to recommend Alternative 2, which removes the Western Walkway, since this is a new approval process for both the FEIR and the Wharf Master Plan. Unaware of this option and unclear on what they were voting for, the commission voted to continue the meeting and form a sub-group to get more input from staff to get clearer on the issues.
With this opening at the Historic Preservation Commission level, the community has a chance to be better heard. Over two thousand people signed the 2020 Don’t Morph the Wharf! petition stating they did not want the Wharf to be so dramatically changed as per the Wharf Master Plan. We have only a few more months to make a difference. You can email me at email@example.com if you would like to be involved.
|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.|
COMMENT PERIOD OPEN FOR SANTA CRUZ WASTEWATER AND SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT PERMIT TO DUMP INTO THE OCEAN
If you are concerned about the pollutant levels the City’s sewage treatment plant dumps into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Pacific Ocean, including the future concentrated contaminants and carcinogenic disinfection by-products of the PureWater Soquel Project treatment plant scheduled to start up next year, you have until October 11 to register your concerns with the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board, the permitting agency.
Staff of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will present Draft Order No. R3-2023-0001 (Draft Order) for adoption at the Board’s December 14-15, 2023 meeting that will include all public comment received before October 12, 2023.
“The Draft Order includes requirements for the discharge of waste from the City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility (Facility) to the Pacific Ocean. The Draft Order also establishes requirements for production of disinfected tertiary recycled water. The Draft Order is intended to serve as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and will supersede existing Order No. R3-2017-0030, which remains effective until the Central Coast Water Board adopts a new order and the new order goes into effect. The Draft Order includes a Monitoring and Reporting Program and Fact Sheet as Attachments E and F.”
Written comments are to be sent to the Waste Discharge Requirements Unit by email (must be no more than 15 megabytes)
RB3-WDR@Waterboards.ca.gov or by mail to:
Waste Discharge Requirements Unit Central Coast Water Board
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Please also indicate in the subject line “Comment Letter – Pure Water Soquel”
Contacts for further information:
No studies were ever conducted to evaluate the impact on the marine habitat that the PureWater Soquel Project’s concentrated brine effluent with carcinogenic disinfection by-products and temperature fluctuations.
SOQUEL CREEK ANNEXATION OF RENAISSANCE HIGH SCHOOL WATER SERVICE
The private well at Renaissance High on San Andreas Road is polluted with high levels of hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. The Pajaro Valley Unified School District has attempted to treat the problem by installing reverse osmosis units at the well, but there is so much sand that gets pumped, likely the very fine pores of the membrane filtration clog easily and require a lot of maintenance.
Soquel Creek Water District did not want to annex the School into their service area, and also refused to annex a large parcel nearby whose owner requested service in order to subdivide and develop. No one is even mentioning the KOA Campground adjacent to the School, whose well also very likely has trouble with hexavalent chromium levels.
I am very glad the Renaissance High School is being added for water service, and hope that the KOA Campground will also soon be added.
SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT COULD LEARN FROM PLEASANTON CITY COUNCIL…DELAY HIGH RATE JUMPS
It is refreshing to see that some elected officials do listen to their constituents and take responsive actions accordingly. Soquel Creek Water District customers should read this article and speak out on impending water rate hikes coming your way:
WHY HAVE SO FEW CZU FIRE SURVIVORS REBUILT?
Compare with Santa Cruz County … only 36 of 911 have rebuilt after three years.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) received two responses in the survey of local jurisdictions that identified the number of units lost during declared states of emergency. The City of Santa Rosa indicated that 3,043 housing units were lost on October 8, 2017 and that, as of February 2020 when the survey was conducted, 2,323 units had been completed or were in the construction/permitting process. The County of Sonoma stated the unincorporated county lost 2,200 units in the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fires and 1,235 units had been rebuilt or were under construction as of February 2020.
SONOMA COUNTY IS CREATIVE WITH HOUSING ELEMENT STATE MANDATES…WHY NOT SANTA CRUZ COUNTY?
Santa Cruz County could learn a lot from Sonoma County and how Mr. Tennis Wick is fighting back creatively to protest the unreasonably high building requirement the State’s Housing & Community Development (HCD) is mandating through regional Councils of Government, which in our area is the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG).
Solano County is also taking an interesting approach by using sub-regions and keeping flexibility to move the number allocations around for future planning.
The Santa Cruz County Planning Commission will likely have met by the time you are reading this, with their Study Session scheduled for September 27, 9:30am
WHAT IS HOME RULE AND HOW COULD IT BE USED TO AFFECT LAND USE HERE?
Listen in this Friday at 2pm on “Community Matters” on Santa Cruz Voice to hear local activist Ms. Lira Filippini explaining Home Rule and how it could be used to keep local discretionary means to shape the quality of life in our County for future generations: Santa Cruz Voice – Listen and Be Heard
ARE THOSE HIGH STATE-MANDATED BUILDING NUMBERS LEGITIMATE? LISTEN IN NEXT MONDAY EVENING!
Recently, the California State Auditor determined that the State Housing & Community Development (HCD) mandated numbers for counties and cities statewide to meet in updated housing element planning documents is unjustified because statistics and models show California population has in fact declined and will remain stagnant through 2060.
So, why is the HCD whipping municipalities to update planning documents at a feverish and impossible pace to include such big jumps in numbers of units?
Make sure you listen in next Monday, October 2 at 5pm to the Catalysts for Local Control webinar to find out the truth:
The Regional Housing Number Allocation (RHNA) mandates are not evidence-based and have no connection with reality, imposing unfunded mandates that have altered the planning process into a production process, and will burden all municipalities with funding infrastructure to support what appears to be favoring special interests.
WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. LISTEN TO THE CATALYSTS FOR LOCAL CONTROL WEBINAR NEXT MONDAY AT 5PM AND LEARN ABOUT HOW PHONEY THE RHNA NUMBERS REALLY ARE AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN EFFORTS TO HOLD THE STATE ACCOUNTABLE.
JUST DO ONE THING 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
HOW CHANGE HAPPENS
How we interact with our immediate community will determine the future of life on Earth.
A retired professor recently told me a story about a transition he’d seen over the last 25 years of teaching. Twenty-five years ago, when he entered the lecture hall, the room was noisy with conversation. That noise died away with hand-held computers: students were staring at their machines! It was eerily quiet.
Do we blame a person or a political party for how polarized our society seems to be? Why? How often do we sincerely attempt to bridge interpersonal political divides? Occasions present themselves all the time for one-on-one bridging albeit briefly, but the opportunity to have longer, rich, safe dialogues are rare. But this must change if we are to steer away from the social, environmental, and economic catastrophes we are enmired in currently.
There are pressing local issues receiving no public discourse. Instead, we have public comment at City Council, County Supervisor, Coastal Commission, or other political body meetings. Citizens get three minutes to say something, during which more likely than not the political officials are chatting with each other, doodling, or otherwise checked out. There are no responses, no discussion or acknowledgement. On any particular subject, political officials occasionally explain their positions in the shortest, vaguest terms. More lengthy written opinions from one side or the other appear in various media, and you can occasionally follow the back-and-forth for a few volleys. All of this misses many important elements of a well moderated discussion and the crappy outcomes we experience clearly reflect that.
Would you participate in a group dialogue with diverse perspectives if you knew that it would be well facilitated, and people would show each other respect? Imagine 100 people seated in a circle on comfortable chairs with a facilitator in the center. They are gathered to discuss a pressing local issue of interest to you. Experts on that issue are present, as are key decision makers. Everyone has pledged to be respectful and attentive. The facilitator is renowned for their skill. A group conversation unfolds where you feel heard, and you learn new substantive things about the issue. Others share perspectives that are different than yours, so afterwards you know more about why they hold those positions, just as they better understand why you hold yours. The group returns each month for a year to continue the conversation. Everyone’s understanding deepens. Perhaps the conservation results in improved decision making in our community. Perhaps it changes how things are implemented.
The kind of discourse I just described requires many things, many of which are attainable. There would need to be a skilled facilitator. It would be necessary that the participants be committed to the process, curious, respectful, and willing to share their perspectives. They would need to participate according to rules that allow everyone shared respect and time to speak. Experts and decision makers would need to be present. All parties would need to be willing to invest the time to allow the understanding to unfold. Probably, there would need to be a way of participants interacting with an easily accessed record of their discussion that they could reference to follow the progress. That list represents the superficial, easy necessities, but there are some deeper needs that would be more difficult to attain.
Financial costs and political power conspire to make such dialogues difficult if not impossible. Great facilitators, subject matter experts, and decision makers all would require payment for participation, including for preparation for, and follow up from, the in-person meetings. That funding would be more possible than the deeper problem: political opposition. It is in the interest of those in power to oppose any such dialogue, which is deeply dangerous to their power. They are effective in their opposition through challenging any public funding, decrying bias from the private funders, infiltrating the discourse with disrupters, publishing derogatory pieces about the discourse in the media, challenging participating members, reproaching participating members’ employers, etc., etc. These bigger hurdles represent the real challenges we must overcome to reclaim our democracy through the kind of participatory decision making I am presenting here. These larger challenges will need to be anticipated in through the organizing principles and personally through dedicated organizing committees.
Where to Start?
There are existing long-running, nascent, and still-to-be-born opportunities for my readers to get involved with the richly awarding discourses I have outlined. You might see them named ‘salons’ or ‘town halls.’ Some are called ‘collaborative natural resource management.’ People sometimes call them gatherings focusing on the ‘radical center.’ If you attend something with these names or tag lines, you must discern if you can see a way to having a voice with equal opportunity to contribute, if everyone is respectful, if the discourse is organized with rules and structure, and if the many divergent perspectives are well represented. Too often, the empowered or elite will falsely advertise so-called dialogues using these terms, so be on the lookout for those fakes.
Far too frequently, there are no organized discourses, and it is necessary to build the capacity to start them. You could have a place in that capacity in a variety of ways. If you have the means, you might consider funding the initiative. Without such means, you might consider other roles: facilitator, convener, note-taker, timekeeper, vibes monitoring, leader, or organizing committee member. Each of those roles is crucial and each requires different time commitments or skills.
A Priority Environmental Focus Area
Although the above can be applied to any subject, this column focuses on environmental issues. So, I want to focus the remaining space here on an issue that could use a well-facilitated collaborative dialogue across the Monterey Bay region.
If we are to accommodate all species, there needs to be facilitated landscape-scale collaborative conservation. We are currently dooming all species in our region because each conservation group is focusing only on its tiny piece of ground or issue. State Parks operate largely on a park-by-park planning basis. Different parks agencies do not collaborate with conservation planning. Land trusts do not work together with strategic planning for species conservation. The Bureau of Land Management does not cooperate actively with any other conservation group, and especially not with State conservation agencies to recover sensitive species. Private landowners are not invited into dialogue with ‘official’ conservation lands managers, even if they are adjacent. Conservation minded groups like the Santa Cruz Bird Club, The Wildlife Society, and the California Native Plant Society are neither leading nor participating in collaborative strategies for regional conservation. Municipal land planners aren’t working with any of the above to ponder how to collaborate on conservation.
This would be the first subject area I would suggest prioritizing. Such an effort would net great results and further widen the potential for recovering function to the Nation’s democracy. It would help societal healing. This work is necessary for the future of this region’s wildlife. We sorely need leadership. Please help.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I am from Santa Cruz, California, and I really love our “picture buses,” one of which you can see above. The buses feature the outstanding and award-winning photography of Frans Lanting. “Whale Buses,” for instance, are now zooming around our local streets, urging us to protect whales “One Ride At A Time.” There are some other “picture buses,” too, celebrating other aspects of our natural world.
Frans and his partner, Christine Eckstrom, allied with The National Geographic Society, have been helping us to see the wonders of the natural world through their many years of superlative photography and video. Their recent book, Bay of Life, celebrates the environment of the Monterey Bay Area. There is now a “Bay of Life Project,” in fact, which accounts for those “picture buses.” The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County will gladly accept your donations!
Much as I love the “picture buses,” the most common observation that I hear about buses in general is that there isn’t anyone, really, riding them! This observation, regretably, is pretty much on target; it’s accurate. A friend of mind, who has served on the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission for many years, has always told me that our local transit agency is basically delivering “social services,” not “transportation services.” The system is really aimed at providing transportation to those lower income persons who can’t afford a car. Again, there is some truth to that!
Couldn’t we, I have long thought, get more for our money by trying out a different approach? One of my blog postings, back in November 2021, called for “Streets Without Cars.” I advanced a specific proposal for a new way of providing transportation services, to help reduce, or even eliminate, the traffic congestion that is so horrendous in my local community.
My proposal would remove from our streets and highways many of those greenhouse gas-spewing cars that clog them now. Traffic congestion is a big problem for almost everyone, and the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission is trying to combat traffic congestion through highway widening projects. This is, in fact, a self-defeating strategy, because widened highways actually “induce demand” for more automobile trips, and so make the problem worse.
My proposed solution was to create a public, demand-responsive approach (like Uber or Lyft), so those who needed to get around our local community would end up “sharing” automobile trips. If you’d like to see what I said about that proposal, you should click this “Streets Without Cars” link.
I was surprised to read – in the Sunday, September 17, 2023, edition of my local newspaper, The Santa Cruz Sentinel – that this idea is actually being tried out in Wilson, North Carolina. The article was titled, “What if public transit was like Uber? A small city ended bus service to find out.”
Probably, unless you are a Sentinel subscriber (whose ever-increasing subscription prices are driving long-time subscribers, like me, to terminate their subscriptions), you’ll be blocked when you click the link. Thus, I am providing the following “screenshot” image of the story, which I think should expand if you click on it. You can also get essentially the same story, online, from another newspaper, by clicking right here.
In our case, here in Santa Cruz, we’d still need buses. LOTS of buses, in fact, because our “City On A Hill” (the UCSC campus) is a major destination for students who either don’t own a car or who couldn’t afford to park a car on campus. A transit hub, or hubs, could provide direct, express service to the campus. Other trips would utilize the “ride sharing” strategy now being tried out in North Carolina. Financing the system would be one major issue; the newspaper article doesn’t really outline that aspect of the system, but there are definitely solutions.
The big question? Are we willing to share?
I’d like to think so.
Let’s save the whales (and ourselves) “One [Shared] Ride At A Time.”
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 email@example.com
KING KONG HOUSE PARTY AND NERFS ON MEET THE FRASS
Charles P. Pierce, in Esquire magazine, asks of Kevin McCarthy: “Was it worth it, Kevin? The Speakership of the House of Representatives, I mean. The long, excruciating session of the House back in January? Fifteen long, excruciating ballots, between which, you had to negotiate with people who have pinwheels in their eyes? All of it on television, as the Democrats sat back and blithely watched the auto da fé like rubberneckers at a train wreck? All of that pain and embarrassment so you could call yourself the Speaker of the House even though everybody and his Uncle Fud knew you couldn’t actually be Speaker? Is it all worth it now, when there are too many chickens and not enough roosts?” So, here we stand…Kev has to be in his position to insure that the government is funded for the next year, but nobody is lifting a hand to help. Pierce says, “The Democrats are sitting over in the corner, making more popcorn. To the members of his own narrow majority, McCarthy is now poison among the extremists for going back on the deals he made to become Speaker, and among the more marginally sane, he is now poison for having made those deals in the first place. And Representative Lauren Boebert seems to be the only one capable of reaching across the aisle.” Snort, snort…good one!
Pierce believes our radical conservatives owe their current power to Newt Gingrich from his two years of radicalism in harassing the Clintons. “The logical end of being fed red meat constantly is cannibalism. And that’s the evolutionary stage of American conservatism at which McCarthy, that sap, finds himself now,” adds Pierce. He goes on to say that McCarthy’s fall parallels that of Gingrich after the GOP saw their House majority narrowed, particularly after Newt spent so much time on the Lewinsky scandal. He does credit him as being the architect of the first GOP House majority since 1954, giving him a couple of years of power and street cred…something Kevin lacks, and will never have.
Michelle Cottle of The New York Times contends that Mac has had it with the bullying of the zealot horde he has encouraged, but Gaetz and Greene are probably correct in that the Speaker is not following their rules, made in the smoke-filled rooms back in January, a problem with deals hatched in secrecy. Cottle says if the rabble-rousers wish to be taken seriously, they need to stop the King Kong act and at least file their threatened motion to dump McCarthy. She says, “The extremists are easy to denounce, especially with their tendency to act out like unruly teens – or Lauren Boebert at ‘Beetlejuice, but they are not to blame for the chaos consuming the House. It is Mr. McCarthy who led them to believe he would champion their policies and priorities. And it is Mr. McCarthy who elevated their influence in the conference, empowering them to wreak even greater havoc. Of course, they are going to make more and more outrageous demands. That’s what they do.”
Politico’s site reports the more than dozen Republicans, mostly Representative Byron Donalds‘ colleagues in the conservative Freedom Caucus, who are publicly torching the spending plan he brokered. With just a four-seat majority, Speaker Kevin McCarthy can only afford to lose a handful of them given that he can’t count on Democratic votes, leaving the GOP bill effectively D.O.A. The failure of the two negotiators he had empowered has brought on a full-House-party rebellion. Going beyond a simple centrist vs. right-wing clash, the Freedom Caucus itself is divided, with members backhanding the plan presented by their own leaders, along with the rising hue and cry to oust McCarthy should he rely on the Democrats to avoid a shutdown. Indiana’s Republican Representative Victoria Spartz vented, “The Republican House is failing the American people again and pursuing a path of gamesmanship and circus. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have the backbone to challenge the corrupt swamp that is bankrupting our children and grandchildren. It is a shame that our weak speaker cannot even commit to having a commission to discuss our looming fiscal catastrophe.” Charles Pierce describes Spartz as “one of the few truly eccentrics left in the Republican caucus in what passes for the GOP middle these days.”
Andy Borowitz in his The Borowitz Report in The New Yorker writes.“Calling a conflict raging in the U.S. Capitol “a clear and present danger to the world,” Volodymyr Zelensky offered to broker a peace deal between Representative Kevin McCarthy and his fellow House Republicans. The Ukrainian President warned that, if the fighting in Washington continued to escalate, it could spread to neighboring regions such as Maryland and Virginia. ‘My message to the warring parties is simple: it is time to stop the madness,’ he said. He said that he hoped to arrange a sit-down between McCarthy and House Freedom Caucus members such as Representative Lauren Boebert, ‘perhaps over a vape pipe.’ Though hopeful for a breakthrough, Zelensky acknowledged that negotiating with McCarthy and his Republican foes will be a challenge because ‘English does not appear to be their first language, either.'”
In the week following Kristen Welker’s first broadcast on Meet the Press, taking over after Chuck Todd’s retirement from the Sunday news show, she and NBC have endured a barrage of criticism for providing yet another venue for Trump to spout his drivel…with little pushback from Welker. Shades of Chuck Todd! Couldn’t we expect to be rid of this timidity in a new start which we’ve needed since losing Tim Russert? Jamess on Daily Kos says they have lost him as a viewer if NBC is simply going to act as a doormat for Donald Trump’s lies, feeling that he is not alone in that regard along with others who are grounded in reality. Kristen permitted Trump to blather on with statements untethered to reality on many critical issues without any forceful, dogged or worthwhile response. Trumpy the Clown did his usual shtick with his machine gun tongue…a stolen election, the J6 insurrection…anything that Welker brought up to have a decent exchange was dismissed. She was not prepared, and is not endowed, with the necessary intensity to take on Trump’s bombast, and is perhaps even unable to seize upon the issues of importance. Trump smelled fear and he went to work, with his torrent of outrageousness. One TV executive said, “It was a crazy way to set the tone of what Meet the Press will be under Kristen Welker.”
CNN’s senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, makes the observation that newsrooms currently are treading into the unknown with the problem of “covering Trump.” This isn’t 1990, when decorum and honest debate, based on underlying policies were the rhetorical standard…the party of insurrection has a new leader, a new standard with bullying and shoveling the b.s. Darcy says, “When interviewing Trump, the goal cannot be to make ‘news’ like one might attempt with a typical politician. The purpose of the interview must be to hold power to account. It must be about asserting the facts in a meaningful way and forcing Trump to confront them. He will still, of course, lie – but at least the audience might be able to see through the showmanship if the interviewer displays a firm grip on the subject matter and exerts command. Unfortunately, few in the press who have taken on the assignment have proven capable of executing the difficult task in a compelling way. That doesn’t bode well for the news industry or, more importantly, democracy at large.”
So, wherein lies the need to interview Mr. Trump at all? What is there to gain since he lies like the rest of us breathe? Why go to the trouble, being unprepared to challenge the onslaught of lies in real time? He doesn’t need a national media platform if he refuses to play by the rules that are set down. Lending a modicum of respectability and credibility to the most ruinous and dishonest politician/showman/conman/grifter to further trash the goals and values of a once fact-based society is beyond comprehension. Definition of Meet the Press now making the rounds: the new home of Trump-speak – an ongoing train-wreck of compliance and deference to the perpetual Bully. Since everyone in the country is running for the US Presidency, primarily to keep themselves out of jail, they’re only here to help. The Constitutional mission of a newsroom, a free press, should be a dedication to holding government to account…not the greatest show on Earth, just the facts, Ma’am! Yeah, that’s the ticket, just the NEWS…assuming that skill-set is still an option in corporate news media.
Keith Olbermann in his Countdown podcast says he believes NBC News has launched internal investigations into Meet the Press staffers, including Kristen Welker and the executive producer, David Gelles, regarding violations of existing guidelines by airing the Trump/Welker ‘interview‘ without adequate fact-checking or warnings. The pre-taped program seems to fly in the face of “The NBC News Employee Handbook” which prohibits presenting provable falsehoods, which gave them three days between taping and broadcasting to edit any b.s. A second issue may be that a fact-check was not done in a simple dereliction of duty, but a pre-arranged agreement to convince Trump to submit to the presentation after his four-year snub of NBC. Olbermann has no proof of any of this and is on the trail. He speaks from his own experience with NBC, as he received a suspension without pay several years ago when he tangled with the network over involvement with campaigns of Raul Grijalva and Gabby Giffords. He was demoted from staff to a non-contract employee without benefits, after which he sued NBC for breach of contract, which garnered him $18M in damages. He thinks heads may roll, a la the Chris Licht/CNN dumpster fire when Kaitlan Collins had a similar ‘interview‘ with Trump on that network’s Town Hall, and that Meet the Press itself has a questionable viability. “They wouldn’t run this tripe on Dateline!” barks Olbermann.
Olbermann seems to know for certain that NBC veterans are calling for investigations based on the fact Welker and NBC News reporter, Dash Burns, wined and dined with Washington insiders including Jason Miller, Steven Cheung, and Chris LaCivita, Trump thugs all, in Milwaukee the night preceding the first GOP presidential debate. This would not necessarily be considered a breach of the NBC code, but the handbook would probably discourage such a meet-up; and, as Politico reports, the news employees paid their own expenses and not be guilty of accepting meals, gifts or other items of value from a political contact. At 10:00 am Eastern time, NBC website posted a fact check of the Welker fiasco. At 10:13 am its Meet the Press account tweeted: ‘Former President Trump made a spate of false and misleading comments about immigration, foreign policy, abortion, and more in a wide-ranging interview with Meet the Press moderator, Kristen Welker.’ So, why this post? The interview was in the can for three days before the broadcast…the content was well-known, so they knowingly aired lies, false or misleading commentary sans disclaimers or caveats. In violation of their own policy – an extinction-level event! With follow-up clips sent out on MSNBC, CNBC and NBC-owned affiliates! Then they had the nerve to interview Peter Baker of The New York Times who rationalized why the network wasn’t committing journalistic suicide by platforming a skilled, practiced, professional, psychotic liar. Insert a Shrug Emoji dressed in a suit, says Olbermann.
Summing it up, Olbermann believes NBC News, Meet the Press and Kristen Welker will never live down their premeditated decision to forfeit 75 years of journalistic credibility built up by their predecessors, and the best Welker can hope for is to be viewed as damaged goods, or a punchline, as is Kaitlan Collins after the CNN Town Hall snafu. The MAGA-Fascist lunatic right see NBC and CNN as the worst news entities, yet both organizations have engaged their networks in shocking and disgraceful episodes by prostituting their platforms to give Trump unfettered access to poison the viewing public with his lies and vows of political revenge, and the promised destruction our democratic institutions, while seeking to pardon his band of convicted insurrectionists. It seems that both networks are positioning themselves to survive in a world taken over by Trumpists in the future, or they are too greedy, blinded to the fact that they have been manipulated into pimping for the evil in our body politic. So, is it complicity or stupidity? Have they seen the actions of a Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News as successful? Olbermann casts a sidelong glance at the likes of Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Lester Holt, and Savannah Guthrie, and even Rachel Maddow, wondering if they are completely adhering to their principles or merely standing up for the high dollars of their salaries. Will the dominoes start to fall, or will the softballs complacency turn into mere Nerf balls?
During a dull White House dinner several years ago, Melania Trump leaned over to chat with Secretary of State Tillerson.
“I bought Donald a parrot for his birthday. That bird is so smart, Donald has already taught him to say over two hundred words!”
“Very impressive,” said Tillerson, “but, you do realize he just speaks the words. He doesn’t really understand what they all mean”
“Oh, I know”, replied Melania, “but neither does the parrot.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
“The end of the summer is not the end of the world. Here’s to October…
“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.”
“October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins…. Merry October!”
“I have been younger in October than in all the months of spring”.
~W. S. Merwin- Henry Ward Beecher
Nursery rhymes are never the innocent entertainment they appear to be…
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