Blog Archives

September 30 – October 6, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…News and Views on Council candidatesState propositions and voting, latest streamers and screeners. GREENSITE…on the Wharf hearings. KROHN…back next week. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Water District $$$ election pamphlets, Pure Water Soquel management plan, County budget looks bad, CZU fire costs, Fred Keeley and The Great Park. PATTON…Wagner and Facism. EAGAN…Deep Cover and ever lasting Subconcious Comics. QUOTES…”OCTOBER”


HIP POCKET BOOK STORE & STATUE. This statue of two naked humans by sculptor Ron Boise was placed around September 10, 1964. The Hip Pocket Bookstore was in front part of the St. George Hotel on Pacific Avenue while the original Catalyst was in the Front Street backside of the hotel. Bookshop Santa Cruz now occupies that space. The Boise Statue was later placed in the Steam Beer Brewery owned by Fritz Maytag. Our Goodtime Washboard 3 trio played at the brewery and I became good friends with Ron Boise. He in turn introduced me to the joys of Wood roses!!!                                                        

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

RUSSELL BRUTSCHE’S “NOWHERE PLAN”. Watch Brutsche’s very clever and thoughtful Beatle’s cover to remind us to vote for Sandy Brown, Kelsey Hill, Kayla Kumar and Alicia Kuhl for Santa Cruz City Council. But also to stop the City Council from building a Taj Garage/ Library where our Farmers market is and should be.

DATELINE September 28

SOME CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES. Much maile and many questions about who to vote for and against in the City Council race. Well it’s obvious from her mailer where Sonya Brunner stands or sits. She’s a closely tied follower of the Cynthia Mathews organization. Look at her endorsers… Robert deFreitas (close admirer of Mathews for decades) Matt Farrell, Caleb Baskin, Kris Reyes (Boardwalk emissary), Robert Singleton (failed candidate), Greg Larson (another failed candidate ). These represent the pro development, anti renter groups in our Silicon Beach community. 

It’s been quite clear that Sandy Brown, Kayla Kumar and Kelsey Hill are the clear choices of the environmentalists and progressive community. But many are asking what about Alicia Kuhl? Alicia, according to reports has been very occupied with helping Food Not Bombs face their current eviction. She emailed back to my question re who are your supporting groups and endorsers…” Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, the Sierra Club, The National Union of the Homeless, Food Not Bombs, Ernestina Saldana, Keith McHenry and hundreds of people living without homes”. There’ll be more to this topic, obviously. 

Fred Geiger and Susan Martinez are two very active political people , I’ve known them for decades. They worked hard to produce this list of our State Propositions and what to do with them in November. They also added…” Remember if u see a lot of expensive ads on an issue then there are big bucks behind the ads spending huge amounts to protect their interests and what they say doesn’t even have to have any resemblance to the truth! If you agree ( or make unwise changes, ha, ha!) you could share this analysis with your friends – or enemies, even. Happy election, – We hope. And also hope to see you next year when it’s safe!

Subject: Propositions 2020 – our recommendations

14 NO Stem cell research:  expensive giveaway to Corporations and Universities when the Feds are already funding studies. 2 therapies have already been approved.
15 YES Reverses Prop 13 ONLY for Big Businesses and multi-million $ property owners. NOT small businesses, NOT small property owners, NOT seniors. Put schools and communities first – make Big Corps pay their fair share of their property taxes. Don’t overlook the fact that biz paid 2/3 of all property tax when Prop 13 went into effect and now their share has gone down to only 1/3. This Prop restores that balance that used to work just fine for everyone in the State! 
16 YES Reinstates Affirmative Action for State schools and jobs.
17 YES Gives people with felony convictions ON PAROLE the right to  VOTE. They have served their time why should their citizenship rights be infringed – a voter suppression tactic used by Conservatives! 

I still haven’t been to a movie theatre. The  reviews of current films read poorly, and dealing with the seating, lines, and the improving quality of what’s online hardly makes it seem worthwhile

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

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

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

THE INVISIBLE MAN. This got an amazing 91 on Rotten Tomatoes and I must admit I’m still remembering the tension, the scares, and surprising talents of Elisabeth Moss in the lead. She’s the ex-girlfriend of an optical genius who invented an invisible suit. It sort of looks like a wetsuit with knobs. So basically, he haunts her. The police don’t believe her so she takes matters into her own hands and fights him, wherever he is supposed to be. It’ll take your mind off all the stuff that’s haunting you nowadays, watch it.

THE VOW. 82 ON Rotten Tomatoes is just about what I’d give this documentary. NXIVM is the name of a self awareness, mindfulness group. It has masters and slaves and even branding women members in private places. It’s a documentary but not your average documentary. If you’ve ever belonged to or have thought about joining one like maybe Scientology don’t miss this partial opening of their secret doors.

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

UTOPIA. A big confession here…I turned this on off after about 12 minutes. It’s a teen age space comics attempt at comedy. Poorly acted, no name stars, maybe funny for a nine year old but any nine year olds I’ve ever known

BEEN HERE, SEEN THAT. Here’s last week’s visions and beyond.

CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT. We’ve never heard much about this 1986 NASA shuttle flight disaster. This is a  four part documentary with J.J. Abrams doing the producing. The NASA flight was done for much needed social approval and a brilliant, pretty, school teacher was included among the astronauts. The Challenger blew up in less than two minutes after it was launched and all the crew perished. The film shows NASA’s faults, details all the worlds  reactions and will teach you some necessary features involved in our space programs.

RATCHED. Named and promoted as a back story to the famed Nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher in Jack Nicolson’s and Ken Kesey’s  “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” book.For some reason the hospital is changed from a military re hab center in Menlo Park where Kesey did time to a spacious retreat in Lucia, which is near Big Sur. Judy Davis, Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon and believe it or not, Sharon Stone are in it. It’s a gruesome movie with such scenes as a doctor hammering an ice pick into a patient’s eye or being given a severed head as a present. The lesbian sub plot is very insensitive, so is the sodomy story…don’t bother.

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

ALIVE. This Korean zombie thriller has absolutely nothing new, exciting or creative in it. People become Zombies by catching a virus (duh!!!). They act and look and stagger like every zombie we’ve ever seen on screen. They bleed a lot and smear the blood on walls, windows, everywhere. A sweet young girl is found by a nice young boy across the huge patio in their apartment building. You know the rest, trust me. 

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

THE SOCIAL DILEMMA. This one hour and 20 minute documentary a Netflix original is so important, good, and timely. It focuses on the control the internet has over us now and the inevitable growth it will take as time goes by. The control goes much deeper than your searching for a toaster on Amazon and seeing toasters pop up on the next 20 screens you open. It’s about how Facebook, Twitter, Google, You Tube and many more. Are controlling how long we watch and how often we click on any site, then selling the data from our views to advertisers. They work hard to change our groups of friends to bring people with similar views together politically, religiously and change our lives in the process. My notes while watching say things like…the future an Utopia or oblivion,  causing a civil war, ruining a global economy, prioritizing what keeps us on our screen, election advertising, existential threat, can’t agree on what is truth, assault on democracy and on and on. Do see this documentary and think about it and us and yourself. … 

RAKE. I’m still enthralled with watching RAKE. It’s one of the most consistent brilliant funny, curious, serious, series I’ve ever seen. It’s a Netflix feature from Australia back in 2010. This week Netflix introduced Charlie Kaufmann’s newest movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”. You need warnings about Kaufmann’s films. Remember “Being John Malkovich”, “Synecdoche, New York” and especially “Eternal Sunshine of the Eternal Mind”. “I’m Thinking” is one of his impressionistic, dreamlike. Psychological adventure voyages. It’ll stay with you for days after

AWAY starring Hillary Swank on HBO. Is a series of Hollywood tripe at its corniest about five very mismatched astronauts on their way to Mars from the moon. The first episode is taut at times when they do some space walking outside their space ship but it’s downhill from there. 

Every Friday morning on KZSC (88.1 fm or live online at from 8:10am-8:20am or thereabouts I present my “B Movie Bratton” segment of short critiques (not reviews) of what’s on our screens of any size. Dangerous Dan Orange hosts the rest of the Bushwhackers B. Club. Tune in this Friday and listen to my critiques. 

September 28


A further piece on the Wharf is necessary. Dates of hearings have been changed and mistakes in the city’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Alternatives section have been corrected. 

The city has decided to run the Wharf Master Plan (WMP) EIR past the Historic Preservation Commission for its review, at the Commission’s request. Not for a vote but for a look-see. This step in the process should have been a given from the start. The Wharf is 106 years old, is the longest wooden pier on the West Coast, is listed in the city’s Historic Building Survey with a rating of excellent and is eligible for listing in the CA Register of Historical Resources. This 11th hour inclusion of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission is indicative of a process fraught with subterfuge. The city makes clear is does not HAVE to run it by said Commission but the city wants to be fully transparent, it says. 

If the city wants to be fully transparent it would fess up that it lied to the Department of Commerce in order to secure grant monies to pay for the expensive Wharf Master Plan. If you are going to roll your eyes at Trump’s latest lies you should roll your eyes at the city’s lie which pre-dates Trump’s election by two years. To claim that the Wharf was severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami was a lie. That lie was used to obtain almost a million dollars of taxpayers’ money for a city project that is widely unpopular. Do we just shrug that off?

The date for the Historic Preservation Commission hearing is Wednesday October 14th, followed the next night, Thursday October 15th by the Planning Commission hearing. Although the date is not yet set, a reasonable guess is that the Council hearing on the Wharf Master Plan EIR will be Tuesday October 27th.  All will be remote, online hearings. 

As I wrote last week, I spotted a contradiction in the Alternatives section of the EIR and alerted the city. The entry that had the 45 feet tall new “Landmark Building” removed under this Alternative was a mistake according to the response to the city from the consultants. That’s quite a big mistake. Out of all the changes/additions to the Wharf, this proposed massive new building covering the sea-lion viewing holes and towering over the Dolphin restaurant at the south end of the Wharf is probably the most detested, if written public comments are any measure of the community’s sentiments. When I checked to see how this correction is captured on the Economic Development’s webpage, it did not surprise me that it is buried. What did surprise is that it is described as a “minor correction.” That is the equivalent of saying that the parking garage will be removed from the library relocation project, then correcting the mistake to say that the parking garage is not being removed, it is being lowered 5 feet. Then labeling that, a minor correction. 

All this suggests that the consultants and the city top staff are playing the community for fools. For 40 years I’ve read city documents riddled with distortions, inaccuracies and lies in order for staff to push through pet projects. Occasionally a lawsuit or legal letter will rein in the worst offences and occasionally an unpopular project such as DeSal or weakening the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance will be stopped. It should not require such massive effort to achieve the people’s will. Too often elected officials are seduced into staff recommendations, genuflecting to show where the power lies. With direct challenges to staff interpreted as rudeness and policies put in place to dampen such criticism, it is no wonder a lie by the city to fraudulently obtain Federal funds is so easily accepted as a minor transgression.

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 28

Chris will be back 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 to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at



September 28

Last week, many people contacted me regarding the glossy, full-color 12-page propaganda that Soquel Creek Water District mailed out to all customers.  Ratepayers are disgusted with the expensive fluff that provided nothing more than  a sales job for the PureWater Soquel Project and a veiled campaign stunt to support the incumbents who are shoving the Project forward. 

Customers with families and on fixed incomes are really struggling to pay their high water bills, yet the District has no qualms about hiring at least two consultants to help them make a glossy colorful ad that says nothing about the water quality  or the extremely high rates.

Take a look at the attached “Community Report 2019-2020”.  What was the goal of sending this very expensive mailer out two weeks before the November 3 election ballots arrive?  It is no secret that the incumbents support the Project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the drinking water supply for the area, but hundreds of people are strongly opposed to that happening.  

Candidates Corrie Kates and Maria Marsilio are running for the two available seats on the District Board of Directors, and want to put the brakes on this bloated and unnecessary Project that has now tripled in cost to $182,000 or more. Corrie and Maria instead favor more timely conjunctive water use with the City of Santa Cruz, and not damage the environment. 

Here is some interesting information to ponder regarding the matter. 

Re: data used in the Community Report 2019-2020:

I found the Survey Results presented to the Board by FM3 Survey at the June 16, 2020 meeting, in Item 7.2 (page 65) of interest.  The “73% of Customers are Comfortable with PureWater Soquel” was a consolidated number that had only 32% feeling very comfortable with the Project, but the surveyor added in the 41% who were “somewhat comfortable” with the project.

06-16-20 Board Packet

The survey sample was 427 registered voters from the District.  Only 52% of the surveys were conducted by phone, the rest were via online.(see page 85)

I think it is notable that of those surveyed, 16% drink bottled water at home. (page 83)

In the September 15, 2020 Board agenda packet, documents in Item 7.3 provide information related to PureWater Soquel Project as submitted in the $89 million Low-Cost Loan agreement with the EPA.  Page 194 includes a basic funding itemization: (I have copied and pasted the language as it is in the agreement…with many typographical errors)

09-15-20 Board Packet

Current CIP (Fiscal Years 2020-21 to 2029-30). 

The District is currently focused on initiating construction of the treamen anc conveyand components for Pure Water Soquel. The budget for Pure Water Soquel totals $181,580,409. The District will finance Pure Water Soquel with a $88,974,400 loan through U.S. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, a $50,000,000 grant for the California State Water Resources Control Board, a $36,000,000 loan from the California State Water Resources Board, and $6,606,009 from revenues and fund balances. 

In addition to Pure Water Soquel, the capital improvement program (“CIP”) for the Water System includes $69,148,435 as summarised in the following table. Though Fiscal Year 2029- 2030, the District expects to fund 62.9% of these additional CIP projects with revenues and fund balances and 37.1% with with debt and grants. 

Information on page 187 is slightly different:

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


RESCHEDULED TO 10/5: A new Aptos Branch Library is on the way! Aptos Branch Library – Virtual Open House/:
RSVP Online

A new Aptos Branch Library is on the way!

The Santa Cruz Public Library, County of Santa Cruz Department of Public Works, Anderson Brule Architects (ABA), Bogard Construction and Second District Supervisor Zach Friend invite you to the Aptos Branch Library Virtual Open House. Learn about the design, ask questions and share comments.

The Aptos Branch of the Santa Cruz County Public Library System has outgrown its current facilities. The County has completed a feasibility study, selected a design-build team, and begun the design process. The design concept has been developed based on input gathered from four community meetings during the study. Bogard Construction and ABA, the design-build team, is now ready to share the design concept, answer questions, and hear your comments.

Come see the exciting results of the hard work and collaboration of the community and the County at a virtual open house event. The discussions will focus on:

  • Site and Architecture
  • Interior Layout

RSVP Online
Casa abierta virtual de la sucursal de la biblioteca de Aptos Reserva



Becky Steinbruner

831-685-2915 (I welcome your discussion)

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

Email Becky at


September 28
#272 / Aw Shucks Fascism

As far as I know, this New Yorker Article on “How Wagner Shaped Hollywood” should be accessible to those who click the link. Having had a chance to watch the entire Ring Cycle twice, and as someone who is hoping that I may be able to see it at least one more time (before my time runs out), I was fascinated by how author Alex Ross (a comic book writer and artist) documented the deep penetration of Wagner’s music into American culture.

Wagner’s music, of course, is often associated with Fascism and the rise of the Third Reich in Germany. Ross’ article begins with an evaluation of “Birth of A Nation,” a 1915 silent movie credited with having stimulated a renaissance of the Ku Klux Klan. He considers how Charlie Chaplin employed Wagner, and then moves on to our modern superhero literature. You will be particularly interested in this article if you are a movie buff, or a fan of various television series that have apparently employed Wagner’s music in unexpected ways. Many of the film and television references were way beyond the boundaries of my personal knowledge.

The picture at the top of this blog posting, of course, is a scene from Apocalypse Now, picturing American helicopters on their way to destroy a village in Vietnam. That is a film with which I am familiar. The kicker in the film, as Ross notes, was that Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” was portrayed as an explicit part of the American assault. If you haven’t seen the movie, or if you need to refresh your recollection, you can watch a brief video clip, below. Turn up the sound for the full effect!

Ross says that George Lucas and his original “Star Wars Trilogy,” ends with an “aw shucks” appropriation of Fascist style, based on the use of Wagner’s music. The question Ross wants us to explore is whether or not Hollywood films and other forms of popular culture are complicit in the exercise of American hegemony.

“The urge to sacralize culture, to transform aesthetic pursuits into secular religion and redemptive politics, did not die out with the degeneration of Wagnerian Romanticism into Nazi kitsch,” says Ross. We are still facing that, today. It is a feature of our contemporary politics.

To the degree that using Wagner as “background music” assists in the perpetuation of American hegemony, in all its “chauvinist exceptionalism, its culture of violence, [and] its pervasive economic and racial inequities,” we need to make some changes!

Bratton editor note…Gary didn’t mention but author Ross did …that Richard Wagner died about 6 years before Hitler was born.\

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