Blog Archives

September 7 – 13, 2022

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Del Mar theatre closed days, 17 story towers, Santa Cruz county Fair. GREENSITE…on why you need to attend the City council hearing on the 13th. KROHN…Labor Day history plus questions. STEINBRUNER…Widen Highway 1, EIR for County General Plan, County water supplies, LAFCO and Branciforte fire dept., Nisene Marks road. HAYES…Summer flies. PATTON…Party Time, Democratic Party history. MATLOCK… Misunderstanding wokeness and stupidity and privilege. EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. WEBMISTRESS’ pick of the week honoring Taylor Hawkins QUOTES…”Tourists”

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SANTA CRUZ circa 1900. That’s High Street running across in mid photo. You can also see Holy Cross Mission Plaza on the far left.                                                       

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

DATELINE September 5

DEL MAR THEATRE WEEKLY SHUTDOWNS. It’s almost impossible to get authoritative news from either Landmark Theatres or the staff at the Del Mar theatre probably because no one knows the theatres future. But this week and last the Del Mar has been closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

GARY PATTON’S FB COMMENT/WARNING. Gary posted this on Facebook…

Down in San Diego, local residents are having to go to court to try to stop the city from raising building heights in the coastal zone (read about that, below). In Santa Cruz, the City Council has voted (5-2) to allow 17-story towers to be built in a new “expanded downtown,” south of Laurel. YES FOR 17 STORY TOWERS: Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, Sonja Brunner, Renee Golder, Martine Watkins, and Donna Meyers. NO FOR 17 STORY TOWERS: Justin Cummings, Sandy Brown. 

The antidote to bad land use decisions is good politics!

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY FAIR….NOT!!! It’s happening once again from September 14 through the 18 and it looks like it’ll be almost as big and enticing as ever. It matters not a whit but it isn’t really the Santa Cruz County Fair, it’s the 14TH District Agricultural Association exposition. It’s really run and controlled by Sacramento’s regulations not the County’s. There are 23 genuine locally run County Fairs in our State, just not this one. I know because I used to be the official treasurer of the Fair and once a year I’d sign all the checks for the prizes that were given out. Other members of the local board of directors were Manny Santana, Denise Holbert, J.J. Crocetti and John Tuck. 

I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange. 

THE GOOD BOSS. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (7.2 IMDB).  Javier Bardem has to be the almost best actor on our screens today. Good Boss has won many awards since its release last year and Bardem should be given an Oscar for this one. He plays the boss / owner of an industrial weighing scales manufacturing company. It’s billed as a comedy/drama but I found few places to laugh and it’s still an excellent movie. His attempts to keeping all the employees happy are beautifully carried out. His failures are so human and again Bardem’s acting is so perfect you’ll be mesmerized… don’t miss it.

THE RINGS OF POWER. (PRIME SERIES) (6.8 IMDB). J.R.R. Tolkien was one of a very few genius writers of fables. His Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and a few more will remain our memories probably forever. Now the bastardized version/spinoff The Rings of Power has hit our screens and it’s difficult to watch because we have to forget how entertaining the original was. The huge (CGI) sets look so much like Maxfield Parrish paintings that it’s hard to remember where and “when” we are watching. The cast is interracial and it also has no actors of note. Maybe if we go back and watch Lord of the Rings again we might be able to link and appreciate Rings of Power more. 

BELOW THE FOLD. (PRIME MOVIE) (4.0 IMDB). Below the fold refers to the old days when newspapers were made of paper and we folded them!! A young woman reporter and her older partner search back through decades to find out who killed a 12 year old girl who’s been missing for over ten years. Who they interview and what’s involved in the plot is amateurish, the acting is stylized and the production lacks much needed professionalism.

THE CRICKETS DANCE. (PRIME VIDEO) (5.3 IMDB). It takes place in the Deep South state of Georgia. A woman searches for an old diary and then for all the history that goes with it. It’s poorly acted, boring, and nothing you haven’t seen before. Some of the plot comes dangerously close to dealing with the racial issues that existed then and still are with us. You have better things to do than to watch this one.

THE PATIENT. (HULU SERIES) (7.9 IMDB). Steve Carell does his usual fine acting in this very tense well-made movie. He is a serious therapist and Domhnall Gleeson is the psycho serial killer who imprisons him. It’s tense, very deep in both their histories and each episode is only about 25 minutes plus the usual Hulu commercials. Watch it.

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.  

PURPLE HEARTS. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.7 IMDB). A trite, corny, foolish attempt to tell a ridiculous story about a woman who needs money and marries a Marine recruit to get his military benefits.  They argue and fight at Camp Pendleton and argue between the liberal and patriots points of view. The ending is as predictable as you can imagine.

THE TERRITORY. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (7.6 IMDB). A scathing and heartbreaking documentary from National Geographic tell of the invasion of the remaining Amazon jungle that is still inhabited by about 200 indigenous locals. It’s local versus the developers and that’s also the story of the invasion of the United States by our ancestors and their treatment of the natives and homes that were destroyed. The Amazon locals have drones, cameras, and media to help in their struggle against money and politics and even COVID. Don’t miss this history capturing document.

THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING. (DEL MAR THEATRE) (6.7 IMDB). This is a collection of four fables told by a genie (djinn) to a woman lecturer. Tilda Swinton is the author/scholar and Idris Elba is the djinn. Great fun and it’s a very imaginative myth to watch and to savor the visuals and the pure fantasy plus super acting skills of these two stars.

VENDETTA. (HULU MOVIE) (3.7 IMDB). Mike Tyson has two short scenes in this poor excuse for a movie. It takes place in Georgia and stars Bruce Willis at his worst. An accidental killing brings out revenge plus blood, plus junkies, thugs and very bad acting. The script should never have been written. 

MIKE. (HULU SERIES). (6.4 IMDB). A dramatized version of the world famed and brutal boxer Mike Tyson. Starting with his poor and much tortured upbringing and continuing harassment he became a boxing giant. His trainer Cus D’Amato (played by Harvey Keitel) became his best friend and supporter. Tyson is still trying to outlive his crude and unfeeling image and now is working as an actor! Well worth watching.

ANOTHER SELF. (NETFLIX SERIES) (6.3 IMDB). This is a series from Turkey with three women friends on a journey to fix some issues in their lives. One is a Doctor and wants to have her breasts enlarged, another wants to find a cure for her cancer, the last friend is a lawyer and wants a change of scenery. The acting and plot are light and well done. You’ll become involved with their development, 

KLEO. (NETFLIX SERIES) (7.1 IMDB). This is a long drawn out series about the real and unreal politics behind the falling of the 27 mile long Berlin Wall in 1989 and 1900. A young woman seeks revenge against the East German government who treated her brutally. There’s love, betrayal, plenty of gunplay and even some laughs. Kleo went from East to West Berlin secretly and carried out some deadly assignments. There have been and will be better spy movies.  

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HIDDEN VALLEY STRING ORCHESTRA which is Sixteen of Northern California’s finest string players 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.” Featuring works by Richard Wagner, Efrem Zimbalist, Jean Françaix, Germain Tailleferre, Wiliam Grant Still, and Frank Bridge in Santa Cruz Sunday September 11th at 4:00 p.m. at Peace United Church 900 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Go here for more info…  

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS CONCERT. Their next concert will be Beethoven, Bagatelles, and Music for Winds and Piano. Music by Beethoven, Françaix, Ligeti, Jon Scoville, Couperin. It’s happening SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 7:30 PM and SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 3:00 PM. It features Ivan Rosenblum, Concert Director and Piano Lars Johannesson, Flute Peter Lemberg, Oboe Erica Horn, Clarinet Michelle Reem, Bassoon and Susan Vollmer, French horn. It’ll happen at Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive, Aptos

TURLOUGH O’CAROLAN CELTIC MUSIC CONCERT.
Turlough O’Carolan was a contemporary of J.S. Bach, O’Carolan (1670-1738) was Ireland’s most famous harper. Though blinded by smallpox at age 18, a patron gave him a harp, a horse and a guide, and he supported himself for 50 years as an itinerant harpist, becoming the most famous of all Celtic composers. Many members of the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival will be performing.

Linda Burman-Hall, Director, harpsichord, virginal. Shelley Phillips, harp, Baroque oboes, folk flutes. William Coulter, guitar, bodhran. Robin Petrie, hammered dulcimer 

Deby Benton Grosjean, traditional fiddle, Baroque violin. John Weed, fiddle and Barry Phillips, on ‘cello. The concert is FREE and will be at 3pm October 9 Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Hall.

 

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September 5

COMING TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU

In case you missed it, the Santa Cruz city council continued their discussion and vote on the proposed Objective Standards and Zoning Code changes to their meeting of September 13th. That meeting is Tuesday of next week. 

These topics are complex and hard to follow, even for those who pay attention to such things. However, whatever is decided at the meeting will determine the look, feel and density of the city far into the future. Also at stake is the ability for the public to comment on new, large projects, an ability severely curtailed under recent state housing laws. While some projects will automatically trigger a public hearing, others will not, unless council votes to make that happen.

It was nice to be back in person at city hall after the long stretch of Covid-induced zoom hearings. There’s something about looking elected officials in the eye as one speaks that cannot be replicated by call-ins. Planning staff and their consultants gave a two-and-a-half-hour presentation which consisted of their reading aloud eighty slides, an effort that missed the mark in terms of greater public enlightenment. Hopefully they will find more effective ways to communicate the issues on the 13th. 

Basically, this is about developing Objective Standards for new mixed-use developments. The 6- story building under construction at Front, Pacific and Laurel is an example of a mixed-use development, that is, multi-family housing and commercial. Objective Standards are things that can be measured such as setbacks and external building materials as opposed to subjective criteria such as “fits into the character of the neighborhood.” State laws now prohibit the latter and allow only the former. If a development meets the standards, it is automatically approved. 

The other component of the process is to re-zone specific areas of the city, ostensibly to bring the zoning in line with the General Plan which mandates increased density for the city. The map above shows just one area of town, the Ocean Street corridor with the areas marked for rezoning. You can find what is planned for your area of town such as Mission Street, Water and Soquel by going to the Planning Department page on the city’s website. You may be as surprised as were the Central Park neighborhood, a small area of Dakota Ave-May Ave-Leonard St. to find that three residential parcels there have been rezoned as Mixed-use Visitor Commercial under this rezoning plan, basically isolating them from the rest of the neighborhood with the prospect of their replacement with 7 to 8 story developments. The neighbors are circulating a petition to protest this re-zoning. You can find it and sign in support here.

What has disturbed me throughout this process is the use, or in my opinion, misuse of the principles of equity and inclusion by the planners and their supporters to pretend that all this future dense development is about undoing decades of housing discrimination for peoples of color and by extension, providing them with housing. Maps comparing single-family zoned areas of the city with census maps of ethnicity are fore-grounded in the slide presentations. No surprise that the single-family zoned areas are largely white while the multi-family zoned areas are largely Latino. The inference is that this is a form of discrimination that re-zoning will address and correct. Not only is there no mention of class, income level and immigration to help explain the historic differences in housing/ethnicity patterns but more significantly, there is the unexamined assumption that all this new high-rise building will enable low-income peoples of color to afford to live in Santa Cruz. This flies in the face of reality. Low-income families, especially renters of color, our service workers, are being forced to leave Santa Cruz in increasing numbers. Rents are rising in even the subsidized housing, given the ever-rising Area Median Income with the influx of well-off newcomers, largely professionals, who snap up the market-rate new apartments as first or second homes. Over the weekend, I noticed a modestly priced mobile home for sale in Scotts Valley, priced at around $500,000. The accompanying blurb stated it was ideal for a “permanent vacation home.” While there are a few exceptions, most of the new mixed-use projects that include so-called “affordable “units, are tiny and designed for individuals, or at most couples, not families. 

All evidence suggests that, despite rhetoric to the contrary, staff is favoring developers and future newcomers over current neighborhoods and local businesses. Given that the city policy passed by council states that the highest-level policy consideration will be “preserving and protecting residential neighborhood areas and existing city businesses there is nothing in the staff report to suggest that this policy is being followed or even mentioned. A small entry on the Planning Department website caught my eye and suggests what is really driving policy. It states, “In order for new housing to be built, housing builders need to feel relatively confident that they will be able to pay for the cost of construction and make a bit more money than they spend.” 

Given the boiling hot housing market in Santa Cruz, given that real-estate has assumed #1 priority in investment portfolios, given that a tiny new one-bedroom apartment rents for around $3,700 a month, that “bit more money” phrase struck me as laughing all the way to the bank.

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.

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 September 5

LABOR

Happy Labor Day!

Today is Labor Day, 2022. NPR ran a Labor Day story how labor organizing is rising rapidly and that it is inching closer to the kind of labor organizing that was pervasive last century. I awoke early today to beat the heat while walking a precinct for mayoral candidate Joy Schendledecker and District 4 city council candidate, Hector Marin. It felt invigorating to be part of this backyard organizing morning effort. You know the kind, divide up precinct packets, check. Organize flyers for each area, check. Strategize about the campaign’s future challenges, check. Of course, introductions among dozen or so early-risers was done first. The feeling was palpable in this group, we yearn for real change in Surf City. What would change look like? Removing the giant cranes from our downtown skyline for one, and replacing the luxury condo craze with three and four stories of affordable housing units. Wouldn’t it be great to see an “inclusionary” ordinance that limited all new construction to 15% market-rate units? Then 85% could be for low and very-low income working class folks, real “work force” housing and not just developer and real estate affordable rhetoric. My thermometer reads 94 degrees outside my kitchen window as I write these words, glad we walked earlier, but also looking forward to bringing more heat upon those who are profiting from housing scarcity in Santa Cruz. I think these two candidates will do that—JOY&HECTOR, presente!

Santa Cruz Labor on the Move

Labor is obviously on the rise in Santa Cruz. All the way from the Graduate student union UAW 2065, to AFSCME, AFT, Teamsters, and UPTE up on campus, down the hill to the Bookshop Santa Cruz and Starbuck’s worker organizing efforts. Is Santa Cruz a union town yet? We are on our way. Even a few years back, a living wage ordinance was passed by the city council for all city workers. Many groups are involved locally in bringing about a resurgence of syndicalism. The DSA, SC4Bernie, PDC, and SEIU Local 521 are all in part responsible for the local surge in unionization. That’s a lot of acronyms, but labor movements are like that, it takes a collective effort. Labor organizing is in a growth spurt and there is no time to slow down. There are pro-union candidates—ones who are pro-union in words and deeds—who are running for office this fall. It is up to us to ask the hard questions of all candidates seeking office: 1) do you support PLAs—Project Labor Agreements? 2) Do you support a $20 an hour minimum wage which goes up each year for five years to $25 an hour? 3) Do you support a minimum of 5% wage increase for all city workers, and a 7% increase for the lowest paid ones? 4) Have you, the candidate, ever been a member of a labor union? And 5) will you commit to never crossing a picket line while you are in office?

Labor Movement in US

Many of us have studied labor history. I’ve done the sleuthing, all you have to do is the clicking to read about these incredible union figures in American history. That history includes the lives of Joe Hill, Mother Jones, Dolores Huerta, Bill Haywood, Eugene V. Debs, Cesar Chavez, Emma Goldman, Hattie Canty, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, A. Phillip Randolph, Walter Reuther, and Francis Perkins. And who are the newbie organizers of Starbuck’s, Amazon, Chipotle, Google, and Trader Joe’s workers? You may be hearing more, about them, or less because often union organizers are transferred, fired, placed on a leave of absence, or just generally harassed out of their job. Some of the new organizers include Chris Smalls of Amazon, Ariel Koren of Google, Sarah Beth Ryther of Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis, and local Starbuck’s employee Joe Thompson who is leading the effort to unionize here in Santa Cruz. These newer organizers are helping build a movement on the backs of the above past generation’s cadre, and it’s still all about power, union power, and the ability to wrest some control from owners and force them to the collective bargaining table where the union can list collective demands rather than individual ones. It is all about getting to that collective bargaining table, but even then the corporations will stonewall hoping the organizers go away, but perhaps the pandemic has instilled a new kind of worker attitude and perspective about what unions are and what’s possible. According to Labor Notes, “Chipotle workers in Lansing, Michigan, formed the fast food chain’s first recognized union in the U.S., voting 11-3 on August 25 to join Teamsters Local 243. It’s the latest in a string of new organizing breakthroughs at prominent national brands, from Starbucks to Apple to Trader Joe’s to REI. Of all the employers that have seen union drives over the past year, Chipotle—with 100,000 employees across 3,000 stores, and long-term plans to double its footprint in North America—is the most similar to Starbucks. They’re both outliers in fast food: their stores are primarily corporate-owned, rather than franchised out to smaller operators.” The first group of Chipotle workers to file for a union election though, was in Augusta, Maine and before they could vote, Chipotle shut the store down. No doubt, the unionization path is fraught with peril, so it is incredibly heartening how workers in other vulnerable jobs continue to fight for a union. Even the Dollar Store workers in New Orleans, Louisiana are organizing, without calling it a “union,” yet.

Unions vs. Out of Town Developers, Santa Cruz Style

Remember who is helping pillage Santa Cruz in the name of for-profit investment and who is pushing back against this new movement of money-makers. Also, remember what candidates and measures these groups are supporting. Here’s a score card.

On the cha-$$$-ching side you have:

  • Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Cruz Downtown Management Corporation
  • Santa Cruz Downtown Association [but not all its members]
  • Santa Cruz County Business Council
  • Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
  • Santa Cruz YIMBY
  • Downtown Forward
  • Santa Cruz Together

On the environmental, labor, houseless, and real affordable housing side are:

  • Peoples Democratic Club
  • Santa Cruz 4 Bernie (SC4Bernie)
  • National Sierra Club
  • Campaign for Sustainable Transportation
  • Santa Cruz Climate Action Network
  • Youth 4 Climate Justice
  • Downtown Commons Advocates
(says it all about the importance of unions)

“This Labor Day, thank unions for 

– weekends 
– 8-hour workdays 
– a minimum wage 
– paid overtime 
– breaks during work 
– the right to strike 
– child labor laws 
– workplace safety standards
Now, let us grow the trade union movement and win more for workers.” (Sept. 5)

Doesn’t this sum up our struggle perfectly…seen outside Santa Cruz Woman’s Health Clinic.

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and a Santa Cruz City Council member from 1998-2002 and from 2017-2020. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 16 years. On Tuesday evenings at 5pm, Krohn hosts of “Talk of the Bay,” on KSQD 90.7 and KSQD.org His Twitter handle at SCpolitics is @ChrisKrohnSC Chris can be reached at ckrohn@cruzio.com

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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September 5

THE PLAN TO WIDEN HIGHWAY ONE

Over the years, there have been multiple legal battles over widening Highway One, but here it is…happening before our very eyes.  

Highway 1 widening project advances in Santa Cruz County [Santa Cruz Local]  

Thanks to Rick Longinotti and the Sustainable Transportation group, the Courts agreed that there were problems with simply adding lanes and expecting public transit buses to benefit.  No, that is not the same as a dedicated “bus on shoulder” lane that would really encourage people to take the bus rather than sit in congested traffic. 

Caltrans must revise highway 1 impact report after court ruling. [Sentinel article, paywall]

This is important to speak up about at the upcoming County General Plan Update public hearing at the Wednesday September 14 Planning Commission meeting.  See more about this below.  So, should the future development in the County continue to further clog the surface streets, or be focused along the rail corridor to support passenger rail use alternatives to Highway One?

FINAL EIR FOR COUNTY GENERAL PLAN UPDATE

There is so much to read and understand right now in terms of County government actions, but by far, the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the County Sustainability Update (aka General Plan and Code Update) is the most important because it will shape the future of this County for the next 20-30 years.  Think about that and dive in, going first to the single issue that you care about most.

Look at the proposed mitigations for impacts that Dudek consultants have deemed “potentially significant” and send in your comments.  For example, on page 26, (page I-20 of the Report) the high-density growth developments are considered “significant” and Dudek claims there are no mitigations possible, with a declaration of “insignificant and unavoidable”.  Do you agree with that?  What mitigations would you feel should be implemented to help reduce the significant impact this dense in-fill development would have on the local water supplies?

Here’s another example, also on page I-20: Do you agree that adding all this dense in-fill development will not cause any problem for our County’s trash collection and disposal infrastructure?  Dudek consultants rated this impact as “Insignificant”.  Do you agree with that?

How can that be when the landfills are already burgeoning and scheduled to close in the near future, and will necessitate shipping our trash somewhere else?  What mitigations can you think of that would lessen the amount of trash our County might have to export?

Send your written thoughts to Stephanie Hansen and copy the Board of Supervisors  or call your Supervisor 831-454-2200.

A printed copy of the Final EIR may be reviewed at the County of Santa Cruz Planning Counter (701 Ocean Street, 4 th Floor, in Santa Cruz) between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or other times by appointment. Please email CEQA-NEPA@santacruzcounty.us or call (831) 454-2580 to schedule an appointment. 

A printed copy of the Final EIR is also available at the libraries below:

  • Felton, located at 6121 Gushee Street, in Felton
  • Downtown, located at 224 Church Street, in Santa Cruz
  • Watsonville, located at 275 Main Street, Suite 100, in Watsonville

COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEARING LAST WEDNESDAY CANCELLED DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

Many members of the public organized our day to be able to participate in last Wednesday’s important Special Planning Commission meeting with focus on the County’s Draft General Plan update.  We logged into the virtual-only meeting and waited…and waited, and waited, with no staff announcement explaining the delay.  We sent e-mails to multiple staff responsible, with no response other, however my alert to the Director of Planning who oversees the General Plan discussions, Ms. Stephanie Hansen, got an auto-response that she was “Out of the Office Until September 6.” After 20 minutes, I phoned the Planning Dept. to report the difficulty and was told the meeting had been cancelled, due to a technical problem.  

Wow.  

This Special meeting was called at the request of the Planning Commissioners at the conclusion of their August 24 meeting because they felt there was just too much to review and properly address.  Staff all agreed on the date, including Ms. Hansen.

What was on that September 1 agenda?  Among other things, zoning changes on many parcels, including the four in Pleasure Point to allow a new “Ultra-High Density” of 45 units/acre multi-story development.  

Staff informed me there will be no meeting until September 14.  That agenda is already posted and is packed, with an apparent expectation that the Commission must approve the massive document that includes many changes to the County Codes and re-zones several areas, and the massive Final EIR analyzing the impacts of it all

Read through the 79 pages of public comment that have been thus far submitted on the General Plan Update

Amazingly, staff reported there had only been 14 comments submitted on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

The FEIR will be considered by the Planning Commission on August 24, 2022 and September 14, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. and by the Board of Supervisors on dates tentatively scheduled for October and November 2022.  

Why the rush??? I wonder if it could be that the County may lose critical funding or local control if the General Plan Update is not completed by this year?  That is what happened to the County regarding the sluggish update of the County septic system ordinance.

The County Board of Supervisors approved all of this, in concept, in 2015.  The Planning Department hosted public meetings in all five Districts (dragging their heels on setting one up for Watsonville-area District 4), then sat on it all.  Finally, in 2019, the Board of Supervisors hired Dudek consultants to take the job of pushing the Santa Cruz Sustainable Plan, aka General Plan Update, through with the necessary EIR.  The contract was hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a couple of extensions and cost increases granted. 

The Scoping Meeting happened two years ago

You can take a look at the voluminous documents regarding the EIR here, and wonder, as I do, how in the world the Planning Department and Board of Supervisors expect the Planning Commissioners and public to be able to review and provide thoughtful comment on a document that will change the County dramatically??? 

Even though the County received only 14 comments on the Draft EIR, there are 20 pages of changes as a result

Write your Supervisor and Ms. Stephanie Hansen to ask that the matter be extended for better public comment, and not pressure the Planning Commissioners to approve the Draft General Plan Update at the September 14 public hearing.  

To email all five members of the Board of Supervisors at once,
please use BoardOfSupervisors@santacruzcounty.us

To contact the Planning Commission, write Stephanie Hansen stephanie.hansen@santacruzcounty.us and Jocelyn Drakejocelyn.drake@santacruzcounty.us

PUBLIC DATA NOW AVAILABLE TO MONITOR GROUNDWATER LEVELS AND RIVER FLOWS COUNTYWIDE

What is the data being collected show about the status of the local water supplies in the County?  You now can find that information here:

Countywide Data Viewer

My old computer system will not open some of the tools, but try searching the data by contaminants for example, carcinogenic 1,2,3-TCP.  Does it show that Soquel Creek Water District has a problem with that?  It should.  That is why the District is building a new treatment plant in the residential area on Baltrusol Avenue in Rio del Mar.  

Does the search for contamination by tetra or trichloroethene that has shown up in the known plume contaminating the groundwater in the Live Oak area where the Dientes and 57 affordable housing units are being built at 1500 Capitola Road that will require a positive vapor pressure system to keep the volatile carcinogenic fumes from wafting into the buildings?

Please let the County Water Advisory Commission know your thoughts on this new tool, posted by the two local groundwater sustainability agencies.  

Sierra Ryansierra.ryan@santacruzcounty.us is the County Water Resources Dept. staff person in charge of the County Water Advisory Commission, and also is chair of the Santa Cruz City Water Commission as well as serving as the point-person for both the MidCounty and Santa Margarita Groundwater Agencies.  

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP RECHARGE LOCAL AQUIFERS?  TUNE IN SEPTEMBER 7

Learn what can be done locally to support natural recharge of the aquifers, especially in the San Lorenzo Valley area, by participating in the free Workshop this Wednesday at 2:30pm.

SMGWA MAR Workshop | Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency

There must be a better way to recharge aquifers than injecting treated sewage water, such as what Soquel Creek Water District wants to do in the MidCounty, don’t you think?  

PUSH BY LAFCO TO CONSOLIDATE BRANCIFORTE FIRE DISTRICT AND SCOTTS VALLEY FIRE JUST DOESN’T SMELL GOOD

The meeting was recorded, and the Board voted (for the second time) to make the recordings available on the website.  Mr. Joe Serrano, LAFCO Director, agreed to post the recordings this week.

To date, no recordings are posted, and there are no minutes posted since May 19, 2022. Board Agenda and Minutes | Branciforte Fire

Here is a summary of what happened:

Mr. Landon did an excellent job in pointing out the lack of transparency and information available to the public on this matter.  LAFCO Director Joe Serrano volunteered to post the Board meeting recordings on the website, after the Board approved doing so for the second time in the last two month.

Ultimately, the Board voted 3-2 to approve sending out a post card to all Branciforte Fire District property owners that includes a one-sentence Yes/No survey about approving the $50,000 engineer’s report that most assuredly sets into motion the ballot process for the new tax that will likely be $1200 – $1700/parcel annually, and to let them know about a study session to discuss the matter, at an undisclosed date and platform (in-person, hybrid, or virtual).  

The Board did not discuss those details before President O’Connell asked to adjourn the meeting.

Clearly, LAFCO Director Joe Serrano is running this show, and is causing a feverish and compressed timeline to make it happen.

Look at the timeline he divulged having created (Page 6)

A public study session that will happen in the next 10 days that will be notified by a mailed post card that he said he can send out in the next few days?  

The Board will vote on the SCI contract for the engineer’s consultant report at the next Regular Board Meeting on September 15?

How can people complete a Yes/No survey when they have no information to help them make an informed decision?

Amazingly, LAFCO Director Serrano insisted the Survey is only to improve transparency, and to provide the public with the opportunity to engage.  He stressed it is not a binding directive to the Board, and that the Board can choose to ignore the Survey results. 

Mr. Landon protested that such Survey results would indeed influence the Board’s vote on a matter that it already has rejected on July 28.

It was pretty shocking to listen to this meeting.  Many members of the public who spoke are happy with their fire station and level of service, and are worried about the cost of a potential new tax on top of what they are already paying.

Chair O’Connell did not answer my question about why he cancelled the August 18 Regular Board meeting, scheduled the September 1 Special Meeting, and refused to include any minutes of the July 28 Board meeting to provide information to the public about why the Board rejected spending $50,000 on the SCI engineer’s consultant study.  

I suggested that the Board reject the lone SCI consultant bid and re-issue the call for an RFP, just as what Mr. Serrano had recommended LAFCO do earlier this year, in order to get three proposals rather than accepting the one and only they had received for the CSA 4 consolidation with Pajaro Fire District and CSA 48:

Here is the initial recommendation to send out Requests for Proposals on March 2, 2022 with a deadline of April 15, 2022

See Minutes of May 4, 2022 meeting, Item 2b to extend the deadline because only one proposal had been received

See August 3, 2022 agenda Item 7b wherein Mr. Serrano presented a weighted selection of THREE proposals for the study

Re-issuing the call for proposals caused only a three-month delay in initiating the consultant study, and the delay included the one-month vacation the Commission took in July.

The Branciforte Fire Board could do the same and cause unreasonable delay while bringing a better selection of consultants to the table.

Please share this information with anyone you know who lives in the Happy Valley area…it appears LAFCO is shoving the property owners to the edge of a significant new-tax cliff that would not allow any senior exemptions. 

PAVING THIS WEEK ON APTOS CREEK ROAD INTO NISENE MARKS STATE PARK

My friend, Al, who lives on Aptos Creek Road, saw some animated County staff discussions happening at the “End of County Maintenance” (ECM) marker on Aptos Creek Road last week.  It was followed by pavement markings…Hmmmm…

The good news is that it appears State Parks may be paving 1800 linear feet of the deeply-potholed and narrow Aptos Creek Road as soon as Monday, September 12.  

There are no signs posted yet to notify any of the Aptos Creek Road residents or Nisene Marks State Park visitors yet, but I hope there will be soon.  

APTOS VILLAGE PROJECT FIRE HAZARD PARTIALLY ABATED

Swenson Builders allows fire hazards to go unchecked in the Aptos Village Project area, causing a real threat to the safety of the residents nearby as well as Nisene Marks State Park.  I wrote the Central Fire District Board and Fire Marshal about my concerns, especially after listening to the  August 11, 2022 Board meeting (recording available on the website during the Operations Report) 

 I was concerned to hear the Operations Report that included the incidence of five spot fires in recent weeks on the Wingspread Property near New Brighton State Beach.  

Upon questioning by Director Darbro, staff reported the likely cause of the fires was due to an up-tick in homeless camps in that area.    I have noticed a similar up-tic of homeless near the Aptos Village Project.

I am glad to see that the very tall dry grass on the hillside (“Park Parcel”) that had been a real fire risk has been cut, there are still large piles of dry brush under the trees at the base of Mattison Lane neighborhood and the Aptos Creek Canyon.  See photo below:

And the gates continue to be left wide open to the Phase 2 construction area where piles of historic Hihn Apple Barn wood are stored amongst tall dry weeds and long-idled construction equipment.  Maybe Swenson is hoping for a fire to get insurance money to help the financially troubled subdivision?

Contact the Central Fire District Board with your thoughts:  Central Fire District Board and copy Ms. Sarah Melton

The Board will meet this Thursday, September 8 at 9am (hybrid meeting) so you can address the Board directly in Item #4.  I encourage you to participate in the Budget Hearing that will occur right before that item.   

WHERE ARE THE YOUNG FARMERS?

Last week’s Bratton Online columnist Grey Hayes discussed the importance of preserving agricultural land, and lamented that much is either being lost or lying fallow.  I have noticed fields in Watsonville that used to have you-pick berries and other crops but that are now empty.  This photo is from an area near the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.  What can we do to encourage young farmers to put ag land back into production?  Please send me your thoughts.

GO TO THE SANTA CRUZ COUNTY FAIR SEPTEMBER 14-18!

Plan to visit the County Fair and see the bounty of our wonderful area.  “A County Fair with Ocean Air” will feature fun and educational exhibits and demonstrations.  Because the swine and goat/sheep barns were deemed “unstable and unsafe” by the State (due to cavalier actions of the CEO), those barns will be fenced-off and the goats and sheep youth exhibitors will have their animals under large tents adjacent.  Let’s hope the cool ocean air is able to waft in and keep everyone cool while being safe and sound.  Chances are, you will see folks there you haven’t seen in a while…and knit the Community together with this great event.

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  READ ONE CHAPTER OF THE DRAFT COUNTY GENERAL PLAN UPDATE THAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU AND SEND ONE WRITTEN COMMENT TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION.

MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK BY JUST DOING SOMETHING.

Cheers, Becky

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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September 5

SUMMER FLIES

Conservationist Mike Splain coined an appropriate measure of the summertime population level of face flies in Big Sur: ‘apocalyptic.’ Many readers who spend any time outside in the summer away from the immediate coast will know the insects of which I speak. They are small surprisingly fast flies that specialize in buzzing into facial orifices. My friend Catherine suggests we call them ‘eye ear nose and throat experts,’ a nod to ENT medical specialists. What they are officially called, in Latin, remains a mystery to me. No one seems to know. When asking friends recently what they call them, I got “dog pecker flies” and a suggestion that they are officially called “eye gnats.”

Face Fly Season

These flies only recently emerged in numbers in the hills above Santa Cruz. The heat seems to explain their population explosions. This past weekend, I was surprised to be bothered by them at sea level in Big Sur. I avoid all inland Big Sur areas after late Spring until well after the first rains when they disappear. Cool rains are their antidote. Once they become numerous, it is impossible to have an outdoor conversation without what we called back east the ‘New Jersey wave’ – an attempt to shoo the flies away with a constant back and forth motion of the hand, especially near your ears. They seem to love jumping into your ear holes.

Secret Bites 

This fly bites. You can’t feel their small bodies land, except in your ears, nose, or eyes…but they will land and bite you anywhere that’s exposed. They don’t bite quickly and easily scare away before they bite. If they do get you, they leave a small welt that, for me, is itchy and persistent. If you watch wildlife – deer and rabbits – you’ll see they are suffering greatly from these flies. Deer ears wag back and forth, bunnies blink a bunch. 

Mosquitoes

During the summer, in a fair trade for the profusion of obnoxious face flies, we don’t have to be attacked by mosquitoes, which are nearly absent in our Mediterranean climate. You have to be near water in the summertime to have mosquitoes around these parts. Estuaries, like the Elkhorn Slough, have summertime mosquitoes. If you are lucky enough to have a pond to swim in, you will also have mosquitoes. We are most familiar with mosquitoes that have larvae in the water, but we’ve got another type. Once the rain re-wets the soil, a swarm of certain types of mosquitoes emerge which are able to have a life cycle in moist soil.

Horseflies

My second least favorite biting insect (after face flies) is the horse fly, aka deer fly aka doctor fly. At least I know what these are officially called. Not that knowledge is power. We seem powerless against this troupe of pests. In the family Tabanidae, naturalists call them ‘tabanids.’ Country folk from the south through Central and South America call them doctor flies because they are surgeons, painlessly piercing a hole in your skin through which to mop up blood. They hurt when they leave you because their two parted cutting blade proboscis is barbed and those barbs hurt like the Dickens when they pull out…but then it is too late to get even as they fly quickly away. 

I once asked someone in Costa Rica if the doctor flies were bad in the forest and he said ‘in places.’ Somehow, both doctor flies and face flies are clustered in distribution: bad in certain places and not so bad in others. When hiking, it seems you walk into packs of horse flies that, like packs of feral dogs, take advantage of your distraction in swatting one so that another can stab you for her meal. Yes, I said ‘her’ because, like mosquitoes, females need protein in blood to make eggs.

Conversely, Fly Friends

Most folks know what a dragonfly looks like but underappreciate the similarly useful predator called the Robberfly. Dragonflies grow up in the water; their larval stage fiercely devours other aquatic life, including small fish, mosquitoes, etc. After they emerge in their winged form…the beautiful things we are more likely to recognize… adolescents move far away from water so we see them many places. Dragonflies zip about catching other insects on the wing, controlling things like face flies, mosquitoes, and horseflies. 

Unlike dragonflies, Robberflies are arid environment specialists; but, similar to dragonflies, they are aerial predators controlling many of the insects that we would rather do without. As larvae in terrestrial habitats, robberflies prey on all sorts of other life they encounter. As adults, robberflies eat wasps, bees, dragonflies, each other, mosquitoes, and lots of other flying critters. Robberflies are aerial acrobats with relatively long bodies and wings folded over their tops. I find them most recognizable because of their long legs which they use to grab onto prey.

What Good are Flies?

Clouds of face flies… hovering wining mosquitoes… fleet attacks of horseflies…darting dragonflies and the assassin-grabbings of robberflies…just a few examples of the diverse strategies of our invertebrate relatives at making life work. 

Why should we like flies? Think of flies as the aerial wildlife that they are. Right there in front of you, all around Santa Cruz, you can observe an aerial ecosystem with prey and predator interactions. Those insects emerge from aquatic or terrestrial systems and can be used as indicators of ecosystem health.  Bugs feed bats, frogs, and birds, critters that most people want in their lives. Certainly, farmers want those bug eating animals doing their crops a favor.

Bug Friends

There are many ways to be bug friendly: don’t go ballistic over the face flies! If I find out what the face flies are…and how folks approach their control…I’ll let you know. Most folks don’t much care about mosquito control as they are close to nonexistent. No one I know has ever figured out how to control horse flies and they aren’t so numerous as to warrant much effort. With time, we may learn how to nurture robber fly populations.

We also want to support organic farming practices that avoid synthetic pesticides which continue to impact the insect world far from farms. As opposed to Europe, the United States still allows neonics, aka neonicotinoid, a type of pesticide that is used in most corn and soybean crops and which has been shown to negatively affect honeybees, so probably also impacts other non-target insects around those vast croplands. 

As we are thinking about how we can use fewer pesticides around our homes we can also avoid electronic bug zappers. Seemingly intelligent people are still powering up the UV lights that attract many insects to an electrical killing screen, a bug zapper. The UV light doesn’t attract biting insects but rather kills a host of other insects giving the owners a sick sense of success as the machine makes the zapping noise over and over as more and more insects are fried on the electric screen.

More Bugs!

Think about what you can do to attract more, not fewer, insects around your home: nurture native plants, especially wildflowers that blossom in all seasons. Coyotebrush, an easy to grow shrub, is blossoming and full of insect pollinators right now, in the dry depths of summer. Diverse native plants including ones that blossom at all times of the year will contribute to native insect diversity. If you are a generous donor type, give funds to the Xerxes Society, an incredibly successful and efficient nonprofit group devoted to conservation of invertebrates.

(Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild and whose 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. Email Grey at coastalprairie@aol.com 

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 coastalprairie@aol.com

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August 30

#243 / Party Time?

Jennifer Rubin, who writes opinion columns for The Washington Post, wrote a column back in July which explained “Why we should care about the 187 minutes.” I absolutely agree with Rubin that we should “care” what the President of the United States did during 187 minutes on January 6, 2021, a period during which an inflamed crowd invaded the United States Capitol Building, trying to hunt down Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and Vice President Mike Pence. 

 

Disrupting the official counting of the electoral votes in the 2020 election, which was lost by the president, was the ultimate objective of the January 6th insurrection. “Killing” Nancy Pelosi and “hanging” Mike Pence were possible avenues to that end, which at least some in the crowd seemed to contemplate as something worth doing. We definitely need to “care” about who did what, and when, during that 187 minutes – and we particularly need to understand the exact role played by the president. I am in complete agreement with Rubin on that. 

There is, however, something Rubin said in her column that I think should be challenged. I have highlighted the concern I have, below:

If Trump, as president, failed to activate the armed services during a foreign attack on our homeland — or worse, put out tweets praising the attackers — it would be tantamount to treason. In the face of domestic terrorism, his obligation to act was no less clear.

The GOP’s refusal to prevent him from seeking office again (first by failing to convict him at his impeachment trial and now by declining to oppose his participation in the primaries) amounts to ratification of Trump’s treachery. It is also an indication of the depths of the party’s depravity (emphasis added).

I have been reading about the French Revolution, as I have revealed before. I am getting near the end of Jeremy Popkin’s book, A New World Begins, and I am currently being reminded about the “Reign of Terror,” the next to final stage of the French Revolution, in which individual guilt – leading to a summary death on the guillotine – was legally and officially based on a person’s organizational affiliations. 

 

I do not think it is wise (and in fact I think it is illegitimate) to accuse a “party” of bad conduct, thus implicitly attributing to all those who are members of the “party” the alleged “depravity” that is charged against the party collectively. In other words, in the excerpt from the Rubin column that I have included above, the first paragraph talks about the individual responsibility of President Trump. That seems to me to be a completely proper inquiry, as I have said. What did the president do during those 187 minutes? He should be answerable for his individual action (or non-action) during that critical time period.

The second paragraph of Rubin’s article, however, appears to accuse the Republican Party, collectively, of “depravity,” and that is a charge that necessarily includes all those who are members of the party. I think that goes too far. I think we need to challenge ourselves not to think collectively. Labeling as “depraved,” or “deplorable,” those who have a different political affiliation from our own is neither prudent nor just. That goes, of course, for both of our major political parties. Such attributions of collective responsibility are made from both sides.

 

Individuals do bad things. Individuals, in fact, might be “depraved,” but once we start saying that members of a party are “depraved,” simply because they are party members, we are on the way to a modern version of the kind of social, political, and economic division that brought France’s experiment with democracy to an end. 

Can our own democracy be brought to an end if we start assigning collective guilt to a “party” (and thus, implicitly, to all of its members)? Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party seem to be aimed in that direction, and Rubin’s reference to the “depravity” of the Republican Party is just one (and a rather minor) example. 

With or without any reference to the French Revolution, here’s my plea: Let’s not go there.  

 

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 gapatton@mac.com

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September 5

MISUNDERESTIMATING WOKENESS AND STUPIDITY AND PRIVILEGE


Remember the good ol’ days, formerly known as the bad ol’ days, when a hapless village idiot from Texas pretended to be the country’s president, and his sidekick, VP Cheney, held the reins for most of their reign? Who could forget the doofus who signed the Patriot Act, and who had the pilot of Air Force One fly him over New Orleans to see the aftermath from Hurricane Katrina, just high enough to escape the ire of the saturated citizenry below who were lobbing sticks and stones (mainly sticks, since stones don’t float conveniently) toward the aircraft, to the complete obliviousness of Ol’ 43. His praise of Americans who were “working hard to put food on your family,” and his question of concern for our youth, “Is your children learning?” will long be quoted in our history books and classrooms to mark his drive toward privatization of Social Security. And, all the while claiming that he had been “misunderestimated.” Head drummer Cheney, assisted by Rumsfeld and Rice, and a reluctant Powell blundered into Afghanistan and Iraq with nothing to show at the administration’s exit but death, destruction, and no weapons of mass destruction for their efforts, with our emptied treasury limping into the Great Recession

How much credit does GWB deserve for the coronation of Orange 45, or as some like to say Orange IQ 65 for the mentally deranged narcissist who continues to taunt us daily, even after being thrown out of office over a year and a half ago? Evidently, many in the GOP wanted to see a kind of replay of the inanities of the Bush years, with the primary season providing DJT the perfect trailer for what was to come. As one Adolf Hitler once said, “All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.” Monty Python’s John Cleese pinpoints it quite well with, “If you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very, very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you really are.” The slam dunk goes to Ricky Gervais, who says, “When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It’s only painful and difficult to others. The same applies to stupid.”

The imperial-minded Donald, going for bragging rights, will likely claim that he is responsible for more deaths, injuries and disruption of lives than George W. Bush could ever imagine – “like we have never seen!,” he would probably offer; and, perhaps he is correct with the rampages of COVID-19 around the globe partly attributable to his administration’s attitude at the outset of the pandemic. Attempting to show his concern and knowledge of the virus, during a news conference he asked if ingesting disinfectants might be effective in quelling the outbreak. Like GWB, Agent Orange had disruptions of hurricanes which provided a display of his doltishness several times over. Thank goodness, he was dissuaded from his theories of China‘s using a “hurricane gun” to direct storms our way, or using nuclear bombs to stop or redirect the incoming system, since his use of a black Sharpie on the weather map had no effect. Who can forget his statement, “This is one of the wettest hurricanes we’ve seen from the standpoint of water”? No doubt, our Man of Steal has a way with nature, exhibited by his staring up at an eclipse of the sun a couple of times. IQ minus 1, and counting down from 64.

The Don brought his own paranoia, along with that of Richard Nixon‘s and a select group of the GOP, as he occupied the Oval Office. Nixon’s delusions of persecution precipitated the totally foolish and unnecessary Watergate break-in, with the resulting collateral damage to his presidency when he had to turn over the secret tape recordings made in his office that revealed the extent of his lawlessness. Without his psychosis, RMN could have finished out a career with the typical ups and downs of any president, albeit with the hiccups provided by the civil unrest of the Sixties. Despite his criminality, Nixon at the least had enough respect for the system and the law to turn over the tapes once the courts intervened. He could have smashed them, thrown them in the wastebasket, or flushed them down the toilet, as Captain Chaos of Orange was noted for. Or, he could have spirited them away to La Casa Pacifica in San Clemente to deteriorate to dust in his safe. 

President Trump, likewise, had several opportunities to be more statesmanlike, more human, putting aside the windmills of his mind to refrain from attacking the slightest criticism. Had he taken the COVID-19 threat more seriously, seeing it as a danger to the well-being of the nation, instead of a plague on his record and trying to minimize the dangers by ignoring it, he might have earned a few kudos. His whining about a rigged election six months before the actual vote, and his declaration that absentee ballots were corrupt, during a period when they were necessary, helped to finish him off. Not that the failed impeachment and other charges of corruption were of no value in the end. Then again, perhaps it was his call to build a wall between Colorado and Mexico that weighed heavily on the voters. What a bunch of NIMBYs!

Despite all this, his followers remain true and continue to send their money to his grifting site, as he tempts them with a third attempt to run for the presidency…which he will likely announce simply to save himself and the J6 Insurrectionists from imprisonment should he succeed. His vision of a groundswell of support…even Frederick Douglass is paying attention, undoubtedly…keeps him active on Truth Social and with the rallies that his ego feeds upon. Biden earned Trump‘s ire by referring to MAGA Republicans as “semi-fascists” in a speech last week; but, true to form, Benedict Don had a fascist speaker at his Sunday rally who spoke of persecution of a Nazi sympathizer arrested as a J6 rioter. Cynthia Hughes, leader of a support group for those arrested post-insurrection, spoke in defense of Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, whose DOJ photo has him sporting a Hitler-style mustache and hair style. Somebody tell Joe to drop the “semi-” portion of his MAGA moniker!

U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, dismissed the Department of Justice‘s objections to the appointment of a special master to review the stolen boxes of materials removed from Mar-A-Lago, which is simply a delaying tactic by DJT and his attorneys, though Cannon in her ruling says it should not cause “undue delay.” The defense team had requested that the judge should require all documents be returned, citing executive privilege; however, she wrote, “Plaintiff ultimately may not be entitled to return of much of the seized property or to prevail on his anticipated claims of privilege,” Cannon wrote. “That inquiry remains for another day.” Judge Cannon didn’t mention the empty folders entitled ‘Classified,’ and it is unknown if any of Nixon‘s tapes were found…perhaps the missing eighteen minutes? DOJ had also argued that Trump was not entitled to the records, that they were ‘government property’, though potentially privileged material had been removed, some of which will be returned. 

And, we discover this week that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his ‘woke’ bans on books has prevented a local Rotary Club from donating dictionaries to the Sarasota County School District. Talk about paranoia! The District is awaiting guidance form Florida’s Department of Education in light of the Gov’s new law regarding student education and availability of books in their libraries, since all books must be approved for suitability by state-certified media specialists – a job that doesn’t exist in the district, and probably not in any district within the civilized world. So, it may be January before the dictionaries can find a home, and what’s a poor student to do if they want to look up the definition of ‘woke?”

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: cornerspot14@yahoo.com
 

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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

    “Tourists”

“The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist”.
~Russell Baker

“A tourist follows a trail; a mountaineer finds one”.     
~Reinhold Messner

“A queer fellow and a jolly fellow is the grasshopper. Up the mountains he comes on excursions, how high I don’t know, but at least as far and high as Yosemite tourists”. 
~John Muir

 “We should show Chernobyl to the world: scientists, environmental specialists, historians and tourists”. 
~Volodymyr Zelensky 

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Taylor Hawkins, drummer in the Foo Fighters, sadly passed away some months ago and a huge tribute concert just took place at Wembley Stadium. The most tear-jerking moment was at the end, when they wrapped the whole shindig with Taylor’s son, Shane, taking over on the drums. See him play “My hero” in this clip. I’m not crying, you’re crying!


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
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