February 20 – 26, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Metro bus passes, Create a plaza, Paul Hostetter died. GREENSITE…on a place for the homeless. KROHN…City council decision making, Eco Passes, homelessness, council appointments. STEINBRUNER…Aptos P.O. Bike jump history, Coastal Bluffs armor and problem, new 152 parcel Seascape Subdivision proposed, Soquel Creek Water rates increase, Camp Ross and funding question. PATTON…The president’s Personal problems, EAGAN… “Trickle-down Economics”. JENSEN…more about the Oscars. BRATTON…critiques “They Shall Not Grow Old”. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “Oscars and the Academy Awards”.


                                 

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A POLITICALLY DIFFERENT SANTA CRUZ. Back on May 22, 1965, these three Republicans stood very tall around here. On the left is Carl Conelly, trustee and co-founder of Cabrillo College. In the middle — in more ways than one — is Gerald Ford, who became our President in 1974 after being VP, and a member of the Warren Commission before that. On the right (but not too far right) is Donald Grunsky, lawyer and Republican State Assemblyman and our State Senator from 1947 to 1976. This photo was taken in The Deer Park Tavern in Aptos.                                           

The Aptos History Museum online page says… “1933Deer Park Tavern built by N.J. (Shorty) Butriza, a Yugoslavian. The Tyrolean-style building was originally decorated with hunting trophies, and music was supplied by a Hammond organ built for the place. The widening of Highway One in 1947 forced Shorty to move it up the hill to its current location. It’s now known as the Bittersweet Bistro”.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

HOW EARTH WOULD LOOK IF/WHEN ALL THE ICE MELTS!!
The Opera “La Fille du Régiment”: “Ah! Mes amis… Pour mon âme” (Encore)
After attending more than 300 opera performances over the years, Javier Camarena’s encore with the high C’s and higher still brings tears. This clip is from Feb.7, 2019.

February 18

RUMORS AND RUMINATIONS. Even the most casual followers of our political scene weren’t surprised by Cynthia Mathews, Mayor Martine Watkins and Donna Meyers voting against downtown employees getting free Metro Bus Passes. We’ve seen some of this same 4-3 vote split before, and we’ll see much more.

Speaking of Downtown, I can’t find the source when I need it but let’s get behind the concept of turning the Cathcart, Cedar, Lincoln, Farmer’s Market lot into something beautiful and useful…like a PLAZA or just a park. It could and would be 100% better utilized and attractive — and even money-making for our City coffers. The Library Garage plot for that space seems to be dying, so let’s get a positive, productive movement on this ASAP.

PAUL HOSTETTER HAS LEFT. Many, many of our Santa Cruz communities will feel the loss of Paul Hostetter, who died last Wednesday (2/13) As a musician, activist and critic, Paul gave more of himself to the world than just about anyone I have ever known.

He moved here from Detroit decades ago, played many stringed instruments, and we sessioned together with Hank Bradley way back starting around 1970. His musically-talented daughters Marandi, and Kaethe and of course his wife Robin Petrie will carry on Paul’s love of music, but we’ve lost much more than that.

Karla Hutton filmed a fine interview with Paul about five years ago. You can see it here…


February 18th, 2019

A HOME FOR THE HOMELESS
No one ever said that solutions to the homeless issue would be easy.  The community is deeply divided. On one side are those who view the folks sleeping in doorways and tent encampments as lazy bums who don’t want to work or meth heads who steal to support their addiction and on the other side are those who see all homeless as deserving of compassion and resources. Meanwhile the city of Santa Cruz scrambles to provide some relief, which always seems too little, too late, too expensive. City staff and electeds bear the brunt of outrage from both sides of the divide.

This tension came to a head at the last city council meeting when staff unrolled its latest efforts to address the problem. The good news was that for the first time the county was on board and for the first time, significant money ($10 million) was made available from the state. The bad news was that the proposed shelter plans were modest, uncertain and unlikely to make a significant dent in the problem. Closing one camp after another while providing less than needed alternatives is not a solution. One speaker summed it up when he pointed his wooden walking stick at the bullet points on the video screen and retorted, “same old…same old.”

The decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on public property when they have no access to shelter violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment has tied the enforcement hands of the police. Without alternatives, city parks, open space and the river are now legitimate camping areas. And we aren’t talking boy scout camping. Those who are houseless, with no access to amenities to give a veneer of respectability soon foul their nest with garbage, human waste, discarded needles. Any one of us would look pretty messy without access to showers, a bed, public works to remove our garbage etc. Meanwhile, city Parks staff provide portable toilets, dumpsters and mulch for the wet ground and the tent camp at Gateway Plaza grows daily, straining staff time, impacting nearby businesses and evoking public outrage since, horrors, the homeless camp is visible to visitors coming in from Highway 1.

There is a solution. It is not a new one. It was proposed decades ago by Paul Lee. Given the current situation it is time to take a look and weigh the advantages of dedicating a portion of Pogonip for a permanent, adequately sized site for a “homeless” village. You could call it Hope Village or for those without charity, “Bludgers Burg”. (You’ll have to consult your Aussie slang dictionary for the meaning of “bludger.”)

Pogonip is one square mile. That is 640 acres. Dedicating 20 acres for a permanent homeless site would leave most for public access and habitat protection. Local environmentalists, in particular Celia and Peter Scott, worked hard to save this unique open space land for the public. It is one of 4 city-owned open spaces with Moore Creek Uplands, De Laveaga and Arana Gulch being the others. It is already the new site for the Homeless Garden Project. If there were no homeless crisis, opening up public lands for housing the homeless would not be on the table. But there is a crisis and other solutions are not working. Given the court ruling and with insufficient shelter space available, those who lack shelter at night are already camping in Pogonip and other public lands, deeply hidden, with no facilities, leading to human waste, garbage, polluted streams with the constant threat of fire in the dry season. Our city open spaces were closed last summer due to fires, possibly started in homeless camps. Some city parks were closed due to clogged toilets from used needles, anti-social behavior on the part of some homeless, with young children afraid to use the city parks. This is not ok.  

The village I envision at Pogonip would be self-contained with a shower block, small store and solid small shelters adequate in number for more than the estimated local homeless population. Since the homeless are a heterogeneous group, some will need mental services help, many need drug addiction help, some just a temporary helping hand. Those with intractable anti-social behavior and who refuse help are a relatively small group of around 30 and should not be eligible for such a village but rather be under the fold of the newly formed Focused Intervention Team, which has the resources and funding to make the difference.  

By providing sufficient shelters in a designated area in Pogonip, with the emphasis on creating a home for the homeless to develop some pride of place and sense of self-worth, there should be and legally could be zero tolerance for anyone camping in any other public place, park, sidewalk, doorway, beach or open space, including other parts of Pogonip. This will require a focused law enforcement campaign that persists until there is full compliance. Homeless issues already take up a disproportionate amount of time and money from city police and city staff. Those in the community who have more experience than I in homeless issues and the homeless themselves can weigh in on how best to run the place but it’s the place that has hitherto been the sticking point. Pogonip may well provide that missing solution.

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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FEBRUARY 18

CHANGE AGENTS @ CITY HALL


“Camp Ross” continues. This week I counted 159 tent structures, up from 134 two weeks ago. The Council and community continue to work on solutions. All I can say is, soon but we need viable options for all residents before simply closing it.

There’s only been three Santa Cruz city council meetings this year, but political winds at city hall are blowing in a decidedly let’s-get-something-done direction. Recent additions, Justin Cummings and Drew Glover have already created political climate change, Santa Cruz-style, in local decision-making. The February 12 council meeting saw a new majority’s agenda on display. After many community meetings, council discussions, and staff presentations the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance was amended and the city will not require a parking space to be built for a new detached ADU. The vote was 6-1. It was approved as a “pilot project,” and the council will revisit this ordinance again in one year in order to evaluate the impacts of parking on neighborhoods and whether many units were actually developed as a result of the new law. Next, a spirited debate took place about whether to provide Eco Passes, monthly Metro bus passes, to ALL 4000-plus downtown employees. It was a motion endorsed by the Downtown Commission, but not by city staff. The 4-3 outcome was a step in the direction of addressing climate change and downtown traffic congestions by offering residents real encouragement and incentives to leave their cars home by using the bus, or one of the many Jump Bikes around town. Bus passes will be free and the Jump Bike fee will be drastically reduced. It is a big step the council took, but with support coming from the Sierra Club, the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, and Santa Cruz Climate Action Network (SCCAN). It’s a decision, similar to the lifting of parking for ADUs that can be revisited after a trial period, tweaked, even scaled down, or if proving successful, scaled up.

Study Session Anyone?
Towards the end of Eco-Pass discussion, Councilmember Cummings introduced another motion proposing a council-community study session on March 19 that would focus on parking, traffic, and housing in the downtown. It was the new majority (4-3 vote) wanting to get ahead of the building-development curve and becoming proactive hoping to understand all the issues going on downtown and work with the community, especially on parking and housing. From what I’ve been told, downtown goes from Water Street to Laurel Street and from the San Lorenzo River to Center Street. Several speakers are invited to this event including UCSC Prof. Adam Millard-Ball whose essay on driverless cars creating worse parking jams went viral recently.

Rental Housing Task Force
The council agreed in a 7-0 vote to hire a Sacramento consulting firm, Consensus and Collaboration Program (CCP) to assist our city in moving forward to address our housing needs. The charge of this newly formed task force will be:

  1. Ensure analysis is data driven
    • Look at what other cities have done
    • Gather info on rent increases and evictions over the past 5 years
    • Develop/utilize landlord database
  2. Utilize a variety of communication/outreach tools: Discussion circles, surveys, smaller groups where opposing interests meet together and talk
  1. Spell out areas of consensus
  2. Develop protections addressing needs of each opposing interest
    • Protect tenants from inflationary rent increases
    • Protect annual return on investment for landlords
    • Develop causes for eviction and terms of no-fault eviction
    • Provide just cause eviction exemptions
    • Consider exemptions for those landlords who are already renting at below market
    • Investigate costs related to making publically available all leases, rent increases and complaints

Response to Homelessness
Tepid. The city council gave staff direction to come back to the council, more blah, blah, but as far as putting real on the ground “solutions” out there, little came out of this agenda item. But if Drew Glover, Sandy Brown, and me have anything to say or contribute, a homeless emergency declaration will be voted upon at our next meeting (Feb. 26) along with opening additional restrooms and washing stations, buying property for an emergency shelter, and identifying an RV parking area (not Delaware Street) will all be in the mix. Stay tuned, February 26! We did award Brent Adams $5k to help support his storage program for homeless people’s belongings and that was positive.

Brand New Majority Commission Appointments
On January 8, the Santa Cruz city council made several commission appointments. If you remember, Councilmember Brown and I have not had any of our nominees appointed to city commissions outside of the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Woman (CPVAW). But the dam broke during the first month of the year. Here is an impressive list of new commission members. Expectations are high and politics may begin to get more interesting.

Arts CommissionSean Swain McGowen, Janina Larenas, Owen Thomas, and MK Veniegas
CPVAWAnn Simonton
Downtown CommissionBrett Garrett
Historic Preservation CommissionRoss Gibson
Parks and Recreation CommissionGillian Greensite and Dawn Schott-Norris
Planning Commission–Miriam Greenberg and Andy Schiffrin
Transportation and Public WorksShawn Orgel-Olson

“Before Social Security was created in 1932, about half of seniors lived in poverty. Today, the senior poverty rate is just 8.8% and in 2016 Social Security lifted 22 million Americans out of poverty. Our job is not to cut Social Security. Our job is to expand it.” (Feb. 17)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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February 18

ACKNOWLEDGE A MOMENT AND GRIEVE A LOSS FOR AREA YOUTH
Every year at this time, I take a moment to think about what happened the day after President’s Day weekend in 2015, because it was such a loss for area youth, and an event that was the catalyst for my increased involvement in local government.  On February 17, 2015, Swenson Builders illegally bulldozed the world-famous Aptos Post Office Bike Jumps.  The kids and adults who loved that place had gathered over 300 signatures on a petition to try to save it, and a handful tried to stop the bulldozer, but were tricked into thinking there was an alternate place all settled for relocation. 

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.   BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!

Realizing that I had been tricked made me also painfully realize that, although I had attended nearly all of the public meetings about the Project, there was little information being given to update me or anyone else, and I really did not understand the government process.  How could this devastation happen?  That question is what caused me to start attending meetings, asking questions, learning how to submit Public Records Act requests, and piecing together murky details regarding many issues throughout the County. 

What happened in Aptos has and is happening in other neighborhoods throughout the County (see info. re: Seascape Beach Estates included here), and that is what compels me to alert others about what I have learned, and to encourage everyone to get involved, stay involved, to ask questions and demand clear and timely answers.  It is what compels me to urge each of you to write one letter, make one call, to attend a public meeting or hearing (the difference is that the later requires more thorough public notification), and to hang in there because your opinions matter and demand respect and true consideration by those who are elected to represent you. 

I have not given up on efforts to make changes in my Aptos community, and still have at heart the interests of all those kids and adults and the entire Community who were devastated on the Tuesday morning after President’s Day in 2015.  The world-famous Aptos Post Office Bike Jumps are still looking for a new home.  Please contact me if you want to help  (ki6tkb@yahoo.com or 831-685-2915) or work with the folks here

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING TO THE COASTAL BLUFFS AND RIPARIAN AREAS?
That was the big question considered again at last week’s February 13 County Planning Commission meeting in continued consideration of the proposed updated County General Plan’s Local Coastal Plan (LCP) and the Public Safety & Hazard Management Plan.  The room was full, with public testimony lasting over an hour.  People who live on the coastal bluffs and near beaches will, under this proposed LCP, have a new set of rules about armoring along the beach areas as well as possible sand mitigation fees for impacts of their dwellings or armoring.

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

HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT AT ROSS WILL CLOSE, BUT THEN WHAT?
During the February 12 Board meeting, the County Board of Supervisors discussed the homeless camp at Highways 1 and 9, behind the Ross Department store.  The County has been awarded $10 Million in State grant money to address the homeless issues, but had no real solution to present to the public, other than opening up a small number of beds at the Salvation Army building on Laurel Street in Santa Cruz, and closing the encampment by March 15.  How can this be only considered now, when the County has applied for and been awarded this substantial grant, with a requirement that 50%+ of the money must be spent within 6 months???   Rayne Marr is the County Homeless Services Coordinator, but one really has to wonder what is driving the County’s seeming lack of solution to a growing issue, and what she is effectively doing to develop long-term solutions to this growing problem?

The County got $2.2 Million in grant money last year for housing the homeless youth

The County got $3.3 Million in grant money early this year for homeless services

The County now has another $10 Million in grant money for homeless solutions

So, why are there still 150-200 people living under tarps in the mud along the levee in freezing temperatures???

Contact Rayne Marr and ask.  rayne.marr@santacruzcounty.us     When I offered last year to organize a meeting with her and a representative of the Seaside Homeless Task Force that is following the City of Oakland’s lead on using Tough Sheds as affordable, effective homeless shelters, Ms. Marr refused to meet with us because she said it was “pre-mature”.   I wonder if her tent is warm at night?     Hmmmmm……

Cheers, Becky Steinbruner

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

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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February 17, 2019
#48 / Returning to Royalty (The Elected Kind)


The picture is from Dick and Sharon’s LA Progressive, found atop an article titled, “Dear Mr. President: The Royal We.” The article, as you might suspect, focuses on the president’s recent declaration of a national emergency, related to the president’s desire to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. 

The point made by the article is that the language used by the president, in justifying his declaration, is “personal.” The president’s statement that “I am unhappy…” betrays what is really going on. The individual distress of a president is not, in a democracy, a national emergency, however much it may be a personal or political one. The tendency of our current president is to see himself in a “royal” frame, and this goes back to the 2016 campaign, when he sometimes commented on earlier presidencies by talking about the “reign” of this president or that. 

At any rate, it’s a striking picture. At least that’s what I think. I also think that we might, justifiably, start worrying about an “emergency,” but that our focus ought to be on whether or not our institutions of government are prepared to reject the idea that governmental powers are subservient to the personal predilections of the president. That is not the way the Constitution says it works. An article in The Atlantic, published in 2017, raised concerns about whether or not our current president would “destroy the presidency” by failing to follow what are the unwritten, but real, rules governing presidential conduct. An article published by the Brookings Institution, on Valentines Day this year, takes the Atlantic’s general concern and makes it specific to the recent presidential declaration. 

If a president can declare a national emergency based on what that president personally believes is a major national problem, and can thereafter use government money and resources to accomplish what the president personally believes is the right thing to do, then the idea that the congress, not the president, is primarily in charge of determining what is done in the name of the “nation” will be ended forever. 

Congress is not an inspiring body, mostly, but it is composed of persons elected by the voters, and is thus, theoretically, representing the “national” will, not an individual or “personal” agenda. The President’s job, as outlined in Article II of the Constitution, is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The President, in other words, is supposed to “execute” the policy decisions made by our representative Congress, not decide what the nation should do based on the president’s personal priorities. However, we do need, as a nation, to allow our president to act for us in emergency situations, and that brings us to the precipice upon which we now find ourselves.

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

Monarchial rule can take root with an elected monarch, too. Unless the Supreme Court does what would really be something different from what it usually does, deference to this president will return us to those pre-revolutionary times!

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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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Get your weekly inner chuckle from Tim Eagan’s classic Subconscious  playground. Scroll southward.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Trickle Down Economics“” 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.

Don’t miss the programming of Robots in his blog.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa says, “Return of the Dueling Divas! My slugfest . . . oops, I mean my reasonable discussion with Christina Waters over this year’s Oscar nominees, wraps up this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ).  Watch the broadcast Sunday night, February 24, 5 pm, and see how we did!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD. Peter Jackson (who directed The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings films) has digitized hundreds of hours of actual World War I battles into a brilliant evocation of what those soldiers went through. Using recordings of soldiers who were in those trenches, he made this 3D colorized documentary to pay tribute to the 100 year anniversary. You’ll see war like we’ve never seen it before, with all the suffering, the humor, the and blood on the screen. It’s not being shown in 3D locally.

CAPERNAUM. It means “Chaos”. A near documentary, heart wrenching story of a Syrian 12 year old trying to stay alive on the streets of Beirut. It’s tireless and unforgiving in telling what the poor and starving parents and children must do in order to stay alive. It’s almost like facing what our local homeless have to face, except Beirut is far away.

OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS. The true story of two 10 year old boys killing a 2 year old, an abandoned boy on the beach, racial hatred and parental murder, and more. This collection of Live action shorts is the most miserable, untalented group of shorts I’ve ever seen. They are depressing, uncreative, and hopefully forgettable.

OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. Pixar has its usual expected cutesy entry in this group of shorts. In addition there’s young girl’s menstruation, the smell of dog’s butts, elderly care, and still more depressing topics. The animation shorts aren’t any better or important than the live action.

COLD WAR. One of the very best films I’ve seen in many YEARS!! A 1950’s love relationship between two very involved lovers that endures the Cold Wars between Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia and in Paris and Berlin. It’s perfectly acted, all in black and white and very serious. Only 1 ½ hours long, it’ll stay with you for a very long time…don’t miss it. 94 on RT.

SHOPLIFTERS. Famed and great Japanese film director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film about an impoverished makeshift family won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. And it earned a 99!! On Rotten Tomatoes. A very poor family “adopts” a cruelly treated little girl and gives her sensitive and true family love while teaching her to shoplift as they do to stay alive. The relationships and bonds of love are  a bit confusing and near boring yet it’ll rip your tears out and maybe even cry. Not your Hollywood saga…but a piece of cinematic art.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. A 94 on Rotten Tomatoes, Golden Globes and Oscar talk, this is a deeply moving story about a black Harlem family in the 70’s, facing the very real race problems that remain with us all. James Baldwin wrote the book, and the Beale Street reference is only to drive home the fact that time and equality haven’t changed. Rape, pregnancy, mother’s love, are combined with super acting to wrench hidden feelings from all of us. Don’t miss this excellent film. CLOSES THURSDAY February 14th.

THE WIFE. Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater — along with a sensitive plot/script — make this another great 2018 film. Pryce wins the Nobel Prize; his wife Glen Close has a deeply involved and serious role as his lodestar. An excellent film, go see it. You’ll love it. Landmark/Cohen Media is bringing it back to the Nickelodeon.

ON THE BASIS OF SEX. If you saw the recent documentary “RBG” there’s no reason to see this nearly religious tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But she is a lot prettier in this version. We know by now that RBG is some kind of saint and that she had a lung problem a few weeks ago. Felicity Jones is a British actress and manages to sound about 80% American with just some New Yorker accent that flips on and off. It’s sort of a mix between Joan of Arc and Mary Poppins

STAN & OLLIE. Full disclosure… I had a wonderful afternoon with Stan Laurel and his wife in their upstairs beach front apartment in Malibu in the fall of 1962..  Stan told me about their European tour in 1953 which is the focus of this new film. He said it gave both of them some much needed boosting. He also talked about their appearance on Ralph Edward’s “This Is Your Life” in 1954 and how awkward that appearance was. Stan and I sent a few Christmas cards back and forth for a few years. Stan & Ollie has a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes, and Stan died in 1965. When I find those notes from him, I’ll share. The movie is “bittersweet” well acted and does lay out the semi business-friendly relationship the two comics had all their lives together. Go see it.  

FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this  costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?

GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a story we are all too familiar with. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.

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UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Co-Authors and Publishers Doug and Rachel Abrams discuss their new book on finding, maintaining relationships “Eight Dates” on Feb.19. Vets Service Officer Dean Kaufman follows them and talks about many new veterans’ benefits and area events. February 26 has George Fogelson and Barry Braverman discuss the book, “Between The Redwoods and The Bay- a History of Jews In Santa Cruz”. Jean Brocklebank and Judi Grunstra discuss Santa Cruz library plans following Fogelson. Workers comp attorney Bob Taren returns March 5 to share his thoughts on the political scene.  Then author and art critic Carolyn Burke discusses her newest book, “Foursome”. It focuses on the relationship between two famous couples. On March 19 Maestro Michel Singher talks about the Espressivo Orchestra concert happening March 31st. Then Ellen Primack exec. dir of the Cabrillo Fest of Contemporary Music talks all about plans to upgrade the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at bratton@cruzio.com

Here’s some spoken word poetry for you. Boomerang Valentine.

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

QUOTES. “The Oscars”
“The Oscars are a lot different when you are a nominee. You walk around with this big smile on your face, and everyone, even people who work for rival film companies, tells you they voted for you“. Samuel Goldwyn
“Our minds are big enough to contemplate the cosmos but small enough to care about who wins an Oscar”. Dean Cavanagh
“Nothing can take the sting off the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires present each other golden statues.” Billy Crystal
“I haven’t had an orthodox career and I wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it and I can’t deny the fact that you like me—right now, you like me!”
Sally Field, Best Actress, Places in the Heart, 1984


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

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
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February 11 – 18, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Who’s paying for DeLaveaga golf course and that restaurant, Sherry Conable’s goodbye note. GREENSITE…on demolishing our history. KROHN…Council agenda issues, networking and group actions, Green New Deal info, Sherry Conable’s many contributions, DeLaVeaga restaurant subsidy.STEINBRUNER…talks about her lawsuit against Soquel Creek Water District, Soquel Creek’s illegal rate increases. PATTON…an Unexamined Life. EAGAN…A Parade of One. JENSEN…Capernaum and Cold War. BRATTON…Oscar Shorts Live and Animated, Capernaum, Cold War. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…Presidents and Presidents day.


                                 

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SOQUEL STORM 1955.  Looking east toward Veterle Plumbing & Tile.  On the bridge over Soquel Creek.                                                      
                                   

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

De LAVEAGA GOLF COURSE.. Do note that this You Tube has been online since Jan. 2015 and has had only 437 views in 4 years!!
ZASU PITTS. Just how do you pronounce her name?

DATELINE February 11, 2019

THAT DAMNED De LAVEAGA GOLF COURSE. We should change the name to De La VACANT or De La VACUATE !!!

With Pebble Beach Pro Am winding down and away, we need to look at what should be regarded as one of our largest money wasting facts. A good friend wrote to us… “Our taxes still subsidize every round of golf played at DeLaveaga golf course. Two activists were able to get the residential portion of supporting the harbor to end, but no one has ever succeeded in getting the DeLaVeaga golf course to  be 100% self supporting. Why not, and why is their budget so hard to find or see in print?  It’s always a brick wall topic, shouldn’t  the Grand Jury look at the non transparency of the golf   course operations ?. Most cities are closing their municipal golf courses due to funding problems, we pay for it. And how about  the environmental problems, like poisons for the grass flowing down the many creeks that emanate from there and end up in the Monterey May Sanctuary ?  And that it’s watered with potable water, not recycled water.   Why is the parking free at the golf course, when every other facility in town is not given free parking for customers, or even workers ? Charging for parking to make up the budget shortfall would be a place to start. The Frisbee golfers have to pay to park, why not the undercharged per round golfers? Another unanswered question ….Why and how is   $900,000 of city money going into the DeLaveaga Restaurant? Hopefully the city council will have looked at this on Feb. 12 and have made some definite changes…we’ll see.                                                                                                

SHERRY CONABLE. Sherry Conable certainly deserves all the love, honors, tributes and credit our community has been given to her. She was a truly wonderful and dedicated woman. When she decided to conclude her life it’s just possible that Sherry determined that she had finished the work she set out to do. I think she deserves even extra merit. One friend who read her good bye note said it was surprising how short, simple and lacking elegance the note was.  There was an apology, a good bye, and a love.

February 11, 2019

TEARING DOWN OUR HISTORY.
Most of us were wrenched when the wrecking ball leveled the Cooper House and the Casa del Rey after the 1989 earthquake. Those here when the 1904 Romanesque Carnegie Main library was demolished in 1966 must have felt some regret. Buildings embody human history much like rocks embody time. While it is true that the old buildings in Santa Cruz represent a relatively new history compared to the thousands of years of native history it destroyed, they are nonetheless a link to our past and a reminder that we are not newly minted with each generation.

We are the pinnacle of a throwaway society, fostered under the economics of consumerism and the demands of capitalism. At some point, future generations will gasp at our reckless demolitions. As it becomes more obvious that our planet has finite natural resources and finite space to absorb our discards, a wiser world may try to preserve all old buildings as living testaments to the past and work with what is there rather than tear down and throw away as casually as a used tissue.

Thoughts such as these were running through my mind as I watched the demolition of the Miramar restaurant on the Santa Cruz Municipal wharf, captured in the photo. This was an unremarkable building yet it had its history. Built in 1926 as Ernest’s Fish Grotto and serving as an outdoor wharf café in 1929 with an expansion to the current configuration in the 1970’s, it had a time-earned spot in the heart that the new restaurants lack. It is telling that the San Francisco design firm ROMA, who packaged the Wharf Master Plan design for a cool million dollars, gave a thumbs-up for the new buildings and a thumbs-down for the old such as Gilda’s. No room for nostalgia here. It is also telling that the new business owner of the Miramar is also the owner of Firefish, Woodies on the Wharf and the Dolphin restaurants.

It is full steam ahead for tearing down the old and filling the landfill with the discards, not to mention the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Wood stores carbon. It releases it as a gas as it decays. Your desk of drawers stores carbon. Break it up, throw it away, let it rot and the carbon is released as CO2. We pay lip service to decreasing carbon emissions if this obvious source is ignored. As more and more old buildings downtown, on the Eastside and on the Westside are demolished to make way for the bigger, taller, square box and glass style apartments and retail, what thought is being given to history and resource conservation? Little if any, from my observation. The tearing down of the 2-story motel on Mission St. on the far Westside, to be replaced with a 3 –story motel with the materials from the old building, including the handsome roof tiles discarded, is just another in a long list of examples.

There was much wood in the Miramar, including a solid beam around 30 feet long that could have been saved but instead was cut in half and hauled off to the landfill to start decaying and releasing carbon dioxide. Granted the landfill is also a recycling center so I invite anyone to counter with evidence to show that the Miramar and the Mission St. motel’s materials were all recycled to be reused. It is past time for a local policy or ordinance to require all developers who demolish our history to recycle most if not all materials so that what is thrown away can be hauled off in a wheelbarrow. Future generations, if there are any, will thank us even if they have no old buildings left to capture the imagination.

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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February 11, 2019

NOT GOING DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT.
I joined city councilmembers Drew Glover and Sandy Brown this past week in crafting several city council agenda items, which we thought were going to be on the February 12th city council agenda. Much to our collective consternation, the pushing of paper goal posts were moved and we missed a mayoral-imposed deadline to get on the official agenda. The resolutions we intend to put forward include re-opening city restrooms to the public at De Laveaga Park, inside the Louden Nelson center, and at city hall; creating an RV overnight parking area; declaring a “homeless state of emergency” in Santa Cruz; and outlining rules and regulations around “transitional camps” in order to transition away from the chaotic “Camp Ross” behind the Gateway Shopping Plaza on River Street. We are hoping to create a robust council discussion around organized and managed campgrounds. Councilmember Glover posted an insightful piece on Santa Cruz IndyMedia about what can only be characterized as the agenda snafu-doo doo controversy. (It’s titled, “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” )

Glover writes: “We need action NOW in Santa Cruz, not more reports or updates. Conversations and brainstorming is always important, but now is the time we need action. That is why I have been working for the last three weeks, alongside fellow Councilmembers, interns, advocates and people experiencing homelessness, on creating actionable policies that can be implemented now. We have solutions for the camps, solutions for RVs and car camping, solutions for zoning and the bureaucratic obstacles that have slowed action in the past. We have solutions for access to bathrooms and hygiene facilities, survival materials and more. There are those within the City Council that support the items for action at this next Council meeting on February 12th, and I applaud them. However, there are those who are slowing us down. Specifically, it is the Mayor that is making it difficult for us to take any action at the next City Council meeting.” 

Brand New Council Community Meeting No. 2
Another well-attended community-council planning meeting took place on Sunday February 3rd. It was a follow-up agenda-setting meeting from Dec. 2nd. The three-hour marathon session covered issues ranging from affordable housing to homelessness to oversight of the police department to transportation. It was a much-needed brain-storming session. One of the meeting facilitators wrote a follow-up email and characterized it this way:

1)” Networking function–These meetings can be a place where groups can update each other on issues they are working on and ask for support at Council at key times. In order for this to function well, representatives of active groups need to be present at each meeting. The representative can be prepared to make a brief presentation at the meeting. We can think of some groups that were not represented at the meeting on Sunday and invite them. Maybe each meeting can feature a longer presentation by one group with a focus on “How we are working with City Council.  2) “Place to plug in–I got the sense from a number of the working group reports on Sunday that people want to contribute, but they may not be ready to start their own working group. They may be unaware of the work already being done on an issue and unfamiliar with valuable information about that issue. So, with leaders from active groups present, the people who want to plug in will be able to do so.” The next large group community-city council meeting is scheduled for Sunday, March 17th at 10am. Mark your calendar.

Green New Deal
I attended the Green New Deal kick-off at the Walnut Street Commons last week. Great turnout! Over fifty people crammed into to their lounge to watch the Sunrise Movement’s nationwide group-chat about what the Green New Deal is and also to help strategize for getting it through congress. At first blush, 40 congress members signed on, but now it is up to 64 co-sponsors and the group is pushing for more. This week Green New Dealers will be visiting their members of congress who haven’t yet signed on (Jimmy Panetta get ready, we need you!). The Sunrise Movement’s web site reads: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey have introduced a Joint Resolution for a Green New Deal. If resolutions get enough cosponsors, they can become a major driver of the policy debate! If not, they can get lost in the political shuffle and fade into oblivion. That’s why from Feb. 11-13, we are going to show up in person at our Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and ask them to cosponsor the Green New Deal Resolution.” Best document I’ve encountered, through the Washington Post’s “Energy 202” column, is a Google doc outlining the Green New Deal. It can be located here

What about a city council resolution outlining what a Green New Deal might look like for Santa Cruz?

Sherry Conable
So much has been written this past week about Sherry. We lost her on February 4th. Her body was found at Cowell’s Beach, an apparent suicide. Sherry was a pillar of positive, activist energy in this community whether it was her dogged pursuit of adequate police review, or how better to serve the homeless and houseless community. Perhaps she was most integral and active in the peace movement: Veterans for Peace, Resource Center for Non-Violence and Code Pink. Sherry showed up early and often, and was a shining star. Her words were measured, but forceful, and her resolve and commitment to peace never wavered.  Sherry Conable was a community hero. We’ve lost a friend, a mother, an activist, a kibitzer, a local historian. Sherry was part of every peace effort going back to the NO NUKES Jackson Brown concert in the ’70’s. And as Paula Leroy noted in a recent email, Sherry “organized dozens of rallies and events that helped us voice our views about war, militarization of the police (SCRAM), treatment of veterans, immigration, homelessness, and many more. She brought us together and made our voices and community stronger in beautiful ways. In her glorious pink outfit with flowered wreath, she marched in Gay Pride, Women’s March, Anti-Iraq and Afghanistan invasion rallies and every important cause for decades.”Sherry was the real Santa Cruz deal. We love you Sherry, rest in peace, we miss you already. Sherry Conable presente!

The Go-Figure Department
The city of Santa Cruz through the Public Works Department’s maintenance fund (general fund revenue) has shelled out $300,000 to fix up the restaurant at the DeLaveaga golf course. This comes after a 47-year-long tenant vacated. Well, I wasn’t wholly in favor of that past disbursement of city money, but I learned to live with it. But now, there’s an agenda item, #10, on this week’s council agenda asking for $600,000 more to get the job done. Ouch! With all the needs in Santa Cruz–affordable housing, need for more bus service to the university and other parts of the county, housing for the people at Camp Ross, affordable childcare–someone in the city wants throw $600k more for a 19th watering hole restaurant at the golf course? Doesn’t make immediate sense to this councilmember. You can read the staff report herehttp://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1162&doctype=AGENDA

The Tweet of the Week space is reserved for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her relentless questioning of ethics “experts” in a congressional hearing this past week. She eviscerates the notion that $$$ equals free speech in an incredibly entertaining “Let’s Play a Game” way. You gotta see this, it’s just five minutes.  
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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February 11, 2019

DOING MY PUBLIC DUTY AS A CITIZEN IN MY COMMUNITY
Many have criticized me for filing legal action against Soquel Creek Water District for what I see as a sham of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and faulty California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process because I am not a ratepayer in the District.  I want to be clear that the District’s actions affect the entire MidCounty Groundwater Basin and Santa Cruz City jurisdictions.  As a citizen, I am entitled to take this action to protect what I see is my community.  So could you.  I must take this action in Pro Per…that means without an attorney to represent me, because it is too expensive and quite frankly, I have had bad experiences with a dishonest attorney.  I am not suing the District for money…I just want them to follow the law. 

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.   BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!

The District Board of Directors approved spending an additional $175,000 in special legal fees to fight me on my petition, asking them to follow the law, even thought the District can cure and correct the problems I have brought to their attention and not have to hire legal representation.  How insane is that?

If you would like to view the testimony made by multiple citizens to the Board on this issue at the February 5, 2019 testimony before the Board went into Closed Session at the very beginning of the meeting, (having just completed a two-hour ethics training), take a look here

Interestingly, the video initially posted the next day was a Vimeo and EXCLUDED THIS PORTION OF PUBLIC COMMENT.  However, when I alerted Community Television and the District Board of Directors to that problem, CTV soon notified me that the problem seemed to have been corrected, and their YouTube version that is now posted for public review does include the comments on Closed Session discussion of the impending legal action against the Pure Water Soquel Project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the drinking water supply of the MidCounty area residents.  Curiouser and curiouser….

This is hard work, but important work, and simply must be done.  Stay tuned. 

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT WANTS TO ADOPT ILLEGAL RATE INCREASES TO PAY FOR INJECTING TREATED SEWAGE WATER INTO THE GROUNDWATER
A District ratepayer, Mr. Jon Cole, tried to get the District Board of Directors to listen to his legally valid complaints about unfair rates two years ago.  I was there and witnessed the Board’s dismissive attitude.  Mr. Cole took legal action to force the District to re-structure their illegal rates, also doing his own legal work in Pro Per, and won. 

Now, Mr. Cole has evaluated the District’s proposed rate and fee increases, and has again determined that the rates would unjustly penalize the residents of Single Family Residences (SFR). violating Proposition 218 law that states utilities cannot charge more for water than what if costs to produce and deliver it.  Once again, the District’s rates are fatally flawed…but will they do anything about it?  Attend the February 19, 6pm Public Hearing at the Capitola City Council Chambers.

The District also failed to divulge how the proposed rate increases were calculated, as is required by Proposition 218 law.  In truth, the 9% annual increases being proposed for the next five years are to pay for the Pure Water Soquel Project, and were calculated, at the request of the Board, to be based on not getting any grant money for the Project.  This was all presented in the November 6, 2018 when   the Board heard rate consultant from Raftelis in Item 6.2 describe the plan.

NONE OF THIS IS EXPLAINED TO THE RATEPAYERS IN THE GLOSSY INFORMATION MAILED TO THEM TO NOTIFY THEM OF THE IMPENDING RATE AND FEE INCREASES!
If you are a District residential or commercial customer, please file written protests regarding the water rate and monthly service fee increases.  Here is how:

  1. All protests must be in writing, not e-mailed, and received by the close of the February 19, 6pm Public Hearing at the Capitola City Council Chambers.
  2. All protest letters must be addressed to “Protest Officer”.
  3. All protest letters must include your service address (not P.O. Box) and Assessor Parcel Number (APN)  You can type in your address here and get your APN
  4. All protest letters must include your printed name and signature.
  5. All protest letters must include that you are protesting increases in both water rates AND monthly service fees…both are proposed to skyrocket.
  6. Each parcel gets one vote, so if you own more than one parcel, submit a protest letter for each, in order to have them all qualify.
  7. If you are not sure you are entitled to send a rate protest, SEND IT ANYWAY, because it will not harm anything at all by doing so, and in fact, will keep your rent and homeowner association fees lower.

MAIL BY THIS FRIDAY TO:
“Protest Officer”
P.O. Box 1550
Capitola, CA   95010

TAKE IT TO THE DISTRICT OFFICE DIRECTLY BY FEBRUARY 19, 5PM (5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel)

BRING IT IN PERSON TO THE FEBRUARY 19, 6PM PUBLIC HEARING AT THE CAPITOLA CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS.

Talk with your friends and neighbors, and please post this information on social media and NextDoor.  The District is out of control….and the ratepayers must speak out.

Cheers,

Becky Steinbruner

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

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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February 5, 2019
#36 / Updating Socrates?

Charles Krauthammer, pictured next to Socrates, was a “leaning right” political pundit who apparently compared President George W. Bush to Abraham Lincoln. Krauthammer died in June, 2018. Abraham Lincoln died in April, 1865. George W. Bush is still alive. 

Krauthammer left behind a set of essays, now published in book form under the title, The Point of it All. I have not read Krauthammer’s book, but I have read a review, published in my local newspaper on Sunday, January 20th. The review, by Daniel Oppenheimer, contained a line that Oppenheimer said was “core” to Krauthammer’s worldview: 

Beware the too-examined life.
According to Oppenheimer, Krauthammer believed that “introspection, self-counsciousness [and] deconstruction…were more likely to be vices than virtues, corrosive to the good life, sound political judgment and global leadership.”

Socrates was one of the founders of Western philosophy. He had a different idea. Here is one of Socrates’ most famous sayings:

The unexamined life is not worth living. 
Krauthammer did have an advantage that Socrates did not. Krauthammer lived post-Shakespeare, and can be expected to have pondered Hamlet’s agonized ruminations about how we often fail to take action, as we ought, when our resolution becomes “sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.”

Another pundit, Thomas Friedman (still alive), has “debriefed” the Iraq War, one of the main initiatives of President George W. Bush, whom Krauthammer thought was a Lincoln-like hero. Considering the Iraq War, which has been disastrous in virtually every way, Friedman poses this question to past-president Bush:

What were you thinking?
Now, I guess, with the Krauthammer book, we know the answer. Influenced by the kind of “worldview” espoused by Krauthammer, our president wasn’t thinking at all!

As far as I am concerned, Krauthammer’s comparison of Bush to Lincoln is not convincing. With all due respect to Krauthammer (and to Shakespeare), when I think about what sort of leader I would like to have guiding our national policy, it strikes me that it would be an advantage, not a fault, to have a leader who “thinks” before that leader acts.

Just to be clear, in other words, as between Krauthammer and Socrates, I am sticking with Socrates!

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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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Do check out our weekly visit to our nether regions…and enjoy!!!

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Parading the Truth” 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.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. “My dialogue with Christina (Waters) over this year’s Oscar nominees continues this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com/).  And there’s still time to catch up with two outstanding Oscar contenders in the Foreign Language category, the dark, delirious romantic complexity of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Polish drama, Cold War, and Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s harrowing but mesmerizing portrait of refugee children surviving the indifferent grown-up world in Capernaum.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

CAPERNAUM. It means “Chaos”. A near documentary, heart wrenching story of a Syrian 12 year old trying to stay alive on the streets of Beirut. It’s tireless and unforgiving in telling what the poor and starving parents and children must do in order to stay alive. It’s almost like facing what our local homeless have to face, except Beirut is far away.

OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS. The true story of two 10 year old boys killing a 2 year old, an abandoned boy on the beach, racial hatred and parental murder, and more. This collection of Live action shorts is the most miserable, untalented group of shorts I’ve ever seen. They are depressing, uncreative, and hopefully forgettable.

OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. Pixar has its usual expected cutesy entry in this group of shorts. In addition there’s young girl’s menstruation, the smell of dog’s butts, elderly care, and still more depressing topics. The animation shorts aren’t any better or important than the live action.

COLD WAR. One of the very best films I’ve seen in many YEARS!! A 1950’s love relationship between two very involved lovers that endures the Cold Wars between Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia and in Paris and Berlin. It’s perfectly acted, all in black and white and very serious. Only 1 ½ hours long, it’ll stay with you for a very long time…don’t miss it. 94 on RT.

SHOPLIFTERS. Famed and great Japanese film director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film about an impoverished makeshift family won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. And it earned a 99!! On Rotten Tomatoes. A very poor family “adopts” a cruelly treated little girl and gives her sensitive and true family love while teaching her to shoplift as they do to stay alive. The relationships and bonds of love are  a bit confusing and near boring yet it’ll rip your tears out and maybe even cry. Not your Hollywood saga…but a piece of cinematic art.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. A 94 on Rotten Tomatoes, Golden Globes and Oscar talk, this is a deeply moving story about a black Harlem family in the 70’s, facing the very real race problems that remain with us all. James Baldwin wrote the book, and the Beale Street reference is only to drive home the fact that time and equality haven’t changed. Rape, pregnancy, mother’s love, are combined with super acting to wrench hidden feelings from all of us. Don’t miss this excellent film. CLOSES THURSDAY February 14th.

THE WIFE. Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater — along with a sensitive plot/script — make this another great 2018 film. Pryce wins the Nobel Prize; his wife Glen Close has a deeply involved and serious role as his lodestar. An excellent film, go see it. You’ll love it. Landmark/Cohen Media is bringing it back to the Nickelodeon.

ON THE BASIS OF SEX. If you saw the recent documentary “RBG” there’s no reason to see this nearly religious tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But she is a lot prettier in this version. We know by now that RBG is some kind of saint and that she had a lung problem a few weeks ago. Felicity Jones is a British actress and manages to sound about 80% American with just some New Yorker accent that flips on and off. It’s sort of a mix between Joan of Arc and Mary Poppins

VICE. Not a GREAT movie but an important one. Christian Bale is completely unrecognizable as Dick Cheney and his performance is for sure Oscar-worthy. I had no idea how evil and powerful Cheney became working under and on top of George W. Bush. It is a scary movie and lacks continuity but politics fans need to see it.

BEN IS BACK. Julia Roberts gives one of her very best performances as a controlling Mom dealing with her addict son. Lucas Hedges captures the rest of the screen, as the remorseful son who is earnestly trying hard to stay “clean”. A very hard-biting drama, which has probably been a true story many thousands of times. Go see the movie. Another rerun courtesy of Landmark/Cohen Media.

STAN & OLLIE. Full disclosure… I had a wonderful afternoon with Stan Laurel and his wife in their upstairs beach front apartment in Malibu in the fall of 1962..  Stan told me about their European tour in 1953 which is the focus of this new film. He said it gave both of them some much needed boosting. He also talked about their appearance on Ralph Edward’s “This Is Your Life” in 1954 and how awkward that appearance was. Stan and I sent a few Christmas cards back and forth for a few years. Stan & Ollie has a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes, and Stan died in 1965. When I find those notes from him, I’ll share. The movie is “bittersweet” well acted and does lay out the semi business-friendly relationship the two comics had all their lives together. Go see it.  

FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this  costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?

MARY POPPINS RETURNS. This is a NEW Mary Poppins movie.  Emily Blunt is no Julie Andrews and if you’re old enough to remember seeing the 1964 original you’ll realize just how wonderful it was. There’s not a single memorable song in this take, there’s no purity, innocence, or genuinely creative additions to the 54 year old original. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep added just to give it hype. Meryl Streep is sort of the Ed Winn character but she’s not as good.

GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a story we are all too familiar with. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.

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UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Authors and Publishers Doug and Rachel Abrams discuss their new book on finding, maintaining relationships “Eight Dates” on Feb.19. Vets Service Officer Dean Kaufman follows them and talks about many new veterans’ benefits and area events. February 26 has George Fogelson and Barry Braverman discuss the book, “Between The Redwoods and The Bay- a History of Jews In Santa Cruz”. Jean Brocklebank and Judi Grunstra discuss Santa Cruz library plans following Fogelson. Workers comp attorney Bob Taren returns March 5 to share his thoughts on the political scene. On March 19 Maestro Michel Singher talks about the Espressivo Orchestra concert happening March 31st. Then Ellen Primack exec. dir of the Cabrillo Fest of Contemporary Music talks all about plans to upgrade the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at bratton@cruzio.com

Watch this video about one of the last polio survivors, still in an iron lung, and then VACCINATE YOUR &^%*&$^ KIDS!!!! Polio is still a thing in some parts of the world, and with more people opting out of vaccinating their children, it could come back! We were so close to eradicating polio… For the love of all that’s holy, VACCINATE!

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

QUOTES. “PRESIDENTS & PRESIDENTS DAY”
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”Abraham Lincoln

“We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions — bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt  

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”  Barack Obama 


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