September 10 – 16, 2018

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Santa Cruz changes this week, Rent control, library Parking garage, Groppetti gives up and details, Pelagic shark research. John Sandidge and the Grand Ole Opry. GREENSITE…on the library/garage issue. KROHN…Rent Control, library parking garage STEINBRUNER…Soquel Water District’s false claims, Aptos Village’s illegal excavations plus their traffic problems, County Ballots M & G need examining, Cannabis Director changes. PATTON…Library/Parking garage and Democratic Socialists of America  EAGAN… Subconscious Comics and Kavanaugh’s baggage. JENSEN…she’s back and reviewing Juliet, Naked. BRATTON…critiques The Wife, The Bookshop, and Skate Kitchen UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…about Bookshops.

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TEARING DOWN SANTA CRUZ’S CLASSIC CARNEGIE PUBLIC LIBRARY SEPTEMBER 12, 1966. About 52 years ago this week the City Of Santa Cruz tore down this classic library — one of 1689 libraries Carnegie gave to America. He came here to dedicate it in 1910. As you can see, it was in the same location as our threatened library is today.                                               

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

LIVE CAMERA IN VENICE. This is the first I’ve seen of live camera stuff on You tube. And Venice is/was one of my favorite visits.
UKUKELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN. There’s almost enough Ukukele players in Santa Cruz. This should provide new possibilities.

DATELINE September 10, 2018

SANTA CRUZ IS CHANGING…THIS WEEK!!! Our city council handles two incredibly community-changing issues this Tuesday, Sept. 11. RENT CONTROL and MOVING THE LIBRARY. The Rent Control issue splits Santa Cruz into two groups…home owners vs. renters, rich vs. poor, and thinkers and community believers vs. the wealthy real estate corporation’s millions of dollars they are still spending to fool, lie and convince landlords to ignore the pleas and equal rights of renters. I hope everyone has seen the Sentinel column (9/9) by Rick Longinotti that points out — and proves in solid detail — the many City Staff errors that have been made in their push to move the library. Check it out…

Chris Krohn, Gillian Greensite and Gary Patton have all stated the issues clearly in their columns this week…check them out. AND attend the City Council meeting Tuesday night (9/11)at 7 p.m.

LIBRARY PARKING GARAGE & CITY COUNCIL MAYDAY. Tuesday  (Sept. 11) is the deadline to get your emails to the City Council. The Don’t Bury The Library group has been strong, consistent, and unnerved in its opposition to this battle against the City Staff. It’s the City Staff that has been behind this wasteful plot all along. Here’s what Don’t Bury The Library sent out…

Keep the Downtown Library Branch in its current location — remodeled, renovated, revitalized, and renewed. 

Please remind the Council in your own words why you are opposed to the abandonment and ultimate destruction of the historic, seismically sound downtown library building, be it environmentally destructive, civically destructive, culturally destructive, or financially destructive. It is a hugely wasteful example of city planning.

We’re down to the wire.  Many of you responded to the plea for letters & emails to the City Council. Thanks to all who did! Although it may seem like a waste of time, and even if it does not change votes, the Council must be deluged with your individual emails. Otherwise it will be able to say that only a few residents were behind “Don’t Bury The Library” ( DBTL’s) goals.  

Here’s their email: citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com .  Send emails by 7 pm on Tuesday.

From the beginning, Don’t Bury The Library had a mission. It has not changed: Our purpose is to unhinge the library from the proposed parking garage for all the right reasons; thus our campaign name Don’t Bury The Library (DBTL).  

The Mayor has granted DBTL a 4 minute comment period. We’ll see you at the Santa Cruz City Council Meeting this Tuesday at 7 p.m”.

That’s from Jean Brocklebank, Judi Grunstra and Michael Lewis.

GROPPETTI NISSAN GIVES UP. I asked Lisa Sheridan and Robert Morgan — two important leaders from Sustainable Soquel — to bring us up to date on Groppetti not opening a new Nissan dealership at 41st and Soquel, and also giving up his older and smaller Nissan place on Soquel. Trent Dilfer must be very disconsolate. Here’s what Lisa and Robert reported.

The Battle is not over, lawsuit against county continues. It’s a shame Groppetti feels he has to blame a local group of community-minded folks for his troubles. He should be mad as hell at the county for ignoring the sustainable plan and not telling him about it before his project was designed planed and approved. The county should have been informing him about the sustainable plan from day one. The Santa Cruz County administrative office and planning department clearly don’t care about long-range planning. They only care how to justify their salaries. Soquilian contributed to 18 months of public hearings and $600,000 of taxpayer money for a forward-thinking plan. The sustainable plan should not be squandered by our politicians or by a flawed interpretation of an environmental impact report.

It’s too bad the CAO’s office didn’t consider something like senior housing on a bus line, where cars are minimized or office space with needed community commercial which is badly needed. The sustainable plan premise was based on creating a walkable community, placing goods and services nearby residential areas, not to support regional business that attracts more traffic from throughout the region.

Local business and local needs were ignored over a sales pitch of bogus and inflated county tax benefits which were spun like a web by our county officials. 

It’s time to hold our officials accountable. Groppetti will have great sales in Gilroy, and Santa Cruz residents have fantastic local mechanics to fix their Nissans. Sustainable Soquel needs your financial help to fund their lawsuit. Go to their goFundMe page, and also their email at susuainablesoquel@gmail.com

Robert Morgan adds… Summing up: Groppetti made a decision to leave his older and smaller 1605 Soquel address in Santa Cruz City. Groppetti still owns the parcels on the corner and is challenging our lawsuit to keep them zoned C-4 so he can develop. We think he’ll lose and not be able to develop — in which case he’ll sell. Someone can come in now with an offer to Groppetti — any development would need to conform to C-2 or go through the legal (county) process for an “overriding consideration” like Groppetti did. Doubt anybody’s gonna do that.

He abandoned his clients because he feels his bottom line is too thin — -he maintains his lease is too high (euphemism for he’s not making enough money). So, Groppetti closes and anybody who owns a Nissan drives to Gilroy to get it serviced. Now, that’s keeping the community’s interests in the forefront when deciding how he will serve residents!

At the same time Groppetti leaves the community, he wants to fight the lawsuit by Sustainable Soquel because he wants the space at the corner of 41st and Soquel — even though residents asked him to respect the Sustainable Plan and not build there. Again, he fights community well-being.

County Supervisors, the Planning Commission and Groppetti ignored residents’ wishes. Those wishes were expressed through the resident-generated process creating the Santa Cruz County Sustainable Plan; namely, intelligent, community-orientated land use in alignment with low-impact community development, sustainable transportation strategies and climate change goals set by the state.  So, residents sued. The court will decide if the County and Groppetti will be able to ignore the wishes of the people and build a dealership on an impacted traffic corner in lieu of housing and retail. Sustainable Soquel believes the court will side with our arguments.

PELAGIC SHARK RESEARCH FOUNDATION & FUNDING.
Sean Van Sommeran and his Pelagic Shark Research Foundation group have given incredible support to the Ocean community…often against both natural and organizational odds. They are asking for just a few dollars to continue their work. They stated… “We are in need of funds to repair vehicles and acquire more supplies, plus recoup and bolster fuel and transportation costs. It’ll go toward phone and Communications costs, replacing worn out VHF marine radios and Rescue and our Specimen Collecting Unit equipment and supplies. We’ll also add photography and videography  upgrades plus Additions.

We need public support and are hopeful that this request works. We’ve never “fundraised” before, but after three long and busy seasons we are experiencing logistical and financial difficulties and hope this plea may be a practical solution.
If you are interested in supporting our efforts by making a donation or contribution, please do not hesitate to respond to this request and/or contact us directly. Check our Facebook Page  or via Email psrf@pelagic.org  – or call us at 831 459 9346″.

JOHN SANDIDGE & THE GRAND OLE OPRY. John “Sleepy” Sandidge has been honored to be a guest host at the world famed Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville Tennessee!! It’s happening either October 18 or 19. They’re even flying him back there! Steve Palopoli is going with him. Looks like Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will be the headliners. That’s gotta be a once in a lifetime experience.

September 10, 2018

THE LIBRARY/PARKING GARAGE VOTE: A WATERSHED MOMENT FOR SANTA CRUZ
Tuesday night’s council decision on the library/parking garage issue will be a watershed moment in the history of Santa Cruz. Much like the tearing down of the Cooper House forecast a change in the character of Pacific Avenue, the tearing down of the city’s main library will forecast a decisive shift into a more modern, high-rise, glass and steel, car-centric built landscape for downtown. Given the vocal, widespread opposition to building a 5-story parking garage on top of a new library, the vote will also test the council’s ability to grasp the sentiment of the people it represents, rather than its select committees and upper management.

It’s hard to determine how everyone feels about this issue since the Downtown Library Advisory Committee went out of its way to avoid letting the community know it was considering getting rid of the library. When people did show up to testify, the Committee voted on their own recommendations first, then opened the floor for public comment. Not good democratic process. I know how specific groups and individuals feel. I listened to the testimony at the last council meeting. I know my gut wrenches at the thought of losing the downtown library and the vision of a new 5-story parking garage, with the attendant loss of some of the most beautiful downtown heritage trees evokes a string of adjectives. I also hated to lose the Card Room and the Broken Egg to the current 3-story parking garage on Front St. The former was the spirit of the town for me: the latter, no soul, no spirit. I guess I prefer small-scale, familiar, bit worn down at the heel human-sized places to that which replaces them. And it’s not a question of giving time for the new to acquire the feel of the old. They never can. Such sentiments are dismissed as nostalgia by the glass and steel people. Not so. It’s a legitimate sentiment to want to preserve what little remains of the old, the familiar, and the places full of character, which are on the chopping block all over town. Whether it’s bucolic Golf Club Drive, the historic Municipal Wharf, the funky retail and restaurants on Front St, all are slated for urban renewal.  And this is the thin end of the wedge. Given current zoning, there’s a whole lot of the eastside to destroy with high- rise, dense development. And let’s not forget the plans for high-rise and retail for Bay and West Cliff Drive.

There’s something corrupt about changing the character and feel of a town to serve the interests of investors and the needs of people who don’t yet live here. If you’ve ever travelled to small, centuries-old European towns and villages, have you wondered how they have survived for so long? I guess because people treasured what they had and still have and their elected representatives respected their wishes.

Tuesday night we will get to see whom our council represents.

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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Sept. 10, 2018

RENT CONTROL, “21ST CENTURY” LIBRARIES, AND FIVE STORY GARAGES.

Oh My!?!
There are two significant issues coming to the Santa Cruz city council this week. In the afternoon, “city staff” is returning to council with “a draft city ordinance stipulating that a rent increase of more than 10% in one year or more than 15% in any two consecutive years will trigger relocation assistance” from landlords…and they are calling this “assistance to tenants.” Well, with friends like these, tenants should be hunkered down into their housing bunkers (if they have housing) and get ready for the long march (slog, really) home to the November 6th election, which actually begins October 8th when the first absentee ballots will be received by city voters. This latest staff initiative appears to be an end-around Measure M, the rent control ballot initiative now being discussed and debated in our community. But the irony here is that the kind of rent increases allowed by this proposed “ordinance” will continue seeing most residents using over 50% of their incomes to pay the rent. This city council agenda item appears to subvert the will of the electorate. Why now? Because real estate $$cha-ching$$ interests are running scared and trying to convince a few more liberal voters who may be on the fence that they, the real estate community, has our community’s best interests in mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even with this initiative in place, market-rate rents will prevail and rents will continue their upward spiral. I have faith in voters, both on the council and in the community, that they will not be fooled by these kinds of cheap tricks that bring no relief to tenants, but seek to obfuscate the pocket-picking that’s gone on unabated for so many years.

Oh, Oh My!!!
The city council will devote an entire evening to discuss (and vote?) the proposed five-story garage atop a relocated library on the site of the current downtown Farmer’s Market. Many questions remain and are highlighted by two opinions in Monday’s Santa Cruz Sentinel. I suggest you take a look. But the questions that I am concerned about… 1) the use of consultant Nelson/Nygaard data that on one hand, city staff are using to justify a 600-space garage, but on another hand portray a scenario that the city could avoid building this garage by implementing real “traffic demand management” strategies such as offering parking passes to all downtown city workers which would be paid for by parking funds as the current proposed $41 million garage is to be financed; 2) does this now $68 million project make economic sense? 3) who is actually a “friend” of the library? and 4) What is a 21st century library, given that so many of us would like to bring back the downtown Carnegie Library structure that was torn down so many years ago? (See op-eds here )

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

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, former Santa Cruz City Councilmember (1998-2002) and Mayor (2001-2002). He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. He was elected last November to another 4-year term on the Santa Cruz City Council).

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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September 10, 2018

“LET’S JUST GET THIS DONE BEFORE ANYONE ELSE SHOWS UP TO PUBLICLY QUESTION IT”.
That is how it seemed to me at last Tuesday’s Soquel Creek Water District Board meeting when I discovered that Chairman Bruce Daniels had re-arranged the order of items covered on the agenda so that the PureWater Soquel Project’s Public Benefit Report was presented first, rather than nearly last, as was listed on the public agenda.  Silly me to think that I could arrive at a time that would correspond with an item scheduled to be heard near the end of the meeting.
MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.   BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!

Chairman Daniels did allow me to address the Board regarding my concerns about what I consider false claims in the Report when I was granted the opportunity at the end of the meeting during public comment regarding correspondence.   The entire analysis was predicated on the claim that there is NO ALTERNATIVE to the PureWater  Soquel Project.  That is simply not true, with the District even planning to begin accepting water from Santa Cruz City’s North Coast sources this November, if the water is available.  The agreement will be re-negotiated (hopefully) before December, 2020.

The Report also fails to address the health risks of injecting treated sewage water into the groundwater drinking supply for the MidCounty region.  Carollo Engineering admitted in a report given the last year that there are contaminants such as some pharmaceuticals and carcinogenic nitrosamines (NDMA) that cannot be completely removed by the energy-intensive purification process.  There are no State Safe Drinking Water Standards established for these contaminants.  The absence of this public health and safety risk in the Report is unacceptable.

Did the Board respond to my comment?  No.
Contact the Board with your thoughts about this seemingly false  Public Benefit Analysis Report for PureWater Soquel Project.  Here is a link to the September 4 Agenda Packet with the Report documentation beginning on Page 107

COURT ORDER TO REDUCE INVALID WATER RATES
Many thanks to Mr. Jon Cole, a Soquel Creek Water District ratepayer who sued the District on nine counts of invalid and illegal rate structuring and won.  He could not afford legal counsel, so represented himself in Santa Cruz Superior Court before Judge Paul Burdick.  As a result, the District must adjust rates to Tier 2 customers and cease charging all fire service connections an extra monthly fee.  Send a wave of gratitude to Mr. Jon Cole for his persistence and hard work after the Board dismissed his plea for their consideration and investigation into the matters. 

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

CLARIFICATION OF EARLIER CLAIM RE: NUMBER OF CANNABIS LICENSING DIRECTORS
I would like to correct information I wrote a couple of weeks ago regarding the turn-over rate of the Santa Cruz County Cannabis Licensing Directors.  There have been only two official Directors, not three, as I had earlier understood and reported here.  The first Director, Mr. Dan Petersen, was hired in October, 2016 and resigned nine months later for ethical reasons.  I had understood, in talking with him, that his assistant Ms. Loretta Moreno would assume the job.  She did, but as was pointed out to me, she served only as the Interim Cannabis Director.  Ms. Robin Bolster-Grant was appointed as the Director in September, 2017.  She resigned last month.

Here is a link to a good discussion of the inherent (unethical?) matters involved in the County collecting massive fees from the industry, possibly encouraging a black market trade and danger in the rural areas of our County.

The CAO is definitely hoping the revenues from this industry will bail the County out in the next year of CalPERS debt coming due. Here is the Job Recruitment Announcement


THANK YOU TO THE PAJARO VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR SUPPORTING CLIFF SWALLOW NESTING AT PAJARO VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL
Last weekend, volunteers from Pajaro Valley Unified School District , Watsonville Wetlands Watch, and the community at large cleaned selected areas at Pajaro Valley High School where Cliff Swallows were allowed to successfully raise their young in mud nests under the building eaves.  The birds, protected by the International Migratory Bird Act, have now left the School grounds and are heading back to Patagonia.  They will return next spring to raise another clutch or two of young.

Many thanks to District Business Operations Director Mr. Joe Dominguez for his fabulous support of staff and student health and safety issues at the School while creatively supporting the Cliff Swallow nesting activity.  He participated in the workday, as did District Trustee Ms. Leslie DeRose.  Thanks to all students and staff who volunteered! (picture right)

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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Monday, September 3, 2018
#246 / DSA

Kate Aronoff has written a good story about the DSA (the Democratic Socialists of America). You can find a copy in the September 2018 edition of In These Times. The title of Aronoff’s article is, “Why the Democratic Socialists of America Won’t Stop Growing.” It is well worth reading. 

A recent article in The Washington Post is also worth reading. It is titled, “Democratic socialists are conquering the left. But do they believe in democracy?

Aronoff traces the history of the DSA, and reports on its latest political successes, most notably the primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who soundly defeated a high-ranking Democratic Party Member of Congress in a recent Democratic Party Congressional primary. Arnoff’s article reveals, among other things, that In These Times has been, from the start, closely allied with the two groups that merged their organizations in 1982 to found the DSA: the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM).

I have been a longtime subscriber to In These Times, and I have probably always been a little “soft on socialism,” but I never joined up with DSOC, NAM, or the DSA, and I never much thought about why. The reason struck me as I read Aronoff’s article. She said this about how she went about reporting on the DSA: 

For this story, I spoke with around two dozen DSA members from chapters around the country. The primary source of their excitement was that DSA chapters seemed to be actively working on something, not just sitting around reading Marx.

“Sitting around reading Marx” has never much appealed to me. If that is a fair characterization of how the membership of the various explicitly socialist groups have tended to spend their time (at least until recently), I can see why these organizations have never been that appealing. My brand of left-wing political activism has had me “sitting around reading the Constitution.”

My commitment to “revolution,” and it’s sincere, has much more to do with 1776 than with 1914, or even with 1789 (see Hannah Arendt’s book, On Revolution). The American version of revolution is not likely to be of great interest to those who “sit around reading Marx,” and that’s their loss, in my view.

My advice for the DSA is pretty simple (and it definitely includes a commitment to democracy). I suggest that if the DSA would like to keep growing, its members should start reading the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. If lots of people start doing that, I think the DSA will have a bright future.

In other words, in thinking about the future, I think that the DSA should not forget to put some emphasis on the “A.”

Gary 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. Look below for Eagan’s visit and probing into our once upon a time mysteries…Hero, Boss and Ava are our long beloved guides.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “KAVANAUGH’S BAGGAGE” 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.

ESPRESSIVO. Presents their first concert of the season Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 3pm at the Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High Street, Santa Cruz, California
they’ll play/perform; J.S. Bach Brandenburg Concerto Nr. 3,  Igor Stravinsky Dumbarton Oaks Concerto , Igor Stravinsky Concerto in D , J.S. Bach Suite Nr. 2 and with Lars Johannesson, playing flute.

PIVOT: The Art of Fashion presents “Hall of Fashion” – A Runway Show in collaboration with the R. Blitzer Gallery on Saturday, September 22, 2018. Hall of Fashion – A Runway Show begins at 7:30pm. Designer’s Market open to the public following the show. VIP Reception and Designer’s Market preview 6:00-7:30pm. The Blitzer Gallery is in the Old Wrigley Building.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “A obsessed music fan, his neglected girlfriend, and the has-been rocker he idolizes set the stage for wry comic turmoil in Juliet, Naked, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). And big thanks to everyone who turned out to honor my sweetie at the Celebrating James event a couple of weeks ago. The Rio was packed! Relive those moments of laughter and tears (but mostly laughter) with these new pics from the event. Thank you, Santa Cruz!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

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.

THE BOOKSHOP. (See this week’s “quotes” at the end of Bonline). If you like, love and use bookshops this film will make you appreciate your favorite bookshop all the more. Single woman Emily Mortimer (you’ll remember her once you see her) opens an independent, very independent bookshop in a small town in England. The acting by Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson is absolutely wonderful and this has to be one of my favorite 2018 films.

SKATE KITCHEN. A near-documentary focusing on a teenage skateboarders (who aren’t very good by Santa Cruz standards). The director gave a some New York City girls a bunch of lines to act out, and they tried, but it’s awful to listen to. It lacks plot, realism, and any reason to spend your ticket money. CLOSES THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13.

BLACKKKLANSMAN. Spike Lee’s newest and most effective critique on what’s happening in America. It’s the progressive Democrats best statement since Michael Moore’s last film.  Not subtle, even funny, bitter, and painfully true. It’s based on the true story of a black police officer who finagles a way to get a white guy into the KuKluxKlan. More than that he has meetings with David Duke, head of the KKK. Alec Baldwin has an opening scene Adam Driver is the “hero” and you have to see it. It earned 97% on RT

EIGHTH GRADE. A 99 on RT and the lead actor Elsie Fisher deserves at least an Oscar for her role as a conflicted and nearly typical eighth grader. The incredibly talented, funny, and  profound  Bo Burnham directed it. (See his Comedy special on Netflix!). You’ll relive the anxiety, insecurity, and fears we all had in eighth grade. It’s billed as a comedy and some of the audience laughed when I was watching it…but see it for the insights, the reality, and the remembrances of those times.

SEARCHING. An nearly-all Asian cast makes this “disappearing child” thriller almost as unusual as does the fact that almost 90% of the movie is on computer and iPhone screens. Facebook, Google, and every contraption we use today is part of this hunt for the guy’s daughter. The ending is a letdown in more than one way. Wait and rent it.

JULIET, NAKED. Nope, it’s not reference to Shakespeare, darn it — but the title of a song that has been/legend Ethan Hawke recorded years ago. It’s got some laughs, many impossible plot twists, and you’ll have to be a full-time Hawke fan to sit through some very slow development. He’s done better…and so have you!!!

CRAZY RICH ASIANS. A Hollywood movie with an all Asian cast. It’s about the same as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, except Asian Americans instead of Greeks. The plot, laughs, and acting are all typical Hollywood re-hash. It doesn’t need your ticket money…it’s breaking many, many box office records already. This means of course that there’ll be a dozen look a like sequels.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE :FALLOUT. Another Tom Cruise do it yourself stunt movie. Simon Pegg and Alec Baldwin are back again too. It has some wild and inventive stunt scenes that we’ve never seen before. Plus a music score that keeps almost all of the movie at a very intense level. It’s thrilling, mindless, pointless, but full of kicks. It’s made for the big screens.

INCREDIBLES 2. I liked Incredibles 1. Now Pixar/Disney has shifted to centering on Mrs. Incredible as a Wonder Woman who goes through numerous violent bloody battles against the one concept I thought was funny…the evil Screenslaver. Very little of the original charm, family stuff, human frailties, it’s another cutesy version of the Marvel Comics blockbusters. I’m guessing that these Marvel movies are best enjoyed by eight-year-olds. If you’re older than that, think at least twice before attending.

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN. It’s all of the original cast (even Meryl Streep for two songs) and ABBA music. It’s mindless, pointless, meaningless, and lacks almost all of the charm or naiveté of the first one. If you wait until almost the end you can watch a 72 year old Cher in tights singing to her daughter Meryl Streep — who is 69 years old!!! You could also watch Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters embarrass themselves in this strictly for-the-money prequel. Or I could say, “here we go again… BUT you shouldn’t”.

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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. September 11 Michel Singher from the Espressivo Orchestra will describe their upcoming concerts. Then Julie James from The Jewel Theatre shares news of their new play season. Sept. 18 has Don Stump pres. and CEO of CCH housing returning to discuss affordable housing. Nora Hochman guests on September 25 to talk about rent control and Housing Justice. “Landscapes” the new book about historical & local land use battles will be talked about by Elizabeth Schilling and a friend on October 2nd. Then  Julie Phillips and George Lewis discuss the proposed Dream Inn development at West Cliff and Bay. October 22 has Ken Koenig and friend talking about communicating you’re your friends and relatives who like Trump. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttp://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton 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

Did you know…? 🙂

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 12 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. “BOOKSHOPS”

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.” Neil Gaiman, American Gods

“I love walking into a bookstore. It’s like all my friends are sitting on shelves, waving their pages at me.” Tahereh Mafi

“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.” Agatha Christie, The Clocks

“To walk into a modern-day bookstore is a little bit like studying a single photograph out of the infinite number of photographs that cold be taken of the world: It offers the reader a frame.” Nicole Krauss


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Click and enter the box in the upper right hand corner of each Column. 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!) 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
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com


September 3 – 9, 2018

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Santa Cruz Indivisible event & open house, Greg Larson loses Democrat support, Dream Inn development battle just beginning, Save Scotts Valley event, Salmon fishing in Santa Cruz. GREENSITE…on Learning to love Trees. KROHN…City council biz, killing the giant Sequoia, water bonds, developers and $$Density Bonus$$, UCSC and no growth issue, Homeless housing debacle, vote on Library/garage on Sept.11. STEINBRUNER…Soquel’s drinking sewage water to save money? Soquel water Board shutting up citizen input, Monning’s Water Bill loses again — hooray!, County Supes stop public input. PATTON…on Presidential lying and honesty. EAGAN…classic Subconscious Comics and new Deep Cover. JENSEN…still has visitors and will return next week. BRATTON…critiques Little Stranger, Searching, and Juliet, NakedUNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…about September.

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KU KLUX KLAN IN SANTA CRUZ? July 4, 1927.  For decades many of us believed this was a photo of Klan members marching on Pacific Avenue. Sandy Lydon says — nope, it’s just some women wearing white. He even has another photo on his website that does show KKK with hoods marching right where Louis Rittenhouse built his building. Check it out  and read the KKK Santa Cruz history there too. No it doesn’t include the former Omei Restaurant’s support of David Duke, former head of the KKK.                                           

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Lincoln Taiz found this Trump tribute!!!
LU WATTERS AND HIS YERBA BUENA JAZZ BAND. Not enough people know that Lu Watters was born in Santa Cruz. He is solely responsible for the 1940’s-1960’s San Francisco revival of New Orleans jazz. He was also instrumental in the fight against PG& E’s Nuclear Power plant in Bodega Bay, which we won!!

Photo  Caption

(photo courtesy of Covello & Covello Historical photos)

DATELINE September 3, 2018

SANTA CRUZ INDIVISIBLE. Trying to find a way to get involved and help the battle against the Trump forces? Want to meet friends and neighbors who share your interests? Go to the Santa Cruz Indivisible Blue Wave Show at the Civic this Saturday. Here’s what they sent out…

“Can’t get involved during the summer? Don’t worry, on September 8th at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, SCI will be having a general meeting from 10-11:30am, followed by a day of Blue Wave volunteer recruitment from 1-5pm, where you will be able to take short training sessions about canvassing, phone and text banking, GOTV, and writing postcards to voters. Before you leave you will be able to sign up for any Blue Wave actions that fit your schedule and interests.

Feel intimidated about participating, or don’t know how to get involved? Don’t! To help guide you we will have continuous, revolving, 20 min. intro sessions to learn how to effectively connect with voters using various electoral tools like: canvassing, writing postcards to voters, phone and text banking. Attend for 20 minutes or two hours, whatever fits your schedule!”

This is the time to find folks and neighbors who share your concerns. S.C.I will have Active issue teams at the Civic representing Local politics, Freedom of the press, LGBTIQ, gun violence, Black lives matter, California single payer, common ground, climate solutions, public lands, water issues, wildlife, children and education, economic policy, voter suppression, and of course Trump politics. It’s a perfect way to get involved. That’s 10am to 5p.m. at the Civic. Go here to get the info and go there to help our country get back on track.

GREG LARSON’S CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN. Is anyone else surprised that Greg Larson got NO endorsements from both the Democratic Women’s Club and the Democratic Central Committee? What is equally surprising is that he’s pushing his endorsements from so many of the the police groups — such as Santa Cruz POLICE OFFICERS Association, Santa Cruz POLICE MANAGEMENT Association, Scott Seaman, Past President of CA Police Chiefs Assoc. Kevin Vogel, Past Police Chief, City of Santa Cruz. That puts him way into the Terrazas-Cynthia Mathews camp, instead of where so many of us hoped otherwise. At the next forum be sure to ask him where he stands on Rent Control or West Cliff Dream development. Don’t let him cop out like so many are doing by saying … “oh yes I’m for rent control, just not this measure”.

DREAM INN DEVELOPMENT DISASTER. Tourists are already trying to avoid the enormous traffic problem at West Cliff Drive/Dream Inn/ West Cliff Villas corner. Soon tourists will start avoiding that entire area of our fair city. Dream Inn owners are pushing developer Ensemble Real Estate to get this project moving ASAP. It’s the 4 story, 47 foot tall town house building with two underground parking levels.  As Save Santa Cruz Westside’s website says, that’s… “89 Luxury Condos, Minimal Local Housing, and 15,790 square feet of commercial retail space at a critical intersection”. So many of these units will be escape destinations for wealthy Silicon Valley escapees… and won’t help our housing crisis at all. Many, many of the immediate neighbors are fighting this. For sure the trailer park folks behind the site are worried about it, but neighbors in the West Cliff Villas right there at that Dream Inn corner are fighting just as hard to prevent this destruction of our threatened environment. Join in… It’s our community.

SAVE SCOTTS VALLEY TOWN GREEN EVENT. This is from an email in this week’s mail bag. “Our invitation to one of the most important discussions in the history of Scotts Valley was buried on page 15 of the latest Press Banner. The city has known about this for weeks, yet has made minimal effort to spread the word. If you live in Scotts Valley or the San Lorenzo Valley, and are concerned about this high density housing mega-project which will crush the Mt. Hermon corridor and impact the safety of our Middle School kids, spread the word and attend the meeting Saturday September 8th from 11-2 at the SCOTTS Valley Community Center. The meeting coincides with the Farmers Market “Apple a Day” Festival, so bring a few extra bucks and plan to stick around after we tell the developers our downtown is the WORST LOCATION for hundreds of high-density housing units”.

SALMON FISHING IN SANTA CRUZ. Last week I ran a video clip of some guys just sweeping salmon out of the water somewhere in Santa Cruz. I asked if anyone knew where this bizarre event took place. I got much more than that from Jean Brocklebank. She wrote… “The video was taken a couple of years ago at the upper end of the harbor, where the once lovely Arana Creek fed a natural wetland/lagoon system.  Nowadays, salmon are artificially raised at a hatchery, then released into harbor waters to head for the ocean and return for sport fishing.     Thankfully, the Port District has since stopped the absurd practice of fishing off the end of the upper harbor, where — once the word got out — dozens of people showed up and did what the video shows so well. It became a human feeding frenzy and ruined the upper harbor.  Landscaping was trampled. Guys were peeing into the water. There was trash left behind, including fishing line (of course). No fishing there for the past two years and that’s fine by me!”

September 3, 2018

LEARNING TO LOVE TREES.
I grew up around trees. Very tall trees. When I was about 8 years old my family moved from the state of Victoria to the state of New South Wales on Australia’s east coast. I recall my father telling us why he chose to buy the modest weatherboard two-bedroom house, which cost $2,000 at that time, sold for $20,000 in 1970 when my father moved to New Zealand and today the same house is worth well over a million dollars. Housing speculation has similar impacts on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

The first house my father looked at was a well-made larger house that would have been ideal except for the fact that its spacious yard was full of mature trees. My father wanted a large vegetable garden, which required sun. He therefore chose instead the lesser house on the other side of the valley with only native brush, no trees and full sun. Cutting down the trees for more sun never entered his mind. That early lesson and countless others instilled in me a respect and love for trees that is deeply rooted. It has fuelled a passion to save trees from human selfishness and ignorance both of which abound in Santa Cruz, more so than in other places I’ve visited. When I revisit my hometown in Australia, the trees from my childhood are still there, only much bigger after 50 years. I joke with friends that after being away from Santa Cruz for a month, I expect to see any number of big trees gone on my return. Sadly that is often the case.

As properties change hands in Santa Cruz, as second units are approved on single-family lots, we are fast losing our mature trees, sometimes for frivolous reasons. Just two examples: one involves a house on my street where a heritage tree grew in the front yard of a house that recently sold. The tree, when just a six inch slip, was brought from Indiana in the back pocket of a man who loved trees and wanted to plant it as a reminder of his previous home. It was a mature tree when I moved to the lower Westside 40 years ago. The property has changed hands a few times and new owners cared for the tree until the present owner moved in. Within a few months, and conveniently when I was out of town, he cut down the tree without any permit, ripped out the landscaping to make room for another car, forever changing the look and feel of our street. The other example involves a large Sequoia tree growing in a private yard on King St. The new owners who purchased the house a year ago decided after buying that they wanted to get rid of the tree. The city’s urban forester denied them a tree removal permit since the tree is healthy, not a danger and not damaging a structure; all conditions that would warrant a tree removal permit. Contrary to popular belief, very few tree removal permits are ever denied by the city’s urban forester and there are hundreds of such requests each year. When one is denied, it’s a guarantee that the tree is worthy of saving. The property owners appealed the denial, won at the Parks and Recreation commission level and the issue headed to council on appeal for the August 28th meeting. The vote was split. With Mayor Terrazas absent, council members Krohn, Brown and Chase voted to save the tree while council members Mathews, Noroyan and Watkins voted to let the owners cut it down.

One expects property owners who wish to get rid of a heritage tree to use fear-based hyperbole and nasty personal attacks as their weapons and both were in no short supply in this particular presentation to council. One expects council members to understand that a Heritage Tree ordinance exists to protect trees, especially from those who hold no love of trees in their hearts; who find trees a nuisance, dirty, in the way, out of place.  One expects that council would respect the expertise of their staff who had her decision peer reviewed and supported by one of the leading arborists in Santa Cruz. Not so for the council members who voted to take the tree down. Employing that trite expression, “it’s the wrong tree in the wrong place” council member Noroyan voted to end the life of this majestic tree as casually as if she were pulling a weed. Given a tie vote, the issue will return to council sometime in October.

Watching the council meeting online from Florida, I was reminded of my father’s example from long ago. If you are looking to buy a house and you don’t like trees or a particular tree is not what you want in your yard then don’t buy that house. Look for a different house. Trees are not objects to be disposed of as casually as a used tissue. They are living species. While worshiping trees was a hallmark of other cultures and times, the least we can do in our over-mechanized, increasingly warming world is to show them a bit of respect. Our future may depend on it.

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 3, 2018

CITY COUNCIL BIZ-LAST WEEK’S VOTES
I told you I’d get back to you with news on various city council votes from our last meeting on August 28th. The Giant Sequoia tree appeal at 1420 King Street near the corner of Baldwin (Item #21) proved to be contentious and ended with at 3-3 vote. Mayor David Terrazas was absent, so it will be heard again on Oct. 23rd, according to city manager Martin Bernal. The three yes votes were cast by Sandy Brown, Cynthia Chase and me. There were moments during the discussion when I thought there would be four votes to maintain this grand tree. In fact, Councilmember Cynthia Mathews ambled on about how she too was a tree-lover and has shelled out a mountain of money to maintain her árboles. But, in the end she voted to cut it down. Now the fate of this beautiful and “healthy” specimen, according to city arborist Leslie Keedy, is up to the mayor, I guess, unless another councilmember changes her mind.

Proposition Political Posturing.
On item #21, no one had the stomach for taking on the staff recommendation of council-support for Proposition 3 water bonds, which both the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters are firmly opposed to. I did get the council to agree to place Proposition 10, the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins bill that currently limits all rent control in the state after 1994, onto the next city council agenda for a discussion.

Developers Developing Santa Cruz for Developers
The big agenda item outcome–read $$$–of course, was council approval of item #20, the developer-friendly “density bonus” plan. The key provision for developers is ” Increasing the number of units (density bonus) up to 35% more units…”The reason it proved complicated was perhaps the “modifications to the minimum square footage,” or completely throwing out the “tier system” of incentives, but likely it was “Changes to the definition of transit stop…” Are your eyes glazing over yet? Well, most council eyes were possibly bored to tears on this one. The give-away passed by a 5-2 vote with councilmember Brown and me, the only ones to have posed questions for staff, and then we came out firmly opposed to gifts for developer.

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“The trade union movement has led the fight for equal rights and economic and social justice. Today, Labor Day, we reflect on those struggles, and pledge our support to protecting workers’ rights and building an economy based on human needs, not corporate greed.” (Sept. 3)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, former Santa Cruz City Councilmember (1998-2002) and Mayor (2001-2002). He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. He was elected last November to another 4-year term on the Santa Cruz City Council).

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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September 3, 2018

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT JUSTIFIES ECONOMIC BENEFIT OF INJECTING TREATED SEWAGE WATER INTO LOCAL DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
Why is Soquel Creek Water District working so hard to shove treated sewage water into the MidCounty drinking water supply and now using an erroneous report (my opinion) to justify the economics of doing so?  Why does the District insist on burdening ratepayers with perhaps $200 MILLION IN DEBT and threaten the entire region’s drinking water supply with pharmaceuticals and unknown contaminants, including carcinogenic nitrosamines (NDMA)??? (There are no drinking water standards established for these toxins).

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

The District’s Cost Benefit Report, done to support their PureWater Soquel Project, is flawed because it assumes erroneously that “no readily available feasible alternatives” exist. “Several decades of alaysis and regional efforts at implementing other options have not resulted in a substantial water supply coming online.” (pg. 1 of the Report).

How can the District Board accept such false information when this November, Santa Cruz City will begin sending hundreds of thousands of gallons from North Coast sources to Soquel Creek Water District customers, allowing the over-pumped aquifer to recover?  Further, the agreements between the two jurisdictions will be re-negotiated in 2020 and could allow for more water to be sent to the District during high-flow storm events.  Also,  other “place of use” water rights for the San Lorenzo River are currently being amended to allow Santa Cruz to send excess water to Soquel Creek Water District, allowing the over-pumped areas to recover.  The pipelines needed for this are already in place, and are used during emergencies between the two jurisdictions.

The District already submitted this bogus Cost Benefit Report to the feds last July for a $20 Million grant application, two-thirds of which relies upon this type of information.  The Board is only now being given the opportunity to review the Report at this Tuesday’s meeting (see Item 6.5 beginning on page 107)

The Report was created by Dr. Brent Haddad, Professor of Environmental Studies (NOT Economics) and graduate student Mr. Bryan Pratt (in Economics Dept.), both at UCSC, operating under the comparison of Orange County studies.  The Report was reviewed by Mr. Cameron Tana, Hydro geologist (not an economist) for Montgomery and Associates, the company developing the models to support the PureWater Soquel Project.  Doesn’t that seem odd to you?

Why does the Report claim an annual Operating & Maintenance Cost of $1.9 Million from figures supposedly given by Project consultants Brown and Caldwell, but never provides the actual document reference information?  Why does the Soquel Creek Water District document presented to the Board at the August 21, 2018 by District Financial Manager Ms. Leslie Strohm at the Special Board Meeting (NOT video recorded for the public) state “Supplemental Supply operating costs beginning FY 2023-2024 estimated at $2,440,000 per year” (page 6 of 25)???

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NO COOPERATION FROM COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO INCREASE PUBLIC INPUT AT BOARD MEETINGS
Last Tuesday’s (8/28)County Board of Supervisor meeting Consent Agenda #62 approved an exclusive contract with Swenson Builders to move forward on a hotel at the 7th Avenue and Brommer Redevelopment parcel above the Santa Cruz Harbor.  Because I can no longer pull Consent Agenda items for better public discussion at Board meetings, I followed the newly-approved Board rule and wrote Supervisors Ryan Coonerty and John Leopold to ask that they pull the item for me.  I got no response from either until they both responded via e-mails sent moments before the Board meeting began that they would NOT honor my request and pull the item. 

Well, that action will help support County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios’ criteria for the success of the new Board policies regarding public input.  According to his staff, the changes will be successful if there are fewer Consent Agenda items pulled.  Does that seem like better public participation in local government to you?  That was one of the features of the “Vision Santa Cruz Strategic Plan” approved by the Board last June.

I think the Grand Jury needs to hear about this, don’t you?  What will be the next method of further stifling public participation?  Contact your County Supervisor and ask.

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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#245 / Starr Struck


September 2, 2018

The Saturday-Sunday, September 1-2, 2018, edition of The Wall Street Journal carried an excerpt from Kenneth Starr’s new book, which Starr has titled Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation. The Journal called its piece, “The Impeached President.” 

I have recently written in this blog about impeachment, and initially minimized the significance of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” with which President Bill Clinton was charged.

Almost immediately after writing a blog post to that effect, I had second thoughts, based on a column in The New York Times. I then restated my position, as follows: 

I really believe I stand corrected. I don’t want to be associated with any claim that when the President of the United States lies (particularly under oath), that such lying is in any way “ok.” We can’t allow any of our elected officials to operate under a “truth-optional” standard.

Naturally, I was interested to see the article in The Wall Street Journal, which is essentially a justification by Starr of his pursuit of President Clinton on the basis of the president’s lies about his sexual contacts with Monica Lewinsky. For any who lived through that part of our history, I imagine that the Starr justification will be worth reading. 

What I thought most noteworthy in the excerpt published in The Journal was the way it concluded. Starr says that he did not like the independent counsel law under which Starr’s investigation operated; he thinks the “special counsel” regulations under which Robert Mueller is operating are better. Nonetheless, Starr says:

Even with the reformed structure for appointing and overseeing special prosecutors, the cries are once again heard throughout the land: “Witch hunt!” The struggle for assuring integrity and honesty in government is being played out all over again.

The way I read this, Starr is legitimating the investigation of our current president, Donald J. Trump, and is saying that when the president violates standards of integrity and honesty it is perfectly appropriate to impeach the president on that basis. 

I agree!

Gary 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. Check out Nemo and Boss and especially Ava as they traipse through land that is all too familiar to most of us!!! Scroll down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Bearing with the G.O.P.” 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. Containing his new poem/saga “Them”.

SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE RETURNS. We are really fortunate that the San Francisco Mime Troupe continues to make Santa Cruz one of their traveling stops. They’ll be performing their original time – traveling musical “SEEING RED” twice in San Lorenzo Park for free. That’s Saturday/Sunday September 8th & 9th. The great Mime troupe band starts at 2:30 the play is at 3 p.m.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa’s taking another week off and enjoying a visit from her relatives. She says she’ll be back online and in print next week. See her blog at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

LITTLE STRANGER. A carefully, slowly paced, haunted version of “Downton Abbey”. A spirit haunts an old mansion, never really shocking anyone, but keeping the movie audience in quiet suspense. Charlotte Rampling provides her usual perfect acting, and you’ll leave the film remembering this plot for a very long time.

SEARCHING. An nearly-all Asian cast makes this “disappearing child” thriller almost as unusual as does the fact that almost 90% of the movie is on computer and iPhone screens. Facebook, Google, and every contraption we use today is part of this hunt for the guy’s daughter. The ending is a letdown in more than one way. Wait and rent it.

JULIET, NAKED. Nope, it’s not reference to Shakespeare, darn it — but the title of a song that has been/legend Ethan Hawke recorded years ago. It’s got some laughs, many impossible plot twists, and you’ll have to be a full-time Hawke fan to sit through some very slow development. He’s done better…and so have you!!!

BLACKKKLANSMAN. Spike Lee’s newest and most effective critique on what’s happening in America. It’s the progressive Democrats best statement since Michael Moore’s last film.  Not subtle, even funny, bitter, and painfully true. It’s based on the true story of a black police officer who finagles a way to get a white guy into the KuKluxKlan. More than that he has meetings with David Duke, head of the KKK. Alec Baldwin has an opening scene Adam Driver is the “hero” and you have to see it. It earned 97% on RT

EIGHTH GRADE. A 99 on RT and the lead actor Elsie Fisher deserves at least an Oscar for her role as a conflicted and nearly typical eighth grader. The incredibly talented, funny, and  profound  Bo Burnham directed it. (See his Comedy special on Netflix!). You’ll relive the anxiety, insecurity, and fears we all had in eighth grade. It’s billed as a comedy and some of the audience laughed when I was watching it…but see it for the insights, the reality, and the remembrances of those times.

BLINDSPOTTING. Has a 93 on RT…and deserves it. A “blindspot” as we learn in the film, is when something is right in front of you and you can’t see it. In this case it’s the racial scene in Oakland and the rest of the USA. Violent, conflicted, heartwarming, well acted, and painful. It’ll leave an impression on you long after you leave the theatre.

PUZZLE. A perfectly acted, extra sensitive story of a woman finding her way to empowerment . It’s also a view into the little known world of Jigsaw Puzzle addicts and experts. Go see this quickly, it probably won’t last long on Santa Cruz screens.

ALPHA. 88 on RT. A live action Ice Age cave man meets a dog for the first time. It does lack Raquel Welch or any cave babes in leather skimpies  but it is fascinating….and you can take the kids. I’m serious about the man meets dog story. That’s the only plot it has.

PAPILLON. This isn’t just a remake of the 1973 original starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman — the two new actors look just like them too! The acting is terrible, the camera work jarring, and it’s a very boring movie. I dozed several times. It’s all about Devil’s Island, prison life, and how to escape. Rent the original, which is a much better film.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS. A Hollywood movie with an all Asian cast. It’s about the same as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, except Asian Americans instead of Greeks. The plot, laughs, and acting are all typical Hollywood re-hash. It doesn’t need your ticket money…it’s breaking many, many box office records already. This means of course that there’ll be a dozen look a like sequels.

EQUALIZER 2Denzel Washington is back again as a vigilante. Unlike all the rest of the bloody, violent, killing, revenge movies, Denzel makes this one a little deeper, more thoughtful, and yet at the same time heavy-handed. There’s nothing new, imaginative or startling in it, but because it’s Denzel you’ll be able to sit through all of it.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE :FALLOUT. Another Tom Cruise do it yourself stunt movie. Simon Pegg and Alec Baldwin are back again too. It has some wild and inventive stunt scenes that we’ve never seen before. Plus a music score that keeps almost all of the movie at a very intense level. It’s thrilling, mindless, pointless, but full of kicks. It’s made for the big screens.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. It’s embarrassing to watch Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne and especiallyMichelle Pfeiffer having to take roles in yet another factory-produced Marvel Comic mass-produced monster hit. (85 RT) Paul Rudd is back in this sequel, and does the best possible job as the Ant-Man. He shrinks; he grows, flies around on the Wasp’s back and does what little he can with this comic book movie. I’m guessing that these Marvel movies are best enjoyed by eight-year-olds. If you’re older than that, think at least twice before attending.

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon play buddies from LA who for some kinky reason become involved with an international killers. The two of them go toHolland, Hungary, Berlin, Austria, Denmark and Atlanta, Georgia.  After more than two hours those locations plus the foolish, overused dialogue between the two women aren’t enough to make this flick worth paying to see.

INCREDIBLES 2. I liked Incredibles 1. Now Pixar/Disney has shifted to centering on Mrs. Incredible as a Wonder Woman who goes through numerous violent bloody battles against the one concept I thought was funny…the evil Screenslaver. Very little of the original charm, family stuff, human frailties, it’s another cutesy version of the Marvel Comics blockbusters

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN. It’s all of the original cast (even Meryl Streep for two songs) and ABBA music. It’s mindless, pointless, meaningless, and lacks almost all of the charm or naiveté of the first one. If you wait until almost the end you can watch a 72 year old Cher in tights singing to her daughter Meryl Streep — who is 69 years old!!! You could also watch Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters embarrass themselves in this strictly for-the-money prequel. Or I could say, “here we go again… BUT you shouldn’t”.

A.X.L. This bizarre drivel didn’t deserve even the 22 it got on Rotten Tomatoes. The army developed a secret mechanical dog as a modernized K9 corps tracker and killer. In case you forgot, I was in the U.S. Army K9 corps as a dog trainer…seriously! So I’m an expert on K9 dogs! This movie wouldn’t be worth watching even if it was free. The plot is absolutely beyond understanding, the special effects are poorly carried out, and it’s a waste of your time and admission charges.

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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. On September 4 Rotimi Agbabiaka from The San Francisco Mime Troupe discuss their performances here on Sept. 8 & 9. Then Rose Sellery and Tina Brown share style scoops from their PIVOT: Art Of Fashion show happening 9/22. September 11 Michel Singher from the Espressivo Orchestra will describe their upcoming concerts. Then Julie James from The Jewel Theatre shares news of their new play season. Sept. 18 has Don Stump pres. and CEO of CCH housing returning to discuss affordable housing. Nora Hochman guests on September 25 to talk about rent control and Housing Justice. October 22 has Ken Koenig and friend talking about communicating you’re your friends and relatives who like Trump.OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttp://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton 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

I love the stuff… 😀

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.  ” SEPTEMBER”

“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.” Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

“The old summer’s-end melancholy nips at my heels. There’s no school to go back to; no detail of my life will change come the onset of September; yet still, I feel the old trepidation.” Sara Baume, A Line Made by Walking

“High up on Monte Salvatore the window of some shepherd’s hut opened a golden eye. The roses hung their heads and dreamed under the still September clouds, and the water plashed and murmured softly among the pebbles of the shore.” E.L. Voynich

“I used to love September, but now it just rhymes with remember.”Dominic Riccitello


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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
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Bruce critiques films every Friday on KZSC-FM (88.1) on The Bushwhacker Breakfast Club at 8am.

Movie Reviews