Column September 18 – 24, 2018

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Council candidates capers and new endorsements , Circle Church territory and development, Ocean Extension news and plea, Thomas Pynchon’s Aptos house. GREENSITE…with alert on changes to ADU ordinance. KROHN…Takes a week off with just a few notes. STEINBRUNER…Santa Cruz zoning changes, County Planning dept and creating ghettoes (or ghetti), Aptos Village hole gone, Aptos’ Manresa restaurant to expect more fires? No on Measure H. PATTON…about how “we’re all going to die”. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. JENSEN…reviews We The Animals. BRATTON…The Predator, White Boy Rick, We The Animals. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…on “Hurricanes”  

...

CAPITOLA AND THE GRAND CAPITOLA HOTEL. The hotel opened in 1895 and burned down in 1929. It was designed to compete with The Del Monte Hotel and the rest of Carmel and Monterey’s attractions. This photo was taken about 1924.                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

UCSC’S BILL DOMHOFF ON HOW SANTA CRUZ CHANGED.
28 MINUTES OF RARELY SEEN SANTA CRUZ.

DATELINE September 17, 2018

FODDER FROM THE FORUMS. The Newest news is that both City Council member Martine Watkins and  former mayor Celia Scott endorsed Justin Cummings. One (or many more) must wonder since Richelle Noroyan who was the Developer Relations Manager for Apple Computer,Inc and the long defunct SCO, Inc and is now an official employee with UCSC ie “Community Relations Representative” why she doesn’t recuse herself from voting on any item involving our shrinking campus and the city?  Especially since she’s so happy supporting any and all the new buildings being built. NO on rent control folks and the millions of dollars behind their negative crusade have already placed more than 1200 No On M lawn signs. Donna Myers keeps parading around and about as an environmentalist. Ask her at the next forum if she wasn’t a strong supporter of De-Sal. Have you noticed how the NO On Measure M group mostly landlords and realtors keep repeating “it’s too expensive”. How can they ignore the increasing pleas from our renters who genuinely have larger problems with rentals being expensive? (from an avid reader…” Why would an environmentalist have supported desal for Santa Cruz? I was told that Donna Meyers supported it and I’m not sure that it makes sense. She also gave the thumbs up for support of the library/parking garage at the Elston forum. A good friend made an important point before that vote at the council, which is how can they be working toward a library/garage when the word garage was never included in  measure S that was presented to the voters and we generously approved it  .The word  parking and the word garage did not appear in the text.  How can an element that was not voted on become the major part of the plan ? I know Rick L. said a lawsuit is not out of the question, and I will contribute to that one”.   

SQUARING THE CIRCLE (CHURCH). A long time and trusted friend sent this…Circular rumors have it that no permits have been issued, or even applied for, for development of the “Circle Church”.  As of this week one of the owners Chris Dreary the former pastor of the Circle Church is living in a mobile home on the premises.  I believe London Nelson is so heavily booked that it’s almost impossible to rent space there.   I’m wondering if there is any interest amongst the city council to purchase this property as a rented community center?  Can this subject be up for public hearing/vote?  I’m hearing that the entire structure may be demolished for so called co-housing.  Very disturbing.  Think we can start some movement in the city to have council purchase?  I know it’s probably a long shot, but may be worth some effort     Of course you’ve heard about the same Chris Dreary, now with a name change…hmmmmm, is leasing the former Logo’s to open another alcohol outlet called “faith on tap”.  Another scam by this scumbag”.  

STOP OVERBUILDING SANTA CRUZ. Ellen Aldridge who is a member of the Steering Committee of the Ocean Street Extension Neighborhood Association, and a native Santa Cruzian wrote this excellent plea to got our City Council to protect the Ocean Street Extension neighborhood. (OSX). It’s well worth reading ….and acting on it!

“Are you concerned about the development and overbuilding that is occurring in the City of Santa Cruz?  The Ocean Street Extension (OSX) neighborhood on the City’s northerly boundary is experiencing it firsthand. 

Developers Moe and Rowell are proposing a 40-unit apartment project, comprised of ten three story buildings on the steep 2.4-acre wooded parcel adjacent to the Santa Cruz Memorial Park located on OSX below Graham Hill Road.  Many of you know OSX — it’s a rural, dead end road without streetlights or sidewalks that includes the cemetery, commercial and horse farms, and single family homes on large rural lots.  The City Planning Staff have decided, despite uniform opposition from all surrounding neighborhoods, the Memorial Park, the Sierra Club, and other constituents, that it can disregard the City’s General Plan, and rezone this parcel which would allow 9 single family homes and quadruple the density to put in 40 units of San Francisco style apartments which will loom over the cemetery 26 feet from its  hillside chapel where families go to pay last respects to their loved ones.

The City Planning Department is clearly determined to build more Google housing, as these two bed-room apartments will rent for $2800 or more per month if rented – although there will be a few affordable units. We all know that housing is a major concern to many — but building more commuter housing in rural neighborhoods would just feed the endless Silicon Valley need for housing and not solve the housing needs of local low income and working families.  The City has repeatedly said that its development will be focused on transit corridors or in the downtown — but they are pushing this rezoning for a parcel at the City’s limits without regard to the neighborhood character, parking or traffic gridlock.  Commuters from the San Lorenzo Valley will also be impacted as the turn lane onto OSX will have at least 266 more car trips a day turning at this unsafe intersection.  

If you’re concerned that this trend will come to your neighborhood, there is still time to voice your opinion to the City Council. Check out www.osenasc.org for detailed information about the neighborhood’s concerns and sign our petition opposing the rezoning of this parcel. The development is scheduled to be considered by the City Council at its September 25th meeting, at a time to be determined.  Please write to the Council or better yet — show up at the meeting and voice your concern about this development.  Developers should follow existing zoning to keep neighborhood integrity”. 

THOMAS PYNCHON & REAL FANS. I’ve written a few times about meeting Thomas Pynchon when he lived here. Here’s a new clue, or hint about his house in Aptos in the 1980’s. He was writing  Vineland” as I remember. If you do go to that site you can also scroll up and down and see the unbelievable search some folks have done just to track down the nearly invisible and illusive Pynchon.

January 17, 2018

ADU CHANGES THREATEN LIVABILITY.
If you’ve ever complained about traffic in Santa Cruz or noticed how permanently crowded the town has become, hold onto your hats. It’s about to become much worse.

City staff is working on revisions to their Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance. This time around there seems little interest in balancing the General Plan directive to preserve existing neighborhoods’ character and quality of life with the supposed need for extra housing stock. It’s all about increasing supply. Since the proponents of increasing supply, including city staff, have an economic interest in that goal, (permits, fees, and job security) it’s up to the rest of us to try to save the town from overbuilding and overcrowding, neither of which will make a dent in the cost of housing which is the only real crisis. Nor will it solve the dilemma of our town becoming the dumping ground for wealthy second homers from Silicon Valley and for a burgeoning UCSC student population at a time when the school cannot provide sufficient housing and is reduced to begging staff and faculty to take them in.

I attended the first workshop on proposed changes to the ADU Ordinance and summarized that experience in a BrattonOnline piece, which you can read here.

The city is holding a further workshop on Thursday September 27th at 6:00 PM in the Police Community Room to share the changes they are proposing in the Ordinance to “encourage the creation of more units to help meet the local need for rental and family housing.”  It all sounds so positive and benign. However the local need is not for housing per se but is for housing that is far cheaper than market rate. If it’s market rate it is only meeting the need for folks who don’t yet live here but who have sufficient incomes to move here, impacting every available resource and service. None of the proposed changes listed below protect exiting neighborhoods but the elephant in the room is the one highlighted topic.  

Topics to be discussed: Proposed Changes to ADU Ordinance

  • Changing parking requirements
  • Easing development standards
  • Establishing the maximum size of a unit
  • Considering changes to the owner-occupancy requirement
  • Adjusting the qualifications for reduced fees
  • Required changes to the thresholds for public hearings

Unless you’ve had an ADU take away your privacy, sun, peace, parking you might be inclined to not regard them as a big deal. And odds are you have not been impacted since the number of ADU’s has been modest…so far. The main restriction that has kept the numbers reasonable is the requirement that the property owner live in one of the dwellings, either the main house or the ADU. If you would like to make money off an ADU and many would, then you also will be sharing your property with others. That gives enough pause- for- thought so that the addition of ADU’s into single-family neighborhoods has been gradual …so far. If the owner-occupancy requirement is removed, then 56% of single- family homes within the city will suddenly become newly eligible to add an ADU. That is the number of non-owner occupied houses in the city: in other words, investment properties with no on-site owner. Under the current ADU ordinance, such owners are not eligible to add an ADU to the property since they live somewhere else. Living somewhere else they are not concerned with the impact to the neighborhood of adding another house full of people…it’s all about money. In a hot rental market, even with rent control, I predict most will add an ADU. With the other changes proposed in parking, setbacks and size, the impact to the town becomes suddenly significant and negative and does nothing to add to affordability.  

The artist’s rendition of an ADU on the city’s website is deceptive. It shows a cute ADU with roof top garden, a couple enjoying a meal in their backyard open space with two high-end dogs inside their spacious ADU. With owner occupancy a requirement, such a scene may mirror reality although I doubt the unit is affordable. Without owner occupancy, reality is far more likely to be a dozen students in the ADU with even more in the main house. If you think I am exaggerating then read the article from Sunday’s Sentinel under the heading, “How many people can live in a unit?” Citing Section 503 (b) of the Uniform Housing Code, the author, attorney Melia Powell spells out the space requirements for each resident. A 600 square foot apartment, about the current size of an ADU may allow up to 12 people to live in it. Theoretically, if owner occupancy is removed as a requirement, many of you in single- family neighborhoods could have a couple of dozen new next- door student neighbors on the one lot. And if you live next to a two-story house, the ADU can also be two- story. Good-bye sun, goodbye privacy.

Probably a good idea to attend the meeting on September 27th IN THE Police Community Room.

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.

...

September 17, 2018.

Chris was away this week taking his daughter to college in Chicago..but he did have time to mention…

“The 1930 Ocean Street Extension development is coming to council next Tuesday. And the 40 market rate condos planned for that area will devastate it. Met with cemetery owner too and he is upset. He added that Bill Parkin is representing the Ocean Street Extension Neighborhood Association (OSX).

(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

...

September 17, 2018

SANTA CRUZ CITY COUNCIL APPROVES ZONING CHANGES TO CREATE GHETTOS
The Santa Cruz City Council last week swept approval of the major zoning changes in on the Consent Agenda, ignoring the well-documented presentation by residents of the Branciforte area and members of “Save Santa Cruz”. These changes would significantly and negatively change the quality of life for all in the County, while affording higher profits for developers who claim building affordable housing “just doesn’t pencil out”.

If you have not seen the documentary “Citizen Jane”, which describes the efforts of a neighborhood to fight back against this kind of local government disregard for community in the interest of partnering with developers, watch it here

Here is the slide presentation made to the Council by the Branciforte residents

Here are the approved Zoning Code changes that give developers lots of concessions, allow 35% reduction in green space and instead allow 35% increase in building footprints, reduce parking requirements without any documentation of public transportation availability or level of service, and more….

We have a battle for our neighborhoods before us.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION WILL CONSIDER SIMILAR GHETTO-INDUCING CHANGES NEXT WEEK
Attend the PUBLIC HEARING before the County Planning Commission when they will hear these same recommendations.  The Public Hearing will be Wednesday, September 26 at 9am in the County Building (701 Ocean Street, 5th floor).  This is a continuation of the August 22 Public Hearing on the issue.

Here is a link to the audio recording of the August 22 presentation and public discussion

Here is a link to the documentation

One really has to wonder why the County and City of Santa Cruz are so willing to allow developers to dictate what we will all be expected to live with and pay for.

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

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

MEASURE H IS A NEBULOUS MONEY GRAB FOR WHOM?

Read the full text of Measure H, the Affordable Housing Bond Initiative on your November ballot.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can the County’s property owners already struggling to pay high property taxes now afford to take on an additional 35-year debt of nearly a quarter BILLION DOLLARS?
  2. Why are there no exemptions for seniors, disabled and fixed income property owners?
  3. The Property Tax Postponement Program is restrictive and costs 7% for those who are lucky to be approved, with an annual requirement to re-apply.  Is that any relief for seniors and disabled property owners?  Will the legislature again suspend the Program in the next 35 years, as was done 2009-2013?
  4. What would the administrative fees be for the four cities and County to handle this money?
  5. How would the Oversight Committee, which would have the power to approve changes to the distribution of the money, be chosen and be accountable to the property owners paying the taxes?
  6. How can we trust that this would all be administered with transparency and legally, when THE BALLOT LANGUAGE ITSELF VIOLATES AB 195 REQUIREMENTS TO STATE THE TERM OF THE DEBT?

Make no mistake, this is a money grab to benefit developers who claim that building affordable housing “just doesn’t pencil out”.  That is why the County Board of Supervisors, since 2015, has allowed developers to decide whether or not to build affordable housing, or just pay a small fee.  DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU?   Does this help the “affordable housing crisis” at all? 

Vote NO on Measure H and give your Supervisor a call.  831-454-2200.

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

...

September 13, 2018

Ok, Ok! My headline is wrong! We ARE all going to die, but not (as John Oliver seemed recently to announce) because our president is a “goddamn dumbbell.”  

If you haven’t watched John Oliver discuss the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed, by someone deep inside the Trump White House, and if you haven’t yet heard what Oliver has to say about Fear, reporter Bob Woodward’s latest book, then by all means click on this link and watch the 2:26 minute segment from one of his recent shows. It’s funny, and it casts our president in a very bad light. The segment ends with this statement:

The president’s a disaster; we’re all going to die.

Let’s stipulate to that first assertion, but let’s remember, as well, that our government, in the end, is NOT some sort of monarchial state. That went out with Louis XIV of France. The president (disaster that he is) is only one person, and “we,” citizens of the United States of America, are going to be around a long time after he is gone (though not likely forgotten, I am afraid).

In other words, while our president is “a disaster,” that isn’t the reason that “we’re all going to die.” Could we take our eyes off that rubber balloon of a Chief Executive for a minute or two? We are all paying way too much attention to someone whose own lawyer calls him a “dumbbell.”

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

...

EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Enjoy the weekly trip through only you know where when you see his classic inner trips.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “The Adults In The Room” 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.

MUNCHING WITH MOZART. Every third Thursday there’s a  FREE concert up stairs at the threatened Santa Cruz Main Library. This month its.. Thursday, September 20, 2018 from 12:10 – 12:50 The performers will be  Jeff Gallagher, clarinet , Carol Panofsky, piano.  Laureen Herr, piano,  Nicki Kerns, mezzo-soprano and Lynn Kidder, piano  Robin Murray Charlotte McManus-Guthrie, clarinet and Lynn Kidder, piano.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “A boy on the brink of manhood tries to piece together his own identity in the lyrical We The Animals, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). Meanwhile, my Art Boy is entered into the Congressional Record by Congressman Jimmy Panetta!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

WE THE ANIMALS. It has a 90 Rotten Tomatoes score and deserves every one of them. It’s a very sensitive, touching story of three young brothers coming of age. Sons of a sad, misguided, and maybe doomed marriage the boys face the real world with dreams, practicality, and hope. It’s very much worth seeing. One of my favorites. CLOSES THURSDAY SEPT.20

WHITE BOY RICK. Matthew McConaughey plays a low down lower- class father to Richie Merritt the teenager who gets into drugs. First he’s a user then he secretly becomes an FBI informer while underage. The true story and the movie fall apart when this scheme fails and Richie is sentenced to a long stretch. It’s dull and boring and almost impossible to like anybody in this saga.

THE PREDATOR. It all started in 1987 with the first Predator starring Arnold “the Governor” Schwarzenegger. It took place in a jungle. It was quite good if you like that sort of thing. This re-make has Olivia Munn as a biology teacher traipsing along with army veterans trying to destroy another predator from outer space. Very much violence, terrible photography, and a plot that is completely unfathomable. Don’t go.

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.

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.

OPERATION FINALE. Ben kingsley and Oscar Issacs head the cast of an almost documentary of how Adolf Eichmann was found in Argentina and brought to Israel to face an international exposure and jury for his role in Hitler’s extermination of the Jews. If you were of voting age back then 1960 you’ll remember almost all the details surrounding his capture and trial. But see this film by all means…it’s a lesson that still hasn’t been learned by enough humans. . CLOSES THURSDAY SEPT.20

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. CLOSES THURSDAY SEPT.20

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.

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 skimpys 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.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. Ewan McGregor does the best possible job he can with a boring, depressing, and very commercial attempt to make more money from A.A. Milne’s Winnie The Pooh books. It isn’t even Disney cute or Pixar creative it’s simply not interesting. And old Christopher Robin is forced by animated versions of Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and other stuffed toys to remember how much fun he had as a boy. Don’t even send the kids.

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.

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”.

...

...

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. Sept. 18 has Don Stump pres. and CEO of CCH housing returning to discuss HUD, affordable housing and senior issues for the full hour. Stacey Falls and Tom Donahue are guests on September 25 to talk about rent control and Housing Justice. Then Sarah Mason and Julian Parayno from Democratic Socialists of Santa Cruz talk about their political views. “Landscapes” the new book about historical & local land use battles will be talked about by Elizabeth Schilling and Heather Stiles on October 2nd. Then  Julie Phillips and George Lewis discuss the proposed Dream Inn development at West Cliff and Bay. On October 9 Hina Pendle discusses her “Power of the Heart” workshop. October 22 has Ken Koenig and friend talking about communicating with your friends and relatives who like Trump. City Councilmember Chris Krohn talks about voting and local issues on October 30.

I wonder if that lady held on to her opinion…

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

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. “HURRICANES”

“I’d always thought hurricanes were romantic, with pretty feminine names like Celestine“. Mark Shand

“Everyone except the far right wing of the Republican Party realizes that oil, gas and coal burning are the main activities that have sent the climate into bigger floods, droughts, hurricanes, and El Niños”. Donella Meadows

“You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you’re standing in the eye”. Brandi Carlile

“Even in the middle of a hurricane, the bottom of the sea is calm. As the storm rages and the winds howl, the deep waters sway in gentle rhythm, a light movement of fish and plant life. Below there is no storm”. Wayne Mulle


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 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.

...

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.

...
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

...

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

...
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

...

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”.

...

...

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


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

Movie Reviews