Blog Archives

February 3 – 9, 2016

PACIFIC AVENUE, SANTA CRUZ. CIRCA 3:31 p.m. 1925-1928. There may have been a few chain stores on Pacific Avenue back then but I can’t spot any. We can see the original location of our Town Clock Tower atop the O.D.D. Fellows Building. Yes, it’s a parade  and yes, Pacific Avenue was at least FOUR CARS wide!!!

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com



Bruce has picked a bunch of Santa Cruz videos this week. I am therefore countering with my home town; Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden. I’m a little torn on the time lapse – I both love it and hate it – and darn if I’m not homesick now!

DRONE SHOTS OF SANTA CRUZ. This video clip almost convinced me to buy a drone camera. It is an amazing job of photography & piloting.

DATELINE February 1, 2016

THE CHAINS THAT BIND. Many kind , grateful, thoughtful reactions to last week’s words on the franchising and chain stores on Pacific Avenue.  So many of us are deeply concerned that our weaker and more commercial Santa Cruz City Council will continue offering up and bowing down  to out of town, out of county, out of state corporations that there will be fewer and fewer reasons for anyone to visit or shop downtown. I listed many chain operations located just on our main street corners on Pacific Avenue. I’ve been reminded of many other big chains NOT on our Pacific Street corners. Gap looms large, so does Peets, Regal Cinemas, and Verizon. The Sandwich Spot whew, I missed that one. They have about 30 locations. 14 in Sacramento, some in San Francisco, Palm Springs, LasVegas and San Jose. There’s Cold Stone Creamery with 19 locations “near us” plus stores in Vietnam, India, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. American Apparel has stores in at least 12 countries and too many states to list. We could add Salvation Army and Western Union but that doesn’t seem fair somehow. They were there before almost all of us.

Does anyone remember Sam Farr’s “Enterprise Zone”? That was a business tax break given to locally owned businesses. We need to stay focussed on just how we continue to market Downtown Santa Cruz. Once upon a time it was a place where local residents went to shop and share in our unique community.

COASTAL COMMISSION’S ON-SHORE BATTLE. By now every environmentalist knows and is shivering over two huge issues. 1. Which way will Governor Jerry Brown vote on the many environmental land use issues facing him right now. He’s always  voted on both sides in the past. The next issue he’ll vote on is to the possible changing of the guardian Charles Lester of the California Coastal Commission. We’ve seen a lot of press even local, with pro- Lester angles. Pat Matecjek sent this LA Times piece from Jan. 26, 2016  It’s one of the best I’ve found.  Check it out. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-blank-coastal-commission-uproar-20160126-story.html


ELERICK’S INPUT. Mr. Paul Elerick of Aptos writes…
APTOSIANS ARE FEELING THE PAIN OF THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM.

We’ve followed the saga of Rancho Del Mar’s ownership movements over the past few years.  It was first sold to Safeway’s development company, that was sold later to at least one other corporation.  Now it has landed under ownership of Terramar, a Southern California shopping center developer.  Terramar closed the Aptos Cinema on January 31st and ripped out the theater seats the next day, killing any chance for negotiation to keep the theaters open. There went almost 50 years of Aptos tradition and history.  Also gone was the draw for local small businesses, mostly restaurants and specialty stores, when movie goers were there.

 

From what I understand the rent was raised to an amount that shut out the current movie operator. Terramar placed it at the level of “what it could get under today’s new rent levels”.  What can we expect?  Developers will hold community meetings to find out “what we want”.  When Safeway tried this, they heard the answer of “Nothing!” and decided to sell the center as is and move on.  Terramar appears to be more aggressive. Of course their first strategy will be to tell us “locals” that we really need to replace the “dated” existing Rancho Del Mar.  It’s hard to guess what they will do with the traffic problems already there, and water not there. 

As if to accentuate the loss of our theater, we met several of our Aptos neighbors at the Nick on Sunday night. We all enjoyed “Brooklyn“, and we’ll continue to enjoy movies there.

(Paul Elerick is co -chair with Jack Nelson of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, http://sensibletransportation.org , and he’s a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

GREENSITE’S INSIGHT.
IT’S THE OLD FOLKS’ FAULT.  

At regular intervals, the Sentinel editorial board trots out a piece to convince readers that the housing problem in Santa Cruz is a direct result of growth control. Last Sunday’s editorial was no exception. It did add a new twist by pointing an additional finger of blame at those older Santa Cruz residents who own homes. Why? Because they vote and younger folks tend not to. Whose fault is that? Plus the older folks get organized to try to preserve the small town quality of Santa Cruz. How selfish of them to want to slow the gentrification and urbanization of their town! Never mind that many older Santa Cruz folks on fixed incomes are also being squeezed out by the ever increasing costs of water, power, food and transportation and many younger folks who work in the tech industry and earn big salaries are snapping up properties. According to the Sentinel editors it’s the old folks who are privileged and the younger folks are paying the price. Such ageism!

The national marketing blurb for the Craig French/Mark Primack 20 acre live-work Delaware Addition (on Delaware Avenue near Swift Street)  touts Santa Cruz as “a great place to be young, single and rich.” Not much room for older folks in that promotion. Most older homeowners in Santa Cruz are of moderate means, with a lifetime of working and contributing to their community. Many were able to buy a house decades ago when you could buy a decent house for under a hundred thousand dollars. At today’s housing prices they could never even consider living in Santa Cruz. When this generation dies out, Santa Cruz will indeed be a town of and for the rich, mostly young, with small pockets of lower income workers in subsidized housing and a huge student population of renters whose parents pay the exorbitant rents.

The editors would have you believe that “growth control policies in particular have an impact on affordability and availability for those young people just starting out.” This has a good ring to it for those who want to promote growth and who stand to profit from it but is it true? Firstly, what growth control?  Santa Cruz County’s growth is on par with the rest of the state. The city’s growth rate is substantial if you factor in the UCSC student population increase of 8000 in the past two decades, half of whom live in the community. Then there’s the question of housing availability. According to the city’s online summary of housing that has been recently constructed, is under construction, has been recently approved or is pending, this adds up to 604 new housing units in a town of 13 square miles. I don’t recall in the past two decades, any housing project opposed by neighbors that was voted down by the city council. The city council did vote to approve a Hyatt hotel on an acre on Broadway which was zoned for housing but you can’t blame the old neighbors for that one. They begged the council to keep it zoned for housing.

As housing activists in the Bay Area say, you cannot build your way into affordability. Housing is a market commodity and a lucrative one for speculators. Economists note that supply and demand simply do not apply where you have an affluent, expanding young high tech workforce over the hill and a ballooning student rental constituency on the hill, ready to snap up whatever is built. Housing prices will continue to climb whatever the supply and we have seen this trend for the past 20 years. Increasing density will not bring down housing prices but will lead only to congestion, urbanization, traffic gridlock and pressure on finite resources such as water. Are housing prices cheaper in dense San Francisco?  

The Sentinel’s dredging up the old myths of growth control and selfish older homeowners indicates they are aware that folks, particularly on the eastside, are getting organized to oppose the city’s Corridors Plan. Expect more of the same from the Sentinel as this fight to save our town from rampant speculation heats up. (Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist,  member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association. Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild).

SANTA CRUZ 1955. If you’re new here this’ll show you a taste of our once famed (and often infamous) Miss California contest. Miss California + Miss Watsonville

SANTA CRUZ AGAIN IN 1955. Check out the changes you see around us

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use Report for Wed. Feb 3 sez…

DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ MAY BE GOING UP, UP UP!

Decisions about land use have incredibly important impacts on the shape and character of our local communities. Of course, they have economic and environmental impacts, too. Currently, the City of Santa Cruz is engaged in lots of planning efforts that will, if carried through to where they seem to be going, lead to fundamental changes to the city. What is envisioned is a generation of much denser and higher rise developments. A “Corridors Plan,” currently under consideration, would promote these higher, denser developments along all of the City’s major thoroughfares: Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street and Soquel.

But that model of higher, denser development is also proposed for downtown Santa Cruz, and specifically for the very extensive area bounded by Soquel Avenue, Front Street, Laurel Street, and Pacific Avenue.

I advise anyone who cares about the future of the City to go the Planning Commission meeting Thursday Feb. 4th . The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, and the so-called “Downtown Recovery Plan Amendments” is the only real topic for discussion. As proposed, the “Amendments” will turn downtown Santa Cruz, along both Front and Pacific Avenues, into a much different place. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

Read the complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site http://blogs.kusp.org/landuse . Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmenatl issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” – www.gapatton.net

CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Hasta La Juego tourists…here’s an only somewhat dated classic on one of DeCinzo’s favorite topics. See below

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Eagan’s Deep Cover goes into Deep Water and the Supreme Court scroll down a little.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Grab some champers for Jewel Theatre Company’s fizzy revival of Noel Coward’s Fallen Angels, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com). Also, the revels continue for the 20th anniversary of the Gail Rich Awards.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

THAT IS THE QUESTION
(THE NEWEST FILMS IN ORDER OF PERFECTION)

THE FINEST HOURS. Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and Eric Bana are all in this Coast Guard, brave and true rescue movie. You wouldn’t believe they are in it because the film is so dark you can hardly tell who’s talking (or swimming). It’s a saga and seems to be six hours long. Other reviewers who saw it in 3D said is almost unwatchable because the 3D makes it even darker. Something doesn’t work in this plot. We aren’t given enough time to identify (and share) the fear, tragedy, and losses these super brave Coast Guardians have to face. It would even less exciting watching it at home…be warned.

OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS. If you’ve a tradition of watching Oscar Nominated shorts (5 animated, 5 Live action) you’ll see a few religious rituals and how painful and cruel they are . Then there’s the usual cutesy, quaint ones, and as usual, there are some you can’t possibly grasp. All in all it’s just about the average run-of-the-mill Oscar Nominated Shorts. No GREAT stuff this year again. None that you’ll remember one hour later.

STILL PLAYING AT A THEATRE NEAR US
FROM BEST TO REALLY BAD

ANOMALISA.If you liked, or loved such Charlie Kaufman films as Synecdoche, Being John Malkovich, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind you will definitely worship Anomalisa.It’s done entirely with animated puppets, and voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis. Like Kaufman’s other films it views the world through a confused man’s mind. We are never sure of the dream, his illusions, the real world, or how deep the plot is going. Many leveled, subtle, intelligent, unforgiving, and completely unsolavable if you need a clean cut story. It’s like Shakespeare’s serious plays and Wagners Ring Operas, if you need simple stories forget it. If you like major contributions to cinema as art….don’t miss it.

ROOM. There is some discussion on whether or not this film is based on a novel or reality. Either way it is a well done, angonizing, torturous, moving film.  Brie Larson as the teen age mother and Jacob Trembly as her son deserve special acting awards. Kidnapping the young teen ager and raping her in a locked shed for years while she somehow manages to raise her son and maintain a sense of humanity will have you completely fixed to the screen. See this film.

BROOKLYN. Whew…I knew I loved this film and  now I see that Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100% Saoirse Ronan plays the lead Irish (very Irish) girl who comes to New York City in the 1950’s. She adjusts then falls in love with an Italian (very Italian) young man. That seems to be ok but  she has to return to Ireland on a visit and falls in love with a young Irish (very) young man. It’s not too funny, it’s deep, profound, wrenching and perfect acting. You could easily loose your heart in this film. See it, if you like wonderful films. It also stars (in a smaller role) Jessica Pare who you’ll for sure remember as Megan Draper, Don Draper’s dark- haired sexy wife in Mad Men.

THE HATEFUL 8.  Quentin Tarantino is BACK! A beautiful film. A plot, a tradegy as intriguing as Agatha Christies “Ten Little Indians”and acting as great as any we’ve ever seen. With a cast consisting of Samuel Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, and Channing Tatum and written and directed by Quentin hisself, how can we miss? It’s in the Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs vein. It’s bloody, beyond violent, extremly funny, thought provoking and mystfying. Go see it on some big screen.

THE REVENANT. What’s odd about  The Revenant is that hardly anyone I know, knew what the word meant. Looking it up (I had to) in Wictionary you’ll find…   Someone who returns from a long absence. A person or thing reborn. A supernatural being that returns from the dead; a zombie or ghost. The film is a Big Golden Globes winner for best Drama film and for Leonardo DiCaprio’s best acting and Alejandro Inarritu for best Director. Set in the 1820’s its about Leonardo and his fellow fur trappers being attacked or occasionally helped by Indian tribes such as the Ree, the Ankara,the Pawnee and the Sioux. DeCaprio almost dies from a bear attack and spends the rest of the film crawling and freezing his way to revenge the trappers who left him to die. DeCaprio has only 15 lines in English, he takes off his clothes and sleeps inside a dead horse (after removing the guts) and then he wins the Golden Globes!!! Go figure, and you need to see it on a big screen.

CAROL. Many big nominations and awards for this poignant, touching, sad, pertinant story of women’s love. Rooney Mara reminded me of Audrey Hepburn and does a perfect acting job here. Cate Blanchett is the lead and does all she can, and will continue to win more prizes. Yet there is/was something cold, removed and stiff, stage play-like that kept me from really getting inside the emotions they played onscreen. Go see it by all means.

THE DANISH GIRL. Eddie Redmayne as one of the world’s first transgendered males is of course the main attraction. But Alicia Vikander as his wife and main support, actually does a better job of acting. The script stalls and sleeps part way through, and the pacing is eccentric but  you’ll watch it all the way just to see how it ends. Redmayne (who is 33) won an Oscar nomination for his body- bending role as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” last year, is being touted for it again this year. Remember him in “My Week with Marilyn”? He’s an excellent actor and will probably play a tree or a screwdriver or a python next, but I’m not betting on him winning anything for this film.

SPOTLIGHT. Lots of Oscar buzz around this excellent film. When you have a cast like Mark Ruffalo, Michale Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Billy Crudup, Stanley Tucci and Live Schreiber and a plot involving the Roman Catholic church’s child molesting priests and the “official cover-up” you got a winner. It’s shocking, even though you think you know all there is to know. When you add in the current troubles the Vatican is having…you’ve got a very sick institution. It’s newspaper business at its best. It’s also reporting such as no newspaper can afford today…you’ll see how important that is/was. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 97%!!!

THE BIG SHORT.The cast is very well known by now. Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Marisa Tomei, and Brad Pitt. This is a Hollywood version of what should have been a Michael Moore documentary of the bankers, real estate brokers, and the rest of the crooks behind the Wall Street explosion of 2008. It bored me to a snooze because I haven’t the foggiest idea , or any knowledge of all those financial dealings.  Go only if you’re up on all those money market concepts.

STAR WARS The Force Awakens STINKS & MORE. I was actually stunned when I left the theatre after viewing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My sister and friends immediately asked what I thought about the film, I couldn’t even think about it as I would have with any other film I’ve re viewed in the last 40 plus years. Then I read Michael Hiltzik’s business column in the 12/30/15 edition of the L.A. Times. Michael’s new book is titled Big Science. His column is titled, “Why Star Wars Stinks”. In it he tells how the film is unimaginative, dull in long stretches, and is a poor copy of the original 1977 Star Wars. He says and I agree that it’s not a movie.”It’s the anchoring element of a vast commercial program”. He goes on to say that this film will bring in nearly 5 Billion dollars and that because of the related product sales it wouldn’t matter if NO ONE SAW the film, it still would make those profits. The plot is obscure, the art work is wonderful, and it’s cold, impersonal, and dullRead the critique above. This is not a movie, it’s a product placement showcase for Disney productions and world wide toy manufacturers.

THE MARTIAN. This Hollywood Matt Damon-starring film is cute, humorous , Hollywoody like George Clooney in Gravity…AND IT’S BEEN PLAYING ON OUR LOCAL SCREENS SINCE October 2015!!! It’s about Damon being left behind on Mars by his team mates (Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Michael Pena). Chiwetal Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are the NASA, Pasadena JPL business men in charge. It drags in spots and the FX look like they stole them from “2001”. Matt Damon is just too cute and funny and extraordinary to be real, But go see it. You’ll stay awake just to see how it all works out. It’s tense near the end but the ending itself is corney.

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI. It’s the story of the C.I.A. men stationed in Libya and how they failed to defend the USA embassy during an attack on September 11, 2012. It’s 2 ½ hours of poorly edited combat scenes, and we are provided with almost no back story or explanation of what’s happening. Just blood, violence, and the sadness of losing.

SISTERS. This is an almost perfect example of a trash movie. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey outdo each other with crotch, sex, poop and pee jokes that aren’t funny. It’s a shame to see these obviously brilliant, smart, tasteful women sink so low that they have to take roles in movies this low class. Don’t go and don’t let anyone you care for go either.  

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE RADIO PROGRAM
KZSC  88.1 FM or live online at
www.KZSC.ORG     TUESDAYS 7-8 P.M.

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. Linda Burman-Hall reveals the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s new season on February 2. Following Linda, Dana Bagshaw tells us about Judge and Mrs. Blackburn and the Neary Lagoon neighborhood.  On February 9 Barry Phillips talks about his Dolcissime Suite premiering at the Santa Cruz Chamber Players on Feb. 13 & 14. Ecologist Grey Hayes is on after Barry talking about our endangered environment. Then on Feb. 16th   Josef Sekon talks about pianist Theodora Serbanesou-Martin who performs on Feb. 21st as part of his Aptos Keyboard Series. After Josef,  Jacob Martinez follows and tells us of the huge progress that The Digital Nest has been enjoying. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at bratton@cruzio.com

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed 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.

TRIP TO SANTA CRUZ. 1937 & 1938. I’ve linked this before but have had many requests for a repeat.

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, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, 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 Ki mmel, 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. “FEBRUARY”.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within”. William C. Bryant. “The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February”. Joseph Wood Krutch. “February – the month of love..?!! No wonder the shortest one in the calendar.” Dinesh Kumar Biran. “The day and time itself: late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?” Alice McDermott

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 @ gunilla@thegoldenfleece.com

BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.

Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | 1 Comment

One Response to February 3 – 9, 2016

  1. Cedar Geiger says:

    Love the new site. Love the videos, and we all gotta love Bruce!