Blog Archives

September 10 – 16, 2014

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL NEWSBOY CARRIERS. Back in the day when school boys could get part time jobs. This was June 9, 1956. It doesn’t take long to count the girl deliverers.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE September 8, 2014

THE NEW YORKER AND SANTA CRUZ. It’ll be old news by the time you read this but the September 8 issue of The New Yorker has fascinating stuff involving our town. In an article by David Kushner titled THE MASKED AVENGERS he interviews and relates the wild life of Christopher Doyon who lived and led an activist career here in Santa Cruz in 2010. Kushner tells about Santa Cruz’s Peace Camp, the anti homeless laws, and the role he played in those sit/sleep ins at the County Building. Hetalks about attorney Ed Frey, and about Robert Norse. The Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company was Doyon’s Santa Cruz office for a while. The article is really about world wide hacking and the complex lack of rules, principles, and goals that keep it going and winning, and failing. There’s a story about how they shut down Santa Cruz County’s website for a brief while then returned it as a protest against our anti-homeless laws. Of course our laws were never changed. Read the story, send me your imprerssions.

GARY PATTON ON THE LA BAHIA HOTEL. I’m writing this Monday September 8 and it’ll be way to late by the time this gets online but…. Gary says in this week’s KUSP broadcasts

An historic structure at 215 Beach Street in the City of Santa Cruz will go on trial for its life tomorrow evening. That is when the Santa Cruz City Council will consider an application to demolish most of the La Bahia Hotel, to alter what isn’t demolished, and to turn a structure that is currently providing low income rental housing into a hotel serving high-end visitors.

The current application is the latest of several attempts by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Company to build a new, upscale hotel at 215 Beach Street. Many believe that tearing down the current structure, and replacing it would be a very good thing for the City. Others strongly believe that the current, historic structure is just the right scale for the City and the Beach Area, and should be restored to its former glory. I encourage listeners to join the debate. But be advised: after tomorrow it will be too late. The La Bahia item will be heard at 7:00 o’clock tomorrow evening (Tuesday Sept. 9) A link to the Council Agenda can be found at use. Track down Item #1 on the evening agenda, and you will be able to peruse twenty-seven different documents relating to this application. From the point of view of the opponents, La Bahia is fighting for its life tomorrow evening. From the supporters’ perspective, an old and aging eyesore may finally be eliminated. I invite you to weigh in on what will be very consequential decision”. BrattonOnline says, Just for the record , and I’m writing this on Monday Sept.8, I’m betting the Santa Cruz City Council (with the small possible exception of Micah Posner) will go totally for destroying the La Bahia. That’s why we really need a new and environmentally oriented City Council.

GOOD TIMES WERE NOT HAD BY ALL.Stephen Kessler long time Santa Cruz newspaper person, has written some Sentinel pieces lately about why we should dump the La Bahia and why we should re-create (manicure) Lighthouse Field. The Sentinel didn’t print this piece on The Santa Cruz Weekly (Metro) and Good Times. Stephen said we could print it here.

How Good Times won the Santa Cruz news wars

Stephen Kessler

The recent purchase of the Santa Cruz Good Times by Santa Cruz Weekly owner Dan Pulcrano was a watershed moment in local media history. Pulcrano had started Metro Santa Cruz in the early 1990s as an offshoot of his flagship Metro in San José, had changed its name to the Santa Cruz Weekly a few years ago and, unable to beat Good Times in the marketplace, bought the more successful paper.

It was smart branding to call the new paper Good Times, comforting advertisers that nothing would change, when except for the name it would gradually morph into a Metro paper, which it already has. But as some bard or other once said, What’s in a name? The brand Good Times is worth its weight in air (“Lighter than Air” was Jay Shore’s original marketing slogan) and the air of advertising is what newspapers breathe if they want to live.

By calling his newspaper Good Times while folding the Weekly discretely into it, Pulcrano made an astute business decision. He is a journalist but also an aggressive entrepreneur who is out to win. As the historical and undisputed king of local weeklies, Good Times has won the newspaper wars by absorbing the Weekly into its fluffy pages, thus freeing the latter of any gravity it may once have had.

The notion of an alternative newspaper is passé, a relic of the 1970s and 80s, and Good Times, reader friendly as it is, is no alternative newspaper unearthing corruption and exposing scandals, but basically, per tradition, a vehicle for advertising.


The Metro company is building a better Good Times, no doubt about it. But if the only way to beat Good Times is to become them, it raises the question of why you are in the business in the first place. Metro Santa Cruz first presented itself as “the intelligent alternative,” and when that didn’t fly, and week after week, year after year, the Good Times kept eating its lunch, Metro surrendered.

Now that this has enabled Metro to corner the market, will the editorial team do anything unexpected, out of the ordinary, imaginative, challenging—or will they play it safe with a formula that has seldom alarmed the commercial or political powers that be? Will they secretly, slowly, stealthily turn the paper into a sneakily progressive and creative weekly, or will lifestyle prevail?

Not that there’s anything wrong with life or style, but there is a readership that values a sharper edge, that appreciates wit and imagination as much as or more than information, and they are not being served. Maybe that’s what literary journals and upstart zines are for, way off in the dark corners of the culture. But for a while there when I was in the arena (dating back to 1972) it seemed possible to infiltrate the news with poetry, with scathing satire (DeCinzo in the Sentinel has become the only local journalist with any bite), with investigations, with original thinking, analysis and opinion.

Not anymore.

Most people now look to newspapers for information, in the case of Good Times information about entertainment, but not to be entertained by the paper itself, much less surprised or disturbed by what they find in it. For real good times they go to their portable devices, or to live events—or they write their own blogs and upload them into the ether—not to some printed pages where the ads are the main attraction. (Stephen Kessler is the former editor and publisher of The Sun (1986-1989), one of many unsuccessful newsweeklies defeated in the marketplace by Good Times.)

PSA’S STILL NEEDED. “PSA” That’s Public Service Announcements and KZSC sure could use them. These announcements are read several times (for free) every day on all radio stations. All you have to do is follow the FCC rules on how to write PSA’s. Many folks sent a bunch to me…nope, they all have to go to the Public Service Director at any/all stations. They are then read-edited-re-typed and put into our PSA notebooks. For your PSA to get read on KZSC go to the website then, on the far right side of the banner click on “contact” that’ll give you the PSA instructions.( You’ll be glad you did. So will we, actually.

ARANA GULCH UPDATE. Jean Brocklebank leader of the Friends of Arana Gulch

keeps very close tabs on what and how the city is handling the environmental development of Arana Gulch into the Broadway Brommer bicycle overpass. I’ve asked her to keep us informed. This is the second of her updates. Be sure to click on her links to see exactly what’ she’s talking about.


Let’s start with wasting water first, shall we? While the rest of us are conserving as best as we can during this drought, the Broadway Brommer (BB) project is consuming our savings. Sure, there is nothing inherently wrong with a water truck on a construction site, but the contractor doing the BB work in dry, dusty conditions was warned – twice – about its leaking water truck. The huge water truck is filled from the fire hydrant located at the harbor entrance to Arana Gulch. The first water waste warning was on 9/1, when the truck sat overnight in the harbor’s boat storage yard, leaking from two places. The second warning was on 9/5, as the truck sat above the work at Arana Creek, leaking from a faucet. Pictures and video are available HERE.


Next up is more on BB project cost overruns. My request of Public Works for a listing, to date, of all change orders and costs thereof resulted in zilch. The Public Works Director said they don’t have information to date compiled as yet (pardon my skepticism) and when the project is complete the change orders and the cost information will be finalized and settled before the contract is closed out. According to the Santa Cruz City Engineer change orders for BB “are within the normal range for a project of this magnitude and complexity.” Yeah, right. I still predict that the 5% contingency fund — that Chris Schneiter assured the Santa Cruz City Council he was comfortable with — will be at least 10% by the time this poorly designed project is complete. And it won’t be the fault of the contractor, leaking water truck aside. Go HERE to see more change order (aka cost overrun) predictions.


What about the endangered tarplant this year? Not good news. While the City has been spending millions for years to get a bike short cut across the greenbelt, the tarplant continues on its downhill slide to extinction. Only four individual plants were discovered this year (three of them by Friends of Arana Gulch, one by the City’s botanist). Two of them came in under two inches tall and are already goners, contributing no seed for next year. The other two are small with flowers and being carefully watched by FOAG (Friends of Arana Gulch). I have named one of those two living plants Martha, in reference to the last living passenger pigeon (of originally billions) which died in 1914 in a zoo. That Martha is stuffed and on display at the Smithsonian. How do we commemorate the last Santa Cruz tarplant unique to Arana Gulch? Go HERE to see the season’s four plants.

ELERICK’S INPUT. Mr. Paul Elerick of Aptos writes…


The Facebook group Take Back Aptos, mostly populated by Take Back Santa Cruz people did a recent purge of their members, including another rejection of my request to become a member. For openers, they removed all Facebook friends of a member of my family, just in case she saw and reported on the garbage they publish. Too bad they didn’t get ‘em all! But Take Back Aptos, it would still be nice to be able to answer some of your accusations.


This Soquel Creek Water District election is now in the “sign wars” and endorsement gathering stage. Signs for both sides are going up daily, but direct mail hasn’t hit my mailbox yet. However, the Jaffe/Meyer website ( ) shows a partial list of community leaders and water experts supporting these two candidates, as am I. The opposing slate of candidates promoted by the Aptos Chamber of Commerce has its share of endorsers too, predominately featuring past members of SQWD Board of Directors that we residents referred to as “the good old boys club” and the pro-growth business community. Candidate Prentice, the Republican on the Aptos Chamber of Commerce’s slate hasn’t posted any endorsers yet, but Candidate McGowan’ endorsers match Deavers.

2nd District Supervisor Zach Friend has decided to back the COC’s slate, which is a big disappointment to me. His name appears on two of their endorser’s lists, but not directly attached to candidate Prentice, the Republican. But come on Zach, the COC’s slate is who you’re supporting. You could have at least endorsed one candidate from the other side! (Paul Elerick is co-chair with Peter Scott of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, , and he’s a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

AMUSEMENT PARK ACCIDENTS. “One of the Safest in the world”???? This is in reference to last week’s mention that our Santa Cruz Boardwalk never, never has any accidents (that are reported)

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary tells us that the La Bahia Hotel will go on trial for its life Tuesday night (9/09/14) when the Santa Cruz City Council will decide to demolish it or not. (See above) Then he talks about the new groundwater law and the Water Supply Advisory Committee. He follows on Wednesday with news of the Cemex property in Davenport and plans for public access.He ends the week telling of a Convention event at the Civic (maybe in October) held by the Water Supply Advisory Committee and how you can get your ideas heard by that group. Read the complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site . 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 opions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” –

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Professor Eagan details the difference between “dynamic” and “Dynamite”. See below a few pages.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Ahoy, me hearties! Let’s play pirates this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (, as I join the Here There Be Pirates Blog Hop. Find out about ” Talk like a Pirate day” (Sept. 19) and how to win genuine pirate loot (free books!) without firing a single shot!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


FRANK. Michael Fassbender plays a weird guy who wears a large round mask/globe over his head 24/7. He eats, sleeps, and heads up a punk band in Ireland. The story is so far out,and the music and the plot are so nutty you’ll stay with it, just to see what happens. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays his sort of girl friend. Frank is also a very likable, friendly, non threatening human that you’ll stick with him all the way. This film is only for folks who like well done, thoughtful, and untypical movies…its very good.


LIFE OF CRIME. The movie is truly based on Elmore Leonard’s book “The Switch” and

Jennifer Anniston along with Tim Robbins do absolutely great jobs of acting. Tim Robbins plays Anniston’s terrible husband in the most nasty role of his career. It’s a kidnap film, with many laughs, but mostly serious times. You’ll lose the plot a few times and wonder just what’s happening and wish it was as good as 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty, Hombre, or Mr. Majestyk. It lacks a good director’s touch. Go warned.

THE CALVARY. Brendan Gleeson is the Roman Catholic priest in a small town in Ireland. The acting is perfect, the photography makes you want to visit Ireland next week. The tension, ethics, morals, God, and murder all combine to make this an award winner. Gleeson should be handed this years Oscar now. Better go tonight before it becomes another six day wonder and leaves town.

LUCY. Scarlett Johansson struts, slinks and shoots her way to the top in this science fiction thriller. Morgan Freeman loses a few acting points as he pretends he’s some kind of a professor. Amazingly, Lucy topped Hercules in box office money on opening weekend. That definitely proves something. Honestly, it’s a fun story and you’ll stay attached to the screen all the way through. The story is ridiculous, the plot has huge mistakes, there’s not one ounce of logic to it, it’s just fun to watch.

THE NOVEMBER MAN. Pierce Brosnan is the “James Bond” retired CIA agent, and it’s the very old “Last Assignment” agent back in the game type film. Lots of Russians, some Germans, tons of sneaky types and I’m betting no-one has been able to figure out the plot yet. It is fun to look at.

A MOST WANTED MAN. This is almost Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last film. It got a 90 on Rotten Tomatoes. Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright play various roles as secret agents from The USA, Germany, Islamic territories, Russia and elsewhere. It’s a slow moving and very confusing story from John le Carre’s book. I couldn’t follow the connections and lost interest after the first 20 minutes.

WHAT IF. Daniel Radcliffe is rapidly proving he’s more of an actor than the Hobbits role allowed. Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver add a tremendous amount of skill to this film. It’s cute, feel-good , not brilliant, but it’ll keep you involved throughout. Daniel and Zoe do have a great magnetism between them.

100 FOOT JOURNEY.A more memorable title would be “Slumdog Chef“, or “The Grand Budapest Restaurant” or “Monsoon Wedding Eats Out“. Even Helen Mirren doesn’t save this latest in the “aren’t East Indians cute and funny” type film. It’s degrading to all concerned. But I must confess, I went home and made my first omlette in months.

IF I STAY. If you liked The Fault in Our Stars (and I did) you might like If I Stay. A young cellist is almost killed in a car crash and she has to decide if she wants to come back to this life. Yes, it’s a weeper, feel depressed, after-life kind of film. Joshua Leonard who plays the girls’ once hip father is the son of Bob and Joann Leonard of Watsonville. Joshua was also in the original Blair Witch Project…and has scarier stories about the off screen Blair Witch happenings than we saw onscreen. Go only if you enjoy those flowing tears.

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT. There was a sizable audience at the Nick’s very first Santa Cruz screening of Woody’s latest saga. Ah ha I thought, even with the really terrible reviews of M.I.M. we all still like Woody’s worst films better than most of the rest. I was wrong. This is one of the worst W. Allen films I’ve seen. Colin Firth as sort of a Harry Houdini anti-psychic magician is bitter, mean, and completely unforgivable all the way through the film. Emma Stone is no match for Mia Farrow, Scarlett Johannesen, Diane Keaton, Cate Blanchett, or any of the brilliant feminine attractions Woody has directed in the past. Probably his 2015 film will be better…it has to be.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. Most importantly The Sin City Movies aren’t like regular films. They are half drawn/graphic novel/ black and white, comic book, pulp fiction style movies. Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, and Jessica Alba are in it, but you might have a tough time recognizing them. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has the best short story role. I never could find Jeremy Piven in it. But Bruce Willis, Stacy Keech, and Ray Liotta all do well. Just go warned…it’s violent, beyond bloody, and uniquely styled.

BOYHOOD. This film made some sort of cinema history because the director took 12 years to film the same cast in the same roles as they aged. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 99 but I think the acting is so terrible it shouldn’t have been made…or released. Any sensitivity, reality, sincerity, or emotions are spoiled by the amateurish acting. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play the parents, and they aren’t very good either. Wait and rent it.

THE GIVER. This is one of those teen-age book series made into a big time film. The teenagers in the audience loved this sci-fi “1984” future world attempt. Jeff Bridges does an excellent job with his gruffy codger professor role, but Meryl Streep loses points and credability for suffering through this way overwritten, poorly filmed pointless simplistic plot. Don’t even rent it.

AS ABOVE SO BELOW. This film got three points less on Rotten Tomatoes than November Man’s 36. Young adults go beneath the streets of Paris into the catacombs to find the meaning of life…or something like that. It looks like the sequesl to Blair Witch with hand held camera stuff all the way through. Creepy, weird, crawly, but pretty dumb….don’t waste your money.


WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL. Remember James Caviezel ??? He played christ in “The Passion of The Christ“. From what I gathered, he plays the same christ-type football coach in this Hallmark Greeting Card saga. We’ve seen it before. Way too many times. And I’ve been reading that half the stories in the film aren’t true.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I must confess and proclaim I did not see this movie. Any film that has a talking raccoon named “Rocket” as a major character is more than I could stand. Your guess on this movie is every bit as good as mine. Actually if anyone sees this film and likes it, let me know. Especially if you can think of a reason for anyone else to see it.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES IN 3 D. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a miserable 19. I’m giving it a complete pass…and could use a nap much more.

KZSC 88.1 FM or live online at

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 sometimes old programs are archived… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Melanie Sobel from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter guests on Sept. 9 talking about their programs and plans. She’s followed by attorney Bill Parkin discussing many land use issues in our county. Rose Sellery and Tina Brown discuss this years Fashion Art Show after which Shelley Phillips describes The Community Music School programs on September 16. Debbie Diersch and Jonathan Pilch from the Wetlands Foundation relate new wetlands ideas and Scott Roseman, owner of New Leaf Community Markets is on the second half hour on Sept. 23. Susan Lysik talks about her photo exhibit Toy Cameras, Old and New on Sept. 30, she’s followed by world expert on King Lear, UCSC’s Michael Warren telling secrets about the play. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just last year’s podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The update includes 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 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. Hear them all!!!

QUOTES. ” Work is our sanity, our self respect, our salvation. So far from being a curse, work is our greatest blessing”, Henry Ford. “At least talk to each other. To communicate is the beginning of understanding”, AT & T advertisement. “To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has a friend”, Antoine De Saint–Exupery.


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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
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Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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