Blog Archives

December 13 – 19, 2017

Highlights this week:
Garage and Library scam and meeting happening Wednesday, Dec. 13…Greensite on the city’s Budget Shortfall…Krohn and the new mayor, Housing and developer issues, useless forums, tours and still  ignoring the citizens, Gavin Newsom for Governor?… Steinbruner and Aptos Cinema and Food Court gone, RTC helping developers at Aptos Village, out-of-county truckers get woodwaste contract, Homeless Center to Harvey West Park….Patton about Democracy and getting involved…DeCinzo and our local Scrooge..Eagan and Sex and show business…Jensen and Scrooge play at Jewel Theatre and The Disaster Artist…I didn’t see any new movies last week! Quotes about “Holidays”.

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS PACIFIC AVENUE HOLIDAY SNOW PHOTO. This was taken at 7:45 am in 1957. The Palomar Hotel is still there. You can see the original Town Clock site, atop the Odd Fellows building — now known as the Neary Business Center, and containing Artisans, The Hat Company, and Bunny Shoes. Leasks Department store on the right is now Urban Outfitters…and so it goes.                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


DATELINE December 11, 2017

PARK N’ READ GROUND LEVEL LIBRARY MEETING WEDNESDAY. The level of response to increasing pressure from city powers to build a new library on the ground floor of a new parking garage is right up there with that provoked by the issues of housing, widening Highway 1, and UCSC growth. The concept of encouraging more cars to drive downtown, the destruction of the perfectly successful Downtown Farmer’s Market, the real possibility of renovating the present library and on and on. Here are excerpts from some of the “letters to the editor” I’ve received.

Judi Grunstra a Reference Librarian at the Watsonville Public Library wrote..

“On Dec. 3, slightly better advertising resulted in a larger crowd than previous meetings of the Downtown Library Advisory Committee.  Participants were seated around tables in groups, where they had a chance to review the costs of the 4 options provided by the architectural firm Noll & Tam, only two of which are close to the $23 million allocated by Measure S.   A completely new library building is millions over budget, so the affordable choices come down to either a partial renovation of the current 2-story library building, or moving the library into the ground floor of a multi-story “mixed use” (garage) on the parking lot behind the former Logos.  The great majority of participants rejected the library-in-a-garage concept,  preferring the renovation option, keeping the current site.   Most also questioned the need for another garage downtown.    The goal is to have an upgraded, safe, functional and attractive library that would serve the community well into the future. Although participants had questions to ask and ideas to share, this meeting was not set up to provide any answers.  Gathering this type of community input should have occurred much earlier in the process and with the architects present.  That is how other communities engage interested citizens.  That did not happen here. The committee makes their recommendations at their final meeting, on Dec. 13 at 6 pm at the Santa Cruz Main library meeting room”.  Judi adds the link to “Don’t Bury The Library”…  .

LAST  LIBRARY MEETING WEDNESDAY, Dec.13!!! Carol Long emailed…”
Last meeting on the parking garage/library branch:
Final Meeting, Downtown Library Advisory Committee
Wed, Dec 13, 6pm @ Downtown Library’s Upstairs meeting Room
Please go to the meeting or send an email like the one below to this address:

“I strongly urge the Library Advisory Committee to follow the advice they requested from the consultants from three different urban planning agencies; implement Transportation Demand Management before, and in fact, instead of expanding parking capacity. The Committee must think not only of the advantages the library will derive from various choices, but of the disadvantages — greater traffic and increased global warming emissions — which will accrue to the broader community and the world at large if we keep increasing automobile traffic. Traffic congestion will aggravated by the non-solution of enabling increased auto trips with more parking. 

As Rick Longinotti and The Campaign for Sensible Transportation recommend, we need to decrease both traffic and global warming if our cities are to be livable. Some cities like London are on the way to eliminating individual vehicles altogether, and a study in Australia showed that this would be necessary for most urban centers in the near future. Again, I urge you to be forward-thinking and not to do business as usual. That’s not what we voted for when we voted in the funds for the library”.

Rick Longinotti from The Campaign for Sensible Transportation added… “Many urban planners are questioning whether any city would be wise to invest in more parking capacity at a time when autonomous vehicles are on the horizon, with their anticipated reduced parking demand.
Our group sends its best wishes to the Library decision-makers to figure out how to spend Measure S funds on the Downtown Library. We understand that becoming a tenant in a City garage would be a sweet financial deal for the Library. However, we ask you to consider that investing limited City resources on expanding auto capacity instead of the available alternatives would saddle future generations with debt for a white elephant “asset”. Moreover it would enable an increase in traffic, increasing greenhouse gases and making our streets less hospitable to walking and bicycling”. We all need to watch and remember how Santa Cruz as a city handles this huge and involving issue…especially on Wednesday!!

With tourism booming, brand new expensive hotels open for business, property taxes secure despite Prop. 13, and with the median home price around $850,000, it came as a surprise when the city budget director forecast a $2.7 million General Fund deficit for 2018. Surprise turned to disdain when staff recommended filling the deficit by cutting First Alarm patrols at Harvey West Park, the River levees and the Wharf along with cuts to Youth and Teen programs, trail camp clean-ups and Parks and Recreation programs. To pick on such small, vital services seemed mean-spirited at best. And if, as staff claimed, such cuts would make no difference and be unnoticed by the public, then why have such services in the first place? To their credit, five council members, all but Mathews and Watkins, voted against such draconian ways to fill the deficit.

According to the budget director, the basis for the 2018 shortfall with more to come ($15 million by Fiscal Year 2021) is due to steep increases in pension and health care costs, and the “need to retain and develop city staff” (emphasis added). Most institutions don’t “develop” staff during budget shortfalls. They enact a hiring freeze. Yet hiring at the city, especially at the upper levels, chugs merrily along as though there were no shortfall in sight. Do we really need “spokespersons” for the SCPD and other departments? Aren’t the handsomely-paid department heads capable of speaking to the press and the community? And what about the plethora of consultants hired to develop unpopular projects such as the Corridors and the Wharf Master Plans? To be fair, the  $1.1 million Wharf Master Plan was largely paid for by funds obtained under false pretenses from the federal government’s Department of Commerce, by the city’s claim that the wharf was “severely damaged” by the 2011 tsunami — when in fact the wharf was not damaged by the tsunami. In order to secure the federal grant, the city’s Parks and Recreation department had to cough up $175,000 in contributions, roughly the amount of the suggested budget cuts to fill the 2018 shortfall.  

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A meaningful debate on such questions would show respect for the community. A set of options that includes cutting resources such as security on the levees is akin to telling us to go play in the sand box.

~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  Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

By: Chris Krohn    Email Chris at

Last council meeting of the year brings home little bacon, and no tofu. But a subcommittee to study the Santa Cruz housing crisis some more? That got done.

This would be the year of housing, housing, and housing according to Mayor Cynthia Chase. That was back in December of 2016 when the mayoral world was new and immigration (ICE) raids and a homeless benchlands camps were yet to come. December of 2017 might’ve been thought about in terms of the next comet sighting, a happening event but still far off. Hope, along with Santa Cruz dope, were still wafting freely through borrowed gas-tax repaving projects and declarations that Surf City might be the fourth most expensive planetary housing destination. That was then. Chase again reiterated the pledge in a Good Times interview on Jan. 23rd, “Housing is a big focus this year.”

Even when faced with a Homeland Security-immigration crisis on Feb. 15th–seems like the Department of Homeland Security had a desk inside the SCPD, and no one knew about it…except the SCPD–she didn’t change direction and make “sanctuary” her main issue. Nope, she doubled-down proclaiming at her “state of the city” address in May, “Our community is struggling with a full-blown crisis that requires rethinking of approach, emphasizing innovation, capitalizing on the growing level of compassion and expertise in our community and we need to come together to define our collective housing condition.”

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Santa Cruz Mayor, David Terrazas being sworn in by Superior Court Judge, Paul Marigonda in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers at 809 Center Street.

Santa Cruz Has a New Mayor
David Terrazas was sworn in as the 94th mayor of the city of Santa Cruz last week. He began his mayoral reign on the evening of December 6th. Formerly, vice-mayor Terrazas literally changed hats all in one motion as Mayor Cynthia Chase was absent due to a nasty cold. During his new mayor remarks, he spoke of “a deep love of Santa Cruz”, proudly stated he is the grandson of immigrants, and that his wife Monica is also an immigrant from El Salvador. David’s remarks were as circumspect as they were emotionally charged. There is “a crisis in mental health…there is crime on our streets…public misery and disorder…” Terrazas itemized his public safety concerns first. He wants to “improve the Riverwalk,” and “keep open spaces healthy and family-friendly.” I think I supported him when he said, “we need to find out who the homeless are, and what they need to get off the street.” Amen brother. He said he had three priorities: 1) community safety, 2) support for city core services including support for youth programs, and 3) “cleanliness of downtown.” He also said, “I support getting back to basics.” There was not much in the way of specifics, but it was offered up before the more than 80 David-supporters present with gobs of passion, multiple smiles, all the while exuding a sense of determination and forthrightness. I think too he wanted to be candid, but he held himself back, perhaps for another day and time.

Gavin Newsom, Candidate for Governor, Comes to the Cruz Looking for Support
In my lifetime, no elected governor has ever run a campaign on universal healthcare, support for sanctuary cities (and state!), or addressing the needs of our state’s most vulnerable population, the homeless. Gavin Newsom says he is running on all these issues, and even seems to be proud to run on these intractable matters, arguably the state’s most pressing and persistent ones. Newsom was in town this past Saturday bringing his upbeat, unabashed, some might say oil slick brand of liberalism to Surf City. In his hour-long presentation before a crowd of well over 100 — mostly Dem party loyalists at the Police Community room on Center Street — Newsom offered his stump speech, and he even acknowledged it at one point, thanking the audience for asking tough questions on homelessness, creating a state bank, releasing Prop. 51 funds, housing more UC students on campus, and the one he received the most applause on, universal-single payer-medicare for all healthcare. I came away impressed and wondering if,  as the front runner — LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, California State Treasurer John Chiang, and former California Public Schools Superintendent Delaine Easton are also running — he will tack towards the center, as he visits the rest of a state that is not Santa Cruz or San Francisco. He appeared quite comfortable here in the city of the Holy Cross. Villaraigosa will be in Santa Cruz on Wed. Dec. 13th at Fred Keeley’s house.

Bernie Tweet of the Week
“The Democratic Party will not become a vibrant and successful 50 state party until it opens its doors widely to the working people and young people of our country. I am extremely pleased that the Unity Reform Commission has begun that process.” (Dec. 9)

~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.

By: Becky Steinbruner    Email Becky at


Please help me hold the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors accountable to the people, by signing and helping to circulate the Referendum Petition to repeal Ordinance 5256 amending County Code to grant an AUTOMATIC pay increase to the Board for the next four years, with two increases in 2018.

Supervisors took this action via the Consent Agenda, without public discussion that day other than Supervisor Caput voting NO on the issue. This came after the Supervisors passed Resolution 279-75 on October 24 to increase their own salaries by the highest amount (5.18%) of any middle management salary increase approved. Look at the larger-than-cost-of-living increases granted here in Item #32

Please help me circulate Referendum Petitions countywide.  Call me: 831-685-2915 or e-mail


“We’ll try to squeeze them in if we can,” said Assistant Public Works Director Steve Wiesner, when asked by Commissioner Sandy Brown if there were any bike racks included in the County’s Aptos Village area road projects. Including bike racks had been a contingency for the County to receive the $650,000 grant last year, but none got included in the bus stop relocation area or anywhere in the Phase I Trout Gulch/Soquel Drive area project. There were none included in the Aptos Creek Road Traffic Light project application before the RTC either.

When quizzed further by Commissioner Brown, Mr. Wiesner said there will plenty of bike parking within the Aptos Village Project. That does not serve the public taking public transportation to the Village area or to the many festivals held at the County’s Aptos Village Park, where there is NO BIKE PARKING currently available.

Commissioner Bertrand asked why the public had been denied access to view the County’s Aptos Creek Road $3 Million Traffic Light Project.  Mr. Wiesner replied it was because the plans have not been finalized. So, it is okay to spend public taxpayer money but not allow the taxpayers to see what is to be built???

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County staff has determined that the best place to open a Drop-in Day Center for the area’s growing homeless population would be in the Harvey West Park area. This will probably not be discussed at the December 12 Board meeting, because it is in the Consent Agenda as Item #11. What worries me is that the Board will consider declaring a Local State of Emergency or Shelter Crisis “to expedite siting of the Day Center and allow for amendment to zoning, building and other building codes/regulatory codes, reduce land use barriers (aka public hearings) and expedite contracting processes.”   

Currently, staff is looking for vacant commercial or industrial sites to lease. Preferred sites are 155 DuBois, 195 Harvey West Blvd (former Encompass Community Services building), 320-330 Encinal Street, and 350 Encinal (former Goodwill building).

Why lease property, increasing the burden on County taxpayers?  Why not set up the Day Center in the basement of the County Building at 701 Ocean Street, in the now-vacant cafeteria?  That would be close to the downtown homeless population, the existing Benchlands Homeless Camp adjacent to the County Building, and would provide logical and convenient access to public services for the homeless.  The County already employs two full-time security guards for the County Building and parking areas.

I want to help the homeless, but shouldn’t the Board also act fiscally-responsible with precious taxpayer money? Would declaring a Local State of Emergency require that the County INCREASE the number of required affordable units to be built inclusionary in new developments and hold developers to the requirement? Call your Supervisor and ask: 454-2200.

The County Board of Supervisors will hear the County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios report the Preliminary Budget Protection Report for 2018-19 and may take action as recommended by the CAO. That part is a bit murky, but read this report and ask why County employee retirement costs are projected to INCREASE $9-$13 MILLION in the next five years.  Wow. 

Take a look at the report (Item #64) here

Help me with the Referendum Petition….make the Board accountable.


Becky Steinbruner, 831-685-2915

~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.

By: Gary Patton    Email Gary at    (Brattonote: now it’s much easier to subscribe)
#342 / Democracy Reviewed

I am known to rely on book reviews as a place to uncover various ideas that strike me as important or useful (and yet I never read the books themselves). This is not the best practice, I know, but it works for me. 

Most recently, I found some helpful observations in Barton Swaim’s review of a couple of books about democracy. Swaim’s review was published in the November 25-26 edition of The Wall Street Journal under the title, “Trusting the People to Make Mistakes.” That is the hard copy version of the title. When you click the link, you’ll see something else at the top, but the text is just the same as the version delivered to my doorstep. Swain focuses his review on the relationship between “liberalism” and “democracy,” and suggests, citing to Josiah Ober’s book, Demopolis: Democracy Before liberalism in Theory and Practice, that we disassociate these two terms. I am all for that!

Ober says that democratic government depends on “civic dignity,” which “requires citizens to be engaged in the effort of fashioning a shared existence.” That is what I call creating the “human world,” the world we most immediately inhabit. I am with Ober in saying that this requires civic engagement. My phrasing is generally along these lines: “We can’t have self-government unless we get involved with government ourselves.”  Among other things, Ober says that civic dignity implies that the people, as they work to govern themselves, must be free to make mistakes. The fact that they do make mistakes is not a reason to invalidate our commitment to democracy, or to suggest (along with Plato and other philosophers of perfection) that only the “elites” are fit to rule. 

What is the timely message in Ober’s scholarly analysis? 

The people made a mistake, in our last presidential election. A BIG mistake. However, democracy will survive. Let’s not be suckered into the idea that all Trump supporters are “deplorable,” an idea based on elitist liberalism. We’re all in this together. That’s another one of my favorite observations!

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 his blog at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. A December traditional DeCinzo with our own local Scrooge…scroll downwards, just a bit more.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “If The Shoe Fits” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog with his take on you-know-who titled “Just Go”.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol continues to haunt our holidays with the impressive, one-man show, Scrooge, at Jewel Theatre Company, reviewed this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, find out how an obscure guy with no talent became a cult idol by making the worst movie in Hollywood history in The Disaster Artist.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

For the very first time in years I didn’t attend any films last week. Nothing looked that exciting. I did see National Theatre Lives’ production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” at the Del Mar at 11am. last Sunday morning. It was great. Not as good as his later musicals, Company, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Assassins… but very good all the same.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100%, and it’s the highest-rated film in RT’s history!!! Greta Gerwig directed Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well-thought-out movie. A teenaged daughter and her mom have a terrible, never-ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento around 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules, and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. First, please note the 95 RT rating. When you have Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell working in a film directed by an Oscar-winning director you almost can’t miss. It is definitely a dark comedy. The plot contains murder, rape, loyalty, cancer, and some absolutely brilliant acting. Go see it, and force all your friends to see it too.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Most mystery nuts claim this is Agatha Christie’s best mystery, but this isn’t the best movie version — the 1974 was better.  Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer are fine actors (especially Michelle) and they do their jobs in this new “Express”. However the cuts, flashbacks, photography, and not-tight directing by Kenneth Branagh — who also fills the Poirot role — just dull the trip. Remember the old one with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Wendy Hiller, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergman? That film roared along the tracks and took us with it. Bergman won her third Oscar with her role in it, too.

All that said, go see this! It’s fun, and only a little dull in parts.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS. This simple minded Hallmark card movie is drivel. Christopher Plummer does a good job (as usual) and the rest of the cast swims through this rip off of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. It’s supposed to be funny or sentimental, but it lacks any cleverness or sophistication. I’m not sure why they made this cloying mess. Closes Dec.14.

WONDER. This highly touted sob story starring Julia Roberts got an 87 on RT, and about a 5 from me. Owen Wilson with his misshapen nose and jerk smile and Julia plays the little Jacob Tremblay’s parents. Jacob was born with a misshapen face as in the “Mask” movie (which was better, even though Cher played the kid’s mother). Wonder is a genuine Hollywood production in every way. Cheap heart-tugging emotions, and shallow acting with the exception of Mandy Patinkin. Patinkin has been the co-star of the Homeland series on iTunes, and I just finished near bingeing all six seasons. Mandy has become one of my all-time favorite stars. Anyway, Wonder is commercial, shallow and… don’t go.

DAISY WINTERS. Just when you think you’ve seen the worst movie of your life, along comes something like Daisy Winters. Oddly enough, the plot is similar to Lady Bird. A mother and daughter fight to the finish. Poor acting, lackluster photography, saccharine plot and there’s only one reason you might stay awake… Brooke Shields is in it. Brooke is now 52 years old and looks a lot like Bruce Jenner in full drag. If I remember correctly, Brooke was in Santa Cruz with director Louis Malle, and they shot a scene on Cooper Street by the side entrance to the Cooper House. Anyone remember that? Do not see this movie.



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. Dec.12 has Chayla Fisher and Brandon Truong  from UCSC’s Student Environmental Center discussing some serious campus issues, such as the LRDP. December 19 Wilma Marcus Chandler and Bonnie Ronzio tell us about the annual “Eight 10’s at Eight” play festival playing Jan. 5-Feb. 4th at the Center Stage. Then Ross Gibson returns to talk about his book, “An Architectural Tour of Historic Santa Cruz County”. I’ll be in Victorville and Mar Vista on Dec. 26. City Councilman Chris Krohn opens the new year on Jan. 2 He’s followed by Attorney/activist Bob Taren, looking ahead to the new political year. January 9th has Otolaryngologist, Dr. Douglas Hetzler discussing surfers ear, dear wax and dangers of candling and many other health issues. …AND ALSO…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here 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

Pet Peeve Alert!! 🙂

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.


“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice”. Dave Barry

“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up—- they have no holidays”, Henny Youngman

“I love out-of-the-way, rugged places. For me, holidays are about the experiences, and the people, and the memories, rather than sitting on a nice beach getting tanned. I try to plant myself where I am and embrace what is there in front of me”,  Evelyn Glennie

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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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