Blog Archives

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Save the Circle Church (Errett Circle), Some of UCSC’s Climate Changes issues, UCSC’s East Meadow update, GREENSITE…on new council snafus. KROHN… Camp Ross, list of last week’s council issues, U.S. Foreign Policy, Bernie Sanders, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez quote. STEINBRUNER…County debt in question, County Roads and gas taxes, Zach Friends’ new 3200 Square foot office in Aptos Village, Davenport’s Cemex plant. PATTON…on how take political action and be effective. EAGAN…a favorite Deep Cover. JENSEN…reviews Never Look Away. BRATTON…critiques Greta. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE FUTURE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “Storms”


                                 

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McHugh Bianchi Store January 27, 1967. This interesting, attractive marvel of a store was at the corner of Mission, Water, Pacific and Front streets. It is now the Bank of The West. It was built in 1886. We started a long battle to save it in 1972, but it was torn down in 1974.                                              

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

BISON, JAGUARS, AND THE BORDER. Debbie Bulger sent this necessary You Tube.  Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, explains how Trump’s border wall will end the free migration of wildlife, such as the last wild herd of bison in the Southwest, and endangered jaguars

DATELINE March 4, 2019

SAVE THE CIRCLE CHURCH. (Errett Circle). A bunch of Errett Circle residents are working hard to save the historic Church from being torn down and replaced with unwanted development. They sent a letter to the City Council, the planning Commission and the Mayor,  and want any and all of us who care about history, housing and community to help them out. Here’s the entire letter…

“We are writing to let you know our concerns regarding the development proposal for 111 Errett Circle. We are advocating for the preservation of the “Circle Church” as crucial to the integrity of our neighborhood and as a significant element in numerous ways within the larger context of the City of Santa Cruz.

You are aware that recently the church was sold and plans are being made to demolish the existing Church building and develop the property as residential. While we are in solidarity with the city and our fellow community members about the need for more housing in our City, we don’t believe that the proposed development provides the type of housing that is greatly needed – on-site low-income housing and housing for students.

We feel that the proposed residential use of this unique property for a small number of people is outweighed by its historical significance as a center for gatherings and activities that we believe should continue into the future to benefit a wide diversity of residents and visitors.

The Planner for this project informs us that soon documents will be available for public consideration. We are looking forward to engaging with that process, but to be clear, our intention is to advocate for the greater good so that The Circle of Friends LLC investors come to understand the negative impacts of their proposal and agree that the neighborhood and community are best served by preserving and breathing new life into this property, not demolishing and developing it into private housing. There are many pieces to be envisioned and negotiated between where this process is today and a fully supported project that serves the larger community, but we are determined and convinced that as our group widens, a sustainable, creative, and compassionate outcome can be attained.

We look forward to collaborating with you further about why it is so important to preserve the Circle Church.

Here is a partial list of our additional hopes and concerns:

  1. The property at 111 Errett Circle has been used as a spiritual center and community gathering place since the late 1800s – for over 125 years. A building called the Tabernacle was dedicated in August 1890. A series of circular streets, which are still an integral part of the urban infrastructure of the Santa Cruz westside, were laid out around the Tabernacle. Streets were named for ministers affiliated with the church, and these are still the street names today. When the Tabernacle burned down in 1935, the congregation met across the street on Errett Circle. The center of the circle was used for a recreational area and community gathering location until Garfield Park Christian Church was built there in 1958.
  2. From our review of both the California Register of Historical Resources and the National Register of Historic Places, we believe that the Errett Circle Church meets the criteria for historical designation. We would like to start the nomination process, but this would require support from the property owners.
  3. We are concerned that the proposed project does not reflect the historic cultural and ethnic diversity of the Circles and lower westside community.
  4. We are concerned about the impact that the proposed project will have on our neighborhood. The Circles area is already very dense, with smaller than standard lots. The proposed project would intensify this density, with high use of infrastructure: water, sewer, traffic, parking.

    Errett Circle has a unique urban layout within the City of Santa Cruz. It is a complete circle, with four streets leading to the center, and as such it creates a dramatic landmark, especially when viewed from West Cliff Drive. In urban design terms, Errett Circle creates a “terminating vista” – which is an important method for adding aesthetic appeal to a city and to emphasize historic structures or monuments. Errett Circle is a visual and metaphoric focal point for neighbors, community, and visitors. We believe that focal point should be maintained into the future, encompassing a larger meaning – as a center that draws people together and reflects the diversity of interests of the Santa Cruz community.

  5. Community members that have gathered for over 125 years at the Errett Circle church and meeting rooms – for religious services, classes, and activities – have enjoyed the very special opportunity to connect visually with land, water, and sky, with a view south along Woodrow Avenue to the Pacific Ocean. Community members are already reporting a sense of “eco-anxiety” when contemplating the destruction of the church and the use of the property only for a small number of residents.

On November 28 an Outreach Meeting, as required by the Planning Department Community Outreach Policy, was held at the Church by the prospective developers, “The Circle of Friends Community LLC.” The meeting was well attended as reported in an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. However many of us came away frustrated that the presentation avoided the intent of the Outreach Policy, i.e., that “The applicant will present the project to the community and solicit input that is intended to improve the project so that the final outcome is more satisfying to both the applicant and the community.”

We think that it is essential that community members be given a voice in visions for the future of the property at 111 Errett Circle. Our concerns are for the preservation of the historic structure so that the larger community can enjoy this cultural treasure for many generations into the future.

Sincerely,

John Sears
Sue Powell
Freya Sands

UCSC AND CLIMATE CHANGE. Chloe Reynolds and Laretta Johnson, the editors of City On a Hill Press, and staff, issued a special edition “The Climate Issue” last week. (vol.53 Issue #18). Its not just a helpful guide to recycling, but also reveals the problems and issues that UCSC has dealt with for decades. We (you) can and should read the entire issue here… . But actually the hard print newspaper is easier to read.

So I’ve picked out a few salient issues and skipped around so you can digest the high points. Such as… 1,800 tons of UCSCs excess waste food went to the dump during the 2017-2018 year. In 2016, 44 percent of UCSC students “experienced food insecurity”.  “Afrikan/Black/Caribbean students experienced it at 62 percent and 51 percent respectively”. UC has a zero waste deadline approaching in 2020 “but last year only 69 percent of total waste was diverted into landfills”. UCSC generates 56 pounds of pizza boxes per year. 100,000 to 150,000 pizza boxes are delivered in Santa Cruz each year. About 80 percent of what Americans throw away is recyclable… yet we recycle only 28 percent of it..

Monarch Butterflies have declined by 86 percent since 2017 in Coastal California. There were fewer than 30,000 in the most recent season. They are more than a tourist attraction. They are vitally important to the ecosystems they inhabit. UC refuses to sever ties with the fossil fuel industry which is largely responsible for the Climate Change. On Climate Changes…July 2018 was Californias hottest month in history, at 79.7 degrees Fahrenheit, 5 degrees warmer than the norm. Santa Cruz versus Ice Plant. Ice plant overpowers native flora on the bluffs near Natural Bridges, and disrupts the breeding of the cormorants in the area. There’s lots more in that City on A Hill issue. Check it out.

UCSCS EAST MEADOW. The East Meadow Action Committee (EMAC) released their latest update last week. It says that the University released the final EIR report for the Student Housing West. It’s been submitted to the Regents for approval at the March 13 and 14th meeting in L.A. and looks like it’ll be approved. If so, then EMAC and the rest of the world can either watch the bulldozers tear into the East Meadow, or file suit under the California Environmental Quality Act. They’ll file suit. EMAC needs our help… go to the funding appeal page on their website (eastmeadowaction.org), or use this direct link to the gofundme here

March 4

ON FROGS, ADU’S & PARKING.
Any torch carried for long-established single family, modest income neighborhoods, was snuffed out by city council at the second reading of ordinance changes to ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units) at the February 12th meeting.

Led by members of the new progressive majority, Krohn, Glover and Comings, the off-street parking requirement that survived the first reading was stripped from the second reading. This despite the many people who attended the first hearing and the many emails that urged and begged council to keep the requirement that if an ADU is built, a parking spot for tenants must be provided on the property (called off-street parking). Staff estimated that to provide such a parking spot onsite costs the property owner approximately $25,000 of the total cost. I’m sure a roof is also expensive. They claimed that by dumping the additional car(s) generated by the ADU on the street this amount would be saved, reducing the overall cost and encouraging more people to build ADU’s. Fine for them, not so fine for the rest of us. And this is providing housing for…? When property owners desiring to build another house on their single-family lot speak before council, it’s always an ailing father or a sister in a wheel chair for whom the ADU is being built. I’m sure such needs exist but that is not the norm or the main incentive. There is no longer any balance or pretence at a balance between the push to add more housing stock and the impact of that added density on existing already dense neighborhoods. It’s housing, stupid. As if supplying more and more leads to anything except more and more in a town bursting at the seams with a water supply problem in drought years, a traffic nightmare in all years and a strain on service resources except new restaurants and coffee shops. Not that the workers in such places who earn minimum or just above minimum wage can afford to rent a typical ADU in town.

Council tied itself in knots over this one since they were reversing their initial vote. That only 4 members of the public attended indicates that the many, including myself, who attended countless meetings as this issue wound its way from Planning Commission to Council did not expect a bait and switch. Motions, amendments, substitute motions, more amendments flew in all directions. City attorney Condotti helped untangle the knots and smoothed the way for staff’s desired outcome of eradicating the parking requirement for all new ADU’s with Krohn making the winning motion, Comings seconding it and Glover expressing support. Only council member Mathews voted no after withdrawing her initial motion when she realized it was being manipulated to exclude the parking requirement. The motion passed 6 to 1.

A report in a year’s time on how many new ADU’s are built and how many complaints over parking are generated is built into the motion. The first is easy to tally, the second, not so much. In my experience, most long-time neighbors don’t interact much with council and don’t call or email to complain even when they are livid over an issue. Those that do are the in-crowd, the regulars and the activists. Sometimes there’s an exception. That evening’s council session when hundreds turned out over the council majority’s proposal to allow RV parking on Delaware between Swift and Natural Bridges was such an exception. It demonstrates what happens when the new council majority ignores neighborhoods in its calculations. The proposal was quietly dropped.

The boiling frog story applies here. Delaware was the frog dropped suddenly in boiling water. ADU’s with no off-street parking is the frog slowly warmed until it dies without knowing why.

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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March 4, 2019

CITY COUNCIL AND FOREIGN POLICY (REALLY) MATTERS

City Council This Week

The city council continues to work well together in the policy realm and is not shying away from tough issues. Of course, homelessness for now has been at the top of our list. These are some of the issues that were addressed at the Feb. 26th council meeting:

  • The council affirmed that the Ross Camp will not close until adequate space has been opened for the 150-plus campers;
  • city staff will return to council with a list of possible places on city-owned property where transitional encampments and RV parking might go;
  • staff will bring updates of those who responded to the county’s RFP process to access the $10 million in state funding that came to Santa Cruz County;
  • no homeless emergency was declared, and NO parking of RVs will be permitted on Delaware Street;
  • the Verizon proposed cellular project at 117 Morrissey Blvd. was denied an encroachment permit for a second time;
  • the city council approved a study session, set for March 19th, to look at
  • a) transportation demand management (TDM),
  • b) parking, and
  • c) housing in the downtown;
  • Altaira Hatton was selected for the Parks and Rec. Commission and she now joins Gillian Greensite, Jane Mio, and Dawn Schott-Norris on that commission;
  • The Santa Cruz City Public Works Department is recommending raising sewage fees by 32% over the next 5 years (7% in each of the first three years followed by 6% for two years), sounds pretty hefty. Council needs to hear from you as all utility payers will be notified by post card soon;
  • there was a budget adjustment of $83,000 related to costs at the Ross Camp since December and these costs include the placement of port-a-potties and hand washing stations, distribution of wood chips, regular garbage pick-up, and the placement of a large Sharps Container;
  • city council voted to send the 15% inclusionary ordinance (mandated affordable units in every project) to its closed session meeting on March 12, given a pending law suit filed against the city over the Devcon-Lawlor 205-unit Pacific and Laurel project;
  • the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance was finally approved and passed on its second reading. The controversial part here is that it will relieve all detached ADU home builders of building an on-site parking space. The council will revisit this ordinance in one year and evaluate how it is proceeding with the idea of overturning it if it is found that neighborhoods have been adversely impacted.
  • City council voted unanimously to place an item on the March 12th council agenda to have the community discuss the Homeland Security Investigations-ICE raid that took place in the Seabright neighborhood at 4am this past Feb. 15th.

Not bad for one a council meeting that began at 12:30pm and ended at 1:05am. Long day!

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BERNIE SANDER’S TOWN HALL.
It was a town hall meeting in Washington, D.C and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was interviewing presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. About 40 local “Berners” gathered inside the Dem Party headquarters at the Galleria Building in downtown Santa Cruz to celebrate Bernie’s candidacy and listen to him joust with the legendary newscaster. Actually, it seemed at times like Bernie was playing Abbott to Blitzer’s Costello, as he would sometimes end Wolf’s sentences, or begin to tell a story and then say, that’s for some other time. Often Bernie would be interviewing the interviewer too. It was the perfect setting, with mostly graduate students from D.C. colleges seemed to be present to emphasize his single-payer healthcare program (now called Medicare for All), tuition-free state college and university waivers, support for universal childcare, his version of the Green New Deal, acknowledging the gargantuan task that the changing climate presents and begin addressing it, and he also strongly supports ano-interventionist policy in Venezuela “because I’m old enough to remember” all those interventions mentioned above. Right now, among the announced candidates and possible contenders, only Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie support all of these issues that seem to matter most to Americans. There are officially 12 Democratic Party candidates and a few others who have not announced who may not yet be there.

By the way, it is interesting to note that as of March 4, according to Ballotpedia, there are now 581 candidates registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for President of the United States in 2019. Yes 581. There’s 195 Democrats and 78 Republicans included in that number.

BERNIE’S, um, AOC’S TWEET OF THE WEEK. Since Bernie is running for President I am going to jump on the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bandwagon (been there since last July) and begin tweeting AOC’s best stuff.

AOC tweets: “According to the GOP, when poor + working people advocate for themselves, we shouldn’t listen bc they’re ‘irresponsible.’ Yet when higher incomes fight for working people, we shouldn’t listen bc they’re ‘hypocrites.’ How about we fight for the right thing bc it’s the right thing?” (March 3)   
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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March 4, 2019

HOW MUCH IS THE COUNTY IN THE RED?
That was my question to Supervisors at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor meeting after County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios gave a not-so-rosy report.  It seems the cannabis tax revenues have not materialized at the dollar levels anticipated ($1.5 million less than thought), but various department requests have increased substantially, by $3 million.  Then there is the CalPERS employee retirement benefit tsunami, due to hit 701 Ocean Street hard for the next three years that will double that expenditure.  Measure G sales tax revenue is anticipated to bring $11,877,321 this 2019/2020 budget year.

In the discussion of the State’s contributions, staff stated that the population is expected to increase by 0.5%/year.  However, the CAO staff reported that the anticipated growth in the County will offset the revenue reductions due to the problems with cannabis licensing procedures and resulting lack of incoming tax revenues to the County.

A RECESSION IS OVERDUE AND EXPECTED. 
I had to clarify I had heard that there could be up to a $14 Million deficit in the County budget.  I was grateful for getting an answer…”Don’t worry, Mr. Palacios has assured the Board he will deliver the Board a balanced budget in June.”   It will be interesting to see how that is accomplished.

Maybe Supervisor Zach Friend should have held off on getting his new 3200 Square foot  office and Safety Center in Aptos Village?  HE SAID NOTHING DURING THE BUDGET REPORT DISCUSSION.

THE COUNTY ROADS MAY CONTINUE TO CRUMBLE…AND THE COUNTY MAY ASK FOR ANOTHER BOND MEASURE
County Public Works Assistant Director Steve Weisner presented a “State of the Pavement” address to the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday, and it was not encouraging.  Paving costs are up, so less work can be done with the SB 1 State gas tax money and Measure D County transportation tax money. That gas tax money is dwindling with the increase in electric and hybrid vehicles.  What little money the County says it has for this work will be focused on main arterials and rural roads will likely get little or no attention, depending on what information a computer model called “Street Saver” spits out.

Board Chairman Ryan Coonerty asked if another bond measure might be necessary.  Mr. Weisner felt that would make a lot of sense.  Yikes!

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RURAL FIRE SAFETY WORKSHOP THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 10
If you live in rural Santa Cruz County, you need to attend this free wildfire preparedness workshop and tour from 1pm-3pm at the Graham Hill Equestrian Showgrounds (near Sims Road).  The Resource Conservation District is partnering with CalFire and the Santa Cruz County Equine Evacuation Unit to provide information about:

  • private and rural road readiness
  • defensible space around homes
  • creating fuel breaks
  • evacuating livestock and pets.

The workshop will include a tour of fuel break work along Graham Hill Road and information on adapting these practices to your own property. 

Get further information here (at bottom of page)

Plan to also attend the March 23 (10am-2:30pm) State of the San Lorenzo River Symposium also being organized by the Resource Conservation District.

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND ONE PUBLIC MEETING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.  GET SCRAPPY AND JUST DO SOMETHING! Cheers,

Becky Steinbruner

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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March 2, 2019
#61 / Lennie

Pictured is Lennie Roberts. She is “Lennie” to all who have worked with her (and maybe even to some of those who have worked against her). Click that link to her name, and you’ll be able to read a Sierra Club accolade to Lennie Roberts as an “environmental hero.” The write-up might even be a bit understated!

A tribute to Lennie, and a celebration of her conservation work, will be held on June 21, 2019, under the auspices of Committee for Green Foothills. Lennie played a leadership role in preventing Caltrans from constructing a new, growth-inducing freeway to connect the San Mateo County coastside with San Francisco. We have the Devil’s Slide tunnel instead, plus a coastal trail of breathtaking beauty. Take a ride and try it out, if you haven’t already. Thanks to Lennie’s work on that project, the San Mateo County coastside is now better protected from growth pressures originating on the other side of the hill than anyone could have hoped for. You can click right here for some information on the June celebration

Lennie has been on the Board of Directors of Committee for Green Foothills for fifty years. She has served as a policy and legislative advocate for the Committee for forty years. Here is a link to an edition of the Committee for Green Foothills’ Winter 2018 Newsletter, documenting Lennie’s contributions. It is well worth reading, and I particularly commend Lennie’s “Ten Tips For Advocates.”  Lennie is trying to “pass on the spirit,” and I am reproducing them, below, to save you a “click.”

My summation? Thank you, Lennie! My suggestion? Let’s hunt down the “environmental hero” possibilities we all have within us. It’s time to start working on the next fifty years!

My Ten Tips for Advocates

    by Lennie Roberts, Legislative Advocate

Here are ten common sense tips that I point to when people have asked me, “how do you do it?”

  1. Learn everything you can about your issue. Knowledge is power!
  2. Research the decision-making process and timelines for decisions. Find out what is important to people you are trying to influence.
  3. Enlist allies to increase your clout. Empowering others is often a critical element in success.
  4. Develop relationships with key people. Building trust with others gives you a huge advantage.
  5. Never lie or mislead anyone. If you inadvertently use wrong information, admit your errors!
  6. Do not attack others personally. Even with the most vexatious provocateurs, you can—and should—strongly argue against ideas, but not the person.
  7. Keep your eye on the goal. Your issue may require many years of effort.
  8. Maintain a sense of humor. It will keep you going through the most challenging times.
  9. Remember that results are what counts, not your personal glory. Work with anyone and everyone you can, and let others bask in the spotlight wherever possible.
  10. Celebrate others genuinely and frequently. Gratitude for large and small victories helps sustain and inspire our efforts.

Good luck, and remember that victories are often temporary, but defeats are permanent. A great deal of the environment that we enjoy and depend upon today has already been compromised. It is vitally important to defend what is left in order to provide for future generations.

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. See another view of what and why we tick with our “inner” associates”. Scroll below

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “classic deep cover” 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.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. The fifth concert in their season is titled “MUSA—Chinese Baroque” it presents music by Rameau, Pedrini, Pu’an, and more. Derek Tam is the concert director and plays harpsichord; Rita Lilly, soprano; Mindy Ell Chu, mezzo-soprano; Addi Liu, violin and viola; Laura Gaynon, cello; David Wong, guqin and guzheng!!  “Chinese Baroque” explores the dynamic and complex cultural exchanges between Western Europe and China in the 17th and 18th centuries, through the lens of music.  Enjoy rare delights ranging from the only Western-style sonatas written in China before the 20th century to a tune played by the Emperor Kangxi! There’s two performances  Saturday, March 16, 7:30 pm and
Sunday, March 17, 3:00 pm. The Chamber Players concerts are all at … Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive, Aptos (Off Highway 1 at Freedom Blvd.)

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa orders…”Save the date! I’ll be speaking at Porter Memorial Library, the tiny treasure of Soquel Village, on Wednesday, March 13. Rain or shine! I’m bringing all my books, along with the harrowing tales of how I got them into print. Read all about it this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). Also, there’s still time to catch up with Never Look Away, the recent Foreign Language Oscar contender about art and life in postwar Germany. Read my review in this week’s Good Times, then hie thee to The Nick, while it’s still in town!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

GRETA. Once you see that Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz are in this movie you might be tempted…but don’t go. It almost seems like the director worked very hard to ruin every minute of this purported plot. It’s a sick movie about the very sick Isabelle who lures pretty young women subway passengers to her lair. Boring, predictable, and impossible.

ROMA. What’s extra perfect about Roma is that you can see it on the theatre screen right now, realize how perfect a film it is, and then go home and watch it again on Netflix. I did exactly that. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) directed this complex self-biography/masterpiece. I’m not sure what’s best… the acting, the photography, or the story. It’s Mexico City in the 1970’s, and we watch the changes in the life of a housekeeper and of the world she lives in. See it, especially if you like award-winning classics.

FREE SOLO. A National Geographic documentary of young Alex Honnold free-climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. It is beautiful, terrifying, and the most tension you’ve ever felt from anything ever on screen. He climbs the three thousand-plus feet in a little over three hours. It’s a nearly perfectly-made film, on a topic you’ll never forget. See it on the big screen at the Del Mar…you won’t regret it, trust me!!! Oh yes 98 on RT!!.

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD. Peter Jackson who directed The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films took 100’s of hours of actual World War I battles and digitized it into a brilliant telling of what those soldiers went through. Using recordings of soldiers who were in those trenches he made this 3D colorized documentary to pay tribute to that war’s 100 year anniversary. You’ll see war like we’ve never seen it before, with the suffering, the humor, the blood gallons of guts on the screen. You can only see it at the Regal theatre in Capitola. It’s not being shown in 3D locally

ARCTIC. We never find out where Mads Mikkelsen has been or where he’s going but he’s the survivor of a plane crash and he carries the entire film. You will never once take your eyes from the screen…it is completely riveting. Our man Mads then finds a seriously wounded young woman survivor of another plane crash and tows her on his trek. He ties her up in her sleeping bag and attends to her wound but apparently she never has to pee or poop for days, at least he pays no attention. But it is a good (not great) movie…you won’t forget it.

NEVER LOOK AWAY. Warning…this film is 3 hours and 9 minutes long and is based on a still famous German contemporary artists life. It’s full of Nazi politics, artistic statements, and it’ll make you think constantly. Not a great film but I call it courageous, because it is absorbing and well made. The real artist’s name is Gerhard Richter and none of us can afford his paintings today.

EVERYBODY KNOWS. For some reason I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Nope, it’s about a kidnapping, family relations, big parties, luscious landscapes and the kidnapping mystery. Who dunnit? We don’t find out for a very long time and don’t really have enough clues, but go see it anyways.

A STAR IS BORN. Yes, the crowds are right: Lady Gaga is a genuine actor now. She takes almost all the movie away from Bradley Cooper. Cooper directed, financed most of it and plays and sings too. It’s a saga, a melodrama, and shares almost zero with any of the other 4 or 5 Star is Born flicks. Go see it, even if like me you’ve never seen or heard Lady Gaga before. According to Wikipedia… Lady Gaga is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986 in NYC)

FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this  costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?

GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a racist story we are all too familiar with, how the white race protects the Blacks. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.

OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS. The true story of two 10 year old boys killing a 2 year old, an abandoned boy on the beach, racial hatred and parental murder, and more. This collection of Live action shorts is the most miserable, untalented group of shorts I’ve ever seen. They are depressing, uncreative, and hopefully forgettable. CLOSES MARCH 7.

OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. Pixar has its usual expected cutesy entry in this group of shorts. In addition there’s young girl’s menstruation, the smell of dog’s butts, elderly care, and still more depressing topics. The animation shorts aren’t any better or important than the live action. CLOSES MARCH 7….AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

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UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Rick Longinotti will be talking about a park, a commons, and downtown on March 5th. Then author and art critic Carolyn Burke discusses her newest book, “Foursome”. It focuses on the relationship between two famous couples. March 12 has Jim Coffis Co-Founder and director of Green Trade talking about cannabis factors. Workmen’s comp. attorney Bob Taren returns to talk area politics and changes in issues following Coffis. On March 19 Maestro Michel Singher talks about the Espressivo Orchestra concert happening March 31st. Then Ellen Primack exec. dir of the Cabrillo Fest of Contemporary Music talks all about plans to upgrade the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Don Stump president and CEO of CCH talks about senior housing and related issues on March 26. May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd.  OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   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

There are good people. Really.

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. “STORMS”
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”Vivian Greene
“I
think that the
world should be full of cats and full of rain, that’s all, just
cats and
rain, rain and cats, very nice, good
night.”

Charles Bukowski, Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories

“The rain set early in tonight,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its best to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up and all the cottage warm;”

Robert Browning


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! 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!), and the occasional scoop. 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
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