Blog Archives

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Page Smith and Rebele Shelters are infested, Stop the Recall. GREENSITE…on Who Sets Policy at City Hall, and other corrections. KROHN…will return next week. STEINBRUNER…Water transfers begin, Steinbruner Supervisor signs available, hydrogen train coming to Santa Cruz, New Leaf now owned by South Korean Corp., Ellen Pirie and Aptos Village question, Aptos Library demolished. PATTON…vanishing animals EAGAN…Sub Comics plus Deep Cover. JENSEN…holiday distractions. BRATTON…I critique Richard Jewell and Frankie. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “HANNUKAH”


TAKING CARE OF JOHN, JESUS AND FRIENDS. This shows Kathleen Stubergh working on John, who sat to Jesus’ right. The Last Supper waxwork was created sometime in the late 1930’s by two Struberghs, a mother and daughter artist team from Los Angeles. The photo was taken April 23, 1954.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


DATELINE December 16 

Alicia Kuhl, the president of the Santa Cruz chapter of the California Homeless Union, a homeless mother of three young children, was my guest (7:30-8 p.m.)on last week’s Universal Grapevine. Hear it here…  and click on Universal Grapevine listen to and follow the Natural History Museum interview (7-7:30). I asked her to repeat her experiences with the Rebele Family Shelter and the Page Smith Community House at the Homeless Services Center. She sent this email…

“It’s my understanding, and people have reported bed bugs at the Page Smith and at the Rebele Family shelter.

There were reports of scabies several months ago at the 1220 River Street city-sanctioned camp run by the Salvation Army but the staff denied it. It was reported to environmental health. As well as people are vomiting due to the “shuttle drivers driving” there. People are not allowed to walk in and out of the camp they have to get on a shuttle.

And I hear stories of the Laurel Street Shelter almost always being full, taking hours to get into, you have to wait out in the cold for hours for the shuttle to come, and then you get a mat on the floor about 8 inches away from another person sleeping next to you. Keith McHenry (Food Not Bombs) has photos. Disabled people have a really hard time with mats on the floor.

People should know that the Page Smith shelter has a long waiting list and so does the Rebele shelter, so although the conditions are harsh it’s also extremely hard to even get in there  Those places used to offer a lot more services at the Homeless Services Center now called Housing Matters. They used to offer daily meals, a clothing closet, and expanded shower service. It also never had a gate around it in the past; it’s more like a highly regulated hostile facility now, rather than a place for homeless people to seek services and refuge.

I have also received reports about people being kicked out for taking too long of a shower there. (Lucero Luna)
I also know that the people working at the Salvation Army operated  1220 River Street camp make good money $28 to $34 an hr. The camp costs  nearly $80k monthly, yet the camp has almost no budget for helping it’s residents. All that money goes into paying the staff to micro manage 60 people sleeping in tents. It’s ridiculous”. These infectious and unclean charges have been made before but little or nothing has been done to change them.

It’s time for Santa Cruz to unite behind some solid homeless programs, forget the never ending committees assigned to investigate and do something even if it’s copying other cities that have made far more progress than our city by the bay. 

STOP THE KROHN GLOVER RECALL…As most locals have figured out, the recall is the perfect example of class warfare. It’s the financially secure against the renters. It’s the “democrats” versus the Progressives. It’s the Democratic Women’s Club (supports the recall) versus the Peoples Democratic Club (opposes the recall). Bruce Van Allen of the Stop the Recalls Steering Committee sent an email. I’m re “printing” it here… 

Join Us in Defeating the Santa Cruz Recalls. The campaign to defeat the recalls of Drew Glover and Chris Krohn can only win with everyone’s help. The campaign is calling for volunteers – mostly for canvassing, plus some phoning and office work. Voting starts February 3rd, just 7 weeks from now. In that short period, every volunteer makes a difference as we contact voters citywide. To win, we want to match the amazing 2016 and 2018 campaigns for progressive change that put Chris and Drew in office

Check here to see the endorsements… 

You can be part of this short but crucial campaign. Here’s how you can get involved:    

  • Sign up here (If you are already on our email list, you’re part way there: just click that link and then follow the instructions to update your profile to sign up for volunteer activities.)     
  • Share this message with your friends, organizations, and social networks.
    Let’s defeat this recall and keep our city moving forward!

Thanks, Bruce Van Allen, on behalf of the
Stop the Recalls Steering Committee 

  • Lee Brokaw
  • Sheila Carrillo
  • Jessica Chuidian-Ingersoll
  • Brett Garrett
  • John R. Hall
  • Shelley Hatch
  • Rick Longinotti
  • Micah Posner
  • Dawn Schott-Norris
  • Bruce Van Allen
  • Amy Lebichuck, Treasurer
  • Jeffrey Smedberg, Asst. Treasurer

Stop the Recalls of Councilmembers Glover and Krohn
FPPC ID #1419490 • PO Box 839, Santa Cruz CA 95061 •

Our mailing address is:
Stop the Recalls of Councilmembers Glover & Krohn
PO Box 839, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-0839

Correcting the Record

A huge error leaped off the page from Stephen Kessler’s weekly opinion piece in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. An error so glaring it helps explain that writer’s frequent chastisement of the two council members facing a recall and indeed, the recall itself.

Kessler writes:
“In our city manager form of government the mayor’s powers are limited to setting agendas and running council meetings. Policy, for better or worse, is largely driven by professional staff employees of the city based on their knowledge and experience.”  Sentinel 12/14/19 (my emphasis)

Kessler is correct in the first sentence. Setting agendas and running meetings is the role of the mayor. He is incorrect in his second sentence. Policy is set by city council not by staff. Staff carries out the policy set by the elected officials. Or that is the way it is supposed to work. That Kessler got it wrong is probably because for the past few decades, policy has been staff-driven with council deferentially nibbling around the edges. Staff is not and should not be the policy-makers. Past councils have basically given over their power to the bureaucrats who have come to expect that role and who bristle at any challenges, which have been few and far between… until now.

Criticism is leveled that Glover and Krohn are too demanding of staff, not sufficiently cordial and horrors, one apparently  “smirked” when a staff member began their presentation with “in my expert opinion” despite no smirk apparent in the video of the meeting.  That such minor transgressions can be elevated to charges serious enough to warrant a motion to censure and fuel a recall is explainable only when power and a developer friendly status-quo is being challenged. This creates friction, which is personalized, misinterpreted and used as a means to get rid of the council members most critical of the status quo. Add a dose of misinformation such as the false claim by the recall backers that Glover wanted to put a homeless encampment in every neighborhood and friction fuels flames of anger and hostility. Calls to return to “civility” are calls to return to staff at the helm with council the obedient crew. “Civility” in this context means no challenge to “business-as –usual.” Is that what we really want from our elected officials? Is critical analysis spoken with vehemence unacceptable in politics? And if not there, where is it acceptable? To those who say, one can be civil and challenge staff, I say, that is not how the system works. I know, I’ve been there. As chair of the city Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, when I challenged the SCPD, staff and council in 2005 to take more seriously the issue of rape in the city, I was swiftly labeled as disruptive, not a team-player, hostile to staff, a bully…you name it…and I was just as swiftly not re-appointed to the Commission. It is sad to see that the Commission has been invisible since then and is now being misused to vilify Glover and Krohn.

Another needed correction. This is in regards to the Sierra Club Santa Cruz Group ballot, which those of you who are current members will have recently received.  This ballot is to choose members to fill 3 vacancies on the Group’s Executive Committee. The number of open seats is noted on the ballot as 4. There are in fact only 3 seats open.  If you vote for 4 your votes are valid and will be counted. The top 3 vote getters will be seated at the February meeting. As a member of the Elections Committee I am unable to recommend candidates and am not doing so here. However I am concerned at the misinformation being circulated by the 3 males who are running as a slate against the two female incumbents. In the slate’s literature, which is posted on Next Door and being mailed to members, it incorrectly asserts that the Sierra Club is involved in “frivolous lawsuits” against the rail trail and by implication, that the incumbents support such efforts. That is untrue. The Sierra Club is not involved in any lawsuits against the rail trail. The incumbents have not taken a position against the rail trail but do want proper CEQA review of the environmental impacts involved. Rail trail supporters spreading this misinformation claim that exhaustive environmental review has already been done. Not true but just like the recall effort, distortions, untruths and misinformation feed the passions and sway the results. To read the 5 candidates’ full statements on the issues check out the Sierra Club website 

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.


December 16, 2019 

Chris will return next week.

(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

December 16 

Thanks to the recent rains, the City of Santa Cruz gave the green light on December 6 to begin sending treated surface water to Soquel Creek Water District customers, allowing the District to stop pumping from the aquifer and thereby allow groundwater levels to rise naturally.  Last year was the first year the Pilot Project actually transferred water, and would have been a good test had Soquel Creek Water District not decided to begin pumping from their large O’Neill Ranch Well only two weeks into the Water Transfer Pilot Project.  That decreased the amount of water that the District could accept from the City.

It will be interesting to see what tricks the District uses this year to obfuscate any possible success and benefits of the conjunctive use.  It is unclear if the District actually intends to expand the boundaries of the Pilot Project to include Service Area 2 as well as Area 1.  The District only prepared the supply pipelines in Area #1, according to the November Operations & Maintenance Report. 

I have been watching Soquel Creek Water District for a few years, but never have seen their agenda include as many financial disclosure reports as what is on the December 17 Board Agenda.  I think it is curious that the Water Demand Offset reports include NOTHING shown from Barry Swenson Builder for the Aptos Village Project. 

The service capacity fees for the Aptos Village Project, while reported, seem to have been given a discounted rate.  (see item 3.8 on item 65)

Also, take a look at Item 6.6, page 230, where the District plans to pay the Raftelis rate consultants $32,838 to study whether or not to reduce customer rates now that the District got awarded the money from the State.   Water sales revenue is down, and the cost of supplying water to customers is higher, due to the inclusion of the exorbitant costs of preliminary work for PureWater Soquel Project to inject treated sewage water into the drinking water supply for the MidCounty region.   The poor ratepayers haven’t seen anything yet…let’s hope this unnecessary project just does not get built.          

I am running for Second District County Supervisor and will have signs ready to place in the next week.  Please let me know if you would like one or more.  I would also like to hear from you if you would like to host a neighborhood gathering to allow me the opportunity to meet your neighbors and friends.  There may some candidate forums next month, but it seems that many political organizations have already held them and/or made their endorsements.  Please respond to Becky Steinbruner  >   Thanks!

Supervisor John Leopold told the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation Board last week that the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) will be bringing a hydrogen fuel cell passenger train to the rails of Santa Cruz County in February, lasting into March.  It will come into Watsonville by rail, with a ceremony there, then placed on a flatbed truck to be ported to somewhere in the MidCounty area…maybe Live Oak… where there will then be a demonstration of passenger service to an undetermined location in Santa Cruz.  The train cannot proceed north of Watsonville because the tracks along San Andreas Road that were washed out in the 2016-2017 rains have not been repaired. 

The idea is to demonstrate that passenger rail service can be clean, quiet and ecologically sustainable (this train will run on water and the exhaust will only be steam).  “Then we have to see if people are willing to pay for such service.” commented Supervisor Leopold.  Take a look at what the City of Redlands is doing with this Hydrail…planning to put the zero emission train into service in 2014  

A friend sent me this interesting information about New Leaf Market and parent corporation  New Horizons Market getting sold to a large South Korean corporation. 

The picture is not rosy…and may not bode well for the future of this Market that claims to be environmentally-conscious and practicing social equity..

My friend also sent a link to a archived local news blog from May 8, 2015 where retired Second District County Supervisor Ellen Pirie discussed the background of the Aptos Village Project. This was just after the world-famous bike jumps had been illegally bulldozed, and the entire Project changed without proper California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review.  I remember that time, because I paid dearly to appeal the major design approvals but the Board of Supervisors denied it with a sham of a hearing.

It is interesting to note that Ms. Pirie states the biggest obstacle to developing the Aptos Village Project was that developers did not want to have to pay to provide the infrastructure.  What has in fact happened now is that the County taxpayers have paid for all of the infrastructure to support the Aptos Village Project.  That included the County Public Works Aptos Village Traffic Improvement Phase 1 Project that installed the Trout Gulch Road and Soquel Drive traffic light and crossing, and moved the Metro bus stop for the developers in anticipation of their sought-after new Parade Street crossing to Soquel Drive.  That Phase 1 publicly-funded project cost taxpayers about $3.5 million.

On December 10, the County Board of Supervisors approved $2.5 Million for the Aptos Village Traffic Improvement Project Phase 2 work that will add the second traffic light in the Village at Aptos Creek Road, and reconfigure Soquel Drive to accommodate the Aptos Village Project developers’ proposed new Parade Street railroad crossing to Soquel Drive.  What no one is discussing is that the condition the Public Utility Commission (PUC) has required in order to grant the new Parade Street crossing is that there be two similar private crossings closed.  County Public Works arbitrarily chose to close the crossing in front of the Bayview Hotel in Aptos Village, and also the Warrenella Road crossing in Davenport.  While the Davenport community has begun promised improvements in the Cement Plant Road pedestrian and bicycle access as a mitigation, the property owners in Aptos Village are getting kicked in the teeth.   What the County and PUC are ignoring is that the land under the railroad tracks is actually owned by the property owners adjacent…and the 1876 Easement Deed between Jose Arano and the Santa Cruz Railroad stipulates that the crossing must stay open and unobstructed in perpetuity.  

Does the County care?  NO.  Public Works is adamant that the crossing is not being taken, but rather just moved.  What?!  The developers are silent, but are legally responsible.

Going back to the archived interview with Ms. Pirie, it is shocking to read that she assured the interviewer that Swenson got no favors….it just is not true.  The County is leading the work on all the infrastructure improvements, waived encroachment permits for Phase 1 of the subdivision that connected into County road right-of-ways in multiple areas, waived the $1000/bedroom developer fee for parks, and waived the drainage easement costs to have all the storm water runoff from the Project dump into Aptos Village Park and Aptos Creek, a sensitive riparian habitat for Coho salmon.   Also, the roads in the subdivision are not wide enough for trucks to park on the new streets…don’t even ask about safe thoroughfare widths for fire engines.  The list of concessions goes on and on and on…and Supervisor Zach Friend is marching along in fine form to push the approval sometime next month of the Phase 2 Development Final Map that will intensify traffic even more with the solid three-story mixed use ghetto-ization of Aptos Village.  It is disgusting.

To the right is a photo of a County-owned truck that is too wide to fit in the parking spaces on narrow Aptos Village Way.  This photo was taken before the developers painted over both sets of parking space delineations to erase any sense of parking width or length restriction.  Who knows how many parking spaces there really are in the development, when they are no longer marked and cannot be counted?

The Behren-Kim consultants unveiled a nebulous plan last week for a full-house meeting at the Aptos Library, but had no real plans to show anyone, other than the bubble diagram that the Library will be demolished and rebuilt to be over 11,000SF.  It is more cost-effective to remodel, but the consultant pointed up to the lovely large ceiling beams in the meeting room and said it would cost too much to try to enlarge the library and connect with those beams.  Wouldn’t any expansion take place on the opposite side of the building, away from the busy Soquel Drive?

The consultant stated afterward that there will be CEQA review regarding traffic and subsurface water/storm water drainage.  However, it seemed the RFP (Request For Proposals) will go out as soon as the Board approves the concept.  What a lot of building material to send to the landfill when it could be saved and remodeled for less money.

At the meeting, Alysson Violante, the aide to County Supervisor Zach Friend, announced that the Supervisor had just approved an additional $1.5 Million for the Project at the December 10, 2019 Board of Supervisor meeting.  Without this extra money, the library would not have been able to consider expansion.  A lot of people in the audience clapped.  I wondered where the extra $1.5 Million came from???

In looking at the item that had been buried in the Consent Agenda Item #33, the Library Director, Ms. Susan Nemitz, wrote to County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios to ask that an additional $1.4 Million be allowed to be taken from the Library Reserve Fund in order to have the revenue necessary to tear down the Aptos Library and rebuild an 11,700 SF structure.  She explained that construction costs, due to County Public Works Dept. increased overhead charges, were now going up 20% every year.  Because the Aptos Library project is the last one on the list of capital improvement projects, it is disadvantaged, and requires the extra $1.4 Million.

Apparently, the CAO agreed that Ms. Nemitz’s claim that because “property tax growth will remain strong for the next five years” and therefore the risk of depleting the Library Reserve Fund now (rather than postponing the Aptos Library project until the money is actually available) is a reasonable risk.  

What I found interesting at the Aptos Library’s public meeting was the announcement that a “select committee” will decide what plan for the new library will actually be selected, as there is no plan at this point.  The committee will select the three best proposals submitted by contractors, using guidelines for what is to be included in a “best-value design” process, and then the select committee will decide which of the three further proposals would be selected.  “Unfortunately, there will not be any public input beyond tonight,” announced the consultant.  He encouraged interested members of the public to sign up to be considered for inclusion of the small (“to facilitate decision-making”) select committee, but Ms. Nemitz stated that she had already been given a list of suggested members of the select committee.  The consultant said the bubble-diagrams of general uses and requests for the design will become a public document after the Board of Supervisors approves it sometime next month.

The Felton Library is nearing completion and will officially open on January 25, 2020.  The cozy and quaint library closed November 1, to begin the transition.

Here is an interesting link to construction photos of the new Capitola Library

If you enjoy traveling through the bucolic Valencia Valley in Aptos (once navigating the congested traffic in Aptos Village), and imagining the simpler life of the historic apple growing industry as you wind through apple orchards, you may be interested to know that the lovely little yellow house set back against the redwoods is about to explode into a very large structure.  Hopefully, the historic barn adjacent will be spared damage.  On December 20, at 9am, the Zoning Administrator will consider this project at 1400 Valencia Road that would remodel the roughly 2,500 SF house, rebuilt after the 1989 earthquake damaged the original farmstead, to instead make it a 6,154 SF two-story mansion with a swimming pool.  Ten apple trees will be cut down to make room for the new pool and big house.

There was an archaeological survey conducted, but it determined the construction project would not disturb the site.  The barn is the gem that needs to be saved.  It is a likely historic and cultural resource that relates back to the Frederick Hihn apple magnate and Aptos Apple Warehouse business in the Village.  It relates back to the farm life that was key to the post-lumbering era of Aptos.

Here is a link to the Zillow post when 1400 Valencia Road sold for $2.3 Million: 1400 Valencia Rd, APTOS, CA 95003 – 3 beds/3 baths
(MLSListings) 3 beds, 3 baths, 4184 sq. ft. house located at 1400 Valencia Rd, APTOS, CA 95003 sold for $2,300,0…

You can submit comment on this proposed Large Dwelling Project by writing Planner Evan Ditmars  by this Friday December  20..  Mr. Ditmars has been very responsive to questions.  Here is one of the comments I have submitted regarding the historic preservation:

What is the historic significance of the house and barn?  Will the County Historic Resources Commission review this project?  One property description states the house was built in 1940.  Valencia Valley was an historic apple growing area and was supported by Frederick Hihn.  The Aptos History Museum website describes: 

1945 – About this time the last two remaining Aptos Native Americans had a heated argument and one slew the other. The remaining Native American, Jimmie, worked on the Hihn Ranch and died about 1951.

In the book “Images of Aptos” by Kevin Newhouse and the Aptos History Museum, a photo of Jim shows him standing in front of a wooden barn in Valencia (page 98).  Is the barn associated with the proposed large dwelling of possible historic significance and therefore to be protected during construction? 

Cheers, 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.

Email Becky at

December 12
#346 / Let’s Not Get Outfoxed!

The image above came in an email asking me to subscribe to National Geographic. The text of the email told me that foxes are “vanishing before our eyes.” 

I was somewhat taken aback by this news, though not exactly surprised. We are, as I hope we all realize, in the midst of a mass extinction event – the Sixth Mass Extinction in the history of the planet. You can click right here to get a brief summary of the five earlier mass extinction events. Unlike those events, the current mass extinction event is essentially human-caused. No asteroid from outer space has been needed to put most of the species of life on our planet in desperate peril. We are taking care of that ourselves!

On the day I got the “foxes are vanishing” email, I was actually thinking about bird extinctions. The United States and Canada have lost three billion birds since 1970, according to recent reports. I had been thinking about that – and also about the insect extinctions that threaten the collapse of nature. Now, I learn that we have to add foxes to the ever-growing list of endangered species. 

You may remember (if you read this blog regularly) that I have been making reference to reindeer, as a way to talk about how our refusal to submit ourselves to the primacy of the Natural World is putting human civilization in danger. After I heard about the 200 dead reindeer, which starved to death, I heard about the insects; then I heard about the birds. Of course, birds and insects do go togehter. No insects, no birds. That’s pretty clear. Now, I am adding foxes to the list of species that we should be trying to keep around. 

As our human activities take us toward a “collapse of nature,” it is always appropriate to realize that we’re next! 

You could say that our commitment to human activities that help advance species extinction is a demonstration (smart as we think we are) that we are just outfoxing ourselves! 

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

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. More inside views of our little movers and shakers….scroll downwards.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Eternal Truths” 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 thoughts on HOPE!!

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa’s reviews are at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  


RICHARD JEWELL. Once again right-wing conservative Clint Eastwood directs a film with hidden political statements. This time it’s based on a true story about a security guard who discovers a bomb hidden in an Atlanta park in 1996. The FBI decides the guard planted the bomb himself. Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Kathy Bates do super jobs in a totally exciting movie. Eastwood twisted the story to have reporter Olivia Wilde swap sex for a tip from FBI guy Jon Hamm. This wasn’t true, and folks are really upset that Eastwood made up this indignity. But it’s an exciting movie… go anyways. 96 audience score on RT. 73 RT from critics.

FRANKIE. Isabelle Huppert, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei, Jérémie Renier. With a cast like that, it’s a shame that it’s tough to sit through a movie that is so complex. Huppert plays is a big-time movie star with cancer. It’s also about how three generations of family and lovers handle that news, all the while being in lovely Portugal. Not much will keep your attention. CLOSES THURSDAY DECEMBER 19.

HONEY BOY. This is Shia LaBeouf’s movie. Not only does he star, but he wrote the screenplay and plays his own father’s role. It’s about LaBeouf’s life in show biz and the bad and good influence his dad had, and has, on him. Very few, if any, laughs — but a well done search into what fame and no fortune can do to you. Go for it!

WAVES. A very dramatic, heart-breaker film about a Florida black family and its troubles. That includes a heavy father and children who want to escape something — and make mistakes. It’s got some very serious near-corny music that drowns out almost all of your built-up emotions, and some visual camera sweeps that don’t help much either. Go at your own risk. CLOSES THURSDAY DECEMBER 19. 

DARK WATERS. You’ll never look at your Teflon or DuPont products the same way after seeing this fine film. Mark Ruffalo plays the real-life attorney who finally wins his case against DuPont, with the political and financial odds stacked 100% in favor of DuPont, the world’s largest chemical company. Just in case you want to stop supporting DuPont, stop using Kevlar, Styrofoam, Corian, Dow Corning, Great Stuff, Prima Green and many more names you can find on their website.

QUEEN & SLIM. Some character in this movie calls Queen and Slim the “Black Bonnie and Clyde”,and it fits. It’s a long chase featuring this mostly likable couple, caused by Slim killing an insane cop, and their adventures on the lam. There’s even some jokes and humor in it. But it’s really a vivid reminder of the police brutality, racism, and violence we read and hear about daily under the Trump administration. Go see it.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. I think Americans now regard Mr. Rogers as our own Dalai Lama. Tom Hanks is the only actor in the world who could take and do so well in this movie. But before you go, if you haven’t already, emember that this is not really about Mr. Rogers, but about an Esquire magazine writer who interviewed Rogers and his rigid, tormented life and choices. Chris Cooper is back as the writer’s father. It’s an oddly structured film, with many unusual directors’ touches. After skimming around the internet to see what the real Mr. Rogers was like, all I found was that he was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and went to Dartmouth. His mom knitted all his sweaters, he liked his wife’s dirty jokes, he had fun farting and he was a registered Republican. 

JOJO RABBIT. Centered on Nazi Germany, this is very rare political comedy with funny scenes. A little boy has Adolf Hitler as an invisible buddy. Scarlett Johansson plays the little boy’s mom, and does one of very finest acting jobs, ever. Hitler and the screwed up political/ military scene will make you think of Trump and our own screwed up political/ military scene. A wonderful and rare film, do not miss it!! 

JOKER. Joaquin Phoenix should just be given the Oscar now, instead of all that fuss in January. Yes this is the origin of why the Joker haunts Bruce Wayne (Batman) and it’s so much more than that. The film is deep, dark, brilliant, violent, clever, absorbing, haunting, and will move you into a different perspective. Forget the criticism about protesters; the Joker is insane and magnetic. See this film if you like films beyond what’s acceptable! It just became the biggest – money making attendance record R-rated film ever!!!. Now (11/18) it’s taken in over 1 billion dollars.

PARASITE. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho outdid his other international screen successes with Parasite. Wikipedia calls it a dark comedy thriller and so do I. It’s winning awards everywhere and deserves them all. There’s brain surgery, murder, basement dwellers, numerous surprises, even some shocks and well worth your seeing it ASAP.



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. Sarah Mason brings us up to date on the UCSC Grad Students Strike on December 12. Then environmentalist Grey Hayes returns talking about saving our local environment.  I’m taking Christmas Eve (12/24) off from G’vine . AND …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 at 

Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye talks to Stephen Colbert. This is great.

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. 


“Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious psalm; the mystic lights of emblem, and the word”. Emma Lazaru 

“Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call”. Richard Lewis

“Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness – to seek the light.
Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness – to seek the light.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light”.
Allen Ginsberg, “Psalm III” 

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