Blog Archives

April 19 – 25, 2017

DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ 1884. This lovely Swanton House stood at 850 Front Street. It was destroyed by on May 30 1887 May 30. It was built over the Bonner stables and stood right where the post office is today. Built by Albion Paris Swanton. Anybody know if Albion was related to Fred Swanton?                                                         

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE April 17, 2017


UCSC HEAD COUNT QUESTION. For now, let’s ask why Chancellor Blumenthal is so far off in his report on the number of students.  He says UCSC has 17,500 students now ; the UCSC registrar says 18,783 were enrolled in fall of 2016. Moreover, isn’t UC President Napolitano pushing another 600 students on top of that for 2017? Then in addition, he says, “Our 2005 LRDP, updated more than a decade ago, identifies an enrollment envelope of 19,500 students”.  Those numbers change the lives of everyone and everything is Santa Cruz , there’s got to be some explanation. Being truthful, I moved here because Santa Cruz is a university town. It gives us so much but it is taking away more in these last years. Somebody should ask the Chancellor for an explanation or correction on those numbers…it is important.

POOR STATE OF MOVIES. Just about everybody who watches or reads the news knows that the Fear of The Furious (better title “Fart of the Furious” as in exhaust) movie topped almost every box office record ever set. Vin Diesel (real name Mark Sinclair) was born in Alameda in 1967 and has been the lead in all eight exact copies of one of the dumbest plots ever filmed. To see such stars as Helen Mirren sink to a three minute role, Charlize Theron half act some part as a Russian killer is just sad. There’s a street race in Havana and somehow it ends with cars taking on the Russians in some sort of war. The USA reaction and most of the world’s reaction to such a crap of a film is an embarrassing statement of our collective taste. Dwayne Johnson is in it too but he is always in these sort of things.

MORE ABOUT MOVIES. Another tired re-hash is Going In Style starring Morgan Freeman-79, Alan Arkin-83, Michael Caine-84, Ann Margret –76, and Christopher Lloyd – 79 as the same grumpy old geezers who decide to rob a bank. That these actors would align themselves with Steven Mnuchin who was the National Finance Manager for the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and who Trump just appointed as Secretary of The Treasury is a shame. The first version was in 1979 and starred now long gone stars George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. Making our senior citizens as the butts of jokes is about as funny as Mantan Moreland, Aunt Jemina, Gordo,


That’s the huge question around the state. The Democrat party is moving rapidly in all directions at once…and so are defections. The local Peoples Democratic Party (PDC) is meeting to decide “Should PDC endorse Kimberly Ellis for California Democratic Party chair? Be part of the decision – Thursday night PDC meeting.

To help decide how to vote on the endorsement, watch five minutes of excerpts from her presentation here last month edited by Erik Erikson,  PDC representative to the  Central Committee and AD Delegate,  to  show how Kimberly plans to reshape the California Democratic Party.

It’s happening  6:30pm. Thursday April 20 at Democratic Party Headquarters 740 Front Street  on the groundfloor of the Galleria next door to the  Riverfront Theatre….across from Mobo Sushi.


A recent message from UCSC Chancellor Blumenthal announced the start of the process for the 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). This blueprint will be the guide for future UCSC growth. With measured words, the Chancellor acknowledged that any growth has real effects on the surrounding community, assured that the process must be collaborative, and expressed his confidence that together “we can chart an innovative, sustainable, and exciting future for UCSC.”

I worked on campus for 30 years and was active in the student/staff/faculty effort to scale back the 2005 LRDP.  At that time (2003) the campus enrollment was around 10,000 and the impact of an additional 8,000 students on the campus as well as on the community was hard to imagine. Signs of strain were already being felt. On campus, housing rates were climbing with every new residence facility built, a phenomenon documented by the late Don Van Den Burg, Crown College bursar (fiscal manager). Off-campus landlords tied their rent increases to that of the university so every unit of campus growth resulted in rent increases in town. Students seeking rental-housing off-campus numbered around 6,000 (today that number is around 9,000). Dorm lounges were being converted into bed space, shuttles were becoming crowded, and students were complaining they could not get into classes they needed for graduation. Unique and sacred lands were bulldozed and developed, forever lost to natural history and research. Such impacts pale beside the negative impacts from today’s enrollment and the specter of an additional 10,000 students above the current level of 18,000 is chilling.

In 2003 we were naïve about how to effectively counter the UCSC growth model. We marched with signs; held rallies; disrupted planning meetings; groaned and rolled our eyes; missed deadlines and were more of a nuisance than a counter force. Many were sidelined by the well-crafted charge of elitism that was liberally thrown around by top administrators and growth-supportive faculty. Who were we, who were attending UCSC, to say no more students could get in? A tough one especially when it was accompanied by charges of racism since the majority of new students to be attracted to UCSC would be students of color, so it was claimed. Today, all students are negatively impacted by the forward march of growth but many who are new have no yardstick with which to measure the decline. Those who are benefitting are selected faculty, department chairs jockeying for position, the bloated upper administration, and town stakeholders who make money off growth.

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~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).

April 19-25, 2017
Special for Bratton Online

Whose Wall? Not OUR wall!
Okay, I am going to keep within the 800-word “column” tradition for this one. Although, one of my heroes, Frank Rich was typically given 1500-2000 words after he left his 800-word gig at the New York Times for New York Magazine, and of course, he’s worth it. Frank Rich is a very good writer (see: So, what happened this past week and what should the good people of Santa Cruz be looking out for with respect to their local government? You mean, where will the good intentions of the Santa Cruz progressives rear their ugly (?) head next? Well, let me tell you…I offer several wordy snapshots of progressive politics this past week in Surf City.

Chance to Be Slugged Again
I had a conversation with “The University” and it seems the chancellor, George Blumenthal, will be coming to the city council chambers on May 9th to address the community on the usual suspects: traffic, water, and housing. He will likely be addressing us too on the coming end of the 2005-2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and the beginning of the next BIG PLAN. Are there Slug elephants in this room? Or will it just be the voice of “one crying in the (former redwood) wilderness?” Come, listen, and lend your voice to the discussion on Tuesday, May 9th, 809 Center Street. The “U” officials have also just announced plans to build bed space for 3000 in the Porter Meadow…So, does this mean curtains on the biggest unofficial UCSC yearly event, “4/20?” It draws between 8000-12,000 marijuana aficionados each year. Since the “U” has never figured out how to embrace this loose and spontaneous festival, paving over paradise may now be their default position. Anyhow, would 4/20 even survive now that the state has legalized weed?

Lest We Ever Forget
“With silent lips.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

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Bernie’s Tweet of the Week:

“Virtually every Western industrialized country has chosen to end capital punishment. The United States should join them.”

~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.


The County Historic Resources Commission held a public hearing last Monday, April 10, to consider discretionary changes to the Aptos Village Project Historic Preservation Plan for the Apple Barn.  Despite the inconvenient hour of 9:30am, the small room was packed with about 20 residents (I had let staff consultant Planner Ms. Annie Murphy know in advance that there would be several people attending and that a larger room may be needed, but instead, she just crammed more chairs into the small room.)

I paid a man to video the hearing because previous Historic Resources Commission meetings have relied solely on the notes that Ms. Murphy takes and submits as minutes.  I have observed that these minutes are devoid of public comment notes, and in fact that was the case for the minutes that the Commission approved last Monday. Here is the link: [Webmistress note: video unavailable at time of publishing, I included it anyway in case it gets fixed.]

Despite several audience members pointing out that no the Planning Department had made NO information regarding the content of the public hearing and modifications available to the public in advance of the public hearing, and that several Brown Act violations had occurred, Planners Annie Murphy and Paia Levine assured the Commission that it was not required to inform the public of anything.

The Commission approved all modifications to the Barn, including the steel roll-up door and steel employee entrance door, a skylight and altered decking.  These were all changes requested by New Leaf Market’s architect and not at all in keeping with the historic character of the Barn.  The architect responded to public questions relating to that issue: “Well, we thought that no one would really notice because of the 15′-high retaining wall nearby.” What did Second District Commissioner Ms. Carolyn Swift have to say?  As you will see in the video, she was upset with the public for questioning anything. I am appealing the Commission’s decision and will demand an evening public hearing before the Board of Supervisors.  Stay tuned.


Work by San Luis Obispo contractor John Madonna Construction Co. continues in the Aptos Village area as the Phase I improvements to benefit the Aptos Village Project developers.  I observed markings on Aptos Creek Road last week, stating there is road work planned this week for that area, the Phase II part of the project.

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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).


#104 / Dumb Wars

I am not opposed to all wars. 
I’m opposed to dumb wars.

These are the words of then-Senator Barack Obama, in a speech in Chicago on October 2, 2002. The “dumb war” he was specifically talking about was the War in Iraq, begun by then-President George W. Bush. 

In an opinion column in the Monday, April 10, 2017, edition of The New York Times, Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim quoted the former President on the topic of “dumb wars.” Moyn is a professor of law and history at Harvard University. Wertheim is a fellow in history at King’s College, Cambridge University. 

The column by these historians was prompted by President Trump’s missile strike on an airport in Syria. Moyn and Wertheim didn’t think that was very smart They expressed concern that “Mr. Trump may wind up repeating his predecessor’s pattern of anti-Iraq-war campaigning and perpetual-war governing.”

The professors, in other words, skeptical about our current president, are not exactly handing out plaudits to our former president. They are not very happy about the state of “perpetual war” into which the United States has plunged itself, a state of war that was perpetuated throughout Obama’s two terms as president, and that continues to the present day. 

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~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. The joys of hiking in Nisene Marks..except……(scroll below)

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “E.Coli Trump” 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 “Quit while you’re Ahead” thinking this week!!!

LISA JENSEN LINKS.  Lisa writes: “It’s a good thing Chris Evans didn’t follow W. C. Fields’ famous advice for actors: “Never work with children or animals.” Otherwise, he might not have made Gifted, in which he plays the guardian of a 7-year-old math prodigy. Find out why it turns out to be one of his best roles, This week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

RAW. A French subtitled first film from young 33 year old woman Julia Ducornau, hit me hard. After studying films in about seven years of formal classes, and years more of lectures, 100’s of cinema books, I was uncertain how to critique it.  In 39 years of critiquing films in print, and on air, this is one of the very rare times I have to report that I admired the film 100% , give it 2 or 3 thumbs up and I’m not sure if I liked it…those are completely different categories. It’s a film, and no humans were hurt during the filming and it’s about two major themes a young girl coming of age and going off to school and how to fit in with others. AND it’s remarkable back theme is cannibalism. The film is funny, scary, bloody beyond human boundaries, and is a nearly perfectly made and acted film. Moments when I could barely watch the screne, and many scenes which were so unique, so touching, and so fresh and new. It’s great cinema. You may not LIKE it but if you love films you have to see it. I’m very glad I did. Closes Thursday April 20!!!

FRANTZ. Subtitled and in French and German this is another masterpiece from the young (40)  Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, See The Sea). Subtle, sensitive, perfectly paced and engrossing acting by all concerned. It’s about the aftermath of WW1 and the heart tearing effects it has on the soldiers and the families that survived. Love, enemy hatred, family loyalty, a soldiers duty are all paced and packed together in a film that will keep you completely involved up to and including the closing scene. See it quickly, Landmark closes these films way too quickly.

T2 TRAINSPOTTING. Danny Boyle is one of the most effective and wide ranging film directors working today. Not only did he direct the original down, gritty and dirty original Trainspotting in 1996 but he also did Slumdog Millionaire, and Steve Jobs fils. T2 takes us back to the original four druggies, thugs, and crazy guys who did that heroin robbery 20 years ago. They get together again and NO they don’t do “another job” they argue, hug, fight and give us a very busy film full of creativity, brilliance and Edinburgh Scotland atmosphere. It too has Iggy Pop music and Ewan McGregor in the lead. You have to see it if you liked the original.

GIFTED. Hollywood stars Chris Evans (who usually plays Captain America) and Octavia Spencer along with British star Lindsay Duncan lead the cast of this feel good saga of a 7 year old girl who was born into a mathematical genius family and who becomes another mathematical genius. It’s too soapy, too cute, too unbelievable, too contrived to be a good movie. I can’t think of any solid reason to recommend it to any group except to families who may have a genius child and are wondering what to do OR not do, with her.

YOUR NAME. This beautiful Japanese inspired animated film makes Disney animation look like Walter and Margaret Keane’s “Big Eye” paintings in San Francisco in the 60’s.  It is drawn with such skill and a sense of what animation can create that even Pixar should hang their well-financed heads in shame. The story behind Your Name is complex and thought provoking. Centering on youth and growing up, and sex changes, and ghosts, and family… it is just brilliant. See the subtitled version to get the full Japanese sensitive touch.

GOING IN STYLE. See above at the start of the column for this week’s review Closes Thursday April 20.
FATE OF THE FURIOUS. See above at the start of the column for this week’s review

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE. Jessica Chastain and her husband ran the Warsaw Zoo in Poland in 1939 before, during and after the Germans invade. A true story adapted from the book it details how the couple managed to hide 300 Jews from the Nazis inside the zoo during the invasion. You might get to thinking, as I did about half way through the film about the contrast, similarity, duality of watching the animals escape from behind bars and then keeping the Jews in the same place. Or of watching the animals escape to their freedom or posible death…well you see what I’m getting at. Besides that I’m against Zoos, Aquariums, animal parks, and all that cruel stuff. So go se this film, Jessica is very good in the lead role except that her fake Polish accent sounds fake.

GET OUT. Rotten Tomatoes gives this one an amazing 99%. Plus, it’s a huge box office hit !!! That’s surprising to everybody because it’s a low budget, semi horror-comedy, black and white theme film. Probably released in February because that’s when they release films that aren’t expected to make much money. Catherine Keener is about the only actor whose name any of us might know. It’s a white girl brings home a black boyfriend topic. Only it goes into zones and situations that will amaze and get you laughing!! Wild, inventive, new, fine acting, twisted…you’ll love it.

LIFE. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds and a “nice” interacial crew are trapped aboard a space station with an ever-growing giant calamari from space, that almost kills everybody. Yes, it’s the old Alien plot, and it’ll do just fine for 12 years olds. I mean that, it’s tense, exciting only a few fuck words in it and plenty of 2001 scenic memories.  To be honest I got to thinking (which you’ll have plenty of time to do) what if that space creature just wants to save it’s own fate and travel to earth with “our guys”? Why not write a movie where somebody from earth wants to escape its dying future and tries to climb aboard an extraterrestial vehicle and the outer space visitors keep fighting him/her away like we treat our extraterrestial visitors? Send the kids, don’t take them.

KONG:SKULL ISLAND. Kong is back and after waiting for his appearance about 45 minutes into the film I figured why Kong is always mad.Unlike all gorillas, Kong has hair all over his butt and he has no penis! He does have his usual minute or two with a beautiful blonde…that’s Brie Larson (playing Faye Wray). Samuel. L. Jackson is a very bad guy, Tom Hiddleston is the big hero  John Goodman gets killed before you expect it and John C. Reilly saves the movie from being just another numb & dumb box office smash. It beat Logan at the ticket office so that proves it. Truthfully though, it isn’t all bad IF you like monster gorilla movies.

GHOST IN THE SHELL. If you can stand watching Scarlett Johansson running, jumping, leaping, shooting and maybe being a robot for 106 minutes while she’s wearing just a skin tight, white, thin, body suit…then go see this movie. It’s a zillion dollar Japanese Studio production and another good thing about it is that Takeshi Kitano has a brief appearance and it’s amazingly powerful. Then again, he always is. The plot is way too complex and unbelievacle to fathom out. It’s copied from a Japanese comic book. Not to insult them, but12 year olds will love it.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Total 100% Disney sights, sounds and drech. You couldn’t possibly tell the songs from this Disney production from any of the last 30 years of Disney product songs.  A wasted cast includes Emma Watson, Kevin Kline, Ewan MacGregor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Audra McDonald. BUT most of these actors play the roles of animated tea pots and candlesticks. There is or are no reasons to see this re-hash of every commercial triumph the Disney Factory has turned out for more than 50 years. And the kids will probably love it.

LOGAN. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart lower themselves considerably by playing the lead roles in this last of the Wolverine series. I’ve tried hard and failed to stop thinking that this is exactly the kind of film I’ll bet that Donald Trump likes. Even though the Wolverine (Jackman) is a comic book character and the special effects are just about 90% of the picture, the cruelty, killing, blood, evil, are all so typical of today’s biggest boxoffice hits, it’s too over the top for me. No plot, no emotions, no humanity…just more blood and more killing. Even the ending when Wolverine is in a stone covered grave I kept worrying  and watching to see if some of the stones didn’t start shaking, meaning we’ll be tortured by an even worse Wolverine # 10. Yes Jackman has played the part nine times!!!  Go if you like Donald Trump type movies.  


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. Jeffrey Smedberg and Camille Walker will talk first about the Reel Work Labor Film Festival on April 18, then Lloyd Kahn author of “Small Homes – The Right Size” visits us from Bolinas and illumines us on their virtue. Carla Brennan discusses Mindfulness and Awareness on April 25 after which Keith McHenry talks about “Food Not Bombs” and the Santa Cruz experience.  On May 2nd UCSC Film Professor emeritus Earl Jackson talks about films and his Asian teaching experiences. May 9th has director Kinan Valdez discussing the traditions behind the new version of the “Zoot Suit” play opening May 26-June 4 at UCSC. Bookshop Santa Cruz features its top Short Story Winners on May 30. 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  

When I saw the videos for this week, I just had to jump on this bandwagon (see what I did there?!)

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens.

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.    “APRIL and the like”

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want rain without thunder and lightning”.  Frederick Douglass

“Don’t give cherries to pigs or advice to fools“. Irish Proverb

“If every fool wore a crown, we should all be kings” Welsh Proverb

“Now the noisy winds are still; April’s coming up the hill! All the spring is in her train, Led by shining ranks of rain; Pit, pat, patter, clatter, Sudden sun and clatter patter! . . . . All things ready with a will, April’s coming up the hill!”  Mary Mapes Dodge

“The children with the streamlets sing, When April stops at last her weeping; And every happy growing thing Laughs like a babe just roused from sleeping”. Lucy Larcom

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain”. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If the state of oratory that inundates our educational institutions during the month of June could be transformed into rain for Southern California, we should all be happily awash or waterlogged“. Samuel Gould

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on April 19 – 25, 2017

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