Blog Archives

April 2 – 8, 2018

Highlights this week:
BRATTON…the continuing Octagon mystery, Live Oak development, UCSC meadow development, our public library, Lou Harrison’s other house…GREENSITE on the Housing Blues …KROHN is on vacation this week and his column will return next week.…STEINBRUNER re Aptos Village’s many development issues, property boundaries and Barry Swenson, help Soquel Creek, and raising our taxes…PATTON asks Are Hillary and Donald Trump the same person?…EAGAN an Inside view of the White House…DeCINZO and our world family…JENSEN reviews Isle Of Dogs…EVENTS New Music Works, Baroque Festival, Espressivo Orchestra…UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUESTS…BRATTON critiques Andy Goldsworthy doc, Death of Stalin, Isle of Dogs…QUOTES about April


DAVENPORT 1908. One of hundreds of area photos by Ole Ravnos. He came here from Norway and had a studio in Capitola from 1907-1915. You can see the towering cement plant structures off to the left.                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

HEALTHY HAND EXERCISES. Hard to believe…try them..
MEL BLANC. remember his unlimited cartoon voices?

DATELINE April 2, 2018

OCTAGON PLATZ. Another beautiful noon hour or two, and sitting alongside the Octagon I get even more reports from inside sources that John McEnery IV had been showing two Asian gentlemen the insides of the Octagon only the week before, with hopes that they would open two non-competitive restaurants (with 270 sq.ft. spaces) inside that historic space. For some reason John still hasn’t removed detritus from the so-called Puppetry Institute that remains inside the Octagon. What’s even worse is that John leaves the Octagon’s glass door windows open, so the very many tourists and local curiosity seekers can see what a mess our precious County Records building has been left in.

LIVE OAK DEVELOPMENT. One hundred 600 square foot “market rate” rental units on Capitola Road right off 17th avenue…at the corner of 17th and Soquel by the Live Oak Supermarket across from the school!! That’s what being proposed by developer Sibley Simon,  husband of Nina Simon of MAH community Center (formerly Art & History). Sibley’s development company New Way Homes has played and posted many developments like the large one proposed near the Homeless Servicers center, but so far none are visible — and what’s with that? Showcases (ie. stacked and controlled) “feedback sessions” are being planned for April 12 & 14th. This is the time for genuine feedback IF you can avoid the post-its and stay after the bound-to-be lengthy developer presentations. Other members of New Way Homes developer’s team are Owen Lawlor and Robert Singleton. In other words, lotsa politics going on here!!!

UCSC’S EAST MEADOW ACTION COMMITTEE. These stalwarts have raised over 40,000 signatures from across the USA to stop UCSC from building 40 two-story units on the scenic and significant East Meadow. They sent this email Monday (4/02) … “As the new quarter gets underway at UCSC, the pace of protest against the East Meadow building plan will be increasing. Last week the university released its Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which can be downloaded here.  It’s a complex, 600-page document, and we’re asking as many people as possible to request an extension on the 45-day comment period to make a serious review possible. Please write to Alisa Klaus, UC Santa Cruz, , Physical Planning & Construction, 1156 High St, Mailstop: PPDO, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, or via email “You should also look into their website


Dear Editor…

I saw a picture the other day of the Carnegie library of Santa Cruz, times gone by.  I was reminded of the Carnegie library in Emporia, Kansas, which I visited with rapped anticipation, as a child. Part of the appeal was that magnificent ‘period’ architecture, the windows letting in natural light and the ornate craftsmanship.  I felt like I had arrived at a special place and that was before I saw a single book. How is it that the new proposed library/bomb shelter will create such feelings? It won’t, not for the patrons nor the workers. This is nuts! I predict it will fail to bring clientele, then what will we do? “Things are the way they are because rich people feel that they don’t have enough money. ” I quote myself.  Let’s not feather some one’s nest over this stupid idea. Lee Brokaw

    PS the libraries of great civilizations have been architectural master pieces

LOU HARRISON HOUSE NEWS. I’ve mentioned several times over the decades that it’s a shame there is not one single monument, street, building, auditorium or even a plaque mentioning our world-famed and now-departed composer Lou Harrison. In the few years just before he died he and partner Bill Colvig built a straw bale house in Joshua Tree. I’ve been there and it’s well worth the trip. Go here… to get an idea of the cultural events and respect Lou still encourages.

Dateline April 2nd. 2018

One thing was clear from the recent city council meeting on the report submitted by its Housing Blueprint Subcommittee: there is little the city can do to improve housing affordability in the city of Santa Cruz. Despite a 6-month long “housing listening tour” generating 82 suggestions and many meetings of the subcommittee distilling these suggestions into 5 priority areas, the options available for affordability are few.

At the end of a long convoluted discussion at which the council seemed unclear on what they were being asked to approve, lacked even a copy of the presentation delivered by the Planning Director, the city manager summarized a list of housing that is just completed or underway and the total is 500 units. That is not an insignificant number in a town already built out and it would have been helpful to have that as part of the introduction to give the call for increased housing a context.

It was refreshing to hear council member Martine Watkins argue for child- care to be part of the discussion in consideration of livability. Apart from that, increased housing was discussed in a vacuum as though the increase in population that such housing will generate has no impact on everything else. At the urging of the community group, Save Santa Cruz, council members Chris Krohn and Sandy Brown tried hard to get a specific number increase of inclusionary housing into the mix and the final vote did include a consideration of increasing the number from the current 15% but council member Richelle Noroyan made it clear that without public funding for such an increase, lenders will not give developers money to build: a reminder that housing is a commodity with profit the bottom line.

A red flag was raised at the beginning of the meeting and no one seemed to notice.  The Economic Development director showed a map of key opportunity sites for development, which included the greenbelt lands and open space.  Yes, you read that correctly. Of course that will be a policy decision and up to council but its inclusion sent a chill up my spine.

One of the top three priorities to increase housing stock offered by the committee raised another red flag. That is, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s). Not only are ADU’s the least affordable of housing types after single family dwellings and usually unsuitable in size for a family but we have been through scores of public meetings over the past few years to streamline the ADU ordinance to make such units as permissible and affordable as possible. The recent state requirements lowered the bar even further with reduced set-backs, reduced or eliminated parking requirements, increase in size and erased public hearings on all but two story units. The city is limited in how much it can reduce fees before other issues are triggered. So what’s left? Owner occupancy. Requiring that an owner occupy one of the buildings is the only safeguard against rampant overbuilding and is the only nod to neighborhood integrity. Consider that in Santa Cruz city, 54% of single -family homes are non-owner occupied. If the owner occupancy requirement were to be lifted, there would be a massive rush by off-site owners to build second units on current single-family lots.  Yes this would increase the housing stock but at what cost? And true affordability would still be a pipe dream.

At the recent YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) conference whose members want more housing built with no regard for livability, affordability or sustainability, perhaps the most pertinent comment was made by former Mayor Don Lane who was quoted as saying: “If you build 5,000 units here, it wouldn’t affect the part of the market I’m most concerned about, workforce housing. People who make $60,000 are still shut out.”  

Increasing housing stock, which shuts out working residents and only attracts non-residents with higher incomes is not a path worth taking.

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 2, 2018

Chris Krohn is on vacation this week and his column will return next week.

(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).

Email Chris at

Dateline April 2, 2018


A prominent local surveying company hired by Aptos Village Project developer Barry Swenson Builder just could not find three critical property boundary markers when surveying the site.  The markers were noted as “Disregarded” and would be “Re-Set” after construction.  The three markers delineate property boundaries shared with the Bayview Hotel property.  What that really means is that Aptos Village LLC developers Barry Swenson, Pete Testorff and Joe Appenrodt could decide where to put the boundaries….and build wherever they want.  That is just what is happening. Luckily, the Bayview Hotel property owner hired her own survey to be done by a local surveyor recommended for his great personal integrity.  He easily found the three original survey monuments that had been noted as “Disregarded”.  One had a hole already cut into the pavement with a weed growing in it….clearly visible and easily found. 

Pete Testorff decided to fence-off the drive-through easement in front of the two massive structures under construction next to the Bayview Hotel near the railroad tracks and Soquel Drive last week. A survey marker appeared with “Property Boundary” written on it that was about 12″ into the Bayview Hotel property.   The chain link fence now blocks legal easement access for all adjacent property owners, and also forces pedestrian traffic onto the railroad tracks. 

Last week, Testorff Construction crews moved their portable office trailer into the railroad right of way, about two feet from the track.  As I was photographing the trailer from my Bayview Hotel vantage point, the foreman yelled at me to “Get off the property!”  To my knowledge, Pete Testorff has not bought the Bayview Hotel…..

I did check with the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) about the legality of a construction trailer being parked nearly on the railroad tracks.  Transportation Engineer Ms. Sarah Christensen, assured me that Testorff has a “Right of Entry” agreement with the RTC.  I asked for a copy of that agreement.  “I’ll do my best,” she replied.  One week later, I still do not have it, but I noticed the trailer got moved the next day. I have filed a Public Records Act request for the document.

Meanwhile, Barry Swenson Builder crews have excavated nearly two feet into the Bayview Hotel property bordering Trout Gulch Road for the towering new building (is that really a single story building as shown in the plans?).  They plan to put up a tall fence and effectively restrict access for the Bayview Hotel and soon-to-be Betty’s Burgers (formerly a laundromat and dry cleaning shop).  The surveyor hired by Bayview Property owner established yet another critical property boundary that Swenson’s surveyor could not find, as well as two key boundary marker locations that the County had removed and not replaced when doing road improvements on Trout Gulch Road.   This legal mess will cost a lot to fight, and it is clear that the County is not interested in providing any oversight on the Aptos Village Project problems.   I wonder how much Swenson and Testorff paid their surveyor…Hmmmmmm.

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)


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

Dateline March 31, 2018
#90 / Also Contagious

The picture on the right, from a CNN web posting, ran under the following headline: “Are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the same person?” The CNN posting pointed out a lot of similarities. Let me point out another one. 

I, and many others, have been appalled by the way Donald Trump has turned the presidency into an opportunity to advance his family business, and to make a personal profit from what most voters believe ought to be a public service assignment. If you have any question that this is exactly what our current president is doing, please click the following link, for an article in which Newsweek details the “Trump Family’s Endless Conflicts of Interest.” In fact, the Newsweek article probably only scratches the surface.

A neighbor, by no means a Republican, and by no means a Trump supporter, recently dropped off a book for me to read (see below). 

Clinton Cash is a pretty convincing demonstration that Hillary and Bill Clinton have teamed up to achieve exactly the same kind of transformation of public service into personal economic wealth that is so evident in what President Trump and his family are doing. The events that the book documents are just as distressing as the actions of our current “first family,” making it appear that it is not only our current president, but other federal office holders, too, past and present, who are more devoted to filling their personal bank accounts than to achieving any public good.

In yesterday’s blog posting, I was talking about how current social change movements seem to be exhibiting “contagious” qualities, giving hope to those who would like to see some fundamental rearrangements to this nation’s political, economic, and social order. 

Bad things are contagious, too! One reason that the public, in general, is so dissatisfied with our political system is that all too many elected officials “work their positions,” not for the benefit of those who elected them, but for their own, individual economic advancement. Trump, the Clintons …. We are only scratching the surface here!

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 and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Check DeCinzo’s “World Family” view just a finger flick below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Peeking Inside” 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.

NEW MUSIC WORKS. April 7.  New Music Works has a concert Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High Street Santa Cruz, CA. The concert title is “BECAUSE”. The guest artists are; Akindele Bankole composer and vocalist- Sarah Cahill, piano- Lori Rivera, vocalist-Marina Thomas, organ –The Ariose Singers, conductor, Camille Couture -NewMusicWorks Ensemble, conductor, Philip Collins. They’ll play works by Akindele Bankole, Jon Scoville, Igor Stravinsky, Frank Pesci, John Thomas, John Lennon, Christopher Pratorius. More info and tickets at

SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL. April 8. Their concert is Sunday, April 8 at 3 p.m. In the UCSC Music Recital Hall. The concert title is…”The Musical OfferingJ.S.Bach” playing that day are Edwin Huizinga, Baroque violin. Lars Johannesson, traverso flute. Adaiha McAdam Somer, viola da gamba and Linda Burman-Hall, harpsichord. In 1747 J.S. Bach visited Potsdam, where the Emperor Frederick challenged him to prove his musical ability by immediately improvising on a theme composed by the Emperor himself. Bach’s genius prevailed, and this collection of canons and fugues are the result. This intricate music exemplifies the counterpoint nature of the challenge, with notes choreographed against one another in the “classic rock” style of High Baroque. This concert includes other works of Bach, and invites you to step into the heart of the dark, dramatic challenge of an Emperor. Tickets are available for purchase online, and at the door with cash, check, or credit card.

ESPRESSIVO ORCHESTRA. April 15. This concert is titled, “Eight, Nine, Ten—Go! ” It happens Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm at the Colligan Theater at the Tannery Arts Center located at 1010 River Street, Santa Cruz, California. They will play Ludwig van Beethoven Rondino (Octet), WoO 25 (1795) – Franz Lachner Nonet (1875) – and Jean Francaix Dixtuor (1987. For tickets and information go to

LISA JENSEN LINKS.  Lisa writes: “What’s more fun than a basket of puppies? Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a savvy, funny social and political satire expertly told in stop-motion animation.  Find out what all the fuss is about this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film, theatre reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

LEAN INTO THE WIND. Andy Goldsworthy’s saga. I had forgotten just how influential Andy Goldsworthy’s message to humanity was, and will continue to be long after we’ve all left. Much like Christo and Jean Claude (“Running Fence”, “The Gates” in NYC) these artists/sculptors force us to appreciate the earth we live on…and in. Like his “Rivers and Tides” documentary from 2003, this movie was filmed in San Francisco and a dozen other places where Goldsworthy has and continues to build and sculpt beautiful and thoughtful designs from the very ground we appear to be destroying more and more rapidly. See this film…I guarantee you’ll love our earth even more than you do now.

THE DEATH OF STALIN. This would-be comedy is much like “Veep” — the TV series based on inside White House “secret” humor. They are similar because both are directed by the same guy. The problem is that we (or I especially) don’t know anything about the Russian government under Stalin. In addition it’s based on a graphic novel. If you know the roles Khrushchev or Malenkov played, or just who Beria supported, you’ll be way ahead and might even laugh. It’s a bitter, biting, mean type of humor and not my style.

ISLE OF DOGS. This is Wes Anderson’s latest, and I didn’t like it any more than any of his other sideways attempts at new cinema statements. The Royal Tannenbaums, Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel all not just bored me but left me mystified. Rushmore was a notch up. Isle of Dogs uses cute Japanese-themed names like Kobayashi, Atari, Wataanbe, Yoko-ono, and the clever Major Domo. The very famous and excellent Hollywood persons who do the voices are near legendary, but Anderson’s attempt at cleverness, brilliance and just plain story telling once again leaves me very cold and bored.

READY PLAYER ONE. The last video game I remember playing was Atari’s “Pong” back in 1972 or 73 with Manny Santana and John Tuck in “The Med” (Mediterranean Restaurant), next door to Manuels Restaurant on Center Street in Aptos. Video games have evolved since, and this Spielberg  FX extravaganza is all about avatars, time travel, old timey movies, TV shows and memorabilia…and features so much space jumping and time warping that I lost interest after about 15 minutes. It was too much trouble, and besides that it’s set in Columbus, Ohio in 2045. A very large and long and dull film from a director who usually can focus more sharply.

UNSANE. Real film followers know what to expect when it’s a Steven Soderbergh film, and Unsane is one of his best works. Claire Foy (star of The Queen) is the tortured lead and Joshua Leonard (Blair Witch Project and Higher Ground) is her stalker/torturer. It’s the scary, numbing story of a woman who is troubled psychologically to begin with, and then makes the scary mistake of signing documents that she didn’t read. That possibility alone should scare and wake all of us. Soderbergh shot the entire film on an iPhone, edited it at night and in 10-12 days had it finished. That he has the courage and talent to go against the billion dollar corporate films being produced today is extraordinary. A unique film, as are most of Soderbergh’s creations…it’s not easy to watch, and the acting is near-perfect. Full & happy disclosure, I sat with Joshua Leonard’s parents, who are old friends, who left their Watsonville home for Santa Cruz’s Del Mar theatre to see his newest. Go for it!!!

LOVE, SIMON. This is a very light, music background, story of a teen age boy coming out as gay. It contains drama, real pain, peer and penis envy and it’s still “lighter than heir”.(Pun intended). No stars involved, but it’s a nice movie.

ANNIHILATION. This is the Natalie Portman science fiction thriller that got an 87 on RT. If you pay close attention there is quite a moral, philosophic base to the plot. Like one line I can’t forget…”all humans self destruct either by suicide, drinking or smoking”. The same director did “Ex Machina” so you can tell he’s got something to say. But it’s way too hard to follow. There’s a sort of foggy, swirly, shimmer wall and people go through the wall. The dead come back to life, time goes back on itself, and on and on. Maybe if you really concentrate and stay awake you’ll get some kind of profound meaning from Annihilation…I’m not sure.

BLACK PANTHER. Like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman created a lot of good will and empowered women Black Panther does the same for Blacks in America and around the rest of the world. Both are Marvel Comics creations and are full of violence, killings and special effects. I’m finding it more and more difficult to see these action films with messages like revenge, torture, and blood and guts as having any semblance of cinematic art. Black Panther is science fiction, space travel and still the characters use spears and super hi tech weapons to kill each other. There are messages in this movie so I read…but I sensed nothing positive in it. Now I wonder since this has been such a blockbuster if we’ll see Mexican Panther, Chinese Panther, Croatian Panther? Got beat by …..

TOMB RAIDER 2018. Angelina Jolie (Oscar winner and ultra conservative actor Jon Voight’s daughter) starred in the first two Tomb Raider films, in 2001 and 2003. Now, with a 50 RT score Alicia Vikander, Dominic West and Kristin ScottThomas (in a very small role) have tried to bring back that comic book-type spectacle. It’s 98% special effects, and centers on a search for some mythical spirit power…I think. Sleep overtook me, at about 11:30 am on a Saturday morning. Tomb Raider was once a video game, if that gives you any more clues whether or not you’d like it.

A WRINKLE IN TIME. The much hyped adapting of this hugely popular children’s book by black woman director Ava DuVernay is a flop. Even with Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon and Zach Galifianakis it’s still a flop, and got a 42 on Rotten Tomatoes. Many women friends have told me Wrinkle was their favorite book when they were little. It’s so far out so otherworldly so fantastical it becomes unwakeable while you try to watch it. Think of time world-travel children’s classics like Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, ET, Fantasia and more. I saw it in 3D and it didn’t help, I couldn’t follow it…and there didn’t seem to be any reason to do so.



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. On April 2 the full hour will be devoted to the heavily debated proposed Library/Parking Garage with Rick Longinotti, Chris Krohn, Judi Grunstra and Jean Brocklebank. April 10 has Veterans advocate Dean Kaufman discussing news and programs created for our veterans. He’s followed by Robert Morgan talking about  the Frankenstein 200th Anniversary Celebration conference happening at MAH. On April 17 Davis Banta director of Assassins at Mountain Community Theatre talks about the Sondheim musical. Then folks from The Reel Work Film Festival reveal this year’s festival films.  OR…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

Young Turks breaks down that Sinclair “must run” segment. Watch this, especially if you haven’t seen the Deadspin viral video, and then think about how terrifying and oh-so Orwellian this is. After you’ve seen the Young Turks’ piece, feel free to follow this link and watch John Oliver’s exposé on Sinclair Media from July last year.

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.


“Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants” ~ Dorothy Parker
“Oh to be in England now that April’s there.” ~ Robert Browning
“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” ~ William Shakespeare

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Click and enter the box in the upper right hand corner of each Column. 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!) 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:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @


Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.