Blog Archives

April 5 – 11, 2017

THE GOODTIME WASHBOARD 3 with BING CROSBY. That’s Wayne Pope on the left, then  Bing Crosby, Bruce Bratton on washtub bass and Pete Arnott with banjo on the far right. This was on Bing’s nationwide TV show The Hollywood Palace. It happened April 1, 1967 Read more about us below.                                                    

photo credit: my personal scrapbook

Additional information always welcome: email

                                                                                                        DATELINE April 3, 2017

THE GOODTIME WASHBOARD 3 WITH BING CROSBY. We performed this on April 1st 1967. That’s Wayne Pope on washboard, Pete Arnott on banjo, Bing Crosby with thimbles and yours truly on washtub bass. We met Bing at The Bohemian Grove and after hearing just a few tunes he asked if we’d like to be on his next Hollywood Palace show. Even more than that, we got to rehearse with Louis Armstrong, Nanette Fabray and Red Buttons. And we never left our day jobs!!!

THE OAKLAND SONG. We wrote this at one rehearsal when KSFO’s Jim Lange said every city has a song except Oakland. The Mayor of Oakland invited us to play it at an official Oakland City Council Meeting…we did of course.

MY COLLEGE FRIEND WAYNE POPE DIED. Wayne Pope was the kindest, most friendly, generous person I’ve ever known. We met in Spanish class at UC Berkeley in 1957. Our trio The Goodtime Washboard 3 needed a new washboard player and I convinced Wayne he would be fantastic…we bought thimbles and a washboard and our lives chamged forever. Our trio The GTW3 went on to play and perform at the Purple Onion, the Hungry i, and on Bing Crosby’s Hollywood Palace. We recorded two albums for Capitol Records (never released) and wrote and recorded the “Oakland Song” for Fantasy Records. (available on iTunes) We opened and closed shows with Milton Berle,  Shelley Berman, Ray Bolger, Turk Murphy, Barbara Dane and dozens more. Showbiz was a great hobby for us.

Another UC Berkeley friend Chris Strachwitz who created Arhoolie Records (recently acquired by the Smithsonian Institute) and the Down Home Record store needed a graphic artist to design his album covers. I introduced him to Wayne and the two of them remained good friends and worked together for decades. We three did an interview for NPR two years ago. To say that Wayne will be missed, doesn’t come close to reality…

April 3, 2017

If you enjoy hiking our local trails you probably have an opinion about mountain biking. If you hiked the trails in Santa Cruz prior to the early 1990’s you probably recall the trails were smooth and the only sounds were birds and the crunch of leaves beneath your feet. Then along came mountain biking, an industry which forever changed the ability to enjoy the simple pleasure of a hike.

Since their beginnings, far too many mountain bike riders have viewed limits on their access to public open space as an affront. Armed with this attitude, they have violated every reasonable restriction and the result is an alarming increase in illegal trails, soil erosion, trail damage, habitat disruption and the displacement of passive recreation such as hiking and bird watching.

According to their industry magazines, mountain biking grew out of dirt biking, when restrictions on that high-impact activity forced entrepreneurs to develop a new technology.  Along with the technology came the attitude of “if they won’t give us what we want, we’ll take it,” as quoted in a mountain bike publication.

And take it they have. Every state park and open space in Santa Cruz, including the UCSC upper campus has been severely impacted by illegal mountain bike use. Where birds used to sing in the middle of the upper campus forested lands, now loud voices of large groups of mountain bike riders dominate from their internal, illegal trail network. The formerly smooth fire trails are deeply rutted. All this downcutting from thousands of mountain bike tires sends silt pouring into the San Lorenzo river with winter rains. Lest we forget, this is our drinking water.

I partnered with a mountain bike rider as concerned as I about this environmental destruction. We documented the damage and he approached the state parks to solicit their help in reining in the illegal trail creation and usage. The response? None. And here is the crux of the problem. Those whom we pay in taxes to protect our parks and open spaces are not doing their jobs. They are biassed. They favor a powerful, well-funded and influential lobby over the needs of other less powerful users of our public lands. Deputy chief of Police Dan Flippo attends a council meeting to sing the praises of mountain bikers in eradicating Pogonip of heroin users, a job which apparently his department is not able to accomplish. A familiar tale and one we are more used to from conservative politicians.  A tale that is poised to take shape in progressive Santa Cruz.

The Parks Master Plan (PMP) is wending its way through the public process. Included in the Plan is a proposal to create new downhill mountain bike only trails in De Laveaga and Pogonip. This is despite the fact that the random poll conducted for the city by paid consultants to assess residents’ usage of the parks and to inform city park priorities found that hiking was the highest favored activity at 34% with mountain biking lower on the list at 9%. Given that evidence, one should expect that staff efforts be directed to enhancing the hiking experience by closing the illegal trails and enforcing the law which is what we pay for. On the contrary, according to the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz group, the city approached them and asked their input on how to increase mountain bike access in Santa Cruz parks and open space. This is bias.

The Parks & Recreation meeting to discuss and vote on the mountain bike trails is on May 1st. Expect a huge turnout from the mountain bikers. The meeting will be in The City Council Chambers at 4 p.m. I hope to see you there.

~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.

#11   April 3, 2017

STRATEGIC PLANNING. Part 2.  (Sounds Boring?)

Jim Frawley the Santa Cruz Fire Chief was doing a crossing-guard routine last Saturday morning on Encinal Street over in the Harvey West Park area. Councilmembers, Sandy Brown and David Terrazas were looking  just as lost as I was. We were searching for the city council strategic planning session. It was to be an all-day meeting, and supposedly the location was the Santa Cruz County Office of Education at 400 Encinal. “It’s not over there, it’s over here,” Frawley yelled out from the corner of Dubois and Encinal. He pointed in the direction of #399. He directed us away from the main headquarters to this other building across the street.

Inside the meeting room were tables positioned in a horseshoe shape, with other smaller round tables nearby where city department heads would be. It was a sunny, cloudless Saturday and all council members and department heads would be inside investing eight hours in some “strategic planning.” What would the future of Santa Cruz look like after today I wondered? Heady and creative cooperative planning?  Or simply another opportunity for the city manager to affirm who runs Surf City?

First, we heard from members of the public. Since this was a “public meeting” in which more than three council members were present it is required by the Brown Act that community members be allowed an oral communication. They were, and they told us about the “illness of climate change,” (Pauline Seales); that it is “strange that our ‘norms and values’ session came before our strategic planning” meeting, and that out of the 73 strategy-related projects on our schedule” only 1 is related to UCSC” (John Aird); and we should be thinking of “giving the other species half of the earth” too (Barbara Riverwoman); and Santa Cruz has an opportunity in taking the lead on the environment by either centralizing environmentally-related issues into “a Department of the Environment, or at least hiring an environmental coordinator “(Jane Mio); and finally, Nancy Park reminded everyone present that it was all about “how we treat people”—homeless people, immigrants, and those who are the most vulnerable in our community.

The city manager and his staff—Martin Bernal (CM), Tina Schull (ACM) and Scott Collins (DCM)—then went to work shepherding the council through some “strategic planning” that they had likely spent days strategically planning. And by the way, Tina Schull handed out a pie graph depicting “city average percentages by effort type” (whew!) as it was also being projected onto a wall. Important stuff! She made the point that the current staff (800 full-time employees) has just 17% of its time left for anything city council members might want them to do because they are already overworked and really busy. We were constantly reminded of this throughout the day-long “retreat.”

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Bernie tweet of the week:
“How insane is it for us to literally discourage bright young people from attending college because of how much money their parents make?” (April 2, 2017)

~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.


Last Saturday’s (4/01) Townhall Meeting with Congress members Ms. Anna Eshoo and Mr. Jimmy Panetta was overflowing onto the parking lot when I arrived at 10am.  Capitola police were guarding the closed doors, not allowing anyone in because the multi-purpose room at New Brighton Middle School was at capacity.  The doors opened at 9:30am but those who got in had arrived by 8:30 to line up.  The large overflow crowd was directed to the gymnasium to view the session live-stream on a screen, but there was no sound.  That was later fixed, but the audio quality was so poor, the 20 or so of us who stayed could not understand what was being said.

Congressional Analysts were outside accepting written questions to take inside.  I submitted mine.  The lady unceremoniously plopped it in a basket with about 100 others.  I hope I receive a response.

Mr. Panetta’s analyst told me it was “a learning experience” and next time, the venue will be larger.  He said the Civic Auditorium was booked.  He was not familiar with the Henry Mello Center in Watsonville but will look into it.  

Write a letter to Jimmy Panetta, and Anna Eshoo

Last week, the Council denied there were problems concerning how Santa Cruz City Police quickly killed Mr. Sean Arlt, a mentally-troubled young man who held a garden rake in his hand.  Police had encountered him just a few days earlier, and were well aware he had mental illness issues.  Mr. Arlt was at the house he had grown up in, and the family friend residing there last October called police in the hopes that they could get professional help for Mr. Arlt.  

Instead, the police coaxed him out of the backyard, shot him with tasers, then killed him.

Do you think there is a problem here?  I do.  Those officers merely did what they are trained to do: shoot to kill.  They were military veterans.  Santa Cruz City and County law enforcement officers are also trained to shoot at the head and torso of those who do not succumb to tasers or rubber bullets.

Should military veterans who have been trained in active combat be allowed to have street-duty law enforcement assignments?  I don’t think so.  A growing number of Americans also feel that active-combat veterans need a period of at least five, perhaps eight years, to re-train muscle memory with other techniques to handle law enforcement problems.  Martial arts.  Active training in recognizing mental illness behaviors and non-violent de-escalation methods.  

As usual, other places in the world are way ahead of us on this.  Norway.  Japan.  

A small group of concerned and thoughtful people are working together to meet with local law enforcement officials to ask for changes here.  Santa Cruz police recently received a few hours of training to help them recognize mental disturbance behaviors.  That is good, but not enough.

Last fall, when I asked State Assemblyman Mark Stone what could be done regarding police training methods to avoid tragic outcomes such as what happened with Mr. Arlt, he told me that all such changes must come from local community action and policy change.

It is up to us to press for those changes.  In the meantime, Mr. Arlt’s family will most likely be pressing charges.  

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~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.


A couple of community activists who are working on climate change issues in our local community contacted me, recently. The activists wanted me to comment on whether I thought that a lawsuit along the lines of the “Children’s Trust” lawsuit filed in Oregon could help bring about changes at the local community level. 

If you are not aware of this litigation, you can click on this link to find out more about the legal details. It is immensely encouraging that a federal court has now held that young people have a right to sue the federal government, to seek to force the federal government to address global warming, since the failure of our government to act is putting their future lives in peril.

While I truly LOVE that “Children’s Trust” lawsuit, I didn’t advise the local activists to head in that direction. The email I have reproduced below (just slightly modified) gives some alternative advice, and I think it is pretty good advice for activists working on any issue at a local level. 

Incidentally, I mention one of my former blog postings in the email below. I continue to think that it is one of my best efforts, and I encourage anyone who wants better to understand how politics relates to law to consider how judicial “discretion” enters into the mix

Dear Climate Activists:

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


THE GOODTIME WASHBOARD 3 SING “DON’T BLAME PG&E PAL”. We wrote this one at Barbara Dane’s and Fantasy Records request to “re-but” her songs with Lu Watters and Turk Murphy. It is on the flip side of the Oakland 45 rpm.

CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo does a fly-by viewing “selective forest harvesting”. See below a few pages…

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “The Revolutionary Obama Care future”                       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.

THE SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL. The Baltimore Consort is coming to Santa Cruz this Saturday April 8 at 7:30pm to UCSC’s Music Recital Hall. The program is titled “Musick’s Silver Sound”. Their Shakespearian tunes filled the air surrounding the common folk who came to the Globe Theatre; played on street corners, in taverns, and in the theatrex, they were a part of the public subconscious in England and abroad. This Baltimore Consort program will send you dancing from the halls feeling as if you’ve travelled back in time to the world of Shakespeare. Location: UCSC Music Recital Hall .

Tickets….. here!  Or maybe at the door, but they have a huge following herabouts, so plan ahead.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa’s up to her eyes in editing and will be back with us/you next week! See her website this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( And find out about her own “Beast book” heading into production at last. Drinks all around!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.    

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.

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, but 12 year olds will love it.

THE LAST WORD. Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried and (sadly) a minor role for Anne Heche makes up this mildly humourous , not funny, cast of this quirky comedy about an 81 year old woman with lots of money who actually gets her own radio program…if you can believe that!!! MacLaine is a much better actor than this cute, cranky, stereotypical, witchy part allows her to play. Amanda Seyfried’s part is too cute and boring, contrived, predictable, and dull, and is unworthy of her. Amanda is supposed to be writing an obituary for the wealthy, formerly important and dictatorial MacLaine. Never mind the plot just go see any of MacLaine’s other films…they are much better.

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.   

PERSONAL SHOPPER. An absolutely brilliant film. Eerie, a few subtitles, high fashion, ghosts, and not shocking but mystifying , puzzling, nervous, and Kristen Stewart is rapidly becoming one of my favorite “actors”. Stewart plays the personal Shopper for a famous female celebrity…and maybe it’s her brother’s ghost that is communicating with her…or maybe not.

It’s not “don’t go into the cellar” scary nor is it jump out of the closet scary, one brief corpse scene and just enough of a wonderful plot that will make you remember it and think about it long after you leave the theatre.

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 o 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.

LION. A true story of a little 5 year old boy getting lost in India. At last we get to see Dev Patel portray somebody serious and he does an excellent job.  It’s a very cornball plot that you can guess every turn and twist, but still just because it’s India you do stay tuned in all the way through. Rooney Mara is his girlfriend for part of the plot and Nicole Kidman is the Australian wife who adopts him. It’s 100% feelgood and there are much better films out and around now, but it does have a certain charm.

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.

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.

SONG TO SONG. A Terence Malick movie… probably it’s about relationships just like Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Moonlight, Gone With The Wind films are about relationships too. All in all this is a completely unfathomable mess of a plot…like all of Malick’s films. It’s got Cate Blanchett, ping pong, Ryan Gosling, oil rigs, Rooney Mara, , hungry Latina mothers, swimming pools, blonde Natalie Portman, Val Kilmer, and Holly Hunter. If you figure it out let me know.

WILSON. It isn’t a good criticism but,(or and) you’ll never figire out if we are supposed to like, love, hate, or identify with Woody Harrelson’s role as Wilson is this mean-spirited, confused nasty saga. Laura Dern plays the same role she always plays, Judy Greer is about the most logical, natural human in the movie…and Cheryl Hines returns to the screen from her frustrating role in Curb Your Enthusiasm, years ago. Don’t see this movie. You’ll leave angry, confused and as mean-spirited as Woody portrays. And I still don’t know if it’s supposed to be a comedy, drama, or just an adaption of a graphic novel..which it is.

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. On April 4 Linda Burman-Hall returns to talk about The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s spring concerts. After Linda, UCSC’s Ben Leeds Carson details the April In Santa Cruz concerts. Carson Kelly tells us about the political force “Indivisible” on April 11. Followed by Brian Spencer talking about the See Theatre play “The Nether” opening April 14. We’ll talk about the Reel Work Labor Film Festival on April 18. On May 2nd UCSC Film Professor emeritus Earl Jackson talks about films and his Asian teaching experiences. 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  

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.

Today I needed some inspiration, having dealt with some really crappy things lately. If this tiny little slip of a thing can do this, then there truly are no limits.

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.          “TAXES
“One in four corporations doesn’t pay any taxes”.  Bernie Sanders
“The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward”, John Maynard Keynes
“What are called ‘public schools’ in many of America’s wealthy communities aren’t really ‘public’ at all. In effect, they’re private schools, whose tuition is hidden away in the purchase price of upscale homes there, and in the corresponding property taxes”, Robert Reich

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
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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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