Blog Archives

December 20, 2017 – January 2, 2018

Highlights this week:
NO BRATTONONLINE NEXT WEEK… Last Year in Santa Cruz, not very good, missing Joyce Malone… GREENSITE on Sexual Harassment… KROHN on housing, UCSC growth, and that LRDP… STEINBRUNER about the Board of Supes self-voted pay raise and how we can stop it, The desperate County budget Problem, Homeless moved to Harvey West, Soquel’s water fees to go up, and the new fire chief in Aptos…PATTON and too many cars…DeCINZO and holiday deliveries… EAGAN and our Unwanted Growth… JENSEN went on a holiday…I critique Star Wars:The Last Jedi, Coco, and Woody Allen’s Wonder WheelQUOTES on FIRES.

PACIFIC & WATER STREETS, December 26, 1951. This was SPIKE JONES (no relation)  TIRE SERVICE and gas station, located right where the Town Clock is today. Even squinting I can’t read the gas prices… and it’s probably just as well.                                              

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

ALDI-TRADER JOE’S OWNER’S. Here’s what little known about the world’s largest food market chain, Aldi. They are planning on growing in the USA. Our Trader Joe’s is a part of that chain.

DATELINE December 18, 2017

HOLIDAY IN VICTORVILLE & MAR VISTA. I’ll be busy counting my blessings — and trying to avoid forest fires — driving down to Victorville and back here from Mar Vista. That means that we won’t be publishing “a BrattonOnline next week. Have a great and happy holiday season… and we can be sure that next year just has to be better!!!

THIS LAST YEAR. As anyone who has lived here more than 5 years will agree… “Santa Cruz has changed”. We’ve seen our Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors (especially John Leopold) bend over forwards to give developers every possible financial break. Our Santa Cruz City Council has also sold us down the tubes, by creating new ways to give developers every break possible. As Becky Steinbruner reports here weekly, Supervisor Greg Kaput has been the one to surprise us with some good votes. Cynthia Chase was a let-down, however, after so many progressives supported her, and helped get her elected.

Chris Krohn’s weekly columns here have taught us more about the City Council than we’ve ever known, including how they’ve cleverly manipulated meetings, breaking the audience into small groups in order to control any community thinking, and stop any sharing of unanimous ideas…or complaints. Then there’s the stacked Library Planning committee, and their blinded and predictable support of building a parking garage that will destroy the Downtown Farmer’s Market and encourage more vehicles downtown…shameful. Now we’re seeing more anti-homeless fencing about to be erected around London Nelson Park.

As Gillian Greensite reminds us often, there are also enormous challenges in settling our relationship with the UCSC campus. Santa Cruz has changed for the worse, bottom line, and seems set to continue to change… and get worse. The biggest and most promising hope we have is to elect two people-oriented, positive thinking, and hard-working candidates to our City Council. Let’s start hearing about some of those good candidates!

JOYCE MALONE’S GONE. Joyce Malone and Bill Malone — her husband of 51 years — moved here about 20 years ago from Cambria. They made one hell of a team. They also made a big positive dent in our local progressive politics. Joyce was severe in her political stance but had a fine sense of humor. She would debate anybody on any topic, and be more friendly and helpful than just about anybody I ever knew. In addition to all that, she loved the quotes always at the end of this column! Typically she decided that she didn’t want any “services” when she passed, so we’ll just have to miss her forever and tell each other for the next century how much we loved her.

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.

Over the 30 years that I worked at UCSC to help prevent rape, and offer resources for those who had been raped, the words from a member of a 1974 Vietnamese Women’s Delegation to Toronto, Canada (and featured in a poster from The Guardian) kept hope alive. It read: “When women become massively political, the revolution will have moved to a new level.” What we are witnessing today in the unprecedented breaking of silence around sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace may indicate such a shift. Whether the movement of women to no longer protect abusive men with silence and shame leads to significant structural changes depends, as always, on human agency and not on hope or fate or faith.

As many have noted, the most profound change in women’s overall status in the 20th century was the massive entrance of middle class women into the paid work force. Working class women have always worked at low wage jobs, and the raising of children has never been recognized as deserving of a paycheck — but the two wage earning family is now the norm not the exception. Sexual harassment aside, women have not entered the paid work force on an equal footing with men: occupations that are predominantly female are paid less than those that are predominantly male, and women working at the equivalent jobs as men are paid less. But economic independence is key to altering the global status of women, which makes the widespread use of sexual harassment by many men in power to keep women out of jobs or promotion if they don’t comply more egregious than the harassment itself.  

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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: December 17, 2017

The People Have Spoken

Hiking in the Pogonip with some of my favorite people: former SC mayor Jane Weed, her daughter Allie and son Dash, and Councilmember Sandy Brown

I wrote a column back in July in which I quoted those who came to the podium to clue the city council in on what ails city renters concerning the dearth of affordable housing in Surf City. They pretty much covered the housing conundrum: 1) developers get away with bypassing the city’s own 15% affordable inclusionary by paying a pittance into the housing fund of what a unit actually costs to build and thus economically segregate our community even further; 2) high cost of housing on-campus has students streaming down the hill and dislocating working families. I’m sorry, but housing 52% of an ever-growing student population–19,000 and counting–just doesn’t cut it; 3) there are well over 500 vacation rentals in the city of Santa Cruz and that is beginning to severely reduce our available housing stock for working people; and 4) Silicon Valley high tech workers have found a refuge in our city…just stand out there and count the “Google Buses” on the Avenue any given day.

What do “the people” who come out to city council meetings to be a part of the community debate advocate? Of course, most would likely sign a rent control initiative in a heartbeat, but contrary to what the landlord-property owner is yelling at anyone who will listen, rent control is not THE answer, but it certainly is a part of solution. If we pass rent control we definitely get the attention of the moneyed-class because then you’re talking about their money. Tenants united is the only way to confront free-market abuses. First, you do a rent freeze to protect existing tenants, then pursue the rent control initiative. But what else should be on the table according to local voters? Real estate transfer tax, a soda tax (Berkeley raised over $3 million in one year), a 3% hotel tax. And by the way, doing all three of those will perhaps double the former Redevelopment funding that was lost when the program was ended in February of 2012. If rent control is to be successful the voters must also pass an initiative that installs an elected rent board. Tenants and landlords would both benefit from a Santa Cruz office of housing that also includes money to defend tenants in court. Lastly, it appears a housing bond will be before voters next November. This is also another important piece of the ever-difficult housing puzzle. Folks, if you want to ensure that this community has a fighting chance to win this housing struggle, you must ask city council candidates running on the 2018 ballot the tough questions around housing, and scrutinize the records of incumbents who may be once again asking for your vote, but often voting contrary to your interests.

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Bernie Tweet of the Week
“Congratulations to Senator-elect Doug Jones @GDouglasJones for his great victory.  Congratulations to the people of Alabama for doing what few thought they would do. This is a victory not just for Jones and Democrats.  It is a victory for justice and decency”. (Dec. 12)

~ Chris

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 December 18, 2017

As I have written here before, I think the Board of Supervisors needs to be held accountable on a regular basis. Voting to grant themselves an automatic pay raise for the next four years is unacceptable, without public performance, especially when one considers the looming debt as presented last Tuesday by County Administration Officer  (CAO)Carlos Palacios. Please call 831-685-2915 or e-mail. I would really appreciate your help.

Item #64, near the end of last Tuesday’s County Board of Supervisor Agenda was alarming: the debt tsunami is coming and expected to hit you and me in 2019-2020.  County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios warned the Board that they will need to cut spending $10 Million annually beginning in June, 2018 to soften the blow of the impending CalPERS debt expected to implode many municipal budgets.  The County’s increase for retirement benefits is anticipated to be $9-$13 Million.  In five years, the County’s ratio of active personnel: retired personnel will be 1:1 (currently, it is 6:1).

What can be done, the Board wondered?

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~ Becky

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

Dateline December 16, 2017
#350 / Moving Right Along

Too many cars and not enough space on the road. That’s a problem! 

Senator Dianne Feinstein wants to build a new Bay Bridge. See picture #1 for a depiction of the problem Senator Feinstein thinks a new Bay Bridge would address. 

In Santa Cruz County, my own community, local officials are involved in a “Unified Corridor Study,” to try to find a way to reduce traffic congestion. See picture #2 for an illustration of how our local problem looks, from an on-road perspective. One major suggestion for alleviating traffic congestion on Highway One, in Santa Cruz County, is to widen the highway.

Too many cars on the highways? Let’s build more roads! That is the time-honored (albeit ineffective) way to deal with traffic congestion. As I have pointed out before, more than once, we can’t “build our way out” of traffic congestion. 

While I know it seems counter-intuitive, building wider and more roads doesn’t, in fact, reduce congestion. “Induced demand” is a real thing. If we provide more space on the roads, more cars will quickly use it all up. “Wider highways and more cars stuck in the jam,” is how I usually phrase it. And if you are wondering where all those cars would come from, take a look outside at your residential street. Lots of our residential streets look just like picture #3. Thousands of cars are parked along the streets, or in driveways, just waiting for room to run.

If new construction isn’t the answer (and it is not) what can we do? My prescription is pretty basic. It’s one of those lessons we are supposed to learn in kindergarten. Instead of trying to make room for more cars, which is a costly and ineffective strategy, we should, instead, be finding ways to increase the number of people carried by the cars already on the highway. 

“Sharing”, in other words, is that “kindergarten solution” that would actually work. “Sharing” is the magic word. 

In the realm of transportation planning, as in all things political, we will start “moving along,” again, when we start moving along together.



CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo’s historic view of our housing problems. See below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Unwanted Growth” 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.

MUNCHING WITH MOZART. This free monthly concert presents Nicki Kerns and Lavinia Livingston solos & duets in a performance titled Celebrate Piano Ensemble  plus Holiday Sing-Along. It’s happening..Thursday, December 21st 12:10 – 12:50 p.m. in the Downtown Branch – upstairs Meeting Room…of Santa Cruz Public Library.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Wishing Happy Holidays, Merry Midwinter, Swell Saturnalia and an all-round festive Yule to all! I’m taking a holiday break this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Actually, two weeks — don’t want to be accused of spreading fake news! But I’ll be back in the New Year with more fun stuff. Stay tuned!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Yes, it gets 93 on RT… but I thought it was a complete fake of a billion-dollar movie machine. I’ll always remember going to our Soquel Drive-in (just a little stoned) and being taken into outer space with Star Wars 1. It had humor, empathy, great imagination, tension — and a story you could care about. The franchise now stages monotonous, uncaring space attacks, with wars so numerous that you can’t even remember who’s on whose side… and you don’t much care, either. There’s the Dark Side, the Resistance, Adam Driver, R2D2, a very dull Carrie Fisher, an aging Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, and those endless space battles that take up probably a third of the movie. A great disappointment… and at 2 1/2 hours, it’s also extra-long. Go at your own peril,.

COCO. A genuine Pixar cartoon, with amazingly three–dimensional animation. The plot is focused around the rich and traditional Mexican culture, with the Day of the Dead, plenty of food, religion, and music. You’ve never seen anything like this before: it’s way more creative and developed than what we usually think of as a Disney Cartoon — and only a little boring after the first half hour. Go see it.

WONDER WHEEL. One of Woody Allen’s worst films. How he can hit so wonderfully like
Annie Hall, Purple Rose Of Cairo, Midnight In Paris,  and Blue Jasmine and yet also create a dull, unbelievable flop like Wonder Wheel? Kate Winslet has never been less credible. Justin Timberlake does better than I would have predicted, but he’s out of place in this muck and mire. It’s about their lives in Coney Island in the 1950’s — and I went to Coney Island a few times in the 1950’s, so was really looking forward to this. Damn. Woody is now making a film titled Roda Gigante…we can only guess! RT gives Wonder Wheel 30.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100% and it’s the highest rated film in RT’s history!!! Greta Gerwig directed  Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento in about 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. First, please note the 95 RT rating. When you have Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell working in a film directed by an Oscar winning director you almost can’t miss. It is definitely a dark comedy. The plot contains murder, rape, loyalty, cancer, and some absolutely brilliant acting. Go see it, and force all your friends to see it too.

BLADERUNNER 2049. Denis Villeneuve directed this sequel with advice from Ridley Scott and it has many hidden plot lines from the original (try to see it before you see 2049)…it’s an unique addition to science fiction films. Dystopian is a very overused word describing a disaster based future. This film again has Los Angeles totally transfigured…and even darker and more devastated and bleak than the first one, was set in LA 2019. Ryan Gosling carries the entire story, with Robin Wright and Harrison Ford doing fine acting jobs too. I have rarely, if ever, seen or felt a theatre audience so still-so hypnotized-awed-puzzled-and silent as the one I joined last week. I’ve seen it 2 1/2 times now… it needs two viewings on as large a screen as possible, because the photography is so impressive and important.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Most mystery nuts claim this is Agatha Christie’s best mystery but this isn’t the best movie version the 1974 was better.  Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer are fine actors especially Michelle and they do their jobs in this new “Express”. However the cuts, flashbacks, photography, and not-tight directing by Kenneth Branagh who does the Poirot role just dull the trip. Remember the old one with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Wendy Hiller, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergman? That film just roared along the tracks and took us with it. Bergman won her third Oscar with her role in that version.

All that said, go see it! It’s fun and only a little dull in parts.

WONDER. This highly touted sob story starring Julia Roberts got an 87 on RT and about a 5 from me. Owen Wilson with his misshapen nose and jerk smile and Julia play the little Jacob Tremblay’s parents. Jacob was born with a misshapen face as in the “Mask” movie (which was better even though Cher played the kid’s mother. Wonder is a genuine Hollywood production in every way. Cheap heart-tugging emotions, shallow acting except for Mandy Patinkin. Patinkin has been the co-star of the Homeland series on iTunes and I just finished near bingeing all six seasons. Mandy has become one of my all time favorite stars. Anyway, Wonder is commercial, shallow and don’t go.



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. . December 19 Wilma Marcus Chandler, Mar Nae Taylor and Bonnie Ronzio tell us about the annual “Eight 10’s at Eight” play festival playing Jan. 5-Feb. 4th at the Center Stage. Then Ross Gibson returns to talk about his book, “An Architectural Tour of Historic Santa Cruz County”. I’ll be in Victorville and Mar Vista on Dec. 26. City Councilman Chris Krohn opens the new year on Jan. 2 He’s followed by Attorney/activist Bob Taren, looking ahead to the new political year. January 9th has Otolaryngologist, Dr. Douglas Hetzler discussing surfers ear, dear wax and dangers of candling and many other health issues. UC San Diego Professor Emeritus Roddey Reid comes from Berkeley to talk about his book, “Confronting Political Intimidation and Public Bullying” on Jan. 16. AND ALSO…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

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.


“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire”, Charles Bukowski
Get excited and enthusiastic about your own dream. This excitement is like a forest fire – you can smell it, taste it, and see it from a mile away”, Denis Waitley
“Desire is a bonfire that burns with greater fury, asking for more fuel”, Sri Sathya Sai Baba
“Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back”, Samuel Beckett
“One afternoon, when I was four years old, my father came home, and he found me in the living room in front of a roaring fire, which made him very angry. Because we didn’t have a fireplace”, Victor Borge

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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