Blog Archives

December 4 – 10, 2013

LIBERACE’S BROTHER GEORGE (middle) and our own Hocus Pocus with reindeer (and somebody) at Santa’s Village May 9 1959. Newcomers missed Santa’s Village in Scotts Valley. It was built in 1955 and went bankrupt in 1959.
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE December 2, 2013

ALMOST CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE CYNTHIA CHASE… Cynthia Chase is and has been the program director of GEMMA, the program helping woman and men re-adjust to life outside jail. GEMMA is part of The Santa Cruz County Community Action Board. Before GEMMA she was a probation officer and a non-profit service treatment provider. As she said,” my professional work has allowed me the opportunity to work with both victims and offenders and understand the depth and complexity of the issues and needs that impact the whole community”. She also stated, ” I offer the community a broad spectrum of skill and experience related to public safety”. I interviewed her last week on Universal Grapevine but only about Gemma, it was afterwards we had a chance to talk politics. She’s dealt with boards of directors, thousands of community members from all levels, and knows how to handle and facilitate all kinds of issues and challenges. Plus, she’s smart and involved and very caring about the future and present of our Santa Cruz community. If you know Cynthia Chase encourage her to run for City Council. If you don’t know her make it a point to know her…and then vote for her. She’s the best candidate we’ve had in decades!!!

SPRAY ON MIRACLE. Jennifer Boulanger spotted this amazing product that’s been around for ten years.

ARANA GULCH …gone. This article is from Jean Brocklebank the longest fighting, most fearless Gulch protector, who worked for so many years to preserve Arana Gulch. ” The Arana Gulch greenbelt is no more. No matter how the thing will be spinned by the City and all those who supported the so-called bike “path,” our greenbelt is gone, “drawn and quartered,” as Michael Lewis penned in his “So Long Arana Gulch” essay on November 15 (HERE). Friends of Arana Gulch (FOAG) showed up for the City’s groundbreaking, dressed in black. We stood, right at the front of the gathering (sic), to mourn the death of a greenbelt and not let the destructors have their day unmarred in celebration. We were successful in this at least. Our message was clear to the gathered crowd, who tried not to look at us but couldn’t help themselves. We threw mournful water on their party. We were tolerated, as the politicos made their speeches and shoveled their dirt. For pictures of our funereal presence click HERE.

The destruction of Arana Gulch began in earnest on November 12, with the mowing of huge swaths all over the grassland to make construction corridors from the Agnes Street entrance all the way to Hagemann Creek and to the harbor entrance. Then the 20′ – 30′ – 48′ wide corridors were fenced (both sides), covered with fabric and lain with a thick layer of base rock, snuffing out the life of the ancient soil under it all. The scale of the project began to take form visually. FOAG knew all along (yet so many people failed to understand) that Broadway Brommer was not going to be a simple “path,” but rather an industrial scale building project. Look HERE at the kind of stuff that Proven Management, the low bidder on the project, does and you’ll understand. In the three weeks since the project began, the public is seeing, with shocked eyes, the extent of the ruination of the greenbelt. FOAG is up there daily, monitoring the destruction and has heard from so many “I never knew it was going to be like this!” Some say “I supported the project as described by the City, but now I regret my support.”

FOAG has found several violations (just three weeks into a year long project) of best management practices, photo-documented them and is sending them to the City, the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, and the Coastal Commission. One has to wonder where the required City “biologist monitor” and construction monitors are. Three weeks into the project trees are cut, soil upturned, wildlife scattered, equipment oil leaking, critical habitat impacted beyond what was promised. FOAG will be putting up pictures as the destruction continues. Stay tuned.

OCEAN STREET HERITAGE TREE MESSAGE. An email states, re last weeks article by Gillian Greensite…”The beautiful chestnut tree is slated to be cut down to make way for a Hyatt Hotel on Broadway just a few houses down from Ocean Street, the site of the former Unity Temple. The Heritage Tree Ordinance mandates protection for heritage trees unless “a construction project design cannot reasonably be altered to accommodate existing heritage trees.” (Criteria and Standards #3). The tree is near the sidewalk and a minor change in design could easily allow for the development and the tree to coexist. (Greensite). I agree with Greensite and Bratton. Please find a way to leave the tree alone. People come here to see the beauty of Santa Cruz, not its destruction”.
Gail Cruse

SPACE SHOWER CLOSED LOOP SHOWER HEAD. Peggy Snider sent this photo from the Smithsonian Magazine saying it might help our water situation. I can’t make heads or tails of what it does, but it looks cool.

COMMISSION OPENINGS NOW!!! Santa Cruz Neighbors ie. Deborah Elston send out this notice last week. Being on a commission is about the fastest way to learn how “the system” works. The notice said, “There are openings or reappointments available on the Arts Commission, Downtown Commission, Parks and Recreation commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission, Water Commission, Sister Cities committee, Measure K Oversight Committee and Board of Building Appeals. Applications are available in the City Clerks Office 809 Center St. Room 9 by phone at 420-5030 OR online at The deadline for submission is by noon Jan15, 2014. Applicants will be invited to meet with council members in the council chamber at 7pm Jan 21 and appointments will be made Jan 28th. Notice there are openings on the water commission and the planning commission…no small potatoes there.

WHO IN FICTION ARE YOU?? Follow this link, take the quiz, and find out!

LAKE BAIKAL ICE MUSIC. Music played by a percussion group on a frozen lake..beautiful. Verna Bacon found it.

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary talks about Alcohol Beverage Control rules and regs and what locals can do to enforce them. He talks about Monterey County and “Farmland Security Zones” and LCP’s and the Coastal Commission. He deals with the Monterey Shale Formation and fracking and how Jerry Brown thinks fracking is a good thing!!! RTIP or Regional Transportation Improvement Program is centering on Santa Cruz County and big money and good projects are involved, you should be too. Gary closes telling us about a book he wrote and about the importance of the Coastal Commission. Read all of above scripts at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor, and an attorney who represents individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365?

CLASSICAL DE CINZO. Ambulance chaser DeCinzo gives a never ending turn of events on Highway 17. Scroll lower down.

EAGANS DEEP COVER. Another in- depth news report on disasters. See below.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “This week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ), watch me scramble around trying to catch up with all the new movies in town—including Dallas Buyers Club and The Book Thief.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

……In order of perfection……

PHILOMENA. Judi Dench is never less than wonderful in her wide ranging roles. How she pulls off this true story of a human, less than brilliant mother looking for her orphaned son is magnificient. In case you wonder…Steve Coogan does NOT turn out to be her son. Go see it asap.

NEBRASKA. Bruce Dern plays an almost 80 year old geezer who gets suckered by a million dollar Publishers Warehouse type con and goes on this father/son road movie through Nebraska to collect it. It’s funny at times but it’s also mean, ageist, and cruel. Alexander Payne makes films like that. Dern plays a character named Woody Grant, that’s Grant Wood spelled differently. See it but be prepared.

BOOK THIEF. Not many family oriented films take place inside Nazi Germany. This was originally a novel probably for young readers and is heartfelt, gooey, and even weird. Having Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson play German parents is odd but why Geoffrey Rush has to play the father as dull and slow witted and Emily Watson play a mean nasty mother is never explained in the book or film…and their accents are terrible. By the way Death is the narrator of the film. Wait and rent it. Or at least check Rotten Tomatoes first.

OLD BOY.Park Chan-wook’s original 2003 Old Boy wowed everybody at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It’s gained a world wide group of fans ever since, including me. It was/is a brilliant, beautiful, 100% creative work of art. We studied it a lot in Earl Jackson’s Asian film classes at UCSC. Spike Lee can and has, directed some fine films in the past lie Malcolm X and She’s Gotta Have It but he doesn’t have a clue how and why Park Chan-wook’s film is great. Do not see this film unless you see the original within 24 hours prior. I did.

(from BEST 2 worst)

12 YEARS AS A SLAVE. This is a hard hitting, brutal, honest, surprising film. It is also beautifully acted, well cast, and a film you won’t forget for a very long time. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a magnificient actor and carries the film.Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Paul Giamatti do good jobs but it’s Ejiofor you’ll think about a lot. It’s a true story written by the central character in the pre-civil war days. Just see this film…now.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. No doubt about it Mathew McConaughey stars in and steals most, but not all of this film. What’s odd is that I ended up thinking more about and reacting to Jared Leto’s superb job inplaying the transvestite role. Jennifer Garner and Steve Zahn are perfect in their roles too. It’s a fine film, but it is such a tour de force , so completely laid out, so perfectly designed that I never “got into” the film. It’s a spectacle, so in your face, no subtlety. And it’s an award winner for sure.

GRAVITY. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rare 98%, and many of my favorite reviewers went crazy over Gravity. George Clooney (5’10”) and Sandra Bullock (5’7″) are the astronauts in trouble and they float around in great 3D trying to fix everything and then battle to survive. Lots of Hollywood muck in this one in spite of director Guillermo Del Toro’s enormous talent.. He’s done some excellent films, Pan’s Labyrinth, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men but Gravity is not in my list of his best works. It’s about like a Saturday matinee war movie where you wonder if so and so will get home alive. BUT go see it in 3D, it’s probably just me.

ENDERS GAME. I enjoyed this film very much and no I’d never even opened any of the 6 Enders Game books. It’s sort of a Harry Potter goes Sci-fi idea. Except that Ender is a subtle and even mean kid. In the future young boys and a few girls are trained to lead military battles against the dreaded Formics. Great effects, Harrison Ford and Viola Davis are in it and aMaori- type tattoed Ben Kingsley have good roles and if you like sci-fi, this is a good one. Go for it. If you care, Orson Scott Card the author of the series is a Mormon, teaches at Southern Virginia University and has serious problems with homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

HUNGER GAMES; CATCHING FIRE. Did you ever arrive late for something and then wonder what’s been going on before you got there? That’s how I felt about Hunger Games Catching Fire. I did see Hunger Games, the first one and it was exciting but I didn’t memorize or even remember much of it. So go warned about this sequel. Who are their friends, who will kill you…and more importantly WHY the killing?… are some questions this epic leaves you with. It’s exciting and sci-fi scenic, but I couldn’t get into it…or care much. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress, even in this.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD is idiotic, beneath dumb, and of course was the biggest box office smash over the opening weekend…which proves my point. It’s another Marvel Comic Book Hero movie made by The Disney Studios. Chris Helmsworth and Tom Hiddleston, plus Natalie Portman, Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgård are all fine actors, but good gods… the plot!!!! Oops I forgot that Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Rene Russo (Frigga) are in it too. It’ s a mess of science fiction, Norse Gods and Natalie Portman running around saying things like “wow” and “gee” to a slew of Gods who don’t know their Asgards from a hole in the earth.

DELIVERY MAN. There is something I don’t like about Vince Vaughn. It’s nearly the same reaction I have to Alec Baldwin. I wouldn’t want to ever have to meet either of them and Vaughn is exactly that same smarmy and unbelievable in Delivery Man., The plot is pure ancient, trite Hollywood. Way over-used laughs, cheap tricks, phoney reactions and yet, the plot could have been deep and meaningful. It’s based on a true story of a man who donated sperm and how it was delivered and resulted in 533 children. A bunch of thoose kids file a lawsuit to find out who Dad is. Wait and rent it, it’s not at all funny, but it tries hard.

DRIFTWOOD CONSORT CONCERT. The Driftwooders say it’s… “An Evening of Music for your Enjoyment or Telemann not Television”. Started in 2012, Driftwood Consort presents concerts played on period instruments at venues in Santa Cruz County and some repeat concerts in the Bay Area. Under the artistic direction of Lars Johannesson and Alissa Roedig, the ensemble brings together musicians from the greater Bay Area who play with groups ranging from Monterey to Berkeley and beyond. They’ll be playing 2 trios and one solo from Telemann’s “Tafelmusik” collection. Another trio for flute, solo viola da gamba and harpsichord. Also at least one duo for 2 flutes. Performing are Lars Johannesson and Alissa Roedig (baroque flutes), Roy Whelden (viola da gamba) and Jonathan Salzedo (harpsichord). This concert takes place on Saturday, December 14 at 7pm at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (9850 Monroe Avenue, Aptos). Tickets are $20 (advance), $22 (door) and $5 (youth, door only) and are available at or at the door from 6pm onwards. For more information please visit, or call 831-706-8408.

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 sometimes old programs are archived… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. . Steven Bignell & Susan Bruijnes talk about their brand new book, “228 Things to See in Santa Cruz County, after which former Santa Cruz Supreme Court Judge Bill Kelsey relates his time on the bench. Dr. Alfred Petrocelli discusses osteoporosis and Don Grube talks about theatre at Cabrilho College on Dec. 10. Stephen Slade from The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County tells us of their latest plans and projects on Dec. 17, then Mike Wallace ex-reporter and author of the new MAH publication “The Borina Family of Watsonville” tells about his research. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just this year’s podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The update includes Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, 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. Hear them all!!!

QUOTES. “A happy family is but an earlier heaven”, George Bernard Shaw. “Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops”, Cary Grant. “Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship”, Margaret Mead.


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 | Comments Off on December 4 – 10, 2013

Comments are closed.