Blog Archives

February 19 – 25, 2020

Highlights this week:

Bruce is unavailable this week, but we still have GREENSITE… with thoughts on the Recall… KROHN… Bernie and the recall… STEINBRUNER… continues campaigning – watch 2 videos! PATTON… on the the Corona virus… EAGAN… entertains and provokes as always… JENSEN… on Santa Cruz Shakespeare this season… UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… on being clever


BOARDWALK TRAIN AND BUS ACCIDENT. August 16, 1954. No explanations for this one. Either the bus driver parked wrong or took off at exactly the wrong moment. Do note how neat and clean the lawn at the Cocoanut Grove was “back in the day”.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

Bruce is gone for a little while longer, but our other intrepid contributors are still contributing, so here is this week’s column.

February 17th 2020

The Recall

If slick mailers with manipulated information have any effect, then the campaign to recall city council members Drew Glover and Christopher Krohn has gained a lead. The latest expensive mailer from the pro-recall camp is expertly crafted. Its layout is a graphic designer’s dream. Its playing fast and loose with the truth is worthy of a Trump medal of honor. 

To realize you are being manipulated you have to have read the source material and few have done that. Had they read the Rose Report they would know that only 2 complaints against the council members were substantiated and neither rose to the level of gender harassment. You’d never know that from the mailer. Seriously, a (inaudible on the tape of the meeting) laugh or smirk from Krohn directed at a senior staffer warrants a formal complaint and a recall? Harsh words from Glover directed at a councilmember who overstayed her time in a conference room warrant a formal complaint and a recall? To add context, the senior staffer is married to the lawyer who lost his contract with the city over his inappropriate (some might say racist) remarks about Glover during the court hearing over the Ross camp. That connection could be seen as a conflict of interest if the campaign against the two men were not already steeped in special interests. The harsh words by Glover were never weighed against the aggrieved council member leaping up and pounding the table at a subsequent council meeting, yelling that no-one should call her a racist since she has been an out lesbian for 30 years. Then there was the past Mayor’s speech in public at a council meeting accusing the two men of harassment, bullying and sexism…or that is what she was told by her friends…with no right of response from Glover or Krohn. Add to the mix the totally inappropriate entrance of the chair and some members of the city Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women calling for censure of the two men, which morphed into gossip that the two men were guilty of sexual assault (how could that not be an assumption coming from that commission) and you have all the markings of a kangaroo court. 

That there is big money behind the recall from outside real estate and developer interests is well documented. There is also a groundswell of pro-recall support from residents with no ties to outside interests. The anti-recall activists focus understandably on the former. I think it also important to acknowledge the latter. The larger picture that gives energy to the recall is the challenge to vested interests that the new council majority poses. For the first time in decades, developers are facing push back at city hall. Some writers such as Stephen Kessler and others claim that all current, recent and past city council members are environmentalists and progressives and this is but a far-left issue. From my experience that shows a lack of observation. All developments, including the out of scale and just plain ugly, have received council majority support…until now. Not even a noble Redwood tree, nor a beautiful Sequoia, supported by the city arborist, could be saved under prior city councils. I’ve been to council with tree appeals and never had a majority vote to save a heritage tree…until now. The new majority has upped the number of below market rate units required in new developments and committed to protecting small businesses and neighborhoods from over development. If neighbors understood their self-interests, as distinct from landlord or developer interests, they would be less swayed by pro-recall passions. 

What has captured the passion for the recall by non-developer interests and should not simply be rejected as lies and manipulation is the houseless issue. With the court ruling on Boise that a city cannot criminalize those sleeping outside if there are insufficient beds for inside sleeping and with our SCPD allowing such outdoor camping, it was a perfect storm for the two council members who campaigned on helping the houseless to become scapegoats for the growing number of outdoor camps. The attempt by the progressive majority to locate suitable sites was hamstrung by the city staff’s limited selection presented. Glover then became a focal point of hostility for choosing one of the sites that staff selected, the site near Depot Park. That the city has made no progress in 20 years on finding an adequate site for overnight sleeping for the houseless yet in a few months found a site for a Warriors Stadium says a lot about priorities. 

Neighbors are outraged over the daily spectacle of tents, bike parts, garbage and discarded needles on sidewalks, parks and beaches. Whether they should be is a matter of opinion. It is this outrage that is fuelling the recall campaign and the developers are laughing all the way to the bank. 

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.


February 18, 2020

Bernie and the Recall
Could we really be experiencing a series of “Bernie Moments” right here in Santa Cruz? The mainstream establishment Democratic party and members of the media who routinely support those that have get more and those that don’t have should shut up values are lashing out at Bernie Sanders after he won the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire. For progressive Santa Cruz, what’s not to like in Bernie: free tuition at state schools, Medicare for All, $15 bucks an hour minimum wage, an end to cash bail system, implementing the Green New Deal, and perhaps his number one issue will be to focus on working with the world community to mitigate climate change. Of course, taxing the wealthy to pay for it all is really what scares the bejesus out of the comfortable main stream and upper class, a distinct U.S. minority, when talk of a Sanders Presidency turns toward reality. The more conservative pundits on the editorial page of the New York Times are awash in fear and their current writing yields a series of scare tactics to try and tamp down the notion of Bernie getting into the white house. He and his volunteer army are fighting back on digital, print, neighborhood-by-neighborhood fronts as he heads into Nevada, South Carolina, and then “Super Tuesday” and California’s large delegate treasure trove. Paul Krugman’s take, “Bernie Sanders Isn’t a Socialist,” he’s a Danish-style “social democrat,” but if he continues calling himself a Socialist he will give Trump every piece of political cold war ammunition he needs to defeat the Democrats in November. Ross Douthat, an almost real conservative, puts forward “The Bloomberg Temptation,” although somewhat critical of Michael Bloomberg this piece is yet more free ad space for someone pretty adept at paying for advertisements. Thomas Friedman also chimed in supportively in, “Paging Michael Bloomberg.” Even liberal opinion writer, Timothy Egan was pretty blunt. “Bernie Can’t Win,” because he’s about “class loathing…” Egan writes “It feels good…but is ultimately self-defeating.” Most of these columnists say they will support Bernie if he wins the nomination, but we will see how vigorous that support is when he needs it. The other rightwing-ish Times’ contributor, Bret Stephens seems to loath Bernie’s values, but writes that Sanders can win because people just might believe he’s fighting a “rigged” system. Is Stephens goading Bernie supporters?

Enter the Santa Cruz Recall
I’ve been mentioning to everyone from the beginning, please follow the money in this recall process. And the money has been flowing in since the 2018 election to recall members of the Brand New Council majority. It’s flowed from real estate interests as far away as Chicago, from builders in Arizona, from the California Apartment Association, and many realtors and market rate housing developers right here on the Central Coast. Some folks say it is about personality clashes, but it is and always has been about $THE MONEY$. Of course, there are personality differences and that will happen on a 7-member city council, but it is the policy differences that really matter. With respect to the current make-up of the Santa Cruz City Council there are three African Americans, four women, and one out-lesbian. I believe it is an amazing and special city council and one that might make our community proud. BUT, there are many, many policy divergences and negotiating through those contrasting views and finally voting is what makes democracy unique. The attacks, misinformation, and non-media reporting that is happening to the policy issues Bernie Sanders is putting forward is not unlike what the current council is wading through. May I take the liberty of substituting a list of the local naysayers of the current council because it is not unlike Bernie’s detractors in the national media. I refer to local tabloid Msgrs. Primack, Coonerty, Rotkin, Kessler, and Pierce. The attacks have been unrelenting and the storylines follow a pattern that looks like nothing this council is doing could possibly be serving the needs of Santa Cruzans. Collectively, their narratives support the Recall storyline and come in the guise of the personal he said-she, but they are really attacks on our political views, which in this town always come back to developer schemes, rent burden, UCSC growth, and the plight of the houseless. Let’s talk about those issues.

What’s Been Done
This council majority passed 1) a 20% inclusionary ordinance, which means that 20% of all housing construction must be affordable; 2) a resolution making all downtown employees eligible for free bus passes won the day; and 3) space was found for Kaiser-Permanente to have a new home on two floors of the Cooper House at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street. These were all 4-3 votes on what became some pretty hot political issues, which together include pages out of the national political narrative of housing, transportation, and medical care. In addition, the council majority brought forward resolutions supporting the Amah Mutsun Band reacquiring land that was stolen; making cultivation and possession of psilocybin the lowest priority of law enforcement; support for a UCSC graduate student Teaching Assistant COLA; and getting the city to work with unions on a Community/Project Labor Agreements, PLAs. None of these last four issues would likely have seen the light of day on a Santa Cruz City Council agenda if we did not have a Brand New Council majority. I urge folks to consider this: voters may not necessarily want seven Drew Glovers or seven Chris Krohn’s on the city council, but one of each might just be the ingredient in achieving real people power and real local democracy. Just as Bernie is constantly fighting for political daylight, transparency, and truth, we will continue that struggle as well, on or off the council.

Final Note
It comes from an email Lee Brokaw sent out to both soothe the activist soul and fire up the NO RECALL troops.

Let’s count the ways we are different:

  • Erica’s poster contest [a great success at the Palomar]
  • several [music] concerts
  • [Community-Council and No Recall] plenary meetings
  • No Recall steering committee meetings
  • City Councilmember kitchen cabinet meetings
  • town hall meetings [held on the eastside and westside]
  • community TV programs with Steve Pleich
  • canvassing [neighborhoods all over Santa Cruz]
  • peacefully, respectfully standing at Whole Foods with the No Recall banner
  • Weekly farmer’s market tabling
  • tabling at MLK event
  • working on campus
  • lawn sign campaign!!!!!
  • mailing party get-togethers
  • letters to the editor
  • op/ed pieces [Patton, Simonton, Gratz, Urban, and Mayor Cummings all at]
  • speaking [truth to power consistently] at City Council meetings.  

What we’ve done are all positive actions; truthful promotions as opposed to lies.

I haven’t heard that the other side has done anything like what we do.  They appear to prefer to dance with the devil (NextDoor)…rock on devil worshipers! We’ve run an honorable campaign and have every reason to hold our heads high, shoulders back, standing erect, knowing that ‘the truth will set you free’, AND we ARE! Our hands are clean and we have no reason to feel less than honorable, as time will prove, the other side will be contaminated by their vitriol.

If there is a God, I trust that She will balance the table.

Thanks Erica for the summary!

AOC Tweet of the Week 

I carry the above discussion over to my Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweet from July but rings ever truer if you link the debate in Washington with the debate in Santa Cruz. My comments are in italics. (from July 14, 2019)

“You know what we’re going to do tomorrow? Same thing we do every week. Fight for:

Living wages & unions 

The current council majority worked to raise the salaries of the city’s lowest paid workers and not with major pushback from some entrenched mainstream Dems. In addition, we put forward a community benefits labor agreement which promotes union membership in our community.

A humane border 

We have a sanctuary city ordinance that actually has some teeth!

Healthcare + edu as rights 

We supported Kaiser expansion downtown and graduate students receiving a cost of living adjustment (cola4all campaign).

Loosening the grip of corp lobbyists on our democracy

Support for campaign finance reform, fighting corporate real estate interests while promoting rent control and just-cause eviction, and support for tenant free-speech rights are all progressive issues this city council majority fights for.

They can stay busy defending racism. We’ve got things to do.”

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at

That’s the consensus as I travel around the Second District, meeting with constituents.  People are fed up with being ignored and their concerns diminished, they are tired of traveling on congested roads that are falling apart, and just really want a new outlook on the solutions possible to get something done.

The League of Women Voters has reconsidered the unfortunate decision to cancel a forum last week that would have allowed voters to learn more about District 1 and District 2 County Supervisor candidates, as well as Measure R and the local school bonds.  Oddly, when Supervisor Friend told the leader of the League that he may have a conflict, she cancelled the entire forum!  Luckily, two women who are determined to uphold the goals of the League (to educate voters) convinced them to organize another forum opportunity in Capitola, hopefully some time next week.   Stay tuned for the date.

I really want to thank Community Television for respectfully granting me interview time when I recently requested equal time commensurate with what the station had given Supervisor Zach Friend in late December, 2019.

Take a look at two recent interviews on Community Television:

Voices of the Village with Host Steve Pleich

and Community Cafe with host Datta Khalsa – Broker/Owner Main Street Realtors

When you are done, go back and watch the beginning interview with Rick Longinotti – No on Recall.

I had the opportunity to attend Monterey Bay Community Power Board meetings via teleconference last week, and learned that this Community-based power company will expand soon to incorporate areas all the way south to Santa Barbara, and will change it’s name as a result.  Soon, the name will be changed to Central Coast Community Energy, and will include 32 jurisdictions.

The current multi-jurisdictional board met February 12 via teleconference for the first time, and included a contingent in Monterey at the main office, as well as a small group from Santa Barbara, along with those checking in from the Sequoia Conference room at 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz.  I observed and participated in the Governance Committee and Executive Committee meetings, both chaired by Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, and then the Operations Board of Directors meeting, chaired by Mr. Rene Mendez, City Manager of Gonzales. Mr. Mendez cautioned the group about becoming so large as to considered a “utility”, and that legislators are beginning to watch more closely the actions of community-based power groups as a result.

I learned that Monterey Bay Community Power, while having a goal of 100% renewable energy supply, is currently only at 40%, because of heavy reliance on hydro-power, which is not considered renewable.  I learned that the source of the solar power component is in Kern County and New Mexico. I learned that that company is purchasing a huge battery storage facility that will enable solar-generated power to be stored for night hour supply.

Here is a link to the Monterey Bay Community Power website. Take a look at the agendas. Meeting Search Results – OnBase Agenda Online

It seems that the future meetings will be again held via teleconference in the County Building.  If you are interested in the power grid, and renewable energy supply organization, I encourage you to attend the next meeting.  The CEO, Mr. Habashi, is paid over $27,000/month.  Wow.

I attended both of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) public open houses to gather input on the Rail Alternatives Study.  The first was at the Live Oak Grange, and was so well-attended, I could not hear much of anything.  Before it got too crowded, I did have the pleasure of meeting the fellow who is responsible for bringing the hydrogen fuel cell passenger train to the County in October.  It will be free to ride for a little over a week, during business hours, and will go from about Jade Street Park in Capitola to the Boardwalk.

The second meeting was in the Watsonville Library meeting room, and was more sparsely attended.  I had the ability to talk with one of the transportation engineers the RTC had brought from Berkeley about various options.  He was not aware of the May, 2015 Rail Feasibility Study.  Wow.

In many ways, it seemed like another perfunctory meeting, with multi-colored dots people could affix to their favorite or least-favorite idea (presenters said the color of the dot did not matter…huh?) and people could affix post-it notes on maps with ideas for station locations.  Will any of those dots and post-its actually matter?  Or will there need to be yet another study?

Honestly, it is just time to get a crushed roadbase trail in so SOMEONE can start using this gem in any fashion at all.  Contact the RTC with your thoughts.  The next meeting is March 5.

Last week, the Sixth District Court of Appeal formally agreed to accept the transfer of my appeal against Soquel Creek Water District for many alleged violations and inadequate environmental analysis regarding their proposed project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the drinking water supply of the Midcounty.  This is good news.  The District’s counsel from Riverside asked for and was granted calendar preference.  Now comes the arduous task of designating the record of materials for appeal review.  Stay tuned.  Appeals Case H047733 in Court of Appeal.

The Board will most likely approve the $3.2 million price tag for the land at 2505 Chanticleer at Soquel Avenue for a place to build the advanced sewage effluent treatment plant in Live Oak.  (see page 107 for Item #7.3)

This would be the location of the treatment plant housing a number of hazardous chemicals needed for the disinfection and system maintenance processes.  The District failed to notify in writing 30 days in advance the schools within one-quarter mile that the Project was going to be approved and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was final and to be certified by the Board.  That is why the Live Oak Community did not know about this project proposed for their neighborhood by a water company that does not serve them.  This is part of my legal case before the Court of Appeal.

The Board will most likely approve $5,058,583 contract with Garney/Kennedy Jenks to design the pipeline conveyance system that would take treated sewage effluent from the Santa Cruz City Sewage Treatment Facility all the way to the 2505 Chanticleer Avenue treatment plant, and send the contaminant brine back via a separate pipeline to be dumped into the Monterey Bay. This is in Item 7.4 that begins on page 134 of the 2/18/20 Board agenda.

It would also include another nearly equal amount of pipe and pumping stations to the three proposed injection wells, one of which has already been built at Twin Lakes Baptist Church and was approved and put out to bid before the PureWater Soquel Project EIR was certified.

There is little discussion about the environmental mitigations required for all those 18 stream crossings, and potential damage to multiple historic structures adjacent to vibratory horizontal drilling areas (nothing at all until page 164).  I see no mention of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, or the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The pipelines are estimated to be 23,650LF each for conveyance of tertiary treated water to the advance treatment facility, and the same for the brine return.  The pipeline is estimated to be 23,800LF from the advanced treatment facility to the three injection wells.  The EIR states that the cleaning effluent from the injection wells would go either into the creeks or the sanitary sewer.  That is not discussed in this conveyance design description.

Garney Pacific (dba Garney) is at 324 E. 11th Street, Suite E2, Tracy, CA  95876;  phone (925) 800-1848.

Perhaps we should contact them and ask about these critical issues.   Rest assured, the Soquel Creek Water District Board, which just took action to reduce the public comment time on agenda items, will not be inclined to answer any questions from the public.

The Coastal Commission will consider a permit application by Soquel Creek Water District for a consolidated permit for the proposed Project to inject treated sewage water into the aquifer.  The Coastal Commission will review the application during the March 11-13 meeting scheduled to occur in Scotts Valley. Here are the rules for sending comment and public testimony.

This was discussed at the recent Soquel Creek Water District Public Outreach Committee meeting: (page 59 of Board 2/28/20 agenda)

Ms. Mow Schumacher discussed outreach efforts for the Pure Water Soquel Project, specifically outreach needed for the Coastal Commission hearing, conveyance pipeline and treatment designbuild.

Also at the recent Infrastructure Committee meeting (page 61 of the 2/18/20 Board agenda):

Ms. Mow Schumacher and Mr. Dufour provided an update on the Pure Water Soquel (PWS) Project, discussing the Coastal Commission hearing, conveyance pipeline, treatment designbuild and grant funding.

Here is a great opportunity for students of any age interested in government to intern and receive monthly stipend of $2,698 and health, dental and vision benefits, paid university enrollment and student fees for units in the Political Science Dept., Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government, and student loan deferment. 
You can find more information here.


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.

Email Becky at


Pictured here is a new and novel coronavirus. This new virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, and is now being found in other locations around the world. The illness caused by the virus can be life threatening. A couple of the first United States cases of the illness caused by the virus were located in San Jose, California.

It is fair to say that there is great concern about the deadly nature of this new virus. The photo below, showing the streets of Wuhan, China on February 3, 2020, indicates just how much those at the epicenter of this new viral outbreak have been trying to avoid exposure. The picture is from The Atlantic, and if you click this link you can see even more photographs that demonstrate just how afraid of human contact people in Wuhan, China have become.

On February 8, 2020, The New York Times ran a story that discussed how this new coronavirus might spread, and outlined six different factors that will be important with respect to our ability to prevent a worldwide epidemic. The upshot is that human contact, one on one, can lead to the very rapid dissemination of new pathogens, like this new coronavirus. The process is commonly described by the phrase “going viral,” but that phrase is now also used in non-medical contexts, for instance, to talk about how fast a “meme,” like one showing our president having a bad hair day, will sweep through the Internet.

I teach a class at the University of California, Santa Cruz called “Privacy, Technology, And Freedom,” and we definitely discuss the “going viral” phenomenon in the non-medical context. Class discussion focuses often how social media can make various kinds of information (and misinformation) “go viral,” and what the social, economic, and political conseequences of that phenomenon can be. Any reader of this blog who is not familiar with the phenomenon, or with Zeynep Tufekci, might enjoy watching Tufekci’s TED Talk called, “How the internet has made social change easy to organize, hard to win.”

Tufekci is an associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, and is a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; she is a monthly contributor to The New York Times op-ed page on topics related to technology’s social impact. She was present at a number of the demonstrations that initiated the “Arab Spring,” in 2011, and she identifies these demonstrations as prime examples of how the Internet has made it possible for political protests to “go viral” very quickly.

While Tufekci celebrates how the Internet and social media have made it possible quickly to organize demonstrations and protests – by making it easy for news to “go viral” and create almost immediate responses – she also observes that this “going viral” process, when based on the Internet, may not lead to any enduring social, political, or economic change. Listening to her talk about this is very much recommended for anyone who hopes to be part of a movement for social and political change in the United States. In fact, says Tufekci, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, kicking off one of the great battles of the Civil Rights Movement, is a pre-internet model of how more durable and effective protests can lead to change. The Internet, as she puts it, makes it “easy to organize” social protest, but makes it hard actually to accomplish substantive change.

As I have been reading about the coronavirus, and how it is spreading, I have also been remembering Tufekci’s admonitions not to rely too heavily on the Internet and social media to make enduring social, political, or economic change. We do need to make it possible for protests and demonstrations to “go viral,” but as the person-to-person nature of the current health crisis demonstrates, it is not necessary to rely solely on the Internet and social media to achieve that objective.

Person-to-person contacts are what causes diseases, like the coronavirus, to “go viral.”

Same thing is true for making political change. Person-to-person contacts are what will do it!

Gary Patton 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


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Classic peeks inside our secret places…maybe?

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s comic 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

Lisa writes: “Heads up, Shakespeare fans! Our own Santa Cruz Shakespeare has announced its lineup for this year’s summer festival season — and since it revolves around two of my favorite Shakespeare plays, I could not be more excited! To find out which two, check out — this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


[From the webmistress: Bruce is not back yet, so I’m leaving you his opinions on the movies from last week. Mea culpa if anything is no longer playing! Take the list as guidance for what to rent ;)]

THE TWO POPES. Anthony Hopkins plays Pope Benedict XVI, and Jonathan Pryce is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Based on a terribly troubled time in the Catholic Church — namely 2005 — these two leaders argue and discuss personal and public issues that become completely absorbing. Yes, child abuse is in there too. Just to watch these two master actors is a reminder of what and where good acting can take audiences. Go see it, but do hurry.

UNCUT GEMS. 92 RT. Adam Sandler is amazingly perfect in this role of a New York City jeweler/gambler who risks his family and his own life to make a quick (two days) bundle of money on a gem sale. You will never forget Sandler in this film. Exciting, tense, and believable. Don’t miss it. Sandler’s acting talent is surprising, especially when we have become so used to his comedy roles.

1917Do not see this film if you expect to watch much of Benedict Cumberbatch. IF he’s in it more than 2 minutes I’ll eat my helmet!!! I also wouldn’t give this movie ANY ” best of” awards, and am surprised at what it’s won so far. It’s the story of two foot soldiers slogging through, under and around enemy lines to deliver an important life saving message. It’s an impressive hunk of movie making, and yet it won’t really draw you into the story. 89RT

JUST MERCY. A fine film starring Jamie Foxx, Michael Jordan, and an excellent role for Tim Blake Nelson. A true story about a guy (Foxx) being sentenced to the chair for a crime he didn’t do. This sounds like a dozen films we seen before BUT it’s better, go see it. 99RT. 

 MARRIAGE STORY. A fine and well acted film about a show biz couple, their children , divorce, and some odd choices by Scarlett Johansson the wife to Adam Driver’s husband. Laura Dern does her best role in decades. Alan Alda and Ray Liotta have some small scenes. You are guaranteed to relive some of your own poor choices in your marriage too! 84 audience score on RT.A Netflix production.

JOJO RABBIT. Centered on Nazi Germany, this is very rare political comedy with funny scenes. A little boy has Adolf Hitler as an invisible buddy. Scarlett Johansson plays the little boy’s mom, and does one of very finest acting jobs, ever. Hitler and the screwed up political/ military scene will make you think of Trump and our own screwed up political/ military scene. A wonderful and rare film, do not miss it!! 

PARASITE. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho outdid his other international screen successes with Parasite. Wikipedia calls it a dark comedy thriller and so do I. It’s winning awards everywhere and deserves them all. There’s brain surgery, murder, basement dwellers, numerous surprises, even some shocks and well worth your seeing it ASAP.

AERONAUTS. Felicity Jones plays a very cute and Disney like character matching Eddie Redmayne’s equally sweet and nerdy partner in this supposedly true story of an early hot air balloon ascension in Britain’s Victorian age in 1862. It’s cute, some funny parts a bit scary due to heights of the balloon. Being such a cute movie… they actually changed the sex of the person accompanying Redmayne , it was really a male friend of his. It’s on Amazon.

STAR WARS. THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. 54 RT. George Lucas’ Star Wars empire started 42 years ago with wildly clever and intelligent twists and an absolutely brilliant story line. We watched politely while some sad sequels stained our screens, now thanks to Disney buying and producing this concluding finale we have an ending to the saga that isn’t worth your time or expectations. Trite, predictable, and sad to see our old heroes and heroines suffer with a plot as dull and unrewarding as this one. You have to go if you’ve seen more than one of the series…just don’t expect to be satisfied with the conclusion.



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 and archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Peter Klotz- Chamberlin from the Resource Center for Non Violence guests on February 4. After which Nancy Macy who is  Environmental Committee Chair of the Valley Womens Club talks about PG&E and other problems. Jean Brocklebank and Michael Lewis will talk about our Santa Cruz Public library issues on Feb 11. Distinguished Artists Series founder John Orlando and pianist Lembit Beecher guest on March 3. 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 

I spent last weekend in Nevada, making fireworks. Yes, you read that right! I hope to have some video of my own for next week, but for now I give you an amazing tribute that went up at Winter Blast last year. This guy is the reason there’s a golden willow in the animated Disney logo.

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. 

Being clever

“I’m different,” said the Kid. “My gran always said I was half clever, half stupid, and half crazy.”
~Charlie Higson, The Enemy

“Plenty of clever children have to pretend to be not clever or else they get bullied by the thick.”
~Tom Baker, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

“When did you get so clever?”
“When I realized I wasn’t as clever as I thought.”
~John Connolly, The Infernals

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