Blog Archives

February 5 – 11, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Errett Circle Church denied Historic preservation, plus response. GREENSITE…still in Guatemala. KROHN…Recall Candidates meeting notes, student rent rates, 555 Pacific Avenue. STEINBRUNER…County Supervisors forum, County Fire tax passes? Soquel Creek Water Bill, Voice of Voting exhibit. PATTON…about our City Recall EAGAN…classic cartoons. Jewell Theatre’s “The Other Place” review JENSEN…on the Oscars. BRATTON…critiques holdovers. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “CORONAVIRUS”


AERIAL VIEW CABRILLO COMMUNITY COLLEGE 1967. Anyone know why, and how, Cabrillo opened so close to the same time as UCSC? Was there a state pattern?                                                        

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email



It’s hard to believe that, after all these years, Santa Cruz City’s Historic Preservation Commission voted against historic designation for the Circle Church and property on Thursday night, January 30th.  Because I’ve devoted so many inches of “print” here, and minutes on Universal Grapevine, I’m concerned that the rest of us get a more complete view of what happened. The church issue will come before the City Council, probably on February 25. I wrote to both Sue Powell, director of the Friends of the Circle Church community, and to Joe Michalak of the Historic Preservation Commission. Here’s her answer…

Two Commissioners – Ross Gibson and Jessica Kusz – were required to recuse themselves. Their absence was a big loss in terms of their potential influence in the public discussion among Commissioners and the resulting vote. Ross is a local historian and strong supporter of protecting the Circle Church. He wrote “Garfield Park Circles – A Neighborhood Context Statement”. This document fills 60 pages with fascinating historical information about the Circles Neighborhood and the Circle Church. Jessica Kusz is a historic preservation professional. 

The Commissioners that oversaw the meeting were Chair Joe Michalak, Vice Chair Don Lauritson, Traci Bliss, Albert Narath, and Dennis Diego. Of these, three had been very interested in the Circle Church issue over the past year.

Joe Michalak, with Jessica Kusz, wrote an 11-page critique of the first developer-paid historic report for the 111 Errett Circle property. Albert Narath said at a few meetings that one very important criteria in historic preservation is the meaning that a site holds for neighbors and the community. Traci Bliss had been asking staff for over a year for the Commission to be able to review historic reports for unlisted structures over 50 years old that were threatened for demolition. 

We expected a 3-2 vote in favor of preservation. 

During public comments, one speaker requested a show of hands for those supporting protection and those supporting the developers. At least two-thirds of the hands raised came from supporters of historic designation. Developers claimed that of the letters sent to the Commission, 75 were supportive of the developers and 15 supported protection. However, neighbors and friends of the Circle Church submitted 1252 petition signatures. The Commission ignored our petitions. 

Supporters of the development presented speeches that were full of misrepresentations, attacks on our community efforts to save the Church, and threats of lawsuits. 

At the break after public comments, Commissioners chatted with pro-development attendees and ignored pro-preservation folks. When the meeting reconvened, Commissionersquestioned the historic consultants but did not delve into the many problems with the second historic report and did not challenge the socioeconomic bias in the report.

My analysis of the second historic report is that it was superficial and based on affluent values. Our group wanted to hire an independent consultant to analyze the site, but we did not have the $5000 that it would have required. A recent New Yorker article “The Fight to Preserve African-American History” discusses preservation trends that apply to the Circle Church and states, “In less affluent areas, designations are rare, and the same forces that are caustic for residents also corrode their history.” 

Before the vote was taken, Commissioners stated that although they did not want to see historic structures demolished, they were unwilling to stand in the way of the development proposal because it is so far along. They said that they did not want to establish a precedent for blocking development.

The vote against preservation was unanimous, 5-0″. from Sue Powell Friends of the Circles. 

Bratton opinion…In closing (for now). Just as a follow-up measure, the city council should appoint a community member to check on the new developers moving into The Errett Circle Church property every two years or so. They claim they are just folks who want nice homes for themselves in a nice neighborhood. 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION OPINION. To be nearly fair, I asked Joe Michalak, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission for his words on the Church topic. Joe wrote…

Thank you for asking for my comments on the Circles Church. Sometimes history progresses in circles rather than straight lines. The historic preservation movement began in 1974 with the demolition of the McHugh & Bianchi Building, the venerable grocery at the head of Pacific Avenue. The grassroots movement to preserve the building ended in the courts. The loss of the building, however, led to the establishment later that year of the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and Commission. The first Historic Building Survey issued in 1976 included structures built prior to 1930. The second survey in 1989 included buildings up to 1950. Some historic buildings were lost in the 1989 earthquake, including the iconic Cooper House. No other demolitions were approved for a listed building until La Bahia in 2014. Despite opposition from the public, the Historic Preservation Commission approved demolition on a 4 to 2 vote, followed by a unanimous City Council vote.
Circles neighborhood opposition began to grow by 2018 when plans were presented for a housing development requiring demolition of the Garfield Park Christian Church located in the Errett circle. The sanctuary portion of the church completed in 1959 became eligible for review (based on the fifty-year rule) for listing on the Historic Building Survey in 2009.  The two wings, however, would not have been eligible for evaluation until 2013, the same year v.III of the survey was approved by the Council. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approved the staff recommendation that the church was not eligible for listing as a landmark, which requires listing on the Historic Building Survey. The HPC recommended to the City Council that the space retain a focal point, create storyboards, interpreting significant historical elements of the Garfield Park neighborhood, and that the existing circular street pattern remain unchanged. The full audio recording of the public hearing citing the reasons why the building does not meet the standards for listing is available on the City’s website.
The Circle neighbors deserve recognition for the time, energy, and passion they exhibited in seeking to preserve the church. The packed auditorium for the hearing was extraordinary for the Commission. The Commission would hope that more citizens would become engaged in the City’s historic preservation program”. Joe Michalak Chair, Historic Preservation Commission February 3, 2020 

GREENSITE’S INSIGHT. Gillian is in Guatemala for another week. 

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 3

IN DUBIOUS BATTLE. (no apologies to Steinbeck!)
In Dubious Battle? It was a chilly Friday evening outside the Santa Cruz Vets Hall on Front Street. Inside it was not much warmer as candidates, and would-be candidates for the Santa Cruz City Council milled around folding tables. On one side of the room, stage right, was filled with Peet’s takeout coffee and sourdough sandwiches. The fluorescent light made the room seem dank and uninviting. I am used to being here earlier when daylight streams through large rectangular windows and lends charm to this historic structure. On the other side, stage left, were tables awaiting a candidate literature drop. They were embellished with candidate names plates, but little in the way of brochures or candidate statements appeared. Don Lane sat behind his table while other candidates–Tim Fitzmaurice, Renee Golder, and me–mingled. Soon it was time to take to the stage. Arriving at the top step I suddenly remembered my high school auditorium and the smell of wood that had captured bits of moisture over time. That smell. The quiet in the room became louder.The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) city council forum on housing was about to begin. I was invited as one being recalled to discuss my housing ideas. (I instead, wished to offer a picture of how we arrived not at a “housing crisis,” but at an “affordable housing crisis.” Councilmember Drew Glover and candidate Katherine Beiers were absent, but their spirit was there in the words of Tim Fitzmaurice. Each “candidate” turned in a slide earlier in the week to Matt Huerta of MBEP. Most presented a bulleted power point one-slide presentation with information concerning what each would do about the state of housing in Santa Cruz. I presented the one below, Park Pacific,1547 Pacific Avenue, 79 condos and not a single affordable rental unit in the bunch. What looked to be about 30 people sitting in rows of chairs set up for 70, I glanced first to my Left and saw Laurie Brooks, Sandy Brown, and Sylvia Caras. I was heartened. On my Right, well, Robert Singleton, Mark Mesiti-Miller, and Mark Primack were all present. Here are my remarks:  

I’m Chris Krohn, Santa Cruz City Council. Thank you for the invitation to present tonight. 

Given 3 minutes I will offer an ever so brief past, present, and future and hopefully a picture of our affordable housing crisis. My slide of 1547 Pacific Ave, Swenson’s 79-condo Park Pacific Project will perhaps make more sense as I speak. 

How did we get here?

By being a beautiful place next to a beautiful Ocean near a beautiful university that has not stopped growing. All of Santa Cruz’s  housing growth pains stem from the now 19,500 students on the hill, and all they have housing space for is half that many. But that’s not the only thing. Rent on campus is $1200 to $1400 per student and a triple dorm room ends up at $3600 to $4200 per month, likely the highest square footage rental rates in town, and dorm rooms are not really the greatest accommodations either. We all are aware that on-campus rents are driving in-town rents. (Can I get an Amen?!)

The present rental housing situation off The Hill finds 2-bedroom apartments renting for $3200 to $3500, slightly below the university’s price. BUT, when five students cram into a typical 2-bedroom at Cypress Point at the end of Felix Street, 200 Button Street, or Schaffer Road. or the Hilltop Apartments on Western Drive, guess what? Each student saves beaucoup dollars by ONLY paying between $750 to $800 each, about 10-30% less than campus. The “poor” person living on the couch generally pays around $500 I am told.

Then, along comes 555 Pacific with NO permanently affordable rental units, some Housing Authority rentals yes, but none “in-perpetuity” that I am aware….After 555 is built along comes Park Pacific (see picture) on the sight of the old Bookshop Santa Cruz.A “typical 2-bedroom” will rent for $3900 according to the web site,, AND it contains NO affordable rental units! This building could be looked at as the housing poster child by the “Give me rent control or give me death” movement. This building was followed by the yet to be built, but fully-permitted 100 Laurel Street, a 205-unit complex expected soon along Laurel Street between Pacific and Front. And if you were betting on the inclusion of affordable units in this one, you would have lost big. NO affordable rental units at 100 Laurel either. In total, that’s at least 370 units with no permanently affordable rental units included, (despite the fact that SC has had a 15% inclusionary ordinance since 1979!)We also find ourselves with three renters on the Santa Cruz City Council.(That is news!)

The future…given the 3-minute time limit I will just say that we know affordable housing is not just an issue in Santa Cruz where people are demanding more from their elected leaders. Yesterday, on the other side of the country in Washington, D.C. the People’s Housing Platform was being unveiled by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. The People’s Housing Platform says government’s role is to protect people from those who profit from displacement, and also to end the criminalization of those experiencing homelessness. I urge you to Google the “The People’s Housing Platform.” It is based on the simple truth that housing is a human right.  It is a human right in Detroit, in Minneapolis, in Queens, and it is a human right here in Santa Cruz. 


But I ran out of Time

I also urge you to get on the housing justice train. With Bernie Sanders at 30% in California and “The Squad” supporting the Green New Deal, which is rooted in affordable housing, ending homelessness, and creating good green jobs, and with the developer-friendly SB 50 now on its way back to the drawing board, the people supporting deep affordable housing in Santa Cruz are on a progressive wave sweeping the country. It ain’t going away. If Glover and Krohn are recalled there’s a lot of folks in this town who are ready to step up and take our places and continue the political revolution Bernie Sanders began in 2016!

The folks writing checks for a new Space Force are the same ones asking “how are you going to pay for” public college or healthcare. This is the richest country in the world. Our problem isn’t a lack of money. It’s a lack of good priorities. And that is something we can change. (Feb 2) 

(Are 6-story parking structure people listening?!)

(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



February 3

Sentinel moderator, Mr. Steve Bennett, seemed surprised to have a full-house audience at the “Supervising Santa Cruz County” candidate forum last Wednesday, January 29.  The Fire Marshall would not have been pleased, but I was, because so many people of all ages took time to attend. 

The race is really going well with many supporters pledging to vote for me as Second District County Supervisor.   I will be at the Cabrillo Farmer’s Market next Saturday morning, February 9. until noon.  You can find me outside the white limit line as you enter the Market from the Porter Gulch Road side and near the parking garage.  

Here is my website address: 

Here is my campaign e-mail:

If you would like to host a neighborhood coffee, please let me know.  I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your neighbors and have good discussion of what you feel matters most in the County and Second District.

Attached is a photo of the Candidate Forum 2nd District Candidate contingent, as other participants were speaking; note the body language!

Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the County Clerk’s report on how rural property owners voted on a new County Service Area (CSA) 48 tax in addition to what they are already paying.  The Board scheduled this matter to be heard after a report on another matter that took 90 minutes.  Then, after a break, and holding the District 7 Flood Control District meeting, finally heard the CSA 48 new tax issue.  By then, all the people who had been there earlier to speak had given up and left.

Shame on the Board of Supervisors for such disrespect of peoples’ efforts to attend the Fire Tax matter.  I raised several questions.  The Board answered none.  In fact, they held no discussion at all.  It was disgusting.

In the hallway afterward, General Services Dept. Director Michael Beaton refused to tell me what appeal process is available to the public regarding the action.  He told me to talk with County Counsel.  

I tried to do so, but was told he was not available.  I sent an e-mail to Counsel Justin Graham, asking that he outline the appeal process and statutory limits.  Mr. Graham refused to answer, only advising me to hire a lawyer.

The County is second-largest weighted voter in this CSA 48 Assessment vote.  The Board of Supervisors voted December 10, 2019 as a consent agenda item buried in 2000 pages of agenda documentation. Read Item #39, whereby the Board approved voting in the affirmative for the new tax IN ADDITION TO WHAT ALL PROPERTY OWNERS ARE ALREADY PAYING in CSA 48 taxes (that little detail was not made clear)

The cost of the Special Benefit Assessment to the County will be $37,537.59 for FY 2020/21 and will be financed with various County funds.

Read the full staff report for Item #39 here

Here is a link to the Sentinel’s piece:

Tax raising funds for Santa Cruz County Fire adopted after rural property owners vote in support

Tax raising funds for Santa Cruz County Fire adopted after rural propert…
SANTA CRUZ — A new fire-protection tax is set to be levied on property owners in much of rural Santa Cruz County…This is a nasty move by reporter Nick Ibarra to feature this file photo of the Bonny Doon unit in the online version of the article (the hard copy newspaper did not feature any photo at all.)  Bonny Doon residents spoke out loud and clear against the proposed new tax from the very beginning.  Why didn’t the Sentinel find a nice photo of the Loma Prieta unit where support was awash with one-sided information handed out to voters?  


CORRECTION AND RETRACTION:  I reported in error last week that Best, Best & Krieger had erroneously classified the Writ of Mandate case 19CV00181 as a “Limited” case, but they had in fact classified it as “Unlimited” in their Case Management Conference statement last June.  I had entered the classification of  “Limited” on my cover sheet because of the legal definition that I was seeking less than $25,000.   I am not seeking any money at all from the District.

Judge John Gallagher was supposed to have determined the case classification in June at the Case Management Conference, but did not.   Judge Timothy Schmal, who took over the case after Judge Gallgher recused himself, also did not notice the problem.  The Santa Cruz County Superior Court Appellate Division tribunal of three judges likewise did not take note of the error of Judge Gallagher.

My apologies to BBK for stating otherwise.  However, they did select a filing fee amount to come after me for that is the amount for filing “Limited” Civil Cases in their legal action to be considered in Court whereby they seek to make me pay over $2845.86 for various fees that they feel they are entitled to recover.  By law, the District cannot recover their legal fees.  They want to make me pay over $250 for two Trial Boards that were never even used, and their attorney admitted in Court that she does not understand the science behind the topic for which she had the Trial Boards made to support.   

By the time their Best, Best & Krieger attorney is finished fighting this, having no doubt flown up from Riverside for the day at the cost of $325/hour, the amount the District might recover would be next to nothing.  

Soquel Creek Water District is taking this action merely to punish me, and hopes to impose a chilling impact on any further questioning of their omnipotent behavior.  

Go visit the wonderful exhibit on the third floor of the County Government Building (701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz).  Entitled  “Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice/ Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz”, it is a well-done and informative collection of ballot paraphernalia and voting rights timeline that is really worth a special trip to see.  

The exhibit is dedicated to the late Bob Fitch of Watsonville, and features his amazing photographs.  It is sponsored by the Pajaro Valley Arts, the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission, and the Santa Cruz County Elections Department and will be up through April 3.  A reception, free to the public, will be held along with the First Friday Art Tour this Friday,  February 7, 5pm-8pm.

Here’s a link to a good report from the Pajaronian: The voice of voting | Art | The Pajaronian | Watsonville, CA



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.

Email Becky at


Monday, February 3, 2020
#34 / Reject The Recalls: My View

Recall elections have been qualified against two members of the Santa Cruz City Council. The recall elections are scheduled for March 3rd, but absentee voting will begin soon.

In my opinion, voters should vote “NO,” and reject the recalls. Despite the claims of recall proponents, I do not actually see this recall as a response to the personal failings of the two members of the Council now facing a recall election. Personal failings there may be, of course, but this recall is not about malfeasance in office. No claims of dishonesty or illegal behavior have ever been advanced as a reason for the recalls. The recalls are not about a city version of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The charges of misconduct made against the two Council Members now facing recall were found to be without significant substance, after an outside (and very costly) investigation.

The way I see it, this recall is about political power, and nothing else. After the last city election, in November 2018, there was an unexpected result. A so-called “progressive” cohort of Council Members could sometimes muster four votes on the seven-member Council. This was a big change. The City Council hasn’t been progressive for years. The two City Council Members now facing recall have voted, with two others, to reverse pro-development policies that the previous Council endorsed and advanced. That, in my opinion, is the real reason for the recall, and that is why such enormous amounts of money have been contributed by development and business interests to fund the recall effort. 

Here are three examples of how the last election changed the direction of the City, elevating community values over developer profits:

The previous City Council had REDUCED requirements that developers provide dedicated affordable housing when new housing developments are built. That was, of course, good for the developers, but not good for our community. Thanks to the votes of the two Council Members now facing a recall, the current City Council has reversed this policy, and has RESTORED and INCREASED AFFORDABLE HOUSING REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL NEW DEVELOPMENTS. The people funding the recall effort (and they have funded it with a LOT of money) appear to care more about developers making a profit than they do about providing more affordable housing for working families in our city. If the recall is successful, these positive changes can be reversed. 

The previous City Council was trying to put high-density development along all of the City’s main transportation corridors – with particular impacts on the City’s East Side. This plan would have had very significant adverse impacts on local neighborhoods and on local small businesses. It was, for that reason, hugely unpopular. Prior to the last election, the Council then in power put that proposal on “the back burner,” planning to put it right back on the front burner when another pro-development Council was elected. The actual election results were a big surprise. Thanks to the votes of the two Council Members now facing a recall, the Council has reversed the earlier policy and has directed its staff to develop a plan that will “preserve and protect residential neighborhood areas and existing City businesses, as the City’s highest-level policy priority.” The Council has also demanded that the new plan “encourage appropriate new residential mixed-use development, specifically including enhanced affordable housing opportunities, at appropriate locations along the City’s main transportation corridors.” Once again, the two Council Members facing recall have voted for the community, not for the developers. If the recall is successful, that priority will be reversed.

The previous City Council was planning to build a massive parking garage on the parking lot where the Farmers’ Market is held. Such a garage, if constructed, would essentially be a subsidy to downtown developers, who would then not have to provide their own parking as they build new developments. The previous Council wanted to use bond funding approved to restore and rebuild our downtown library to help make that massive garage project economically possible. Thanks to the votes of the two Council Members facing a recall, the Council is now exploring different options. If the recall is successful, you can count on that garage/library project coming right back.

What is happening in the City of Santa Cruz today is exactly the same thing that happened in 1978, as pro-development interests with lots of money sought to reverse a 1976 election that was very surprising to those who had been in power, and that put County Government on a new and more “progressive” course.

Santa Cruz County was then the fastest growing county in the state, and the fifth-fastest growing county in the United States. Development interests had undue influence. What the community wanted was to manage and control growth, and to protect and preserve our agricultural and natural lands, and to require developers to build affordable housing. Two other Board Members and I started making progress in that direction. That is when big money from development interests qualified a recall against the two Members of the Board who were voting with me to make those changes in land use policy. Various alleged personal failings on the part of the two supervisors were presented in the recall petitions, but the actual “political” reason that the recall effort was launched was hidden.

In 1978, the big money campaign that qualified and drove the recall elections was successful, and the two supervisors who faced recall were, in fact, recalled. One of the most pro-development Board of Supervisors in Santa Cruz County history was the result – not actually what the public wanted! I hope voters in the City of Santa Cruz won’t make a similar mistake!

Recalls invariably lead to the kind of bitter community divisions that can endure for years, and that make even routine governmental actions difficult. Regular elections produce results that we all accept – even if we don’t like them. Recall elections don’t.

There is a lot at stake with respect to the proposed recall in the City of Santa Cruz: a consistent commitment to the production of affordable housing, for instance. Other examples include the future of the downtown library, and the continuing impacts of overdevelopment on traffic, water, local neighborhoods, and our local small businesses. Labor issues, tax and financial issues, and questions about how our city can provide compassionate and effective help to those in desperate need, are all challenges we need to work on together.

There will be another regular election in the City of Santa Cruz in November 2020. If the voters want change, that’s the time to make changes. In the meantime, let’s reject the current recall proposals. If they are successful, that will mean years of bad blood and an impaired and less effective government – plus the reversal of policies that benefit the community and our desire to protect and preserve local neighborhoods, and to provide affordable housing. 

Voters in the City of Santa Cruz should vote “NO” on the two recalls that will be on the March 2020 ballot.

That’s my view.

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 “Media Violence” 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 OTHER PLACE. The Jewell Theatre’s production of “The Other Place” (now though Feb. 16 –Colligan Theatre- Tannery) is a haven for anyone involved or immersed in Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or the so called prescription “cures“.  Julie James plays the nearly charismatic business woman who goes through dementia episodes she can’t identify or deal with. The Other Place name most likely could refer to her going to the crazed, unexplained place of her demented seizures.  It’s a very serious, one act play (1 ½ hours) and you’ll play it over and over again during your own questions of reality. Go see it.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Start popping the corn! The Oscars are coming, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). Read my fearless (possibly clueless) predictions, peruse the posters for the Best Picture nominees, and consider what they say about the current state of the art. (Hint: Will #OscarsSoWhiteMale be the next trending thing?)” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 


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 

Let’s do some standup, we totally need it after this crazy week…

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. “Coronavirus”

“When the president of the United States says we’re ready for these coronaviruses, that answer is absolutely not true. We have such crowded emergency rooms today. We have hospitals where people have to wait hours in hallways to get seen. That’s exactly how outbreaks of coronaviruses get amplified. Mpls St. Paul magazine, Jan 24, 2020

“Wuhan is the transportation capital of China, which connects basically Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Every company that has any manufacturing capacity in China right now better be looking very carefully at its supply chains.” CNBC, Jan 24, 2020, regarding 2019-nCoV

“There’s been no real information about what the likely source of the virus in the [Wuhan] market is….Until we understand which animal the coronavirus came from, we won’t understand if this outbreak is likely to continue. We need to shut off the source of the outbreak.” The Telegraph (London), Jan 14, 2020 

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