Blog Archives

January 17 – 23, 2017

OUR CLASSIC CITY LIBRARY. On September 12, 1966 the city tore down this classic Carnegie Library at the same location our threatened library sits today. Carnegie built 1689 libraries in the USA. You can see the funeral home that still sits across Church street. It’s now Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.     

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


Billie Holiday & Louis Armstrong – The Blues Are Brewing

The Beach Boys – Help Me Rhonda

DATELINE January 16, 1017

ENTERING  SANTA CRUZ??? It’s no secret that every Highway, Route, Road or Street entrance into or through Santa Cruz City is ugly and filled with such unattractive businesses. Your friends must have commented on it for decades. The latest part of this mess is that the City Planning Department’s website is filled with such phrases as We’re “Revitalizing” Ocean Street. They talk about making Ocean Street a “vibrant gateway”. What’s the plan? What’s already underway to beautify Ocean Street??….A NEW DUNKIN DONUTS!!!

This worldwide franchise business is going onto a lot right across Ocean Street from Ferrell’s Donuts. Check out Dunkin Donuts website you’ll read  their bragging about the number of stores they have. To quote, “Today, there are more than 11,300 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants worldwide – more than 8,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in 41 states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia, and more than 3,200 international restaurants in 36 countries”.

Why does Santa Cruz keep bending over to attract and allow our city to grow in this direction? We also recently gave away one of our most prominent corners of Ocean and Soquel to Starbucks.

Ferrell’s is locally owned and has been here for more than 3 decades. Their profits stay here and yet we allow our city to create a monstrous competition, and all in the name of a vibrant gateway or Revitalizing Ocean Street? Drive up and down Ocean Street… count the motels, restaurants, and cheesy looking businesses and ask yourself or better yet, ask City Planning, why are you allowing and even encouraging this?

RUMOR DEPARTMENT. Really hard to track this down but murmurs and rumors have it that Juliana Rebagliatti’s announced departure as Director of the City Planning Department was due to her taking too long to approve new developments. Does that mean that City pressures want even faster approval and more developments like we’ve been crushed with since the ‘89 earthquake?

MORE FACTS NEEDED. First I heard that there was/is renewed pressure to cut down the historic Walnut tree on Cedar Street across from Café Bene. Then I got the news second hand that there are new plans to build 74 condo units facing Pacific Avenue where the hole still sits from the ’89 quake. The City Planning Department’s website is both out of date and impossible to find any data on who the developer is, why that Walnut Tree is in the way of the project or any other facts on this development. It was all proposed before, the condos, the tree removal, etc, but it fell through.

Watch this space, or better yet,  if you have any news or even facts …do let me know. It’s our city and we all need to be made more aware of what’s happening to it.


On a national level, the state of our democratic republic is being assessed and its longevity debated. On a local level the same issues are frequently at play. A recent exchange between incoming council member Christopher Krohn and council member Richelle Noroyan had me pondering the role of elected officials with respect to the community they serve. At issue was the Corridors committee, the select group that held public meetings and workshops to present the Corridors Plan, that high rise, dense development Plan intended for Mission, Soquel, Ocean and Water Streets. There has been consistent, vocal and major opposition to this Plan from neighbors on the eastside where the impact will be felt the most. At the first council meeting of the year, Krohn moved that the Corridors committee be reinstated due to the neighbors’ concerns that they had not been listened to. Noroyan, who had served on the committee, objected to that description and retorted that the committee had listened to the neighbors but just didn’t agree with them. The motion failed on a 5-2 vote. At first utterance I found myself somewhat persuaded by Noroyan’s statement. “Yes, we listened but we disagree,” sounds honest and reasonable. That is until you consider more carefully the role of an elected representative and in this case, the role of the Corridors committee.

Council candidates run on very broad issues. Unless you know the individuals, know their track record if they have one, or are familiar with the groups who back them, it is very hard to distinguish one from another on major issues. All claim to be for affordable housing; all claim to be champions of the environment; all support social services and neighborhood integrity. Campaign literature and candidates forums deal in generalities. Unless a candidate has declared a position on a specific issue, such broad strokes afford little idea how a council member will vote on projects such as 85 foot tall buildings on Front St. lining the river or moving the downtown library under a 5 story parking structure or supporting the commercialization and transformation of the historic Municipal wharf. And these are the big issues! Scores of important smaller issues are decided at every meeting. However, what we do know is that each council member was elected to represent the community, guided by the General Plan. It is the duty not just the obligation of each council member to listen to the public. The Corridors committee was designed to gather information from the public and present that to the full council for consideration. In that context, Noroyan’s comment that the committee listened to but disagreed with the neighbors is troubling. It suggests that the committee came into the process with its mind made up. That the public input was tolerated at best but never taken seriously. And the public like a bloodhound can always sniff out when it is being patronized.

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~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).



The recent rains may lift drought conditions, but regardless, we will continue to be in big trouble with groundwater shortage for years to come.  That means folks between Live Oak and La Selva Beach will still be required to practice strict conservation.  Well, we all need to, actually.

Soquel Creek Water District’s studies show that, in order to prevent further sea water intrusion into the underground drinking water supply, recent customer conservation levels need to DOUBLE and stay at that level for twenty years, or the District needs to STOP PUMPING COMPLETELY for seven years.  Wow.

For the past six years, farmers in the Central Valley have been doing something amazing to recharge the aquifers there: flooding their farmland with winter storm runoff.  Researchers from UC Davis are initiating a study this year to determine the effects of winter flooding on different tree and forage crops.  “We really have to find new ways of storing and capturing rainfall in winter when water is available,” said UCD groundwater hydrologist Helen Dahlke.  That sure makes sense!  

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Maybe that’s what Barry Swenson Builder is doing at the Aptos Village Project site…big ponds of standing water there.  I wonder, though, about the possible unremediated soil contaminants from that buried 5,000 gallon diesel tank leaking who-knows-what near the utility pole area and Village Drive last March.  I was glad that someone from their crew finally took action to stop the muddy (contaminated?) water and demolition debris from overflowing under the chain link fence onto Trout Gulch Road and into Trout Gulch and Valencia Creeks.    Diesel and arsenic and lead! Oh, my!  I wonder if Fish and Wildlife folks know about this?  707-944-5500 Bay Delta Regional Office.

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~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).

PATTON’S PROGRAM. From Gary’s “We Live In A Political World” website…

Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire. He is now advising our billionaire president-elect, Donald J. Trump, and Thiel is apparently arguing for “authoritarian government.” Furthermore, rumors have it that Thiel would like to import the Trump brand of politics and government into California. Business Insider says Thiel may be planning to run for Governor in 2018

The following is what Thiel has to say about freedom and democracy. Let’s consider what this all might mean for our state, before we get too enthusiastic about a “Thiel for Governor” campaign. I am quoting, below, from a comment by Thiel published in Cato Unbound, the journal of the right-wing Cato Institute:

“I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual … But I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible”. (emphasis added).

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


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. One more DeCinzo take on our National Monument… see downwards just a bit.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Inauguration Day”  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. P.S. Read Tim Eagan’s Eagan Blog on Tilikum the “Killer” Orca.

MUNCHING WITH MOZART. Tatyana Rekow, flute and Rose Georgi, piano will perform “Music for Flute and Piano” in the monthly free concert series in the upstairs meeting room in the Santa Cruz Main Library downtown this Thursday, January 19th 12:10 – 12:50. They’ll play works by Reinecke, Bach, Mozart, Delibes, Massenet and Bolling. Get there early, the seats go fast.

LISA JENSEN LINKS.No words or answers from Lisa this week.She must be really busy. . Check out her Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.    

ELLE. This French (subtitled) film is a cinema masterpiece. Especially because Isabelle Huppert plays the lead role. Isabelle deserves any and all awards she’s up for. She plays the CEO of a Video Game production company that produces very kinky films. Elle too is a very kinky film. Isabelle is strong, puzzling, full of angst, guilt, hatred, and even more strong. Just go see Elle, it’s a shocking and amazingly well done movie.

SILENCE. Martin Scorsese has been consumed with the need to portray faith, despair, and tensions of religion in every one of his films. Here he has two Catholic Jesuit Portuguese priests in 17th century Japan searching for a lost brother priest. Adam Driver, Adam Garfield and later Liam Neeson are deeply involved in the roles. You’ll need to be seriously religious especially Christian or Buddhist to enjoy this slow moving twisted exercise in faith. I didn’t like it. Too long (almost three hours) and too twisted and hard to follow, I wouldn’t advise seeing it. Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Good Fellas, and many of his other films were much better and more understandable and universal.

PATRIOT’S DAY. Mark Wahlberg, J.K Simmons, Michelle Monaghan and the ever popular Kevin Bacon plus a weird John Goodman with odd looking dark eyebrows, all add up to a saga revolving around the Boston Marathon bombing and how the cops found the perpetrators.It’s almost an advertisement for the Boston Police and their speed in shooting the last bomber while he was hiding in a boat in someone’s back yard. There isn’t a point to this docudrama, and Wahlberg’s role is all fictional. But you’ll definitely stay awake all through it.

LIVE BY NIGHT. Ben Affleck both stars in and directed this 1920’s gangster re-hash. He shouldn’t have done ether one. I couldn’t stop from thinking James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and George Raft, plus Ann Dvorak, Merle Oberon, Lauren Bacall, and dozens more molls would show up…they didn’t, darn it. The plot is twisted and pointless and would take pages to even provide an out line. The great old cars are used in wonderful shots (pun). Why in this day and age these films of killing and hatred make as much money as they do is beyond me.

SLEEPLESS. Jamie Foxx plays a Las Vegas cop who operetaes undercover in this very bad re-hash, violent, senseless, bloody, meaningless, pointless mess. Michelle Monaghan and Dermot Mulroney are in it too. Only the weird, young and poorly oriented could find anything worth seeing in this waste of time, money and special effects.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Casey Affleck single handidly sustains this deep, emotional film. It’s on the way to several awards and should win them all. It’s an intelligent, beautifically acted in depth portrait of people going through trauma and relationships. Along with Affleck there’s Michelle Williams, Gretchen Mol, even Mathew Broderick in a bit part and especially the 16 year old Lucas Hedges. It’s a cold and unrelenting film that demands your attention especially since you’ve gone through tragedies too. I’m going again, there’s just so much to watch and think about.

ARRIVAL. Amy Adams has always been an excellent actor and she’s even better in this pretty sophisticated science fiction spellbinder. 11 alien speceships hover around earth just a few feet above ground while Amy and Jeremy Renner attempt to communicate with them. It’s a thoughtful film and it’ll make you wonder just how would anybody relate to aliens (and vice versa) Like the Trump victory the world is in a state of shock over these visitors. No killings, violence or cheap cliches…a fine film. I forgot to add that like so many Special effects films nowadays it is photographed in a very dark style. (Saves money I guess)

PASSENGERS. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt do as best they can in this spaceship drama about waking up too soon (90 years too soon) on a 120 year voyage to another planet to find a home away from earth. For obvious reasons it has to be love at first sight after Chris wakes Jennifer up early but “Hollywood level” problems arise and the plot goes lower and more predictable.  Nothing here you haven’t seen before.

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

HIDDEN FIGURES. A syrupy, Hollywoody much- altered story of three Black American women who did spectacular mathematical and technical work at NASA while fighting against a lot of racial and female prejudice. All to launch John Glenn into orbit. It’s both a cute and painful story at the same time. It’s a contender and still lacks something that could have made it a classic. It almost outdrew Star Wars on opening weekend!

LA LA LAND. It all depends on how much you remember the glorious and very bright and brilliant days of the Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Betty Grable, even Barbara Striesand, Judy Garland, and especially Ginger Rogers musicals. La La Land works very hard to convince us that the world hasn’t changed since those days and tries earnestly to recreate the innocence, and obvious genius of those performers. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make La La Land fun and happy to a degree, but it’s not the same. The music and songs aren’t anywhere near as good and the photography of today’s LA doesn’t add much either, besides that Stone and Gosling are not professional dancers or singers like all of above.  It’s like having Eddie Redmayne play Tarzan.

FENCES. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis acted in August Wilson’s play “Fences” in 2010. Now Denzel directed this film version starring the two of them and most of the rest of that NYC cast. It’s drama after drama and is about a dysfunctional black family that takes place almost entirely in their small backyard. To watch the always articulate and brilliant Denzel play a black jerk who is forever down on his luck and is also mean, poorly motivated, and plain nasty was more than I could believe. I didn’t care for this film at all, and it’s doing very poorly at the boxoffice.

THE EAGLE HUNTRESS. Charming, cute, girl-empowering and all for the sake of tradition and making this very staged “documentary”. Male Mongolian tribes folk trained eagles to kill foxes in the old days probably because they needed the furs and meat. Now that everybody lives in houses, eats in cafeterias, and wears spin off clothing from Target, L.L. Bean, via China why still kill foxes?? But this cute 13 year old girl defies tradition with 100% help from staged camera work and a devoted dad…she too kills a fox. Besides the making of this film it also helps the tourist trade who visit the Mongol Mountains every year to watch the Eagle Hunt with vans, television, and lots of posters in English pushing the event.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.  We can only guess that now that the Star Wars movie property is Walt Disney Property it would change, but not like this latest mess. Instead of being more cute, cuddly and cartoonish (like traditional Disney films)…Rogue One is darker, colder, meaner and full of war and killing. It has none of the charm, humor, humanity, mystery, history, tradition or fun quirkieness that the original Star Wars films brought us. The plot is tripe stuff about stealing Death Star plans. Darth Vader is back and James Earl Jones voice is too, but he looks thinner and smaller. The biggest afult for me is that it was filmed so dark it’s hard to see details, or look anywhere besides center screen. No great intricate space ships stay in view long enough to enjoy the fantasy. The acting is ok but there’s not much screen time for it to happen. Big disapointment.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. The first Harry Potter spinoff from J.K. Rowling, and it’s only the first of four more Beast movies planned!! Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell are the only actors we know of. In this very dark, depressing, beast filled mistake. Set in New York City in 1926 it lacks any semblence of the charm, magic, character or even cuteness of Harry Potter’s world of Hogwarts and vicinity. Special effects produced beast like snakes, octopii, Dragons, Hydras, and more than 85 different types according to Rowland’s book. Redmayne and Farrell aren’t given a chance to be likable or empathetic. You probably catch my drift…don’t go.

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS. Kate Beckinsale is back her black, tight tights again in this fifth  kinky mess of the Vampires versus the Lycans battle against the light. I tried to nap during the first half-hour but the sound effects were too loud. The thread (usually called a plot) is so nutsy and impossible that you can’t possibly care or even know who’s winning. It had the poorest opening of any of the previous four films in the series, and it deserved it.



UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Jewel Theatre’s Julie James talks about “The Book Club Play” that is playing 1/25-2/19. She’s followed by newly elected Santa Cruz City Councilpersons Chris Krohn and Sandy Brown, They’ll talk about their plans and future years on the council. Environmentalist Grey Hayes opens the program January 24 listing and discussing environmental issues in the county. Then former newspaper reporter and author Steve Shender talks about his new Hawaii book, “Once There Was Fire” (Kamehameha and friends). January 31 has UCSC Professor Linda Burman-Hall informing us about the 2017 season of The Santa Cruz Baroque festival and their Feb.4th concert. Sexpert, author, lecturer, and performer Susie Bright guests on Feb. 7 talking about lots of things. On March 7 Newton and Helen Harrison talk about their book, ” The Time of The Force Majeure”. 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

Maz Jobrani talks about the Boston bombing and stupid people on Twitter. He’s great 🙂

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens.

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.


“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear”, Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Everyone who is critical of Israeli policy is deluged by crazed messages intended to flood their email system or, more insidiously, passwords are accessed and messages sent out under their name! I’m sure it’s illegal. It’s also an effort to undermine free speech”, Noam Chomsky

“There was an ocean above us, held in by a thin sac that might rupture and let down a flood at any second” Stephen King

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on January 17 – 23, 2017

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