Blog Archives

January 28 – February 3, 2014

Very Early Santa Cruz. (Late 1800’s) You can probably guess that this is the corner of Pacific/ Front/ Mission streets. Note the easy parking and the horsecar tracks going down Pacific.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE January 27, 2014

LICENSE PLATE SCANNERS/ READERS. Brad Cava of Santa Cruz Patch brought this issue to the public when he printed, “With little or no discussion the Santa Cruz City Council Tuesday (9/12/13) approved the purchase of $38,000 of cameras that can photograph and keep indefinitely the license plates of every car entering or leaving the city. Called Automated License Plate Readers, the technology has been controversial in other cities, with freedom advocates claiming it is a step toward a 1984 surveillance system. The ones proposed by local police are mobile and can be kept in an officer’s car and set up when needed. They can read thousands of license plates per minute. The money comes from a federal grant to help local agencies buy equipment. Police across the country have used them for cameras and other paramilitary equipment. The sheriff’s department will share in the funds.

Then this….from Santa Cruz September 2013

“The American Civil Liberties Union has called for restrictions on the devices’ use, asking lawmakers and law enforcement to adhere to certain principles, including:

  • License plate readers may be used by law enforcement agencies only to investigate hits and in other circumstances in which law enforcement agents reasonably believe that the plate data are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.
  • The government must not store data about innocent people for any lengthy period. Unless plate data has been flagged, retention periods should be measured in days or weeks, not months and certainly not years.
  • People should be able to find out if plate data of vehicles registered to them are contained in a law enforcement agency’s database.
  • Law enforcement agencies should not share license plate reader data with third parties that do not follow proper retention and access principles. They should also be transparent regarding with whom they share license plate reader data.
  • Any entity that uses license plate readers should be required to report its usage publicly on at least an annual basis.

Earlier this year, the ACLU released an extensive report on the use of the technology in municipalities throughout the U.S. The report was compiled after ACLU employees reviewed more than 26,000 pages of material gathered through public records requests from nearly 600 police departments in 38 states and Washington, D.C.”

John Malkin of Free Radio 101.3 fm talked about the scanners/readers on my Universal Grapevine program Tuesday 1/21. One topic we discussed was the very common reaction to scanners being…

“I don’t do anything illegal, and if it can track down criminals why worry about it?” The real concern is about invading our privacy. Think about all the places you go that are your own private concern. Places, choices, visits you don’t want made public. Doctor visits for a private concern, visits to a relationship that folks don’t need to know about, weekly stops for a little bottle of alcohol or a few drinks to get you through the week, seeing an ex-partner, an analyst or psychiatrist who’s helping you with affairs, seeing a healer, a Scientologist group, stopping at Frenchy’s Bookstore, learning where our politicians hang out when they aren’t supposed to. You can fill in your own private visits…all legal, and all worth keeping private. With these scanners there are few if any laws or regulations ruling who can use the results. When 1000’s of cars are scanned involving a specific crime there are only sketchy regulations regarding how long those scans can be kept. Many agencies around the US keep them for years.

There are issues here folks and as we keep learning our Santa Cruz City Council could care less and they approved these scanners, with no consideration whatsoever. Now we can do something about it. The ACLU Santa Cruz Chapter is having a meeting Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. at London Nelson Community Center to talk about and hear background on License Plate Scanners.The public is invited and if you want to get involved with this scarey issue this would be the time to do it.

QUAD COPTER VIEW OF CAPITOLA 2012. Erich Boitano gets a thanks for this lovely vision.


Gary Patton says this on his KUSP broadcasts about the news re Grocery Outlet opening in the post office building on Morrissey and Soquel. “ Big changes seem to coming to the Eastside of the City of Santa Cruz. Specifically, it appears that the U.S. Post Office located at the corner of Soquel Drive and Morrissey Boulevard is going to disappear around the first of next year. As listeners (readers) probably know, budget problems have led the U.S. Postal Service to close post offices all across the country. In this case, though, it doesn’t appear that the Postal Service has initiated the closure. It seems that they have simply lost their lease. Obviously, budget and financial issues do play a role whenever a lease comes up for renewal. Usually, being willing to pay more lets an existing user continue to occupy a rented property. Whatever the negotiations may have been, however, a letter dated January 13th informed at least some Eastside residents that changes were on the way.

The letter sent out on January 13th wasn’t from the Postal Service. It was from Grocery Outlet, a self-described “bargain market.” Grocery Outlet plans to join Safeway, Whole Foods, Staff of Life and Shoppers Corner to make the two-block area between Branciforte and Morrissey, into a kind of “Grocery Central.” Grocery Outlet has announced its intention to host a neighborhood meeting at the end of February. No specifics are currently available. At least some City planning approvals will be required, and if residents want to get engaged on this issue, I’d suggest sooner rather than later!”. BrattonNote…check out the Grocery Outlet in Watsonville before you make up your mind on this one!!

SYNCHRONIZED WALKING. Now here’s something I’ll bet the City Council would like to start in Santa Cruz.

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary starts off the week talking about a lot of Land Use Issues on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supes agenda. Then he tells us about the City Council and adopting the Ocean Street Area Plan which will change the County Building and the Paradox Hotel property into a site for a major retail operation!!! He closes on Friday telling us about our cities Water Commission plans and why we should start cutting back on water use sooner and not later. Read all of above scripts at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor, and an attorney who represents individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365?

CLASSICAL DE CINZO. Here’s DeCinzo’s inside view of the Coffee Roasting Company scroll below.

EAGANS DEEP COVER. Eagan’s view of late breaking equality see below a few pages.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “What was hot at this years Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival? Why is Sherlock one of the coolest shows on TV? How well is Tom Clancy’s durable CIA hero resurrected in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit? When will the US edition Alias Hook finally arrive at a bookstore near you? Read all about it this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Jensen has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


Back in 2004 Morton Marcus, Lisa Jensen, Wallace Baine and I began our annual Critics and the Oscars smackdowns at the Nick. Morton passed on to heaven (where there are no bad movies) and Wallace doesn’t get to see very many movies anymore. So this year on Sunday, February 23 Lisa Jensen from Good Times, Christina Waters from The Santa Cruz Weekly and I will hold forth. We’ll give our own best ten, predict what “THEE ACADEMY” will do and give everyone attending a chance to tell us your opinions and choices. It’ll be at NICK at 11 am and yes, it’s free!!!.

……In order of perfection……

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN. This is from a thoroughly researched book on the secret love affair Charles Dickens had with a very young woman while he was married. Ralph Fiennes plays Dickens (age 45) and Felicity Jones plays Nelly, the young actress (age 18). Dickens’ chubby, dull wife had 10 children with Dickens. You’ll wonder why Nellie stayed with Dickens, aside from his fame and celebrity standing. It’s a good film, but not a great film.

GIMME SHELTER. I almost went to see I, Frankenstein but when I realized that it had a 2 rating on Rotten Tomatoes I saw Gimme Shelter instead.It’s a true story about a 15 year old runaway, her druggy, prostitute, mother, her rich father Brendan Fraser, and James Earl Jones as a minister who tries to help her. You would like the movie more if you were a Christian or you could wait and rent it, it’s a very soulfull film.

(from BEST 2 worst)

HER. “Her” got the Golden Globe award for screenplay, it deserved it and many, many more. Joaquin Phoenix’s brilliance and Scarlett Johansson as the voice in his computer make an unsettling and endlessly fascinating team. Amy Adams plays exactly the opposite role from her American Hustle babe and is still great. It may unnerve some folks because it hits closer to home than is comfortable…it’s one of the most original films of the decade, go see it.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. I have to say that finally, finally, finally Leonardo Di Caprio and Martin Scorsese paired to create a superb and excellent film that fully utilizes their talents. Di Caprio proves that his brief moments in earlier films was no accident…he is awesome in this lewd, vulgar, cocaine extravaganza. Based on the book by the films supreme con artist hero, you’ll sit on the edge of your seat for the full three plus hours. It’s what we all believed goes on behind Wall Street’s doors and even more than that.The action never stops and it is as completely breathtaking in every sense of the word. Go see it, unless you have scruples or a vestige of decency or get jealous easily.

THE AMERICAN HUSTLE. Clever, smart, twisted, greatly acted, and even more clever. What more can you ask from a film? Seeing Amy Adams as a very sexy babe is a long ways from her princess role in Enchanted. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and even Robert DeNiro keep the level of who’s conning whom at a fever and funny pitch. It’s a circus version of the real ABSCAM scandal that took down a bunch of politicians. I really meant the word clever. See it asap.

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

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

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Llewyn is pronounced “Lou-enn” and is the Coen Brothers newest creation. F. Murray Abraham, John Goodman, Carey Milligan, and Justin Timberlake are part of the cast, the lead is Oscar Isaac and they do magnificient acting jobs. If you know or care about the 1961 New York and Chicago folk music scene and specifically about Dave Van Ronk you’ll love this film. It’s not as crazy or funny as Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. The plot ambles as much as the folk singer guitarist lead character and the plot is as pointless as his life seems to be. You’ll get out of the film exactly as much as you put into it.

PHILOMENA. I saw this beautifully touching film again a few weeks ago just to make sure it was/is that good…it is. Judi Dench is never less than wonderful in her wide ranging roles. How she pulls off this true story of a human, less than brilliant mother looking for her orphaned son is magnificient. In case you wonder…Steve Coogan does NOT turn out to be her son. Go see it asap.

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

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

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. It’s an over the top version of the stage play and deals with so much nastiness, hatred, jealousy, fear and miserable people that you’ll leave the theatre feeling a lot better about your own life…whatever it is!!! Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts battle it out for Queen of Suffering, and the rest of the cast is perfect. See it only if you like great, but melodramatic, films.

LONE SURVIVOR. It’s actually an old time “War Movie” only it’s based on fact and a book all about Navy Seals fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Mark Wahlberg financed it and is the Lone Survivor. I kept thinking of John Wayne in the Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). It’s an excellent war movie, if you like them.

JACK RYAN, SHADOW RECRUIT.. Just another film and another actor in the Jack Ryan franchise. Chris Pine is very cute as Ryan and he does as agood a job as you can expect. The plot isn’t from a Tom Clancy book this time. It’s about Russia destroying our financial system and somehow Kiera Knightly is Jack Ryan’s love partner. She shouldn’t have been because she just doesn’t fit in somehow. You keep thinking gee, that’s Keira Knightly playing that role. Kevin Costner plays Jack’s boss and he’s ok, just ok. BUT the plot is tight and complex enough that it will hold you all the way through. Go if you like spy type thrillers.

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

THE HOBBIT: The desolation of Smaug.. Seeing This part 2 of The Hobbit the same weekend I saw The Wizard of OZ in 3D and the Saving Disney film made the Hobbits a very poor comparison to The Oz Munchkins or Snow Whites Seven Dwarves. Those charecters became icons, legends and part of our history. The Hobbits, not so much. elves, dwarves and Hobbits, no comparison. Want to bet that any of The Hobbit films aren’t remembered and revered like Wizard of Oz? Then there’s J.R.R. Tolkien’s story line of a Gold ring, a vast fortune guarded by a dragon, and the music….this film sure owes a lot to Richard Wagner and his 4 Ring Operas. Sure Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, he’s Smaug the nasty dragon, but you won’t recognize him. Don’t expect any charm, trickyness, or inventiveness if you do go. Expect instead lots of blood, rolling ,chopped off heads and lengthy amounts of fights. Dwarves vs. elves vs. Hobbits…why?

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer (live only or sometimes old programs are archived… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG On February 4 we have Dr. Larry de Ghetaldi president of Palo Alto Medical Foundation of Santa Cruz telling us about PAMF and local plans. He’s followed by Ramona Turner the Sentinel’s Street Smarts traffic columnist who missed the 1/21 appearance. On February 11 Officer Brad Sadek of The California Highway Patrol will tell us about highways and safety.. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just last year’s podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The update includes Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011. Hear them all!!!


QUOTES. “There are only two things that a child will share willingly—communicable diseases and its mother’s age”, Dr. Benjamin Spock. “The baby is fine. The only problem is that he looks like Edward G. Robinson“, Woody Allen. “When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick”, George Burns.


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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
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Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on January 28 – February 3, 2014

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