Blog Archives

January 28 – February 3, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…UCSC’s East meadow threatened, Soquel’s anti-Nissan Dealership lawsuit progress, Special personal Stan & Ollie movie review, Peter McGettigan tribute. GREENSITE…on ADU re-set. KROHN…Homelessness, ADU’s and $10,000,000 challenge, FlixBus coming. STEINBRUNER…Ten million dollars for homeless question, Soquel Creek Water District and Sewage water, Anna Eshoo’s resistance, two new county consultants for only $600,000. PATTON…Roger Stone’s unflattering look. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and “Is It Over” at Deep Cover. JENSEN…and the Oscars. BRATTON…critiques the January movies. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…”February”.



FRONT & CATHCART STREETS. June 24,1952. Once upon a time we saw Thrash Motors here. Now it’s Surfrider Café, Ocean City Buffet, and The Korean Grill. It still keeps us running on gas!                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

GOOD & FUNNY CAR COMMERCIAL. Cedar Geiger & Michael Horne sent this in…it would be hilarious if it weren’t so close to reality.

DATELINE January 28, 2019

UCSC’S EAST MEADOW UPDATE. “East Meadow Action Committee” (EMAC)
— a hardworking UCSC Campus group consisting of professors, students, staff members and other folks — has been working hard to preserve certain campus sites from developer-speed-cheap-rushed student bed sites. Their latest Update stated (minus editing)… “We’re sorry to report that the Regents appear unlikely to deflect the University from its plan to begin construction in June”. That refers to just the East Meadow development.

The first Regents meeting was held last Wednesday (1/16).. 

Our alliance opposing the current plan argued its case, though within serious constraints. A hopeful sign was a special session, focused only on the East Meadow part of the University’s plan, that was called for 1/15, prior to the regular meeting. Present at this gathering were: the President of the Board of Regents, the Chair of its Finance and Capital Strategies Committee, several other concerned Regents, members of the UCSC Administration with student and community allies, and four critics of the East Meadow siting. These latter included a former Regent, a former Campus architect, plus the Chair of the Alumni Council, and the Chair of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, all very well-informed and committed. After a closed-door meeting of the Regents with the campus Administration, a discussion was organized, with speakers for and against the Meadow development. There was enough time for complex issues of cost and alternative siting to be raised, if not explored in depth. The Regents at the meeting were engaged and interested.

This special session, dedicated solely to the East Meadow, showed that our protests had gotten the Regents’ attention. It raised the possibility that they might require UC Santa Cruz to come back with an alternative plan, sparing the Meadow. However, on the following day, the regularly scheduled meeting of the full Board was a disappointment. 

In the Public Comment period, more than sixty people signed up to speak on a variety of important issues. Comments were thus restricted to one minute per speaker. Eight of us spoke about the Meadow. But this, our only chance to address the full Board, was limited to sound-bites which tended to be drowned in a cacophony of other interventions.


That afternoon, at the crucial Finance and Capital Strategies Committee meeting, a more substantial discussion took place. It can be accessed on line:


First, a full presentation of the Student Housing West Project by the Chancellor and three senior UCSC administrators made the case for an urgent housing crisis (which no-one contests) and argued for speed and cost containment. A short debate was then organized, in which Paul Hall, a UCSC Alumnus, prominent attorney and former Regent, presented a brilliantly concise statement of the opposition to the meadow siting and the promise of several alternatives. 


The committee discussion that followed was an opportunity to gauge the reaction of influential Regents to the issues that had been raised. Nothing we heard suggested an inclination to question the plan presented by the UCSC Administration. The Chair of the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee asked the Chancellor to provide, by the next meeting in March, cost estimates for the various siting alternatives. These numbers, he said, would help the Regents be more confident in approving a project that was the least costly option. In the past, the University’s estimates have included drastically inflated costs for various alternatives, along with best-case, no-surprises estimates for the East Meadow development. Without access to “privileged” data, it has been impossible to challenge the University’s figures. We will see whether the numbers the University presents to the Regents are more realistic, and, if not, whether the Regents raise doubts or questions.


Beyond their focus on cost, the Finance Committee members seemed unwilling to get involved in the details of the proposal, preferring to defer to the campus Administration. Their proper role, they said, is not to function as a kind of local zoning board, but to oversee broad administrative and financial matters. It was apparent from their comments, moreover, that many of the newly appointed Regents have never set foot on the UCSC campus and have no knowledge of its history or reputation for environmental design. Few had read the materials we sent them. 


Thus, it seems highly unlikely that any obstacle to the Student Housing West project in its present form will emerge at the meeting scheduled for March 13-14. With a deadline to begin construction in the summer season, approval of the project is almost certain. 


This leaves only litigation as a way to stop the destruction of the East Meadow. After March 14th, those contemplating legal action under California Environmental Law must file suit within thirty days. That decision will depend on technical and legal analysis of the Environmental Impact Report once that complex document is finally made public. It will also depend on gathering critical financial and political support.  We’ll be addressing these issues in future “East Meadow Updates.” East Meadow Action Committee (EMAC)

NISSAN DEALERSHIP & SUSTAINABLE SOQUEL PROGRESS! “Sustainable Soquel” sent this email. I edited it just a little.

“We know many of you are anxious to hear how things are going with the legal action against the county. The good news is that we are in the homestretch, with a final court date likely in March. It’s been about two years since our community was first alerted about a Nissan Dealership project at 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive. At that time, many of us were stunned when we discovered there was no public notification, no Environmental Impact Report and no public hearings planned. We later learned the project was quietly being pushed through for approval by our County’s own CAO’s Economic Development Department and the Planning Department. The county ignored our community’s Sustainable Plan and the General Plan and voila – came up with its own plan for an auto dealership for that corner instead.

Our recent legal action has revealed a shocking discovery, including this….
The Planning Department has a subjective policy of purging emails that it believes has no relevance. In our case, the planners conveniently purged thousands of emails that should have been part of the legal record. Fortunately, our attorney was able to recover over 2,000 purged emails from the county’s computer mainframes. This information sent a bit of a shock-wave into our Sustainable consciousness about our local governmental lack of oversight and the lengths they will consider in covering their tracks.

However, we are only halfway to our goal of $20,000 for attorney fees.

It’s been a long haul, and your passionate input at the Planning Commission and Supervisor meetings inspired us to take that step in June when we filed a “Writ of Mandate against the County,” a court order to government agencies to correct their previous illegal behavior in order to comply with the law. It’s very difficult for citizens to challenge actions taken by governments. Many of you have given generously and we thank you. We still need financial support to see this through. We hope we can count on you to consider a second donation to this noble cause that will no doubt impact all of our lives and the Soquel community we leave to future generations.

Please help spread the word – share this with your friends and neighbors. 

Donate now – GofundMe campaign

Send Checks payable to:

Sustainable Soquel 3777 Cherryvale Avenue. Soquel, Ca. 95073  

Best Regards,

Lisa Sheridan – For Sustainable Soquel

STAN & OLLIE. Full disclosure…as you can figure out from the photo nearby, I had a wonderful afternoon with Stan Laurel and his wife in their upstairs beach front apartment in Malibu in the fall of 1962. Stan told me about their European tour in 1953, which is the focus of this new film. He said it gave both of them some much-needed boosting. He also talked about their appearance on Ralph Edward’s “This Is Your Life” in 1954, and how it appearance was. Stan and I sent Christmas cards back and forth for a few years. Stan & Ollie has a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes, and Stan died in 1965. When I find those notes from him, I’ll share.

The movie is “bittersweet”, well-acted and does lay out the semi business-friendly relationship the two comics had all their lives together. Go see it.

P.S. I had an equally enlightened visit with Aldous Huxley and his wife in their Berkeley apartment while he was teaching at UCB someplace around 1962. We talked about my then-recent LSD and psilocybin experiences. He was one of the most friendly, accessible people I’ve ever met and yes, I still have his personally autographed copy of “Doors Of Perception“.

FAREWELL PETER McGETTIGAN. Peter was a videographer, veteran, volunteer, and much more. There’s going to be a special tribute to him: February 9, 2019, 11am – 1pm in the Santa Cruz MAH Garden Room. It’s free, and donations are welcome.
First, Peter’s sister Martha will speak about their Vallejo family. Then others will offer tributes to and remembrances of Peter:

  • Stan Stevens on the nomination of Peter for the Distinguished Historian Award.
  • Alverda Orlando on Peter’s work filming Davenport oral histories.
  • George Ow, Jr. on his friendship with Peter.
  • Joe Hall on Peter’s work for Community Television.

Attendees are also invited to say a few words about Peter and his work related to local history.
There will also be a display of some of Peter’s art collection that he donated to the MAH.

Martha’s talk evolves from an artifact in the Vallejo-McGettigan family collection for over 142 years. It demonstrates the diplomatic and respectful connection of the Russians in early California to the Spanish Mexicans of the time, and the Vallejo family. This is a military campaign chest, engraved with the General M.G. Vallejo’s initials and his granddaughter’s, Francisca Carrillo Vallejo. E. Peter Vallejo McGettigan was one of Francisca’s grandchildren and so connected to the Russian silver chest. He passed away June 14, 2018 in Santa Cruz, California, where he had been a resident since 1975. Peter became well-known and recognized for his extensive documentaries, producing, directing, editing and chronicling that community’s history. He made several trips to Russia – first for a Sister City (Alushta) event in 2003, and then again in 2011 in conjunction with a documentary project in Croatia. His obituary can be found here

January 28

The slew of changes proposed for the city’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance (ADU) was not a slam-dunk at the council meeting on January 22nd. A refreshing departure from previous councils’ easy acceptance of changes to the ADU ordinance passed in 2003, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2016. This time around, planning staff didn’t pay even lip service to striking a balance between opposing interests: neighborhood stability versus the building of second and even third units on single-family lots: it was the full-on goal of increasing the production of ADU’s with the impact on current residents barely mentioned. In their defense, staff was responding to some loud community voices whose chorus is an unrelenting “build, baby, build!” From attending the numerous ADU public meetings, I didn’t hear any tempering from staff on this score.

Days, weeks and months had been spent preparing the proposed changes. I suggested an easier solution: implement only the state law mandated changes, which are non-negotiable. That would have saved scarce staff time, been non-controversial, eased restrictions on ADU’s and would take 5 minutes for a council vote. To spend months developing additional changes such as eliminating required off-street parking and allowing new ADU owners to rent them out as STR’s (short-term rentals) aka Airbnb for 3 years after construction seemed to me to be favoring one side of this divide.

Fortunately, the new majority at city hall seems clearer-eyed when it comes to the issue of housing stock. We don’t need more housing; we need more housing that working people in the lower pay scales can afford. Just building more does not equal lower rents; that much is clear. For whom are we building? Not for current renters or displaced renters since rents in new construction, including ADU’s, are in the higher rent range or are unsuitable for families. To build for those not yet living here (additional students; single professionals and second homers) and ignore the impact on those who have lived and worked here for decades is at best unfair. Not to mention the impact on city resources and city services. Carrying capacity anyone? Those who write weekly columns in local newspapers and chastise the rest of us for not moving over and letting others sit on the bench as in welcoming increased density, are ignoring the gargantuan effect of UCSC growth which is shoving us all to the end of the bench with many falling off. They are also ignoring the class shift that such new development is creating. New development is raising property values, which leads to further displacement of working class families.

So it was a breakthrough moment when council member Sandy Brown stated that if the city is changing the ordinance to make it easier for property owners to build an ADU, which raises the value of their property, there should be some return for the public good which right now is the need for more affordable housing. That led to a majority call for the more controversial aspects of the proposed changes to be sent back for staff review and to return with affordability as the central theme. Staff had already indicated that rent affordability is a disincentive for property owners to build ADU’s so this will be a test for the so-called “housing providers.” Most of the proposed changes were intended to make it cheaper for property owners to build an ADU. Requiring a public return in the form of cheaper rents is a long overdue corrective. And if it really is “granny” in the “granny unit” there should be no dissent. Something tells me ADU’s are largely not for granny but for greenbacks. If our neighborhoods are going to be impacted with additional noise, parking wars, lights, loss of privacy and sunlight, the very least that should be required is that they be rented at rates affordable for the workers at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Bravo council majority for recognizing the real needs of the community!

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.

January 28

Who’s not writing about “Camp Ross” these days? It’s the 135-tent (and growing) encampment stuffed between Ross Dress for Less and Highway 1 at River Street. Have we reached our Hundredth Monkey moment in which most all Santa Cruzanos now realize there is a homeless-houseless crisis and are ready to do something? The state of California is sending us $10 million this year and another $10 million next year to help cope with this crisis. There is no better time than now for city and county government to work together and direct these funds in helping address the severe misfortunes of so many of our fellow residents. Not only housing–emergency, interim, and long-term–but funding mental health and substance abuse programs, hiring social workers, establishing a 24/7 homeless shelter with day services, job referral and networking office, installing homeless liaisons to assist those seeking services to actually obtain them. For example, help is needed in filling out paperwork in order to receive food stamps and other needed services. We can do this. It will not be accomplished in a couple months, but if we start now, maybe over the next couple of years, but we must begin. In order to help facilitate that beginning, the Santa Cruz City Council formally passed a motion at its January 22nd meeting that a public forum and councilmember action around homeless issues would take place at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 12th. The public is invited. Time and place will be posted here on February 8.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance Changes
These changes are from an email from Sarah Neuse, city planner in a Santa Cruz ADU Ordinance Update memo. They are also on the Planning Department’s web site.

  1. Proposals APPROVED:

State Required Changes

  1. Removing parking requirement for Attached ADUs (attached to the primary home, to a garage, or to another legal structure on the property);
  2. Removing the Minimum Parcel Size (ADUs can now be added to any size lot);
  3. Allowing ADUs by right in all Residential Zones, when built with a single-family home; 
  4. Removing requirements for Use Permits/Design Permits for ADUs on substandard lots;
  5. Allowing ADUs above garages to provide minimum setbacks of 5 feet to side and rear lot lines (previously required minimum of 10 from the rear).

Site and Building Standards

  1. Allowing full reconstruction of Conversion ADUs (previously limited to 50% of the structure);
  2. Allowing modest expansions of Conversion ADUs of up to 120 square feet of floor area and 2 feet of height; and
  3. Allowing interior connections between an attached ADUs and the Primary Home on the parcel (Building Code will likely require a self-closing, fire-rated door for this connection).

Land Use Policy Items

  1. Modifying the definition of Owner-Occupant to include immediate family members (limited to Spouses, Siblings, Parents, and Adult Children).

Additionally, Council passed a resolution reducing the General Plan Maintenance Fee by half for ADU applications.  This could be a savings of $450-$750/ application, depending on size and estimated value of the project.

  1. Proposals placedON HOLD:

 Site and Building Standards

  1. Increasing Rear Yard Lot Coverage from 30% to 50%;
  2. Changing ADU Green Building Standards to match those required for new Single-Family Homes (currently significantly higher); and
  3. Allowing attached ADUs to be 10% of lot size (Currently limited to 50%);

Category 3: Land Use Policies

  1. Allowing two ADUs on parcels over 10,000 sf; and
  2. Eliminating parking requirements for Detached New Construction ADUs.

For these ON HOLD items, Council directed staff to return at a future date with an analysis of the feasibility of requiring perpetual affordability deed restrictions in exchange for each proposed change. 

III. Proposals DENIED:
One item from Category 3: Land Use Policies

  1. Proposal to allow a temporary, three-year period of Short-Term Rental activity for newly-created ADUs.  This item will not return to Council. 

And Don’t Forget…ADU Affordability Reality Check
For a reality check, this is where the “market” is today (Jan. 27): $1500/mo. for an ADU with no bedrooms, no laundry, and not even an oven.. And these are some of the jobs being offered: “senior maintenance” job in Santa Cruz is currently offered at $13.70 an hour,  a Beckmann’s Bakery driver, full-time, is being offered at $15/hr.,  Many Santa Cruz jobs pay minimum wage, still.

Wow, a new transportation option is coming to Santa Cruz, and none too soon! The FlixBus will be stopping twice a day at our Pacific Avenue Metro Center beginning, soon. Surf City will be part of a FlixBus itinerary within the San Francisco to San Diego route. Here is what the last Metro Bus Board agenda said about the FlixBus agreement:

“FlixBus is a German owned company, which originated in Munich, Germany offering intercity bus service. FlixBus was launched in 2013 following the deregulation of the German bus market and by 2015 expanded across Europe. On May 15, 2018, FlixBus announced its expansion into the US market. As of May 31, 2018, FlixBus offers 180 connections within the southwest parts of the country, operating from a main hub in Los Angeles. Main cities planned to be served include Las Vegas, San Diego, Tucson and Phoenix, and San Francisco. It plans to have expanded the network to over 1,000 connections by the end of 2018. The service provided to Santa Cruz consists of a route between San Francisco and San Diego.”

This has the chance of helping bridge a very shaky public transportation link for students and other travelers to and from the Bay Area. My hunch is that hundreds of our UCSC students bring cars to town, park them and only use them to go back to the Bay Area or down to Southern California on a couple of weekends each month. If the FlixBus works it could relieve student and parent anxiety about having a real transportation option it also might see less cars parked on the streets of Santa Cruz. I had great experiences with the FlixBus this past summer traveling between Berlin and Paris and Prague. Could it be a transportation game-changer? Only if the current routes were successful and then more buses were added, perhaps for shorter trips to Bay Area. We’ll see.

“Our infrastructure is crumbling. Instead of building a wall on the Mexican border, we should create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our roads, bridges, water systems, wastewater plants, schools, airports and affordable housing”. (Jan. 28)
(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


January 28

That is the question being asked, along with Request For Proposals (RFP), issued January 18 by the County.  The County Board of Supervisors had to declare a “Shelter State of Emergency” last fall in order to qualify for the State money.  That action also allows the jurisdictions to WAIVE ALL HEALTH AND SAFETY CODES in order to fast-track construction and use the money quickly.  Hmmmm….

What I want to know is how could the County get a $10 Million Grant without any idea of how it would be used?  Usually, those grant applications are carefully-crafted and specify projects and timelines, with measurable outcomes, and explicit reporting measures.  How can the State just toss $10 Million to the County and say : “Here you go!  Have fun, and don’t forget to write!”  Meanwhile, a “non-conflicted group” has taken half a year to issue the RFP for ideas on what to do, the sad tent city along Highway One’s north portal to the City is growing, and not much is actually getting done to solve the problem or help the people sleeping in the mud.

Here is a good report and photo from the Register-Pajaronian. Write a letter to the editor….or maybe submit an RFP for some Tough Sheds behind Ross and the large plot of land in Watsonville behind the Health Services Agency (where all the FEMA trailers were installed after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and plumbing still exists).  That’s what the City of Oakland has done, and Mayor Libby Shaaf recently reported that 70% of those housed in the Tough Shed camps last year found permanent housing within the year.

Oakland’s  Northgate Avenue Tuff Shed Camp. (before it opened)

Indeed, why would Soquel Creek Water District gouge customers repeatedly for the next five years just to pay for an expensive and environmentally-damaging project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water daily into the drinking water supply for everybody in the MidCounty area when there is an alternative?  The Surface Water Transfer Pilot Project has not even been given a chance to work, yet the District wants to FAST-TRACK the construction of the PureWater Soquel Project that will cost ratepayers $200 Million, including debt burden, when the water is available from Santa Cruz  The District just has to ASK but won’t!

We all need to write LAFCO today and insist that the Commission initiate consolidation of Soquel Creek Water District and the City of Santa Cruz Water Dept. for better regional management of water supplies and storage, and to eliminate expensive and redundant administrative costs.  Make no mistake, the District will be asking Santa Cruz City water customers, Central Water District customers, small independent water company customers, and private well owners and the County government officials to help them pay for this expensive treated sewage water with the claim that “it will improve the groundwater levels in the MidCounty Basin and therefore, everyone who benefits should pay.”  The District has already convinced the MidCounty Groundwater Agency to swallow that pill and to approve helping to pay for such large projects, even though the By-Laws of the Agency state that they will not do any projects, but exist only to develop the long-term Groundwater Sustainability Plan that the State requires they submit by January 1, 2020.

Write LAFCO Director Pat McCormick  today:

Pat McCormick and copy Debra Means 

Room 318 “D”
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95060

If you or someone you know is a Soquel Creek Water District customer, you need to file written protest of the impending ANNUAL WATER RATES AND SERVICE FEE RATE that will happen for the next FIVE YEARS in order to provide money for the expensive treated sewage water the District staff wants you to drink.  All protest must be in writing, addressed to “Protest Officer”, and include your service address (not a P.O. Box address), assessor parcel number (the number above the name on the bill) and a statement that you protest both the water rate increase and the service fee increase.  Sign and print your name.  DO THIS BEFORE FEBRUARY 19.

Make a copy for your record (just in case we ask for a verified re-count) and mail to:

Protest Officer
Soquel Creek Water District
P.O. Box 1550
Capitola, CA  95010

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)


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

Sunday, January 27, 2019 #27 / The Underbelly Of Mendacity

Instead of the title I chose, I thought about using the following title for this blog post: “Tuck in your shirt!” Pictured above is Roger J. Stone, Jr., whom The New York Times identifies as a “Trickster Who Is Right Where He Wants to Be.” That’s the hard copy version, of course. The online version of the article has a slightly different title.  I was surprised to see that Stone permitted himself to be photographed in such an unflattering way. Look below for the photo that The Times ran with the story that I have linked above. This is how Roger Stone likes to be portrayed. He always seems to be very well put together:

You can see more evidence of Stone’s sartorial sensibilities by watching the video of Stone’s appearance at The New Yorker Festival in 2016. If you click the link, you can see a video of Stone, and others, discussing “What Would a Trump Presidency Look Like?” 

The discussion documented in this video took place on October 8, 2016, exactly one month before the presidential election. Stone is impeccably dressed – far better than the other panelists. I was in the audience, and noted, very particularly, what a sharp dresser Stone was. I also heard him brag, during this appearance, about the upcoming WikiLeaks releases that would damage the Clinton campaign, very late in the campaign season. Later on, Stone claimed to have no insider knowledge. That was definitely not the impression Stone gave to the audience at The New Yorker Festival, and as it turns out, Stone subsequently lied under oath about his supposed lack of inside knowledge – at least that is what the Special Counsel says. 

Like many, I am waiting to see whether any “collusion” between the president and Russia is ever documented so clearly that an impeachment of the president would be appropriate. Whether or not that kind of proof is ever forthcoming, the article that ran in The Times yesterday definitely shows that  lots of those associated with Trump have lied about what happened in the 2018 presidential campaign. There is a little “chart” in the article, showing the connections. Stone is there, as are Paul Manafort, Michael D. Cohen, and others. Everyone shown in the chart has been convicted of a crime, except Stone and Konstantin V. Kilimnik, who is now in Russia and thus not susceptible to immediate prosecution. 

Pundits (on the left, admittedly) are saying that a “coverup” of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia will soon be proven. Things are coming “undone,” they say. 

I will wait for actual proof, myself, but in the meantime, the fact that Stone is coming “undone,” and isn’t “covering up” anymore, letting his underbelly hang out as he makes his pronouncements of innocence, seems like some kind of metaphor to me, some kind of indication that lies and mendacity are coming to light!

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. Laugh’s and inner thoughts…flick downwards & check it out.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Is It Over Yet ” 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 JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Hey, movie fans! Now that it’s awards season, my pal and esteemed colleague, Christina Waters, and I are talking Oscars. We try to make sense of this year’s nominees so you don’t have to, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). Also, find out why the 18th Century French authoress who wrote the first version of Beauty and the Beast in print is considered the godmother of the modern fantasy genre — and how she gets a shout-out in my Beast book!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

SEE “STAN & OLLIE” Special movie review above!!

SHOPLIFTERS. Famed and great Japanese film director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film about an impoverished makeshift family won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. And it earned a 99!! On Rotten Tomatoes. A very poor family “adopts” a cruelly treated little girl and gives her sensitive and true family love while teaching her to shoplift as they do to stay alive. The relationships and bonds of love are  a bit confusing and near boring yet it’ll rip your tears out and maybe even cry. Not your Hollywood saga…but a piece of cinematic art.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. A 94 on Rotten Tomatoes, Golden Globes and Oscar talk, this is a deeply moving story about a black Harlem family in the 70’s, facing the very real race problems that remain with us all. James Baldwin wrote the book, and the Beale Street reference is only to drive home the fact that time and equality haven’t changed. Rape, pregnancy, mother’s love, are combined with super acting to wrench hidden feelings from all of us. Don’t miss this excellent film.

ROMA. What’s extra perfect about Roma is that you can see it on the theatre screen right now, realize how perfect a film it is, and then go home and watch it again on Netflix. I did exactly that. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) directed this complex self-biography/masterpiece. I’m not sure what’s best… the acting, the photography, or the story. It’s Mexico City in the 1970’s, and we watch the changes in the life of a housekeeper and of the world she lives in. See it, especially if you like award-winning classics.

ON THE BASIS OF SEX. If you saw the recent documentary “RBG” there’s no reason to see this nearly religious tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But she is a lot prettier in this version. We know by now that RBG is some kind of saint and that she had a lung problem a few weeks ago. Felicity Jones is a British actress and manages to sound about 80% American with just some New Yorker accent that flips on and off. It’s sort of a mix between Joan of Arc and Mary Poppins

VICE. Not a GREAT movie but an important one. Christian Bale is completely unrecognizable as Dick Cheney and his performance is for sure Oscar-worthy. I had no idea how evil and powerful Cheney became working under and on top of George W. Bush. It is a scary movie and lacks continuity but politics fans need to see it.

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? A well-deserved 98 on RT! Melissa McCarthy plays real-life author Lee Israel, who, when she’s down on her luck, starts forging and selling fake letters from famous literary stars. McCarthy is better for my money at being straight than she is as a comic. An excellent movie, based on a book that Lee Israel wrote confessing the entire plot. Go see it…it’s why they make movies, and why we like to go see them.

FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this  costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?

+MARY POPPINS RETURNS. This is a NEW Mary Poppins movie.  Emily Blunt is no Julie Andrews and if you’re old enough to remember seeing the 1964 original you’ll realize just how wonderful it was. There’s not a single memorable song in this take, there’s no purity, innocence, or genuinely creative additions to the 54 year old original. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep added just to give it hype. Meryl Streep is sort of the Ed Winn character but she’s not as good.

BIRD BOX. Sandra Bullock stars in this dystopian melodrama. Invisible aliens attack earth and if you look at them you’ll have to commit suicide!! I saw this on Netflix, it’s brand new in limited release and who knows of it’ll ever go wall to wall in theatre. It’s a mish mash of time periods as Sandra takes two children on a blindfolded row boat trip to escape these invaders. The ending ??? It doesn’t have one exactly, as our heroes stay over at a school for the blind and stare at the sky. The photography is fine, the acting is pretty good, but none of it makes sense.

GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a story we are all too familiar with. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.



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. . John Laird discusses his plans to run for Bill Monning’s State Senate Seat on January 29, then Bill Raney talks about his new book, “Beatniks, North Beach in the 60’s”. Linda Burman-Hall discusses the full season of The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival on Feb. 5 followed by UCSC Math prof. Ralph Abraham with news of his two new books on the Hip History of Santa Cruz.  Ellen Grace O’Brian talks about her book, ” Jewel Of Abundance” on February 12.  Authors and Publishers Doug and Rachel Abrams discuss their new book on finding, maintaining relationships “Eight DatesOR…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

Totes adorbs 🙂

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.


“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer”.  Shirley Jackson

“February, fill the dyke With what thou dost like”. Thomas Tusser

“Groundhog found fog. New snows and blue toes. Fine and dandy for Valentine candy. Snow spittin’; if you’re not mitten-smitten, you’ll be frostbitten! By jing-y feels spring-y.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac

“Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?”
~William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!), and the occasional scoop. Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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