Blog Archives

January 29 – February 4, 2018

Highlights this week:
TWO (2) new movie theatres opening in town!!!, Westside Plaza demolitions, John Tuck has left Santa Cruz forever…GREENSITE checks out more on the library vote… KROHN and council majority votes, UCSC housing and capacity, rent control, rent freeze…STEINBRUNER and AMBAG control issues, Soquel Creek’s Pure Water, more on Nisene Marks parking…PATTON on Wikileaks, Facebook, Google, and Julian Assange…DECINZO and Santa Cruz style Monster Homes…EAGAN with Blame issues…JENSEN and her top 10…BRATTON critiques The Final Year, The Hostiles, 12 Strong…UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE guests…QUOTES for February.


SANTA CRUZ PUBLIC LIBRARY. This interior of the original, and first of our four Carnegie libraries in Santa Cruz. It was opened in April 1904, and Carnegie came here to see all four in 1910. It had 9000 square feet. It was demolished in 1966. The present one opened in 1968.                                                

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE FAILURES. Couldn’t happen here!!!


DATELINE January 29

NEW ART/FOREIGN/INDIE MOVIE THEATRE IN TOWN!!! Ashlyn Adams, the owner of Westside Video, just sent a very exciting massive hunk of cinema news!!! She says…

“We’ll be in the former Circle Church, at 111 Errett Circle on the Westside. We’re busy at work getting the rooms built and soundproofed and wired every morning and evening, and I think we can do a soft open right around the second week of February. We’ll do a grand opening at the beginning of March for everyone. We’ll be showing first-run independent, foreign language, and local productions (especially stuff that isn’t otherwise playing in town), second run, bigger budget movies, and classics. We have contracts with Criterion, Kino, Lorber, Oscilloscope, and A24. We’ll be serving up cafe items, popcorn, drinks, and bulk candy, plus there’s a commercial kitchen for popup restaurants to come serve meals on the weekends. We’re running everything on a 4K UHD projector system with 5.1 surround sound.” Should be a real fun experience!

She added later that the entire Westside Video Store is moving to the Circle Church. It’ll be called the Westside Film & Cultural Center. Opening prices will be: adult regular $9 first run, $6 second run, $3 catalog. Kids and seniors will be $8/$5/$3. There will be two 30 seat theatres, with comfy sofas and great chairs. The films will be many of the ones that Landmark doesn’t bring to town. I’ll keep you posted.

WESTSIDE PLAZA NEWS. Reports from Westside Video staffers told me that the owner of that entire block of businesses — from the once Omei Restaurant to Shen’s Gallery — has big plans. He’s going to “demolish” the present Westside Video store building. The  owners of the La Cabana Restaurant next door are petitioning him to leave their part of the building standing.   

JOHN TUCK HAS LEFT THE COUNTY. More than one of the probably hundred-plus gang of friends that gathered to say good bye to John Tuck last week said it marked an end of an era. John has moved to Austin, Texas to live with his daughter Jaala and her family. John’s developed a few senior citizen type ailments and he’s better off there. John was a writer, a child placement specialist for the county, an actor, bon vivant and one of the closest friends I’ve ever had.

John and I had a great ceremony — we bought the very first drinks ever served at Randal Kane’s  “new” Catalyst, Chris Mathew’s Poet & Patriot, Lou Caviglia’s Clouds, and the Old Lulu Carpenters when it opened as a bar in the mid 70’s. From 1970 onwards we partied… and worked together at the Cabrillo Music Festival, Save Wilder Ranch (Operation Wilder), The Santa Cruz County Fair (as board members) and political campaigns beyond count.

It’s not enough to say all of us will miss John…it’s the end of an era.

Dateline January 29, 2018

After 10 meetings and with a rare show of transparency, the Downtown Library Advisory Committee (DLAC)  voted unanimously for the option of closing the current library and constructing a new library on Cedar St. under a 5 story parking garage…. and then they opened the floor for public comment on the issue. More than one speaker noted that a process whereby the public speaks after the committee has voted is a waste of time. That is true only if speaking before a vote is not a waste of time. Why nurture the illusion that an elected or appointed body listens to and incorporates public comments into their decision making when that rarely happens? More honest to vote, then let the public vent.

The overwhelming public sentiment, expressed at this last meeting and all previous meetings, including the one devoted to public commentary attended by over 90 people, was against a new library under a 5 story parking garage, the option chosen by the committee. To be fair, DLAC did an impressive outreach effort, a fact I omitted to acknowledge in my last column on this issue. Over two thousand people were reached via their survey. Only one problem: the survey failed to ask even one question regarding a potential main library move and its placement under a parking garage. With the most controversial and significant issue out of the picture, the rest was an easy exercise in relative trivia, rendering the survey largely meaningless. Survey questions asked about what folks wanted in a library, what they did and did not like about the current downtown library and other similar enquiries. Answers were somewhat predictable: more computers, wifi and printing resources and problems with unhoused people, safety concerns, drug users and use of bathrooms. Such social problems have been largely addressed with the relocating of the homeless out of downtown. That doesn’t solve the homeless issues but it has largely addressed the impact on the library.  

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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.

2018 majority report #4

Dateline January 29, 2018

Pacific Collegiate School bike rack. There has been an enormous increase in getting students to ride to school. Perhaps locating some new Bike Share stations inside school grounds would be another assist in getting even more students on a bike, as bus service to PCS is sporadic at best.


If it be admitted that a man, possessing absolute power, may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should a majority not be liable to the same reproach? Men are not apt to change their characters by agglomeration; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with Democracy in America the consciousness of their strength.”

Democracy In America, p. 287-88 (Harry Reeve translation, Penn State, 2002

Power Grab?
The basis for three council votes that the progressive community lost at last Tuesday’s (Jan. 23rd) Santa Cruz City council meeting is reflected within Alexis de Tocqueville’s phrase, one he coined while observing the potential downside of American democracy, “the tyranny of the majority.” It was practiced with impunity by a 4-member council majority. It happened when the mayor wanted to add the vice-mayor to the closed-door bi-weekly “agenda review” meeting. It’s a meeting I wrote about last week that is held to set the official city council meeting agenda. Fifteen department heads and the mayor sit down and discuss the essence of the coming week’s city business. While I support the vice-mayor attending this meeting I also support other councilmembers attending. So, I made a motion that a rotating councilmember be able to attend. My motion was seconded by Councilmember Richelle Noroyan. (Thank you Richelle!) The majority was having none of it. Why should they let minority members into such a meeting? I can only guess at the reason.

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Rent Control, Rent Freeze, and Just-Cause Eviction
People make history, but not necessarily under conditions of their own choosing.
Will this be the year Santa Cruz finally realizes its electoral power and makes some significant community quality of life changes? If so, when historians look back they just might note that February 13th was perhaps the start of a great Surf City march forward, a regular Movement for Housing Justice campaign that woke a once sleepy electorate. I hear that three Santa Cruz city councilmembers may be placing rent freeze and just-cause eviction ordinances on the upcoming Tuesday, February 13th council agenda. If so, this will be an historic occasion you will not want to miss. What these ordinances just might do is provide cover for rent-weary tenants during the lead-up to the November rent control vote.

EXTRA: Bernie on the plight of the working-class:

Let me back up. There is a rent control initiative that was submitted last week to the city clerk’s office and “if all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed”  an officially blessed and sanctioned initiative will hit the streets on Sunday, February 11th, I hear. So, come the 13th, folks will be asking the city council to stop landlords from raising rents until the people can decide during the November 6, 2018 election. No, my friends, rent control is not THE solution, but it is an enormously powerful tool, a community bargaining chip in getting the attention of property owners in one of the most expensive real estate markets in California. It also throws down the gauntlet and sends a unified message to those out of control capitalists who are gouging renters and exploiting a housing market that has come to place too much power in the hands of too few landlords. It doesn’t take a weatherman, or women, to predict that fed-up tenants will be trying to stick it to the man this fall by employing Bernie Sanders’, ‘enough is enough,’ and going about leveling the playing field through the ballot box.

Bernie Quote of the Week

Bernie Sanders recalled his own childhood growing up in a rent-controlled apartment in Flatbush Brooklyn, which “meant that my family, which did not have a lot of money, did not have to spend 50 or 60 percent of its limited income on housing.'”

We Have A Housing Emergency. Here’s How We Face It

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, former Santa Cruz City Councilmember (1998-2002) and Mayor (2001-2002). He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. He was elected last November to another 4-year term on the Santa Cruz City Council.

Email Chris at

Dateline January 29, 2018

This week, citizens will have an opportunity to attend public events of two local agencies that I have learned seem to set policy for our area, yet few may be aware exist.  The first is Associated Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) based in Seaside, and the second is the Regional Water Management Foundation, housed within the Santa Cruz Community Foundation in Aptos. 

Here is a video a private citizen took at the January 10, 2018 roll-out of the Plan:

ACTION ITEM—> GO TO AMBAG’S “Moving Monterey Bay Forward  Plan 2040” Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) public hearing this Tuesday, January 30, 6pm-7pm, at the Simpkins Swim Center. This Plan will set land use, transportation and water use policy for the Counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito that local government will insist they must abide by. 

Here is the link to the AMBAG website’s information on the 2040 Plan,
here is a link to the Board’s audio recording files and agendas/minutes of meetings, and
here is the phone number to call with your questions: 831-883-3750.

ACTION ITEM—> GO TO the “Connect the Drops” water informational event this Thursday, February 1, 6:30pm-9pm, at New Brighton Middle School Auditorium (250 Washburn Ave., Capitola).  Keynote speaker is Ms Taryn Ravazzini, Deputy Director, California Dept. of Water Resources. This event is sponsored, in part, by the Regional Water Management Foundation.

Here is a link to the Foundation’s website

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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.

Email Becky at

Dateline January 25, 2018: #25 / Those Digital “Super States”

Julian Assange (pictured right) is the founder of Wikileaks. Both he and Wikileaks get mixed reviews. A profile in the August 21, 2017, issue of The New Yorker, for instance, Julian Assange, a Man Without a Country,” has both good things and bad things to report about Assange. 

I was struck by a recent blog posting by Caitlin Johnstone, “Assange Keeps Warning Of AI Censorship, And It’s Time We Started Listening.” Johnstone is a self-described “rogue journalist,” and is a radical voice on the progressive side of the blogging spectrum. She doesn’t have much use for establishment Democrats, and evidences some periodic sympathies for the Trump “base.” She is not everyone’s cup of tea, in other words.

Johnstone cites to a January 16, 2018, statement by Assange that is reproduced below. Read Johnstone’s posting if you are as intrigued as I was by two things I gathered from the Assange statement: 

First, Assange thinks that Google and Facebook are “digital super states,” which he ranks right up there with the Chinese government. 

Second, Assange says that “discourse” is humanity’s immune system for existential threats.

 I, personally, think Assange is right on target on both those observations!

Gary 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


DeCinzo takes on housing options… scroll down to see.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “The Blame Game” 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 with Tim’s deeper thinking about blame and the energy behind it.


THEY’RE ALIVE!! And composing in our neighborhoods!!    (all Santa Cruzans at one time or another) Susan Alexjander ,Philip Collins, Steed Cowart, Michael McGushin, Jon Meyers, Barry Phillips and Scott Stobbe (not in attendance).  There’ll be a Composer Panel Discussion: 6pm. TICKETS: Night of the Living Composersat Cabrillo College Box Office: 831/479-6154

CELEBRATE PIANO ENSEMBLE presents “An Afternoon of Piano Ensembles”. 
Selections are from both one-piano and two-piano repertoire. An eclectic group of composers will be featured ranging from Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Inghelbrecht, Nazareth, and Fina to a medley of dances from Bernstein’s West Side Story to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Performers include Erica Arul, Mary Jane Cope, Roger Emanuels, Rose Georgi, Irene Hermann, Nicki Kerns, Lynn Kidder, Lavinia Livingston, Michael McGushin, Vlada Volkova Moran, Carol Panofsky, Barbara Ruzicka, Kumi Uyeda, and Leah Zumberge.   

Suggested donation is $10 at the door. If you are not able to attend but would like to make a donation for scholarships please write a check to SCCMTAC and mail to Barbara Jirsa, Treasurer, Santa Cruz MTAC, 221 Nevada St, Santa Cruz CA 95060.

Sunday, February 11, 2018, 2:00pm UCSC Recital Hall

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Now that the awards season is here — and most of the movies in contention have finally played in Santa Cruz— it’s time to reveal my top 10 movies of 2017, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). Also, some unsung, real-life female astronomers from a century ago finally get the props they deserve in Jewel Theatre Company’s lyrical new production, Silent Sky. And find out how you — yes, you! — can enter a giveaway for an advance copy of my next novel, Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

THE FINAL YEAR. A documentary covering the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, this is an insider’s view of the hard and sensitive work it takes to run a government…especially the United States government. It shows the surprise and reactions to the Trump victory. You’ll get a vivid impression of our place in the world, and the heavy responsibilities that Barack felt. You’ll also be more afraid than ever of the danger our country is in, with Trump at the controls. Well worth seeing. No cutesy stuff about Barack’s kids, wife and family life…it’s all politics. See it quickly, it probably won’t stay on our screens long. It ends Thursday, Feb. 1st.

THE HOSTILES. In 1892, the Comanches fight the Cheyennes, settlers battle all American Indians, and Christian Bale leads a group that includes Rosamund Pike through all sorts of ethnic and tense battles. It’s a bit more sensitive than the John Ford John Wayne westerns, but nowhere near as exciting. The photography is not just scenic, it’s gorgeous.

12 STRONG. This is almost a Hollywood western. Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon fight Taliban attacks in the Afghan War right after 9/11. It was actually shot in New Mexico and southern California…and you’ll believe it when/if you see it. It’s very confusing, and hard to figure who is on whose side. Apparently it’s “based on a true story” but what isn’t nowadays? I counted three audience members actually playing computer games while the movie was grinding on… for two hours and ten minutes plus the usual 20 minutes of Regal ads and previews.

Paul Thomas Anderson the director first made Boogie Nights, he topped that one with Magnolia, There will be Blood, and Inherent Vice and now there’s Phantom Thread. The star is Daniel Day-Lewis and seeing him and Anderson work together in this one makes it not a film but an experience. Day-Lewis in A Room With A View, My Left Foot, The Unbearable Lightness of Being became greater and greater with each role. Now he has promised to never make another film. If that’s true Phantom Thread is a brilliant masterpiece to end a career. It’s the story of a driven, crazed artist who designs women’s clothes…that’s all you need to know. As critics are saying it’s not a film for mass audiences, just those folks who appreciate genius.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100% and it’s the highest rated film in RT’s history!!! Greta Gerwig directed  Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento in about 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film. Ps….as I’ve told many folks, it’s definitely  not about Lady Bird Johnson!!!

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. No matter where you’re at sexually this beautiful film deals with a young 17 year old boy in Italy working his way through his sexual coming of age. Armie Hammer plays the 30 year old scholarly hunk who visits the kid’s parents. You remember Armie Hammer heir to the Armand Hammer oil fortune and who played The Lone Ranger to Johnny Depp’s Tonto (2013)!!!

THE SHAPE OF WATER. A 93 on RT and that means something! Sally Hawkins plays a beautiful mute working in a lab who cares for, and falls in love with a mysterious water creature. It’s a fable, a fairy story, and reminds us of the black and white fantasy films from the 40’s and 50’s. It’s vital to know that it’s directed by Guillermo Del Toro who also did Pan’s Labyrinth  and Hellboy. It is such an enormous change from every other film we’ve seen in years that its’ worth going just for the fun of it.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. First, please note the 95 RT rating. When you have Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell working in a film directed by an Oscar winning director you almost can’t miss. It is definitely a dark comedy. The plot contains murder, rape, loyalty, cancer, and some absolutely brilliant acting. Go see it, and force all your friends to see it too.

DARKEST HOUR. Gary Oldman takes the role of Winston Churchill to new heights…and depths. Its world War II history and it’s the background story of what Churchill had to endure when he first took office as Prime Minister. He deserves the Oscar like few stars ever have. The story is absorbing, educational, and it makes you wonder why the USA doesn’t have someone like Churchill to handle Trump like Churchill handled Hitler and Mussolini.

THE POST. This is Steven Spielberg’s answer to the Trump administration’s corruption and misuse of presidential power. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks rip up the acting as we expect them to do. It’s the story of the then little Washington Post trying to catch up to The New York Times printing Daniel Elsberg’s Vietnam exposure papers. It makes easy parallels to Nixon and Trump’s dictatorships. It also makes great pitches for freedom of the press…and what we need to do to keep that freedom alive…especially now. Go see it, bring your friends. But truthfully it’s not as interesting or revealing as the MSNBC documentary two weeks ago… “The Most Dangerous Man In America” the same story from Elsberg’s view.

MOLLY’S GAME. This is an unusual “true” film about a once Olympic ski champion who becomes the owner/manager of zillion dollar poker games. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba play the top roles and good old Kevin Costner has a bit part as Jessica’s father. It’s a fancy film with plenty of cinema tricks to keep us interested, and the acting’s ok too. But think twice before going, especially if you’re trying to give up movies for the New Year.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Yes, 93 on RT and I thought it was a complete fake of a billion dollar move machine. I’ll always remember going to our Soquel Drive in (just a little stoned) and being completely taken into outer space with Star Wars 1. It had humor, empathy, great imagination, tension and a story you could care about. The franchise now stages monotonous, uncaring, space attacks and wars so numerous that you can’t remember who is on who’s side…and you don’t care much either. There’s the Dark Side, the Resistance, Adam Driver, R2D2, a very dull Carrie Fisher, an aging Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker and those endless space battles that take up probably 33 1/3 of the movie. A great disappointment…go at your own peril, and its 2 ½ hours extra long.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. This is Hugh Jackman trying his best to bring life to the bio of P.T.Barnum. Jackman is an excellent dancer, singer and showman but this movie just doesn’t have the heart or solidity that a good film should have. The music is just more copying of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s gooey showbiz. It’s shallow, trite, and repetitious to a fault. Don’t bother seeing 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. On January 30 UCSC Music prof. Linda Burman Hall talks about the 45th annual Santa Cruz Baroque Festival opening February 10. She’s followed by James Weller United Peace Church minister talking about Sanctuary Santa Cruz and the current DACA issues. February 6 has Espressivo Orchestra director, conductor Michel Singher talking about their Feb. 15 concert then Edward Moncrief author of Raining Blackbirds talks about his book and farm laborers. UCSC’s Felicia Rice discusses her new book  “Doc/Undoc”  an art piece centering on the immigration experience. Then Ashlyn Adams talks about her two new movie theatres opening next month in the former Circle Church. 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

Isn’t it amazing how obvious things become when the tables are turned…?

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.

“Why do all our friends and relatives destroy the summer for us? Why can’t they get married in February?”  Jerry Della Femina
“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January“, Jim Gaffigan
“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
“February – the month of love..?!!
No wonder the shortest one in the calendar.”
Dinesh Kumar Biran

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Click and enter the box in the upper right hand corner of each Column. 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!) Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

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

Direct email:
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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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