Blog Archives

January 29 – February 5, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Santa Cruz United and Santa Cruz Together financed the recall campaign, Brand New County Democrats, 908 Ocean development getting bigger, Roberta Bristol dances away. GREENSITE…is in Costa Rica. KROHN…Mayor Cummings uniting letter, No on Recall News, No on M campaign, Development in Santa Cruz and VOTE ON MARCH 3. STEINBRUNER…2nd District Campaign news, Becky on Pleich’s Community TV Voices show Feb.2 @ 7 p.m. Traffic relief? RTC progress (where ?) Rural Fire Tax. PATTON…Wealthy people and income inequality. EAGAN…Sub Cons and Deep Covers. JENSEN…reviews The Song Of Names.  BRATTON…I critique Clemency UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…”Owls” 

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FRONT STREET AND SOQUEL. January 9, 1957. This is now the CVS store facing us, the Soquel Bridge going off to the upper center.   I can’t see any gasoline prices on the Shell Station, It’s just as well, we’d just feel bad!.                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

TOM NODDY ON JOHNNY CARSON SHOW (1983)
STUPID HUMAN TRICKS. ( 2004)

DATELINE  January 27

SANTA CRUZ UNITED AND SANTA CRUZ TOGETHER FINANCED THE RECALL ELECTION. 
We’ll be reading all the necessary details in a few days but read these notes and realize just how important the money and influence behind these two groups have become in our community. Here is a preview of some of the facts showing the connection between the two money laden groups and how it was spent.

Santa Cruz Together was initially formed to oppose Measure M (a rent control initiative) in the 2018 election. In 2019, the City Council became more progressive with the election of Justin Cummings and Drew Glover. Then SCT –dominated by contributions from real estate, large property owners, and developer interests –largely underwrote payments per signature to individuals to circulate petitions calling for a recall election. The finances amount to a real shell game, but it is now possible to understand how the scheme worked 

Santa Cruz Together directly or indirectly paid recall signature gatherers $104,561,which would be more than $4 for every petition signature turned in, whether by a professional or a volunteer signature gatherer. A portion of these Santa Cruz Together expenditures on behalf of Santa Cruz United, $29,000 went for “Campaign consultant and petition circulation” to the consulting company Dynami Athens Corporation, incorporated on July 18, 2019 and run by Robert Singleton as the CEO, Secretary, and CFO. The rest of the SCT expenditures funneled to the benefit of SCU went directly to petition gatherers”. More to follow.

BRAND NEW COUNTY DEMOCRATS. Check out their website. Look at their candidates for the Democratic Central Committee. Better yet, join these folks in getting our county and country back on track. Check out who’s running from your County district and support them.   brandnewcountydems.org 

COMMOTION ON OCEAN, Number 908 OCEAN. This is from BrattonOnline March 12 2019. There was much anti-action to this development, now the developers have added even more apartments, plus changes to this mess. “This is one of those many developments being shoved through our system. 333 small Silicon Valley or student apartments being promoted as having three 3 three levels of “affordability”. This “housing” is proposed for the block across Ocean Street from Santa Cruz Diner. It includes Togo’s and Doc Auto…which are not necessarily great architectural monuments that need preserving…but it’s the community that will suffer. One reader wrote.. “It’s the same message from developers and the city; it will all just magically work out wonderfully. What is the summer daily car count for Ocean Street that we’re not supposed to worry about adding to with all these projects? The thousands of cars idling on Ocean and all the way to the beach creates ever MORE Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, not less GHG, so this is working against what the General Plan specifies should occur, a reduction in GHG emissions.” Now (1/27/20) the developers have increased the number of units to 405 units. 
 
The Single Occupancy Units Ordinance (SOU) is flawed for multiple reasons as we are discovering with the proposed 908 Ocean Street project:

  1. The Density of 90 units per acre is more than allowed in the General Plan for the zoning in that area now or even if it was zoned (40 units if 1-bedroom) with the Corridor Plan (55 units per acre)….and yet how is that possible?
  2. It only allows 1 bedroom units of 400-650 feet.  It does not allow for any other option such as 2 or 3-bedroom units for families.  Of course with 908 Ocean Project they could split the project parcels on May and provide that type of housing but they would rather not as they can have more units this way. 
  3. When you have 333 units vs. 166 2-bedroom you can have more people by State law — 1-bedroom allows 2+1 and 2-bedroom allows 2×2+1 so if you roll the numbers you get 999 for 333 SOUs and 830 for 166 2-bedroom units…
  4. The parking allowed is only 1 space per unit and no guest parking.  However, the Architect for 908 Ocean realizing that flaw did allow for some guest parking (and sharing of the commercial parking for guests too).   But again, the code does not allow for guest parking while only allowing one parking space per unit.  
  5. We don’t yet know if there is on-site property management for this massive proposed project at 908 Ocean — consolidation of 19 parcels at Ocean, Hubbard May and onto Water..  
  6. Breaking parking models is the gateway to higher density.  The City Council just did it on a one-year pilot basis for detached ADUs.  And now they are doing it with 908 Ocean Street with multi-car parking racks by a company called Klaus – German company with US office in LaFayette, CA, http://www.klausparking.com/. Can parking racks be considering parking spaces–seems like a grey area? 
  7. This is meant to be the City classic “affordable by design” ideal because they are small units.  However, if you have 2-bedroom units instead, you would have 166 less kitchens and 166 less bathrooms and that would make the units overall more affordable.  The logic doesn’t hold but they persist in making this argument because the price per unit is less.  However, 555 Pacific is 94 SOUs and touted as “luxury urban living”….So that idea of “affordable by design” has not played out that way in practice by the developer/owner Swenson.  Bush shouldn’t get quoted, but this comes to mind, “fool me once, shame on–shame on you.  Fool me–you can’t get fooled again”.  
  8. The 908 Ocean project units may also possibly be half rental and half for sale.  If that is the case, then the loan options for those that may need to get a loan is constrained to possibly a 7-year loan at 6.5% rather than 4%.  When  555 Pacific was researched this was the case in 2016 and this 908 issue needs checking.  We were alerted to this by an article by Jim Chubb of Pacific Inland in 2015.

The Architect, Salvatore Caruso, of the Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation in Santa Clara  is very smooth, and we can be sure he was brought in as much because of his ability to “sell” the project.  Check out Caruso multi family structures here  https://www.caruso-designs.com  . They’ve changed the 908 designs once but what will this add to our sense of Santa Cruz Community…or just plain “Looks” and appeal? If you know any member of the Santa Cruz City Council get to them quickly. Even if you don’t know them , you should tell them what you believe anyways’ end of March item. 

The developers have increased their numbers to 405 units they have also added another parcel on Ocean. They also added Ground floor retail plans. This of course will be decided by the City Council. It’ll be decided BY us too when we vote on March 3rd to keep common sense on the Council.

ROBERTA BRISTOL DANCES ONWARD. Word spread fast among the music-dance community. Roberta had such a huge influence on everyone who cared about dancing. She was generous, patient to a fault and loved by everybody.

January 27.

Gillian Greensite is in Costa Rica for two weeks with little/no internet.

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  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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CHRIS KROHN. MAJORITY REPORT.

January 27 

To succeed, we need to work together. Unfortunately, the recall seriously undermines this effort and our democracy. For the good of our community, the recall should be defeated.” —Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings

Never a Dull Moment
The barnstorming campaign to Vote No on the Recalls continues in a big way this weekend. Meet at the Tabby Cat Cafe at the corner of Cedar and Union streets on Saturday. and Sunday at 10 am. We will be walking neighborhoods. There are two kinds of walkers needed, 1) knock and talk to people about No Recall campaign, and 2) just dropping literature off that has been prepared and waiting to be delivered. If walking is not your thing, we can set you up with a phone list to remind people when the election is–March 3rd–and when the vote-by-mail ballots go out–Feb. 3rd. If you would like to table at the Farmer’s Market Westside or Downtown we can set you up. Go to sign up  https://stopsantacruzrecalls.org/events  

Mayor Justin Cummings Says No on the Recalls
Here is a thoughtful and detailed letter that Mayor Justin Cummings put out this past week to let people know where he stands on the recall. It is on-point and informative. Have a read:

“In a democracy, candidates are elected to represent the broad range of beliefs and opinions of those who live in the community. As Mayor, I work with all members of the City Council to try to find common ground on many of the complex issues our community faces.  Disagreements and different perspectives are not only to be expected, but provide an opportunity for us to work towards consensus on policies that reflect the broad interests of the entire community. While our elected officials may have very different perspectives and policy beliefs, these differences are not grounds for a recall.  

On March 3rd, voters in the City of Santa Cruz will be asked whether or not to recall and remove from office two members of the City Council.  Recalls are intended to remove elected officials who commit crimes or who abuse their powers in office. Regular elections, not recall elections, are the way that members of the public are supposed to make clear their various policy priorities. What is happening in this recall is an attempt to preempt and undermine the normal electoral process, and the voters should reject it. The following highlights what is really happening.

Who’s Behind the Recall
On December 4, 2018, after the results of the last City Council election were certified, although the rent control ballot measure (Measure M) did not pass, two candidates who supported rent control were elected. This created a majority on the City Council in favor of protecting tenants, providing affordable housing, and preserving neighborhoods. While there were provisions in Measure M that made it less appealing to many voters, the success of the “No on M” campaign can also be attributed to the enormous amount of funding that came largely from outside real estate investors.  

Here are just some of the contributions to the No on M campaign:

  • National Association of Realtors (Chicago, IL) – $287,500
  • California Apartment Association (Sacramento, CA) – $68,000
  • Pacific Shores (Belmont, CA) – $18,450
  • 1010 Pacific Investment (Belmont, CA) – $10,350

To see all donations, go to this dropbox

Many of these outside investors viewed the new majority on the city council as a threat to their investments, especially with Santa Cruz as a site for speculative housing investment, which has resulted in exorbitant housing costs.  Given the discussion of recalling two progressives on sites like Next Door immediately after the new council was seated, it was only a matter of time before two members of the pro-tenant and affordable housing City Council majority were singled out for recall. We now see the same group and outside funds being used towards this recall effort.  

Factors to consider 
It is important that we take into consideration the voices of working-class people in our community, not the big money interests that are trying to buy our community and our government. The City Council majority, made up of predominantly renters, recently put a stop to the so-called Corridors Plan, which supported very high-density housing development on the east side of the city, putting local neighborhoods in jeopardy. The Council majority has also increased the amount of affordable housing that developers must provide, in order to assure that new housing doesn’t serve only those with high incomes.  Additionally, the new council has been working on policies that protect tenants, the environment and novel approaches to addressing homelessness in our community.  The Council majority has made the protection of our neighborhoods, local businesses, and tenants one of the highest priorities as additional market rate, luxury housing development is proposed.

Conclusion
The recall election scheduled for March 3rd is extremely divisive and makes it very difficult for City Council Members to cooperate and collaborate successfully. After the adversarial Measure M election, the community needs to heal, not fracture further. While Council Members sometimes disagree on issues, we all share a love of Santa Cruz and the desire to make it the best that it can be for everyone. To succeed, we need to work together. Unfortunately, the recall seriously undermines this effort and our democracy. For the good of our community, the recall should be defeated.

“Our campaign is about doing something different. It’s about lifting up the voices, struggles and power of working people. When we are in the White House, we will double union membership. We’ll do it for workers like Alex, fighting for unions like @SEIU.” (Jan. 27)
(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 ckrohn@cruzio.com

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January 27

CAMPAIGN FOR SECOND DISTRICT COUNTY SUPERVISOR IS GOING WELL!
I am running against the incumbent for County Supervisor in the Second District, and am meeting many people far and wide who support a change of elected leadership in local government. I have the support of hundreds, but no organizations are willing to endorse me because of the real possibility of retribution. Isn’t that sad? It does not deter me, but rather only compels me to work harder to be a voice for all people.  

INTERVIEW ON COMMUNITY TV ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2 ON ‘VOICES OF THE VILLAGE’
Because Community TV interviewed the incumbent in late December, 2019 to discuss his candidacy, I am entitled to the same time upon my request.  Community TV has been really wonderful in providing quick response and a great live interview opportunity this Sunday, February 2, at 7pm.  The host, Steve Pleich, let me know that he ran against County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty in 2018 because he also feels that an important elected position should not run unopposed.

It also appears that Steve Pleich intends to run again in 2022. 

All elections need people to step up and run, not to be discouraged by what ‘experts’ claim the financial cost has to be, or whether or not you think you can win.  If you run for an office, we all win.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ANOTHER YEAR AND ANOTHER $1 MILLION STUDY WITH NO TRAFFIC RELIEF ACTION?
The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) voted to spend another $1 Million in public money to do another year-long study of the Transit Corridor Alternatives.  The Commission wants your input on this and is offering two Open House gatherings for the public to tell them what they think about this.  

  • February 11, 6-7:30pm, at the Live Oak Grange ( 1900 17th Avenue)
  • February 12, 6-7:30pm, at the Watsonville Library Community Room (275 Main Street, on the 2nd Floor)

Read more here

Deadline for public comment is February 13, 2020.  I think the RTC has no intention of ever actually doing anything….expensive studies keep many people employed, and the money pot to fund this seems bottomless.    The California Rail Plan for 2040 makes it clear that the State intends there to be rail connection between Santa Cruz and Monterey, with a link to high-speed rail servicing the Bay Area.  Look at the map on page 9.

This will take time, and a lot of money.  But we could build a serviceable trail alongside the rail NOW and at least offer people an option to use bicycles, electric carts/pod cars to use that neglected rail/trail corridor just sitting there being vandalized.  Can’t we just DO SOMETHING to provide another choice for traffic relief?!

In terms of a fast rail service in the future, it seems to me a tall order.  What about all the crossings and curves along the way?  Maybe we should be again looking at the monorail along Highway One to provide a faster connection for those people who live in the Watsonville area and beyond and currently sit in traffic for hours both ways.  And what about the hundreds of people who commute over Highway 17 everyday?  They need safer, faster transportation as well.

Do try to attend those RTC Open Houses, and learn more.  Speak up!  It’s your only chance….until the next study begins.

WILL THE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS REALLY CERTIFY THE NEW RURAL FIRE TAX CAUSING ADVERSE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP FOR SENIORS AND OTHER FIXED INCOME PROPERTY OWNERS?
The Santa Cruz County Election Dept. has sent a letter of certification for the County Service Area (CSA) 48 Fire Department Benefit Assessment ballot measure, and the Board will consider Tuesday, January 28, whether to certify the results and impose the new large tax.  This tax would be in addition to what CSA 48 property owners are already paying, about $159/house/year.  

Featured as Item #8 on the Agenda, the report by County Clerk about the number of ballots is disturbing.  The report does not include the total number of ballots mailed out to CSA 48 property owners that would be assessed, and does not include the number of ballots that were returned by the postal system as invalid or in error. It concerns me that 101 ballots were received after the close of the January 14, 2020 public hearing, and therefore were not even tabulated in the results.

Because I observed the ballot counting process on January 14, 2020, I know that the actual ratio of ballots returned of the total mailed is only about 25%.  I know that most of the ballots that were returned were sent within the first three weeks after the ballots were mailed from Sacramento by the SCI consultants.  I know that the County changed the information available to the public on the County Fire Dept. website about one month after the ballots were mailed, so the early voters did not have the advantage of the added information before they cast their votes.  I know that, although the Election Dept. has done a stellar job in verifying the accuracy of whether a parcel owner voted yes or no, there has been no verification of the software supplied by SCI consultants that was used to determine the weight of the votes by scanning in the bar code of the ballots.

Does this seem transparent or legally-defensible to you?  I don’t think so, and have sent written comment to the Board of Supervisors to ask that they defer certifying the results and imposing the draconian new tax on rural property owners.  It took County staff nearly one week to post my comment for the Board to see when the matter was before them on January 14, 2020.  I hope my concerns will get before the Board in time now….

Read the materials for Item #8 here  

POTHOLE RELIEF COMING FOR NISENE MARKS STATE PARK ENTRANCE
While the lack of parking for Nisene Marks State Park is still a safety issue for visitors and local residents alike, State Parks Director Mr. Chris Spohrer has assured me the potholes will be filled soon.  He also let me know that there will be 3000SF of new paving soon that will address major road issues between the Park entrance and the kiosk.    Stay tuned.

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING.  RUN FOR AN ELECTED OFFICE OR HELP SOMEONE WHO IS.  BUT JUST DO SOMETHING THIS WEEK AND MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!

Cheers,

Becky Steinbruner

Vote4BeckySteinbruner@gmail.com

BeckyforCountySupervisor.com 

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. She is running again for Second District County Supervisor right now!!

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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January 25
#25 / Why It Matters

I subscribe to a web-based news service called Axios. That means I get daily bulletins on a wide range of topics that reflect the current preoccupations of the public – or, the preoccupations of the public as the Axios editorial staff believes such preoccupations to exist. Usually, Axios is pretty good about identifying my own preoccupations!

On December 28, 2019, my “Axios AM” bulletin highlighted six items of interest. Item #1 was about the NBA. Item #2 was headlined, “Richest gained 25% this year.” Here is a quote from the lead paragraph in Item #2: 

The world’s 500 wealthiest people tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index added $1.2 trillion [in 2019], boosting their collective net worth 25% to $5.9 trillion…

The next paragraph in this Axios report started out with this phrase: “Why it matters.” Well, why does it matter, as Axios sees it? Here’s what Axios said: 

Why it matters: Such gains are sure to add fuel to the already heated debate about widening wealth and income inequality.

The fact that the net worth of the ultra-rich and “the billionaire class” increased by twenty-five percent last year will, I am certain, “add fuel to the … debate about … income inequality.” Axios is certainly right about that. But is the fact that there will be increased debate about income inequality really what matters most about the fact that income inequality is escalating in such unprecedented ways?

There is, I would argue, a substantive reason to be concerned about what is happening here. The photo at the top of this blog post, coming from the Axios AM bulletin, depicts a scene from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, held last October. The picture below, from my hometown, Santa Cruz, California, depicts a scene from the so-called “Ross Camp,” as more than a hundred homeless persons were dislodged from a camp they had set up behind the Ross Dress For Less store in Santa Cruz. 

On a number of occasions, I have written in this blog about the concept of the “Commonwealth,” urging that we start understanding our politics and economics from a perspective that admits that the wealth that our society produces is a “common” achievement. In other words, we are all contributors to the creation of wealth. 

If that idea permeates, then the fact that the wealth being produced by our common efforts is being allocated, increasingly, to a very few individuals, should tell us that something is wrong. Moreover, the substantive impact of our current practices is to create a world that is less “clean,” less “safe,” and less “satisfying” for all of us than the world we could create if we used our commonly created wealth to benefit more of us, instead of fewer of us. 

Whether we focus on infrastructure, on health care, on child care, on environmental protection and global warming, on housing, on education, on the drug crisis, or on whatever we might care about, ALL of us benefit when we invest in ALL of us! That’s why the spiraling income inequality that Axios has reported actually “matters.” Our world is falling apart presbecause our current economic and political arrangements have failed to direct our commonly created wealth to our common problems and to maximizing our common opportunities. 

In a country in which it is “possible,” though not inevitable, that we can, collectively, determine what happens to us, the bulletin from Axios should “matter” because that bulletin tells us that changes need to be made. There is an election in California on March 3rd, and a couple of the presidential candidates on the ballot have made a commitment to try to reduce income inequality – and to use our commonly created wealth to benefit ALL of us, focusing on the issues identified above. If you vote absentee, you’ll get your ballot in a very few days. Do you need the names of the presidential candidates who are committed to doing something about income inequality? Let me know if you haven’t already figured it out!

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 www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. More sidelong glances at our mostly hidden sub-cons…which can mean so very much…or not!!!

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Carl and the foreign policy” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog with the new poem “Nice To Meet You”. 

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

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “We’re all waiting for the Oscars, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). But meanwhile, consider The Song Of Names, an often moving meditation on the purpose and privilege of artistic expression about a Polish violin prodigy in postwar London. Read all about in this week’s Good Times.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

CLEMENCY. Alfie Wodward has rarely been better in any role and she’s deep and magnificent in this one. She plays the warden of a prison and presides over executions by lethal injection. We watch her as she watches and is deeply affected, by these legal and approved deaths. She should have been entered into the Oscars last year and won one this year on Feb. 9th. CLOSES THURSDAY JANUARY 30

THE TWO POPES. Anthony Hopkins plays Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Based on a terribly troubled time in the Catholic Church namely 2005 these two leaders argue and discuss their personal and public issues that become completely absorbing. Yes, child abuse is in there too. Just to watch these tow master actors is a reminder of what and where good acting can take audiences. Go see it, but do hurry.

UNCUT GEMS. 92 RT. Adam Sandler is amazingly perfect in this role of a New York City Jeweler/ gambler who risks his family and his own life to make a quick (two days) bundle of money on a gem sale. You will never forget Sandler in this film. Exciting, tense, and believable. Don’t miss it. Sandler’s acting talent is surprising, especially when we have become so used to his comedy roles.

  1. Do not see this film if you expect to watch much of Benedict Cumberbatch. IF he’s in it more than 2 minutes I’ll eat my helmet!!! I also wouldn’t give this movie ANY ” best of” awards, and am surprised at what it’s won so far. It’s the story of two foot soldiers slogging through, under and around enemy lines to deliver an important life saving message. It’s an impressive hunk of movie making and yet it won’t really draw you into the story. 89RT

JUST MERCY. A fine film starring Jamie Foxx, Michael Jordan, and an excellent role for 

Tim Blake Nelson. A true story about a guy (Foxx) being sentenced to the chair for a crime he didn’t do. This sounds like a dozen films we seen before BUT it’s better,  go see it. 99RT. 

 MARRIAGE STORY. A fine and well acted film about a show biz couple, their children , divorce, and some odd choices by Scarlett Johansson the wife to Adam Driver’s husband. Laura Dern does her best role in decades. Alan Alda and Ray Liotta have some small scenes. You are guaranteed to relive some of your own poor choices in your marriage too! 84 audience score on RT.A Netflix production.

HIDDEN LIFE. If and that’s a big IF you are a Terrence Malick fan you’ll love this masterpiece that he directed. Malick directed Paradise, Amazing Grace, The Tree of life, The Knight of Cups, The New World and other lengthy cinematic statements. Hidden Life is almost exact;ly 3 hours long. It’s totally beautiful and is about a family man who refuses to enter the German army during WWII. I tried to like it, but Malick takes so much screen time to get his complex internal messages out I lose contact. I predict that future generations will “discover” Malick’s films and give them the attention he’s not getting from us. CLOSES THURSDAY JANUARY 30

HONEY BOY. This is Shia LaBeouf’s movie. Not only does he star, but he wrote the screenplay and plays his own father’s role. It’s about LaBeouf’s life in show biz and the bad and good influence his dad had, and has, on him. Very few, if any, laughs — but a well done search into what fame and no fortune can do to you. Go for it!

DARK WATERS. You’ll never look at your Teflon or DuPont products the same way after seeing this fine film. Mark Ruffalo plays the real-life attorney who finally wins his case against DuPont, with the political and financial odds stacked 100% in favor of DuPont, the world’s largest chemical company. Just in case you want to stop supporting DuPont, stop using Kevlar, Styrofoam, Corian, Dow Corning, Great Stuff, Prima Green and many more names you can find on their website.

JOJO RABBIT. Centered on Nazi Germany, this is very rare political comedy with funny scenes. A little boy has Adolf Hitler as an invisible buddy. Scarlett Johansson plays the little boy’s mom, and does one of very finest acting jobs, ever. Hitler and the screwed up political/ military scene will make you think of Trump and our own screwed up political/ military scene. A wonderful and rare film, do not miss it!! 

PARASITE. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho outdid his other international screen successes with Parasite. Wikipedia calls it a dark comedy thriller and so do I. It’s winning awards everywhere and deserves them all. There’s brain surgery, murder, basement dwellers, numerous surprises, even some shocks and well worth your seeing it ASAP.

AERONAUTS. Felicity Jones plays a very cute and Disney like character matching Eddie Redmayne’s equally sweet and nerdy partner in this supposedly true story of an early hot air balloon ascension in Britain’s Victorian age in 1862. It’s cute, some funny parts a bit scary due to heights of the balloon.  Being such a cute movie… they actually changed the sex of the person accompanying Redmayne , it was really a male friend of his. It’s on Amazon.

STAR WARS. THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. 54 RT. George Lucas’ Star Wars empire started 42 years ago with wildly clever and intelligent twists and an absolutely brilliant story line. We watched politely while some sad sequels stained our screens, now thanks to Disney buying and producing this concluding finale we have an ending to the saga that isn’t worth your time or expectations. Trite, predictable, and sad to see our old heroes and heroines suffer with a plot as dull and unrewarding as this one. You have to go if you’ve seen more than one of the series…just don’t expect to be satisfied with the conclusion.

CATS. Hard to believe this insanity of a movie is from a book by T.S. Eliot. It’s even more difficult to acknowledge the amazing stage history of the musical. Judy Dench, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and dozens more stars wore whiskers; and danced and made fools of themselves only for millions of dollars in salaries. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself refuses to talk about this flop. It got an 18 RT. As a play it has also been playing on stages around the world for 40 years!!! They spent $95 million dollars to make this movie. I wouldn’t see it if I were you. When D.B. and I saw it we were the only two people in the theatre.!!!

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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. Linda Berman Hall reveals secrets about The Santa Crux Baroque Festival’s new season on Jan.28. She’ll be followed by Chris Connery talking about the UCSC East Meadow Action Committee. Peter Klotz- Chamberlin from the Resource Center for Non Violence guests on February 4. After which Nancy Macy who is  Environmental Committee Chair of the Valley Womens Club talks about PG&E and other problems. Jean Brocklebank talks about our Santa Cruz Public library issues on Feb 11. 

OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   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 bratton@cruzio.com 

Don’t try this at home. Or, if you have the appropriate space and safety gear, do try this at home. Watch an intrepid Youtuber make a coffee table out of 20,000 matches…

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. 

    “OWLS”

“Like some winter animal the moon licks the salt of your hand,
Yet still your hair foams violet as a lilac tree
From which a small wood-owl calls.”  Johannes Bobrowski 

“Owl,” said Rabbit shortly, “you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest–and when I say thinking I mean thinking–you and I must do it.”  A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner 

“Sometimes an owl is just an owl.”  Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks 


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

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
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