Blog Archives

July 3 – 10, 2018

Highlights this week:
BRATTON…from parades to protests, we the immigrants, our immigrant foods, are homeless ‘Denizens’?, more on Peter McGettigan’s death. GREENSITE…on tree appeals. KROHN…sugar beverage taxing, city council views and news, Beach Flats Garden and the Boardwalk, Frederick Street park and PGE, rent control, UCSC and measure U. STEINBRUNER…County Supervisor squashing public input, PGE and shutting power, Aptos Village Project blocks Aptos July Parade. PATTON…Republicans’ Red Wave and elections. EAGAN…about being ‘CIVIL’. DeCINZO…and Santa Cruz teen agers. JENSEN…her new Beast book and her review of Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist documentary. BRATTON…critiques Sicario and American Animals. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES on ‘Tourists’.


CASTLE BEACH AUGUST 19, 1959. Now called ‘Seabright Beach’, this castle existed from 1900 to 1967. It was at the corner of East Cliff and Mott streets, and was an art gallery for a while. Storms caused continual damage, and it was taken down in 1967. 
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

JUST WATCH THIS GUY. i’m not sure what he’s up to but it’s fascinating.


DATELINE July 2, 2018

FROM PARADES TO PROTESTS. The Fourth of July being our biggest and most traditional political holiday should make us wonder — and even tremble — at how much our nation has changed. Once upon a time “The Fourth’ meant thousands of parades across the country. More than that, we also had parades on Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and plenty of other times, for our communities to gather together and be happy and share our pride. Now with police, mass shootings, and dangerous political divisions, our shared community feelings are only evidenced by protests. That Santa Cruz can turn out such big crowds as the last “Families Belong Together” protest last week is wonderful and dispiriting at the same time. More than 8,000 locals gathered downtown, and millions more across the country shared their anger, opposition, and shame at being represented by such a president and his policies. What a twist in what we now share with our neighbors.

ABOUT IMMIGRANTS. Our so called ‘Native’ American Indians didn’t evolve here. They walked and probably sailed here, probably before others including Norsemen, Russians, and with good evidence just maybe before the Chinese. We always have been a land or country of immigrants. According to The Scientific American, ‘Geneticists now calculate, based on mutation rates in human DNA, that the ancestors of the Native Americans parted from their kin in their East Asian homeland sometime between 25,000 and 15,000 years ago—a difficult time for a great northern migration. Huge glaciers capped the mountain valleys of northeastern Asia, at the same time massive ice sheets mantled most of Canada, New England and several northern states”. https://www.Check it out.

WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. It’s almost fun to think about our most popular “American’ foods and drink…pizza, tacos, vodka, tequila, scotch, curry, rice, and on and on.

ABOUT “AMERICAN” PRODUCTS. Aside from the Trump tariffs, we might also take a look at — and not forget — the USA products that are sanctioned and supported by our government…and sold all over the world: Tobacco, guns, military planes, and the list goes on.

HOMELESS AS ‘DENIZENS’. Monday’s Santa Cruz Sentinel had longtime reporter Jessica K. York saying…‘and denizens of the River Street Camp are facing a return to the streets as a result’. Technically she’s correct, but as we all know ‘DENIZENS’ isn’t exactly a positive description. With all the new cost-cutting changes at the Sentinel you’d think decency and kindness could be improved, not increased.

PETER McGETTIGAN WRAP-UP. Peter McGettigan’s sister Mary McGettigan of Coos Bay, Oregon called me Friday night and brought me/us up the final details that so many of us have been wondering and worrying about. Peter had a long history of heart problems, including “silent” heart attacks, special prescriptions, even hospitalization five years ago. He had refused heart surgery. It was a heart attack combined with a case of the flu he caught last November that felled him at the top of the stairs to his apartment on June 14 at 6 pm. He was 73 years old. So far no local commemoratives have been planned, but Mary said that the family will gather in Coos Bay to say farewell. For the many of us who have been wondering about the hundreds of hours of documentary tapes Peter filmed…they have all been donated to UCSC. After proper logging, they will be available to the public for viewing. Let’s hope that’s true, because the library has been awfully tight on public access in many cases.

JULY 2, 2018


With democracy, it seems you pay to play. I am considering appealing to council the thumbs down decision from the city Planning Commission to spare the life the Washington St. red flowering Corymbia (pictured). This democratic right of appeal used to cost $50 and now it costs $617. I well remember the council discussion and vote that led to the increase. Ryan Coonerty was mayor and he strongly supported the increase. It was ostensibly to deter frivolous appeals of Planning Commission decisions, despite no evidence that the council was being inundated with such a waste of their time. In response to a question on how many appeals had been filed in the previous 3 years, the answer was 2. And one of them was mine. I can assure you that no appeal I have ever filed has been frivolous. Frustrating, time-consuming, uncovering bias and environmental neglect, yes… but frivolous, no. The real reason for the increase was to deter people from filing appeals. And it works! After losing the appeal at the Planning Commission level, I had a few days of doubt and rationalization that I’d done all I could to save the tree since $617 is no pocket change. Then I recalled the deceptive comments from the PG&E representative at the Planning Commission hearing, the closed-mindedness of those whose actions determine the fate of the tree and the quiet beauty of the tree itself and I started to wonder if others would care enough to help out? So it is to you dear readers that I am appealing. If you are able to contribute $25 or $50 for this appeal, it will proceed. And if you can’t afford to contribute, don’t feel badly, just offer a supportive email when the appeal date is set, which should be in August. Email me at if you can and would like to contribute.

Maybe it was the dark suits, incongruous at most council and commission hearings but the 8 or so PG&E reps sitting behind me at the hearing felt like an ominous presence. Either well informed by Planning staff or clever in their own right, they refrained from making any statements during the allotted time for applicants to speak. After all public comment was over, they waited for a question from a commissioner and took that opportunity to present their misinformation with no ability for the appellant, me in this case, to rebut their false statements. My request was a simple one. Require PG&E to do what they said they would do in their letter to the city manager of 12/1/17, which “memorialized” their work to remove trees in the city. In that letter they singled out the Corymbia (and the Catalpas on Melrose St.) for further inspection, “including but not limited to the use of ground penetrating radar” to map the roots of the tree. If the roots are in the top 12 inches and the pipe is 36 inches underground then the 60-70 year old tree is unlikely to have any impact on the pipeline. If the roots are all over the pipeline, that’s a different story with a different outcome even though there is evidence that roots stabilize pipes. Anything short of a tree root inspection is guesswork. Lacking an honorable argument PG&E opted to obfuscate. They said their letter was written in 2013, or was it 2014 and since that time they have found that ground-penetrating radar doesn’t work so all those conditions are off the table. If the commissioners had done their homework they would have noticed the date on the letter and challenged PG&E or asked about other methods of examining roots, methods that are used all the time. The city arborist then gave a statement, based on conjecture, that the tree’s roots would aim for the gas pipeline since it is packed in sand (that whole area is sand being the old riverbed of the San Lorenzo river west tributary) and even a nick in the pipeline it was claimed, would be a safety hazard. This despite not one incident recorded in any of the literature of tree roots creating gas transmission pipeline problems in the past 70 years. So much for PG&E “agreements.” Not worth the paper they are written on. As for the option of moving a few feet of the pipeline to save the tree, well that would take years according to PG&E despite an announcement in Sunday’s Sentinel Coastlines of major gas pipeline replacements in Watsonville, which PG&E states should be completed by October.

Looking forward to hearing from some of you!

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.

July 2

Complexity, Thy Name is CASH-US, and Thy Fate Is Still Greed
Once upon a time the People’s Republic of Santa Cruz would pass meaningful legislation, feel- good resolutions and even some with teeth–ordinances– that over time formed an impressive cascade of legislation taking on the perceived powers of federal and state government. In taking on the Fed’s plan to drill for oil, our local government passed a no off-shore oil drilling Measure A in 1985; not allowing nuclear weapons or spent fuels to pass through the city, signs were posted: “Santa Cruz is a Nuclear Free Zone, in 1991; the city stood up to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s thuggery against WAMM’s pot farm in 2002 culminating in a city council-supported “medicine” distribution message on the steps of city hall; and then proudly shepherding both a “Sanctuary City” resolution and ordinance (2017) in order to protect the undocumented of this community against the often nefarious behavior of ICE agents.  All of these offer but a brief glimpse into the interests, values, and historical place city residents wish to exhibit to the outside world. That’s because maybe many Surf City-ites do believe “the whole world is watching.” Now, fast forward to a recent admirable piece of legislation that the city’s Revenue Committed borrowed, and concocted, from several Bay Area cities: The Sugary Beverage Tax. It was to be a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce placed on distributors of all sugary beverages, such a sweet idea. And the big unknown catch would be the sweet drinks that flow through the Boardwalk’s soda fountains. How much is that? Unknown. After all, the city of Berkeley has no Boardwalk and they were able to collect nearly $3 million on its tax, and San Francisco went beyond that. This would be a slam dunk, another $cool million-plus for city coffers still reeling from CalPERS pension woes. But alas, the California Business Roundtable, funded by the sugar pimps, aka American Beverage Association (ABA), and abetted by a few Sacramento perhaps well-intentioned politicos, punctured the revenue committee’s dreams of a healthier community. All it took was some well-placed cash, a dash of corporate chutzpah, and poker-faced fear-mongering by the sugar overlord class.

Jeffrey Smedberg rallies the pro-union troops at a time of crisis. The Supreme Court had just ruled in favor of Janus in the Janus vs. AFSCME case decided recently. The case essentially means that unions cannot automatically collect dues from workers for collective bargaining activities vis a vis working conditions, salary, and benefits. It is clearly a financial, political and moral punch to the gut to all workers.

Once Upon a Time in Sacramento
A deal to kill all municipal sweetened beverage taxes was being consummated around 4pm on June 26th in Sacramento in the state senate’s Budget and Fiscal Review Committee of the state legislature. It just happened to be the exact same time that the Santa Cruz City Council was debating whether to place a sweetened beverage tax on the November ballot to combat the twin scourges of obesity and diabetes, as well as help stave off city bankruptcy over the next five years. It was quite a coincidence. Or was it? Seems that the California Business Roundtable, funded with ABA money, had recently qualified a state-wide measure for the Fall ballot to limit all cities in California from initiating any tax increases unless passed by a 2/3’s super-majority. (Currently it is 50% plus 1 to pass “general taxes.”) The ABA was gravely concerned about the recent spate of sweetened sugar beverage tax measures that had been passed. It sought to simply put this revenue raising idea a lot farther out of reach, even for the most liberal cities. Municipalities throughout the state were terrified of the 2/3’s threshold vote that was to be on the ballot in November, so the deal was hatched. This state Budget and Fiscal Review Committee working with the Service Employees International Union, a pairing that believed it would help cities bite the bullet and make a deal with the devil incarnate, Big Sugar. The deal: withdrawal of the 2/3’s tax ballot measure in exchange for a 10-year moratorium on any grocery tax measures–municipal or state– throughout California. Yes, I too raised an eyebrow at a deal that included Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up and all soft drinks under the category of “groceries.” Our State Senator, Bill Monning was wise enough to stay out of this and stick to his principles by voting no, but it passed anyhow. The ink was dried two days later and now it puts the just-passed Santa Cruz ballot tax measure in jeopardy. In fact, it just might be dead on arrival. But wait, just maybe Santa Cruz being a Charter City, if we passed it by a 2/3’s margin this November would it have the heft of being defensible? Our city attorney, Tony Condotti is looking into it. The sugar beverage tax, like the recently-passed Measure S sales tax represent low-hanging revenue fruit. The heavy lift will be in placing a real estate transfer tax (city just missed out on millions from the recently bought Outlook Apartments on Western Drive by Goldman Sachs) and hotel tax on the next ballot in 2020.

City Council News and Views
We started at 11am and we were still at it at 8:30 pm on the fourth Tuesday in June. The Santa Cruz City council was paying its dues after having so many shortened meetings leading up the June 5th Measure S vote. Lack of agenda items I was told with a wink and a nod toward the ballot. Beach Flats Garden was up first. Councilmember Sandy Brown and I made it clear that the gardeners and community still wanted a city purchase and permanent park space dedicated for this space. There is currently little green space in the Beach Flats neighborhood. What was on our agenda, renewal of a 3-year lease, was in fact nothing but a “60-day lease,” and the Seaside Company could kick out gardeners any time and end the almost 30-year community institution in only sixty days. A motion was made to amend the main motion: to direct staff to engage in negotiations and buy the “entire” garden, seconded by Brown, it failed on a 5-2 vote, and I will let you guess which five voted nay.

What’s This About Frederick Street Park?
Staff was so excited to tell the council how to pick up an extra $575k. They wanted to know if it was okay to enter an agreement to sell “a permanent easement” to Pacific Gas and Electric alongside Frederick Street Park. I made a motion that first, the neighbors be noticed, and that the item should also go to the Parks and Rec. Commission for their input. Interim Parks Director Carol Scurich apologized and said the previous Parks Director Mauro Garcia set this up and possibly it would’ve been nice to get the commission’s input. Maybe next time.  Staff suggested the money go into “city council trust fund,” but Mayor David Terrazas had other ideas. Could it go into a fund for Parks and Recreation programs? I generally agreed. Councilmember Cynthia Mathews and certain city staff members were none too happy, I think. We asked how much is in this Trust Fund. Economic Development Director, Bonnie Lipscomb said about $2 million, then wrote to council later to clarify that no, it was actually $4 million.  Now, I assume it will be $4.575 million after the sale of the easement? Unless it gets shifted over to Parks and Rec. fund…I know what some are thinking: what’s an easement? To be continued.

Now, the Agenda Items We Won:
Sugar tax. Got it passed at 1.5 cents on a 5-2 vote. (lost on implementing a council-appointed oversite panel to recommend how to spend the money.)Oops…I guess we really lost this one in Sacramento to the American Beverage Association.

NO $50-$70k for a “fiscal analysis” on Rent control ordinance. But, a scaled back analysis about how it will affect the city bureaucracy went through…dodged a bullet here because a lot less time and money will be spent…about 100 people showed up, 80 seemed to be in favor of rent control and no “impartial” analysis. (City attorney advised Mathews and me to recuse ourselves from this vote and we did).

Measure U—lots of good things here..council united on no-growth, using city resources to make our point often to the university admin., and we emphasized the overwhelming vote on U, 77% in favor of a no-growth U. (Update: Mayor and Planning Director, Lee Butler presented to LRDP community advisory group last Thursday and made several pro-city no university growth points firmly, often, and with commitment. It was a fine display of unity on a critical issue before the council.)

Report on Homeless shelter…best thing to say on this item is that we are in line to receive $8-10 million from state to use on homeless issues. We will not know until January, stay tuned.

“There can be no free society without a free media. The work of journalists in this country is absolutely essential to our communities and to a free and functioning democracy. Journalists should never have to fear for their lives as they do their work.” (June 29)
(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


July 3, 2018

Last Friday night (6/29), a panel of political people sponsored by a group called Boots Road Group urged the audience that in order to save democracy, citizens need to become more active participants.  County Supervisor Zach Friend was one of the panelists.  “This is a deflection point but I believe that people have the ability to make a change and a responsibility to stand up and fight for the future.” he said.  Strange words to be coming from Zach Friend…Chair of the Board who last Tuesday voted to essentially squash public input at Board meetings.


Here are the changes that will make it more difficult for members of the public to participate in County government:

  1. Members of the public will NO LONGER be able to pull an item from the Consent Agenda (reserved for non-controversial items of little dollar amount) and get it moved to the Regular Agenda for better public discussion and clarification by staff who make the recommendations regarding the issue.  Now, the public will have to grovel at the feet of the Board to ask them to take the item off for discussion.  How cooperative do you think Zach Friend will be if I ask him to take off a Consent Agenda item about the Aptos Village Projectwhen he refuses to even answer my e-mails on the subject???  Other Supervisors would be unlikely to cooperate either because, as Supervisor Friend explained to the “Saving Democracy” audience, he is not willing to vote against something he disagrees with on the Board because doing so would harm his chances of getting support from other Board members when he wants to push something through.

    Will this increase public participation in local government?

  2. Any e-mail correspondence sent to the Board after Monday, 5pm before Board meetings (held Tuesdays, 9am) will not be included for consideration during the Board meeting and will not be included in correspondence on the matter.  So much for Supervisor Ryan Coonerty’s comment that  “Well, people can just e-mail us with their comments.”

    Will this increase public participation in local government?

  3. Public Comment time for items not on the Board agenda will be changed to “10am or thereafter” rather than just following after the Consent Agenda discussions by Supervisors and their standard swift and unanimous action.  However, last Tuesday’s Public Comment time was scheduled at 1:30pm. I took the morning off work in order to listen to the scheduled presentation by PG&E regarding planned massive power outages in the rural areas this summer…but I could not stay for the perfunctory 1:30pm curtsey to the Board.

    Will this increase public participation in local government?

  4. The Board will no longer operate under Sturgis Rules of Order, but now will use Rosenburg’s Rules of Order.  Supervisor John Leopold did make an amendment to that action, removing the ability of the Chair to move a motion forward WITHOUT a second.  Whew!  Good call, Supervisor John Leopold.  He also asked that in six months, the Board evaluate the effectiveness of the changes. Hmmm….what will be their criteria?

    Why all these critical changes to Board Policies regarding public input?  It came from recommendations made by an Ad Hoc Committee consisting of Supervisors Ryan Coonerty and Bruce McPherson and CAO Carlos Palacios.  They did not state the problem(s) intended to be corrected by these actions, other than “the Sturgis Rules of Order book is too big and complicated”.  Supervisor Greg Caput asked why the rush to make such significant changes regarding public input BUT THERE HAD BEEN NO PUBLIC INPUT ON THE ISSUE!!!!  Good call, Supervisor Greg  Caput!

    The Board voted to approve all changes, with Supervisor Caput voting NO.  See why other Board members never second motions made by Supervisor Caput?

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

The Aptos Fourth of July Parade began in 1961 as a citizen protest action in response to the railroad company blocking their access to the tracks for their Community Picnic Day.  How ironic is it that last week, Testorff Construction extended the chain link fence barricades for the Aptos Village Project Ghetto to BLOCK THE ACCESS TO THE TRAIN TRACKS AND PUBLIC THOROUGHFARE WHERE THE COMMUNITY HISTORICALLY HAS GATHERED TO WATCH THE PARADE?  Is it legal to block train tracks with chain link fencing?  Does the RTC approve of this?  Call 1-888-783-4316 to report this railroad emergency.  It’s between Aptos Creek Road and Trout Gulch Road crossings.

Cheers and Happy Independence Day!

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

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

#177 / The Big Red Wave
In Santa Cruz, California, where I hang out, I doubt there are many who think that a “Big Red Wave” is going to be coming ashore in November. I am talking politics here, of course. That “Big Red Wave” terminology refers to the possibility that Republicans could win lots of Congressional elections throughout the country this year. As I say, I doubt many of my friends and acquaintances think that’s very likely. In fact, my bet is that most of the people I encounter in my daily life are expecting a “Big Blue Wave,” not a “Big Red Wave.” Could we all be wrong?

Christopher Buskirk, writing in The New York Times, posits a series of Republican electoral victories as a real possibility. His article is titled, “If There’s a Red Wave Election in 2018, This Will Be Why.” Buskirk is the publisher and editor of American Greatnesswhich advertises itself as a voice of conservative independents. So, consider the source.

Consider the argument, too, however! I think it would be worthwhile for all those interested in a “non-conservative” politics to hear what Buskirk has to say.

Basically, he says that the American public actually knows that our democratic politics should be about “we,” not “me,” and that while our current, “transgressive” president is definitely in the “me” camp, in his personal conduct, he is quite proficient in articulating the “we” theme in a way that appeals to many.

Republicans have long criticized Democrats for dividing the country into competing grievance groups. Some now realize that the Republican analogue has been to divide the country into radically autonomous individuals based on a cartoonish misreading of libertarianism that replaces the free markets and free minds of Friedrich Hayek with the greed and hubris of Gordon Gekko. But that is changing quickly. There is a renewed emphasis on addressing America and Americans as a community characterized by fraternal bonds and mutual responsibility — what Lincoln called the “mystic chords of memory.”

Mr. Trump tapped into this. Most Republicans accept his transgressive personality and his intentional tweaking of social and political norms because they see it as in service of those larger ideas. That will seem counterintuitive to Trump haters, but fiddling with tax rates, however necessary and beneficial, can’t sustain a political movement, let alone a nation. Issues of citizenship and solidarity — that is to say, asking what it means to be an American — have returned to the fore. This is partly because of Mr. Trump and partly in spite of him. What is important is that the tumult caused by his unusual candidacy and his unusual approach to governing created an environment in which an intellectual refounding of Republican politics became possible.

The three-legged stool of the new Republican majority is a pro-citizen immigration policy, a pro-worker economic policy and a foreign policy that rejects moral imperialism and its concomitant foreign wars. John Quincy Adams described just such a foreign policy when he said that America was “the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all” but “the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Giving up on a failed policy of moral imperialism allows Republicans to focus on forming good citizens and restoring a sense of Americanism that relies upon strong ties of fellowship and belief in a shared destiny. To that end, our candidates would be well advised to ignore strategists and consultants who talk exclusively in terms of messaging tailored to statistical constructs like “disaffected Democrats with some college” or “married suburban men who drive S.U.V.s.” When it comes to politics, most people don’t want to be addressed as members of a demographic group looking for a payoff. They want to be addressed as Americans (emphasis added).

To my mind, there is a lot of truth in this analysis, and particularly in the emphasized lines. Running campaigns “against Trump” doesn’t provide an effective counter-argument to this kind of Republican Party appeal to “citizenship and solidarity.” Incidentally, there are commentators on the more “progessive” side of the spectrum who seem to validate some of Buskirk’s points. Consider, for instance, this opinion piece from The New York Times, which says that “Turning Affluent Suburbs Blue Isn’t Worth the Cost.”

The problem with the Trump/Republican Party approach, in my opinion, is that the Republicans seek to define a politics that appeals to people as “Americans” by trying to tell us that we are being mistreated by the world, and that our “citizenship and solidarity” is to be understood by way of fighting against “illegal immigrants,” and former allies who are “cheating us at trade.” This adversarial and almost totally negative approach does seem to be the basic Trump argument. I think that the argument is more appealing than many “progressives” believe.

Since World War II, America has given itself credit for what it has assumed is its wonderful world leadership, what Buskirk calls a “failed policy of moral imperalism.” Buskirk’s characterization rings true to me. The statement of this wonderful “New World Order,” as first announced by President H.W. George Bush, and as carried forward by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, is not “paying off” for ordinary Americans. It may be “paying off” for the corporations, but not for the people.

If we don’t want a “Big Red Wave” swamping decency and our chance for a truly democratic (small-d) politics, then those on the “Blue” side of politics had better start articulating a vision of American “citizenship and solidarity” that is not based on anti-immigrant and resentful appeals to the worst in our human nature. We need to start appealing to the American people as a community, and not as subsets of that larger whole, but with a vision that unites us in a powerful and positive common purpose.

Hey. It could be done!

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


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Teen agers we have known…scroll lower down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Being CIVIL?”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. Read his ‘Not With a Bang But a Chirp‘ piece on the beginning of everything WE know. Fascinating!! Even SCARY.

CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. The dates are July 29-August 12th. Much new plans, new events, new ideas…and it’s a great time to get your tickets go to their website CABRILLOMUSIC.ORG. Remember that the free rehearsals at the Civic will be starting up…don’t miss’em.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Cheer as Vivienne Westwood proves that fashion — and political audacity — have no age limit in Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, this week (until Thursday 7/5) at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Check out my review of Rent at Cabrillo Stage in this week’s Good Times. And tune in your earbuds for Universal Grapevine on KZSC next Tuesday at 7 p.m.  where I’ll be discussing Beast with my esteemed colleague, frequent co-host, and mastermind of this very column, Mr. Bruce Bratton!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are back again in sequel #2. ‘Sicario’ means “Hitman”, especially with regard to Mexican drug cartels, in case you’ve ever wondered. “Soldado’ means “to pay” as in hired hit man. It’s a nasty, tough, complex, killing movie. There’s the kidnapping of a 12 year old daughter of a drug lord, and a merciless look at the very current plight of Mexican immigrants…especially now with Trump making headlines with his sick view of humanity. The plot is fast and hard to follow, but it’s got some well-produced moments.

AMERICAN ANIMALS. This true story of how four guys robbed a library of very precious books in 2004 is exciting and tense and odd. The books were probably worth 12 million dollars. The editing bothered me…close-ups, switchbacks, some laughs, some pain, and a hip music soundtrack didn’t help the plot move as it should. It does contain live interviews with the actual four “robbers’. That’s an unusual touch, and this is a very unusual film go for it.

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? A well deserved 99 on RT and Mr. Rogers turns out to be all that we’d hope to see in this bio. That he was a lifelong Republican is about the only surprise, but it’s not important. It’s no surprise to learn about his faith-based upbringing and he practiced love and kindness in his entire television career. Go see this film. You’ll agree with him about the glut of violence in other children’s tv shows. We can only guess how he’d deal with Trump’s presidency. He handled Robert Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11 with amazing taste and skill. His neighborhood tv show started in 1968 and lasted until 2001. He died in 2003. As I mentioned go see this film, it’s one of the few uplifting things available nowadays.

FIRST REFORMED. With Ethan Hawke as a minister Amanda Seyfried as the  pregnant wife of a protester and a 97 on Rotten Tomatoes you know the film is going to gnaw at your brain, nerves, heart, and especially your memory for days…or longer. You might say it’s religion versus the environment, the power structure versus god, and a very real test of your loyalty. No laughs, again it’s more like a Greek Tragedy…well worth your time, don’t miss it. It takes place in Snowbridge, New York which must be someplace near Buffalo.

RBG. This nicely-done documentary tells us a lot more than has ever been made public before. Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) is a surprisingly quiet, shy woman. It reminds us that Bill Clinton got her the job as Supreme Court Justice: oddly enough it does not remind us that Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Conner as the first woman to serve on the court. See this film. It’ll give you hope that you can fight against the odds. It’s been packing ’em in for weeks at the Nick, and it deserves it.

HERIDITARY. It genuinely earned 91 on RT!!! Toni Colette and Gabriel Byrne control the screen, the plot and all your attention is this shockingly scary horror film. It features séances, ghosts, and grave scenes and no cheap power saws or trite Hollywood tricks. This film is genuinely scary and you’ll remember it long after you leave the theatre.

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. A big 50 on RT and it didn’t deserve that much. Chris PrattJames Cameron, Geraldine Chaplin and Jeff Goldblum are the only names you might remember from other movies but they can’t help this weak, predictable, rip off. Dinosaurs escape…like duh!!! Gee and they eat humans or stomp them to death. It is very far removed from the realistic, character driven original Jurassic Park of 1993 starring Richard Attenborough, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and B.D. Wong. Send the kids, don’t accompany them!!

INCREDIBLES 2. I liked Incredibles 1. Now Pixar/Disney has shifted to centering on Mrs. Incredible as a Wonder Woman who goes through numerous violent bloody battles against the one concept I thought was funny…the evil Screenslaver. Very little of the original charm, family stuff, human frailties, it’s another cutesy version of the Marvel Comics blockbusters

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY. 71 on RT. Sure Han Solo and Chewbacca get their histories told in this 2 ½ hour long pointless and nearly plotless cornball saga. So are Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Emilia Clarke (without her silver hair). It saved tons of production money but it is also the darkest movie I’ve ever tried to see. I mean everyone is in the dark all the time. I swear that most of the time you can NOT see their faces, expressions or planetary make-up. The plot is meaningless. It has absolutely none of the charm, humor, or depth that the early Star Wars films had. It’s not worth going to any trouble to see unless you are THAT much of a fan.

DEADPOOL 2Ryan Reynolds again plays Deadpool and any movie goer knows that this is another Marvel Comics CGI fantasy. Marvel Comic movies are as difficult to understand and accept as watching a Butoh or Kabuki play. The first Deadpool movie was violent, full of in-jokes, and Deadpool 2 is in the same mold. Ryan Reynolds adds a little humanity to his character which sets these films apart from the other Marvel Comic sagas. But only attend IF you understand how these super hero flicks work.

AVENGERS: AN INFINITY WAR. I am trying with enormous difficulty to like, enjoy understand Marvel Comics blockbusters. It is an entirely separate category of movies centering on comic books and graphic novels. I came of age reading Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel’s first issues in the early 40’s and still these movies go beyond my comprehension. They are the world’s number one money makers, The special effects, the blood, killings, raccoons piloting spaceships just fly beyond my senses. One critic stated that there are 73 main characters in this latest chapter. I just checked and there are actually 29!! That includes Scarlett Johanssen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Vin Diesel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey jr. and Idris Alba and it’s still awful!! This is apparently a near perfect Marvel Comic blockbuster. You’re on your own here and it’s two and a half hours long.

TAG. Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner are two fine serious actors. This worthless mess of a comedy wastes their talents and doesn’t try near enough to be funny. We are supposed to believe that 5 guys actually play TAG from grade school all the way into what passes as adulthood. I couldn’t figure why the audience was laughing even a little bit until I saw that each of the “stars” have television comedies of their own… and this movie tries to capitalize on that. I wouldn’t go if I were you. (CLOSES THURSDAY 7/5)



www.KZSC.ORG     TUESDAYS 7-8 P.M.

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.  July 3 has activist, reporter Becky Steinbruner talking about Aptos, Soquel and South county issues. She’s followed by suspense thriller author Michael “Rutger’ Smith talking about his new book “The Anomaly“. On July 10Lisa Jensen will be talking about her book “Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge” and her Bookshop book signing. Then Ellen Aldridge from the Ocean Street Extension community talks about their concerns. Ellen Primack of The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music discusses it on July 17. July 24 has Dr. Larry DeGhetaldi CEO of Sutter Health Santa Cruz and Pres. of Palo Alto Medical Foundation of Santa Cruz talks about medical issues and developmentsHe’s followed by UMI Santillan from QEUC , Quality Eduction in UC’S . On August 7 Dr. Shawna Riddle of PAMF talks about staying healthyFollowing her will be Marla Novo, history curator at MAH. AND…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

Twenty minutes of funny. You’re welcome! 🙂

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 Lydonon 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.


‘Yeah, I had an idea to make a very scary movie, based on a kind of serial murderer that preys on tourists”. Brian De Palma
“You’ve always been a tourist here. You just didn’t know it.”  Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
“Anyone who needs more than one suitcase is a tourist, not a traveler”. Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby
“Tourists came around and looked into our tipis. That those were the homes we choose to live in didn`t bother them at all. The untied the door, opened the flap, and barged right in, touching our things, poking through our bedrolls, inspecting everything. It boggles my mind that tourists feel they have the god-given right to intrude everywhere.” Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread