Blog Archives

July 30 – August 5, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Only In Santa Cruz, Goodbye Harry Woodward. GREENSITE…on proposed development at 190 West Cliff Drive. KROHN…Rent Control, NYC, developers boom time, sites specific stories. STEINBRUNER…Our high fire risk area, Mid-county groundwater issue, 5 story hotel for Capitola, Nisene Marks parking. PATTON…Are Democrats stupid? EAGAN…classic Sub Cons and Deep Covers. JENSEN…Into The Woods, Lost and Found. BRATTON…I critique Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Maiden, Lost and Found, The Farewell. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “August” 



PACIFIC AVENUE & COOPER STREET. 1892. Once again we can see our iconic Town Clock in it’s original position, high atop the O.D.D. Fellows building. The classic building on the left is our Santa Cruz County Court House. Also note the trolley tracks that a long-ago City Council allowed to be sacrificed to the automobile.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.



ONLY IN SANTA CRUZ. The longer you live in Santa Cruz, the more local events strike you as meaningful. We’ve got the world famous Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music opening. We’ve got events going every which way. We now have the Gilroy Garlic Festival disaster to bring fear even closer. Chris Krohn adds a shortened list just below, of developers’ projects designed to exclude so many of our friends from staying here. UCSC is adding so many new students, and they will need so much by way of space and attention that we’ll all pay for it. The City Council recall goes on, dividing our progressives vs. home owners who fear for their investments. Bittersweet moments — and only in Santa Cruz.

FAREWELL HARRY WOODWARD. Such a kind heart, so sharing with his music, Harry Woodward left all of us with memories of some really great times. His playing with Warmth, his singing, plus the way he had with a nutty sense of humor. He’ll be missed even more as time goes by.

July 29

All public schools in Australia have a Latin motto: a different one for each school. My high school’s motto is Facta Non Verba, which translates to Deeds Not Words. It’s not what you say it’s what you do that counts. 

This motto can be well applied to the planning and approval process for development projects in the city of Santa Cruz.  The city’s General Plan states the need for proposed developments to be compatible with surrounding established neighborhoods. When plans are drawn up and projects approved, the results show the opposite: a lack of attention for the impacts of projects that are out of scale, out of harmony, out of balance with the modest single family neighborhoods that they then dominate.  A few crumbs are scattered around, maybe a color change here, or a higher wall there, so the decision-makers don’t look completely indifferent or in violation of the General Plan but overall, it’s a big developers’ banquet table at city hall.

Open space view from West Cliff Bay St. intersection: to be lost.

Developers rendition from Bay St.: using figures in foreground to minimize scale of the project

The new proposed development at West Cliff and Bay Streets (190 West Cliff) has finally reached the two- step process for approval: first the Planning Commission and then City Council. The Planning Commission meeting is set for 7pm on Thursday August 15th.  I’m saddened at the prospect of losing yet another vista of the mountains to the sea (see photo) and the boxing in of West Cliff Drive with a 4-story structure, let alone the increase in traffic and the transformation of our once small town into a playground for the rich. If you want a comparison for scale, Walnut Commons, a 3-story structure across from the downtown fire station has 19 condominiums; 555 Pacific, near the first roundabout and recently built, has 94 luxury units ranging in price from $2,500 to $3,000 a month depending on square footage with the lower price being for a 440 square foot unit. This new West Cliff development is planned for 89 units so you know it won’t be small.

To be fair, the white 3 story condos on the other side of Bay St. are also out of scale, foisted on the surrounding neighborhood a few decades ago. I argued against the scale and impact of that project at that time but a progressive city council approved it. They justified it as providing a “buffer” from West Cliff Drive for the adjacent neighborhood. I guess one person’s buffer is another person’s loss of view and privacy.

The major losers, should the 190 West Cliff Development be approved will be the residents of the low-income trailer court directly behind the proposed 4 story development. Ironically named “Clearview Court” the only clear view remaining for the trailer park neighbors will be that of the backside of 89 high- rise condos. One of the aspects of Santa Cruz that I have always appreciated is the existence of modest, low impact, low- income trailer parks that house lower income workers or retirees. How long before the Clearview Court trailer park property owner decides the lure of big development money is too hot to resist? Developing the Dream Inn parking lot into luxury condos is a step in that direction.

Some planning commissioners and city council members may have a problem turning the project down, since the developer is asking for no variances, is meeting inclusionary requirements (15% below market rate) and the Zoning for that section supports development.  However, similar to the General Plan, the actual language of the Zoning Code under Purpose 24.10.617.1 states: The purpose of the Zoning is “to establish and control uses to ensure development that protects neighborhood integrity while supporting appropriate uses.” Is this just verba? Where’s the facta to match the verba? For the past year, neighbors, including but not limited to those living at Clearview Court, have said loudly and clearly that the project is too massive and given the size, the impacts too negative. This has become a rallying cry for neighbors on the eastside as well as the westside and downtown. We are not against all development: we are against high-priced, big scale developments that overwhelm the character, human-scale and the uniqueness of the various Santa Cruz long-time neighborhoods. 

If the city followed my high-school motto: Facta Non Verba, this development would be sent back to the drawing board to respond to the neighborhood’s calls for protection which is codified in the Zoning but so far has been given only lip service. 

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 29 


It Really Has Become All About Housing and Who Gets to Live Here
Visiting my daughter in New York City recently really hit home about what we are up against in Santa Cruz. In NYC, there are two kinds of rent control, and then there are “free market” rents. Most of what is getting built in “The City” is market-rate development similar to here, “show me the money.” What I’ve been finding anecdotally, is that many New Yorkers who reside in rent-controlled units often don’t know it and end up paying market-rate rents until they discover the discrepancy. While I was visiting, my daughter received a rent increase notice. She lives with two roommates and they pay $4400 per month–$1467 each–for a 3-bedroom apartment in what’s known as Alphabet City, a part of Manhattan. The rent increase was for $800, an 18% increase and came a month before their lease was to end. They have no idea who the owner is, just a nameless faceless corporation. When their heat went off for a month last year in the middle of winter they had to fight hard to receive any back rent. With this new rent demand, they knew they would not stay. For $5100, 3-bedroom apartment in NYC there are three important criteria needed (all new to me): close to the subway, an elevator, and a laundry room. Their apartment has none of these. As a creeping panic set in the three professional women with very good salaries scrambled. After looking at five places they found one in still uber-trendy Williamsburg. OnceTHE place for young people looking to make their way in NYC, it is fast being played out and many are now looking for that edgy art and culture thing elsewhere (ring a bell?)perhaps deeper into the borough of Brooklyn. All three work in Manhattan and Williamsburg is only one-stop on the L Train across the East River. They sort of lucked out since they were three professional women looking, and their application was one of twelve submitted.The big difference besides being near the subway and cheaper, the owner lives next door. No corporate management firm to interface for those owners who are only looking to maximize profit. I bring this story up only because the notion of community is big part of what tenants are looking for too. Now, let’s go visit Santa Cruz.

The 12 years preceding the 2016 city council election were years of real estate good times,which presaged a developer bonanza-BOOM. It was a timethat witnessed a distinct shift in Santa Cruz political culture, one that turned away from no-growth and slow-growth pro-environment policies towards an embrace of market-rate development for wealthier folks who do not yet live here. Mantras were born: all housing is equal, and any housing is good housing. And so, a sign was slowly coming into view on Highway 1 just north of Schaffer Road and on Ocean Street too, just south of Highway 17. That sign now reads: Santa Cruz for Sale, Market-Rate Developers Come on in! First came the Broadway Hyatt hotel, then 555 and 1547 PacificAve.condo projects (no affordable rental units), and the 151-room Marriot took shape during these years and is now almost completed.This is not to mention the once affordable apartments that are now gone at the La Bahia site on Beach Street. They have found a hotel developer that will build soon. In fact, the Boardwalk’s nemesis to that project for so many years, a veteran Santa Cruz activist, is now moving to New Mexico (go figure!) having lost this battle for a community-oriented, saner project that would’ve placed historic preservation and lower rents front and center.

The New Normal (unless the community organizes for real affordable housing…)
So now, let’s turn to chapter 2 in the once politically unlikely, Surf City Development Boom.I write “political” because so often these same developers need variances, parking spaces, and city infrastructure improvements. The city council, acting as an agent for residents given the representative government we have, can get a better deal, simply say, no deal!, if the developers are not willing give up significant concessions in order to build here. So, what’s on the table as we look out on the next 3-5 years? Thanks for asking. It ain’t pretty if you are a teacher, barista, electrician, or student looking for something affordable in this town.

190 West Cliff Drive
This project is being pitched by Tyson Sales. He’s quite a pitchman too. After an earlier and well-attended public meeting kind of got messy, too many questions and not enough answers, he is pressing ahead with this 89-condo shopping center project across West Cliff from the Dream Inn on West Cliff at Bay Street. As you might imagine, neighbors ain’t too happy. It appears the project will adhere to the 15% affordable housing city policy, but that will leave 85% unaffordable units likely destined for the second home crowd, or sucking from the over-the-hill tech bubble. Lots of Google, Amazon, and Apple buses are already traversing Pacific Avenue. Look for their routes to incorporate West Cliff if this project goes in. The proposed traffic light at Bay, large buildings overshadowing the folks at Clearview Court mobile home park next door, and bringing retail above Pacific Avenue all appear to be flies in the development ointment. Stay real tuned: it should be going to the Planning Commission for approval sometime in August.

908 Ocean Street
Wow! This will be the mother (father?) of all development projects being proposed for Santa Cruz. It’s a 333-unit project planned for Ocean Street between Water Street  and Marianne’s ice cream. (The developer did promise to relocate the venerable Marianne’s.) The project’s development group has quietly assembled 19 parcels and plan to construct a 281,854 sq. ft. of “mixed use development with approximately 5,944 sq. ft. of commercial space…” The rub with this development is that it is called an SOU project, meaning “Small Ownership Units.” It’s never been done here before and it sounds like a project catering to tech workers. Of course, some might argue that the Santa Cruz tech sector is growing and perhaps this might satisfy that growth. Again, stay tuned, try to stay woke, and don’t mourn, organize.

Front Street and Soquel Avenue
This is a Barry Swenson project at the corner of Soquel and Front Street. It was originally talked about as being a boutique hotel, but has since morphed into a 6-story 170 apartment units rental project. Fifty-eight percent of the units from what I understand are planned to be studios (600sq. ft.) and “micro-studios” (400 sq. ft.). As yet, not a family-oriented 3-bedroom among any of the units. If state density bonuses are applied for and approved, this project could get higher and add 40-50 more units. They also need a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the ditch that separates property from the San Lorenzo River bike path.

“Front and Riverfront Apartments”
This project will bring another 175 units, 20 affordable and 155 unaffordable, to the downtown across from the Metro station. This project also appears to require permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the ditch area that separates the river side of the property and might result in another modern-esque, 7-story behemoth shadowing the river and the bike path. (Whatever happened to Spanish colonial revival?) 

205-unit project at Laurel and Pacific Ave
This Owen Lawlor-Devcon project was approved by the last council on a 5-2 vote. Councilmember Sandy Brown and I voted no because it lacks any affordable units within the project and therefore, yields to the community 205 unaffordable rentals. It is currently mired in litigation because it is out of compliance with the city’s 15% inclusionary ordinance according to those suing. The developers argue that they are “giving” the city the old Tampico’s site in order to comply with the 15% rule, but it may be insufficient given the cost and length of time it would take the city to move a project forward.

1900 Ocean St. Extension
This project, not well-received by neighbors, appears to be on hold because of neighborhood objections. It will contain mostly unaffordable “residential” condos. Originally proposed at 40 units, it was brought down to 32 by the previous council on another 5-2 vote (Brown and Krohn objecting, mostly because of the unaffordability of units to locals and also the proximity to the venerable Santa Cruz Memorial Cemetery’s chapel.) What we know for now according to the Planning Dept. web site is that public comment period ended on July 7th…and now “the Community Development Director (Lee Butler) will take the public’s input into consideration in rendering a decision…”

Please, do not take my word as the last one on any of these projects. Go to the Planning Dept.’s web page to see them for yourself. There is one affordable project taking shape on Jessie Street and anther at 350 Ocean Street. Both projects are needed and could offer some relief to renters. To paraphrase the French philosopher Albert Camus, I would like to support well-designed affordable housing and still love my government. As currently planned not very attractive. Low income housing does not have to be ugly. I’m confident we can get a better design for Mid-Peninsula’s project at 314 Jessie. It will be entirely affordable and that is wonderful. I have yet to see the 350 Ocean project. There’s much more on that city web site that I will take up in a future column, but at the end of the day, if the developers are to have their way and spend down our collective Santa Cruz seed corn, those of us who can afford to stay are witnessing an unprecedented era of market-rate apartment growth. If on the other hand, the voters of Santa Cruz push and prod their elected representatives into building only affordable housing until we’ve caught up with all the market-rate crapola that’s gone up; if residents stand up and demand a couple of hundred affordable units at the two major sites the city owns; if we stand up and say no parking garage, leave the Farmer’s Market where it is, and remodel the library at its current site on Church Street, then we will have a town of, by, and for the folks who reside here. Of course, we cannot take our eyes off the university growth machine for a single moment. The U is bringing in students much faster than we can build housing. In addition to scrutinizing all of the above projects, we must demand that UCSC sticks to the 2020 Long Range Development Plan. In other words, 19,500 students y no mas!

“Yes. People think of leadership as this glamorous, powerful thing. To be a leader is to come first, to set the agenda. But what people don’t realize is that leadership is also enormously difficult. Leadership is a responsibility. Leadership is not fun. Leadership is about doing things before anybody else does them. Leadership is about taking risks. Leadership is about taking decisions when you don’t know 100% of what the outcome is going to be.” (Guardian newspaper,

(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


July 29

That information is quite amazing, but coincides with the significant number of people who raised their hands when asked during the State Insurance Compliance Officer, Peter Meza’s, presentations last week if their homeowner insurance policies were cancelled or whose rates had increased.  Many reported that they had been dropped and that the new carrier charged four or five times more than what they had been paying.  Some real estate agents in the audience reported they were having difficulty selling rural properties, because the new buyers could not afford the cost of the newly-written policies.

This is a big problem in many areas of California.  The State Insurance Commission investigated the issue and released a report in 2017, updating the Appendix D data showing an increase of 573% increase between 2010 and 2018 in policy drops for properties statewide, with 73% of those occurring in high-risk fire areas. The number of complaints regarding unreasonable premium increases rose 224% statewide with 63% of those complaints occurring in counties designated high-risk for fire.    Here is the State Insurance Commission website; the excellent Report and updated Appendix D are under “Fire-Related Reports”.

Mr. Meza recommended that anyone receiving notice of non-renewal or significant policy premium increases should file a complaint with the State Insurance Commissioner so that better data can be collected to support legislation to help solve this critical problem.  

He also recommended contacting the Ombudsman:

Office of the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman’s primary function is to ensure the Department provides the highest level of customer service to our consumers, insurers, agents, brokers, and public officials. The Ombudsman is responsible for ensuring that complaints about Department staff or actions receive full and impartial review.

California Department of Insurance
Office of the Ombudsman
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1600
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-492-3545
Fax Number: 916-492-3649
E-mail: Office of the Ombudsman 

You can soon view Mr. Meza’s presentation to the audience attending the July 23 evening session at the County Government Building when it is posted on the Fire Safe Santa Cruz website.

The Plan for how much water you might be limited to using and how much you might be required to pay for it is now open for public comment.  I urge anyone who gets water from the Santa Cruz Water Dept., Soquel Creek Water District , Central Water District, a small water company or a private well to read as much of this document as possible and submit your comments and/questions.  You must do so in writing and here is the link to that information as well as the Plan

As I reported last week here, there is a well-crafted plan to assess ALL BASIN USERS by 2025, and the MidCounty Groundwater Agency administration budget could be $1million/year…for what?   Administration and reporting regarding all the criteria to prove that the Plan that is heavily-biased toward support of Soquel Creek Water District’s plan to injected millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the aquifer will actually fit the hypothetical model that the District has pretty much bought and paid for.  Hmmm…  It smells like a lot of money and resume-building prestige, doesn’t it?  

Make sure you take the on-line survey  

Make sure you attend the Community Meeting on August 1, 7pm at the Capitola City Council Chambers  to voice your opinion about a proposed  5-story hotel in Capitola Village in the spot where the Capitola Theater was before it got demolished in 2010

The 88-room hotel is being proposed by Swenson Builders, who own the land.   Here is a video of the project discussion 

Here is a letter to the Santa Cruz Sentinel editor on the matter:

“Well, Barry Swenson Builders is at it again. But this time it’s even bigger. Nine years ago Swenson approached the City of Capitola with plans for a 72-unit hotel. They were told in no uncertain terms that was too big. Forward to 2019. We are now looking at plans for an 89 unit hotel. Never mind that the city just finished the new general plan a couple of years ago. That was after many public hearings and considerable discussion at the Planning Commission and City Council about size and scale. It was codified that any development on the property owned by Swenson be of size and scale appropriate with the village’s quaint size and scale. I’m not sure what the powers that be at Swenson don’t appreciate about how passionate the citizens of Capitola are about the village, but obviously they don’t seem to care”— Bruce Arthur, Capitola 

What about traffic?  What about water?  What about conforming with the scale and character of the neighborhood?  What about the parking lot deal that would gobble up 25-50 parking spaces in the nearby municipal lot that serves the public needs for meetings at the City Council Chambers or events at the beach?

What about the predicted sea level rise?  

How ironic that Capitola was just voted high on the list of quaint small-town-feel places to visit in the U.S. 

Once again, the sign went up on Aptos Creek Road last Saturday to warn park visitors “Parking Full”.  That has happened numerous times since the Aptos Village Project developers fenced off the dirt parking lot that people have been using for decades to park and run or bike into the Park.  It was also where the large Great American Music event used to stage their equipment trailers for the popular event in Aptos Village Park, but closed the event when the parking lot went away.  Traffic was gridlocked in the Aptos Village most of the weekend.  Contact the elected leader for the area and let him know your thoughts:

Zach Friend  454-2200.  He says he loves to hear from you. 

That is what the lady at the new Aptos Village Safety Center told me to do when I stopped in to report a suspicious person and vehicle in my rural community that had just experienced multiple vehicle break-ins and theft.  The vehicle and its license number had been reported to the emergency dispatch, but no sheriff deputy responded.  I asked if she could find out from dispatch if a deputy were en route?  NO, she said.  I asked if I could borrow a phone to call 911 to give updated critical information about the suspicious person?  NO, she said.  That’s when she told me “You should put on your tinfoil hat when you do this.”  

Wow. Stunned, i explained that it really was just a Neighborhood Watch Program at work, and left. So much for the new 3220 SF Aptos Village Public Safety Center, paid for by our Measure G sales tax money.  Supervisor Zach Friend must really enjoy his quiet new office space there. 


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


July 28
#209 / Are The Democrats Stupid?

The picture on the right, from the first Democratic Party 2020 Primary Debate, was used to illustrate a recent article. The headline on the article asked this question: “Are Democrats too stupid to beat Donald Trump?” 

You can probably figure out the thesis of the article, without having to read it, but I will provide you with an excerpt, below, to make clear why the author thinks, as Thomas Friedman so poignantly put it: “Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?” 

Here is what Martin Longman says, in his article in the Washington Monthly

Trump is not looking at potentially winning 49 states. He’s looking at trying to win twice while losing the popular vote.

But he does have a strategy and the strategy is correctly calibrated for the task at hand. He must racialize the electorate to maximize his vote in heavily-white communities and tap a wedge in between the urban and suburban Democrats so that the latter will defect in sufficient numbers for him to recover his losses. His problem is that efforts to maximize his white vote actually have the effect of pushing urban and suburban Democrats into a closer alliance. For this reason, he will fail unless the Democrats help ramp up his base numbers and depress their own.

This is where policies like free health care for undocumented people or abolishing all private health insurance are going to do damage. These things are not popular in general and are especially unpopular with the Democrats’ suburban base. A lot of the Democrats’ rhetoric on border issues is toxic not just in the sticks but also in the communities ringing our cities.

So, yes, the Democrats really could blow this election by running a non-strategic campaign based on abstract values against a campaign that is laser-focused on just the voters it needs to win.

An article in The Nation, “Pelosi Proves Triangulation Is Really Self-Strangulation,” advances an argument not unlike Longman’s argument, though reflecting a different priority. Both articles suggest that “the Democrats” must be united in how the party presents itself. All the bad feelings among Democrats in the Congress (and among their various supporters, in mutually warring camps throughout the country) have been generated by angst about whether the  party can in fact unify its approach, and can forge a common understanding about what the Democratic Party should stand for, and about what position(s) will help the Democrats win the presidency.

Both Longman and The Nation are suggesting that “the Democrats” will be divided, going into the 2020 presidential election, and that the result will be the reelection of Donald Trump, even though it is pretty clear that a majority of the voters in the country would rather have someone else. The way the campaign is shaping up, it’s a “person,” Donald Trump, against a party, “the Democrats.” 

I would like to point out that this is actually quite weird, when you consider that the United States of America does not have a parlimentary system, in which voters vote for the party, and the party leadership decides who the candidates will be in the various constituencies. That is not the way it is supposed to be on this side of the Atlantic.

Supposedly, voters in the various Congressional Districts (as to the House of Representatives) and in the various states (as to the Senate) vote for individual candidates, not the party with which a particular candidate may decide to identify. Our nation is very diverse. The voters in the Ocasio-Cortez District, in the Bronx, are quite different from the voters in San Mateo County, to take an example close to my home in Santa Cruz. The voters in San Mateo County have elected Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier to Congress. Query whether they would elect AOC. However, all these women are “Democrats.” So is Nancy Pelosi, by the way, and she and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are having a hard time getting along, as the article in The Nation explictly notes. 

I would like to suggest that “the Democrats” have a whole lot of different ideas about the way things ought to be, and that this is just fine. Let’s celebrate the different views, but get them attributed correctly. Members of Congress should represent and speak for their constituents and themselves, not some sort of unified party position. The legislative branch of government needs to be policy-focused, not party-focused. 

Make the president win re-election, if he can, running against an individual candidate, not “the Democrats.” 

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Love and other hidden desires grace the seasoned Subconscious Comics and Tim’s focus. See below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep Cover”down a few pages. Now you’ll find a classic Deep Cover  ,from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

THE CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Now in its 57th year the festival is beyond any doubt Santa Cruz’s finest and most famous contribution to the world’s culture. With free and open orchestra rehearsals that started Saturday July 28,  a community night when you can pay what you wish, orchestra players from all over the earth…it’s huge, and still friendly and casual. There’s also more woman centered music this year. There are six main concerts Aug.2-4, and Aug. 8-11. Look them up at CABRILLOMUSIC.ORG 

“Find out why Cabrillo Stage’s splendid new production of Into The Woods is everything an audience could wish for, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). Also, catch up with the wry little Irish sleeper comedy Lost & Found, and read my review in this week’s Good Times!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. The more movies you’ve seen during your lifetime, the more you’ll like Quentin Tarantino’s latest. With Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio as the leads — and it all happening in L.A. in 1969 — it almost can’t miss. Slightly undercutting the cuteness of the relationship between Pitt and DiCaprio is the fact that the film ends with the Manson Family killings of Sharon Tate, and four others at the house that she shared with her husband, Roman Polanski. Add Al Pacino for about two minutes, and you’ll be forced to like it.

MAIDEN. A very significient tribute to women’s empowerment. With a well-deserved 97 audience score, and a 98 Rotten Tomato meter score, you can be sure this documentary is worth watching. It’s the very detailed story and back story of how one woman gathered an all-woman crew and won the Whitbread Round the World sailboat race in 1989. It’s also simply an example of a very well-made documentary. With great camera work, and a super amount of tension, it should be seen by anyone who cares about women’s empowerment.

LOST AND FOUND. This is a very unusual blend and criss cross of seven (7) different stories that take place in a small Irish town. Some work perfectly, others will leave you cold. Many of the characters merge and blend into the next story. It is Irish humor, subtle, vague, slap-happy and it works slowly on you…until you catch on. 

THE FAREWELL. Whew, 100% on the Rotten Tomato meter and 91% on their audience score. The cast is mostly Asian, and handles the problem of how to tell Grandma that she’s dying of cancer. It’s funny, deeply sad, features superior acting and will hold you to the unfolding story right to the unusual ending. Well worth seeing…and remembering.

THE ART OF SELF DEFENSE. Jesse Eisenberg has always been good in the roles he’s featured in. This time the movie and he seem to be terribly confused. It’s been labeled a comedy yet the amount of pain, suffering, terror, fright, plus daily fear and a lack of laughs could make you wince as you watch Jesse get thrashed over and over again. Some critics have seen it as a parody on masculinity but I had few if any laughs while I watched it. It earned an audience score of 66 on Rotten Tomatoes.

YESTERDAY. Imagine if the entire world forgot who the Beatles were except for one pretty good guitarist and singer of Indian heritage. An excellent feel good movie that has a fun plot, the greatest Beatle songs and good acting. Go see it especially if you have forgotten how much those songs affected you when their albums were first released.

ECHO IN THE CANYON. Grand memories of the 1960’s popular music scene. Jakob Dylan (Bob’s son) and singer with the Wallflowers produced this documentary but is a full dud on screen. It’s also a huge tribute to the Beachboys and what they added to our culture. See it quickly. CLOSES THURSDAY JULY 31.

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO. An excellent, touching film about two close buddies who face the changing city…and the world. Great footage of THE CITY and a story that will have you thinking about it for days or longer. It’s the story of love of an old San Francisco house, and everything that surrounds it. Don’t miss it.   ps. Lisa Jensen tells me that the director Joe Talbot is 1940’s-50’s movie star, bad guy Lyle Talbot’s grandson. . CLOSES THURSDAY JULY 31.



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.  . Dr. Rachel Abrams guests on July 30 to talk about her books and new workshops. She’ll be followed by Susanna Waddell from the Pajaro Valley Arts organization who will discuss their exhibits and current events.  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 

Check out all the different ways you can lace your shoes! 🙂

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. 

“Woodstock happened in August 1969, long before the Internet and mobile phones made it possible to communicate instantly with anyone, anywhere. It was a time when we weren’t able to witness world events or the horrors of war live on 24-hour news channels”. Richie Havens
“The pleasure of jogging and running is rather like that of wearing a fur coat in Texas in August: the true joy comes in being able to take the damn thing off”. Joseph Epstein
“One day you discover you are alive.
Explosion! Concussion! Illumination! Delight!
You laugh, you dance around, you shout.
But, not long after, the sun goes out. Snow falls, but no one sees it, on an August noon.”
? Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine  

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

Direct email:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
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