Blog Archives

July 4 – 10, 2011

HORSECAR # 1. Ed Ely at the horse car reins, May 1890. This speedy and dependable public transportation is shown here at Soquel Road and Doyle street. It ran from Ocean Street to Arana Gulch. It was owned and operated by the East Santa Cruz Street Railroad Company.

photo credit: photo courtesy Covello & Covello Historical photo collection

Additional information always welcome: email

AFTER THE RAPTURE” IS HILARIOUS!!! Produced by “The Thinking Atheist”…which should give you a clue right there!!!

WAGNER’S RING OPERAS (FOR GENERAL CONSUMPTION). Richard Wagner was born the same year as Verdi (1813) he died before Hitler was born, which is important to note. Wagner was anti-Semitic long before Hitler thought about it. But Hitler did like Wagner’s operas. Wagner’s four operas that make up the Ring story (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) are only produced as a complete set by the biggest Opera companies about every 10-20 years. So seeing a complete Ring is not easy. The story that the four operas tell is a mix of Norse legends, fate, destiny, the power of Gods, incest, devotion, and an almost infinite set of internal plots, that literary experts have tried unraveling for decades. The operas take a total of about 17 hours to perform. The Ring has been called one of mankind’s greatest artistic achievements, and I agree. Operas are serious musicals, you might say. I refer below to the character Brünnhilde. She’s the one you see in cartoons with horned helmet, breastplate and shield and is just about the most important person in the Ring. Nina Stemme is now the talk of the opera world, for her ability to sing the role so well. And of course unlike so many musical productions today no one in the world of opera productions ever uses or would ever allow the use of microphones. Opera singers know how to sing AND project their voices out over a full orchestra into an opera house seating at least 3,000 people!!!

Kit Birskovich found this one. A reading of Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

WAGNER’S RING OPERAS (FOR TRUE FOLLOWERS). Nina “Brunnhilde” Stemme is and was as absolutely great as critic’s world wide have been saying. She looks like a serious Carol Barnett, or a long haired Ceil Cirillo or an older Tina Majorino (if you watched Big Love). S.F. Opera’s Ring director Francesca Zambello has a Santa Cruz connection….Norma Del Gaudio is hercousin or aunt or a relation of some kind and Norma saw and loved Siegfried in 2008. Francesca’s localizing of Wagner’s classic work left me and many others very cold in a few spots. Like having a couple in bad watching a super sized led tv complete with a remote, or soldiers carrying new photos of American troops killed in Iraq…whew!!! She added some jerky little boy in a toga planting a potted tree at the every end where Wagner had written the ending as having no hope for Gods, humans or earth forever. But still it was the most exciting, best acted, all around best sung, of the six Ring productions I’ve seen so far. My seat mate for Siegfried and Gotterdammerung was a guy from the NPR station in Hawaii who had seen 67 complete Ring productions in his lifetime. He thought this was a great Ring too (except for the “localizations”). By the way The Chron’s Joshua Kosman told me he is definitely coming to the Cabrillo Fest O’ ContempMusic.

PETER VOULKOS MAKING POTTERY. He had a studio in Berkeley back in the day.

SOQUEL WATER DISTRICT’S ENERGY MITIGATION WORKSHOP. I asked Jean Brocklebank to tell us about attending this “closed to the public” workshop, she writes…

Jean Brocklebank’ s summary of their attendance at the Soquel Water District’s Energy Mitigation Workshop.

Members of Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives asked the Soquel Water District Task Force (aka sqwd2) at their June 15th meeting, if we might be able to observe the Energy Mitigation Workshop, scheduled for June 23rd. We were told “no” by the Task Force Chair, Don Lane. We reiterated that we simply wanted to observe the Workshop, not participate. After all, we noted that the Workshop, like the Task Force meeting, is financed with public money, to address a project that will be built with public money, to produce public water. It seemed only natural to allow the public to observe the proceedings of its publicly financed workshop. We were told “no” a second time by the Task Force Chair. Next day, we wrote to the City Council and the sqwd2 program director, as well as to Bill Kocher. Another formal “no” came from sqwd2 officials. We decided to attend anyway”.

Six of us showed up the morning of the Workshop and were met outside the ABC Room of the Civic Auditorium by Susan O’Hara of the City Water Dept. She explained that the workshop was closed to the public. We explained courteously that we wanted only to observe, not to participate. She asked us to wait and went into the workshop room. Next to come out to speak to us was Melanie Schumacher, and we had the same conversation. Finally, Bill Kocher approached us and we explained again. He listened, as he does well, and then said no. I tried one more time, offering to limit our participation to only two of us, as a courtesy. And I insisted that we would be observers only and not speak. He thought a moment and then said yes. It was a good compromise, we thought. Paul Gratz and I went into the workshop room and sat down at the far end.

The workshop was interesting to observe. A few minutes into the workshop proceedings, I passed Paul a note: “We did it!” And indeed we had done. We both stayed an hour, then had to leave because of other commitments. I returned at 2:30 and stayed until 4:00 pm.

There were approximately 20 participants, including three form sqwd2, some from UCSC, some fro Soquel Creek Water Dept., Ross Clark, the City’s Climate Action Plan director, one invited from Ecology Action, Joe Jordan, a local solar techie guy and teacher, and others whose names hopefully will be listed soon on the sqwd2 web site. As the workshop began, Susan O’Hara, the City’s engineer in charge of energy mitigation strategies announced to the participants that “two members the public are here to observe.” They all looked our way, smiled and that was that! Clearly they were comfortable with us there.

Susan introduced the project and its timeline, noting that CEQA is why “mitigation needs to be researched and dealt with.” She said they were going to use the Dot Process to narrow down the 46 possible mitigation projects to 10 – 15. She expressed her opinion about how good the Dot Process is and why “we think this is a great way to move this project.” She also made another interesting comment about those gathered for the workshop being a “group of people hopefully being reflective of community values.”

The biggest surprise was hearing that the Soquel Water District is now thinking in terms of 2.5 to 4.5 mgd capacity. That is almost a doubling of the original proposal and the price tag is now estimated at approaching $140 million. Of course, readers should keep in mind the Brocklebank Corollary of Murphy’s Law: any proposed development always takes twice as long and costs twice as much as the initial proposed budget.

The Dot Process worked: sqwd2 got their top 10 – 12 projects, whittled from 46. It was difficult to see everything from the back of the room and so we will have to wait for the workshop report to the Task Force on July 20th. I will say that I was very pleased that one of those 46, buying a forest and not cutting it down, was NOT chosen. It didn’t even get one dot.

Interesting reason that they wanted to reduce the number studied for the EIR is that it will take 20 hours per project analyzed @ $175/hour ($3500 per mitigation project X 12 = $42,000).

Kirsten Liske of Ecology Action was amazing. Intelligent, relevant questions and comments. There was much group discussion about the desal project being able to take carbon credits for a dam that is already built (not passing the smell test). One participant questioned carbon sequestration because it can’t be proven that it comes from the source (i.e., electrical energy consumed by desal plant…who can say the carbon sequestered actually came from PG&E’s power plant?!). Joe Jordan kept coming back to solar and why not?!!

In short, it was a good day for public participation. After all, in a democracy the first thing to do is show up! Be sure to bookmark the Desal Alternatives web site and stay engaged because they are on a fast track to build this ridiculous project. Katy bar the door.


ARHOOLIE RECORDS STRACHWITZ’S 80 BIRTHDAY PARTY. In between those four Wagner operas we had Saturday off so I went to old college buddy Chris Strachwitz’s 80th birthday party. I recognized Maria Muldaur, Barbara Dane, County Supervisor John Leopold, and old friends Robert Armstrong, Al Dodge and Tony Marcus of the Cheap Suit Serenaders. I asked Chris to supply us with more attendees and performers he said… “Hi Bruce – the first group out in back was Los Cenzontles – my favorite Mexican dueto of Lucina & Fabiola singing in that pure Mexican duet tradition! That ranchera music just gets to me – I love it! Then we had Cookie Siegelstein the fantastic Yiddish fiddler from the group called Verezki Pass with her accordionist Jack and Julay Brooks sitting in on guitar since the bass player was in Poland. Following them in the Down Home Store was the Savoy Family Band: Marc, Ann, Wilson, and Joel Savoy from Eunice, LA who are the most incredible Cajun band ever! Those three groups were the highlights – and then the jams in back – jazz with Barbara Dane, Bob Mielke, Richard Hadlock, the superb soprano sax (I forgot his name) who is part of the Saxophone Quartet and who is married to Hilda Mendez (who used to work for Arhoolie) and who has two wonderful little daughters – plus the band also contained Bob Armstrong on lap steel guitar, Nina Feldman and other luminaries! It sure was a memorable party!! Best – Chris.” I spent most of my time there talking with Wayne Pope washboard player from our Goodtime Washboard 3 and Barry Olivier who invented folk music festivals, we hadn’t seen each other in at least 45 years!! What a party!

The Ono People and living with Art & Nature. Kit B. found this one too.

OUR TWO WHARVES. Ryan Morris sent this link to our wharf history. Re last week’s historical photo.

Frank Perry has this to say about the perpetuation of the Gharkey wharf becoming the railroad wharf: Great research on the topic but Frank and everybody in this thing spells Gharky wrong!!!

CABRILLO HIGHWAY. Each time I drive back from S.F. and see the Cabrillo Highway road signs I am amazed. There isn’t one shred of proof that Cabrilho/Cabrillo was even alive and not buried at Santa Cruz island before his ship may have sailed past these shores. Who named that highway anyways? Wally Trabing named our favorite college Cabrillo but why Cabrillo Highway?

SOLAR FIRE BURST. Like Bonny Doon in the summer

SPEAKING OF THE FOURTH OF JULY. In the more than 44 years of driving Highway 1 between San Francisco and here I’d never seen as much traffic as last Sunday. Cars were lined up literarily for miles waiting to drive over 92 out of Half Moon Bay to San Mateo and beyond. I’d also never seen such frightening police/sheriff’s fencing, policing and set ups along the beaches between 1/2 Moon Bay and here. dreadful and hostile. I’m betting (Monday at 1:30p.m.) that this will go down in firework history as the worst battleground ever. People can’t afford to go anywhere else so they go to their beaches and the police spend all that time and money to stop them. A shameful way to maintain a community.

WORLD’S LARGEST CRUISE SHIP. I’m not at all sure about your take on this, but I think this cruise ship is completely gross, hideous, un-ecological, and should be illegal.

PAUL DRAGAVON’S OBIT FROM CHICO. Gina Dragavon and Claire Braz-Valentine sent links to Paul’s obit in The Fourth Of July edition of the Chico paper.

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary pays huge tribute to Monterey County Supervisor Jane Parker. He talks a lot about the Fourth of July and celebrates our role in local politics. He tells of the plight of 4000 oak trees in Whispering Oaks and their looming possible death by development. The Pajaro Basin needs attention he says. He pays more tribute to The League of Women Voters and why we need them. Then he closes with The Coastal Act and the Coastal Commission which is coming our way again in August!!!

(Gary Patton is “Of Counsel” to the Santa Cruz law firm of Wittwer & Parkin, which specializes in land use and environmental law. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365” )

VINTAGE DE CINZO.Our New Haunted Lighthouse ride at the Boardwalk!!!

Read it all below…

EAGANS DEEP COVER. It’s all about Recovery Now…or when. Scroll beneath…

LANDAU’S PROGRES. Saul wrote Attack Libya Farewell republic” and opened with “Right wing Republicans want to “save” the Constitution, the Republic’s framework, at a time when the USA has enmeshed itself in foreign wars and international military alliances. They cite reverently the framers’ intentions, which did not include excluding Congress from basic information about U.S. policy. Unelected officials have now “classified” (hidden) tens of millions of documents from the people’s elected body. After the “Evil Empire” vanished in 1991, “terrorists” emerged as the pretext to hide “executive affairs” from citizens and Congress. Read it all here…

Saul Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films are on DVD from

LISA JENSEN LINKS. If your life was a book, what would the cover look like? This week on Lisa Jensen Online Express, say hello to artist Tina Short’s vibrant new mural at Bayview Elementary that celebrates books and reading, featuring fantasy book covers conceived and painted by the Bayview fourth-graders. And speaking of heroic reads, as we prepare to say goodbye to the Harry Potter film franchise (the final installment opens this week), let’s sing the praises of J. K. Rowling’s fabulous books and why we love them”. Lisa Jensen has been writing film reviews and a column for Good Times since 1975.

ELERICK’S INPUT. Paul dusts off his collector fliver and drives the Aptos Short Parade, or as he says, ”

Aptos 4th of July Parade – 2011

This turned out to be one of the best parades ever for Aptos. Of course the weather being perfect was a major factor, but so was the crowd-control by volunteers, CHP and County Sheriff’s Deputies. And crowded it was. I’ve attended, marched, or driven my 1954 Mercury convertible in this parade since 1971 when it was sponsored by Lucile Aldrich and her Aptos Ladies Tuesday Evening Society group. These are the gals that stopped a cement plant from being built in Aptos back around 1961, shocking everybody in Aptos that something with so much political clout could be turned away. I’m not sure if Lucile, God rest her soul, would be any happier with what the Swenson Builders are planning for Aptos.

This was another year I drove a car in the parade, so I missed seeing most of the entries except the ones right in front or behind me. I didn’t see the Cabrillo Republican Women’s usual entry, but the Dems were well represented near the front of the parade. Sam Farr, Bill Monning, the Democratic Central Committee and People’s Democratic Club along with the Obama for America groups all were there.

Great music at Aptos Village Park afterwards, long lines for beer and everybody enjoying themselves, and even one E. Clampus Vitus entry in the parade was reported. Not a large contingent, only one!

Advice for next year? Figure out how to prevent paraders who finish from walking back against the paraders who are still parading! Very rude. And next year, let’s see the Grand Marshall be one of our State Parks employees who keep Mid-County State Parks clean and neat!

(Paul Elerick is thechair of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, , chair of the Transportation Committee of the Santa Cruz Group Sierra Club. and is a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).end of Elerick’s Input.

FILMS. I haven’t seen a film on screen in two weeks. I’m seeing Cars in 3D, Transformers in 3D and Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) this week. You’ll be the first to know next week.

MUSICAL SAW FESTIVAL. This will be the 34th year of the Festival. You can catch a little part of it at Bookshop Santa Cruz on August 13. Most of it happens at Roaring Camp on August 14th click here for details…

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 sometimes old programs are archived…(see next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. July 5th Ellen Primack details this year’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music followed by a return of Anita Monga of the now legendary San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Shary Farr (of the Carmel Farr family) talks about elders, death, dying and positive preparation on July 12 after that author, historian, Geoffrey Dunn will tell us all about “The LIES of Sarah Palin”, (his newest book) and her latest breaking news. Michael Warren will give us an in depth Shakespeare Santa Cruz preview on July 19 and Sue Heinz will return to tell us even more about Tarot, The Qabalah, and of course astrology on that same program. July 26 has Sean Van Sommeran talking about our shark neighbors, suitably followed by somebody from Save Our Shores. Any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in and keep listening.

(NEW SECTION) UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years on Universal Grapevine on Tuesday nights here’s a chronological list of just this year’s available podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The Great Morgani on Street performing, Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sand hills, 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. Plus 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. Hear them all!!!

QUOTES. “I’ve taken LSD 38 times. The reason I keep talking it is to get over my compulsion for counting the trips”, Paul Krasner. “A hundred doses of happiness are not enough: send to the drugstore for another bottle-and when that is finished, for another”, Aldous Huxley. “America, I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel”, Allen Ginsberg.


Deep Cover

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