Blog Archives

June 11 – 17, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…About Nina Simon and MAH, UCSC’s new chancellor, East Meadow Update, Re-call reflections. GREENSITE…leaves for Caernarfon in Wales. KROHN…will be back next week. STEINBRUNER…Sustainable Santa Cruz EIR, Traffic lights cause accidents, County budget problems, new voting machines, Soquel Creek Water District issues. PATTON…about Pelosi and attitude. EAGAN…and looming logos. JENSEN…Reviews All Is True. BRATTON…I critique Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Souvenir.  UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “Elections”.



CALIFORNIA ADMISSION DAY PARADE September 9, 1888 at 11:27 am. In case you forgot, California achieved statehood in 1850 without becoming a territory first. This is now Church and Walnut streets, where we now find Verizon, Hotel Palomar, The Hat Company and Artisans.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

MUSICAL SAW DUET. Just a reminder that our very own Santa Cruz Musical Saw weekend is coming soon!

RICHARD PRYOR…37 MINUTES. Pryor has been pronounced the greatest stand-up comic of all time. Here’s proof of that greatness, from 1977.


NINA SIMON COMMUNITY CENTER. With all the big ceremonies and tributes to Nina Simon’s leaving Santa Cruz, I think there’s an idea no-one’s brought up yet: change the name from MAH Museum of Art and History to the NINA SIMON COMMUNITY CENTER. It’s the least we could do. She made it an amazingly successful community center, and it is no more an Art and History Museum than it is an Aquarium or Zoo. Back in the day, artists who needed to see and display art would be inspired, moved and motivated. Historians who cared about preserving our local history had a focus. That’s gone now. So many of those artists and historians would tell me their stories and concerns, and wanted to save MAH the way it had grown… but it was not to be. Nina took the reins and created a very active, ongoing Community Center instead. Let’s name it after her.

NEW CHANCELLOR PHOTO. Quite a surprise to see Cynthia Larive‘s photo last week, as the new UCSC Chancellor. I think we sort of expected an Elizabeth Warren lookalike or maybe a Pete Buttigieg. It’s hard to picture Cynthia hugging a tree, or raising her fists to stop the destruction of the East Meadow. Doesn’t she look more like Janet Napolitano’s best friend? Eleven chancellors can’t be all wrong.

EAST MEADOW UPDATE. June 10. James Clifford, and the UCSC stalwarts who are devoting every minute to defending UCSC’s East Meadow, sent this update. “It’s been six weeks since the last update that announced our lawsuit to prevent the University from building prefab housing in the iconic East Meadow. The legal process is moving forward, slowly.  

Meanwhile, the meadow remains untouched, except for a row of wooden markers along the northern boundary of the intended building site. The stakes are now submerged in tall grass — the sweeping horizon line unbroken. From green to brown, the transition has been accomplished, as it is every April and May. 

We are fairly confident that litigation can keep the University from digging up the meadow this summer. A new Chancellor and Interim Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor will assume their duties on July 1st. This is a time of transition, bringing fresh visions and strategies to UCSC’s administration. As they settle in, we urge as many people as possible to contact our new leaders, urging them to reconsider the plan that sacrifices our campus gateway and long-standing design traditions for so little new housing.

Cynthia Larive, Chancellor.
Lori Kletzer, Interim Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor.

Financial contributions from many people are making our litigation possible. Details on how to help can be found at our website:

RE-CALL, REFLECTIONS ON. Since the late 60’s Santa Cruz has been an unusual town. Consider the fact, for example, that the two biggest attractions here are (a) an amusement park, and (b) a university. Our city grew from a quiet Republican zone to one where politics rears its sometimes ugly reactionary head, and sometimes a beautiful progressive head, and the latest RE-CALL effort against Krohn and Glover certainly highlights that ugly divide. It’s the money-focused home owners against the renters. The newcomers vs the homeless. Silicon centered gentry vs. the weekly Food Bank….it’s sad to see all this division in print. The re-call will cost big bucks, take time, and probably come out being close to the next 2020 election. As I keep reminding folks, we did have 22,438 Trump voters in the county. We don’t need more trouble. Krohn and Glover are impetuous, lack decorum, and are non-traditional — but they are both caring, kind hearted, generous and protectors of the needy. We need them in office. We need to adjust, and so do they.

June 10

For the next two weeks I will be in Caernarfon in Wales. With no reliable computer access nor much quiet time to write, my next column for BrattonOnline won’t be until the first week of July.

Why Wales? I have been invited by the Royal Air Force to attend a ceremony in Caernarfon in northern Wales where an RAF plane will be dedicated to a long ago cousin, Lionel Wilmot Brabazon Rees who was a pilot in World War 1, as was my father. Lionel was awarded the Victoria Cross (the highest military honor in Britain) and his life story recorded in a book by Welsh historian Alister Williams. During a late night bored Google search, on a whim, I looked up Lionel’s name and discovered that a book had been written of his life. One copy left on Amazon and a few days later, having purchased and read the book I learned that after the war Lionel had sailed solo in a 24 foot boat from Wales to The Bahamas and that he died there in 1955 with his gravesite in the RAF cemetery in Nassau. After much searching I found the author who confirmed my relationship to Lionel. He and my father were first cousins. My birth name is Gillian Rees.

On another whim, I suggested to my son, who is also a pilot, that on my next visit to central Florida where he lives, that we fly to the Bahamas to find the gravesite and pay our respects. He suggested we fly in his two-seater Cessna 152.  Up for the adventure I agreed. As we flew on the first leg over the Everglades with the Atlantic Ocean up next, I did manage a small voice saying that I admitted to being nervous. My son retorted that unlike Lionel, we had GPS and no German planes firing at us, which did help a bit.

After many wrong turns by local buses we did find his gravesite, paid our respects and watching the weather, a few days later (it was July and hurricane season) flew back in two legs to central Florida. (One photo is the two of us on our way to The Bahamas. The other is on landing back in Florida and happy to be on firm ground again)

That was a decade ago. A few weeks ago I received an email from an RAF officer telling me about the ceremony and as relatives of Lionel’s, inviting me and my son to attend. Also attending will be Lionel’s grown up children whom I have never met. They are cousins and as someone whose family had emigrated to Australia from Britain in 1948, completely separated from any extended family, this will be a special occasion. What makes it even more special is that Lionel married a local Bahamanian woman and given the racism of the time, was probably excommunicated from the rest of the Rees family in England. His name was never mentioned in my household growing up in Australia. When I bought the book and was leafing through the photos, the last one was a picture of his wife, who was of course black. I exclaimed, “so that explains why we never talked about Lionel Rees!” So this will be a meaningful journey on many levels.

My great great grandfather, James Rees was Mayor of Caernarfon and the current Mayor will be attending the ceremonies. The old family home is still within the 11th century Caernarfon Castle walls and the RAF is going to give the whole family a private tour of the War Museum in London. I have never been to Wales so lots of stories to share upon return.

Apologies for my absence from this column…I’ll be back soon.

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.

Chris Krohn is away this week. He will be back next week.

(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


June 10

The County Board of Supervisors will most likely approve Consent Agenda Items #64 and #65 (that means the issues will not be publicly discussed or questioned, and are by definition, “non-controversial”) to award Dudek consultants nearly $400,000 to do the required Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan, approved in concept in 2014.  Since then, the Planning Department has piece-mealed it, approving certain zoning changes to support whatever project came through waving a dollar under their nose….such as the Nissan Dealership at 41st Avenue in Soquel.  Every year at County Budget Hearings, the Board of Supervisors would ask Planning Director Kathy Molloy when the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan might have the required environmental review completed???  She had lots of reasons, but mostly, just that there wasn’t staff or money to do it. 

Well, taxpayers will now have to pay yet another outside consultant, Dudek, to get the work actually done.  Dudek will do this required work for a mere $399,385 and get the show on the road for creating dense mixed-use development throughout the County, regardless of whether we have the infrastructure to support it or not. Here is the link to the item; see what you think.

The Planning Dept. staff will have to report to the Board on or before September 24, 2019, according to the staff report for Item #65.  The associated issue, Consent Agenda item #64, will approve application for a SB 2 Planning Grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development to get funding for paying Dudek. Here is the link for that item.

Just in case you have forgotten what the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan means for your neighborhood (it has, after all, been many years ago that there were public meetings to gather your ideas), here is the link to that document.

In Seacliff, for example, the wonderful Manuel’s Restaurant area would be essentially bulldozed and replaced with two-story mixed-use dense development.

I asked that question regarding the Trout Gulch and Soquel Drive intersection traffic light that replaced the four-way stop signs.  The County is preparing to put a second traffic light at Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive this summer.  I filed a Public Records Act request with CHP for the reports of all accidents at the intersection.  Before the light went in, there were two or three accidents, but sometimes none.  Since the light has been installed, there have been eight….maybe more by now.  I see people speeding through, trying to “make the light” when before, the stop signs caused people to pause and acknowledge pedestrians and other motorists at the intersection. 

What will a second traffic light at Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive do for the flow of congested traffic in the Aptos Village area???

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


Cheers, Becky

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

June 10 #161 / Crossing The Line

The San Francisco Chronicle is Nancy Pelosi’s hometown paper. Generally speaking, the Chronicle strongly supports her positions. Not on Saturday, June 8, 2019, however. 

On that date, the paper ran a short editorial statement with this headline: “Pelosi crosses the line with ‘prison’ comment.” I am reprinting the entire statement, below, because I think it provides a warning to all of us. We are facing a politics that seems to be spinning out of control, and keeping “steady as she goes” is a political virtue not to be underestimated. Those who would like to return some basic decency to our national politics properly deplore calls to “Lock Her Up” (meaning Hillary Clinton). These are part of the standard agenda at rallies promoted by our current president, Donald Trump. The Chronicle suggests that those who feel this way should not be imitating him:

Pelosi crosses the line with ‘prison’ comment 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been steadfastly strategic in her restraint amid a growing clamor within the Democratic ranks to begin impeachment proceedings. Pelosi has insisted “nothing is off the table,” but House committees should first proceed with their investigations and gather the evidence that could produce a “very compelling case to the American people.” 

So it was disturbing to learn from Politico, citing “multiple sources,” that Pelosi told a group of senior Democrats, “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.” There may or may not be a case for criminal prosecution after President Trump leaves office, but for the speaker to advocate for it out loud, even behind closed doors, undermines her efforts to keep the impeachment talk at bay. It’s hard to argue that a president who belongs in prison should stay in office for another minute. 

Even worse is the notion — so cavalierly practiced under tin-pot dictatorships or expressed by the 45th president of the United States — that locking up one’s political opponents is an acceptable exercise of power. Let the congressional investigations proceed with vigor, fearlessness — and toned-down rhetoric.

What Diaz is saying, the way I read him, is that Trump is not a good role model, and that there is another way to get rid of that guy. It’s called an election. Of course, not everyone agrees with Diaz, as a letter to the editor from Eleanor Fischbein, printed in today’s Chronicle, makes clear.

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. See Eagan’s  hree dimensional inside look at our realist selves!!! Scroll below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Loving Logos” 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.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Celebrate the start of Shakespeare Season in Santa Cruz with Kenneth Branagh’s witty, tender cinematic ode to the Bard, All Is True, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). And some thoughts on dismantling an archive, now that my Art Boy has been gone for over a year. (Can you believe it?)” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


Watch this space. Folks have been asking for it…I’m more than excited about bringing “IT” to you.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS. Many, many evil monsters in this version. The meanest is a three-headed monster named CynDonnaMar, who lives only to kill humans.

Godzilla freaks will tell you that more than 35 Godzilla movies have already been made, and the ending of this one hints that Godzilla will not be so pro-humanity in the next. That next one is probably the King Kong Godzilla production, promised in 2020. This one’s absolutely zero fun from any perspective. It’s serious, moralistic, three quarters of it takes place on desktops, inside offices on computer screens…very few widescreen anything. It contains Vera Farmiga and a little Sally Hawkins — and they are always good — but wasted here.

THE SOUVENIR. Tilda Swinton’s daughter Honor Swinton Byrne, and Tilda, both star in this cinematic enigma. It’s mostly about a young woman falling in love. It’s told in flash backs and future foretelling and is really hard to follow. There’ll be 10 to 20 minutes stretches where you won’t know what’s happening or why. They claim it’s new wave movie scripting, but do be very aware. CLOSES THURSDAY, JUNE 13

WHITE CROW. Rudolf Nureyev has got to be the most famous male ballet dancer (danseur noble, ballerina) of all time. Well, there’s also Baryshnikov (still alive) and Nijinsky of course. But Nureyev appears to be a nasty jerk in this movie from a book. The big deal is/was he defected from Russia (1961) where he lived and trained all his life and moving to fame and fortune in England and the USA. That defection took more than courage. The movie lacks the intensity to bring you into it, and to give the care and curiosity Nureyev deserves. I can’t find any info on the Nureyev documentary that Landmark had shown us for a few weeks. They must have pulled it when this one became available first. It’s gotta be better than White Crow. CLOSES THURSDAY, JUNE 13

BOOKSMART. A surprising 98 on RT. This comedy about two smart high school girlfriends on their last night before graduation escaped me completely. I’m so removed from high schoolers today that I couldn’t relate or follow any part of their adventures. It’s feminist, brave, clever, even sexual and rapid moving.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Over 2 billion dollars at the opening weekend box office!!! A world record-shattering Marvel-Disney experience. It’s too much for me to critique. Even were I to accept all the other world characters that inhabit this Marvel–Disney franchise, Rocket the wise talking raccoon would be a step too far. The rest of the cast could be — and are — contained in Wagner’s Ring operas, Greek and Roman legends and dozens of comic books throughout the last 60 years. Like most successful movies today, this one is full of violence, hatred, bloodshed. I’m sorry I saw it, and you know if you’ll like it, so there you are!!! I should add that there are cameos by Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Natalie Portman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Redford, Tom Hiddleston and probably more but it doesn’t matter. Oh yes, it got a 95 on RT.



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. . Julie Phillips will be telling us about threats to the Tule Elk and how we need educating re their challenges. Then flag waver Becky Steinbruner talks about area issues mostly water . On June 11. Kara Meyberg Guzman and Stephen Baxter from “Santa Cruz Local” news organization are guests on June 18. 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

This is interesting…

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.


“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything”.  Joseph Stalin
“Winning the election is a good-news, bad-news kind of thing. Okay, now you’re the mayor. The bad news is, now you’re the mayor.” Clint Eastwood
Democracy is not something that happens, you know, just at election time, and it’s not something that happens just with one event. It’s an ongoing building process. But it also ought to be a part of our culture, a part of our lives”.   Jim Hightower

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