Blog Archives

June 20 – 26, 2017

PACIFIC AND LINCOLN STREETS 1953.  You can tell by the former Bank of America now the New Leaf Market, a wholly owned subsidiary of  New Seasons Market chain. More about New Seasons Markets from their website…

New Seasons Market is a chain of privately owned grocery stores operating in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan Area of Oregon and Washington. Founded by three families and 50 of their friends in 1999, the company currently operates 13 stores in the greater Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area, including: Hillsboro, Oregon, Beaverton, Oregon, Happy Valley, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington, and Lake Oswego, Oregon. Many of the products offered are organic food and produced locally in the Pacific Northwest. The stores differ from most grocers by offering natural and conventional products side by side”.

There aren’t many other buildings left from 64 years ago. There’s the Palomar Hotel, and if you peek closely you can see the Town Clock atop the Odd Fellows Building in its original location.  And as usual, I like to point out how easily four cars could park and pass on the old Pacific Avenue.    
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

JOHN WAYNE’S AMERICA. Just don’t forget that John Wayne was a draft dodger!
SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING SKETCH. I think I showed this one before and it’s always a testimonial to our young students.
SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK 1920-1940. Not quite the same home town feeling now as back in this day…and it makes the City of Santa Cruz what it is today!!!

DATELINE  June 19, 2017

HOMELESS…AN UNSOLVABLE PROBLEM? Last week I wrote…”HOPE FOR HOMELESS ELSEWHERE?” I’ve certainly tried my damndest for decades to blame, berate and condemn our Santa Cruz City Council for their miserable treatment of the homeless. Their meaningless 40 page study achieved absolutely nothing…and on they go. BUT I have to ask where in the USA has a city, town or metropolis found any solution? Maybe a little assistance program here or there, but can the homeless problem ever be eliminated?  Isn’t the entire world faced with the same issue? Am I missing something?”. Not much of any responses to this except one email from Sara Cloud that read…

“I’ve been volunteering occasionally with the Coffee Talk program that the Santa Cruz Library is doing on Thursday mornings, inviting homeless persons to gather near a canopy set up at the corner of the downtown library for–as it says–coffee and talk.  After the first hour 9-10 a.m.  people who want one-on-one assistance with a specific problem, such as “how do I get a cell phone?”, come into the library upstairs where there are computers set up to work with volunteers. 

I’m learning a lot just by going twice a month and getting some of the materials that are distributed about homelessness.  There is a movement called “Housing First” that has come to mean providing a chronic homeless person with direct and immediate access to housing.  It reverses the traditional concept of “treatment first and then housing” to “housing first and then appropriate treatment.”  Apparently, some communities are using this model successfully.  I saw a video of housing that Salt Lake City has built for the homeless and it said that the city is free of people living on the streets. Awhile ago on the radio  I heard a report of a city in the midwest (sorry don’t remember the name) that was able to do a program subsidizing landlords to provide housing and found that it saved them a lot of money from the policing and emergency services.

Salt Lake City presumably has a dominant Mormon ethic of taking care of ‘your own’  that would have supported their housing initiative.  The city in the midwest had vacant apartments as a result of population loss.  Obviously, Santa Cruz has a whole other set of conditions.  As long as the control of land and money are the competitive driving forces of social and political power, it is hard to see a solution to homelessness”.

There’s no doubt that there are probably more than a thousand help the homeless programs in place around the USA. Each of them I’m sure does some amount of good. The Salt Lake City plan which “provides a chronic homeless person with direct and immediate access to housing”…must mean that Salt Lake City has that immediate access!! Santa Cruz doesn’t, nor do very many other USA cities. There must be another way to deal with this, or just accept the homelessness as a fact of our community…and keep dreaming up new little programs.

As development pressures in Santa Cruz heat up, we can expect to hear more about the so-called “YIMBIES” (Yes In My Back Yarders) as well as arguments for open space management to move with the times and incorporate modern interests such as drones, high-tech wheeled vehicles and other forms of “activation” into our city parks. To vigorously defend Santa Cruz from losing its identity by overbuilding and to protect its precious open space lands, we need to demonstrate the fallacies in the arguments and expose the commercial interests that drive them.

The Good Times of 5/30/17 in its article on YIMBY featured one pro-development speaker who was one of two people who defended high-rise and dense development in the Corridors Plan to the Planning Commission in contrast to the large crowd of neighbors who attended and spoke and who will be affected by such over- building.  I was struck by the words of this newcomer to Santa Cruz. In defending high-rise development, he said, “I feel I have a right to live and build a life here, too, just as much as the people who’ve been here for 30 or 40 years and already own a home.” There’s no argument against that claim. Sure, he has that right and nobody is suggesting otherwise. But does the community have the responsibility to provide him with the housing he seeks? I would argue no, we have no responsibility to provide housing for the millions who would like to live in Santa Cruz. In fact, rights and responsibilities are not relevant in this debate. Or if they have a place, I can argue that I have a right after 40+ years of working to contribute to this community to not have its identity erased by overbuilding and a responsibility to protect its open space lands as bulwarks against rapid urbanization.

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~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.


The Great Santa Cruz Motel Building Boom

First Do No Harm: the case of 2424 Mission Street
There’s a motel in Santa Cruz near the corner of Swift and Mission streets. It’s currently called, the Sunset Inn. It will soon be named after its corporate overseer, the Hampton Inn. Seems that “Hampton,” a subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide has their “Global Corporate Office” in McClean, Virginia, just up the I-495 toll road from the CIA’s headquarters in Langley.

The Sunset is a faded, light-brown, poop-colored really, stucco faux Spanish Colonial seventies sprawly structure. The parking lot is perhaps its most notable feature. It is one of those motel parks where you drive in right up to your room, never have to see another soul, sleep a few hours and get back on the road. Motels like the Sunset are middle-of-nowhere sleeps on the way to somewhere. It’s a 32-room, rather anonymous piece of anywhere marking our city’s Highway 1 North gateway. It’s a tremendous rebuilding opportunity by anyone’s standard. But, at last Tuesday’s city council meeting, a day after the Warriors took to the court to complete their championship run, the ball this day was in the council’s court. Would this faux-colonial–shelf-life of a couple decades–become a “destination” hotel, or remain an also-ran?

The majority of the Santa Cruz city council, over the objections of neighbors, the warnings of two minority council voices, and a lack of any articulated “community gateway” aesthetic sense, approved doubling down on motel schlock with more motel schlock. A “new and improved,” and just as unremarkable, 60-room faux-something else will take the Sunset’s place, and the community will keep on losing in the Great Santa Cruz Motel Building Boom.

I’ve always thought of Santa Cruz as a somewhere, a destination, a small city with distinction. The new cookie-cutter Hampton Inn will be yet another nod by corporate culture telling Santa Cruz that we are truly a ‘middle-of-nowhere’ place, an out of the way “burgh” on the way to a somewhere more significant, I guess. But if you go to the Consumer Affairs for Brands web site, it’s pretty clear that the Hampton brand is a ‘middle-of-nowhere’ corporation, (only earning 2 out of 5 stars in the 136 reviews that are posted.)

Maybe you’re not surprised when you see one of these sterile, photo-copied monoliths, elegies to a throw-away culture, as you careen past pockets of corporate compost–McDonald’s, Arby’s, Exxon, and Denny’s–on I-80 as you leave the Golden State behind and head for Elko. Or one might be planted like a pernicious weed along I-70 on the outskirts of say, Kansas City, or perhaps you’ve just slid into a widget-like restaurant booth tinged with southern grease and humidity along the I-10 corridor outside of Baton Rouge, and yep, you look up and there it is, another boxy, soulless Hampton Inn staring you in the face like a bad television commercial.

We Can Do Better
But, my friends, this is Santa Cruz, and you and I both know we can do better than freeway off-ramp motel offal. The neighbors along King Street and Mission Street know we can do better. Eastsiders present at the meeting, wondering how the Westside corridor neighbors would be treated, also know we can do better. Local businesses like Companion Bakery and Another Bike Shop know we can do better. Environmental groups clamoring for green, Leeds Certified buildings know we can do better. (No one asked that the building be carbon and water neutral. Why?) A dozen neighbors who showed up at the council meeting knew we could do better. In fact, they presented ideas on how to improve upon the corporate crap-model, not to stop it, but to make it more interesting, more compatible with the neighborhood, and even to acknowledge and celebrate a building that would be constructed at the front gate of a town they thought was a Somewhere.

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Bernie Sanders Tweet of the Week: “We must demand a justice system that values black lives, not one that takes innocent black lives”.

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.

If you can, please attend the June 27 County Board of Supervisor meeting (9am) when they will consider whether or not to listen to citizen appeals for upholding the County Code, and requesting further environmental review for the Aptos Village Project.  Citizens have had to pay $1800 for this, which one would think would be part of the job a County Supervisorial Board would just do as elected public leaders.  

Well, people need to be there to ask that the Board take jurisdiction to hear the appeal, and to write Chairman John Leopold with this request if they are not able to attend the meeting.

View Historic Resources Commission May 12 public hearing

Here are the main points:

The Historic Preservation Plan for the Aptos Village Project expired January 19, 2014. There were no active permits being considered at that time that could perhaps fit the County’s loophole of keeping the Plan active. (Check for yourself on the Planning Department website for APN 041-011-03, -33, -24.)  Under Santa Cruz County Code16.42,060(L), the Plan was good for two years after approval (January 19, 2012) by the Historic Resources Commission, and could only be extended by that Commission upon application prior to expiration of the Plan approved.  That did not happen.

Under Santa Cruz County Code 16.42.060, “no final County approval shall be given to a land division, development permit, building permit, demolition permit, land clearing permit or grading permit for a project affecting an historical structure, object, property, site or district. That is  unless an Historic Resource Preservation Plan for the protection of the historic resource has been approved by the Historic Resources Commission…”   

Well, there you have it, folks….the County simply must obey its own laws.  Now, you and I all know that the County would NEVER make Barry Swenson Builder, Pete Testorff, Joe Appenrodt and the other faceless developers of the Aptos Village Project take down the 17′-high retaining walls, the 3-story steel girders or the concrete foundations now in progress.  HOWEVER, the County Board of Supervisors could show leadership and require that the developers widen Trout Gulch Road between Cathedral Drive and Soquel Drive to accommodate the added traffic impacts of the Phase I development.  The County Board of Supervisors COULD show leadership. They could help the public negotiate buying the Phase II Project area as a mitigation for Phase I traffic, water and public safety impacts, and assist with development of that Phase II area for Nisene Marks State Park users  and possible future rail passenger parking, to re-build the world-famous Aptos Bike Jumps, to re-plant some trees and create public open space or community garden space.

Please write Chairman John Leopold,  or 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA  95060 with your thoughts.  Attend the June 27 meeting if at all possible.  Help save Aptos Village for EVERYONE!

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Cheers and Happy Summer Solstice, 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.

#167 / RoseAnn Meets Harry

An article printed on the first page of the June 12, 2017, edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel said this: “Nurse union boss does not play nice.” 

Check the photo!! There she is, RoseAnn DeMoro. DeMoro is the head of the California Nurses Association, and I guess that her nice smile, as pictured in this blog posting, wouldn’t seem so friendly if you were one of those 1% people from Wall Street and didn’t like her “Tax Wall Street” message. The people complaining about DeMoro most recently, though, at least the ones mentioned in the Sentinel article, were not Wall Street 1%ers. They were Democratic Party politicians from California. Why were they so upset? How did DeMoro demonstrate that she doesn’t “play nice,” as far as those Democratic politicians are concerned?

Well, DeMoro actually informed the public, by name, which Democratic Party legislators failed to vote for SB 562, a bill sponsored by the California Nurses Association, and legislation that seeks to establish a “single payer” health care system in this state. It seems to me that the complaints against DeMoro are an example of the thing President Harry S. Truman talked about. Truman was known as a “straight shooter,” and his supporters used to yell at him, “Give ’em Hell, Harry!” Truman’s classic response was this:

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”

The California Nurses Association has been working for decades to overhaul the health care system in this state, and is currently supporting Senate Bill 562. SB 562 would establish a “single payer” health care system in California. If you want to read the current version of the bill, entitled, “The Healthy Califoria Act,” just click the link. 

Without trying to argue the pros and cons of the bill in its current form (and there are definitely arguments on both sides), I want to suggest that it is never “unfair” to deny politicians the ability to hide their votes and their actions. The voters often lack information about what politicians and elected officials actually do, and this lack of information screens those elected representatives from having to account to their constituents for what they are doing on behalf of the constituents. Representing those who elected you, of course, is actually what elected officials are paid to do, and it does seem pretty “fair” to let those who are paying the bills know what you are doing (or not doing) in their name. 

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~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 his blog at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO This week, a popular “target” reappears… The Monterey Bay Aquarium. Scroll down a bit for the hilarity.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “National Health Alert” 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. With a June 13 think piece titled “Play It As It Lies“.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “In honor of Their Finest, which was such a big hit in Santa Cruz, let’s visit some of my other favorite movies about wisecracking scribes this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

BEATRIZ AT DINNER. Salma Hayek is a poor, hard working , talented, spiritual, immigrant from Mexico who ends up having an elegant dinner with John Lithgow and some ritzy friends. Lithgow plays Donald Trump…(the character is named Doug Strutt) really. It’s a clunking, heavy, poorly directed, blah of a movie. It could have been sensitive, real, poignant and even witty but it isn’t.  The ending is not only terrible but it is cruel, pointless and it’ll make you feel bad. Don’t go. And it takes place in Newport Beach.

DEAN. Kevin Kline is the only name we recognize and he does his usual excellent best. This movie is set in Santa Monica, and NYC. Demetri Martin is not only the director but he also is Dean, the lead kid. Kline’s son. It too could have been a fine sensitive story, but the directing, the attempt at humor, the lack of depth, doesn’t allow us to care as much as we should about the family. Not bad, but there are better films around.

THE BOOK OF HENRY. A lowly 25 on Rotten Tomatoes and still Naomi Watts manages to make us believe her. Sarah Silverman is in it too but if you are a fan don’t expect much…she’s only in it a few minutes and she isn’t supposed to be funny!! Henry is a genius kid Naomi is a dopey Mom and Henry is dying. More than that for a plot Henry discovers that their next door neighbor ( a sheriff)  is abusing his 12 year old stepdaughter!!! It’s a tragic waste of what could have been a very sensitive, developed drama. See some other film first.

ROUGH NIGHT. Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz should be ashamed to have played the leads in this piece of Hollywood crap. It demeans women to the utmost. It has absolutely no cleverness, intelligence, timing, or logic. The plot and way too many scenes are sexist, tasteless, pointless, and set in Miami. That’s enough…forget all about it.

MY COUSIN RACHEL. Daphne Du Maurier who was born in London (1907 -1989) wrote this intricate, wonderful, 19th century, threatening, gothic, perverted story of a trusting rich 25 year old who falls in love with his cousin who is out to take both his brothers and his family fortune. Du Maurier wrote Rebecca and also The Birds which Alfred Hitchcock used as a starting point for that film. Rachel Weisz plays Rachel!! And you couldn’t ask for anyone better…she is magnificent. A British costume saga, and if you’re a follower see this film ASAP.

WAKEFIELD. Brian Cranston plays an unhappy, neurotic guy who decides to hide from his wife and children for months by sneaking up stairs in their garage and disappearing.  He spys on his mystified wife (Jennifer Garner) and kids and talks to himself through the entire film, It’s from a book by E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, Billy Bathgate,  and could have been made into a real contender. Cranston plays it too almost silly and instead of a deep profound character study we just watch a jerk. But it an involving story and worth seeing. Ends Thursday, June 22

WONDER WOMAN. IF you like comic book heroes or heroines (hope its ok to use that term) Wonder woman is several cuts about the usual no brainer/ violent/monster filled box office smashes we keep seeing. Gal Gadot is a former Miss Israel and we keep hearing about that. She plays W. Woman. Robin Wright, is in it too and she is a long time favorite of mine. She is Sean Penn’s ex. Chris Pine just jumps around looking like the usual Hollywood cutey pie. If you remember that she’s a comic book star and is supposed to battle, fight and pose in tight pants all the time you could enjoy this more than most of that ilk.

PARIS CAN WAIT. This piece of fluff tries to be a sophisticated travel –romance-comedy and it is terrible. It’s not even as honest a film as Baywatch…which makes no such pretensions.  Diane Lane plays a still beautiful woman who completely subjects herself to a Frenchman as they take a car trip to Paris. Lane’s husband Alec Baldwin isn’t in the film very much and he would have been an even worse match. DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES. The absolute bottom of the barrel in sequels. Even the dopey mugging by Johnny Depp (whose brother owned a bookstore in Santa Cruz) Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom doesn’t save the lack of a story or plot. The effects are built for 3D but add to the confused and twisted story. Avoid this one like the plague.

THE MUMMY. Well it has a 16 on Rotten Tomatoes, and I couldn’t agree more. I’ll bet Tom Cruise snuck a whole bunch of Scientologists into this insane, completely confusing, screwy monster movie. It’s by far the worst Mummy movie I’ve ever seen. (probably about 4). Poor Russell Crowe who must need the $$$ to actually take on a role like the evil Dr. Henry Jekyll. Yes, Jekyll…because Universal is putting a Jekyll monster in one of their theme parks.!! It’s obvious you shouldn’t go, no one else is…it’s a huge bomb.



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. Bookshop Santa Cruz features its top Short Story Winners Ross Clifford, Joanne Wright, and Paul Skenazy for the full hour on June 20. Doctor James Beckett, PAMF Dermatologist talks skin care on June 27 followed by activist, BrattonOnline columnist Gillian Greensite reporting on area issues. July 4th has environmentalist Grey Hayes talking about the magnificent meadow mouse. Then environmental attorney and former Santa Cruz County Supervisor Gary Patton talks about growth and changes in our County. 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

Worth watching in our throwaway society… This couple has been married for 80 years. She’s 100, he’s 110. That’s mindblowing.

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed 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.

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.

“My first job was at an amusement park in Virginia. It was the worst. I loved the park but once I’d worked there all the magic was gone from it. It just turned into a place I hated and I’ve never been there since”.  Danny McBride
“Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park”, Paddy Chayefsky
Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride”, Anthony Bourdain

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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on June 20 – 26, 2017

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