Blog Archives

March 11 – 17, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Victory over Nissan in Soquel, 908 Ocean development plots and problems, Church Circle’s managed meeting. GREENSITE…on North Coast Rail Trail. KROHN…City Council’s week and library, housing, Camp Ross, housing and Sherry Conable. STEINBRUNER…Nissan defeat in Soquel, CEQA law and county general plan, Swenson’s 7th and Brommer hotel and stores, fire safety plans. PATTON…Healthy politics and getting involved. EAGAN…with the aid of lemons. JENSEN…too busy for movies, but. BRATTON…Apollo 11. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE FUTURE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “Daylight Savings”



SANTA CRUZ CITY HALL AND TAXI FLEET. May 17, 1951. The caption says the head of the Yellow Cab Fleet (and some Acme cabs) is receiving an award, from maybe the mayor? The mayor at that time was George M Penniman. Can any local Pennimans (Pennimen?) vouch for this guy?
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

SANTA CRUZ TSUNAMI. Only 30 people have watched this so far. With our rising water levels the next one will be more scary….and permanent.

APOLLO 11. Official trailer for the new movie now at the Del Mar.

DATELINE March 11, 2019

LATE BREAKING NEWS RE VICTORY OVER SOQUEL NISSAN DEALERSHIP. It’ll be old by the time this gets online, but Sustainable Soquel and Lisa Sheridan succeeded in stopping Don Gropetti  from opening another car (Nissan) dealership at Soquel and 41st. Lisa’s press release stated… Nissan Dealership Project Halted

A Superior Court judge decided Friday (3/8) to suspend the county’s approval of a proposed Nissan auto dealership at 41stAvenue and Soquel Drive because the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was flawed.

Judge Paul Burdick ruled that the EIR failed to satisfy the informational purpose of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), adding that the County committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion by certifying that the EIR complied with CEQA mandates.

The ruling favors Sustainable Soquel, the group that sued the County. Burdick said that the Santa Cruz County Planning Department’s EIR failed to discuss and analyze a range of reasonable alternatives that could avoid or reduce the development’s potential negative impacts, including intensified traffic congestion”. The press release goes on to tell of Gropetti’s six other dealerships and ,” Judge Paul Burdick ruled that the EIR failed to satisfy the informational purpose of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), adding that the County committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion by certifying that the EIR complied with CEQA mandates”.

This good news should give much encouragement to all the people/citizens/Santa Cruz residents who are fighting so many developments and developers at this time.

COMMOTION ON OCEAN, Number 908. This is one of those many developments being shoved through our system. 333 small Silicon Valley or student apartments being promoted as having three 3 three levels of “affordability”. This “housing” is proposed for the block across Ocean Street from Santa Cruz Diner. It includes Togo’s and Doc Auto…which are not necessarily great architectural monuments that need preserving…but it’s the community that will suffer. One reader wrote.. “It’s the same message from developers and the city; it will all just magically work out wonderfully. What is the summer daily car count for Ocean Street that we’re not supposed to worry about adding to with all these projects? The thousands of cars idling on Ocean and all the way to the beach creates ever MORE Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, not less GHG, so this is working against what the General Plan specifies should occur, a reduction in GHG emissions.. 

The Single Occupancy Units Ordinance (SOU) is flawed for multiple reasons as we are discovering with the proposed 908 Ocean Street project:

  1. The Density of 90 units per acre is more than allowed in the General Plan for the zoning in that area now or even if it was zoned (40 units if 1-bedroom) with the Corridor Plan (55 units per acre)….and yet how is that possible?
  2. It only allows 1 bedroom units of 400-650 feet.  It does not allow for any other option such as 2 or 3-bedroom units for families.  Of course with 908 Ocean Project they could split the project parcels on May and provide that type of housing but they would rather not as they can have more units this way. 
  3. When you have 333 units vs. 166 2-bedroom you can have more people by State law — 1-bedroom allows 2+1 and 2-bedroom allows 2×2+1 so if you roll the numbers you get 999 for 333 SOUs and 830 for 166 2-bedroom units…
  4. The parking allowed is only 1 space per unit and no guest parking.  However, the Architect for 908 Ocean realizing that flaw did allow for some guest parking (and sharing of the commercial parking for guests too).   But again, the code does not allow for guest parking while only allowing one parking space per unit.  
  5. We don’t yet know if there is on-site property management for this massive proposed project at 908 Ocean — consolidation of 19 parcels at Ocean, Hubbard May and onto Water..  
  6. Breaking parking models is the gateway to higher density.  The City Council just did it on a one-year pilot basis for detached ADUs.  And now they are doing it with 908 Ocean Street with multi-car parking racks by a company called Klaus – German company with US office in LaFayette, CA, Can parking racks be considering parking spaces–seems like a grey area? 
  7. This is meant to be the City classic “affordable by design” ideal because they are small units.  However, if you have 2-bedroom units instead, you would have 166 less kitchens and 166 less bathrooms and that would make the units overall more affordable.  The logic doesn’t hold but they persist in making this argument because the price per unit is less.  However, 555 Pacific is 94 SOUs and touted as “luxury urban living”….So that idea of “affordable by design” has not played out that way in practice by the developer/owner Swenson.  Bush shouldn’t get quoted, but this comes to mind, “fool me once, shame on–shame on you.  Fool me–you can’t get fooled again”.  
  8. The 908 Ocean project units may also possibly be half rental and half for sale.  If that is the case, then the loan options for those that may need to get a loan is constrained to possibly a 7-year loan at 6.5% rather than 4%.  When  555 Pacific was researched this was the case in 2016 and this 908 issue needs checking.  We were alerted to this by an article by Jim Chubb of Pacific Inland in 2015.

The Architect, Salvatore Caruso, of the Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation in Santa Clara  is very smooth, and we can be sure he was brought in as much because of his ability to “sell” the project.  Check out Caruso multi family structures here  . They’ve changed the 908 designs once but what will this add to our sense of Santa Cruz Community…or just plain “Looks” and appeal? If you know any member of the Santa Cruz City Council get to them quickly. Even if you don’t know them , you should tell them what you believe anyways. Look what Sustainable Soquel did stopping Nissan and Gropetti!!!

SAVE THE CIRCLE CHURCH. The group of stalwart community-minded citizens who want to save the neighborhood and the Church will be at the City Council meeting on March 12, to speak at oral communications. We’ll have to wait to see how that worked. Many of the Circle Community were really hurt that the developers were given so much preference and time to pitch at the so-called “Community Meeting”. At another recent “community meeting” — this one for the aforementioned 908 Ocean Street — the City allowed just the architect to appear, not the developer! So of course the architect kept avoiding the important community issues. This phony meeting was then touted as significant. Why is this allowed?

March 11,2019

There was applause when members of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) voted unanimously to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the 7.5 mile North Coast Rail Trail Project and to select the preferred alternative that keeps the rail and builds the trail on the coastal side. Less celebratory were the farmers, members of the Rural Bonny Doon Association and the Sierra Club. I was there along with a colleague to represent the Sierra Club’s statement of concern regarding mitigations for the loss of the Red legged frog as well as for the proposed tree removal along this stretch of coastal heaven.

Despite its title as California State Amphibian, the red-legged frog is estimated to have disappeared from 70 per cent of its former range due to habitat loss and destruction, although it fares somewhat better in coastal regions including along the rail trail itself, in ponds along the tracks as in the photo taken from a section of what will eventually be a cleared 20 foot wide multi-use path (12 foot paved, rest unpaved) with a fence separating the trail from the tracks and eventually stretching from Wilder Ranch to Davenport, although construction for the section from Panther Beach to Davenport is still unfunded.

Few would argue against the desirability of having a trail separated from Highway 1 along this stretch of coast. Many also want to keep the tracks although any future passenger use will be a tourist train, maybe a wine train, bringing in big bucks and development to the tiny town of Davenport. The increase in traffic was found to be significant and unavoidable in the FEIR. The railway tracks comprise the Davenport Branch Line built around 1903. The line qualifies as an historical resource for the purposes of the FEIR, which pushed the preferred alternative to top of the list over the trail only alternative.

While I can easily appreciate the attraction of the rail trail, I am at the same time disturbed by the unmitigated enthusiasm from those who are unfazed by the habitat and species loss involved plus the gentrification that will follow. Sighting down the present tracks I find the peacefulness and relative wildness a source of beauty. All that will change. I’m not against change. I like to see the willows on the sides of the tracks go through their cycle of growth and if I’m lucky hear the croak of a red-legged frog and imagine their lives in the shallow ponds along the tracks. To change that for even more human intrusion, however “green” deserves at least a moment’s transitory regret in my mind.

A few of the FEIR findings give pause for thought. While only 7 acres of important farmland will be lost to trail use, only an acre and a half of which is farmed actively, the actual impact on the farmland may be more severe.  The preparers of the FEIR noted the likelihood of trespassing on farmland, littering, food safety concerns and nuisance complaints. The mitigation? Signs posted with messages of the importance of farmland. They have more faith in fellow humans than I do. Dogs will be prohibited on the trail but the consultants agreed that violations
are likely to occur. Better wash those Brussels sprouts, you never know which pooch may have pissed or pooped on them.

Given that this scenic trail will attract thousands of visitors, maintaining the cleanliness and safety of the trail (and farmland) will be crucial. An Operations and Maintenance Plan is still to be developed. State Parks and County Parks Maintenance were mentioned as likely sources. Hello? State Parks routinely responds that it cannot take care of a problem (camping, littering, illegal dog use) due to staffing and resource shortages. County parks maintenance is a small crew struggling to take care of the basics in parks from Pinto Lake in Watsonville to Greyhound Rock up north. I suggest that the Land Trust earmark a goodly amount of the millions of dollars donated to this project towards maintenance and clean up. Visitors have swamped and fouled other scenic attractions (Bixby Bridge and Big Sur) and there is no reason to expect the MBSS rail trail will fare any differently.

The process is not over. Specifics on habitat mitigations and a maintenance plan have yet to be developed, discussed and decided upon. You can take a peek at the power point summary here

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.


KZSC Reporter, Jasmine Alvergue is interviewing Ross Camp resident, Greg Bengtson at the camp on Monday.

Sherry Conable R.I.P.
Our dear comrade, Sherry Conable was celebrated in poetry, song, and proclamation last Friday night at Peace United Church on High Street. Over 200 celebrants cried, sang, joked and hugged as the irrepressible and much loved Sherry was remembered. It was quite a scene, especially the last song, “Imagine”, that was led by local music legend, Keith Greeninger. Watch the video on facebook here – see how many faces you can pick out in the crowd!

March 11, 2019

I’m on the run and this is going to be rather brief this week…Good news to report, things are going well on the city council. More residents are showing up for oral communication to discuss neighborhood issues; over 40 people made contributions two weeks ago to the homeless discussion and that helped inform the city staff’s agenda reports this week that deal with relieving the plight of the homeless and houseless in Santa Cruz. And then there’s the issues many of us ran on: making climate mitigation a pillar of city policy decision-making, separating the library from a 5-story garage, and increasing the affordable housing inclusionary percentage, these are being worked on and should be before the council quite soon. Specifically, what was on the agenda this past Tuesday was to expand the areas of where the council can declare a shelter crisis as well as “Transitional Encampment and Safe Sleeping Programs.” Also on the same agenda was the third of three “Mid-Year Review” budget study sessions; the 2018 General Plan and Housing Element Annual Progress Reports;” and the council was to discuss how it could help Seabright neighbors cope with the recent Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) raid in that part of Santa Cruz.

Tent Camp? Camp Ross? Gateway Encampment?
I ran into Greg, a 2-month-long denizen of the camp near the intersection of Highway 1 and River Street, at the “Tent Camp” recently. He was quick to offer me a definition of homeless vs. houseless. “I do not have a house, I have a tent. I am houseless and this camp is home for now” he said. Andy, a pastry chef (“been wanting to get over to the Buttery and apply…”) has lived in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and was born in San Diego. He’s been in Santa Cruz on and off for a few years he said. “It’s funny, people waste so much of their energy hating us,” he said shaking his head sideways. “They drive by constantly honking and yelling, ‘junkie,’ and some woman yesterday yelled ‘thanks for stealing my computer.'”

How Much Longer?
The wood chips have mostly been pushed into a wet layer of mud. I counted 164 tent structures, up from the 151 several days ago, and many people living here call it home for now. I accompanied a KZSC radio programmer into the camp this past Monday as she interviewed five campers for her Thursday afternoon radio show. What we found were determined and smiling people who don’t expect the camp to be here very much longer, but they appear to be quite resilient and proud to be a part of the encampment community. The city council was scheduled to discuss permitting several smaller tent encampments at this past Tuesday’s city council meeting. (BrattonOnline deadline is always the day before the city council meeting.) The hope on the part of city staff and council is to dissolve and relocate this now sprawling village of tarps and acrylic tents surrounded by mounds of clothes, bicycle parts, and people everywhere needing alcohol and drug treatment, healthcare, and job placement counseling. I will come back to this 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

March 11,2019

Citizens, take heart!  The Sustainable Soquel group WON in Superior Court last Friday in their effort to make the County follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) law and correct violations of their faulty Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that evaluated the Nissan Auto Dealership project at 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive.  Under Judge Paul Burdick’s orders, the County must rescind all permits for the Project.   The group hired an excellent environmental attorney, Mr. Babak Naficy, from San Luis Obispo, to represent them. 

There is more work ahead for this brave Sustainable Soquel group, but for now, they have scored a huge victory for us all in demanding that the County Planning Department act transparently and follow CEQA law. Here is a link to a past Sentinel article about the merits of their effort. They can still use your financial help, because there is still more legal work to be done.  Please help if you can!  

That remains to be seen, as the Board of Supervisors will approve a contract for consultant work to prepare the EIR for the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan and related General Plan and County Code updates. This Consent Item #28 on the March 12 agenda states the contract would be awarded June, 2019 and the community meetings would be scheduled for Spring, 2020.

The Board approved the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan on October 28, 2014 after extensive community meetings and significant expense.  It has languished in the Planning Department for lack of environmental review, and since has been partially brought back before the Board with various piecemeal proposals, some of which have been approved.  These include changes to the Housing Element of the General Plan and associated Zoning ordinances, as well as “Code Modernization” changes claimed to “streamline” the planning process, but that have included significant changes in public notification requirements.

With this Plan sitting idle and unenforceable, it has allowed significant “Ad Hoc” planning projects to occur, such as the Nissan Auto Dealership, the massive Kaiser Medical Facility with a 700-car multiple-level parking garage on the Soquel Ave. frontage road ( which was designated to have 100+ affordable housing units), the Soquel Creek Water District’s Pure Water Soquel sewage water treatment plant also along the Soquel Ave. frontage road at 2505 Chanticleer Ave.,. and many other dense infill developments in neighborhoods that struggle with drainage, traffic and parking problems.

Read about the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan here

Here is what the Planning Dept. staff report says about the background of this Plan since, and the process for hiring a consultant to move it forward

I wonder how the Planning Dept. can issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to create an EIR that will include proposed General Plan and Zoning amendment changes that will not be publicly reviewed until  the March 26, 2019 public hearing before the Board of Supervisors? (see consent agenda item #29, also on the March 11 Board agenda)  

Who is driving this bus, anyway????    You and I need to remind our elected officials that we care about what happens in our community and throughout the County, and want our voices to be heard with respect and their decisions to be transparent and reflect what the public says is important. 

Write your County Supervisor and get involved.  Ask to be kept informed of any issues regarding the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan and General Plan and Code Updates.  Ask for evening or weekend public meetings if you think that would help public participation at future events.

Write your County Supervisor:

Many thanks to County Supervisor John Leopold for sending out the information below in his newsletter


When the State Legislature eliminated Redevelopment Agencies, the County was forced to sell two properties that had been assembled years earlier but did not have definite plans. One on Capitola Road at 17th Avenue, now has plans submitted to the County for a mixed use project with affordable housing and new medical and dental clinics. The other property is larger, located on the corner of 7th Avenue and Brommer Street. Currently most of the space is undeveloped, with only two single-family homes on the 9-acres owned by the County. After issuing a Request for Proposals for this site, the County entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Barry Swenson Builders.  Barry Swenson Builders is hosting two community meetings to get feedback on their proposal, which includes housing, a small hotel, over 5,000 square feet of retail space, a youth hostel and a one acre park. I encourage you to attend one of the two meetings listed below to find out more and share your thoughts about this proposed development.

Live Oak Elementary School
1916 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Wednesday, March 13th – 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm


Saturday, March 16th – 10:00 am – 12:00 pm !

You can review what the public provided input to the County Planning Department for this land at a public meeting on April 27, 2107

Attend the public meetings if you can.  I think it is encouraging that one of the meetings is on a Saturday morning, to allow better public involvement by those who work long hours and commute.   

I attended an excellent workshop last weekend sponsored by the Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the Santa Cruz County Equine Evacuation Unit.   If you live in the rural areas, or next to them, you need to start now and get to work to prepare for the fire season ahead.  Luckily, the RCD just got some grant money to help residents improve their fire safety by providing free chipping and possible brush clearing help.   The mantra is “Get ready now”.  This includes creating a “Green Zone” that extends 30′ out from all structures.  Remove dead and overhanging wood, thin bushes, limb up trees, make sure long driveways are clearly marked at the main road with a reflective address sign and that brush and low-hanging branches are cleared alongside the road to allow unimpeded access for fire engines. 

Find good information here on what to do  And in case the current rain-soaked conditions make it difficult to think that conditions could ever be fire hazardous, take a look at this news report of recent Santa Cruz Mountains fire evacuation:

Evacuations underway in Santa Cruz Mountains fire

If you organize with a few neighbors, your fire defensible space project could get some help.  Fill out a project application on the Fire Safe Santa Cruz County website Fire Safe Santa Cruz County – Wildfire Preparedness


Cheers, Becky Steinbruner

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

Email Becky at

March 4, 2019

#63 / Citizens And Consumers

Jason Zengerle has reviewed a recent book by Michael Tomasky. Tomasky’s book is called, If We Can Keep It. The title references a statement allegedly made by Ben Franklin, when Franklin was asked what the Constitutional Convention had produced. “A Republic, if you can keep it,” is what Franklin is supposed to have replied. 

The focus of Zengerle’s review (and maybe the book) is our current experience with “political polarization.” Political polarizatiion is not so unusual, according to Zengerle (and maybe according to the book). 

I liked Zengerle’s review, and I think it is worth reading. Just click the link if you would like to do that. What struck me most about Zengerle’s review, however, was not the discussion about political polarization. I was an elected official in my local community for twenty years. I know how that “polarization” process works. While it can be uncomfortable, sometimes, I am not, actually, too worried about political polarization. A healthy politics is precisely a politics in which there is an “argument” going on, with the idea being that after the discussion and debate, the public makes a decision, and charts its public policy course. You need the debate to be “polarizing” if politics is going to do its proper job. 

What attracted me to the review was a couple of sentences at the end of a paragraph, not central to the argument about political polarization, but central, I think, to our real political dilemma: 

Where Americans had once cherished “thrift, discipline, doing without,” Tomasky writes, “in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Americans started to become a different people than they had been.” He adds: “Our consumer selves have overwhelmed our citizen selves.”

If we care about democratic self-government, we need to remember that we are “citizens” first, and “consumers” very much later on. I am always thinking about how best to explain democratic self-government, at least partly because I do teach Legal Studies classes at the University of California, Santa Cruz, touching on that topic. As is, of course, not surprising, I have decided that Abraham Lincoln has actually given the most succinct and eloquent presentation of what democratic self-government is all about. 

In his famous address at Gettysburg, Lincoln said that it was the mission of our nation to be sure that a “government of the people, by the people [and] for the people shall not perish from the earth.” 

It is my belief that the most important part of this admonition is its statement that the government must be both “of” and “by” the people, and that these requirements come before the suggestion that the government should be “for” the people. 

It is desirable, of course, that our government be “for” the people, but to the degree that we are looking to someone besides ourselves (to the “government,” in other words) to respond to our needs, and to achieve our deepest hopes, we are positioning ourselves as “consumers” of what “the government” gives us. We must, instead, realize that it is we, ourselves, who have the power to create and destroy. We are not “consumers” of governmental good works. Rather, as “citizens,” we are the government. We must never forget that if we truly want our government to be “for” the people, it must first be “of” and “by” them.

Forget about “polarization” as our primary problem. Start focusing in on political participation.

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. Scroll below to check out Eagan’s classic 1980’s vintage views of our inner-most innards.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” When Life Gives you lemons” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog. Read Tim’s take on Coyotes and Fox News.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. The fifth concert in their season is titled “MUSA—Chinese Baroque” presents music by Rameau, Pedrini, Pu’an, and more. Derek Tam is the concert director and plays harpsichord; Rita Lilly, soprano; Mindy Ell Chu, mezzo-soprano; Addi Liu, violin and viola; Laura Gaynon, cello; David Wong, guqin and guzheng!!  “Chinese Baroque” explores the dynamic and complex cultural exchanges between Western Europe and China in the 17th and 18th centuries, through the lens of music.  Enjoy rare delights ranging from the only Western-style sonatas written in China before the 20th century to a tune played by the Emperor Kangxi! There’s two performances  Saturday, March 16, 7:30 pm and
Sunday, March 17, 3:00 pm. The Chamber Players concerts are all at … Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive, Aptos (Off Highway 1 at Freedom Blvd.)

JEWEL THEATRE’s production of…”Breaking The Code” runs March 20-April 14 at the Colligan Theatre in the Tannery. It’s the story of Alan Turing who broke the German Code during WWII. Part of his life was his homosexuality that brought him to court and was convicted. Last month (Feb 2019) he was named ‘The Greatest Person of the 20th Century’ by the BBC. Go here for tickets and schedules.

The Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival is now in its 19th year. It presents films free to the public from Saturday, March 30 through Thursday, April 4. The festival opens at the Jewish Community Center in Aptos and continues at the Del Mar Theater in Santa Cruz, Aegis (EE-gis) of Aptos, and Samper Recital Hall at Cabrillo College. This year’s program focuses on love, reconciliation, and the pursuit of justice for the powerless. For the full schedule, please visit the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival online at

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t find anything to watch at the movies last week. Maybe next week! In the meantime, read more about my upcoming book talk at Porter Memorial Library in Soquel, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( ). And, while the Academy Awards were two weeks ago, my Oscar Barbie, 2019 Edition, is finally ready for her close-up!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

APOLLO 11. Surprising, important, relevant, heart-rending, tense…Apollo 11 is all of these and more. Assembled from much never-seen NASA footage, this documentary got a 100 Rotten Tomatoes score. The flight was 50 years ago and yet this film is so deftly handled that you’ll be on the seat’s edge hoping they make it. Numbnuts who note that there are no stars in the background when you walk on the moon will be shut up finally. If you liked the tension and identification of Free Solo, you’ll definitely like Apollo 11.

ARCTIC. We never find out where Mads Mikkelsen has been or where he’s going but he’s the survivor of a plane crash and he carries the entire film. You will never once take your eyes from the screen…it is completely riveting. Our man Mads then finds a seriously wounded young woman survivor of another plane crash and tows her on his trek. He ties her up in her sleeping bag and attends to her wound but apparently she never has to pee or poop for days, at least he pays no attention. But it is a good (not great) movie…you won’t forget it.

NEVER LOOK AWAY. Warning…this film is 3 hours and 9 minutes long and is based on a still famous German contemporary artists life. It’s full of Nazi politics, artistic statements, and it’ll make you think constantly. Not a great film but I call it courageous, because it is absorbing and well made. The real artist’s name is Gerhard Richter and none of us can afford his paintings today.

EVERYBODY KNOWS. For some reason I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Nope, it’s about a kidnapping, family relations, big parties, luscious landscapes and the kidnapping mystery. Who dunnit? We don’t find out for a very long time and don’t really have enough clues, but go see it anyways.

GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a racist story we are all too familiar with, how the white race protects the Blacks. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.

FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this  costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?

GRETA. Once you see that Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz are in this movie you might be tempted…but don’t go. It almost seems like the director had to work very hard to ruin every minute of this purported plot. It’s a sick movie about the very sick Isabelle who lures pretty young women subway passengers to her lair. Boring, predictable, and impossible.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.



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. March 12 has Jim Coffis Co-Founder and director of Green Trade talking about cannabis factors. Workmen’s comp. attorney Bob Taren returns to talk area politics and changes in issues following Coffis. On March 19 Maestro Michel Singher talks about the Espressivo Orchestra concert happening March 31st. Then Ellen Primack exec. dir of the Cabrillo Fest of Contemporary Music talks all about plans to upgrade the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Sue Powell and John Sears tell us all about Saving the Circle Church (Errett Circle) on March 26. They’re followed by Don Stump president and CEO of CCH talking  about senior housing and related issues. May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. 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

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.

QUOTES. “DAYLIGHT SAVINGS” (a week late but these are the first quotes I’ve ever seen on the topic).
“I forgot its daylight savings and was really confused how I spent an hour making this waffle”. Chris Demarais.
An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.”  Winston Churchill  
“Daylight time, a monstrosity in timekeeping.”  Harry S. Truman
“Daylight saving time: Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.” – Anonymous

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82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
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