Blog Archives

March 26 – April 1

Highlights this week:
BRATTON about Burying the Library, KSQD progress…GREENSITE on the city’s proposed sales tax increase…KROHN re UCSC growth locally and beyond, developer’s bonus plans… STEINBRUNER covers dirty drinking water, Groppetti –Nissan dealership in Soquel, cannabis licensing, and reasonable development?…PATTON about Corporations are People…EAGAN draws us into Facebook …DeCINZO hits law enforcement… NEW MUSIC WORKS…SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL…ESPRESSIVO ORCHESTRA… JENSEN reviews the new Andy Goldsworthy doc…BRATTON critiques UNSANE and LOVELESS…UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUESTS…QUOTES about HOMELESS.

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DAVENPORT CEMENT PLANT.1967. The original cement plant was built by the Portland Cement Company and opened in 1905.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

THE BEST OF POLE VAULTING. There’s something about this sport that seems extra-terrestrial
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FLAGPOLE SITTING? Watch and think about this guy, just one of hundreds back in the day.
THE BALD SIDE OF JOHN WAYNE. After all these decades it’s surprising to see this universal hero as a bald guy!

DATELINE March 26, 2018

LIBRARY UPRAISING, UPRISING, UPHEAVAL, USURPING. Few issues touch and affect as many citizens and visitors like the managing of the city library, any city library…in any city. Santa Cruz is facing an extreme change in the very existence of the main branch of our library. Few citizens are fully aware (so far) of what and how the proposed developmental changes will work. Long time residents Jean Brocklebank and Judi Grunstra created a newsletter and an organization titled “Don’t Bury The Library” — DBTL — that keeps folks aware. Here is almost every word from their latest issue.
“Isn’t it nice that there is no official Downtown Chapter of the non-profit organization called Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (fscpl.org)? There are six official chapters (Aptos, Boulder Creek, Capitola, Felton, La Selva Beach and Scotts Valley). Downtown is not one of them. So, for the moment, we are taking a bit of liberty in our greetings on this Update.

New DBTL Web Pages

  • We added a page especially for the Downtown Library Advisory Committee (DLAC).  This page includes our opinion of the DLAC process, which is:  From the very beginning there were problems with the eight month DLAC process, including, but not limited to, lack of adherence to the call for a “minimum of three meetings” to “engage citizens and stakeholders in meaningful dialogues” concerning the proposed plan to abandon the now historical downtown library, an integral part of the City’s Civic Center. The process basically went downhill from there.   To see the DLAC page, click here
  • Like us, some of you may be volunteers for the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, or may have donated to them over the years.  Because FSCPL has engaged in an extensive lobbying campaign to push acceptance of the DLAC recommendation for a library in a parking structure, we have added a FSCPL web page.  DBTL is challenging the accuracy of the content of the newsletters going out in the name of FSCPL.  To see the new FSCPL web page, go here   

Downtown Commission Meeting

On March 22 the Downtown Commission (DC) was presented with the DLAC Report.   The public was allowed 1-1/2 minutes each to address the Commission after the presentation.  About 10 people spoke, mostly from the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, including Rick Longinotti whose major point was that the parking garage would be subsidizing the library.  This is important because, as DBTL informed the Commission by email:

  • Our main concern for your Commission’s consideration is whether it is appropriate (or even legal) to use Parking District deficiency fees to construct a parking garage that will also include a 44,000 square foot library as a tenant of the parking structure.  The foundation, walls and roof of the proposed library will be built with deficiency fees.  That 44,000 square feet will not be able to be used for parking spaces.  Is a library or affordable housing, both of which will reduce parking spaces in a parking garage built with parking deficiency fees… appropriate or legal?

Judi Grunstra, active in DBTL and wearing her Don’t Bury The Library sign, also spoke at the meeting, informing the Commission of the lack of real public involvement in the DLAC process.  Interestingly, a DLAC member actually told the DC that one of the things they did hear from the public was that people were opposed to a library in a garage.  Thanks, Judi, for being there early in the morning of a very rainy day!

A New Wrinkle
Just as the City of Santa Cruz is trying to use Measure S funds to build a new library in a parking structure — something never mentioned in the Measure S ballot language — so also is the City of Scotts Valley trying to use Measure S funds to build a theater adjacent to their library.  Additionally, the County, led by Supervisor John Leopold, is trying to build a so-called “Live Oak Library Annex” to be located 1/2 mile away from the Live Oak Library between the Simpkins Swim Center and the Boys and Girls Club.  What’s up with that?  None of these projects meet the “where necessary” construction phrase of Measure S language.

Don’t Bury The Library will be contacting the Joint Powers Authority for the system wide library and asking for oversight of Measure S funds to be placed on the agenda of their May 3 meeting.  Stay tuned for an update if and when that is secured.  Meanwhile, there are two news articles on our website, one about the Scotts Valley project (3/21) and another one of Stephen Kessler’s most recent editorial (3/16).  Both can be read here:  http://dontburythelibrary.weebly.com/news-and-articles.html

City Council Meeting Update: For now all we know is that the Council will not have the DLAC Report on its April 10 agenda.  It is even starting to look unlikely that it will be on their April 24 agenda.  As soon as we know, you will know!

Our Mission remains: Keep the Downtown Library Branch in its current location — remodeled, renovated, refurbished. Again, go to their website to learn still more about this…http://dontburythelibrary.weebly.com  

KZSC ONE HOUR SPECIAL. You can hear Judi Grunstra, Rick Longinotti, Christopher Krohn and Jean Brocklebank discuss the library issue on my Universal Grapevine radio program Tuesday night April 3 for the full hour 7 to 8 p.m. at 88.1 fm or KZSC.org (go to “Listen Now” on your device.

KSQUID OOZES UPWARD!!! Some highlights of recent happenings in what looks to be Santa Cruz’s newest fm radio station. KSQD already has 71 program applications from some very well known names in the county. Some are new to radio and some are long timers. Their first elected acting board members are: Rachel Anne Goodman, Chair, Ned Hearn, Vice-Chair, Jean Kratzer, Treasurer, and Linda Burman-Hall, Secretary. The first temporary broadcast studio will be located at 399 Encinal which is out in Harvey West near or next to the County Board Of Education offices. They’re working on a final FCC agreement, a call letter certification and a contract with UCSC to lease their tower. The legal name of the station entity is Natural Bridges Media and they’ve filed with the IRS for tax exempt status. There’s a need for more funding and like all independent stations there’ll always be a need for more funding…this time through Crowdfunding: youcaring.com/ksqdfm-1133919 . If you’d like to submit a program proposal do it through http://centralcoastcommunityradio.org/?page_id=106 . They expect to go on-air by mid-June. In the meantime they announced, “Join us for a KSQD-FM Community Radio Meeting at the Santa Cruz Public Library Community Room upstairs on Thursday, April 19, 2018, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM”.

Dateline: March 25th 2018

CONTEMPLATING A VOTE
For the first time in 43 years I just registered to vote. Before concluding that I am civically irresponsible, remember that in the United States you have to be a citizen to vote and I only recently became a citizen. Most other developed countries do allow voting by permanent residents but not in the U.S.  So permanent residents in the U.S. are taxed without representation. Wasn’t there a revolution over that?

Despite widespread cynicism with electoral politics I think it will feel good to go to the polls. I’m hoping the poll workers won’t mind some basic questions such as “how does this work?”  I don’t want a mail-in ballot. Showing up in person seems significant although I appreciate that ability has its privileges. In Australia you are fined if you fail to vote. As a result, voter turnout is high with 94% voting in the last Australian federal election compared to 54% in the last U.S. federal election. It has other advantages.  Australians from all walks of life engage in political discussions on ballot issues of the day more than it seems do their U.S. counterparts. An engaged- citizenry is a good thing.

The issues on the local June ballot include the city of Santa Cruz’s quarter cent sales tax.  Not having the vote for the past 43 years has not dampened my enthusiasm for holding opinions but casting an actual vote calls for more careful consideration. And so I am carefully considering the pros and cons of a quarter cent city sales tax increase, bringing it up to the state-controlled limit of 9.25 per cent.  The increase is apparently needed to help offset a projected budget shortage due to increases in pension costs and health care costs that are expected to rise significantly before they get better. The sales tax, if passed, is expected to reduce the budget deficit by $3 million.

I have always opposed sales tax increases because they are a regressive tax, impacting lower income workers far more than the middle class and the wealthy. That’s reason enough. However the budget crisis is apparently real and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) is supporting the increase so a closer examination is in order.

Many residents are skeptical of the city’s claims of a budget crisis when the economy is hot, unemployment is at its lowest levels in decades, property taxes are in the ozone and new hotels are filling city coffers with their TOT (Transient Occupancy Taxes).  While all this is true, apparently the need to fill the void in projected pension costs overwhelms the increased revenue from other sources. One wonders how and why the city’s projected pension costs are 3 times higher than the state average? One hopes that this means the average worker is well taken care of in Santa Cruz city but it may also mean the city has more than average top management and pays them too much. In my opinion a yearly salary of around $200,000 not including benefits is a tad high for department heads while a quarter of the city’s workforce is temporary.

Then there’s the plethora of high-priced consultants which are becoming a city norm and the hiring of upper management department spokespeople who do the public relations job that many feel the highly paid department heads are fully capable of doing.  At a past budget presentation to city council I noted the comment that there is a “need to retain and develop city staff.” “Retain” seems reasonable but in a budget crisis, “develop” is probably not. And at which end of the employee spectrum will such development take place?

A further concern is that if passed, the sales tax increase will go into the General Fund, which basically means it can be used for anything that is paid for out of the General Fund. It cannot be earmarked for any specific item or need: that would require a two-thirds vote to pass rather than a simple majority.  How can we trust that the tax won’t come back to bite us, say in the form of fiscal support for the highly unpopular Wharf Master Plan project? Many residents voted for Measure S to support and renovate our libraries and are now outraged that such funds are proposed to be used to tear down the current main library and stick it under a 5 story parking garage.

As this campaign progresses, expect to see a list of the most popular programs, mostly under Parks and Recreation that will be cut if the sales tax isn’t passed. Such manipulation has always irked me and the public usually falls for it. Rather, I suggest a list of ten top city boondoggles that will be cut, a short-list of projects that will be funded if the sales tax is passed and a firm commitment that not one penny will go towards morphing our historic municipal wharf nor tearing down our municipal library.

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  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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Dateline March 26, 2018

The Bernie “Tweet of the Week” is actually a video, “Inequality in America: A National Town Hall,” featuring Bernie Sanders , Senator Elizabeth Warren, film-maker Michael Moore, and economist Darrick Hamilton, It is riveting, informative, and offers a look at what a presidential team might look like working together in crystallizing national issues and forming consensus responses for the 100%, not just the 1%. Impressive. Check it out at:

KEEP GETTING WOKE
SHIT HAPPENS: THE UC “GOLD STANDARD” GROWTH PLAN FOR SANTA CRUZ QUESTIONED ON MANY FRONTS.
“The University of California is preeminent in educating the state’s young people, in enhancing research and scholarship in every discipline, in fostering economic growth, medicine, the arts, its athletic and other programs. Simply put, UC is the gold standard. Together, we must ensure that this standard is upheld.” (Janet Napolitano, https://www.ucop.edu)

The corporate offices of the University of California are located at 1111 Franklin Street in the city of Oakland, California, and its subsidiary, UC Santa Cruz has an address at 1156 High Street in Santa Cruz. Together they form an unelected growth machine in the midst of conceiving, and rarely revealing all sorts of growth plans they have for a coastal part of earth between the 36th and 37th parallels. (Yes, they act globally and do not seem to think much locally).But, at their own peril the public corporate cats based in “Oak Town” are shunting aside the views, opinions, lifestyles, and jobs of those who will be most affected by their education biz chess moves: students, staff, faculty and perhaps most significantly, the 45,000 non-university-related residents who live uneasily with the fear of being swallowed by a brand of education corporatism, which is nowhere to be found in UC President Napolitano’s statement above.

More than Just a Town-Gown Tussle
It turns out not all is well among the Surf City serfs. A full-scale attack is being mounted inside and outside the Kingdom of the Slug. This UC growth tape worm thing might not be the slam dunk UC officials were quite expecting. A coastal sleeping giant is waking up and ready for a fight. What’s at stake? That old, revered, and basic political notion known as sovereignty–self-rule, freedom, and autonomy. It’s being demanded by those damn “Townies,” while at the same time undermined by The U, Inc.” UC Oakland may quickly find itself under siege as fast as the sea level may rise that some of its research scientists suggest could happen when the atmosphere has had enough of human-induced warming. But for now, who is studying resident indignation-rise around the City on a Hill? There are no fewer than five groups organized on and off-campus to not only “limit” university growth, as the CLUE lawsuit sought to do in the mid-2000’s–remember those days…Aaahhh, 2004, when you could actually find a seat on the 15, 16, or 19 buses; or a parking space after paying $4 for an A permit (now $9); or even get to Highway 1 in less than 25 minutes on any weekday afternoon?) These groups want to put a STOP to the inflow of any more students above 19,500 for a period, maybe for a period of five years. Outcries are coming from not only residents feeling besieged, but from students, staff and faculty who daily witness the quality and scholarship of a once pedagogically and ecologically avant-garde UC campus erode and begin to engage in daily conflicts with a once welcoming host city. In fact, the Santa Cruz city council has placed an up or down enrollment growth (referendum?) initiative on the June 5th ballot. Voters will be asked, yes or no, should UCSC grow past its current agreed upon cap of 19,500 students? Stay tuned, maybe we will have our sovereign day in our coastal fog and sun.

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Here are the pictures of the week, which really is a  multiple collage of pictures from the March for Life in Phoenix, Arizona…similar to all the other marches I’ve seen around the country. It was spectacular in that the participation and leadership of students stands as a testament to what our country is capable of producing in terms of conscientious approach to stifling guns and gun violence in our country.

(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).

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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Dateline March 25, 2018

MONKEY SAW, MONKEY DID

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.   BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!

COUNTY SUPERVISORS DID NOT READ STANFORD ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CLINIC OPPOSITION TO SB 623 GREEN LIGHT FOR WATER POLLUTERS IN CALIFORNIA
County Supervisors, led by Chairman Zach Friend, approved Santa Cruz County endorsement of legislation that will allow polluters to continue contaminating drinking water supplies.  Several community members spoke out against the action, but were ignored.  It seems that the Board of Supervisors had not read the SB 623 legislation language and also ignored the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic’s evaluation and opposition of the bill. Here is a link to a letter of opposition to SB 623 from a group of organizations that contains a legal analysis of the bill by Stanford Environmental Law Clinic.  

According to this legal analysis, SB 623 would establish a new precedent for a “pay to pollute” exemption from the Porter-Cologne Act.

County Supervisor Zach Friend recommended the Board approve his plan to send County endorsement of Senator Bill Monning’s SB 623 “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fee” proposed legislation at their March 13 meeting as a “non-controversial” Consent Agenda item #18.  I pulled it that day and, as a Regular Agenda item, allowed for greater public discussion.  This legislation will prohibit state and regional jurisdictions from enforcing the regulations that stop polluters from contaminating the groundwater drinking water supplies in the areas where there are problems.  There was NO discussion by the Board, and no expert staff was asked to answer questions posed in the public testimonies.

Please contact your County Supervisor about this and ask that the County endorsement be rescinded until Senator Monning removes the language that will allow polluters to continue contaminating drinking water supplies until 2035, as long as they pay the SB 623 “Safe Drinking Water Fees”.  831-454-2200 and

Write your County Supervisor:

Contact Senator Bill Monning (916)651-4017 and ask for Mr. Trevor Taylor, the staff person who is in charge of taking public comment on SB 623.  His e-mail is Trevor Taylor trevor.taylor@sen.ca.gov.  According to Senator Monning’s staff, the proposed legislation is currently waiting to be heard by the Assembly Rules Committee.  This Committee is chaired by Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), who can be contacted at 916-319-2008.   Here is a link to a Sacramento Bee article about his position as Chairman of Assembly Rules Committee, and what that means.  

Here is the re-worked version of SB 623 that your County Board of Supervisors endorsed without (most likely) reading

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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 KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | #79 / Corporations Are Persons, Too!

Zephyr Teachout, an academic, an activist, and a former candidate for Governor of New York, has written a nice review in The New York Review of Books. The book that Teachout has reviewed is called, We The Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

Most of us know about Citizens United. This is the United States Supreme Court case that made clear that corporate “civil rights” includes the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on American politics. Money is just the same as “speech,” according to the Supreme Court, and we all know that “free speech” is fundamental to American democracy.

Some have observed a flaw in the system, as now structured under Citizens United. While we may all be free to speak out, individuals and corporations alike, it actually costs a lot of money to distribute a message to the American public. This is no problem if you have billions of dollars, like the Koch Brothers, and like many corporations. If you have the money, you can really say a lot! If you don’t have billions of dollars, it turns out that “free speech” isn’t actually “free.” Without the bucks to be able to distribute your message you are strictly out of luck.

Since I am basing this blog posting on a one-page book review, and not on the book itself, I am not exactly certain how We The Corporations addresses this issue. Teachout doesn’t highlight it. What did strike me in Teachout’s review, though, is her accurate observation that corporations are “persons,” too. If they are, and that is pretty undeniable, given the current state of the law, then corporations can be regulated in the same way other persons are. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, to impose dramatic public regulations over the operations of all American corporations. As Teachout puts it: “We need neither abolish corporations nor accept them as they are; we can instead fight for new laws and for new Supreme Court justices. If we don’t like how corporations have appropriated civil rights in the name of citizens, we can change that”.

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 and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Professor DeCinzo looks at our “law enforcement” situation… scroll below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Facebooked” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, plus the ever entertaining Eaganblog with his “Grille of my Dreams”.

NEW MUSIC WORKS. April 7.  New Music Works has a concert Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High Street Santa Cruz, CA.

The concert title is BECAUSE. The guest artists are; Akindele Bankole composer and vocalist- Sarah Cahill, piano- Lori Rivera, vocalist-Marina Thomas, organ –The Ariose Singers, conductor, Camille Couture -NewMusicWorks Ensemble, conductor, Philip Collins. They’ll play works by Akindele Bankole, Jon Scoville, Igor Stravinsky, Frank Pesci, John Thomas, John Lennon, Christopher Pratorius. More info and tickets at newmusicworks.org.

SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL. April 8. Their concert is Sunday, April 8 at 3 p.m. In the UCSC Music Recital Hall. The concert title is…”The Musical OfferingJ.S.Bach” playing that day are Edwin Huizinga, Baroque violin. Lars Johannesson, traverso flute. Adaiha McAdam Somer, viola da gamba and Linda Burman-Hall, harpsichord. In 1747 J.S. Bach visited Potsdam, where the Emperor Frederick challenged him to prove his musical ability by immediately improvising on a theme composed by the Emperor himself. Bach’s genius prevailed, and this collection of canons and fugues are the result. This intricate music exemplifies the counterpoint nature of the challenge, with notes choreographed against one another in the “classic rock” style of High Baroque. This concert includes other works of Bach, and invites you to step into the heart of the dark, dramatic challenge of an Emperor. Tickets are available for purchase online, and at the door with cash, check, or credit card.

ESPRESSIVO ORCHESTRA. April 15. This concert is titled, “Eight, Nine, Ten—Go!” It happens Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm at the Colligan Theater at the Tannery Arts Center located at 1010 River Street, Santa Cruz, California. They will play Ludwig van Beethoven Rondino (Octet), WoO 25 (1795) – Franz Lachner Nonet (1875) – and Jean Francaix Dixtuor (1987. For tickets and information go to  http://www.espressorch.org

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “The fruitful relationship between filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers and Tides) and the extraordinary “environmental artist,” Andy Golsdworthy, continues in a vibrant new doc titled “Leaning IntoThe Wind – Andy Goldsworthy”, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com/). See it if you want to get your own creative juices flowing! Also, details emerge about the upcoming audiobook and future giveaways for Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

LOVELESS. Definitely not an easy film to watch. It was Russia’s entry for Oscar’s best foreign film this year, and centered on contemporary Russian “middle class” family life. A bitterly fighting couple torture their 12 year old son with their constant battling. He is so hurt and unloved that he disappears. If you’ve ever been in or lived with a screaming, shouting, very deep and detested relationship you’ll leave the theatre feeling very bad. And it’s a well-made film.

UNSANE. Real film followers know what to expect when it’s a Steven Soderbergh film, and Unsane is one of his best works. Claire Foy (star of The Queen) is the tortured lead and Joshua Leonard (Blair Witch Project and Higher Ground) is her stalker/torturer. It’s the scary, numbing story of a woman who is troubled psychologically to begin with, and then makes the scary mistake of signing documents that she didn’t read. That possibility alone should scare and wake all of us. Soderbergh shot the entire film on an iPhone, edited it at night and in 10-12 days had it finished. That he has the courage and talent to go against the billion dollar corporate films being produced today is extraordinary. A unique film, as are most of Soderbergh’s creations…it’s not easy to watch, and the acting is near-perfect. Full & happy disclosure, I sat with Joshua Leonard’s parents, who are old friends, who left their Watsonville home for Santa Cruz’s Del Mar theatre to see his newest. Go for it!!!

A FANTASTIC WOMAN. Daniela Vega is a transgender actor portraying a transgender lover of an older married man. The film just won the Oscar for best foreign film and it should have, it’s an amazing film. It’s in Spanish and directed by Chilean writer director Sebastian Leilo. Daniela Vega did n Oscar presentation last night at the Oscars in the same dress he wore in the film. You’ll learn a lot from this brilliant, touching, accurately acted film. Don’t miss it. I’m emailing all my close movie expert friends to see it immediately.

THE SHAPE OF WATER. A 93 on RT and that means something! Sally Hawkins plays a beautiful mute working in a lab who cares for, and falls in love with a mysterious water creature. It’s a fable, a fairy story, and reminds us of the black and white fantasy films from the 40’s and 50’s. It’s vital to know that it’s directed by Guillermo Del Toro who also did Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy. It is such an enormous change from every other film we’ve seen in years that its worth going just for the fun of it.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. First, please note the 95 RT rating. When you have Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell working in a film directed by an Oscar winning director you almost can’t miss. It is definitely a dark comedy. The plot contains murder, rape, loyalty, cancer, and some absolutely brilliant acting. Go see it, and force all your friends to see it too.

THOROUGHBREDS. Two very privileged teen-age rich girls try to figure out what their lives are about. It’s up-state Connecticut and it is a biting, psychological peek into isolated, removed out of touch 15 year olds. Not funny, not satire, not rewarding and definitely not for anyone seeking a fine happy time at the movies. BUT like The Strangers, it too is a well made film.

LOVE, SIMON. This is a very light, music background, story of a teen age boy coming out as gay. It contains drama, real pain, peer and penis envy and it’s still “lighter than heir”. (Pun intended). No stars involved, but it’s a nice movie.

THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT. It’s a sequel but never mind that…it is one very well made film. It is bloody, violent, senseless, pointless and edited and expertly directed to scare the hell out of everybody. I certainly won’t say you’ll like it, I’m not sure I did but I cannot deny the pacing, camera angles and movement combine to make it a genuine knuckle breaker. Christina Hendricks who starred for 8 years in Mad Men is the only star you might recognize in this trailer park murder mess.

RED SPARROW. Jennifer Lawrence is just a little bit better at ballet than I am and she’s also much better an actor in every one of her other films than she is in this spy action Red Sparrow flick. She’s a ballet dancer who gets hurt, and actually goes to a Russian government run whore’s school and learns how to spy on people and use lots of sex. Of course like anyone with little imagination would write she falls for an American and everybody lies a lot, then the movie ends. Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, and Ciarán Hinds are in it too but they shouldn’t have been, they don’t help at all.

ANNIHILATION. This is the Natalie Portman science fiction thriller that got an 87 on RT. If you pay close attention there is quite a moral, philosophic base to the plot. Like one line I can’t forget…”all humans self destruct either by suicide, drinking or smoking”. The same director did “Ex Machina” so you can tell he’s got something to say. But it’s way too hard to follow. There’s a sort of foggy, swirly, shimmer wall and people go through the wall. The dead come back to life, time goes back on itself, and on and on. Maybe if you really concentrate and stay awake you’ll get some kind of profound meaning from Annihilation…I’m not sure.

BLACK PANTHER. Like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman created a lot of good will and empowered women Black Panther does the same for Blacks in America and around the rest of the world. Both are based on comics – DC and Marvel respectively and are full of violence, killings and special effects. I’m finding it more and more difficult to see these action films with messages like revenge, torture, and blood and guts as having any semblance of cinematic art. Black Panther is science fiction, space travel and still the characters use spears and super hi tech weapons to kill each other. There are messages in this movie so I read…but I sensed nothing positive in it. Now I wonder since this has been such a blockbuster if we’ll see Mexican Panther, Chinese Panther, Croatian Panther?

TOMB RAIDER 2018. Angelina Jolie (Oscar winner and ultra conservative actor Jon Voight’s daughter) starred in the first two Tomb Raider films, in 2001 and 2003. Now, with a 50 RT score Alicia Vikander, Dominic West and Kristin ScottThomas (in a very small role) have tried to bring back that comic book-type spectacle. It’s 98% special effects, and centers on a search for some mythical spirit power…I think. Sleep overtook me, at about 11:30 am on a Saturday morning. Tomb Raider was once a video game, if that gives you any more clues whether or not you’d like it.

A WRINKLE IN TIME. The much hyped adapting of this hugely popular children’s book by black woman director Ava DuVernay is a flop. Even with Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon and Zach Galifianakis it’s still a flop, and got a 42 on Rotten Tomatoes. Many women friends have told me Wrinkle was their favorite book when they were little. It’s so far out so otherworldly so fantastical it becomes unwakeable while you try to watch it. Think of time world-travel children’s classics like Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, ET, Fantasia and more. I saw it in 3D and it didn’t help, I couldn’t follow it…and there didn’t seem to be any reason to do so.

THE PARTY. A star studded cast with Bruno Ganz, Patricia Clarkson, Cilian Murphy, Emily Mortimer and mostly Kristin Scott Thomas. It’s a very dark comedy/satire that really bites deep. It’s also an intellectual London apartment party where the cruelty and humor fight for top billing. Vicious, scathing, cruel zingers just about kill everybody and could get to you too if you go. Yes, it did get an 84 on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s only 71 minutes long.

GAME NIGHT. An extra dopey, low grade, over used plot with stars like Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams (and her dimples) trying to make it into a comedy. Couples get together for one of those “who did the murder” themes only ha, ha, ha, it isn’t a fake. It’s boring, trite, unbelievable, and lacks any semblance of humor.

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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 27 Chris Connery and Paul Schoellhamer from the East Meadow Action Committee talk about UCSC and development. Then local author Leslie Karst talks about her new book, “Death al Fresco“. April 2 the full hour will be devoted to the heavily debated proposed Library/Parking Garage with Rick Longinotti, Chris Krohn, Judi Grunstra and Jean Brocklebank. April 10 has Veterans advocate Dean Kaufman discussing news and programs created for our veterans. He’s followed by Robert Morgan discussing the Frankenstein 200th Anniversary Celebration conference happening at MAH. On April 17 Davis Banta director of Assassins at MCT talks about the Sondheim musical. Then folks from The Reel Work Film Festival reveal this year’s festival films. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttp://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton 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 bratton@cruzio.com

I love me some good beatboxing. This is impressive 🙂

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the 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. “HOMELESS”

“You can spend the money on new housing for poor people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course”. Jello Biafra
“If my fans want to do something for me when that time comes, I say, don’t waste your money on me. Help the homeless. Help the needy… people who don’t have no food… Instead of some big funeral, where they come from here and there and all over. Save it”. B.B. King
“I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder, never welcomed”. Gustav Mahler


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Click and enter the box in the upper right hand corner of each Column. You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!) Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

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

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com

BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.

Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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