Blog Archives

March 5 – 11, 2018

Highlights this week:
BRATTON about Google and our silicon beach development, Dream Inn plans slightly revised back again, Bonny Doon & Cemex property…GREENSITE on UCSC growth hype…KROHN deals with Soda tax and Exxon pressure, rent control…STEINBRUNER reports on cannabis licensing, more taxes, no local hires at Rancho del Mar, public hearings lack of notices, Aptos Village meetings…PATTON and mosquitoes, Trump and viruses…EAGAN and the NRA…DeCINZO and the rains…JENSEN and “A Fantastic Woman”…Bratton  critiques Red Sparrow, Death Wish, Nostalgia, and A Fantastic WomanUNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUESTSQUOTES great quotes on Daylight Savings Time (March 11th!)


WALNUT AND CENTER STREETS December 3, 1951. Joseph LaBue, accounting firm  used to be on this corner. Now it’s Asphera. They make optical aspheres which replace multi -ens designs..? Anyways, they had quite a rainy season back in 1951.                                                    

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

DEBBIE BULGER sent this You tube video reminding us we had warnings before the 1989 earthquake, and either ignored them or laughed!! Loma Prieta Earthquake 1989 Santa Cruz: 1987 Official Warning

UCSC AND THE 1989 EARTHQUAKE. Here’s another reminder of that 1989 quake and some on camera reactions at UCSC.

OPTICAL ILLUSION DANCERS. I know I used this one before but I just watched it again. Strange that it hasn’t been copied and added more effects.

DATELINE March 5, 2018

WHAT IF GOOGLE OR FACEBOOK??? With all the talk and strife regarding growth, rents, students, and development in general, just think about this…what if Google, Facebook, eBay or another monster tech giant announced they want to build and create a new branch factory right here in Santa Cruz? Of course it would be a big one — employing 1000’s — and creating a gigantic spiffy new architectural marvel taking up 100 + acres? Want to bet we’d have a civil war between all the businesses like Chambers, Associations, developers, ¾ of the city council and realtors versus environmentalists? It would be huge. We defeated the 10,000 homes planned for Wilder Ranch back in the 70’s, but I wouldn’t bet on it now. The difference between the reaction to UCSC growth and a Google Expansion…tell me about it!!!

DREAM INN PLANS REVEALED…AGAIN. Speaking of development,   last Friday’s Sentinel (March 2) had a sketch and some sketchy new plans for the parking lot across the street from the Dream Inn. The public’s loud and clear reaction to Long Beach-based developer Ensemble Real Estate Investments led them to replace the first architect, and make a few other changes. As the Sentinel states in its kiss-up copying of the developer’s wishes…“The project is a housing project, first and foremost. It’s an inclusionary project that offers affordable housing on site at income levels that will be attainable to local service workers,” Ensemble principal and project lead Tyson Sayles said in a sit-down interview Friday. “We’re not just meeting, we’re exceeding the city’s inclusionary housing standards, and we’re doing that to qualify for the state’s density bonus.” Apparently we are supposed to believe that. We know full well that maybe the Coastal Commission will stay firm, but we also know that after listening to developer’s pleas that it won’t pencil out and the affordable part will get lost. Watch this space, and don’t forget that once again it was — and is — the power of the people joining together that made these small changes possible.

BONNY DOON & DAVENPORT & CEMEX & BEVIRT. The latest issue of the Rural Bonny Doon Association’s  newsletter has an important article that affects our county….

Will Joby Aviation’s Cement Plant Plan Fly?

As Bonny Doon startup Joby Aviation pursues the purchase of the closed Cemex Cement Plant, Davenport residents are wondering whether they like the idea.

On Dec. 5 in Davenport, at a public meeting to discuss possible uses for the shuttered plant, Joby founder JoeBen Bevirt, who grew up on Last Chance Road, stated his desire to purchase the plant to develop an electric helicopter. Recently, Joby received a $100 million investment to help it stay ahead of several other major competitors around the world, including Uber. Bevirt’s vision is to build a helicopter fleet that can zip three or four passengers at a time above traffic, at a relatively reasonable cost, about $60. The machines are now being tested at the former Cemex limestone quarry east of Bonny Doon Road, which Bevirt bought a few years ago.
At the Dec. 5 meeting the proposal by Bevirt received a generally favorable response, though people worried that if he no longer controlled Joby the new management might not be as community and environmentally friendly as Bevirt. They also wanted to know a lot more specific details before blessing the proposal, like noise levels, how many employees will work there, and proposed flight paths. Bevirt is expected to respond in the near future, and there will be another community meeting to talk about it.

On Dec. 17, the Davenport/North Coast Association (DNCA) met with Bevirt and the County to formulate its terms for endorsing the proposal. The DNCA has several major concerns, regardless of who takes over the cement plant: that the small town nature of Davenport be preserved; that the tangled rights to San Vicente Creek water be settled and Davenport’s rights to it be permanently established and that new uses of the plant not impact the supply; that the new owners provide high-quality well-paid jobs; that any toxics at the plant be cleaned up; that it also be used as a visitor center and access point for Cotoni Coast Dairies and San Vicente Redwoods and that the Rail Trail connect to it; that oceanside development be limited (one of Cemex’s parcels is west of Hwy. 1); and that various other services be improved, including internet and cell phone communications, fire, police and postal service”.  Let’s see how the RBDA follows up on this one., and especially watch how their County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty handles it.

PRT SPONSOR SITE. If you glance to the right in this you’ll see a bunch of sponsors. Also please notice the new sponsor PRT (Personal Rapid Transit). It’s a link to their website, as are each and every one of the other sponsor spaces. Almost all of them are there because of an annual donation. Considering our reading audience that annual donation is a considerable bargain considering the past and present feedback. If you or your organization would like one of those spaces email me at and we’ll make arrangements. Thanks for thinking about it.

March 5, 2018

Tis the season of UCSC’s Long Range Development Planning (LRDP) for the next 15 years as the current Plan expires in 2020.  The reassurances and smooth talking that accompanied the last LRDP in 2005 are already underway with Sentinel op-eds from the Chancellor and other spokespeople and community meetings about to begin. Even our esteemed Bruce Bratton seems to have drunk the kool-aid if last week’s comments following his interview with alumna Donna Mekis are any indication.

Had I not gone through the LRDP process before, I too may find the reassurances compelling, the gentle chastisements plausible, the facts as presented all there is to know.  There will be thousands of words spoken and even more pages of written material in this process, all designed to couch growth in reasonable, inevitable, feel-good terms. If the community accepts that  “lessening the impacts of growth” is the best we can hope for, we have already accepted further UCSC growth. Having participated in the last LRDP process I now better recognize the major arguments trotted out to silence and dismiss opposition.

Much has been said about not blaming the Chancellor for UCSC growth so let’s get that out of the way first. Yes, the final decision on UC growth is in the hands of the Regents and the Legislature. However the Chancellor is in a prime position to be the messenger and the message is clear: the city of Santa Cruz cannot sustain any further growth at UCSC, whether it be mitigated or whether it be housed on or off campus.

Yes, UCSC houses a higher percentage of students on campus (53%) than other campuses. OK let’s say “well done” and get back to the main point, which is: the town cannot absorb any more students seeking non-existent housing. And even if UCSC were to build 8,000 more beds on campus there is no way to force students to live on campus; the rents of such beds will never be “affordable” but will drive up rents in town and the unique beauty and natural habitat of the lands that comprise UCSC will be forever lost to generations.

Yes, the 1963 agreements envisioned an eventual UCSC campus of 27,500 students. That was a number more plucked out of the air than based on a careful examination of environmental, economic and physical restraints. No one knew that underneath the campus lands there was a maze of limestone caves that would make on campus building costs higher than other campuses. No one predicted that housing costs and rents would skyrocket to today’s obscene levels. No one considered environmental constraints, since the environmental movement had barely begun. In order to make an informed decision about further growth, the attention should be on the impact of the current enrollment, not diverted to a long ago unrealistic number.

A favorite squelch is the need for a UC education by the “burgeoning, diverse population” as the Chancellor describes it. Or as UCSC spokesperson Scott Hernandez-Jason was quoted in the Good Times: “UCSC needs to grow to be more accessible to low income communities.” Really? How does growth achieve more accessibility? Are low-income communities unaware that rents in Santa Cruz are off the charts? Wouldn’t a wise low- income family consider every other UC except UCSC in terms of housing costs? That’s a shame but it is the current reality. Increasing the size of UCSC is not going to change that reality except to make it worse. And if the numbers of CA students seeking a UC education is rapidly increasing and parents are agitating for a bigger UC enrollment as is claimed, then the Regents and the Legislature better start planning for a new campus pronto, particularly in an area of the state that is underserved, such as the north of the state which has far cheaper housing costs.

UC Merced was built in 2005. While it is the newest campus, it is not new. Its enrollment is around 8,000, which would seem to make it the logical place to absorb student growth. Whenever that suggestion is made, all sorts of obstacles are envisioned. They don’t have any spare beds. So? Neither does UCSC. You can’t absorb a big influx of students all at once. Reasonable. They then claim that student growth at UCSC won’t happen all at once, but will be phased in. OK. Do the same at UC Merced.

The legislature is criticized for reducing its fiscal support for the UC system from 40% to 10%. While that has implications for educational costs to parents and students it is not an argument for increased growth at UCSC but is a diversion. Go blame them! Anyone who has first hand experience of the massive increase of UCSC administration at the bloated top level might better understand some of the reasons for reduced state fiscal support, which is not a formula for student growth but rather the opposite.

Even if one accepts that UC growth is a good thing in order to educate California students, which is a reasonable perspective that in itself does not imply that UCSC should be the site for such growth given the obvious constraints. Yet it is an argument used constantly to dismiss the message that Santa Cruz cannot absorb more growth. It is a fact that UCSC has grown at a faster rate than other UC campuses despite having more constraints for growth. In the 10 years from 1999-2009 UCSC grew at a rate two and a half times faster that UCLA, UCSB and UCB. The projected growth rate for the UC campuses has UCSC growing 10 times that of UCB, 3 times that of UCI and 2 times that of UCSB. We are projected to grow at a faster rate than every other campus except UCR. Such a projection suggests that concern for UCSC growth impacts on the town and assurances that we are all part of the community is just rhetoric. We should not look to UCSC for solutions.  They are the problem. We need to take matters into our own hands and make this a political fight for the livable future of Santa Cruz, students and locals alike.

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.

March 5, 2018


We should not be selling assault weapons in this country. These weapons are not for hunting. They are military weapons for killing human beings. (Feb. 26)

As usual, this past week was jam-packed with so much Santa Cruz. It is hard to believe how much this town takes on! For example, not only is the city of Santa Cruz actually part of a multi-city law suit against Exxon, et al, because of their business practices knowingly aid and abet climate change, we’ve also received veiled, and indirect threats by two humongous trade groups. One, American Beverage Association based out of Washington, D.C., sent two consultants, one from Santa Monica and the other from San Jose to “lobby” councilmembers against us taxing sweetened beverages as San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Philadelphia, and Boulder now do. It’s interesting how many are paid to stop good ideas. The ABA(?) made it clear they would spend some money to defeat any kind of ballot initiative Santa Cruz might come up with, as they also spent oodles of cash to defeat initiatives in the above five cities. The SC council seemed to shy away from placing this tax on the June ballot after the consultant’s visit because we did not really have our ducks in a row yet…meaning Bloomberg Foundation, American Heart Association and other health groups who support beverage taxes and may very well help fund a local campaign. Turns out we may just come back in November, but please, nobody tell the ABA this, please…just between us, okay? The other group about to come down, big-time on Surf City, may very well be the California Apartment Owner’s Association. They do not much like rent freezes, just-cause eviction ordinances, or rent control initiatives. They too stand ready, cash machine on dispense, ready to bank roll an anti-rent control campaign as soon as the petition signatures are validated. Santa Cruz has played in the big league’s before and it’s where many of our voters want us to be (people, please let us know otherwise?), so get ready for flying rhetorical self-interested trade groups beasts and stuffed mail boxes aplenty this fall.


Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata are current and former Seattle city councilmembers, and both supported the $15 an hour minimum wage AND rent control. Both are schooled in the rhetoric of what real estate, developer, and corporate interests throw at you during a campaign. In fact, Licata says about rent control, “Greedy landlords? No. We live in an economic environment that creates the current atmosphere.” Meaning landlords are caught up in the $market$ and help create ever-higher rents. Rent control is still illegal in Washington State, since 1981, and even after Seattle’s big push to lift the statewide ban it died in the state legislature this past Feb. 6th. While rent control is severely limited in California because of the Costa-Hawkins Act, it’s still possible in Santa Cruz. Rent control exists in Berkeley, Richmond, and Santa Monica, it has lost three times here. The “Great Santa Cruz Rent Freeze,” passed by the city council on Feb. 13th, offers cover for rent control petitioners to gather signatures without fear that rents will continue to increase, and a fighting chance to deliver an initiative safely to the November ballot. It won’t be easy. Contact Movement for Housing Justice if you’re interested in signing or carrying a petition to get it on the ballot. And if you want to see a couple of expert-advocates in action, check out Sawant and Licata in this Seattle rent control debate (video on the right).

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‘Cause That’s What Friends Are For…WAMM Founder, Valerie Coral and Food Not Bombs Founder, Keith McHenry outside the Santa Cruz post office on Sunday. We’re all used to having these folks around as Santa Cruz friends and neighbors, but Google them and you will find they have a national following. We are lucky!

Double Rainbow! It’s not very often you see a rainbow, but a double rainbow? It happened Sunday over the Town Clock.
(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

March 5, 2018

I attended the Planning Commission hearing last week regarding the upcoming Board of Supervisor approval of Cannabis Licensing issues and ordinance changes.  The room was full and over-flowing.  The Commission will decide at their next meeting on March 14 what recommendations to make to the Board.

This industry is estimated to bring nearly $4 Million in revenue to the County budget, according to CAO Carlos Palacios’ report last week.  Will the rural environments and the residents living in those areas get consideration?  Is it a good idea for the County to grant Commercial Use permits in the rural residential and timber zone areas (such as is what is already happening with wineries and special event use)?  Will the responsible Cannabis growers and distributors get what the County has promised in exchange for them coming forward and paying thousands of dollars?  Will the process become so onerous that the black market will thrive even more, with gang-affiliated operations in the rural County areas with negligible enforcement of regulations?

Stay tuned…and attend the March 14 Planning Commission meeting if you can.  Here is the agenda

Note that the Commission will also be considering an update to the dense development planned for the Pleasure Point Lumberyard  and also the County General Plan.

I stopped by the Carpenters Local 505 office on Searidge Drive in Aptos recently to talk with them about how many jobs the Rancho del Mar remodel and Aptos Village Project are providing for LOCAL workers.  Sadly, he said there are hardly any. 

Rancho del Mar owner TRC Retail awarded the contract for jobs to Sacramento-based Deacon Construction Co., and there are no local workers on the job.  Here is the website for Deacon

That company does not hire apprentices. Here is the link to TRC Retail, if you would like to let CEO Mr. Hugh Sweig or Project Manager Mr. Scott Grady know what you think:

The Aptos Village Project has a couple of local subcontractors, but largely the carpentry jobs are filled by workers from out of the area. 

Both have demonstrated considerable disregard for environmental practices, especially hazardous materials handling and uncontrolled storm water runoff without sediment catchment basins and filtration mechanisms to prevent sediment from entering Aptos Creek and Valencia Creek.  In the case of Aptos Village Project, the soils being allowed to run into the creeks may be laden with diesel and lead contaminants.  Santa Cruz County Environmental Planner, Ms. Carolyn Burke, has been unresponsive to my repeated requests for information and/or action.  Contact her: Carolyn Burke

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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

March 5, 2018 #64 / He’s The Mosquito, Not the Virus

Tom Engelhardt is an American writer and editor. He writes a blog called TomDispatch, which is associated with The Nation Institute. Englehardt is also one of the co-founders of the American Empire Project and is the author of the 1998 book, The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation.

I regularly get notices about Englehardt’s latest blog postings, which he calls “Tomgrams.” For some reason, the latest notice I got was about a posting from 2016, in which Englehardt commented on then-candidate Donald J. Trump. I thought his headline was pretty good:

Donald Trump Is the Mosquito, Not the Zika Virus

As Englehardt’s 2016 posting reminds us, there was, during all the months leading up to the 2016 election, “much discussion of Donald Trump’s potential for ‘authoritarianism’ (or incipient ‘fascism,’ or worse).” Englehardt further observes that this authoritarian threat was “generally treated as if it were some tendency or property unique to the man who rode a Trump Tower escalator into the presidential race to Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Since Mr. Trump’s election, I would say that concern about his authoritarian tendencies has not abated, but in fact increased.
Englehardt’s point, though, is that Trump is merely spreading a disease that has existed in our body politic for some time. He’s not the actual problem. He’s just spreading the problem around.

Mosquitoes are usually more of an annoyance than a danger to life itself. But if the mosquitoes are carrying around a deadly virus, that’s a different story. I agree with Tom Englehardt that the virus that is being spread around by our current president is definitely dangerous, and is democracy-threatening, and that it has been infecting our national life for a long time:

Few bother to consider the ways in which the foundations of authoritarianism have already been laid in this society — and not by disaffected working class white men either. Few bother to consider what it means to have a national security state and a massive military machine deeply embedded in our ruling city and our American world. Few think about the (count ’em!) 17 significant intelligence agencies that eat close to $70 billion annually or the trillion dollars or more a year that disappears into our national security world, or what it means for that state within a state, that shadow government, to become ever more powerful and autonomous in the name of American “safety,” especially from “terrorism” (though terrorism represents the most microscopic of dangers for most Americans).

In this long election season, amid all the charges leveled at Donald Trump, where have you seen serious discussion of what it means for the Pentagon’s spy drones to be flying missions over the “homeland” or for “intelligence” agencies to be wielding the kind of blanket surveillance of everyone’s communications — from foreign leaders to peasants in Afghanistan to American citizens — that, technologically speaking, put the totalitarian regimes of the previous century to shame? Is there nothing of the authoritarian lurking in all this? Could that urge really be the property of The Donald and his followers alone?
An engaging article in the February 26, 2018, edition of The New Yorker, which I read the same day I saw the 2016 “Tomgram,” discusses the work of German philosopher and cultural theorist Peter Sloterdijk, who comes at an analysis of President Trump from a completely different angle, but arrives at pretty much the same conclusion as Englehardt: 

“Trump is a degenerate sheriff…. What makes Trump dangerous is that he exposes parts of liberal democracies that were only shadowily visible up until now. In democracies, there is always an oligarchic element, but Trump makes it extremely, comically visible.” For Sloterdijk, Trump’s true significance lies in the way that he instinctively subverts the norms of modern governance. “He’s an innovator when it comes to fear,” Sloterdijk told me. “Instead of waiting for the crisis to impose his decree, his decrees get him the emergencies he needs. The playground for madness is vast.”

I carry no brief for the extremely annoying mosquito who now serves as our president. By all means, let’s swat him away at the earliest opportunity. Let’s not be deceived, however, that our problem is Donald Trump. If we are worried about authoritarianism, as we ought to be, if we are concerned that the future of our democracy is in peril, we need to drive the disease of imperialistic militarism right out of our body politic.
Getting rid of the mosquito won’t get rid of the virus, and getting rid of the virus is the only way to effect a cure.


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo takes the reins over “the rains and the results”…see downwards a few scrolls.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Media Muddle ” 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.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT. Their fifth concert of the season is titled, “ORNITHOLOGY”. It’s a musical aviary featuring compositions by Vaughan Williams, Lou Harrison, Pratorius-Gomez and other composer birds such as Charlie Parker, Claude Debussy and Joseph Holbrooke. The   musicians performing are Roy Malan– violin , Polly Malan– viola, Lars Johannesson– flute & alto flute, Leslie Tagorda – clarinet & bass clarinet, Keisuke Nakagoshi,- piano, Chris Pratorius Gómez, piano & concert director .With special guests the Ariose Singers, conducted by Camille Couture. It happens Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday March 11 at 3 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive, Aptos. (out by Freedom Blvd. and the California Highway Patrol Office). For tickets and information go to .

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “The newly arrived Chilean film,  A Fantastic Woman, just won the Foreign Language Oscar. Find out why this triumphant and stylish drama deserves the gold this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, a friendly reminder — there are still a few days left to enter the giveaway for Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge, over at the Republic of Goodreads!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

A FANTASTIC WOMAN. Daniela Vega is a transgender actor portraying the 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 a 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 movie. Don’t miss it. I’m emailing all my close movie expert friends to see it immediately.

RED SPARROW. Jennifer Lawrence is just a little bit better at ballet than I am. She’s also much better an actor in every one of her other films than in this spy action flick. She’s a ballet dancer who gets hurt, and then goes to a Russian government-run whore’s school and learns how to spy on people and use lots of sex. As you’d expect in a movie with this little imagination, 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. Tey don’t help at all.

NOSTALGIA. What a cast…Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine Keener, and Bruce Dern. Yet you still can’t stay awake while everybody cries and dies a lot. It’s about memories, planning on death, hidden stories. And it’s probably sixteen hours long, or seems that way.

The music is sad, the characters aren’t well developed, and besides that it ends Thursday, March 8.

DEATH WISH. Bruce Willis stars in this re-make of the Charles Bronson vigilante revenge film from 1974 — pushing the same dangerous message that it’s ok to go and murder people if you can’t wait for legal justice. Willis plays a surgeon, if you can believe that!!! His daughter and wife are attacked, and the wife (Elisabeth Shue) dies. This isn’t the time or the country to release a film about how it’s ok to steal a gun and shoot people, even if you are a surgeon.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100% and it’s the highest rated film in RT’s history!!! Greta Gerwig directed  Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento in about 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film. Ps….as I’ve told many folks, it’s definitely not about Lady Bird Johnson!!!

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. No matter where you’re at sexually this beautiful film deals with a young 17 year old boy in Italy working his way through his sexual coming of age. Armie Hammer plays the 30 year old scholarly hunk who visits the kid’s parents. You remember Armie Hammer heir to the Armand Hammer oil fortune and who played The Lone Ranger to Johnny Depp’s Tonto (2013)!!!

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.

DARKEST HOUR. Gary Oldman takes the role of Winston Churchill to new heights…and depths. Its World War II history and it’s the background story of what Churchill had to endure when he first took office as Prime Minister. He deserves the Oscar like few stars ever have. The story is absorbing, educational, and it makes you wonder why the USA doesn’t have someone like Churchill to handle Trump like Churchill handled Hitler and Mussolini.

I TONYA. A very dark, depressing movie about some very depressed people. It’s got loud rock period music as the film score which almost qualifies it as a fun comedy but you’ll be able to count your laughs. Somewhere in the movie somebody says Americans love to hate or love their current sport stars…and its sure true here. Allison Janney plays Tonya’s seriously disturbed mother and deserves some award this Award season…but not for this one. Warning IF you do got you’ll leave wondering why you cared about Nancy Kerrigan or Tonya Harding.

THE POST. This is Steven Spielberg’s answer to the Trump administration’s corruption and misuse of presidential power. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks rip up the acting as we expect them to do. It’s the story of the then little Washington Post trying to catch up to The New York Times printing Daniel Elsberg’s Vietnam exposure papers. It makes easy parallels to Nixon and Trump’s dictatorships. It also makes great pitches for freedom of the press…and what we need to do to keep that freedom alive…especially now. Go see it, bring your friends. But truthfully it’s not as interesting or revealing as the MSNBC documentary two weeks ago… “The Most Dangerous Man In America” the same story from Elsberg’s view.

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 “ExMachina” 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 Marvel Comics creations 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?

OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS..LIVE ACTION. Not as good as last year’s crop but “The Eleven O’Clock” is hilarious, “The Silent Child” will make you cry…and think and “Watu Wote” will give you hope for the world, in spite of everything. Go for it.

OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS …ANIMATED. Not funny, not great, not far out, not profound but “Dear Basketball” produced, directed and narrated by Kobe Bryant himself is beautiful.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. This is Hugh Jackman trying his best to bring life to the bio of P.T.Barnum. Jackman is an excellent dancer, singer and showman but this movie just doesn’t have the heart or solidity that a good film should have. The music is just more copying of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s gooey showbiz. It’s shallow, trite, and repetitious to a fault. Don’t bother seeing it.

EARLY MAN. This stop action animated film cartoon was made by the same folks who created all those super brilliant Wallace & Gromit films. Even with voices by Eddie Tremayne and Tom Hiddleston there s’ not much to laugh at or even admire.  Tired old cave man jokes, a soccer game parody but to expect to see the charm and intelligence of the old AARDMAN productions is a mistake.

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.

50 SHADES FREED. I am probably required to admit that I actually saw  “50 Shades of Grey” (2015) it was the last movie I saw at the Aptos Theatre. I will not reveal the name of the person I saw it with however because we are still friends. 50 Shades Freed (2018) the third and final film of this series from the book got an 11 on Rotten Tomatoes. Fifty Shades Darker #2 (2017) got 10 on RT. The original 50 Shades Of Grey (2015) got an 25 on RT. You can see there’s sort of a trend!!! Not that you should care and it’s not really what you’d call a plot, but it’s about Seattle, sex, money, and ice cream in your crotch.



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 6th has Kate Hawley author of the play, “Coming of Age” that opens March 14 at The Jewel Theatre. The second half hour Mark Burden and David Foster will bring us up to date on Habitat for Humanity’s news. Roddey Reid author of “Confronting Political Intimidation and Public Bullying” tells us how to live during the Trump era on March 13. 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

Spiders. Ugh. But this animation is really cute, I must agree.

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.

“DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME”(it begins at 2 am Sunday March 11)
“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
“I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind… At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.”  Robertson Davies,
“There are very few things in the world I hate more than Daylight Savings Time. It is the grand lie of time, the scourge of science, the blight on biological understanding.” Michelle Franklin
“It seems very strange … that in the course of the world’s history so obvious an improvement should never have been adopted. … The next generation of Britishers would be the better for having had this extra hour of daylight in their childhood”. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“I’ve lived on the equator all my life and we never had to change clocks. Now they’re telling me time goes forward an hour after midnight? What is this, Narnia?” Joyce Rachelle
“You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe “Daylight Saving Time.” Dave Barry

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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