Blog Archives

May 22 – 28, 2017

WALT DISNEY VISITING THE BOARDWALK IN 1962.  Yes, that’s Uncle Walt himself taking a puff while he’s visiting and checking the Boardwalk’s latest rides especially the rail car ride to see what’ll work in Anaheim. Walt was a chain smoker, according to history.

photo credit: anonymous photo collection

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE May 22, 2017

Makes you wonder about their intelligence.


CITIZEN JANE: BATTLE FOR THE CITY. This film is not just a documentary about the courageous Jane Jacobs it should be mandatory viewing (and memorizing) for not just the citizens of Santa Cruz who are displeased with choices our city and county officials continue to make about redevelopment, more cars and traffic, corridors, high rises, “affordable housing” and their ignoring of what’s best for the people who live here. Starting in the 1960’s in New York City and her valiant battles against super developer and manipulator Robert Moses,  Jane Jacobs led and taught hundreds, no, thousands of citizens to organize and protect the heart of their cities. Whether it’s widening highways, building that parking garage (with library) , threats to the Rio Theatre and Charlie Hong Kongs, we need to learn from Jane Jacobs. We lost The Cooper House, McHugh and Bianchi, an opportunity for a plaza on Pacific. The film is about the power of the people, about fighting Planning Commissions. We need to not just learn from Citizen Jane but we need more Citizen Janes on our County and City Boards and Councils. See it quickly, Landmark doesn’t keep them long if we don’t go ASAP. Looks like it closes this Thursday 5/25!!!

ROUNDABOUTS ARE WONDERFUL.. Monterey County is going through the all to familiar hassle of what to do about traffic and developments. Most of their concerns are about Highway 68 that connects Salinas and the Monterey Peninsula. They are deciding whether to 1) Add roundabouts 2) Widen it 3) Widen 6 intersections , integrate signals and widen 1.5 miles. Read this study about roundabouts…

STOP THE CORRIDOR PLAN/PLOT. Gary Patton sent out this announcement on Facebook …Current planning in the City of Santa Cruz proposes San Jose-like high rise, high density development along Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street and Soquel Avenue, high-rise buildings on Front Street and downtown, and new high rise buildings on the Santa Cruz Wharf. What connects these dots? If you think traffic, parking, and water supply problems are overwhelming the City of Santa Cruz, not to mention our genuine affordable housing crisis, about which the high-density plans do nothing directly to address, then consider coming to the next meeting of the Santa Cruz City Planning Commission on Thursday, May 25th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers.

HISTORICAL PHOTO CORRECTION. Last week (scroll down to see) I ran an historical photo I labeled as being at the corner of West Cliff Drive and Bay Street. I stated it was the corner where The Dream Inn and the Sea and Sand now sit. Thanks to readers (and writers) like Linda Rosewood and others I was corrected. If you check it out more carefully, you too will see that it is really more South on West Cliff  and the end of Woodrow Street with Oxford Way running parallel to West Cliff. Thanks for that, I appreciate the care and time it takes…plus just the general feedback is always welcome.

ART FOR ROBBIE SCHOEN!!! Robbie Schoen ran the Felix Kulpa Gallery for years. He also hung many of MAH’s exhibits. He had a stroke in February so many, many of his artist friends are having an Art For Robbie fundraising Event and Art sale with 100% of the proceeds to go to Robbie’s expenses…and celebrate his his 59th Birthday. It’s happening Saturday June 17 4-7 pm,. at MAH, 750 Front Street. There’ll be an art sale, an auction, guest speakers and live entertainment and an update on Robie. The list of artists that are participating is too long to list and besides, you know everybody who’s on it. If you’d like to make a donation go here.

THOMAS PYNCHON TURNED 80!!! May 8th was Thomas Pynchon’s 80th Birthday and probably very few wished him a Happy Day. It doesn’t seem all that long ago I met him in Aptos when he was writing his “Vineland” near saga. What’s typically unusual is that some folks pointed out that Pynchon had some Jewish moments even though he was veddy veddy British. Check them out here.

GREAT DEAL FOR SOMEBODY. I have a good friend who is looking for a place to live somewhere near or here in Santa Cruz. He is a licensed plumber, carpenter, electrician, and painter. He and his wife are now commuting to their jobs here daily from Pacific Grove!!! A one bedroom or an ADU would be great and he’ll do all your ongoing necessary upkeep, repair work on your house, and of course pay a reasonable rent. Email me if you hear of anything and I’ll put you in touch.


Thanks to the folks at Campaign for Sensible Transportation for providing an opportunity last Saturday morning (5/20) to question and hear from city staff regarding the controversial Corridors Plan. It was refreshing to have a meeting where people got to ask questions and hear the answers instead of the current trend of post-it notes, index cards and anonymity substituting for public discussion. We were advised that we should not use the forum to just air our opinions so I was a bit surprised to hear an introductory defense of dense living aired by one of the forum organizers. Of course if you like dense living by all means choose it but don’t impose it on others.

City staff gave a lengthy overview of the Corridors Plan and cleared up some misconceptions. The 65 feet high buildings won’t run the length of Soquel, Ocean, Water and Mission Streets but will be in selected “nodes.” In exchange for such height and density bonuses, developers in these defined areas will have to provide some public benefits such as on-site child-care or a greater percentage of below market rate housing. Omitted from the presentation was the fact that the “nodes” can be extended by future council action according to the Corridors Plan document so there is no reliability that they won’t be extended. Omitted also was the fact that the city council could vote now to require developers to provide a larger percentage of below market rate housing without the giveaways of added height and density, which face strong eastside neighborhood opposition.

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~Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


The System is Broken, Long Live the System

I’ve mentioned here before that we have in Santa Cruz what is known in politics as a “council-manager” form of government, also called a “weak mayor system,” meaning the city manager functions as a CEO and the mayor is appointed by a so-called part-time council majority. This essentially means … the Santa Cruz government is run by overworked elected residents who are in turn willing to rely on technocrats to shepherd councilmembers into making the basic decisions to keep the city running. Change does not come easy within this kind of system.

The current city manager, Martin Bernal, is fond of saying that there are “core functions” that municipal government is responsible for. Those are the police, fire, water delivery, city parks, and keeping the streets clean. That’s all we can do, he often says. But once upon a time, shortly after the birth of the modern Santa Cruz progressive movement, circa 1978, local government somehow found funds to preserve the Westside Community Health Clinic. Then people organized to find the money to keep the Garfield Park Library open. And of course, the Santa Cruz city social services budget was pulled out of a city budgetary morass and became a formidable funding source in trying to equal the playing field of economic opportunity. This all happened because people organized around the needs of the community—childcare, the Aids epidemic, homeless services, meals-on-wheels, senior housing, and much more have been added over the years the old-fashioned way: by taxing those who have means and redistributing it to those who don’t have so much.

The voters of Santa Cruz were tired of hearing that these critical community needs were not “core” services and not what cities do. ‘That’s what the county does, they do health, and human services, the city don’t do it,’ they were told. This latter sentiment is a kind of administrative political banter that pretends not to be political, but in fact helps shape and define local politics. But the people of Santa Cruz have come to expect our city budget to include funding for the most vulnerable in our community—seniors, the homeless, and children. And we’ve done some pretty good things over the years, but the wealth gap between the haves and have nots has grown so large both nationally and locally that much more needs to be asked from the ‘Haves,’ and by the way, it’s time for the city’s core function needs to include and develop a Department of Housing and Homeless Services. It’s time to place under one roof: a) a tenant’s rights office, b) a place to assign city employees to the task of developing a real affordable housing plan, and then work with the city council in carrying it out, and finally, c) a homeless and houseless services unit. This department would be responsible for providing and overseeing mental health and addiction services too because it is time.

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~Bernie Tweet of the Week: “Yes. We need to go forward on the Trump investigations. But we must also address the reality that there is a lot of pain in this 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.


Plan to attend the public hearing this Thursday, May 25, 7pm in City Council Chambers.  The Planning Commission will take public comment, then vote on recommendations to re-zone these traffic-choked areas to allow denser, taller mixed-use development.  

Go see “Citizen Jane: The Battle for a City” at the Nickelodeon, then attend this public hearing.  It may be the last chance to weigh in on saving the unique character of our community

There exist five significant Native American archaeological sites in Aptos.  The largest site, CA-SCR-222, is a 35-acre area partially within the boundaries of the Aptos Village Project construction site.  The Environmental Review Initial Study conducted by Albion glanced over this critical information and focused mostly on the structures, such as the Hihn Apple Barn and the Aptos Fire House (which was demolished rather than relocated, as had been promised to the public).  As a result, mitigation measures DID NOT INCLUDE requiring a Native American observer to be present during earth disturbance to decide if any significant artifacts are found.  

Instead, Barry Swenson Builder’s excavator operators decide what, if anything, is significant.  Doe that give you great confidence that this significant site is being handled with respect?  I don’t think so.

I submitted a Public Records Act request to County Counsel Mr. David Nefouse for all reports and field notes from Barry Swenson Builder’s “qualified archaeologist” who sometimes watches from about 100′ away what the trenchers and bulldozers are unearthing (he spends most of his time checking his phone).  The result was NOTHING.  Mr. Nefouse did state in his letter that some material could be withheld on grounds of Government Code 6254.13(a) that allows public agencies the ability to withhold information when the best interest of the public to withhold information outweighs the benefit to the public of disclosure.  Well, there go the scales of justice.

The only document that Mr. David Nefouse could provide was the 2011 Environmental Review Initial Study, wherein Santa Cruz County Planner Mr. Matt Johnson declared that with the mitigations, the Aptos Village Project would have an insignificant impact on the area.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  Well, Mr. Johnson always issues mitigated Negative Declarations, or an exemption from any environmental review at all…his reputation for such is well-established and recognized.

So, if there are no reports or field notes, what has happened to the artifacts found?  The equipment operator told me recently that “we found A LOT of stuff”  in the general area of the CA-SCR-222 site.  This area is also where there are likely Chinese labor encampment artifacts as well.  What is going on at the Aptos Village Project construction site?  Who knows?  Does the County Planning Department even care?  I don’t think so.

Join your neighbors who care about preserving the pre-historic Native American village site to demand that a Native American observer be required to be at all earth disturbance work.  We will protest every weekday morning, 7am-9:30am, and Friday afternoon, 4:30pm-6:30pm, at the Trout Gulch intersection until the issue is addressed.  

CALL the Native American Heritage Commission (Ms. Debbie Treadwell) 916-373-3710 and file a complaint that the Aptos Village Project has no Native American observers on site.  None has been notified, as required by SB18 Tribal Notification Law regarding Californai Environsmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.

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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.


May 22, 2017 #142/State Of The City

I live in the City of Santa Cruz, and I am quite interested in the “State of the City.” I am particularly interested because the City of Santa Cruz seems to be pursuing a number of planning projects that could radically alter the city’s current (and historic) shape and character. 

One such project would involve putting high-rise structures on the City’s Wharf (the same wharf pictured above). Lots of people (over 2,600 at last count) have joined a “Don’t Morph The Wharf” campaign to try to send the message to city leaders that the City should be retaining the historic character of the Wharf, one of the most popular places in the City for both tourists and “locals,” alike.

Then there is the plan to put high-rise structures all along the City’s main transportation corridors. I was at a Planning Commission meeting last Thursday evening (5/18), on that subject, with about 100 persons in attendance. All but two or three of the people who testified indicated a strong opposition to turning Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street, and Soquel Avenue into high-rise “corridors,” where existing structures would be torn down in favor of new “mixed use” buildings going up to 55 and 65 feet in height. 

The City planning staff and the project consultant for the so-called “corridors plan,” seemed to promise lots of “community benefit,” but it’s not too clear what the “benefit” might be, since the plan is certainly not good for the existing “community.” 

The current proposal would have very adverse impacts on traffic (already horrendous) and make the adjoining residential neighborhoods much less livable. Those neighborhoods, of course, are where members of the “community” actually live. Those community members are not seeing any future “benefits” to them, from this so-called “corridors plan,” and they wonder just who is going to benefit. 

(Stay tuned, I have an idea that I’ll share at the end of this blog posting). 

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~Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’ s. You can read his blog at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo and Highway 17 Traffic just scroll downwards.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s classic ” Subconscious Comics” 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.

HOWARD IKEMOTO – “THE LAST SHOW”. Howard Ikemoto was not just a good friend to almost everybody… he had a sense of humor I’d call sardonic. More than that he was a fine artist. You can see his work online at . His paintings, drawings, and prints will all be on display at the Cabrillo Gallery, which is in the Library building. It’s special,  so it’s limited to June, 2,3, & 4 from noon-5 p.m. He taught at Cabrillo for 34 years. This will be our only opportunity to see this part of his work. Much of his art is in galleries and museums.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Matisse meets Diebenkorn at SFMOMA this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, join me in pondering writing advice from Stephen King, and discover a blueprint for resistance as architectural critic Jane Jacobs takes on urban planning in the excellent new documentary Citizen Jane.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

ALIEN:COVENANT. I looked up “covenant” it means.. to engage in or refrain from, a restriction, an agreed relationship. But never mind, this is of course another Ridley Scott chapter in his hugely successful Alien sequels. No big stars except Michael Fassbender (but he plays two roles!). There’s also Billy Crudup and Sam Waterston’s daughter Katherine in lead roles. For Alien fans and collectors there are plenty of original Alien reminders. There are also copies of 2001 touches, if you care. Actually it’s another space monster alive and killing in the space ship drama, OR will the space monster make it back to earth melodrama. It’s an exciting film. You’ve seen almost all of it before but if you do go see it, be very sure it’s in a theatre on a big screen.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING. There’s not that separates this teen age Hallmark Greeting Card feel- good saga from the rest of the teeny muck cutesy flicks except the extreme cruelty of the girl’s mother. The acting is passable for a teen-age movie and all of the audience attending when I was there were teenagers. So go if you are a teenager, but any older than that….stay home or better yet go see Citizen Jane.

NORMAN. It has an 88 on Rotten Tomatoes, and for a quiet, serious, dramatic film that’s a very big deal. The full title is “Norman: The Moderate rise and tragic fall of a New York Fixer”. As the ads and reviews state, Richard Gere has never had a greater part and he’s never been better than he is in this saga of New York and money and Israel. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Steve Buscemi and Michael Sheen are equally wonderful. Gere plays a lonely, manipulative, well meaning guy who can’t help from making deals. He means well and will ultimately break your heart with empathy. See this film.

THE WALL. John Cena is the almost last survivor in an Iraq battle. He and an invisible sniper almost have a Beckett like ongoing conversation/relationship….except that there’s murder and killing at the base of the entire film. You’ll feel illogical flaws and wonder “why’d he do that” more than once. It begins as a masterpiece of tension and meaning but loses its way about half way through…but it’s a good film.

A QUIET PASSION. This one got a 94 from Rotten Tomatoes,,,not from me. It’s part of poet Emily Dickinson’s life story. Emily is played by Cynthia Nixon and she’s wonderful. He’s hard to recognize but Keith Carradine plays her dad. (remember when his real dad John Carradine played at Cabrillo College’s Summer Theatre?). The entire film and everybody in it is stiff, cold, unemotional, and it feels like only a string of quotes strung together, with not a genuine human reaction to be seen…or felt.

THEIR FINEST. Bill Nighy and Gemma Arterton lead off in this British semi-comedy set during WWII as England is being bombed while they are making a film trying to encourage the USA to enter the war. Jeremy Irons is in it for about 8 seconds. The film waves back and forth between drama and comedy. You won’t remember much of it afterwards, but it’s one of the best out and around at the moment.

LOST CITY OF Z. A pointless and true plot based on a book about a Brit who keeps trying to find what he thinks is a lost civilization deep in the Amazon jungle. Its 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but you’ll think it’s longer. It has everything jungles always have except Tarzan…and suspense. The hero leaves his wife and kids at home for years on end and you’ll wish you had stayed there too. The true name of the hero only adds to the boring trek… Percy Fawcett.

BORN IN CHINA. In 1952 my photography teacher in Pasadena Norm Wakeman shot hours of footage for Walt Disneys’ Water Birds. Coincidentally, he shot the water Ouezel footage  up here on Swanton Road at The Big Creek falls!! He told me at the time just how severe Disney Nature films are anthropomorphized and edited/faked/dubbed to make them into the glossy, sweetened versions we still see in Born In China”. The photography is only stunning, amazing, and beautiful. Pandas, Snow leopards and cutesy monkeys are the main feature…if you can make it through all the added verbal poop.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Total 100% Disney sights, sounds and drech. You couldn’t possibly tell the songs from this Disney production from any of the last 30 years of Disney product songs.  A wasted cast includes Emma Watson, Kevin Kline, Ewan MacGregor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Audra McDonald. BUT most of these actors play the roles of animated tea pots and candlesticks. There is or are no reasons to see this re-hash of every commercial triumph the Disney Factory has turned out for more than 50 years. And the kids will probably love it.

FATE OF THE FURIOUS. Just about everybody who watches or reads the news knows that the Fate of The Furious (better title “Fart of the Furious” as in exhaust) movie topped almost every box office record ever set. Vin Diesel (real name Mark Sinclair) was born in Alameda in 1967 and has been the lead in all eight exact copies of one of the dumbest plots ever filmed. To see such stars as Helen Mirren sink to a three-minute role, Charlize Theron half act some part as a Russian killer is just sad. There’s a street race in Havana and somehow it ends with cars taking on the Russians in some sort of war. The USA reaction and most of the world’s reaction to such a crap of a film is an embarrassing statement of our collective taste. Dwayne Johnson is in it too but he is always in these sorts of things.

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD. Jude Law is about the only good thing in this mess of a movie. It flopped miserably at the boxoffice…and it deserved it. Some tiny part of the Knights of the Round Table are in it, a little bit about Excalibur, one shot of the Lady In The Lake…and just about the dumbest,  most convoluted plot you’ve ever not wanted to sit through. Huge FX transformer monsters race around stomping on things and people, and never mind the rest, just avoid this one like the plague.



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. May 23 features UCSC Prof. Maria Herrera’s students Brandon Ayala and Robin Pama talking about the all UC Campus strike and what motivated it….then Jim Coffis brings us up to date on all the county cannabis news. May 22 has activist and BrattonOnline columnist Becky Steinbruner talking about many Mid and South county issues, followed by attorney Bob Taren discussing late breaking political events and more opinions…Vinnie Hansen talks about her new mystery novel “Lostart Street” on June 6. She’s followed by Justin Stack from Listening Stack talking about ear health, hearing aids, and surfer plugs.  Bookshop Santa Cruz features its top Short Story Winners on June 20. 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

Sometimes you just can’t go wrong with Ellen!

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts.  Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism”. George Washington
“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually”. James A. Baldwin
“True patriotism isn’t cheap. It’s about taking on a fair share of the burden of keeping America going”. Robert Reich

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

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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