Blog Archives

May 23-29, 2018

Highlights this week:
BRATTON…about UCSC students and no strike support, more on Nickelodeon, Del Mar theatre sale, GREY HAYES…losing our Greenbelt. GREENSITE…“No piece from Greensite this week due to extended power outage”. KROHN…staying informed, news sources, heroes, and opinions. STEINBRUNER…Aptos Village and fire danger, Nisene Marks State Park closed again, missing Great American Music Festival, taxpayers paying Swenson developers, Soquel Creek Water District and water contamination, Community Foundation is not a Public Agency, Water For Santa Cruz County has great water plans. PATTON…Freedom of Speech and Internet privacy. EAGAN…with a classic 1985 Subconscious Comic. DeCINZO…looks at Pearl Jam. JENSEN…Her book news and Disobedience. BRATTON…critiques Let The Sunshine In, Disobedience, Deadpool 2, and Book Club. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUESTS. QUOTES… “Graduation”


PACIFIC AND CHURCH STREETS. January 1952 at 11:10 am. One of our busiest, major and most important downtown blocks. Leasks Department Store was here until they sold it in 1988 to Gottschalks. Gottschalks had it until the 1989 earthquake hit. Now it’s Urban Outfitters and Regal Cinema 9.                                                 

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.


DATELINE May 21, 2018

Just when we think we can stereotype UCSC students, it turns out “about 175 student allies stood in solidarity with UC strikers”. This is according and quoted from City On A Hill Press, May 17. It goes on to say that less than 1% of the 19,000 UCSC students took it seriously, and “seemed to think it was a five day weekend”. Now the question is and will be how many will take the time to vote on June 5th? Santa Cruz politicians and organizations work hard to “get out the student vote”, and the student response and loyalty are very much unknown factors to predict. With the numerous issues the students are forced to live with — like financing, housing, class room and study space and transportation — it’s hard to blame them. Now’s a good time to guess, or even predict (or worry) whether this lack of support for their on-campus support workers signifies some real political shift.

Once again good friend Joe Blackman keeps us up to date on our local Nickelodeon and Del Mar theatres being OR not being for sale. From the “Insider” website he sends clips such as…

“EXCLUSIVE: It’s very early in the process, but Byron Allen‘s Entertainment Studios is taking a look at Landmark Theatres which is on the sales block”. Still more, “Landmark Theatres spans 53 venues and 255 screens, many locations of which are comprised of leases. Seven years ago when Wagner/Cuban companies put the chain up for sale they were seeking an estimated $200M.” From The Hollywood reporter we have…yet another clip…Landmark Theatres is part of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also includes theatrical and home entertainment distribution company Magnolia Pictures, production company 2929 Productions, and high definition networks AXS TV and HDNet Movies. If you still want more details..see the Landmark website.

In addition to their trying to sell the chain, they’ve also got legal problems…Again from The Reporter… “The legal action follows one that Landmark itself brought last year against Regal. Mark Cuban-owned Landmark Theatres is being accused of “hypocritical” conduct in an antitrust lawsuit filed on Wednesday by a group of independent community movie theaters who complain about being deprived of art films.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., federal court, alleges that Landmark is coercing agreements from film distributors. With operations in 22 major metropolises nationwide, Landmark is alleged to be using its nationwide market power to obtain exclusive licenses for specialty films.

The court action follows a lawsuit that Landmark itself brought in January 2016 against Regal Entertainment. In that case, Landmark similarly asserted that a bigger power had used its footprint to coerce film distributors like Sony, Lionsgate and Disney. The case, one of many over so-called “clearance” pacts in the movie industry, was settled in August 2016.

“Just as Landmark sought relief from Regal’s anticompetitive clearances with respect to Commercial Films (and succeeded), Plaintiffs seek relief from Landmark’s exploitation of its circuit power to demand and obtain clearances from distributors against Plaintiffs for Specialty Films,” states the newest complaint from West End Cinema, The Avalon Theatre Project, the Denver Film Society and Cinema Detroit.

I still think that some Santa Cruzan who knows our local Reed Hastings of Netflix should ask him to buy our two theatres so we can once again see so many great films we are missing. Now that The Obamas have signed a deal with Netflix, and we read that Netflix has 125 million subscribers worldwide, you’d think Reed H. could afford our two little classic theatres!!

GREY HAYES WRITES…I interviewed Ecologist Grey Hayes on my Universal Grapevine program last Tuesday (5/15) (you can hear it here) His news (to me) that the Homeless Gardens now take up nine (9) acres of the Pogonip Greenbelt property struck sharply. Especially when I/we realize and remember  all of the fighting that has gone on for decades to protect that Greenbelt. I asked Grey to write a Greenbelt piece for BrattonOnline. Here it is.

May 20, 2018

Fellow citizens of Santa Cruz, we have done so much good for the environment. We are transforming our city into a bicycling mecca, and our entire region will soon be powered by mostly renewable energy. Hundreds of volunteers work hard to keep our many beautiful beaches accessible and clean. We recycle and conserve water at unprecedented rates. Our culture strongly supports organic agriculture, and we purchase local and organic foods at a plethora of organic grocers and farmers markets every day of the week. And, we have supported leaders who found the funding and partners to protect thousands of acres of parks and open space across our lovely hills.

So why is our community welcoming the destruction of the City of Santa Cruz’ greenbelt?

The City’s Greenbelt has been a great environmental accomplishment. For a while, our City was circled by open space, and we nearly connected the pieces – from Natural Bridges State Beach to Antonelli Pond up to the Moore Creek Preserve and onto UCSC’s meadows, across Pogonip, down into Henry Cowell and Sycamore Grove, up onto De La Veaga Park, and down the creek to Arana Gulch and the Harbor. We worked well together to make that happen. Different people had different goals for supporting our Greenbelt: improving property values, protecting water quality, preserving nice views, protecting wildlife, creating recreational opportunities, limiting urban sprawl, and giving our children natural places to learn and grow.

Setting the land aside has been the easiest part of reaching our greenbelt goals. But, the greenbelt is relatively new – it is in its infancy – and Santa Cruzans are proving poor stewards.

Neighbors complain that greenbelt areas are messy homeless encampments, harboring unsavory elements and even criminals. Trail erosion, pavement, fires, and trash in greenbelts pollute our streams. The pleasant views of the greenbelt are being transformed though crowds of users, buildings, recreational infrastructure- fences, roads, signs, and parking lots- all of which is destroying wildlife habitat and scaring away what critters are left. For those who would enjoy the parks, planners with little capacity are trying to provide for all types of recreation, assuring degradation of the quality of all recreational experiences. The greatest number of those who would use the greenbelt for generations to come are those seeking peaceful, passive, family recreation. That potential is rapidly disappearing –our children’s children will have to travel further from home to enjoy quiet nature experiences, healthy wildlife, or clear-running streams.

How did the Greenbelt end up in this mess?
Organizational and individual leadership and capacity has been lacking to preserve and steward the Santa Cruz Greenbelt. The agency responsible for oversight of the greenbelt is the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department; its mission is ‘to provide the best facilities, recreational cultural and parks programs.’ The agency is understaffed and mostly focused on safety, aesthetics, and maximizing recreational development. Greenbelt conservation then falls to nonprofit advocates- friends groups and larger environmental organizations. Pogonip Watch and Friends of Arana Gulch are important. Volunteers with the California Native Plant Society work hard to raise funds, educate our community, pull invasive species, and are focused on a few mostly long-term conservation issues. But, they can’t do enough. The local chapter of the Sierra Club has had difficulty addressing much local nature conservation as well, and greenbelt issues have divided the group.

Meanwhile, well-funded and organized special interest groups are succeeding in transforming the greenbelt to benefit a small fraction of our community. A passionate bicycle transportation community along with lucrative mountain bicycle businesses are succeeding in carving up the greenbelt, criss-crossing it with high-speed recreation and transportation corridors. Organizations hoping to make some small improvements with homelessness issues are converting 9 acres of Pogonip’s wildlife habitats to agriculture; they hope also to have a permanent homeless encampment there, as well. Sports enthusiasts are working to transform still more of Pogonip to ball fields.

These special interests join the City of Santa Cruz and most other regional leaders who seem to believe that more is better when it comes to extractive use of natural areas, including the Greenbelt. Here are three bars of their collective public relations tune:

  • The greenbelt works best when it serves the maximum number of people and types of uses.
  • Legitimate use of the greenbelt drives away unsavory use.
  • If we don’t maximize use of the greenbelt, people will stop caring about preserving nature.

These three statements are false.

We need to support organizations and leaders that will expose these falsehoods and work to preserve the greenbelt for future generations.

To solidify our commitment to a greenbelt that supports wildlife, clean water, and passive recreational enjoyment, our greenbelt areas need to be protected by conservation easements enforced by third party organizations. Only then can our greenbelt be protected from the special interest groups which will inevitably garner political support until nothing is left.

Grey Hayes, Ecologist


May 21, 2018

“No piece from Greensite this week due to extended power outage.”

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.

May 21, 2018

How do You Stay Informed?

“The beginning of ‘peace’ is understanding where someone is coming from.”

–Amy Goodman

In this internet age of everything historical being at our finger tips and everything in the present called “breaking news,” and all that is to come conjured as “fake news,” how are we to decide on the quality of news dissemination: what to watch, read, and consume in order to stay informed? Thought you’d never ask. When surveying my lust for information I realize I have a Santa Cruz-New York-centric sphere of information that influence and impact the way I approach decision-making. I begin the day by reading the Santa Cruz Sentinel and New York Times, usually before 7am, but sometimes around midnight the day before if there is “breaking news.” I have found the reporting of the Sentinel’s Michael Todd and Calvin Men particularly noteworthy. Todd’s a storyteller and Men often interviews several sources before writing a news story, instead of relying on one or two of ‘the usual suspects.’ The Times of course, is a whole different ballgame. If you want NY metro news, Gina Bellafante is the best they have, a New Yorker’s New Yorker. (Check out her piece this past Sunday, “Sex and the Liberal Politician: a New York Story”) And then there’s Robert McFadden, one of the best “rewrite men” and obituary writers in the business. I cannot so much in the same way extol the Times journalists who cover national and international news (Stolberg, Baker, Nagourney, Miller, Erlanger, MacFarquhar, Londono, Seelye and Bumiller). Although all are great writers, they seem too tied to their sources and therefore rarely step out from behind a conventional editorial line. On a third hand, Gail Collins and Charles Blow are wonderful columnists, and Maureen Dowd, while an amazingly talented writer, she often loses her moral compass, which brings me to this past week’s Surf City Santa Cruz visit of the crew of Democracy Now, a New York-based radio and TV source for relevant news and trenchant analysis from a decidedly left-leaning perspective.

My journalist heroes are I.F. Stone, Molly Ivins, Ben Bagdikian, Pete Hamill, Herb Caen, and Amy Goodman. Sitting thirty-feet from Goodman last Thursday evening at College 9 and 10’s Multipurpose Room on the campus of UCSC was nothing short of riveting, a goose bump moment. She was in town as part of the “Right Livelihood” awards program and she was seated next to Pentagon Papers thief, Daniel Ellsberg, who at one point happily admitted, “It’s clear I spent the first third of my [professional] life in the wrong livelihood” (as an employee of the US Dept. of Defense. Ellsberg called it the Dept. of War). Goodman told stories about covering the oil pipeline running under the Standing Rock reservation, the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Chelsea Manning’s release of military documents and subsequent imprisonment and later amnesty by Barack Obama. The audience, more than 400 and half under twenty-five, ate it up and gave both Goodman and Ellsberg a long standing ovation when it was over. Goodman said her crew would meet in the basement of McHenry Library at 3am the next morning for the start of her live 5am east coast time broadcast. This was a news story, but it was not covered by the local Sentinel. If for no other reason, the Sentinel should have been present not only to cover a national celebrity who is quite popular in Santa Cruz, but to report Ellsberg’s story of the mythological “missile gap” of the 1950’s. He said he joined the Defense Department to make a difference and defend the US against the then Soviet threat of nuclear annihilation. But it seems like gap was one-sided. It was the US that possessed over 100 nuclear weapons at the time, and the Russians might’ve had “four” Ellsberg said. I am thankful though that Sentinel does run Goodman’s no-nonsense advocacy journalism column every Saturday on its editorial page.

Reading and Viewing News

News: Report, announcement, story, account, article, news flash, newscast, headline bulletin, disclosure, dispatch, revelation, talk, and gossip.

We’ve reached the point in media history, partly because of a constant refining of the internet in which we have every news outlet, classical novel, treasures from every museum in the world, an answer to almost every question ever posed, and access to most every newsworthy photograph ever taken, anywhere we want, all with just a good internet connection. We can see everything on a device right in the palm of our hand, with most content being free. No more arguments over which year the Bay of Pigs invasion took place, or how many home runs Babe Ruth hit the year after he hit 60, or when Georgiana Bruce Kirby brought Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to Santa Cruz (likely around 1871).

So, with all these possible news outlets at our finger tips, whose news do you choose? It is undoubtedly a tough question. My UCSC students report that their favorite sites, along with the New York Times, are CNN, BBC, MSNBC, LA Times, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Reuters,, and Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert. Several also say they get it from their “Google news feed,” or “by word of mouth.” There is just so much out there, and with the pervasive internet comes widespread choice, and that is good, but what it has yielded is a set of perhaps theoretical questions like, what is news? How does one decide what is important? Often violent crimes in Peoria are given equal weight to ones in Santa Cruz, and it makes it seem like violent crime is on the rise, which it is not. We are living in an age in which murder rates are at all-time lows, but that doesn’t mean there are no more murders, and what the internet does is bring each and every one to our I-phone screen. Again, this can be seen as both positive and negative. So what I do for my own consuming of news is I first, prioritize sources given my own life’s time constraints. I include daily doses of the above Times, Sentinel and Democracy Now, and if there is time I download (bypassing annoying commercials) NPR’s All Things Considered while making dinner. I also regularly read the weekly Good Times and UCSC’s City on a Hill (CHP). CHP and Good Times generally contain two to four important stories about both campus and the community. Both do a good job covering hot button issues such as rent control, affordable housing, and homelessness, as does BrattonOnLine. If there is time, and I am in the car, I listen to stuff like 1A with Joshua Johnson, Terry Gross’ Fresh Air, the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club on KZSC, On the Media (best radio show about the media), and On-Point radio.

Along with Colbert and Noah I frequently watch Samantha Bee too. And I have to admit, people send me YouTube stories and news and I watch a lot of that on-line. I look forward to the New Yorker coming to my mail box every Thursday, and in it I really appreciate the stories and reporting of Jane Mayer, Jelani Cobb, and Amy Davidson Sorkin; media critic Emily Nussbaum is frequently insightful, and Elizabeth Kolbert is likely the best journalist out there who is reporting on climate change and other global environmental issues. She’s the best at taking complex climate issues and making them interesting and understandable. Because I lack more time, I infrequently renew my subscriptions to the New York Review of Books, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Nation, and the London Review of Books. I also try and read on-line, or at the library, The Progressive, In These Times, La Jornada (Mexico City), and the science journal, Nature. I maintain my subscription to National Geographic not because of their reportorial skills (not much), but for the photography, it’s still some of the best around. On Saturday, if I am doing work around the house I will listen to This American Life; Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me; and on occasion, Intelligence Squared and Simpson’s voice Harry Shearer’s program, Le Show. Of course, all of this reading and listening is put on hold when the 200-500-page city council agenda packet arrives to my office at city hall at 5pm every other Thursday. We generally get just about four days to absorb the packet before the meeting.

Indy Journalism
Independent journalism is alive and well. Doing some of the best reporting and writing are journalists Naomi Klein, Robert Fisk, Chris Hedges, and Glen Greenwald. I also categorize Al Jazeera and RT as progressive and independent because while state-owned (Qatar and Russia, respectively), they do provide alternative voices and as with any of the previously mentioned media outlets, reading between the lines is crucial. That means also balancing these sources with an occasional dose from the right such as Fox News, Real Clear Politics, and even looking once in awhile at Breitbart and the Drudge Report.

(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

May 21, 2018
If there is a fire on Village Drive, Aptos/La Selva fire engines will not be able to access the road for response.  If the winds and conditions are red flag for high fire danger, a structure fire could quickly spread into the Aptos Creek Canyon, endangering the 350+ residents who have only Cathedral Drive for sole access, as well as Nisene Marks State Park visitors, and the Vienna Woods community across the canyon.  Does that worry you?  It should…

Last week, the Aptos Village Project developers closed off the through-road connecting Granite Way to Aptos Creek Road, an emergency evacuation route for the area residents.  Construction crews also re-graded the curve that is now the main ingress/egress for Village Drive residents, now forced to access their homes via Granite Way and Cathedral Drive, and raised the elevation of the road such that tree branches are low and will prevent fire engine access to Village Drive.  Also, the curve to Village Drive is extremely narrow (approximately 15′ across, effectively a one-lane access).  Granite Way is narrow at that end, flanked by SIX 3-story townhouses (all about 3000SF) with only a single car garage for occupant parking.  Does this too worry you?  It should…

A neighbor of mine who is active in local school affairs and I have been working with the Aptos/La Selva Fire District management for two years to address the potential safety hazards the fully-occupied Aptos Village Project will impose on area residents, school families and staff, and businesses.  Chief Jon Jones (now thankfully gone from his post) was not at all interested in discussing any issues with us.

Interim-Chief Ron Prince agreed to meet with us last fall, and did provide some interesting response to our concerns.  On December 19, 2017, he sent a message outlining response to issues of gridlock on Trout Gulch Road, fire evacuation routes being eliminated for Aptos Hills residents, and the issue of creating a new dead end road (violating County Code) by closing the Granite Way thoroughfare to Aptos Creek Road.  He stated there would be a hammerhead turnout included in the road design at the end of Granite Way leading to Village Drive to allow fire engine access.  THERE IS NO HAMMERHEAD TURNOUT INCLUDED IN THE CONCRETE CURB AND GUTTER CONSTRUCTION DONE LAST WEEK.

If this concerns you, please contact Santa Cruz County Public Works Director Steve Wiesner   454-2794   and…
Aptos / La Selva Fire District Marshall Trevor Dirksen 588-1170

Once again, Nisene Marks State Park was closed last Saturday to vehicle access due to all parking lots being full.  Since Swenson Builders blocked the dirt parking area last fall that people have used for years to bicycle and run into the Park, State Park staff has posted a “LOT FULL” sign on Aptos Creek Road seven times this year, however last Saturday is the first time the Park access has been closed with all internal parking lots accessible to visitors (in winter, areas of the Park beyond the Steel Bridge are closed). 

Swenson Builders have insisted that the Aptos Village Project will provide plenty of free parking for the public, including Nisene Marks State Park visitors (yes, I have a copy of an e-mail of Vice-President Jessie Nickell stating such) yet there likely be inadequate parking for the Project’s tenants alone because the trip analysis and parking study used a 61% occupancy figure, and failed to include a high-rate restaurant land use multiplier in the calculations.  Instead, lower-use multipliers were used….meaning that claims by the County and Swenson that the Aptos Village Project has more than enough parking to allow extra free parking for the general public may not really work out once the Project is occupied.

Contact State Parks Facilities Director Mr. Chris Spohrer and ask that State Parks work with the Community and the Aptos Village Project developers to create a public-private partnership to develop pervious paving area in the Phase 2 area instead of jamming more two and three-story mixed use development adjacent to Aptos Creek Road.  Swenson currently only is allowing 11 parking spaces for the future County Park Parcel (a vertical hillside below Mattison Lane) and claims this is sufficient for Nisene Marks visitors as well.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the Great American Music Festival return to Aptos Village Park?  The organizers refuse to come back to that venue because the Aptos Village Project has destroyed the area’s event staging and parking use.

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)

Cheers, Becky

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

Thursday, May 17, 2018
#137 / Nothing To Hide?

“Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

Glenn Greenwald, is “an American journalist and author, best known for his role in a series of reports published by The Guardian newspaper, beginning in June 2013.” These reports detailed global surveillance programs being operated by the United States and Britain, and were based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden

Greenwald makes a great case for privacy. You can watch his persuasive TED Talk on the subject by clicking the link I have just provided, or by watching the video I have inserted at the end of this blog posting. 

A comment by Willie Brown, in Brown’s “Willie’s Worldcolumn in the April 15, 2018, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, reminded of Greenwald’s rather clever way of demonstrating the hypocrisy of those who take the position that privacy doesn’t matter if you have “nothing to hide.” See the Greenwald video from minute 2:50 to minute 5:45.

The Chronicle inserts a powerful paywall on its online offerings, so non-subscribers might not be able to view Brown’s column. The headline, online, is “Facebook’s Zuckerberg smooth-talked Congress. Only 1 senator got to him.”  That Senator was Senator Dick Durbin, from Illinois, and here’s what Brown reported about Durbin’s dialogue with Zuckerberg: 

The only time Zuckerberg got nicked was when Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois asked the tech titan if [he] would be comfortable revealing the name of the hotel where he’d stayed the night before.

“Um, no,” Zuckerberg said after a pause.

“Would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” Durbin asked.

“Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” Zuckerberg said.

Then Durbin made his point: That’s exactly the sort of information people fear is being sold on Facebook.

Maybe that’s what all the fuss was about, Durbin said. “Your right to privacy. The limits of your right to privacy and how much you give away in modern America in the name of quote, connecting people around the world.” It was a soft but effective hit that both got a big laugh in the committee room and at the same time went [to] the heart of the issue.  

Durbin’s challenge to Zuckerberg was not unlike the point that Greenwald makes in the video below. Forget about the statement that your privacy doesn’t matter to you, if you have “nothing to hide.” Our privacy matters to each one of us, even including Mark Zuckerberg, who famously claimed, several years ago, that privacy was “no longer a social norm.”

There are lots of good reasons we value privacy. Let Glenn Greenwald tell you all about it.

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

Email Gary at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo solves the “PEARL JAM” mystery. Scroll downwards just a ways.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s classic “Subconscious Comic from 1985” at              . 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.

COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS 10TH ANNUAL SHOW.  For their 10th group show A Community of Artists (ACOA) is focusing on their newest and most diverse work.  This group of Santa Cruz artists works in paint, photography, prints, mixed media, and video and has been creatively active in the community, collectively and individually, for more than three decades.  All the artists have shown their work locally and nationally during Open Studios, in galleries and in other collective shows. Artists are Mark Wainer (photography), Ted Orland (photography), Karen Kvenvold Bailey (digital mixed media paintings), Tim Kelly (photography), Annie Pike (printmaking), Ken Koenig (photography), Lisa Rose (photography), Jack Johnson (photography) and Helen Wallis (photography/collage).Judith Darrow Johnson (painting-abstracts), and Catharina Marlowe (photography-alternative processes).There’ll be an Opening Reception  First Friday June 1, 5-9 pm.

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC CLUB FUNDRAISER. Very special “It’s About Time Awards” are going to be presented to Bill and Joyce Malone, Jim Weller, Gretchen Regenhardt, and the Santa Cruz Rent Control Campaign. Emceeing the event will be Nora Hochman and County Supervisor John Leopold. Then there’ll be a sing a long led by Peter Nicols on guitar. There’s also food and a no-host beer and wine.

Admission:  $25.  1-year membership included with payment of $35 and up. 

Special Discount:  Anyone under 35, $20 admission.  1-year membership included for $25 and up. It’s happening  from 2-4pm June 2 at the Live Oak Grange, 1900 17th Avenue Santa Cruz.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “My new novel, Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge, earns a starred review from Publishers Weekly (yay!), this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, two women dare to defy centuries of tradition in the nuanced Disobedience. And save the date — August 25 — for a celebration of James Aschbacher at the Rio! Details coming soon!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

LET THE SUNSHINE IN. Juliette Binoche deserves at least an Oscar right now for her role in this very French film. A 90 on RT doesn’t give it enough credit. Binoche is a Parisian artist who, like most earth dwellers, has problems with relationships. Bad choices, desperate flings, but damn, it gets close to anybody’s home who has ever fallen in and out of love. Gerard Depardieu closes the film in a spectacular few minutes while closing credits roll past. See this French film, but only if you like well-made serious movies.

DISOBEDIENCE, Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams are excellent in this heavy religious drama dealing with the Jewish faith and community in London. It’s the re-kindling love affair between Weisz and McAdams that drives the story. It is intense, serious, and a very good movie.

DEADPOOL 2. Ryan Reynolds again plays Deadpool and any movie-goer knows that this is another Marvel Comics CGI fantasy. Marvel Comic movies are as difficult to understand and accept as watching a Butoh or Kabuki play. The first Deadpool movie was violent and full of in-jokes, and Deadpool 2 is in the same mold. Ryan Reynolds adds a little humanity to his character, which helps set these films apart from the other Marvel Comic sagas. But only attend IF you understand how these super hero flicks work.

THE BOOK CLUB. It’s nearly painful to watch these four actors — Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candace Bergen — faking it through a very unfunny comedy. Ranging from early 60’s through Fonda’s age of 80, they get absolutely no chance to show their considerable skills. The script is amateurish, the directing and photography embarrassing. This movie doesn’t make it on any level…don’t go.

THE RIDER. This is an almost-true life story about a rodeo cowboy who got thrown, and thereafter has to live with a steel plate in his head. It’s heartfelt, homey and you probably have to like horses to truly enjoy it. It doesn’t bring out the intelligence, feeling, and knowledge of the hero, but it does contain his real-life father, and friends, acting at their best….which get in the way. It’s a feel good film, however, and worth seeing.

RBG. This nicely-done documentary tells us a lot more than has ever been made public before. Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) is a surprisingly quiet, shy woman. It reminds us that Bill Clinton got her the job as Supreme Court Justice: oddly enough it does not remind us that Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Conner as the first woman to serve on the court. See this film. It’ll give you hope that you can fight against the odds.

TULLY. This isn’t a bad movie and the biggest problem with it is that we’ve all heard about how Charlize Theron gained 50 pounds to star in it. So all the way through the movie we keep thinking gee, she really gained 50 pounds instead of being concerned with the plot. The plot is motherhood and she’s the mother of three kids. Then the hired nanny “Tully” comes in and a whole new world opens up. It could have been a much better film but the plot dwindles off someplace…and you won’t be satisfied with the ending.

A QUIET PLACE. Whew!!! This earned 97 % on Rotten Tomatoes — and is a genuinely scary movie. It’s well-paced, with fine acting, and Emily Blunt does a perfect believable mother, guardian and victim role. It’s upstate New York sometime in the future, and aliens (much like the Shape of Water Thing with longer legs) have taken over. The monsters attack and kill anything they hear, so everybody has be deathly silent…which makes for great suspense and tension. The kid who plays the deaf child Regan is Millicent Simmonds: she’s genuinely deaf, and she’s fabulous. Go see this IF you love scary movies.

ISLE OF DOGS. This is Wes Anderson’s latest, and I didn’t like it any more than any of his other sideways attempts at new cinema statements. The Royal Tannenbaums, Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel all not just bored me but left me mystified. Rushmore was a notch up. Isle of Dogs uses cute Japanese-themed names like Kobayashi, Atari, Watanabe, Yoko-ono, and the clever Major Domo. The very famous and excellent Hollywood persons who do the voices are near legendary, but Anderson’s attempt at cleverness, brilliance and just plain story telling once again leaves me very cold and bored.

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 apparently 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?

AVENGERS: AN INFINITY WAR. I am trying with enormous difficulty to like, enjoy understand Marvel Comics blockbusters. It is an entirely separate category of movies centering on comic books and graphic novels. I came of age reading Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel’s first issues in the early 40’s and still these movies go beyond my comprehension. They are the world’s number one money makers, The special effects, the blood, killings, raccoons piloting  spaceships just fly beyond my senses. One critic stated that there are 73 main characters in this latest chapter. This is apparently a near perfect Marvel Comic blockbuster. You’re on your own here and it’s two and a half hours long.



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. On May 22 Wilma Marcus, George Lober and Rosie King will be reading and discussing poetry and discussing The Hummingbird Press Collective. C.L.U.E. (Coalition for Limiting University Expansion) co-chief John Aird will follow them and talk about UCSC growth, measure U and the June elections. The top winners from the annual Bookshop Santa Cruz Short Story Contest read their works on May 29. On June 12 Students from Maria Pirata’s UCSC class will report on the UC Strike. Then Lisa Sheridan and Robert Morgan talk about Soquel issues. June 19 has Lisa Robinson from the San Lorenzo Valley Museum describing their current exhibits and future plans. Jane Mio discusses our river system and what’s needed to protect it first on June 26. Then Lisa Rose and Trink Praxel from Santa Cruz Indivisible talk about their upcoming event. Jumping to July 10, Lisa Jensen will be talking about her book “Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge” and her Bookshop book signing. 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

Such a simple and obvious thing; why does this seem so alien to us?

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.


“To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States.” George W. Bush
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss
“At Columbia Law School, my professor of constitutional law and federal courts was determined to place me in a federal court clerkship, despite what was then viewed as a grave impediment: On graduation, I was the mother of a 4-year-old child“. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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:
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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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