Blog Archives

May 6 – 12, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Non-candid council candidates, project Juristic, UCSC Student busfare, goodbye “Stevenson” college?, Save the Circle Church. GREENSITE…on nature tourism. KROHN…city budget, general fund, water department, police cars, DeLaveaga golf course. STEINBRUNER…Pure Water Soquel, Soquel Creek Water District, bicycle overpass at Chanticleer, New Leaf opens at Aptos Village. PATTON…UCSC’s “In the Ecotone” book. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. BRATTON…I critique Bolden, Avengers: Endgame, Long Shot. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “BOMBS”



OUR TOWN 1957. Santa Cruz, of course. Do note the four piers, or wharves. Then notice too the lack of a lighthouse, the island in the San Lorenzo, and all the available real estate on the Westside of town!!!                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.



DATELINE May 6,2019

BEAT ME TO IT! I had intended to predict that our local political, habitual, driven,  predictable, candidates would be starting to do their campaigning about now. Cynthia Mathews is the champ of this group. We see her photos at dozens of community functions just a short time before she actually announces. But Mike Rotkin jumped the gun and got his photo in today’s (Sunday, May 5) Sentinel. Watch for the Santa Cruz Business Council’s Robert Singleton’s name and photo soon. Most poll predictors are betting that unsuccessful City Council candidate Greg Larson’s name will pop up. New surprises await both Larson’s and Singleton’s campaigns!

PROTECT JURISTAC.  (Huris-tak) Greg Sea Lion Cotton will be talking about protecting Juristic lands on my Universal Grapevine program Tuesday night May 7 from 7-7:30 p.m. If you miss it, it’ll be archived for two weeks at Radio Free America. The cultural landscape encompassing Juristac is known today as the Sargent Ranch. It’s just a few feet from highway 101. The proposed Quarry measures 320 acres of the 6200 acre Sargent Ranch. An investor group based in San Diego purchased the land at a bankruptcy auction, and is seeking to develop a 320-acre open pit sand and gravel mining operation on the property.

These lands are sacred to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and are also vital both to maintaining the genetic diversity of wildlife in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and to acting as a linkage passage for animals in our Santa Cruz mountains. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band vehemently opposes the proposed mining project, and are asking the public to join them in standing for the protection of their sacred grounds. The website for donations, information and participation is here.

The Amah Mutsun say: “Our Tribe is comprised of the descendants of the indigenous peoples that were taken to missions San Juan Bautista and Mission Santa Cruz on the central coast of California. These are our ancestral lands of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band near Gilroy, California. For thousands of years, our Mutsun ancestors lived and held sacred ceremonies at this location in the southern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, above the confluence of the Pajaro and San Benito rivers.

UCSC STUDENT BUS FARE HIKE. The transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) at UCSC wants to increase the student bus fees in increments, from the present $111.66 per year to $191.00 by 2029. It’s the contract with our Metro Bus system, plus their own fleet of buses is getting old and plans are underway to change to electric buses. Go here for details…  Student voting takes place from May 13 to May 22. Also on their ballot are Career Center Platforms, an amendment to College Student Government Fees, and something titled Student Success Hub Facility Fee.

GOODBYE UCSC’S ADLAI STEVENSON COLLEGE. A group of students proposed last week that Stevenson College be re-named after UCSC professor emeriti Angela Davis. Angela taught at UCSC from 1991. If I remember correctly, they named it Stevenson because UCSC powers believed the Stevenson family was going to become big UCSC $$$ supporters. Adlai Stevenson was the two-time unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Presidency (against Dwight D. Eisenhower). The City on a Hill Press also notes that Stevenson was in favor of the Vietnam War and had “lukewarm positions” on civil rights.

SAVE THE CHURCH PROGRESSES!!! John Sears, Sue Powell and a very dedicated bunch of Circle Church Errett Circle supporters are doing an amazing job of uniting their community to save the Circle Church. As most westsiders know, the church is now — and has been for decades — a genuine community center. Dozens of groups and congregations of hundreds use the church every single day. The historic building, and the unique circle grounds around it, are being threatened by a group of seven “Circle of Friends” who are trying to develop the property and make thousands of dollars for their own selfish aims. Here’s a couple of re-written emails and Facebook messages I received, just to keep us all informed.

John Sears says, “610 signed supporters…and the next batch of door hangers are going out! It is really gratifying to know that so many others share our vision. If you haven’t seen Mark Lakeman’s inspiring Ted Talk, here it is again.

After watching Mark’s Ted Talk sign the petition here!

John continues..It is now possible to look at some of the plans for the proposed development if the Circle Church is demolished. Until May 1st only a plot plan for the second option (townhouses at the end of California Avenue) was available, so now it is possible to consider the visual impacts in more detail and imagine traffic impacts at that intersection.

If you follow the link below and scroll down you will find links to elevations, plot, and landscape plans.

These are just plan pages and do not include other documentation like the DPR 523 Historical report, letter of deficiencies, traffic analysis, water and sewer impacts etc. that constitute a full public record.

I hope all of you will take some time to look at these plans and visualize how this project will impact our neighborhood life. Then it seems appropriate to come together and share our thoughts. Those of you who can help plan that party,… please contact us. All ideas about how, when, and where will be gladly entertained.

SANTA CRUZ DEVELOPMENTS. Go here to check up on some (NOT ALL) present huge developments now happening in our city.

WHAT FARTS, WHAT DOESN’T? In another small way to improve the health, language and our state of being in our small non-sceptered isle, here’s the entirety of what Ralph Davila sent last week…

“Does It Fart?” a book by Dani Rabaiotti of the Zoological Society of London and Virginia Tech conservationist Nick Caruso, answers the question it poses about dozens of species.

Millipedes fart, no doubt discreetly.

Several species of herring communicate with each other that way. If you startle a zebra, says the book, it will fart with each stride as it runs away. Flatulence signals a baboon is ready to mate.

For the Bolson pupfish, found in Mexico, it’s fart or die. They feed on algae that make them buoyant, easy prey near the surface. Farts sink them to safety. Similarly, manatees may let loose when it’s time to dive deeply.

Whale farts are, of course, epic. Birds and most sea creatures don’t. Clams clam up, though they’ve been known to throw up.

The jury is out on spiders: More research is needed.

From London, Rabaiotti said methane emissions from cattle are belch-focused because the gas is produced near the start of their digestive system and comes up when they regurgitate their food to chew the cud.

One answer, she says: “Just cut down beef to, say, once a week or once a month and replace it with chicken or pork or options without meat. Emissions from dairy are lower per food serving than emissions from beef so cutting down dairy will reduce your carbon footprint less but it’s another area where people can easily lower their emissions, particularly for people that are already vegetarian.”

And for the record, says this authority on the animal kingdom’s ruder moments, “Yes, cows do fart.”

May 6

The phrase, “think globally, act locally” came into sharp focus today (5/6/19) with an op-ed by local naturalist, Grey Hayes in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the same day release of a United Nations report concluding that up to 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction due to human impacts, with alarming implications for human survival.

Dr. Hayes’ editorial examines the impact of nature tourism in Santa Cruz County. While this industry brings jobs and tax revenue to the community, the more than 8 million tourists that visit Santa Cruz County are straining resources and threatening the survivability of the natural world that attracted them in the first place. He writes,  “Ecologically, our area is rich with globally-significant treasures all threatened by increased use.”  He cites the degradation of park facilities as “natural areas around us are quickly changing with jammed parking areas, increased traffic, conflicting trail uses, and trash, graffiti, emergency response and noise issues becoming more and more intense.”  A simplistic response is a shrug that it’s “too many people” or “overpopulation.” While numbers matter, this ignores the success of intense global marketing by the tourist industry and the expansion of high tech toys such as full suspension and electric mountain bikes, drones and wake foils that increase the human impact exponentially.  The wealth flowing into the area from tourist dollars is apparently not flowing to the park and open space managers who cite staff shortages and lack of resources whenever neglect, damage and unlawful activity are brought to their attention.

Last week I joined a Sierra Club hike near Pigeon Point and the nearby shoreline of Bean Hollow State Park Beach. This area is the essence of a natural treasure. The offshore rocks with myriad shorebirds and seals; the native wild-flowers on both sides of the accessible trail hugging the edge of the low bluff; the smooth, tiny gems of pebbles comprising the beach at the northern end, deposited after millions of years of polishing deep under the sea…it is breathtaking in natural riches. Yet also noticeable was the trail collapse with the tell-tale erosion from mountain bike tires that made it almost impassable for one of our group with impaired mobility; the remnants of an abandoned hard plastic boat on the nearby rock platform, slowly disintegrating into the ocean with each large wave; the dogs running off leash on the beach despite clearly posted signs describing the impact to wild-life of such prohibited activity; the row of porta potties in place of a public bathroom: a tiny microcosm contributing to the big picture documented by the UN Report. As is my way, I mentally composed letters to the State Parks until I realized my mind had left the beauty of the area and was getting frustrated at their anticipated response.

In Santa Cruz County we are at a tipping point with respect to our natural environment. Dr. Hayes is sounding an alarm, which we must take seriously. He advocates for “scientific rigor and public accountability” (if we don’t know what’s there and don’t know what impact we are having how can we make wise decisions?) with a “comprehensive natural areas visitation plan across the landscape.”  He adds, “There are 15 different entities that govern natural areas and each operates in isolation.” Therein lies one source of the problem. The others include a catering to special interests over the public interest by city, county and state agencies, strapped for funds and selling their soul. Few of the agencies are looking out for the natural world interests which are, as is pointed out in the UN Report, ultimately our own.

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 6

Follow the Money

The city’s 500-page draft 2019-2020 budget appeared this week. Finally. After two or three false alarms (…this Thursday, I mean Friday, I mean next Monday…) it came out May 2nd. The city’s ONE DAY budget hearing is set for Wed., May 8th. This budget document contains nice pictures of city employees helping, and that is good. It also contains columns and charts and graphs that paint a picture of what looks to be a financially healthy city until you begin reading between the lines…and the lines are plenty, so I grabbed a better pair of reading glasses.

The Budget Numbers
The proposed city budget is $262.6 million according to our city manager. The city council is directly responsible for the General Fund. It comes in at $106.4 million. This includes the big three: Police 35%, Fire (16.6%), and Parks and Recreation (13.6%) Since the Public Works department has other revenue generators–Enterprise Funds–such as the “refuse fund” and “storm water fund” in which residents pay direct fees to Public Works, this department makes up only 6.7% of the general fund. It is still interesting to note that Public Works has the largest work force (252) and essentially largest budget of any department, around $54 million, right before the Water Department’s $47 million budget. (Eyes glazing over yet?!?)

If you want to take a look at the budget numbers and read brief narratives about how each department seems to be doing, go here.

Rounding out the budget, other top spenders are the city manager’s office at $5.7 million, Planning Department spending $7.1 million, but recouping $3.8 million in fees, and Economic Development (Gotta spend money to make money!?) at $4.1 million. Yep, this is a lot to take in I know, and like any inquisitive reader you would want to make comparisons of what other cities are doing. There is not always time to do this prudent and useful footwork, but the city finance office has made some comparisons with Berkeley, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Watsonville. So, if you contact Finance Director Marcus Pimenthal’s office at 831-420-5029, they can direct you to that comparisons document. By the way, some may be surprised to know that the City Council itself costs a whopping 0.3% of the budget; that’s equal to only $222,000 in general fund money, and $428,000 overall. I will be calling for more clerical and analyst assistance and support for councilmembers, so that might bring our share of city budget up to 0.5%.

Drew Glover is fond of quoting MLK. “Budgets are moral documents,” Glover often intones. So how are Santa Cruz morals reflected in the 2019-2020 city budget? The police still maintain, and use, Homeland Security’s gift of a BearCat Tank from 2015. Where in the budget is the line item for maintenance and usage fees? I could not find it. Also, the super-size-me SUVs that have now come to double as police cars in Santa Cruz and much of the state (Are they Ford Explorers?).As these gas-guzzlers ply their way across our city streets somebody has to be asking, ‘How much does the gas cost?’ I could not find it in the budget. Where is the line item in the budget for gasoline purchases (especially now that petrol is way north of $4 bucks a gallon), not just in the police budget but for the entire city? Maybe by purchasing more electric cars (we have some Nissan Leaf electrics and Prius hybrids) we could lower fossil fuel costs and save money on vehicle purchases overall. Also, how do fuel costs this year compare with last year? What about purchasing an electric police car? LA did. Basel, Switzerland now only uses Tesla cars. You can see it here

Other questions would be about the high cost of police and fire department overtime. Can you show the city council the numbers of overtime vs. hiring an additional officer, or for example, investing more in the Community Service Officer Program (CSO) where PERS pension rates would not be such a deal-killer…And what about the Planning Department? Why are we spending so much money on code enforcement when it is leading to the closing down of safe housing units? City council frequently hears from tenants and landlords about how the original UCSC-backed code enforcement program has put dozens of units across the city out of commission. Back a decade ago, UCSC officials made a deal with the city to go after so-called “illegal” units, many where tenants have been living happily for years, in order for the university to maintain higher dormitory occupancy rates. Well, the chicken coming home to roost now is the estimated 300-plus students living in their vehicles in Santa Cruz County. This situation is shameful by any social justice yardstick. Check out City on a Hill’s story about the new “Snail Movement.”

Because so many affordable units have vanished under the “Rental Inspection Ordinance,” students live 5 and 6 to a two-bedroom apartment, or in their vehicle to save money for books and food. The university only has loans to offer, ones that students will be saddled with paying off for many years long after their slug days have ended. There is currently a backlog according to city planners of some 400-500 units operating illegally in the city. Some have been “abated,” while many landlords once informed that they have a permit issue simplystop renting the unit. (The craziest story concerning overzealous code enforcement is this one )

The current mantra I hear from both renters and landlords is that the city should act only on renter complaints and not send their people out looking for code violations if health and safety concerns are not a threat. Protecting renters at all costs should be our number one priority. Make it so that renters can complain without experiencing retaliation in the form of rent increases or eviction for simply reporting plumbing and electrical problems. If renters have to leave the unit while it is being fixed then the landlord should provide a suitable place. If the landlord reneges on fixing a real health and safety issue then the city ought to help the tenant(s) find housing and then go after the landlord for the expenses. Because of $2k, $3k, and $4k rents in this town, the vulnerable are a lot more vulnerable here than they might be at other communities, including ones that host a UC campus.

And What About the Golf Course
The city-owned golf course in DeLaveaga Park runs over a $300,000 deficit. This is money that could go to teen programs, Meals-on-Wheels for seniors, legal aid to help tenants fight unscrupulous landlords, or into the various childcare programs the city supports. All of these programs need more money. Therefore, it is incumbent on the council to figure out how to balance the golf course’s budget. Raising fees a few dollars on the 40-50,000 rounds of golf played annually is likely not going to discourage golfers from playing. Since this falls under the Parks and Recreation department it is imperative that the golf course at least balance this part of the budget (some people even think the golf course should be underwriting other Parks and Rec. programs…) this year and not wait until next year. The city budget should reflect our community’s morals and values there are several places where this city council can have a real impact on putting community values first, the golf course is one place and Rental Inspection ordinance is another.

“Our extractive, wasteful, fossil fuel economy is posing a direct threat to our own lives. There is a better way: one that’s conscious, just + prosperous. We will not be able to save our planet without first changing ourselves. That is the task before us.” (May 6)


(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at


May 6

That is the term the Soquel Creek Water District is using as they continue to move fast-forward to acquire the property at 2505 Chanticleer Avenue for the project to inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the drinking water supply of the MidCounty area.  In order for the Pure Water Soquel Project to proceed, the District must own the property for the proposed treatment plant.  I happened to spot a notice on the wall at the County Building recently regarding the Estate of Mr. Arthur F. Lam, the owner of the Chanticleer Avenue property  (Case No. 17PR00354) and researched the proceedings.

That’s where I saw that “For more than a year, through its representatives, has been in on-going negotiations with the Soquel Creek Water District for the process of a “friendly” condemnation of the estate’s vacant parcel on Chanticleer Avenue, Santa Cruz (INVENTORY VALUE $2,347,000).”   Mr. Erik Barbic, of Sherman & Boone, stated he feels the contract should be executed by all parties within the next 45 days. Supposedly, this would offer a tax advantage to Mr. Lam’s heirs, but what would it mean for the Soquel Creek Water District ratepayers???

Read on……

The May 7, 2019 Soquel Creek Water District Board agenda shows a Closed Session agenda (to be at 6pm, before the main meeting) wherein as Item 0.2, the District would negotiate with Mr. Barbic regarding “Purchase Option and Acquisition” of the property at 2505 Chanticleer Avenue.  At the very end of the regular meeting is Item 6.5: “Consideration of Agreement for Option to Purchase Real Property at 2505 Chanticleer Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA and the Wording and Terms Regarding the Purchase Sale Agreement.”

So, the public will not have the 72-hour notice, as required by the Brown Act, of the terms of the agreement that the Board may adopt?  Hmmmm….

Here is what the public will NOT know because proper public noticing for the terms of negotiation of the Option to Purchase Agreement:

  1. Is the Option Agreement a Call Option or Put Option?  A Call Option allows the buyer to name the price and the pre-determined time period that they will have exclusive rights for purchase.  A Put Option allows the seller to compel the buyer to purchase the property at a specific price in the future.
  2. How much will the ratepayers be paying for the Option Agreement Premium as consideration that is legally required for this contract to be enforceable?  The District would have to pay to secure this agreement….how much?
  3. How much would the Option Fee cost ratepayers if the Petition for Writ of Mandate action (Case No. 19CV00181) is successful and the Pure Water Soquel Project does not happen or is delayed? That court action is currently set for June 20.
  4. What is the agreed-upon purchase price that ratepayers will be expected to pay for the property?  The April 23, 2019 Lam Estate document declares the Inventory Price is $2,347,000.  No one would know what the District negotiates in Closed Session until it would (maybe) be verbally announced during the Board discussion of Item 6.5 at the very end of the meeting. 
  5. What is the condition of the property under purchase consideration?  At the December 18, 2018 Board meeting, Director Lather publicly expressed great hesitation about possible contamination of the site due to historic use and her professional knowledge of the area.  The ratepayers may be accepting a liability if the District has not performed thorough due diligence in all matters, including abandoned wells and septic tanks, soil contamination, unknown underground utilities, and archaeologic evaluations that were not performed during the EIR  CEQA process.

Does this seem like transparent and accountable process to you?  I just don’t think so, yet at the May 7, 2019 Board meeting, Item 6.2 boasts “Presentation by Special District Leadership Foundation for Transparency Certificate of Excellence and Special District Administrator Certification”.  UGH!!!

Write the Board of Directors and let them know what you think of their transparency: Board of Directors  and copy Emma Olin  to make sure your comments are made publicly available.

Board Meetings & Standing Committees  


Soquel Creek Water District and the RTC are hosting two community meetings this month to show you what the plan is for the long-awaited pedestrian/bicycle overpass at Chanticleer Avenue that would provide a bird’s eye view of the proposed sewage water treatment plant at 2505 Chanticleer Avenue. Here are the dates, both at the Live Oak Grange on 17th Avenue:

Saturday, May 18  3 pm-5 pm. and Thursday, May 30  6:30 pm-8:30 pm

I suppose this will count as Outreach to the Live Oak residents regarding the Pure Water Soquel Project….NONE of that was done at the time the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and environmental review process was taking place.  The law does not allow the public to comment in any meaningful way now….that is why the Soquel Creek Water District MUST be mandated to follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) law and remand the Project’s EIR for full and proper public review.  That’s just one of the eight causes of action in Case No. 19CV00181 that I am bringing against the District, but will not be considered until June 20 at this point.  


Last week’s opening of the New Leaf Market in the Aptos Village sure brought a lot of traffic to the Village.  The new connector street through the Project was quite congested, spilling onto Aptos Creek Road.  I wonder what that area will be like when the other tenants arrive?  I still hold hope for a bike jump park next to Aptos Creek Road, instead of the proposed Phase 2 three-story dense mixed-use.  Contact me if you would prefer to see the land’s higher use include a bike jump park for the youth….I will always remember the world-famous Aptos Post Office Bike Jumps, and its incredible value to the kids.


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


May 6 #126 / In The Ecotone

James Clifford, Emeritus Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has written a beautiful book, In The Ecotone, available from the Bay Tree Bookstore at UCSC, and from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and probably from elsewhere, too. 

Clifford’s book is an impassioned song of love to the UCSC campus, and particularly to its both stunning and subtle physical beauty. The book celebrates everything that makes the campus such a special place. Clifford’s book has been published as the campus teeters on the brink of a repudiation of one of the central commitments made by the University in the very early 1960s, when the Cowell Ranch was initially selected and then developed as the site of the University’s then-new campus. 

As Clifford explains in the book, “the earliest plans for the university placed it in the meadow. Construction there would probably have been simpler and less expensive … Initial sketches show a rather conventional campus …” A picture of the meadow appears above. Renowned landscape architect “Thomas Church argued against building in the meadow, a perspective quickly accepted by the planning team, and after some debate, by the Regents. The whole operation was moved uphill, into the ecotone and the forest.”

As Robert Frost might have said, “and that has made all the difference.”

A little over fifty years after the decision to reject filling the meadow with buildings, retiring Chancellor George Blumenthal has done everything he can to reverse the commitment insisted upon by the founders. Instead of celebrating the splendor of the campus, which the preservation of the open meadow as its entryway accomplishes automatically, Blumenthal has decided that a rather conventional and undistinguished residential development should be the first view that most visitors will have of the campus as they come through the Main Gate.

Those who use the West Gate entry will see, perhaps even worse, high-rise apartment buildings that conjure up a vision of a dense, urban downtown. 

The “Blumenthal blunder,” as it will surely always be remembered, if construction moves ahead, is being challenged in court. You can get more information by clicking this link for a news story about the lawsuits. 

If you would like to join in the fight to protect and preserve the meadow (and to maintain the vision that has defined the physical development of the UCSC campus from its very beginnings), you can click the link for a connection to the East Meadow Action Committee. More stunning pictures are available from the EMAC website. 

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

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Learn the secret deep inside moves to keep us going at Subconscious Comics…skip below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Barr None” 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.

The 19th season of the Miriam Ellis International Playhouse (MEIP) will feature short, fully-staged theater pieces in 4 languages, with English super-titles, on May 17, 18, 19, at 8:00 PM at the Stevenson Event Center, UCSC. In Japanese, Tales of the Service Industry will be directed by Sakae Fujita; Spanish will offer El delental blanco (The White Apron), Carolina Castillo-Trelles directing. Chinese will present Butterfly Lovers, directed by Ting-Ting Wu, while French students will perform On fait le marché avec Papa (Shopping with Papa), directed by Miriam Ellis and Renée Cailloux. Free admission; parking is $5.00. The public is cordially invited to attend. More at

BOLDEN. Supposedly this is a bio of an early New Orleans cornet player who “invented” jazz. So little is known about Buddy Bolden that this movie is just a typical story of any New Orleans band member of the time. There’s no heart, soul, or any other factor shown in the film that would give credence to the importance of this art form. CLOSES MAY 9

AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Over 2 billion dollars at the opening weekend box office!!! A world record-shattering Marvel-Disney experience. It’s too much for me to critique. Even were I to accept all the other world characters that inhabit this Marvel–Disney franchise, Rocket the wise talking raccoon would eb a step too far. The rest of the cast could be — and are — contained in Wagner’s Ring operas, Greek and Roman legends and dozens of comic books throughout the last 60 years. Like most successful movies today, this one is full of violence, hatred, bloodshed. I’m sorry I saw it, and you know if you’ll like it, so there you are!!! I should add that there are cameos by Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Natalie Portman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Redford, Tom Hiddleston and probably more but it doesn’t matter. Oh yes, it got a 95 on RT.

LONG SHOT. Pairing Charlize Theron with Seth Rogen is as improbable as having Rogen play the part of a presidential advisor/speech writer in the first place. This movie is full of “fuck you’s”, masturbation topics, and just gross filth. Theron plays the role of a presidential candidate and the movie is merely gross, not clever… or funny.

MUSTANG. It’s a simple minded movie about some Nevada State prisoners who turn wild mustangs into saddle broken riding horses to sell at an auction every year. It’s apparently factual. It stars Bruce Dern at his cranky, snarly best teaching the boys/men how to handle themselves and their steeds. Predictable, corny, and will remind you of My Friend Flicka or any other old horse movie.

US.So much of this movie was shot at our Boardwalk and has hundreds of nearly unrecognizable locals in it…you simply have to see it. It’s a socially-aware horror movie with a very complex plot, and truly scary. Jordan Peele— who also directed Get Out— made sure it also contains a serious critique of racial inequality and our attitudes to living “the good life”. It’s disturbing, puzzling, well-acted, and a little better than Lost Boys… but not as good as Harold and Maude. A 94 on Rotten Tomatoes.

CHAPERONE. A dull, Hollywood story about one of the most exciting, beautiful, talented actresses ever….Louise Brooks. Elizabeth McGovern plays a straight, up tight, dull chaperone. Haley Lu Richardson who plays Louise Brooks looks and acts absolutely nothing like her. This is a movie from a novel that was “based on facts”.  But based on facts….you should stay home and try Mindfulness, if you haven’t already.

AMAZING GRACE. Sometime in the mid 50’s three friends and I went to a church in the darkest part of Los Angeles to hear Mahalia Jackson, an amazing  experience I’ve never forgotten. Watching Aretha Franklin sing gospel songs in this 1971 documentary doesn’t come close. Gospel is it’d own art form and Aretha is and was one of our greatest singers but there’s something lacking in this film.

PET SEMATARY. A remake that shouldn’t have been remade. John Lithgow is frankly boring as the nervous farmer neighbor. Stephen King’s book was fantastic…as I remember from way back when. The original movie version (1989) had some scary scenes, but avoid this sad copy.



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. Greg Sea Lion Cotton from Protect Juristac, a group fighting to save tribal lands from oil and other development talks on May 7th. Juristac will be followed by Keith McHenry discussing Food Not Bombs and the Camp Ross closing. Dr. Shawna Riddle returns to discuss many current health issues in our community on May 14 and she’s followed by Sarah Leonard from MHCAN Mental Health Client Action center..  May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. Winners from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s annual Short Story Contest read their works on May 28. 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

Stephen Colbert interviews Graham Norton

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.


“Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists”. Muhammad Ali

“How do we prevent Iran developing an atomic bomb, when, on the American side, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not recognised as a war crime?”  Gunter Grass

“The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure”. Lyndon B. Johnson

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