Blog Archives

November 12 – 18, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Final word on “McPherson”, Ross camp revisited, No more MAH mummers, Annrae Angel for Judge. GREENSITE…on Australia, beaches, trees and Capitola Mall KROHN…the recall, California Apartment Association, Santa Cruz Together. STEINBRUNER…Court case and Soquel Creek Water District and Judge Schmal. Fleas and bio-hazards. Cal Fire tax ballots Aptos Village and second traffic light?  PATTON…Gates And Rates: The “Perturbed Plutocrats” EAGAN…Sub Cons and Deep Cover. BRATTON…I critique “Jojo Rabbit” UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “Holidays”


SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL CARRIER FLEET. June 9, 1956. If you look closely you won’t see a lot of smiles, but they have jobs. Where are they now? What a difference 63 years can make!                                               

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

Smothers Brothers : Poor Wandering One/Dueling Banjos

DATELINE November 11, 2019

RETURNING TO ROSS CAMP. As many have noticed, people are moving back into Camp Ross. The FB page quote from the camp says there’s nothing the police can do about it. Keith McHenry states, “This is a Santa Cruz Homeless Union authorized camp. That’s what we explained to the police”. So we’ll see toilets being set up, a solar charging station is on order, and there’ll be regular trash pickups. There’ll also be a first aid tent, and even weekly council meetings. Homelessness is an international problem. We send money and survival goods to other countries, and yet turn our backs and hatred to our local homeless community. We watch as our affordable way of life is taken over by the ongoing developer-promoted invasion of “Silly Cons”, and their millionaire weekend condos replace our once democratic and fair way of life. Open minds and hearts should be created.  

NO ACTION TO/FROM MAH!! There’s been absolutely zero communication from either MAH supporters, MAH concerned Artists, Historians, or the county. We can only hope that their financial problems are being worked out. I’ll keep you informed when I hear anything.  

JUDGE ARIADNE SYMONS QUIT THE RACE. We can be very glad that Ariadne quit before the rest of her story was revealed. We can also be very happy that Annrae Angel has now entered the Judge’s race. Email her at her website where you can also make a donation.

NO FEAR IN BRUCE MCPHERSON!!! As a brief Santa Cruz County hobby I began trying to get folks to say and pronounce Supervisor Bruce McPherson’s name the way he does. Usually folks say “MC Fearson”, as if there’s an A in it.  Not only was he my boss when I worked at the Sentinel, but I knew his Mom too, though our work on the Santa Cruz Historical Commission. So anyway, Supervisor McPherson was interviewed on our KZSC’s Bushwhackers Breakfast club last Friday. He was asked the correct way to say his name. He replied ON AIR “There’s no FEAR in McPherson”. So there you go. We stand (or possibly are seated) with this solution.

November 11

I’m looking forward to a trip to Australia for a number of reasons. I get to spend time with my friend and also visit my sister. My friend Edna and I met when we were 12 years old and beginning high school. There is no middle school in Australia, or at least there wasn’t back then. You went straight from primary school to high school.  Our school was the last of the single gender schools in the public school system, which in many ways was a distinct advantage. As all girls, up to 40 in a class with no teacher’s aide, it was expected, even in 1961, that the top person in math and science was a girl. (Edna was top in math, or maths as it is called in Australia). We escaped the unconscious bias towards boys that teachers exhibit in a mixed gender classroom. (At University I did research in this field and found distinct gender bias on the part of teachers in secondary schools.) We were serious students and had good teachers. I credit my ability to write a decent essay to my high school teachers. On the social side of life we were probably naïve. Boys were foreign territory.

I am also looking forward to a meat pie. Don’t laugh (or grimace) Australian meat pies are one of life’s pleasures for non-vegetarians. Also on the gastronomic front are fish such as flathead that my Dad and I used to catch off West Head in a tiny boat that he built. 

Then there are the beaches. The northern beaches of Sydney are stunning. Since I grew up there, I saw nothing remarkable about them at the time. Golden sand, sparkling waves, shore birds, and not an off-leash dog in sight. That’s right. Australians love their dogs as much as do folks in Santa Cruz but commonsense says that dogs running loose on beaches is anathema to bird life, children’s health and safety, marine mammal protection and the peace of a non-crowded beach. A simple sign, swift enforcement if needed, the provision of good dog parks away from beaches and the beaches are beautiful for all to enjoy. 

In Santa Cruz as elsewhere in California, there seems to be a paralysis of action on the part of rangers and law enforcement. Couple that with a dog owner’s attitude of entitlement plus a general disregard for birds and marine mammals and the result is less than stellar. I wince when I see off-leash dogs chasing snowy egrets and other shore birds on our beaches. Researchers scratch their heads and cannot fathom why sea lions are beaching and dying with symptoms of leptospirosis, a bacterium carried in, among other things, dog urine, at beaches where scores of dogs run off-leash in violation of posted signs. 

Then there are the trees. Even in the inner city suburbs of Sydney the trees dominate. It is rare to see a tree butchered by bad pruning. There is not the fear of big trees that seems to have gripped so many here. And woe-betide anyone who poisons a tree or cuts one down for a view. The council will erect a scaffold as large as the former tree in front of your view for as long as it takes for its replacement to grow as big as the original tree. Quite a deterrent! 

So you may ask, why don’t I go back to where I came from? Because my life, my friends and my community are here. And the trees need me…and you, especially you. 

If you love trees, write to the Capitola City Council at and urge them to save all of the white gum trees currently growing in the parking lots at the Capitola Mall. They were planted when the Mall was built in the 1970’s. Their life span is in the hundreds of years. There used to be a beauty on Pacific Garden Mall before they cut it down to straighten the road. The Capitola Town Square Conceptual Review, a complete re-design of the Mall is on the council’s agenda for 11/14/19. While the Horticultural Report speaks to saving viable trees, building on the parking lots will put most of the trees into the “not viable” category. However, the trees can be re-located, by experts in the field.  Rather than belabor the obvious regarding carbon sequestration and climate change I’ll leave you with a message from a young tree lover who joined our vigil to try to save the red horse chestnut on Broadway. Heed her words and act.

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.

November 11

A recall campaign is going on in Santa Cruz to oust Drew Glover, one of only two African-American men ever elected to the Santa Cruz City Council, and me. You might’ve heard about it. We’ve been outspoken on the need for rent control and just cause eviction, demanding developers build the legally required affordable housing units that were often negotiated away by previous councils, standing up to the UC Regents’ extreme growth plans for UCSC, and building a much-needed emergency shelter. This is what we campaigned on, me in 2016 and Glover in 2018, and it’s essentially why we are being recalled. These represent political differences. There have been no “high crimes and misdemeanors” that I am aware. Political differences ought to be dealt with in regularly scheduled elections. The recall petition signatures from registered voters are being counted now on the third floor of the county building at 701 Ocean Street. The County Clerk gets 30 days to validate them, but she says she may have them done by Nov. 18.

Deep Throat to Santa Cruz: Follow the $$$
Who’s funding this recall effort? The next 460 filings that detail campaign spending are not due until Jan. 31, but you may have guessed that real estate and developer money is helping back the recall. If you remember, the California Apartment Association contributed mightily to stopping rent control here and it is in the thick of trying to overturn the last SC candidate election as well. Over $1 million was raised to defeat Measure M, rent control, last November and there’s more $$$ where that comes from. Remember too, there is a bigger picture to this recall and having a statewide and federal political lens might help. Republicans are flailing electorally in California. Voter registration has hit all-time lows, so in order to hang onto power they’ve devised a three-pronged national strategy: 1) gerrymandered districts, which several states are currently fighting back on, 2) keep using the voter fraud allegation to make it as difficult for new voters and non-regular voters to actually vote, and 3) stop anyone who has served jail time from voting. In California, since these three no longer yield positive outcomes for the GOP in this overwhelming Democratic and “No Party Preference” state, they are resorting to recalls. If they don’t like the outcome of a local election, because rent control, affordable housing, or homeless advocates have been elected, then they use our state’s fairly liberal recall method. There are also recall efforts going on in Westminster and Chico. The Washington Post and FiveThirtyEight among other news outlets have reported that Republicans are using recalls in states like Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon to overturn elections that did not go their way. The Los Angeles Times has a bit of recall history here 

Insightful Look at this Recall
I include this well-written analysis on the Santa Cruz recall by Paul Gratz. He originally submitted it to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, but it has not yet been published.

Don’t be Bamboozled by the Recallers!
Getting right to the point: Santa Cruz Together/United’s recall is all about disagreements with policy decisions and style. Clearly, it represents a brazen and well-funded assault on a democratically elected City Council majority. If successful, it would be a destructive and a precedent-setting development for the City of Santa Cruz. Last year’s City’s election broke the two decade-long hold by a business-as-usual council – a dynamic that reflected a significant swing leftward. No longer would we have an entrenched City Council cozy with the short-term interests of deep-pocketed developers, real estate speculators, investment firms, and landlord groups.  Unquestionably, 2018 marked an enormous set back to those elites accustomed to maintaining their political hegemony. 

In California, recalls were designed to unseat officials charged with maleficence, corruption, illicit activities, or misuse of power. Today, however, we live in a toxic society where facts often don’t matter. Most recalls have become an extreme means of political warfare — fueled by anger and waged through smear campaigns. Yet, the high cost of recall elections cannot be justified in an age of city budget deficits. One thing is certain: if conservatives want to derail the progressive agendas of local governments, then a recall machine spreading baseless allegations, disinformation, and discord is truly a powerful weapon. Statewide, housing industry groups have huge amounts of money available for mounting recall campaigns, including the funding of marketing, legal, and paid signature-gathering activities. Most notably, are the California Apartment Association (CAA) and the California Association of Realtors (CAR), the groups representing big landlords and property owners. Both are staunch opponents of rent control intended to keep living costs affordable for lower-income residents. 

CAA and CAR regularly meddle in the affairs of area cities where renters, affordable housing advocates, and progressive councilmembers are pushing for modest renter protections, including Alameda, Concord, Healdsburg, Lafayette, Marin, Milpitas, Mountain View, Pacifica, San Jose, San Mateo, and Santa Rosa. They have a history of misleading and intimidating voters and often are allied with so-called grassroots organizations claiming to be speaking for mom-and-pop landlords, neighbors, and community leaders.  Their aggressive tactics should not come as a big surprise — as the financial stakes are extraordinarily high. Central to their recall strategy is producing a fake narrative mantra containing denigrating allegations, falsehoods, and fear instilling propaganda. 

Drew Glover and Chris Krohn, as well as any other targeted progressive officials, should expect to be out funded by the real estate industry and its conservative allies.  It’s merely standard practice in such a lucrative housing market, especially when UCSC enrollment is exploding and where there are high home prices, egregious rent hikes, increasing levels of evictions, and swelling homelessness. Lacking any substantial evidence for removing two dedicated councilmembers, the recall effort amounts to an absolute attack on democratic election results and only fosters divisiveness within our community.  Don’t be bamboozled by the recallers!

Paul Gratz is a 37-year Santa Cruz resident and a retired public health educator. He has extensive experience in organizing ballot initiatives and petition signature gathering, including the successful Measure P “Right to Vote on Desal” campaign.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Tweet of the Week (July 18)

Another reminder of what people are calling the “radical, extreme-left agenda”:

  • Medicare for All
  • A Living Wage & Labor Rights
  • K-16 schooling, aka Public Colleges
  • 100% Renewable Energy
  • Fixing the pipes in Flint
  • Not Hurting Immigrants
  • Holding Wall Street Accountable

(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

November 11

Soquel Creek Water District brought not one but three attorneys to the hearing last Friday before Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Timothy Schmal, and two had flown in from Riverside, CA to be there…ker-ching!   We had to wait nearly an hour to have our matter heard, due to the Judge’s busy misdemeanor court calendar.  The judge considered three matters relevant to my legal complaint regarding the disastrous environmental damage of the $95 Million plan to inject 1.3 million gallons of treated sewage water daily into the drinking water supply for the MidCounty residents, aka, “Pure” Water Soquel Project.

He had already denied my request last Wednesday to move the case to another County in order to have the very complex case heard by a judge seasoned in environmental law and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements.  He ordered me to remove bio-hazard from the County Court evidence room…more on that below.

Friday, Judge Schmal denied my request to amend my complaint to correct mistakes, add exhibits that I had not been able to include before, and to add a party to the case.  He said I had delayed too long in asking to do so, even though I had asked to do this two months ago and he had set Friday’s date to consider it.  

Judge Schmal then denied my request to continue the hearing of the main case, in order to obtain critical information from the State Dept. of Water Resources to verify that the Soquel Valley Basin (aka Mid County Basin) is in critical overdraft.  That is the argument that Soquel Creek Water District is making to justify their urgent fast-track construction of the Project, and to get state and federal grant awards to build it.  However, a professional hydrologist recently stated publicly that the reason the State determined the Basin to be in critical overdraft was because “Soquel Creek Water District had already determined that, so the State just went with it.”  There is no data or analysis to justify the claims.  Soquel Creek Water District declared a Groundwater Emergency on June 17, 2014….just a month after submitting an application to the State for their treated sewage water injection Project.  Hmmm…..

A Dept. of Water Resources staff member who happened to be present at the recent meeting when the hydrologist explained the “critical overdraft” determination agreed that there was no basis for doing so.  He advised me not to bother filing a Public Records Act request for any documentation.  “It would be a quick turnaround on your request, because there is nothing to give you.” he said. 

I filed a Public Records Act request on June 27, 2019.  The Dept. of Water Resources has delayed the response date three times…the latest coming the week before the Hearing on the Merits of my case and a possible change of venue to Sacramento County, with an amended complaint explaining all of this.  Hmmmm……..

However, the data from local groundwater monitoring reports shows the Basin to be recovering well, with groundwater levels rising, and no evidence of seawater intrusion.

On Friday, Judge Schmal heard oral argument of the Case 19CV00181.  You can view all documents in this case from public computers at 701 Ocean Street, in the Viewing Room on the first floor near the traffic court payment area (8am-5pm)  using the Court Portal for Case Inquiry.    Judge Schmal’s ruling is due any time now…..stay tuned.  

I was very glad he did NOT impose monetary sanctions upon me, as Soquel Creek Water District had asked him to do….nearly $40,000.   By law, they are not allowed to seek their attorney fees if they prevail because they are a public agency.

Fleas are not bio-hazard, but what the County authorized created a bio-hazard. On Wednesday, November 6, Judge Schmal ordered me to remove bio-hazard from the County Court evidence room by noon Friday.   I am not licensed to do that, and later let the Court know I thought it would be a big liability problem for the County if I followed the Judge’s order.  I worried, however, that I might be held in contempt of court, or be billed for the disposal costs if I did not follow his orders.  

Luckily, Judge Schmal agreed to my request to not remove the bio-hazard.

You must be asking how I could be held responsible for bio-hazard in the Court’s evidence room?  Here’s the scoop:  Santa Cruz County policy is so backward in that local rules demand all administrative records of the proceedings of a case (i.e., all the documented history of the issues related to the case) be submitted (“lodged”) in hard copy in two-inch binders with no more that 400 sheets/ binder.  Paper, paper, paper.  Oh, but because this County is SO ENVIRONMENTALLY-CONSCIOUS, cases that are environmental are required to be printed double-sided.  Isn’t that just ridiculous??? 

Because I knew that the administrative record for my case would be voluminous, having spanned five years of studies, meetings, reports, and correspondence, I wrote a letter to Judge John Gallagher, who was assigned to the case, and asked for an exception, to be able to lodge the voluminous administrative record in electronic form.  HE REFUSED on the grounds that the Court could not risk computer viruses entering the system.  That made no sense since this County requires all attorneys to file their documents electronically…surely the County has protective firewalls for such virus concerns.   (Judge Gallagher later disqualified himself from my case.)

So, with the incredibly valiant and generous efforts of Mr. Jon Cole, who has helped me with IT work on my case, and is an experienced Pro Per litigant who successfully sued Soquel Creek Water District for their illegal rates, I was able to abide by Judge Gallagher’s demand to lodge  13 boxes filled with 87 two-inch binders full of paper with the Court on October 18, 2019.  Box #1 contained the first eight binders of the materials I really used a lot as I wrote my court briefs, so I kept that one in the house next to my desk, but all the others were in the garage.  

My sweet cat, Rosita, decided she loved sleeping on the Box #1 binders.  On the day I met friends to haul the 13 boxes to the County, I cleaned out Box #1, and wrote a note on it to courteously alert any Court staff with cat allergies to be aware that there could be cat hair still in the binders.

Last Wednesday, Judge Schmal informed me in court that fleas from my case administrative record boxes had infested the entire evidence room.  The County had a pest control company apply pesticide, but now there was a film over everything, and the County had determined the boxes were now bio-hazard that must be removed from the premises!  That is when he ordered me to remove the bio-hazard from the evidence room by Friday, noon. 

I would have willingly removed the 13 boxes that supposedly had fleas, but after researching the pesticide that had been applied without my permission or knowledge, did not want to risk my health or that of my family to be responsible for removing bio-hazard  from the evidence room.   Fleas are not bio-hazard, but what the County authorized created bio-hazard. 

Luckily, on Friday, Judge Schmal agreed that I did not have to remove the bio-hazard from the premises, and would not be charged for the disposal.   

What a disgusting waste of resources.  Several Santa Cruz Superior Court judges are up for election in March 2020.  We all need to insist that Santa Cruz County not require administrative records to be lodged in hard copy.   We can do better than that, and must.

Come to the Town Hall meeting in Corralitos on Monday, November 18 at 6:30pm to learn more about the proposed Benefit Assessment tax for rural properties in the CalFire areas of the County.  The meeting is free and will be at the Corralitos Padres Center (35 Browns Valley Rd.) near the Market.

This complex and rather mysterious tax is being handled as a Prop 218 matter, so there was no opportunity for opposing information to be included in the Voter Information Guide.  There is no explanation of the calculation, or how the money will be used.  The Board of Supervisors can increase the amount by up to 4% every year, provided there is a public hearing…which usually happens on a Tuesday morning without much notice other than “on the website”.

The real question that begs the Board of Supervisors to answer is WHY TAX PEOPLE MORE WHEN THE COUNTY HAS $18 MILLION AVAILABLE EVERY YEAR FOR PUBLIC SAFETY USES BUT CHOOSES TO GIVE IT ALL TO LAW ENFORCEMENT?  The County Sheriff is also supported by a County Service Area (CSA) #38, and also gets money from the General Fund.  County Fire volunteers get no money from the General Fund.  


This is, in my opinion, local government corruption and the Board of Supervisors must be held accountable. Other Town Hall meetings in the Davenport, Summit and Bonny Doon areas will soon be announced.  Stay tuned, and please pass this information along to others affected.

That is what the Board of Supervisors approved to ask of the Regional Transportation Commission in grant applications.  Happily, there are other more-worthy projects on the table, such as the Pioneer/Varni Road areas in Watsonville that are in shambles.  Notably, Lompico Road is NOT one of the projects submitted, which should cause concern, given that a national survey recently deemed that area as the #1 most hazardous fire evacuation route for residents in the entire Bay Area.  
Mercury News article

Where are our leaders?
You may be interested in knowing why the Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive intersection has required a seemingly endless pile of money vacuumed into the project of that second traffic light in Aptos Village.  It is known as Aptos Village Traffic Improvement Phase 2B (Phase 2A is a plan to connect a new Parade Street to Soquel Drive and close the legal entry to the Bayview Hotel from Soquel Drive that is supposed to be paid for by the Aptos Village Project developers.).  It is the traffic mitigation measure for the Aptos Village Project Phase 2 subdivision, and must be operational before the subdivision’s Phase 2 can be occupied.  

The Aptos Creek Road traffic light has been awarded nearly $2 million in RTC grant money over the past few years.  That grant source also helped pay for the Trout Gulch Road intersection traffic light and moved the bus stop out of the way for the new Parade Street intersection.

Part of why the traffic light projects are so expensive is because the railroad bed soils are highly contaminated and require special testing and handling to protect human and environmental health.  I came upon the link to the letter below while researching the Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Data Files

I selected the “Hazardous Materials Documents” and typed in “Aptos Village”.   Try it…you will be amazed at what you find.

Letter from Environmental Health to Public Works re: contaminated railroad bed soils work 


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

November 11, 2019 #315 / Gates And Rates: The “Perturbed Plutocrats”

Let me follow up my blog post yesterday, which I titled, “The Billionaire Boys Club.” On Sunday morning, when I picked up the papers, I was happy to find the following editorial in The New York Times. I have copied The Times’ editorial, in its entirety, below.

It seems that The Times has noticed that the billionaire class is getting just a little bit restless. I endorse the newspaper’s response to these “perturbed plutocrats!”

When Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, the top marginal tax rate on personal income was 70 percent, tax rates on capital gains and corporate income were significantly higher than at present, and the estate tax was a much more formidable levy. None of that dissuaded Mr. Gates from pouring himself into his business, nor discouraged his investors from pouring in their money. 

Yet he is now the latest affluent American to warn that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan for much higher taxes on the rich would be bad not just for the wealthy but for the rest of America, too.  

Mr. Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, suggested on Wednesday that a big tax increase would result in less economic growth. “I do think if you tax too much you do risk the capital formation, innovation, U.S. as the desirable place to do innovative companies — I do think you risk that,” he said. 

Other perturbed plutocrats have made the same point with less finesse. The billionaire investor Leon Cooperman was downright crude when he declared that Ms. Warren was wrecking the American dream. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, complained on CNBC that Ms. Warren “uses some pretty harsh words” about the rich. He added, “Some would say vilifiessuccessful people.” 

Let’s get a few things straight. 

The wealthiest Americans are paying a much smaller share of income in taxes than they did a half-century ago. In 1961, Americans with the highest incomes paid an average of 51.5 percent of that income in federal, state and local taxes. In 2011, Americans with the highest incomes paid just 33.2 percent of their income in taxes, according to a study by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman published last year. Data for the last few years is not yet available but would most likely show a relatively similar tax burden. 

The federal government needs a lot more money. Decades of episodic tax cuts have left the government deeply in debt: The Treasury is on pace to borrow more than $1 trillion during the current fiscal year to meet its obligations. The government will need still more money for critical investments in infrastructure, education and the social safety net. 

This is not an endorsement of the particulars of Ms. Warren’s tax plan. There is plenty of room to debate how much money the government needs, and how best to raise that money. The specific proposals by Ms. Warren and one of her rivals, Senator Bernie Sanders, to impose a new federal tax on wealth are innovations that require careful consideration. 

But a necessary part of the solution is to collect more from those Americans who have the most. 

And there is little evidence to justify Mr. Gates’s concern that tax increases of the magnitude proposed by Ms. Warren and other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination would meaningfully discourage innovation, investment or economic growth.

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. Just a thought below our deepest thinking…scroll down to check out Tim’s Subconscious Comics.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s Deep Cover classics 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 containing “Wrong and Wronger

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. Their second concert this season is titled Virtuosity Defined” or Musical Creativity and Artistic Expression Beyond the Flying Fingers. Thery’ll be music by Bach, Paganini, Javier Contreras, Piazzolla, and Justin Hurwitz. Featuring Kris Palmer, Concert Director and flute; Steve Lin, guitar; Isaac Pastor-Chermak, cello. They are the Black Cedar Trio. The Black Cedar Trio brings their award-winning blend of flute, cello, and guitar with “Virtuosity Defined.” The program includes music of Bach, Paganini, and Piazzolla, plus new music by San Jose composer Andre Gueziec and Chilean composer Javier Contreras. After the trio’s recent San Francisco concert, The Rehearsal Studio blog wrote, “Contreras’ music was an examination of not only the unique sonorities of each of the three instruments but also a rich study of how those sonorities could be blended in different combinations…clearly a major undertaking; but those willing to listen to it attentively were richly rewarded.” The concerts happen in the Christ Lutheran Church in Aptos, near the freedom Boulevard turnoff. the concerts are Saturday, November 23, 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 24, 3:00 pm. 

JOJO RABBIT. A very rare political comedy with numerous scenes that are actually funny, centered on Nazi Germany. A little boy has Adolf Hitler as an invisible buddy. Scarlett Johansson plays the little boy’s mom, and does one of her very finest acting jobs, ever. Hitler and the screwed up political/military scene will make you think of Trump and our own screwed up political/military scene. A wonderful and rare film, do not miss it!! 

PAIN AND GLORY. This is probably my favorite film of 2019. I do not state that lightly, I mean it. It was directed and written by Pedro Almodóvar and stars Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Julieta Serrano. It’s about a film director who has lost his energy and drive to make films. He gets into heroin, same sex love, booze and ultimately back into film making. The acting is perfect, directing is shockingly tight, and a masterpiece. See it as soon as possible. 

JOKER. Joaquin Phoenix should just be given the Oscar now, instead of all that fuss in January. Yes this is the origin of why the Joker haunts Bruce Wayne (Batman) and it’s so much more than that. The film is deep, dark, brilliant, violent, clever, absorbing, haunting, and will move you into a different perspective. Forget the criticism about protesters; the Joker is insane and magnetic. See this film if you like films beyond what’s acceptable! It just became the biggest – money making attendance record R-rated film ever!!!

PARASITE. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho outdid his other international screen successes with Parasite. Wikipedia calls it a dark comedy thriller and so do I. It’s winning awards everywhere and deserves them all. There’s brain surgery, murder, basement dwellers, numerous surprises, even some shocks and well worth your seeing it ASAP.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. Actor Edward Norton not only plays the Tourette syndrome plagued detective posing as a reporter but he directed the movie too. It takes place in NYC in the 1950’s . Alec Baldwin plays a character based on Robert Moses the evil developer of NYC. Willem Dafoe and Bruce Willis have small parts. The movie is not only confusing, but it drags on and on with little if any conclusion. And no, you won’t believe Norton’s actors  version of faked Tourette’s either.

HARRIET. A real Hollywood tear jerker of Harriet Tubman’s amazing life and what she accomplished fighting slavery. Cynthia Erivo is excellent as Harriet and even looks like her. However the crashing crescendos of sobbing music, the homey corniness of so much of the plot and much of the  acting makes this look and feel like a 1940’s Hollywood soap opera.

THE LIGHTHOUSE. Robert Pattinson plays the young, innocent, naïve and new lighthouse keeper wannabe. Willem Defoe works very hard to be the ancient, hard to understand keeper from the old days. Neither of them are likable, and they don’t like each other. And I didn’t like this movie because they were so unlikable. It doesn’t matter much but it’s set in the 1890’s in New England. It’s screened in black and white and in a small square frame. 



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. Keith McHenry from Food Not Bombs and Ross Camp activist opens then Paloma Curutenango from UCSC’s Common Ground Center discusses their goals, successes, and history on Nov.12. On November 19 Kelly Damewood from California Certified  Organic Farmers (CCOF) talks about local and national food issues. Then John Aird, local activist discusses UCSC growth and our water problems. Winners from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s Young Writers program read their entries on December 3. 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 

As much as I hate Christmas advertising too early, this is a damn good ad! 🙂

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. 


“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays”. Henny Youngman

“Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch”. Evelyn Glennie

“I need a six months holiday twice a year”. Anonymous 

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82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
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