Blog Archives

November 17 – 23, 2015

DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ 1966. Amazing and even shocking to see the changes in our downtown in the last 49 years. The U.S. Postoffice is just about the only recognizable structure from those days. Mc Hugh Bianchi Market, The Tea Cup Restaurant, the pre-Swenson St. George Hotel, and a tiny peek at the Wells Fargo Bank building is just about all there is.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE November 16, 2015

SAM FARR RETIRES!!! Wow and whew!!! Now lets watch for all the locals who’ve been waiting for this to happen. We should take money bets on who’s going to run…and on who’s going to win. Watch our Board Of Supervisors carefully and make your predictions. Luis Alejo’s absence on certain votes and his questionable money backers really doesn’t make him the favorite by any means. My money and support are on Mark Stone all the way.

LONDON NELSON & MAH HISTORY. If you get a chance to see the newly revised and modernized history exhibit at MAH do take a look at the references to LONDON Nelson. He’s one of our local historical figures. In spite of the mis-spelling of his name for decades as Louden, MAH got it right, we should be much obliged. Now if we can get folks to spell Gharky street and Cabriho College (and highway) the way their namesakes did…we’ll have something!!

YOU RAISE ME UP. Florida cousin Dean Hagen found this hunk of tear inducing Chinese kids singing the now patented style of Remember do not get teary at the ending!!!

WIDENING HIGHWAY ONE, THE PLOT THICKENS. Former mayor Bruce Van Allen sent an email urgent memo Monday (11/15) in case you missed it, it said….

In 2004, we led the County-wide opposition that decisively defeated a sales tax increase to widen Highway One. Since then we have actively supported numerous transportation improvements around the County, including the long push to get local public ownership of the 32-mile rail corridor stretching across the County, while maintaining resistance to wasteful investment in the outdated thinking behind widening highways. Now it’s back. A new 30 year transportation sales tax measure proposed for 2016 could fund useful and environmentally sound improvements. Unfortunately, the current proposal would waste 135 million dollars on widening Highway One. But widening Highway One STILL won’t work. Repeated scientific studies have shown that expanded freeways encourage more traffic and soon become congested again. Here’s the tiny benefit the CalTrans Environmental Impact Report estimates that the current plan to widen Highway 1 for Auxiliary Lanes will get us: “[This plan] would result in a very slight improvement in traffic congestion” when compared to no highway expansion”. And besides costing millions of our tax dollars, the CalTrans Environmental Impact Report estimates that the plan would result in an annual increase in greenhouse gases of 25% compared to no highway expansion. What does work to decrease congestion and prevent global warming over the long term? A state of the art, county wide, light rail with trail system. Please attend the Regional Transportation Commission’s meeting at 9:00 AM, Thursday, November 19, at the Vets Hall on Front Street in Santa Cruz next to the downtown Post Office. Tell them to forget about wasting money on the highway and get on track with a system that works. Also see Paul Elerick’s urgent plea just below.


Presented in honor of “Angel’s” (Lee Quarnstrom) reappearance:


Tony Russomanno writes…I was delighted to see your item about the Dec. 3 Bookshop Santa Cruz appearance of Lee Quarnstrom, or “Angel,” as he was known to fellow Merry Prankster Tiny Tim. That’s the name Tiny shouted when he ran into Lee 23 years ago while shopping for a Butler toothbrush (the one with the rubber tip on the end for massaging gums) at what is now the Trader Joe’s on Front Street. The name “Angel” dates even further back to the mid-60s, when Tiny’s New York roommate, Wavy Gravy, brought him to The Spread and Tiny caught sight of then-17 year old Lee— tall, slender, a mop of golden hair— backlit against the warm California sun, leading Tiny to believe he was seeing an angel. The name stuck, at least with Tiny. The surprise reunion, along with Angel and Tiny’s confused reminiscence of the Grateful Dead, was part of my KPIX-TV report on the best thing that happened in Santa Cruz or anywhere else in the San Francisco Bay Area on July 16, 1993.

When Ann Parker was doing PR for the Boardwalk, she would only alert me to events that had the potential for something beyond the confines of a press release. All this one took was a phone call from her: “Hey, Tony, Tiny Tim’s in town for a few days. Want to do anything?” Sure. Here’s my plan: walk up Pacific Avenue with the camera rolling. Along the way, I got a call from my news director telling me I also had to fill in and do the weather. No problem. Tiny earlier told me he knew something like 16,000 songs, so I asked him to help me with the weather by singing a line matching each part of the forecast. Too perfect. Or, as Dave McElhatton attempted to say, “Tiny and Tony, together at last.” Requiescat in pace, Tiny Tim, 1932-1996

Gillian emails to say…

These days, the city’s use of well paid outside consultants seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Within the last year we’ve seen the Wharf Master Plan to the tune of $1 million contracted out to ROMA of San Francisco, the Corridors and Rezoning Plan contracted out to a high end Bay Area Urban Design team and now the city Parks Master Plan contracted out to RHAA, a big name landscape, architecture and planning firm with international reach, along with Godbe Research from San Mateo to conduct the phone survey and develop charts and graphs. Apart from the question of cost, there is the question of motivation. Why do we need outside consultants? Couldn’t a random phone survey of 304 people be coordinated by a local research group? Couldn’t a Master Plan be handled in-house? Or, why not dust off the existing Master Plans, developed after much staff time, community input and council deliberation? These include: the Arana Gulch Master Plan; Cowell and Main Beach Management Plan; DeLaveaga Park Master Plan; Depot Park Master Plan; Golf Course Master Plan; Jessie St. Marsh Master Plan; Moore Creek Corridor Access and Management Plan; Pogonip Master Plan; Neary Lagoon Management Plan and the San Lorenzo Urban River Plan.

The survey results for the new Master of Master Plans contain few surprises. Most people are happy with our parks and beaches and want them to be safe. The top interests/activities are hiking and walking which are double the next activity, swimming, then running, road biking, surfing and soccer in that order. That’s good to know. Priorities can be made. Yet the staff report does not reflect this research. It appears that pressure groups’ influence trumps data. For example, mountain biking is relatively low on the list of people’s preferred activities (below soccer) yet somehow it gains prominence in the staff report with calls for new mountain bike trails to be considered for Pogonip, DeLaveaga and Moore Creek Preserve (it is noted this spot might be a bit problematic). Despite the fact that hiking and walking are found to be the top activities by far, there is no mention of ways to ensure these activities are protected and enhanced by say, cracking down on illegal mountain bike-riding, taking more seriously the shocking erosion on the trails caused by this high impact sport or by designating more trails as hiking only. Hiking may be the number one activity as revealed in the survey but reading the staff report you would conclude it is the least popular. Similarly, the inclusion of a plan to consider buying Lighthouse Field from the state for an off-leash unfenced dog park, while admitting to a lack of resources to keep the current city parks and open spaces safe and clean would seem to be catering to another special interest group whose needs did not rank so highly in the survey results.

Within all this is a small item that may escape your notice until it’s a done deal. The city Parks Department is intent on installing a par course piece of equipment along West Cliff Drive. It resembles a giant chair about 8 feet tall. They first installed it on the bluff across from Stockton Avenue, which should have won a prize for the worst placed item ever along the California coast. When an alert resident informed the city that they needed a coastal permit (maybe they do need outside consultants) to locate such a hideous piece of equipment in front of one of the most beautiful views in the world, the city took it out and is now planning to install it closer to Its Beach. It’s less intrusive maybe, but intrusive in the sense of imposing Venice Beach culture onto our beloved West Cliff Drive where we have the privilege to enjoy the wild ocean and sea birds up close. Keep the equipment in the gym and use what nature presents before you. The item is on appeal to the city Planning Commission and the public hearing is on Thursday December 3rd, 2015 at 7PM.

(Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, 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).

ELERICK’S INPUT. Mr. Paul Elerick of Aptos writes…

Action Alert! Now is the time to speak up for local funds to pay for sustainable transportation improvements. The SC Co. Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is taking one big step, on Thursday, November 19th at a public meeting, to finalize a proposed November 2016 sales tax ballot measure with funding allocations for local transportation projects. The RTC will discuss how to divvy up the proposed 2016 tax measure which will produce about $450 million over 30 years if enacted. Please email the RTC and let them know you want enough funds to build a majority of the Rail Trail, upgrade the rail line and fund further study and design of passenger rail service. Their current provisional allocation of 30% shows vision and insight and deserves to be commended. Send your comments to by no later then Wednesday November 18th mid-day. This sales tax measure will be the single largest source of funding for the Rail Trail and will do more than anything else to build the Trail as quickly as possible. The RTC Transportation Sales Tax meeting details: 11/19 @ 9am SC Vets Hall, 846 Front Street, Santa Cruz (next to the downtown Post Office). Here is a link to the agenda: Once again, please email the RTC today to build the Rail Trail. Send your comments to by no later then Wednesday November 18th mid-day.

(Paul Elerick is co-chair with Jack Nelson of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, , and he’s a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

PATTON’S PROGRAM. GaryPatton states in his now abbreviated KUSP Land Watch reports this week…

The City of Santa Cruz is working on a broadly-supported strategy to deal with water supply. A study session was held on November 10th, and the Council is expected to take official action next Tuesday, November 24th. I have links at, to guide you to information about a complex proposal from the City’s Water Supply Advisory Committee. I also have a link to the agenda of a special meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority. That meeting took place today, Monday, November 16th.

The Santa Cruz proposal would secure future water supplies by capturing water from the San Lorenzo River, during high rainfall events, and then storing that in groundwater aquifers for future use. As currently planned, the system would benefit not only the City, but also other water agencies. In Monterey County, future water supplies would be secured by what I sometimes call “manufacturing water.” The main proposal, the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, would take in seawater near Marina, and then desalinate that seawater to meet the needs of the Monterey Peninsula. The proposed “Pure Water” project would treat sewage effluent, and then use that treated effluent to build up groundwater supplies. All around the Monterey Bay, water supply issues remind me of one of those Facebook references to marital status: “It’s complicated!”

On widening Highway One… one of the big items on everyone’s wish list, according to the pollsters who did a poll last May, is reducing congestion on Highway One. I have no doubt that the polling is accurate about that concern. There is a problem, however. Identifying the priority doesn’t really tell us how to achieve the goal. If we had $113 million dollars to reduce Highway One congestion, which is what is being suggested, could we spend that money in a way that would, in fact, reduce congestion? As I noted last week on the Land Use Report, highway widening (seemingly an obvious solution) doesn’t really work. After a highway is widened, more people use the highway, illustrating what is called “induced demand.” The congestion stays just about the same. Money spent, but no progress made. Really to reduce congestion, we need to reduce the number of vehicles on the highway at peak times. That means we need to find a way to share rides, through transit and other mechanisms. Learning to share, not more money, per se, is what can solve our problem. Read the complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site . Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmenatl issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” –

CLASSICAL DeCINZO Long ago comment on National monuments scroll downwards…

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Still another take on those Republican debates see below

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “It’s a little slow out of the starting gate, but Jewel Theatre Company’s spirited new production of Guys And Dolls picks up steam and races to the finish in the spanking new Colligan Theater at the Tannery. Read all about it this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


ROOM. There is some discussion on whether or not this film is based on a novel or reality. Either way it is a well done, angonizing, torturous, moving film. Brie Larson as the teen age mother and Jacob Trembly as her son deserve special acting awards. Kidnapping the young teen ager and raping her in a locked shed for years while she somehow manages to raise her son and maintain a sense of humanity will have you completely fixed to the screen. See this film.

EXPERIMENTER. Peter Saragaard plays the Yale experimenter who tests volunteers to see if they will administer electric shocks to fellow volunteers. It’s based on Stanley Milgram’s well known and weird testing. Winona Ryder is his wife. It’s as crazy a film as the experiments were. Elephants walk behind people with no explanation, cruelty, lies, and John Leguizamo are all part of this ultimately boring and failed attempt at making some kind of statement. Saragaard also wears the most fake looking beard ever pasted toward the end of the film. You can see the real one during the closing credits.

EAST SIDE SUSHI. To be fair Rotten Tomatoes gives this a 100% rating. It’s cute, feel good, and another food film. A young Latina woman tries to become a full fledged Sushi chef in an all Japanese setting and tradition. Filmed in East Oakland it is really predictable, and Hollywoody.

THE ASSASSIN. Excellent and even exquisite photography, and even asking three film friends who saw it at the Nick…none of us could understand any of it. A beautiful woman martial arts warrior has to kill (slice- up) people back in the Tang Dynasty days. The sword fights are filmed at a distance, it’s way too arty to be believed and you can’t gather clues about any humans. Pass this one by.

SPHINCTER 007. It’ s nearly weird that there have been 24 James Bonds movies in the 53 years since they began. Remember that Pres. John F. Kennedy was a fan of Ian Flemings books. That kicked off the entire Bond Wagon. This Sphincter movie has Daniel Craig playing James Bond for the fourth time!!! Daniel Craig is terrible, this movie is terrible. It would take a book to discuss the differences between Daniel Craig and Sean Connery…you can easily think about those diffrerences and stay away from this disaster of a movie.


SUFFRAGETTE. Carey Mulligan is almost too cute with those dimples to play the role she does here, and she’s great. Helen Bonham and Brenden Gleeson are at their best and Meryl Streep plays an almost cameo role. Seeing this film about women’s voting rights and also seeing “MissYou Already” has got to make you think deeply how deep the prejudice against women has gone and will women ever be treated as equals…here or anywhere. See this film, and think about Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.

TRUTH. You won’t be able to stop thinking about how much Robert Redford does NOT look like Dan Rather. However you will also not stop thinking about how Cate Blanchett should be given her Oscar immediately. Cate runs the gamut of excellent acting as Dan Rather’s producer at CBS. This is about how George W. Bush got special favors to get into the National Guard and avoided serving in the war in 2004. CBS comes out looking really bad as business took over news reporting in the fullest sense, and remains so today. See the film. Take Don Lane with you, please.

STEVE JOBS. By now most of the world should know that Steve Jobs was a nasty, foccussed, driven, genius. We know too that his inventions have really changed the world and how we communicate. This film starring Michael Fassbender as Jobs, Kate Winslet as his enabler, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels in their usual stereotyped parts, is relentless. It’s all negative, fast paced, and it’s more or less a history lesson about the Apple tech-business behind the scenes. All in all it’s a fine film, but don’t expect to leave the theatre being happy.

SICARIO. Remember Javier Bardem the ruthless assassin in “No Country for Old Men”? Well Benicio Del Toro almost outdoes him in Sicario. Emily Blunt tries her best to act like a Federal agent (FBI) assigned to shady drug deals along the Mexico-El Paso border. Josh Brolin is the seasoned government agent who’s trying to stop the Cocaine, pot, drug trade being tunneled into the USA. It does a great job depicting the politics (ours and Mexico’s ) and shady acts that both sides deal with every day in this ongoing war. It’s an unusual action film, go if you like action films with a hint of truth.

THE MARTIAN. This Hollywood Matt Damon starring film is like George Clooney and

in Gravity. It’s about Damon being left behind on Mars by his team mates (Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Michael Pena). Chiwetal Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are the NASA, Pasadena JPL business men in charge. It drags in spots and the FX look like they stole them from “2001”. Matt Damon is just too cute and funny and extraordinary to be real, But go see it. You’ll stay awake just to see how it all works out. It’s tense near the end but the ending itself is corney.

BRIDGE OF SPIES. Tom Hanks is the big draw for this Russian – German – American spy story. The Nick was packed all opening weekend. Mark Rylance (from Wolf Hall on PBS) plays a Russian “Spy” and is great. It’s all about the cold war,1957-1962, Berlin, USA spy pilot Gary Powers, secret negotians and it’s all directed by Steven Speilberg. That means it’s fast paced, not too demanding/shallow/easy to follow/ some jokes/some tears/ and a happy ending of course. You’ll like it, everybody does.

BURNT. A more accurate title would be “Steve Jobs goes to Cooking School”. Bradley Cooper plays a self centered jerk who is at least as bad as S. Jobs. Sienna Miller does a good job with her thankless role but this movie should never have been made. Cooper is supposed to be a former drug addict with a money depbt to pay, he’s been sober for a few years, he drives everybody crazy…and still you won’t give a damn when/IF you watch it.

KZSC 88.1 FM or live online at

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. Shmuel Thaler and Wallace Baine discuss their new Gail Rich Awards book “The Creative Among Us” on November 17, those guys are followed by Dr. Shawna Riddle giving us Holiday health advice and common sense about vaccinations. Dr. Neil Sawhney PAMF cardiologist shares important heart issues and advice on Nov. 24. Then Bill Weigel reveals the issues and problems with the proposed Monterey Downs development. The winners from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s Young Writers Contest read their entries on Dec.1st. Patrick Mayer talks about airplane noise and “Save Our Skies” on Dec. 8. Later on, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal talks about being Chancellor on December 15. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

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

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts. Such a wide range of folks such as Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, 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.

QUOTES. What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” ~Erma Bombeck. “An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day”, Irv Kupcinet. “On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment — halftime”,Author Unknown. Last, and not least… “Got no check books, got no banks. Still I’d like to express my thanks — I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night”. Irving Berlin.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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