Blog Archives

November 20 – 26, 2017

Highlights this week:
City lies about Scope Park Mural, Sentinel canned Wallace Baines, Michael Moore says Impeach Trump……Greensite on Downtown Recovery Plan…Krohn delivers bullets on Sentinel Council coverage, City helps evict UCSC students, Downtown Recovery Plan hoax, Rotkin and developers cheer “City Hall To You”, send us your news…Steinbruner tells us County cuts 43 trees, RTC to fund stop light and supports Aptos Village developers, S Cruz and housing fraud….Patton and Merry Munchins and their tax reform…DeCinzo and “clean” logging…Eagan and “Irritable Bowel Trump”…Hidden Valley String Ork Concert Dec. 3…Jensen and “Lady Bird” movie…I critique Last Flag Flying, Lady Bird and Wonder…Quotes on Thanksgiving…HAPPIEST THANKSGIVING POSSIBLE TO EVERYONE!!!


HOLIDAY TOUCH UP TIME. This was taken April 23, 1954 when the ¾ sized Lord’s last Supper wax figure group was still located where The Santa Cruz Arts Council is today. That’s Katherine Strubergh and her daughter doing the touching up. The wax group is now located  in the Santa Cruz Memorial Park and Funeral Home (viewing only by appointment) p.s. She’s not working on Jesus, he’s sitting to the far right we can only see his “severed” right hand. That’s John who’s getting the hairdo. Judas is to the left of John…note that he’s holding a small bag that probably contains those infamous pieces of silver!                                                        

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

TURKEYS PLAYING SOCCER. Nothing needs to be said.
AURORA BOREALIS LIVE STREAM. Ralph Davila found this unreal clip of a meteor.

No BrattonOnline edition
Nov.27th – Dec. 4th
Happy Thanksgiving!!

DATELINE November 20, 2017

SCOPE PARK MURAL LIES!!! Peter Bartzcak who painted the original Moonlight Dance p Figures on the Scope Park mural  wrote in a Face Book memo Monday (11/20) …”Just to set the record straight- in the Sentinel article on the unveiling of the new Scope Park mural, the S.C. Arts Commission stated that if I hadn’t given the new mural my blessing, they wouldn’t have replaced the Moon Dance mural. Not true. The decommissioning was presented as a done deal and I decided to be noble and give it my blessing. The commission had been trying to remove my mural since around 2008. Then they were just going to paint the wall battleship grey. A group of local muralists volunteered to freshen it up.” Why in hell’s name  does the Santa Cruz Arts Commission feel the need to lie like this?

WALLACE BAINE GUESSING! I don’t think there has ever been any doubt that Wallace Baine was one of the popular newspaper people ever in Santa Cruz County. He too was surprised at the huge number of Facebook friends who emailed to say they’ll miss him. My mention last week  guessing that he was willingly leaving The Santa Cruz Sentinel to move to  some greener pastures brought many, many emails my way. Most of them say that I missread Wallace’s “farewell” note on FB. Most folks seem convinced that since he got a very generous severance settlement that he was “let go” by the Sentinel management…such as it is. I then emailed Wallace asking him directly if he was canned or left willingly. Many days later, no answer from Wallace. And he has always answered my emails promptly. So the management of The Sentinel once again seems to have cut off their feet in an attempt to save money. Now we should take bets on the future of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It’ll be much quicker to read it now that Wallace is leaving.

LAST WEEK’S PACIFIC AVENUE PHOTO. “Carey” emailed to say re that early Pacific Avenue photo from last week (scroll down)… “I love that we have a series of photos showing this same view, beginning in 1860. Note that 1891 was the year the horse-drawn streetcar lines were electrified – the tracks had been there since 1875. Bituminous rock paving was installed on Pacific during the 1880s, as can be seen here. The shorter 2-story building past the big awning on the right is the only survivor on that side of the block – now Lulu Carpenter’s”. Your comments are always welcome…  

IMPEACH TRUMP…MICHAEL MOORE & TOM STEYER. Michael Tierra was kind enough to send this excellent letter…take a minute or two and pass it on (after you’ve signed it). Otherwise what will you tell your kids when they grow up??? Or what you tell your relatives around the Thanksgiving table??

by Michael Moore

It is time to remove this dangerous man from office.

I have just signed the “Need To Impeach” petition initiated by Tom Steyer of California. Over two million other Americans have also signed it. And that number keeps growing every hour. We — all of us — must not wait a minute longer to act.

Trump has sent a fleet of our ships into the waters off North Korea in order to provoke the unhinged leader of that country to make the mistake of attacking us. This, plus Trump’s reckless taunts at Kim Jong-un, is being done for one reason: to start some sort of conflict so that America will rally behind him and forget about the impending criminal indictments he, his family and his cohorts now face. He has put us all in danger, and he may get a lot of people killed.

The Founders of this country were worried that, from time to time, we would have a President who would behave in such a manner that would put our nation in jeopardy, or a President who would try to profit off being in office, or a Commander-in-Chief who might not be right in the head (King George III gave them a good example of that). They feared we could end up with a President who might be a traitor to our country. They even knew that we might get stuck with someone who committed not just “high crimes” but also “misdemeanors.” They wanted to make it easy for us to fix a mistake we’ve made.

My friends, we have the most colossal mistake in our history sitting right now in the Oval Office. And there is only one way to rectify it: TRUMP MUST BE IMPEACHED. We can NOT wait until November of 2020 for that to happen. We simply won’t make it til then. The country we know as the United States of America will not be the same after three more years of Trump. You know it and I know it. Turning the TV off and trying to avoid the daily insanity won’t make him go away.

Donald J. Trump has proven himself to be completely unfit for office, a threat to our country and an imminent danger to this world.

He is also not well. He is a malignant narcissist and an active sociopath. Because he holds the codes to, on his own, launch nuclear weapons, he is a singular threat to humanity.

He has no fidelity to this country, to the constitution or to his oath of office.

He tried to coerce the director of the FBI into ending the investigation of him — and when the director wouldn’t, Trump fired him. It’s only a matter of time before he fires the Special Prosecutor.

He has lied about his finances, his campaign’s dealings with Russia and just about everything else that has come out of his mouth. It is stunning to see how many untruths he speaks in a single day (this site keeps track of all of them on a daily basis).

But here’s something even more stunning than Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors:

NOT ONE Democrat in the U.S. Senate has stood on that floor and called for his impeachment! Not one! Rep. Maxine Waters and other members in the House have not been afraid to do so. This morning, Rep. Steve Cohen was joined by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. John Yarmuth, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat in introducing five Articles of Impeachment against Trump. But no Democrat in the Senate has yet to say this man must be impeached!

This petition I’m asking you to sign isn’t just a challenge to the Republicans to clean house, it is a demand to the Democratic elected officials you and I voted for to DO THEIR JOB. Many of these Democrats have even said they are opposed to impeachment. They need to hear from us! Now! If recent history has proven anything, it’s that Democrats only act when we tell them to.

When you were opposed to George W. Bush getting ready to start a massive war in Iraq (when Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11), the majority of Democratic Senators voted to send us to war. Most didn’t change their votes until the citizenry went to the polls in the Democratic primaries in 2008 and rejected the Democratic candidate for President who had voted FOR the war. These Democratic candidates became anti-war because of YOU.

For decades, when you believed our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be able to get married, the establishment Democrats (including the Clintons and Obamas) said NO and used their religion as an excuse to say that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Only when the polls showed that a majority of Americans backed this basic civil right did Democratic leaders begin to “evolve.”?

Although the majority of Americans have favored a single-payer universal health care system for some time — Medicare for All — it took until last month for 16 Democratic Senators to finally back such a bill.

The cautious and often-frightened Democratic leaders will usually, eventually, finally come around and do the right thing. And they do so because they are good at (sooner or later) listening to the will of the people.

That’s why they need to hear from you and me right now. Give them the backbone and support they’re looking for. Sign the Need to Impeach petition and let them see that the majority of us can’t wait any longer to remove this dangerous man from office.

Here’s the link once again. Share it and this letter with your friends and everyone you know who loves this country. Let’s not wait until he gets us in a war to sign this petition. Let’s not wait until he turns another million acres of federal land over to the oil companies. Let’s not wait until he and Betsy DeVos dismantle what’s left of our once-admired-around-the-world public schools. Every day at his EPA, at his ICE headquarters, at his FDA and elsewhere, his cronies are literally taking apart our American way of life, piece by piece — and it will take years to rebuild after all the damage they are doing.

Can you really take one more day of this??

Please, I appeal to you, join with me and millions of your fellow Americans and sign this impeachment petition now:

I did. You must.

Thank you for helping to save this country and this planet.

Michael Moore

With a packed crowd of supporters at its last meeting, the council majority voted 5-2 to approve the so-called Downtown Recovery Plan Amendments: the rezoning of areas of downtown to allow for future building heights up to 85 feet with 70 feet along the San Lorenzo River. The conclusion was inescapable: developers have finally won out.

The original Downtown Recovery Plan (DRP) was a response to the devastation of downtown from the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. A group of 36 people, selected to represent the diverse, often conflicting interests of business, neighborhoods, environmentalists and social services, dubbed the Gang of 36 and named Vision Santa Cruz, met for over 300 meetings to develop a blue-print for rebuilding after the earthquake.  Their compromise and final consensus was for a downtown of “proper density and scale” with most new buildings of 2 to 3 stories in height. A few would be allowed up to 5 stories under special circumstances.

So how did that Downtown Recovery Plan end up 30 years later under the same name with large areas of downtown re-zoned for buildings of 70-85 feet?  

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

By: Chris Krohn    Email Chris at


‘Cause That’s What Friends are For…

My friend, the culture czar/bike anarchist/re-use guru/bioneer/heart-person extraordinaire, Grant Wilson mentioned to me last week, “Hey Chris, I like reading your column, but I don’t always have time. Can you make a bullet point version,” he suggested, “like a ‘what happened and what’s going to happen’ kind of piece?” The answer to your query Grant is, yes, I can and here it is, in bullet fashion with some web sites if you want more information. (But, after reading it over, the bullet points are perhaps too long for ‘bullets.’

Full Disclosure: Only one of the following stories was covered in the Santa Cruz Sentinel this past week that I am aware. In fact, I have not been contacted even one time since the election a year ago by Sentinel city council reporter, Jessica York. Housing reporter, Jondi Gumz has emailed me four times. I queried Sandy Brown and she too said the Sentinel has not contacted her this past year. On the other hand, I have had multiple inquiries from at least three Good Times reporters, Georgia Johnson, Jake Pierce, and Ardy Raghian.

Campus Hot SpotThis picture might not look like much until you know what the scene is…this is part of the 22-member Long Range Development Plan, Community Advisory Group (CAG). They were surveying where new campus housing might go in the upper UCSC campus. Those included in the picture from L-R are Melissa Whatley (Government Affairs for UCSC), Sarah Latham (vice chancellor of Business and Administrative Services at UCSC), Ted Benhari, unknown woman, Charles Eadie (former UCSC, SC city, and Watsonville city planner), Gage Dayton (UCSC Site Steward Director), John Aird (Coalition to Limit University Expansion, CLUE), Gary Patton (former SC county supervisor), Lee Butler (SC city planning director), and four other people including SC county supervisor Ryan Coonerty and SC city councilmember Cynthia Mathews.

This Was the Week That Was

  • Best thing I participated in, along with Councilmembers Sandy Brown and David Terrazas, was calling in the city code compliance officers and asking them to explain how six UCSC undergrads were put out onto the street because the house they were living in was red-tagged. I think we made some headway for tenants in the area of eviction protection. The council directed the city attorney, Tony Condotti, to come back with an ordinance that would have the city help those evicted when the city acts in the face of landlord violations. With two of the six students telling the council their horrific story about being put out, our code compliance staff would only say that they did everything by the book, which no one in the room was contesting. Because of this ordinance, the city in supporting tenants, could place a lien on the house and sue for expenses incurred. Seems like what city guv should be about, no?! ( )
  • Now contrast that to the some not-so-good news to come out of the Nov. 14th city council meeting: The Downtown Recovery Plan Amendments were approved on a 5-2 vote with NO affordable housing provisions that I am aware, while they will allow developers to build up to five and six-stories along the San Lorenzo River on Front Street, from Soquel Avenue to Laurel Street. If you are wondering if this is an OMG pro-growth moment, well…yes, it is. And by the way, a seventy-five- foot hotel width (small boutique style) was changed, first to a 200 feet width and then to NO LIMIT at all. This means that Front Street could have one continuous line of hotels from Soquel to Laurel Street. Yes, unbelievable! This hotel part of the amendment has not been much debated by the community, nor did the city council say much in their discussion on Nov. 14th. The community will have another chance when it comes back to the council on Nov. 28th for the mandated “second reading” of the ordinance.
  • The above-mentioned council meeting was quite the affair, even awe-inspiring from a developer-real estate perspective. It literally gave one the sense of who actually wields power in Surf City. THE FAB FIVE “yes” votes clearly understood who’s in control. Somehow Brown and Krohn’s NO vote in the absence of any inclusionary provision just doesn’t “pencil out” for developer-class. Under the same roof touting build-baby-build were Robert Singleton of the Business Council, Developer Owen Lawlor, Casey Beyer of the Chamber of Commerce, the personnel director from Looker was there, Ted Burke of the Shadow Brook restaurant, Developer Craig Rowell, and there was even some cheerleading from former Councilmember Mike Rotkin (“The plan does many things in a synergistic way….” Rotkin said.). Indeed, those developer-real estaters present were all quite pleased that this item passed…high-fives, shoulder slaps and big grin$. More Santa Cruz seed corn sold. Check.
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News Flash!—–Go To: for updates on city council business!

Bernie Tweet of the Week
“If we are going to stop Republicans from taking health care from millions and slashing Medicare to give tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations, NOW is the time to stand up and fight back.” (Nov.16)

Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, former Santa Cruz City Councilmember (1998-2002) and Mayor (2001-2002). He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. He was elected last November to another 4-year term on the Santa Cruz City Council.

By: Becky Steinbruner    Email Becky at

Why did the County government order 43 trees cut down for solar panel projects when a presentation last year’s Board of Supervisor meeting stated there “would need to be a few trees removed but still pending project design”?  It seems the County wanted to remove 43 more lungs from the earth in order to put up those panels.  Why did County Parks & Recreatation have to pay for the mass tree slaughter?   Why did the County award the solar project to SunPower in Richmond, CA when there are at least four Santa Cruz-based solar companies?   What about carbon sequestration of all those greenhouse gasses that the dense eight-story mixed use developments proposed for that Ocean Street corridor would bring?  And the slaughter will continue, with another 39 additional trees getting cut down at 5200 Soquel Avenue in the near future…..

Last year, the Santa Cruz County Government Administration ordered nearly 20 trees cut down around the 701 Ocean Street site without any arborist report or proper process to seek competitive bids.  The chainsaw victims included six mature redwoods, five mature Scotch Pines, and nine mature Canary Island Pines.  The Parks and Recreation Dept. had to pay that $12,000+ bill, but Parks Director Jeff Gaffney laughed and said “I don’t know!” when I asked him why it came out of his budget.   Back then, the Public Records Act request materials showed the reason ranged from needing to remove a liability, needing to remove invasive root sources, and needing to remove inhibitors to rooftop radio antenna communication.  Now it is clear that the true reason was none of the above.  Now, there are plans submitted by SunPower for rooftop panels at 701 Ocean and parking lot panels at 1080 and 1400 Emeline. 

I applaud the addition of solar power to the County’s grid demand butask:  couldn’t the trees have been saved?  Last year, Supervisors John Leopold and Bruce McPherson championed a fight with PG&E to SAVE TREES that were scheduled to be cut….isn’t this County tree slaughter a bit hypocritical?  Why not put the panels in County-owned places that are already suitable and would require no or fewer trees to be cut?

Why is over $40,000 being spent from Parks & Recreation funds to remove trees (some of which required a crane operation) and grind their stumps and NOT from the County’s General Services money? 

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Did you read last week’s Good Times report about the Benchlands Homeless issue?   Here it is:

Read the section “Falling Through the Cracks” where a small contractor did not get paid for supplies by a LARGE DEVELOPER. and quickly became homeless:

“Mark Hemersbach, a 58-year-old Santa Cruz resident of 35 years, has been homeless for two years. He’s been living in a tent at the benchlands for the last six months, after what he calls a “set of bad circumstances” involving the collapse of his marble and stone contracting business, he tells me, when a large developer didn’t pay the bills and he didn’t have the resources to fight them in court.

“It only took 10 days to go from heaven to hell,” Hemersbach says. He had 25 employees and had invested his life savings in the company. Hemersbach says that a nearby storage facility would help provide homeless people some peace of mind, while cutting down on theft from a population that doesn’t have much to their name to begin with.

“It would give the people a sense of organization if they can maintain it, and in the end it would give people a little more hope,” he says.

These days, Hemersbach has become something of a mediator among the community benchlands, sometimes settling disputes, and other times organizing morning cleanup efforts to make sure the camp stays as tidy as possible. “We don’t want to be an eyesore for the public,” he says. “We understand this is a park. It’s not supposed to look like a run down beat-up litterbox, and we don’t want it to look that way.”


Who is the local government really looking out for here?????  Last week’s Santa Cruz City staff meeting with  the public at the church on Frederick Street was laughable and infuriating at the same time. Staff explained that requiring a higher percentage of affordable housing (15% under Measure J) would not be feasible for developers and would trigger the State to review the projects for feasibility.  HUH?  What a disgusting joke that meeting was!

Call your local representatives and demand that affordable housing be included in all developments of over 4 units.  Many thanks again to the valiant efforts of Santa Cruz County Housing Advisory Committee members Ms. Nancy Abbey and Dean Lindholm (I previously reported his name in error as “Bud”…so sorry!) for voting in against the Planning Department recommendation to waive required inclusionary affordable housing in developments at all.


~Becky Steinbruner

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

By: Gary Patton    Email Gary at


The image on the right graced the top of the Opinion page in the November 17, 2017, edition of The New York Times. It depicts Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, showing off the first press run of money with Mnuchin’s name on it. 

Reading the message conveyed by the picture, these exemplars of the extremely rich are telling the American people, “your money belongs to us.” This isn’t just a “symbolic” statement, either. As The Times’ editorial accurately reported, commenting on the tax “reform” bill that is currently progressing at breakneck speed through the Congress, a bill strongly supported by Mr. Mnuchin and his boss, the President of the United States:

This bill would take money from working families
and give it to the world’s wealthiest people.

If it’s “our” government (and I mean if our government actually belongs to those not in the “billionaire class”), then we need to take back power from the billionaires.  The message we need to remember is exactly the same message that Mnuchin and his wife articulate: “Your money belongs to us.” More accurately, “Our money belongs to us!”  Wealth is collectively created. A government of, by, and for “the people,” can decide how to raise and spend money, and if the disproportionally rich have seized governmental control, diverting the collective wealth of society to themselves, then we (the non-rich, ordinary folks) need to regain control, and realign the paradigm. No guns or violence needed. Just inflamed, energized, and engaged voters. 

The Times says this picture shows these representatives of the current administration as “cartoonishly evil.” A column in The Washington Post says they look like “a pair of Hollywood villains.”

Frankly, these folks don’t just “look like” villains. They’re the real thing. And whether we like it or not, the James Bond role falls to us!

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


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Check out DeCinzo’s view of “Selective Timbering” just a scrowl or two below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Irritable Bowel Trump”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.

Sixteen of Northern California’s finest string players will play; Claude Debussy ~ Clair de Lune, Manuel Ponce ~ Estampes Nocturnas and Arnold Schoenberg ~ Verklärte Nacht.

In the early tradition, the orchestra will perform without a conductor. Prepared under the direction of Stewart Robertson, performances will be led by concertmaster, Roy Malan. Comprising sixteen of Northern California’s most talented and accomplished string players, the String Orchestra of Hidden Valley debuted to acclaim in November 2014.  Lyn Bronson of Peninsula Reviews  said of the String Orchestra’s debut, “A gorgeous performance. Every section . . . a perfect jewel.”
The doors open 30 minutes before the performance. Wine and cheese receptions with the musicians will immediately follow the performance., which happens Sunday, December 3, 3:00pm Peace United Church 900 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Tickets probably at the door or are available online, by telephone at (831) 659-3115 or by mail.  Send your check addressed to Hidden Valley Music Seminars, Post Office Box 116, Carmel Valley, California 93924.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “What happens when indie film darling Greta Gerwig steps behind the camera as writer/director on Lady Bird? Find out the happy results, along with a few other surprises, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, how do you plan to resist Black Friday? Here are some ideas to consider!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100%.Greta Gerwig directed Saorise Ronan  and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento, which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film.

LAST FLAG FLYING. An all start cast with Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston,it’s a buddy movie with strong U.S. Marine themes. Don’t take your Thanksgiving guests because it’s sad and feely-bad. It’s not at all like the funny trailer that you might have seen. Motherhood, patriotism, religion, Viet Nam, and maleness are the main themes. Don’t hurry to see it, you’ll fall asleep about half way through.

WONDER. This highly touted sob story starring  Julia Roberts got an 87 on RT and about a 5 from me. Owen Wilson with his mishapen nose and jerk smile and Julia play the little Jacob Trembly’s parents. Jacob was born with a mishapen face as in the “Mask” movie (which was better even though Cher played the kid’s mother. Wonder is a genuine Hollyweood production in every way. Cheap heart-tugging emotions, shallow acting except for Mandy Patinkin. Patinkin has been the co-star of the Homeland series on iTunes and I just finished near bingeing all six seasons. Mandy has become one of my all time favorite stars. Anyway, Wonder is commercial, shallow and don’t go.

NOVITIATE. Whether or not you view the Roman Catholic Church as favorable will make or break this film for you. It’s the saga of a 16 year old girl going through the nun’s training. It’s raw, beautifully filmed and Oscar winning acting performances, you’ll not forget this very serious near documentary. Cruel, brutal, psychologically scary, honest…what more can you ask for? Nunneries were so bad that the Vatican issued a change of rules in 1964 to stop the inhumanity that was rampant, 90,000 nuns left the church after that. Go see it quickly. 86 on RT.Closes 11/21

BLADERUNNER 2049. Denis Villeneuve directed this sequel with advice from Ridley Scott and it has many hidden plot lines from the original (try to see it before you see 2049)…it’s an unique addition to science fiction films. Dystopian is a very overused word describing a disaster based future. This film again has Los Angeles totally transfigured…and even darker and more devastated and bleak than the first one, was set in LA 2019. Ryan Gosling carries the entire story, with Robin Wright and Harrison Ford doing fine acting jobs too. I have rarely, if ever, seen or felt a theatre audience so still-so hypnotized-awed-puzzled-and silent as the one I joined last week. I’ve seen it 2 ½ times now… it needs two viewings on as large a screen as possible, because the photography is so impressive and important. Closes 11/21

IT. This broke all box office records the weekend when IT opened…and IT should have. IT is a well made, very scary movie. Based on a Stephen King novel, IT is chapter one of a two-part nightmare/daydream that will grab you when you are least prepared to be scared. It has all the clichés…BUT it’s also got tension, mystery, and perfect timing along with excellent acting. Just go see IT — but only if you truly enjoy being scared. 86 on RT.

BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Billie Jean King plays against Bobby Riggs in this easy-going tennis and sex movie. Billie Jean has an internal battle with her own sex, which adds a deeper and more involved plot than the 1973 match which we’ve all been reading up on, or remember from those days. Emma Stone— reputedly the highest star in the world — acts perfectly with Steve Carrell, and the movie is a guaranteed hit with everybody. I didn’t recognize Sarah Silverman as the women’s coach because she wears sunglasses all through the movie. I liked Little Miss Sunshine better.

VICTORIA & ABDUL. Almost everyone knows that Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria in this cute, warm, cuddly feel-good movie. Eddie Izzard plays the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), but you won’t recognize him. I didn’t, and I’m a big fan of Izzard’s. Stephen Frears directed it. He did My Beautiful Launderette, Prick Up your Ears, Philomena and some more great films but this isn’t in that category. Aside from the cuteness, it ignores the cruelty of the British rule over India during the almost 30 years. Closes 11/21

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Most mystery nuts claim this is Agatha Christie’s best mystery but this isn’t the best movie version the 1974 was better.  Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer are fine actors especially Michelle and they do their jobs in this new “Express”. However the cuts, flashbacks, photography, and not-tight directing by Kenneth Branagh who does the Poirot role just dull the trip. Remember the old one with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Wendy Hiller, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergman? That film just roared along the tracks and took us with it. Bergman won her third Oscar with her role in that version.

All that said, go see it! It’s fun and only a little dull in parts.

THE FLORIDA PROJECT. Willem Dafoe heads the cast of unknowns in this depressing almost-documentary of a six-year-old girl and her little friend’s sad lives, as they eke out an existence living in motels near Disneyland in Orlando. Their lives and the fragments of the other neighboring families are sad from start to the finish of this film. It’s a saga, and it’s well done, but for sure it’s a feel-bad film. Closes 11/21

WONDERSTRUCK. I never read the book and after seeing this movie I never will read the book. It’s a confusing story of two kids one from 1927, one from 1977 running away from home and going to New York City. They come from bad homes, looking for a parent, and love, and there must be 100 time flips back and forth showing some mysterious connection. You’ll learn that connection at the end but it’s not worth it. Closes 11/21

SUBURBICON. I have not and will not see this movie. Never, ever have I read and received so many bad warnings about a cruddy movie. George Clooney directed it, Matt Damon has the top role, and Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 27. Julianne Moore and Oscar Issac are in it too. Never mind about the plot, too many friends and readers have warned me…and I’m passing the word on to you, DON’T GO!



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. November 21 author and political scientist Jill Cody talks about her book, “America Abandoned”. Following Jill will be Rick Longinotti talking about libraries, highways, and plenty more hot issues. The top winners of the Bookshop Santa Cruz Young Writers contest read their works on November 28. December 5 has Michelle Williams exec. dir. of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz talking about their new events and looking forward to 2018. Then boat captain Jim Christmann shares some amazing tales from his nearby ocean adventures. Dec.12 has Chayla Fisher and Brandon from UCSC’s Student Environmental Center discussing some serious campus issues, sucas the LRDP. December 19 Ross Gibson returns to talk about his book, “An Architectural Tour of Historic Santa Cruz County”…AND ALSO…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

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.

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share”,  W. Clement Stone
“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day”, Irv Kupcinet
“My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor”, Phyllis Diller

COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Click and enter the box in the upper right hand corner of each Column. You’ll get a weekly email notice the instant the column goes online. (Anywhere from Monday afternoon through Thursday or sometimes as late as Friday!) Always free and confidential. Even I don’t know who subscribes!!

Snail Mail: Bratton Online
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Direct phone: 831 423-2468
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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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