Blog Archives

November 7 – 13, 2017

Highlights this week:
Santa Cruz Halloween downtown but no costume contests, Impeach Trump (going for 2 million) petition, Sentinel moved back into old Sentinel Building, Black M’s new interpretation, Hot Damners back on this Friday night, 300 new beds at UCSC-who for?, Felton Victory over Mt. Hermon’s Jesus Bike Land plan… Greensite on city cutting women’s safety workshops…Krohn about Housing-a civil right?, Bernie, Hillary and that convention, Swenson’s money hole on Pacific giveaway, balancing what budget?, STR’s and a possible rent freeze?…Steinbruner relates the county housing sham, Rancho Del Mar gets permits, yardwaste gets dumped, Live Oak Library switches, Groundwater Agency Workshop happening. ..Patton about our billionaire’s biggest worries and the lower classes….Eagan and another water problem….DeCinzo goes to church!!!…Jensen reviews THOR…I critique The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and LBJ…Quotes on “November”

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DESTROYING OUR SANTA CRUZ CITY LIBRARY. Andrew Carnegie funded 1689 classic public libraries around the USA; Santa Cruz’s beautiful library was one of them. On September 12, 1966 that City Council gave permission to destroy this historic building. You can see Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church which still stands across Church Street from the library. That church used to be a funeral home. I’m betting (on this Monday Nov. 6, 2017) that this week our present developer-loving City Council will vote 5-2 to tear down our present library and vote for the parking garage-library 5 floor cement monster.                                                        

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email bratton@cruzio.com

RUTH ETTING & “IT HAD TO BE YOU”. She never got the fame she deserved…just the notoriety. Just listen a minute or two.
LATEST NEW MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. We’ve seen plenty around Santa Cruz but check the ones near the end of this clip.
TEN MYSTERIOUS THINGS FOUND IN ICEBERGS. Maybe they’ll find am old city council that we could thaw into something useful!

DATELINE November 6, 2017

HALLOWEEN IN SANTA CRUZ. An absolutely magnificent civic celebration. One we should all be proud of. Thousands roaming Pacific Avenue from about 1 pm onward. (Too bad they had to put the temporary jail/holding tank, and the Watsonville Police van, right in the middle of Cooper Street). Also good news is there weren’t the usual number of arrests, which that proves something. Now what we need is for Santa Cruz Downtown Association— maybe partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Cruz Business Council— to have a Halloween Costume Contest, like we used to. Judges, a raised platform, some music and great prizes from area stores would make a grand addition to the vanishing sense of community, and add to the family fun we saw this Halloween. Remember the great Good Times Halloween Parties at the Coconut Grove; remember the huge celebrations at the Catalyst…again with great prizes and hundreds of happy celebrators? I remember them like it was yesterday. Maybe next year??

IMPEACH TRUMP PETITION. We’ve all read about Tom Steyer’s petition to IMPEACH TRUMP. Just make sure you too have signed it. You don’t want to feel embarrassed when he’s impeached and your grandchildren ask if you helped get that monster out of office!!! Here’s the link. It’ll take about 37 seconds: https://action.needtoimpeach.com/act?sc=ema_s

HELL ON A HILL. Latest rumors and a few messages scrawled here and there say that all the new construction planned for UCSC — and the adding of 3000 beds — is for allowing MORE students to come to campus…not to handle the sad, near-evil crowded conditions the present students have to deal with. Let’s hope someone tells us this isn’t true.

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL MOVES BACK TO ORIGINAL SENTINEL BUILDING!!!
It seems just a bit odd, but as you probably read The Sentinel has moved out of its Scotts Valley offices. They are planning on locating over near Costco in the Harvey West Park. The offices aren’t ready, so where do they end up??? Renting space from Cruzio, which of course is the old Sentinel Building…,You could say “Only In Santa Cruz”… but you don’t have to.

MORE ON THAT MISSING BLACK “M”. Now we know the 10 foot tall black M that stood next to the extra large ORANGE ball at the corner of Cooper and Front streets rests in Nina Simon’s back yard. We also know that the M didn’t stand for McPherson— it stood for “Museum”. So along comes Welles Goodrich, one of Bonny Doon’s wisest sages, who tells me he thought the M together with the ball stood for…. “Mac-Sphere-son”.Wait for it.

HOT DAMN STRING BAND AT THE BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ…AGAIN/STILL. None of us remember what year our Hot Damn String Band played at The Bookshop Santa Cruz’s annual birthday. It was before we helped organize the book drive and survival party that made it possible for the Bookshop to open in the tent (pavilion) right after the 1989 earthquake. Well, The Hot Damns are playing again (and still) this year, at 7:30 on Friday Night November 10. That definitely includes Jim Reynolds on guitar, Annie Steinhardt on fiddle, me on washboard, Gary Cunningham string bass, Dave Magram banjo, and Dore Coller mandolin. The real deal is that book prices will be the lowest they get all year that Friday and Saturday. See you there!!!

HELL ON A HILL. Latest rumors and a few messages scrawled here and there say the all that new construction planned for UCSC and the adding of 3000 beds is for allowing MORE students to come to campus…not to handle the sad, near evil crowded conditions the present students have to deal with now. Let’s hope someone tells us it isn’t true.

ENVIRONMENTAL VICTORY IN MOUNT HERMON IN FELTON. Nancy Macy from the San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club has been way out in front of the battle to save some precious land from being turned into a JESUS BIKE PARK. She sent the following…

Campaign to Prevent “Felton Meadow Project” Successful. Project Withdrawn

Posted on: October 5, 2017 2:32 pm

Posted in Community Concerns, Environment, Featured Story, Felton Meadow Project

Felton Meadow Preserved! (For Now)

It is with intense gratitude that we announce the Mount Hermon Association (MHA) has withdrawn its plans to replace a rare remaining meadow, at the entrance to the San Lorenzo Valley, with an “Adventure Park” that included a “Bike Velocity Park.” Their official statement on their website read, Thank you for your continued interest in the Felton Meadow. We have been encouraged by the interest. The costs associated with developing the Felton Meadow property have exceeded our current capabilities and so we have decided to forego any development. Although we are not moving forward with development of the property, there are new programs in development that will benefit our surrounding community including new programs intended for our local community. We will be starting an After School Program for grade school students in the San Lorenzo Valley and launching Velocity Bike School and Adventures with classes, guided rides, and backcountry trips based out of our current location. The Felton Meadow property will continue to be maintained and managed by Mount Hermon.”

The defeat of the project is due to the intense, multi-year involvement of many people. Thoughtful, intelligent, in-depth research provided cogent arguments against the development and drove the effort to stop the project and preserve the valuable meadow, wetlands, oak woodlands and viewshed (significantly beautiful view protected in the Felton Town Plan) at the entrance to the SLV. 

The VWC and its Environmental Committee are surprised and relieved by MHA’s decision. We were prepared – after thousands of hours of research – with hundreds of documented arguments against the project which was officially initiated with an attempt for a Mitigated Negative Declaration in the summer of 2014, after having met twice with MHA about their plans after purchasing the property two years before. We have a plan in place with dozens of concerned people ready to help, had raised funds to support the effort to comment on the EIR. We were also ready to further publicize the disturbing problems with the proposal, to enlist community support to protect the Meadow, and to speak at Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors public hearings to convince these leaders not to support the project. With the many delays in producing the Draft Environmental Impact Report, we felt it would have taken at least another year from now to resolve the issue with a vote by the Supervisors. 

We are committed to continuing to “Save the Meadow,” and are open to ideas and support for doing so. Financial assistance is also appreciated. 

We learned a lot in researching the many aspects of the project beyond the significant environmental and social problems. We will be providing further information about the health and safety issues to the community, to increase awareness of the problems we learned of. Please watch the VWC website and Facebook for further information, or contact us to help. 

To become involved in the effort to further protect the Meadow, contact Environmental Committee Chair, email Nancy Macy or call (831) 345-1555.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED THE EFFORT TO STOP THE AMUSEMENT PARK PROPOSAL ON OUR PRECIOUS AND RARE MEADOW, WITH ITS OAK WOODLANDS, and WETLANDS with its BEAUTIFUL VIEWSHED.

All of us should read and memorize the steps and thinking that went into this victory over the destruction of more of our county. Check out the VWC website. http://valleywomensclub.org/category/environment/felton-meadow-project

In Defense of Women’s Self-Defense
As women come forward en masse with stories of decades of sexual harassment from male supervisors and mentors, one might conclude that the decades of programs to encourage females to find the confidence to confront such behavior are finally bearing fruit. Or one could perversely decide to cut such programs. The City of Santa Cruz has opted for the latter.

At Wednesday’s meeting (11/1/17) of the city’s Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, staff recommended cutting the provision of the free (residents) and low cost (non-residents) women and girl’s self-defense workshops from year round to just one month in April which is national Sexual Assault Awareness month. The commissioners voted to support staff’s proposal. The rationale? That enrollment has been dropping, classes cancelled or held with low enrollment. Alerted that this was on the agenda and unable to attend the meeting I emailed a response, urging commissioners to adopt a vigorous publicity and outreach effort rather than dropping the classes: to no avail. I can only conclude that commissioners, staff and the city manager (the commission is under the city manager’s office) are ignorant of the demonstrated value in self-defense to empower women and girls to find their voice and use the skills learned to thwart sexist behavior and sexual assault.

The Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women was enacted into local law through a citizen’s initiative in 1981. I was one of the co-founders. As the first chair of the seated Commission I and other commissioners recognized the crucial role of women’s self-defense in maximizing women’s safety. From that date until now (1981-2017) women’s self-defense has been central to the Commission’s programs. The community has been blessed with a number of skilled self-defense instructors offering such workshops, funded by the Commission. Women’s self-defense is not a variety of karate. It is based on the awareness that females often lack the necessary mind-set to confront male aggression. They too often giggle, ignore or try to please rather than delivering a controlled, direct imperative to “leave me alone.” It recognizes that many threatening situations involve intimates. It backs up verbal assertiveness with simple effective physical techniques that have nothing to do with typical karate moves. It urges women to listen to their gut feelings rather than dismiss them. It works. Thousands of women and girls have used the skills learned in such workshops to thwart male aggression. Commission files are full of words of appreciation from those who have taken the workshops. One senior woman shared that she got more confidence out of four weeks of class than hundreds of hours of therapy.

Encouraging girls and women to take advantage of self-defense classes has always been a challenge. Workshops fill after a high profile stranger rape but otherwise, outreach and publicity is key. Who wants to admit that daily lives are organized around avoiding male aggression? The sole publicity for the city’s self-defense classes is via the Parks and Recreation Guide. A robust publicity campaign should include neighborhood online networks; Sentinel; Good Times; senior centers; banners; posters; radio spots etc. For staff and commissioners to ignore such an obvious first step prior to terminating most of the workshops is unacceptable.

Ordinance No. 81-29 that created the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women states that: “It shall be the policy of the City of Santa Cruz that the prevention of rape and domestic violence shall be one of its highest priorities.”  Cutting women’s self-defense workshops before making every effort to publicize their effectiveness makes a mockery of such policy directive. This issue goes before city council for a vote in early December. If you care about the safety of women and girls in Santa Cruz, let council know how you feel about this ill-advised recommendation.

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  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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NOT ALL CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE THE SAME.

A Dream
It occurred to me recently that maybe we need to look at housing differently. Maybe we should look at it like universal healthcare, or public education. Maybe since everyone needs a place to live, we need to find places for everybody. Possibly, if we can agree that housing itself is a right, it may be the way to free up funding for affordable housing because it is a civil rights issue, and people of color are being pushed out of their homes in greater numbers because of skyrocketing rents. That’s what Lorena Melgarejo and Anne Bellows argued in an editorial in the San Mateo Journal this past Sunday.

They wrote: “This month, San Mateo County and a handful of nearby local governments officially recognized what many of us already knew: Large rent increases and no-cause evictions are an urgent civil rights issue on the Peninsula. These practices, which thrive in the brutal rental market on the Peninsula, undermine the housing security of many — but they disproportionately harm African-American, Latino, Filipino and Pacific Islander renters. Left unchecked, the displacement crisis we now face will lead to a new era of housing segregation.”


On a cloudy day in Lower Ocean neighborhood about a dozen protesters set up a post in front of the Sleep Tight apartments on Ocean Street this past week to provide support for tenants who were to be evicted.

Along with education (Article 26) and healthcare, housing (Article 25) is also included in what’s become the gold standard of human rights documents, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/), and for good reason. Everybody needs a place to live. Of course, the housing crisis is bigger than Santa Cruz because everyone cannot live here, but we have to figure out the numbers and plan, and also secure the funding for affordable housing for people who live here now. We’ve got to continue making demands on Sacramento and Washington, D.C. while working locally on obtaining money for an affordable housing trust fund, taxing speculators, and building a 24/7 emergency homeless shelter. We can do this.

Donna Brazile’s New Book, Hacks
Are you kidding me?! Donna Brazile’s new book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House”. It’s the memoire in which she confides to the readers that the Hillary Clinton campaign came to own and operate the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and that in itself might’ve made for an unfair primary against her opponent, Bernie Sanders. Well, I get it, Bernie is a socialist. He believes we all should be taken care of, probably even believes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see above). I get that. He was not a real big “D” Democrat, so realpolitik demanded that the Dem party elders do everything they could to Stop Bernie. But somehow the party will change and Bernie, like same sex marriage, minimum wage, universal healthcare, equal pay for equal work, and collective bargaining will come out on the right side of history. Just watch (and I hope you participate too!). What all this says is that a whole lot of Democrats, socialists, and non-party people are disappointed in the democratic process and the current Democratic Party and are demanding change. To all of you I say, keep pushing, on the inside and the outside, it’s the only way change actually happens.

Another Bite at Swenson Apple on Pacific
Councilmember Brown and I pulled item #9, Park Pacific Subdivision at 1547 Pacific Avenue, off the city council consent agenda last week. “Subdivision” (map) is the word for $money$. By obtaining a subdivision map, Barry Swenson Builder represented by their Santa Cruz Manager, Jesse Nickel, is now able to avoid providing twelve affordable rental units. The scheme is like this: since they will be “for-sale units,” Swenson-Builder will not have to sell the Magic 12 for at least ten years to comply with the city’s 15% inclusionary law. They will rent them out instead, all 79 condos, at market rates. I checked with the city attorney and planning director before the meeting and they both said the council could demand the 12 inclusionary units be rented out at affordable HUD rents, right now. Brown and I argued for this, but were rebuffed by a council that was more intent on “filling a hole” than obtaining more affordable housing. These units slipped away like so many others into that profit-driven black hole named, “Does-Not-Pencil-Out”. (If this is sounding like a Molly Ivins story about the Texas state legislature, well you wouldn’t be too far off the mark…do as I say, not as I do.)

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Bernie Tweet of the Week.
“Instead of more tax breaks for Wall Street, we must make public colleges and universities tuition-free by taxing Wall Street speculators.” (Nov. 1)

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.

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By: Becky Steinbruner    Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY HOUSING ADVISORY COMMISSION REJECTS REQUIRING 15% RENTAL UNIT NEW DEVELOPMENT TO BE AFFORDABLE.
County Planning Director Kathy Previsich and Housing Planner Julie Conway were adamant that developers will not build rental housing units if required to make 15% of them affordable and inclusionary because it would not be feasible for the developers.  Here we go again, folks, the poor developers claim they just can’t make building affordable places for people to live “pencil out” for their wallets, and the County (and Santa Cruz City) just fall all over themselves to give the developers whatever they want.  Remember, that’s what Planning director Kathy Previsich told the Board of Supervisors recently: “We need to change the regulations so the developers can do what they want to do.”  Wow.

The Housing Advisory Commission, a group of citizens who considers these issues based on Planning staff information and makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, had a fair discussion of the merits of inclusionary affordable housing requirements for rentals.  One of the Commissioners admitted a large developer had contacted him.  I wondered why the Commission is not required to declare this Ex Parte communication on matters, as does the Planning Commission?  I had an uncomfortable feeling that more than one of the Commissioners had been contacted, perhaps by Mr. Robert Singleton, who was sitting in the audience and has deep connections with the real estate industry here.  He was obviously pleased by the Commission’s vote.

Julie Conway assured the Commissioners that if they approved her recommendation to deny the requirement of 15% affordable units included in rental projects of seven or more units, she would notify them right away if any developer applied for a project that would include affordable rental housing, and they could at that time revisit the issue.  Huh?  Why should any greedy developer want to do that when the Planning Department just bows down to them to allow them to “do what they want to do”?  If a developer were to apply for such a project, according to Julie Conway, they could ask for up to three concessions.  Wow, Barry Swenson Builder got A LOT more than that at the Aptos Village Project (and Soquel Creek Water District allows them free water during construction).

Many thanks to Commissioners Nancy Abbey and Bud Lindholm for voting NO, and beseeching the Commission and Planning staff to require developers to build 15% affordable units in residential rental projects.  At least THEY are acting responsibly and with conscience.  Let’s just hope the Board of Supervisors will NOT FOLLOW the Commission’s recommendations and vote to require developers build affordable housing.

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ASK QUESTIONS AT THE MIDCOUNTY GROUNDWATER AGENCY WORKSHOP AND PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING
Attend the next MidCounty Groundwater Agency educational workshop on Monday, November 13, 7pm-9pm at the Community Foundation Building in Aptos (just across the street from the Rancho del Mar Center Safeway).  That workshop is for the general public but also to educate the Groundwater Sustainability Planning Committee that is writing the plan of action to heal the area’s critically-over drafted aquifer.  That Committee will meet Monday, November 13, 4pm-6:15pm and will also be at the Community Foundation Building.  Don’t let them talk YOU out of staying to listen to their discussion, as that did happen to a private well owner who showed up at the last meeting!   Here’s more info: http://www.midcountygroundwater.org/gsp-advisory-committee/committee-meetings

~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.

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By: Gary Patton    Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com


#309 / The Worried Billionaires

The world’s billionaires are worried. What are they worried about? According to Newsweek, they “fear that the poor will rise up.” When I first saw the Newsweek article, I put it on Facebook. I provided a “Pull Quote” from the article, followed by a Question and a Statement: 

PULL QUOTE: “The total wealth held by the world’s billionaires rose by 17 percent in 2016 to $6 trillion, and the uber-rich are concerned that growing inequality could lead to society turning against them”. 

QUESTION/STATEMENT: 
(1) How could they ever imagine something like that?
(2) Wouldn’t that be nice!

The wealth controlled by the world’s “billionaire class,” to quote Bernie Sanders, is wealth that was socially created. It is absolutely legitimate to consider how best to utilize that wealth for the benefit of those not personally in possession of it. The questions to be addressed are all “political” questions. We do “live in a political world,” and in the United States, we believe that our representative democracy can make decisions about how to structure our economy and society. Trying to figure out how to set up a system that reduces the incredible wealth inequality now prevailing is absolutely appropriate. “Rising up,” in this context, means starting to take seriously the opportunity to use our political system to make significant (even revolutionary) changes. 

Americans, we all remember, are all about revolution!

Naturally, there are, and should be, debates about what to do, and what is fair, but when 1% of the population controls something like 35% of the total wealth of the society, it is probably time to see if putting that wealth to work for a greater percentage of the population wouldn’t make sense. 

What is the point of this posting? Not to urge violence against billionaires. I am against that. If that kind of “rising up” is proposed, please count me out. I think there is a better way. This is a plea to my fellow citizens to understand that we are, in fact, “all in this together,” and that our political system needs to marshal the resources of our society to deal with the crises of our time: a natural world that is moving towards the massive extinction of species, from bugs to humans, and a situation in the nation in which hard working men and women can no longer find a sheltered place to sleep at night, and are homeless under bridges. 

What am I worried about?
I am worried that we are going to continue to let the billionaires take it all, and that because of this our world, a world that does belongs to all of us, rich and poor alike, is going to come apart.

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 www.gapatton.net

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CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo “kids around” a large church issue…scroll downwards just a bit…

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Desert View” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Okay, so it’s less about the gods of classical Norse Mythology than the Marvel Comics pantheon, but find out why I still get a kick out of the surprisingly funny new Thor movie this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com/). Also, my Beast book prowls closer to publication with a cool new page in The Candlewick catalogue, and pre-order online discounts galore!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER. Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell top the acting list but it’s Barry Keoghan as the driven, mysterious teen ager that you’ll remember long after you leave the theatre. This film is a deadly serious drama. Its mythical, symbolic, and deep. The director Yorgos Lanthimos also made Dogtooth and The Lobster films also starring Colin Farrell so that should give you an idea of how far out this one is.

LBJ. Not the greatest bio-pic ever filmed but eventually Woody Harrelson will grow on you as LBJ really takes over as President and deals with Civil Rights, Viet Nam, and his many other accomplishments and defeats. Audiences switch back and forth from silly laughing at funny script lines to damn near crying when LBJ leaves the support of his southern cronies. Yes, JFK’s assassination is in there, so is Walter Cronkite’s announcement of JFK’s death. Go see it, and be prepared to have even more remorse over what’s happening at the White House this week.

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.

MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE. We thought we knew enough about Watergate, but this story of the “Deep Throat” behind the revelation of Nixon’s involvement, is involving and interesting right from the start. Liam Neeson plays the stiff, moral, upright tightlipped Mark Felt, and does it well. Diane Lane plays his boozy wife and doesn’t get a chance to add much. It’s a learning experience and you’ll become even more concerned over the current relationship between Trump and the FBI. Go for it.

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!

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.

ITThis 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.

LUCKY. This is Harry Dean Stanton’s last film and he was 91 years old when they filmed it. He died in September. He also played and sang in Santa Cruz a few times too. This is a sad saga of an old man who never married, wandering around his desert town yakking and gossiping with his crony friends. He talks about death, tortoises, and the things you’d imagine a 91 year old would talk about. The cast includes Transcendental Meditation’s David Lynch, plus Ed Begley Jr., and Tom Skerritt. Probably no Academy Awards, but it’s a pleasant film. 98 on RT.

AMERICAN MADE. Is NOT another dopey, violent Tom Cruise superhuman action flick. This one is based on an unbelievable probably half-true story about a guy who becomes an international drug runner, and then gets involved illegally with our CIA and the Iran Contra affair that almost got President Ronnie R. evicted. It’s probably Scientology that gives Tom Cruise that certain extra something…and I have to admit I like watching the buy. 87 on RT.

KINGSMEN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE. I wished I’d remembered that this second installment of an ongoing series comes from comic books. The entire movie looks like an animated cartoon. It’s violent, murderous, and plain goofy. Elton John plays himself, and there’s a warning right there. To watch such good actors as Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and especially Colin Firth jump around for their million dollar salaries is embarrassing.

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UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG.

On November 7 Dr. Suzanne Kerley talks about plastic surgery, hand surgery and the dangers of trusting what you see on the internet. Then Scott McGilvray from Water For Santa Cruz straightens the record on our water problems. November 14 is KZSCs PLEDGE DRIVE night and historian Ross Gibson will keep us up to date on what old news is new!  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.

Seven words: turn up the volume and watch this.

OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttp://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton 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.bratton@cruzio.com

QUOTES. “NOVEMBER”
“Wind warns November’s done with. The blown leaves make bat-shapes, Web-winged and furious,” Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I detest ‘Jingle Bells,’ ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,’ and the obscene spending bonanza that nowadays seems to occupy not just December, but November and much of October, too”, Richard Dawkins
“November; Crows are approaching – Wounded leaves fall to the ground’, Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann
“There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November”, Martin Luther King, Jr.


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BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.

Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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