Blog Archives

October 10 – 16, 2016

TWO WAY TRAFFIC ON PACIFIC IN 1953. It really should be made a closed Mall, but here’s what it used to look like. Remember too, it had out of town corporations like Bank Of America, Woolworth’s, Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penneys, B.F. Goodrich, and plenty more.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE October 10, 2016

SANTA CRUZ CLIFF JUMPING. Words can not describe…

These Artists Are Taking Environmental Issues to the Streets

Santa Cruz-California’s Gold With Huell Howser . I could never like Huell Howser, his voice and delivery drove/drives me crazy. However he and his crew did actually visit Santa Cruz. Check it out.

MAH CLOSING LULU CARPENTER’S AT THE OCTAGON. Manthri Srinath (proprietor and owner of the Lulu Carpenter Coffee house name, wasn’t sure last week what his next step would be after Nina Simon announced that the Museum O’fart and History was going to take back the running of the Octagon.

In the old days MAH actually had museum exhibits in the Octagon. Charles Prentiss and Nikki Silva created some absolutely inspired exhibits there. That didn’t work out so MAH tried running a museum store in there. They sold Santa Cruz tourist stuff, and that didn’t work either so eventually it became Lulus at The Octagon. (And my un-official office for a few noon times there weekly for years.

Of course, one of the first things Nina did was to cut down one of the trees on Cooper Street. Check out Cooper Street on Google maps and note the now missing tree.

Decades ago I was a member of the Santa Cruz Historical Commission, we met in the Octagon. We spent many meetings trying to figure out just how to merge the Art Museum with the History museum. It hadn’t been done before, and caused enormous bickering between artists and historians. These two groups of humans are, if you think about it, very different kinds of people. Artists focus on the new, different, unheard of future inventions and historians focus on what’s provable, what’s old, what’s authentic. They clash a lot. Which is to say that the History part of MAH still moves along and does well, given what they are given. The Art part has suffered terribly under N. Simon’s direction as anyone can see if they still visit MAH looking for anything vital artwise. This is done with complete approval and encouragement of the City Council, the Chamber, MAH’s Board Of Directors, and everyone else who prefer attendance numbers for anything “popular” to quality showings of art.

CYNTHIA MATHEWS SANTA CRUZ PROPERTIES. Folks got curious about just how much property Cynthia Mathews and her husband own. They sent this…

According to the Assessor’s office index, Cynthia and her husband William own the following;

  • 248 Felix Street, Santa Cruz – a duplex.
  • 1104 Bay Street, Santa Cruz – single family dwelling (with their son, Jeremy).
  • 208 Lincoln Street, Santa Cruz – Zasu Pitts house next to the Nicoleodeon Theatre.
  • 333 Locust Street, Santa Cruz – apartment building, 5-10 units and
  • 316 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz – owner-occupied dwelling.

SERIOUS MURAL LOSS. Pat Matejcek sends this late bulletin

Still mourning the demise of the Capitola Bookcafe (and Crossroads Books in Watsonville), the cuts are reopened when I noticed that the 41st Avenue Cinema expansion was also achieved by the loss of the powerful whale mural on the wall along 38th Ave.  With the degradation of the other whale mural on Day’s Market on Seabright, where is the public recognition and celebration of our wild marine and terrestrial flora and fauna on the ever-increasing number and height of walls?


Please join us for a benefit concert for four progressive candidates running for Santa Cruz city council: Sandy Brown, Steve Schnaar, Drew Glover, Chris Krohn. Help elect progressive candidates who will promote affordable housing, neighborhood and citizen participation in development decisions, environmental sustainability, and compassionate, practical solutions for homelessness. Don’t miss this exciting event! SambaDa’s Brazilian dance music, Tom Noddy’s bubble magic and Farouche’s funk laden gypsy jazz will be the entertainment for the night! Please join us! Tickets at brown paper tickets or at the door – suggested donation $15-$350.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY HISTORY FAIR. Saturday October 8 was a grand day at the London Nelson Community Center. Do remember that London Nelson had two brothers according to Phil Reader. Their names were Cambridge and Marlborough). At least two dozen tables and historical displays took up 3 of the 4 rooms and four talks about our history had good sized audiences in the main meeting room all afternoon. It’s not just amazing how many folks actually care and spend time unearthing our city and county history it’s curious too. My guess as to the number of professionals and amateurs seek out that specific history and I though a lot about it…People move here, they (we) love the place so much we want to identify and link with the past every way possible. We care a lot about changes, authenticity, and so much is and has been developed and changed that it seems to be going faster nowadays. We need more such History Fairs and the Friends of The Cowell Lime Works Historic District are to be congratulated.


The outcome of Save Our Big Trees v. City of Santa Cruz was very costly for the city. Legal costs, recently settled, probably exceed $300,000 including costs for the city’s legal consultants from Sacramento. The lawsuit was important on many levels, not only for the protection of local heritage trees, it also serves as a warning to cities to not try to circumvent the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Cities claiming CEQA exemptions for environmental projects have been an increasing trend. The decision in this lawsuit should give pause for thought.

As some remember, in 2013 the city was poised to vote on changes to its Heritage Tree Ordinance, an ordinance first proposed in 1976 by then councilmember Carole de Palma.  The changes proposed weakened the ordinance by adding more criteria for tree removal such as “economic hardship” and “allergies” to an already significant list of criteria for granting heritage tree removal permits. Heritage eucalyptus and acacia were taken out of protection altogether and developers given far more leeway to remove heritage trees than was allowed under the old ordinance. A few definitions were clarified although the new definition of emergency moved even further away from the real thing. In the face of this obvious weakening of the ordinance the city claimed, straight-faced, that the revisions were actually strengthening the ordinance and therefore there would be no requirement for environmental review. Many of us disagreed including members of the grassroots group, Save Our Big Trees as well as environmental attorneys and tree lovers everywhere.  Some called it a Heritage Tree Removal Ordinance. The city pushed stubbornly on in defense of its position. Local environmental attorneys, Wittwer & Parkin opined that the city was wrong in claiming CEQA exemption and took the case on contingency on behalf of Save Our Big Trees. At the local Superior Court level, the judge’s decision was in favor of the city. It struck me that the judge didn’t understand the issues or was biased towards the city given the simple equation that if you add more reasons for people to remove heritage trees then more will be removed, which triggers a CEQA requirement.  Given the loss at the local level, the next step would be the California Appellate Court, which was reputed to be more environmentally aware than the court at the local level.  Before committing to filing at the Appellate level, Save Our Big Trees and its lawyers offered a settlement to the city. We would withdraw the lawsuit if the city removed the additional tree removal criteria, used the former definition of emergency and kept heritage eucalyptus under protection. The city rejected the offer. In 2015, the Sixth Appellate court ruled in favor of Save Our Big Trees, confirming Wittwer & Parkin’s legal contention that the city erred in claiming CEQA exemption and mandating the city to revert to the former ordinance.

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)

~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).

Activity continues at the Aptos Village Project

The historic Hihn Apple Barn (aka Antique Village Fair) is now 80% toward its new location and has been rotated 90 degrees from the original direction.  It now sits six feet in the air on top of the old railroad spur lines that served the area, where locomotives would haul cars of lumber and apples out of the Aptos canyons to markets far and wide.  What lies under the surface of those soils?  Artifacts, no doubt, but the Planning Department has assured me that there have been none found.  A qualified archaeologist is supposed to be on site looking for things like that, but it seems that box may have been neglected at the Planning Department.  The scavengers who have been regularly visiting the site at night with metal detectors, according to local residents, probably have an interesting collection. I hope they washed their hands well to remove any contaminated soil.

Speaking of digging…there are many interesting things about the Aptos Village Project that one finds when digging through files at the County Building and beyond.  If I have learned anything in the past months of researching this development (tell me again why no Environmental Impact Report was done?), it is that I need to examine all claims that requirements for approvals were actually satisfied.  That is what led me to file a Public Records Act request with Cabrillo College to verify that all those toilets and urinals that were supposedly replaced by Barry Swenson Builder in order to get Soquel Creek Water District’s approval for the new service connections actually did get replaced.

It took quite awhile to get the information.  By law, the agency must respond within 10 days, either with the material you request, or with a notice of a 10-day extension to gather material for reasons such as voluminous requests.  It is against the law to postpone making the material available to the party who has made the request, just to withhold information.  In the case of my request to Cabrillo College, success came two months later, with the aid of multiple phone calls, a second submittal and finally a letter to the College President requesting that staff be cooperative.

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)

~(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).


The September 29th edition of The New York Review of Books contained a review of Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer. According to the headline, “The Killer Cats Are Winning!” The book is by Peter P. Marra and Chris Santella, and was published this year by Princeton University Press.

If you’d like another look at this topic, you might also consider the following article, by Travis Longcore, Catherine Rich, and Lauren M. Sullivan: “Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap–Neuter–Return.” The Longcore-Rich-Sullivan article was published in 2009 in Conservation Biology.

The upshot of both the book and the article is that domestic cats are devastating predators, destroying bird populations: The jaunty image of the house cat as a kind of lap-sized leopard and the powerful, almost parental love that cat owners feel for the increasingly popular pet obscure another, darker truth about Felis catus. Free-roaming domestic cats … are an environmental menace of staggering and still-escalating proportions. They … butcher tens of billions of songbirds, small mammals, reptiles, and lizards each year and push vulnerable species toward extinction. Cats hunt when they are hungry and hunt when they are full. “In the United States,” the authors write, “more birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats than from wind turbines, automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windows, and other so-called direct anthropogenic causes combined.”

Until I read the article from Conservation Biology, which I did a number of years ago, I had never really thought much about this subject. Now that I have, I believe that our transformation of Felis catus into a domestic pet is a good example of how human beings make a mistake by thinking that they can ignore the World of Nature, as we create our own, human reality. The fact that domesticated cats are “an environmental menace of staggering proportions” ought to factor into our decision-making process. Maybe we ought to think twice before inviting these “pets” into our homes”.( Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds at )


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo predicted our still dangerous Downtown Development many years ago. See it down below just a ways…

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s version of  non thinking “YOU TUBERS” 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.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. My target date to send in my revised manuscript is this Tuesday (10/11). So, sadly what I sent you last week about keeping my nose to the keyboard goes for this week too. But, as soon as my book (finally) moves into the next phase of production, I really do plan to get right back to the blog at Promise!

MOTHERS OF MEN. One showing only this Thursday Oct. 13 at The Del Mar. It’s a silent restored film shot in 1917 in Santa Cruz.  There really aren’t  many recognizable local scenes except for Pacific and Cooper, Holy Cross Church, and  Front and Soquel Streets. It’s interesting to see how the concept of having a woman governor in California still hasn’t caught on!!! Go see it…great fun. Also the Mont Alto Orchestra who recorded the score of the film, will be here live. I’ve  heard them many, many times at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival they’re great too. It happens one screening only at 7:15p.m.

GIRL ON A TRAIN. Emily Blunt stars in this heavily adapted book to film release. You’ll figure it all out about three-quarters of the way through the flash back-fast forward sections. What’s also a problem is that (on purpose) some of the women look like each other! Ex-wives, murder, drinking, cliches galore. I think you’d be better off reading the book. I’ll bet most of your friends have.

BIRTH OF A NATION. Using D.W. Griffith’s famous title this film is almost as bad and as inaccurate, unfeeling, a depiction of slavery and of Nat Turner as the original. Nat Turner’s very real role in fighting slavery is in this New Yorker article: The Birth of a Nation isn’t worth defending. The film shows no depth, no humaness, no deep concept of what both white and black americans were going through at the time. It’s shallow, condescending, and too simple. This country was literally born with a black and white problem that we still haven’t solved. This movie doesn’t help much.

SNOWDEN. A genuine Oliver Stone film. If you think you know everything about the Edward Snowden Wikileaks international extravaganza you’ll learn even more watching this film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, and even a tubby Nicolas Cage in a bit part make this into a tight thriller . We don’t know the ending yet, and won’t until Snowden leaves Russia or Obama changes his ethics and morals and guarantees this true patriot some semblence of freedom. I think Edward Snowden should be given medals, trophys, and a place in our national security system.

HELL OR HIGH WATER. Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster and Chris Pine make this one wonderful, exciting, involving, and well acted film. Go see it ASAP. Cops and bank robbers in Texas, internal conflicts, evil bank laws and practices, and ethics and morals are all integrated. It’s hard to believe that “Hollywood” could still make a film this good after all these years of junk.

DEEP WATER HORIZON. A big cast with Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, and an extra grizzly Kurt Russell. It’s about the 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and how greedy, cruel, and devious the BP (British Petroleum) corporation was/is?? about sacrificing human life for the big buck. Lots of technical oil terms, plenty of time to think about our local ocean frontage (and fracking) then comes the explosion…it’s great, it’s exciting, it’s long, it’s tense and it’s done just perfectly. Wahlberg is believable, go see it.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC.Viggo Mortensen, the lead in this family saga, has never been better, and he’s almost always excellent. The older you are the more you’ll appreciate this extension of our 1950 & 60’s belief system. A film that has Noam Chomsky’s philosophy as a driver, Jesse Jackson, Joy of Sex book, Lolita, Glen Gould’s Bach Variations and some non-christian beliefs added,  has to take you back just a bit. And in a good way. Viggo raises his family in the total wilds and later they have to face modern life and society. It’s as much fun as it is moving, sensitive , and well made. Frank Langella and Steve Zahn add to this hit film. Go for/to it!!  

THE HOLLARS. One of the most cleverly written comedies I’ve seen in years. Full of familiar faces, the cast is as funny as the script. New York City family relationships, a bit slow at times, no groundbreaking plot, but funny. It never seems to go where you think it will, and that’s great too. Go for it. Mary Kay Place, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, and especially Margot Martindale all star in it.

SULLY. Tom Hanks, Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhardt do their dependable, professional jobs in this formulac Hollywood treu life drama. Plenty of tension, a great true story that we knew most of already. It’s how airplane Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed that passenger plane in the Hudson river and saved everybody’s lives. Speaking of airplanes, you might t hink about right wing director of the film Clint Eastwood and that  the executive producer of Suicide Squad and Sully is  Steven Mnuchin who is Donald Trump’s finance director, if  it matters who you give money to!

THE DRESSMAKER. Kate Winslet leads the cast which includes Liam Hemsworth and a snarly, memorable, mugging Judy Davis.I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a comedy or tragedy set in an Australian cowboy town. It’s foolsh, non-sensical, and has no reason to exist. Stay home instead.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (take # 3). This movie should be sued for using the same title as the earlier classics starring in 1960 Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Colburn, Robert Vaughn and of course Eli Wallich. Then there’s the genuine Akira Kurosawa classic “Seven Samurai” from 1956 (which both of above films ripped off), that starred Toshiro Mifune. The new one has Denzel Washington as the big honcho and he’s about as impressive a leader as Pee Wee Herman would be, but he’s not as funny. Don’t go.  

MRS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. Tim Burton who was born in Burbank in 1958 has made cinema greatness by directing  Beetlejuice, Pee Wee Herman, Edward Scissorhands, James and The Giant Peach. Miss Peregrine is a mess, and unfathomable, confusing, pointless. And even sad and painful..DO NOT TAKE OR SEND CHILDREN…it is not a children’s movie, or yours either. Besides all that, the film is heavily critized for having one very evil character in it…played by the one Black actor in the cast Samuel L. Jackson.



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. KZSC Pledge Drive happens Oct. 11 with guest Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin co-hosting.  The Pledge Drive continues while Joan Van Antwerp talks about The Sidereal Theatre on Oct. 18, she’s followed by former County Supervisor Neal Coonerty talking about the new Bookshop Santa Cruz Book. On October 25 Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick returns to discuss the workings of the court system. Then Jinx Deruisa and Polly Malan talk about The Santa Cruz Chamber Players new season. November 1 has Georgia Johnson and Connor Jang Editors-in-Chief of City on a Hill Press talking about their newspaper after which gardening expert Tom Karwin discusses Arboretum issues. Nov. 15 has Deborah Muth talking about her new book on Scotts Valley history. Then Attorney Bob Taren returns that same November 15 to share views on that election. Christina Waters guests November 22 talking about her new book. 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   

Here’s a take on the election process…

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, 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.


“The worst thing about Halloween is, of course, candy corn. It’s unbelievable to me. Candy corn is the only candy in the history of America that’s never been advertised. And there’s a reason. All of the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911. And so, since nobody eats that stuff, every year there’s a ton of it left over”,  Lewis Black

“There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world”,  Jean Baudrillard

“Thanks to Halloween… the cobwebs in our house have just become decorations!”,  Rick Sutter

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
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Direct email:
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @



Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.


Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on October 10 – 16, 2016

Comments are closed.