Blog Archives

October 17 – 30, 2018

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…a sad Greg Larson incident, latest news on UCSC’s East Meadow development. GREENSITE…on Housing for Whom? KROHN…10 reasons to vote YES on rent control, M campaign signs vanish. STEINBRUNER…Forums for Soquel Creek Water Board, Aptos/La Selva Fire Board, greedy Aptos Chamber, No on G. PATTON…about Trump rallies. EAGAN…Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. JENSEN…reviews Colette. BRATTON…critiques 22 July, Old Man and A Gun, First Man, Colette, Bad Times at the El Royale. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE guest lineup. QUOTES…on Halloween.

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PACIFIC AVENUE LOOKING NORTH. Circa 1910. That was, and is, Lincoln and Soquel. That Unique theatre on the far right was owned by Mack Swain, who was Charlie Chaplin’s hulking nemesis in The Gold Rush. It closed in 1936 when the Del Mar opened. Once again note the ugly trolley tracks running both directions on Pacific. Good thing they removed them before they could save us all so much time and money. I wonder which council candidates today would fight to save them?                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

PEE WEE HERMAN & TEQUILA.
JOHN OLIVER & DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME EXPLAINED

DATELINE October 15, 2018

A VERY SAD GREG LARSON INCIDENT. Monday morning (10/15) I received this email…

“This past Sunday evening (10/14) after the filming wrapped at the local CTV community television headquarters for  “Meet The Candidates,” Santa Cruz City Council Candidate Greg Larson singled fellow candidate Ashley Scontriano out for questioning regarding what could be done to put a stop to negative publicity. The conversation – which took place in a dark parking lot – began innocently with shared experiences of typical campaigning growing pains, but took an accusatory left turn when Larson told Scontriano to manage her “core” campaign supporters and prevent them from highlighting facts Larson felt undermined his efforts as a viable candidate. Scontriano felt cornered and blindsided by the false accusations. However, it was the next statement that had Scontriano floored by the gravity of Larson’s direct threat: “Depending upon who gets elected…If you do, I will want to continue to work with you on policy. But if I get elected, I won’t want to work with you and I will make it very hard for you to get anything done.”   

Another female candidate who was present for the incident was so concerned for Scontriano’s safety she stayed around to make sure that Scontriano made it to her car safely. Going forward, Scontriano will make sure to have multiple supporters accompany her to her car after forums.

In a political climate that is already wrought with polarizing topics and alienating opinions, it is disheartening that a male candidate would use his power and control to intimidate a female candidate in this day and age”.

First I established the identity of the sender, and then I asked Ashley Scontriano if it was true. She replied…

“Hello Bruce,

All of it is true and another female candidate witnessed the whole thing.

Thank you,

Ashley Scontriano”

Now voters in Santa Cruz need to decide if that’s the kind of behavior we want to represent our city.

EAST UCSC MEADOW. Along with Chancellor George Blumenthal retiring there’s a lot going on at the UC campus we should all know more about. Here’s a good summary of the proposed project for the main entrance to the campus. On September 17, UCSC announced that it was going ahead with the development of the East Meadow project. Here’s the response of the East Meadow Action Committee (EMAC) to that announcement by the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). Regarding the Student Housing West Proposal…

“During the late summer, there were no new developments in the University’s “Student Housing West” project. On September 17th  the administration released a newly revised DEIR (Draft Environmental Impact Report) and began a new 45-day comment period.

The project as described in this newly released document is essentially the same, with building in the East Meadow retained. Some changes have been made to the West campus structures, lowering their height somewhat but not reducing the number of beds. Cosmetic grading changes in the East Meadow portion, and discussion of an augmented number of alternative sites are the other significant changes.

EMAC is studying the very long and complex document, working to prepare a revised comment by November 1st, the deadline for responses. We urge everyone who has previously submitted a comment to re-submit, and if appropriate, revise, their text. The University will not respond to prior comments, but only to comments on the latest DEIR.

Two public meetings have been scheduled for week-after-next (see details below). We don’t see these as opportunities to change the University administration’s mind, since every indication is that it is fully committed to its plan. But we hope that as many people as possible who are concerned about the project and especially by its careless development of the East Meadow will attend and be heard. It’s important for the University and the general public to know that resistance to their ill-conceived project has not waned. 

Going forward, during the months of November and December, the University will prepare formal responses to the many critical comments it will certainly receive. A final document will then be prepared for submission to the UC Regents at their January meeting. EMAC and its allies among UCSC’s Alumni and Trustee groups are strategizing to find ways to influence the Regents decision. (We will inform you of how to register your opinion in a future update.)

If the final proposal is approved in January, anyone who wishes to begin litigation to stop the project has thirty days to do so. EMAC and at least two other groups are currently engaged in consultations with lawyers. But no decision on legal action is possible until the final proposal can be analyzed and the Regents have acted. 

According to the present plan, bulldozers will begin work in the meadow in June. 

The current Draft Environmental Impact Report is available for download here (bottom of page). It is a very long and sometimes technical document. EMAC recommends special attention to the section on alternative sites (section 5.0 of volume one), which lays out seven alternatives to the proposed project, all of which spare the East Meadow, and 5 of which provide just as much new housing for students as does the administration’s proposed housing.

From all the possibilities, the University has chosen the least responsible option. This is not simply because it sacrifices the meadow for the sake of a very small number of student beds (less than 5% of all the beds proposed for the entire project), a wasteful use of a precious campus resource. It also delays the alleviation of the current crisis by bundling most of the needed student housing into a single massive complex. Several of the alternatives in the DEIR would be more flexible and could bring new housing to campus sooner. As documented on the EMAC website (eastmeadowaction.org), in June several of these alternatives were proposed to the Administration by knowledgeable campus planners representing the UCSC Trustees and EMAC. But apparently to no avail.

The current intolerable overcrowding in campus residence halls was created by Administration mismanagement (see the attached Press Release, also posted on the EMAC site). Over the last decade we have seen a relentless expansion of enrollments ahead of resources. Now 3000 new beds are being proposed, less than a 1000 of which would be needed to alleviate current overcrowding and to satisfy the 2008 agreement with the City to provide on-campus housing. Evidently, the large scale of the project reflects not an efficient response to the present crisis but rather an anticipation of student growth in the future. So far, the University has shown no interest in limiting enrollments or pausing to repair damage before continuing to make the housing crisis worse.  

Common sense would dictate that future projects of this scale should be undertaken with broad consultation and in the context of transparent long-term planning. A new Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) is currently under discussion, a process that will necessarily include negotiations with the City. In this context, “Student Housing West” looks like a hurried, careless undertaking.  

The project in its current form should be resisted. We need to convince the Regents and the University Administration to turn to more flexible and effective alternative responses to the current housing situation.”

All things considered, it is not surprising that, in a rare move, the university’s own Design Advisory Board, comprised of prominent California architects selected by the university, has voted unanimously to oppose putting that 5% in the East Meadow.

(For further information about the East Meadow Action Committee, visit our website at eastmeadowaction.org.)

Important information for current action. Public Comment Opportunities

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, 6:30-8:30 PM?
Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St. Santa Cruz, CA

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, 5-7 PM?
Kresge Town Hall, 510 Porter-Kresge Rd., UC Santa Cruz main campus

Written comments on the Revised Draft EIR may be submitted to: Director of Campus Planning, UC Santa Cruz, Physical Planning & Construction, 1156 High St, Mailstop: PPDO, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, or via email to eircomment@ucsc.edu. The comment period closes on Thursday, November 1, 2018, at 5:00 PM.

Link to revised Draft EIR is here at bottom of page. 1600 pp. 

October 15

HOUSING FOR WHOM?
There’s no shortage of housing in Santa Cruz. Right now you can rent a well-appointed one bedroom, one bath unit in a great location and there are plenty available. Only snag. The rent is $3000 a month. Well I did round up. It’s actually $2975 a month. I’m referring to 555 Pacific, the recently built new housing complex near the first roundabout. It’s safe to say that none of these units will be rented by local service workers. Safe to say they will be snapped up by highly paid professionals from over the hill and those seeking a second unit by the beach. If the goal is to attract more wealthy people to come live in Santa Cruz, and make a profit for the developers and their investors, then such developments make sense. If the goal is to provide affordable housing for local low -income workers then such developments should never get the green light. Or at least we shouldn’t kid ourselves that one equals the other.

The chairman (sic) for Affordable Housing Now in an op-ed in Monday’s (10/15/18) Sentinel wags his finger at those he imagines responsible for holding back the creation of affordable housing and as usual, points in all the wrong directions. It is narrow-minded at best to excoriate locals who have lived here for decades for daring to oppose 6 and 7 story complexes that butt up to their modest single-family homes and provide little in the way of anything but market rate housing. Neighbors rightly have a stake in reviewing/critiquing plans for new developments that impact their lives and the General Plan requires that new, higher density developments be compatible with existing neighborhoods, although that side of the equation is always ignored. When a truly affordable dense complex is built you don’t hear much neighborhood opposition even if it is felt, as is the case for the development currently under construction on Water Street. The re-zoning for the tidal wave of new 70 and 80 feet tall housing/commercial construction for downtown with the required bulldozing of the older historic low rise buildings has already been approved. If you look at the city’s data for housing under construction or approved for construction there seems no shortage at all: just a shortage for low-income workers.

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

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Oct. 15

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
I have been participating in local political campaigns for more than 30 years and I’ve never seen the number of political signs, specifically Yes on Measure M, that have been torn down. I do not condone the tearing down of signs by anyone on any side of M, the rent control ballot initiative now before voters. Yes on Measure M signs have gone missing on California, Delaware, King, and Barson streets. They’ve been replaced too, at great effort. People power is what put rent control on the ballot, and people power is the only resource that will carry it over the finish line on November 6th. It is a grassroots campaign that has tapped into a trove of raw emotions around the rental market. The anti-rent control crowd on the other hand has enormous resources (see campaign statements here), and this money machine is heading north of $1 million. They’ve already spent more money than any other local political campaign, EVER. The housing playing field is obviously tilted in favor of apartment owners. Property owners own multiple properties, and thus place multiple signs around, in front of, and sometimes high above their rentals. Property owners often do this without consulting tenants, and it’s frequently contrary to the political views of these same renters. Those who pay the high Santa Cruz rents have told me they are afraid to put up a sign supporting Measure M, or that the landlord prohibits them from exercising their free speech because of a clause in the lease. But in fact, there’s a state law that protects renters’ ability to practice their free speech. It’s in California Civil code 1940.4  here.    Landlords should not remove, or order tenants to remove political signs during the campaign season, it’s against state law. Yes, the deck is stacked high against the interests and desires of renters in Santa Cruz, and the accumulation of these tenant grievances is what coalesced all that energy to go out and collect over 10,000 petition signatures to place Measure M, “The Santa Cruz Rent Control and Tenant Protection Act,” on the ballot.

It’s Like a Trial Being on the Campaign Trail
Lots of information is flying around about rent control and how it will help or hurt, revive or break, protect or destroy the very fabric of our town. While rent control is not THE only solution to Santa Cruz housing woes, it is a just and hard fought piece of a rather difficult Surf City housing puzzle. If Measure M wins, it must be followed up with funding for affordable housing and homeless services (Measure H), investment in a local Department of Housing that might foster land trusts, ADU development, and the buying of current housing units to maintain their affordability in perpetuity. And if the affordable housing bond measure, Measure H, fails we must look towards ongoing funding mechanisms such as an increase in the real estate transfer tax, business license fee, and the hotel tax because one-time money injections such as the one SC county will receive after January 1 from the state, will not be enough to confront the lack of housing that’s led to a homeless crisis, which has been years in the making.

Top Ten Reasons for Passing Rent Control in Santa Cruz

Number 10–Because the economic theory of “supply and demand” does not work here. We will not build our way out of this crisis, unless we kill the patient too and make the future quality of life rather unpleasant given our natural carrying capacity. We need to live within our limits in terms of available water, access to roads, available land, and some people’s ability to own as many cars, and houses, as they wish to.

Number 9–The rent control movement is growing and students–high school, community college, and UCSC–have been a big part. They understand something must be done. They understand this is not the only vehicle for achieving fair and just housing, but they also get it that Measure M is not only one small step towards housing sanity, but one giant leap in bringing to fruition a goal which the previous local political generation could not accomplish: rent control.

Number 8–There’s been pushback towards the anti-M-ers, “too expensive and too extreme” mantra. Obviously, it is RENT that is in fact, TOO EXPENSIVE and TOO EXTREME. I see this one now scrawled on placards around town as well. (See video)

Number 7–Follow the money. A carpenters union friend recently said to me that he was on the fence about Measure M and was tending to vote against it until he saw their campaign statements with $200,000 coming in from Chicago, and hundreds of thousands more outsider money bankrolling Anti-M. He finally said, Go ahead, put the sign out front. I’ll just douse it with Tanglefoot. They just won’t know what hit ’em if they try and take it!

Number 6–I met a father of two young daughters who attend Westlake school. He works in a cabinet shop in town and recently found himself on disability. His family lives in one of the five or six large apartment complexes in the city. He said they moved into a one-bedroom paying $1400, about six years ago. Now he’s paying $2000, but the new people moving in are paying between $2600-$2800 for a similar apartment. Rent Control would offer immediate help to this single dad. It would offer him housing stability by keeping rents within the cost of living index.

Number 5–Measure M will help keep literally thousands of community members in their homes. A bus driver recently penned an Op-ed. He wrote, Whatever is on the ballot may not be perfect, but it is our best shot at addressing a very real problem.  It is a problem with costs and consequences that far outstrip the costs and consequences for landlords if proposition M passes.  And it is way overdue.  Waiting for perfection is not an option. 

Number 4–Average rents have increased more than 50% in the past four years and wages have barely moved. A friend who manages a local Italian place told me he informed his chagrined boss recently that most restaurant managers are in favor of rent control because they can’t find any employees.

Number 3–Believe it or not, our state Democratic Party platform supports rent control. The detractors say, “but just not this rent control measure.” But the Democratic Party also supports Proposition 10, while the Apartment Renters Ass. and California Real Estate Ass. pour money in against Measure M, and Prop. 10. The latter initiative would repeal Costa-Hawkins and allow all California cities to decide their rent control futures.

Number 2–Measure M seeks to level the now disheveled state of the landlord-tenant playing field. Of course, not all landlords are bad actors and some rarely even raise their rents. These landlords should not fear rent control. But if you are a tenant who’s gone from one apartment to another, who lives in fear of reporting a leaky toilet or window that won’t close because you do not have $10,000 or $12,000 to find another place, you will likely vote YES on M because it’s about fairness too.

Number 1: The number one reason for voting Yes on M is that it will keep many, many people in their homes now. These are our neighbors. It is about stability and community empowerment. If Measure M prevails, tenants may finally get some relief after years of stagnant wages and double-digit rent increases.

“In my view, what this whole election will come down to is whether we can mobilize people to come out and vote”
(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).

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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Oct. 15.

CANDIDATE FORUM FOR SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT BOARD  
Please mark your calendar for Monday, October 22, 6 pm-8 pm for a Candidate Forum at the Aptos Library that will allow all members of the public to meet and ask questions of the Soquel Creek Water District Board Candidates.  Three of the five Board offices are up for election.  This event is being sponsored by the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Environmental Committee. Make sure you read Sentinel reporter Ms. Jessica York’s excellent article in Sunday’s paper

It would be a good time to ask the Candidates about the impending rate increase next March to pay for the $200 Million PureWater Soquel Project that would pump 3+ million gallons of treated sewage water daily into the area’s drinking water supply.  It would also be a good time to ask the incumbent candidates why their recent mailer states their platform: “Solutions grounded in science, NOT ones that won’t hold water”.  Do they mean the water transfer project with Santa Cruz?   Hmmmm….

WHY IS SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT DRAGGING THEIR FEET ON ACCEPTING WATER FROM SANTA CRUZ THIS WINTER?
With a Pilot Project agreement in place to be able to accept water from Santa Cruz City’s North Coast stream sources on November 1 and decrease pumping in the over drafted MidCounty groundwater basin, why has Soquel Creek Water District not been working on the requirements to be able to accept the water until very recently?  This became known last week at District Public Outreach and Supplemental Supply Committee meetings when a member of the public asked the staff about the status of the water transfer agreement requisites.  

Staff replied that plans for the required four-week water monitoring in the pilot test service area were recently submitted to the State Division of Drinking Water but had not been approved.  The monitoring must occur in advance of accepting any surface water from Santa Cruz.  Soquel Creek Water District has known since last June that there would be no chemical problems caused by mixing water from the surface streams.  So, why has staff not taken the action necessary in a timely manner in order to accept the water on November 1?

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IF YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY, JUST GO AWAY
That was the general message I received last Thursday when I wanted to attend the Aptos Chamber of Commerce Breakfast and hear Santa Cruz County Administrative Officer (CAO) Carlos Palacios talk about local government issues.  Breakfast costs $25 but I only had $15.  I asked if I could make a $15 donation for a cup of coffee and listen to the program.  NO.  I asked if I could make a donation, just stand in the back and listen and not drink any coffee?  NO.  I asked if I could just distribute some flyers on the tables with information about a local issue? NO, but I could put them on the table near the door if people wanted to take it.

I did that and left…..maybe hearing the sound of a shredder as I departed?  I was painfully reminded that these Aptos Chamber of Commerce meetings were included in former 2nd District Supervisor Ellen Pirie’s list of PUBLIC MEETINGS held to unveil the Aptos Village Project during her reign. Transparency at its worst.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY ACLU TO HOST COMMUNITY FORUM ON POLICE USE OF FORCE
Mark your calendar for Thursday, October 18, 7 pm, at the Resource Center for Non Violence (812 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz) for the local ACLU Community Forum on Police Use of Force.  There will be some excellent and well-known public rights defenders and law enforcement officials on the panel.  Here is the link:  https://www.santacruzaclu.org/events   

VOTE NO ON MEASURE G
Measure G is a proposed half-cent sales tax increase for 12 years that is being sold as funding mechanism for 9-1-1 response and fire, along with a lot of other things.  As I have written here before, a sales tax increase would add ZERO DOLLARS to fire agency budgets.  The Farm Park did not have a bridge to replace, nor is the Aptos Village in need of our tax $

Cheers, 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.

Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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October 15, 2018

#288/Honest Don?

The New York Times ran two stories on Sunday, October 14, 2018, spotlighting our president’s penchant for barnstorming political rallies. One article was titled, “The Trump Rally: A Play in Three Acts.” The other article was titled, “A Guide to Trump’s Stump Speeches for the Midterm Campaigns.” They are both worth reading.

I remember back to the presidential primaries, in 2016, before now-president Trump had secured the Republican Party nomination. I almost accidentally ended up watching a complete Trump rally, and my heart sank. Just looking at the rally, as someone with political experience, I had to admit that Mr. Trump was really good at what he was doing, building a strong political base of support for himself, and energizing voters for the things he was advocating. 

He is still doing it, and I am similarly nervous about the current primary season. The fact that our barnstorming president is back on the road, whipping up the voters and demonstrating his political fervor for the political goals he is advancing, is not good news. 

In connection with what I could call my version of the “Worried Man Blues,” because I am worried, I must report on a column by Marc Thiessen, also appearing in my Sunday newspapers. Thiessen is a conservative columnist for The Washington Post, and his column on Sunday was called, “Trump could be the most honest president in modern history.”

Considering that the president is so well known for his consumate and seriatum prevarication, what could Thiessen possibly be talking about? 

Well, Thiessen is talking about the fact that President Trump appears to be carrying out his campaign promises – or at least he is trying to (which is exactly what our elected officials are supposed to do, and something that they rarely do in fact).

I am not about to start calling our president “Honest Don,” but I do think Thiessen’s point is well-taken. The American people are sick up to here with a politics that doesn’t live up to its purpose, which is to reflect and accomplish the hopes and aspirations of the voters. A politician and an elected official who does that is rare.

I, personally, think that what the majority of the American voters hope for and aspire to is a future quite different from the future that is featured in the Trump rallies. But if those with different hopes and dreams want to have a government that can (and will) accomplish them, we’re going to need candidates who seem “honest” in the way that Donald Trump seems honest. 

I’m looking at what happens to Beto O’Rourke, in Texas. He strikes me as another one of those “honest politicians,” but one with much better values. 

We need a lot of those!

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 and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Trip the light fantastic inner views…scroll below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Climate Changing” 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.

MUNCHING WITH MOZART. Every third Thursday in the upstairs meeting room of our threatened Public Library there’s a free concert. This Thursday, October 18, 2018 from 12:10 – 12:50 solo pianist Ben Dorfan will play Schubert and Chopin. The program will be

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Impromptus Op. 90 No. 1, 2, 3 and Impromptus Op. Posth. 142 No. 2, 3. Then he’ll play Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) Preludes Op. 28 No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 20, 22. Coming Soon November 15: Celebrate Piano Ensemble

December 20, Josef Feinberg, cello. January 17: Carol Panofsky. Piano. February 21: Michael Tierra, piano.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Author, cabaret performer, sexual adventuress, and advocate for equality, Colette dominated French arts and letters in the first half of the 20th Century. Now she gets her own biopic, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). (And star Keira Knightly convincingly captures the author’s rebel spirit — even if you were expecting someone more, you know, French.) Also, the spirit of Art Boy lives on at Hestwood Park in Live Oak, where the vandalized animals in James Aschbacher’s public art project have been given new life by local art restorer Robert Echols. Go check it out!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

22 JULY. On that date in Oslo, Norway, in 2011, a guy blew up and killed eight people at their Government center. He then dressed as a police man, took a machine gun, went to a children’s day camp and shot 69 children. He surrendered to the police and demanded that he be tried as sane, on the grounds that he deemed his insane action “political”. It was/is also on Netflix. Powerful, very current, thoughtful — and very much worth seeing.

OLD MAN AND A GUN. Sissy Spacek (and her well-known nose) play foil to Robert Redford, in what he says will be his last movie. He’s 82 (and was born in Santa Monica, by the way). Sissy is 69 years old and is from Texas. Based on a true bit of muck, this movie has Redford as an old man who can’t quit robbing banks, or being very nice to everybody involved. Tom Waits is in it but I didn’t notice him! Casey Affleck is Redford’s foil, and does a brilliant low-key job. Danny Glover is in it too, and it’s good to see him working albeit in a very small part. Don’t miss this film. It’s cute, charming, friendly, and nicely done.

COLETTE. Dominic West from HBO’s The Wire (filmed in and centered in Baltimore)  Eleanor  Tomlinson from Demelza Poldark (filmed in and centered in England), and the lead Keira Knightly all play French people but have British accents. The music score is by Thomas Ades who was here once with the Cabrillo Festival of Music. It’s an almost trite and overused true story of a woman who does all the writing while her husband gets the credit. It’s veddy, veddy British, clever, lightweight, fun, go for it.

FIRST MAN. 88 on RT. Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong steals this saga about our landing on the moon in 1969. He’s nowhere near the type of human that Armstrong seemed to be, or must have been, to carry off this moon landing, marriage, fame, and some failures too. Claire Foy (The Queen) is wasted here as Neil’s wife. The movie is tense at times, nerve-wracking at others and is a full two hours and 18 minutes long. Armstrong died in 2012. It is such a tribute to our US space program, and such a hunk of our national pride, that it’s impossible not to enjoy. Go see it. Nope, they didn’t include the planting of the American flag.

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE. Once upon a time there was a hotel at Lake Tahoe named the Cal Neva. That’s because it was located right on the state borderlines of California and Nevada. It was cheap, shady, and gaudy — and so is this movie. Jeff Bridges plays a former bank robber dressed as a priest, and Jon Hamm is an FBI agent who for some reason uses a terrible southern accent. Chris Hemsworth plays a weird killer, and for some reason that makes the plot even odder. Its two and a half hours long and has more plot holes than I’ve seen in years. Don’t go unless you love old Motown hits and soul and rock n roll.

FAHRENHEIT 9-11. This is more than a movie critique; it’s a plea to you and everyone you know to see Michael Moore’s latest fling and sling against a lot more than just Trump. No matter where you think you are on the progressive scale, Moore shows us data and details on Hillary, Flint water, Democratic Party politics, Super delegates, Jeb Bush, and beyond. Go see it ASAP and remember November 6. That’s’ the most important date for many, many years!

THE WIFE. Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater — along with a sensitive plot/script — make this another great 2018 film. Pryce wins the Nobel Prize; his wife Glen Close has a deeply involved and serious role as his lodestar. An excellent film, go see it. You’ll love it. CLOSES THURSDAY OCT.18

BLACKKKLANSMAN. Spike Lee’s newest and most effective critique on what’s happening in America. It’s the progressive Democrats best statement since Michael Moore’s last film.  Not subtle, even funny, bitter, and painfully true. It’s based on the true story of a black police officer who finagles a way to get a white guy into the KuKluxKlan. More than that he has meetings with David Duke, head of the KKK. Alec Baldwin has an opening scene Adam Driver is the “hero” and you have to see it. It earned 97% on RT. CLOSES THURSDAY OCT.18

A STAR IS BORN. Yes, the crowds are right: Lady Gaga is a genuine actor now. She takes almost all the movie away from Bradley Cooper. Cooper directed, financed most of it and plays and sings too. It’s a saga, a melodrama, and shares almost zero with any of the other 4 or 5 Star is Born flicks. Go see it, even if like me you’ve never seen or heard Lady Gaga before. According to Wikipedia… Lady Gaga is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986 in NYC)

PICK OF THE LITTER. A very cute and cuddly documentary about how doggies are trained to be guide dogs for the blind. I liked it more than most folks, perhaps because I trained dogs in the army K9 corps. It did get 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Data and techniques are missing, and you won’t learn much, but you’ll be touched. CLOSES THURSDAY OCT.18

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. A little 10 year old boy has to live with his creepy, trying to be funny uncle Jack Black. There is some story about the house and why it has so many clocks but I couldn’t stay awake long enough to find out the plot. Cate Blanchett is in it too, but she shouldn’t have been. Stay away. Even the kids probably won’t care for it. 68 on RT.

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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. Rick Longinotti and Curt Simmons talk about the still controversial library garage first then Santa Cruz City Council person Sandy Brown discusses the elections and local politics on Oct.16th. October 22 has Ken Koenig and friend talking about communicating with your friends and relatives who like Trump. After that Candace Brown and Shelley Hatch talk about zoning, rent control and many hot voting issues. Jack Bowers and Dennis Morton describe their prison Art programs followed by City Councilmember Chris Krohn talking about voting and still more local issues on October 30. Environmentalist Grey Hayes takes the full hour on Election Night November 6. Bookshop Santa Cruz’s traditional night featuring the winners of their Young Writers Contest happens Nov. 27. 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

Today marks 29 years since the Loma Prieta quake. I moved here in 1996, visited for the first time in 1992. I had no idea that the earthquake at the time was so recent! It’s always felt like an “a long time ago” event. Except the Cooper House. A building that I never saw, but that I still mourn the loss of.

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.

QUOTES.  “HALLOWEEN”

“If human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween”.  Douglas Coupland
“This Halloween, the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask. And the best part? With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him”.  Conan O’Brien
“We used to go around tipping outhouses over, or turning over corn shocks on Halloween. Anything to be mean”. Loretta Lynn


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: Bratton@Cruzio.com
Direct phone: 831 423-2468
All Technical & Web details: Gunilla Leavitt @ godmoma@gmail.com


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