Blog Archives

October 23 – 29, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…more facts and opinions on MAH, County reaction to MAH questions, earlier Earthquake preparedness. GREENSITE…defends low income ClearView court against luxury high- rise development at 190 West Cliff. KROHN…Q & A re Dream Inn 190 West Cliff  Development. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek rate hike, double taxes for fire protection, Pure Water Soquel, Nissan Auto vs. Sustainable Soquel, Gov Newsom and voting transparency. PATTON…News from China. EAGAN… JENSEN…Earthquake memories and movies. BRATTON…I critique First Love UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…”TREES”

                                 

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COUNTY BUILDING SITE AND SAN LORENZO RIVER. 1961. This photo bears a lot of studying. You can pick out the Hindquarter, Holy Cross Church, Outdoor World, County Jail and a lot more.

photo credit: CE Meyer, USGS

Additional information always welcome: email photo@brattononline.com

ART TATUM PLAYS DVORAK.
BONNY DOON. Symphony by John Wineglass

ONE YEAR OLD PLAYS PIANO CONCERT!!

DATELINE October 21

MORE NEWS AND VIEWS ON MAH. I sent County media rep Jason Hoppin’s reply to a very active MAH member . Here’s that member’s reaction . “Jason’s response is classic stonewalling. It is sham transparency and total bullshit! He’s describing the process without giving us any substantive details. One cannot make sense of this without the lease and financials. Percentages without whole numbers is useless information. Also, Wayne Palmer wrote a letter to Nina (and assume the Board) excoriating her lack of ethics and calling her a “public liar.” It is circulating but not everyone has seen it. One of the current board members (a big Nina supporter) is also in the running for the Executive Directorship. Doesn’t the institution need a clean slate—a start over with no partisans? It will be more of the same if the Board chooses an internal candidate and rejects an outsider”.  Now read the letter to Jason…

COUNTY RESPONSE TO MAH QUESTIONS RE FINANCES.

I Sent this on Monday, October 7, 2019 12:18 PM to Jason Hoppin, County Communications manager stating “Here are some of the many MAH questions”. My questions from so many MAH board and regular members are in bold type.+ 

Jason, Here’s a compilation of what MAH board members and many readers want to know…

What are the specific provisions of the current lease agreement between the County and the MAH? The director renegotiated the agreement sometime after her arrival in 2011. The agreement involves some sort of financial payback to the County.

The original lease involved a number of financial provisions, including the MAH being responsible for paying off the debt used to refurbish the County-owned building, annual payments by the County to MAH and escalating percentages of gross rents to be paid to the County, among other provisions (we would gladly provide access to the lease itself). Under the original lease, the final percentage of the gross rents was to have been 40 percent. 

In 2016, the lease was rewritten to reduce the MAH’s obligations to the County for gross rents to 10 percent, which will include percentages of the subleases (Abbott Square and offices) backed up by financial statements. This provision begins in September 2021. Under the agreement, the County forgave prior MAH indebtedness and the MAH chose to pay off the remainder of the bonds used to refurbish the County’s building (approximately $800,000). The MAH is responsible for all building, maintenance and improvement costs, though it must seek County approval for structural changes to the building. The County did not contribute toward the Abbott Square project. 

Were any monies owed to the County forgiven based on the past or current agreement?

Yes, as part of the new lease agreement the County forgave outstanding indebtedness under the original lease. We do not know what the total amount is. As a matter of policy, the County sees the MAH primarily as a community benefit and not a profit center. 

How is the revenue from leasing office space split? Is there an annual accounting of the expenditure of public funds and how does this translate into a public benefit? Does the full museum board have any idea?

The County will receive 10 percent of the gross rents beginning September 2021, which will be deposited into the general fund.  We expect these amounts to be verified by audited financial statements; however, detail about how the MAH spends the balance of leasing revenues is between the MAH and its Board. We expect the rents will offset the costs of operations and help subsidize a community benefit.

Why is it so difficult to obtain this information and the perceived shroud of secrecy? Also, currently the MAH receives annually a grant of about $154K from the County Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services Department. What is the reporting mechanism for this expenditure and how is it evaluated?

The contribution to the MAH is accounted for the in the Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services budget to fund museum operations. Historically, this has been part of the County’s community program spending, but I don’t believe this amount has been increased in recent years. We would be happy to provide you the lease, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors.  Going forward, the County is required to receive an annual report of activities and a copy of the financial statements.  

thanks Jason, I hope we can get to the resolution of this ASAP. Concern keeps growing. Bruce Bratton

DUMBING  DOWN MAH AND NEW YORK’S MUSEUM OF MODERN ART. Still another very active MAH member sent the following email this week to BrattonOnline

“Lisa Hochstein, a respected painter who has in past been featured in MAH exhibits, has sent a well-written and thought-provoking piece about the MoMA reopening by Philip Kennicott from Washington Post to the large number of individuals concerned about the MAH on Wayne Palmer’s list. 

The last 8 paragraphs of the article say things that most likely apply to any museum experiencing tremendous growth by popularizing, — what some might call ‘dumbing the cultural significance or the art down’ by prioritizing crowd-pleasing over explaining the art in cultural context’. The critical text of the article has been edited into 5 paragraphs. The last sentence could certainly be applied to the GLOW Festival of MAH last weekend — a lot of fun to see and participate in,  but not so different from almost any fire-themed carnival  — varied sights, loud sounds and dramatic sensations, but no lasting lessons and absolutely no history” .   

“The [MoMA] museum . . .  is no longer teaching, but simply opening itself up to exploration and discovery . . .  to abandon the idea that the museum serves an educational function would be a disaster. But, though such language may sound good to other museum professionals, the public generally does want a lesson. And despite efforts to abandon “grand narratives,” people generally revert to them, at least to provide a general intellectual skeleton on which to hang their observations and discoveries.”

“But there’s a difference between complicating narratives and abandoning them. MoMA seems to want to do the latter but can’t quite bring itself to do so. The rough narrative in the galleries remains broadly chronological, with the stars of its collections still pretty much where you expect to find them. . . .  Even more worrisome is the stated goal of abandoning the didactic function. No one wants a cultural organization that hectors, but they do want to learn. It’s a question of tone.”

“And it’s not entirely clear at whom the new installation is aimed: the ordinary visitor who is supposedly demanding to see art without any supporting intellectual apparatus or the more sophisticated audience who will understand why it is interesting to, say, hang a 1967 Faith Ringgold painting near Picasso’s 1907 “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” Some of these juxtapositions are telling and smart; others seem merely clever.

Now MoMA faces the same challenge it faced before: how to manage its own success. Like widening highways, which tends to simply induce more traffic, expanding MoMA will only make it more attractive to more people. The new building may handle the crowds well for a while. But MoMA has become one of the great “winner takes all” cultural institutions, and the more it grows, the more it will feel the need to keep growing. And, with that, the pressure to do the big, dumb, crowd-pleasing shows like the terrible 2015 Bjork exhibition will only increase.

At some point, if the institution is to remain genuinely relevant to the discourse of art, it will have to grapple with this cycle and interrupt it. That will mean recommitting to first principles, or at least some principles that reference not just access to art, but the actual experience of thinking about it. MoMA knows how to get people through the door, but no one seems terribly concerned with what happens when they leave. Did their eyeballs simply lounge over lots of intriguing things, or did they learn something?”.

The MAH Board member who sent this concludes by stating…

My opinion: the abandonment of learning, “the disaster” mentioned early in the quoted excerpt, seems to have already taken place, both at MoMA as described, and at MAH. Philip Kennicott, the author of the MoMA thought-piece, says it all in the final paragraph. Like MoMA, it’s time for the MAH Board, the donors, the volunteers and the staff, but most of all, to find a visionary new Director who actually loves art and history to begin to grapple with the unfortunate cycle, interrupt it, and to recommit to principles that emphasize not only access to art, but also to thinking deeply about art as a product of its time”.

12 YEARS BEFORE THE ’89 EARTHQUAKE WARNING!!! Jim Ellmore, Architect Retired (Ellmore /Titus Architects) sent the following email to BrattonOnline…”Interesting to read your input about the downtown merchants lack of action on earthquake preparedness two/three years before the big earthquake. In 1977, twelve years before the quake, we did a Feasibility Study of Upper Floor Renovations on the Pacific Garden Mall. Eleven building owners were contacted and of that number, seven agreed to be surveyed. 

The first one analyzed was 1111 Pacific Avenue, the former Hotel Metropole, which was currently occupied on the ground floor by Plaza Books and Paper vision. “The biggest cost item is to bring the structure up to present seismic requirements. Because the building is totally open on the first floor, all seismic loads that occur during an earthquake would have to be taken by the outside walls which probably could not withstand the stress . . . .” This was typical. In doing the study, it was interesting to note how many of the upper floors were formerly hotels (Virginia, Alexander, & etc.) and lodge meeting places such as Elks, Moose, Odd Fellows and others”.  

October 21

DAVID AND GOLIATH: 190 WEST CLIFF DRIVE.
The decision whom to favor in this battle is determined by a city council vote at its October 22nd. meeting.  On one side is Ensemble, owner of the Dream Inn, which self-describes as  ” a versatile real estate company that envisions, manages, brokers and owns transformative projects in the health care, hospitality, commercial and urban multifamily/mixed use sectors.” On the other side is ClearView Court, a neighborhood of 68 single-story manufactured homes, whose residents are mostly seniors, many disabled and all low income. If the mammoth project of 55 feet tall, 79 luxury apartments and retail, across from the Dream Inn is approved, it surely will be  “transformative.” The residents of ClearView Court, feet away from the project, lose their view, their sun, their privacy, their peace, their quality of life and in the long run, probably their homes since this is the thin end of the wedge of upscale development, sprouting all over Santa Cruz. In this battle, city Planning staff is on the side of Goliath. They deserve far more than an inaudible sarcastic laugh in my opinion. 

Below is what I communicated to city council. Staff has clearly abandoned the neighborhoods. It will be instructive to see which council members follow suit.

Dear Mayor and City Council members,

Much appreciation for your careful review of the following concerns regarding this development. To cut to the chase, this project is massively out of scale for protection of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

  • The introductory paragraph in the Agenda Report for this project states: “The purpose of the Motel Residential Performance Overlay District is to establish and control uses to ensure development which protects neighborhood integrity while supporting appropriate uses.”  The following examples demonstrate the neglect for the protection of neighborhood integrity, which, in itself is grounds to send the project back for environmental review and downscaling.
  • The traffic and pedestrian studies are scant and inadequate. Conducting traffic studies in April is outside the busiest traffic season of June and July and lacks environmental review credibility. Vastly increased foot traffic crossing dangerous Beach St. (one death) to reach the retail aspect of the project is not adequately studied and thus not mitigated.
  •  The 5 tall heritage trees (cedar, redwood and pine) on the west side of the site are among the most spectacular trees in the city of Santa Cruz. They deserve the labels “iconic, majestic, and unique”. They are a signature gateway to the Monterey Bay from the north. Only 3 out of these 5 beauties are to be retained. This is a violation of the Heritage Tree Ordinance, which states that (outside of disease or danger or impacting a current structure) a heritage tree can be removed only if a development cannot be altered to accommodate the tree. Clearly the project design, which is still only on paper, could (and should) be altered to protect all of the amazing trees along the western property boundary. The conclusion on p. 25 of the Environmental Check list that there is no conflict with the criteria, provisions and requirements of the local (Heritage Tree) ordinance is simply wrong.
  • The Environmental Checklist Review on p.12 is incorrect in concluding that the project would have no impact on: “substantially damage scenic resources, including but not limited to trees…” Removing two of these majestic, tall trees and squashing the rest against a 55 feet tall, massive structure will have a significant impact. 
  • Although the Planning Commission’s approval included investigating the relocation of the two heritage redwoods growing in the interior of the site, the Agenda Report leaves that up to the developer if and after you approve the project. This guarantees that no relocation will be properly evaluated since the project arborist has already stated that relocation is rarely successful and he advises against it, despite experts in big tree relocation (Environmental Design Inc.) giving an over 90 percent success rate. 
  • There is nothing specific in the General Plan EIR, nor the B/SOL plan that addresses this particular site. Tiering off those documents is inadequate to assess the impacts. The commercial beach area mapping may overlap this site but in reality this site is, apart from the Dream Inn, far more neighborhood than commercial in character. Bringing retail up the hill to West Cliff and Bay St area is a radical departure from what currently exists. Its impacts should be studied more closely or abandoned.
  • The Environmental Checklist states on p. 13 that this project is not visible from the wharf. Yes it is. The visuals provided by the applicant show it to be highly visible. 
  • A project of this scale should require story poles so that the community can get a more accurate sense of the visual impact. Many other communities make this a practice with all new development. I provided the Planning Commission with examples from Half Moon Bay to show how important such tools are, especially as a counterpoint to developers’ routine use of visual distortion (people in foreground, project in background) to minimize the scale. 
  • As a selling point, comments that the few low-income units included can be bought by workers at the Dream Inn show ignorance about those who work at the Dream Inn. I can attest that most of the Dream Inn lower income workers have families and are not single. The low- income units are not suitable for families.
  • The impact of this project on the adjacent ClearView Court of low income, many disabled, many senior, long-time homeowners and renters should be your highest concern. This proposed project, with its provision of 79 luxury apartments for wealthy, high-consuming new owners is not a plus for the city of Santa Cruz. Nibbling around the edges of this mammoth 55 feet tall structure as a response to the hugely negative impacts on the residents of ClearView Court is not even a token. It is injustice.

As one of your constituents and a neighbor to this project, I urge you to significantly downscale, remove the retail, protect all 5 heritage trees on the Bay St. side, relocate the two heritage redwoods in the interior and ensure that the impacts on ClearView Court residents are minimal, before approving this project .

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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October 21

190 WEST CLIFF DRIVE QUESTIONS.

The Santa Cruz City Council is set to discuss, dialogue, and likely decide upon a mixed development project that includes an 89-unit condominium project at the corner of Bay Street and West Cliff Drive. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd at 730pm at city hall, 809 Center Street, downtown. It is a pretty big project and has some pretty big implications concerning growth, development, and housing in our community. I am devoting the column this week to a series of questions I posed to the SC Planning Director, Lee Butler. I sent him a list of questions and he emailed me back the following responses.  I have edited some responses for brevity and bolded others because of their significance. And yes, while there are only 2500 words here, a lot, the documents for this project total over 1200 pages. Wow!

1)      Traffic. The “peak” parking demand (TIR traffic impact report) was done in April and August, when it seems that actual peak demand would be in June and July. Is it because during those June and July months the traffic cannot be “mitigated?” Or are there other reasons? How can these measurements be deemed “Existing Peak Parking Demands” when they do not seem to be done during actual peak times?

Lee Butler (LB): Your questions here touch on both parking and traffic, which can be related but are typically treated separately for a variety of reasons.  The CEQA Checklist removed references to parking impacts 10+ years ago, so we do not mitigate parking impacts from an official CEQA mitigation perspective. Instead, we have on-site parking standards in the Zoning Code that we apply.  (See responses to your Question #2 below for more on that.) We do currently have CEQA mitigations for Level of Service (LOS) traffic impacts. (FYI, those too will be going away soon, as SB 743’s implementation deadline is 7/1/20, and vehicle miles travelled (VMT) will be the new CEQA transportation standard rather than LOS. 

With regards to traffic and the timing of the counts, here’s info from the traffic study that’s posted on the project website and on the Planning Commission website under the August 15, 2019 agenda.

Traffic Volumes (April 2017)

Though additional data was collected in August, it was deemed appropriate to analyze the project impacts using the April base-line data since local schools and UCSC were in session.

I believe that we do not mitigate for peak summer traffic for the same reason that we do not require on-site parking spaces for the demand that stores have the week before Christmas.  Such measures would lead to excess capacity and would be counter to a number of our City’s goals – promotion of alternative modes of transportation, efficient use of land, reduction of impervious surface, etc.

2) Parking. Actual number of parking spaces (stalls). Is it true that 317 are required for the Dream Inn and their restaurant, but 299 are included in materials provided? Should I assume that there is some kind of “cooperative” parking facility or non-vehicle use program justifying this reduction? Is there off-site parking somewhere for employees? Then there seems to be another 8 spaces absent for residential parking. I assume that covers the 8 “low income” units? Looks like project is providing 152 spaces (not 167 required?) for residential use…which the total of “lost” parking spaces comes out to 32. There appears to be a possible double-dipping of sorts going on here to my untrained eye. Or, what would more specifically account for a reduction of 32 spaces? Also, how does Dream Inn/Ensemble mitigate for these seemingly lost required spaces? Will there be bus passes made available to all employees? Jump bikes? More shared shuttles? In addition, will construction workers also need parking spaces? Will they be made aware of any bus pass or jump or shuttle program put in place by Ensemble too?

LB: Below is an excerpt from the Planning Commission staff report.  The paragraph under the table answers most of your questions, including some basic info about transportation demand management (TDM) strategies.  If you’d like to dive deeper into the TDM measures for the project, a 212-page-long report is posted on the project website and on the Planning Commission website under the August 15, 2019 agenda.  I’d recommend reading pages 13 to 20. A condition of approval requires that the applicants adhere to the TDM plan. 

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

“We will not stand idly by and allow three people in this country to own more wealth than the bottom half of America, while at the same time, nearly 20% of our children live in poverty, veterans sleep out on the streets and seniors cannot afford their prescription drugs”. (Oct. 21)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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October 21

SIGN THIS PETITION AGAINST SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT’S UNFAIR AND ADVERSE RATE INCREASES
If you are one of the hundreds of Soquel Creek Water District customers whose water bills have increased by over $200/month, even though you are working hard to conserve water, you need to sign this online protest petition!  Nearly 520 people have signed it since it was recently launched by customer Kris Kirby…and the numbers increase daily.

Sign the Petition

Soquel Creek Water District Rate Increases Are Unfair and Hurt Families!

Is the District Board listening?  Who knows, but when the customers upset with their outrageous bills filled the District Board meeting audience and spoke out, Director Bruce Jaffe asked staff to return at a future meeting with some real data on what the effects of the recent rate and fee increases have brought about.  “It’s one thing to have a model, but what is really happening?”  he asked.

…. Stay tuned.

COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WANT TO DOUBLE TAXES FOR RURAL FIRE PROTECTION
This Tuesday, October 22, the County Supervisors will consider (and most likely approve) a very confusing and complex fire protection tax increase that will be handled in a special mail-out ballot that will give more weight to votes from very high-value properties than it would to votes of common folks.  Item #12 will be heard at 1pm…and a public hearing scheduled in January when the voting period closes.

The County General Service Dept. finally finished their 44-page Engineer’s Report that no one from the citizen-based Fire Dept. Advisory Commission  (FDAC) has seen or discussed publicly.   The Staff Report claims there were 10 in attendance at the last FDAC meeting and that the Commission made the recommendation to move forward on a ballot measure.  That is not true.  There were only three of the five Commissioners there, and they only voted to support some sort of supplemental funding “in concept”.  There were other people at the meeting, but they could not vote. 

Here is the link to the Board Agenda;   Item #12 is this matter to be considered at 1pm at 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, in the Board’s 5th Floor Chambers

Take a look in the Engineer’s Report at the part about determining General Benefit that would be funded by some other means (Page 20) and let me know what you think.  Page 23 states that 48% of the costs of the Services can be attributed to General Benefit, and therefore must be funded by a source other than the proposed Assessment….where do you think that money will come from?  Prop 172?  Measure G sales tax passed last year that stated it would fund “Fire” response?  The County General Fund?   No…page 24 states that: 

“The Assessment District’s total budget for 2020-21 is $5,303,336. Of this total assessment budget amount, the County will contribute at least $3,767,729 which is more than 71% of the total budget from sources other than this proposed assessment including dedicated property taxes and the existing benefit assessment. This contribution constitutes significantly more than the 48% general benefits estimated by the Assessment Engineer, which must be paid for by non-assessment sources. ”  

WHAT COUNTY FUND ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?  
I think this is the existing CSA 48 fees that, according to the County Fire FAQ sheet, WILL NOT GO AWAY, but rather this new Assessment would be added on to it.

“How much do I pay for current services in CSA 48?

$79.78 per fire flow unit, per year. The average single-family resident pays for two fire flow units per year. ”

“Will the current CSA 48 fee go away if the new one passes? 

If the measure is passed, the new special benefit will be in addition to the current CSA 48 fee. The new fee would be for additional services not currently covered under the current fee. As an example, for an average single family home (see Case #2 above) this would be two fire flow units at $79.78 each, plus the average new fee of $151.78 for a total of $311.34. As noted previously, the actual amount for the new assessment will differ for each property and will be shown clearly on each ballot.”

*****The Staff Report on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor agenda does not discuss this at all.

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THANK GOVERNOR NEWSOM FOR SUPPORTING TRANSPARENCY FOR VOTERS
Many thanks to Governor Newsom for his veto of AB 168 that would have effectively hidden critical information about proposed tax and bond measure on the ballot.  It would have forced voters to dig through the tiny volumes of print in the Voter Pamphlets to find out the truth about bond and tax measures.  Written by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and our own Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), this was a real sneaky attempt to trick voters by just not telling the entire truth about proposed tax and bond matters on the actual ballots.  

It was also one of those “gut-and-amend” bills that allow the bill’s authors to strip out the original language of the bill that has been approved by various committees, and put in whatever they want before the final frenzy of floor voting takes place, and on to the Governor’s desk.  I think gut-and-amend should be made illegal…Mark Stone should have more principle than to resort to such trickery.

 However, here is the link to what Governor Newsom wrote about Assemblyman Stone’s and Senator Wiener’s AB 268 

You can read other comments from veto and approvals of other legislative actions here

While I am not sure I support everything that Governor Newsom is doing, I wrote him and thanked him for standing up to support voter transparency.  You can, too!  https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/

THANK YOU TO THE KIND ANONYMOUS BENEFACTOR 
Last week, I discussed why I am worried about the future of this beautiful County, and mentioned the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) conference coming up.  Some very kind and generous reader paid for my ticket to attend that nefarious group’s State of the Region conference this Friday!  Many thanks, whoever you are!  I will report next week about what I learned.

In the meantime, take a look at MBEP’s free events during “Santa Cruz Affordable Housing Month”.  October 30 features a tour of the Mid-County affordable housing subdivisions in Aptos.  I cannot help but notice that the tour DOES NOT INCLUDE the Aptos Village Project’s supposedly five affordable Measure J units in Phase 1 of the subdivision.  I wonder why none of those units has been occupied yet when the building was completed last May???   Hmmmm…..

WRITE ONE LETTER.  MAKE ONE CALL.  ATTEND ONE PUBLIC MEETING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.    BUT JUST DO SOMETHING THIS WEEK!

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 20
#293 / China In The News


On Saturday, October 12, 2019, I found that China was in the news. The picture above, from a New York Times article titled, “One Country, No Arguments,” made clear how successful China has been in propagandizing its own population. It’s an article worth reading. 

You might also like to read an article in the edition of The Wall Street Journal that showed up on my front lawn on that Saturday, along with my New York Times. The Journal’s article is titled, “America Is Losing the Chinese Shopper.” The picture below illustrates the article. The point of the article is that Chinese consumers have now become patriotic when it comes to purchasing. One can’t help but believe that propaganda has played its part in that! Popular American brands are losing out, and Chinese shoppers (like Chinese army cadets) are getting into line and getting with the program. 

If you are in business, what is happening in the Chinese consumer market might worry you. It has clearly worried Apple, which has eliminated a mapping application, formerly available on iPhones, that was being used by Hong Kong protesters to alert themselves to where they might encounter the police. The Chinese government said to Apple, “don’t do that,” and Apple kissed the ring. There was a lot of economic leverage going on!

And how about the NBA – the National Basketball Association? Also in my newspaper on that Saturday was an article about Steve Kerr, the coach of the Warriors. Kerr has refused to be drawn into a dispute in which the Chinese government has threatened to cut the NBA out of the Chinese market (which is a big market, of course) if any NBA player, coach, or franchise owner dares to criticize the Chinese government over its treatment of Hong Kong protesters. As already noted in an earlier blog post, the NBA has yet not kissed China’s ring (nor has it kissed anything else, at least so far). Some sportswriters, though, are predicting that this might not last, and that the League will hew to the requirements of the Chinese government. There is so much money involved; that counts for a lot (and maybe for everything)!

Nationalism (sometimes called patriotism) is like a virus. It can spread, and we are not immune. In fact, the United States is infected, too. It’s not just China. 

But the right freely to express oneself, in both public and private settings, is still cherished here, and the right of free expression is one of the main things that the Hong Kong protesters are trying to protect. 

Free expression is like a political immune system; it helps protect us against a deadly political disease. 

Let’s not forget it. Speak out! 

Gary Patton 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.Be here now with “Buddha and enlightenment”. Check out the classic Sub Con just below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Vows and Pledges” at Eaganblog                     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: “It’s been 30 years this month since the notorious Loma Prieta earthquake. The shouting and the shaking are all over, but find out how my personal quake story had an unexpected upside this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

 

FIRST LOVETakashi Miike has made more than 100 films. (104) This one has violence, laughs, tension, and blood and guts, plus more laughs, tenderness and it all happens in one night in Tokyo. A young would be boxer gets a life ending message and with help from a beautiful prostitute they face a drug loaded bunch of gangsters. The black and white film is outrageous, inventive, and you’ll never take your eyes off the screen. It’s a very foreign film and not just the subtitles!! CLOSES THURSDAY OCTOBER 24.

LUCY IN THE SKY. Natalie Portman is almost always near great in her movies. She seems to be trying extra hard to make this movie work, but fails. Based on a sad but true story she’s an astronaut who has extra earth visions as she floats through space. Jon Hamm is in it too but he too can’t make a meaningful story from this dull plot. 23 Critics, 28 Audiences on RT. CLOSES THURSDAY OCTOBER 24 

MONOS. An award winning film about a bunch of young Columbian boys in an organization who are assigned to guard a young woman Doctor. Like “Lord of the Flies” they have shocking fights among themselves as they roam and roam some more through some beautiful jungle scenes. I didn’t enjoy any two minutes of the film and was sorry I saw it. 92 Critics , 81 Audiences on RT. CLOSES THURSDAY OCTOBER 24 

JOKER. Joaquin Phoenix should just be given the Oscar now, instead of all that fuss in January. Yes this is the origin of why the Joker haunts Bruce Wayne (Batman) and it’s so much more than that. The film is deep, dark, brilliant, violent, clever, absorbing, haunting, and will move you into a different perspective. Forget the criticism about protesters; the Joker is insane and magnetic. See this film if you like films beyond what’s acceptable!

JUDY. Renee Zellweger does the best possible imitation of Judy Garland in this dramatic and still musical tribute. Garland transcended the usual fame and popularity and has become a legend. This film starts off in 1968 and ends with Judy’s last days and five husbands later plus drugs. It’s corny and hammy but so was Judy. For some reason Liza Minnelli isn’t in much of it. 

You’ll almost cry at some scenes…so don’t miss it.

DOWNTOWN ABBEY. With an audience score of 96 you can’t go wrong. It topped Rambo and Ad Astra and earned $31 million in its’ opening weekend. I have no way of knowing if those few people who didn’t watch all or most of the Downton Abbey tv years will love as much as we devotees do the movie. Same cast and the plot is centered about the King and Queen of England coming to visit the Abbey. There’s a clash between the Abbey staff and the service crew that the Queen brings with her. It’s grand fun to see all our long time screen friends again. We know so much about each character. Don’t miss the big screen version it just ain’t the same.

AD ASTRA. Brad Pitt is much more than his usual cute self in this 2001 type space adventure. Shocking but it’s true that film critics liked it more than “audience” on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics gave it 83, audience gave it 45!! Tommy Lee Jones plays Brad’s mysterious and missing father, and Donald Sutherland has a bit part. It’s a serious film about humans, genetics, space, dying, and it’s worth every bit of admission. See it soon. CLOSES THURSDAY OCTOBER 24 

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE. With an audience rating of 99 on Rotten Tomatoes it’s gotta be good…or great! Her politics, talent, integrity plus an amazing voice makes her truly unique in the field of music. She mastered many styles, never gave up and is dying of Parkinson’s right now! Her Mexican heritage, time with Gov. Jerry Brown and sheer guts will keep you surprised as you learn so much about her. 

BRITTANY RUNS THE MARATHON. Actress Jillian Bell plays Brittany and I could not like Jillian Bell no matter how hard I tried. In real life Jillian even lost a lot of weight so she could give a better performance, I didn’t care. As promised she doe run the NY marathon …no she doesn’t win it. The movie is supposed to be a comedy I didn’t laugh once. CLOSES THURSDAY OCTOBER 24   

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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. October 22 has Jim Coffis co-founder and deputy director of Green Trade talking about marijuana business. Then Phillippe Habib manager of Common Roots Farm discusses their aims and growth issues. Lisa Robinson president of the San Lorenzo Valley Museum details the events and news from the museum on October 29. On November 5 Dean Kaufman Veterans Service Officer talks about the meaning and events happening on Veterans Day. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttps://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc   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 

I love me some Golden Girls! The snark level is out of this world! 😀

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. 

    “TREES”

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Martin Luther 

“Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.” Munia Khan 

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” ? Chinese proverb

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” Franklin D. Roosevelt  


COLUMN COMMUNICATIONS. Subscriptions: Subscribe to the Bulletin! 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!), and the occasional scoop. 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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