Blog Archives

October 3 – 9, 2014

CORNER OF FRONT STREET AND SOQUEL AVENUE on JANUARY 9, 1957. This is now entirely the CVS/Trader Joes parking lot aka Riverwalk Plaza. The photo includes a view on the right of where Home Mortage sits.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.
Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE… September 29, 2014

DON’T TRUST THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND. The September issue of The Highlander (a monthly publication of the Rural Bonny Doon Association) had an article involving just a few of the problems involved with preservation of our North Coast lands. This is a complex issue, and if you care about, or are involved with land preservation you should read this…it involves some of our most active environmentalists being sued by TPL.

“As we reported in the May Highlander, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), which owned the vast Coast Dairies property from 1998 until its recent transfer to the federal Bureau of Land Management, was rebuffed in its suit to recoup over $200,000 in attorney fees that it claimed to have spent fighting a lawsuit brought by the Rural Bonny Doon Association RBDA and SOAL (Save Our Agricultural Lands). The suit involved 2 parts, one over whether TPL needed to obtain a Coastal Development Permit from the Coastal Commission to subdivide the property, and the second whether it needed to comply with the Subdivision Map Act, which allows for public input into the subdivision process.

The RBDA and SOAL felt that certain restrictions on activities and uses of Coast Dairies were not written with strong and precise enough language to adequately protect the conservation of the property. Apparently TPL was so enraged by small, local upstarts questioning its motives and judgment, and forcing it to abide by the law, that it wanted to punish SOAL and the RBDA as an example to anyone who might try to take them to task in the future. Towards this end, they decided to sue SOAL and the RBDA for legal costs.

Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Rebecca Connolly wasn’t buying into their lawsuit, writing in her order denying TPL’s reimbursement request that, “The record supports that Petitioners’ [i.e., the RBDA, SOAL et al] actions was not brought to prevent the transfer of the Coast Dairies property to the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”); rather, it was brought to assure compliance with the approval processes under the Coastal and Subdivision Map Acts prior to such a land transfer, in order to obtain protective conditions on that transfer which would better serve and benefit the public.” She went on to write that “…there is a concern that an award of attorneys’ fees in this case could have a chilling effect on other environmental actions brought to require both public and private interest projects to comply with acts and ordinances, such as the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), in order to assure that all appropriate environmental concerns are addressed.”

TPL eventually applied for the Coastal Development Permit, contending that it did so not as a result of legal pressure from SOAL and the RBDA, but voluntarily, so technically it “won” the lawsuit.

However, the part of the suit dealing with compliance with the Subdivision Map Act was in the process of going to the State Court of Appeal. In early August, SOAL, the RBDA, and some Davenport residents who were co-plaintiffs agreed to drop the appeal of the Subdivision Map Act part of the suit if TPL dropped its appeal of the denial of attorney’s fees. They agreed, so all legal battles between SOAL and the RBDA and TPL are now over. However, it should be noted that TPL has still not taken a very important step required by the Coastal Permit. Specifically, it has not recorded the legal easement as it promised. That easement is necessary to protect the agricultural parcels it still owns, and ensures that TPL gives up a broad range of development rights on those parcels.

What remains is the bad feeling that TPL, a formerly respected organization, whom we once considered allies in trying to preserve ecologically significant properties, turned out to be little different in their tactics than arrogant bullies like a large corporation that uses its wealth and power to intimidate and bowl over anyone who challenges it. We hope that anyone who may be considering a donation to TPL will instead support one of the other conservation organizations, such as the Santa Cruz County Land Trust, which respects the motives and concerns of like-minded individuals and groups.

Finally, we must give a shout-out to our attorneys, the highly respected law firm of Wittwer/Parkin, probably the pre-eminent land use and environmental legal firm in Santa Cruz County, who put in many pro bono hours, and thousands of dollars in largely unreimbursed legal fees, in a noble and selfless effort to ensure that the magnificent Coast Dairies property and related agricultural parcels are truly protected in perpetuity by iron-clad legal language to preserve them from exploitation, degradation, development and improper uses.

MORGANI AT FASHION ART. The Great Morgani added to the fun of this year’s FashionArt Show and took a page from Bill Irwin’s classical footwork. Check out Mortmuzi’s video here…

STAYING AWAY FROM BICYCLE OWNERS. So far it hasn’t been easy to keep three feet away from anybody who owns a bicycle…but we’ll get used to it, I’m sure. And besides it smells better!!!

BRUCE VAN ALLEN CORRECT PARTY TIME & DATE. (Fred Geiger alerted me to the fact that I got the time of Bruce’s event wrong last week) It should read…”Please join Bruce Van Allen on Sunday, October 5th, from 1:30 to 3 pm, in Abbott Square on Cooper Street by Lulu’s and MAH for a campaign rally with fun, entertainment, games, and of course, Bruce! Van Allen says he is very excited that CA State Senator Bill Monning will be the special guest, at that G.O.T.V. (Get out the vote) Rally on October 5th! This event will also be a great opportunity for folks to register to vote in the November elections”.

GREENSITE ON ACCESSORY DWELLINGS. Gillian Greensite sends the following…


Despite clear Council direction to the Planning Commission that it not include a reconsideration of the “owner occupancy rule” for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s)(the requirement that one of the dwellings be occupied by an owner) the Commission voted to do just that. Not surprising since all commissioners are architects, work for architects, run consulting engineering businesses or are housing executives.

ADU’s are not “affordable” housing. A recent Nation article on the crisis of affordable housing in San Francisco concluded: “only public housing and strictly-controlled rents can protect affordability.” We can’t build ourselves into affordability. ADU’s are market-rate rentals for individuals whose incomes are high enough to afford to rent an ADU rather than an apartment or a room in a house.

The current Santa Cruz city ADU Ordinance went through many public hearings and revisions to respond to neighborhood concerns, resulting in size limits, set-backs, off-street parking, notification to adjoining neighbors and the requirement that one of the dwellings be occupied by a property owner. All cities include this requirement.

The recommendation to strike these and the owner-occupancy requirement will have a significant impact on all Santa Cruz neighborhoods given that 54% of properties are non-owner occupied. Why wouldn’t an absentee landlord build a second unit? The profits are high given UCSC and Silicon Valley housing demands. Do we value our neighborhoods or is it just real estate? (Gillian Greensite is a long-time observer and critic of UCSC growth as it relates to real estate speculation leading to infilling our neighborhoods and ever-rising rents).

ELERICK’S INPUT. Paul Elerick of Aptos writes…


The pictures in last week’s BrattonOnline of the total desecration of Arana Gulch brings up an important issue. Why should one city council be able to make life or death decisions over historical buildings or precious open space just because it’s within their city limits? Going back in recent history we have only to look at what has happened to La Bahia, what almost happened to the Dream Inn and what DID happen to the Cooper House. The later example was the beginning of the end for downtown Santa Cruz, all because a city council approved a demolition permit after the 1989 quake as fast as it could. What if the entire county could have weighed in on this one, like they did on Wingspread? I know, it was the “property rights” of the person who had their name on the Cooper House deed, but those “rights” took away forever the personality of downtown Santa Cruz. Something like the paving of Arana Gulch forever has changed that precious green space forever. We should collectively be ashamed. (Paul Elerick is co-chair with Peter Scott of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, , and he’s a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary talks about CSUMB (California State University of Monterey Bay)buying The Steinbeck Center in Salinas to use as a downtown campus!!! Then he talks about Supervisor John Leopold and the sustainable Santa Cruz County process, and how the supes will vote on it October 28, 2014. To quote Gary on his Thursday broadcast, “It is not clear that the regional desalination plant being promoted by California American Water Company will ever be built. There are many environmental and other questions. But if the plant is built, it will cost a lot of money. Estimates are on the order of $400 million dollars. If the plant goes ahead, with this price tag, water customers on the Monterey Peninsula are going to pay. Typically, large public works projects are funded by bonds, which means that whoever is doing the project borrows the money needed, and then the customers pay back the money over time, including both principal and interest. Anyone familiar with a home mortgage knows how this goes. The higher the interest rate, the more you pay. Read the complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site . Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmenatl issues. The opions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” –

CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo deals with the wildlife issue read downwards about a foot and a half!!!

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Check out a different view of PAYING AT THE PUMP see Eagan’s take a few pages below.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Pssst—hey, kids! Don’t be alarmed if things are kind of quiet this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( I’m toiling away at a top-secret book-related project, the nature of which is soon to be divulged (I hope)—so please stay tuned!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

SHAKESPEARE LIVE ON SCREEN. See The Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance of The Two Gentlemen from Verona at the Del Mar Theatre only on Thursday Oct 2 at 7:30 and repeated just once on Sunday at 11 am. Then there’s also a new (??)live telecast series from London’s Globe Theatre

Twelfth Night October 7th Del Mar
Henry V October 14th Del Mar
Taming Of The Shrew October 28th Del Mar
The Tempest November 4th Del Mar

All screenings are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and ONE SHOWING ONLY. click here for a detailed link, and a connection to the Globe.


THE NOTEBOOK. Best film of this year, so far!! Hungary,Nazi’s, Jews, subtitles, and twin brothers struggling to survive on their own. Starvation, sex, beatings, and a brilliant film. Don’t miss it. It’ll probably be in town for only six days.

THE SKELETON TWINS. Even though Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are SNL veterans and even though the trailer has laughs…this is NOT a funny feel-good film. It’s a wonderful, touching, perfectly acted and directed film.It’s sad, loving, sensitive, suicide attempts, and oddly enough like “The Notebook” it’s about twins struggling to survive on their own. See it asap.

EQUALIZER. A huge big hit and Denzel Washington’s third biggest opening weekend. Denzel plays a floor manager at “Home Depot” by day and like Batman turns into a near superhero who punishes with a hidden talent for violence that he learned in his secret past.It is violent, bloody, co-stars Chloe Grace Moretz, and is one of the best action films I’ve seen in a very long time.You’ll never take your eyes off the screen, and Denzel’s killing ability makes Clint Eastwood look like Woody Allen. It’ll be here a month!

MY OLD LADY.Usually I’d bet big money that any movie starring Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas would be the most enjoyable, touching, funny and thoughtful film ever filmed. It isn’t!!! Kline plays a sad loser, Maggie plays a dull old maid with a sad past, and Scott Thomas is her sad daughter who’s never left their Paris apartments. Don’t rush to see it. Rent it, then you can turn it off a few times and take breaks as you watch it.

Kristin Scott Thomas by the way, is giving up films. She’s 54 now and is tired of playing middle age women. She doesn’t want to do any more TV series either. Read her statements here.


THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy lead the stars and William Hurt, Viola Davis and Isabelle Huppert also do great jobs. It is a a deep and touching film about two people who were once in love, and are still haunted by that connection. The acting is wonderful, Chastain has never been better and that‘s saying a lot. Go see it….it does lack a certain depth but you’ll fill in the lines.

LOVE IS STRANGE. Wow, 97 % on Rotten Tomatoes…I’d give almost that much. It’s about Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as gay males who’ve lived together for decades.Marisa Tomei does a perfect job as part of the family. It’s really about much more than the gay couple it’s about all the relationships around them, and around you too. Go see it quickly it could leave very fast if you don’t go now.

THE DROP. Apparently this really, really is James Gandolfini’s last film….and it’s very good. Not an excellent one but very good. Tom Hardy is the lead and he’s excellent, and Noomi Rapace is just as good. Everybody’s good and so’s the film but…even with the well done tensions, great photography…it’s a mite puzzling…until the end. It’s mob scene Brooklyn, bars, illegal payoff money…go see it.

A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES. Liam Neeson always does a good job of acting and makes almost any film worth seeing. Guess what…. he’s an ex-cop and aa AA member. It’s about kidnappers who kidnap crooks wives, kill them and still ask for ransoms!!! You’ve seen it all before and Neeson still can’t do American accents.

100 FOOT JOURNEY.A more memorable title would be “Slumdog Chef“, or “The Grand Budapest Restaurant” or “Monsoon Wedding Eats Out“. Even Helen Mirren doesn’t save this latest in the “aren’t East Indians cute and funny” type film. It’s degrading to all concerned. But I must confess, I went home and made my first omlette in months.

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU. Big stars like Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, Timothy Olyphant and the newly big star Adam Driver. When there are laughs they are all about sex, poop, breasts, crotches, lesbians, more breast implant jokes and it’s dull. Centering on a Jewish tradition of sitting shiva for seven days. It’s like one step up from frat house comedies.

THE GIVER. This is one of those teen-age book series made into a big time film. The teenagers in the audience loved this sci-fi “1984” future world attempt. Jeff Bridges does an excellent job with his gruffy codger professor role, but Meryl Streep loses points and credability for suffering through this way overwritten, poorly filmed pointless simplistic plot. Don’t even rent it. Definitely dystopian.

THE MAZE RUNNER. More #1. definition Dystopian stuff. No big star names and not much excitement here either. This is a teenager film from a book. All bad future, kid survival, sci-fi puzzle with a dumb ending that makes strong hints that there’s more to come.

TRIP TO ITALY. A sequel to the clever, improvised comedy of 2010 “The Trip” this one flops miserably. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are big time British stars once again out on a food columnist tour of great restaurants in Italy. They apparently ad-lib, imitate Brit celebrities, and make fools of themselves. I have no idea why anybody likes this film , but the New Yorker did!!!

KZSC 88.1 FM or live online at

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 sometimes old programs are archived… se next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Susan Lysik and Susan Pappas talk about Lysik’s photo exhibit Toy Cameras, Old and New at The True Olive Connection on Sept. 30, she’s followed by world expert on King Lear, UCSC’s Michael Warren telling secrets about the play. On October 7, Jessica Bailey the exec. dir of UCSC’s Arboretum talks about their latest plots and plans. Then Sandy Lydon historian, author and “coastal tour guide”, talks about historical droughts and floods. October 14 has Michael Alman telling us about his Life Raft Tutoring program. Then Sandy Ferguson and Michael Stamp from The Santa Cruz Chamber Players talk all about their newest season. On October 21st Ted Benhari and Tom Hearn from the Rural Bonny Doon Association talk about area issues. Oct. 28 has Tim Kelly and Judy Johnson from the Community Of Artists discussing their Felix Kulpa Gallery Show then California State Assemblyman Mark Stone brings us up to date on Sacramento politics. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just this year’s podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The update includes Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, 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. Hear them all!!!

QUOTES. “All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow“, Grant Wood.”The Sexual drive is nothing but the motor memory of previously experienced pleasure”, Wilheim Reich. “If it is not erotic, it is not interesting”, Fernando Arrabal.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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