Blog Archives

October 4 – 10, 2016

Santa Cruz Admission Day, looking North at 11:27 am 1888. A very different Pacific Avenue back then. If you look closely you’ll see the future Town Clock atop the O.D.D. Fellows Building on the right. This is between Church and Walnut Streets .                                                        

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE October 3, 2016


SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE. We need to thank a long time, well respected Santa Cruz Citizen for this report. It couldn’t equal last Sunday’s Sentinel front page color photo of their favorite candidate, but this factual reminder needs re-reading and remembering…


“Having been elected some six times to the Santa Cruz City Council, and having been appointed as Mayor more often than anyone in living memory (and now running for re-election yet again), Cynthia Mathews is the Vladimir Putin of Santa Cruz politics. She is known as a masterful maker of backroom deals and for her strong-arm tactics. But in 2010 when Cynthia launched a covert destabilization and regime change operation against the historic Calvary Episcopal Church downtown, targeting its rector, Father Joel Miller,  she failed ignominiously. You could say she learned a civics lesson about the separation of church and state.

Yes, a few years ago our Mayor Cynthia Mathews, a perennial City Council member, acting formally on the part of the City of Santa Cruz (and pointedly in her own pecuniary interest), tried to ruin the local Episcopal parish priest, and run him out of town, because she didn’t like seeing the crowds of poor and homeless people with whom the church shared busy Monday evening meals. And she owned the historic little Zasu Pitts house situated across from the church next to the Nickelodeon theatre. It was, and is, her rental property. Her tenants were unhappy. They didn’t like seeing the poor hanging out across the street either.

So Cynthia Mathews, and her downtown business owner allies, and her property owner friends, and the city police, and a clique of provocateurs among the Calvary Episcopal congregation, all conspired to disrupt the life of the church by fomenting discord, and trying to force Father Joel out, because they thought they could. And, voilà! That, they figured, would get rid of the unseemly gatherings of undesirables whom our hapless Father Joel, with the blessing of the church leadership, had invited to congregate there. That was the plan.

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Here are a few on-line newspaper articles (one by J.M. Brown) that are relevant background:

“Santa Cruz’s ‘Red Church’ minister certain he’ll keep his job: Father Joel Miller still under fire for his handling of homeless outreach,” by J. M. Brown, in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 3, 2011

“Flock v. Priest: Controversial priest charged with crimes against church,” by Curtis Cartier, in MetroActive, September 15, 2010.

“Cynthia Mathews: Scrooge for the Season,” by Becky Johnson, in her blog, “One Woman Talking,” December 23, 2010.

MORE ABOUT CLUTTER AND FAMILIES. I have a deep seated clutter problem and I just wanted to share.

NO ON D SIGNS STOLEN. Robert Morgan from “Widening Won’t Work” committee sent this sad state of affairs…(it makes you wonder once again about politics in our “enlightened” community…)

The Widening Won’t Work Campaign distributed 16 black and red No on Measure D (16” x 24” ) signs with metal hangers in the Live Oak area last Wednesday and Friday. These signs were placed at intersections and main road arteries on private property with the permission of business owners. On Friday night, all the signs were removed. We’ve contacted the Sheriff’s Department and are making a complaint. We believe this is a misdemeanor offense. We are working with the Sheriff’s Department to locate the signs and would appreciate any support from the public. We’ve also learned that homemade signs opposing Measure D are being taken from property owners’ homes. We believe that other signs have been taken in the county and that there may be a systematic effort to do this.

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ELERICK’S NOT LEAVING. Paul Elerick isn’t leaving the county, that was just the way some folks read it when I announced that he wasn’t writing for BrattonOnline anymore. It especially bothered Catherine O’Kelly who wrote to both of us. He quit writing his weekly column here because of his position on Measure D. And he is still a member of Campaign For Sensible Transportation, he just resigned as the Vice-chair.


I had an experience recently that brought into sharp relief the fragility of our freedom of speech as well as the unraveling of our public health and safety nets.

© Dan Piraro, Bizarro Comics, Used with permission.

I was leaving New Leaf Market with the usual bounty of magnificent produce when a couple with a large dog crossed my path.  One of the couple, the one with the dog, turned towards the entrance of the store. “You’re not taking the dog into the market, are you?” I enquired. “Yes, he’s a service dog,” was the reply. The cute bows in the dog’s ears did not give that impression but looks can be deceiving. “What service has the dog been trained for?” I asked.  “To respond to my physical needs,” came the reply.  Before I had time to digest that piece of information, a third person stepped in with, “You can’t ask that!” directed at me. I replied that of course I could. She repeated “No you can’t!” Meanwhile the dog and its owner had disappeared into the market.

Perhaps the big dog was a legitimate service dog but I doubt it. The person who told me what I could not say does not understand the meaning of freedom of speech and she is wrong. Short of threats to bodily harm, personal attacks or inciting violence, a member of the public can say anything to anyone, including a person who brings a dog into a movie theater, a restaurant, a child’s playground, a market, a health clinic, a hospital, an art opening, a clothing store, a senior center, a “No Dogs Allowed” beach or wharf. Politeness helps. But most of us say nothing and self-censor any negative thoughts. Meanwhile our public spaces are more and more impacted and those paid to enforce the law are intimidated into inaction.

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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    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild).



The Soquel Creek Water District began a water demand offset program 13 years ago in order to continue allowing new service connections for developers, even though there were water supply problems looming.  It was meant to be temporary, but is now the longest-running such program in the state. The question is: has it worked?  Not if you ask me.

The Purisima Aquifer, which provides luscious groundwater for residents from the Branciforte area south to areas of La Selva Beach and Corralitos is in trouble. Since 1980, more water has been pumped out than is available (overdraft), leading to sea water advancing inland underground.  The State Water Board declared this area as Critical Overdraft, and agencies who depend on that Aquifer for water must work together to develop a plan for sustaining the area’s water needs, while healing the aquifer and supporting stream and river habitats.

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~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 bidget) and got nearly 20% of the votes.

PATTON’S PROGRAM. From Gary’s Two Worlds website…Sunday, October 2, 2016

#276/  LOW POINT

City Journal, which tends to take a conservative or right wing view of all things political, has editorialized on the last question posed to the candidates in the recent debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. That question, posed by Moderator Lester Holt, was this: One of you will not win this election, so my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters?

You can read a complete transcript of the debate by clicking the link. City Journal called that final question the low point of a low night. I agree with City Journal that the candidates should have responded by asking Holt how he could even pose such a question. Neither of them did that. Both candidates said they would respect the outcome of the final vote.

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~Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. This year DeCinzo would have added the newcomer Kaiser Plan to the fracas…see below.

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


This is a reminder that Espressivo — a small, intense orchestra — will perform works by Webern, Janácek, and Schubert this coming Thursday evening October 6 at 7:30 PM at Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High Street, Santa Cruz.  The orchestra is conducted by Michel Singher, with local pianist John Orlando as the evening’s featured soloist. If you haven’t already purchased tickets online, you may do so here or purchase them at the venue.  The price is the same either way: $37 regular, $29 senior, $22 youth.  Doors will open at 6:45 pm. Visit our website at

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Sorry, but I have nothing for this week! I got an insane deadline from my book editor last Monday, and I’m still typing away like a madwoman trying to meet it, so nothing new went up on the blog last week, and it’s unlikely that anything new will go up THIS week. Someday, I WILL blog again, and when I do, you and your readers will be the first to know!

Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

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

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS. Natalie Portman wrote, directed and stars in this near-history lesson of life in 1945 Palestine before Israel and statehood. It’s in Hebrew with subtitles and Portman seems to speak it perfectly. It’s sad, family oriented, full of racial tension, including the Arabs and Jews internal battle, and you’ll learn much from this film. Natalie was actually born in Palestine and has been acting in films since she was 12, now she’s 35.

OPERATION AVALANCHE. A very silly movie about how our Untied States moon landing was faked and filmed on a movie lot. It’s a poorly done attempt to make it (like Blair Witch) a documentary. Stay away, save your money, and don’t even think about it.

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

MRS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. Tim Burton who was born in Burbank in 1958 has made cinema greatness by directing  Beetlejuice, Pee Wee Herman, Edward Scissorhands, James and The Giant Peach. Miss Peregrine is a mess, and unfathomable, confusing, pointless. And even sad and painful..DO NOT TAKE OR SEND CHILDREN…it is not a children’s movie, or yours either.

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS. Critics and most folks are calling this a romantic melodrama, I say that’s cheapening it. And gives it the wrong image  I call it a contemporary Greek Tradegy. Those classic tradegies were meant to stir your emotions, cause you to think about your deepest values, to help us learn about love, sacrifice, and morals. Wikipedia says, “Tragedy (from the Greek: tragoidia[a]) is a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes an accompanying catharsis or pleasure in audiences”. This film does all of that and more. We aren’t used to “deep” films like this anymore so we dilute them and call them weepers or melodramas. Stunning actors like Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz bring this highly emotional film into near legendary status. It’s from a book  about a lighthouse keeper and his wife who can’t have children and find a baby. Please see it, if you like serious films.

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

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

IXCANUL. Filmed in Guatemala, with all non-actors, a serious drama about a 17 year old local coffee farm daughter and the desperate way she tries to leave her peasant life. She gets pregnant, her baby is probably sold by the hospital to someone and the story is slow and confusing. With beautiful photography. It’s like a National Geographic saga. Nope, I have no idea how to pronounce the title and everybody in the film speaks either Spanish or native Mayan or Kaqchikel, as we call it.

SULLY. Tom Hanks, Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhardt do their dependable, professional jobs in this formulac Hollywood treu life drama. Plenty of tension, a great true story that we knew most of already. It’s how airplane Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger landed that passenger plane in the Hudson river and saved everybody’s lives. Speaking of airplanes, you might think about right wing director of the film Clint Eastwood and that  the executive producer of Suicide Squad and Sully is  Steven Mnuchin who is Donald Trump’s finance director, if  it matters who you give money to!

LITTLE MEN. NOT  a sequel to Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”. That movie was last done in a 1940 version with Sterling Holloway and Kay Francis. This is a “New York City” movie about two 13 year old boys, their problems with their families, their schooling, and how they grew. It lacks a statement, point of view, or some big reason to go see it.

DON’T THINK TWICE. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 99 % I give it about 4!!! I’ve always hated Improv Comedy, that’s why. This movie is totally about Improv Comedy and the internal combustion within a group calling them selves the Commune. I can’t tell you how many times I watched San Francisco’s The Committee throughout most of the 1960’s. A lot of the Nickelodeon audience laughed a lot when I watched it…go warned.

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



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. Ted Benhari of Friends Of The North Coast discusses the Cotoni Coast Dairies National Monument proposal on October 4 followed by Gillian Greensite area activist on environmental and social problems and changes. KZSC Pledge Drive happens Oct. 11 with guest Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin co-hosting. Pledge Drive continues while Joan Van Antwerp talks about The Sidereal Theatre on Oct. 18, she’s followed by former County Supervisor Neal Coonerty talking about the new Bookshop Santa Cruz book.. Then October 25 has Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick talking about our court system. After Paul, Jinx Deruisa and Polly Malan talk about The Santa Cruz Chamber Players new season. November 1 has Georgia Johnson and Connor Jang Editors-in-Chief of City on a Hill Press talking about their newspaper. Attorney Bob Taren returns November 15 to share views on the election. Christina Waters guests November 22 talking about her new book, and 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   

Sometimes you just have to watch someone doing something they love. 🙂

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts.  Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.


We’ve been devastated by the severest and deadliest drought in history – that of our profound awareness of the futility of all effort and the vanity of all plans”, Fernando Pessoa

“Violence is like a weed – it does not die even in the greatest drought”, Simon Wiesenthal

“Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists who tell us that – unless we act boldly and transform our energy system in the very near future – there will be more drought, more floods, more acidification of the oceans, more rising sea levels”, Bernie Sanders

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!!

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.


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