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April 19-26, 2006

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Soup's off

Soup's Off: Councilwoman Doering-Nielsen commemorated the Watsonville cannery strike's 20th anniversary by resigning her post.

Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Cannery Row

It's anniversary time! Yes, it's been 20 years since the Watsonville Cannery strike, and just one week since Watsonville City Councilwoman Judy Doering-Nielsen resigned in a huff after being forced to sit through presentations by not only the Brown Berets but also a group of women carrying United Farm Workers flags, whom another council member had the nerve to call heroes.

To commemorate this historic event--the strike, not the huff--Community Television of Santa Cruz, in conjunction with the Reel Work Film Festival (see story, page 36), will air a live panel presentation on April 20 exploring the strike's implications for workers today.

Program host Morgan Miller says the idea to do the live call-in broadcast on his Voices show came from his uncle, Frank Bardacke, a local writer and historian who hung out with Cesar Chavez on a number of occasions during the 18-month strike.

Other panelists will include Gloria Bepancourt and Maria Lomali, both of whom were cannery workers and members of the original strike committee, former Watsonville Mayor Oscar Rios and filmmaker Jon Silver, whose "Watsonville On Strike" documentary will air at 4pm.

For those who would like to attend the live event, you can go down to the studio at 816 Pacific Ave., where the film will be screened at 6:30pm with the call-in panel broadcast following at 7:30pm.

Even though Doering-Nielsen is not scheduled to appear on the panel, Nüz has no doubt she'll be setting her Tivo to Community TV (that's channel 27 in Santa Cruz, 73 in Watsonville). That way she can watch the documentary and panel discussion over and over again.

Downtown Drive-In

Resplendent in baby blue bathrobe with matching plush animal accessories (never let it be said that Nüz isn't fashion conscious), Robert Norse encouraged a few dozen activists to fight for the right to party--or, for that matter, seek shelter from the rain--in downtown parking garages during Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In's "Film-Flam Film Fest" at the Cedar Street Garage last Thursday.

When Nüz caught up with the crowd, Norse was explaining how, if all goes according to the city's plan, a month from now people will only be allowed in parking structures "if you have a responsible vehicle or bicycle accompanying you" and even then will not be able to "read a book, diaper a baby or engage in sexual activities" for more than 15 minutes.

While this may prove particularly problematic for couples whose sexual responsiveness is slowed down by the use of prozac and other popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the city insists a greater good will be served by increased safety both for patrons and for all those beleaguered parking employees who go around sheepishly putting marks on your tires.

Of course, the City Council's timing couldn't be more perfect, now that the National Guard Armory's emergency homeless shelter has closed down for the year.

In a flier distributed by Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF), the proposed ordinance is criticized for being overly broad, anti-homeless, prohibitive of "traditional union and political activities" like leafleting cars, and ripe for selective enforcement. In addition, it notes, "street performers like C.J. Stock will be banned from playing in traditional spots."

In addition to screening civil liberty documentaries on the façade of Cinema 9 across the street, the crowd (which gathered both at street level and on the second-level "balcony" above) enjoyed readings and a spirited sing-along of Petula Clark's "Downtown" as revised by Norse. Nüz especially liked the pre-chorus: "The crowd are much whiter there/ They walk past all your troubles, step over your cares ... "

No More Blood for Spray Paint

Westside SUV owners remain deeply alarmed and concerned after a spate of vandalism late last Saturday night that left half a dozen sport utility vehicles in varying states of disrepair.

The perpetrators, who have been described as young men clad in black clothes, used black spray paint, which is itself an oil-based substance, to tag several SUVs with messages like "Oil for Blood" and "Guzzle." However, some of the vandals apparently shunned the Earth-damaging spray paint in favor of the more eco-friendly act of tire slashing.

This is not the first time SUVs in Santa Cruz have taken a hit for the city's antiwar angst. This weekend's incident was reminiscent of infamous April 2003 vandalism in which more than 60 SUVs in the city of Santa Cruz were vandalized in a single night. These attacks, which targeted not only privately owned vehicles, but also new cars at the North Bay Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships, were eventually attributed to the radical environmentalism organization Earth Liberation Front.

While the youthful appearance of Saturday's vandals led some to place the blame on UC-Santa Cruz student activists, Nüz's attempts to reach a woman who had repainted her SUV with the retaliatory slogan "Die UCSC" were unsuccessful at presstime.

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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