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[whitespace] McHugh & Bianchi Building
Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection.

McHugh & Bianchi Building, Jan. 27, 1967: This grand structure at the corner of Pacific and Mission changed from Hotaling's to Hinkle's Cash Store to what you see here. They sold groceries, pottery, housewares--and it was an institution. There was a campaign to save it back in 1975, but we lost, and now we have World Savings. Plaza Stationery next door became Plaza Books and moved down Pacific. Odyssey Records, formerly a huge chain of stores, started in this building.

Bruce Bratton

KEEPING BONNY DOON RURAL. Next Wednesday (March 14), the Rural Bonny Doon Association will once again be faced with a board election. The outcome of that election could easily determine just how rural Bonny Doon remains. The problem is that any Bonny Doon resident can join the association and vote that same night. Exactly what is "rural" is the ongoing battle in Bonny Doon. Four candidates for the association believe that Bill Cunningham's wine entertainment center (Napa Valley-style) and Jim Beauregard's Equestrian Center are rural. Most of those same people believed in the past that a community center would be a good idea, but the larger population again voted to keep Bonny Doon rural and voted it down. Realtor Jac Idleman, Pat Pfremmer, Stephanie Jessen and Virginia Lee Roberts support the two large developments. Marilyn Hummel, Ted Benhari, Ben Harmon and Chris Gordon want to keep Bonny Doon rural--as in no new winery entertainment center. There's little doubt that the RBDA needs to change the requirements for being members and voting. As previously mentioned, I believe that the pro-development candidates will have twisted arms and done everything possible to get their supporters to join the RBDA and vote them in. These new "members" have little or no interest in their community and rarely attend any meetings other than election nights. It's a shame, but it's Bonny Doon, and it's still a fine place to live thanks to the RBDA.

GOOD-BYE, MARGARET CHEAP. It was almost impossible not to know Margaret Cheap if you were here in the '70's. Margaret worked hard to stop developers from building a conference center at Lighthouse Point. She was a tireless crusader for creating the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. Back then, nobody had heard of a credit union. Plus she was a dynamo of power, wit and in-your-face charm. She died from brain cancer in San Francisco last week. There will be a service for Margaret at the Oblates of St. Joseph at 544 West Cliff Drive, this Saturday at 1pm. I think she would have wanted us to check out the proposed parking lot while we're there and see if it's worth risking the monarch habitat for.

DARK PLEASURES. Movie companies must have known that The Mexican would knock out all competition, so it was the only Hollywood film that opened locally last week. Brad Pitt is cute, Julia Roberts is cute, the whole film is cute to the point of being stupid and confusing if you care about plots. James Gandolfini is the only reason to see this film.

OTHER VOICES, OTHER MUSICS. Santa Cruz has never been short on visiting music and performing groups. As most everybody knows by now, Taraf de Haidouks, the Romanian Gypsy group, has added a second performance this Thursday at 10pm at Palookaville. Call 459.2159 or email tickets@cats.ucsc.edu to see if there are any tickets left. The Rio Theatre not only has Ban Rarra, the Cuban dance and music group, on March 12, but Chirgilchin, the Tuvan throat singers from Central Asia, and master didjeridu player Stephen Kent will be there on March 15 at 8pm. Check out www.riotheatre.com or get tickets next to the theater in the Book Loft or at Streetlight Records.

PLANNING DOWNTOWN. As we are watching the shutting down of more and more dotcom miracle businesses we are also seeing the effect this has on communities. In San Francisco, once-landmark buildings taken over by the dotcoms are now standing empty. Along the peninsula, the withdrawal of E-commerce has other effects. The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that "the San Mateo City Council last fall placed a six-month moratorium on Internet-related businesses moving into the downtown to prevent the displacement of traditional retail tenants." Other communities are wishing they had done the same thing. It's a matter now for the Santa Cruz City Council to decide on our downtown business priorities.

FLUORIDE FACTS. One of the most interesting websites I've ever seen is www.quackwatch.com. The site is run by doctors and authors who are dedicated to watching for quacks in health care. The owners of the site have written more than 40 books, many for Consumer Reports, and all dedicated to using common sense in taking care of our health. Go to the site, scroll down to Consumer Strategy, then find "Fluoridation: Don't Let The Poisonmongers Scare You." There are dozens of pages dedicated to exposing the quacks and quack arguments against fluoridating our water. This site covers it all, from statistics showing that fluoride reduces cavities 15-35 percent in adults to saying fluoride isn't a chemical, it's a nutrient. It goes on to expose every one of the decades-old myths about fluoride use, including it being a plot by aluminum companies to sell their waste. It tells of 140,000,000 million Americans who have fluoridated water, and the amazing statistics showing how it's reduced tooth decay. It tells of Linus Pauling and Benjamin Spock and Dr. Everett Koop endorsing fluoride. One of the best quotes from the site says, "The simple truth is that there's no 'scientific controversy' over the safety of fluoridation. The practice is safe, economical and beneficial. The survival of this fake controversy represents, in Consumer's Union Opinion, one of the major triumphs of quackery over science in our generation.'

IS DAVENPORT BURNING? Be sure to see MAH's current exhibit, "Coastal Voices: 100 years of North Coast History." It's a grand exhibit dealing as much with the ethnic/cultural history of Davenport as it does the industrial commercial side. Monday (March 12) at MAH at 7pm, you can hear Alverda Orlando and Rico Della Santina talk about "The History of the Davenport Cement Plant." Better get there early, because Davenport residents will fill up the place. While you're there, catch the "California Paintings 1910-1940" exhibit in the Solari gallery on the second floor. These paintings by such notables as Dong Kingman and Maynard Dixon remind us of what California looked like before people and developers got here.

ANOTHER FLUORIDE NOTE. We must assume (can't we?) that all those folks (see Fluoride Facts above) who oppose fluoridating our city water also oppose using chlorine in our water and have never had vaccinations, or shots for small pox, polio, mumps, etc., etc.--and of course they oppose flu shots too, right?

GOURMET SECTION. It's nearly the best kept secret in the long history of eating, but if you haven't tried The Mae Ploy brand of Sweet Chili Sauce (for chicken), you're missing something. Just about everybody who uses it truly believes they discovered it on their own. It's made in Thailand by the Thep Padung Porn Coconut Co. I don't think they make other porn coconut products. The only place I know for sure to get this cheap, delicious product is at Safeway. I know about shopping at Safeway, but maybe you could hang out at the front door and tap somebody on the shoulder and ask them to buy you a bottle? It's almost worth it.

BUMPER STINGERS. Mary Leeman saw this one in Aptos: "Don't Blame Me. I Voted With the Majority." Katherine Minott, in an attempt to save Western Civilization as we know it, sends in these bits of information. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television. Wrigley's gum was the first product to have a bar code. No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven times. Now we can rest easily.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or call 457.5814,

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From the March 7-14, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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