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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection.

New Mission Street Bypass: This wonderful new left turn connected Highway 1 with Mission Street. Note, too, that Chestnut Street didn't intersect here back then. This was taken Nov. 27, 1956.

Bruce Bratton

SAVING BONNY DOON. When The Rural Bonny Doon Association was created back in the 1950s, its mission was to "keep Bonny Doon rural and natural." It's the oldest environmental organization in the county, and it's stuck to and fought for those beliefs ever since. The RBDA has received many attacks since those early years by developers and moneyed interests who wanted to see the community commercialized. None of those attacks was quite as well plotted and organized as the pro-Redwood Meadows Winery and pro-Vigne Equestrian Center developments that attempted to take over the RBDA last week by electing their own slate. The developers and their divisive tactics were completely defeated at last week's RBDA meeting when more than 400 residents attended and more than 395 voted! The incumbents plus one new resident were easily elected, and the principles of The RBDA remain intact--and even encouraged. I could go on at great length, because I was personally involved in Bonny Doon politics for many years. I won't, because the winning board is eagerly trying to mend fences and re-establish working relationships. But I must say, it couldn't happen to a more deserving community.

DARK PLEASURES. Of course, Steven Seagal's Exit Wounds outgrossed all other films at the box office last weekend, and it is gross. It's also about as dumb as Jackie Chan's attempt in recent years at funny gore and murder scenes. Don't go, no matter what. I promise you that scenes in Enemy at the Gates--with its almost all-British cast as Russians--will remind you of every war film you've ever seen: All Quiet on the Western Front, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan and, of course, Sergeant York, among them. Seeing and hearing Jude Law as a Russian sniper and Ed Harris as a German sniper strain every bit of your ability to suspend disbelief. On the other hand, it's definitely worth going to Watsonville's Green Valley Cinema 6 (down a block and across the road from Orchard Supply Hardware) to see Malena, especially so since it's double-billed with Billy Elliott. Some critics have said that a Sophia Loren type would have been more appropriate in the lead role, but as significant other and also critic Nancy Abbey pointed out, it's precisely Malena's classic beauty and shyness that caused the Sicilian town's reaction. Go see it, especially if you also missed Billy Elliott. In the Mood for Love is still at the Riverfront Stadium Twin for 9:30pm showings. Every friend and critic I've sent there agrees on how truly great this film is. It is so beautifully filmed that seeing it in video just couldn't do it justice.

THE FIRST COMING OF LUIS PALAU. Folks have been telling me that Palau's Evangelical Crusade that's coming here in September is anti-gay and anti-abortion. I looked up Palau's Crusade material on its website. It claims that it's second only to Rev. Billy Graham in size of rallies, membership, etc. I couldn't find the anti- statements I looked for, so I emailed them and got a reply saying that email address is no longer valid. Anyway, if its turns out that the group is anti-gay and anti-choice that's not very acceptable, even unfair, a crime against nature--and on and on. I'm not sure what to do about that. If the pope, our president and Graham, who share those beliefs, were going to visit here, what would I do? Protest, that's for sure--but attempt to stop them? Since this Christian crusade will take place so close to the Boardwalk and since the group has promised to help pay for the new but temporary skatepark, maybe we could also get them to erect a 40-foot-high glow-in-the-dark statue of Charlie Canfield--just kidding!

ECKHART TOLLE IN TOWN. Tolle's book The Power of Now is well worth reading. What he has to say about the rewards of realizing that only this moment is real can change your life. It's the same message that Buddha, Christ and other spiritual leaders have been teaching for generations, only in a contemporary accessible form. He's giving a rare afternoon session this Sunday (1-5pm) at Holy Cross Hall in Santa Cruz. As you can imagine, Oprah liked his book, and it's selling very well. The inside scoop is that Tolle lives in Canada and has an international following and plenty of folks are coming here for his session. You can probably still get tickets--and his book--at Gateways right now, and that would be a good idea, because if there are any tickets left they will cost $15 more at the door. Call 786.0403 for information.

WHAT TIDELANDS DECISION? Remember way back, when it was discovered that the tidelands, which the Boardwalk has been using as a paying parking lot, really belonged to the city (or something like that)? Whatever happened to that decision, did it go to a lawsuit or some threatened action or what was finally decided--and why haven't we heard anything about how much money the Boardwalk owes the city for using our land all these years. Just asking!!

DEPOT SITE PUBLIC MEETING. The problem is when you don't participate in these public planning meetings, you end up wondering just how come "they let that happen there." This meeting will give all of us the chance to say what we'd like to see happen at the more than eight acres at the old train depot site near the beach and wharf. It's at London Nelson Center on Thursday (March 22) at 7pm. Skatepark, museum, soccer field, 40-foot statue (just kidding again)--now's the time to speak up, because unlike our new downtown buildings, parks last forever. Maybe we should get 100,000 little electronic monarch butterflies to fly around on command, to replace the ones we've systematically removed as development and tree diseases moved in.

JUST A LITTLE MORE ABOUT FLUORIDE. I just wanted to remind some of you more agitated types that I really didn't invent fluoride. It truly is a naturally occurring element found in nature. I've done my best over the last 40 years to get out the same positive fluoride message that everyone from the World Health Organization, our Surgeons General, and health and legal authorities all over the world (plus my dentist) have been advocating and proving. Adding fluoride to our public drinking water is a very healthy thing to do, and most of the world knows it. In the old days when I was doing pro-fluoride programs on KCBS and KGO, the big evil secret from the anti-fluoride believers was that it was a Russian plot--this, in spite of the fact that Russia had been fluoridating its water for years. Antis have dropped that Russian plot but unbelievably still trot out the Alcoa aluminum toxic byproduct billion-dollar money-making scheme with no proof whatsoever. That www.quackwatch.com site also lists all the anti-fluoride groups posing as Dental Associations or as Official Health organizations--check it out.

LORENZO THE DRAGON. K.B. Abood, one of our community's more creative souls, has a great idea. She's created a three-day workshop (March 30-31 and April 1) at the Teen Center next to the Saturn Cafe. K.B. is using the 2 percent for public art fund to get everybody possible involved in building Lorenzo, the River dragon. Lorenzo will be a 20-foot-long dragon that will make its first public appearance on Earth Day (April 22). Using recycled materials, including your old fun noodles, bring whatever you have that would make a dragon and other parade creatures. Lorenzo will emerge from the Teen Center and parade up Pacific Avenue on Earth Day and give river tours after that. K.B. Abood is the master parade puppet diva of Santa Cruz and is responsible for First Night's finest visual art creations. Workshops start at 10am. Call 426.9459 for information.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9)at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or call 457.5814, ext. 400.

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From the March 21-28, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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