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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection.

Soquel and Branciforte: You can tell by the bell hanging over the street that this was Christmastime; the photo was taken Dec. 20, 1960. AutoFloat gas was 30.9 cents a gallon, and there was a special on whitewalls at $13.05. This is, of course, the Bay Photo, Pacific Espresso, Shoppers Corner corner now. Notice that even in this late afternoon shot on the shortest day of the year, there isn't any traffic, and everybody is driving classic cars!

Bruce Bratton

MICHAEL SCHMIDT FOR SUPERVISOR? Once upon a time, I laughed when I heard that Ronald Reagan was going to run for governor of California. Hearing that Michael Schmidt, executive director of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, a proclaimed Democrat, is going to run against Mardi Wormhoudt for Santa Cruz County supervisor, that prospect is either much funnier or much more serious. I suppose that with Arnold Schwarzenegger's name being considered for some political race, we can't afford to laugh at any political games anymore. It was reported last week in the Sentinel (and in a widely leaked email) that he had been asked by the chair of the Republican County Committee to run for supervisor. Schmidt also said in the email that the president of the Business Council, who is Sentinel publisher Dave Regan, also asked him to run. Savvy political observers are betting that Vic Marani, who is the chair of the Republican County Committee, is going to be seriously involved in Schmidt's campaign. Marani has been appearing at political affairs all over the county. He was at the swearing-in of Watsonville's mayor and, according to some rumors, is behind Ramon Gomez's soon-to-be-announced campaign against Supervisor Tony Campos. Marani was also at the swearing-in of the Capitola City Council at the end of last year. Two weeks ago, we were both at the Rural Bonny Doon Association election where the developers got so roundly defeated. I asked Marani why he was in Bonny Doon of all places. Marani refused to answer any of my questions about why he was there (even though I answered his) and was obviously angry I even asked. Just as in his appearance at the first pro-Santa Cruz district elections meeting, he was about as evasive as you can get. Now we know--or can guess--that he was in Bonny Doon with his friend Jim Beauregard of Shoppers Corner to see if Bonny Doon would like Schmidt as supervisor. I hope both he and Schmidt got the rousing answer in that election: "No, Bonny Doon and the entire North Coast doesn't want any of their pro-development, anti-environmental ways of doing business." You better believe that with Lone Star Cement, Santa Cruz Biotech, UCSC, Cunningham's proposed Redwood Winery Development and Beauregard's Horse Center all looking for room to grow, expand and pave over everything in sight, they'll all throw in big money to back somebody like Schmidt. It'll be a hot campaign next year. Environmentalists and anti-developments types should stay very tuned in and figure out what they should do to make sure that "Schmidt Doesn't Happen," as somebody once said.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY'S NORTH COAST. You can hear historian emeritus, author, weatherman, tour leader and good guy Sandy Lydon give a talk titled, "The Hills Were Alive: Coast Dairies and the North Coast Revolution." Sandy's talk centers on how the Coast Dairies and Land Company changed our North Coast. It's about dairy farming and again probably won't include much about why and how our North Coast has survived the hundreds of past battles against developers/spoilers (see above paragraph). Sandy's talk will be Wednesday (April 4) at 7:30pm at the Museum of Art & History. You can see the amazing exhibit on the history of our North Coast on the third floor while you're there. Call 429.1964 for more information. Seating is limited; doors open at 7pm.

DARK PLEASURES. Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt are cute in Heartbreakers. Everything's cute, even Gene Hackman. It's a mindless Hollywood film, so consider yourself warned. The Brothers starts off like Much Ado About Nothing and ends up like a mess of social and relationship messages. It is, however, a rare treat to see a film about African Americans that doesn't contain all the usual criminal and immoral stereotypes. Me You Them is a terrible title but a fine film. It's billed as a comedy, but it's really a saga of one woman's struggle to exist in the backcountry of Brazil. She lives with three men and her kids, and it's well done. The Sixth Annual Alternative Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival is part of the Fourth Annual Jewish Culture Week, and it's on now through Passover Seder on April 7. Details are too detailed for this space, but check out the films, performances, workshops, storytellings and lectures. Go to anything in the festival, but don't go see The Giraffe/Meschugge film that is at the Nickelodeon Thursday night and is part of the festival. The plot had great potential, but most of the acting is nonexistent.

THE DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION, MORE ADVOCACY? From what I've been told by people in the know, the Downtown Association is going to be even more political and push the Santa Cruz City Council even harder to achieve the association's goals. Not much wrong with that until you realize the DTA has 587 business members. It has that many members because the law requires a business located downtown to be a member and pay dues. It's never been done, and never will be done, but if a survey were taken asking the 587 members how many businesses wanted to be members, you'd probably end up with about exactly the same number of businesses that are on their board of directors--like maybe 10. The point here is if the DTA does become more political, how many businesses are they representing? As the DTA works harder to push and control our downtown, those voices of unrepresented businesses and city and county residents who care about our downtown community are going to be heard. Talk and plans to start a democratic (small "d") downtown business organization have been discussed for the last several years. We'll see it sooner now.

SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE. Ron (R.G.) Davis, who invented the Troupe, has always pronounced it the "Meem Troupe." As previously stated, he's bringing a very new, nearly world premiere of his latest stage concept here Thursday night (March 29). It's called A Tale of Symbiosis, and it tells a story about science and art using two performers, music and a long unrolling scroll. Davis wants the environmental and scientific community to see and hear this performance because of its new approach to sciences. Davis has inspired directors, actors and musicians for 40 years, and to have an opportunity to see a new production is rare. Get to London Nelson early; it starts at 7:30pm, and it's free, except for your kind donation.

FELIZ CUMPLEANOS CESAR CHAVEZ. Frank Bardacke, Andres Chavez (former UFW staff ), Susan Samuels Drake (Cesar's secretary 1970-73) and Diana Garcia, poet and prof at CSUMB, will all be doing readings on Saturday (March 31) at the Watsonville Public Library, 310 Union St. (near the Watsonville Plaza), from 2 to 4pm. It's all to honor Cesar Chavez on his birthday, and you'll be able to buy Susan Drake's book of poems, Fields of Courage, after you listen to these folks.

IN CLOSING. Doesn't emeritus sound like something the doctor just gave you and you need a pillow to sit down? K. Minott kicks in again with more material to keep Western civilization alive. To wit and to woo: American car horns beep in the tone of F, Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise, and if you're going to Hawaii this summer always remember "the liquid inside small coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma." Now, if there's any problem with that blood plasma thing, don't call me but do get in touch with K. Minott. And I'd ask some nearby Kahuna or at least a pathologist just to be really sure.


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 28-April 4, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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