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[whitespace] St. George Hotel
Photograph by Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection.

The Real St. George Hotel: Rather than upsetting somebody by my guessing the date of this photo, I'll ask you to send in your guess. It's after Roy Rydell and the Abbotts' new '70s mall designs were added. I remember the law offices in the space behind the trees in the foreground, but we need an exact year for this shot. Hopefully, you can see Tom Cahill's Clothing Shoppe sign next to the coffee shop.

Bruce Bratton

THE SANTA CRUZ BUSINESS COUNCIL. I learned a lot last week. I learned I had a very wrong idea of what the Santa Cruz Business Council is all about. I've mentioned before that I had tried to get information on the council and was rebuked. I had asked several political people around town what they knew about the Biz Council--like me, they knew next to nothing. Last week, "some guy" gave me the council's web address, and I learned how wrong I was. ("Some guy" is my new name for Michael Schmidt. He says he's going to run for supervisor against Mardi Wormhoudt and says my mentions here help his campaign so I'm just calling him "some guy" from now on.) First of all, I thought the council consisted of about 10 establishment, conservative-type good old boys who met occasionally to manipulate our county politics. Well, according to their website, they have more than 80 members (five are women). The roster of Biz Council members shows not just names but email addresses, fax and phone numbers. Take a good long look at their website at http://www.businesscouncil.got.net. If you've ever been involved with city and county politics, you'll draw your own conclusions and opinions. The council's stated purpose is to "coordinate the talent and resources of business and professional leadership" to "assist the public sector" in identifying, examining and resolving countywide issues. They also want to enhance "current and future economic base/tax revenue potential," be a "productive liaison" between business and government, and inform internal and external politics re major county issues. I know it's perfectly okay to have a power group like the council, but it just seems a bit strange that they aren't more public. We have Chambers of Commerce (the Santa Cruz Chamber belongs but not the Aptos, Capitola, Scotts Valley or Pajaro Valley chambers), and we know who belongs to them, and members use that membership proudly. Not so the Santa Cruz Business Council. Sure they have a website, but when's the last time you ever heard of it or the council?

VIDEOS AND CABLE TREATS. First of all, try to see Emma Thompson in Wit on HBO Cable this month. Thompson and Mike Nichols made this film from the play, and it's easily the finest drama for cable I've ever experienced. Playwright Harold Pinter does a bit part as Emma's father. It's about a teacher who's dying of ovarian cancer. Rent the newer version of Twelve Angry Men and Journey to Freedom from Flick Stop Video over at Brommer and 17th. Twelve Angry Men stars Courtney Vance, George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon and features a complete updating of the script. Road to Freedom stars James Earl Jones as Vernon Johns, Martin Luther King's predecessor in the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Great dramas.

SC BIZ COUNCIL DIRECTORS AND CONTRIBUTIONS. There are 26 members of the board of directors listed on their website. There are also three "ex officio" members: John Hurd of Cabrilho, M.R.C. Greenwood of UCSC and Michael "some guy" Schmidt of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. I've previously mentioned board members Charles Canfield of the Seaside Company, Dave Regan of the Sentinel, George Ow of Ow Family Properties, Sister Julie Hyer of Dominican, and Harvey Nickelson of Coast Commercial Bank. Thanks to their website, we can now add directors John Stephenson of S.C. Biotech, Wayne Boss of Santa Cruz Medical Clinic, Jack Moyer of SCO, John Friel of Watsonville Community Hospital, Randy Repass of West Marine, Jim Jensen of Texas Instruments, Statish Sheth (they spelled his name wrong) of RMC Pacific Materials, Marvin Labrie of Physicians Medical Group, Ken Kannappan of Plantronics, Tom O'Shea of Chaminade, and Rudy Monte of Deluxe Foods. A very hot group. Since we can read that the Biz Council works hard to be such a vital force in our community, what does it do for us? Do they help support any nonprofits, give donations to community fund drives, help the homeless, support our Cultural Council? How often do they meet? Where do they meet? Besides supporting widening Highway 1 and supporting "some guy," what other issues have they taken a position on?

DARK PLEASURES. Johnny Depp is OK, but Blow isn't worth getting all dressed up for. Wait and rent it. Same thing goes for Along Came a Spider. Nice to watch Morgan Freeman, but the movie's a snore. Just Visiting is a not funny film--no laughs, no plot, but Paul Brindel liked it, go figure. The only good new film out now is Dish at the Nickelodeon. It's one of those nice and funny Australian comedies; it's really droll and funny.

SC BIZ COUNCIL QUESTIONS. The website states the council consists of business and professional members. The site doesn't list any nonprofits, although Dominican, Cabrilho and UCSC belong. Driscoll Strawberries and Erik's Deli belong but not New Leaf or Ledyards. Santa Cruz Biotech belongs but not O'Neills or any of our county's surf businesses, wineries or bicycle manufacturers. Food processors from South County belong but not Harmony Foods. George Couch and Couch Enterprises belong and so do many of our big car dealers and Realtors. Bay Federal Credit Union, Coamerica, Monterey Bay Banks and Coast Commercial Banks belong but not our Community Credit Union. AT&T, the Register Pajaronian, the Sentinel and Pac Bell belong but not the Mercury or Good Times. Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) belongs but none of the new high-tech businesses downtown or in Scotts Valley, like Seagate, are members. Who decides on members and what are the qualifications?--I can't figure it out. Go to that website and see what you think. Note misspellings such as Statish Sheth of RMC Materials and Rick Pfetenhaver of Cabrilho. I forgot to mention that DeLaveaga Golf Course is a member, too.

SHOW BUSINESS. Don't miss Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, the South American Harpist, at the Capitola Theatre April 20. He used to play at Club Zayante. UCSC's Kathy Foley brings a top Javanese puppetmaster with the Berkeley Gamelan this Friday at 7pm in the Second Stage at UCSC. Tickets at the door. Kathy says he's a puppeteer's puppeteer! UCSC Arts & Lectures is presenting a Tribute to Andrew Imbrie, noted American composer, tonight (April 11). The New Music Ensemble of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music will be conducted by Nicole Paiement. There'll be a preconcert talk with seven other noted composers at 7pm. Get tickets at 459.2159. When I was a mere lad, I attended many of Imbrie's classes at UC-Berkeley.

OTHER DOWNTOWN PLAZA. Since Louis Rittenhouse is about to file his formal application for his new four-story complex at Pacific Avenue and Church Street, and since our City Council has shown about zip guts in looking for funding sources or even taking a real interest in this last location for a real plaza, I'm giving up on it. Even folks who have fought huge developers all over the county and won haven't come out to fight for this plaza. The 3,000 signatures supporting a plaza at Louis' location and the support of several cultural groups meant nothing to the City Council, so that's it. But I still say we should beg Louis to put a bronze plaque on it with the councilmembers' names so our visitors and grandchildren will know who preferred a building over some open space downtown.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com 457-5814, ext. 400.

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From the April 11-18, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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