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[whitespace] Santa Cruz Film Festival poster Gettin' Board? Board members of SCiFF wonder if they really are.


Film Fest Flap

Volunteer work doesn't have to be drab and unglamorous, like feeding the homeless or stupid stuff like that. Nope, the best volunteer work in town nowadays is getting a gig on the board of directors for one of those chi-chi cultural events. No work, no meetings; in fact, board members don't even have to know they're board members!

Case in point: the Santa Cruz Film Festival (a.k.a. SCiFF).

Following up on a tip that Santa Cruz City Councilmember Keith Sugar had resigned from the SCiFF Board of Directors, we give our sweet councilor a call. We can almost hear those bushy eyebrows shooting up in surprise.

"What are you talking about?" Sugar says. "I didn't know that I was a board member."

Well, that's darn confusing, Keith. Jane Sullivan, director of SCiFF, told us you resigned due to "conflicting time commitments" and that she didn't think you "wanted to hustle for the film festival" and that they "need active board members who raise money for this festival."

Ain't none of us getting any younger--maybe you forgot you signed up, did not hustle for the festival, then resigned in disgrace?

"I only met [Sullivan] once," recalls the confused councilmember. "We sat down at a Thai restaurant, and she told me about [the film festival], and I wished her the best of luck. We never had a discussion about financial issues. She did ask me about being on the board, and I said I'd think about it. But, I don't recall ever having spoken with her after that."

We fax Sugar the letterhead with his name listed as one of the three members of the board of directors.

"I suppose I should be upset that someone is appropriating my name," sighs the burly barrister. "But I guess you know you're somebody when you're elected to things you didn't even know about."

Well, what about those other board of directors listed on the letterhead, Morton Marcus and Cathleen Rountree M.F.A., M.A., Ph.Dc?

"I am not on the board of directors," Marcus states, leaving us scratching our heads.

We can't find a phone number for the multidegree'd Rountree but figure it's time to check with Sullivan again.

According to Sullivan, Marcus also resigned.

"He's got other time obligations, to tell you the truth," Sullivan says.

Contacted again, Marcus denied that as the reason for his resignation but refused to elaborate for the record.

Not to worry, we are reassured by the film maven. Sullivan has recruited two more board members: Santa Cruz City Councilmember Emily Reilly, and Barry Swenson Builder veep Jesse Nickell.

Reilly says Sullivan dropped by her bakery, Emily's Good Things to Eat, a couple months ago, and Reilly signed something that made her a board member. Interestingly, Reilly recalls she was told specifically that she would not have to do any fundraising. She'd just be in an advisory position of what "might fly in Santa Cruz."

However, there's never been a board meeting since Reilly signed on, and the baker admits she's thinking of taking her buns off the board.

"What's my involvement?" Reilly asks.

Well, that leaves Nickell. Or not. We were told that Nickell is out of town for the month, vacationing down Cabo way.

Toots Roots

After surviving floods and earthquakes, the espresso machines of Mr. Toots hissed their last on Feb. 12, almost 24 years to the day after the coffeehouse opened--at least for the time being.

Following a construction mishap--and a protracted, complicated entanglement of lawsuits--the building housing Mr. Toots, Stockton Bridge Grille and party-central Margaritaville has been shut off from the public, piece by piece.

City of Capitola associate planner Dan Chance says that the proposed completion date will be the middle of July, with businesses slated to move in right away.

Asked if he thought that crews would meet their deadline, Chance replied, "We'll see. They're going to town on it. They're out there pouring concrete for the foundation right now."

"The story on the street is that it's going to be done by summer," says Toots owner Bob Duncan, "but I don't see how. The structural issues are enormous."

If Duncan is right, this could spell a long, dry summer for Capitola Village merchants, already reeling from the post-Sept. 11 economy.

"I'm not very optimistic about when, " Duncan continues. "But when it's done it will be a gem and will help the local economy prosper."

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From the April 17-24, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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