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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection.

Santa Cruz, 1946: It's too bad you can't make out real details in this beautiful aerial shot. You can easily see Lease & Wettstein's Grocery Store (McHugh & Bianchi's); Pure Food Center, where the PG&E offices were on Front Street; Plaza Grocery, where Zoccoli's is; and the St. George pre-Catalyst--plus empty lots next to where the Vets Administration Building now sits. The real Cooperhouse is there, and so is an absolutely beautiful church where the Sentinel parking lot now rests.

Bruce Bratton

SC BUSINESS COUNCIL, FOLLOW-UP. Many cards, calls and letters are asking the same thing about the membership and political purpose of this exclusive 80-plus-member group. Is it a nonprofit organization? If not, what are UCSC, Cabrilho and Dominican Hospital doing as members of a group that actively takes political actions and supports political views. Others ask how often the group meets. What is the legal status of the council? Do members pay dues? As I've often mentioned, nothing really wrong with any of this, but go to their website at www.businesscouncil.got.net and see how many law firms and insurance companies belong. Norm Lezin and Salz Tannery are members, so are Devcon, Bogard Construction, Bargetto Winery, Las Animas Concrete, Granite Construction, Graniterock and Raytek. As usual, I've left messages for Jim Conklin, the council's executive director, at the council's phone number, 423.6320, and as usual he never returns my calls. So if you're as anxious to figure out what this very influential and powerful group is up to, call them or ask anybody whose name you see on the website what the group is all about. There's another loose thread that's unraveling here, and if we all pitch in together--and with cooperation and openness from the Business Council--we can easily solve this mystery.

DARK PLEASURES. Geez, there are so many of these dumb and dumber films being released that cinema screens look more and more like network television. Malena is opening at the Nick after playing one week at the Green Valley Cinema 6. It's a fine Italian bittersweet comedy/drama. The new Hornblower films on A&E channel are so riddled with commercials it's impossible to connect the plot--a greedy shame. Mi Vida Loca, a 1993 drama set in L.A.'s Echo Park, is almost a sequel to Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit. It was on digital cable. So were such great films as Inagaki's 1969 Samurai Banners, Samurai Assassin and Small Time (1998), starring Rae Dawn Chong and Glenn Plummer.

POLITICAL ADDENDUM. Watsonville City Councilperson Ramon Gomez called to say that he hasn't made up his mind about running against Supervisor Tony Campos. He said his wife will have a lot to say about that. Ramon also stated he and Republican County Committee Chairman Vic Marani have been friends for years--from "way back when Vic was a Democrat"--but Vic would not be running his campaign as many were expecting. I'm guessing Vic became a Democrat during the short while he worked for State Senator Henry Mello, which still confuses some people.

THE MYSTERIOUS ECV. For the first time in recorded history, members of the three E Clampus Vitus chapters surrounding the Monterey Bay will gather in a Bi-Coastal Tri-Chapter Rendezvous this entire weekend at an undisclosed location in this county. E Clampus Vitus is a historical organization dating back to California's Gold Rush days. There are chapters all over California, Nevada and Utah--and probably more than 100,000 members. The only event available for public viewing will be the unveiling and dedication of a tombstone in the Evergreen Cemetery honoring the unknown Clamper. The ceremony starts at 10am Saturday morning. There will be more than 200 Clampers in various states of attendance. You'll hear the unvarnished history of the unknown Clamper, not the garbled but well-intended version repeated at Roaring Camp when you ride the train up into the redwoods.

SANTA CRUZ NAACP AND VOTING IRREGULARITIES. Not only Florida? It has been alleged that there were inappropriate and possibly illegal procedures at polling places in Santa Cruz County during the November presidential election. The NAACP, ACLU and League of Women Voters are conducting a forum on April 30 at 7:30pm at London Nelson Community Center. They are asking any citizen who may have been asked to return later to vote, was intimated or maybe saw ballots mishandled or had any voting experience that seemed unusual to come to the forum or to contact the NAACP at dtg@cruzio.com or call 454.1478.

DOUG RAND PEACE PARK. Everybody's invited to participate in the draft proposal of the Doug Rand Peace Park on Monday (April 23), 3-5pm and 7-9pm, in the community room at the Santa Cruz Police Station. The City Council installed the Park Committee, and the committee has presented the park proposal to several city commissions; now they're presenting the proposal to the public. After this, the committee goes back to the council with results. So now's a great time to see slides, discuss the park, get your questions answered and give them your ideas. The proposed park would be at the Collateral Damage Statue and the area surrounding the Town Clock. It'll make the entire area look all coordinated and be a fine addition to our most important corners.

UCSC TECHS TO STRIKE? The nearly 180 technical employees at UCSC voted by a 90-percent margin to strike on April 20-21. They are striking as a reaction to what they call UCSC's bad-faith bargaining practices. Like technicians at UC-San Francisco and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, they are mad about proposals for employee raises and unfair labor practices. The Coalition of University Employees represents 18,000 clerical employees at all UC campuses. This is a small democratic, independent union not affiliated with any large AFL-CIO union. There's going to be hell to pay, and it's a complex situation. Go to www.upte.org or to the local website, http://ucsc.upte.org, to get all the details. Yes, the strike's on Slug Day--that's the point, to get the word out.

WHEN YOU NEED THEM. I've really got to recommend Dominican Hospital's Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center over on Frederick Street. I've been going there for the last 12 weeks to rebuild stuff from my hip operation. Physical therapist Rosie Deakers and trainer Matt Gutierrez continually perform miracles, so if you need that kind of rebuilding be sure to get them to help you. They even have me exercising, which is an entire new way of life, and they're knowledgeable and nice, too.

HIS WORTHINESS! Frans Lanting became the first photographer to be made a Knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark by His Royal Highness Prince Bernard of the Netherlands in a ceremony at the Soestdijk Palace on March 30. Richard Leakey, Jane Goodall, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Edmund Hillary and Indira Gandhi were past honorees. Frans has won several awards, like the Ansel Adams Award, World Press Photo and BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His photos have appeared in his many books, plus National Geographic, GEO and Audubon magazines. Husband-and-wife team Frans and Christine Eckstrom have worked hard for many years to make the world aware of the ecological treasures and environmental problems all over the earth. They've used their work to not just save the environment in Madagascar but have also been leaders in protecting our North Coast--especially in helping to defeat Santa Cruz Biotechnology's goat project. Frans and Christine are taking pictures in India and will return to their North Coast home in June. We can probably just call him "Sir," without genuflecting or anything out of the ordinary.


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

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From the April 18-25, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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