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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Seabright Merchants Beach Party: This was taken Aug. 19, 1959, on East Cliff Drive between Pilkington and Brook streets, across from the city museum with the injured whale sculpture. The Castle Restaurant was there in various forms (bath house and art gallery) from 1899 until it was demolished March 24, 1967.

Bruce Bratton

THE HOUSING ISSUE. Former Santa Cruz County Supervisor Gary Patton in the May issue of The People's Democratic Club newsletter Soundings explains more about what we face in dealing with affordable housing, the environment, no-growth and agricultural land protection than I've ever seen in one place. Gary now works for Land Watch Monterey County and has seen what happens when Salinas lets developers build 10,000 homes. Their housing crisis is worse than ours because of that "let 'em rip" philosophy. Gary's point is that when new houses are built they're filled fast with people who come from and work out of town. The locals who need housing can't afford these houses. He also states that even if we paved over Pajaro Valley and built out our North Coast we'd still be overrun and outbid by commuters from Silicon Valley, because we're small and Silicon Valley is big. Patton says the challenge progressives face is having our local government handle our lower-income persons and local residents first, and not caving in to developers. He closes by saying, "Standing up for agricultural land protection and environmental protection doesn't have the 'consequence' of raising housing prices--unintended or otherwise." You can read his entire letter by going to www.landwatch.org: go to What's Hot and read "The Real Cause of High Housing Prices." The People's Democratic Club deserves thanks for bringing this letter to our attention. Now if Republicans and the rest of the county reads it too, we'd all be better off.

RIOT AT THE HYATT. Move quickly to get tickets to 12 Sports Productions' live world-class professional boxing at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, Wednesday, July 3, at 7:30pm. Jerry Hoffman has created a card featuring Robert Guerrero, who he says is another Jose Celaya. Jesus Rodriguez and Luis Perez are scheduled, as is Marilyn Salcido who's won four in a row since we last saw her fight in Monterey. Call 688.1604 ASAP because these pro fights sell out every time.

DARK PLEASURES. I went to Watsonville's Green Valley Cinema 6 to see Star Wars, and that's a fine little cinema with raked seating. This Star Wars clone film is just another chapter in the saga. No startling effects that we haven't seen before, except Lucas now has lots of action taking place in mist or haze because it must save millions of dollars, and it looks it. The plot is poor but complex, the acting is poor and not complex. But you have to see Star Wars--and on the big screen--just because it's there. Hugh Grant is better than you think in About a Boy. I'd never start a fan club for him, and he was getting very boring, but this film isn't bad--cute, but not bad. The Mystic Masseur is a Merchant-Ivory film, based on the novel by V.S. Naipaul and directed by Ismail Merchant. It has a curious removed or cold quality and you never get too close to the main man, but it's a lot better than Star Wars.

LEAR'S DAUGHTERS. This play presented by Friends of Gus at the Broadway Playhouse has OK acting, but it's stylized beyond believability. It's the aimless play itself that makes you wonder what the point is. It sure doesn't add anything beyond an easy shot at Lear, who they suggest might have been lecherous. Skip this one.

CUBA SI, EMBARGO NO. If you want to do something to improve relations with Cuba or just learn more about the progress Cuba has made in many areas, go to the Cuba Study Group's panel and report from Cuba this Saturday at 7pm at the Live Oak Grange, 1900 17th Ave. (just north of Capitola Road), Santa Cruz. Local Santa Cruzans like Geoff Shuey, Diane Lewis and Ellen Farmer will tell what they learned on their trips to Cuba. Cuban Yociel Marrero Baez and Global Exchange's Rachel Bruhnke will talk about their projects, too. The idea is to discuss how to create a community relationship with Guama Municipality in Cuba, and how it would be a win-win deal for both countries. Guama has a zero infant mortality rate, for example. Cuba has done a lot about alternative energy, and you can learn why Guama is an appropriate "twin" for Santa Cruz County. Videographer Eric Thiermann made a video during his visit to Guama in April and he'll show it Saturday night.

ADDENDUM. Rumors abound that Eric Schoeck is moving out of Santa Cruz. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Isn't it about time that Louis Rittenhouse's permit expires on that green hole at the corner of Pacific and Church--wasn't it last summer that he was going to build something there so the City Council caved in and gave him his every last wish? Lee Quarnstrom reports from Orange County that they narrowly defeated the attack on their utility tax by focusing on how police and fire services would be cut back and how homeowners and renters would be hurt by the loss of the utility tax. Lee Q, who fought Harley Davidson noise here for many years, went on to say that the police don't enforce against any Harley noise problems because they like Harley noises. That couldn't possibly be true, could it?


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

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From the May 23-29, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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