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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Pacific at Lincoln and Soquel Streets, Downtown, Circa 1910: This was taken just about in front of the Del Mar Theatre. It shows the Unique Theatre, sort of next door to New Leaf Market's present location. Mack Swain, Charlie Chaplin's most popular co-star, owned it. The Lincoln Street corner where Cotton Tales is situated is on the left. That building with the Colonial revival style and the two-story bay windows was built in 1910 and was called the Trust building, named after Andrew Trust, who once owned the corner. That awful B------s chain book dealer is there now. I know you old-timers have seen these photos before, but the newcomers keep asking for our classic views, and this sure is one of them.

Bruce Bratton

THE NOT COOPER HOUSE AGAIN. The Cooper House's owner isn't happy with the city's insisting he maintain the central passageway through from Pacific Avenue to the Abbot Square Courtyard behind the building. He's going to appeal this decision to the Zoning Board. Go to the front door of this faux Cooper House on Pacific and look straight through to Abbot Square: it's a fine idea and will do a lot to keep the square alive and well. The Cooper House guy, because he's having problems renting out the main floor, has offered some alternative schemes for entrances and exits to the upstairs offices, but they would create garbage spaces and miserable nooks and crannies where there should be sunlight and more flowers. Speaking of flowers, those 12 giant flower pots sitting around the Not Cooper House are still empty and ugly--what kind of attitude does that show? This is our downtown's busiest time of the year, and most business owners as well as the city crews are working overtime to keep their storefronts and Pacific Avenue looking good. Passageways and walk-throughs are necessary for our downtown with its parking garages and unique pedestrian traffic patterns. Besides that, Santa Cruz has given out-of-town owner J. Paul more than enough in patience and subsidies. Let's make sure he honors the carefully thought out passageway through his main floor. After all, it was part of the historic and traditional way to walk through and behind the Cooper House and the stained-glass-covered alleyway next to Webber's Photoshop.

FLAWED FILMS. Chicken Run is a perfect example of how brilliant creative talent can be persuaded to compromise in order to make big bucks and appeal to a broader public. Every early Wallace and Gromit short film this company made was hilarious. Chicken Run was boring and trite, and it must be making them millions of dollars. Same goes for Jim Carrey. After seeing him in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, you know he's an amazing actor. Me, Myself & Irene is gross, disgusting and, worst of all, not funny. On the other hand, I didn't expect much from Groove, a film about rave dances and taking mind-altering substances, and it is a fine film. Too bad it leaves the Nickelodeon tonight; try to see it if you can.

OHLONE PARK PLANS. It probably isn't quite official yet, but there are rumors that some folks in the city administrative structure are talking about putting a 300-car parking lot almost in the middle of the proposed Ohlone Park. If you go over to where the old railroad depot used to be, you'll see temporary white cement barricades being used to create a summer parking lot. Now, the proposed plans for the new city museum sound magnificent and will need some parking places, and so will the proposed soccer field. But 300 parking spaces are really going to take the heart and space out of the Ohlone Park concept and will just be used for Boardwalk parking, as Charlie and everybody else knows.

BIOTECH GOAT RANCH. This is a complex issue involving land use, pollution, county ordinances, property rights, the environment and more. You can hear what it's all about on John Laird's KUSP (88.9FM) program Thursday (June 29) at 6:30pm. John will manage to cover just about everything and will probably allow time to call in your questions too.

BOOKSENSE.COM. I just heard about the online network now being fine-tuned that will allow us to shop for books online at more than 1,100 independent bookstores in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands! The site will take all the usual credit cards and offer the same deals that Amazon.com does, or used to do. It isn't running yet, but punch up booksense.com and type in any city and see how many independents there are. July 5 is the projected start-up date. Don't you wish that hardware stores, toy stores, video stores and so many other independent businesses had started one of these networks before the mega-box monsters had driven them out of business?

NEWS TO ME. According to the June/July issue of the Mission Street Widening Task Force newsletter, mockingbirds in the area are imitating the sounds made by those traffic light/pedestrian indicators at crosswalks. This has become confusing to blind pedestrians and their dogs. ... According to Jean Brockelbank, she found true love on the Internet and is marrying the guy (Michael Lewis) and moving to Arizona or someplace like that. City Council meetings and the Poet &Patriot will never be the same. ... Debbie Bulger thinks UCSC should have its art department paint a mural on the side of its new music recital hall building that faces the bicycle and hiking path, which sounds like a reasonable idea. ... There's a TV company that's going to make a documentary on Ed Kemper, Santa Cruz's own serial killer, circa 1972/73. They are looking for any data, material, photos and folks who were involved with his life. Call them at 212.795.1949. Rumor has it that the Santa Cruz Sentinel threw out its entire Kemper file and all archived photos on the case, but I'm betting that's not true.

REDWOOD MEADOWS WINERY. At long last, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is going to hear developer Bill Cunningham's proposal to create an entertainment and event center in the heart of Bonny Doon. Cunningham has managed to alienate just about everybody past and present who bought land in his Brisa Del Mar development. He neglected to tell them about his plans to build a huge events building and create parking lots in this gorgeous gated community, and the property owners who haven't sold out and moved away are mad. Cunningham's idea will turn Bonny Doon into a kind of Napa Valley. Hot-air balloon rides and cutesy choo-choos are next. Cunningham is claiming it's all part of the definition of a winery, but since he won't be able to grow many grapes up there, it does make you wonder. The rural Bonny Doon Association has gone on record opposing the size and use of this development, and you can get all the late-breaking details on their website at www.bonnydoon.got.net. You can get in touch with the Concerned Home Owners of Redwood Meadows at 457.7986. Let's all watch Supervisor Jeff Almquist on this one; better yet, call or write your favorite supervisor and let him or her know how you rank expensive wedding sites and miles of traffic up Bonny Doon Road over the environment. That Board of Supes meeting will be July 12 at 9am.

OUR OWN TREE SITTER. Earth First! has accomplished a lot, and it's been given credit and taken many hits for things it didn't do, but thank goodness, Blackbird has dedicated his willingness to tree sit in protest in Ramsey Gulch a little north of Corralitos. Blackbird's doing this to protest the county's not enforcing its logging rules. The county has logging regulations designed to protect our watersheds and to make some logical logging plan for our endangered second-growth trees. Earth First! needs more tree sitters, and they need more support systems for Blackbird. Call them at 425.3205 if you can help. As long as this is the Fourth of July coming up, think a bit about what it means to be devoted to your beliefs, think about the last time you stood up or did anything remotely equivalent to Blackbird's tree sitting for your beliefs.

CITY ADVISORY BODIES. If you live within the Santa Cruz city limits, you should consider getting involved with one of boards, commissions, committees or task forces that make recommendations to the City Council. After years of believing I had some idea of the complexity of how city government functions, I was appointed to the Downtown Commission a few months ago. The experience is amazing, baffling and educational. Currently, there are two openings on the Arts Commission, which helps enhance the cultural climate of the city. There is one opening on the Historic Preservation Commission, one on the Parks and Recreation Commission, one on the Public Arts Committee, one on the Alcohol Advisory Committee and one on the Integrated Pest Management Committee. The Integrated Pest Management Committee manages to watch pests from different cultural backgrounds sexually reproduce and see how they integrate into our neighborhoods. Just kidding--I wanted to see if you were still reading and paying attention. But do call the city clerk's department at 420.5030 and find out how to get on one of these groups.

Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP (88.9FM) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at [email protected] or at 457.5814, ext. 400.

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From the June 28-July 5, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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