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[whitespace] Historical Photo
Soquel Circa 1900: According to my 1916 county map, the intersection of Soquel-San Jose Road and Porter Street (shown here just above the bridge) was a very important intersection. The Old San Jose Road led over the mountains to someplace near the towns of Laurel, Glenwood and Wright. From Wright you took what is now Highway 17 to Los Gatos, Vasona and San Jose. South of the town of Soquel on Highway 1 in 1916 were the towns of Farley, Leonard, Manresa and Ellicott, and right near Watsonville was the town of Nuga.

Bruce Bratton

UCSC'S SACRED TELESCOPES. For three months now, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs newspaper has been reporting the native Hawaiians' problems and now legal concerns as they try to "protect, preserve, and restore" their sacred Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is the peak of Hawai'i, the "Big Island," and is 13,796 feet high. The problem is that many countries, NASA and universities have built huge telescopes on Mauna Kea--UCSC's Keck telescopes are 8 stories tall, for example. The locals say (in the June issue of the OHA newspaper) that for 30 years the astronomy community has ignored their very basic fundamental rights. They believe their freedom of religion and their right to have a spiritual relationship with the land of their birth has not been respected, so they have filed a lawsuit against NASA. Jerry Nelson from UCSC's Center for Adaptive Optics, who is lead researcher on the CELT telescope project, wrote me a letter which I've quoted from before. He hasn't answered my reply, which is frustrating after my hours of web site research. The CELT (California Extremely Large Telescope) project is 30 meters, or three times the size of the Keck telescope. There's also the OWL Telescope Project (Overwhelmingly Large Telescope) that's 100 meters and three times bigger than CELT. I know this is a huge and involved story and is receiving no attention except for an article by Jean Christensen of Associated Press online at www.ABC.News. Go online at http://celt.ucolick.org/reports/report00, then go to www.eso.org/projects/owl, and you'll begin to understand the background of what's going on. Read on.

NATIVE HAWAIIANS' MAUNA KEA ISSUES. Donald Cataluna is an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee for Kaua'i and Ni'ihau. He gave his column space in the June issue of the OHA newspaper to a group of community representatives to write about the Mauna Kea issue. They state a few of the problems, and you can read them online at both www.kahea.org and www.oha.org. The state and the University of Hawai'i have never completed a comprehensive archeological survey or burial treatment plan; no federal Environmental Impact Statement has ever been done by any observatories; there is no protection of the sacred sites from exposure, looting and destruction; the Wekiu bug population has declined 99.7 percent; NASA alone has recorded four mercury spills at the Keck/NASA project; 13 of the world's richest nations pay $1 per year rent; NASA's budget is $12-14 billion per year, and there's more. Mauna Kea is the burial ground of Hawai'i's highest born and most sacred ancestors, and the many groups signing this statement are rightfully angry. It's about like adding Bush to Mt. Rushmore, putting a nuclear missile in the Statue of Liberty's torch, or putting a bio tech research lab in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery.

DARK PLEASURES. I haven't liked almost anything John Sayles directed. Lone Star, Roan Inish, Passion Fish, City of Hope and Return of the Secaucus 7 didn't do anything for me. Brother From Another Planet was pretty good and I hoped his newest, Sunshine State, would also break the mold. It didn't. It had the worst acting from good actors I've seen in years. The plot, even though it centered on money-grubbing developers (which we know a lot about), wasn't fun, insightful or interesting. Skip this one. Skip Men in Black II, as well--I didn't like the first one, and this is more of the same. Go see Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, The Bourne Identity, Dogtown and Z Boys, Notorious C.H.O., Enigma or The Emperor's New Clothes; they're very good.

PUBLISH YOUR BOOK? Don Eddy of Monterey Publishing will give a free talk on "Self Publishing From A to Z" tomorrow night, July11, at 6pm in the reading room of the Main Library. He'll talk about ISBN numbers, copyright issues, book design, printers, distribution--all that stuff. Don teaches photography at Monterey Peninsula College and has published lots of books. For more info, call 724.2059. The event is sponsored by the National Writers Union and Santa Cruz Friends of the Library.

JUST FOR FUN. Get a copy of Bob Fenster's new book They Did What!? It's Bob's collection of some very crazy things famous people have done. Perfect reading for days like these. Por ejemplo, according to Bob, Mary Tyler Moore can belch talk. Meryl Streep was a cheerleader and a homecoming queen. Each time Joan Crawford remarried she had new toilet seats installed throughout her mansion. And Madonna once said, "If I weren't as talented as I am ambitious, I would be a gross monstrosity."

MUSICAL SAW DAYS. The world's largest assemblage of musical saw players will gather together again in Santa Cruz on Saturday July 20 in front of the statue of Tom Scribner by Bookshop Santa Cruz at 1pm. They'll play a bunch of old favorites and warm up for the big saw day at Roaring Camp on Sunday. Musical sawyers from China, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Los Angeles and Japan attend and compete in this celebration every year. This year the festival was helped greatly by a grant from the Cultural Council. P.S.: Marlene Dietrich played the musical saw, and if you go to the Berlin Film Museum you can see the one she used.

IN CLOSING. Scott Kennedy sent this one: "Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers."


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

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From the July 10-17, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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