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Bruce Bratton

[whitespace] Capitola, 1913
Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Capitola Circa 1913: At least the trestle bridge is still there, and so's Soquel Creek. That trolley on the bridge was built in 1904 and connected to Capitola as the Santa Cruz-Watsonville railway, according to a book I have. They probably thought public transit was a good idea way back then ... how far we've progressed, tsk, tsk.

WHOLE FOODS MOVING IN? Once again we have the "who do we want to support?" problem. Last time, it was Crown Books and Borders vs. our local independent bookshops. Now it's Whole Foods vs. New Leaf, Staff of Life, Food Bin, Aptos Natural Foods and other locally owned natural-foods stores. Whole Foods was originally going to open in the Staples building but pulled out at the last minute, as you probably remember. Scott Roseman of New Leaf tells me it's for the neighborhood to decide. Richard Josephsen of Staff of Life sez Whole Foods does an absolutely stupendous job in large urban areas and wonders why they are coming here with a proposed 20,000-square-foot store in the West Marine building. We locals need to consider where we want company profits going--do they stay local or go to national stockholders? We need to consider just how much do national chains like Whole Foods support the community? Obviously we will vote with our dollars as usual.

In the meantime issues such as traffic on 17th, plus the safety issue of the employee parking lot being across the street from Green Acres Elementary School, need to be ironed out. Then there's the union issue, which seems embarrassing to everyone concerned. Whole Foods Market owns and operates the nation's largest chain of natural and organic supermarkets. They have more than 100 stores, eight distribution centers, 10 regional bakehouses, three commissary kitchens, a seafood-processing facility and a coffee-roasting operation, and they employ more than 14,000 "team members." Their stores average 24,000 square feet, and that's what we call a big business, folks. It's all about growth, isn't it, and it's all about making active decisions on quality of life and asking, Will our lifestyle here in Santa Cruz be any different than any other place?

I GOTTA SAY. Every once in a while you read a heading or title in a newspaper that just somehow manages to be clever, informative and just plain beautiful. The Sentinel's Peggy Townsend in last Thursday's Bay Living section, under Best Bets, wrote a blurb about the Art on the Wharf Festival titled "Dock Holiday." It took me two glances, but I got finally got it.

KUSP AND KPFA. Peter Troxell, station manager of KUSP, says it was "dastardly" of Pacifica to fire KPFA station manager Nicole Sawaya last March, which started the current mess up there in Berkeley. Nicole used to be KUSP's NPR rep in Washington. An overarching problem for KPFA and KUSP and any alternative FM radio station is just how much out-of-town programming does the local population want? We all know that NPR programming is what brings in the money at KUSP during fund drives. Peter sez that if any FM station goes all NPR, it can rake in fantastic profits. Locally, KUSP carries 25 percent satellite and 75 percent local. KKUP is probably all local-origination broadcasting, and I don't know what KAZU does. Like deciding about controlling interests from chain bookstores and chain natural-foods stores, we need to make decisions on where our FM listening comes from too.

THE POLICE BUILDING. Nick Ferrari from the city Water Department is project manager for the city Police Building Project. I asked him how come the building isn't open yet; he sez it's about four months behind schedule. He also said it's true that it was originally scheduled to open in December of last year. The windows leak, and they've got problems with the stucco. Nick said there's no firm opening date due to some "wild cards," but it'll probably happen in three to six weeks. But the outside sure looks spiffy, and the new shooting range will certainly improve matters around here.

MR. BERT TRACEY. Bert Tracey was a guy who made some early films in Santa Cruz. He filmed one in the "Casino Ballroom" (i.e., the Cocoanut Grove) titled Out of the Golden West featuring local girl Lucy Gribble. James Mockoski of our town is going to graduate school at the University of East Anglia in England. He's doing a dissertation on Bert, and I figured there must be some locals left who have data or memories of Mr. Tracey to share with Mockoski. Call James at 426-5002 or get in touch with me and I'll pass it on.

THE OTHER PARKING GARAGE. It's a question of how many parking structures do we need, or how many lanes will it take to reduce traffic, or how many new homes should be built, or how many chain operations, or, or, or and etc. UCSC's parking structure is rightfully causing some thinking both town- and gown-wise, but I haven't heard much about the next parking structure planned for Cedar and Cathcart. Friends tell me that $500,000 has been approved for design costs, and that it'll happen in 2001 or 2. Where's the big picture on this one? Will this positively be the last parking structure downtown and is it possible that this one could maybe have a little aesthetic appeal? I mean who keeps approving all these ugly structures around town, and isn't anybody in charge of things looking nice?

FLIMFLAM AND FILMS. I thought Adam Sandler had a little something going in The Wedding Singer and a mite less in The Water Boy, but Big Daddy is completely socially unredeemable and stupid--forget it. American Pie, if you saw the end first, could fool you into thinking it had some content and was different from all those high school films with 30-year-old students, but it too is a waste of time, no matter what grade you're in. Arlingtion Road features too much acting by Jeff Bridges, but it's a thoughtful film and you'll think about it after you leave too--go for it. Then we have Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, which is a joy to behold. Aside from the great people in it and the great music they produce, you can get an immediate crash course on how to make a film, even a documentary. Plus you get to feel good when you leave, and you get to see what Cuba looks like nowadays.

JUST IN PASSING. Did you ever wonder why tourists always wear shorts? Did you ever stop to ask yourself why you wear shorts when you become a tourist? Normally, unless you're Ron Lau, you'd never dream of wearing shorts where people you know could see you, but what then makes it OK to wear shorts when you are a tourist? No prizes awarded for the best answer, but think about it.

ANAGRAMS. Those are the little devil words or phrases that when you switch letters around they spell something entirely different. Well, Ron Record sent what he calls the world's greatest anagram. I only checked it out halfway through; it seems absolutely impossible, but go for it: "To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Now, rearrange those exact letters and you get "In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten." When you stop and realize that some human being, or a dues-paying member of Mensa, had to actually create that anagram, you have to stand, or at least sit, in awe.


Bruce critiques films on KUSP-FM (89) every other Thursday at 12:50 pm.

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From the July 21-28, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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