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[whitespace] Shark
Photo courtesy of Sean Van Sommeran, Pelagic Shark Research Foundation.

Well-Known Locals Pose With Shark: Aside from the one obvious character--namely Malio Stagnaro pointing to the shark--I don't know who these folks are. The guy on the far right has a check from Krystal Ice Oxygen Equipt. Co, but I can't read the amount or guess why he has it. Work with me here, folks: who are these people on our wharf and why the check? Circa late '50s, early '60s, I suppose.

Bruce Bratton

STORE-SIZE ORDINANCE? It's a great idea. Why not have written, proactive control over the size of businesses that want to open shop in our downtown? Our neighborhoods have plenty of laws, rules, codes and ordinances controlling who lives next door and how they can build, paint and use their house. Why not have the same or more control over our downtown? Any downtown belongs to the community; it isn't some neutral or free zone we let outsiders decide on. It's ours. Businesses should be welcomed and encouraged to be there depending on their fulfilling an agreed-upon need--or they should simply stay out. Sure, this is being enacted because of Borders (and we should have had it decades ago), but remember that it's a flexible concept, and it works well in other communities that have had the wisdom to use it. Hurrah and three cheers; go for it, etc.

A NECESSARY DOWNTOWN BUSINESS. Jesse Davis just reopened his leather repair shop on North Pacific Avenue across from Bank of the West, near Bulkhead Street, next door to the Los Pinos Restaurant. Jesse used to be in Ken's Shoe Repair next to the pet shop by Zoccoli's on Pacific Avenue, just to get your memory refreshed. Jesse works on leather jackets, boots and, of course, shoes. He's got dozens of stories to tell of his years on Pacific, then out on 41st Avenue and up in Scotts Valley, but now he's back downtown. Call the shop at 426-7675 or just stop by; he's usually there.

LONGS ON MISSION STREET. Denny Wheeler's letter to the editor re: Longs Drug Store opening on Mission Street back in 1992-93 claims the issue was about chain drugstores versus locally owned ones and the competition between them. It wasn't. It was about traffic and one-way streets and if the neighborhood wanted Longs or any busy business there or not. His statement about Longs putting two nearby locally owned drugstores out of business just isn't true. Mr. Carcello of Bay Mission Pharmacy had planned on retiring for years before Longs, and he did. Palm Rexall Drugs (now Blockbuster) had been up for sale and failing as a business for years too. What really happened was that two new locally owned drugstores opened after the Longs on Mission Street began operation. The pharmacist from that Palm Rexall opened Westside Pharmacy out by Linda Vista Market at 2330 Mission St., and Tom's Pharmacy opened at 1203 Mission St., at the corner of Mission and Laurel.

SINFUL CINEMA AND OTHERS. Don't tell Pee-wee Herman about the French film Romance now at the Nick! "Explicit sex" is what it's called, despite the fact that Catherine Breillat wrote and directed it, another woman edited it and other women were involved all through the production. That means it isn't as easy to dismiss after the first blush, if any of us still blush. I haven't a clue whether the film is any good or not. The sex scenes are so startling that it's difficult to remember if there's any plot or not. I do want to remind you to see Mumford; it is that good, it'll be gone before you know it and it's getting very little push from the studios. I saw the last 13 minutes of Drive Me Crazy--that was enough. The hockey movie Mystery, Alaska is cute. It has cameos by Little Richard and Mike Myers. Three Kings is a war film, as you've heard, and George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube do fine jobs. It's a much more complex antiwar film than the reviews have indicated. Hopefully, more people who need to realize that war is more than showing off the Navy ships that we use to kill people may end up thinking about the other side of war.

POLICE APOLOGY? From all the books I've ever read, the city police force works for and is employed by the city. In Santa Cruz, that means the City Council. For the police to ask for an apology for any behavior I've heard about is simple harassment, and they'd better read their contracts again. We've been seeing our City Council becoming more and more cohesive, we've watched as city staff and the entire council work things out more amiably than ever before--so let's get these picky little police gripes behind us ... or let those police who are asking for this apology tell us all what's really bothering them and get it over with.

ABOUT ILLUSTRATED STORIES. We used to call them the funnies in the newspapers; then we had comic books. Now the art of illustrating stories has grown so broad and covers so many styles there really isn't a phrase that covers it all. On Friday (Oct. 8), from 4 to 6pm, you can view an exhibition of Art Spiegelman's comics and graphics at Porter College's Sesnon Gallery; then you can go to the faculty gallery at Porter and see Joe Ferrara's comic-book art collection. Ferrara owns Atlantis Fantasyworld on Cedar Street. Spiegelman is speaking (and smoking onstage!) at 8pm in UCSC's Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are available by calling 459-2159. Spiegelman draws for The New Yorker and is the artist/author of Maus. It'll be interesting to see if Ben Katchor's name or drawings are mentioned during all this comic-art discussion. Katchor is in another arena doing a weekly strip (Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer) and such illustrated books as The Jew of New York and Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay. For me, Katchor's works are closer to George Herriman's Krazy Kat or Outcault concepts or even Dickens' themes and Edward Hopper's paintings of the city.

FIGHT THE KNIGHT INITIATIVE MEETING. This initiative will be on the March primary ballot. It stops California from recognizing any same-sex laws from any other states. If you're concerned about equal rights, civil rights or what you might call justice, be sure to attend the meeting Thursday night at London Nelson Center at 7pm. Assemblyman Fred Keeley, Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt, Watsonville City Council Member Ramon Gomez, former Santa Cruz Mayor John Laird and others will speak. Call 761-9652 if you need to know more.

THE SCAN NEWSPAPER. The fall issue just came out, and in case you missed it, they are focusing on establishing a living wage, building affordable housing and democratizing land-use decisions. They are working on Elections 2000 and "have been meeting steadily over the past year to make sure they are prepared." Contrary to what that nameless Santa Cruz daily keeps repeating, this issue cites numerous examples of what our current City Council has done to support, encourage and work with downtown businesses. If I remember correctly, that nameless daily has said exactly the same thing about every Santa Cruz City Council, no matter who was on it, so pay that paper no mind whatsoever.

EVENTS AT UCSC. One of the many benefits of having UCSC in our midst is the wide array of events they produce. For example, the Margaret Mead Film Festival starts Oct. 13, and world-renowned classical sarod master Ali Akbar Khan plays the music recital hall Oct. 15. There's a Wednesday-evening recital series featuring pieces by Ravel (Oct. 13), Satie (Oct. 20) and Scriabin (Nov. 16-17). Sherry Glaser brings her one-woman performance here this Saturday, and there are many more talks and shows going on up there; so look elsewhere in this paper or call 459-ARTS or 459-2159 for tickets.

COMMUNITY HOUSING LAND TRUST. There are many more versions of land trusts that are active and working well than you think. Allison Hicks of the Northern California Land Trust will be talking about strategy and how we can create a community housing land trust in Santa Cruz. The event will be at London Nelson Center this Saturday, 2-5pm; call the Santa Cruz Action Network at 458-9425 to learn more.


Bruce Bratton critiques films on KUSP-FM every other Thursday at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bbratton@metcruz.com or call him at 457-9000 ext. 400.

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From the October 6-13, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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