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[whitespace] Cooper Street
Party on Cooper Street, 1866. This was the bricklaying ceremony for the original County Courthouse (before the Cooper House). This courthouse burned in 1894. That's the Octagon Museum/Museum of Art and History store on the left, and Metro Santa Cruz is now right across the street.

Bruce Bratton

BORDERS AFTERTHOUGHTS. Yes, we do have to get along with things, and yes, this is a small town. It did occur to me that the amount of competition that Bookshop Santa Cruz will feel from this may be smaller than what Logos will suffer. I've seen Borders on Kauai many times, and one of their biggest attractions is the huge daily book-sale tables on the sidewalk. Remaindered books, coffee-table books, calendars, all at impossibly cheap prices and right there on the sidewalk (or under their overhang). Just like United Artists got it when Cinema 9 opened and Cotton Tales will feel it when Gap Kids opens, I'm saying it'll be Logos more than Bookshop. I also thought it was not only courageous and proper for councilmen Keith Sugar and Christopher Krohn to vote against the Borders permit but also unusual. No two people on the council are further from sharing Neal Coonerty's views of government than Sugar and Krohn, yet they stood their ground. It was also odd that three environmental attorneys, Celia Scott, Kaitalin Gaffney and Sugar, said there were sufficient legal grounds to deny the Borders permit, yet more of our council couldn't find justification. But yes, we do have to get along with things.

THE LEONARD BUILDING. Now that Metro Santa Cruz is officially in the historic Leonard Building (but not unpacked) we can continue with unearthing (with a lot of help from area authorities) what appears to be an adventure-packed history of this edifice. The Santa Cruz Daily paper said on Sunday morning September 2, 1894, that the Burnt District Club held its usual daily meeting there. The Burnt District was that part of downtown that burned in the 1894 fire, which included the original Leonard Building. The only qualification for membership in the club was the ability to give advice concerning somebody else's business. No dues, no limit to speeches and no treasury. They decided that if the courthouse were ever built, there should be plenty of electric lights on Cooper Street. Mike Leonard, who built the Leonard Building, was born in Clomany, Ireland, Jan. 19, 1835, and came to Santa Cruz in 1858. He opened the bar and rented rooms upstairs in the original Leonard Building, which burned in that fire of 1894. He built this identical building that same year. In 1886 he bituminized his corner of Front and Cooper streets. We'll discuss the bar and the upstairs residents a little bit later.

RESTAURANT GRADING. Who could possibly disagree with the idea of mandatory posted health inspection ratings on every restaurant window in the county? Los Angeles does it, Santa Clara has just started it, and we should be next. Wouldn't it be nice to know just how clean our favorite eateries are? Let's vote on that one quick; it's working everywhere else!

MOVIES OVER EASY. Two other guys and I were the audience at the Rio watching the opening night of Light It Up. We outnumbered the entire operating staff of the Rio by one. Actually, nobody else should have been there to watch Forrest Whitaker in this flawed mess of a film. Happy, Texas had some brilliant moments, but not enough to make it very good. Last Night, a Toronto film about the last night on earth, was based on a very ponderous topic and holds your interest all the way through--but it could have been better. I can't believe the positive reviews for Dogma. As I previously mentioned, it looks like a high school sophomore's first attempt to be outrageous without having any experience of previous film attempts at either humor, wit or religious satire.

ABOLISHING ATM FEES. There's another hot idea that San Francisco and Santa Monica are leading the way on. Banks are charging way too much. Being such a spread-out county, we need all the convenience and gas savings that ATMs provide. So let's vote on that one too.

A HOLIDAY PRESENT. We are especially lucky to have two great opera companies within easy driving time: the San Francisco Opera, regarded in this country as second only to New York's Metropolitan Opera, and Opera San Jose, viewed as one of the finest regional opera companies anywhere. Both are offering excellent choices of operas to see and hear, especially if you've never been to an opera. Tickets to any of these productions would make fabulous millennium holiday presents--and an experience you'll never forget. The San Francisco Opera presents La Bohème starting Dec. 4 and running through Jan. 9. Their website at http://www.sfopera.com will tell you all you'll ever need to know; plus it gives an amazing virtual view of the stage from any seat you choose. Opera San Jose is staging a new American opera, The Tale of the Nutcracker, that the company commissioned. It's on now through Dec. 5. Call 408.437.4450. It's probably sold out, because there are a lot of opera fans in San Jose. They are also presenting Carmen and La Traviata this season, and they'll sell out too. Seeing one of these operas as an introduction is fun. You don't have to dress up, and if there are tickets left, they're about as expensive as any other concert you've been to. I've seen nearly 200 operas in the last 14 years, and they can get to be a way of life. Try one or two in 2000, you'll love them.

BORDERS AGAIN. One thing I've heard Borders does is to have a lot of events like book signings and entertainment. I mentioned this before, but it sure will be interesting to see just which local authors (or even world-famed authors) and local entertainers appear there.

FRANS LANTING, THE SHOWMAN. No one in their right mind would think of Frans as a showman, but he is--and an excellent one. His commentary during rare slide-show presentations is funny, enlightening, quirky, educational and, of course, beautiful. The show he's doing for the Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History (by the whale on East Cliff Drive) draws on his new book, Penguin, and will be another of those only-in-Santa Cruz events. Frans travels the world taking photos, and these easy, relaxed evenings have become favorites for hundreds of local fans. The performances will be at 4 and 7pm at Cabrilho College. Call 479.6331 to get tickets right away because there're only about 500 available for each presentation.

LONG MARINE LAB. The new public education center at Long Marine Laboratory is getting ready to open in March 2000. Aquariums are being installed, exhibits are being completed, the extensive plumbing system to bring seawater into the tanks and labs is happening, and it will definitely be some place to take your visitors. There are a few questions about all the development out there. One was how many houses/units/ apartments are going to be built, and who gets to use them? I had a tour a few weeks ago--and was very impressed--but forgot to ask director Gary Griggs about the housing. Griggs sez they expect 80,000 visitors annually, and I guess good old Mission Street will get the burden of all that progress. We'll get around to the transit district's new MetroBase project and their Delaware and Swift location pretty soon.

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From the November 17-24, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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