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Café Pergolesi, Jan. 20, 1954: This old Dentist Miller converted house had as many stories about it as the present-day Café Pergolesi does. It was built circa 1890 and was a single-family residence. It's an example of Stick-Eastlake style architecture.

Bruce Bratton

YEARLY RAP-UP. As this last year of the old millennium or the first year of the new millennium (remember that discussion?) ends, there are a few old items I'd like to re-emphasize. I still worry about Lockheed up there in Bonny Doon. I'm worried that with some decision made in some far distant city they could lay off the few remaining employees and leave that place in a flash. The issue--and nobody takes it seriously--is that there are serious pollution problems up there. Maybe we need to have an ex-employee step forward and tell us about the buried oil drums, the pools covered and uncovered of rocket fuel mixes that sat there for decades. I know our county doesn't have the staff to adequately inspect and enforce what needs to be done. Someday, the folks who live downhill from Lockheed are going to realize that the toxic wastes are being washed downhill and into streams and water supplies. It'll be too late by then; Lockheed will have sold, deeded or done some wild scheme--then it'll be our problem. I know I've said this before, and it could be beating a dead horse, but taking some action and placing that toxic responsibility on Lockheed now could save that horse's and our lives.

SEEN AT THE SYMPHONY. Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice and wife were at the Nov. 11 concert as usual. Tim is not only a symphony enthusiast but also wrote an opera. He probably won't make going to the symphony a new law, but it wouldn't be all bad. I also ran into Norm Lezin. We chuckled and laughed about the results of the district-elections measure. Norm (who was one of the major movers behind the battle for district elections) said basically, Oh well, we'll just do it all over again. He was probably just kidding--that Norm always joking ... ha, ha, ha?

CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH. The public is demanding higher and higher standards of purity of the foods we eat. Labels are getting more stringent, and we care more now about altered foods. Yet our restaurants are getting away with all sorts of health violations that we don't know about. In the San Jose area, The Mercury News found widespread food-safety violations at local restaurants, grocery stores and other food establishments. And some restaurants were allowed to stay open despite numerous violations. Because of that, Santa Clara County Supervisors now require restaurants to provide a copy of their most recent inspection report to anyone who asks. They then voted unanimously to place inspection scores and details of inspections online by July 1. It's important to note that the Silicon Valley chapter of the California Restaurant Association was behind the plan, even though statewide the association doesn't support placard grading. I'm not sure how many people are aware that Guv Davis signed a law saying anyone can ask to see any restaurant's inspection report. San Francisco is working on the web listings too . It's true that restaurant inspection reports have always been available, but you had to go to the health department to check them out. L.A. not only has online reports but also added letter grades based on those inspections. You see them posted outside every eatery down there, and my daughters tell me it's made a big difference. The L.A. website for inspections has become very popular as everybody looks up their favorite place before driving there. Right now, only San Mateo County has online postings for its 3,500 food establishments. What I'm obviously leading up to is that we need to do that here in Santa Cruz County. It's a win-win situation. The restaurants get to stay in shape, and we get to eat at our favorite places without fear. It's a task our new Board of Supervisors should be able to work out easily.

VOLUNTEER NIGHT. Now is a fine time to get a group of friends together and decide on just which jobs you want to volunteer for on First Night. If you get your name in early, you can choose from pre-event or event-day roles. They need a fantastic amount of volunteers--for example, 75 site managers and more than 350 performing-arts site assistants. Or you could just do a job by yourself, like office assistant, logistics committee, or on-call volunteer who distributes fliers and all sorts of things. Call the First Night office at 425.7277.

ARE WRITERS' GROUPS WORTH IT? That's the title of the next National Writers Union Writers Roundtable. Claire Braz Valentine, Amber Coverdale Sumrall and Carolyn Flynn are leading the discussion. There'll be plenty of opportunities to get all your questions answered from this trio of writers who know what they're talking about. You'll learn if anything good comes from talking about writing and how to find a writers' group that meets your needs. The Roundtable happens Dec. 7 upstairs in the Santa Cruz Main Library Reading Room. Call 724.2059 for details.

CUBA AND OZ. There may be some connection but never mind. The Cuba Study Group of Santa Cruz is putting on a concert Dec. 8 at 7:30pm at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. Lida Lopez, Cuban modern classical pianist, will be playing music written in Cuba after the 1959 revolution. Havana Jazz, a hot local Cuban band, will play dance-oriented Latin jazz with three horns, three percussionists, piano and bass. Yeyenya, a Bata group, will play traditional Afro-Cuba songs. Lopez was born in Alushta in the Ukraine, and Alushta is one of Santa Cruz's sister cities. All proceeds go to the Senda Piana to Havana Project, a dedicated group working to further Cuban musical education and performance. Get tickets at Logos Bookstore; call 425.5231 for information. ... The newly restored The Wizard of Oz will be shown at the Nickelodeon on Dec. 9 at 11am. For goodness sakes, bring the kids. If they have never seen this masterpiece on the big screen, they have a genuine thrill in store. It also has a newly remastered soundtrack. All in all, I have to say this is my favorite film, ever. The pacing, the plot, the cast and the acting are perfect. You should read Darren Main's Spiritual Journeys Along the Yellow Brick Road. He details another side of the film that is only hinted at on the screen, but it's what gives the story so much depth. The Nickelodeon screening is a benefit for the Second Harvest Food Bank. You can get in free with the donation of a can of nonperishable food! But make it two or three cans--it's almost Christmas, and you probably need to earn more good points.

NEW DEFINITIONS. Tim Seidl of Gintert, Schwenne & Warne, a former Ballet Company, sent in some new and improved definitions. They're formed by changing just a letter or two. Idios Amigos = We're Wild and Crazy Guys. Pro Bozo Publico = Support Your Local Clown (or politician, your call). Mazel Ton = Tons of Luck. Veni, Vidi, Velcro = I Came, I Saw, I Stuck Around. Ich Bit Ein Berliner = He Deserved It. I think Tim must have danced too long without his tutu.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9)at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or call 457.5814, ext. 400.

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From the November 29-December 6, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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