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By Eric Johnson
Published Mar 11, 2024

Political Economics and the Movies

Before we get into the serious fun of continuing the conversation about the Oscars: a reminder.

We know from the clicks that many of you are aware that this newsletter contains a news digest featuring stories from the California Local Media Alliance and other news outlets you can trust. See below.

Of course, you will also find access to local nonprofits that are doing important work in your community, and also our fledgling Good Business Directory of local businesses at work on community-building. And as always, a tasty recipe that you can find only here.

Let’s proceed…

Movies as Politics

Art is not trivial. The visual arts, literature, theater, music—all allow us to touch the deepest parts of the human condition. Movies at their best bring all of the other arts together, and put them in a place where we can all access them pretty easily.

Four of the contenders for Best Picture last night tackle big political issues—and, not incidentally, sexual politics.

Oppenheimer offers a smart (if bombastic IMJ) story of the man who gave humanity the means for total global annihilation—and also delves into his relationships with the women in his life.

Killers of the Flower Moon confronts one of our nation's darkest sins—the mass murder of the land’s Indigenous population—while also considering the politics of one marriage, and one woman’s love for the man who ultimately kills her.

Poor Things investigates sexual politics via the story of a “woman” (created by a man) who is unburdened by society’s proscriptions.

And Barbie (my choice for Best Picture, which as of this writing feels like a long shot) maps a devastating takedown of the patriarchy itself on a delightful piece of pink fluff that feels a little bit like Pee-wee's Big Adventure, but is way more dangerous.

This next article may be moot but I hope you'll find it edifying.

Why ‘Barbie’ Deserved a Best Picture Oscar

From now on, girls will learn from Barbie that they live in a world where men subjugate women. They will receive this truth during a joyous cinematic spectacle.

Big Movie Money

Here in California, movies are one of our most important cultural exports, and are one of the ways California leads the world. They are also big business, and rival Silicon Valley, ag and defense as a backbone of the state's economy. Here is exactly how that happeneed.

Hooray For Hollywood: All About California’s Most Glamorous Industry

From its earliest days, Hollywood has reigned as California's most glamorous industry.
From its early days of hard-charging, Jewish immigrant moguls to today's domination by megacorporations, here's how Hollywood continues to hold its place as one of California's most important industries.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Winter! cookbook.

Old-fashioned chili – warm taste of summer on a chilly night

Warm up on a late winter night with chili and beans, made with last summer's tomatoes (or purchased canned tomatoes).
Recipe: Mom’s chili and beans with grated cheese and onions

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Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and Santa Cruz County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

Get to Know a Group

100+ Women Who Care logo 100+ Women Who Care

100+ Women Who Care is a group of women who gather quarterly to support different nonprofit organizations.

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From Our Media Allies

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The Pajaronian logo Election Update March 8: Measure N Holding Steady

Watsonville’s Measure N is holding steady at 68.5% of the vote, just over the 66.6% majority needed to pass.

The Pajaronian logo International Women’s Day: A Conversation With Watsonville’s Mayor and Vice-Mayor

When Vanessa Quiroz-Carter and Maria Orozco were sworn in late last year as Watsonville’s Mayor and Vice-Mayor, it was only the second time in the city’s history two women have held the roles.

Press Banner logo Rep. Panetta, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Host Broadband Expansion Roundtable in Boulder Creek

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, recently convened a community roundtable on the expansion of broadband and cellular service in Boulder Creek.

The Pajaronian logo Lowrider Culture in Focus

The world of lowriders is the subject of “More Than Cars: Celebrating Lowrider Culture,”  at the Pajaro Valley Arts – Porter Building. The show is in tandem with the ongoing 12th Annual Watsonville Film Festival (which runs through June 30).

The Pajaronian logo PVUSD Facing Declining Enrollment, Revenues

Pajaro Valley Unified School District has suffered declining enrollment for the past two decades, due to several factors such as increasing cost of living, as well as housing and rental costs that make Santa Cruz County among the most expensive …

Press Banner logo Scotts Valley Continues to Grapple With State Housing Challenges

As Scotts Valley tried to convince the State Department of Housing and Community Development that it’s up to the task of planning for more than 1,220 homes for people across the income spectrum in less than a decade, the report …

Press Banner logo Sempervirens Fund Permanently Protects 120 Acres in Santa Cruz Mountains’ Upper Zayante Watershed

With the donation of a conservation easement from private landowners to Sempervirens Fund, California’s first land trust, 120 acres in the Upper Zayante watershed will be protected in perpetuity.

Good Times logo Santa Cruz District Says No to Pot Store

Santa Cruz City Schools voted to “declare its opposition” to the opening of a cannabis dispensary near Santa Cruz High School at a meeting on Feb. 28 in part of Emily’s Bakery.

  California Local Pin Marker  

Recent Local News

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• Soquel Creek Water District General Manager Announces Retirement

Following two decades at the Ron Duncan announced his retirement, ending his tenure at the district, including nine as general manager.

(03/11/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• City of Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley on Affordable Housing

Mayor Keeley speaks to the priority of building more affordable housing in Santa Cruz, touting the 320 units in progress downtown and the units built on River Street and in progress in Harvey West.

(03/09/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Gary Griggs Recounts Building of Harbor

In this regular Our Ocean Backyard column, UCSC Professor Gary Griggs tells the story of the building of the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor.

(03/09/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Santa Cruz Metro Appoints New CEO

Santa Cruz Metro announced that Corey Aldridge has been named as new CEO.

(03/08/2024) → Lookout Local

• Groups Oppose Santa Cruz Oversized Vehicle Parking Ban

Santa Cruz Cares and American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California are among those seeking to overturn Santa Cruz Planning Commission approval in February of the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance.

(03/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Rio Del Mar Beach Island Homeowners Association Blocks Beach Path

The HOA responded to the 2023 California Coastal Commission fine of $4.7M for blocking beach access by ... erecting a chain link fence to better block beach access.

(03/08/2024) → The Guardian

• Martinez, Koenig, Brown Maintaining Leads in Santa Cruz County Supervisor Races

Santa Cruz County election officials continue to count ballots and update totals, showing that as of Friday March 8, Martinez, Koenig, Brown are leading their challengers.

(03/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Santa Cruz County Makes Plans for Opioid Settlement Funds

Santa Cruz County officials are making plans for the millions of dollars allotted to the county as part of the settlement of various lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors in 2019 and 2021.

(03/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Biden Administration Requested to Include Additional Pajaro River Levee Funding

Reprepresentatives Zoe Lofgren and Jimmy Panetta, and Senators Laphonza Butler and Alex Padilla sent a letter to the Biden administration are requesting full funding for the Pajaro River Levee project.

(03/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Santa Cruz Planning Commission Approves Contested Dispensary

The cannabis dispensary specializes in providing medical marijuana to patients with serious diseases and will be allowed to do business in the city of Santa Cruz after the Planning Commission approved its application.

(03/08/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Large Redwood on Walnut Avenue in Santa Cruz Removed

A crew from Lewis Tree Service removed the large redwood, which was causing extensive damage to the sidewalk and was threatening an adjacent apartment building.

(03/07/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• UCSC Camper Park Students Told They Can Stay Through the End of Academic Year

41 students who live in a trailer park on campus were told that they had to move out by the end of March because of safety concerns have now been informed they can stay, so long as they unhook their propane tanks.

(03/05/2024) → Lookout Local

• Draft 50-year West Cliff Vision Released

After several public engagement workshops over the last year, the City of Santa Cruz has released the community vision for the 50-year future of its beloved West Cliff Drive.

(03/05/2024) → Lookout Local

• Santa Cruz Measures M Falling Short, Measure L Likely to Pass

The Measure M initiative to make zoning and general plan changes in Santa Cruz and raise the affordable housing inclusionary rate in the city is unlikely to pass, while the Measure L sales tax increase seemed headed for approval.

(03/05/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Measure K Sales Tax Increase Likely to Pass

The ballot measure to increase the sales tax paid in unincorporated areas of the county from 9% to 9.5% continues to gain votes.

(03/05/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
  California Local Pin Marker  

Recent Statewide News

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• California Attorney General Boosts Bill Banning Medical Debt From Credit Reports

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Monday that he is throwing his weight behind legislation to bar medical debt from showing up on consumer credit reports, a Democratic-led effort to offer protection to patients squeezed by health care bills.

(03/10/2024) → California Healthline

• California Law Enforcement Transparency Legislation Signed Into Law

After receiving bipartisan support, California Senate Bill 400, legislation intended to increase law enforcement transparency, was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

(03/09/2024) → Davis Vanguard

• San Francisco Voters Pass Police & Drug Ballot Measures

Proposition E broadens police surveillance powers and Proposition F mandates drug screening and treatment for people receiving county welfare benefits who are suspected of drug use.

(03/08/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• New Website Features Information on Care of Backyard Chickens, Sheep, Goats

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources advisors has published a new website with information resources for small acreage landowners raising livestock.

(03/07/2024) → YubaNet

• CA Legislature Could Set a New Record for Women

The number of women elected to the state Senate and Assembly is 50 of 120 after the 2022 election. And based on the primary results so far, it’s expected to increase to at least 55 women after the November election.

(03/07/2024) → CalMatters

• Fewer Students, Higher Absenteeism Affect California Public School Financing

California’s public schools depend on state aid for the lion’s share of their operational income. Two trends – declining enrollment and high absenteeism – are creating financial headaches.

(03/07/2024) → CalMatters

• California Agrees to Cuts of Colorado River Water

California, Arizona and Nevada would cut their allocations about 20% when reservoir levels drop. But other states have their own more aggressive plan. Now the federal government has to decide how to manage the drought-plagued river.

(03/06/2024) → CalMatters

• Californians Face Higher Costs for Goods and Services Than Before the Pandemic Despite Inflation Slowing

The consumer price index shows services are mostly responsible for persistent inflation, but prices for food and other goods in California remain high.

(03/05/2024) → CalMatters

• California is Seeing a Historic Rise in the Number of Black Women Running for Office

At least 24 Black women are running for seats in the California Legislature this year, resulting from years of work cultivating new leaders and growing confidence among voters.

(03/04/2024) → CalMatters

• California Schools Gained Billions During COVID-19. Now the Money is Running Out

California schools got $23.4 billion in federal pandemic relief money. Low-income schools that got the most may be hardest hit when the funds expire this year.

(03/04/2024) → CalMatters
  California Local Pin Marker  

Government Announcements

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Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (03/11/2024)

3/11/2024 - Media Advisory: Completion of Willowbrook Park

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (03/11/2024)

3/11/2024 - County to Hold Cannabis Listening Sessions

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (03/11/2024)

3/11/2024 - Media Advisory: Completion of Willowbrook Park

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (03/11/2024)

3/11/2024 - County to Hold Cannabis Listening Sessions

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/10/2024)

Jen's Breakfast Burritos, LLC, Recalls Ready to Eat Breakfast Burrito Products Due to Possible Listeria Contamination

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2024 - Jen's Breakfast Burritos, LLC, an Auburn, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 144 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast burrito products that may be adulterated with Listeria...
Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (03/08/2024)

3/8/2024 - Property Taxes Due April 10

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (03/08/2024)

3/8/2024 - Property Taxes Due April 10

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/07/2024)

Wesco, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall and Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanut in Wesco Mint No Bake Cookie Bites

Wesco, Inc. of Muskegon, MI is recalling 750 units of Wesco Mint No Bake Cookie Bites, because it may contain undeclared peanut. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. The affected Wesc
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (03/07/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Legislators Urge the PUC to Reject Proposed Utility Rate Increase

Legislators Urge the PUC to Reject Proposed Utility Rate Increase sanchema Thu, 03/07/2024 - 13:53 Thursday, March 7, 2024 SACRAMENTO Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) urged the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to reject Pacific Gas and Electric Company's request for interim rate relief, in order to prevent additional rate increases for Californians. The request is currently under review by …
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/07/2024)

Salm Partners, LLC, Recalls Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa Turkey Sausage Products Due to Possible Foreign Matter Contamination

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2024 - Salm Partners, LLC, a Denmark, Wis., establishment, is recalling approximately 35,430 pounds of Johnsonville turkey kielbasa sausage that may be contaminated with foreign materials, specifically...