Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Taking the Fifth: Sleepy John, The Surfing Senator and Planet Cruz

Whether by design or serendipity, Sleepy John Sandidge had comedian Richard Stockton and politician Bruce McPherson together in the studio at KZSC 88.1 FM Wednesday night for what was a free wheeling and thoroughly entertaining show.

Stockton was pretty funny, he plugged his latest project “Are We There Yet?”; stories about his experience as a baby boomer from Bakersfield coming of age in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz  (He told a great story about meeting Janis Joplin when he was 18.)    Between pot and sex jokes, Sleepy John brought Mr. McPherson, who is 69 and trying to get elected to the Board of Supervisors, into the conversation.  McPherson is not quite a baby boomer but he has fond memories of the 60’s.  He said he especially liked the “cool cars” and also mentioned "the music" and all "the changes".

He told a story about the Regents deciding between Alviso and Santa Cruz for the UC campus..  Evidently we were lucky that it was sunny in Santa Cruz and smoggy in Alviso on the day they chose to visit the proposed sites.

McPherson whose family owned the Sentinel for 118 years spoke about how the University changed the town.  “It was all crew cuts and saddle shoes,” he said.  “It was a very conservative town.  We saw the University as a cash cow.”

Stockton talked about his enlightenment and transformation during the Vietnam era.  McPherson talked about Nixon changing the voting age to 18.  “That turned things upside down.  That really changed politics in Santa Cruz.” he said.

Bruce told Richard that he knew a lot of his “cohorts from Bakersfield” from his own days as a student - and football player - at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Richard told Bruce that the smog was so bad in Bakersfield that "when you throw a frisbee it sticks."

Bruce said he didn't think any of his friends still lived in Bakersfield.  

Stockton, will be a featured performer at this summer’s Fringe Festival with an appearance at the Actors Theatre on July 15th. He produced 20 plus episodes of the Planet Cruz radio show and is friends with Zach Friend who is also running for Supervisor. He wanted to know how he was doing?  

McPherson said "Zach is looking real good."

Stockton left after a half hour and Sleepy John turned to McPherson and asked him right off, "Why?"  

“Why not?”  was McPherson's eventual response along with his stump bio: 4th generation, 26 yrs at the Sentinel; 13 in politics, lots of working with non-profits, public service, form of giving; experience, knowledge, contacts.

Sleepy John:  “In politics It really is who you know, right?

McPherson:  “Absolutely.  The counties are really an arm of the state government.  I can pick up the phone and call the Governor’s office, or some of the legislators, or the departments and they’re going to call back.”

Sleepy John:  “Like the Department of Natural Resources?”

McPherson:  “John (Laird) is doing a fantastic job up there.  He’s really busy. I know he likes that, the more you give him the more he likes it.”

(Check back for part II where Sleepy John and the Surfing Senator try to solve a Santa Cruz City skateboard park dilemna; discuss the Marine Sanctuary Center, The Tannery Arts Center, the Simpkins Center, the Sentinel, KSCO, and a lot more.)

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