Category Archive 'California'
06 Jun 2020

ANTIFA Reputedly Changed Its Plans

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03 Jun 2020

ANTIFA Visits the Suburbs in Yucaipa, California

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30 Apr 2020

Go Down, Donald

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HT: Vanderleun.

10 Feb 2020

Life In California’s Left-Wing Paradise

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The Nomenklatura live conveniently in Atherton, Portola, or Pacific Heights, but the proletariat get to catch 2:30 AM buses to work from the 110° every day Central Valley. Protocol:

It’s 2:30 a.m. in the Central California farm town of Salida, and the only sound is the tech bus pulling into an unmarked lot surrounded by barbed wire. Men and women in work boots board in the moonlight. Next stop is 11 miles away in Manteca, and then it’s another 55 miles to Fremont on the San Francisco Bay, where — an hour and a half hour later — the 4 a.m. shift at the Tesla factory starts.

Welcome to life on Silicon Valley’s new frontier. When tech companies first introduced private shuttles for their employees more than a decade ago, they served the affluent neighborhoods in San Francisco and the Peninsula. Now the buses reach as far as the almond orchards of Salida and the garlic fields of Gilroy.

Tech companies have grown tight-lipped about the specifics of their shuttle programs in the wake of high-profile protests in San Francisco. But Protocol was able to locate enough stops for company shuttles to confirm that some tech shuttles now drive all the way out to the Central Valley, an agricultural hub once a world away from the tech boom on the coast.

“That just tells you the story of the Bay Area,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of regional think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “We’re going to be in these farther-flung places, and that’s our reality because we’re not going to be able to create affordable housing.”

Tech shuttle sprawl speaks to the unique pressures that the industry has put on the region. High tech salaries have driven up housing prices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the East Bay, forcing white- and blue-collar workers alike to move farther away from their jobs. The crisis is compounded by anti-development politics that make it hard to build new housing and patchwork public transit systems that make it difficult for commuters to get to work without driving.

The mismatch between jobs and housing has become so extreme that Google and Facebook have proposed building thousands of apartments or condos on their own campuses.

In the meantime, those companies — plus Tesla, Apple, Netflix, LinkedIn, Genentech and others — are trying to solve the problem with long-distance buses. They all now offer shuttle service to at least the extended suburbs of the East Bay, according to interviews and reports Protocol consulted. Their longest routes now stretch north across the Golden Gate Bridge, south to the surf town of Santa Cruz, and east to the Central Valley — a total service area approaching 3,000 square miles.

11 Dec 2019

A Different California

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Aris Janigian admiringly reviews a new book profiling two iconic figures from his own part of the Golden State.

DECEMBER 2, 2019

I WAS BORN AND RAISED a farmer’s son in Fresno and currently live here, working seasonally in the wine industry. But Los Angeles was home for most of my life, and whenever I learned that friends were heading to San Francisco, I’d suggest they take Highway 99 through the San Joaquin Valley instead of Interstate 5, which skirts the valley to the west. The 99 is a little longer route but so much more colorful (which isn’t necessarily to say “scenic”).

No one ever took me up on my suggestion, and they didn’t have to explain why not. After all, their impression of the middle of the state, de rigueur for Angelenos, is that gun-owning, pro-Trump types live there in dusty, beat-up towns with ugly names — Arvin, Alpaugh, Delano — that reek of cow dung. The valley’s fields are green but also monotonously endless, and none of its vineyards are rolling and soft on the eyes. Sure, it’s part of California, but not really “of it.” These scoffers know, in the abstract, that this is where the huge majority of Californians, and a good portion of the entire country, gets its food, but aren’t all those mega-farmers in the middle of the state also stealing precious water from salmon and smelts? The scoffers would much rather chat about their local farmers’ market, urban garden, or at least Whole Foods.

In fact, those mega-farmers are, for the most part, simply proprietors of small farms that, over a generation or two, have grown big. And, true, we’re talking about thousands of tons of tomatoes or almonds, and wells several hundred feet deep, and chemicals siphoned out of 250-gallon totes to keep mold and an array of devastating and exceedingly perseverant insects down; but if it weren’t for the sheer scale and efficiency of farming in the San Joaquin Valley, only the rich in this state could afford a melon or a peach.

Neither, for an office party, would we have the option of picking up a case of Charles Shaw wine — which is precisely where Frank Bergon’s storytelling begins in his new book, Two-Buck Chuck & The Marlboro Man. As it turns out, Fred Franzia, founder of said winery (a.k.a. “Two-Buck Chuck,”), went to school with Bergon in Madera, a city about 20 miles north of Fresno. Now, decades later, they’re at a coffee shop, it’s midmorning, and the writer is trying to tease out of the winemaker the explanation for his mind-boggling success.
Read the rest of this entry »

03 Dec 2019

Down and Out in the Bay Area

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Wes Enzinna, in Harper’s, describes the bizarre fringe existence of a millennial bourgeois Bohemian trying to find living space in ever-so-rich, ever-so-f*cked-up Bay Area California.

[T]he year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

Down these same streets, tourists scuttered along on Segways and techies surfed the hills on motorized longboards, transformed by their wealth into children, just as the sidewalk kids in cardboard boxes on Haight or in People’s Park aged overnight into decrepit adults, the former racing toward the future, the latter drifting away from it.

To my mother and girlfriend back East, the “shack situation” was a problem to be solved. “Can we help you find another place?” “Can you just find roommates and live in a house?” But the shack was the solution, not the problem.

As penance for abandoning my girlfriend, I still paid part of our rent in New York, and after covering my portion of our bills, my student loan payment, and car insurance, I had about $1,500 left over each month. That wouldn’t have been so little to live on, except that, according to some estimates, apartments then averaged $3,500 a month in San Francisco, $3,000 in Oakland. That year, 2016, 83,733 low-income San Franciscans would apply for the city’s affordable housing lottery, fighting for 1,025 slots. There were still cheap rooms available in the Bay, to be sure, mostly in ramshackle Victorians or weathered Maybeck bungalows where artists or activists or punks lived collectively and were protected by rent control, but these rooms were in dwindling supply and astonishingly high demand. On Craigslist or by word of mouth, vacancies were often offered exclusively to “Q.T.P.O.C.” (queer and trans people of color) or “B.A.B.R.” (Bay Area born and raised) roommates, a reasonable defensive measure against the ravages of the tech economy, which, block by block, was replacing the weird old counterculture with Stanford M.B.A.s and Google engineers.

For those of us caught in the middle, it meant that to score a bed, you had to have Q.T.P.O.C. friends willing to make an exception for you, or be a member of obscure Facebook groups like (’’’), which served as an underground network for people seeking shared housing. (The page also offered bartered services like massage and childcare and, on at least one occasion, a “free hearse.”) As in other cities under intense economic pressure, marginalized inhabitants had created an alternate, black-market rental economy: the currency may have been cultural capital, but competition was still fierce.

I spent a few weeks on friends’ couches before an acquaintance posted on Facebook about a room opening in his eight-bedroom house in Oakland for $475, a steal, and I messaged him immediately. Thirty people had already written, he said, and his roommates had also received scores of inquiries, so the odds weren’t good. He stopped answering my emails after that. The same thing happened with a few vacant rooms I tracked down at illegal warehouses, cavernous lofts where residents scrimped on such things as functioning plumbing or reliable electricity in order to have space to paint and make sculptures and host bands all night, places like the Dildo Factory, or Heco’s, or Ghost Ship, whose leaseholder posted a roommate-wanted ad on Craigslist that winter seeking

    all shamanic rattlesnake sexy jungle jazz hobo gunslingers looking for a space to house gear, use studio, develop next level Shaolin discipline after driving your taxi cab late at night, build fusion earth home bomb bunker spelunker shelters, and plant herbaceous colonies in the open sun & air.

I didn’t answer the Ghost Ship ad, but I went to a few “auditions” at other lofts. There were so many people vying for the spaces, I rarely got a call back and was never offered a room. I’d squandered whatever cool I once possessed, it turned out, by building a “normie” career as a writer and editor on the East Coast.

RTWT

18 Nov 2019

The Lost Gold of Monterey Bay

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You got lucky and stumbled upon a fabulously valuable treasure of gold, then you learned that you were unlucky enough to live in a time and place so hedged round everywhere with rules and regulations that you could never even try to recover that treasure. All you can do is tell your sad, sad story to the SF Chronicle

One night five years ago, fisherman Giuseppe Pennisi was lying in bed with his laptop propped up on his barrel chest, reviewing video footage captured from his 76-foot boat, the Pioneer. The boat is a bottom trawler. It scoops up fish with a net that bounces across the seafloor at depths of more than 4,000 feet. A tinkerer, Pennisi likes to keep GoPro cameras attached to the net, allowing him to study the footage and improve his technique. That night, around 2 a.m., he noticed his camera slide past something unusual.

Along the murky seafloor, fish and rocks come in rounded shapes and soft colors, muted grays and greens. His eyes were attuned to this drab underwater landscape, which is why he had been puzzled by brief flashes of light on the video screen, shiny surfaces glimmering by. Then he saw it: a rectangular object, sharp-edged and pale, almost white, with a tinge of yellow.

It was September 2014, and Pennisi, who goes by Joe, was 50 years old, with four decades of fishing behind him. He had sailed on commercial boats since he was 7; his father and grandfather had towed their nets in the same waters for more than a century. He had never seen anything like the object in the video. Still, Joe sensed immediately what it might be. His net often got caught on the rotting underwater husks of old ships wrecked just beyond the Golden Gate, and he knew that some of those ships — Spanish galleons, Gold Rush-era steamers — had carried treasure.

He rewound the video, peered forward and froze the frame with the yellow rectangular object. It looked for all the world like a gold bar, an ingot. For a few minutes, he stared at it while his wife, Grazia, slept beside him.

Then he started to scream.

RTWT

31 Oct 2019

“Not All Heroes Were Capes”

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30 Oct 2019

New Term: “Cali Sober”

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Katie Heaney, at The Cut, explains:

Recently, I saw a conversation between a few women I follow on Twitter about Fiona Apple, who was profiled by Vulture last month. In the course of her interview, Apple mentions that she’s stopped drinking, but has started smoking more weed instead: “Alcohol helped me for a while, but I don’t drink anymore,” she says. “Now it’s just pot, pot, pot.” This was the part of the interview the women were discussing. “Fiona Apple: Cali sober??” one wrote.

The term “Cali sober” here refers to people who don’t drink but do smoke weed, though internet definitions vary slightly: Urban Dictionary says it means people who drink and smoke weed but don’t do other drugs; an essay by journalist Michelle Lhooq uses it to refer to her decision to smoke weed and do psychedelics, but not drink. While the term is new to me, the behavior it describes is not. …

RTWT

15 Oct 2019

PG&E Warned Customers That It Would Cut Power to Nearly 2 Million People Across Northern California,

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13 Oct 2019

Third World Nation Needs American Assistance

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Don Surber alerts us to the human tragedy:

Last month, American missionaries went to clean up a village in a Third World nation. The volunteers picked up 50 tons of garbage in this backward land. Nowhere is the gap between the rich and the poor greater. The poor live in tents, while the rich reside in the most expensive houses in the world.

The poor face typhoid and other debilitating diseases that were eliminated in civilized nations. People poop in the street for lack of indoor plumbing.

Instead of meeting the basic sanitation needs of its cities, the corrupt, one-party government squanders billions on an unneeded high-speed train. It will never be built but contracts are awarded to political insiders for work that will never be done. Because of this corruption, President Donald John Trump wants to curtail U.S. aid to the land.

Elsewhere in this nation state, electricity is a luxury as the power has been cut off to hundreds of thousands of citizens in preparation for a natural disaster.

What is maddening is this land has the world’s fifth largest economy. It could easily take care of its needs without outsiders coming in to save them out of pity.

And sadly, the 50 tons of trash are small compared to the 22 million pounds of trash in one pile alone.

Something must be done to save this land from itself. Taking over this backward Third World nation would be easy. We already have troops stationed there. Its army consists of a national guard and police.

But that would mean spending trillions on another foray into nation building.

California sadly has very little hope.

RTWT

04 Sep 2019

SF Board of Supervisors Declares the NRA “a Terrorist Organization”

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

When the liberal American establishment sets a new record in craziness, it’s usually in California.

SF Gate:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Tuesday declaring that the National Rifle Association is a domestic terrorist organization. The officials also urged other cities, states and the federal government to follow suit.

District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani wrote the resolution and shared her thoughts on the NRA with KTVU. “The NRA has it coming to them,” she said. “And I will do everything I possibly can to call them out on what they are, which is a domestic terrorist organization.”

After citing some statistics about gun violence in the United States – like that there’s been more than one mass shooting per day in the country in 2019 – Stefani got local with how gun violence has impact the Bay Area.

She cited the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, referencing Stephen Romero, Keyla Salazar and Trevor Irby, who were killed by gunman Santino William Legan in what she called a “senseless act of gun violence that day.”

Later in the resolution, which the board passed unanimously, the NRA is blamed for causing gun violence. “The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” the resolution reads.

The resolution also claims that the NRA “spreads propaganda,” “promotes extremist positions,” and has “through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism.”

In addition to calling the NRA a domestic terrorist organization, the Board of Supervisors called on the city and county of San Francisco to “take every reasonable step to limit … entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business” with the NRA.

How about that, boys and girls? We’ve got around five million (the NRA’s membership) terrorists at large in America these days. Me, I’m a Life Terrorist. And we can boast of nine US President terrorists: Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

Well, if the NRA was a real terrorist organization, we know that SF Board of Supervisors would be out there defending it and kissing its ass.

My father used to shake his head and say, when he read this kind of news of major left-wing lunacy emanating from the Left Coast: “The continent slants, and all the fruits and nuts roll out to California.”

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