July 29, 2015
Every Night At Burning Man...
The Way It Was
The most noticeable difference to me is the lack of people. This was before they settled on the clockface layout of the city. It shows Burners at a couple of the hot springs, but they can't do that anymore.
Tour de France GoPro Highlights
July 28, 2015
Meanwhile In Patterson
A political brouhaha has erupted in Patterson, California, that centers on City Council member Sheree Lustgarten. Since I came into this at the tail end, I've arranged the links below into chronological order. The dates are the dates of the newspaper where the information is published. Why those sometimes seem to be out of order is probably some quirk of how articles are dated.
October 7, 2010, Lustgarten running for City Council answered a questionnaire from the local newspaper saying "I am troubled by the level of division we have seen on the City Council in the last couple of years. While it’s not realistic to expect that the mayor and City Council members are going to agree on the approach to every issue, I do think we need to recapture a level of civility that has been lost at times in recent years."
"Civility and tone can go a long way toward bridging some of the divisions, real or perceived, that have arisen in recent years. ...We can have civil discussions about the issues we collectively face, and even when we disagree, we can and should be able to do so in a respectful way."
January 16, 2013, Lustgarten says that when she answered this question from the Modesto Bee "Have you or a business you owned or had principal interest in ever filed bankruptcy?" with a No, she had merely misunderstood the question. She has had two bankruptcies and a foreclosure, all of which she attributed to a 10-year abusive marriage.
January 10, 2013, Lustgarten said she answered the question No because she thought the 10-year legal limit for financial records had been reached. In other words, she knew she was answering it incorrectly because she thought she couldn't get caught, but it turns out she just can't count.
July 17, 2013, in a letter to the editor Lustgarten criticized the City Council for purchasing a property "as is" without getting a structural engineering inspection. This occurred before she was elected. The purchase price was $650,000. But she also suggests that keeping the real estate purchase process strictly in closed session was an attempt to cover up the mistakes. State law requires real estate negotiations to be conducted in closed session.
July 16, 2013, a former member of the City Council blamed the mistakes in that real estate purchase on city staff who did not follow council instructions. The former Council member also pointed out that Lustgarten was at that time involved in a closed session real estate negotiation the city was conducting.
April 3, 2014, Lustgarten is friends with Dominic Speno, the owner of Best Western Villa Del Lago Hotel in Patterson. Speno has some grievances with the city about his plans for use of some vacant land. The city had sued Speno for $175,000 in unpaid TOT. Speno had counter-sued. A former City Council member witnessed Lustgarten speaking with Speno for half an hour and assumed that the two were speaking about matters discussed in closed-session City Council meetings. Lustgarten says she was there only to get the recipe for crab chowder from the hotel's chef. Her meeting with the chef was unwitnessed. She said she and Speno talked about promoting tourism.
June 19, 2014, in a letter to the editor, Lustgarten says the fact that a reporter had been unable to reach her was entirely the fault of the rude reporter, not her. All the troubles at the Senior Center were the fault of a small group of seniors who "inexplicably attempted to undermine" the efforts to improve the center.
January 8, 2015, Lustgarten claimed that the City Manager notified the other four City Council members when the investigation was initiated, but did not notify her.
July 13, 2015, the investigative report was released to the public. "After the completion of this investigation, Lustgarten left several emotionally charged, threatening and/or profane messages for city representatives, special legal counsel Shelline Bennett said, including a threat directed towards a fellow council member."
"The city has filed for a workplace violence restraining order against Lustgarten as a result of these threatening messages."
July 13, 2015, the investigative report. Lustgarten refused to participate in the investigation (which began about a year ago) until January 2015, after the complete investigation report was handed over to legal counsel for the city. Then she indicated a desire to cooperate, but the interview was not conducted until May because of her foot-dragging.
One of the allegations in the report (page 33) is that Lustgarten would regularly discuss closed-session information publicly at a weekly Sunday breakfast with six or eight women. The accuser said she advised Lustgarten to stop that behavior, but it continued.
There are repeated allegations that she grabbed bingo cards away from seniors. And that she treated a volunteer rudely during the "ice cream crisis." This was when the Senior Center was going to hold an ice cream social and its freezers failed just when they were packed full of ice cream. I wonder why no one investigated for possible sabotage.
One person who was interviewed by the investigator accused a local reporter of printing hearsay. I wonder if that person understands what a newspaper is.
There is a racial element to the troubles at the Senior Center, but, just relying on the investigative report, it's hard to tell how deep it runs. One woman who is African-American is accused of "playing the race card" too readily, and she sits off with a group of women who keep themselves apart from the other seniors.
The real scandal is that their bingo balls are wearing out, so they don't pop up on an entirely random basis. Some seniors, having figured this out, are selecting bingo cards they know have a higher chance of winning. Rather than buy new balls, the situation was resolved with a rule that no one could use the same bingo cards over and over.
Both sides are clearly polarized. Lustgarten's supporters describe her as pure as snow, while her accusers are nothing but filthy, vile liars.
The investigation found that it was true that Lustgarten behaved in such a way that it left seniors feeling bullied, intimidate, or belittled. But she did not violate the city's discriminatory harassment policy. There were two other findings, but they were both redacted.
July 14, 2015, the Patterson City Council unanimously voted (Lustgarten was absent) to request Lustgarten's resignation. In lieu of resignation they approved these provisions:
- Request that she submit to a fitness for duty examination;
- Request that she pay back roughly $5,000.00 in legal fees the City has paid on her behalf;
- Not pay any further legal fees on her behalf related to the Senior Center investigation;
- Request that she cease visiting the City Hall and Senior Center;
- Request that she participate in one-on-one training, including, but not limited to, training regarding the prevention of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and abusive conduct in the workplace;
- Direct Councilmember Lustgarten to exclusively communicate with the City Manager or City Attorney in written or electronic form regarding all City business;
- Direct City Staff to prepare a resolution to formally admonish her at the next Council meeting;
- Direct City Staff to prepare a censure ordinance for the next Council meeting;
- Remove Councilmember Lustgarten from any appointed position of authority on the Senior Board Recommendation Committee and any advisory role regarding Senior Center decisions;
- Remove Councilmember Lustgarten from any appointed position of authority on any City boards or commissions and strip her of any advisory role regarding City affairs; and
- Request that she refrain from any further harassing, bullying, or retaliatory conduct.
I wonder if they actually intend to try to keep her from speaking directly to the City Manager or City Attorney at a City Council meeting.
July 23, 2015, "the court has granted the city a workplace violence restraining order against the councilwoman." Lustgarten said "I feel that this resolution is inappropriate. Primarily, I feel this way because the investigation report was based on a series of totally false, completely unfounded and unsubstantiated claims made by a group of seniors."
Yup, the simple old "they're all liars" defense.
Before Conception Health
Maybe everybody else has already heard of Before Conception Health here in Desert Hot Springs at 68257 Calle Azteca, but it's news to me. Their goal is to detoxify future mothers before they become pregnant. They list three doctors on their team. Two are not MDs and the third makes no claim to be an MD, so from the city's point of view this operates simply as another hot water spa resort, and I believe Transient Occupancy Tax is collected.
Sounds like a good business idea. You can get most people to spend more on their children than on themselves.
How They Make Recycled Water
Photo by eyair.
Unicorns, Storytelling and Music
Unicorns, storytelling and music are all united as one in this art project that will be on the playa for Burning Man. A ridable unicorn with speakers. Music can be DJed to the speakers, or a storyteller can speak into a nearby microphone and take you on a fantasy trip with your trusty unicorn.
Um, also they would like some money. A big part of the expense is bringing the unicorns all the way from New York. Yeah, New York. Who knew that's where the best unicorn ranches are? A full grown unicorn will eat a lot of candy rainbows to get clear across the country, and those candy rainbows ain't cheap.
"Solid And Fluid Minerals Program"
The BLM's solid and fluid minerals program is so enjoyable, it's where you get promoted to if you've been really, really wonderful in working with Burning Man. At least that's how I interpret BLM's decision to move Gene Seidlitz from the General Director of the Winnemucca District. Mr. Seidlitz is the man responsible for that ridiculous request for a luxury camp at Burning Man. His supervisors had a confab with him some weeks ago and he has been out of touch with the media since then. But now he's gotten his promotion to oversee a state-wide operation. For at least 120 days anyway.
And I also suppose that Robert Towne must have been so successful at retirement, they felt it was necessary to promote him to the position of Acting Winnemucca District Manager - for 120 days, probably. A 40-year veteran of the BLM, I'm sure he knows which squeaky wheel is supposed to get what kind of grease.
Neil Kormze, national Director of the BLM used to work for the Senator from Nevada, Harry Reid and Harry Reid is on the side of us stinkin', lazy hippies, so things will, I'm sure, go favorably for us Burners.
July 27, 2015
Gateway To The Black Rock Desert
Where the West Begins, a 16-minute documentary on the Greater Metropolitan Gerlach Area, where the Black Rock Desert begins and Black Rock City shimmers on the horizon (if by "shimmer" I mean "enveloped in brown dust").
Final Stage Of The Tour de France Seen Through GoPro Lenses
A Realistic Picture Of Desert Hot Springs
Brian Blueskye refutes some of the nonsense that is attributed to Desert Hot Springs, but he does it without sugarcoating anything.
While Desert Hot Springs has its problems, the city is packed with potential, especially with people flocking from Los Angeles and finding Riverside and Redlands to be too expensive; eventually, the reasonable real estate prices here will attract them. The city is addressing issues such as crime, and is working on attracting businesses.
Payoff From The Rain
New Camp Chair
I've never had a camp chair with so many features, the shelf, pockets, a carrying strap, and a cylinder of fabric on the back of the seat that the manufacturer suggests is for an umbrella, but I think I could use it for a flag pole, or just drive a long stake through it so nobody can move my chair. A veritable throne.
Going Where No Farmer Has Gone Before
At Burning Man this year we will have kale, cucumbers and tomatoes growing right on the playa...inside a converted Airstream trailer. This enclosed garden "uses 95% less water than conventional farming, it's two times faster, it doesn't use pesticides."
New Burning Man Info
This year, Burner Buddies, my camp at Burning Man, will be an officially placed theme camp. We've never done that before and it brings certain privileges, benefits and responsibilities. None of which involve drugs or money, but we enjoy them nonetheless.
Turns out, one thing we get is access to a Facebook page just for our sector of Black Rock City. You can never join too many Facebook pages, am I wrong? Someone in that group has compiled a partial list (we're not on it yet) of camps in that sector (which is 4 o'clock to 5:30 o'clock) and I thought I would share them because it's a little interesting to see how many there are and what their names are. This does not include all the theme camps yet and it does not include any unplaced, just-normal camps, which is what we've been since 2007 through 2014.
4:00 & A: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
4:00 & B: Camp Hot Mayo
4:00 & C: Dusty Poon Saloon
4:00 & C: Spanky's Wine Bar
4:00 & D: Baconeers
4:00 & E: Harmonic Convergence Camp, Harmonic Cafe, and Harmonic Healing Center
4:00 & F: Sacred Spaces Village
4:15 & B: Shotski Wanderlust
4:15 & C: BRCU
4:15 & C: Camp Titicaca
4:15 & C: Academy of Arts & Sciences
4:15 & D: The Flamingo Trap
4:15 & D: Homeslice
4:30 & D: Brand UR Ass 'N More
4:15 & D: Twisted G-spot
4:15 & D: Flamingo Trap
4:15 & E: Astral Headwash
4:15 & E: Bar Fallover
4:15 & E: Community Improvement Association (CIA)
4:15 & E: L melon O P
4:15 & E: Planetarium Aquarium
4:15 & E: The Future
4:15 & F: Camp Chomp and Stomp
4:15 & F: What Would You Do For A Pickle? Camp
4:15 & G: PolyParadise
4:15 & G: Coulrophobia Camp
4:15 & G: Oontz Pouch
4:15 & G: Things That Swing (TTS)
4:30 & Esplanade: Club Neu Verboten
4:30 Portal & Esplanade: Art of Such N Such
4:30 Portal: Kamp Suckie Fuckaye
4:30 Portal: Cosmic Giggle
4:30 Portal & A: The Cabana Club
4:30 & A: Black Rock Power CO-OP , Saints & Sinners, And Then There's Only Love, Brain freeze.
4:30 & A: Pluderground
4:30 & B: Cohesion
4:30 & B: Nåårsførtown Village
4:30 & C: Camp Safari
4:30 & D: BuddhaCamp @ the Lotus Dome
4:30 & E: Funk Pirates
4:30 Plaza: Camp Do Nothing
4:30 Plaza: Uli Baba & the Horny Thieves
4:30 Plaza: Termination Dust Hole
4:30 Plaza: Elliot's Bicycle Service & Piano Bar
4:30 Plaza: KavAquatic
4:30 & I: Parasol Mafia
4:30 & J: Scrabble Camp
4:30 & J: Wonder Camp
4:45 & Esplanade: Planet Earth
4:45 & A: RhythmWave
4:45 & B: Cafe Surprise
4:45 & C: Camp...in Bed
4:45 & C: Ignited States Ski Patrol
4:45 & C: The Twisted Swan Celtic Pub (formerly the Dusty Swan)
4:45 & C: Camp Wetspot
4:45 & C: Octothorpe
4:45 & C: Fresh Squeezed! - (Art & Lemonade)
4:45 & D: Home Rule Village (IAMU, Pedal Pies, Gold Star, 3SP, and Iguana Chill)
4:45 & E: Turkey Camp
4:45 & F: Loveland
4:45 & F: Rootpile
4:45 & F: The Pink Spot
4:45 & G: Hippocampus
4:45 & G: The Mothership
4:45 & G: Virgin Hooper Camp
4:45 & G: In Dust We Trust
5:00 & A: Shady Lady Saloon
5:00 & A: BRC HOA Village (Bare Chested Baristas, Bearwhalea, Dr Carl's Dept of Collections, Grey Matter, Prismaticamp, Rejuvenation, Spank the Monkey Bar and Lounge, Super Friends Synaesthesia, Trashistan)
5:00 & B: Ancient Cult of the Alligator
5:00 & D: Clusterf*ck United
5:00 & E: Captain Pump's Raiders
5:00 & F: Camp Cacao
5:00 & G: Cosmic Casbah
5:15 & Esplanade: False Profit
5:15 & C: Boom Boom Womb (formerly Camp New Year at 430&I)
5:15 & C: ZaZen
5:15 & C: ICU Emerge-n-See In-Tents-IV Care Unit & Sparkle Pony Corral
5:15 & D: Spirit Dream
5:15 & E: Hushville
Huckabee Triggers Godwin's Law
"...to the door of the oven." No one can fail to understand that Huckabee was calling Obama the new Hitler. Hence, Godwin's Law: "'As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1' — that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism."
"once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress."
IOW, Huckabee loses now and must withdraw from the race.
July 24, 2015
Eliminating Animal Control
Alton, Illinois, cut animal control out of its 2015/16 budget. So the burden of animal control fell on the police. A report was released this week saying Alton police officers took a dog "they called wounded and vicious" to the city yard where they shot him twice with a 12 gauge shotgun and then twice more with their .40 caliber hand guns.
THEN they scanned what was left of the dog for a microchip, and yes it was chipped. Standard procedure is to scan for the chip while the dog is still alive so the owner can be contacted before any irreversible action is taken.
The City Council is reinstating animal control.