January 10, 2017

Amazing!

Snopes says this is genuine!

The television series Trackdown really did produce an episode featuring a "Trump" character who came to town claiming that only he could prevent the end of the world by building a wall (and also sold special force propelling umbrellas to deflect meteorites). The episode (S1, E30) aired on CBS in 1958 and was titled "The End of the World," featuring actor Lawrence Dobkin playing the role of "Walter Trump."

permalink | January 10, 2017 at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2016

The Guide To What To Do To Contain Trump For Four Years

I think this may be the workable, practical plan [PDF] to resist Trump that I hoped some knowledgable people would put together before January 20.

It's a guide put together by "former progressive congressional staffers" on how to keep Trump from putting his "agenda" ("whim" might be a better word) into effect. They want to be like the progressive counterpart of the Tea Party, but without all the horrid negative stuff. Their recommendations are pretty basic: pay attention to your Members of Congress, communicate with them, influence them. As former congressional staffers they can advise on the psychology of Members of Congress and how to make the most of that.

And what about the fortunate few like me with two Democratic Senators and a Democratic Representative? Here's their recommendation ("MoC" = "Member of Congress"):

Congratulations! Your Senators and Representative are doing what they should to fight racism, authoritarianism, and corruption. They're making the right public statements, co-sponsoring the right bills, and voting the right way. So how does this change your strategy? Two key things to keep in mind:

1. Do NOT switch to targeting other MoC who don't represent you. They don't represent you, and they don't care what you have to say. Stick with your own local MoCs.

2. DO use this guide to engage with your MoCs locally. Instead of pressuring them to do the right thing, praise them for doing the right thing. This is important because it will help ensure that they continue to do the right thing. Congressional staff are rarely contacted when the MoC does something good — your efforts locally will provide highly valuable positive reinforcement.

And (my personal add) we should avoid internal bickering and focus on the enemy.

» Donald Trump’s agenda will take America backwards and must be stopped.

» In order to work together to achieve this goal, we must model the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness.


permalink | December 21, 2016 at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2016

Campaign Detritus

Johnie's Coffee Shop With Bernie Sanders Leftovers (3360)

Johnie's Coffee Shop With Bernie Sanders Leftovers (3354)

permalink | December 16, 2016 at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2016

This Is A Good One

This is definitely a step above the usual star-studded political ads.

permalink | September 22, 2016 at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2016

A Comprehensive Report

permalink | September 14, 2016 at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2016

Normal/Abnormal

permalink | August 23, 2016 at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2016

Problem Solved! Republicans Declare Coal To Be "Clean"

The GOP's platform committee unanimously voted to declare coal "an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource."

The word "clean" was not initially included in the Republican platform committee's coal statement. It was added by David Barton, an RNC delegate from Texas. Barton is the former vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas and an evangelical leader, popular for his claims that the U.S. Constitution is a biblical document.

From a 2012 NPR report on David Barton:

"You look at Article 3, Section 1, the treason clause," he told James Robison on Trinity Broadcast Network. "Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim.

The treason clause is is actually Article 3, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

I'm not even going to search for it, but if any Bible expert thinks they know where Article 3, Section 3 is in the Bible, I would be delighted to learn that amazing fact.

Article 2, Section 1, the requirement for the President to be a natural born citizen says this: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States."

Deuteronomy 17:15 in the Complete Jewish Bible: "In that event, you must appoint as king the one whom Adonai your God will choose. He must be one of your kinsmen, this king you appoint over you — you are forbidden to appoint a foreigner over you who is not your kinsman." King James: "Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother."

Clearly related, but I don't think Mr. Barton knows the meaning of the word "verbatim" nor the obvious fact that a verbatim quote from the Bible would never be in English.

permalink | July 12, 2016 at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2016

DHS Walmart Petition

I finally got around to reading the Walmart petition. There's no game-playing in it that I can detect. No exemptions from any taxes or fees. In fact, they'll kick in an additional $75,000 on top of the DIF fees. That's supposed to help pay for something at what will be the future intersections of Cactus and Camino Aventura and Claire Avenue—although I don't think $75,000 would cover very much. Here are some of the bits I found interesting:

  • Permitted to be open 24 hours.
  • Exterior payphones permitted. Open 24 hours, outside payphones, right across the street from Dos Palmas. Potential for a public safety issue there.
  • Landscaping will be xeriscape, but they don't say they will conform to MSWD's ordinance on this.
  • They will need to extend a 1,806 foot sewer line from Camino Idilio.
  • Palm Drive will be widened to allow for a right-turn lane.
  • Traffic signals will be installed at Camino Aventura and Palm Drive.
  • All (or almost all) of the lighting will be LED. There will also be a daylight harvesting system (is that like a sophisticated skylight?) and a computer controlled continuously active system that adjusts lighting up and down.
  • Waste heat from refrigeration will be captured and used to heat water.
  • The site will be inspected for desert tortoises and burrowing owls. But they don't make any promises about any other endangered creatures or plants.
  • They will also observe the usual rules if they discover archaeological artifacts.

Summary: if you want the Walmart, you can sign this petition with a clear conscience. Unless somebody wants to point out some heinous provision in it that I missed.

permalink | April 3, 2016 at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2016

The latest NBC/WSJ Presdential Election Poll

Numbers from the latest Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies paid for by NBC and Wall Street Journal. I never like the way any press or media digest and spit out the results of surveys, so I went to the source and did some of own digestion and spitting, so maybe you want to clean up afterward.

800 registered voters; 400 Republican primary voters plus 400 Democratic primary voters.

"Now I'm going to read you the names of several public figures, groups and organizations, and I'd like you to rate your feelings toward each one as very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative. If you don't know the name, please just say so."

PosNeg
Barack Obama4742
Bill Clinton4536
Hillary Clinton4049
Bernie Sanders3831
George W. Bush3743
George W. Bush3743
Marco Rubio3129
Ted Cruz3135
Ben Carson3035
Donald Trump2958
Chris Christie2436
Jeb Bush1946


Asked of those who would vote in the Democratic primary: "If the next Democratic primary for president were being held today, which one of the following candidates would you favor?"

Clinton59
Sanders34
O'Malley2


Voters who said they would vote in the Democratic primary were asked whether they perceive the following individuals as very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative or very conservative. I'll just list the top one for each.

Hillary ClintonModerate48
SandersVery Liberal41
ObamaModerate44
Bill ClintonModerate48


Again, the following question was limited to those who said they would vote in the Democratic primary. "...would you prefer a president that is more liberal or less liberal, or about the same as..." the following individuals.

ObamaAbout the same56
Bill ClintonAbout the same55

No earth shaking surprise there. The majority of Democrats like Obama and Bill Clinton.


Republican primary voters were asked if they could see themselves supporting each of the following individuals for the Republican nomination. I'm just going to list the Yeses.

Cruz71
Rubio67
Trump65
Carson60
Christie48
Fiorina45
Jeb Bush42
Huckabee36
Paul32
Kasich28
Santorum26

But as to which candidate they want to get the Republican nomination, Trump comes out on the top when they ask the question a few different ways. BUT, if they eliminate all the candidates other than Cruz and Trump, Cruz comes out on top with 51%, Trump gets 43%. Between Rubio and Trump the Republican primary voters prefer Trump at 52%, Rubio at 45%.


How Republican primary voters view the following individuals on the very liberal to very conservative scale.

TrumpModerate35
Jeb BushModerate44
CruzVery Conservative47
George W. BushModerate41


Republican primary voters were asked "Would you prefer a president that is more conservative or less conservative, or about the same as George W. Bush?" "About the same" got 43%. Again, the earth does not tremble.


And now we get down to the Presidential election.

Trump/Clinton41/51
Rubio/Clinton46/47
Cruz/Clinton45/49
Trump/Sanders39/54

Sanders has been correct that according to the polls he could defeat the likely Republican candidate better than Clinton.


"Has what you have seen, read, or heard so far during the Republican [or Democratic] presidential nominating process made you feel more favorable or less favorable toward the Republican [or Democratic] Party?" The majorities in each party both said it has had no impact on how they feel about their own party. But the results from all registered voters comes out differently. These are the top categories.

Republican PartyLess Favorable42
Democratic PartyNo Impact54


Those who will vote in the Republican primary still strongly support "the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman" (65%) and the NRA (62%). 33% say they are strong supporters of the Tea Party.

They gave more choices to those who said they would vote in the Democratic primary! There is strong support for immediate action to address climate change (67%), 62% strongly consider themselves environmentalists, 61% strongly support the gay rights movement, 54% are strong supporters of unions, and 50% are strong supporters of Black Lives Matter. Only 26% are strong supporters of "the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman" and 3% are strong supporters of the Tea Party!


11% of all surveyed did NOT vote in the Presidential election of 2012; 33% did not vote in the 2014 Congressional election. Those are pretty big numbers that could shift almost all of the results of the survey.


29% of those surveyed said they were employed in the "Professional/Managerial" category; only 5% were stay at home parents; 25% said they were retired. Those do not look like representative figures. Those seem to be people who might have the time to answer a lengthy survey. Other categories were white collar (17%), blue collar (17%), student (2%), unemployed (3% - "thanks Obama"), and 2% who are not sure if they are currently employed.

20% say their highest education level was a high school diploma, 26% have a four-year college degree. Only 2% say they dropped out of high school.

45% of those surveyed said they support or lean towards the Democratic party. 39% said Republican. Liberal 26%, moderate 37%, conservative 34%.

79% of those surveyed live in "non-union households."

24% never attend religious services; 34% say they attend weekly.

Household income: under $50,000 36%; $50,000-$100,000 32%; more than $100,000 27%.

permalink | January 20, 2016 at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2015

DHS Mayoral Election Decided By November 3 Ballots

The agenda for the city council meeting on December 1 includes details on how the voting went in each precinct, for each candidate, mail-in or walk-in. The last time I looked at this, I think about two-thirds of the votes in Desert Hot Springs were by mail. 71% of the ballots were cast by mail in this most recent election. One might think, then, that the outcome was pretty much decided before the traditional November 3 ballot. And you would be mostly right. Comparing mail-in totals with ballot totals below, one sees that the November 3 ballot moved Richard Duffle from last place to next to last, and it determined the mayoral outcome. Sanchez had the majority of mail-in ballots, but Matas got enough votes on the 3rd to defeat him.

You will also see that Zavala picked up a somewhat disproportionate number of votes on the 3rd, but they didn't change the ranking of the council candidates. Horton gained the smallest number on November 3 and slipped down to last place.

IOW, the increased campaigning in the last two weeks before November 3 is probably worth it in order to hold on to or grab a victory.

NOV 3MAIL-INTOTALS
Matas44332%95968%1402
Sanchez35727%98273%1339
TOTALS80029%194171%2741
 
Betts27525%81375%1088
Zavala36235%67465%1036
Parks20127%55273%753
Buchanan18927%52473%713
Jaime18628%48972%675
Duffle10529%25271%357
Horton9126%25874%349
TOTALS140928%356272%4971
 
Mayor & Council
GRAND TOTALS
81529%199571%2810

Source:
November 3, 2015 Election Results

permalink | November 26, 2015 at 05:06 PM | Comments (4)

November 25, 2015

"The Insanity Of Your Stupidity"

Scott Matas explains his opposition to the so-called “Good Wage Ordinance” at the November 17, 2015 city council meeting. Scott Matas is the new Mayor, to be sworn in on December 1. You can perhaps see why I thought it was so important to replace the current mayor.

permalink | November 25, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)

October 7, 2015

Pastor Jesse Sanchez

These are the words of Pastor Jesse Sanchez of Living Word In The Desert, and is, BTW, the person responsible for creating the Brownstown gang.

Mayor Adam Sanchez considers Pastor Jesse Sanchez to be his pastor. He has recognized him officially at a City Council meeting and brought him to the Carl May Center to do the Mayor's swearing-in.

Pastor Jesse Sanchez says

Jesse Sanchez
The gays will never take over because they cannot multiply. So they have to adopt children and teach him their perverted ways. I seen a video where gays are screaming saying we want your children I wonder why? To rape them to teach them perverted stuff to brainwash them from being a real man or a real woman. Now I have helped gay people and they have changed but the truth is the truth. Use some common sense. There is no babies without a woman they need a real man to make that happen. You don't see no gay dogs and you don't see no gay cats it's always male female. If you thrown in jail its for a good reason maybe now people wake up and believe ...Jesus said we will be persecuted for his namesake Jesus love people even gays. He died for the whole world sinners he's just waiting for us to choose his love sin is ugly. Most of they guys that talk to where molested or raped. So in their mind

This showed up on Facebook at some time (maybe yesterday?) and I did not see the original, but only this screengrab. If I'd seen the original I would have gotten you the full text, but there's enough here to establish his deep ignorance, bigotry and homophobia.

I've been reluctant to say, because I don't want to jinx it, but since I moved to Desert Hot Springs in September 2004 I have not been made aware of any homophobia, racism, anti-semitism or any other hatefulness in Desert Hot Springs. Which would be something of a surprise, if one were to judge us only on the way we fight among ourselves.

But now those silly naive 11 years are over, thanks to the Mayor's pastor spreading his Christian love. He reveals in his rant more than he intends. He, like most other homophobic bigots, forgets there are female homosexuals. It's not homosexuals he's against, it's homosexual men. If God thinks it's a sin (I'll just let you know right now that he does not) then he thinks it's a sin for both men and women. When Pastor Sanchez focuses solely on male homosexuals he reveals his own personal fears, not God's. And why is Pastor Sanchez so afraid of gay men? There's usually only one good explanation for that.

As far as I know, Mayor Sanchez has not addressed this issue. He still has Pastor Sanchez listed as an "Outstanding Citizen" on his website.

Here is Pastor Jesse Sanchez's Facebook page.

permalink | October 7, 2015 at 04:35 PM | Comments (14)

August 27, 2015

Scott Matas For Mayor

Scott's been playing a nice, polite, low-key campaign so far; so I was glad to get a campaign email from him that shows he plans to campaign on a realistic level. So glad, I'm just going to copy that email here:

Now is the time for the Desert Hot Springs residents to understand the difference between Council Member Scott Matas and Mayor Adam Sanchez. Scott Matas has a strong plan of action to lead Desert Hot Springs back to recovery from the last several years of financial difficulty.

Scott's five (5) point plan includes:
  • New Jobs & Strengthening Our Economy.
  • Enhancing Our Public Safety
  • Balancing Our Budget
  • Supporting Programs for Our Youth & Seniors
  • Improving Our Quality of Life

Scott Matas is a man of integrity and honesty who will have an open door policy with all residents of this community.

Adam Sanchez's plan "Keep Moving Forward."
  • No Economic Plan
  • No Public Safety Plan
  • No plan to increase income to the city
  • Plans to attend every "PHOTO OP" possible

Mayor Sanchez has a history of failure and unethical behavior since he came to Desert Hot Springs:
  • Terminated from every job he has had since he moved to Desert Hot Springs. FAILURE
  • As Mayor negotiated and accepted a $10,000.00 to $100,000.00 job with the first Medical Marijuana Company to receive a license, after making several votes to legalize Medical Marijuana sales in Desert Hot Springs. UNETHICAL
  • Ran for Mission Springs Water District – Not Elected (4th out of 5 candidates) FAILURE
  • Ran for City Council in 2005 – Not Elected FAILURE
  • Ran for City Council Special Election in 2007 – Not Elected FAILURE
  • Ran for Mayor 2007 – Not Elected FAILURE
  • Elected to the City Council in 2011 and failed to accomplish one campaign promise. FAILURE
  • Elected Mayor in 2013 (by 13 votes) [Was it 13? I thought it was 12. Maybe Scott is just being generous - Ron]

As Mayor Adam Sanchez has FAILED:
  • To balance the 2014/2015 Budget - (June 24, 2014 City Council Meeting)
  • To balance the 2015/2016 Budget – (June 16, 2015 City Council Meeting)
  • To have a Cash Reserve in 2014/2015 Budget - (June 24, 2014 City Council Meeting)
  • To have a Cash Reserve in 2015/2016 Budget – (June 16, 2015 City Council Meeting)
  • To establish any Economic Growth
  • To increase income to the city. (Two tax initiatives failed)
  • To develop any new retail business (except Medical Marijuana Shops.)
  • To reduce Crime
  • To show respect for fellow Council Members

Don't let PHOTO-OPS fool you into believing Adam Sanchez has accomplished anything except take credit for other people's hard work!!

WE DON'T NEED TWO MORE YEARS OF FAILED LEADERSHIP IN DESERT HOT SPRINGS.

CALL OR EMAIL SCOTT MATAS
AT
Ph: 760-200-7428 ♦ Em: swmatas@gmail.com

OR
CALL OR EMAIL DAVE NUNN – CAMPAIGN CHAIR
AT
Ph: 760-671-6904 ♦ Em: optigov85@aol.com

Let us know how you can help. We can use people to deliver flyers to homes and businesses, make telephone calls, assemble material, put signs in your yard or property, have a meet & greet, and register non-voters.

LET'S MAKE DESERT HOT SPRINGS THE COMMUNITY WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF

VOTE SCOTT MATAS AS OUR NEXT MAYOR.

If I were going to quibble, I might point out that Sanchez has improved his own personal economy by getting that job he has. So at least one person's position has improved in the last two years.

Sanchez, in his billboard campaign, does a thing that I think is a problem with DHS thinking — maybe it goes on everywhere, but I never became aware of it until I moved here. And that is assigning complete responsibility for some failure or some success on one individual alone. He is claiming it was he alone who got the city budget to the barely survivable point where it is now. Funny, I thought I saw four other members of the City Council on the dais discussing and voting on it. I suspect there are some ingenious people on city staff that brought forward cost-cutting suggestions.

But the most obvious involuntary assistance in getting the budget in line came from the employees of the city, especially the police. Even with sudden, gigantic pay cuts there was no strike, no slowdown, no sudden mass resignation. Of course, over the months most employees have left; and many of the best left first, as that is the nature of things, leaving behind the very loyal.

Sanchez should find it difficult to campaign on public safety issues. If he is the only one who saved the city budget, then he is the only one who cut police pay, and he is the only one responsible for our now weakened police force.

You know the best way to start improving public safety? Propose a public safety tax the voters will approve, get it passed, restore full pay and benefits to the police, hire more police.

permalink | August 27, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2015

WTF Inglewood?

The city of Inglewood, California, tried to copyright its Youtube videos of city council meetings. Was this done because someone had found a way to turn city council meetings into a commercial product and make fat profits on the backs of the lean and hardworking city government? Oh, hell no! Some horrible, horrible citizen was editing copies of those videos in order to make political criticism of the mayor! Well, we can't be having that in America, now can we?

A federal judge has ruled against Inglewood in this matter. Probably taking no more than five seconds to come to his decision.

Using a MacBook laptop, Teixeira taught himself to upload meeting videos to iMovie. He added text and narration to lambaste Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. The rookie producer distributed the DVDs at no charge. Later, he posted his work to YouTube.

See?! If you let that kind of shit go on, who knows what could happen. Maybe the mayor won't get re-elected and then where would the world be?

BTW, whoever is the law firm retained by the city of Inglewood should be avoided by other cities who do not want to be dragged into losing embarrassing civil suits.

permalink | August 25, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2015

Russia Boycotts You

Western nations imposed an embargo on Russia due to the war in Ukraine. Russia has responded by destroying food from the west that is already in Russia! This way, the money paid to the west for the food stays in the west. The Russians who paid for it, get to go hungry. It would be pretty great if other countries under embargo (Iran, North Korea, for example) would help us out by enhancing the damage done. North Korea could ban the heating of homes in the winter. Cuba would have petitioned to become a territory of the U.S. in 1961. Iran could shut down its entire electric grid. Let's have more of this Putin strategy!

permalink | August 18, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2015

Candidates For Office In Desert Hot Springs

As we come down to the drop-deadline for candidates to file for the November election, here are the names of those who have "pulled papers."

For Mayor:

  • Scott Matas
  • Adam Sanchez

For Council:

  • Russell Betts
  • Larry Buchanan
  • Richard Duffle
  • Asia Horton
  • Jeanette Jaime
  • Yvonne Parks
  • Anayeli Zavala

BTW, I ran into Al Schmidt today, and he's not running - in case you were holding your breath for that.

permalink | August 3, 2015 at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

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.

March 5, 2014, Lustgarten became Mayor Pro Tem after she nominated herself

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.

In 2014 Lustgarten ran for Mayor.

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:

  1. Request that she submit to a fitness for duty examination;
  2. Request that she pay back roughly $5,000.00 in legal fees the City has paid on her behalf;
  3. Not pay any further legal fees on her behalf related to the Senior Center investigation;
  4. Request that she cease visiting the City Hall and Senior Center;
  5. 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;
  6. Direct Councilmember Lustgarten to exclusively communicate with the City Manager or City Attorney in written or electronic form regarding all City business;
  7. Direct City Staff to prepare a resolution to formally admonish her at the next Council meeting;
  8. Direct City Staff to prepare a censure ordinance for the next Council meeting;
  9. Remove Councilmember Lustgarten from any appointed position of authority on the Senior Board Recommendation Committee and any advisory role regarding Senior Center decisions;
  10. 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
  11. 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.

permalink | July 28, 2015 at 08:25 PM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2015

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.

permalink | July 27, 2015 at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2015

"Probable Cause"

The Fair Political Practices Commission made a couple of findings of probable cause in the matter of Russell Betts. I've heard these findings misinterpreted by more than one person.

First, they explain "probable cause."

Please note, a finding of probable cause does not constitute a finding that a violation has actually occurred. The respondents are presumed to be innocent of any violation of the Political Reform Act unless a violation is proved in a subsequent proceeding.

And then it goes on with two findings of probable cause:

In the Matter of Russell Betts, 12/289: After a hearing on January 13, 2015, probable cause was found to believe Respondent committed the following violations of the Act:

Respondent Russell Betts, in or about March 2011, as a member of the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council, used or attempted to use his official position to influence governmental decisions regarding the installation of a barricade, in which he had a financial interest because he owned real property within 500 feet of the property which was the subject of the governmental decision, in violation of Government Code Section 87100.

Respondent Russell Betts, on or about September 18, 2011, as a member of the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council, used or attempted to use his official position to influence a governmental decision regarding a development agreement to develop an upscale restaurant in city owned property in downtown Desert Hot Springs, in which he had a financial interest because he held a leasehold interest in real property within 500 feet of the property which was the subject of the governmental decision, in violation of Government Code Section 87100.

Most readers will recognize that latter item was part of Jason Simpson's harassment complaint against Betts and Rick Daniels' letter of complaint.

permalink | March 26, 2015 at 08:32 PM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2015

CV Link Route Identification Workshop #1

Tonight was the first of two community meetings in Desert Hot Springs to discuss the route and other aspects of the proposed CV Link as it may extend to Desert Hot Springs. The second meeting will be Monday, March 2, 6 PM, Carl May Center.

I'll just share the audio with you without comment:

The discussion wandered across many subjects not directly relevant to the CV Link, including access to Joshua Tree National Park. I want to share this map with you to give you an idea of the location of major landmarks north of the city, since these seem to be pretty slippery in the minds of many.
JTNP western end
The locations drawn on the map are rough approximations
. The blue squiggles from left to right are Big Morongo Canyon, Little Morongo Canyon, Long Canyon. The thin green line represents an approximation of the western boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. The yellow spot is Black Rock Campground. The pink areas are what are labeled as Lower and Upper Covington on the National Geographic map of Joshua Tree National Park.

But if one is considering access from Desert Hot Springs into the park, one must be aware of the wilderness areas in the park:

JTNP wilderness

The darker areas are designated as wilderness. The red lines are the paved roads. As you can see, the wilderness areas butt up against the entire western boundary of the park. The first break in wilderness as you travel along Dillon away from Desert Hot Springs is at Berdoo Canyon, where you can see they've carved that road out of the wilderness areas. At its narrowest, the Berdoo Canyon gap is more than half a mile wide.

What is wilderness, you may ask. The National Park Service explains it to you here.

Designated wilderness is the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. Only Congress may designate wilderness or change the status of wilderness areas. Wilderness areas are designated within existing federal public land. Congress has directed four federal land management agencies—U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service—to manage wilderness areas so as to preserve and, where possible, to restore their wilderness character.

The Wilderness Act prohibits permanent roads and commercial enterprises, except commercial services that may provide for recreational or other purposes of the Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas generally do not allow motorized equipment, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, temporary roads, permanent structures or installations (with exceptions in Alaska).

People can recreate in wilderness, though in most places individuals do so without mechanical transport. Visitors may hike, fish, camp, watch wildlife, photograph, or hunt (where legally authorized).

Those wilderness areas will remain a permanent challenge to connecting DHS to JTNP in the big way that I think some people envision. Can we get Congress to carve a chunk out the wilderness to foster the economic development of Desert Hot Springs? How persuasive do we think Congressman Ruiz is? As it stands now, Desert Hot Springs could be the stepping off point for hiking trails into the park, but that's about it.

permalink | February 26, 2015 at 09:22 PM | Comments (2)