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May 21, 2021

The Republicans

Insurrection Tour

Filed under History,Politics | permalink | May 21, 2021 at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Four From Washington DC

Lincoln Memorial (4)
Lincoln Memorial
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Washington Monument seen from the Lincoln Memorial (1)
Washington Monument seen from the Lincoln Memorial
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Church Building (1)
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial
The Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Filed under Architecture,History,Photography | permalink | May 21, 2021 at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

California Republican Party Settles A Lawsuit

From yesterday's Orange County Register. An uninsured campaign for a Republican candidate hired a person with no drivers license (and, presumably, no personal auto insurance) to drive around the district. The candidate had formed a joint venture with the California GOP which opened them up for liability...and they were the deeper pocket.

Man injured in car crash to receive $11M from state GOP

By Sean Emery

The California Republican Party has agreed to an $11 million dollar settlement with a Riverside County motorcyclist who suffered life-altering injuries in an Orange County freeway crash that a lawsuit says was caused by an unlicensed campaign worker employed by a then-state assemblyman.

The agreement tentatively ends a civil lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of Richard Ruehle, who was left a quadriplegic by the traffic collision on Aug. 5, 2016, on the eastbound 91 Freeway near the Orange County-Riverside County border.

"In 2016, an employee of a California Assembly campaign was involved in a car accident that permanently impacted the life of the plaintiff," said Ashlee Titus, the California Republican Party's general counsel, in a statement.

"The individual involved in the car accident was not an employee of the California Republican Party," she said of the car's driver. "The settlement was entirely paid by our insurance company, Travelers Insurance Company, and not by the party. We continue to wish the best for everyone involved."

Ruehle was returning to his Riverside County home around 3:30 p.m. on a Yamaha when struck by a Chevrolet Malibu near Gypsum Canyon Road, according to court filings.

"Richard was really the family's breadwinner, so this accident was such a tragedy in so many ways, both to him physically and to the family's livelihood," said Megan Demshki, an attorney with Orange County-based Aitken Aitken Cohn. "It is our hope that this (settlement) will help him provide for his family and seek the medical care he needs."

The Malibu's driver was working as a paid employee for the 2016 Eric Linder for State Assembly campaign, Demshki said. The Linder campaign was uninsured, the plaintiff's attorney added.

Linder, a Corona Republican who lost the 2016 race after serving in Sacramento from 2012 to 2016, could not be reached for comment Thursday regarding the settlement.

Demshki said her team discovered that Linder's campaign had formed a joint venture with the California Republican Party. Along with seeking to get Linder elected, the attorney said, workers for the campaign were gathering data from potential voters that could be used in a statewide database for future campaigns across the state.

The plaintiff attorney's said this meant that the California Republican Party was also accountable for Ruehle's injuries and the actions of the Malibu's driver, who they described as having no experience canvassing a precinct or campaigning. Demshki said he had never had a driver's license, which apparently hadn't been checked before getting hired.

"Why should those large political employers be less accountable than Amazon drivers, Domino's Pizza drivers and others using our highways at potential risk to others?" Wylie Aitkin, the founder of the firm that represented Ruehle, said in a statement.

Ruehle is the father of six children and was an active hiker, martial artist and outdoorsman prior to the crash, his lawyers said. Along with physical therapy, Ruehle has taken up adaptive CrossFit to regain his strength.

Ruehle has also become an active volunteer with the Triumph Foundation, serving as a speaker and counselor for others who have been newly diagnosed with spinal-cord injuries, his attorney said.

Filed under Politics,Public Safety | permalink | May 21, 2021 at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2021

Four Photos

Flower (4)
Ektachrome, 1985

Bare Walls (1)
Another unidentified building
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Tree on the Charles River Esplanade (2)
A tree on the Charles River Esplanade
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Tree on the Charles River Esplanade (3)
Same tree a little closer
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 17, 2021 at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2021

One From Chicago and Three Question Marks

Chicago Water Tower (1)
Chicago Water Tower
, Kodachrome, 1987.

New England Woods (2)
I don't recall the location, but it sure looks like New England
, Kodachrome, 1987.

Staircase (1)
Another one I have no recollection of
, but it's from June 1985. I visited San Francisco that month, but I sure don't recall doing any tours of the interiors of mansions while I was there.

Arches (1)
Another one I can't place, but it's from October 1987
, a month that I visited Washington DC. It sure looks like Washington, but I can't nail it down. If you recognize this spot, let me know. I was also in Newport, Rhode Island, that month, touring some of those mansions. This could be there, too.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | May 16, 2021 at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2021

Four More In New England

The John Hancocks (1)
The John Hancock buildings in Boston
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Lower South Branch Pond (1)
Lower South Branch Pond in Baxter State Park, Maine
, Kodachrome, 1987.

Autumn Red (1)
Kodachrome, 1987

The Hartford Times (1)
The Hartford Times building
, 1990.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | May 15, 2021 at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2021

War Deaths, Military and Civilian

Filed under History | permalink | May 14, 2021 at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

Four In Boston (well, one is in Cambridge)

Back Bay Skyline (1)
Back Bay skyline
, Kodachrome, 2002.

Boston Architecture (1)

Hyatt Hotel - Cambridge (1)
Cambridge Hyatt on the Charles River
, Ektachrome.

Park Street Church - Boston (1)
The steeple of Park Street Church catching the last rays of sunset as seen from Frog Pond on the Boston Common
, Kodachrome, 2002. Wikipedia article about Park Street Church.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | May 14, 2021 at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2021

Four of Nature

Wet Green Leaves
1988, Kodachrome

Pink Flowers (1)
1989, Kodachrome

Zebras at The Living Desert
Zebras at The Living Desert
, Agfa Scala film, 2001.

Boulders in a Stream (1)
Slide film, but date and location unknown

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 12, 2021 at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2021

Desert Hot Springs and Marijuana

NBC News has an article about the cannabis industry in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. My comments are in italics.

'If you build it, they will come': California desert cashes in on early cannabis investment

“It’s been incredible to see the transformation,” said Doria Wilms, deputy city manager of Desert Hot Springs. “We don’t see it slowing down.”

May 10, 2021, 5:28 AM PDT
By Alicia Victoria Lozano
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — Along a hot, dusty stretch of freeway in California's Coachella Valley, a green rush is booming that not even the coronavirus pandemic can slow.

Desert Hot Springs, once a sleepy retirement community overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor, Palm Springs, to the south, is transforming into a cannabis-growing capital as businesses lured by tax incentives and a 420-friendly local government pour into the small city. [DHS is a city of lower- and middle-class workers, mostly Latino; not a "sleepy retirement community."]

"It's fun times right now to be the mayor," said Mayor Scott Matas, who has been in city government since 2007 and once voted to implement a moratorium on cannabis businesses.

Last year the industry contributed more than $4 million to city revenue, overtaking real estate as the biggest generator of tax profit, Matas said. City officials anticipate an even higher revenue stream from cannabis businesses this year.

Deputy City Manager Doria Wilms said: "It's been incredible to see the transformation. We don't see it slowing down."

A new industry blossoms

It took Gold Flora CEO Laurie Holcomb only 48 hours to decide to open a cultivation business in Desert Hot Springs after it began to allow large-scale operations. She already owned a real estate development company and saw an opportunity to expand into the growing industry.

In eight growing rooms inside Gold Flora's cultivation facility, insulated metal panels similar to those in walk-in coolers shield more than 9,000 cannabis plants from the unrelenting sun. Even without air conditioning, the building will never heat up beyond 80 degrees inside despite triple-digit temperatures outside, facilities manager Adam Yudka said. Plants are stored atop rolling benches that use an internal irrigation system to water crops individually.

Gold Flora owns and operates five warehouse-size buildings, some of which are rented to other cannabis businesses. The sprawling campus, covering about 23 city blocks, was built from the ground up.

"Most people, when they think about the desert, they think they're going out in the middle of nowhere," Holcomb said. "It made sense that if you build it, they will come."

A city brought back from the brink

Gold Flora and other companies like it represent a major shift for the desert economy. Matas, who was re-elected to a third term in November, remembers a time around 2011 when the city had just "$400 in the bank." City officials froze salaries, cut programs and considered filing for bankruptcy protection, Reuters reported. The city had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

The tax revenue has already helped to pay for a new City Hall, a library and roads, as well as more police officers. Housing developers eye the area as jobs attract more people to the desert. Residents also benefit from the boom — of about 29,000 residents, at least 2,300 work in the cannabis industry, Wilms said. [The new library was paid for by the county, not the city.]

Desert Hot Springs, about two hours east of Los Angeles near Joshua Tree National Park, boasted more than 200 spas throughout the 1940s and the 1950s that were fed by a natural underground aquifer, which still provides water for much of the Coachella Valley. But the city had fallen on hard times financially in the last 20 years. [The hot water aquifer supplies water only to hotels, spas and resorts in DHS, Desert Edge and Sky Valley.]

In 2013, the city declared a fiscal emergency to avoid filing for Chapter 9 for a second time, the Los Angeles Times reported. The city had emerged from its first bankruptcy filing in 2004, but less than 10 years later its reserves were dwindling again after an economic downturn and decreased development.

Only medical marijuana was legal in California at the time, but city officials decided to take a risk on what appeared to be a growing industry as states like Washington and Colorado legalized recreational cannabis. Adult-use recreational marijuana became legal in 2016.

In 2014, Desert Hot Springs became the first city in Southern California to legalize large-scale medical cannabis cultivation. Palm Springs followed, as did other desert cities in the Coachella Valley. Marijuana growers and real estate developers rushed to buy dusty plots of land even when the parcels came without infrastructure, including roads and utilities, hoping to cash in on the state's promise of becoming the biggest cannabis producer in the country.

Business zones were established to quarantine large operations in an industrial section away from residents. Much of the land remained barren and untouched until companies with a little sense of adventure decided to break ground.

"There was really no reason to cross the [Interstate] 10," Matas said. "People ignored the north side of the freeway for so long."

'Cannatourism' could be the future

Fast-forward to 2021 and that side of the freeway, which connects Southern California to the rest of the country, is dotted with hundreds of thousands of square feet of warehouses. There is no cannabis smell and there are no retail shops in the industrial zone. Instead, warehouses remain inconspicuous except for flashy cars and security guards outside the buildings. [If you regard two- and three-story buildings enclosing acres of cannabis just sitting alone in the desert and lighted up like military bases to be "inconspicuous" then you just might need glasses.]

In December, the City Council unanimously approved two measures to grow "cannatourism" in the region. One allows for the creation of cannabis "entertainment facilities," and the other gives hotels the green light to sell cannabis inside their properties. A House of Blues-style concert venue is already in the works, although under state law businesses cannot sell both cannabis and alcohol at the same time.

"The city has been awesome to work with," said Holcomb of Gold Flora. "You have to remember that four to five years ago, people didn't want to touch [cannabis], but Desert Hot Springs had the foresight to enter the industry early on."

Neighboring Palm Springs, with its rows of midcentury modern homes and golf courses, has already capitalized on the tourism side of cannabis. Retail stores and consumption sites are sprinkled among clothing stores and spas. Last month, the latest cannabis dispensary and lounge opened in an old bank building following $1 million of renovations. On Mother's Day, the Four Twenty Bank — a dispensary lounge, not a bank — offered all moms who visited free flowers, according to its website.

The idea behind cashing in on cannatourism comes from "treating cannabis like anything else," said Jocelyn Kane, vice president of the Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network, which advocates for cannabis businesses in the desert.

"These spaces aren't just a place to light up," she said. "It's a place to have a night out."

Going green in the desert

Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs are in a kind of cannabis tax war as they now compete for new business. In February, Desert Hot Springs lowered its cultivation tax — $25.50 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet and $10.20 per square foot for each square foot over 3,000 square feet — to a flat rate of $10 per square foot. Palm Springs already charges $10 per square foot, and it offers a $5-per-square-foot rate in its "Cannabis Overlay Zone" north of the I-10 corridor.

Kings Garden, one of the first companies to break ground in the otherwise unforgiving landscape, operates 300,000 square feet of warehouse space near the overlay zone between Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. [NBC seems to have the same concept of geography as The Desert Sun. Kings Garden is IN Palm Springs as is the overlay zone.]

Chief Operating Officer Charlie Kieley, a Palm Springs native, spent 15 years working in Northern California's cannabis industry before he returned to the Coachella Valley. Up north, cultivators favor outdoor grow operations, but that was not an option in the dry, hot desert, he said. With constant sun and almost no rain, growing cannabis in the desert requires a mammoth water and power supply to keep indoor operations going when outside temperatures soar.

Kings Garden, which produces about 40,000 pounds of cannabis flower annually, uses a water filtration technology similar to what municipal systems use. Rather than let condensation and runoff water go to waste, Kings Garden recycles and reclaims its water supply, getting about 70 percent of what it needs internally. The remaining 30 percent comes from the municipal water district, Kieley said. Water that cannot be repurposed for cannabis cultivation is donated to a local farmer for use on seasonal crops. [I've no idea what they mean by "local farmer." The only agriculture in this end of the valley is cannabis. The non-cannabis farmers are all at the eastern end of the valley, but maybe they are trucking their wastewater way down there. Who knows?]

The desert has offered companies something other areas can't, the freedom and space to grow.

"We're working with municipalities who are very forward-thinking," he said. "The desert is not as crowded, like San Bernardino or L.A. It's a great place to do business."

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Marijuana | permalink | May 10, 2021 at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)


| permalink | May 10, 2021 at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2021


After Sunset (1)
Tucson sunset
, Kodachrome, 1988.

Hoover Dam (5)
Hoover Dam
, Agfa Scala slide film, 2001.

Custom House Tower (6)
Custom House Tower in Boston
, Kodachrome, 1991.

Frog Pond as Ice Rink (1)
Frog Pond on Boston Common
, Kodachrome, 2002.

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 7, 2021 at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 5, 2021

Here & There

Yellow Flowers with Bee (2)
Kodachrome, 1989

A Resort in the Warm Sands Neighborhood (1)
A resort in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs
, Ektachrome, 2001.

Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial (1)
The Fisherman's Memorial in Gloucester
, Kodachrome, 2003.

Bunker Hill Monument (1)
The Bunker Hill Monument
in Charlestown. Kodachrome, 2002.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | May 5, 2021 at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2021

Just Some Slides

Mrs. Sara Baker and Mrs. Mary Swift
Mrs. Sara Baker and Mrs. Mary Swift, buried in Dorchester North Burying Ground (in Boston)
, deceased 1788 and 1785, respectively. Kodachrome, 1990.

Driscoll (1)
This looks very familiar, but I can't recall where it is...other than somewhere around Boston
. If you know, please leave a comment. 1986.

Coast Guard Pier - Provincetown (1)
Coast Guard Pier in Provincetown
, 1985.

Golden Gate Bridge Cable Anchorage (1)
Golden Gate Bridge
, 1985.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | May 4, 2021 at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

A Republican Being Republican

Read Martha Huckabay's remarkably misspelled rant defending slavery. Huckabay is "the president of the Women’s Republican Club of New Orleans" and was defending a state legislator who said schools ought to teach the "good" parts of the mass enslavement of African people. There is also another article in which she has some misspelled opinions on COVID vaccines.

Filed under Nutjobs,Politics | permalink | May 4, 2021 at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 3, 2021

Yet More Variety

The Mirage (1)
The Mirage
, Ektachrome, 2001.

Atop Hoover Dam (2)
Hoover Dam
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Zakim Bridge (14)
Zakim Bridge
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Architectural Detail (1)
Location unknown for now
, 1986.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | May 3, 2021 at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2021

MSNBC Interviews Governor Doofus

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | May 2, 2021 at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

Two Hoover Dams, Two Bostons

Hoover Dam (2)
Hoover Dam
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Hoover Dam (1)
Hoover Dam
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Winthrop Building (1)
The Winthrop Building, the first steel frame skyscraper in Boston, 1894.
Kodachrome, 2002.

Old State House - Boston
Old State House, Boston
, Kodachrome, 2002.

Filed under Architecture,History,Photography | permalink | May 2, 2021 at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 1, 2021

Carol Burnett & ELP

The Ernie Flatt Dancers perform to Hoedown by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on "The Carol Burnett Show." It looks like the cast of "Oklahoma" decided to do an encore with British prog rock.

Filed under Music,Television | permalink | May 1, 2021 at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)