Thursday, May 20, 2010

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

Sunset over the Golden Gate is a very impressive sight. The view from my windows is not quite so unblocked, but even at that, the sunset, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the skyline of San Francisco all make for a nearly breathtaking look at what God and man can work together to produce. That's Marin County to the right. Wave "hello," and perhaps "good-bye" to Barbara Boxer.

NOTE: A federal judge in Fresno has taken a 180 degree different stand from our leftist judges in San Francisco. US District Judge Oliver Wanger has told the EPA and other environmental agencies that human existence should be at least on the same legal level as the possible danger to some wildlife. Biologists at the National Marine Fisheries Service had issued a "biological opinion" that there was not enough water in the delta to support migrating salmon, which are "too often killed in the delta pumps that move water south--or harmed by warmer waters resulting from the water delivery."

Wanger called into question the science and scientific method used by the agency, and at the same time pointed out that this agency, along with the EPA have concentrated solely on reducing water supplies without ever considering a single alternative plan. His exact words were: "arbitrary, capricious and scientifically unreasonable." He went on to to say: "The actions lack factual and scientific justification, while effectively ignoring the irreparable harm those regulation have inflicted on humans and the human environment."

The agency study directly addressed salmon, but the judge's decision not only affects that portion of the study, but all studies which put allegedly endangered fish over clearly endangered humans. And what fish could the judge be referring to? Drum-roll, please--the Delta Smelt, aka The Fish That Conquered California. This may be the very first judicial step in a long battle to slow the intrusion of environmental groups and official agencies in their march to eliminate human beings from the ecosystem.

People living in the Central Valley breathed a short sigh of relief. Sarah Woolf, spokeperson for the Westlands Water District, said: "We've had over 40 percent unemployment and food lines in a number of communities in the San Joaquin Valley. It is a big relief to the state and a region that has been suffering from economic hardship." How the judge came to his conclusion is a bit mystifying, but then I haven't read the 800 page report the decision was based on (no, I'm not a Democrat). But it is interesting to note that the same judge in 2008 not only supported the curtailing of water-delivery to the Valley, but chided the EPA for failing to include "global warming" in their assessment of the situation at the time. Who cares? I'll take any victory I can get.

NOTE: San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey has now injected himself into the battle between Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Stupidvisers over reporting arrested illegal aliens to the federal authorities. Hennessey sent a letter to Attorney General Moonbeam Jerry Brown, the current likely Democratic candidate for California governor. Hennessey asked that state officials not turn over data on anyone booked into a San Francisco jail to federal authorities. I guess Hennessey won't be running for a sheriff's job in Arizona any time soon.

The letter specifically addresses the Federal Secure Communities program, in which fingerprints of those booked, including low-level offenders, are automatically sent from a state database to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The program is set to kick in on June 1. Hennessey was horrified to discover that under the policy, the information could be used to deport people who received a traffic citation but failed to show up in court. Huh? Why, not, Sheriff Hennessey? To which Hennessey replies: "The program is excessive. ICE has a history of deporting US citizens by mistake." Statistics, please, Sheriff Hennessey. No response.

NOTE: The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (MUNI) has been so unpopular lately that they can't even get their executive board together with each other. After raising fees, cutting service, and advancing a half-hearted attempt to limit drivers' pay raises during a terrible economic downturn, the board is about as popular as a skunk at a picnic. Since California's law requires that they conduct their meetings in public, they opted this week not to have a meeting at all. Despite extremely pressing issues of immediate import, the board could not come up with the requisite quorum to conduct business.

Much of it comes down to another battle between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. Currently, there are two vacancies on the MUNI board. The Supes object to the mayor's plan to appoint at least one average citizen-rider to the board. God forbid that someone who actually has to suffer from the rude drivers, regular smashups, fare-jumpers, violence, and smelly homeless people who populate the MUNI buses and trains should sit on the board that determines the price and quality of a ride on the rolling garbage cans. The Supervisors must approve any mayoral appointment to the MUNI board.

NOTE: Speaking of the Board of Supervisors, while MUNI can't get a quorum for a meeting, the Supes are now considering a charter amendment which would change the entire nature of MUNI management. Supervisors Chiu, Campos, Mar and Mirkarimi have jointly proposed massive changes in the way MUNI is operated and financed. After a huge public outcry over fare raises and service cuts, the Supes want to make the agency more responsive to the public and economic realities. Well, isn't that refreshing? This would be the third major change in MUNI operations in twelve years.

The proposal includes hiring an inspector general to keep watch over MUNI finances and additional city funds for the agency with provisions for matching cuts in everything except service. In addition, it is expected to include the elimination of the current law which requires that MUNI drivers receive at least as much hourly pay as the second-highest paid drivers anywhere else in the United States.

The negotiations will be conducted in chambers, and will probably stretch into July. Then come the public hearings, and the final Board vote on whether or not to place the proposals on the November ballot. Charter amendments must be approved by the voters. Supervisor Elsbernd has already been conducting his own ballot initiative which specifically addresses the issue of drivers' pay. The Transport Union is not happy with Mr. Elsbernd. If the new proposals include the pay change, Elsbernd will withdraw his separate initiative.

Other provision would change the appointments procedure. Currently, the mayor nominates the entire MUNI board, and the Supervisors can accept or reject. The new idea is that the mayor appoints three, the Supervisors appoint three, and a joint mayor/board nominee makes the seventh member. Although this part of the proposal seems to be a logical way to break impasses in appointments, insiders believe it is a ploy to attack the mayor's new-found zeal for rejection of multiple leftist actions by the Supervisors.

NOTE: Remember that George C. Scott movie where dolphins were trained to communicate with humans? No? Well, it was Day of the Dolphin. The plot was that nefarious characters captured the dolphins, planning to use them as political assassins. That may be why you don't remember it. Well, San Francisco has carried the concept to new heights. Rather than communication with humans, we've recruited two sea lions and a dolphin to search out underwater mines which might be placed in San Francisco Bay by terrorists.

Our marine friends performed nearly flawlessly. They not only detected a fake mine placed by the experimenters, but also caught two test divers, detaining one of them by use of some sort of leg cuff with which they placed him under arrest. How the dolphin communicated to the diver that he was under arrest remains a national security secret. Mayor Newsom said: "They inspired me. It is a reminder that we're not the United States of San Francisco. We are part of this country and there are those that wish to harm this country. San Francisco is on that list. We can deny it all we want, but we will deny it at our peril. We need to be vigilant." Too bad our Sheriff doesn't understand that, but I digress. Now--how do you say "book 'em, Dan-o" in dolphinese?

Now I'm not sure whether this story is funny, impressive, or both. But it only took a short while to hear from our even crazier relatives over in Berkeley. Says Mark Berman of Earth Island Institute: "Dolphins deserve to be in the world on their own terms. It is ethically wrong to keep marine mammals in captivity for human uses." I don't know how feels about the sea lions, but I'm sure we'll hear soon. Said the dolphin: "Well, thanks for all the fish."

NOTE: The reason I picked a photo taken during a San Francisco sunset will be revealed in my Diary next week. I'll just bet you're breathless with anticipation.


Writer X said...

Oh, it would be a happy day to see Babs Boxer and her tired blazers booted into early retirement. Does that look likely? Please say yes.

Unknown said...

WriterX: I wish I could say it's likely, but that wouldn't be realistic. But I can say it's possible, and that's a major change from the past. Most of the factors mentioned in Andrew's post yesterday are in play. If California's economy continues to tank, Obama continues to be the curse that keeps on giving, the anti-incumbent sentiments continue to run high, and turnout is low to moderate, the Republican candidate may have a better than even chance of winning.

My gut instincts are that if Campbell wins the Republican primary, we have a real race. If DeVore wins it, we are probably at "too close to call." If Fiorina wins it, she will be painted as "Boxer Lite," and I give the odds to the Democrats. But for once, this is not a Democrat sure thing.

Extra California factors in play: The actions of the San Francisco and Los Angeles governments in boycotting Arizona play well in the press, but in fact work for Republicans, who actually vote. As one of the top three overtaxed states in the Union, and clear tax increase in DC works for the Republicans (cap 'n tax?). Boxer is uniquely prickly and overconfident. A few slips here and there during interviews or debates could make the difference in a close race.

AndrewPrice said...

I think you picked the sunset because California is out of money and can no longer afford it's sun tax. So they're the sunset is about to get repo'd?

Good luck to Judge Wanger. You know the Ninth Circuit won't stand for such heresy.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Nope. It's because the sunset is best viewed from the public parks, which we're selling off at auction to raise money. Meanwhile, the best things in life aren't free--we charge $10 a head to view the sunset.

I'm sure you're right about the Ninth Circuit. But at least it's light at the end of a very long tunnel.

BevfromNYC said...

Uh-oh, there's a judge in California that's who's obviously not been drinking the CA Cool-aid! Better check his business dealings. Is he secretly financing a new chain of Delta Smelt fast food joints?

Wow are thing that bad in CA that they're taxing sunsets now? What happens if you don't pay. Do they repossess your memory?

Joel Farnham said...


How did you slip that reality micky into the Judge's drink?

And why aren't you mass-manufacturing more?

Unknown said...

Bev: I think the judge smelled a delta smelt, and wasn't pleased.

They don't actually let us see sunsets unless we pay. They just show us pictures, and if we like them, we can pay to see the real thing.

Unknown said...

Joel: It was an experiment. Now that I know it works, I'm looking up every lawyer listed at the Federalist Society and sending them my secret formula. Bwaaah, ha, ha.

Unknown said...

Speaking of illegal immigrants, the Mexican president had the goddam nerve to go into Congress and interfere in American domestic policy. He and his entire country can go to hell. He can make all the speeches he wants to his own people in his own country. He can also say any damned thing he wants privately to his buddy Obama in the White House. But to go into the halls of Congress and lecture a sovereign American state on a matter that is strictly an American issue is a breach of decorum and the bad manners of a low-class guest. He should be kicked out on his ass, and take the illegal wretched refuse of his wretched country with him. He should be cleaning up his own filthy house and keeping his nose out of our business.

BevfromNYC said...

It's insane LawHawk! And the Democrats in Congress gave this complete hypocritical burro's behind a standing ovation!!!! We have entered an alternate universe!

Rush's comments on a Wolf Blitzer interview with Calderon -

Unknown said...

Bev: I guess it's to be expected from a president who couldn't care less about American sovereignty, and will gladly accept an insult from any country that isn't a strong ally. The entire Democratic membership of Congress should be hanging its head in shame. If they're so goddam wonderful, why don't we just adopt the Mexican immigration laws? Now that would comprehensive immigration reform.

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