You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2013.

Tonight on KHSU at 7:00.  We’ll discuss what looks to be a SCOTUS gutting of the Voting Rights Act.  It was argued yesterday (or it will be yesterday in less than an hour), and there were some pretty remarkable comments, including an extraordinary statement from Justice Scalia arguing that because the 2006 extension of the provisions applying to problem areas of the country was practically unanimous, it means that voting rights have become a “racial entitlement.”

My guests:

Ryan Emenaker is a professor of political science at College of the Redwoods. His research  focuses on judicial politics and separation of powers. He has written numerous pieces on the history and role of the Supreme Court. His most recent article, on why the Supreme Court should uphold the Voting Rights Act, appeared on SCOTUSblog the premier news and research site on the Supreme Court.

Mohamad Alnakhlawi is an honors student at College of the Redwoods majoring in political science who plans to apply his education of political institutions and interests to a career in journalism and or public policy and law.

Mercedes Scoles- is an honor’s student, a political science major and plans on a career in public policy or education.

Seriously, this is not an onion piece.  China is banning the practice of reincarnation without official permission.   The issue?  The Dalai Lama is refusing to reincarnate to a rebirth in Tibet until it is independent.

But maybe the practice should require a license!

The Board of Supervisors selects an at-large P.C. rep on Tuesday. Some great names on the list. Hank has an excellent post on the matter, and he’s probably right about the outcome.

Still, in my opinion the best name on the list is John Rogers, a Redway resident who has served with the Institute for Sustainable Forestry and spent a long time on the Redway Community Services District. Will the BOS have the good sense to appoint him?

I’ll be writing a more detailed post in support of John over the weekend. Now is the time to contact your Supervisor!

He’ll talk about what he does to try to keep the river areas clean, and respond to some criticisms from other members of the community – tonight on KMUD at 7:00.

Why the War in Vietnam?

Click on the title above, and it will take you to a PDF of an old anti-Vietnam War leaflet.

Spent Sunday night at my mother’s and she had found it in her storage. Simple black and white thing – no graphics. My parents believe it may have been the first anti-Vietnam war leaflet in San Francisco. It was their creation.

They first pulled it out when I was in high school. Having read some of the SWP stuff I was bringing home – triggering bad memories of their own run-ins with the SWP and similar groups back in the 60s and early 70s, they took it out to show me how political literature ought to be written.

But first a little history. Note that the group members all put their names, addresses, and phone numbers on the back. Naivete. They learned quickly that it was a bad idea. Note that there are four Kirks on the list. Evelyn, my aunt, died a few years back.

At least one other person on the list, Gayle Figueroa, was a family friend who died just a couple of years after this leaflet was printed.  Joseph (now goes by Jose) is still alive and kicking.

My parents don’t remember much about the others on the list, except that they were all in their late 20s or older – some of them from radical families and others Civil Rights Movement veterans (with plenty of overlap between the two). Ace Delosada was a bit older, and was active in the CIO before it merged with the AFL – I know this from an old library archived newspaper article I found online.

There was plenty of political activity in Berkeley at the time, largely the Free Speech Movement on campus, as follow-up to the CORE activities against job discrimination in grocery stores and the anti-HUAC demonstration which radicalized so many of them at City Hall. There was not much outside of labor happening in San Francisco. The North Beach scene was never really political in anything other than a cultural way, and the Haight Ashbury was just starting to percolate. I did not know until I saw this leaflet again (and didn’t notice it 30 years ago) that my parents had moved us from Mill Valley to Castro Street. By the time I was two, we lived on Cole Street in the Haight (and left for Moss Beach and the Blue Lady well before the Summer of Love when I was three). So this leaflet was printed in 1965 or perhaps early 1966.

And it generated an enormous response.

These were older activists – some of them seasoned. Grounded. And they understood the Socratic approach to rhetoric. I think it is one of the best written leaflets I’ve seen. It doesn’t tell you how to think. It’s primarily a series of questions. Designed to simply make you think. It avoids words like “imperialism.” And it avoids slogans like “Say No to the War in Vietnam!” It invites the reader to find his/her own voice. It respects the reader.

And the activists who understand this concept are far and few. Part of the reason I was drawn into the Christian left movements, even before I seriously considered religion itself, was the approach of humility and respect sometimes lacking in the secular movements, particularly in the hard old and new left milieus.

Still, the leaflet resulted in threatening phone calls, and other harassment. But the group grew rather quickly.

The group that formed would evolve into the San Francisco contingent of what would become known as The Peace and Freedom Party. My parents didn’t stay involved. They thought that Eldritch Cleaver was a bad choice to run for President in 1968, but supported him anyway. By 1972, they were supporting McGovern even though they liked the P&F candidate – Dr. Benjamin Spock. When I want to cast a protest vote because the Democrat is too conservative or otherwise undesirable, I opt for the P&F Party candidate more often than the Green, and I wish they would merge. We don’t need our fringe groups splintered at the ballot.

Anyway, just thought I would share.

A few weeks ago I posted a positive review of Ritual Coffee, which has it’s flagship coffehouse on Valencia Street in San Francisco.  I was there again today to try their $5.00 cup of coffee (Yes, it’s worth it, but obviously I wouldn’t spend that every day).  My wife tried the capuchinno, but still does not like coffee.  Ah well.

Lilith is pictured here over her well-poured cup of chocolate. 

Lilith's ChocolateI also bought two bags of their beans.  Their Bolivian Illimani blend is in the red bag – they boast flavors which include red grape, brown sugar, and wildberry.  In the black bag is their standard-bearing Columbian brand – for which they boast flavors which include banana, Meyers Lemon, and orange push-up popsickle. 

Needless to say, they enjoy their craft.


We walked the rest of the neighborhood.  Maybe it’s because it was President’s Holiday Weekend or something, but Valencia Street isn’t what I left in the 90s, when my law school classmate and friend would study in the coffeehouses (almost all of which have been replaced) moving through the neighborhood in the course of a day for changes of scenery.  There were a few trendy restaurants in the area, but today we walked by line after line waiting for meals – seriously, they looked like yuppie soup lines.  I don’t get the appeal, no matter how good the food is.  I have to wonder if part of the desired experience is being seen in the lines.  And I really don’t get the appeal of eating on one of the tables the restaurants put out onto the sidewalk, with the people in line hovering over the seated guests as they eat.

Yes, much of the food smelled very good as we passed, but sorry, no meal is worth that.  I’d rather just stay home and cook something good myself.

But then, I don’t live in the city anymore.


And other than the playground and “inclusion center,” (what’s an “inclusion center?”) located at about 20th Street, you won’t see many non-white faces anymore – not on Valencia Street.  Years ago, activists complained that New College would gentrify the neighborhood.  They were right.  And New College isn’t even there anymore.  Nor are the more seedy bohemian institutions – The Club Coffeehouse, the Leather Tongue Video Shop, and Modern Times Bookstore – all gone (I was mistaken in my previous post, it’s a different bookstore now – though Modern Times survives elsewhere in the Mission). 

One exception.  The Community Thrift Store, and it’s just as funky as ever.  The trend set won’t be seen in there.  It was bohemians and working class folk, and in fact once we were inside, it felt like the neighborhood of old.  Jimmy Clif’s Sitting Here in Limbo over the loudspeaker.  And I located my shelf of used Zyzzyva’s, no longer 50 cents a copy, but now a dollar. 

And my daughter went into the kitchenware section and located a Woodrose Cafe mug, one of the old ones.  It’s there for 50 cents.  I almost bought it, but then, I thought about the mug’s journey.  Somehow, a story it will never be able to tell, it made its way 200 miles to the thrift store.  I thought back to the classroom movie of my childhood, Paddle to the Sea.  Did I have the right to drag the poor mug all the way back to Humboldt County? 

I decided not.


We made it back to the car.  We had been lucky to find a spot right in front of Ritual.  I had poured all my quarters into it – it’s $4.00 per hour.  You can even use your credit card!  I had put in enough for an hour and a half, and later decided I would need more time.  But when I used my credit card it erased my previously paid for time.  I didn’t realize it until I completed the transaction, so I had only an hour and a half instead of the over two hours I rightfully paid for.  I didn’t want to do it again, lest my hour and a half be lost.  We didn’t get back quite in time, and the meter was blinking bright red as we were there.  No ticket on my windshield, but maybe even that’s outdated.  Maybe I’ll get one in the mail.  Maybe they don’t even need meter maids anymore.  Maybe the meter communicated with some big computer and I get ticketed automatically.


ROTRPassed 4 to 1.  Despite the opposition from a local business owner concerned that he wouldn’t make enough money with the plan as is.

According to the Times Standard article, Supervisor Rex Bohn dissented, but the article doesn’t explain.  In fact, later in the article Rex is quoted as dismissing the appeal from the business owner as “economic issues” that can’t be addressed.  Does anybody know why Rex voted against?

Interesting to see that the CHP estimated 25,000 in attendance at previous events.  The cap this year is 8000.

Tickets are on sale now.

The California United Homecare Workers (CUHW) union will be holding a rally on Tuesday and we need your help to make it a success. Please join us as we continue our fight to improve the lives of those who keep our seniors and people with disabilities healthy at home. Here are the details:

What: Rally for Homecare Justice – Wear red to show that you “have a heart” for homecare.

Where: Humboldt County Courthouse, 825 Fifth Street, Eureka

When: Tuesday, February 5 at 12:30 pm

Why: Negotiations with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Humboldt County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Public Authority, have dragged on for over a year as the Supervisors have refused to offer a single penny to the lowest paid caregivers in California. After the workers put forward a Settlement Proposal last December, the Board of Supervisors unilaterally ended negotiations and refused to consider the proposal.

The Supervisors have yet to provide a valid explanation for their refusal to pay homecare workers more than minimum wage. Last September, an impartial Fact Finder (paid for by both the County and CUHW) determined that “the County Clearly has the ability to pay the modest increases sought (as it has acknowledged) and has even budgeted sufficient funds to cover most, if not all the costs.”

Since then, the County has received more than $164,000 in federal funds through the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), a funding source specifically intended to support home- and community-based care options like IHSS. Other counties, including Yolo, Los Angeles, and San Joaquin have committed to using CFCO funds for homecare wages.

Not only does the County clearly have the ability to pay its modest portion of the proposed raise, it also has an opportunity to leverage additional funds that would otherwise be spent in other communities. Because IHSS is primarily paid for by state and federal dollars, approval of CUHW’s Settlement Proposal would infuse our local economy with more than $1.5 million.

If you agree that homecare workers deserve a raise, please join us on Tuesday. CUHW will also be joined at the rally by allies from local non-profits, other unions, the disability rights community, and senior advocates, among others. Following the rally, community supporters are invited to attend a reception at the union’s office, located at 314  L Street, Eureka.


For more information, email shaneb@cuhw.orgor call (707) 382-7270.


– To contact the Supervisors:

Rex Bohn   <> 476-2391 Estelle Fennell  <> 476-2392 Mark Lovelace <> 476-2393 Virginia Bass <> 476-2394 Ryan Sundberg <> 476-2395


February 2013