Brought to You by the DNC

With only Michigan still hanging in the balance, the Presidential Election is Done. Trump was an unlikely nominee and an unlikely victor, at least according to polls. But polls don’t count a lot of things. They don’t count a dislike of polls and how they are used. They don’t count the distrust of a corporate media which has their own agenda. They certainly have no way of registering the intensity of betrayal, unfocused rage, humiliation, and a singleminded determination to make someone, anyone pay for what is essentially the end of hope, patience, and confidence in conventional wisdom.

The media of course pointed out the corrosive, self centeredness of Trump when he was still a contender for the Republican nomination. The other candidates pulled away from him because of his bluntness but most of them had been carefully cultivating the soil of resentment for some time. After all the Republicans’ opportunistic promises, the faithful were demanding that the insider Senators and Governors lusting for the brass ring to spell out exactly where the harvest was, dammit. The more the polite candidates isolated him the more he stood out. The more the media attacked him for his divisiveness the better he looked to his core supporters. Trump’s numbers went up after every smug expose’.

It didn’t hurt Trump that the other primary pretenders were putting all their chips on one losing number or another. “I’m the Jesus candidate.” “I’m the Black candidate.” “I’m the woman candidate.” “I’m the hereditary dynasty candidate.” I’m the…..you get the idea. The Republicans started a high stakes game that an outsider was now better at playing. Trump only bet on one number too but it was a comparative winner – “I’m not an elected politician and I have enough money to make the Republican negative program happen without donors who have strings attached.” Bingo – a winner – so to speak. In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king.

Although the Trump strategy was a winner to get the nomination it should have guaranteed a 1964 Goldwater type train wreck in the general election. Fortunately for him the Democratic Party National Committee came to his rescue. The Country just went through eight years of shell shock after the 2008 crash with only some short term stimulus, no recovery for those taking the big hits, and no jail time for those responsible. Now someone who had been drawing big administration checks all that time thinks she should be President. Virtually all the grass roots, progressive, and blue collar families who went from 60 to 0 in 5 seconds said, “I don’t think so.” An old independent Senator who registered Democrat to fill the void stepped forward.

In America it’s tacitly accepted that you can lie, cheat, and steal to get something in politics as long as you stay within bounds. One of those bounds is that competition among fellow travelers should not descend into fatally backstabbing each other. This would weaken the commitment of the faithful in the General Election. The Republican Party understands this point. The Democratic Party decided to do something different.

A micro cabal of self important dictators, called the Democratic National Committee, decided that anyone who challenged “their” anointed choice for President should be subjected to every trick in the book. They also saw nothing wrong with funneling all money for the Democratic Party to the DNC’s chosen one. What do we care about what a bunch of stupid peasants say in silly primaries?

In spite of overwhelming support of the rank and file, big money prevailed. Incredibly, the DNC thought that the millions who threw their heart and soul behind a game changer would forgive and forget to close ranks against some mythical common enemy. Most Bernie supporters did not have “stupid” tattooed on their foreheads.

Much to the surprise of the professional pundits, the howls of pain and anguish of Trump supporters prevailed over the arrogance of the Democratic establishment. The rust belt that went for Obama in 2008, defected to Trump. Pennsylvania one of the five biggest states: Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016. Obama got North Carolina, a Southern state, in 2008. Lost to Trump in 2016. Trump’s victory was in spite of thinking conservatives defecting to the Libertarian Gary Johnson campaign. It took both major parties together to fantastically screw up to get Donald Trump elected. Maybe we need to dump this anomaly called the two-party system. It breeds an opportunism the future cannot afford.

People who do not share Trump’s simple scapegoat values were angry after the election. They were so angry they decided to join Trump supporters and stop thinking, looking for their own scapegoats. They didn’t have to look far. Trump was the reason Trump was elected and they would riot and hold self righteous demonstrations to protest this reality.

None of these sore losers have the attention span to move on the causes of successive Wall Street crashes, an eight year do nothing administration, a DNC Hell bent on destroying any sign of intelligent life in the Democratic Party, and a 20 year campaign of voter disenfranchisement by the Republican Party. Trump was the beneficiary not the cause of this malfeasance.

In the next two years America needs to take off its dunce hat and put on its thinking hat. Defensively, we need to fund legal action to protect what’s left of our civil rights. But real change will require crafting a researched, long term agenda outside both major political parties. Fact finding across disciplines is not fun and sometimes reveals hard truths. American media will not help and sneer at you. Aggressive bottom up organizing for purposes of supplanting not serving the political and media elite is long, hard work. It is far easier to blame some egotistical, loutish, oaf, who never tried to disguise it, for the desperate choice of the people than it is to take direct responsibility for solving problems going back decades.

Lake County Identity Crisis

Many years ago Lake County used to be part of Napa County, giving it the status of a San Francisco Bay Area county. It was hard to get to in those pre CalTrans days. Around the time that Lake County broke off, another nearby county was breaking up. This was the county of Klamath on the Coast. It was too small and poor to pay its bills, which were a lot fewer back then. The disappearing county became parts of Humboldt, Trinity, Siskyiou, and the new county of Del Norte. Counties can die when there is a good reason.

A case could be made that Lake County should be divided up between its functional neighbors for the good of the residents. After the grinding poverty the best reason for Lake to split at the Putah Creek and Cache Creek Watersheds is the fact that it doesn’t know who it is and is constantly at war with change. The exception is the chamber marketing people who throw all their cash at convincing a skeptical world that we really are part of the Napa-Sonoma-Mendocino “Wine Country.” Sure, out of county wineries are all too happy to take advantage of Lake’s lax environmental regulations for their satellite vineyards but their wineries and tasting rooms stay at home along with the jobs.

Mendocino has a second identity along with Humboldt as the “North Coast”, sometimes referred to as the “Emerald Triangle.” Mendocino generally works well and its county seat Ukiah is convenient to the North half of Lake County. Mendocino has a rim of surrounding communities that boast a strong cultural and community identity. Lake County has little of this. Lake County has a small group of mean spirited, small minded opportunists that love being big fish in a small pond. This leadership class does not see itself as public servants. Their motto is “To the victor goes the spoils.” In this oppressive climate the best and the brightest go elsewhere, if they can afford it.

But even myopic victors need an identity. And the Lake County goobertocracy has chosen the Neanderthal State of Jefferson movement as their inspiration. Its Board of Supervisors were unanimous in spite of this endorsement being in opposition to most of their constituency. After a series of devastating fires caused a billion dollars in aid to pour into beleaguered Lake, the ranting about California and support for Jefferson quietly died. No doubt the fires of secession are still burning in the goobers’ black hearts. So I’ve created a litmus test for NorCal gooberness.

In 1996 there were two interesting California State Propositions – Pot Proposition 215 and the 2/3 Tax Approval Prop 218. These were hot topics and tended to split along liberal and conservative lines. But not always. What if a county tended towards local control and personal freedom. Then they would favor both. In Northern California no county who complains about over regulation has any business voting against 215. This means no “State of Gooberstan.” People who have the can-do spirit will vote against easy taxation also. I don’t begrudge true goober supervisors voting their class war values but their votes should mirror the values of their bosses – the people.

The boundaries of this fantasized goobertopia are constantly shifting, depending on political realities. In the most optimistic version of Jefferson we get a rim of Oregon counties to the North, which has nothing to do with what our California Legislature does, to a Southern frontier of Mendocino, Lake, Yolo, El Dorado and Alpine Counties. A more realistic boundary target consists of about 13 counties, bypassing the hard sell middle Sierra region and Delta Counties. For some unfathomable reason the hard core redneck enclave still includes Mendocino and Humboldt Counties which has far more in common with those sinners in the Bay Area than with Donald Trump voters.

Looking at the 1996 results, a “no” on 215 and a “yes” on 218 says “break out the banjos, load up the squirrel shooters, and stomp the flag burners, yeah ha!” These counties include, coming down from the Oregon border, most of the central and Northeastern counties down to Sierra but not Nevada Counties.They do not include Lake or Trinity, obviously corrupted by Mendocino and Humboldt next door. News is slow getting back to Goober Headquarters. Maybe they think Goobers are the chosen people and they can ignore everyone else. But hey, Lake County Supervisors have a disconnect with the people who pay their salaries also.

Lake County was a 53 percent yes vote on 215 and a 65 yes on 218, along with six other double yes counties in the expansion zone of Greater Gooberstan. This is the hard core goober resistance movement, plus the single liberal “yes on 215, no on 218” county of Yolo. Other sympathetic counties have backed off on a Jefferson endorsement due to the embarrassing hypocrisy of biting the hand that is feeding them. Five of the seven double yes counties I would call the “non goober, local control” federation. But the other two, Humboldt and tiny Alpine, had “super” double yes majorities. I would call those two the libertarian counties.

Bottom line is Lake County is not State of Jefferson country in spite of what our grumpy, head-in-the -sand leaders want to believe. Since we are the “local control group” we should be part of the North Coast/Emerald Triangle network. I really want to join and I’ll always have regular connections in the Ukiah Valley within Mendocino. But in spite of my rustic rural sensibilities, minimal cultural and political functioning demands that my serious focus has to be on the Bay Area. I have a limited “push out” identity that I described as “The Wedge” in a blog but I am committed to identify Lake as Bay Area, in opposition to the deep denial of the Jefferson tribe and the wine country clique.

In order to intellectually identify with an area you have to have a good physical connection with your chosen homeland. Most of Lake County is poor. Buses to the North, East, or the Coast are minimal or non existent. But thanks to an amazing bus system gradually built up since 1995 we not only have four buses a day to the nearest functional city of Ukiah but Lake Transit also sends four express buses a day, six days a week to the South and the big, exciting world beyond. Here’s how it works.

Bus 3 leaves Walmart in Clearlake going to the Northernmost Napa County city of Calistoga. From here you have two choices. Our transit drivers will give you a free transfer to the Napa Vine Route 10 as far as the city of Napa. Your second option, and this is where “the world” comes in, is to pay a few bucks and get on the 29 Express (Monday thru Friday) and blow thru South of Napa. For pure fun, jump off at the Vallejo dock and take the ferry all the way to San Francisco, or stay on the 29 Express and go all the way to the North El Cerrito Bart Station. Now you are a light rail ride away from all East Bay cities, San Francisco, two international airports, the Central Valley, and Amtrack.

This month I’m going to the Napa Film Festival, a law conference in Oakland, and catching the slam poetry venue in Berkeley, all made possible by Lake Transit’s Route 3 to the Bay Area and civilization. Lake County is isolated only if someone wants to be isolated.

No On “V” – The Deadbeat Subsidy

Measure “V” is the latest in a long series of attempts to subsidize residential roads. Since Clearlake was incorporated in 1980 there has been no effort to continue past road assessment districts for roads serving private property. The proponents of Measure “V” have made no effort to mitigate the regressiveness of this sales tax. This is in spite of the fact that California has still not replaced all of their “temporary” cuts in SSI payments made during the real estate bubble crash. Saying people can pay more who are living below official subsistence is like saying people who are anemic can give a little more blood. As the 5th poorest county in California there is a lot of anemia here.

Its all well and good to say these are “public” roads even if they are all in residential neighborhoods. But in reality people think of the road in front of their house as “their” road – even some proponents of Measure “V.” When neighbors of a previous mayor wanted to ban transit buses serving the Senior Center from turning around in “their” neighborhood the Clearlake City Council complied. This public action in deference to private property forced transit buses to make a partially blind U-turn in front of the senior complexes until an emergency agreement could be signed to use Walnut Grove’s property.

Yes, I know something about the buses. When the Lake Transit operations manager says the Clearlake roads tear up the buses she’s right. But she’s leaving out the fact that experienced drivers will have every rut and pothole memorized, slowing down or swerving around them. Due to high standards and low pay most drivers are qualified but relatively new. They don’t stay around long enough to know every bump on a first name basis. And don’t forget that in order to run as many routes for the money as possible Lake Transit buys the cheapest buses which fall apart faster.

It should be no surprise that the Measure “V” Committee meets weekly at the local realtors office. Obviously, if there was a road assessment attached to property it would be a little more difficult to sell depressed lots and houses. This is not surprising since many other local business people are reluctant to pay their bills also. The Business Improvement District was a structure created by the State Legislature in 1994 just for places like Clearlake. The businesses would have total control. The catch is the businesses within the district would have to pay the full assessment.

One goal that should be everyone’s priority is the health of the Lake. Worse than aquatic weeds and algae are the cyano bacteria blooms. These are the outbreaks that smell like sewage. They are unbearable and instantly empty out the lakeside motels and eateries. One of the critical factors is the balance of certain minerals running off into the Lake. More grading causes more sediment run offs.The Measure “V” proponents promise more grading for “The Avenues.” Any questions?

No one is disputing that a ten year sales tax will only make a tiny down payment on an abandoned road system that started out at the bottom in 1980 and went down hill from there. A previous Clearlake mayor quoted $1,000,000 per mile to pave roads. The voter’s pamphlet notes that Cearlake has 63 miles of paved roads and 49 miles of dirt roads. If half of the paved roads needed repaving that would require over 31,000,000. The added several million per year to grade 49 miles of dirt roads is money down the drain and into the Lake. The road job is huge and only assessment districts will generate the kind of money to get the job done, paid for by the people who will benefit the most.

Going back to Clearlake incorporation day, they designated every road as either a “Clearlake road” that they would assume the responsibility for maintaining or a non Clearlake road where the residents were on their own. Often these roads are side by side. Originally there was a difference in condition but the City has not kept up with the road obligations it assumed. Clearlake was not ready to be a real city that provides promised services. And now the people who should be whipping out their checkbooks want the minimum wage and fixed income crowd to pick up their slack. Oddly, local politicos in unguarded moments refer to them as “the wrong kind of people.”

Now I know what Chamber types who think everyone is economically stupid have been saying. Everyone will benefit from anyone’s improved road. But renters aren’t stupid. They will see their rents go up if their rental units become more valuable due to road paving. One City employee amazingly said he liked the idea of visitors paying for our roads. Half of Clearlake’s sales tax comes from Walmart. News bulletin: People are not coming to Clearlake to shop at our Walmart. They have their own Walmart….without the cyano bacteria blooms.

Clearlake could be a tourist mecca if the self anointed leaders didn’t cling to the defeatist strategy that any necessary infrastructure improvements must be paid for by the State, the Feds, the poor or we’ll do without. Frederick Douglas once said that “you can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.” I think that explains why a former part of a Bay Area county would now rather be associated with the proposed goober State of Jefferson than a vibrant community of possibilities for the future.

 

How Many Lower Lake Teachers Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb

 
Monday I found the Post Office closed for Columbus Day. It was not really Columbus Day but Mondays are the dumping ground for days off disguised as holidays. This is the most bogus of all phony American holidays since it celebrates the “discovery” of the West Indies. In three attempts Columbus never landed anywhere that would become part of the United States. Don’t tell the Post Office that others previously landed on our continent or they will want those holidays off too – celebrated on a Monday.

This year I’m grumpier than usual about this insult to those living in the real world. Native Americans have tried to get schools to hijack Chris’s day for Native American Day for some time. But this year it comes on the heels of a Lower Lake High School teacher’s demand that reluctant students join in worshiping the United States flag. A teacher new to Lower Lake High School decided to make all parts of this religious ritual mandatory. Those students who stayed seated were heretics and would be burned at the grade book stake. One silent protester was a Native American.

The protesting students acted much smarter than my past approach of going thru accepted channels. In 12 years of civil rights violations by local government bodies this has yielded me zero results. Leilani Thomas and another student went right to network TV and the ACLU. They didn’t waste time complaining to the administration who hired this teacher. Nor did they did they write a letter to the local “Goober Gazette.” Local media being another black hole for dealing with civil rights abuses. Within hours all national networks and a dozen internet blogs had picked up the story. I was impressed.

The Konocti Unified Schools Superintendent received an informed media assault as her first hint that something was amiss in the public relations department. The student had gone nuclear by recording the barely articulate jingoism of the teacher and we still don’t know what that teacher taught, probably “Mindless Obedience 101.” The recording of an ignorant teacher’s babbling was more serious than the civil rights violation itself, which most goose-stepping Americans were in favor of. In fact, sixty percent of the internet traffic was supporting the teacher’s action against Leilani’s silent protest.

The transcript starts out with the teacher saying, “Here’s the deal.” Then what follows is a very raw deal. The teacher sarcastically offered the student a chance to redeem herself by submitting a written argument in an “essay form” to validate her action. There’s an interesting catch. If your writing skills are poor then you have no civil rights. It sounds like the old literacy tests for blacks voting in the deep South. I know, people protest “Bad analogy. People should be literate to vote.” But petty tyrants gave whites a different test and their goober friends no test at all. I wonder what kind of civil rights essays this teacher is capable of writing – complete with legal case references.

Wait! The recording gets better, almost comical. Dissing the student’s reasoning that the flag does not conjure up warm fuzzy feelings in her for what happened to her ancestors by mobs waving it, the teacher responds, “Like why? Why, because here’s the thing; those people, those people, they’re not alive anymore. Your ancestors.” Such a profound exponent of penetrating incite and inspiring eloquence by a teacher must be defended in our public school system. Having sewed up the Donald Trump vote with this irrefutable reasoning, teacher then spoils it with an argument containing two false assumptions and one honking contradiction.

Paraphrasing: the Lower Lake Cicero explained that the flag represented the military and they “risked their lives for us.” Remember, in her previous breath this guide for the next generation trashed a student for arguments based on experiences of past generations. Now she is demanding that students stand up for generations of mostly dead military personnel. If you don’t think this is a clear contradiction then maybe you should be teaching school in Lower Lake.

I don’t know what college this credentialed embarrassment got her degree from but the flag does not represent the military. It represents this country’s civil society of which the military is subservient to, even though oddly, people in the military are on vacation from our democratically created body of laws. Their laws are called the Code of Military Justice.

The second false premise is that the military risks their lives for us. Who’s us? Were the hundreds of indigenous peoples that were mowed down and dispossessed by our military part of the teacher’s “us” group? What about the dozens of times our military went abroad in the blatant service of corporate interests (especially the banks), crushing popular movements in the process. Back home our military “ancestors” sided with ranchers against farmers and brutally suppressed the “Bonus Army” of veterans. The last time our military “risked their lives,” front and center, “for us” was the War of 1812. But what have they done “for us” lately?

The Super went into damage control mode even before she had caught up with all the facts. The traitorous students were moved to another class – probably “Watch Your Ass 101.” A one sided statement was issued that stated the teacher was being disciplined and that students don’t give up their civil rights when they enter the school grounds. This is not quite true but extra civil liberty restrictions on students must follow the Tinker Standard, a Supreme Court guideline that I’m certain the flag worshipping teacher knows nothing about.

The brushfire is still smoldering even though one school board member says the issue is over. There is still the remaining problem of a Konocti Unified High School principal and a department head that had agreed to hire this ignorant teacher after a lengthy interview. We need to look at the school administration’s bigger agenda and criteria for hiring teachers. Maybe we should look at the standards for hiring principals. This needs to be done before we vote on the local school bond in next month’s election.

Back to Columbus Day. Dump it. No we will not take away a day off from the lucky few. We will replace it with another far more important and neglected holiday. That day, which should be far more revered in our schools and respected by Americans everywhere is Bill of Rights Day – December 15th. It is recognized by Presidential Proclamations and used to be noted on calendars. Although some teachers and principals may disagree, I would trade a flag for the Bill of Rights any day of the week.

Konocti Challenge Century

bri-5948Two days ago I rode in Lake County’s big cycling event hosted by the Rotary Club. Its one of the few attractions that have steadily grown in this poor county. This year I decided to take on the hundred mile version. Since I’m a local, I know all the pieces of the course. Its only the “Century” versions of courses that are compared in cycle magazines. This one compares quite well.

This is another item on my recent retirement to-do list checked off. The Thursday before the Challenge I reentered the world of performance poetry at the Ukiah Writers Read. Actually it wasn’t a performance event since I was the only poet performing with memorized material. To be truthful, I ventured to Mendocino County to introduce my style to Mendocino’s Poet Laureate. This style might be called dramatic reading. My girlfriend calls it “yelling at people.”

A dozen years ago I rode the 65 miler in the same event. This one circles the Lake as close as possible. It’s probably not unfair to say this shorter route is for tourists of mixed abilities who are going to do other things while they are here. It is of limited interest to serious cyclists unless they are recovering from injuries or are in decline.

The reputation of hundred milers being for athletes was made clear when the 65 and 100 routes diverged in Lower Lake. Up to this point I was passing my fellow geezers and the overweight. After they pulled away at the split to complete the 65er the only bikes I saw were a couple dozen buffed people whizzing by who left late.

Since I’m local, the terrain is familiar to me. I ride around the County and over to Napa all the time. The only source of dread was the upcoming 3.5 mile steep grade between Anderson Springs and Whispering Pines on Highway 175. It was painful. But I still had wind and power in my legs so I couldn’t stop. There were other long or steep grades but no more long AND steep grades. I rolled in at 5pm just as the BBQ was starting.

So now I have the minimum credentials to muse on thematic rides I would like to develop. The Rotary has shown no interest in inter county rides. But I can imagine three rides with a historical context or regional appeal. I see a way to add dramatic and video elements to these promoted rides.

First a little history. Lake County never had a railroad coming in to it in spite of many stock selling attempts for the purpose. The only effort that actually stuck a shovel in the ground was the Bay Cities Company that planned an extension from their line in the city of Napa, thru Conn Canyon and Pope Valley then up to Lower Lake. Bay Cities hired 50 people to survey the entire route and actually built a trestle over the creek in Napa. With the invention of the freight truck in 1910 this promising effort was shelved.

There are existing roads that come within a half mile of the planned tracks. The name of this near miss railroad spur wasn’t fixed. For future fictional dramatic purposes I have baptized it the “Konocti Kannonball.” This would also be a good name for a bike run route. Hopefully I’m not the only one who sees the train theme spinoffs.

My second fantasized foray over the County line slides between the East side of Mendocino out of Willits and the West side of Lake County, thru Redwood and Potter Valleys, over to Blue Lakes and Scotts Valley, Hwy 29 to Bottle Rock, then screaming down stream on 175 to Middletown, ending at the brewery on the bus 3 line. Unlike the Konocti Challenge which emphasizes the Lake Chamber pushed spots, this route shows off more of what the locals like and connects with more hip Willits. I call it “The Backstreet.” I am a firm believer in “Mendo-Lake” wide projects to expand opportunities.

For something completely different, I am researching a mountain bike run out of Lakeport, over the Cow Mountain Recreation Area to Talmidge, East of Ukiah. I don’t even know if its possible for anyone not of extraordinary ability to complete this run. As soon as the dirt road pulls away from Scott Creek it becomes “Eight Mile Grade Road.” This sounds bad. In the spring I plan to hike the route before I ride it. This could be the ultimate “bad boy” ride with a gritty anti Chamber of Commerce attitude. I call it the “Escape From Lake County” route.

A screenplay will be forthcoming.

Retirement Grand Opening

My last day of working in jobs was August 6th. The next day was the soft opening of my retirement. I figured I needed at least two weeks to assess the damage to my life from unrelenting six day work weeks and make basic repairs. These are mostly maintenance disasters on my knoll and a couple past due filing issues. My dog noticed my increased presence and walk time right from the start.

The official Retirement Grand Opening of my retirement will be on Wednesday, August 24th at the Starry Plough Irish pub on Shattock in Berkeley. This is the longest running slam poetry venue in Northern California. Every Wednesday is slam poetry night. Slam poetry will be one of my top five ongoing projects in a dumpster load of one time and intermittent projects. I’m developing a concept called “race horse slam” to take this performance poetry to the next dramatic level. All I need is time. Expect to see more blogs and video at “tv8point1.com”.

It was such a pleasure to be able to accept a writing project. The old State Granges have been destroyed by an evil corporate conspiracy. Someone familiar with my work asked me to write a melodrama using former Grange members as actors that will point up and satirize the battle that took place. I can videotape the performance and post it on the internet for all the displaced former Grange members to see.

What are the other ongoing projects? There are videoed/dramatic bicycle and kayak runs. I am still in good shape. I will be writing a series of plays and screenplays. Creating a GPS resource of local movie locations and background actor lists to make me the goto person. I will replace the dry book club format with a video publicized “Homeland Security Book Review Hour.” And lets not forget my ongoing writing research in my “meth lab” library, named after the justification used by our rabid police for a warrantless raid.

Before my bus driving gig and after my stint as a taxi driver I struggled in this poor county. Jobs are few and mean. Finding employment had to compete with fighting hoards of homeless tweekers and politically motivated police attacks. There just aren’t enough hours in a day to work, repel thieves, fight City Hall, and pursue creative interests. Fortunately, by retiring early I added 50 hours per week to attend to the latter three’s time demands.

The knoll should be somewhat presentable as a work and show place next week. Not everything will be installed but I should have a visually interesting video location for creatives to visit. I’m certain code enforcement won’t appreciate the knoll’s artistic potential. But that brings up my civil procedure course project that I will be resuming soon. I also have to catch up on filings for my non profit – “Cache Creek Performance.”

In addition to regular treks to Berkeley, I can now hit the monthly open mics at the Catfish Coffeehouse and the last Thursday Writers Read in Ukiah. Upcoming annual events include the Fringe Festival in San Francisco and the Konocti Challenge bicycle tour around Lake County. I spent three years watching these happenings from the sidelines. Six day work weeks are not compatible with activities that are not planned around your work schedule.

The week before I retired I wrote two ballot arguments against a local sales tax. I now have time to participate in debates to defend my position. A previous version of the tax failed with no opposition. They deleted the clear sticking points but now they have official opposition – me. I could not have resumed my role as an involved citizen while being sidelined in a demanding job. From this point on there will be no more free ride for local goobers who think the City is their entitled cash cow and litter box. I will be responding.

My only regret is that most of the people I knew in Silicon Valley have dropped off the radar physically, mentally, and politically. This happens to many people in old age, whenever that begins. But too many people from my crowd have died or lost function before they reached official geezer status. Its probably just as well I moved to a fringe county where someone can reinvent themselves in a slow but evolving scene.

In spite of the time stress, it was good to finish the succession of jobs at the top of my game. A transit driver has to certify their ability, background, drug use, and social skills. Many of my former acquaintances and family could not do this. I left the world of work as a success at my job. Now it is time to complete my success as a life.

Last Bus Out

Yesterday was Bastille Day. Tomorrow I will be giving three weeks notice at the transit company, not to take another job but to live a different life. I chose this date last March. This is the second time I have moved up my departure date from the universe of jobs. I was not ready to go full-time last September but my number came up early due to the rapid attrition rate. I did not have time to prepare for the rains or install my new system of perimeter alarms – still in their boxes. Clearlake is a high crime area.

In January I had been working six day weeks for four months, doing damage control from the rains the best I could, when I was hit with another nasty burglary, losing a bicycle, a moped, and my precious kayak. That really hurt. I decided to finish the year, earning one paid vacation and a 20% vested in the company plan. I simply had to get my life back as soon as possible. These six day weeks are only for people who live to work. They are not for people trying to keep a writing and performance career from going completely cold.

Two months later in March, Spring had arrived along with police raids on my knoll. It was a spill over from pot farm frenzy down the road. Of course there was no warrant and no apologies – not even for impounding my dog. What could I do? I had no time to shop for a lawyer. I was too busy working six day weeks with nothing open on Sunday. I could have filed papers myself if I had the time to finish my civil procedure course. But I didn’t. These stupid six day weeks forced me to kiss the jack boots of our masters like a good little peasant. Police have no respect for working people.

I decided the next day after I posted my “Pot Police and Pirates” blog to quit as quickly as possible. Forget the vacation and the 401. My tight calculations meant trading money for time. Leaving in early August meant I would have just enough time to rebuild for Winter. At this date, Social Security would give me $1179 per month. I prepared a budget based on this number. I won’t be eating out often or buying much equipment or supplies.

I would have liked to drive the bus for a couple more years, maybe more part time. The problem is work is supposed to add more to your life than than it takes away. Retiring from jobs early so I could get serious about my work reminds me of not being able to begin my true education until I left college. Professors would sometimes hint that the real deal was outside class.

Future plans for a third act promises an interesting show for my useful life. Let’s see, I have a succession of one hour plays to write and produce. There’s the changes in slam poetry performance and judging I want to popularize. My experiments in dramatic video editorials have annoyed so many people I simply have to do a lot more. I’ve got a couple full length plays and screen plays in mind but I won’t make a habit of these old school genres.

I suppose everything else would fall under performance art. Everything would be put on video from puppets, found art crafts, to themed bicycle, kayak, and run events, to videotaped radio shows, cheesy video and parody contests to rustic and medieval salons. There are no limits when you have your health and lots of time.

Maybe I’ll get my teaching credential back and offer to teach a killer economics class. I can’t do that driving a bus six days a week. This will be after I finish my civil procedure course so I won’t have to worry about getting sand kicked in my face anymore by small town goobers.

A bus driver continues to build skills through experience after their official training ends. Many things can only be learned or discovered by doing them over and over. This human capital represents value added for the company and the public. When drivers are forced to leave the result is lost investment in human capital and value for the passengers. The drivers who are forced to leave often have to preserve their own human capital in their personal life. People have values and interests outside work that require maintenance.

Mismanagement of driver hiring and retention has damaged both Lake Transit’s and the drivers’ human capital. In my case, I’ve waited as long as I could to prevent total disaster.