Fresh Not Frozen: “Paradise Gone”

Image result for paradise ca fire 2018

Eighty seven miles northeast of Sacramento is the City of Paradise. Last night around 6:45 pm “The Camp Fire” Jump a line and destroyed this eighteen square mile city, population 27,000. As of 4am today more than 35,000 people have been evacuated in the area as the fire has not been contained. Six people have perished in the fire.
Image result for paradise ca fire 2018

Conditions in most parts of California is very dry. There hasn’t been any significant rain in Sacramento is several months. Low humidity levels and offshore winds blowing hot air inland, combined with dried out vegetation, could cause any wildfires that spark to spread quickly. A smoke a smoke advisory has been issued for the San Francisco Bay Area over 200 miles from the fire.

Image result for paradise ca fire 2018
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints burns during Camp Fire in Paradise

The “Camp Fire’ was discovered around 6.30am near Pulga, Ca, 26 miles northwest of Paradise. The blaze, named the Camp Fire because of its proximity to Camp Creek . High wind gusts is resulting in a fire growing at a rate of 80 football fields a minute. The Fire is less two miles from Chico, the home to nearly 90,000 and California State University, Chico

All roads in and around the Chico area including 99, 20 are closed.



Bleak and Scary “J” Street

A few days ago, I picked up a few friends from Boston and drove them from Airport to their downtown hotel. . This was their first visit to Sacramento.   From the airport, I was peppered with questions about my city.  They were in town to attend a workshop and worried about having options in the evenings.

In the car, they were taking the in city, asking about undeveloped areas in Natomas near the Sleep Train Arena.  In Boston, there aren’t any large  undeveloped parcels.   There were smiles, as we crossed over the American River looking downtown. “Ohh this is nice and bright”   “What’s that?” pointing at Old Sac, more ooh’s.

As we exited onto “J” street, the car became silent.   I slowed down so they could see the Golden One Center and someone said, I see you have homeless here too.   The car was silent as we arrived at the Sheraton.  We’re having dinner tomorrow right?  Yes.

After dropping them off, I drove back to 3rd and J streets and looked at the area after dark  as if it was my first time.

J Street ,is the Gateway to downtown Sacramento. Everyday, thousands of people visiting Sacramento for the first time enter via J street.

As you enter J street , to the right, there is the bright Holiday Inn, to the left was a closed (at 10pm ) resturant.  Next to the Holiday Inn  is the rear of Downtown Commons which is very dark. Across from it ,is The Pier Lounge which is bright.

As  you cross 5th Street, the brightest building is not the New Sawyer Hotel and Condominiums, its the new Kaiser Permanente building.

From 6th to 7th Street everything is dark.

On the left side of “J” street, between 7th and 8th there is a series of vacant buildings with homeless people sleeping in front of them and one  Subway Resturant and a bail bondsman.

Between 8th and 9th Streets is modern apartment building with a few closed restaurants. Across from it is an office building.

9th and 10th  Cesar Chavez Park on the Left Side and on the Right side are a few closed businesses and on the corner of 10th is the Citizens Hotel. 

The block between 10th and the 11th Street is the worst block in Downtown Sacramento. With the exception of a Liquor Store across from the Citizens Hotel, every building on both sides of the street is vacant.

Thing begin to get better beyond 12th Street near the Sheraton Hotel. The areas is bright, with restaurants and activity.  With the exception of the crowds outside the 7/11 the area feels safe.

For the first time since moving here, I saw the city through the eyes of a visitor. After a driving a few mostly vacant blocks on J Street, I’m not sure if I would want to continue.

“J”  is Sacramento’s welcome mat. It is the first thing visitors see off  Interstate 5.  It is the exit, drivers wanting a break from the road on route to San Francisco or Los Angeles  from  Portland and Seattle or would take.  The first few block on “J” street might  determine if the visitor wants to see more of the city.

 Sacramento often forgets ,”K” is just one street in Sacramento.  Millions has been spent on Kay Street   To get to K street one has to exit onto J Street.

Sacramento is a wonderful and beautiful city filled with amazing trees and historic areas.  The midtown area is vibrant day and night with something for everyone.  One could spend a full day touring our wonderful museums.

Unfortunately, the first time visitors have to drive through a seedy and scary mess to get to get to the beauty.

























4 minutes left for Sac’s Pie Thrower

Image result for sean thompson sacramento

Photo:ocregister via Google



 1.not carefully planned or considered.

2.”ill-conceived schemes”

Examples:  1. Donald Trump Candidacy/Debate Performance

2. A reality show starring Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna

3. Sean Thompson hitting Mayor Kevin Johnson with a Safeway Pie


Sean Thompson, Sacramento’s Activist Coconut Creme pie thrower made an apperance at Tuesday’s Council meeting as promised.

In the last few days, he has become a innocent victim who just happened upon a charity event at Sacramento High School. WHEN a Safeway Coconut Creme pie freed itself from its bag and its packaging and forced him to hurl it at  Mayor Johnson.

Since Mayor Johnson dropped him(literally) ,he wants the charges dropped against him. Even right? (Ahh, my Amazon tablet say’s no) .   His savvy attorney will use the patent Coconut Cremea Defence, last used in 1942 by Larry, Curly and Moe.  It’s is rumored Dr Drew and Omarosa may testify.

The reason behind the attack has changed from interview to interview.  From being a voice for the homeless ,political theater to the Arena which opens next week.  Last week he told KCRA “he felt like he needed to do something jarring in order to get Kevin Johnson’s attention,”

Last night, burning though his last 4 minutes of fame with the HD cameras focused on him, he became Reverend Thompson, preaching to the council about the city’s homeless, and minorities and police department.  The Reverend told La Mayor  “This arena has been your circus,”  “You’ve been the lead clown, and that’s why I threw a pie at you.”


Sean or Reverend Thompson, we need you to sit down. Not sure where you live, but “NEWS FLASH”  The Arena is complete, your about couple of years too late to protest , there are a few Paul McCartney tickets left.  Another NEWS FLASH, Mayor Johnson will soon be the Former Mayor of Sacramento. So we need you to sit down. Well, stand up in court when they ask you  on October 20th and then sit down again.  Perhaps you need less pie and more fiber in your diet.    Please “B GONE!


A pissed Mayor (with pictures) Click the link below



A small Sacramento Delta town that was once like Mayberry. Today its more like Twin Peaks


The lonely bridge into town: Isleton’s population has dropped more than 70 percent since its heyday in the 1960s, according to the city’s chamber of commerce president


39 miles southwest of Sacramento lies Isleton,Ca.   Its located in the beautiful Sacramento Delta. The current population of the town in less than 850.  At one time there were three canneries in the area. The  majority of the employees were of Asian. 


Isleton’s last stand

Tweakers, cop scandals and political feuding: how a tiny Delta town went from Mayberry to Twin Peaks

By: Graham Womack/Sacramento News and Review

The dilapidated trailer sat in front of the suspected drug house, transients living inside.

In Sacramento, such a problem might be addressed with a call to the police or city. But this was Isleton, which hasn’t had a police department since 2012 and where the beleaguered local government couldn’t do much beyond ask the property owner that the trailer be removed.

So one resident did the kind of thing that happens a lot in this remote Delta town on the southern edge of Sacramento County: He took matters into his own hands.

One night in the past couple of years, the resident backed up his truck, hitched the trailer to it and took off. The story goes that while the resident was pulling out of town, freaked-out methamphetamine users were bailing out of the suddenly very mobile home.

The trailer wound up on Jackson Slough Road on Isleton’s outskirts. When Gerry Zink, the city’s public works director at the time, got word of the trailer’s location, he hauled it to a gated area at Isleton’s sewage ponds so the tweakers wouldn’t retake it. Six months or so later, the trailer burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances.

Problem solved, Isleton style.

In a tiny city that’s been broke for years, crazy capers sometimes rule the day. Some of these schemes have crippled Isleton in years past. Today, the city is nearly insolvent, with dwindling public services and resources, standing on the brink of bankruptcy or disincorporation.

But old habits die hard.

Now, even the mayor believes that Isleton should just give up, call it quits as a city and relinquish all control—and its very identity—to the county. “We’re on the bubble,” said Mayor Mark Bettencourt. “How much longer do you want to run on that knife’s edge?”

He’s not the only one asking that question.

Located along a bending tributary of the Sacramento River, Isleton is a speck hanging on to a map for dear life and losing its grip. The city still has its loyalists, residents who glimpse new opportunity and remember the city’s storied past, when it was referred to as the “Little Paris of the Delta.”

But the years haven’t been kind to that memory and the small town stands at a crossroads: Suffering wounds both cosmic (the recession) and self-inflicted (we’ll get to those in a moment), the city of Isleton is a tweaker trailer being dragged to the dump.

Can its leaders stop feuding long enough to take the wheel?    

Isleton’s Many Deaths

The city’s two main drags are Main Street and Second Street, which jet off in opposite directions parallel to the levee as one comes into Isleton off Highway 160. They’re rowed with gold rush-era storefronts and clapboard homes in various states of disrepair: chipped, rotting wood; exposed and rusted metal sidings; warped, swollen garages; and lazy, leaning telephone poles. Eerily quiet, even on weekends, it’s as if some natural disaster has chased out most of the townsfolk.

Longtime city residents say it wasn’t always this way.

“Now it’s very quiet and almost seems like a ghost town,” said Jean Yokotobi, president of the Isleton Chamber of Commerce. “But in ’63, you still had a vibrant agriculture industry here. You had several canneries. You had ag workers. The population went up to about 2,500.”

1963 was the year that Yokotobi arrived. Those were the boom times. Settled in the 19th century, the city boasted one of the West Coast’s first Chinatowns. Now the city is more like Chinatown, the 1974 classic about humanity’s existential futility.

Isleton used to be the asparagus capital of the world, specializing in a white variation on the crop, which grew well in the city’s sandy soil. But then technology changed, and the industry retreated in the 1950s. In time, the canneries left, too.

It’s also been years since the Crawdad Festival drew thousands of tourists to Isleton on an annual basis. Started in 1986 by Ralph and Charli Hand, the couple began losing money on the festival and turned it over to the city in 2005. In 2006, with the city and chamber of commerce jointly hosting the festival, $12,000 in deposits went missing, according to a 2008 investigation by Sacramento County’s grand jury. The Hands reclaimed the festival in 2007, and took it out of town for good the following year.

Today, the Crawdad Festival operates in Tehama County.

“There was no choice,” Charli Hand told SN&R. “We didn’t have the money.”

Hand still runs a card room and real-estate office in Isleton, and hopes the city can rebound. “Isleton used to be just like Mayberry,” she said.

Locals say that a lot. But this is Mayberry gone bad. Or maybe this is just what Mayberry would devolve into in real life: Sheriff Andy Taylor contracted out, Aunt Bee persecuted by town gossip, Barney Fife a grand jury investigation waiting to happen.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the Isleton Police Department.

If the retreating asparagus and crawdads cost Isleton its cultural cache, they also leeched the city of crucial revenues.

The general fund shrank to a measly $1,285 in 2012, which in turn left the city vulnerable to bizarre gambits and seedy scandals. In January of that year, either the city or the state stopped paying the department’s workers’ compensation insurance. Stories differ on why this happened.

Dave Larsen, who was both the city manager and city attorney at the time, told SN&R that the state compensation insurance fund canceled Isleton’s policy due to accumulating back debt. Larsen says he tried to negotiate a payment plan with the state and a bailout loan from the county, but was unsuccessful on both fronts.

Others, such as current City Manager Dan Hinrichs, say Larsen mismanaged funds. The council fired Larsen in April 2012, and Larsen subsequently sued the city for wrongful termination and defamation; both sides agreed to a confidential settlement this year.

Hinrichs was appointed to replace Larsen just in time for a series of scandals.

First, Hinrichs recalls, a repossession agent called to ask about a cache of guns a previous police chief allegedly hadn’t paid for. Then, in early May 2012, Hinrichs placed interim police Chief Steve Adams on administrative leave, after Adams reportedly posted on Facebook that he wanted to tell the media of problems in town. A police officer had already resigned after allegedly getting caught having sex with his mistress in a squad car.

The day after Adams went on leave, a different officer attempted to shoot a dog fighting another dog, according to a CBS13 report at the time. Hinrichs told SN&R that the officer missed, with the bullet ricocheting off a curb and striking a bystander’s leg. The department already lacked firearm training and was in danger of losing its state Peace Officer Standards and Training certification, so Hinrichs asked the sheriff’s department to take over, according to a May 10, 2013, news report.

Two weeks later, CBS13 quoted an anonymous source accusing Councilwoman Elizabeth Samano, a Larsen ally, of selling drugs. Speaking to SN&R, Samano denied the accusations and claimed they originated from a woman living near one of her rental properties, whose story she says was coached by Adams.

“He was able to befriend a lady who lived across the street who was willing to say whatever,” Samano said.

Asked if he could recall the drug accusations against Samano, Adams initially denied it. Pressed further, he told SN&R, “I heard allegations, but it was just from the public. I had nothing to base it on, nothing to go forward on, nothing.”

The Isleton Police Department was no longer functioning by September 1, 2012, which is when the sheriff’s department took over, CBS13 reported. Today, the city outsources its public safety for approximately $200,000 a year. About half of that is covered by a state grant.

Discount law enforcement had other costs, though. At a May planning commission meeting, one resident noted Isleton’s “nests of tweakers … [who] steal everything that’s not nailed down,” though another local resident claimed that crime had actually dropped by half between 2013 and 2015.

The sheriff’s department didn’t fulfill multiple public records requests seeking crime statistics in Isleton. According to statistics compiled by the California Department of Justice, only two violent crimes were reported in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available. That year also saw 23 property crimes, half as many as were reported in 2013.

But the Delta area is a hot zone for illegal marijuana grows, according to an August 23 grant acceptance request filed by the sheriff’s department, with the department uncovering 25 hidden grows last year in a 10-mile radius of dense cornfields. The department’s marijuana task force also seized 77 firearms and made 78 arrests, the form states.

Still, the city’s unsafe reputation persists.

Many Main Street storefronts are boarded up and vacant, as are the former police station and one bank. The city’s population is circling the drain at approximately 800, give or take. Today the general fund collects roughly $500,000 a year, compared to a city debt that has reached $1.6 million.

Residents Dave and Julie Amma aren’t optimistic that things will improve. When Dave Amma first met his wife a few years ago, he would tell her how great the city once was, how the Crawdad Festival drew 30 people to his home during those Father’s Day weekends. Julie Amma remembered hearing about how people hopped between five busy bars in Isleton.

“It sounds like everybody would have fun and gather and spend,” she said. “It sounds like those days are long gone.”

City officials are still willing to gamble that that’s not the case.


It takes a Village

Eighteen homes built several years ago stand empty and incomplete, facing each other across a barren divide. Some lack exterior staircases, with loose boards lying in dirt. Inside, the rooms are dirty, the floors unfinished. Red tags underline the shoddy state, three-story vessels in danger of being torn down.

Welcome to the Village on the Delta, Isleton’s latest hope and misstep.

Located on the town’s edge at the Highway 160 entrance, the subdivision is embroiled in litigation and a stalemate between the developer that inherited this project and the city that needs it to survive.

In the early 2000s, the city approved this 300-plus home development. Original developer Del Valle Homes started construction before the 2008 recession hit and the company went under. A different developer, KLD Ventures LLC of Roseville, assumed control in January 2013, but is struggling to get the first crop of 18 houses sold before moving forward with the rest of the subdivision.

The semi-built homes still need, among other things, staircases, sewer hookups and landscaping. The city has given KLD multiple extensions, but work has come to a standstill, say city officials. Additionally, as many as 15 of the homes have suffered additional damage since they were erected.

“We are also certain that there are squatters living in those houses,” Hinrichs wrote in an August 23 report to the city council.

That wouldn’t be the weirdest thing to happen at this site.

Before KLD entered the picture, the city allowed a marijuana grow operation to set up shop and begin cultivating inside the stalled subdivision.

On the heels of a recession that hit the small delta town particularly hard, around late 2010, Delta Allied Growers made Isleton an offer it couldn’t refuse. The marijuana growers assured city officials their operation was legally above board, and promised the city as much as $600,000 in revenue that first year, as well as jobs for 50 people. Isleton’s annual deficit hit $488,181 that year, so the prospect of digging out of that hole seemed like fortune finally smiling on the hard-luck hamlet.

Enter the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, which convened a criminal grand jury investigation into whether city officials violated state and federal laws concerning marijuana cultivation. The D.A. ended up not filing charges, but reported Larsen to the California State Bar Association for conflict of interest allegations.

In a report it released in June 2011, the grand jury concluded that “the city of Isleton was highly vulnerable to a seemingly lucrative proposal, and that DAG exploited that vulnerability.”   It wouldn’t be the last time.

Today, the city has its fiscal hopes wrapped up in Village on the Delta


KLD faces ongoing litigation from its Sacramento-based lender, Socotra Capital, after allegedly defaulting on a $3.48 million construction loan from 2015 to make the requested improvements. In an April 5 letter to Hinrichs, KLD representative Sidney B. Dunmore acknowledged the “unanticipated delays,” but contended they had more to do with “funding issues” than “dereliction on the part of KLD.”

Be that as it may, the city has gotten tired of waiting for its long-deferred dream to be realized, of a housing subdivision that could double Isleton’s population and boost its plummeting tax base.

One house made it into escrow this summer, only to fall out, with the city unwilling to issue final permits or a certificate of occupancy. In his August 23 report to the council, Hinrichs wrote that the city would “red tag” the unfinished homes for a second time in about a year, indicating substandard work and at least the possibility of demolition. Posted notices also went up at the development site in recent weeks, threatening to auction certain lots outside Sacramento Superior Court on August 24, an action that Hinrichs said was postponed two weeks.

These threats appear to be empty ones.

Tearing down the homes “would be a terrible mistake,” Hinrichs wrote. Instead, the end goal is to have the finance company come in and take over completion of the houses. “It will be a hassle with these people, but that is not unusual when dealing with developers,” Hinrichs added.

KLD representatives and a company attorney didn’t return phone messages seeking comment. Adham Sbeih, CEO of KLD’s litigious lender, Socotra Capital, told SN&R his firm remained optimistic regarding the development.

But not everyone is pulling for the project. “I just think they were not built to complement a historic

Flat Broke and Frantic

DeJack’s Country Store is one of the few businesses left open in town. The shop is more like a bodega or mini-mart, with a small selection. Some locals make the drive to the Costco in Lodi to stock up on provisions and only patronize DeJack’s if necessary. On a recent trip, the store’s owner, Jack Chima, introduced himself as a member of the planning commission and explained there would be no council meeting next door that evening at City Hall, as the city’s website indicated.The website hadn’t been updated in years.


Glenn Giovannoni serves on the planning commission, owns a local storage business and could be Isleton’s next mayor. Giovannoni and three other candidates are running for the city council in November: incumbent Councilwoman Pam Bulahan; longtime volunteer firefighter Dean Dockery; and resident Paul Steele, who, according to photographer Victoria Sheridan’s website, organized the Spam-throwing contest at the Isleton Spam Festival in 2014.

The five-member council will appoint the next mayor.

“I was raised in this community so I have a big heart for it,” Giovannoni said. “I’ve always thought Isleton had great potential—and it still has great potential.”

There are people still fighting for Isleton’s survival as a city, but they have different ideas about what could reinvigorate the town.

Samano wants a focus on small businesses and a ban on franchises. Chima would like to attract a manufacturing concern to headquarter in Isleton, to distribute goods throughout the region. Giovannoni and Yokotobi want a renewed emphasis on cultivating a tourist economy, while Hinrichs envisions developing an artist community, similar to Sausalito’s, and is excited by a couple relocating from Oakland to start a beer-tasting room on Main Street.

“Open your business here,” Hinrichs pitched. “You’ve got cheap rents. The crime problem that we have—it’s not 100 percent [taken care of], but it’s under control. I’m told by the deputies that the crime’s no worse here than it is anywhere else in the Delta.”

Still, one can’t help notice what’s missing here.

Across the street from DeJack’s, the Isleton Fire Department has just one paid employee, a part-time chief who also works for the contract paramedic service in town, Medic Ambulance. The city is able to keep an ambulance in Isleton by letting its medics crash for free at the fire station.

In June, local voters approved Measure B, a half-cent sales tax estimated to raise $91,000 to make the chief full-time, purchase much-needed equipment and maybe hire another part-time employee. City officials have also discussed placing another half-cent sales tax on the November ballot to bolster the general fund.

But these are patchwork fixes for a much deeper problem that not everyone thinks can be solved. Zink, the former public works director who retired last year, called Isleton “a pretend city.”

“I talked with the mayor,” he said. “I told him why I left. That was one of the reasons. You never had enough tools, you never had enough equipment. It was always inadequate what you had to really go out there. You need another couple people, but the funds aren’t there.”

The mayor agrees.

“We’re doing them an injustice right now with the levels of services that we’re providing,” said Bettencourt, who isn’t running for re-election in November. “I believe the county can provide a better service.”

That’s easier said than done.

A Sinking Ship


Inside a drab, white conference room located beside City Hall, consultant Ken Dieker said he had good news for Isleton’s elected officials: It would actually cost too much money for the poor city to declare bankruptcy or disincorporate.

“You absolutely are on the razor’s edge of being able to survive,” Dieker told the city council and a small gathering of residents on July 9. “Absolutely. But you’ve made progress.”

With a general fund deficit shrunk down to a manageable $13,000, Dieker counseled Isleton’s finest minds to stick it out and rein in unnecessary spending.

Almost on cue, that’s when things fell apart once again.

Councilwoman Samano asked how the city’s estimated debt of $1.6 million figured into this rosy projection. Dieker couldn’t immediately say.

Commissioner Chima wanted to know whether the deficit amount could change before the budget was finalized. Dieker figured a swing of $5,000, perhaps $10,000.

Commissioner Giovannoni, calling the numbers soft, walked out on the presentation, returning later.

After the meeting, Bettencourt acknowledged his colleagues’ skepticism. “They don’t believe what we’re telling them,” he told SN&R.

Mistrust is a given in Isleton, where years of mismanagement and infighting have fostered an air of straight-up dysfunction. But the stakes have rarely been higher.

While Dieker reiterated the grand jury’s 2008 conclusion that disincorporation would be a costly, time-consuming process, the jury did recommend the city explore that option if it couldn’t provide necessary services to its residents.

If it couldn’t get its act together, in other words.

Perhaps Isleton’s biggest cheerleader, Yokotobi thinks that day won’t come without an irreversible reckoning. “I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere unless it disincorporates,” she said. “We need new blood in here.”

But disincorporation is no quick fix, no magic bullet. It would mean representation by a handful of officials who live outside the area, primarily Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, whose district encompasses six unincorporated areas and four cities, including Isleton.

“The problem is Don Nottoli, who’s done a great job of representing our area, he’s only one of five votes,” Hinrichs reflected.

Nottoli says he and his colleagues want to help, in whatever form that’s possible. “There certainly is a willingness by our board to, I think, not just … help the city get on its feet, but stay on its feet,” he said.

That aid has had its limits, though.

The county has declined Isleton’s loan requests for years, Hinrichs said. Here, things are always precarious, the next fight never that far off. Prior to the July 9 council meeting, Hinrichs told SN&R he was going to publicly censure Samano for creating a hostile work environment. He backed down, and ended up reading a general statement that didn’t name her. Councilwoman Bulahan, a rival of Samano’s, kept echoing what Hinrichs said while Samano sat stone-faced.

Given the stakes, it was a weird meeting. The city is on life support, and its caretakers can’t stop bickering. That kind of drama is why Bruce Pope retired. The city manager before Hinrichs and Larsen, Pope checked out in 2011.

“There’s a lot of conflict for the city,” Pope said. “You have people coming to council meetings, coming to my office screaming and hollering, fire department out of control. … I don’t need this kind of stuff. Semiliterate assholes.”

Forget it, Jake. It’s Isleton.

Good Morning Woodland How Are You?






25 minutes northwest of Downtown Sacramento is Woodland ,California

It’s the second largest city and the seat of Government in Yolo County

Pictures Taken Sunday, July 17th 2016, Throughout Woodland







Woodland’s Opera House Is the oldest Opera House in the Sacramento Valley. It dates backs to the late 1800’s.  It is a State and National Landmark


This slideshow requires JavaScript.




This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Where the lights are Bright”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just for Kids*



SOMEBODY! tell a joke….


Come on America its dark out there.  Social Media is like a tomb.  Individuals dredging up two and three year old videos of police brutalizing citizens.

Thursday night, I shared my  life as a black man.   By Friday, I was overwhelmed by the news and sadness and anger  I needed break for one day, I didn’t want to talk to another person about to share tales of  sadness and despair

On Saturday I posted the following to my Facebook page:

Not doing it today. Taking pictures, listening to comedy on Satellite Radio. Working out. calling a few friends in the south and east coast. (Once I find my cell phone and pay the bill. ) Unapologetically selfish today. My life matters. Who knows a good joke?

The response was positive, quite a few people “liked” the post.  Then there were others who  chose to send a message instead.,with one person saying they felt it was too soon.

I drove to Jackson to visit friends.  Wanting a coke, I stopped at a Mini Mart. While it could have been me: I felt the room tense up as I stood in line waiting to pay. Everyone was very quiet. ( I wonder if some people think that black people are angry at white people)  A dine fell out of my pocket and then a penny and then my keys.Irritated I told the dime,penny and the keys to knock it off.   People laughed, one woman said she hates when things jump out of her purse. The same women, waived as she was pulling away.

I recognize we all heal differently.  If you need the anger or reinforcement via video or think my approach is too simplistic ,then you are not happy with me and that’s okay .

I believe change happens with one person, then another person. Tomorrow my anger might return but that’s tomorrow.  Life ends in a moment and at this very moment I’m choosing happiness.


AM I Next? Will I die this weekend?

All the lights in my car are operational. My registration will be current this afternoon.  Easily accessible copies of my vehicle registration will be placed in white envelopes throughout my car.  My wallet with my identification will be in the cup holder of my car.

I plan to  visit a commercial property a friend recently purchased in a rural county outside of Sacramento.    I have been stopped without cause, several times. It’s a given if your black or brown.  It doesn’t matter if your driving a two hundred dollar Toyota Corolla or a ninety thousand dollar Mercedes.

 I was stopped on Highway 16 on route to the Jackson Rancheria Casino with a young friend. I saw the officer give us a  look and knew we would be pulled over.   I didn’t say anything to her, I was just hoping she would remain calm.  A black man and a young white girl. Sure enough, he made a u-turn and turned on his lights.  He asked for my license and stared at the two of us. She was outraged, she didn’t understand, I waved my hand to calm her.   I think the event changed who she was.  No ticket was issued, we were allowed to proceed.  Recently, we shared that 15 year old story with her husband.

In light of Dallas, law enforcement agencies are advising officers to be vigilant.

I am saddened by the murders of the officers in Dallas sad for their friends and families.  I’m also sad for the families of  Dylan Noble(White Lives Matter 2) in Fresno, California or Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile of St Paul, Minnesota who were also murdered.

A few news pundits will look into the backgrounds of the police officers and dissect the backgrounds of the murdered citizens. Despite what we saw, perhaps their backgrounds caused them to be murdered by the police.

 Abdullah Muflahi, owner of the Triple S Mart decision to release the store video to the press instead of the police cleared up any misconceptions as Muflahi’s video does not appear to support the officer’s claim that Sterling’s gun represented an active threat: It appears to have been in a pocket and never reached his hand. Instead, the video shows Sterling pinned down, shot twice in the chest, and then shot four more times. Some believe the video might have  been suppressed by the Police Department

There will be more protest all over the country this week .

Some officers will be nervous, while they are professionals they are also human.  There are few people of color east of Sacramento. For some,brown skin is brown skin, doesn’t matter if your Indian, Latino, or from the Middle East and Black is always black.   Stereotypes fester when there is one race and  when there is no social interactions with people of different hues and backgrounds.  Some communities might benefit when it has officers who reflect the communities they serve.

SO, this weekend. I’m heading east to the foothills.  I’m not a gang member, I have no weapons of minimal or mass destruction. I don’t drink and the only drugs  can  be found on me is warfin and high blood pressure mediation.  I do happen to be a big and tall black man, intimidating to some.

I never plan to be stopped by the police,it’s never a goal.  I support the police, most are honorable some are friends. . But I also have history (DWB).  My concerns are real.  It is not a myth, unarmed black people are being killed.

Am I next? Will I die this weekend?