Saturday, July 12, 2014
Monday, October 14, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
For several days we negotiated dirt/gravel byways occasionally clogged with snow. The roads did their best to topple us if we slowed too much allowing the front wheel to plow and lose steerage. It is as if someone kicked the wheels right out from under you. One second you’re upright, and the next you are down, or struggling to keep the motorcycle from pitching you head over heels. Through all of that, we failed to spot a close military jet.
Russ and I were still high-fiving when both birds banked to an eastbound and then a southbound heading. Two black specks rocketing down the valley, back the way they came. When the leading jet turned westbound toward our partners, I realized that they were going to come around for another pass. I envision the radio conversation that might have occurred between the pilots.
Wingman to Leader: “Did you see those guys holding up Ol’ Glory? Let’s go around.”
Leader to Wingman: “Roger. There are two stopped vehicles about a mile apart. I’ll take the first, and you take the second.”
Wingman to Leader: “Roger that.”
That is the way it happened when we said, “Thank You.” And, they said, “You are Welcome.”
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Who’s Jon? That would be Jon Seyster, a 26 year old Simi Valley man with cerebral palsy. He intends to ride a hand propelled tricycle 530 miles from Ground Zero to the Pentagon starting on 9/11/11. Jon is participating in the Ride 2 Recovery’s 9/11 American Challenge ride. Jon is raising money to assist our Wounded Warriors.
I strained to understand Jon as he spoke from his wheel chair. He explained that it is his passion to “give back to our military.” Jon is going to ride side by side with our Wounded Warriors.
Jon said on his website, “I can’t think of a better way to begin my new chapter in life by first giving back to our military. It is because of them that I was able to go to college and be what ever I want to be. Riding side by side with them will be such an honor.”
Who is this severely handicapped man reaching out to his heroes in a real grueling and physical way? He is a man, perhaps better equipped than most of us, to know personally the challenges facing our wounded.
I don’t know a lot about Jon, but I do know this; he’s a man with a huge heart and buckets of courage. We can learn from him.
Perhaps you might be interested in helping Jon by financially assisting to make his dream come true. Go to Jon’s website, Jon’s Freedom Ride http://jonsfreedomride.com/ and sponsor him as a rider at the Ride 2 Recovery site, http://www.ride2recovery.com/sponsor-a-rider
Links in this Blog:
Jon’s Freedom Ride
Ride 2 Recovery
Sponsor a Rider
Friday, May 6, 2011
Suction dredging for gold is a mainstream (pun intended) activity for small mining operations. It is the goal of radical environmentalists to terminate all suction dredging. To that end, suction dredging is currently halted in California pending new regulations following a recently released environmental impact report conducted by the Department of Fish & Game.
The public comment period on the report and proposed regulations ends 5/10/11. Enclosed below is my public comment addressing the proposed regulations, which provide draconian police tools to target law abiding citizens.
Mr. Mark Stopher
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust St.
Redding, CA 96001
Comments Regarding: Suction Dredge Permitting Program
Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report
California Department of Fish and Game
Dear Mr. Mark Stopher,
When I read California’s newly proposed suction dredge regulations, I immediately began to see red flags. My law enforcement background and sense of justice is sounding a red alert.
Although I’m not a suction dredge miner, I am a miner and these proposed regulations are just plain wrong — and unjust. As a former law enforcement officer, I easily recognize the threats contained in these proposed regulations to suction dredge miners specifically and to the public in general.
The Department of Fish and Game intends to impose on suction dredge miners a class of permit requirements and restrictions that it does not impose on hunters and fishermen. There are four notable areas of unique requirements:
1. a maximum of 4,000 suction permits are to be provided
2. dredging equipment must be itemized, “A list of all suction dredge equipment that will be used under the permit, including nozzle size, constrictor ring size (if needed), engine manufacturer and model number, and horsepower;”
3. a maximum of six dredging locations are allowed per license and a list must be provided with an exact geographical location for each site
4. an approximate date for dredging must be provided for each location
Historically, there has been no limit to the maximum number of suction dredge permits that can be issued. According to DFG, the previous number of annual permits issued is in the area of 3,000 or so.
The current plan to limit the maximum number of permits to 4,000 is unsupported by data indicating the necessity of the requirement. Whether or not it is an intended consequence by the DFG or not, the plan presents the possibility that environmental activists may purchase permits with the expressed purpose of locking out suction dredge miners from exercising their federal statutory rights to mine. Buying up most of the suction dredging permits is far cheaper for the environmental activists than filing lawsuits. The State is, therefore, aiding and abetting a radical environmental agenda.
There are only three dredging equipment specifications in the regulations:
1. the diameter of the suction nozzle;
2. the intake hose diameter;
3. and pump intake screen specifications.
Why is it necessary for the state to force the miner to disclose a list of all unregulated equipment used to include engine manufacturer, model number and horsepower? Changing any of the equipment without the onerous modification of the permit is impermissible and citable. Clearly, the listing of all equipment, for which there are no State permit requirements, is a selective enforcement tool for DFG law enforcement, a polite way to say harassment.
The requirements of location and dates reveal another State agenda, which will impede and make difficult the lawful activity of suction dredging.
The proposed regulations would make it unlawful to dredge anywhere other than the maximum six locations listed on the dredging permit. The limitation to number of dredging locations, without justification of supporting data, clearly limits the opportunities to suction dredge.
Why does the State need to know the whereabouts of suction dredging locations? And, why does the State need to know the “approximate” dates that each location is intended to be dredged? These requirements are clearly designed to assist law enforcement to easily locate a suction dredging operation.
Civil law enforcement operates in two modes, reactive and proactive.
Reactive enforcement is when law enforcement learns of a potential violation of law and responds to address the specific violation by specific violators.
Proactive enforcement is when law enforcement targets a class of suspected violators of law with specific actions. Unlike reactive enforcement, proactive enforcement presumes violations by a class of violator.
These regulations clearly announce that suction dredgers are a specific class of potential law violators that requires that law enforcement be provided the proactive tools to deal with the violators. Therein lays the rationale for the location and approximate date requirements for permitted suction dredging. These regulations provide no data to support a de facto assertion that suction dredgers are a specific classification of law violators justifying the specific proactive targeting of them by law enforcement.
Unintended consequences of the requirements of location and dates are even more ominous. DFG license data is public information and thus discoverable via a public records information request. The data will be extremely beneficial to anyone desiring to locate a dredging operation for purposes of robbery, theft or vandalism. In addition, it tells criminals when the suction dredger’s residence may be vacant and more vulnerable for burglary and/or home invasion robbery.
Characterizing suction dredgers as potential criminals, these regulations provide law enforcement with specific and unique proactive tools to target the miners. By formulating unjustified regulations, the State is deliberately limiting freedoms and creating an environment ripe for the encouragement of law enforcement excesses. Incentivizing police abuse of citizens, whether intended or unintended, is a step forward on the road toward a police state.
Friday, September 3, 2010
It is absurd that anything as innocuous as the message on a bracelet could cause such an uproar. The community of Baltic should be praising its young women, who are actively promoting the awareness of a disease that strikes one in eight of American women.
The picture accompanying the article was of 16 year old Amelia Atkins, who is wearing a “I Love Boobies” bracelet and a Susan G. Komen For the Cure breast cancer shirt saying, “Save the Ta-Tas.” Lord have mercy, she dares to wear the phrase “Ta-Tas” too.
In Clovis, CA, the boobie bracelets have also run afoul of educators. “The school district's dress code outlaws jewelry with sexually suggestive language or images…” So, I guess anything to do with a breast, even mentioning it, is sexual. How about breast feeding? Then again, Clovis is in Central California, don’t you know?
We are much more sophisticated in Southern California. Yesterday, in Simi Valley, CA, I saw a young girl leaving a junior high school with a low scooped blouse revealing a major portion of her bare upper breasts. She didn’t have a lot of protuberance, but what she had proudly jiggled as she walked. This girl is apparently not violating any school dress codes. Of course, she didn’t have on anything saying boobies or ta-tas either. But, I’ll bet that more than one of her male schoolmates experienced a surge of something relatively new to them, testosterone. Do you think that might be distracting to the school’s educational mission?
What gives? Well, clearly we Americans don’t have a consensus on the matter.
To the moral guardians and limiters of free speech in Clovis, Baltic, Colorado, Idaho, Florida and Wisconsin, I know that the courts have ruled that you can limit free speech of students at school. But, I say, “get a life.”
To the complacent educators in Simi Valley, get a backbone and address the issue about your young female students becoming sex objects before their time?
To the rest of you, support the breast cancer awareness movement. You owe it to all the women in your lives. Oh, and say “well done” to Amelia and her cohorts.
Link in this Blog:
Schools ban bracelets promoting cancer awareness
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I submitted a letter to the editor on the subject to the Simi Valley Acorn, which published an edited version under the title of, “Sign ordinance is bad for democracy.”
Below is the unedited piece that I submitted.
City of Simi Valley Prohibits Political Signs In Favor of Incumbency
In 2006, the City of Simi Valley enacted a city ordinance prohibiting the placing of temporary signs, including pre-election political signs, on the public right-of-way.
The ordinance asserts, “The placement and accumulation of temporary signs in the public right-of-way, on traffic and utility devices, upon public sidewalks or on public easements presents dangerous conditions to the free and safe flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Such areas must be preserved for official traffic signs and official utility notices in order to assure the safe flow of traffic.” The ordinance justification offered no proof of hazard existing in the City.
The only proof of justification stated within the ordinance concerned aesthetics. The 0rdinance states, “Prior to the adoption of the ordinance, the City of Simi Valley has permitted temporary signs in the public right-of-way, which has resulted in substantial unsightly conditions, as illustrated in evidence presented to the City Council during its consideration of this ordinance.”
It goes without saying that a sitting member of the city council enjoys a considerable political incumbent advantage over an election challenger. That advantage is the result of name recognition and opportunities to interact with the residents and business community in the course of conducting city business.
One of the main mechanisms to gain name recognition is the time honored tradition of posting temporary political signs in advance of an election. There is no greater venue for political signs than the public right-of-way.
By improving the “aesthetics” of the city and forbidding the posting of political signs on the public right-of-way, the council voted a political advantage for themselves.
Limiting candidate free speech robs the public of the opportunity to learn about their prospective city leaders.
City Council challenger Keith Mashburn wants to amend the city sign ordinance to correct the political injustice. Vote for Keith Mashburn, a man of integrity.
Link in this Blog
Sign ordinance is bad for democracy