Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Acres of suspense, possibilities captivate Los Altos residents

LOS ALTOS, CA -- A group of perhaps 14 people gathered outside the Los Altos Civic Center for the unveiling of the precise number of Acres of Possibilities.

Bill Bluth, 76, openly admired the City Council's dedication to cost savings, exemplified by the decision to leave the remaining 40 percent of the 6' x 10' high-resolution printed color sign uncovered.

"They covered the most important part," he said. "We have absolutely no idea how many acres of possibilities there could be."

Onlookers offered various guesses.

"They're using an exclamation point, so I figure it's at least 10,000," said Jarvis Whitaker, 73.

A woman in her 60s, who declined to give her name, took the unveiling in a more serious fashion. "I've had a life of misery, and frankly, I can't take another disappointment in my life. As long as there are no fewer than 19 acres of possibilities, I think I'll be OK."

Many were simply happy that the unveiling was covered by Town Tube, the Los Altos Town Crier's new video endeavor.

"I'm just so thrilled that this going to be on Town Tube," said Phyllis Dreer, 78. "They really don't have much in the way of compelling content. Most of the videos are just pleas from Bruce Barton to submit videos."

Edward Landis, 82, quickly interjected, "Oh, and then there's that video of the (Los Altos) pet parade. It's like a minute long and it's all kids. I didn't even see a damn pet in it. What the fuck was that about? It makes our town look retarded."

Mayor Val Carpenter pulled back the construction paper to reveal 18 acres of possibilities.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Breaking: Town Crier endorses Prop. 8

Why can't the Town Crier just come out and say it doesn't like gay people? Then we wouldn't have to endure a constant stream of illogical excuses for its positions:
We think it is time to stop the courts from making our laws. That’s why we elect a representative government. The ripple effect of letting the current court ruling legalizing gay marriage stand will be endless lawsuits, especially regarding tax-exempt status for churches and educational institutions.
If I were more mature, I could write several law review comments on all the things that are wrong about these three sentences. Instead, I'll do this my way.

We think it is time to stop the courts from making our laws.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision under due process and equal protection law. Other examples of courts "making our laws" under these doctrines include:

Obviously, it is time to put a stop to this nonsense.

That’s why we elect a representative government.
The California State legislature has voted twice to allow same-sex marriage. The governor vetoed the bills both times, saying he would prefer the courts to sort out the constitutional issues. The proposal that the Town Crier is endorsing circumvents representative government by asking the entire electorate to amend the Constitution in a way that would eliminate certain due process and equal protection rights for one group of people.

The ripple effect of letting the current court ruling legalizing gay marriage stand will be endless lawsuits,
It was not the gays who brought the original lawsuit; and, to repeat, they based their argument on due process and equal protection rights. Those are not the kinds of lawsuits we should fear.

especially regarding tax-exempt status for churches and educational
This is a particularly obnoxious claim that basically threatens that churches and religious schools will illegally take political stances against the Constitutionally protected rights of gay people, and implies that the right itself is to blame, rather than the people consciously breaking the law.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pointless or worthless?

I can't speak with any authority about Charlotte Jarmy's personal finances, even though I did have an unread compendium of her columns collecting dust in the "free book" pile atop the filing cabinet at the Voice. I am confident, though, that when politicians and talking heads refer to "Wall Street" and "Main Street," the latter is not a substitute for "Elite-Super Rich Families."

They are simply being good neighbors

Months ago, the Town Crier referred to Los Altos Hills as an environmental leader. If that seemed phony at the time, consider it again in light of last week's rather unsurprising report that the Hillpeople don't really give a damn if everybody else has to conserve water.

Responding to California’s second year of below-average rainfall and the driest spring on record, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a proclamation in June, officially declaring that the state is facing drought conditions and calling on citizens to reduce their water consumption by 10 percent voluntarily.

While the 27 water district agencies that serve the Bay Area have reduced water usage by 13 percent, Purissima Hills Water District, which serves two-thirds of Los Altos Hills residents, has cut back its water usage only 2 percent, according to data from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency.

If any city has reductions to make, it's Los Altos Hills, where the residents use twice as much per capita as the rest of the Bay Area. At least, I suppose, they're not slobs.

Mom, maybe it's time to talk about those five lawns again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The French Still Just Don't Get It

French politicians are outraged that their anthem was booed during a soccer game that pitted the home team "Les Bleus" against ex-colony Tunisia.

In my experience (which includes extensive research into France's former and present colonies), the French just can't imagine why people wouldn't like them as colonial masters and why people might harbor some hard feelings about their colonial legacy and their current situation as immigrants in France. Its the same pompous, self-righteous attitude that when confronted with major riots by minorities in the fall of 2005 that led French politicians to a botched response that failed to address the underlying causes and allows those social tensions to continue to simmer and make people want to boo La Marseillaise.

Even Americans aren't so stupid as to be shocked and demand an official investigation when their anthem is booed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Somali Pirates Are the F#*$in' Best!

Piracy off the Somali coast has been getting more and more press of late - especially with the pirates recent (and awesome!) seizure of a Ukranian cargo ship carrying tanks destined for god-knows-where (there is dispute - some say Sudan, though Kenya insists they are for its own military) to undoubtedly wreak further havoc on poor Africans.

After France, the US and several other nations decided to begin patrolling waters near the Somali coast, NATO now wants a piece of the pirates.

So far this year, our favorite bad guys have cost "up to $30 million." No word yet on how much this NATO deployment will cost. My guess is that it'll be a little more than $30 million.

Yom Kippur Rules!

1) Don't drive your car

2) But rioting and destroying property are just fine.

What a holiday!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Congratulations to this "Matt" fellow

As the High Holy Days draw to a close, I realize that it has been a while since I've blogged about what is truly important in life: water polo.

So, leaving aside the question of whether "Matt Wiener" is actually my brother, congratulations to him on his award.

(Also, so long as we're talking about important stuff: go Sox.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Welcome to the blog

Some chick, as she prefers to be called, is this month's featured employee at the San Francisco Aids Foundation. The accompanying profile is semi-accurate, poorly written, somewhat trivial and mildly embarrassing to somebody close to me. It is, in other words, a perfect excuse for a post.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It finally makes sense

The Los Altos City Council spent September caricaturing itself, first by ensuring that First Street remains inconvenient for bicyclists and then by putting the brakes on a proposed link to the Stevens Creek Trail.

Here is a sampling of quotes from the meetings, helpfully provided by the Town Crier.

Councilman Ron Packard:
"We want to encourage bicycling on the whole Peninsula. On the other hand, do we want to become part of a bigger community?"
Resident David Lambourne:
"It’s hard to support any plan in which a path runs in and out of our city."

Mayor Val Carpenter, paraphrased:

Mayor Val Carpenter said the project had already eliminated multiple street parking spaces, and that she was loath to remove more for a bike lane, noting that she observed many cyclists using downtown as a launching point for regional travel rather than a family-oriented destination.

Packard again, paraphrased:
City Councilman Ron Packard referenced the city’s Fremont Bridge remodel as a project that sacrificed charm for bicycle friendliness, and suggested that he didn’t want to make the same choice for First Street.
The takeaway from all of this: the City Council finds parking spaces charming, but not bicycle facilities, especially if they somehow connect to places outside of Los Altos.

Yes, Los Altos has a proud history of treating bicyclists like they were Gypsies. Perhaps that is what the Town Crier was getting at.