Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mickey Joins Our Bloggin' Bunch

Give a great big welcome to writer, researcher and Santa Barbara jogger, Mickey Rowe.

Congalton's Medialogue recaps the Pulitzer typos and usual Friday Tribune critique session.
Once again, thank you for helping our blog reach its first 1,000+ unique viewer month! Please tell your friends of this URL--and we thank you again!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mourning Our Fallen Giants

David Ciaffardini says "love is the answer," but what is the question?
Ann Calhoun mourns the loss of a mighty eucalyptus grove in Los Osos.
Ron Fink asks how much does it cost to save our environment?
Dr. Don Regan wonders if it's worth it to "stay the course."
Mr. Rogers tells us a quadriplegic sailed the English Channel solo!

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Could The Ocean Be Our Trash Can?

Our sources point out a frightening plan for coastal dumping and how to stop it with your public outcry--now until Thursday, 9/1/05.

The state Bureau of Reclamation proposes to pipe 40 years of untreated agricultural waste from the San Joaquin Valley into Estero Bay at Point Estero near Cayucos.
This plan calls for untreated selenium and pesticide-bearing waste to be dumped a mile and a half from shore in an area rich with migrating marine mammals, birds and fish, and an area that is the habitat for a threatened species, the southern sea otter. The effects of this discharge would be devastating to our local estuary and marine ecosystem.

Please send your comments by Sept. 1 to: Ms. Claire Jacquemin, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, MP-700, Sacramento 95825. Ms. Jacquemin's fax is 916-978-5094 and her e-mail address is: cjacquemin at

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Post Roundup

Calhoun's Can(n)on questions 'Lord of the Flies' analogy in Tribune editorial.
Bill Benica lets us know the citizen standoff is growing in Cambria.
Dr Don Regan
speaks from the heart about adoption and thankfulness.
Gary Ray Rogers fills us in on the ADA and ADAAG and accessibility.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

The Weekend Begins Here

Ron Fink asks: is Cindy Sheehan a pawn of the left?

Dave Congalton helps us remember a great joker.

Newsstand Greg brings down the hammer on SLO politics.

Bill Benica locates the "Gateway to the Far Western Tavern!"

Ann Cahoun confirms Los Osos tree cutting begins Monday!

David Ciaffardini details a "precisely accurate" editorial opinion.

Take a spin around the site. Snap us an email. Tell us what you want. Thanks, and enjoy your weekend!

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

End All 'Waivers' Of The Clean Water Act in California

by guest blogger and community activist, Joey Racano,
check his site:

Dear Friends,

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a Joey Racano, a founding member of the Orange County Ocean Outfall Group, dedicated to ending all 'waivers' of the Clean Water Act in California.

I am also the author of a book on activism and--perhaps most importantly--I am the author of the 'A-B-C Plan,' a regional wastewater treatment plan for the Morro Bay Estuary watershed.

The 'A-B-C Plan' (or more formally known as the Andre-Bay-Cayucos' Plan) has been officially endorsed by the San Luis Bay Chapter of Surfrider Foundation and elected officials from a coalition of central coast cities.

In the course of creating and implementing such a watershed-wide plan, it is necessary to address the fundamental problems impacting the Morro Bay Estuary, not the least of which is the swirling controversy surrounding the proposed wastewater treatment facility in Los Osos.

Let's begin by acknowledging the existence of a September 1997 report entitled "A Detailed Examination of the San Luis Obispo County Nitrate Sampling "Program" by Wade Brim which has convinced many, including me, that the entire 'high nitrates--we need a sewer' emergency was a complete fabrication. Mr. Brim's credentials and qualifications are too numerous to list here.

This report was submitted to all involved agencies (FED EPA, California Coastal Commission, CCRWQCB, DWR, SWRCB, etc) and found that seven of the ten test wells (like CSA-9, for instance) were never given sanitary seal and in fact some were actually a source of nitrate contamination of the upper aquifer!

Further, please be aware of a May 2002 letter written by Environmental Consultant James F. Kreissl, in which he states:

"I was distressed to see the misinterpretation of my 1994 report on possible solutions for Los Osos wastewater problems provided by (CCRWQCB)Gerhardt Hubner and signed by Ms. McGovern of USEPA..."

He goes on to say: "To claim that my report supported an areawide conventional sewer system is a gross misrepresentation of my report".

Until and unless these and other more recent unsettling issues concerning the CCRWQCB are addressed (see, the wastewater treatment plant as currently proposed for Los Osos can neither move forward nor should it even be taken seriously.

I also have other enormous concerns with the Los Osos project of which I shall list ten:

1. A study must be done to identify what contaminants are in the upper aquifer in order to protect the integrity of the lower drinking water aquifer when effluent is disposed of at area 'C' beneath the hillside at Broderson. We may be about to poison our own water supply!

2. Contrary to misinformation being spread by the Los Osos Community Services District's deceptive PR spin campaign, the Los Osos Wastewater Treatment Plant as currently proposed does not address the #1 threat to this community--the peril of salt water intrusion.

A recent study has shown salt water is currently beneath Palisades Ave and moving in at 60 feet per year. My A-B-C Regional Plan would act to counter that advance by supplying treated effluent to agricultural interests, who currently suck 1 Million Gallons per day from the lower aquifer. They would no longer have to do so! The Los Osos plant as currently proposed does no such thing.

3. It is the height of recklessness to 'protect' the environment from pollution by placing a sewer plant right next to--and directly uphill from--the Morro Bay National Estuary.

4. Under the currnt plan for building the Los Osos plant, a small part of the community would have to pay for it all, causing an estimated 3,000 people to move from their homes. Many of these people are elderly. Others are Latino and their community was virtually excluded from the entire process when the LOCSD mysteriously ceased printing community information in Spanish.

5. There is money available for regional wastewater treatment plans for which the myopic LOWWTP as currently proposed does not qualify.

6. A precedent was recently set by the SWRCB in Sacramento as they stopped large-scale logging operations in two watersheds, ordering enforcement of the 'WWWDR', or Watershed-Wide Waste Discharge Requirement.' The 'WWWDR' certainly applies here in the Morro Bay Estuary watershed.

7. If you build a sewer in the center of town, all it will take is 12 odor complaints in a 24 hour period to bring on fines of Ten Thousand and up to twenty-five Thousand Dollars per day! Are you really that sure about controlling the odors from your bouquet?

8. There is great risk in a WWTP that costs nearly $200,000,000.00 (and rising) but doesn't recycle, or eliminate the need to import water, doesn't protect the estuary, doesn't stop salt water intrusion--and don't
forget the constant flow of sludge trucks in and out of the center of town, all laden with sludge so dirty it is neither class 'A' nor class 'B'--it is actually 'No Name' sludge! All this, and built with an accompanying park and 'tot-lot'? The risks are simply too great.

9. A system comparable to that proposed at Tri-W is being built at CMC for $17 Million but is costing $46 Million at Tri-W! The inflated costs are clearly associated with the Tri-W location.

10. The threat of Regional board fines can be addressed with legislation that would be available for a regional full tertiary system. Such legislation would exempt the participating cities from such fines, whereas the Los Osos Wastewater fascility is currently proposed to be built in a low-lying ravine just uphill from the Morro Bay National Estuary and so would be fined by the Regional Board when the plant 'surcharges' (spills sewage) every holiday and every rainstorm!

By building a regional plan, there will be no delay. Los Osos will still come on line in less than 3 years with Morro Bay and Cayucos hooking in later.

Remember: the cost of a regional sewer will forever drop as more and more entities join up and hook in. It is not a good idea to put a sewer next to the estuary, and it is not a good idea to spend $200 Million of 21st Century money for a 19th Century sewer being forced upon you by three guys about to be shown the door and a regional water board rife with embarrassing conflicts.

Vote YES on the recall. Let's go with the regional plan.

Joey Racano
Ocean Outfall Group, email: joeylittleshell at

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Happy Thursday!

The rockin' week is rolling on...with new postings and a new blogger to introduce.

Welcome to Nipomo resident and Santa Barbara county watchdog, Andy Caldwell.
Photo: University of New South Wales
There's a "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" in Los Osos, we're told Oceano and Nipomo are in a sloganeering slugfest, and Thom Hutchings considers why "the terrorists" hate us.

Cranky Anne is really irascible when she looks at her eye problems, Ron Fink relives basic training at Lackland AFB and guest Dr. Andrew Millar asks if the STAR test is all it's cracked up to be.

At Noon-thirty (12:30pm) citizens are set to converge on the Cambria Veteran's Memorial Bldg., 1000 Main Street, to protect their rights! Or is it a "terrorist investigation?" Take a look around and post a comment or two--and we thank you!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Eyes Of August

I recently experienced an--how shall I say this?--health adventure. Yeah, that's it: an adventure relevant to my health. I literally lost the sight in what used to be my so-called good eye (the left one). For all intents and purposes--like seeing furniture, faces, the fingers of a hand splayed right in front of your face, the numbers (forget about the hands) on a clock right under your nose, your watch, your face in the mirror--I went blind in the one eye that worked.

My right eye is clouded by a cataract as a result of eye surgeries five years ago. Ironically, the sight under the cataract is really pretty good. So, the sudden loss of sight in the "clear" eye was nothing short of traumatic. "Son of a bitch!" traumatic, and I'm not usually labeled a big curser on my worst days.

In a nutshell, I took an over-the-counter medicaton that is not recommended for people with my eye condition. As a result, a very real crisis ensued in which I couldn't see anything while battling a severe bacterial infection that I'd caught from my darling grandboy.

I was so dangnabbed incapacitated that a friend of mine drove up from Upland and moved into my flat to care for me. People who know me well know how fiercely independent I try to be; I couldn't even open a can of Progresso Wild Rice and Chicken soup--and it's a pull-off top. My friend stayed ten days.

As of today, I can see well enough to cook, read, write, walk, grocery shop, jog across a parking lot, and identify folks a good fifty to a hundred yards away. Good thing 'cuz I start full-time at my dream job next week, and I'm rarin' to beat feet to my assignment. All I can say is, "Thank God!!" And thank all the fine folks who've wished me well, prayed for me, brought me vittles, and carted my helpless arse to the doctor for all the follow-up appointments.

During the time I was down and out, marveling at the bizarre and wondrous dreams induced by the Vicodin prescription (Johnny Depp and Donald Trump in one dream!), it never ceased to amaze me how many "seeing" comments dot our most ordinary conversations. "I can't see how this is helping." "What an eye-opener!" "What is your vision for that situation?" And on and on and on.

I can only imagine that blind people are somehow inured to it all. I'll bet it drives people who are not blind from birth bonkers. It started to inhibit my conversations a little after a few days, especially when I struggled with moments of "What if my sight doesn't come back?" That was the worst because I'm a reader, capital r, and somehow the thought of a life of books-on-tape depressed me no end.

During those times I would consider bargaining with God, wondering what I could promise to do or be that would influence Him enough to heal my eye. Please notice I said "consider" because, good Catholic that I am, I know better. (Most of the time.)

The past weeks provided me with plenty of food for thought and gave me plenty of "cause to pause." All the adages concerning gratitude and a new appreciation and a commitment to health, etc. all show up in my mind a gazillion times a day as I take up living like a sighted person once more. Like a lot of people, I would give lip service to understanding how often I took the most important things and people for granted.

This month of August demanded that I do more than give lip service to that understanding. I am beyond grateful for the return of my sight because I found out something about myself that I needed to know: I am not anywhere near as brave as I thought I could be when faced with a serious disability. I need to buck up. And at least now I can see to do it. This I shall never take for granted. --"Cranky" AnnE

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Hooray For Monday!

Sure, the arrival of Monday means the rockin' weekend is totally over. And the rockin' work week is just beginning. It's also a time to point out new postings on the site:

Dave Congalton's much awaited Medialogue second installment is ready to view. "Bird flippin'" fresh content appears in our series of posts titled "Inside Morro Bay," courtesy of Mandy Davis. Ron Fink writes an ode to the presidential peacemaker, Ronald Reagan. Why are Santa Maria streets so narrow? Guest blogger, Reenee tells us.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Gentle Flashback To 1969

Photo: Mike Smolinski
The Central Coast arrival in Santa Barbara of a new aircraft carrier inspires many thoughts. For one blogger, an aircraft carrier was a very large house for more than two years. It was also a very cold home.

Newsstand Greg takes us into the time machine.

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I'm really, really, really cranky these days. Even crankier than usual, I'm ashamed to admit. You would be, too, if your sleep was interrupted over and over again by hooligans and their shenanigans. And it's only going to get worse, if years past are at all indicative of what lies in wait for us downtown types--those of us who actually live in downtown SLO.

I love my flat, I really do. There aren't a lot of places I would rather live nowadays and there certainly aren't any affordable alternatives at this point in my life. So I'm a town person. Used to be a suburb person. Maybe will be someday in the future. For now the convenience of the location and the ambience of my space are wonderful.

But with the return to the school year, heralded last week by Cuesta's first day of fall semester classes, comes the Great Stampede of The Stupids. And I do mean Stupids, capital S. The Stupids are those inconsiderate young alcohol imbibers who fill up at a downtown bar (or two or three) and then carouse their way back to their cars parked away from the bars so the local gendarmes don't bust them for drinking and driving. Enroute, they holler, curse, tussle, smack street signs, scream, and relieve their bladders in the damnedest places.

They are occasionally repentant when accosted, more often non-repentant and quite often belligerent. They sit on the street under my bedroom window, slurring loudly into their cell phones, demanding someone pick them up but, "Dude! I don't know where I am so can't you just find me?"

I've been privy to the good, the bad, and the ugly in relationship bendings and endings. I've confronted these people so many times that I no longer bother to change out of my flannel pajamas, simply donning my obnoxious fuzzy blue slippers and taking my angry bedheaded self right smack into their presences. Since I'm obviously a--pardon me while I gag--senior, the responses to me-as-flannel-shrouded-apparition are mostly positive. By that I mean the offenders are generally horrified and move on.

Some time ago I purchased a digital sound machine that produces the sounds of nature like surf, rain, lakeshore, bubbling brook, etc. It's a form of what some folks call "white noise" and it masks unpleasant sounds. Like the Stupids barfing into the bushes or yelling at no one in particualar that they can't seem to unlock their car doors. Only problem is I've needed to turn up the volume quite a bit since I bought the machine. And that's even with a diminishing in my hearing, for goodness' sake!

There was this brief shining moment of hope when I read of the temporary closings of several bars downtown due to retrofittings. And then I realized how many bars remained, and the hope of some temporary moratorium on the nightly egress of The Stupids evaporated. If the Stupids want to drink downtown, they'll drink downtown, and they'll continue to wend their noisy ways back to their cars and their homes.

I just wish the local police people would hang out along Pacific and Pismo between Osos and Nipomo and watch all the buffoonery (and worse) that goes on almost every single night. We (those of us in our little complex) have called to find out about citizens' arrests and stuff like that, so we are considering our rights in matters like these.

To think that I actually appreciate the spirit of W.O.W. when it happens. After all, one of the reasons I moved to SLO was because it was a college town, and when you live in a college town, well, you live with The Stupids. Some folks would call me stupid for complaining but it's better to air my frustration this way than to become an unpleasant termagant in an otherwise nice block. At least I think it is. And I've got a great supply of really outrageous flannel pj's for the more difficult nights.

And I can always turn up the digital sound machine another notch. --"Cranky" AnnE

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Fish and Game Flips the Bird!

guest article by: Mandy Davis, CAREHNE
(Citizens Allied for Reform of Established Hunting on our National Estuary)

Here's an interesting question for you: How do you thumb your nose and shoot yourself in the foot at the same time?? I, know, many of you are scratching your heads wondering, "Why in God's name would I want to do that?" (precisely!). And others may ponder the biomechanics, snicker and eventually come to the conclusion that it would be impossible. (Not so, I assure you.)

This last Thursday and Friday (8/18 and 8/19) in the SLO County Supervisors' chambers, the Department of Fish and Game, in tandem with the Fish and Game Commission, accomplished this extraordinary feat with ease, arrogance and absolute relish.

Not only did the Fish and Game Commission, true to their long history of blatant disregard for the vast majority of the public's wishes to end or significantly limit hunting on the Morro Bay National Estuary, ignore a large political consortium once again asking to be heard, but they blatantly thumbed their nose at the tens of thousands of people represented there.

The Commission, eager to please their hunting chums and discourage any further attempts by the non-hunting public to be part of the process, not only stonewalled all requests for the regulations to be changed but decided in their infinite wisdom to change the hunting start time from 8am to 7am. Good Morning Los Osos And Morro Bay!!!

Now, how well do you think this little bit of political bird-flipping is going to sit with the folks represented by LOCAC (Los Osos Community Advisory Council), the Morro Bay City Council, Supervisor Shirley Bianchi, The Sierra Club and the over 45 organizations that have either asked for a ban on waterfowl hunting in Morro Bay or at least significant changes in the regs? Hmmm...

Kind of makes you wonder how it feels to shoot yourself in the foot with a shotgun, doesn't it? I'm sure by this time next year Fish and Game will be able to answer that question. OUCH!!!

Reach Ms Davis by email: wildheartcomm at

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Stem Cell Secrets

Where are the local taxpayer groups on this one? UCSB and other California campuses are set to spend millions of tax dollars on stem cell research--but nearly all details are being kept secret!

This is our first story to introduce you to our "Santa Barbara Commentary" page. Have a tip for us? Email us at the address to the right, and we'll take it from there. Thank you.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Let Your Light Shine

Last night the mainstream public joined the candle light gatherings across the California Central Coast.

San Luis Obispo
, Lompoc and Santa Barbara saw sizeable turnout in a show of support for Cindy Sheehan's vigil at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, Texas.

Mrs. Sheehan's encampment includes rows of white crosses to memorialize the war dead.

More than 500 people participated in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, according to the front page story in the SB News-Press. The crowd was described as "including octogenarians, grade-schoolers, World War II veterans, millionaires and musicians."

The mother of another slain US soldier has a different view of the more than 1800 white crosses at Arlington West, next to Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara. (photo by Ed Rincon)

Debbie Argel Bastian, the Lompoc mother of Capt. Derek Argel, wants her son's name plate removed from one of those crosses. Veterans for Peace, curators of the display, have said they will comply with her wishes.

Capt. Argel was killed Memorial Day in a plane crash during a training mission northwest of Baghdad.

By 7:30pm, more than 300 people were standing on the steps of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, candles in hand and love in their hearts.

One of the SLO Code Pink organizers said, "we saw more than the typical people you see from the 'peace community.' There were business people and many older people as well. We are also welcoming the return of Bill Mitchell who arrives tonight from Crawford."

Mitchell lives in Atascadero. His son, Sgt Mike Mitchell, was killed in the same battle in Sadr City, Iraq, that claimed the life of Spc. Casey Sheehan.

Candles were lit in Lompoc at Centennial Park where 30 supporters sipped coffee supplied by the Lompoc Peace and Justice Coalition and shared information with each other in the home town of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Only 38 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, according to the August 2005 Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Better To Light A Candle...

Tonight, millions across the country will gather in their home towns and light the darkness.

Many will gather in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and across the Central Coast. These people will be holding candles, symbolically joining Cindy Sheehan as she continues her month long vigil near the president's vacation driveway in Texas.

Another peace action may also beckon. Section 9528 of the Leave No Child Behind Act requires schools to give the Pentagon information about your son before he graduates.

It's all in preparation for the recruiter's call at your front door. You knew that didn't you?

Fortunately the law also provides the option for you to tell the school superintendent and the military planners you're not interested. You can opt out of the process, click on "leave my child alone!"

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

West Side Story

Standing in the long line as the only non-Hispanic in El Toro, the cashier points to me.

I ask "me?" and the nod from her indicating "yes." I ask for tacos and that went well on my part except I was in the wrong line. I was in the pick up your order line. This caused a little confusion compounded by the fact that my Spanish and Spanglish is about toddler level. Hola. Como esta? Gracias. Muy bueno.

Consequently we were quickly developing a sizable gap in the language and communication department. And the line was getting longer with every passing gesture.

I know that she is asking me how many. The hitch was it depended on whether the tacos were made with small tortillas or regular size. So I try gesturing with my hands and trying to indicate a question with tone of voice. This big? or this big?. I don't think I did the loud voice thing.

The people behind me, and by then there were a lot of them, may have thought a collective groan of 'oh no,' but there appeared to be only patience on their faces.

The still cheerful cashier indicated with hand language to wait until she asked someone to translate. The customer standing next to me steps up to take the job on.

With flawless unaccented English and perfectly accented Spanish he quickly took care of the order. After being shown the size of the tortillas, it was easy. Dos. Pork. Carne. Everything? Si.

Handing her my money we encountered one last obstacle. She used more hand gestures, which I took to mean not to pay until the order gets there. But my kind neighbor in line said something, which I did not understand, and she took my money. I think he knew he would be gone when it came time to translate again.

Venture west on Main Street to the last stoplight. Look for El Toro. The food is too good to miss just because you can't speak the language. --Margo Viers

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Chance Neighbors

There is little movement within the groups of eight here, three over there, and twelve at the end of the row. This scattered, semi-random pattern allows privacy and belonging at the same time.

There is no loud music booming from the cars. It is as quiet as the soft ocher glow bathing the young men in the parking lot.

Friday night is not date night, which belongs to Saturday, meaning no girls, no posturing--only an opportunity to be a guy hanging with the guys.

The need to bond is no different in the 21st Century than in any other era. The parking lots of today are the drive-ins of yesteryear, and the parks of the olden days. As the price of gasoline goes up the cruising goes down, and what better place to exchange news, gossip, hopes and dreams is there in this mobile society of ours?

It is obvious that these "gangs," as some people would see them as they pass down the street, are not looking for trouble. Only a slight shift of acknowledgement occurs as two local enforcement vehicles rocket into the parking lot; the drivers anxious for their coffee break at the popular chain that takes your bucks.

Then it is back to the conversations that were taking place before the interruption.

Saturday night the lot is empty. --Margo Viers

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Candlelight Vigils Illuminate Coast

We know how to make war. How can we make peace? Cindy Sheehan's vigil in Crawford, Texas, has inspired people across the country to show support for the woman standing up to the Bush Administration.

Her vigil is spreading across the country to the Central Coast.

In San Luis Obispo, Wednesday (8/17), 7:30 pm, you can take take part in a candlelight vigil at Mission Plaza. One request: bring a candle.

In Lompoc, Wednesday, 7:30pm, at Centennial Park at H and Cypress Streets. BYOC!
Mrs. Sheehan has held vigil outside the president's ranch for over a week now, yet President Bush has refused to meet with Cindy.

Saturday, Bush said that there are lots of people who have "something to say to the president" and "it's also important for me to go on with my life."

But Cindy says that she won't leave until President Bush meets with her to discuss the war, even if it means spending all of August there.

The CodePink SLO women and other Central Coast peace activists will be helping during the San Luis Obispo vigil; it's a call to action also supported by, Democracy For America, and True Majority.

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Life During Wartime

As you read this, the night grows cold in a makeshift encampment a few clicks from the road to George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. The president is on a five-week vacation and Mrs. Cindy Sheehan, a California mother whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, is bringing one single question to the commander-in-chief.

Central Coast Dad At 'Camp Casey'

Sheehan is receiving assistance, "in solidarity," from a grieving father on the Central Coast and more than 100 supporters from across the country, 24/7. She says, "the thing that matters to me is that my family--Casey's dad and my other three kids--are on the same side of the fence that I am."

A Cox News Service story sets the scene. "Sleeping on a cot nearby is Bill Mitchell, an Army veteran from Atascadero, California, a city near the coast midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mitchell's son, Michael, was killed in the same ambush as Casey Sheehan.

"Our sons died together," Mitchell said. "They didn't know each other, but they flew home together. That picture [of flag draped coffins on a military plane] in the Seattle Times on April 7th last year that got all the publicity? Mike and Casey were in that picture.''

Protesters Arrested On A Country Road

Five protesters
in a caravan to join others at the protest site, were arrested when they arrived in Crawford about 7 p.m. The cars came to a stop when they reached a line of about 35 officers blocking Prairie Chapel Road at the city limits.

Mrs. Sheehan and her supporters according to current reports, appears to be expressing her grief in a lawful manner. However, there are a small number of counter-protesters, who say "she should go home" and stop trying to "demoralize our troops."

Sheehan's statement on The Huffington Post blog says "this is George Bush's accountability moment."

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Can A Blogger Be A Journalist, And Vice-Versa?

Thanks to Dave Congalton for the airtime, interview and conversation with callers, Monday 8/8/05 on KVEC AM 920.

The basic question is: what kind of label or "protected" legal status should be applied to all bloggers? Journalist? Non-journalist?

Newsstand Greg provides an answer as related to this blogsite. (8/12/05, 3:20 pm)

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Bloggers, New Postings!

The News Mission is growing again: five more blog pages have been added! Our list of contributors number 20! And we're not even two months old.

Site stats show, at the present rate of visitor growth, we're on track to double, perhaps triple, the number of viewers this month over July. All of our bloggers appreciate your attention to their writing.

Welcome to our newest crop of contributors, date and time posted:

Mr. Rogers is very much alive and helping others, but his full name is Gary Ray Rogers and his specialty is accessibility issues on the Central Coast.
(8/11/05, 9:34 am)

David Ciaffardini is the "Book Man" of Oceano and lives on the mighty inspiring, tallest hill in town where eucalyptus trees cast a spell his way.
(8/9/05, 10:26 am)

Bob Banner, aka Mr. Hopedance, who informs us of events and issues that show us another world is possible because it has already begun. [editor's note: Bob's time is a rare commodity, so we'll post his events in the CCNM blog pages when we get them.]
(8/11/05, 3:33 pm)

Reenee from Santa Maria provides her opinions about the County Split and more, in our new north Santa Barbara county page of guest contributors.
(8/12/05, 11:14 am)
Thanks to all who blog here and (elsewhere) because "the truth is out there" and we're looking for it.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Can Being Paid More Money Hurt You?

The fevered days pass, and new visitor records to this blog are established each week! One new blogger joining today and two more tomorrow! Here's the best of the newest:

Welcome to Bill Benica, the only FM talk show host in SLO county, and new rodeo veteran!

Don Regan, Republican, tells us how earning more money hurts employees.

Ron Fink chimes in on support of Measure E in Lompoc, a "good" new tax.
The backyard fence of advice and observations is getting more comfortable all the time. Thanks for stopping in again, and email all your friends about us. We appreciate all the attention, believe me.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

It Is A Blog, Blog, Blogworthy World!

Our backyard fence is getting larger, check out The Sun, on the north Santa Barbara county newsstands today. New visitors to our blogsite find there's usually something new every day here. Some of the latest posts from our coastal writing crew feature:

Our newest writer in the CCNM, Margo Viers, tells us what happened when she met Crazy Jimmy in Santa Maria. Welcome aboard, Margo!

Measure E means better healthcare for Lompoc, but Newsstand Greg has just one question.

Ron Fink, with a thought about the clash between opinion and exaggeration.

Our only ex-policeman, Tom Hutchings, is also an ex-pat. He tells us what it is and why it is.

Take a good look around and fire off a comment if you are inclined on any post you read. Or email us at the main Blogatorium, so to speak. Thank you kindly.

And please tell a friend to visit here soon.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

One Of The Selected

In the land of the big box stores, his apparel definitely did not look like the clothes on the racks. His beard suggested a style not of or from California, rather maybe some other part of the country. An aura of jauntiness was exhibited by the fedora emblazoned with the parrot feather and a few other trinkets.

But in the end it was not the attire that caught me but his eyes. As we searched side by side for the right DVD, he did not hesitate in evaluating whether I was approachable.

"Hi, they call me Crazy Jimmy," and eyes as clear and pure as an infant's looked at me. I'm game and it definitely it beats TV.

After some chit-chat, he wonders politely if I know Jesus. His practiced delivery, emboldened by the attentiveness, spun parable and fable with a Missouri backwoods twist, including the one about a lot of people thinking they will convert at the 11th hour not knowing he comes for you at 10:30.

He whips out his wallet and shows me a picture of someone who looks vaguely familiar.

"I've been carrying this for 40 years. It's my idea of what Jesus looked like. I showed it to my 90 year old grand pappy and said 'Do you know who this is?' and grand pappy replied 'Waylon Jennings?'"

We share laughter; and then maybe I shouldn't have, but I have to ask, "Well if Jesus was a Jew and he lived in the Middle East wouldn't he be dark or at least not European looking?" ...a space of silence for the first time, but then I am forgiven my transgression.

It turns out that Jimmy is a preacher and a teacher on Route 66 or any other highway of life. As we part he tells me that if we don't meet on the road again, he'll see me at the Pearly Gates. And that suits me fine. --Margo Viers

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Fringe Elements

She's only lived here for three months in the senior place. After all, the landlord decided that three months was a good amount of time for the initial lease. Now she is leaving because the rent is more than she can afford on her meager Social Security and her savings is gone.

She says, "It's ok, I lived in my car before." Only this time she has no car to move into.

I've met and known a face that will soon become one of the faceless. People will avert their eyes when they see her. They will never know how funny she is, or where she came from, or the depth of her stories. They will see a woman previously clean, now not so clean and needing $20,000 worth of dental work to show her beauty. A long ago car wreck and dashboard had their way with her teeth.

I say, "What do you eat when you're homeless?" thinking there is no refrigerator, no stove where she is going to live. She says, "Oh, I go to the food places, but I can't eat only salads, I need some meat." She does indeed; she weighs less than a hundred pounds.

She says, " I usually get my dog something and me something."

I worry a little less knowing what her dog means to her. I say, " I was thinking how hard it would be to carry dog food around all day, a big old sack of food." We laugh at the vision. The tears will come after she leaves.

Her dog loves her. When she is having a hard time he stands guard between her and possible harm, when she is doing good, he lays at her side.

She says, "The worst part about being on the street is not being able to take a shower. People give you a couple of dollars and then say you really need to clean up. Like what person is going to say 'Come on over to my house and take a shower?'" And (with a giggle), "what am I going to do, walk on someone's lawn and borrow their hose?"

"Once I paid three dollars at a camping place to get to take a shower," she tells me. Showers aren't readily available where she is moving. And then there is the volume and weight of toiletries as travelers know, and bottles and jars don't make very good pillows.

She is packing and preparing; losing her natural soft nature that she has recovered so recently, for the toughness so necessary to survive on the streets. --Margo Viers

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