Friday, March 25, 2016



The 2016 Presidential Primary state elections to select our two major political party's candidates convention delegates continue to be the most unusual, even bizarre, in my lifetime -- considering the rhetoric used.

This year, candidates need to acquire western states delegates to reach the necessary total to become their party nominee at the convention.   For so many election years the required total would be achieved much earlier in the year, following  mostly eastern states primaries vote tally.   So...California's June 7th primary is taking on more significance.

Once ignored Californians can now anticipate for the next couple months or so being subjected to all the hoopla first hand we've read about taking place in other states as candidates seek votes for their respective July political party conventions.  In fact, some candidates have already been in the Los Angeles area holding campaign appearances.  I suppose we'll soon have TV commercials, phone calls, and mail flyers to plague us voters which we've largely been spared previous years.   I've been signed up several years with our local "No Knock Registry".  That means I have a decal on my door also stating "No Solicitations", so I won't have those door-to-door campaigners.    

Here's how it looks up to this point from my perspective.....

The Democratic party candidate-choosing has proven to be more of a two candidate competition than anyone had anticipated.   They each are defining their positions on the major issues facing our nation and the world, allowing those who are paying attention to distinguish how they're different and how they're the same.  They stress intent and action, but they also have an underlying design toward national and international unification.  Personal attacks and negativism have been absent, fortunately.  The  front runner candidate continues to be expected to achieve the required nomination numbers by their July 25-28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania convention.   

The multiple Republican party candidates have continued being whittled down in number and now are three.
The third -- whose behaviors indicate he may be the only sane sensible one in the group -- has acquired the least number of delegates and is said to be unable to obtain enough more to become the candidate. 

Debates of the other two most prominent Republican candidates have revealed intent to institute alarmingly extremist irrational approaches to addressing our nation's and the world's issues in a destructively divisive manner.  Their debates, and I use that term loosely, have waffled all over the place from focusing on actual issues to denigrating one another -- and lately even disparaging each others wives.

The current Republican leader offers what appear to be overly-simplistic knee-jerk type problem solutions reflecting a failure to understand and consider all of an issues complex nuances, coupled with a repelling enthusiasm for initiating personal attacks on his opponent(s).   Frankly, I find it scary, even dangerous,  to think that leading candidate is expected to secure enough votes for the nomination.   One fly in this ointment is despite gradual increasing overt support, there continues to be a lot of open and covert opposition to his becoming the nominee.  How, or even if, the Republican party can prevent that, should they decide to do so, will be interesting to observe in the months ahead, then later at their July 18-21, Cleveland, Ohio convention.

The Democratic party is expected to continue as a political force, basically consistent with their long established principles, whatever the outcome of their convention.  The same may not be true for the Republican party which long ago strayed from principles for which they always said they represented.  Years ago a vocal Republican party minority segment began disrupting congressional legislative function, then more recently has been trying to hijack their party's election primary. 

Voting outcomes to date in both party primary results clearly reflect a desire for change, but..... from what to what?    

Sunday, March 06, 2016



The good news here in So Cal, eastern Los Angeles County, is that El Nino’s rain has found us again and snow is falling in the mountains from two storms coming through.   Northern California had mountain snow melt much of the past month reducing what had been a promising accumulation toward decreasing our drought effects.   We still will need even more rain and snow.   


Death Valley actually received more rain than normal and the previously barren dry cracked earth is now asea with a rare Super Bloom of wild flowers - see outtakes you can view.  

I'm reminded of suddenly seeing just such a glorious colorful sight in the Arizona desert outside Scottsdale one spring in what had always been a barren area we had driven through periodically for several years.


Local city efforts to increase our environmentally green status to the max prompted seeking new bids with the current contract due to expire according to our local weekly newspaper, The Claremont Courier.    They reported our City Council is in a state of shock at the increased cost from $657,068 annually to $3 million. 

Bids from other landscapers were luke warm using the new parameters—no chemicals, no leaf blowers and no weeds and an increase of mulch use in planters.  

The previous contract was based on limited use of chemicals, the use of battery or electric blowers and varying degrees of weed tolerance.  

Moderation of some expectations has temporarily been made with a short term current contract extension to allow city officials to study the matter further.   What kind of increased costs will we individual home owners incur? 


Our city continues to seek ownership of our water company through eminent domain legal procedures since the current owner refuses to sell.   Golden State Water Company, considered a public utility, is a wholly owned subsidiary of American States Water Company.  City officials and residents have been unhappy since long before the drought with the pricing mechanisms Golden State Water has used and the repetitive rate increases an impotent state Public Utilities Commission keeps approving.  

A concise article with this link to Capitol Weekly notes:  Claremont had the highest rates of 10 surrounding communities surveyed, and that rates doubled between 2008 and 2013, with another rate hike sought in 2014.”   We reportedly pay $50 more than our next door neighbor city La Verne for the same amount of water. “La Verne is used for comparison because of its similar size, population, and water sources. Claremont has more wells producing less costly water than La Verne but surprisingly La Verne water rates are lower.”   


 California AB 1561 – read the announcement for more facts.  

“Assembly members Garcia and Chang are working to end a longstanding tax on women in California.  Across the world, countries as well as select  states in the U.S. are organizing to repeal the sales tax on feminine hygiene products which are necessary health products for women.  From Canada, to the UK, to Malaysia, political leaders have repealed, reduced, or are under pressure from activists to jettison the “tampon tax.”...  To date, only five states in the United States & Canada have taken this action and eliminated taxation on tampons and sanitary napkins.”   See map.
CNN’S Jackie Wattles reports five New York women have filed a lawsuit against New York’s tax department and its commissioner. “Their demand: Stop imposing a 4% ‘luxury tax’ on feminine hygiene products.”  Legislation has not been making significant gains toward enactment.  "Similar bills have been proposed in states including California, Utah and Virginia.”

My city of Claremont, California is a little over 14 square miles in size with a population of approximately 35,000.  The amenities in addition to the universities here include several retirement communities where I've also had the pleasure of providing Speech-Language Pathology services as well as in various other health services settings and hospitals in the surrounding area.   Pilgrim Place, one I have served, is:  “A senior community for those serving in religious or charitable organizations.” 

Our newspaper this week reported a special screening would be held there of Emmy-winning filmmaker Eric Goldfarb’s inspiring documentary on Senior Athleticism entitled “Impossible Dreamers,” featuring legendary golfer Gary Player.   Many other senior athletes appear including the Pilgrim-Pacers.  Their activity is integrated through six short segments beginning at about 19 minutes in and scattered throughout the hour and a quarter of the vimeo.  Pilgrim Place residents are very active in our city, also producing a a renowned annual festival attracting visitors from around Southern California and elsewhere.   

You can determine for yourself whether or not you might want to engage in any of these athletic activities and just how competitive you feel with some of these 60+ to 90+ years oldsters.   As for me, I need to walk more – just regular walking.    


Wednesday, March 02, 2016


Super Tuesday continues to make this Presidential Primary year a surreal, entertaining, but serious event.    One of our two major political parties has been undergoing internal ideological changes for quite a few years.  They've skewed  away from moderate conservatism to a more conservative position -- actually extremely conservative or even beyond. 

Many of their more traditional party members  have been facing an increasingly perplexing dilemma  as they try to accommodate the more extreme element of their party.  Doing so has not been easy since that element's original small number has had  a "my way or the highway" attitude.   We citizens of all political persuasion experienced the consequences of that obstinate position when exercised in our Congress for too many years -- so many issues on which they failed to take action.    Too many of that group lacked either the willingness or skill to employ the finer points of governing which include a need for negotiation and compromise.

So now, this same political party has produced a multitude of candidates who desire to become President.   Their few candidates who could be slightly more inclined toward moderate conservatism have largely been excised from candidacy as various state primary election totals have been eliminating them.

In the beginning, one unexpected candidate flamboyantly entered that parties political race turning the campaign dynamics upside down.   He has resorted to appealing to voters basest values  in a most negative manner with promises to likely continue the same tactics, or worse, if he becomes the party candidate.     He is winning in most of the state primaries to date. 

Considerably fewer states voters have kept two remaining challengers in the race -- men whose rhetoric raises the possibility they could  bring a troubling degree of religion into governing -- more theocratic than democratic.  One other candidate with governing experience who could be the more rational of all continues to hang on at least through his state's March 15th primary. 

Speculation has had some pundits saying we may be witnessing a demise of one of our two major political parties, but maybe the party is being rejuvenated -- just not as they have previously presented themselves.   Will some party members leave?   Will they throw their support to the other party?   

I still wonder if a new third political party and candidate will emerge in the next couple weeks as a former NYC mayor said he would run if candidate options consisted of those we now see to be emerging as the  contenders.

Our other major political party has two candidates that appear to be winnowing down to one -- the person expected to be their nominee as state primaries proceed.   The rhetoric from these two has been mostly respectful, issue oriented and framed to appeal to voters.   We'll begin to see the increased tensions as candidates become the final nominees campaigning toward the November Presidential election. 

I firmly believe in our nation's need for a strong two party political system.    Others views are important.  Often the numbers of those of like mind do form another party, but seldom have they attracted enough supporters to be elected to national governmental office.    In some situations a strong third party can adversely affect a final election's outcome but it's premature to examine that possibility further. 

Will we see one of the major political parties in existence throughout  my entire lifetime begin to fade from the scene?   Will another party, perhaps with disenchanted members of that fading party, form a third party?   We hear mention of the possibility of holding an "open convention" in hopes of preventing a candidate  unwanted by party leaders becoming their nominee.    We'll see what develops -- especially after March 15th.