Last May, during the George Floyd riots, which channeled the obscene fanaticism of the French Revolution, America’s large city mayors abandoned their most important duty, and passively let mobs vandalize, burn, and loot thousands of businesses, causing 19 deaths, an estimated one to two billion dollars in insured property losses, and even more in uninsured losses.
The other day, I realized that Riverside County has moved into the Red Tier, so the bars and restaurants that have survived this 15-month lockdown can finally invite customers back inside. This was excellent news, since my wife and I have refused to hide under the bed through this pandemic. Instead, we have had patio dinners in 105 degree heat while being soaked by misters and blasted by fans. We’ve also sat in 56 degree chill while being toasted by propane-fueled umbrellas glowing red-hot.
Whether the tools of Antifa and BLM are spray paint, rocks, power saws, or gas cans, do the practitioners of destruction in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and New York think they are morally superior to the people who made the things they destroy? We live in times that whipsaw between physically diseased, morally diseased, and simply evil. So it’s time to examine the morbidity that is killing many of America’s once-great cities.
At age 30, Harvard University Professor Roland G. Fryer was the youngest African-American professor to receive tenure from Harvard. Recently, the 43-year old economics professor has claimed that defunding the police could cause thousands of deaths. According to student newspaper called The College Fix, Professor Fryer recently published a working research paper called Policing the Police: The Impact of “Pattern-or-Practice” Investigations on Crime. It claims that widely publicized investigations of American police forces could cost thousands of black lives. His data-driven study compares Pattern or Practice investigations, which are used by federal and state governments to correct unconstitutional police activity, including excessive force and racial bias. The US Department of Justice says, “A Pattern or Practice means that the defendant has a policy of discriminating, even if the policy is not always followed.”
Looting is so yesterday. When you smash a whole block of store windows and pick their inventory cleaner than buzzards stripping roadkill, you’re pretty much done, because the owners aren’t likely to restock the stores for you. So on Monday night June 8, a group of Antifa, BLM, and who-knows-what-else protestors executed a more sustainable plan. Just sieze the entire hood: Stores, houses, the streets themselves, and toss in a police station for good measure. Barricade the streets. Declare yourself no longer part of America. Rename your new country Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. (CHAZ). Create your own armed militia. Extort local businesses to fund your ad hoc police force. Then sit back and laugh while the Mayor says you’re just a big, innocent block party.
Yesterday, I published a post congratulating Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick for taking a principled stand, and refusing to arrest people who violated Sonoma County’s unclear and often arbitrary Bat Flu orders. The story: On Friday May 29, Essick issued a statement that said “I’m not following this f–king health order, and my original statement that we’re done on June 1 stands until Dr. Mase is able to provide me with enough information that we’re on the right path.”Here’s my original post, if you want to read it for background, or just for grins.
On June 1, just three days later, he completely reversed his position. Then, on June 2, he told KSRO Radio News Anchor Pat Kerrigan “Leadership demands compromise from all sides. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to be in lockstep with our other leadership. So what the blank happened?
In 2014, I wrote that Chirlaine McCray, wife of newly elected New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, despite having received zero percent of the vote, began to exercise an outsized influence on New York City politics. Since then, her responsibilities, failures, and subsequent promotions have become increasingly larger. Her most recent promotion gives a person with no medical, or statistical background a significant role in bringing the city back to normal after being America’s hardest-hit city during the Bat Flu crisis.
In a polarized America, what could divide us more even further? Unfortunately, Riverside County CA has created a fresh way. In a press release dated April 10, they announced they have added a feature to their mobile app to report violations of COVID-19 related state and county public health orders. They call it the COVID-19 Response. I call it the Bat Flu Fink Feature, or BF3.
Like most places in America, there are things you can’t do in Farmington, NM for a while: Enjoy dinner at your favorite restaurant. Go to the movies. See your dentist. Work out at your gym. Have an IPA at Three Rivers Brewery. Or get a haircut.
Fewer regulations. Lower permit fees. Faster permit approvals. A talented workforce. These are a few of the reasons businesses gravitate to one city over another. They are also the key reasons why in the past eleven years, over 13,000 California businesses have left the state for friendlier destinations in Nevada, Texas, and beyond.
There used to be hundreds, probably thousands of them. Felons who were out there, still uncaught. And felons who had done their time, and were back on the streets, looking to get a decent job, or slipping back into their own habits.
But now, because of a unanimous resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in July, there are no felons. They’ve been magically replaced by “Justice-involved persons”, “Formerly incarcerated persons’, or, my personal favorite, “Returning residents.” By the way, there are no more juvenile delinquents, either. Thanks to the same resolution, they’re now a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”
Last year, the City Council of Berkeley CA saved the planet from being destroyed by plastic straws, and by serving only vegan meals at all city-owned facilities one day a week. But just a few months later, AOC famously said ”… We’re like, the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change…”
Well, like, evidently, banning plastic straws wasn’t, like, you know, enough. So on July 23, Berkeley took AOC’s message to heart, and like, you know, did something.
- They banned the gender-offensive term “manhole ”. It will no longer be permitted in city documents, including RFPs and contracts. It will be replaced with “maintenance cover.”
- They banned natural gas cooktops and ovens in all new homes and commercial buildings.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the quickly melting iceberg. The details get even loonier.
In the last five years, Austin TX has seen the second largest increase in home values in the state. From December 2013 to December 2018, the median home price jumped 33 per cent, from $226,000 to $301,391. Thanks to the Austin City Council, those increases are likely to come to a screeching halt.
Why? Besides the music on Sixth Street, and not having to fly to SXSW, what do you really get for your $300,000? You get to pay $5,946 every year in property tax. Money that your city and county are supposed to use to keep your neighborhood clean and safe.
Because of a new ordinance that became effective on July 1, you also get to have a homeless camp on your sidewalk, complete with mattresses, tents, and shopping carts. And you can’t do a thing about it.
Cauliflower Chickpea Patties. Zucchini & Tomato Lasagna. Crispy Tofu Nuggets. What could make these vegan entrees any less appetizing? A city ordinance that says all movie theatres and sports venues are legally required to serve gag-worthy Vegan dishes like these, whether patrons want them or not.
Nearly a hundred years ago, Will Rogers said, “Make crime pay. Become a lawyer.” But even Will would have been at a loss for words to describe a recent decision by the Sacramento City Council to pay the 50 most well-known, trigger-happy gang members up to $500 a month, for up to 18 months, not to nine each other.
On August 28, 2015, Ian Hespelt, a 39-year old San Francisco bicyclist, attacked a woman’s rented car with his bike lock, smashing the driver side window, and nearly missing her head.
If you look at the colossally dumb videos on YouTube and Facebook, and the off-the-charts sales of Selfie Sticks, you’d think the whole world couldn’t wait to get their 15 minutes of fame. But evidently the 12,000-plus members of the Chicago Police Department feel differently.
On April 26, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s now-famous statement moved the bar for responsible city government to an all-time low. What she meant to say was that, in the process of trying to give peaceful protestors the space to demonstrate about the death of Freddie Gray, marauding thugs were given free rein to sack her city.
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”
– Nat King Cole
“I have a fireplace in my kitchen that I light every night, no matter what.”
— Alice Waters
“We thought of this as a doable way of trying to get our wood-burning emissions in the Bay Area ratcheted down over time.”
— Wayne Kino, Director of Compliance and Enforcement, BAAQMD
When a building that was budgeted to cost $3.2 million winds up costing $11.5 million, something is likely to hit the fan. But in this case, the unhappy noise is local and migratory birds smacking into its environmentally-hip, LEED-Certified wall of windows.
Clashes between evangelical Christians and the gay community are hardly news. Because I think people’s private lives should be private, nine times out of ten, I take the side of the gay community.
I almost never have an opportunity to congratulate an elected official in far-left Sonoma County CA, but my hat is off to County Sheriff Mark Essick. When the Bat Flu, aka COVID-19, first hit Sonoma County, his office was tasked with citing anyone who was not wearing a mask or social distancing.
A section of the California Health and Safety Code gives police and deputies the authority to enforce public health orders with citations of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. But from a public health standpoint, it makes no sense to throw anyone not wearing a mask in jail. Especially since many people already in jail are being released to flatten the curve.
From the beginning, Essick took a reasonable approach to enforcement. Instead of arrests and citations, he instructed his deputies to talk sense to the maskless. In all, his office only issued nine citations since the county’s shelter in place order of March 18. Eight of them involved some other crime, from drug possession to checking car doors to find out if they were locked.
Compare that with the police in Santa Rosa, the county’s largest city. Santa Rosa police have received over 200 reports of businesses not following the county’s health order, but have cited only one: Crossing The Jordan. It’s a chain of non-profit consignment stores that use sale proceeds to fund homeless shelters and job training programs. Their CEO, Michael Bryant, says they’ve implemented the recommended precautions, but Santa Rosa police have issued three of their stores eight misdemeanor citations. Each. The citations went to Bryant, who was arrested and released way too many times.
So much for the classic Sonoma County crap. Now back to Sheriff Essick. While other California counties are beginning a phased reopening, Dr. Sundari Mase, the county health officer, reacted to a recent increase in cases, hospitalizations and person-to-person transmission, and said she would pause any further reopening for another 14 days.
That was the last straw for Essick. On Thursday, May 28, he announced that as of June 1, his officers would no longer issue citations. All the usual liberals freaked out. US Representative Jared Huffman called a hurried Friday morning video conference that was attended by US representative Mike Thompson, State Senator Mark McGuire, County Supervisor Vice Chair Lynda Hopkins, Dr. Mase, and others. They put pressure on Essick to reverse his stand, and obviously thought they succeeded, because they were ready to announce that he was back under their thumb.
But at 5PM the same day, Essick made a statement that should earn him the total respect of every liberty-loving American: “I’m not following this f–king health order, and my original statement that we’re done on June 1 stands until Dr. Mase is able to provide me with enough information that we’re on the right path,” Essick said.
Adding to his statement, Essick said the county was “trading lives for lives at this point. All around me I see crushed families, crushed relationships, a crushed economy.” As proof of the county’s overreaction to the Bat Flu, Essick said only 2% of the 25,258 tests for COVID-19 resulted in positive diagnoses That’s a total of 322 active cases, including 10 people in the hospital, which hardly qualifies as an overload.
Essick also said he has felt “bullied” by local elected officials, and called out Rep. Jared Huffman, one of Sonoma County’s two congressmen, who set Friday morning’s meeting with Essick and lawmakers.
Almost immediately, the squawking started. State Senator McGuire said. “Cooler heads must prevail. There’s too much at stake for ego.” Cotati city council member Mark Landman said “If Sheriff Essick is personally uncomfortable with upholding the law, he could and likely should resign.” One day later, Landman hinted that a recall could be an option. Huffman went so far as to question Essick’s mental health, saying, “…I thought it would help to use my position to help bring people together,” Huffman said. “And the fact that the sheriff views that as bullying suggests he’s in a fragile and dark place right now and that causes me to worry.”
That’s a lot of flap from ultra-liberals about one law enforcement officer refusing to arrest innocent citizens for not following unclear and possibly unconstitutional orders. As of this writing, none of these officials have made statements about the failure of police in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Oakland, Los Angeles, or New York to make arrests for a whole buffet of felonies, including arson, assault and battery, and grand larceny.